May 31, 2008

Where Dreams DO Come True

I'm sorta bossy. It's one of my worst characteristics and one that made me a very annoying person to be around from about the 3rd to 9th grade. Starting my sophomore year I learned a TINY bit of self-control, but still managed to get into trouble occasionally by trying to bend people to my will. Which is what I did last night.

I made our friends have a "sleep-over" with us. The whole family. All five of them. I begged, and coerced, and hid their daughters shoes (I really didn't but I should have) and bribed, and bossed, until they were too tired to fight anymore and they gave in. Score one for the bossy chick!

See, what happened was, they came over for dinner last night...but we didn't get started until late, and their baby was already asleep in the Pack 'n Play, and then the other kids were just having so much fun, and they still hadn't watched the "Lost" season finale we DVRed for them, and their house is all packed up, so...

I just got out the Aerobed, and after that...resistance was futile. And besides, we do have about 3,648 extra toothbrushes so it's not like THAT was a problem.

The thing is, Diane is one of my first Rhode Island friends! (Right after Fabulous Photographer Jen!) And we have quite a bit in common! We both moved here right out of Dental School so our husbands could start the same Pediatric Dental Residency. We both have little kids who like to play together, we both had our third child here within weeks of each other, we both got called to work in primary, we both love to read and eat ice cream (not necessarily at the same time )and we both have had to adjust to East Coast life and Resident-Wife status together.

And now they are moving to Arizona in a few short days, and we're moving to Japan in a few short weeks, never to see or hear from each other again!!! (Except when we meet up at the AAPD convention in Hawaii next year. And except for blogging, letters, e-mails, and phone calls. But you know what I mean!)

So, we convinced them to stay over last night. And this morning we had yummy Crepes for breakfast. And tomorrow we're forcing them to come over for dinner again.

So at least now I feel a little more bonded to them and a little more prepared to say good-bye.

But not really. Maybe I can talk Diane into two more sleepovers!


Gotta go. I've got a phone call to make!

P.S. Doug wrote a good summary of all of our adventures this last week. You should read THAT next!

May 30, 2008

It's In The Bag

I've heard it said lately that most "Mommy Bloggers" are so obsessed with their own perfect adorable children that they'll even spend a whole post talking about their kid's poop. Well, I personally do not think ANY of my Mom Blogger friends nor I deserve such condescending categorization!

Most of us are talking about really important things like, say, environmental issues. Which is what I'd like to discuss today. More specifically, the craze over eliminating plastic grocery bags.

So this morning Gabe had a REALLY nasty poopy diaper. One of the stinkier ones in his repertoire. After changing him, (it was about a 12-wiper) as usual, I went immediately to my pantry for a plastic grocery sack to wrap the offending poop-catcher, only to find the cupboard was bare. No more grocery sacks. (This usually means we're out of groceries too, so it's time to go shopping.)

Which got me thinking. (read; ranting to myself.) These days, reusable grocery sacks are all the rage. Environmentalists and responsible citizens alike are telling us that millions of plastic grocery sacks are going to landfills and if we had any conscience at all, we'd stop using them.

There are cities banning them (San Francisco, of course!)

Blogs are in on the action, and even Maxwell brought home a Reusable grocery sack from school on Earth Day and treated me to a lecture about why I'm making a "bad choice" and I should run right down to Stop n Shop and buy more ugly green sacks for ONLY $1.50 each.

Am I the only one who is bothered by being this???

As I perused DesignMom the other day, she was mentioning various sellers of reusable grocery bags and extolling their virtues. I had to laugh. This lady has 5 kids. I would bet my first born (sorry Max) that she doesn't use these bags for her grocery shopping. Have you SEEN how many groceries it takes to feed 7 people? We're only feeding 5 at my house, and you KNOW I ain't gonna be totin' 23 reusable bags to Super Wal-mart and demanding the checker stick them on her dumb little carousel to pack my groceries into them. I don't care how "smart" they are or what great colors they come in! (No offense intended to DesignMom who has an excellent site.)

One reason all this fervor bugs me is because it assumes, wrongly, that all of us are bringing these bags home, and then throwing them right into the garbage where they journey straight to the nearest landfill choking song birds and polluting gurgling streams along the way.

First off, I personally do not throw-away my empty plastic bags. And I don't know anyone who does. When I get home from the store, I take my groceries out, tie the bags in knots, (to prevent my children from suffocating) and stick them in my handy Ikea bag holder. (Stinkin' Ikea charges $0.05 per bag now!)

Later, I reuse them.

First and foremost, they wrap up all my poopy diapers. Yes! I'm sending a plastic bag to the landfill. But I'm also sending a poopy diaper to the landfill and TRUST me when I tell you, you want that thing contained!

I use them to line the garbage cans in my bathrooms, bedrooms, and office. (Would it be preferable for me to BUY plastic garbage bags specifically for this purpose? At least a grocery bag is used twice this way.) I also use them in the yard when I'm weeding, as stuffing in boxes when I'm packing, and for a myriad of other things around the house, yard and car.

Doug uses them when he takes lunch to work,
Sam uses them for his wet clothes on swim day every week,
and Max uses them to tote toys around the house.

And we're not the only ones re-using them!

The librarian puts our books in them,
The local produce stand puts our food in them,
The neighborhood dog owners scoop poop in them,
Friends return casserole dishes in them,
and Thrift stores wrap breakables in them.

Sounds like a lot of reducing, reusing and recycling to me!

My point here is, they ALWAYS get reused by the Dub family and I'm sick of being made to feel guilty because I use them for my groceries in the first place! (end rant)

I'm just sayin', there is more than one way to skin a cat. And more than one way to use a plastic bag.

Now where did I leave that poopy diaper?


Post Script: In my days before blogging, to purge my head of these internal rants and one-sided arguments, I would have written this out into a journal or notebook where it would never be seen or read again. Sorry you have to suffer now!

May 29, 2008

Biking in Bristol or More Proof I'm Super Hard-Core

This week we were all supposed to be in Washington D.C. partyin' it up with the F family.  But then Jay-Bird had to go and have her baby early which totally ruined my plans!  (See the New Baby Post).  (He's thinking "Auntie Em, Auntie Em!  Where are you???"  or possibly "I need to poop!")

BUT being the resilient little buggars we are, we made alternate plans.  
Actually, Doug did.  
I took no part in the making of these plans.

Which is why on Tuesday, we drove to Bristol, RI for a bike ride.  A very loooooong bike ride. 
It was very fun, but (like I said) very long.  (Probably, like, over a MILE!)   We may or may not have ridden through a few different states.  (They're very small over here.)
The trail was very nice despite somehow managing to provide an uphill incline both ways.  It goes along the water and though you're surrounded by back yards and shrubbery most of the way, you get occasional glimpses of the beautiful bay right next to you.

The best part was, on the way back we got to stop for ICE CREAM!
(Our choice of 24 different flavors of soft serve!)

The worst part was, the next day my body felt like this:
Yep.  It's like I always say.  I'm super hard core.

May 27, 2008

An Open Letter to THE MAN (or Woman. Whatever.)

Dear Designers and Manufacturers of Clothing for Male Children of All Ages,  
(DaMoCfMCoAA)

Can you PLEASE stop making Cargo Pants?  I mean, SERIOUSLY!  I can't take it anymore!  

I know you think there needn't be any variety in the Boy Clothing Department (aka The Rack of Clothing on the Edge of the Girl Department). I know you think that the two brands of identical Cargo Pants offered at Target and Wal-Mart (the only two places I shop) should be adequate.  
But let me tell you something...

I HATE THEM!

Here is what I hate about them...

THE POCKETS!!!
Those blasted 58 pockets!

They hang open, look messy, collect EXCESSIVE amounts of dirt and sand (which is redistributed all over my house), they're bulky, inefficient, and MOST OF ALL...
they prevent me from being able to fold the pants flat.

And if there is anything I hate, it's crappily folded clothing that doesn't fit nicely in our limited drawer space!!!

SO PLEASE!  Enough with the cargo pants!  Simple 5-pocket jeans and/or shorts will be just fine!  

And feel free to sew the pockets closed.  If my son needs to carry something, I'll get him a man-purse. 

Sincerely,

Emily W.

May 26, 2008

I HAVE A NEW BABY!

Well, he's not actually mine.  
And I don't exactly have him, per se.  
Alright, so I've never even seen him!!!  
But Doug has, and he took pictures!*

Introducing, my newest nephew Darren!!!
Isn't he just the cutest thing ever?  He sort of reminds me of a mix of Sam and Gabe!
The proud parents are J and S.  Excited siblings; R, C, and B!

Congrats guys!  I can't wait to meet him!!!

*Doug was in D.C. for a dental convention for the weekend and got to stop by the F house before coming home!

May 25, 2008

Literary Influence

Max and Sam think it's funny to take my Body Pillow off my bed and stick it in the toy box. Then they take turns laying in it and claiming it's a bed. Today they were playing in their room with Gabe and I hear this:

Max: "MOM! Come look at Gabe, QUICK!"
Me: "Oh, is that his new bed?!" (Gabe is laying calmly on the body pillow in the toy box)
Max: "Yeah! Now can I put the lid on and make him Flat Stanley?*"

Hmm. Time to start a new book.




*In the book 'Flat Stanley', a heavy bulletin board falls on Stanley smashing him flat.

May 24, 2008

Snoop Dogg amendment!

WHOOPS!

Okay! You got me, CNN!
Someone pointed out the date of this article: April 1st. I did check to make sure it really was a CNN link, not a copy cat, but I didn't think to check the date. (And I didn't check Snopes.com...my usual myth and legend buster. DUH! In my defense, it was very early in the morning. And everyone knows I'm at my intellectual peak around 2p.m.)

I had no idea CNN was that sneaky! Or that funny! I've literally been shaking my head in wonder all day!

I'm a little sad to be saying goodbye to Brother Dogg so soon. I was already anticipating the Rap concert he would do for President Monson's next birthday!!! Oh well. Maybe someday. At least we've still got Gladys Knight and Ricky Shroder!


Rapper Snoop Dogg converts to Mormonism

Snoop

Snoop Dogg says he "can't get enough of the Book of Mormon."

May 23, 2008

It Runs in the Family

On Sunday, our friends the Levett's invited us over for a going-away BBQ along with 2 other families who are leaving the ward soon. I thought it would be cute to get a picture of the three baby-buddies who occasionally hang-out together in back of the Primary room and were all born within weeks of each other.

Me: Hey, let's get all the babies on the couch for a picture!
Gabe: YAY!
Megan: Whatev...
Jaren: I'm out.



Babies: Hey! Look at the parents! They're acting like idiots!


Gabe: My dad is SO FUNNY!
Megan: ...or something!
Jaren: Seriously. Are we done here?



Gabe: This is the happiest day of my life!!! Don't you guys just feel like dancing???
Megan: I'm not getting a good vibe here.
Jaren: Neither am I. This is all very alarming.



Gabe: Come on guys! Friends gotta HUG...!
Megan: Jaren, let's get out of here.
Jaren: SWEET! She's holding my hand!



Gabe: I just LOVE you guys! Come here!!!
Megan: MOM!!!
Jaren: Oh boy...



Gabe: Hey! What just happened? Where's the love?
Jaren's Mom: Jaren! What gives? You don't even try to defend her from that brute?
Jaren: Fer riz!? How was I supposed to know he'd go all cheap-suit on her!?!



Megan's Mom: Don't worry Meg. He'll be in Japan soon. He wont bother us anymore.
Megan: 'Bout time you got me off that couch!!! No means NO, Gabe!



Guess we know which family wont be invited back! Oh well. It was fun while it lasted!

May 22, 2008

*sniffle*

I have a cold.
A stupid, runny, YUCKY, sneezy, CRUMMY, stuffy, head-achy Summer Cold.

BUT for the first time in many, many moons, I'm not pregnant or nursing so I can actually DO something about it. (You know...other than take worthless Tylenol Cold) The only problem is, I don't remember what to take!

Any suggestions?
What's your Head-Cold-Drug-Of-Choice?
(My three boys would like to request that I remain semi-conscious after dosing myself!)

May 21, 2008

"On The Home Front" or "The Dreaded Short-Sale"


Many of you have been asking about our house, and I realize I've left you all hangin' with nary an update. So here it is!
We sold our house!
We're still in it, and we haven't closed the deal so it's not official. But we got an offer, accepted it, and things are going well. That's the SHORT story. And if that's all you wanted to know, STOP READING NOW!!!
For the rest of you who are bored and like knowing numerical details, here's the LONG story: (My favorite kind...)

Two years ago, we bought our home for $250,000. Having just come from San Francisco, we thought this sounded pretty darn cheap. Especially for a whole HOUSE with a YARD!
The MAIN reason, though, was that I wanted to! It was my idea. I was sick of staring at white, unpaintable, rented walls that we weren't allowed to change. I missed having my own house and really wanted a yard and garden.

Final reason? I have heard, my whole life and in numerous books, that BUYING is always a better investment than RENTING.
So we BOUGHT!

Rewind to this past January: We contacted our Realtor Lori. She said that although the housing market had slowed down, our neighborhood had stayed strong and she felt confident we'd get close to breaking even. With the weak economy, we were totally fine with that.

We fixed a few more things on the house, refinished the hardwood floors, replaced the kitchen counters, and called her again in March.

This time she had BAD news. A comparable house in the neighborhood has lowered their home price from $259,900 to $219,900.

At this point, Lori introduced us to the dreaded "SHORT SALE"! A short sale is when you sell your house for LESS than you still owe on your mortgage. (It's getting to be quite common these days.) But first, you have to get an offer and take it to the bank with a "hardship" letter. Sometimes the bank forgives the debt. Sometimes they set up a payment program so you can pay back the difference over time. But ALWAYS they cease any assets you might have and ding your credit BIG TIME!

Needless to say, we were NOT excited about this option. Not because we have any assets to lose (Unless you count student loans) but because of the Credit issue. Our whole marriage we've been trying to protect our credit and both have pretty high scores. This would have put an immediate end to that.

We were also worried that since the Short Sale is pretty new on the scene, there would be unforeseen credit consequences in the future...like when it comes time to buy another house, or even a dental practice.

SO, we hoped for the best but prepared for the worst.
We listed the house for a VERY optimistic $259,900. We had some interest, but no offers.

A month or two later, we lowered the price to $249,900. Nada.

We said good-bye to all hope and lowered it a final time to $229,900 and prepared our financial documents for the Short Sale.

All of the sudden, we got an offer! It was low, but we were excited! That weekend, we had an Open House. Lori told all the interested visitors that an offer had been made and they'd better bring their best offers to the table if they wanted a chance at our DARLING home.

Two more offers came in!
One low, and one...HIGH!!!
We got an offer for $249,900!!!
Exactly what we still owe on the loan! We were ecstatic!

Until we got a call back from Lori.
After taxes and commissions, we'd still owe $19,000 out of pocket.
We fretted, weighed the pro's and un-known con's, and finally took out two more student loans totalling $20,000. (What's another $20,000 more or less?!?)

As of today, everything is looking up! The home closing is set for June 27th. We passed the home inspection and the house appraised for the right amount.

We will have to bring the $19,000 to the table, but will be able to avoid a Short Sale. (Good for us, AND good for the buyers!!!)

So that's the update. Assuming nothing unforeseen happens in the next few weeks, we should be able to close on the house no problem.

Wish us luck!
And if you want to send us pity money, we'll gladly accept it!

May 20, 2008

1st Try Making a "Sneaky" Recipe

A few days ago I tried my first "sneaky" recipe from my new cookbook, "The Sneaky Chef" by Missy Lapine*.

We had two little boys over to play so I thought I'd slack off and make Mac n' Cheese for DINNER. (Doug wasn't home and I wasn't about to battle 4 boys without help.)

I looked doubtfully at the cookbook thinking it couldn't help me without a separate trip to the store but was pleasantly surprised!

There were actually a few suggestions for improving boxed Mac and Cheese! The first was to add 2-4 Tablespoons of "White Bean Puree" along with the regular cheese sauce package and just make it as directed.
I looked up the recipe for "White Bean Puree" thinking it would be hard to make or I wouldn't have the ingredients.

It said to mix a can of white beans (in a food processor if you've got one) with few tablespoons of water. That's it!

Easy enough! I keep canned beans in the pantry for Fae's Taco Stuff so that was no problem. I blended them. I added a few scant tablespoons to the Kraft (which I have never ever ever deluded myself into thinking was healthy) and I served it.

The kids loved it. They had no idea it was any different. But they got fiber, protein, whatchmacallit, and (probably) some vitamin whatever. And they didn't even blink.

So I'm sold. I'm a believer.

If I never try another recipe, it'll be worth keeping this book around! (Don't worry Claudia. I'll try more than one recipe.)

I always knew beans really were a magical fruit!
Hooray for the Sneaky Chef!!!




*I am not getting paid by anyone to promote this cookbook, but if you send me a check I'll HAPPILY promote it EVEN MORE!!!

May 19, 2008

The Sneaky Chef - Book Review

For Mother's Day, Dale and Claudia sent me a package which included the book, The Sneaky Chef by Missy Lapine. Maybe you've heard of it? (or the similar book written by Jessica Seinfeld?)

I was excited to get it because I've heard a lot of good things about it. As I started reading, I found that I really like her philosophy on food.

To sum up, she's a believer in moderation. She thinks you can help your kids eat healthier without completely transforming them in to health nuts. She concedes that kids (and adults) like junk food but we can work with that.I totally agree.

We've got two pretty-darn-picky eaters in my house. Without various forms of junk food, my boys would have perished long ago. One son whom I wont name (but who's name rhymes with Paxfell) has the amazing ability to gag himself if he doesn't like what he's eating and isn't afraid to just up and puke right at the table. (Fortunately, he's growing out of this habit!)

This is how we get through the day:
For Breakfast the boys have a choice of Non-sugary Cereal or plain Instant Oatmeal. (They like it, alright!?!?!) No fruit juice for this family of Hyper-Hypo's!!! (Doug is the exception to the sugar cereal rule. When we were first married, I mixed regular Cheerios into his Honey Nut Cheerios on two separate occasions. The first time, he was annoyed. The second time was the closest he's ever gotten to saying "the D word".)

For Lunch: Peanut Butter and Honey on Whole Wheat. (I like Pepperidge Farms NATURAL because it has no High Fructose Corn Syrup...which I will happily eat in candy and desserts but take issue with having in my bread and apple sauce.)
OR some kind of convenience food like Corn dogs, Dino Nuggets, Taquitos or Mac and Cheese.
(Did you know they make whole wheat Corn Dogs?!?!?!?!?!?!?! AWESOME!!! My kids didn't even notice!!!!!)

Dinner is where we try to force in some real nutrition. The boys eat whatever we're having (which always includes some sort of protein and a veggie) but NEVER without protest!!!

Most of the time, I feel the most guilty about lunch. At dinner, guilt is replaced with stress and frustration as we try to bribe, force or cajole our kids into eating the main course. After which I'm left to wonder if we're just making the pickiness problem worse.

That's why I'm excited about this cookbook! I'm hoping I can lose some of the guilt and stress without adding too much additional work.

I'll tell you about our first try with one of the recipes tomorrow. But first, you tell ME about the eating habits of your kids! What are you doing right? What could you be doing better?

Do tell. I need all the help I can get!

May 17, 2008

Doug's Quote of the Day

"Emily stop! You just threw your tooth brush at me and tried to murder me by pushing me down the stairs. If you throw water on me, it'll be too much!"



Fair enough.

May 16, 2008

Buried Treasure

I used to collect colored glass bottles. It started on a trip to Big Bear, California in high school. I saw this beautiful red glass bottle glowing in a shop window and had to buy it for my souvenir.

Between gifts, antique store discoveries, and thrift store acquisitions, it wasn't long before I had a large bushel of bottles and had to stop collecting new ones. Currently, most of my glass is on display at (oldest sister) Karie's house in Mapleton, UT.

She just happened to have the perfect place for my collection, and offered to store them until I had a home of my own. (They are lining the top of a 3/4 height wall which shows them off perfectly.) That was 10 years ago. I've had two homes and a few apartments in the interim, but never any ideal display space. So they've stayed put. (But don't get too complacent Karie. They will be mine again!)

In the mean time, I've started a new collection of TINY antique colored glass bottles! I mean, the cuteness factor is just staggering, and it's hard for Doug to complain because they hardly take up any space! (Not that he would ever complain about my consumer habits seeing as how he's perfect and all!)
So anyway, a few days ago Doug walks in the house and hands me this:


(Wouldn't it be funny if I put "to be continued" again right here?)




(...Is that a no?)




(Fine. Here it is:)






A perfect, beautiful, blue, antique, glass bottle.

He found it at the edge of a recently-dug trench. It was buried in our front yard all this time and he discovered it just laying in the grass; un-broken, un-chipped, and relatively unscathed!


I still can't believe it!!! Here we are trying to sell our house when we SHOULD be setting up an archaeological dig to unearth more cool stuff!!!


The best part is... ...It's TINY!!! It's the perfect size for my new collection.


Now THAT is my kind of buried treasure!

May 15, 2008

Are You a Google Reader-er?


I'm a little dim.

(Yes, I know I also claim to be a genius. Which I am. But I'm also alternately quite dim.)

I heard about Google Reader--like um--a year ago. And I went in and set it up, (I believe you have to have a "gmail" account. Which you should have anyway. Get with 00's!) and then I never finished setting it up, and I never looked at it again. Until recently.

Here's the poop: Google Reader lets you enter all the blogs (or websites) you read, then it shows you when thoses sites have been updated. Automatically. So you no longer have to click through your endless list of friend and family blogs, looking for new posts. They're automatically posted in one place and all you have to do is keep Reader open. (Not that I ever wasted time in such a fashion.)

Here's what to do:

  • Sign up for a gmail account. If you want, I'll send you an invitation. Don't panic! You don't have to close your Yahoo or Hotmail account! You can just have TWO accounts. Your Gmail will just be a BONUS account!!! (Di!) :)

  • Sign up for Google Reader. (Type "Google Reader" into your Google search box and it'll take you where you need to go. I believe it's www.google.com/reader)

  • Copy and paste the addresses of all the blogs you read into the "Add Subscription" box. This is the most time consuming part. It took me, um, about three weeks. (Well not quite that long.) But it's saving years of my life now.

  • Make Google Reader one of the Tabs on your Desktop. Or add it to your Google Homepage. (You have a Google Homepage, RIGHT????)

That's it. If you have it as a tab, a little number will show up in parentheses when you have a new blog post (or 12) to read.

Now, I am NOT the best person to be dispensing geeky advice like this since I do NOT have mad computer skillz and this took me a year to figure out. But if you need help, I'll try. (Though I recommend you ask your computer geek brother for help. That's what I always do.)

One last plug: You know those people (Jen Ross) who only blog periodically and with no rhyme or reason? (Until you find out they had Bells Palsy?!) Well, with Google Reader, you don't have to keep checking their blog only to be annoyed by lack of updates. You'll know when they post because Google Reader will tell you. Just like an e-mail showing up in your in-box.

Brilliant, eh? Even stupid geniuses like me can be smart sometimes!

Just thought I'd share the love! Go forth and READ!

P.S. Do you already use Reader and love it? Or is there another feed stream you subscribe to? Inquiring minds want to know!

May 13, 2008

Who Is Glenn Beck?

My SIL Christina wants to know.



He's a conservative commentator, though not a Republican and not a Bush fan.

He has the third most listened to radio show in America. [Which is on 920 AM at 10 a.m. in Rhode Island.]

He has a popular night-time news show, The Glenn Beck Program, on CNN called "The Fusion of Entertainment and Enlightenment".

He is the NY Times Bestselling author of two books: The Real America - Messages from the Heart and Heartland, and most recently An Inconvenient Book - Real Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems

He was raised a Roman Catholic but converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had this to say about the passing of President Hinckley:
http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/200/5127/

Now let's just get one thing straight.

This is not a political blog!!!
I don't feel qualified to convert people to my political point of view, nor do I want to try. (Nor do I think Actor's should try!)

But if you're curious about my political bent, here it is:
  • I am a registered Independent and a flaming Conservative, with some very liberal views.

  • I listen to Glenn Beck, Rush, and Sean Hannity all on occasion. (Beck is my favorite.)

  • I read (the extremely liberally biased) "Newsweek" weekly.

  • I watch both Fox News and CNN on occasion, but NOT network news.

  • I'm FOR small government and lowering taxes.

  • I'm pro-environment, pro-recycling, and pro-oil drilling in Alaska.

  • I believe in caring for the poor, but think social programs do a crappy job of it.

I found this quote today and it summarizes my thoughts on that nicely: “The USA’s welfare system is a disaster. It is creating poverty, not destroying it. It subsidizes divorce, unwed teenage pregnancy, the abandonment of elderly parents by their children, and the wholesale dissolution of the family. The reason? We pay people to be poor. Private charities have always been better at providing relief where it is truly needed.”
--John Goodman, president of the National Center for Political Analysis
(Frankly, I think the government could learn a lot from the L.D.S. church's welfare program!)

  • I love America and there is nowhere I'd rather live. (Sorry Japan.)

  • I'm pro-hetero marriage, pro-family, pro-fostering, pro-adopting, pro-kids, pro-chocolate, and pro-stay-at-home-mom.

  • I have very close friends and family all who have differing political views from me. (And I still like them! Even if they like Hillary!!!)

So there you go. That's me in a political nutshell. But don't presume you know everything about me because I assure you, not even I know everything about me. My views and opinions and beliefs are constantly changing and evolving. It's like my sister Jenny said just before (or was it just after?) mooning everyone at the family reunion, "Don't categorize me!!!"

Now where was I? Oh. Back to the point of this post.
Who is Glenn Beck?
Short answer: Glenn Beck is someone I'd like to meet.

Mr. Beck, if you are reading this, I still have 2 months left in this country and I'll drag all three of my boys back to New York City any day of the week if you invite me to a taping of your show!!! (Or over to your house for dinner. Whatever.)

'Nuff said.

Does that answer your question Chrissy?

May 12, 2008

Where in the World is Originality?

Does anyone else think it's a little lame of Matt Lauer to be ripping off Carmen Sandiego???

I mean, it just seems so...derivative!!!
(Oh, and are all of you singing the song in your head right now?)

May 11, 2008

Part 3! Trip to NYC. I still didn't get to meet Glenn Beck.

If you're just joining us, scroll down a few posts and start from the beginning of this intense saga!



NOTE: If I can't wrap this narrative up in this post, it's over and I'm afraid you're just going to be out of luck. I just can't write more than three posts about one single day. It isn't natural!

Let's commence with our story:


***We join our heroin having just arrived at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She has walked half the length of Central Park pushing a double stroller all so her second son can use a clean restroom to take care of some #2-related business!***


We leave the restroom (having NOT fulfilled our original #2 mission) and head for the main floor. My idea is to walk to the European Paintings exhibit (my favorite) and see as much as I can before the boys implode from boredom or get bodily removed by a docent. To that end, I'm walking through a gallery of ancient statues (hoping Max wont knock any over) when I see something miraculous;


(once again, cue spotlight and choir of angels singing "Ahhhhhhhhhh!")

My own personal miracle rained down upon my head because I'm such a darn good person and because I righteously post to my blog at least 2x a week...













(are you just dying of suspense?)













The exhibit in the next gallery is titled...



























Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy





I'm saved. My boys glimpse Superman from afar and both tear off into the gallery. Yes, that's right. My boys are in a museum and they're excited and happy to be there. If you don't see the miracle in this, you haven't met my boys.
The exhibit is showcasing some of the original SUPERHERO costumes used in movies. Like the original Superman costume Christopher Reeve wore. And the Spiderman costumes Toby Mcquire wore. (Red and Black) Plus a bunch of Superhero inspired costumes and outfits made by famous designers for runway shows. And at the end, some old school comic books on display.

We spend the next half hour slowly walking through the exhibit and discussing the various Superheros and why they do what they do and wear what they wear. The boys recount to me all the commercials they've seen for various action movies and tell me all about the new IronMan movie which I've never even heard of. (His costume was on display also.) We also have a short discussion on modesty and free agency thanks to some of the ladies costumes on display. (Put 'em away, CatWoman, 'ya little minx!!)

When we leave the gallery, I get ahold of Doug. He's on his way from Brooklyn and is coming straight to the museum. I'm excited thinking maybe when he arrives he'll take the boys and let me go to the European Paintings gallery by myself.

So, I lazily find a bench near the front entrance and sit down to relax for a few minutes. Meanwhile, Karie and Lori have finished their celebrity meeting and are also headed in my direction. They got to go to Glenn Beck's studio, meet him, and then stick around and watch in the booth as he filmed his night-time news show. The (appropriately named) Glenn Beck show. Karie assures me it was the coolest thing ever and I would have loved it. I plan to kick her in the shins at the first opportunity.

A few minutes later, a man in a blue coat approaches us and announces "It's 5:15. The museum is now closed. Please head to the exit." Fifty blue coat clad employees suddenly materialize from nowhere and form an impenetrable line shepherding everyone towards the exit.

Doug calls. He's just arrived and wants to know where to find me. They almost don't let him in the door but he points and waves his arms towards me and they let him pass. We exit the museum together only to find that Karie and Lori have also just arrived. They, however, don't even get as far as the main lobby. Those blue-coated museum workers are serious about their jobs and they're not letting anyone keep them from going to dinner!

We walk and talk together for awhile, then go our separate ways. The ladies have dinner plans with a friend, and Doug and I just want to find the most kid-friendly place we can. (Which is no small feat.)

Thus we come to the end of this saga. (Actually, the saga continues until we roll into our driveway at 1:30a.m., but we've come to the end of the interesting part.)

Overall, it was a fabulous day. Sure, I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry a few times, but that's a pretty average day for me.

I'm VERY glad I got to see my sister one more time before leaving for Japan.

I'm also surprisingly sad that I wont be seeing New York again for a long long long time. After spending a week there when we first moved East, I feel down-right nostalgic about that city!

Well, once again, I've stayed up well past my bed time. All so I could bring you this life-changing blog post. I hope you appreciate my sacrifice in missed sleep! (Sure, Doug let me take a 2 hour nap today, but that doesn't mean I'm not still tired!)

I'll be posting again soon with more adventures from the lives of the Dubs. Only hopefully with less verbosity.*

Word to your Mother! (It's still technically Mother's Day since I haven't gone to sleep yet.)

goodnight!

*ver·bose /vərˈboʊs/ –adjective
characterized by the use of many or too many words; wordy: a verbose report.




Happy Mother's Day!


(One hot mamma!!!)


"Hey Fae, whatdaya say? Wanna go play? Down by the bay? I just may!"*


This was a common refrain from me in High School when I wanted to torment my mother.


Oh, and this;

"Faaaaaeee! Is this corn hand shucked?"**


Sometimes this;

"Fae, you're the devil!"***


Her inevitable response was "DON'T CALL ME FAE! Call me MOM!!!" and/or "I am NOT the devil!!!" But she could never keep a straight face and usually started laughing so I just taunted her a second time.****



*****

(In front of our Camino house in S.L.C. I love that she's barefoot!)



When my friends asked me why I called my mom Fae I'd reply, "With a name that cool, how can I not?"

But really it was just to tease her. (Until it became an unbreakable habit, that is.)
Now I either call her Fae or Mommy. One or the other.

Old habits die hard.


My point here is, Fae is awesome. She has a great sense of humor and doesn't take herself too seriously. When I'm dealing with my kids, I use her as an example of how to be a good mother. She was always extremely patient with me. I can't speak for the older kids, (they were a LOT naughtier than me) but I don't ever remember her yelling. All she had to do to discipline me was show her disappointment and I'd apologize pretty darn quick. Her good opinion was that important to me.


Recently, my mom remarried. At first I was really excited when she got a boyfriend. Then I started getting a little (okay, a lot) jealous (having always been her favorite child/human). But now I'm just happy she's happy. Even though I have to share her attention and affection.


Faezer, you're the best mom I could have asked for. I love you lots and lots!!!


Lot's of love,

Your favorite child, Emily



P.S. There have been a LOT of other great Mom's in my life. Especially the mom's of all of my High School and College friends. But I'm especially grateful for Doug's mom for raising such a fabulous son. (And one with low enough standards to marry me!!!) Thanks Mom-Susan!

*Adam Sandler in "Happy Gilmore"

**Bill Murray in "What About Bob?"

***SNL skit with Mike Myers and Nicole Kidman. "I'm a hyperactive hypoglycemic. I'm a hyper-hypo!"

****Frenchman taunt from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

*****Yes, I know I need to get some original material.

May 9, 2008

PART 2 Trip to New York when I DIDN'T get to meet Glenn Beck!!!

***After seeing a few sites and grabbing some hotdogs and ice cream from a vendor, it was time for Karie and Lori to leave for their meeting with Mr. Beck.*** (Switch to 1st person narrative)

Karie and Lori drop us off at one of the (many) Central Park playgrounds and are gone. Suddenly I'm on my own with three rambunctious little boys in quite possibly the LEAST child-friendly city in the country.

Now, two summers ago when we stayed in the city for a week, I was alone with the boys all day while Doug was at "work". But then I only had two boys. And since I have two hands, that was okay. But now I have three boys (see where I'm going with this?) and I do not have three hands. (Nor did I bring the kid-tether a.k.a. kid-leash.)

None-the-less, things are going great. The big boys are having a blast and Gabe is loving the baby swing.

video
Even potty breaks are no problem. In fact, the big boys don't even bother to consult me when they need to go!
Then things take a serious turn. Sam needs to go potty.
Again.

But not "pee-pee" this time. If you see what I mean.

So we need to find an actual potty fast. I may let my kids pee in public, but I have SOME limits!
I look at a map posted near the entrance of the playground. I see "The Met". (cue spotlight and choirs of angels singing "Ahhhhhh!!!")
I think: "It doesn't look too far away. And I'll bet the bathrooms there are better than park bathrooms. Plus, I just want to go back to "The Met". (How hip am I for calling it "The Met"?)

Gabe and Sam are dumped into the double stroller, Max grabs on, and off we go. I walk about 10 long, hot blocks before asking someone carrying a museum bag how much further it is.
Answer: 12 more blocks.
Max is whining, dragging his feet, and begging to rest. We stop for a minute.
I think about giving up and heading back into the park to find a bathroom so I ask a vendor where the nearest restroom is.

He says--while gesticulating in a North-North East-South Westernly direction--"Over down der".

I ralley the troops and we keep going towards the museum.

Did I mention it was 12 more blocks?

Did I mention that Sam+Gabe+DraggingMax+Stroller+2 backpacks=MeTired?

Eventually, we make it to The Met and it is a beautiful sight to behold. All except the huge stone stairway leading up to the front entrance. That for me and the stoller...not so welcoming. Fortunately, they have a Wheelchair/Stoller entrance. (Possibly the only one in a 17 mile radius.)

Once inside we head straight for the nearest bathroom where Sam informs me he no longer needs to go #2. I believe his exact words were "No! I dough need to sit down! I dough need go poopoo's! Just peepee's, Mom."

WELL WE COULD HAVE JUST TAKEN CARE OF THAT IN THE BUSH!!!

But whatever. We're here. Where I wanted to be.
Except it's not even remotely close to anywhere the boys want to be.

And then, I'm blessed with a miracle. (Cue spot light and choir of angels singing "Ahhhhhh!")

Only I'm not going to tell you what the miracle is.

Yet.

Because it's 1:30 in the morning and, despite it being Mother's Day, I will have to wake up and go to church in a few short hours where I get to teach Max's class of 12-28 six-year-olds.

And because I'm so tired it's taking me an average of 14.3 minutes per sentence and I'm pretty sure my spelling and puctuation have begun to suffer horribly.

So as much as I wanted to finish this dang post, it'll have to be continued.


Again.




goodnight!

"New York Trip" or "When I DIDN'T Get to Meet GLENN BECK!"

Kim and Cliff are doing some travelling to the Church History Sites and have been gone for the last two days. So yesterday, me and the boys did some travelling of our own. My sister Karie is visiting New York City for a few days so yesterday we went down to see her. Doug had some research to present in Brooklyn for the afternoon so it worked out perfectly. Here's a little re-cap of our trip: (for posterity.)

Woke up shortly after 6 a.m. with high hopes of catching an early train.

Realized that packing for one day is surprisingly hard and left late.

Drove for two hours listening to the following:
Can we listen to kid music? Can we listen to a different c.d.? What's happening? Can we skip this part? This is boring! I wish I could go to school today. I don't want to miss school. I'm tired! I don't want to take a nap! I'm not tired! I don't want to rest! I'm hungry. Can I have a snack? Why can't I talk? Why do I have to look out the window? Why are we going to New York? Why is Aunt Karie going to be there? Did you bring anything for me to do? I'm bored! RRRRRRRRROOOOOOAAAAARRRRRR!!!!! (Max)
AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!(terrified Sam)
Are we late? Are we going to miss the train? Why are we going on a train? Is that the train? Where is the train? Are we there yet?
Repeat ad nauseum.

9:20 a.m. Arrive in New Haven, Connecticut to catch the commuter train to New York City. Thoughts of comfy seating and dining cars flit through my head.

9:30 a.m. Board commuter train which is very similar to the subway. Dining Car dreams vanish.

9:33 a.m. Boys are excited to be on a train.

9:40 a.m. Boys are sick of the train. Except for Gabe who is really wants to explore the filthy floor.

9:46 a.m. Loud yammering starts again all while boys either stand, sit, fall, crawl, claw, punch, push, and/or pull.

9:47 a.m. Think wistfully of minivans with child restraints.
9:50 a.m. Someone steps on Gabey's head while we're trying to change a poopy diaper. Screaming ensues.

9:51 a.m. While comforting Gabey, we realize his shirt is already soaked with drool and we forgot to bring a bib or spare shirt. In addition, his shirt smells like mildew and it's getting worse the wetter he gets.

10 a.m. Doug falls asleep in self defense.

10 a.m. Emily pokes herself in the eye just for something fun to do.

--I've blanked-out the rest of the train trip.--

11:20 a.m. Arrive in Grand Central Station where we meet up with my sister Karie and her friend Lori. With two youngest boys in the double stroller, I threaten Max's life a few times, and send Doug off to his Research Thingamajig.

Lori is in town for some business and, while in town, has been invited to meet Glenn Beck and attend a taping of his CNN News Program. Karie is tagging along just for fun. (The injustice of this whole situation is, Karie has just come to know and love Glenn Beck recently. I've loved him for Much MUCH longer and listen to his radio show at least bi-weekly if the kids aren't demanding my attention.) Emily is EXTREMELY JEALOUS.

After hanging with Karie and Lori for awhile, they leave to go meet Glenn Beck. (Still jealous!!!)

The rest of the day is filled with an EXTENSIVE amount of walking, stroller pushing, and child scolding...but I'm going to have to get to that tomorrow. I know most of you have just been skimming for the last 12 paragraphs anyway. (You miss good stuff that way, ya know!)

Part 2 tomorrow!
TTFN!


***It should be noted here that taking the train DOES have several advantages! The avoidance of hazardous driving conditions and the problem of parking in "The City" are two of the largest. And for those two reasons alone, I'd probably do it again!***

May 4, 2008

Fuzzy Memories - Kim Edition

We were probably 14 or 15. I was sleeping over at Kim's house and it was pretty late at night. We were home alone.


***It should be mentioned here that Kim's house sits on a laaaaarge piece of property, is very old, and very--let's just say--atmospheric.***


The wholesome activity we'd chosen for the evening was sitting in the kitchen talking (about boys I assume) and roasting marshmallows--using forks--over the gas stove. (Hey, it works, alright?)

Suddenly we hear a noise and both stop to listen.


We hear the noise again and it's coming from the front of the house.


Being young girls, highly excitable, and in an "atmospheric" house, we go to investigate.

We find the front door slightly ajar. "Oh" Kim says, "it doesn't always close tight. The wind probably blew it open."


Nevertheless, being the sensible girls we are, we return to the kitchen and arm ourselves with the largest knives in the knife drawer. Then we sit down and continue talking.


A minute or two later, we hear another noise and both freeze, straining our ears for any sound. I'm sitting with my back to the sink and kitchen window.

Kim is facing me and sitting next to the stove.


In a split second, I hear Kim scream and watch as every drop of blood drains from her face. She's looking directly over my shoulder towards the kitchen window. I swivel my head to see a white face floating in the darkness and smiling and my Banshee screams join Kim's. By now we're both on our feet running across the room. On my way off the bar stool, I fling the knife I'm holding behind me towards the ghostly apparition. Instead of my would-be attacker, the knife hits a glass bowl and knocks it into the sink where it shatters loudly--adding to the cacophony. Kim also throws her knife, barely missing my knee-cap.


Now we're both across the room and turn to face what is surely to be the last thing we'll see before our untimely murders. We're gripping each other, white-faced, defenseless, and still screaming like--well--little girls.


It takes a second to sink in.


It's Stacy. Kim's older sister. She's standing on the porch outside the kitchen window.


She'd gotten home from work, heard us in the kitchen and decided to scare us. So she simply walked out on the deck and popped her head up in front of the window with a big smile on her face.


The ironic thing is, had she actually been an attacker, we would have been defenseless having stupidly thrown away perfectly good weapons.


It's pretty amazing neither of us had a heart incident that night. Or a pee incident for that matter! I think it took a week for my heart-rate to return to normal.

To this day, that is the most scared I have ever been.

I told you my scary story, now you tell me yours!

May 2, 2008

These Are The Days!

Last night right before the boys' bedtime, my cousin Kim and her husband Cliff arrived for a visit from Utah.

The boys got to play with them for a few minutes and then had to go to bed. This morning I was changing Gabe's diaper when I heard Sam wake up. He left the bedroom and ran straight to the family room window. A second later I heard wailing and gnashing of teeth and went to see what was wrong.

Sam had left the window, prostrated himself on the couch and was fake-sobbing very dramatically.

Me: Sammy what's wrong?
Sam: *sobs*
Me: Are you sad that Max left?
Sam: *sobs* No!
Me: Are you sad that Daddy left?
Sam: No!
Me: Are you sad that Kim and Cliff left?
Sam: YES!!!
Me: Sammy, they're not gone. They're downstairs sleeping.
Sam: But I didn't see theo caw!!!
Me: They flew on the airplane and then I picked them up from the airport.
Sammy: OH!
He then ran off happily to play.

Obviously we're all very excited Kim and Cliff are here.

Now to reminisce for a minute:

Kim has been a profound influence on me throughout my life. She was the first one to introduce me to the joy of shoving Black Cat Firecrackers* in garden tomatoes and throwing them over the fence into the neighbors yard. (Sorry Mom. Sorry yippy-little-dog-next-door.)

Kim was also responsible for sneaking me out my bedroom window when I was 16. We'd drive to "The Border"**, drive to Wendy's, drive to "The Sev"*** and then usually drive home... 'cause we really didn't have anything else to do. (It occurs to me that my dad reads this blog. Can I still get grounded for this, because I'm starting to sweat a little!?)

I like to think I also had a profound impact on Kim. When we were Freshman in college and neighbors at "The Glenwood", I noticed--and commented--that her wardrobe was solely comprised of unisex White t-shirts. (Either from In 'n Out or a Country Music concert.) (Mine was full of men's polyester and black t-shirts...much better.) This rude awakening gradually led her to expand her clothing horizons into form-fitting shirts of other colors and is probably the reason she is happily married today!

Isn't it great how we help each other out through life? Yes, those were the days!!!

Well, I'd love to stay and reminisce, but I've gotta go. Kim and I are going to go blow stuff up.

Sorry in advance to all the neighborhood dogs!

*Dad, remember when you snooped through my room and found the shoebox full of illegal fireworks that I had rightfully stolen from Brandon? And then how you wrongfully confiscated them, taped-up the box and hid it in your closet? Well, one day in a fit of righteous indignation, I snooped through YOUR closet until I found the box and stole the contraband back. Then I filled the box with rocks and cellophane and taped it back up and put it back in your closet. Boy, it feels good to get that off my chest! (I'm only admitting this because I'm pretty sure there's a statue of limitations AND because I'm moving to Japan.)

**Taco Bell. The drive-thru was open 24 hours. It was totally the cool place to "cruise".

***7-11. I'd get the Hot Chocolate and add about 12 Chocolate-flavored creamers. Ummm...chocolate...!