Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
That fall semester my roommates and friends were making plans for Thanksgiving. Some were headed home to California. Others were spending the holiday with grandparents and relatives in Utah. One of my roommates was from Oklahoma. She wasn't going home for Thanksgiving so I invited her to spend the holiday with my family who lived just a few hours away from Provo.
One of the guys from our Y Group (the gullible, love-struck, hiker. I'll call him Dean*) was from the South East and he wasn't able to go home. He was in our apartment one afternoon in early November whining about his misfortune. Dean was the only guy from our group that didn't have plans for the holiday and he wasn't looking forward to eating Thanksgiving dinner in the Morris Center Cafeteria by himself. Ignoring the dangers of bringing home a guy that I wasn't even remotely interested in, I took pity on the poor, pathetic soul and invited him to join my roommate and me for Thanksgiving with my family. Dean quickly accepted. Since my grandparents were picking me, my cousin and roommate up from Provo and driving us home, I didn't have room for this guy in the car so I gave him a list of people I knew from my home town and let him find his own ride.
But I warned him that my family was a little strange and before he made up his mind to spend Thanksgiving with us, he should know that my family had this crazy tradition dating back sixty some years. During the Great Depression, they had gathered together all the food to have a big, fantastic celebration on Thanksgiving Day but then they had to go hungry for several days afterward. In remembrance of all our ancestors had suffered during the lean times and to be thankful for what we now had in abundance, my family fasted for the three days following our giant Thanksgiving feast. I was strangely convincing as I told this tall tale. (I think my dad and brothers would in reality pass out cold if they had to go without food for more than one Fast Sunday a month.) Dean was horrified but claimed that he still wanted to join my family for the holiday.
Dean found a ride to my hometown that actually left Provo several hours earlier than I did and Dean arrived at my home and met my family before I got there. By the time my roommate and I got home, my mom, who is too nice and honest, had already informed Dean that my family was not seriously insane and that there would be plenty of food to eat every day. The suitcase of food that Dean brought along would not be necessary.
Not only that, my youngest (darling) sister was just a kid and a notorious tattle tale. She told him all about the joke we had played on him with the notes from the secret admirer and the hike to the Y. Until that moment, he had assumed that the secret admirer was just too shy to reveal herself--yet. In fact, since he had told none of us about the hike on that wet morning or the notes, none of us should have even known about it. I certainly shouldn't have been including the (I thought funny) details in my letters home. (I really was a freshman a long time ago. Long distance calls were still expensive; cell phones were extremely rare and very large and the internet was just an idea. So yes, I wrote letters. Real ones. On paper. Put a stamp on the envelope and sent it in the mailbox. Archaic.)
And so the joke was on me. I stopped writing detailed letters to my family of the fun times at college. We didn't play nearly as many practical jokes on each other, especially now that Gullible Dean was on to us. And until I met Utah Dad a few years later, I NEVER took another guy (friend or beau) home to meet my family.
*Not his real name.
Friday, November 20, 2009
But I am so glad that I took these shots this week. Do you see those pearly-white little baby teeth in her smile? So cute. She's still a little girl in first grade. By Wednesday night Amberly had a loose tooth. All day yesterday she wiggled it with her fingers and her tongue. She even drew a picture of her mouth (it was kind of gross). By bed time it was just barely hanging on. Utah Dad could have yanked it out so easily but she wouldn't let him near her mouth. "I like to wiggle it," she told us. I snapped a few pictures of the loose tooth this morning before she headed off to school to wiggle it some more.
Like most moms I experience a mixture of pleasure and sorrow as my children reach new growth milestones. Amberly is so excited and a little of that can't help but rub off. I certainly do not want to make her feel bad about growing up. At the same time, I'm a bit sad to see her cute little baby teeth go. And I'm seriously dreading the future orthodontist bills. Utah Dad and I both required extensive orthodontist work to get our straight smiles, so I know what to expect.
In the meantime, we'll celebrate each new milestone with our beautiful daughter and look forward to another visit from the tooth fairy.
I don't know why I ever enter. I never win.
November 16, 2009 12:00 PM
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
After I announced the new rule at dinner time the other night, Neal asked, "What if we don't think it was delicious?" (He's picky. He rarely thinks anything that doesn't come from the freezer section of Costco is delicious.)
"You'll say it anyway," I told him. Eventually, I hope he'll mean it.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Occasionally, when I find these notes, I actually send them. My mom called me one afternoon so confused. She had just gotten the note thanking her for coming out to visit and help with the kids "last weekend". She hadn't been out for months and assumed that I had sent a note intended for my in-laws. It really was for her. It just took me a long time to get it to her.
Obviously, I have a problem. My new goal, this Thanksgiving season, is to actually let the people that I appreciate KNOW how much I appreciate them by actually giving them the Thank You notes I have written for them.
P.S. If you never got a thank you note from me for a wedding gift (so many years ago), THAT was my husband's fault and a story for another time.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
2. Add the Utah Mom's Life Blog Button to your blog.
3. Write a post about this give-away on your own blog or Facebook or just tell a friend if you're old fashioned and still communicate with people face-to-face (then come back and leave another comment so I know).
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
- It may get dark earlier at night but I'm no longer sending my kids to school before the sun rise in the morning.
- We adjust our already early bed times. Normally our kids are in bed by seven thirty. Lights out by eight. We haven't had any whining when we turn the lights out a half an hour earlier now.
- It's cozy. We stay inside more. Read together. Cuddle. Eat soup. We'd light the fire if we had one.
- And finally . . .
We especially love to play hide and seek in the evenings. We turn out all the lights. We can only hide upstairs. One person counts. Everyone else hides. The basic rules. Everyone knows.
Playing hide and seek with toddlers is hilarious. Walk into a dark room and ask, "Where is Lilly?" She'll jump out and tell you. The older kids are starting to become better at hiding. They know how to curl their small bodies into the darkest corners and stay quiet. When Utah Dad and I hide we have to be extra sneaky or we'll end up with one of those toddlers cuddling with us and giving us away. Utah Dad's hiding spots are limited because of his size but he manages. I am the champion hider (as long as one of the toddlers/babies isn't hiding with me). Occasionally, I hide so well they can't find me and I have to jump out and scare them a little too.
It's funny that when you turn out the lights, a perfectly safe house during the day becomes spooky. Thomas hid in his bedroom closet (which is a generally spooky place at night) and we could hear him talking, "Okay, ghostesses, spiders and monsters, don't find me. I'm just hiding from Neal." We explained to him (probably unsuccessfully) that he didn't need to be afraid of anything. We spray for spiders.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Not only is it time to start planning the menu, it's also the season for me to make sure my Christmas gift list is in order. I'm sure it doesn't surprise you that I do most of my Christmas shopping online. I love that I can avoid the crowds, get exactly what I want, save gas and money, and I especially love it when the UPS truck starts making frequent stops at my house.
Last year, Neal didn't know what he wanted for Christmas. And so I did some of my own searching. I wanted to replace my husband's cool but outdated geography game and so I was checking the National Geographic website (who made the original) and the Discovery Channel Store. I couldn't find what I was looking for but I came across a very cool Electronic Gadget Lab from the Discovery Channel Store. (I shopped online but I also get their catalog because they have really cool, educational toys and if my children are going to look longingly through a toy catalog, I would prefer it be this one . . .)
Anyway, the Electronic Gadget Lab was a huge hit. It uses snap together pieces to create over 100 gadgets such as a siren, door bell and fan. It includes everything you need with the exception of a couple of AA batteries. I especially like that my seven-year-old son can do it on his own. The manual has clear pictures and detailed but easy-to-read directions. The lab does have small parts so we keep it away from the little ones.
Within a day or two after Christmas, Neal followed the directions in the enclosed manual and had put together all the different gadgets. I worried that he'd put it away and never use it again. Fortunately, I was wrong. He still plays with it frequently--using the pieces to create the same gadgets and even trying to figure out new ones. Neal loves that by putting the components together in different configurations, he is making something new and making something work. I love that it is teaching him something. The price wasn't ridiculous either.
This year, we'll definitely be checking out the Discovery Channel Store for our Christmas gifts again.