learning


Here is what I learned today: If you pour ammonia on a live scorpion, it will NOT sting itself to death.

I learned that today because I tried it.  I tried it on a scorpion I discovered on my daughter’s apartment patio…while I was here alone…moving things around…with bare feet.

The ladies who told my daughter, Huh, that a scorpion will sting itself to death if sprayed with ammonia were WRONG!  All that the nasty little critter did was crawl to safety under the wall.  And THEN, a little later, he (she) (it) crawled UP the wall.

Perhaps the trick didn’t work because I poured ammonia on the ugly creature instead of spritzing it nicely with a spray bottle???  But, one would think that if a little spray would make it sting itself to death, having a downpour of ammonia on top of it would make it not only sting itself, but also make it do a dance, perhaps some squirming, maybe even a few flips.  Wouldn’t it?  Nada.  I think all I accomplished was to make it mad…and maybe even vengeful.  I should probably watch my step tonight.

Sooo, an update, sort of.  Mack and I used this memorial weekend to make the 12 hour drive to Huh’s apartment in Phoenix to take her bedroom furniture to her.  She decided not to come home from school for the summer, got herself an apartment, bought a couch, got a full-time job and a DOG.  She’s been sleeping on the couch, which causes her back to hurt, so being the Mommy that I am…I drove her bedroom furniture from our home down to her.  Mack came with me to switch off driving.  Since my ex lives in Phoenix, the girls went to visit their father this afternoon, which is how I came to be all alone at my daughter’s apartment with a monster scorpion.

Since the girls haven’t returned from visiting their father yet, I have decided to spend some time in Blogland.  School put me far behind on posts about our blended family, and there is so much I could have posted about, but it will be too hard to catch it all up.  I will, however, post a few pics here and there from the months I was absent from Blogland.  Here are a few from our family vacation in California in August:

Dance off in the two vehicles on the way to California!

Stuck in traffic

Still stuck in traffic

Trying to keep us as anonymous as possible creates problems when choosing pics for my blog, some of the best pics don’t get posted, but maybe the pics posted will give an idea of the “flavor” of our vacation.

Until next time…

…I’m off to peak at the patio and see if the scorpion has recruited friends in his vengeance…

Yawlin text to Huh:  “Earthquake! I broke my leg.”

Hub text to Huh:  “Earthquake! Me and the dog are fine under my desk. Your mom is upstairs naked and screaming.”

My text to Huh:  “Earthquake! Hub and I are at home.  Hub and Max are both safe under his desk. I stubbed my toe.”

Huh text to me:  “Hub mentioned you were naked mom.”

Huh text to me:  “And screaming.”

My text to Huh:  “Well…ya know…”

Squid text to Huh:  “AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! I got my leg broken by a pissed off 40 pound swan after a fallen tree crushed its crib!!”

Mack text to Huh:  “Earthquake. I’m fine. In an outhouse in the woods.”

Shroom text to Huh: “Earthquake. I’m at school. I tore some ligaments in my shoulder but I can still walk.”

Momo text to Huh: “At school. I’m okay.”

My text to Huh:  “K, what you are supposed to do now is send me a text letting me know the status of everyone you have heard from.”

Huh text to me:  Yawlin and Squid both suffered broken legs. Squid’s leg got broken by a pissed off swan. Shroom has torn ligaments in his shoulder and can still walk (why would an injured shoulder make it so he can’t walk?).  Mack is okay in an outhouse in the woods.”

Hoob text to Huh: “Earthquake.  Actually, I died.”

Huh text to me:  “And Hoob just text me saying, ‘Actually, I died.’ So there you go.  Have not heard from Juju.”

My text to Huh:  “OK.  Maybe we assume Juju died??  Did you hear from Momo?”

Huh text to me:  “Yes. She is at school and okay.”

Juju text to Huh: “Earthquake. I died, but then I got better.”

Hut text to me: “Juju died, but then she got better.”

And so went our very first family emergency drill.  Our state held a statewide “Shake-out” a week and a half ago to see how prepared we all would be if the “big one” hit.  Because I had read that it is good to have a contact person out-of-state to contact in case land lines get tied up in an emergency, we chose Huh to be our contact person since she goes to school out-of-state.  We also chose to text her rather than call her because I also read that sometimes cell towers get jammed with all the emergency calls coming in but that texts sometimes can get through easier.  The shake-out was set for 10:15 a.m. on April 17.  Schools, places of work, churches, emergency services personnel all participated.  We instructed our kids that as soon as the drill started at their school it was time to text Huh.  They could choose to make up an injury if they wanted.  As you can see from the above text exchanges, our family members personalities shone through loud and clear in their texts.

There are two purposes to this post.  The first, and most important one, is to get families thinking about emergency preparedness and perhaps about having a similar drill.  It IS wise to have a contact person out-of-state who can get details from your family members if you all happen to be away from home in various places when a natural disaster hits.

The second purpose is to announce that I have a break from school until June 5 and so I might be able to visit Blogland a few times during my break.

Maybe.

There are carpets to scrub.  And windows to clean.  And baseboards to wipe down.  There is a youth conference to plan for my calling in my church.  There is a girls camp to plan for my calling in my church.  There is laundry to do…daily.  Dishes.  The dreaded grocery shopping.  And the typical mommy and wifey things I do each day.

So, maybe I will be able to post a few times during my break.

Maybe.

I’ve missed Blogland.

 

I know I said I am taking a break from blogging…and I am, but I wanted to post the latest happenings with our family since that IS what this blog is all about.  We welcomed “Momo” (nickname) to the United States and into our family for the 2011-2012 school year last night.

Yard Greeting

 

Yawlin at the airport with Momo's balloons tied to his ankle (courtesy of Huh)

 

How Momo really saw the yard greeting (we returned from the airport at 11:00 p.m.)

 

We look forward to getting to know Momo over this next year.  We hosted a male foreign exchange student from Vietnam five years ago and had such a great experience we decided to do it again.  We decided to give a female from Japan a chance to study in the U.S. this time.  With the arrival of Momo this month, Huh returning to college out-of-state next month, Squid returning from his mission in September and Mack going to school out-of-state at exactly the same time and my schooling, our household is going to feel like it is in upheaval!  Which, actually, is nothing new for us!

Yesterday I returned from our ward (congregation) Girls Camp.  With my call as Young Women President comes the annual summer girls camp.  Last year it was a stake camp (all wards in our geographic location) and lasted for five days.  This year it was only three days, but I still came home exhausted (and a little stressed about all the school work I haven’t done).  But even with as tired as I feel, the camp was a great success!  The girls and leaders had fun, unity was forged, and many expressed feeling closer to God.

Though I came home with almost 500 pictures I can only share a few here to allow for anonymity.  Our theme was a “Survivor” theme–“Look to Me and ‘Survive.'”  Most of the usual camp activities occurred.  We did a craft, went on a hike, played games, acted silly, enjoyed the scenery and the wildlife, but it did rain both evenings which prevented us from having campfires and roasting marshmallows.  It also made it too wet to go on a snipe hunt, which was a bit of a disappointment to the older girls.  😉

Here are a few pictures that perhaps give a bit of taste of what camp was like…

Inside one of the cabins

One of the girls put my hair up into a "drill team" 'do

Appetizers for dinner

A visitor

Service project

The best part for me was being at camp with my daughter, Hoob.  She really blossomed in a leadership position AND she received the award for being the funniest.  🙂

I will take these experiences any day…whether school work gets done or not.

What made my heart melt this week?  My son.  A hug from my son.  A hug and tears from my son.

Yawlin returned this weekend from spending 2 1/2 weeks with his dad.  He had a great time with his dad.  They swam every day (almost a necessity in Phoenix), they went fishing, they barbecued, they took pictures and played games.  Any time I sent a text asking how he was doing Yawlin always said he was doing well and having fun.

Yet, even with all the fun he had, when Yawlin walked through the front door on Saturday afternoon and I squealed and rushed forward to give him a hug, my tough 11-year-old couldn’t stop the tears from falling.

Which proves the truth:  No matter how much fun one has…it is always good to get home to mom.  😉

And boy did that hug feel good!

🙂

Starting graduate studies has forced me to rearrange my schedule, drop certain activities, and really look at my priorities.  One priority that I insist on making number 1 is my family.  I don’t want my family to ever feel that I put school, or a future job made possible by school, before them.

This week’s dilemma?  Hoob’s 16th birthday.  How do I make it special for her and still meet my school, church, and other family obligations?  Hoob’s birthday is on Friday which also happens to be a full-day youth conference for our stake (group of congregations in our church).  Here are my ideas to make the day as fun as possible for her:

*I had her choose the shoes she wants for her birthday from zappos.com and we ordered them last week.  They should arrive before her birthday.

*Even though we will be visiting four historical sites in SLC during the day with other youth and leaders from our stake which makes it hard to celebrate her birthday, I have arranged with one of the ward (congregation) leaders to buy a birthday cake.  We will keep it secret from Hoob until we break for lunch and then we will pull it out and have the youth and leaders from our ward sing happy birthday to her and then share the cake.

*I will make sure to take pictures of the cake activity.

*Tomorrow afternoon I will put homework on hold and I will take Hoob shopping for new capris and flip-flops–the rest of her birthday presents.

*I always give my kids a chance to go to lunch or breakfast with me on their birthday for some one-on-one time with me.  Because of the youth conference starting early, making it necessary to eat a quick breakfast at home, and then including lunch and dinner as part of youth conference, Hoob and I will, instead, go to see a movie together that night as our one-on-one time.  The movie she has chosen?  “Green Lantern.”  Once again, homework will be put on hold.

*Of course I will wish her a happy birthday on facebook so that others can know it is her birthday.

*Hoob, or course, is anxious to get her driver’s license.  With Friday’s schedule being what it is, we will go Monday afternoon as soon as I am done with class to pick up her license.

I am hoping these ideas will help Hoob to have a special day.  Hoob is so good-natured, I really don’t have anything to worry about, but it really is about…

…making family #1!

*

It is that time of year that foil dinners are craved at our house.  Because we have a portable fire pit on our patio, we can have this type of dinner often.  Our usual foil dinner consists of stew meat, diced potatoes, carrots, and onions all seasoned with salt and pepper.  Sometimes we will do ground beef instead of stew meat or we will do pieces of chicken.  Last night we tried a new combination of foil dinner ingredients that we all liked and so I share the recipe here.

Cut 18 inch square pieces of foil (one for each family member).  Fold each edge over once.  In the middle of the foil family members place as much of the following ingredients as they want:

Polish kielbasa cut into 4-inch-long pieces and then halved (3 to 4 pieces works best for each serving)

Pearl onions

Sliced crook-neck squash.

Sliced carrots.

Drizzle with the following flavor booster (I double the recipe for our family):

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 T. lemon juice

3 T. vegetable oil

Sprinkle the sausage and veggies with salt and pepper to taste.  Fold up the foil to make a package that seals in the juices.   Write family member’s names on their packet.  Lay the packets on hot coals or on a lit grill (400 degrees) and cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and place on a plate.  Open the foil…and enjoy!

 

Mack graduated from high school today.  I am proud of myself.  I only teared up three times.  :-/

Checking her reflection to make sure she looks "just right."

 

Figurative: Walking away from mom toward her future

 

Huntsman Center at U of U

 

761 seniors wait to be told they are graduates

 

Yay!

This was #4 in our 6 years of high school graduations in a row.

As usual, it was a bittersweet day for me.

Life has been too crazy lately for me to blog about our spring break trip that we took a month and a half ago.  I still don’t have time to do the trip justice.  This short post will have to do.  I polled the family members who went on the trip (Juju didn’t go because she had school and work, and Shroom didn’t go because he opted to go with a friend’s family to Las Vegas) on their top three favorites on the trip.  Here are their results (with a few pics from each top choice carefully chosen to preserve our anonymity):

Hub

1.  Scorpion hunting! (We stayed with my sister who happened to be experiencing a scorpion infestation.  We learned that scorpions glow in the dark when you shine a black light on them.  Hub loved going in the backyard after dark and hunting for the little nasties).

2.  Making Japanese food.  (Hub made some of his yummy Japanese food for all of us one night)

3.  Going to Oreganos for pizzookies.  (Oreganos is an Arizona original with the best dessert in the world–the pizzookie is a partially baked cookie topped with ice cream.  Yum!  I want one right now!)

Actual glowing scorpion

Huh (joined us on some of our activities since she just happened to be attending college in Phoenix at the time).

1.  Visiting the Phoenix Zoo.  Especially feeding the random squirrel on the trail, and going into the monkey enclosure.

2.  Taking pictures.

3.  Playing games with the family

Our squirrel friend

 

Mack:

1.  All day Thursday.  (The day consisted of kayaking at Tempe Town Lake, a picnic, renting tandem bikes and riding trails at Tempe Town lake, and then later that evening seeing the movie “Rio.”

2.  The warm weather.

3.  Phoenix Zoo.

 

 

Hoob:

1.  Feeding sting rays at Phoenix Zoo.

2.  Oreganos

3.  Riding the tandem bikes.

 

 

Yawlin:

1.  The Arizona Science Center.  (My scientific little boy loved all of the interactive exhibits here).

2.  The Tandem bikes.

3.  A tie.  Oreganos and spending time with family.

 

Me combined with Mack

 

Me combined with Hoob.

 

Me combined with Yawlin

 

Yawlin

 

Hoob

 

Mack

 

Me

 

Kweenmama:

1.  Seeing family.  Namely my daughter who had been living away from home at college and seeing my sister and her family.

2.  The tandem bikes.

3.  Relaxing….

My nieces' pet baby turtles

 

Huh showing her siblings around her campus

 

It was a great trip!  I wish I had time to write more about it, but life keeps getting in the way…

…at least we have the memories!

 

 

The rush to get our St. George condo ready for renters next weekend is finally over.  It has taken a great deal of my time, hence the reason for not blogging, but it was worth the time to get it finished quickly rather than dragging it out over a period of months.  We used the Memorial Weekend to finish it up and now we can relax…sort of.  There is the matter of the ancient, cranky, and ugly washing machine that decided to quit working over the weekend, and the matter of a deck that needs to be refinished, and Hub’s desire to two-tone the walls, but all of those things will come in time (with the washing machine being the first priority, of course).

Next week begins my graduate studies.  It also holds Mack’s high school graduation.  She will leave two days later on her senior trip to Lake Powell and Yawlin will leave at the same time to spend 2 1/2 weeks with his dad.  Huh, Shroom, and Juju will be working and Hoob plans to look for a job.  Yes, life is coming at us fast!

I end the post with a few pics of our St. George condo.  It is only a one bedroom so we will market to couples instead of to families like we do with our Moab condo.   It is small, but comfy, and will be the perfect getaway for Hub and I if we ever choose.  😉

The bedroom

 

Bathroom

 

Kitchen

 

Kitchen

 

Living Room

 

One end of deck

 

Other end of deck

 

View from deck

 

Family pool

 

Adult pool

 

🙂

 

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