I heard a saying once:  Be careful how you treat your children because they will choose your rest home.  A little chilling, eh?

We were talking as a family one night about our experiences serving in a local rest home.  One of the kids asked the question, “Where will we put you two when you get old?”  The question referred to Hub and I.  Hub’s kids started joking and announced that they were planning on getting him and their mother a suite together in a rest home.

“Over my dead body!”   I exclaimed.

Once the laughter had died down Mack put her arm around me and said, “Mom, I will let you come live with me.  I am going to live in a big house when I get married.  I will build you a nice room in my basement.  You will have your own bathroom, a tv, a computer, and other stuff to keep you busy.”

“Aw, thanks my favorite daughter.”  I said, looking pointedly at my other three children.

“Yup,” Mack continued, “And on every Tuesday I’ll let you out for a couple of hours.”

Well there’s our future folks!  My husband is going to be stuck in a suite with his ex-wife and I’m going to be locked up in my daughter’s basement.  We’re set!

So much for well-made plans.  I had thought that I would be able to get the carpets scrubbed in at least two of the kids’ bedrooms on Saturday since it was our “alone” weekend and all of the kids would be with their other parents.  No such luck.  It turns out that our house is the house of choice for some of our kids.  They show up here a lot, even on the “alone” weekends.  Here is what I was able to accomplish instead of scrubbing carpets:

Accomplishment #1 – I got to interact with Huh and some of her friends on Saturday morning when they showed up at our house looking for “something to do.”  That night was the Cosmos dance at their school (a girl’s choice dance) and so  for their “day” activity they had gone to one of the girls’ houses to tie-dye their shirts for the dance.  The type of tie-dying they chose to do only took twenty minutes, so they came to our house to see if we had any ideas on what they could do for the rest of the morning.  One of the girls was dateless and I asked where her date was.

“Hunting,” was her reply.  “He’s pheasant hunting.”

“Oh.  Well why don’t you all go see if you can find him?”

After they all laughed and made comments about how funny it would be to go hunt Mason while he was out hunting, they shot my idea down and asked for another idea.  So much for getting rid of them (wink, wink).  Hub asked if they were hungry, and of course all of the teen boys raised their hands and chorused, “Yes!  Food!”  Hub began making German pancakes and I suggested that while the pancakes were baking they all go shopping for the banana split stuff they would need when they came to our house for the after-dance activity.  I handed Huh my credit card and seven teenagers rushed out the door.

When they finally returned 45 minutes later, they were loaded down with grocery bags.  They got a kick out of me examining the store receipt and pointing out in mock consternation that there were twenty one items on the receipt.  “How can you possibly need twenty one items for banana splits?”

They spent double the amount I had intended to spend on the banana splits, and Huh told me she would do extra chores around the house to make up the difference.  The teens enjoyed the German pancakes and we got to laugh and joke around with them until noon, when it was time for the girls to take the boys home to relax until they picked them up for dinner and the dance later that night.

I actually accomplished two things with that activity.  Not only did I get to interact with Huh and some of her friends (which is always a good thing for a parent to do) I also learned a valuable lesson.  Never send a bunch of hungry teenagers to the grocery store with your American Express card!

Accomplishment #2– Mack ended up sleeping at our house on Friday night (looong story as to why).  On Saturday she finished drawing her entry and writing the essay for a dress design contest she wanted to enter.  It was too late to mail the entry and so she needed to hand deliver it to one of the locations here in the valley.  She tried several times to reach her father on the phone to see if he could take her to deliver the entry.  It is his weekend to have her and I always insist the kids try him first on his weekends.  She was never able to get a hold of him, so after Huh and her friends had left, I told Mack to get in the car and we would deliver her entry and then she could go with me to run some errands.

The carpets still waited.  But, I got to spend time with my daughter, chatting in the car as we ran our errands.  And, I got to overhear two employees at the store where we delivered Mack’s contest entry whisper to each other about how much they liked her entry.  One of them then said loudly across the store so that Mack, who was examining some dresses on a rack, could hear, “Hey, I like your dress design.”

Mack got a big grin on her face and said, “Thanks!”  I nodded and smiled at her and was happy I was able to help her deliver her entry.

Accomplishment # 3– This accomplishment actually started about a week and a half before.  Huh and her friends were planning their activities for the dance and had decided to have Hub make some of his fabulous Japanese food, which would be cheaper for them than taking their dates to a restaurant.  I was talking to Huh about her plans and mentioned that all of the activities revolved around our house.  I said that maybe her dad would like to be a part of some of it too, especially since the dance fell on his weekend to have the kids.  Huh nodded and said, “I have actually been thinking about that.  I wonder if Dad would make some of his homemade Italian food?”

“Why don’t you call him and ask him?”

“Yeah, I think I will.”

My ex was more than happy to do it.  So why is this such a big accomplishment on my part?  There was a time when I was so angry about the divorce that I would have never wanted Huh and her friends to share these happy dating times with him.  I would have stated that he didn’t deserve to experience this part of his daughter’s life.  I’ve made a conscious effort to let go of the anger and move on.  I guess enough healing has occurred.  I pat myself on the back for suggesting to my daughter that she share part of the evening with her father.

Hub’s accomplishment– Hub and I have paid for a booth at an upcoming boutique at Wheeler Farm on November 22 to show products from his new business and to show the new weight loss product that I sell.  We planned on using part of Saturday to get things ready for the boutique.  Instead, Squid and Shroom called Hub and asked him if he wanted to go biking with them.  They had picked a trail near where Hub grew up and wanted him to show them around.  How could Hub say no to that?  He went.

Hub came home later that night with a torn sweatshirt and a bruised hand from a fall that happened when he took a turn too fast.  He got to listen to my lecture about wearing a bike helmet and being more careful.  But, he also had tales of watching his boys take jumps and showing them around the area he knew as a kid.

Carpets scrubbed this weekend = 0; Tasks completed for the boutique = 0; Time spent with kids = PRICELESS!

Still scrubbing carpets this week, so not much time to blog.  I will leave you with this though:

I like to have the tv on in my room as I get ready in the morning.  I never leave it on any one station for very long unless something really grabs my attention.  This morning as I was changing channels every few minutes while making my bed and getting dressed I heard a voice say, “And here is Suri Cruise in one of her designer dresses.  She is our little fashion icon, she’s never seen wearing the same thing twice.”

I looked up to see a picture of Suri Cruise on a sidewalk somewhere wearing a white dress with dark pink flowers.

The voice continued, “This dress cost about $300.00.  But, we will do anything for our kids, right?”

Are you kidding me?  Buying a 2 1/2 year old $300.00 dresses that she will only be seen wearing once is considered okay because we will do anything for our kids?  It would seem that “doing anything” for our kids has gotten out of hand.

Give me a break.

On behalf of Yawlin and myself I would like to thank all those who sent their positive thoughts and good wishes our way regarding our sick little guinea pig. Unfortunately, S’mores didn’t make it.  He died about five hours after bringing him home from the vet. 

Yawlin and I had managed to get him to drink a syringe full of fresh squeezed orange juice and, a couple of hours later, one more syringe of water before Yawlin went outside to play with friends.  After awhile I heard Yawlin say, “Just a minute guys, I need to check on S’mores.”  He came bounding up the stairs with his friends in tow.

I followed Yawlin into his room and saw S’mores curled up by his water dispenser.  Yawlin was closest and could tell immediately something wasn’t right.  “Mom, is he–?”

“I’m not sure, Yawlin, let me check.”  I looked closer.  “Oh no, I don’t think he’s breathing.”  Hub and Huh had followed us into the room.  I looked at Hub and said, “Is he breathing?”

Hub leaned close to the cage and then quietly confirmed that S’mores wasn’t breathing.  Yawlin let out a wail and I gathered him in a hug.  Yawlin’s poor friends didn’t know what to do, they just backed up to the wall and quietly watched what was going on.  I did my best to comfort my son and then Huh gave him a hug as well.  She wasn’t particularly fond of S’mores, but she didn’t like to see her little brother hurting.

We wasted no time in taking care of S’mores.  Yawlin carried S’mores with him when he went to the garage to pick out a box to bury him in.  He carefully put S’mores’ towel in the bottom of the box and then positioned S’mores in the box so that he looked comfortable.  He placed one of S’mores toys in the box and then wrote a note that said, “I love you, S’mores.”  He folded the note and put it between S’mores little paws.  Hub helped Yawlin bury S’mores in the backyard next to Chello, Huh’s bird, who died earlier this year. 

Yawlin is doing okay.  His friends stayed through the funeral and one invited him to sleep over at his house that night.  He has agreed to wait one month before deciding if he wants another guinea pig.  I told him that he might decide that it’s kind of nice not having to clean a cage every few days and that the space on his dresser can be used for other things.  On November 24 Yawlin will decide if he wants to shop for another guinea pig or sell S’mores’ things and pocket the money. 

Shhhhh, don’t tell Yawlin, but I’m secretly hoping he chooses the latter.


The contest celebrating my 102nd post is officially over.  I included anyone who commented on that post and Hub drew the winner out of my purple smiley face bowl.  And the winner is……..

Joy Erickson!

Check out Joy’s blog.  There is a different topic of conversation there every single day.  By the number of hits she has received, you can tell it is a popular blog.  I try to visit it regularly.

Joy, I will be contacting you to get information about the shirt we will be making for you.  Congratulations!

Moms have many titles:  chauffeur, coach, peacemaker, housekeeper, chef, tutor, etc.  For the last two days I have added one more title to my “Mom Resume.”  I am now officially a guinea pig nurse

Yawlin’s guinea pig, S’mores, suddenly became ill on Wednesday night.  So ill, in fact, that I was surprised he made it through the night.  The next day we spent hand feeding him, wiping his goopy eyes with a warm wash cloth, and giving him a warm bath.  Yawlin was brought to tears with worry for this little pet he’s had for two years, so I decided I’d better see what I could learn about guinea pig illnesses.  I did searches online and came to the conclusion that S’mores had an upper respiratory infection (URI).  Guinea pigs can’t overcome such an illness by themselves and, unless they receive antibiotics from a vet, it usually ends up fatal.  Swell.

My next step was to find a small animal vet and set up an appointment.  Yawlin is off-track from school right now so he was able to accompany me to the vet today.  The vet checked poor S’mores over and then let the bomb drop.  The guinea pig has pneumonia and is in critical condition. 

We had three options:  1.  Do nothing and let S’mores die.  2.  Take S’mores home with a supply of antibiotics that we administer twice a day.  Try to force feed him.  Watch him (his chances of survival–pretty slim).  3.  Leave him at the animal hospital for some intensive care; chances of survival 50-50, and a cost of $350.00 (in addition to the $50.00 I was already paying for the examination).

After consulting with Hub on the phone, and then talking to Yawlin, it was decided we would bring S’mores home with the antibiotic and see what we can do for him on our own.  He had his first dose of antibiotics at the animal hospital.  We will give him his second dose just before we go to bed tonight.  Since the vet said he is very dehydrated I used his medicine syringe to force him to drink some water.  I have a feeling it is going to be a long day and night. 

Yawlin understands that S’mores is very ill and that he might die.  I have had to rearrange my schedule slightly in order to help take care of this critical little animal.  Why go to all the trouble for a guinea pig?  If you could have seen the look in Yawlin’s eyes the first time I took S’mores in my arms and tried to get him to take some orange juice from my finger, you would understand.  The look was one of hope and relief–hope and relief that Mom knows what to do, hope and relief that Mom is now in charge, and hope and relief that Mom will do whatever she can to help the little piggy.  

The cost of recieving the new title of Guinea Pig Nurse = some of my time, letting some of my schedule go, and the very real possibility that my efforts will fail.  But, the look of relief and hope in my son’s eyes, and the knowledge he now has that Mom loves him enough to do this for him = priceless! 


Only one more day to enter the contest celebrating my 102nd post!  The prize?  A nifty customized t-shirt.  Enter here.

How wise is it to have 85 items on your to-do list?

Okay, all 85 items aren’t on my daily list, but they are on my master list.  I created the master list so that I could keep track of all that I need or want to accomplish in the near future.  It was causing too much stress trying to remember everything.  The simple act of creating the master list has lifted a burden from my shoulders.  I am no longer constantly trying to remember everything, I just remind myself that everything is on the list, the monster master list, and I stop worrying.  If new things come up, instead of stressing, I just add them to the list.

Every morning I get up thirty minutes before the rest of the family to journal, read scriptures, and plan my day.  I make a list of the most pressing things that need to be done and I add a few from the master list.  Each evening it is gratifying to see the number of items I am able to cross off my daily list and slowly, but surely, items are leaving the master list as well.

The list system is working for me.

Lists are a big part of my life.  I use a grocery list when I shop.  I create lists of Christmas gifts I intend to give to family and friends.  I list my goals in my journal.  And I create chore lists for my kids.  Though, if they were to be asked about those lists, they would probably create a verbal list of every reason imaginable as to why kids should not be required to do chores. 

Even though the kids don’t prefer doing chores they do get them done using their lists.  It is a method that has been successful for me.  Before the kids get home from school I write them each a list of the chores I would like them to get done before bedtime (Hub writes the lists for his kids–there is less contention that way).  Each list consists of at least four items–clean their room, their weekly chore, their daily chore, and homework.  And, yes, our kids do consider homework a chore.  Here are today’s lists as an example (I left homework off the list because our kids don’t have school Thursday, Friday, or Monday for Fall Recess):

HUH’S LIST – Clean room, Sweep kitchen, Vacuum office

MACK’S LIST – Clean room, Dishes, Clean shower glass in upstairs bathroom

HOOB’S LIST – Clean room, Dog duty (clean up his “piles” in the backyard and provide his meals), straighten downstairs family room

YAWLIN’S LIST – Clean room, Help fix dinner, pick toys and garbage up in backyard.

Hub’s kids are with their mother today so they don’t have a list.  The kids are given the freedom to complete the items on their lists in any order that they desire and they can delay doing the lists for awhile, as long as the lists are completed before they go to bed.  Feeling as if they have some control usually helps kids be more cooperative.  If they slip up and forget to complete their list they get to do those chores, the new day’s chores, plus a couple of “extra” chores the next day.  They don’t want to do that so they usually make sure to get their lists done.  It works for us.

The power of lists is amazing.

Have you been “Phantomed” yet? 

That is a common question around our neighborhood this time of year.  It is a fun neighborhood tradition and I thought I would share it here so that others can start the tradition in their neighborhoods if “The Phantom” isn’t already visiting.   

If The Phantom visits your house, you receive some anonymous goodies, a picture of a phantom, and a note that says:


If you don’t want a curse to be wished on your house, you must make (or buy) treats and deliver them to two houses in the neighborhood.

You only have one day to complete the task.

So hurry!

Post the Phantom on your door until Halloween.  This will ward off the Phantom from haunting you.  Copy this letter and Phantom for each home and deliver them to two families that don’t have a Phantom posted.

Spread the Halloween Spirit!!!

Every October The Phantom visits our neighborhood.  It is a fun family activity to drive around the neighborhood to see which families don’t have a phantom posted and then to make or assemble treats (last year we included some plastic headstones we found at the dollar store with our treats) and then deliver them.  Since our family is so big we usually divide into two groups, each group delivering to a different family in the neighborhood.  Hub and I let the kids do the tiptoeing up to the door.  They ring the doorbell and then run away as fast as they can.  We’ve made it our tradition to have hot chocolate or some other treat when we return from playing Phantom.

It is fun to see Phantoms start showing up all over the neighborhood, and by Halloween most houses have a Phantom posted.

If the Phantom has never visited your neighborhood you and your family might want to invite him yourself.  Be the first to start the tradition and watch it grow!

Happy October! 

Things have been rather hectic around here lately so I haven’t had much time for blogging.  I have one hour of free time before I have to pick Hoob up from her dance class and so decided to write a few quick updates on past posts.

*On Saturday, the day I posted that my family is my priority, I took Mack birthday shopping at the mall for her 16th birthday.  While looking for one particular shop we passed a dress shop that was going out of business.  I sent Mack in to start trying on dresses and quickly called Hub to bring Huh and Juju so that they could try dresses on as well.  The girls had a blast trying on dresses and we walked out of the store with seven formals costing us a total of $245.00.  Seven formals for $245.00!  This was the same dress store that, one year earlier, Huh and I had bought her Homecoming dress costing $189.00 (she paid half).  They were selling the dresses for $20.00 to $30.00 each.  Roughly, had we paid full price for the dresses, we would have spent  $1,300.00.  Ya gotta love a deal like that!  The girls all understand that we are now done shopping for formals while the three of them are in high school.  They will share the dresses and, with the two dresses that Huh already owns, will be able to wear a different dress to each dance.

*For Hub’s 45th birthday, in addition to the gifts already planned, I had the kids each create a coupon for a service they would perform for him.  The coupons included many offers to do certain undesirable chores, a morning that breakfast will be fixed for him, some organizing tasks to be done, and an offer to take him mountain biking (from Squid).  I also, sort of, encouraged the kids to decorate Hub’s truck and, sort of, provided all of the stuff for them to do so.  When Hub discovered his truck in the morning it was covered with crepe paper, balloons, confetti, and “Over the Hill” signs.  Inside the truck were more balloons and many, many, many packing peanuts.  Poor Hub had a lunch date scheduled with an old high school friend and had to clean the truck up himself since the kids were all at school and I was subbing second grade.

*The Blaxican hasn’t kept his word to not speak to Huh, but he has been much nicer to her and even offered to apologize to me.  The apology hasn’t happened yet and I am keeping close tabs on how he treats her.

*Yawlin received much good-natured ribbing from family members when I told them how he seems to have outgrown hugging or kissing me in front of his friends.  Yawlin finds the whole thing rather funny and even laughed when I told him I blogged about it.  His compromise is to give me a hive five as he passes me when his friends are present.  Sometimes he will even walk behind them and slip me a quick hug and kiss when they aren’t looking.

*I made the zucchini jam that my mom told me about but I couldn’t find apricot Jell-O so I used peach Jell-O instead.  I kept everything else in the recipe the same and it turned out great.  I had the kids all try it on a roll before telling them what it really was.  They were all fooled and really like it.  I also tried making the jam with raspberry Jell-O and frozen raspberries (instead of the pineapple).  I blended the frozen raspberries in the blender before adding them to the mix and the jam turned out delicious.  The kids really like it.  I will be trying the same thing with Strawberry Jell-O and frozen strawberries in a few days.

*Our towel problem still exists.  I had decided to give the kids two towels each for the week and if they left the towels on the floor and ended up having to dry off with a wet towel they were out of luck.  There would be no more towels until after I had laundered them on Saturdays.  Unfortunately before we could see if this new plan would work the towel rack got pulled from the wall (the towel ghost seeking revenge perhaps?) and the kids haven’t had any place to hang their towels in the bathroom.  We have been so busy that we haven’t had time to fix the towel rack.  I think I will opt for individual hooks instead of one long bar.  Each person will be assigned a hook and then I just might be able to see who is hanging up their towel and who is not.  Hopefully with the new hooks and the new plan our towel problem will disappear.  Now…to find the time to hang the hooks…

Well, that’s us for now.  Time to go get my daughter.

Choices.  Priorities.  Focus.  What do I need to be doing today? 

Because of parent/teacher conferences earlier in the week Huh and Mack didn’t have school yesterday.  I chose to spend time with them.  No computer time.

Today is Mack’s 16th birthday.  Huh has been asked to tonight’s Homecoming dance at another school in the valley.  So has Juju.  Shroom has football.  Yawlin needs help cleaning out his guinea pig’s cage.  Hoob keeps following me around trying to chit chat.  Hub’s side business is taking off and he needs my help.

My family needs me.  The computer doesn’t.  

Choices.  Priorities.  Focus.

Hopefully I will be able to post again on Monday.

I’m doing what I need to do.  I’m doing what I want to do…

…spending time with my family.

There has been much to keep me busy lately, which has cut into my blogging time.  I won’t have much time for blogging today either, but I heard an idea from a neighbor a little while ago that I thought I would share quickly before I get started on the day. 

My neighbor is the mother of three very active little boys all under the age of six.  Like all moms, she can feel very worn out at the end of the day and has her days of frustration and boredom.  Apparently she has had a few days in which her thoughts about being a mom to her three boys were quite negative, and then she felt guilty for even having such thoughts, but didn’t know how to overcome the overwhelming feelings she was having. 

One day she had an idea pop into her head and decided to try it.  She got a spiral notebook and drew a big heart on the front of it.  She found a place on the kitchen counter to store the journal that is out of the way but easy to reach.  Whenever one of her boys says anything cute or funny or profound she immediately grabs the notebook and writes it down.  She records the cute things the boys do together, some of the things she and the boys accomplish during the day, and the times the boys show their love for her.  She even writes down inspiration about how to raise her boys as the ideas come.  She makes sure to record the date of each entry.

My neighbor reports that now, whenever she starts to have negative thoughts about being a mother to her three little ones, she goes to the notebook and starts to read.  It reminds her of why she has chosen to be a mom and how precious her boys are to her.  She has been able to see the individuality of each boy and more fully appreciate each boy’s quirks and personality.  She reports that the feelings of negativity have lessened and that she is more positive as she goes about her day.  She purposely chose to draw a heart on the front to symbolize her love for her boys and the notebook has helped in reminding her of that love.

I journal for my kids in a slightly different manner, but thought my neighbor’s idea was a good one.  Having the notebook in the kitchen where the family congregates most of the time has made it easy for my neighbor to record happenings quickly, as they happen.  So many times I have thought to myself, I need to write that in so and so’s journal, only to forget about it because I got too busy to write it down.   

My neighbor’s notebook has morphed into a sort of gratitude journal and she says that she now feels more gratitude about the blessings of being a mother.  It has worked so well for her that she now shares her idea with others. 

I agree with her.  It is an idea worth sharing.