Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A great Daniel-ism

As we ate some ice cream with the new ice cream spoons Daniel gave me for Christmas (you know, the long, skinny teaspoons), he said, "The best gifts are the kind that you get to benefit from too. Hey, I should be a philosopher!"

Something about that whole train of thought just made me laugh!

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Our New Hygiene Tool"

There are so many things that I used to just keep to myself rather than embarrassing myself, but somehow it's a little bit fun to show my real family on my blog. Maybe it's because I appreciate it when others let their guard down, and I realize we're all a little off. So, as you read this stuff, I hope you are enjoying it, empathizing with me, or at least smiling rather than just thinking we're totally weird!

So, recently, Dale bought a small black light flashlight. The intention was to use it to find the places where our cat had peed on the carpet. In case you didn't know, a black light will make urine glow. It's a little disturbing to see on your carpet, but at least it makes it easy to find so you can clean it up.

Well, you can imagine that our family couldn't stop there. Black lights are also used to find scorpions in the desert because they glow in the dark. We don't have any scorpions here in the below-freezing high desert, so we had to think a little harder. How 'bout our toilets? Maybe we could see how well the kids clean them. Arghh!!!! I've now threatened to use the light as a check up tool on chore day.

But wait, there's more! Daniel wrote on his hand with an invisible marker which caused us to use the light to read it. While it was out, we discovered that ear wax glows and that a black light makes your teeth look the same color as those fake vampire teeth you get at Halloween. However, if you have crowns, those glow a light purple!! Did you know that???

While we were in the bathroom looking at my crowns, Daniel remarked that the black light must be "our family's new hygiene tool." It made me laugh. We are, indeed, a nerd family!
(And whether or not you're willing to admit it, I bet there are a few readers out there who now want their own black light. Give me a secret phone call or email me, and I'll give you all the info on where to buy the great little flashlight for hours of family fun -- and hygiene!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Isn't he a doll???

Perhaps you remember a previous post I did about the very creepy doll that has been making the rounds among us and our friends for the past couple of years. In case you don't, let me give a brief overview.
When Daniel turned 13 on Friday the 13th, his friend gave him a doll that he'd gotten from the thrift store. It was a little creepy on its own, but then he embellished it with a little Friday the 13th makeup. Little did he know until after Daniel had opened it that it also could be plugged in causing the arms to move back and forth (more creepy) and that it played Silent Night. For the past year and a half, that doll has rotated among the three houses of Daniel and his friends. She's made an appearance on doorsteps for birthdays, holidays, etc. Often she brings treats in her moving arms, and she has begun to change clothes on different occasions. Most recently, she donned a cheerleader outfit to wish Ryan a good football game. Nothing will ever quite replace her original costume and makeup, however.

So, we come to this Christmas. We wanted to deliver some treats to our friends, and it seemed only fitting that we should have the doll do the delivering. Ah, but we do not currently have the doll, so what could we do????? Being the resourceful people we are, we decided we could make our own doll. And so it was decided that Daniel would be the doll.

How I wish a blog could capture the moment of joy when the door opened at the first house and they saw Daniel on the porch, complete with a cord coming out of the skirt while the rest of the family hummed Silent Night in the background.

Now, I know that some of you are saying we really need to get a life, but at least one of these families was in great need of a moment of nonsense and out loud laughter. I'm happy we could give it to them. And I'm equally happy that my son did not know how to put mascara on himself when it came time to add that feature. Isn't it great that Christmas can bring out such joys???

But just so you know that I haven't lost it completely, even I think it's a little creepy that I had the stuff that I could make a costume just like the doll's!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Week of Feeling

So, if last week was a week of learning, then it was followed by a big week of feeling. I could write a book about any one of the things I will highlight here, but I'll just mention a few thoughts -- at lease you'll all know I do think sometimes!

1. Some of you may recall an entry from a couple of years ago about my friend who has an inoperable brain tumor. He's endured a lot for the last 2 1/2 years. A few weeks ago, they discovered yet another tumor in his brain stem. It looks like this one, which is also inoperable, will take his life before long. I'm heartbroken. I want so badly to fix something that I have no power to fix. I feel sad, I feel confused about why these kinds of things happen, I feel unsure of what to do to help. At the same time, I feel so hopeful. I'm glad I know there is a God who loves this family. I may not understand the present state of affairs, but I know God loves them. I have to trust that it must be like my kids sometimes don't understand me and my intentions or the big picture, but I unquestionably love them. I've seen such kindnesses shown to this family. I've felt the love so many people have for all of them. I've been deeply touched by people's sincerity. I'm glad I associate with such great people.

2. For local readers, you may have heard the news stories of a retired BYU professor who was killed this week in a terrible auto-pedestrian accident. He was considered an expert on the LDS church's history in Africa. He had lived there for a long time, and visited there frequently. Well, one of his daughters is my neighbor. He's frequently been in our cul-de-sac and at our church meetings - last Sunday included. What a tragic accident this was. I tried going online to read a little more about it from the online news sources. While the stories themselves were simple factual descriptions of what happened, the comment boards were full. Some people simply offered their condolences, but others took the opportunity to say crass things about him and his religion. I had to stop reading. It makes me feel sad that people would take advantage of their anonymity to criticize a man they had not met and a religion they do not agree with. In contrast, I have watched the grace and dignity with which the family has handled the situation. His wife was with him in the crosswalk, along with another friend. All three were hit. His wife's main concern, after his passing, was for the young man who was driving. She and her children went to visit him to offer their forgiveness. I feel motivated to be a lot more like her. I feel like I want to cherish my knowledge of a Savior who loves us and comforts us. I want to use that knowledge to help me be kind.

3. I have felt the Christmas Spirit in a wonderful way. Last night we did a bunch of Christmas-ing. Before dinner, we participated in an AF tradition. We did the annual drive-through visit with Santa. For many years a lifelong resident of the city hosted a Santa visit at her home. After she died several years ago, I understand she left money and some instructions in her will to continue the tradition. Of course, her home was sold, so the event was moved, but it's been in the same place for a while. We drive down the street near our house where we first pass a live nativity scene in a front yard with Christmas music playing over loud speakers. Then we turn into a reception center parking lot where we get our turn to roll down the window and talk to Santa. I liked this particular Santa who reminded my kids to be nice to each other and to do what we ask. Cheyenne confidently asked for a stuffed camel, a Nintendo DS, and two horse movies - after which she told him the movies we already have. She was prepared. I love the sense of community. I love the kindness shown in the woman's wishes before her death. I love the man in the Santa suit who stands outside in the cold to talk to kids through a window!

4. I was moved by the Christmas Spirit. After dinner last night we decided to go see the live nativity in Alpine. We've heard of it before, but this was a first for us. I recommend it. It runs for one more day (through Monday, Dec. 7). You can find a link with information here. We rode a shuttle from a local church, then took a walk through a field to a couple of big barns. Along the way, we ran into Roman soldiers on horseback inquiring about our taxes. In the first barn we strolled through a town marketplace. Instead of just a stuffed camel for Cheyenne, we got to pet real camels. The two-humped varieties had fur that was inches thick. Daniel said you had to be careful not to fall in. We saw sheep, goats, carpenters, weavers, bread bakers, etc. We moved to another barn where we saw a portrayal of the holy family. Even the sweet baby was a live actor. It was a tender moment to watch Cheyenne stare in awe at that baby while a group was singing Silent Night in the loft. It was well done all around, and the spirit of the true meaning of Christmas hung strongly in the air.

As we were leaving, Daniel offered his observations. "It seems like at Halloween there are some pretty elaborate haunted houses. People pay a lot to attend these events. Then Thanksgiving kind of gets skipped and then there are tons of catalogs. It's all been boiled down to blood, gore, and catalogs. I wonder why there aren't more things like this that really show what Christmas is about."

I felt the spirit of love as I listened to my 14 year old son get it. Again I felt a sense of community and gratitude for those who were providing such an awesome experience in 20 degree weather!

5. I felt a whole lot of other things, but this post is already way too long and full of text. I'll have to save a few feelings for another day. Right now I feel gratitude for great friends who read my ramblings and share my journey in experiencing a world of feelings. Thanks!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Week of Learning

For someone like me who loves to learn new things, this past week was a treasure trove! It seemed that every day there was some new bit of information making itself available to me. Since I like to think my blog can be a way to share my newfound knowledge, I'm going to share some of the things I learned along with the source from which I gained the information.

1. Potato chips burn well, but still not as well as tortilla chips. However, the funnest flammable snack food we've found so far is Bugles (the chips, not the instruments). If you light the pointed end, they burn, and the smoke comes out in little trails from the big open end. We learned these things by further experimentation in a couple of kitchens this week. We're either fun parents or seriously in need of new hobbies.

2. The Catholic church uses a Bible that includes more books in the Old Testament than the Bible used by other Christian denominations. I found this fact while studying some Biblical references online. I can't believe I reached my 40's without knowing that. It was interesting to read about the books and the variety of Bibles that are considered as official for use by the Vatican and also for use by members.

3. The rule for when to use a hard 'g' vs. a soft 'g' (sounds like a 'j') is that it is a soft sound when g is followed by an e or an i. I learned this from the Electric Company while Cheyenne watched it in the hotel in Vernal. I've always just read the words without realizing that there was a rule telling me which way to pronounce it. You must realize, of course, that there are exceptions like girl, give, etc. But it also explains why there is a 'u' in words like 'guess' so the word has a hard g sound even though there is an 'e' after it. That was way too much information, wasn't it?

4. I learned how to make an olive tree! Not one that grows olives, mind you, just a decorative tree to serve olives at a nice dinner. My niece really added to the beauty of our holiday dinner last week by laboriously making a beautiful fruit bouquet. She also made a fancy vegetable tray, and she taught me to make an olive tree. It was somewhat ironic in that olives are one of approximately three foods I just don't eat. Nonetheless, it was fun to start from scratch and make it look pretty. We used a cone made of floral foam, covered it with kale and lettuce, then placed decorative clumps of olives on it for the masses to take off and eat. Once again, my creativity only seems to come out when food is involved. What does that mean?

5. I like nice people. It's been sad for me to watch lots of different situations this last week in which people have been way less than nice. In extreme situations, people have taken other people's lives. In less extreme situations, sports have gotten out of hand, hateful comments have been lobbed at others who have different beliefs or views, and even family members have said mean and hurtful things to each other. I'm sure I make my share of mistakes on a regular basis, but I at least try to be nice. I've known for a long time that I like it when people are nice, but I re-learned that this week.

6. Cryotherapy is a crazy way to treat muscular ailments! While watching my guilty pleasure of The Amazing Race, I was introduced to cryotherapy as the contestants had to participate in a session in Prague, Czech Republic. The concept is that extremely cold temperatures are used to treat and heal athletes as well as others with different kinds of arthritis and other ailments. People dressed in not much more than underwear, hats, gloves, socks, and masks for their noses, go in a small room for 1-3 minutes with temperatures dropping as low as 180 degrees below zero on the Celsius scale!! For those who don't want to find a calculator, that is about -290 degrees Fahrenheit!!! I didn't believe it was even possible till I read some more about it online. And if it's on network TV and online, how can you argue? Don't expect me to be signing up any time too soon. If you want to see for yourself, go here.

7. I heard a great story that made me think. A mother was trying to get her son to take a bath, something he fought every day. Finally, he said, "Why do I have to take a bath when you never have to?" The mother realized that she always showered early in the morning before he got up. he'd never seen her bathe so he assumed she didn't do it. The point being made was that sometimes our kids don't know what is important to us because they may not see us read out scriptures while they are at school or write a check to a charity when we're paying bills or any number of other things we do out of their sight. It's made me really think about the things I want my kids to know about me and the things I find important.

Truth is, I learned a lot more than that this week, but I've shared the most exciting things. Isn't it great that there is so much to be learned? It's one more reason that I want to get up tomorrow. Who knows what juicy tidbit awaits me! I hope you all learn something new today as well. If you want to share a little tidbit in my comments, I also learned last week that you can subscribe to comments and I'll be emailed when you leave one. Isn't that just one more cool thing? I can't wait to learn from you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Helpful Camping/Survival Tip

How many of you knew that chips are flammable? It makes sense that an organic item with tons of oil would be flammable, but I hadn't really pictured a torch. Over dinner we sample torches made of Mission tortilla chips and Sun Chips. They both burned just like a candle. A crunchy Cheeto burned just like a little torch. We suppose a potato chip would be awesome, but we didn't have any of those to try.

So, perhaps we should all store a few more tortilla chips in case we ever need them for kindling.

And when the excitement of the chips wore off, we discovered that you can take a piece of orange peel, squeeze it toward a flame, and little bursts of flames shoot out. I've since read that the main ingredient in the peel, limonene, is highly flammable. Therefore, you can dry the peels, and save them to use as -- you guessed it -- kindling!

This is what I have learned as the mother of a pyromaniac son. It just seemed right that I would share the information.

My new favorite art sculpture

This is my new favorite piece of art. I'm not sure she even has a name. I guess that's how art goes - it's left up to your own interpretation. My interpretation is just that I love it! I love her sense of style. I love her smile. And I love her hair! In my dreams I wish I could be bold enough to wear purple hair. You go, girl!
Cheyenne worked hard in a before-school art class to make this treasure, and it will remain a treasure to me for years to come.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Won the Lottery!!!

Okay, so it was the Wicked Lottery, but I won! Actually, we won. My good friend Heather Willoughby recently treated me to a great weekend getaway in San Francisco. She was going to be in the US (she lives in Korea) for a few days, so she invited me to join her to party for a couple of days in San Fran. We had a most perfect day with perfect weather, good food, and tickets to Wicked.

Neither of us had seen it, so we decided to enter the lottery. Fortunately, there were only about 25-30 people who tried that night, so our odds were good. I took this picture outside the theater before the drawing so I could blog that I either saw the Wicked theater or that I saw Wicked. We spent $25 a piece for tickets and ended up with great seats. It was a great show.

So, with the tickets, we got buttons that said "I won the Wicked lottery!" I put mine on to take the picture below, but then I forgot it was on. I managed to parade around some questionable areas of town for an hour or so while wearing my groovy button! It's a wonder we weren't mugged multiple times!
And as an extra bonus prize, we walked into the theater and ran into our good friends Buff and Dean from Salt Lake. We had no idea they were planning to be in the city or at the play. What are the chances we'd meet up in a city that size?? The lottery win for us in that scenario is that Buff had a rental car, and Dean was in meetings all day the next day. She ended up driving us all around town as the rain came pouring down. Another great prize! Among the sites we enjoyed was the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park. Even in the pouring rain it was as beautiful and peaceful as I remember it from years ago. Thanks to all those who care for and groom such an awesome place.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my little break from reality. Heather, thanks for a great time! Buff, thanks for the ride! San Francisco, thanks for the great weather and yummy cupcake treats! And Glinda and Elphaba, thanks for an entertaining, thought-provoking romp!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween dress up

One of the things I love about Halloween is how it brings out people's interests and personalities. This year made some statements, but I'll leave it to the reader to determine what those statements were! It will come as no surprise that Cheyenne really wanted to be a dog. We went with the beagle breed 'cause those are cute and the costume required fewer spots to be sewn on than a dalmation might have! She chose her own name for her tag (Cheydo - rhymes with Fido) and she made Dale lead her on a leash when she went trick or treating. She was a happy dog.

Daniel chose to be Frodo the hobbit from The Lord of the Rings. As you may know, a main characteristic of hobbits is large, very hairy feet. He naturally had the large feet - we just helped with the hairy! It was worth doing 'cause every time I looked at him, I laughed. I felt a little badly dropping him off at school with flip flops on while it was snowing outside, but he didn't care.

(Oh, and I simply must thank McDonalds for creating a Happy Meal toy of the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz. It had the perfect hair that when yanked out could be glued to a teenager's feet!)

Dale and I didn't choose our own outfits, but they were chosen for us. My sweet niece Heather and her husband took on a large project in planning a full blown Hogwarts party for their own kids and the rest of the kids in the neighborhood! We were recruited to be Professor Trelawney (the Divinations teacher) and Professor Snape (the Potions teacher). They tell me I was a natural choice for Professor Trelawney. I think it's simply because I didn't have to buy a wig. I already had the hair. In case you're wondering, Dale needed a wig!

I'm including pics of us in our costumes along with a few others to give you a feel for the whole event. It included Diagon Alley, a ride in the Hogwarts Express (a ride from the backyard to the driveway in the back of a pickup), Sorting (a two way radio under a stool can fool a lot of the children a lot of the time!), Care of Magical Creatures (chasing chickens outside), etc., etc. It was great fun!
Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall (aka Heather and Dave)
Mad Eye Moody and Professor Dumbledore (Heather's neighbor and Dave)

Mr. Ollivander (the wand salesman) and a random Hogwarts student (My sister Cathy and her husband Clark)
Professor Sprout (aka my sister Colleen)

And in the midst of our preparations, I think we found the perfect costume for next year as well. I think Dale will be Cher and I will be Sonny!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wow! That alien planet was powerful, but food brought me back!

I have no excuse for not blogging, but I'm trying to come back. You all know me well enough to know that creative food would be one thing that could bring me back from the edge. October always gives me a chance to do creative food with Cheyenne's birthday and Halloween within a week and a half of each other. So, let me share.

"This is the night, such a beautiful night, a lovely bella notte!" In case your memory is failing you right now, that's the song that was played as Lady and the Tramp ate spaghetti at Tony's in the alleyway. Cheyenne really wanted to have a Lady and the Tramp birthday party where she could "eat spaghetti with my mouth" like the dogs did. So, we did! I had 9 cute little girls around a table with their faces in their plates eating spaghetti with meatballs and sauce, and breadsticks. They did really well. After a few games related to the Siamese cats and the rat, they came back to the "restaurant" for spaghetti and meatballs cake. It was a lovely bella notte! And my baby is now 10! Wow.

(In case you are wondering what you're looking at, that picture really is all cake and frosting. Makes you want to twirl some around a fork, though, doesn't it?)

Her birthday is always followed by the Halloween rush. That always means a night of fun food. This year we had a witch theme. We had the witches, the corns from their feet (appearing as candy corn pizza), the witch's cat, and some witch's brew. Thanks to Family Fun for the good ideas. I don't have pictures, but another day we enjoyed french fries in the shape of skeleton and a foamy root beer float in a skeleton cup which makes a great "brain freeze!"

Now we'll just have to see what creative foods make an appearance in November! Stay tuned!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Perhaps I was abducted by aliens....

Somehow I woke up today and realized I'm already at the end of August. How in the world did that happen? Maybe it didn't happen in this world???? I've had a great summer, but I do feel a little like I was transported to another planet for much of it. I have been so incredibly busy that I have hardly had time to breathe, let alone to share my breathing with everyone else on Facebook or on my blog. Right now, I'm just grateful that I am still breathing!

So, what was taking all my time, you ask. I'll list a few words and phrases here, then I'll begin a quest to actually blog about a lot of it. We certainly took enough pictures this summer to document it, so I ought to share at least a few. (Imagine me taking a deep breath) Female family reunion, Alaska (hiking, biking, eating, fishing, hiking, biking, eating, playing), family barbecue, demolition derby, reading, visiting with long time friends (that's different than old friends), baking, hosting, watching plays, watching movies, playing games with the kids, swimming, gardening, cake decorating, teaching, cleaning, shopping, not blogging, being.

And so that paragraph is my guide and my trigger to remind me what I need to blog about. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A little girl and her dad

A few weeks ago, Cheyenne excitedly demonstrated her "secret" handshake with her dad. It's a fairly complex series of hand gestures and fist bumps that makes her smile every time they do it. Last night, they did the secret handshake punctuated by a burp at the end. She was giddy. It really never would have occurred to me to bond with her over a burp.

The handshake fest was followed by the tasting of lime juice and the subsequent sour faces.

And who can forget the delightful display of good nature when Dale recently allowed Cheyenne to paint his toenails yellow, including black lines in the big toes to make them look like bees? He kept it on for a whole week, and even wore sandals a couple of times in public.

I love what he does for her and with her 'cause I'd say he boldly goes where I'm not sure I'd go. Thanks, Dad!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I love Daniel quotes

July 7, 2009
Daniel (age 14): "You know what I'm not looking forward to about driving a car? When I get to be old enough, I'll have to drive something someone else designed! I'm going to design and make my own car that'll be just what I imagined."

I felt I should record this for posterity to read someday when they are driving a Lego hovercraft powered by fireworks that comes equipped with an stove and a toaster for making breakfast on demand.

The blender in my brain

Cheryl says to Dale, "It's 6:15 a.m., I want to sleep more, but I have a kink in my back, a pounding in my head, and a Randy Travis song stuck in my brain." That's how today started.

The kink and the pounding are a direct result of my crazy busy week, and the Randy Travis song was playing at a restaurant where we took the kids to breakfast the other day. That explains those things going on in my head, but there were lots of others as well. Logic tells me that maybe I can remove a little of the stuff swirling around in there if I write about it.

Life is just busy. My dear friend Heather who currently lives in Korea is in town visiting for a little while. It's been so fun to have her around. I've known her for almost 23 years now, and we still haven't run out of things to say! I enjoy great conversations and good laughs. We took her along with us to Kamas for a little barbecue time and the famous Oakley, UT, July 4th parade. It was a slice of Americana for her visit. There's something pretty great about sitting along a parade route with tons of people dressed in red, white, and blue while we watched:
- girls in sparkling jeans and sequined blouses riding horses (I gotta get Cheyenne one of those shirts)
- local businessmen throwing candy and hocking their wares
- cheerleaders riding on the top of the fire engine
- the South Summit High marching band (I especially liked the kid in the wheelchair being pushed along the route by his friend. I liked that they were dressed in denim shorts and matching t-shirts - not black wool dress uniforms as is demanded by some bands. I loved that they weren't perfect - they were a bunch of teenagers doing their best and having fun.)
- the WWII vet riding on the front of the float apparently made by his family to look like a plane to symbolize the one he flew in the war.
- the American flag go by while everyone along the route stood and put their hands on their hearts. I loved that the most.

Prior to the barbecue on the 3rd, though, we enjoyed a lot of great laughs at my sister's pool. Cathy, thanks for sharing your pool even though you weren't there. My favorite was the contest held between Dale and our friend John to see who could put their backside into a small tube and stay seated for the longest time. Oh, but there was also the contest to make the biggest splash. The model pose where Dale laid sideways while leaning his head onto his hand seemed to cause the greatest surface area connection and the greatest splash. Just so you know for your next splash contest.

The day after the fourth brought a great gathering of Dale's family for the blessing of his niece Meagan's baby. It was a beautiful summer day to sit outside under the shade of tree for lunch. After a long, rainy spring, I'm loving the summer days we've recently enjoyed. And I love catching up with all the nieces and nephews in the Hadlock gang.

This week's priority is the weekend's upcoming First Annual Non-Funeral, Non-Wedding, Female Family Reunion. Ever since my grandma died, there hasn't been a matriarch to pull the gang together so we did it ourselves! All the women on my dad's side of the family will be gathering for a great visit. I'll have aunts, mothers, cousins, and sisters there to share a couple of days with. I can't wait to write about it later, but right now the swirling thoughts are of gratitude to Dale (for help with pictures and innumerable preparations along with a willingness to let me go), gratitude for family that we can pull together, anticipation of seeing everyone, exhaustion from making preparations in the midst of making preparations for a bunch of other activities at the same time, excitement about watching family members interact in this beautiful place where we live, etc. etc. I'm sure I'll write much more about it when it's over.

Before that happens, though, we have today's schedule that includes cub scouts, horseback riding lessons, and helping a friend from Colorado make a wedding cake for her nephew who lives here.

I don't mean to simply write a record of the events of my life. I guess I didn't really do that either 'cause I left out a lot. However, I want to try in a couple of sentences or less to capture the essence of what is churning and blending in my brain. Don't attempt to interpret or understand, but if you can relate in some small way, at least you'll know you're not alone.

Gratitude (for family, friends, country, help, beauty), anticipation, anxiety, nervousness, frustration, peace, pressure, desire to do better, wishes for better outcomes, confusion, clarity, exhaustion, excitement, hunger, satisfaction, etc, etc, etc. I guess that's what it's all about. Stay tuned for my next plethora of emotion!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another moment to record

Cheyenne: I hate living here! I want to move in with another family! I don't like you guys any more. I'm going to find somewhere else to live!

Mom: We love you very much. We would never want you to leave.

Cheyenne: I'm going to leave. I want to find someplace else. (Imagine this conversation going on for several minutes.)

Cheyenne: (A moment of silence.) But if I go, I won't be able to have Dad's sourdough pancakes. I'm staying here!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mom and Daughter Conversation

Cheyenne: Let's go to that place and get eel! That's what I want for dinner -- eel!
(At the restaurant)
Mom: So, if I were going to take you out to dinner and I let you choose pizza or sushi, what would you choose?
Cheyenne (while shoving a large bite of raw salmon in her mouth): SUSHI!
Cheyenne: I would order this same thing over and over again. It would be like a unicycle!
(Puzzled look on Mom's face)
Cheyenne (while drawing a circle with her hand): You know -- like a caterpillar goes to a cocoon then a butterfly!
Mom: Oh, that would be a life cycle.
Cheyenne: Uh huh.

The whole conversation made me smile, and it clearly needed to be recorded. Love that girl!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mid-life Finances

This week has been an interesting week in my shopping life as I wrestled with lots of decisions about updating Daniel's saxophone. You all know Dale and I are hyperanalytical when we are alone which makes us uberanalytical together! (Daniel loves to use "uber.") It's hard to pick something nice enough while trying to second guess what the next 4-8 years will bring for Daniel. I guess investing in an instrument that plays beautiful music can't be all bad, right? We can all benefit from that.

So, we did buy a new saxophone (and I will say it is beautiful in its looks and its sound). We did return his old rental one. I do thank all of you whom I surveyed to help me make these decisions.

These kinds of decisions and stressful weeks always bring out lots of deeply-held and deeply-questioned views of money. It's an interesting animal, isn't it? So needed, so wanted, so controlling, so confusing. To date, I've spent a lot of time studying money and thinking of its role in my life. Some days I feel more comfortable than others, but I'm sure I know more about myself and about money than I did 10 years ago, or 5 years ago, or last year.

I know I have young nieces and nephews who read my blog. If you ever want a few opinions about what I've learned about things like saxophone rentals or life insurance or retirement plans, I'd love to chat about it. I know it's all personal, but I sometimes wish I'd have had someone to give me a few more pointers when they weren't trying to sell me something. I'm always good for a discussion of these things, and I won't even be offended if you don't like my advice! At least it will have been free advice!

Bottom line -- we've been extraordinarily blessed, we currently have a job, we've been fortunate to land in a pretty good position at this mid-life point. I'm grateful for all the help and advice that got me here, but I'm still learning every day. It still makes my head hurt, so I hope they don't use money in Heaven. It'll be Heaven for me if my family is there, fresh peaches are free and always available, and we don't have to file taxes with itemized deductions!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Words to Live By

I officially made my goal of blogging every day this past week. It's been fun! Thanks for the support you guys have given me in reading my blogs and making me feel so famous. I think I'll continue to blog a lot just because I know I can.

As for a Facebook update, I'm getting by with a little help from my friends! I've had some tutoring and I have some more scheduled, so join me there as you can.

Finally, for today's blog, I want to share a few quotes I really like. I record them when I see them, but they will be more fun if I share them. I'll just share a couple now and save some others for another day. Enjoy these little snippets of wisdom!

“God left [the] world unfinished. . . . He left the problems unsolved and the pictures unpainted and the music unsung that man might know the joys and glories of creation.” - Attributed to Alan Stockdale (This one always reminds me of Daniel and the things he gets to do in order to experience this joy.)

(And now another one that reminds me of Daniel. I need to find a good way to display this one in his room!) I meander to the beat of my own drummer!

(Here's a great quote taken from the movie Hairspray. This was spoken by Maybelle and it reminds me what it's like some days just to go out in the world.) Brace yourself for a whole lotta ugly coming at you from a never-ending parade of stupid.

(I'll make this one my last one for tonight. It just gives me hope.) I hope this is the dark part of the night, which is generally just before day. – General Nathanael Greene during American campaign in 1776

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Day to Boldly Go...

This afternoon I took off with my friend Lisa to see the Star Trek movie. Our husbands took our boys within the first couple days of it opening. However, I didn't feel inclined to go then, nor did I fit in the crowd of men all with computers under their arms. So, we waited until we could just stroll in a few minutes before it started. There were things I really enjoyed, but it confirms that I'm not so into violence and major special effects. And to this day I can't see an earwig without thinking of "The Wrath of Kahn." There's no telling what this one is gonna do to me after that scene with Captain Pike! My memory is that I could still enjoy one of the classic episodes from the 60's without something exploding every second, but maybe I'd reconsider if I actually watched an episode from the 60's. Hmmmm.

And speaking of boldly going where I have not yet been ---- I finally did it! I joined the 21st century and a ton of friends on Facebook. Now I'm completely overwhelmed because I have no idea what I'm doing! My cute nephew Sam was here today and he volunteered to help me open an account. He was here long enough to get the account opened, but now I'm not sure what to do next. For anyone reading this, be forewarned that I'll be calling a lot of you this week to get some pointers. Notice I said I'd be "calling" because I wouldn't have a clue how to communicate with any of you online. So, please show some compassion on me as a neophyte.

I am pleased that I didn't sign up and find that no one wanted me as a friend. That would have made me overwhelmed and embarrassed all at the same time. So, I'll take a stab at Facebook, hope there are no earwigs or other disgusting creatures associated with it, and wish that I can live long and prosper (along with all my Friends, that is).

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Doll

The time has come to share the story of the doll. Last year my son had the luck to turn 13 on Friday the 13th. He was excited, so we had a Friday the 13th party. How could we resist? His friend thought it would be funny to buy a Barbie doll at the thrift store that he could decorate with fangs or something. Ah, but the the Barbie was not to be because instead, he found this!

It's tough to really grasp how creepy this doll is simply by seeing a picture of it. Not only is it creepy by nature, but it has a cord attached. When we plugged it in, we discovered that her hands move back and forth in an accordion fashion. Ick! As if that weren't enough, we discovered a few days later that she also plays "Silent Night." There are no words, just music while the hands move back and forth. The creep factor had now grown exponentially. Along with the creep factor came the endless possibilities that lay ahead.

The past 12 months have seen ever-increasingly creative appearances by the doll at one of three homes - the friend who originally bought it (Friend #1), ours, and their third friend (Friend #2). Let me offer a summary of her travels:

June - Given to Daniel for his birthday
July - Put in Friend #1's closet to surprise him
Later in July - Back on our doorstep with a note saying she missed us
Rest period
Christmas Eve - Placed on Friend #1's doorstep with candy in hand and music playing (prior to this point, they didn't know it played Silent Night!)
Valentine's Day - Placed on Friend #2's doorstep with hearts and candy
St. Patrick's Day - Greeted us on our doorstep with a bright green sparkly hat
April - Friend #2 and her family went on a cruise to Mexico. Thanks to PhotoShop, the doll was able to tour the very ship they sailed on! She was even able to parasail! Pictures of her antics kept showing up during the cruise. Sadly, the cruise was rerouted from Mexico to San Francisco due to swine flu concerns. When they arrived home, the doll was waiting on their counter with sunglasses, a mask over her nose and mouth, and lots of paper pigs attached to her dress.
May - She reappears at Friend #1's house for his birthday.
May - During a birthday BBQ for Friend #2, the doll was lowered over the fence holding a mylar balloon and a card with a song recorded on it - Not just any song, but the one with which she has been tortured by her brothers. She says she hates it, but someday it's gonna make a great memory.
June 12 - Tonight the doll returned in her best form yet. It was a prebirthday surprise and a scout camp sendoff. Who would've thought she could sport a makeshift swimsuit, a swim cap (my personal favorite), and an inflatable seahorse? She was accompanied by this great poem:

The creepy doll is here to say,
she hopes you have a great Birthday!
This time around, she comes equipped,
with treats and stuff for your big trip!
Camp Cherry Valley is calling you,
she wishes she could come along too.
She's got her swimsuit and her fishing pole.
Also -- a pail and shovel for digging holes,
But best to leave her home, I think,
or the other scouts might really freak!

This one's gonna be tough to top!!

So, as I review the last several days' posts, I've realized that I've revealed a shameful amount of info about myself. I must come across as being really out there! The truth is that we just try to have fun.

The day the neighbors were asked to help lower the doll over the fence, we kind of exposed our oddness to the neighborhood. Then she put a picture of it on her blog. Wow, a bunch more people know. So, it is in our defense that I share the story of the doll's life. Maybe you'll just laugh and not think about it again. Maybe it'll give you an idea for a birthday gift. Or maybe you'll report us for something. No matter what, I'm grateful for good friends who will have fun with us, and I look forward to many years of fun with the doll!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Few Things I Have Learned Lately

Life and its inherent experiences never stop teaching us, but some weeks seem more full of new teachings than others. Actually, my summary here probably includes a couple of weeks, but that's because some of the things I learned this week didn't make for nearly as interesting of a blog!

#1 - One firecracker inserted into a small 4" high chocolate bunny (purchased from an Easter clearance sale specifically for this purpose) will blast it into tiny pieces that are shot approximately 20+ feet (confirmed by chocolate shrapnel hitting Grandma who was located a measured 20 feet away). I also learned that chocolate flying at high speed hurts at close range. Oh, and for the real nerds out there, if you slow the video down to a frame by frame view, you can learn that that fuse burned for 1.5 seconds, then it took 1/15 of a second for the explosion and the complete obliteration of the bunny. The moral is: Don't let your kids play with firecrackers!

#2 - Raspberries can mold overnight. That's right, lots of pricey, beautiful raspberries waiting for time the next day to make jam, can mold overnight. Check out the internet, there are lots of other stories out there to back me up on this one!

#3 - Mold is pretty fascinating when viewed through a microscope. And when you get to the cell view, they move around just like water.

#4 - If you find a dead moth on your front porch before your cat does, it's fun to look at it. For reference, the sticks are chopsticks. The moth had at least a 4 or 4.5 inch wingspan -- and it was fuzzy.

#5 - Microscopes are cool!

#6 - To date, there have been about 4 billion Lego minifigures (people) produced. Before long, there will be enough for every man, woman, and child on the earth. Hmmm. Some of those people are gonna be ticked that theirs are in Daniel's room!

#7 -The new recipe we tried for bagels was great!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I am a dotted white line

So, I have recently reached the conclusion that in many areas of my life I am a dotted white line. That is, I am a pretty straight, middle of the road kind of gal with a certain consistency, but still lots of gaps. Let me explain some of my reasoning behind this declaration. I don't see myself as very extreme on most things, I just like the middle of the road. I want to try all kinds of things in this life, but I don't have to be the best, and I don't have to master them. Last summer when I went paragliding, I just wanted to try it, and I'd do it again, but I don't need to take it up as a major hobby for which I must be certified. There are lots of things that sound fun to try just for a fun experience. I'll keep working on those without focusing too heavily on any one thing.

I want to exercise and be in shape for the sake of being in shape, but I don't have to be big and muscle-bound, nor to I have to be an extreme competitor. This was brought home a little yesterday when I met Cathy and we took our kids to climb Y mountain in Provo. For those not familiar with it, the giant Y is on the side of a mountain overlooking BYU. According to what I read, it is almost 400 feet tall by 200 feet wide. The trail to get there is 1.2 miles long and rises 980 vertical feet. It's a thigh workout for sure. I was just thankful to be doing it with a healthy body and a smile on my face. We were passed, however, by a man who stops at every switchback (there are lots) and does push ups all the way up for a total of 250 push ups on the way up! He does it 5 days a week. I'd say, he's definitely a bright yellow solid line on the side of the road in the exercise realm! Then there was the lady who lapped us a couple of times as she hiked up and down 3 times in a row. We just enjoyed the hike and the view!

Ah, but I digress. Back to my road markings. I'm a straight arrow, rule-keeping type. I pretty much do my best to do what is asked in the way it was asked. I'm not suggesting I'm perfect, but I'm saying my intent is to follow the rules.

And I'm a very bland white color in many ways. My hair, my clothes, my house, etc. are all pretty nondescript. I don't really stand out in a crowd, but I try to be bright in my own right and little reflective of light that I find in others.

Lastly, I guess I'm a dotted white line because that would imply that I'm going the same direction as most of those around me. I don't usually go against the flow.

As I read this now, it almost sounds like it's a downer to be a dotted white line, but I quite like my place in the middle. I get to experience lots of things, I get to go on indefinitely, and I like to think I serve a rather useful purpose in the midst of all those around me.

I know this is a somewhat indulgent post as I analyze myself, but I'd love to hear how the rest of you would characterize yourselves. I think it might be quite insightful!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Horse Show 2009

The annual Horse Show at the place Cheyenne rides was held at the end of May. This was Cheyenne's best year ever. She worked hard before the show and she gave it her all at the show. With a name like Cheyenne Wilde, would you expect anything less? [And so I digress to a funny story shared by a neighbor recently. As a followup to another discussion, one of this neighbor's children said, 'What if Cheyenne married someone with a last name of West? Her name would be Cheyenne Wilde West!' We decided we'd use the theme to 'Wild, Wild, West' as the wedding march.]

She won first place in the barrel racing for her group. She wanted to gallop, but alas, she held herself to a trot and did a fine trot at that. Way to go! She also got ribbons for the skills test and the water race (a race in which she had to scoop water from a bucket with a pitcher, hold the pitcher with one hand and the reins in the other, and race to the other side to dump the water in another bucket). A lot of family was there to witness the big event, but please pay no attention to the dorky-faced teenage brother on the left side (oh, I shouldn't have pointed it out, I guess). But you should pay attention to the cute pink cowgirl boots she's wearing!

I'm sure many of you have heard me talk about how excited she can get about a 'Participant' ribbon. This was better! Way to go, girl!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Kids' Kreations

For some time now, Cheyenne has been asking me to teach her how to decorate a cake. We finally did it a couple weeks ago. We baked a yummy white cake together, then she did all the decorating. She did a great job, and she enjoyed it. I think we'll be doing more in the future. Maybe she'll take a little stress off of me by becoming the family's new cake supplier!

In the meantime, Daniel has been busy creating in his own way. When I recently took my turn dusting the entertainment center, I was given a treat when I saw the newest accessories for the cute wooden fish we have as decorations. I guess Daniel was a little consumed with the "Core Testing" they were doing that week at school. (Just in case you can't see the picture well, they each have a "Coral Test" along with an answer sheet full of small round circles.)

And as a followup, the next time I went to dust, the tests were all piled up in the center of the fish so they could burn them in a fire! At least chores become an experience of discovery!

And just for the record, this was posted before midnight, so I'm still up with my goal!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

She Lives!

Since starting this blog nearly two years ago, this is the longest I've ever gone without posting. May is always crazy with the end of school year activities and such. Then there are always the wildelife things that just happen. The reasons for my negligience are many. The month was busy, my head was more full of thoughts than my hands could really type (so I end up typing nothing instead of typing a little bit), and ironically, technological concerns have slowed me down. That is, Dale has been trying to consolidate all our pictures and such in one place. That means he downloads them all to his computer. I think about getting certain pictures to blog about them, but it takes longer these days, so I slack off. All lousy excuses. That happens a lot in my life.

So, today is a new day. I've set a goal for myself. For at least one week, I'm going to pretend I'm one of those big name, highly paid blogging moms who shares regularly. I'm going to post something every day between now and next Sunday. I certainly have enough ideas stored in my head to post every day for a lot longer, but that would be a little too much Cheryl, now wouldn't it?? I invite you to come along and share a week of a blog a day and see how it goes.

For today, my thought would be that I'm so thankful for kind, wonderful youth leaders who do things to strengthen teenagers. Parents can do a lot, but we can't do it all (and somedays can do nothing). That's when other adults can really influence these tender souls.

Daniel got to spend the last 3 days enjoying a youth conference put on by the leaders of our stake. They copied a very popular youth program called Especially for Youth. They had college-aged counselors, they played fun team building games, they saw concerts, they danced, they had workshops, they studied scriptures, they learned etiquette, etc., etc. Every night he came home beaming. Last night it was beaming mixed with humble spiritual awakening. He felt moved by knowing for sure that there is a Heavenly Father who loves him. All the other skills he learned will be beneficial in his life, but that kind of knowledge will be irreplaceable. Thank you again to those who helped him find that knowledge; it means a lot to a mom like me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day in the Land of Imagination

Today's blog is pretty self-indulgent. I am among millions celebrating Mother's Day today with mothers and children participating in a mutual admiration society. All children should think their mothers are the best and mothers think the same of their children. I have no intention of arguing with that. However, I'll go on record to say that I think I got the most original gifts! Surely there are few surprised by that. The whole day has been so nice - a beautiful yogurt parfait for breakfast, chocolate as a gift at church (Daniel even made sure I got the dark stuff), a lunch/dinner that I didn't have to think up or prepare, and even a nap in the sunroom. Then came the gifts. Sweet Cheyenne started with a cute card and great family portrait -- one of her original works. I love the hair! Notice that only Dale was painted with gray hair!

That was followed by a fun small LED flashlight for my purse. She was most excited about the wrapping which included paper, bows, tissue paper, and four increasingly large gift bags!
Then came Daniel. His package was wrapped in silver paper then turned into a robot. I knew it would be a treat. The rest of the package came in steps. I've recorded the pictures to present it just as I saw it!

Yes, that's a box wrapped in duct tape. When I opened it, I saw this.And underneath the paper --
It's a little tough to see all the detail, but next to the rake and shovel (of course made from popsicle sticks and hot glue) is a small sign to post in the 'garden' when I plant it. It has an ear drawn on it.

But wait - there's more! The next box --

Once opened, I saw this cage with an egg in it. It says "Grow your own garden dragon." "For the Fair Maiden in your life." The scroll to the right gives growing instructions.
"Brave Knight not included" but the egg contains Snap Dragon seeds.
It's always an adventure at our house. And now I'm off to go eat the homemade bread and garlic relish that Dale prepared for tonight. I love Mother's Day!!!