Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Halloween Gamut

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. Something about it stresses me out. Yet I always find myself enjoying the festivities. (Plus my childhood favorite color was orange, which always looks happy in photographs.) I went into the season with no plans other than to dish out candy at the end of the month. Here's a quick look at everything that we found ourselves doing, thanks mostly to other people's planning. (Pictures are at the end, so you can skip all the "journaling" and just check out my cute kids if you like.)

#s 4&5 and I kicked off the month with a preschool field trip to Pumpkinland where we picked out a nice jack-o-lantern candidate. (We grew six other pumpkins in our garden this year too!)

Mid-month I found a coupon for the Halloween River Cruise, so our whole family went for about $10. The cruise is set up by CLAS Ropes Course, about a two-minute drive from our home. #2 paid extra to climb their rock wall, and we took candied apples that the kids had made at my sister's home, which helped get us through the 30-min. wait. The cruise itself was so-so. The river was decorated with jack-o-lanterns and lights, and our boatman told stories in between visits from a pirate. The kids loved it. I was glad I hadn't paid full price.

A friend of mine gave us tickets to Cornbelly's, which is a Fall "amusement park" and corn maze at Thanksgiving Point. We had my nieces and nephew with us too, so I was glad we didn't pay $110 to get in. But I must say they had A LOT to keep us entertained. We were there for two hours and didn't get to do everything. We went during a BYU game and the sky was shadowed by thunderheads, so attendance was down--and that made our trip all the more enjoyable. My family drove tractors, got bored in a corn maze, played dress up, rode the cow train, jumped in a bounce house, and was eaten by The Creature...among other things.

We left Cornbelly's to go to the Harvest Party with Kent's extended family. We always have lots of soup to sample and games for the kids. #3 broke the pinata this year. She gently tapped it three times to let the older kids in line behind her have a whack at it. When she turned around to get back in line, the bottom half broke off and the candy came pouring out!

Monday and Tuesday we carved our pumpkins, saving the seeds for toasting of course. Thursday I taught our neighborhood co-op preschool group. I had the children's undivided attention for the entire sugar cookie activity. They (the cookies) were yummy!)

Today some friends threw a party at lunchtime where we enjoyed good food and the kids decorated treat bags. Quick story about #3's costume in the party picture. She wore a witch dress, added a sweater to stay warm and modest, and since she couldn't find a witch hat, she borrowed a friend's bee headband. She bent the antennae forward and said she was a [granny] witch who could shoot lasers out of her head. !!! Then we came home and Kent and I cleaned out the garage because the weather turned out to be so nice. We made a pile of DI and metal recyclables in our front yard to be dealt with next week. Kent says our household now looks like poor white trash for Halloween. This was also the first year I let my two oldest go trick-or-treating unsupervised with friends. Kent took the youngest three. They all had a great time. When I prepped my candy bowl, I discovered that someone had found my Snickers Bar stash, and fourteen candy bars were gone! (No one will fess up.) So this was the first year that I ran out of candy. :(

This year, Halloween is on Saturday. I now vote that Halloween either be declared a federal holiday or always be the last Saturday of October. There was no big rush after school to make dinner and assemble costumes. Instead, we had time to spend visiting with friends and not just ringing their doorbell. And the kids are staying up late sorting candy, instead of being pushed into bed on a sugar high to get enough rest for school the next day. It's been pretty relaxed, and I don't feel so stressed out. I have loved it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I know I do a lot of these posts, so I'm sorry if you get bored with them. I think they're funny and it's my blog anyway!

This morning when I woke up #4, she was very lucid and said, "Can I just finish this dream first? It's almost over." I think that's pretty cool that her dreams run like TV shows! Three minutes later she said, "Okay, it's done. I'll get up now."

After the girls had gone to school, I was eating breakfast with #5 who asked me, "Who lives under the sea?" Thinking I would be funny, which usually backfires with this little guy, I answered, "Spongebob Squarepants." He sucked in his breath with a warning look on his face and stated, "Then Spongebob Squarepants is going to get eaten by a shark."

A little while later, Kent joined us and while he and I were talking, #5 interrupted with, "You're getting married today."

Me: We are?

#5: No, just you. Not Dad.

Me: I'm getting married but not to Dad? Then who will I marry?"

#5: I don't know.

Kent: Is Mom getting married because it's Wednesday Wedding Day?

Then Kent explained that while I was gone last night, he told #5 about Wednesday Wedding Day and #5 wants to marry me so he can sleep with us. When I don't want kids crawling into bed with me, I usually tell them it's because that space is reserved for Kent because I only sleep with my husband.

So #5 proceeded to tell me more about my wedding day today. Then he paused, pointed to the east end of the kitchen, raised his eyebrows and informed us, "The toilet is downstairs." His next sentence two seconds later: "I am going to your wedding to see the fish. There is a pond and a river there with fish."

I know little kids are random, but should I be concerned about this kid's mental health?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love-Hate Relationship


I love that I can get an unlimited amount free books that have to be returned. That way they don't end up cluttering my shelves for years. Plus, the library provides a huge selection of material to challenge my children's reading levels while still keeping their interest. Mostly, though, I like the free part.

I hate that I can get dozens of free books in one trip that have to be returned. More often than not I miss out on the free part and pay a late fee and/or lost book fee at almost every visit to the library. I didn't make it there to return our books on time today, so tonight I sat down to renew everything online before the library closes and the fines begin. I was horrified to see that we have 25 items out, and as I scrolled through the list of checked-out books I was more horrified to realize I've never seen most of these books, even though they are supposedly in my house. I recognized four titles that I've read many times in the past 21 days because they were the lucky few that turned out to be my kids' favorites. Those select four are in the basket waiting to be returned because I make sure they are put away each night. Additionally--of course--two of the items didn't renew, so now I'll have that familiar fine waiting to greet me next time I go back to check out more books I can't keep track of.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's That Time of Year

With elections coming up next week, I've been getting candidates' brochures in the mail a lot. Last week I got one from a mayoral candidate that focused on his opponent's track record of switching political parties. I guess in our very dominantly Republican valley, pointing out that someone is not a true-blue Republican will ruffle some voters, and maybe that would have been the case for me in the past. But now I find myself thinking that if I were a candidate and didn't feel a strong allegiance to either party, I would probably switch because a candidate in any party besides the big two doesn't have a chance. So maybe this guy just wants to accomplish some good things as a public servant and doesn't care about party loyalty. That's fine with me. Besides, the mayor's race is non-partisan, so who cares if he's an elephant or a donkey?

I'm pleased to discover that I have no strong ties to either party anymore. I just want candidates and elected officials who will represent my interests, which are hopefully aligned with the majority of citizens, and who will make changes for the better. Do I consider myself an Independent? Maybe. I doubt I'll be voting straight party ticket anymore.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Every so often I organize an activity for any women in the neighborhood who want to come. I love playing with my friends, so when I'm in the mood I just pick something fun and announce a date and time to everybody. Last Saturday six of us got together for a bike ride down Provo Canyon along the river trail. One friend drove us and our bikes to the drop off at Vivian Park, and off we went. At least, off everyone else went. I decided to bring up the rear, and before I knew it, I was alone on the trail. It turns out that a seven-speed bike doesn't easily keep up with those 24-speed mountain bikes. My absence was quickly discovered, and the group waited for me to catch up and then slowed down for me. So we had a wonderful afternoon enjoying the colors in the canyon, stopping for treats along the way, and resting in a park. My friend, Martha, put together this video to recap the trip. After watching the video, I realized that my windbreaker sort of acted like a parachute, and fully inflated tires would have helped too. (I'm just finding all the excuses I can so I don't have to wonder how out of shape I am.) Martha toyed with taking the "fat bottomed girls" line out, but I thought I was really funny and asked her to keep it. Overall, it was a great fall day with my friends, and next time I'll borrow someone's mountain bike. :) Enjoy the video! (The blurby lyrics are to cover some questionable ones.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I found this "iPod" in my daughters' room. I'm so glad they can now quit asking for one. I'm also glad I won't care if this accidentally ends up in the washing machine. I think the earbuds are a disposable pair that Kent got on a JetBlue flight at some point. Looks like the girls got some tunes on there already. Should it make me feel old that I don't recognize some of the songs on this paper iPod?

Luckily, we do have some real electronics that make our life easier...except for those times when the only quiet place to set up work is on the water storage in the furnace room. Poor Kent!

(Real story: The wireless something on the laptop isn't working, so he had to connect directly into some box in the furnace room. I know, I'm so well-versed in tech speak. The kids wouldn't let him kick them off the PC, so he resorted to that sad little corner of the house.)

Sunday, October 4, 2009


A few days ago when the cold snap of Autumn hit us, I went searching through my drawer for a pair of jeans that weren't already in the wash. I thankfully found a pair that I'd forgotten about. When I tried to put them on, I wasn't so thankful anymore. I hate finding clothes from seasons past only to discover that they are too tight. As I jumped and yanked and shimmied them on, I glanced at my bookshelf. The first thing I saw was one of my old college textbooks: "Money, the Financial System, and the Economy". I immediately thought about how much my life has changed. Even though I'd always planned to be a stay-at-home mom, I used to imagine myself as a banker or a corporate executive in one of the jobs my fellow alumni were getting. The ill-fitting jeans also forced me to realize that my body continues to change as age creeps in. I wasn't distressed by these thoughts. I'm happy with the life I have. It's just different than I sometimes thought it would be. After a minute or two, I was glad to finally button the waistband. At least I hadn't gained too much weight since winter.

By 5:00 p.m. I had to admit defeat. The jeans were cutting into my gut and I could pretend to stand it no longer. However, when I changed into pants from my current wardrobe, I was pleased to discover that the jeans are a size 6. I must have been that size two years ago, and I remembered thinking at that time that I needed to gain weight and lose some stress. That size tag gave me some perspective. Even if I'm not a corporate manager somewhere, I am still very tuned in to current political and economical events, and I have a busy and complex household to manage every day. Besides, when I was a kid, I wanted to be an artist or a writer; as an adult I still find ways to be creative, and I've recently written the first chapter of a novel. So I guess I don't have to accept a changed me. I am quite content with the healthier, tweaked-for-improvement version of the me I used to be and pretty much still am.