"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, December 31, 2009


I'm not one for making New Year's Resolutions. Jed is. I can see the usefulness of them, I just never wanted to jump on the same bandwagon as everyone else. That probably doesn't make sense, it's a mentality left over from being a good kid. I wasn't going to be rebellious about the big stuff, so I picked little stuff to rebel against. I never dieted. I never make New Year's Resolutions. I picked the non-important stuff on which to stage my rebellions. Jed is making our whole family make New Year's Resolutions this year. While this task is proving difficult for me, I'm having a super easy time coming up with New Year's Resolutions for my kids.

Do you make resolutions each new year?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reading List 2009

There's always that chance that I'll read another book before tomorrow at midnight, but I've already hit 20,000 for the year, so I'm not pushing it. So, with no further waiting, here's the list of all the books I read (all the way to the end) in 2009.

1001 Cranes
Secrets of my Hollywood Life: On Location
Footfree and Fancy Loose
Secrets of my Hollywood Life: Family Affairs
Paper Towns
Walk Two Moons
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Absolutely Normal Chaos
The Cat Who Got Carried Away
Tales of a Female Nomad: ...
Evil Genius
3 Willows: the sisterhood grows
The Whole Sky Full of Stars
13 Little Blue Envelopes
Parties and Potions
A Corner of the Universe
Look Again
Make Lemonade
(2nd time)
True Believer
I, Lorelei
Leap Day
Looking for Alaska
My Antonia (2nd time)
Thanks for the Memories
This Full House
11 Birthdays
One Whole and Perfect Day
Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover
Along for the Ride
The Book Thief
The Housekeeper and the Professor
Rapunzel's Revenge
Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About
The Actor and the Housewife
An Abundance of Katherines
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
(3rd time)
I Capture the Castle
Every Soul a Star
The Castle Corona
Cinderella (as if you didn't already know the story)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Glass Lake
The Lost Symbol
Secrets of my Hollywood Life: Paparazzi Princess
Julie and Julia:
The Princess Bride
Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?
Sleepaway Girls
The Princess Present #6.5
Party Princess # 7
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
(2nd time)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily
Ella Enchanted
Dairy Queen
The Off Season
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies
Jellicoe Road
Front and Center
Sweet Sixteen Princess: #7.5
(2nd time, accidentally)
Princess on the Brink
Honey, Baby, Sweetheart
The Juliet Club


My brother and sister don't really get along with each other. When Jed was talking to my mom on his birthday, she mentioned that she'd threatened them to get along this Christmas or she'd spend next Christmas with us in Virginia. I joked with Jed we should start pitting my siblings against each other, spread rumors, etc. I won't, but I thought that was pretty funny.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Our Christmas tree made it through a month of being up with Baby X only occasionally touching ornaments on it. Then last night he knocked the entire tree over. At least we can just take it down now rather than having to put all the ornaments back on nicely and watch him do it again. Although, more likely, it's going to stay up like this (crooked ornaments and a now, broken strand of lights) for a few more days (...weeks?).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is Jed's birthday. I won't tell you what year he's turning, because that'll give hints to my true age, and I decided that I'm just going to keep celebrating my 29th birthday until I'm a cool number, like 90.

Jed's birthday being two days after Christmas means that all of a sudden, Christmas night, I remember a present I bought that Jed didn't open. Seconds before I dig it out from the messy closet hiding place, I realize that he hasn't opened it because I set it aside as a birthday present and I sigh in relief.

Having his birthday so close to Christmas also means that around July, I've found an awesome present to buy him and I have to wait 5 months for an excuse to buy it. Thank goodness for our anniversary in April and Father's Day in June or I'd go nuts hoarding away presents for 11 months and not being able to find them when Christmas and his birthday roll around.

All of that being said, I have a great husband and I'm giving him a shout out, old school, MTV TRL style, on his 29th *wink* birthday.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Read too much?

I just asked Jed how to spell Impatiens*, like the flower. I assumed there was a T on the end. There isn't. He then asked, what about the flower spelled "P-E-O-N-Y? How would you say that?" And I wasn't quite sure. His response, "It's in books a lot." This reminded me of a relative who will remain unnamed, who, for a long time thought the word "Voila" (pronounced "vwa-'la") was pronounced "VOY-la", similar to viola, but with a "VOY" instead of a "VI." I think it's safe to say that Jed, myself, and the unnamed family member, all read too much.

*I realize this is actually a pronunciation mistake, not a reading mistake. But I read quickly and probably just imagine there is a T there so the word is more familiar looking.

Dateline: Later tonight

I just read part off a wikipedia page to Jed and said, "PIE-lAtes" instead of "
pi-lah-teez." See, I read too much, and don't actually know anyone, or discuss with them, anything to do with pilates.

Present Time!

Princess Sparkley on Christmas Eve
with Webkinz Zumbuddy

Buddy on Christmas Eve
with Webkinz Owl (he named Lionel)

Baby X Christmas morning
with Elmo
(this Elmo was given to me for Valentine's Day from Jed in high school)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Stockings were hung by the chimney (or stairs) with care...

Marta has a much more thorough list of great stocking stuff ideas, but this is what we ususally find in our stockings.

My stocking when I was little:
  • an orange
  • a VHS blank tape
  • pens
  • gum
  • orange Tic Tacs
  • Lifesavers book
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • mini flashlight
  • breathmints
Our stockings this year will probably include (+/-):
  • A clementine
  • Lip smackers
  • quarters
  • Vanilla Midgee Tootsie Rolls
  • gum
  • Cadbury balls
  • Reeses's Pieces
  • Hershey's Cookies and Cream bars*
  • A Webkinz keychain animal
  • fun socks
  • a new toothbrush
  • a shower Loofah
  • little Lego sets
  • Target Gift Coins
  • brand new box of crayons
  • chapter books
  • Matchbox cars and airplanes
  • Polly pocket
  • Little Pet Shop pet

* My kids discovered these recently and LOVE them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Click here for my Christmas menu from past years as well as the recipe for my Mom's Peppermint Ice Cream Pie.

Click here for my favorite Christmas books.

Click here and here for Christmas goodies.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Easy Holiday Treat

Marbled Chocolate Treats

These look really fancy, but are super simple to make. Find the recipe here.*

*The Kraft Foods link stopped working, but I found the recipe elsewhere for you all.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowed In

We were supposed to go somewhere today, but does our car look like it's going anywhere?

Do you like the new look of our backyard? We probably got a foot and a half of snow, but between the fences and the house, there were a lot of snow drifts and the backyard has parts that were closer to 3 feet deep.

Past Reading Totals

In years past, here are my book and page totals for reading.

2008: 18,026 pages in 61 books

2007: 8,669 pages in 27 books

2006: 22,027 pages in 74 books

2005: 14, 366 pages in 47 books

2004: 9,140 pages in 29 books

2003: 7,923 pages in 25 books

2002: 7,810 pages in 26 books

2001: 4,979 pages in 21 books

2000: 5,407 pages in 18 books*

Interesting things I can tell from this list:
  • At the end of 2005 we moved to Kansas and gave up cable tv.
  • In 2007 we discovered checking out TV shows on dvd from the library.

*estimate... I didn't start trying to figure it out until October of this year so I just guessed at to which books I'd read during the earlier parts of the year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Planned Reading

For those of you paying attention to my sidebar, I'm on a quest to read 20,000 pages this year. I have blogged about my reading here and lots of other little mentions. But basically, Jed and I both read a lot. His sister likes to picture our marriage as the two of us laying around on the couch reading books together, this isn't too far from the truth. When we got married I found out that Jed kept track of all the books he's read. For someone who enjoys making lists (me) and reads so much that sometimes she forgets whether or not she's actually read a book (me) this seemed like a fabulous idea. And so the book lists began. We only count pages we've read (so, if I happen to read a book with an introduction, I have to read it to count those pages, etc.) And we have to have finished the entire book in order to count it for our reading totals.

This year, I'm at 19,626 pages in 66 books. Once the year is over, I'll do a more thourough breakdown of how much nonfiction (possibly none), young adult fiction (probably most of it), etc. that I read during the year. But for now, I need about 400 more pages. The book I'm currently reading has just over 300, so I end up being about 60 pages short. The books I have on the bookshelf from my bed to chose from next are:

Flush by Carl Hiiassen

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The Patron Saint of Liars
by Ann Patchett

Oh... and I just remembered the kids and I are a few chapters into The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Awesome. If I just finish that book, and the one I'm reading on my own, I'll pass 20,000 for the year.

Um.... yum!

I've borrowed this image until I make my own... which I'm thinking should be soon.*

This easy holiday treat recipe from here makes me happy that I've recently acquired a taste for pecans. Thanks, Rae, for Facebooking** this recipe.

Now that I've made them, can I just add that these are the PERFECT treats for your kids to be totally in charge of. They lay out all the pretzels, unwrap all the Rolos (since I certainly don't want to) and put them on the pretzels. I put them in the oven for 4 minutes. And then the kids squished the pecans on top. And we all ate a TON!

*I've now used my own images.
**Gotta love how the English language evolves.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Petunia's Christmas

I found this book, Petunia's Christmas by Roger Duvoisin, at the library the other day and immediately checked it out so I could relive my childhood. I LOVED this book when I was little. Conveniently I then came across this blog post with a craft to accompany the story. Here's the end result at our house:

by Buddy (but mostly me)

by Princess Sparkley

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I've been thinking about my last post and I guess part of the reason I respond quickly to emails and phone calls is because I'm dependable. This isn't a bad thing, but when it was the nicest thing teachers and church leaders had to say about me in my teenage years, it became a compliment that I didn't like. I always heard how dependable and how responsible I was. No teenager wants to be dependable and responsible. Isn't it a teenager's right not to be? Yet I was, and still am. I guess it's not so bad having those two words as description of yourself... it could be worse.

Monday, December 14, 2009


When I was in high school I worked at my brother's law firm. During the day while I was at school, phone calls would come in for me and when I came into the office I was expected to return them. My brother sat me down and explained to me that I had to be professional and to be professional, I needed to return these phone calls promptly. I hated this. Jed and my family especially know how much I hate talking on the phone, returning phone calls, ordering pizza, etc. I really should use this feature, but I don't necessarily want people to call me back either. Basically, unless it's family wanting to chat, it's someone wanting me to do something. Right?* But if someone calls and leaves me a message, I return the phone call... promptly. Within 24 hours promptly.

Now that you know this about me, you can rightly assume that I love email. You can also take a wild guess and be right, that I check my email dozens of times a day. Due to this craziness in myself, I have a hard time understanding people who don't check their email often. Especially people under 50 years old. I also get extremely annoyed when people don't respond back to my email questions promptly. Partially, because it shows respect and good etiquette to respond quickly. And partially, (maybe mainly) because I don't want to have to call you.

Am I the only person like this? Do other people hate the phone? Love email? Demand prompt responses to either??

*My parents didn't get an answering machine until just a few years ago because they figured if people needed to talk to them, they'd call back. If they were just asking them to do something, they'd find someone else. And they didn't want people leaving messages assuming they'd do something that they hadn't agreed to do.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cut-out snowflakes


My mom taught kindergarten and first grade for many years. She was always very adamant that when her class cut out snow flakes, they made them correctly. This means the snowflakes had six sides, not just a rectangle of paper with holes cut out of it. Here's a site that shows you just how fold your paper so you get the six sided snowflake.

  • Coffee filters are much easier to cut (especially for little hands) than regular printer paper or construction paper.
  • Spray glue and glitter make this craft especially sparkley.

*Sorry, I didn't think to take pictures until after I'd already taped them to our door.

And the Winner* is...

of Miss Jill's 8 Million Random Strangers blog

Jill, congratulations and send me a message at: writingfishbowl@gmail.com with your address.

For those of you who didn't win**... here's the recipe for my*** candy cane bark.

*Winner was chosen at random, sort of... if you live out of the country, you were eliminated (sorry, I just don't know if Candy Cane Bark can survive that sort of travel, and I didn't want to spend a billion dollars on shipping). I cut out your tiny little Followers pictures (except foreigners) and PS drew one out of a bowl.

**Jed, you'll get to eat some when I make it so stop complaining that you'll never enter my contests again and that you'll stop following me. H.P., I'll bring some when we come to celebrate Christmas.

***Don't you just love how you can adopt someone else's recipe as your own. Some lady, I think named Jeanette, used to bring this to everyone in the office each Christmas when Jed was working in California. He LOVED it and asked for the recipe. Now I claim it as my own. The easy mint fudge recipe that is also featured on the above recipe link, I've only made maybe three times. I have a friend who now makes it all the time, I told her she can start calling it her mint fudge, not mine since I'm fairly certain she's now made it more times than I have. I'm not even going to go into my cousin's wife's creamed corn recipe that is now famous as my creamed corn recipe at my husband's family's holiday gatherings.


On TLC's What Not To Wear, Stacy and Clinton are always saying to buy nice clothes, but then to have them tailored to your body. This obviously makes sense and I can look at my wardrobe and tell you exactly what needs to be done to each item. The problem is, I don't have the skills needed to do it myself. I don't have the money to pay someone, nor are my clothes expensive enough to warrant tailoring. Can you imagine, "Can you shorten these jeans I bought at Old Navy for $15? ... $25, okay, thanks." (Although, I have learned to hem pants decently.)

It would be awesome to have unlimited funds with which to buy an entirely new wardrobe, plus having that entirely new wardrobe either fit me properly, or be tailored so that it did. But, that's not in the cards. I don't actually know anyone who has their clothes tailored, (readers, surprise me) so it seems that it will never be in the cards.

Throw into this mix that I'm an average sized person. I am 5 foot 6. I have friends that are close to 6 feet tall and I have friends that are barely over 5 feet tall. It is them who I imagine would have the hardest time finding clothes that fit their body perfectly. Yet I have a closet full of pants that are a tad to short, or pants that I've had to hem up slightly so the cuff doesn't drag on the ground. I am long waisted, making bathing suit shopping a nightmare, and no shirt is long enough for me. I just pulled out all of my winter sweaters and I feel ridiculous in them because they are way too short for my body. Maybe I can learn to knit and add a few inches to the bottom.

I've been daydreaming about having my wardrobe (a brand new one, mind you, this is a daydream) tailored but it all became more obvious how much better clothes sewed especially for you fit this week. A Christmas dress that my mother-in-law sewed for my daughter arrived in the mail on Tuesday. Princess Sparkley tried it on and I was amazed at how perfectly it fit her. She's a tall, very skinny seven year old. I hadn't realized how wide all of her store bought dresses were on her body until I saw this one zip up, made to fit the skinny pole that she is.

Now if you don't mind, I'll just keep dreaming about that new wardrobe.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Observations on a Virginia Winter

All of these observations may seem weird coming from a California girl who once used a spatula to scrape the ice off of her windshield so she could drive to early morning seminary,* but we had our first Virginia snow this weekend and I was surprised by a lot of what I saw. Moving here, we were hoping for less ice than Kansas, and not so many days when the temperature was below zero, but everyone here assured us that it still snows and gets icy and is cold. Then it didn't snow and didn't snow and I became hopeful that it never would. Until Saturday, when it snowed all day.

Some of the crazy stuff I saw:

People here stick their windshield wipes up in the air while their cars are parked. I assume this is so the windshield wipers won't freeze to the windshield, which happened to us a lot in Kansas. But I never witnessed this way of dealing with it in Kansas.

I saw someone shoveling in front of their house with a real shovel, not a snow shovel. If it does indeed snow here in the winter, often, why don't people own snow shovels?

I saw another person brushing snow off their windshield with a broom. Again, if it does in fact snow here a lot, how do they not own a scraper with a brush attachment? My spatula experience in high school is understandable because one, I didn't even know a thing such as a snow scraper existed, and two, I'm pretty sure there was no store near my home that sold them.

They don't sprinkle salt on sidewalks and on the road here, they sprinkle sand. Jed informed me this is the cheap, not as effective way of taking care of slick roads and sidewalks. This is not good news since the driving in our town is already horrible.

So after this weekend, and almost four years of living in Kansas, I feel like I am a winter expert and these people in Virginia don't know what winter is. But here's the thing, I'm still going to stock up on milk and diapers and not leave my house until the snow melts away. So I guess Kansas didn't really teach me anything other than it's possible to survive a few days snowed in until it all melts away.

*weekday, Sunday school type classes for high schoolers who are lds.

Monday, December 07, 2009


One of the problems with homeschooling is that I get totally burnt out on school right about now. Taking three days off for Thanksgiving did me in. Now I have no desire to continue. And that was only three days. I'm fearful of what the Christmas break (or Winter Break if we were enrolled in a public school) will do to me. As it is now, I just want to sit around and read all day, experiment with yummy new recipes for dinner, shop online for Christmas presents, and nap. At least Buddy is entering a unit on the Calendar today. Teaching days and months is much more fun that teaching about consonant blends... bleh.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Princess Sparkley is a bit like Fancy Nancy, in that, she is horribly disappointed with how not fancy the rest of her family is. These sentiments are even stronger during the time leading up to Christmas. We aren't festive enough for her. If PS had it her way, we'd start playing Christmas music in July. This year, we gave in to her begging and put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.

And today, an answer to all of her dreams come true, she woke up to snow.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas Shopping

I loved when my kids were all so little that I could get all of my Christmas shopping done with them in tow. As a homeschooler, my kids never graduated to going to school all day so I could shop while they were gone. This makes things a bit more difficult. Especially since Princess Sparkley can't know what Buddy's getting (because she either rubs it in, is getting a similar item herself, has Buddy begging to know or wants to give him clues and the clues are WAY too obvious) and Buddy can't know what she's getting for about the same reasons. I've therefore only bought Baby X's Christmas presents (with the added bonus that he's not yet two, so what does he really need).

Today I bought some fabric to make an apron for PS. She doesn't know that's why I was buying the fabric. She's of course suspicious because I asked her opinion and I told her it was a secret. But I'm fairly certain she has no clue I'm making an apron. I like these kinds of presents, the ones that are right in front of her, but still undisclosed.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009



As a ploy to get more Followers (so I can imagine myself cooler), all you have to do to enter the contest is become a "Follower" of my blog (look over in the sort of top part of the right column). Those of you who are already Followers, are already entered.


Contest ends: December 10, 2009 at midnight EST

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Book Reports: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

buy it here, it's only $5.50 right now

I think I may have a new favorite book. If it's not number one, it's very very close to the top of my imaginary list.

Set just after World War II has ended, the main character is Juliet, a writer made famous by a war time column she wrote. Juliet receives a letter from Guernsey, an island in the Channel Islands between France and England that was occupied by the Germans during the war. The letter comes from a stranger named Dawsey asking her about a book he bought secondhand that had her name in it, wondering if there were more books by this writer. He briefly mentioned the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but it was enough to grab Juliet's attention. When she writes him back, she asks him about the Society.

Juliet begins exchanging letters with Dawsey, along with other members of the Society and through these letters, their story of the German Occupation unfolds. Juliet comes to love and cherish these people, and them her. In the second part of the book, she travels to Guernsey with the idea that her next book will be about their reading society and the Occupation.

The book is told entirely in letters between Juliet, the islanders, and Juliet's London friends. I have a soft spot for epistolary books. This book was wonderful. Plus, Princess Sparkley was very excited because one of the two authors, Annie Barrows, writes the Ivy and Bean books that she loves. The other author is Barrows's aunt who became ill and was lucky enough to have another writer in the family who could help her finish up the book.

New Obsession

image from here

When I was a little girl, my sister's friend collected pigs. Every time her birthday rolled around, my mom, sister and I would go on a wild hunt for pig related stuff to get her. I always thought this was all a bit crazy. I mean, I go wild about kitchen gadgets, but not pigs. That was until I saw all the cute owl stuff that is out and about right now.

Is it too late to start collecting owl stuff? Maybe if everyone I knew sent me something owl related, I would have a decent collection... immediately.

My obsession started when I saw cute little girl pajamas with owls on them. Then I saw the most adorable owl fabric at the fabric store. It culminated when I saw an adorable little owl bag at Borders (I may have to browse Borders with Princess Sparkley and let her know how much I love it and would love to get it for Christmas). Do I need it? No. What would I use it for? I don't know. But it's adorable and it's a bag. Where can I go wrong?

Just go to Etsy and search for owl and see all the wonderful owl stuff they have. I am in love with it all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Countdown to Christmas

I realize I'm a bit late on this since tomorrow IS December 1st, but does anyone do anything special to countdown to Christmas?

I have a wooden Santa with 25 numbers on him and we take one off each day. I like the idea of the store ones where you open a little window and there is a chocolate inside, except I don't want the chocolate inside. I seem to remember having one of these as a kid but there was no candy, just a cute little picture or something. This (see below), that I just found on Etsy, would be perfect. If only the 1st wasnt' tomorrow.

I never remember until after I've unpacked all of our Christmas books that I should have them all wrapped up and we open a new book every night until Christmas. That way we actually get to enjoy each Christmas book that's been packed away all year instead of hauling out two dozen and piling them on a table.

I, of course, love the fancy wooden door calendars found at Pottery Barn, but don't really want to spend a lot of money (read: any money) on this crazy fantasy I have of finding the perfect advent calendar.

I am loving this one on Etsy, but it's for the pattern and I am not paper crafty. Etsy actually has a lot of great advent calendar patterns, lots involving cookie sheets, muffin tins, paper and magnets. But again, I'm not paper crafty. And my sewing skills aren't up to par for creating this sort of art. I guess I should find a pattern and spend the next year working on it, so next December 1, I'll be ready.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

I'm just curious... how many of you went out early this morning (or late Thanksgiving night) shopping for deals?

I don't like shopping in crowds, or trying to find a parking spot when it's so busy, so I usually stay home. But, if I could get dropped off at a mall, or walk to the mall and had someone to go with, I think it would be great fun. I'd love to go with Jed, but who am I going to get to come babysit at 4 AM??

Oh, and I'd also want to be able to find good deals on the stuff my kids actually want me to get them. I don't want to just go and find great deals I can't pass up only to get home and realize I've bought nothing we want or need.

Jed just left to check out Walmart at 9:30 PM out of curiosity, and to rent a Red Box movie. I'm sure it's calmed down since earlier today. And I'm sure Walmart has yet to recover and has toys strewn all over the toy aisles.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pilgrim Hats

Last night we made these pilgrim hat cookies.

PS had a kindergartner do her face paint at Girl Scouts, so ignore the war paint.

Buddy used A LOT of frosting.

And Baby X just loved munching it down.

Why I Am Not A Dog Person

Yesterday, while out and about running errands with Buddy and Baby X we saw two dogs in stores. The second time, it was a seeing eye dog in training at Target. Totally acceptable. The first time, it was a smallish dog, wearing a hot pink parka/vest in the post office.

At first, when we got in line to buy stamps, 12 people back, the woman two people in front of us was holding the dog. As the dog got grumpier, she let it down. Now, it was on a leash, a retractable leash, but she wasn't giving the dog a limit. It was running all over the post office, sniffing the people sitting on the floor waiting for the passport office to open, scaring Buddy who it ran up to to sniff, and causing Baby X to yell "dog, dog, dog" and point crazily the whole time we were there. The woman seemed to see nothing wrong with having her dog in the post office. Even when she and the dog wandered over to the automated machine (run by a postal employee, another reason I hate this post office) and the employee informed her that dogs weren't allowed in the post office. She basically told him that the dog was her baby and didn't want to be out in the rain. He informed her that he understood, he had two dogs at home that he loved, but dogs aren't allowed in the post office. She still ignored him... like this didn't apply to her and her dog. And it turns out, she wasn't even using the post office. Her husband was up at the counter at this point and she and the dog went to stand by him. It's not like the dog was going to have to wait in the car alone. She could have waited in the car with it while her husband took care of their postal needs.

I realize that not all dog people are this crazy, but a lot are. My dad once lost his dog trainer because she found out he didn't plan on letting his yellow lab into the house, it was going to be a purely outdoor dog and she found that completely unacceptable.

Until I was married, I always had pets (dogs, cats, a hamster, a parakeet, a rabbit, lots of fish). Other than the parakeet, hamster and fish, they were all outdoor pets. Well, the bunny lived part-time indoors in my mom's kindergarten classroom. The cats were allowed in the house when it was really cold outside, but only if they followed the rules. They could go from the garage door, downstairs, to a spot on one couch that had a blanket on it specifically for them. Otherwise, if they didn't want to be outside, there was always the garage. The dogs, were outdoor dogs who had access to a patio, a balcony and a dog house.

None of these pets ever went to a store with us (except one pair of kittens I got in San Diego for my birthday when I was 11 or so and we stopped on the three hour drive home to eat lunch at In N Out or somewhere. Me and the cats (in a box) sat out on the patio while I ate my lunch). So what's with all the crazy people taking their pets to the post office?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Favorite Thanksgiving Books

These first two are my favorite Thanksgiving books from my own childhood that I love to share with the kids each year:

Cranberry Thanksgiving by Harry Devlin

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble by Mary Jackson Ellis

The story of Tom, a sad little turkey who gets pushed out of the way at meal time by all the other turkeys on the farm and then they make fun of him for being so little. So the little girl and boy who live at the farm take care of him until he is big and beautiful. Then, when the dad goes out to chose a Thanksgiving turkey for the family to eat, Tom, saves the other turkeys and the dad gets their turkey from the grocery store.

This is one I never read as a kid, but my kids love it.

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey**

And I love all the holiday books (and truck books) by Gail Gibbons.
Thanksgiving is... by Gail Gibbons

*I can't find a picture for this book online, and my computer that can interact with my printer is not working.

**You can see from the comments that Jed is anti-Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving. He told me he read the reviews on amazon.com and people either loved it or hated it. The people who hated it said it was teaching kids to be eco-terrorists. I just thought it made for cute pictures when all the kids hid turkeys under their coats and took them home.

Thanksgiving Crafts

The Crafty Crow always has the best holiday crafts... check these out and these. And from years past, how about these?

Princess Sparkley and Buddy just made some simple construction paper turkeys with feathers telling what they are thankful for. Buddy is probably the only person in the world thankful for road construction.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blah Blah

I don't really have much to say but my laptop's power cord stopped working and until the new one arrives in the mail and (cross your fingers) solves the problem, I will be computer-less some of the time when Jed has our other laptop with him at school. I'll be posting more infrequently these next few days because we're cheapskates, so we didn't request $16 two day shipping on the new AC adapter.

Plus, it's almost Thanksgiving. I keep seeing on Facebook statuses about people going places, or people picking up family at the airport and I didn't understand why everyone was traveling. Then I realized that Thanksgiving is a week from today and it made sense. I guess because we aren't really going anywhere (Jed's Virginia brother-in-law's family has been nice enough to invite us to spend the holiday with them) far away. And Virginia isn't really that cold yet. I keep reading (again, on Facebook) people's comments about it snowing, or how sick of the cold they are. I talked to my sister the other day and told her it wasn't too cold yet, just in the mid-fifties and she about died that I didn't think that was cold. But it's nice. We haven't even broken out our winter coats yet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gift Coins

I love Target. Does anyone NOT love Target? And I love these new Gift Coins. Basically, each coin is worth $5... perfect for stocking stuffing, gifts or rewards for little kids. Plus, they are a fun little coin, like pirate treasure. They come in a $25 bag (so 5 coins). I love all of this even before reading about them online and finding out that Target donates $2 from each purchase to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.


image from here

I started reading the Georgia Nicolson books by Louise Rennison ten years ago (yikes!) when the first one, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, was published. These books are hilariously funny, but when I think about Princess Sparkley reading them in many, many, many years when she's a teenager, I'm not so sure I'd be okay with it.* The books are about Georgia and her group of besties, the Ace Gang. The book is full of British slang, crazy sayings specific to this group of girls, and a lot a lot a lot** of boy craziness. There is no sex. There is talk of the snogging scale, much like saying someone got to first base, or whatever. But none of the girls have sex, or really get much past plain kissing, ear nibbling, etc. There is a lot of talk you'd imagine at a teenage girl slumber party. Talk about breasts, and boys, and how far to go, and wearing thong underwear, etc.

The books are hilarious, did I already say that? I've really enjoyed them over the years, although I am happy they are finally through. Each book is written as Georgia's journal entries and only covers a few weeks worth of time, so in ten books, I'm not sure we've even covered more than a year's worth of Georgia's life. In that time she's been twitterpated with and ended up dating three boys: Robbie the Sex God, Masimo the Lurve God/Italian Stallion, and Dave the Laugh. And waiting a year for each new book to be published when everything basically picks up where one left off and only travels a few weeks forward was very annoying. Those of you who haven't read them, and are interested, have it made. It'll be like you are reading one 2000 page book broken up into ten little books. I should have done that.

And there's a movie... not released in the US yet (with no known date of when that might happen). I ended up watching it on youtube a few weeks ago broken up into ten parts. Pretty funny.

*I love reading young adult books. And there are young adult books that I totally love, that I don't think I'd want my kids to read. Some I think are perfectly fine for adults, but not necessarily teenagers. I guess there are some teen books that would be much more appropriate for OLDER teens and young adults. For instance, the Twilight series. Why are some parents of pre-teens and young teenagers cool with this? One of my nephews passed his mom up in reading the books and got to the last book, where Edward and Bella are married and have some fairly (for young teenage eyes) descriptive sex, before his mom did. He was 12!! Yikes.

**Please, all of you who are not superb spellers, take note. A lot is two words. Two. Sorry, just a little pet peeve of mine.

Big Boy

This is Baby X. When I look at this picture, I assume it is Buddy. Even though I am the one who took this picture. The clothes give it away. I know these are Baby X's clothes. But laying there, watching Elmo (his favorite!!!) on the laptop, he looks like too big a kid to be my baby.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm always comparing my kids to other people's kids. Not in an entirely bad sense. I like to think that while sometimes my kids are behaving horribly, I've seen worse. I am more likely to look at the capabilities of other people's kids and blame myself for somehow not raising my kids well enough for them to be able to do whatever it is that these superior kids are doing. Things like pumping their legs while they swing (which PS can now do, and Buddy can sort of do), riding a bike (with or without training wheels, my kids are only subpar), etc. Buddy has always been more into cars and trains than Legos, but still enjoys Legos. Unfortunately, Lego building for him usually consists of him demanding Jed or I help him build whatever crazy creation came with the Lego box pamphlet. Sadly, I am not a very good Lego builder. Lately he's been branching off on his own, building his own creations. He worked on this all day. Adding an extra wheel on the back so it looked like a Jeep, etc. As you can see, he's very proud of his Jeep. Since then he's also built a tiny steam roller. Now he's added Legos to his Christmas list and his eyes got huge when he saw a huge city set of Legos at Target. As soon as he spotted it I said, "That's set costs $100 ($99.99) so it's not a possibility." His response, "You'd have to be a billionaire to buy that!" And then he nicely examined the little boxes higher up. Eyes still huge.

Brush Your Teeth

I brushed Baby X's teeth the other morning and left him upstairs while I went down to do something. When I reached the bottom step I heard the clangor of of the metal lid for our tooth brush holder and assumed Baby X had gone back for his tooth brush, which he loves. When I found him, this is what he looked like. He'd run far away to a corner of the big kids' room and had the entire family's toothbrushes in his mouth, "brushing" his teeth. Ick.

Forgetting Names

My new responsibility at church is as the secretary in the women's organization. Being the secretary, a huge aspect of my responsibilities is to take roll. This is difficult to do when I'm so new to the ward and only know a handful of people's names. Sunday I started working on learning people's names. I asked someone I didn't know to say the opening prayer and then asked them their name. I took note of people's names and faces when they were called on to comment or read aloud. I even introduced myself to a new woman (newer than me) when I was changing Baby X's diaper in the bathroom and she was holding the stall door closed for a little girl. This is my problem. Even when I'm trying to learn people's names, I don't remember them three seconds later. I have to give myself a virtual kick in the shins rerminding me that I actually need to pay attention to their answer after I ask them their name. I met this woman, left the bathroom, got 10 feet down the hallway and had absolutely know idea what her first name was. I knew her last name (but I'd known that even before I introduced myself to her moments earlier), but her first name was completely lost to me. Luckily, being in charge of rolls listing all the women's names. Yea for lists! Now I just need to actually remember them in real life with no need of a list.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


image from here

I took Princess Sparkley to our local Borders this morning for a Fancy Nancy party. While she was listening to a fancy story, making fancy ornaments, eating fancy brownies, and entering a raffle, Buddy, Baby X and I wandered around the store. I'm in the market for a new planner for 2010* so we spent some time in the calendar section. I came across these calendar stickers that were fairly inexpensive and I just loved. You can find them in the calendar section of Borders, online here, or here.

*How crazy is it that's it's almost 2010??? I just realized this last night.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blog Income

I recently finished the book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (really good book but lots of swearing, all food leads to sexual allusions and she really has it in for Republicans). For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, Julie starts a blog detailing her attempts to cook her way through Julia Child's famous cookbook in one year. She gets a pretty decent blog following, is written up in newspapers, makes guest appearances on shows, and eventually writes this book which then turned into a movie of the same title. When she gets to the section of the cookbook for lamb, a friend suggests she put up a Paypal money contribution link on her blog so that her readers can help fund the purchasing of lamb she needs in order to complete this section of the cookbook. And it worked. Wouldn't that be awesome of we could all do that, and it would work? Don't you all want me to go on a Caribbean cruise, or buy a new bookshelf, or print a blurb.com book of my family blog?

Observations: Kansas vs. Virginia

Jed made the observation the other day that in Kansas, a rain storm would pound down the same amount of rain in 30 minutes that it take Virginia skies three drizzly days to get out. I'm sort of missing those Kansas rainstorms that flooded us, but then ended. Day after day of drizzle is getting annoying. Virginia, you can make it up to me by being not as cold and icy all winter.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Library Books

I just stacked up all of the library books we have at our house so I can return them this week. We have 42 that I've stacked up. All but one of those is for the kids (or for homeschooling). We're keeping three library books at home (one for me, one for school, one kid book about Washington DC). So, total, we have 45 library books (not counting Jed's) checked out. That I can find. From the library in town.

This doesn't count other libraries we use (we probably have 12 books from the library one town over and 8 dvds. Plus a book and a dvd from a much further away town library). Is this normal? I realize that we aren't spending money on books, so some of you may buy a lot books in a month and that would lessen the amount you checked out from the library. We are a bit more of a book worm family than I think is normal. But, I can't imagine how anyone else escapes a library with three kids in tow and not this many books. (I guess I should take into account that this load of books was picked up on three separate library trips.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


While touring our brand new, mall-sized Walmart the other day, we walked up the kitchen appliance section and I heard Princess Sparkley dreamily telling Buddy about how someday she wanted a toaster that you could see through the door. Basically, a toaster oven, but she didn't know the term. I had to laugh as I explained to her that growing up, my family had a toaster oven and I would watch tv shows and movies and commercials with pop up toasters and dream about how someday I would have a pop up toaster, not a boring toaster oven. So I told her, "when I grew up and Daddy and I got married, we got a pop up toaster oven." Her response, "When I grow up, I'm going to have a toaster with a clear door so I can see my toast cook."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The National Gallery

I took the kids to the National Gallery in Washington DC on Saturday. Thanks to my wonderfully creative sister-in-law who reminded me that this book existed and loaned me her copy, we had a pretty fun time.

The book, (from the same illustrator as the Fancy Nancy books), tells a story with only pictures, no words. There's a fun map in front of the balloon's route around DC. The back of the book lists all of the real artwork with credits, as well as telling you about famous Americans that are drawn into many of the scenes. The basic premise of the story is a grandma (or possibly older mom) taking her two grandkids (or possibly children) to the National Gallery, but the girl has a balloon, and you can't take a balloon into the National Gallery. They end up tying the balloon to a photographers George Washington cardboard cut-out outside and they enter the museum.

While they are seeing the famous artwork, the balloon has become free and is having an adventure of its own around famous DC landmarks. The artwork depicted in the book is real artwork owned by the National Gallery (it's not always all on display, we saw artwork that my sister-in-law had marked as not on display, and she saw paintings that weren't on display when we visited). Along with the real artwork are drawings of the balloons crazy adventures that are very similar to the artwork the grandkids are seeing in the gallery. For instance:

My kids were wimpy about reenacting the exact pose.
And my camera took a terrible picture with the lighting in here.

The National Gallery is HUGE! There were a lot of sections that we hurried through. But there were also sections that my kids really enjoyed. Baby X loved the displays of horse armor and kept blowing raspberries (his horse noise). He also liked any paintings involving dogs or babies. Thank goodness for the periods of art history where women were depicted with their babies, or when drawing the Madonna with baby was hugely popular.

When we first entered the museum, I asked the woman at the information desk for anything they had special for kids. She handed me a glossy sheet of paper with about 20 one inch square pictures of artwork in the museum that kids tend to like (a statue of a girl ballerina, a painting of a fluffy white dog, a portrait of George Washington, etc.) to use as a sort of I Spy game. This, mixed with the book and the artwork from it we were trying to find, really helped keep the kids interested. Someone also suggested going to the gift shop first and letting each kid pick out a postcard of a piece of artwork (75 cents) and then they try to find it while you tour the museum. I didn't happen upon the gift shop until the end, so I let them each pick a postcard of their favorite artwork. Princess Sparkley picked a postcard of the girl ballerina statue. Buddy picked a postcard of Washington DC on the fourth of July with fireworks (not exactly the artwork postcard I was going for) and I chose Wayne Thiebaud's famous "Cakes" painting.*

I'm not going to lie to you and say it was all wonderful and the kids were great art enthusiasts. Taking a 7 year old, a 5 1/2 year old, and especially a 21 month old to an art gallery by myself was not easy. About halfway through the main floor Baby X was losing it. We took a break, went out on the front steps and ate snacks for about 20 minutes. We were yelled at by five museum guards:
1. Buddy pushing Baby X in the stroller sort of wildly in an exhibit room while I tried to help PS take a picture of a painting she wanted to photograph.
2. In the modern art part of the museum Buddy was trying to get really close to a painting (because modern art is excitingly crazy) and a guard had to tell us to stay 12 inches back... he was actually really nice about it.
3. Buddy absentmindedly running his hand along a table in the middle of an exhibit room. Apparently this table was on exhibit... it was just the first art of that type we'd come across.
4. Buddy absentmindedly running his hand along a large, weird statue in a foyer/stairway area that was also, apparently artwork. This guard was nice and friendly about it as well.
5. In the modern art building there are trees with little circle benches around them in the foyer. Buddy was walking around speedily on one of these little walls... no where near any artwork, but the guard didn't want him to fall.

Buddy and Princess Sparkley on the steps of the National Gallery
Princess Sparkley is in light blue, just left of center.

Baby X (freed from his stroller), PS and Buddy on the steps of the National Gallery

Between the National Gallery and the East building that houses the modern art museum, is this courtyard with glass pyramids. The pyramids, it turns out, are skylights that look down into the cafe. We then went down to the concourse between the two museums and saw the pyramids as skylights. Riding the flat escalator walkway between the two museums, underground, may have been the highlight of the trip for Buddy.

In the modern art museum.

*I'm planning a complete kitchen design around his cake paintings now.

Taken Over

Our dvd player has been on its way out for several months now... I think it's finally gone. This is bad news for a family with a nearly two year old who is currently obsessed with Elmo. He even knows how to open all our dvd players (the ones in the laptops as well as the regular one), insert a dvd and close it. He's even put an Elmo dvd in our old desktop computer's cdrom drive (which doesn't play dvds) and wondered why Elmo wasn't showing up on the screen. Yesterday I had two laptops home so I could use one and use the other for movies. Today I only have one. And Baby X is currently sitting on my lap pointing at the computer screen saying "Elmo, Elmo, Elmo" since he put the dvd in and still nothing has happened. So, until I can comandeer my computer back from a toddler, you won't be hearing from me.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Domino Effect of Early Holidays

I complain about this every year, but especially now that my kids are older, they pay attention and notice the Christmas sections of every store and start bugging me about decorating, planning and shopping for Christmas. I'm all for early Christmas shopping, but I'm not putting up decorations or a tree until after Thanksgiving. You can't just SKIP a holiday, people. We did sing Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer in the car the other day, but that was only because Princess Sparkley was butchering it without my help. Otherwise, I stick to my dad's rule growing up... no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. I can't get too mad at the stores this year though. Even though Target had a Christmas aisle up NEXT TO their Halloween aisle, I figure with the economy the way it is, the stores need to get a jump start on their biggest selling season of the year. But all of this Christmas craziness has Princess Sparkley planning Baby X's 2nd birthday (January 26th). Planning it in the sense that she's gathering all the Elmo books that we have, drawing decorations, and wants me to make these Bakerella cookie pops for his "party." She has even asked if he'll be able to invite friends or if it is just a family party. Thanksgiving is still (in my mind) a month away. Christmas is two months away. Which means that Baby X's birthday is three months away. This is craziness.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I don't typically buy sliced deli meat from the deli. There are usually three kids hanging off my cart while I grocery shop, so waiting at the deli counter is just added time that I'm grumpily doing my shopping. I just grab a plastic container of ham and turkey and call it good.

On a recent trip to the grocery store (alone) I decided to take advantage of the deli counter and their sale prices on ham and turkey . After I placed my order, the woman asked how I wanted my meats sliced. Ummmm.... I had to ask her what my options were. Duh. Thin, thick, etc. I assume because I'd just made a random guess at how I wanted my deli meat sliced, she sliced a piece and showed it to me to see if I was okay with the thickness of it. Then she handed me that piece to eat. I had to refuse it. She'd cut the turkey first. And I dislike turkey. So, there began the first time this holiday season I have to shock someone with my distaste for turkey. Luckily, she took it in stride and kept cutting my meat. Maybe it's a good omen for the rest of the holidays and no one will be so utterly shocked this year when they find out I don't eat turkey. Not even at Thanksgiving. Not even when it's cooked in whatever wonderful way they chose to prepare their turkey. I just don't like it. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I was always amused when eating out with Jed when we were first dating and first married because he always ordered soup with his meal, rather than salad. This was so foreign to me. Everyone else I had ever eaten out with always ordered salad, like me. Not Jed. It's not that I'm not a soup person, I love soup. I guess I just think of soup as a meal with salad and bread, not an appetizer before a big meal.

Now that the temperature is dropping and the leaves have changed color, I can start pulling out all my favorite soup recipes. And after finishing Julie Powell's Julie and Julia, where she starts out making Julia Child's Potage Parmentier, which to me means, fancy potato soup, I'm definitely craving a creamy potato soup. Except for one problem, my kids don't like soup. What can I do to make them like soup?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Getting a Maid

image from here

That title tricked you, didn't it? I'm not getting a maid... I'm thinking about what I'd make her do if I were to get a maid. Here's my list:

Wash sheets and make beds.
Clean toilets.
Clean showers and tubs.
Wash windows.
Clean stove/oven.
Clean kitchen sink.
Clean all, non-carpeted floors.*

*In The Time Traveler's Wife, after they got married they discussed how they'd split up their household responsibilities. The discussion ended with neither one of them enjoying vacuuming, so they hired a maid to do that. I don't mind vacuuming... although I don't leave a room with perfect stripes across the floor like my mom always tried to get me to do when I was vacuuming for her growing up.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dinner Menu

I wish there was a website I could go to that listed out my menu and shopping list every week.  I know, I know... this probably exists somewhere.  But it can't guarantee that the recipe is easy, that my whole family will both eat it and like it, and it won't take into account what ingredients I already have in my cupboards/fridge.  Nor will it do the shopping for me.  Or the touching of raw chicken, if that is involved.  I'm asking too much, I know.  But sometimes, I just want all the work done for me. 

Too Much Candy

I'm probably the last person you expected to talk about too much candy because, really, unless it's all cherry flavored or involves coconut, there can never be too much candy.  But when you get to the bottom of the plastic pumpkins and there isn't any "good" candy left to eat, here are some fun experiments you can do with those Halloween leftovers.  And perhaps your kids won't cry about it like they would about say, your threats to throw it all in the trash.


Friday, October 30, 2009


I've been worrying a lot lately that I'm not doing a good enough job preparing my kids for life. I want them to grow up and already be in the habit of making their beds, cleaning up after themselves, having jobs to do around the house, etc. In May I made up chore charts for the kids. Mainly this was so Princess Sparkley could earn enough money to pay for a pink Leapster before 1) our drive from Kansas to Utah and back and 2) our move from Kansas to Virginia. I even over inflated how much I would normally pay her for a week's worth of mainly completed chores so she'd earn the Leapster in time.

My dream was that these chores would become regular habits so I didn't have to spend the first three hours of my morning continually reminding them to make their beds and brush their teeth. Mainly it has just transformed to me reminding them all day that they haven't marked anything off of their chore charts.

We don't really like paying the kids for stuff they should be doing as a member of our family, and when we moved to Virginia and money was tighter, we switched what they earned to being dessert. If they did a good job with their chores all week, we'd either make a yummy dessert, or go for McDonald's dollar Sundaes. This doesn't work either because I LOVE MAKING DESSERTS. So it happens a lot. Usually more than once a week. I decided this week that we would go back to them earning money, but the money they earn will be what the other kid uses to buy a Christmas present for his/her siblings. This way, PS is bugging Buddy to do his chores because she'll get a more expensive present out of it, and vice versa. We'll see how it goes. So far Buddy has ignored his chore chart since Monday evening and when I reminded him about it today he went and crossed off everything he "remembered" doing. Including getting dressed every day this week (even the days that have yet to happen).

Baby Leash

from here

I'm considering buying one, but I'm actually opposed to baby leashes. (Or, for the PC term, baby harnesses). You know, those harnesses parents put on their kids when they take them in public. I've been lucky that my kids have never climbed out of a shopping cart, and for the most part, are content to sit in their stroller (provided I keep supplying them with fruit snacks, etc.) so I've never needed one, until now. Plus they are so cute now... like a little fuzzy animal backpack. I think Baby X might really love this puppy one.

Here's my problem... what do I do when, on my own, without Jed, I want to take my kids to a museum in DC that doesn't allow strollers?!? We experienced it briefly at the Air and Space Museum when we were forced to park the stroller and ride an elevator up to the observation tower. But that was a very short period of time, during which Baby X was totally enthralled with airplanes coming in for landing next door at Dulles. And it wasn't a timed anything... when we were done looking, we got back in the elevator and returned to the stroller.

We want to visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing... but it doesn't allow strollers. What to do? What to do?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Empty Threats

My kids leave toys everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I've been telling them all week that if they can't clean up after themselves and take care of their toys, I'm going to put all the toys they've left out into a box and I'll give that box to Goodwill. This is actually a pretty good threat since I gave A LOT of stuff to Goodwill, Ebay, and garage sales before we moved from Kansas. But some of their toys I like just as much, possibly even more than they do... so it's really an empty threat. Today I had a better idea. I told them I'd box up the toys they left out, wrap them up, and they'd get them back as Christmas presents. Ideally, I want them to clean up after themselves, but if they don't, I save a lot of money on Christmas presents.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I went to book club this morning with 124 pages left in Maeve Binchy's The Glass Castle. I had a pretty good idea of where things were headed with the plot, and no one gave away the ending for me... so that was nice. I finished it just now, 6 PM. Now I can get back to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol... if only I could convince the kids to go to bed at 7PM.

In other news, Jed and I are in charge of organizing friendship dinners for people at church. We picked a Friday and Saturday in November and the people who wanted to participate could pick a date and whether they wanted to be a guest or a host. I finally got everything worked out, people assigned to be guests in other people's homes and now I wait and see who forgot the date and has something else planned, who the archenemies from church are who I inadvertantly assigned to each other, etc. This should be interesting.

I also baked this pumpkin chocolate chip bread today to drop off at a friend's. Taught Buddy about words and how stringing them together makes sentences. Taught PS about estimating and rounding up. Baby X stayed in his PJs all day and learned the word "home." Made the kids watch a video about Life Cycles that we checked out from the library. Made meatball sandwiches for dinner. Was tracted into by LDS missionaries who are from the Spanish congregation so they didn't know us. That was fun when they found out we were members of their church already. Tomorrow we'll make some pumpkin cookies and use the kids trunk-or-treat candy as faces transforming our pumpkin cookies into Jack-O-Lanterns. Now we're off to munch on some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread for dessert.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Away from the office

I'm in a new book club with ladies from church here in Virginia and with being out of town, and weird church schedules, and me not being on the right email list, I didn't find out what the new book club book was until last Sunday. And of course, the library copies are all checked out, so I picked up my copy from the library one town over this morning. Unfortunately, I found out yesterday at church that book club is tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM. I'm on page 4, only 580 more to go. I might be able to pull this off if Baby X would nap (so far he's just chatting to stuff from his crib) and the kids weren't homeschooled (although all that is left for today is history). Until tomorrow...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fact and Fiction

My mother-in-law sent me her copy of Dan Brown's new book The Lost Symbol since I was person 400 and something on my library's waiting list. It's exciting to read because so far (I'm less than 100 pages into it) it's all taking place in Washington DC. Washington DC is my new town, so I'm looking forward to being able to go investigate and see if what Brown is describing is really there. But what's fact and what's fiction? I'm sure there is some sort of parallel book in the works where some author is making money of Brown's fame by explaining the real and the unreal in this book, but I'm two lazy to read TWO books about the same thing. I guess I'll wait until I've finished reading it, and then maybe I'll do a bit of Wikipedia research... you know, looking for the truth. ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marriage and Haunted Houses

When Jed and I had been married about six months, we flew to Utah for my friend Angela's flute recital at BYU. It was October. We met some of Angela's roommates and I remember one of them asking us if we liked haunted houses. Jed and I sort of looked at each other questioningly. It wasn't a topic that had ever come up. The roommate laughed, assuming that we were the type of BYU couple who got engaged on their second date and were married after a two month engagement. That was not our story.

I laugh now at how well I thought we knew each other then, compared to how well we know each other now. And I'll probably laugh in several years at how well I think I know him now compared to the future.

Jed and I joke about this haunted house question all the time... how apparently, knowing your significant other's opinion on haunted houses is very revealing about your relationship. But every time we bring up this haunted house question, usually this time of year, we still don't know the other's opinion. What it comes down to is... I don't have an opinion. I neither love nor hate them. But I don't seek them out, so I guess I don't like them. Aside from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, I haven't been to one since a family home evening activity my freshman year of college when the girls seriously outnumbered the boys.

So, if you have a significant other, how does he/she feel about haunted houses?


There's always a point at the beginning of a movie, or the first few pages of a book, when I start to panic that I'm not getting everything. I worry that I'm going to miss something, and it'll ruin the whole movie or book for me. Does anyone else feel this panic?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Air and Space

The best part of the Air and Space Museum...

watching planes land at Dulles Airport from the observation/control tower.

Not that the rest of the museum wasn't interesting (although Princess Sparkley was pretty bored), this was just so up close and cool.

Tip: the museum is free, parking is $15 per car. Jed dropped us off at the gate and I walked in with the kids. Although I wouldn't recommend this on a cold, rainy day in October.
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