Making Your House A Home: A Tale of Triumph and Woe.

Sometimes I want to curse my stupid house for being stupid. I mean, we bought it on purpose and everything. We WANTED a house we could fix up, we just really had no idea what that meant, and will be fixing up this house for the rest of our lives as a result. My friend Alisha has an old house too, and compared it to a two year old; It hangs on your leg, whining and whining and no matter what you give it it is never satisfied.

Yep, sounds about right.

BUT, I have not been looking on the bright side!

It is possible that I am not the most vigilant parent, and we obviously haven't toddler proofed the house as well as we need to and Harrison is always getting into things. The other day I found him surrounded by the white board pens out of Richard's desk drawer. And he had opened every pen in turn and colored all over the carpet (and himself of course.)


but did I freak out? Well, only a little, but not about the carpet. Why? Because it is just an ugly carpet remnant our neighbor had in his garage and I couldn't care less about it. Once we actually get around to redoing that room the carpet is going to be replaced.

Wow, how am I going to function when I have to worry about my carpet?

So, it turns out my tiny messer is perfectly suited to his surroundings (or the other way around) and I should just be glad of that, and hope that I have somehow taught him to be NOT so destructive by the time the house is done. Indeed, t'will be my greatest accomplishment as a parent! It was Faralee who said: "lets be honest, as cute as Harrison is he is definitely the biggest tornado of destruction the world has ever seen. No one competes." So, yeah. When I am thinking that he is the greatest mess maker in the land and there is no way I can possibly keep up with the ruination, there is at least some comfort in knowing that I am right.

Blah, blah blah.

We have finally come to the HOME INSPECTION stage of our adoption application. I have been working all week to get the house clean (Richard told me our case worker probably wouldn't squat down and check behind our toilet for dust, but I say you can never be too sure!) and to somehow make it look less like a construction site and more like a home. We did this with a plant on the dining room table, and a vanilla scented candle in the living room. I know. We are so clever. I didn't watch 500 episodes of Designed to Sell for nothing!

But as I worked I got more and more discouraged. The more I did, the more there was left to do, and the more I realized that I could never get done. I figured we would be lucky after this if they let us keep Harrison, let alone have ANOTHER kid.

However, through divine intervention, our sweet case worker saw our house through Oh!-Look-at-all-the-neat-things-you-have-done-to-this-quaint-old-house eyes, instead of You-actually-let-a-baby-crawl-around-on-that-floor? eyes. She didn't even mention the huge miter saw sitting in the middle of the dining room.

So it is over. It's nice to have an excuse to clean my house that deeply every once in a while, but Man! I need a maid! Because, as I always say, why do for myself what I can pay someone else to do for me?

Poll Results: Toes, What are They Good For?

Well folks, we have just completed a new poll in honor of Valentine's Day. And because I like to stay on top of things I am publishing this JUST in time for your V-Day plans! When I asked my dear husband what things inquiring minds most want to know about, he said "Toes". I admit, I was skeptical, but I have been married to him long enough to know that he is never wrong, so we came up with a very topical, pertinent, thought provoking poll, and I am grateful to all those who took the time to vote* after seriously considering their feelings.

Let us view the results:

WHICH TOE WOULD YOU BE MOST SORRY TO PART WITH?


Big Toe - 4 votes
Middle Toe - 1 vote
Spare Toe 1 - 0 votes
Spare Toe 2 - 0 votes
Pinkie Toe - 2 votes


Well. Yes. I think we can all agree that this is some fascinating stuff. I mean, would YOU ever have expected the answers to come out this way? Truly, no one saw this coming.

As it turns out, the majority of the world would most mourn the loss of their big toe. They say you need it for balance - though I would argue that it isn't really doing ME a whole lot of good in that area. In fact, I knew a guy once who was missing ALL the toes on his right foot except for his big toe (lawnmower accident) and it seemed to work out all right for him, so...

And Spare Toe One and Spare Toe Two (See Diagram) are indeed appropriately named. What are those toes FOR anyway? It might be more difficult to pick up things with my feet without them, but if I had to part with one of them, I think I could get by.

So, now we know how the world feels about their toes. However, I don't think this poll is going to be enough. People will want to know more! So please take the time to comment and tell us WHY you voted for the toe that you did (or would have voted, if you had the chance), and how you plan to get by without that particular digit once it is gone.

Thank you in advance!!




*by voting on this poll you agree to have your toes stolen in the night by ghouls.

Bye Bye Birdie


So there was a bird in the house today. This isn't it, I just think this picture is awesome. I screamed and ducked when I saw him, but he didn't attack. I opened the front door, ran to get a broom and when I came back he was gone. I think he flew out. I hope he flew out. I couldn't find him anywhere inside, so I am just going to trust that he flew out. We get at least one bird invader a year. And I cannot figure out HOW they are getting in! And despite what you may be thinking, it is not some kind of unexplained paranormal phenomena that is letting them pass through the windows the way David Copperfield walked through the Great Wall of China. How can I be so sure, you ask? Because when we first moved in, I watched a bird try to do just that, every day, all summer long.

I had a video I was going to show you of that determined little bird, that I managed to captured on our very first digital camera - 2 whole megapixels and everything. But that video has gone the way of all old files, and I couldn't find it anywhere.

So close your eyes if you will, and imagine... Nope, wait, sorry, you are going to have to open your eyes back up. How are you supposed to read my instructions with your eyes closed? Maybe if you just kinda squint at the monitor it will be about the same. Ok, so imagine, standing in your bedroom, looking out of a second story window, and you see a what appears to be a normal bird launch himself from the tree in front of you and fly strait at the house, smacking headlong into the window. He flaps about for a second, dazed, then sails back to the tree, turns around, flies back and crashes right into the window again. Over, and over and over. With surprisingly steady rhythm. For about an hour. Would you not think this bird had lost his marbles? That is what I thought, but he just kept doing it, crazy bird. At least, I think it was the same bird. Maybe it was some kind of hazing to get into an elite bird fraternity. Or, maybe I am wrong and it IS some kind of sinister paranormal event because maybe our house is built over a sacred bird burial ground, and this is some kind of poltergeist thing??????

The 6-6-6 Tag

The Challenge is to go to your picture folder on your computer. Find the 6th folder. (If you are having a hard time locating it, remember, look AFTER number 5.) Go to the 6th picture of the 6th folder. Post the picture on your blog and describe it. Pass the challenge on to 6 friends. Link to them on your blog and let them know they've been challenged.

Thanks for the tag LoW! I accept! And here it is:


Hmm. It feels a little weird to post this picture. This is 3 boys from my ward, taken about 3 years ago. Is it wrong to publish this picture online? If anyone thinks online is over the line, please let me know.

So, why do I have a picture of three 14 year old boys? In case you can't tell, this picture is taken through a window. From the inside. So, yes, they were standing on a couple of cinder blocks in the middle of my flower garden, staring through the window. My husband had recently been put in the Young Mens, and I in the Young Womens, and for months these three rode their bikes to our house after school with the sole purpose, as far as I can tell, of annoying us. That is, afterall, what 14 year old boys do best.

We invited them in from time to time, but they were always trying to steal Richard's fireworks, and they really seemed to prefer staying outside anyway, finding new ways to drive us crazy. I took this picture so that I would have some proof of their weirdness.

Not to worry though! I got a little bit of payback. One day they leaned Richard's bike up against the house so they could stand on it and look through the kitchen window. And they just stayed there. Richard went out and invited them in, but they preferred to be as creepy as possible and stand there with their faces pressed against the glass. It is pretty hard to just carry on with your day knowing that you are being watched. I certainly couldn't finish washing the dishes. (Ha ha! Yeah Right! I wasn't washing dishes!!) So I snuck upstairs to my bedroom, quietly opened the window in my closet and climbed out onto the kitchen roof. Then, with the stealth of a ninja, I inched my way carefully toward the edge. There they were, as clueless as could be. So I pulled out Richard's airsoft gun and shot them in the head!!

They looked up, screamed like little girls, and ran. Ha ha! It was awesome! I felt so cool, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando.


Except, you know, with a shirt on.

After the shooting and the running, they scattered around my back yard, hiding in the trees. Richard distracted them by firing off some more shots from the kitchen door, to be sure they stayed where they were, and I ran out the front door, loaded all of their bikes into the back of our truck and drove away. HA! Take that, suckas!!

Needless to say, they liked getting shot at and it didn't help at all, but it was not without its lessons. I learned, for instance, that shooting people from my roof is super, super fun and I should find ways to do it whenever I can! Hooray!

So, who else? I tag the following people:

Anne
Marion
Naco
Nava-Jo
AE
Kao

Baby Boom?

I want to thank you all for your helpful words of wisdom and advice in regards to my baby problems. I can proudly say that I tried every one of your suggestions, and it turns out that a careful balance of all of them works the best. I can't tell you exactly how to balance sucker-punching with lying next to them in their crib. That is something each parent has to work out on their own. I can only say that things are improving around our house.

And now Harrison won't stop eating. He has always been little. Well, he was average when he was born, but quickly dropped to "TINY" and hasn't been above 10% on the size charts for his age since. (Though one time, at a Bridal Fair I think, a lady said to me "How old is he?" and I said "He's about 9 months", and she said "Wow! He is SO big!" I just stared at her. Didn't really know how to say "No he's not ya loony!" so I just smiled indulgently and left her to her delusions.) I've always thought that part of that has to do with his eating habits. He just never ate much except milk and was short and skinny because of it.

So now that I have weaned him, he eats all the time. Half an hour is about all it takes for him to digest and he is ready for more. I don't even know how to keep up with him. Thank goodness for goldfish and cheerios, cuz it's not like I am going to cook 10 meals a day. Come on. That is just totally unrealistic. I feel pretty good about cooking one, and I would really like to keep it that way.

So anyway, I keep expecting him to suddenly get fat. Just blow up like Harry Potter's Aunt Marge.


Of course that would really be quite unfortunate, but I always think about it anyway.

Still, 2 weeks of eating like a pig, and I don't think he has gained a pound. I would blame it on the running around, which he does, but he is really more of a explorer than a marathon runner. I am starting to think that mess making might actually burn more calories than anyone has ever suspected.

10 Tips to Make This The Best Valentine's Day Ever!

Whether you are in 3rd grade just trying to catch that cute girl's eye, or have been married for 50 years, we can all use a little help when it comes to romance. Here are a few tips to help make this Valentine's Day Super Special.

1. One great gesture of affection is to do an act of service for the one you love. This could be something like doing the dishes, or washing her car, NOT something like finally inviting her to join you and your friends for a night of dungeons and dragons in the back room at the game store.

2. The word poop is funny. But you probably shouldn't include it in your Valentine's poem. Poop and Romance very rarely go hand in hand.



3. Bathe & Wear Deodorant.

4. If he asks you for the soundtrack to Highschool Musical 3, just get it for him. There is no way he would admit it unless he REALLY wanted it. Besides, he is probably way too embarrassed to buy it for himself.

5. They know you love them, right? However, this is not the time to make statements about the physical appearance of your loved one, so save those Gym memberships for their birthday.

6. It is common to want to impress the girl that brings hearts to your eyes, but showing off by performing physical feats can often go wrong. (And may not be as impressive as you were hoping.)



7. Even if you think so, don't tell the apple of your eye that she has nice, sturdy child-bearing hips.

8. Though it may have been your favorite activity as a kid, I wouldn't recommend taking your beloved to go shooting rats out in the barn. Unless of course she is into that sort of thing. You never can tell.

9. Gifts made by hand are a great way to show you care. Just make sure you know how to use the power tools, because spending an evening with you in the emergency room after you've lost a toe in a drill press accident is nobody's idea of a good time.



10. If you still manage to mess up somehow, an apology is probably in order. You will want to remember at this point that using the phrase "It's all your fault" in an apology may not be the best idea.

My Tiny Problem Solver


Harrison is so smart. He couldn't solve that blasted Rubiks Cube, so he decided to have a go at with the sword. Good Job!

(and yes, the picture is bad. I TOLD you my camera was on the fritz.)

Japanese Steakhouse

Went to Tepanyaki last night. Sigh. I love it so. On the way into the restaurant I said to Richard,

"You know what my favorite thing about Tepanyaki is? Making new friends!"

And then we laughed together. Ha ha ha haa! Because the possibility of having to make small talk with strangers is almost enough to keep me from eating there. Almost. But not quite. Because those noodles are so good. I think next time I am just going to order noodles with noodles on the side and forget about the chicken and vegetables. My favorite thing about Tepanyaki, though, is that it is dinner AND a show! And come on, it's a show involving food, and fire, and onion volcanoes! What could possibly be better? Watching our chef, who looked like a highly disciplined Karate Master, flip an egg around on a spatula, throw salt into the air and hit people in the face with shrimp just brought me all kinds of joy.

A Cry for Help

I need help. I don't care if you are a mom or not, if you have never interacted with a child at all, if you don't like kids, or if you just like to talk out your backside, I will take any advice I can get.

My two year old has always been a sweet and mild mannered little boy. When he was teething or sick he would get very grouchy, but it always went away when he felt better.

A couple weeks ago we took Harrison's bottle away from him. And he was mad as heck and made sure we knew it. Things are better now. During the day he is just fine. He eats a LOT of solid food, which he never did before, and will happily drink water or juice out of a cup. (He won't drink milk though. Apparently if it isn't in a bottle he doesn't want it.)

But he won't go to sleep. For a while he would let me sit in the room and read until he fell asleep. Which usually took at least an hour. But now he screams unless I am right next to his bed playing, reading or singing to him. And I just can't stand up, leaning into his crib for two hours every day.

In an effort to distract him I got him a brand new toy yesterday that he could only play with in bed. When I put him down for his nap I put him in bed and then opened up his new toy so that he could play with it. He was giddy. And he could have cared less when I left the room because he was so interested in his toy. Mission accomplished, right? Wrong. He didn't go to sleep. Apparently his toy was a little too awesome, because he just played with it for two and a half hours and didn't sleep at all.

So I tried again last night. Put him in bed with his new toy, and he happily played with it in his bed for an hour and then threw it overboard and started screaming. Angry, you-guys-better-come-in-here-and-get-me-right-now kinds of screams. Richard kept saying "I just don't think he is tired." But I refuse to believe that 9 hours of sleep per day is enough for a two year old.

I hate to have him cry himself to sleep. It seems like the only other options are to give him back his bottle (and I'm not even sure it would work at this point), or let him stay up until he passes out somewhere on his own. AAAAAAAAHHHHH!

So, all you geniusss, if you have any advice, I am all ears. I want my sweet little boy back. Help!

Unable to have a Highway of their own, they decided to adopt.

Here is a little Blah Blah for your Sunday evening:

Richard and I are starting the adoption process again. We put down our deposit and everything. So there you have it. I have spilled the beans. The truth is finally out there (just like Moulder always knew it was). On Thursday we had an interview with our case worker. They like to get together with the hopeful couples and ask them all kinds of personal and searching questions. We already answered these questions on paper, but I guess they like make sure that we are real people, and not just a couple of robots googling answers to these confusing human questions. (Yes, robots use google too.)

She asked us about our missions: I went to New Hampshire and Richard went to Philadelphia. She said "Oh! Those are close!" As though our meeting might have had something to do with the close proximity of our missions. So I said "We weren't out at the same time though. Cuz he is way older than me." just to clear up any questions on that point, to which Richard replied that he's not THAT much older. I looked skeptically at him.

So our case worker went on to ask about our marriage. What expectations did I have going into it, compared to how it actually was? I told her that I had expected wonderful, flower-filled, magical rainbows of happiness and love. But, it was hard sometimes, especially cuz I was going to school and such. She asked Richard if he was still going to school too, and he said that no, he had already graduated when we got married, and I reminded her that it was because he is so much older.

So then she wanted to hear Richard's expectations going into marriage, and with a meaningful look at me he said, "Well, I am SO old, that I really just wanted someone to help feed me, clean me, and help me get from room to room". We all laughed, but it would be a lot funnier if only it weren't true.


So we went to a workshop after that, where we met other adoptive parents and those waiting to adopt and we all had to wear name tags and sit in a circle and chat about adoption and it was pretty cool. And they had snickerdoodles which were delicious. (My sister-in-law April thought they should have had a baby raffle to boost attendance, but I'm guessing that is probably what the snickerdoodles were for.) Afterward we stopped by Jamba Juice where I ordered a Strawberries Wild and Richard ordered an Orange Dream Machine. And when the JJ employee asked for Richard's name he tore off his name tag, handed it to the guy and said, "Here, you can keep it".

Oh boy. That crazy old man cracks me up.
Do computer programmers look so nerdy because they are computer programmers, or did they become computer programmers because they look so nerdy?

Are men really that dumb?

I have noticed lately (and by lately I mean the last 10 years or so) that men are often portrayed in the media--commercials, specifically--as dumb and incompetent. In almost every commercial the woman has to help her poor, half-witted husband to put down the seats in the car or bid for a coon skin cap on ebay, because he just can't seem to figure out how to do it himself. I thought that this was kind of a recent thing. But Richard bought a game at the Thrift Store the other day (I am not even going to bother telling you why. Describing the depths of his nerdiness just takes way too much time) and look! Even in 1968 when this game was made, the whole family is having a swell old time playing this kicky math game, except poor Dad, who just can't figure out what is going on!

Bringing Dinner Back

Harrison likes to eat while sitting in front of the heater on the kitchen floor. I don't like it though, so I told him, "We don't eat on the floor like animals. We eat like civilized people, sitting in front of the TV."
I just figured out what my problem with Twilight is. Besides that it is a highschool romance, which I am just not that into, I like to read books about smart people. Either people that I come to look up to or admire because they seem to be smart from the beginning, or they learn something throughout the story and end up a lot wiser than when they started. But Bella starts out dumb and never seems to learn anything. Now, I never read the last book, (because by the end of the 3rd book I was too fed up with her dumbness to read anymore) but she just keeps on being immature, and making stupid, irrational decisions. The girl needs a good sound karate kick to the head, but, sadly, I doubt it would do any good.

Ok fans, disagree with me. I'm ready. I can take it.

Bottles and Boogers

We decided to wean Harrison off his bottle. (Well... wean isn't really the right word. We forced him to give up the drink cold turkey.) I'm not really sure why now. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I took one of his bottles and cut the tip off and told him that it was broken. When I have tried in the past to give him a cup instead of a bottle he would just get mad and dump the cup. But now he looked kinda concerned for his poor, fallen bottle, but was willing to take the cup, because that is all there was. And when, later that afternoon, he actually chugged some water out of a cup, which he has never done before, I proudly patted myself on the back for my skill and efficiency, convinced that I was a great weaner.

But by that evening, I could tell that he was sick (the boogers are what gave it away) and he was in a horrendous mood. My sweet, angelic little boy turned into a furious, tiny monster. I can see now a thousand ways that would have been better to wean him than cold turkey, but it was already too late.

That was Thursday. Now it is Monday. And it has been quite an exciting weekend (exciting, as in: my shoelace is stuck in the train tracks and there is a train bearing down on me, and oh look, here comes a black bear who is probably going to eat all my major limbs before the train even kills me. Exciting!!) I kept thinking that what we needed, what HE needed, was another little source of comfort. His bottle was his woobie. So he needs a new woobie. I tried to surreptitiously get him suddenly attached to something new, but he wasn't interested in a blanket, or sucking his thumb. I thought for a while that the darned singing Elmo might do the trick, but GRATEFULLY, no. I was even ready to get him to fall in love with a binkie, but I couldn't find one.

However, as is the way with these things, if you leave them alone, they usually work themselves out. Last night, as I sat in his room and read while he laid in his bed and didn't sleep, it dawned on me that he just might have found something new to comfort himself. It took an hour and a half for him to fall asleep. And in that time he didn't cry. Didn't fuss. Didn't look at his book, didn't play with his little stuffed dog, didn't sing to himself, didn't pay any attention to me. He could have done any of those things, but he didn't. Instead, he spent an hour and a half picking his nose. If that's not comfort, I don't know what is.