Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Did you wake Wednesday morning with eager anticipation to read another guest post from Cannwin only to be brutally disappointed? Sorry 'bout that. Apparently reliable internet is one of those blessings I took for granted when I lived in a big city. Dangit. Que sera. It's Friday and sheeeeeeeee's baaaaaaaack! Welcome Cannwin once again here at Hanging by a Silver Lining and find me over at her little bloggy nest, The Great and Random Ramblings of Cannwin today. Happy Friday!

Cannwin with her fellow culprits

This morning I asked my husband what he would write about if this was his topic. He said, "I'd talk about the war in Afghanistan."

::crickets chirping::

"What, my darling, does that have to do with dead babysitters?"

"Well, it's something that no-one talks about, a big secret."

Now as I sit here talking I can't remember if he was of the mind we would win or lose in Afghanistan. All I remember is that his interpretation of this theme was 'cover-up.'

So I thought I'd run with that.

When I was a kid, we rarely had babysitters. In fact I don't particularly remember anyone coming over to tend us.

Mainly this was because my mom and dad never went out together, but also I think my parents just figured we could take care of ourselves (it was way back when the world was safe).

Well, since kids are kids, it was inevitable that we would get ourselves into trouble.

Boy were we good at that, we lit things on fire and dropped them off our deck. We jumped from the loft onto the couch on the floor below. We used an entire roll of Polaroid's taking pictures of the cat. We rolled cars down the driveway. We got in trouble... frequently.

The worst thing I ever did, however, was try to use my brothers B-B Gun. I've never quite been comfortable with guns since then.

So here's how it went (as far as I can recall), my parents were gone, my brother was off doing something and my sister and I were alone.

And bored.

I was about 8 she was around 4. I imagine it was my idea, being the oldest--and very much the instigator between the two of us--but I can't remember exactly how we ended up with the gun. I don't even remember how it ended up pressed firmly against the sliding glass door. All I really remember is thinking that I had the safety on as I pulled the trigger.

I didn't have the safety on.

My heart nearly stopped beating and in the half a second it takes for a bullet to go from a gun into it's intended target I experienced one of my first ever 'rewind moments' (when you immediately want to rewind and take back what you just did).

The glass shattered... into a million tiny pieces smaller than a fingernail.

Time stood still, I waited for the glass to tumble to the ground, but it stayed in the door frame. My sister breathed something like, "Uh-Oh."

I remember my young life flashing before my eyes. Dad was going to kill me for sure.

How do you hide such a thing?! How do you keep your parents from noticing that their door is... you know... gone?

Well, I'll tell you what doesn't work, shutting the curtains.

Nor is it a good idea to pretend the tiny sparkles all over the window are water droplets from the rain.

Another tactic to not use is to turn on your little sister and blame her. Especially when she's four.

Or trying to lay the guilt at your older brothers feet for leaving his b-b gun out in the first place.

Nope, not good methods of a cover-up, and not very good ways to get allies either.

I didn't die, but that door stayed like that for eight whole years. When I was 16 my mom remodeled the house and finally, blessedly, gratefully removed the evidence of my utter stupidity.

I don't think the b-b gun survived though and I don't think my siblings have ever quite forgotten my betrayal.

Whenever the door comes up the first thing my sister says is 'Remember how you turned on me and yelled, What did you do to the door!?'

Yes, I remember.

Whenever I happen to be holding a gun in my hands (which is infrequent) I might find myself receiving a comment like, "Now make sure the safety's where you want it to be. Oh, and red doesn't mean it's on."

Yes, yes, how could I forget.

The biggest result of my actions of twenty years ago is that I'm always sure to get a babysitter when I leave my house, because I don't want to come home and find out what my children are really capable of.



I haven't been sleeping well lately. Lately meaning: years. (Thanks again Dad for the inherited case of insomnia.) When I wake up my brain immediately clicks on, ready to tackle issues. Issues I try to ignore during the day.

Issues like how we watch way too much TV, the kids in one room and me in another. I think it may be time to cancel our satellite service.

Issues like how we aren't reading books in spite of the pile from the library that is collecting dust on the shelf.

Issues like what a crummy housekeeper I am.

Issues like how pathetic my personal prayers and scripture study have been. Too busy watching TV I suppose.

Issues like saving for retirement and losing weight and trying new recipes and working harder to build better relationships with family and friends and cleaning that junk heap of a room and the End of Days and natural child birth and getting more involved in politics and being nicer to the neighbor kids and working harder to be a better Primary teacher and this and that and then some more of those...

And then I get overwhelmed and fall back asleep in a hopeless mess.

I have been having a difficult time keeping up in the blogging world (have you noticed?), partly because of my crummy, unbearably slow, irritatingly unreliable, terrible, no-good internet service and partly because of my level of ambition. I keep wondering...when this baby comes, is the effort and energy and time spent on the baby going to completely replace my blogging? And is that how it should be?

'Tis time to simplify I think. Now to have the chops to do it...



I like my new home for the most part
But there is one part
That drives me apart

That is...how it always smells like urine outside. All the time. How it wafts in through our ever-efficient swamp cooler. How it burns and wrinkles and offends my nose. And how it contributes to the queasiness of my already temperamental tummy.

But today...Today it's raining {!} and I am doing a native dance in hope that the heavens open wide and do their part

to wash that obscene odor far far away from my new home,

my little part
of the world.


Does this bloggy makeover make me look fat?

Did you notice my little bloggy makeover? What do you think? Pretty cute, no?

I love it!!

A million thanks to my sister, Erin, for going above and beyond the call of duty. I approached her about helping me make a new header a couple of months ago. I was thinking the best we could do was a little cloud with "Hanging by a Silver Lining" in cute font. And then she showed me what she had in mind.

*stunned silence*

She didn't think she could pull it off between mothering three little kids and not having formal graphic design training, but I think it's safe to say... She's amazing! But I already knew that.

(Did you notice the empty cloud just waiting for Baby #4 to perch upon?)

Thank you again and again Erin! Now to blog accordingly...


On a more serious note...

I keep finding myself wandering back to this site. Maybe I'm hoping a miracle has happened and that little Preslee did not actually pass away. It is just too sad.

Last Friday when I discovered she had passed away, I grabbed my girls, held them tightly, and sobbed and sobbed. They were very confused by their weeping mama, but I tried to explain why I was so sad and how important they are to me.

Throughout the week I have found myself just watching them playing and thinking about the Sullengers who returned to an empty and silent house full of toys with no one to play with them. Even when my children have shown less than desirable behavior I have thought about those who would take the sound of screaming or whining over the silence that fills the air. When I have started to get frustrated with their mid-night wakings or milk spills or sibling arguments, I can't help but feel grateful to take the bad along with all the good.

It has been a somber and pensive week.

I am incredibly saddened for the Sullenger family as well as other families who deal with sickness, loss, death, or whatever trials may come. Sometimes this world is such a heavy, tragic place.

But I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is master of it all. Who knows far more than we ever will in this lifetime. Who gives us hope of life after death. I know that families can be together forever. I know that death does not destroy. It's just that wait to be reunited that is so painful.

I want to remember how I felt this week. Maybe tying blankets around little super hero shoulders is more important than neatly-made beds. Maybe that blog post can wait until we've read stories together. Maybe a family walk is more necessary than keeping up with my favorite TV show. Maybe having little helpers in the kitchen is more of a priority than a sparkling clean kitchen floor. Maybe it would be better for me to listen while snuggling rather than yell while sending them to their room.

Not "maybe". Definitely.


On Wife-ing

It's Wednesday and that means another guest-post by Cannwin! Find me over at her blog today. We tackled the same topic: Wife-ing. Make sure to leave her a little bloggy love in the form of a comment and come visit me over at The Great and Random Ramblings of Cannwin. And Happy Wednesday!

A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday. - Erma Bombeck

I have been married for nearly ten years now--we've been together for nearly eleven years--and you know what? He still buys me size 20 pants.

I used to think it was ridiculous for women to cry over such things... that was before I got married.

I used to say it was the wife's fault for marrying someone who can't tell sizes... before I got married.

Now I know.

"Honey." He'll say in that happy, boyishly excited tone. "I got you something."

Two things run through my head at this point--1) uh-oh 2) maybe he got something good this time. Inevitably I get my hopes up.

The worst present I've ever received was actually not clothing.

"You are going to love this!"

He got me so excited. I was practically bouncing when Christmas morning came.

It was two boxes. I opened the big one first (because big presents are rarely as good as small ones).

It was a remote controlled car.

"It's great isn't it?" My husband of three years asked me. I stared at him as he finished unwrapping it.

Then he handed me the next one. "Hurry, open it."

I hesitated, I had honestly thought this was a new camera, but I was beginning to rethink that assumption (you know what happens when people assume, don't you?). It was a battery for the car.

Yep. That's what happens when you're married. It's not really a matter of marrying the right man. It's more a matter of marrying a MAN.

They just don't think the way women do. I could almost equate it to taking a child shopping for a friends birthday, they always buy what they want.

One time he did, honestly try... and that's the time I cried. I had been out with friends watching a monumentally sappy love story and when I got home I was filled with an overabundance of love for him.

"I love you!" I exclaimed passionately.

"I love you too." He said equally as fervent. "And I bought you something."

What a man, I thought to myself. Without hesitation I ripped the bag open. It was a pair of Arizona State capris (Sparky sitting neatly on the side of my behind). I lifted them excitedly into the air and unfolded them.

And unfolded.
And unfolded.
And unfolded.

"Honey!" I cried out, "what size do you think I am?"

His face went from giddy to guarded in .02 seconds.

Poor guy, he didn't understand why I burst into tears. He didn't understand why I would barely talk to him for the rest of the night. It wasn't his fault that I'm a woman and full of inexplicable, uncontrollable emotions.

As the years have gone past I've learned to deal with these 'presents' I just smile, pat his arm and take them down to my sewing machine.... hoping that at some point in our lives I don't actually fit into the clothes he buys me.

And to me, that's what wife-ing is all about. Learning to deal with the idiosyncrasies that make men what they are.... all logic.

My friends tell me I should just buy him things I want for his birthday. I can't do that, because in all honesty I know that he's trying his hardest and I sure do love the effort.


Whistle While You Work

Don't you just love when someone loves their job and it shows?

Does it seem to anyone else that you come across so many grouchy, intolerant people in day-to-day transactions that finding someone who is kind and personable and willing to go the extra mile rare?

Today I came across a couple of gems and I found it so refreshing and delightful I couldn't help but feel it deserved a blog post.

I had an OBGYN appointment today and I walked into the office preparing for the worst. Since Joe was working, I had my three littles in tow (5, almost 4, and barely 2 years old). If much of a wait is involved it doesn't usually bode well for anyone: the fellow "waiters", me, or the three kids who are absolute pros at causing chaos and calamity...at least when we get out of earshot of the public, if you know what I mean.

Anyway! The wait wasn't too bad. I was prepared with books and good humor. The kids responded well. And then... SHE came in. I've never met a midwife before. I've heard the rumors of their glorious goodness, but could never testify of it myself...until today.

The moment she walked in the room, the world was set right. She warmly introduced herself, shaking my hand. And then instead of sitting down and getting down to business, she approached each of my three children, shaking their hands, asking their names and ages, and chatting a bit about this or that with each of them. She even kissed my girls on the back of their little hands. Wow! Brave lady. I mean, who knows where those hands have been?

Then she sat and talked to me. And I mean really talked. She treated me like a person and not a piece of baby-making meat. She showed me my chart and went over all the numbers and lab results and whatever else.

One complaint I have with the baby-delivering industry is once they find out you've already had a baby (or two...or three), they instantly assume you know it all and skip the details. Well, I don't know about anyone else, but my retentive memory is about as effective as a strainer holding tomato soup, especially since having babies. I forget a lot of stuff! I pull out my What to Expect book each and every time I am pregnant. I was so appreciative of this midwife being thorough without being condescending.

Through the appointment she sat comfortably instead of edging toward the door like so many doctors do. Whether or not she had somewhere else to be, she didn't show it. I was her priority and nothing else mattered. It really was a beautiful experience! Maybe this is normal for others, but after some of the experiences I've had, this was rare and welcome!

As the appointment drew to a close, she gave me a warm hug and even a kiss on the cheek. To be honest, that would probably kind of freak me out with anyone else I had just met minutes before. But for some reason, we were already fast friends and this was perfectly acceptable.

It was just so lovely to meet someone who was happy to be in the profession they were in! I sure hope this woman is on call when this kid makes its grand appearance. Maybe I'll have to cross my legs or hang upside down for awhile until she is.

After we left the office, we headed over to a little lunch spot that sells homemade soups, sandwiches, and baked goods. Forget how good the food is; I would go in just to be gushed over by the little ladies in this place. Every time I go there I swear someone is either going to feed me my soup, spoonful by spoonful, or lick their thumb and rub a smudge off my face. Talk about service with a smile. I love it!

These people who take their work so personally make such a great impression. I would love to tell them how they made my day. How their smiles, kind words, and professionalism with warmth left me so happy and cheered that I felt the need to write a blog post about it.

But... I could just picture what would happen.

You think I am a great writer? You should see me talk in person. Disaster with a capital D. It all comes out very mumbled, very cheesy, very red-in-the-face. This is one of the biggest reasons I never want to meet any of my bloggy friends in person. I love you all. I think you are fantastic. But sorry...I can only take this relationship screen-deep.

So, anyone have any brilliant ideas on how to tactfully tell someone you think they are the bee's knees at what they do??? Do you find that these service-with-a-smile stars are far and in between?


How Do I Know?

Yesterday, the kids and I sat down to watch Enchanted.

Don't you love that movie? I catch myself laughing every time we watch it. I mean seriously... How did they know this is exactly what I look like when I clean house?? Uncanny!

Yesterday, I couldn't help it; I caught myself choking up a bit too. Blame it on those darn hormones coursing through my blood stream, but I couldn't help but think about my own "Prince Charming" during this song:

How do I know Joe loves me???

He may not sport puffy sleeves and thigh-high boots or carry a sword. He's not too keen on balls and dancing. You won't ever catch him singing in public (or in private for that matter). I doubt he'd even be willing to stand on a moving bus if we got separated in a crowd.

It's really the little things...

Like how every morning when I go to open our front door, it's locked because he made sure it was on his way out to work at 4 am.

Like how he never complains (out loud at least) about the piles of dirty laundry or dishes.

Like how I start telling him how worthless I feel and he just makes jokes trying to change the subject and knock me out of my little pity-party.

Like how he'll change a stinky diaper instead of waiting for me to do it.

Like how he sends me a text every. single. night. letting me know he's just gotten off work and will be home shortly.

Like how I tell him I need a date night and he never argues about it being a waste of money AND then how he ALWAYS lets me pick the movie AND the restaurant. Every time.

Aren't happily-ever-afters grand sometimes?

So, how do YOU know???


A little bit of this and that, Q&A, maybe some R&R, a few ZZZZZs even?

I woke up this morning excited to blog.

That hasn't happened in such a long time. It was a beautiful feeling. My friend Lisa, who knew I was in the "family way", noticed my blog funk awhile ago and pointed out it was because I had a secret. She was partly right. I'm a blabber-mouth. It's just too dang hard for me to keep secrets. But after experiencing a miscarriage last Black Friday (ironic much?), I wanted to make sure this pregnancy was going to "stick" before I shouted it out to the world.

So, to answer a few of your questions on my post yesterday...

Oh! and thank you so much for the congratulations and excitement! It makes me that much more excited. Sometimes it's kind of hard to be excited when all you want to do is lay in bed and not barf up your dinner (Nope! Not breakfast this time. "Morning" sickness, my eye!)

Q: Did you just announce you were pregnant through a MASH post?
A: Ummm...yes, I did. It was less expensive than hiring a pilot to fly a banner around.

Q: When can we expect to see Baby #4?
A: The due date is January 17, 2011. Coincidentally enough that was Dee's due date! I love little coincidences. Side note: We sure don't switch things up much. Both our girls were born in July and both our boys (fingers crossed!) will be born in January. I could say so many things here, but I don't think my husband would appreciate that kind of humor on this point.

Q: Is that really your shack house or are you just exaggerating?
A: Yup. I really do live there. Kind of sad, isn't it? Can you believe we were "lucky" to get it? The housing situation in this town is crazy! Living in a trailer, particularly this tiny, old trailer has been a rather humbling experience for me. At first I considered trying to hide my trailer-trash status, but why not embrace it, eh? I figure it's gotta make for some good blog posts someday. That or I can tell my kids when they start whining, "You think THIS is bad..."

Q: How are you feeling?
A: Crappy. But thanks for asking. :)

Switching gears...because really, who wants to hear another pregnant lady whine about feeling sick and tired, tired and sick?

Is anyone else watching SYTYCD this season? What do you think of the new set-up with the All-Stars? I can't quite decide. Sometimes I like it, sometimes not. I am a little heartbroken that my season favorite, Alex Wong, got sent home, especially due to an injury. Wasn't he something?! I am looking forward to seeing him next season! The tour dates have been announced! I went last year and LOVED it!! Anyone busy on November 4th?? They will be in West Valley City, UT that night.

Switching gears again...because really, who wants to hear a monologue about a show they don't even know what the acronym stands for?

I still can't figure out how I feel about blog awards. I am always totally flattered to receive them, but hate that pressure to pass them on. People who get them seem to get a lot. People who don't seem to get their feelings hurt. It kind of reminds me of that whole Wemmicks story by Max Lucado. You know...grey dots, golden stars, wooden puppets, self-esteem analogies...

My point is there are a couple of blogs I love reading that I want to direct you to, but I'm not going so far as to make an award out of it. Just hop on over and see what you think.

Bethany at Organic Enchilada has me in stitches every time I read her blog. Hilarious girl! She's a homeschooling mommy, but not THAT kind of homeschooling mommy. She's got a truckload of stories and a spicy way of delivering them. She's not afraid of covering ANY topic. Just so darn funny and real! Go see for yourself.

Sami at Symmetry in Motion was my blog swap partner a couple of weeks ago so I was "obligated" to tell you how great she was then, but NOW I get to tell you how great she is simply because I want to. Funny, creative, and genuine. I'd like to think she and I just clicked as friends, but I imagine she is pretty good at being friends with most of her readers. Check her out; you won't be disappointed!

iamwoman at The Rowdy Stroudys is another of my favorite blog reads. I love her artistic sensibilities. Sometimes she's funny, sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes practical; I always love the variety. She throws fabulous, fresh parties just for the sake of celebrating simple good things (like lemons). Beautiful pictures, beautiful words, beautiful girl shining through the screen.

And by the way, what did you think of Cannwin and our little blog swap? We sure took a different direction on our posts, didn't we? She came across so thoughtful, sincere, and humble (as she is) and I...took a different direction. Not bad...just different. Different is good. Variety is great! So, are you looking forward to seeing that again next week? I know I am!

Yesterday, I let myself get a little too caught up in my computer. The time just sort of slipped away and my kids weren't about to let me forget it. My little brand-new two-year old finally walked up to me, grabbed my face in between her little hands, pulled it towards her, and clearly said, "Listen! Food!" Point taken.

And on that note, I better not let the same thing happen today. Our men-folk are gone on an overnight camping trip with the Scouts and I promised two very disappointed, left-at-home, little ladies I would host a fabulous tea party/spa day today. Hope I have the patience for it...

Post-Post: Oops! That was a little longer than I intended it to be. Did you make it this far???


MASH was right!

Anyone remember playing MASH???

You know...MASH! The elementary school game that foretold your future on paper. Would you live in a Mansion, Apartment, Shack, or House? And with which boy? (And you weren't allowed to pick all cute ones; you had to play fair by throwing in an icky one or two. Karma demands justice after all.) And driving how many kids in what kind of car? This game is thorough. It even predicts what city and what career you will have. Or whatever other things you must know about your future.

Remember now? Do girls still play this?? I sure hope so because guess what... It's true!

Who knew that I actually would end up driving a minivan and living in a shack...

...as a mommy of four kids...Did I just say four?

Yes. Yes I did.

But it's with the love of my life, "Joe"...

So that makes it all okay.

Wanna play?? Find the rules HERE to play it old school or go HERE to play online. BUT be careful! This game is powerful! Are you prepared for the consequences???

P.S. Now do you get why I have been such a delinquent blogger lately???


If I Were a Rich Woman

Over the next several Wednesdays you'll be reading a new voice on my blog. May I present to you: Cannwin. And truly, she does deserve a round of applause. I would go so far as to call her my bloggy mentor. She gave me lots of tips and hints and words of encouragement as I entered the bloggy world. Funny thing: I've actually known Cannwin since high school, although I was completely clueless about her voracious appetite for the written word. Read more of her insight at The Great and Random Ramblings of Cannwin. Oh, and find me guest-blogging for her over there too. Enjoy!

I have a secret. It's not a very big one, but it's a secret none-the-less.

Do you want to know what it is?

Come closer and I'll whisper it to you....

I have no desire to be rich.

Are you surprised? Because I've known people who were.

In fact my dad doesn't believe me. He says that everyone wants to be rich, everyone wants more than what they have. Therefore since I'm human I must want more and since I want more, I must long to be wealthy.

Well, I don't want more. I really don't.

Okay... okay, that's not entirely true. I do want more free time, more family time, and more time to sleep in on Saturday mornings. I even want more fabric and more mod-podge! I'm not saying that I don't want things that require money. I'm just not someone who wants more. I actually want less.

I want less junk. I want less house. I want less floor space and less 'decorative items.' I want less collections and less light bulb guzzlers. I want less windows so I can have less window cleaner.

I just want simplicity.

To appease my father, however I have decided to make a list.

Here's what I want:

- Financial stability.
- Clothes on my back.
- A cozy little house with mature tree's in the back yard.
- No debt.
- Food for my family.
- Gas for my car.
- A husband who comes home at night.
- A bicycle that I look cute on.
- A library nearby.
- A family that doesn't yell at each other.
- A long life with a quick and painless end.

In my opinion my list does not require wealth. It requires work, but not wealth.
Is it possible that my father, and perhaps society in general, has confused wealth with work?

I think that life is malleable and capable of being molded into what we would make of it. I think that wealth or poverty can be a state of mind and not a state of finance.

And I know I don't care about being rich. I just care about being happy.

Hmm, maybe it's my dad who cares about being rich. ;)


Prayers for Preslee

I am so overwhelmed after reading this. I could hardly read it through the flowing tears.

Preslee Sullenger, a little 18-month old girl, fell into a canal and floated two miles downstream before her body bumped into a farmer. He pulled her out and started CPR. She is now at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. Although she is alive, it is unknown if she will suffer brain damage or even survive.

It just breaks my heart and hits too too close to home. My little two-year old is sound asleep in her crib, but I just want to go in and sweep her up, hold her close, and cry and cry and cry. Keep this family and little girl in your prayers! And if you want to do more, go here.


Seven-Year Ditch

Seven years ago yesterday, Joe and I entered into the doors of the Logan, Utah LDS temple and made covenants with each other and our Heavenly Father that sealed us together as man and wife for time and eternity. It was a beautiful day, in every way. I will never forget it...

Until yesterday!

Yesterday, I totally spaced it was our actual anniversary! The only thing that reminded me was Joe sending me a text from work: Well it's official! Happy anniversary!

WHAT?! He can't be the one to remember and me forget! That's just not how it works...at least not in every TV sitcom and comic strip. Wife FAIL.

Well, truth be told, I didn't completely fail. I remembered for months before that our anniversary was coming up. I tried to plan and prepare and save in hopes of creating a special romantic weekend getaway for our anniversary. But all my little plans crumbled like the crackers shoved in every nook and cranny of our couch. It's the thought that counts, right? At least that's what I keep telling myself today.

No bed and breakfast or theme-room hotels. No rose-petal strewn paths or mountain top dessert by candlelight. Just a regular old date night of dinner and a movie last Friday. Boring and reliable, but still always nice to get away from the kids for a bit.

I remember when we first got married we would go on date nights and see elderly couples sitting and eating. No conversation. No starry-eyed gazing into each other's eyes. Just eating and staring off in the distance. Boring and reliable. I would always plead with Joe, "Let's not allow ourselves to slip into that rut, okay?"

Fast forward to last Friday night. Every where we went for our date night, we were surrounded by senior citizens. And I'm talking about senior citizens of the elderly persuasion. Born pre-WW2. And they partied harder than we did. A couple wobbled in and sat at the table next to us in the steak restaurant we had chosen for dinner. Immediately they ordered gin on the rocks and some kind of fancy martini. Woah! Grandma and Grandpa are gearing up for a wild Friday night.

At the movie theater, we purchased tickets to Knight and Day thanks to the suggestion of the teenage cinema employee. But I had to question our movie guide's choice when we found ourselves literally sardined on every side by octogenarians. I liked the movie, but apparently not as much as the elders belly-laughing long and loud all around us. With all the unrealistic action scenes, shooting, high-speed chase scenes, and explosions...Really???

I am so confused. What happened to us??? We used to be cool...ish. How did we get so boring that we fit in perfectly with the senior citizen crowd? And in only seven years?!

Next year, maybe we'll just order take-in and watch the Lawrence Welk Show wrapped up in our matching Snuggies. We'll leave the real partying to the experts.


Never put all your eggs in someone else's basket!

The kids and I have been staying with my parents while we've been soaking up loads of family time during the Fourth of July holiday. It has been fantastic to spend time with my family. I am more than happy to leave our boring little routine behind for awhile and spend time with the people I love.

My mom maintains a little mini-farm here in the homeland. Among gardens and various animals, she raises a little flock of egg-laying chickens. These birdie-ladies are rather productive, gifting my parents with dozens of fresh eggs each week. They obviously can't consume that many so my mom has started a little egg-selling business. Over the past week I have been here, she's somehow managed to be gone every time someone comes a-knockin', willing to pay $2.00 for a dozen fresh home-grown chicken eggs. This has left me with the responsibility of peddling the eggs. So far I've done my best filling cartons and taking money. No big deal. But today...

Today, a woman came to the door asking for two dozen eggs. I was the only one home with the sleeping kids, but no problem; I can load an egg-carton like a pro. I went to the fridge, pulled out the eggs and filled two cartons. Eggs delivered. Money received. Woman pulls away laden with fresh farm eggs and I set the money on the kitchen counter, patting myself on the back for being so helpful.


My mom walks up to me with the carton I had pulled the eggs from, asking if these were the eggs I had given her customer that day. I confidently said yes, waiting for her praise for maintaining her little eggy-business while she had been gone. Instead:

"Evelyn. Those were hard-boiled eggs!"

Somehow, I don't think she'll be a repeat customer.


itty bitty birthday

It's this little lady's second birthday today.

You may know her as "Elle". But that's not her real name. Nope. I'm still not going to tell you her real name. I WILL tell you her name starts with the letter L and that's how I came up with her ever-so-clever code name. And I WILL tell you that her REAL middle name is "Joyce". Two years ago, we named her after my husband "Joe's" (also not a real name...So sneaky, aren't I?) grandmother, a wonderful woman full of faith, goodness, and love for family. But who knew that JOYce would describe her to a T?

She is just that: a JOY! She has been from day one. And I know moms aren't supposed to have a favorite child--and I DON'T! I love all three of my kiddos just the same. But...if I could have a favorite. She would be it. Ssshhhh!

I love you little JOYful Itty Bitty! Happy Birthday!


The One Where I Finally Get My Rear in Gear to Write about My Totally Awesome Red, White, and Blue Swap Package

Do I even go through the hassle of apologizing? I mean, come on, let's be honest...It's most likely going to happen again next week. So...no apology. On with the post...

Red White and Blue Swap

Swapping. It's just gotta be one of the best parts of blogging. Who knew grown-ups could have pen-pals, but better? I love a good swap and this one was gooooood. When I found out I was partnered with Sami from Symmetry in Motion I did a little fist pump in the air. This girl has a reputation, but a good one. The kind of rep you want as a blog swap partner. I seriously lucked out. I don't know if Mamarazzi knew I have been going through a rough patch and took pity upon me or if it was just fate, but boy oh boy...did I hit the jackpot of swap partners!

Besides, Sami is just fun! Read her blog and you will be buddies in no time. She has a great way of writing that is so personal. You just feel like you are sitting in her living room, chatting about life, watching your kids play, and sipping on something tasty. Love her!

On to the goodies!

As soon as I saw my box in the mailbox I could hardly wait to get in the house. I put my youngest down for a nap and sent the other two out to roam the neighborhood so I could open my box all by lonesome. Then I texted Sami to let her know I had gotten her box safe and sound. Yep. We're on a texting basis now. Who said blogging wasn't a great way to connect with people?! Oh that's right...my husband did. Haha! Well, neener neener, husband. The best part of this swap was gaining a great friendship! But...this beautiful box brimming with booty didn't hurt much either.

Oh Boy!!!

I just couldn't resist organizing my goodies. It was the Red, White, and Blue Swap after all.

So check this out. This girl did not skimp on presentation. Each and every single package was wrapped WITH a little original poetic verse. Sami seriously knows how to swap. I started posting all of them, but it just got too ridiculous to post every single one. Here's a few.

All in all, a killer red, white, and blue package. I loved how personalized she made my package, from the embroidered towels (WOW!) to knowing that Trident was my favorite kind of gum. She really did her homework!

Here's the package run-down:
*MONOGRAMMED! clear pantry jar crammed full of Kool-Aid packets
*Jolly Ranchers
*Gourmet M&Ms
*Handmade "America" plaque
*Frozen treat maker
*Christmas vinyl lettering (Fabulous idea for red!)
*Handmade name plaque with easel (Awesome! Even my husband was impressed!)
*nail polish
*water bottle
*B&B lotion (super grateful it wasn't vanilla! Way to go Sami!)
*Trident gum
*Embroidered! hand towels

I made out like a bandit, no?

Just couldn't resist breaking open the polish from the get-go.

So what if my kids were outside getting wet in the neighbor's pool and eating a swiped chocolate stash??? At least I got to open and savor my swap package slowly in beautiful and unhindered solitude!

Thank you so much, Sami! I sure hope you enjoyed your package as much as I did mine! And thank you Mamarazzi for hosting the Red, White, and Blue Swap. Count me in next year for sure!


The Three-Week Rule

Several years ago I overheard a bit of advice being given. Truly, it was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard or probably will ever hear in my lifetime. If I leave behind but one ray of light in this lifetime of mine, I want to spread and share the gospel of this bit of wisdom. Go ahead and engrave it on my headstone please.

I was sitting at a baby shower. My baby shower in fact. A baby shower being given in celebration of the encroaching arrival of my first born in fact. My firstborn who would make his grand appearance less than twenty-four hours after I heard this bit of wisdom in fact. A baby shower that was endured rather than enjoyed due to intensifying contractions...in...fact...

Have you ever tried to appear social, relaxed, and grateful in a large group of women and gifts as you struggle to sit still and not drop to the floor, curled up in a ball of laboring misery? If you have, you know: It's not easy. But somehow I managed. And as I was "managing", gritting my teeth and pretending to enjoy my little party, I somehow also managed to hear and retain the golden wisdom I am about to share.

Are you ready for your life to be changed, for your world to be stopped, for your existence to be altered?


"Give it three weeks."

Did you hear the angelic chorus?

That's right. Three weeks. In the particular case that I overheard this, the woman was advising a new mother: Give it three weeks. You'll get the hang of it. Things will get easier. Just give it time. Three weeks to be exact.

And you know what? In the midst of labor and delivery, I forgot about that...


I found myself a week later, crumpled in a sobbing, hopeless, exhausted heap of postpartum jelly-belly and haggard hormones on my living room floor at 3 am with a wide-awake, screaming, poopy for the umpteenth time newborn. Suddenly, those words came to my mind again.

Give it three weeks.

Okay. I'll try. Three weeks passed. And...I felt better. I had gotten more of a grip on this new mother thing. I didn't have it down perfectly, but I was coping. I was learning. I was assuming the mantle of motherhood with a little more grace and dignity than that sobby little blob I had been two weeks earlier.

As life has gone on, as a second baby has come, then a third, a move here, a move there, a trial, a tiff, a dent, a dam, a world war, a wart or two, a heart-stopping moment, a hungry bank account, a spell of sickness, a spell of sadness... Whatever it has been that has caused me whether physically or mentally to collapse back into my little hopeless mush-ball again...I remember what I heard that night that was poignant enough to reach me through contractions and discomfort...

Give it three weeks.

That and "when it comes to pushing that baby out, give it all you got and just get that dang thing out!" (I remembered that one too. Great advice by the way! I've never had to push longer than 15 minutes! I'm just saying...)

The Blogger's Neglect

there, there, little blog.
don't you cry.
i'll write a post on you,
by and by.


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