Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's About Time

For my birthday this year I told David I didn't want any gifts, I wanted TIME.  Time with him, time as a family, and time to myself so I can actually shop for a pair of shoes without anyone knocking over displays or screaming at me that they need to go potty.  He has delivered in style.  Last Wednesday he took me to The Piano Guys concert, which was being filmed for PBS.  We landed on the front row.  I was wearing a blend-into-the-background hot pink jacket.  Um, hello, national audience.

Thursday night he took all of us to the circus.  I've never been to the circus before and I was really excited, but not as excited as Leah, who answered every question we asked her throughout the day with, "I see elephants!!!"

We were all impressed with the performing animals, much to PETA's chagrin (they were protesting outside the venue) even though we thought the tigers were going to eat the lion tamer.  They had him backed into a corner and were swiping at him with their giant paws when he said, "Don't worry folks, it's all part of the show!" and I was like, getting eaten alive by angry tigers is part of the show...?

Michael's favorite part was the blindfolded man who jumped through a spinning ring of flaming swords.  Oddly, this was not the act that caused the ringmaster to say, "Don't try this at home!"  He saved that for when the martial arts guys were bending steel poles around their necks.  If you think about it, that makes total sense.  I mean, obviously, steel poles are so much easier to come by at home than, say, matches.

Saturday night David took me to dinner and Sunday we had the extra bonus of attending church by ourselves since we were participating in the dedication of the new Brigham City temple, which wasn't open to the under-eight set.  I must say, it's a lot easier to pay attention when no one is fighting over your lap or your necklace or the box of crayons.

David also reserved tickets next month for a community production of "The Scarlet Pimpernel".  He apologized because it isn't "Broadway" (which I suppose is a necessary formality after you've spent a year escorting your wife to the Great White Way) but what he doesn't know is that I would actually sit and watch paint dry if it means I can have two hours where no one is asking me to wipe their bum.

And speaking of time, isn't it about time I announced the winner of my book giveaway?  I know you are all dying to know.  Michael did the honors of pulling a name out of the bowl and the winner is:

JULIANNE!  I'll send you an email shortly!

Congrats!  And thanks to everyone who participated!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Last Call!

Remember how I was having a book giveaway and all you needed to do for a chance to win was leave a comment on this post?  Well, my husband started coming home from work at a decent hour and I got lost in a state of family bliss and forgot all about it.

So, if you'd like to win a personalized, autographed copy of Shadowed, you have till midnight tonight to leave me a comment.  Or possibly 8 a.m. tomorrow, if you are willing to resort to groveling.  (You know what they say: flattery will get you everywhere!)
Come on, you know you want to.

No really, you want to.  It's a fantastic read.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Yesterday I felt a little off.  Then I realized it was because my Frank Sinatra itunes playlist had morphed into his Christmas album and I was Jingle Belling my way through sweeping the floor.

David got home at 1 something last night.  I tried to stay up till he got home (I think you should make a point of going to bed with your spouse and waking up together) but I couldn't do it.  I conked out at 12:30.  Sorry, honey!

In other news, I don't know how he is even alive.

But thankfully the big deadline is getting close.  Phew.  Because I've reached the point where I actually discovered that eating brown sugar straight out of the bag gives me heartburn.  (I think this means I'm officially dwindling somewhere between pathetic and desperate).

Today has not done much to help.  This afternoon I got a call from Michael's school saying he had an upset stomach.  Of course this happened 15 minutes after I put my toddlers down for a nap, so I had to call my super awesome neighbor (thanks Julianne!) to come sit in my house for ten minutes while I went on my rescue mission.  Which, it turns out, was completely unnecessary, seeing as Michael declared himself miraculously healed five minutes after we got home and wanted to play wii.  I banished him to his room for two hours.

To fill the void, Matthew only slept for an hour and then woke up.  So much for my peace and quiet.  So much for my sanity.

Then, while I was mowing the lawn, Leah tried to kill herself when she went flying into the street on her scooter (following her bad example of an older brother) and nearly got hit by a car.  After I saved her and re-started the mower, Matthew pooped in his underwear. 

The bedtime routine just stretched out into an hour because Matthew and Leah both declared a desperate need to avail themselves of the facilities after they were already in bed.  Leah performed.  Matthew did not.  Instead he engaged in a giggle war with Leah that would have been darling if I had not been hanging onto my patience by a fingernail.  Instead I found myself exclaiming, "Matthew, either poop or get off the pot!!"

Then I felt off again because I had just used a common metaphor in a completely literal context.

David says not to expect him until 1 or so tonight, and I just saw on Facebook that Cadbury now makes "SCream" eggs for Halloween.  Knowing that they exist and that I can't get to them is killing me.

I could use a good scream.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An Insult to Women

Discrimination.  It's a word that gets tossed around a lot these days.  And no one likes to use it more than Gloria Steinem and her minions, who recently got their knickers in a twist over the Democratic National Convention and its horrifying lack of... drum roll please... babysitting.

Yep.  You heard me.  "The Democratic party shouldn't put you in a position where you have to choose between your child and participating in a political convention," said delegate Susie Shannon.

Ms. Steinem and several chapters of the National Organization for Women agree:  "This practice of discrimination needs to end in 2012."

Seriously, ladies?  Not providing babysitting is discrimination?

Oh, for heaven's sake!  Do you even hear yourselves?  If I were Susan B. Anthony I would rise from my grave and smack you.

If you choose to have children you choose the set of responsibilities that goes along with having those children. Among those responsibilities? Finding your own dang babysitter.

The universe is not under any obligation to support your life choices with freebies or perks or even conveniences.  No one -- I repeat -- no one, is required to provide you with childcare, nor are they required to allow you to take your little darlings wherever you please.  To suggest that it is "discriminatory" to expect women to take responsibility for their own children is pathetic, not to mention incredibly insulting to women who are actual victims of discrimination. 

Nothing cheapens a word or demeans its true victims like its blatant misuse. 

For that, these women should be ashamed of themselves.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Book Giveaway!

This morning I sat on the couch while Matthew and Leah fought over who got to take up the most space on my lap.  Sensing he could win the battle, Matthew looked up at me with great big puppy dog eyes and pulled out his trump card:  "Mommy... don't feel good."

Not to be outdone, Leah immediately chimed in, "Mommy, Matthew don't feel good but I sick!"

I told them there was room on my lap for both of them.  (There is.  I don't eat all those brownies for nothing!)  So Leah tried a different approach.  She pointed straight at me and said:  "Mommy, elephant!" 

Um, Leah, I understand that you love elephants, but let me give you a few hints about manipulating your mother.  Hint #1:  Never point at the woman who gave birth to you and say, "Elephant!"

So I got off the couch and decided my wounded self-esteem needed a distraction.  Something fall-ish and crafty, which meant a few minutes later I was letting the kids use their fingers to stamp fingerprint leaves on skeletal-looking trees.  I thought the craftiness of it all would cancel out their neurotic need for hand cleanliness, but I was wrong.  Total artwork distraction time: 3 minutes.

Darn it!  I thought I was being so fun!

But since that didn't satiate my need for something fall-ish, I ate leftover apple crisp for lunch.  Ahem, I mean with lunch...  And then I picked up the latest spooky release from four-time Whitney Award winner, Stephanie Black.  Yes, that's FOUR TIMES she has won the award for Best Mystery/Suspense novel.  In your face, Anne Perry!  (No, seriously, Stephanie beat out New York Times bestselling author, Anne Perry, for the award last year).

So you should read her new book, Shadowed, because it's awesome.  Also, because my name is in the acknowledgements, which means I am awesome by association.  And did I mention I'm giving away a personalized, autographed copy for free?  Just leave a comment on this post and I'll put your name in the drawing.  Leave a clever, amusing, or obsequious comment and I will put your name in twice.  Possibly three times, as long as you don't compare me to an elephant.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The One Where I Spout Marriage Advice

Writing the previous blog post had me pondering the topic of an actual cure for divorce.  And then I flashed back to my bridal shower where at least 3 of my friends told me that David and I should never go to bed angry.  Since you already know how I feel about that, I thought I would share some of my other tips for a happier, healthier marriage:

1.  Don't be a jerk. 

I realize this should go without saying, but judging by the number of spouses I've seen treating their other half like garbage, a lot of people seem to have missed the memo.  If you don't think you're a jerk, I have a few questions for you:  Do you ever insult your spouse (in public or in private)?  Treat him like a child (or tell people that he is a child, e.g., "I have four kids... including my husband")?  Make demands instead of treating him as an equal ("Get off your butt and take out the garbage!" instead of, "Would you mind taking out the garbage for me?")  Are you rude, sarcastic, or mean-spirited when you argue?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a jerk.

2.  Keep the in-laws out of your marriage. 

Once you set sail on the marriage boat, the in-laws need to jump ship.  You and your spouse are your own family now, and you need to do what is best for that family.  This doesn't mean you don't have to accommodate both sets of in-laws or make any efforts toward them, nor are you excused from being kind and understanding, but if your parents are calling every single day or demanding that you come over for dinner every Sunday afternoon, and your in-laws have put dibs on every holiday and every Tuesday in between, they are not supporting your marriage.  Also not supporting the marriage?  In-laws who dole out unsolicited advice, criticize your spouse or her decisions, or interfere with personal family issues.  

3.  Don't speak unkindly about your spouse to anyone, especially not family.

You may forgive and forget, but your mother will remember forever, so if you have an argument with your spouse, do not talk to your mother about it.  If your spouse does something that makes you mad, do not talk to your friends about it.  In the same vein, if your mother insults your husband, defend him.  If your friend disagrees with your husband's career choice, stand up for him.  You and your husband are a team - do not give other people the ammunition to destroy your relationship.

4.  Remember that your spouse is the most important person in your life.  Your kids come second.

Oh yes, I know the little darlings have to come first sometimes.  (They're so demanding, aren't they?)  They have soccer practice and homework and doctor visits and they want you to play with them and cook them dinner and buy toys for them.  (And nothing sucks the air out of a romantic evening like Junior barfing all over your shoes).  But you must remember that your spouse is the most important person in your life.  One day, if you've done your job correctly, all the little chickens will fly the coop and you and your spouse will be a couple of old birds with nothing to focus on but each other.  So make sure you've spent enough time nourishing your relationship - regular dates, regular intimacy, regular kid-free time - that an empty nest is a blessing, not a curse.

5.  Love your spouse the way he wants to be loved.

If you haven't read this book, read it.  Once you know your spouse's primary love language, speak it.  If that means having sex more often, do it.  If that means watching a football game now and then, do it.  If that means remembering anniversaries, writing love notes, or going to the opera, do it.  Marriage is work, but it has the potential to be the most fun work you ever do (and honestly, what could be more fun than rocking your husband's world?)

So there you have it, dear readers.  Get to work!

The "Cure" for Divorce

The title grabbed me - "The Cure for Divorce".  This will be interesting, I thought.  I wonder what the author's theory is? So I clicked on the link, and I found it so fascinating that I'm sharing the secret with you:

The "cure" for divorce is -- are you ready? -- not to commit for such a long time in the first place.  Really.

The author (who is appropriately named "Tad Low") explains his philosophy like this:  "Let's say you've successfully dated a girl for a while. Rather than agreeing to "till death do you part," you agree to a "time-limited marriage": At regular intervals, you either renew or walk away . . . and remain friends. You still have the fancy ceremony, the heartfelt toasts from college roommates, and the slew of candlesticks and Calphalon. But you don't have the pressure of permanence or the soul-draining despair of divorce."

Well, let's toast to that!

What do you say to your girlfriend when you propose?  "Well, honey, I plan to love you, but only for about 1.5 years.  After that I get the goldfish, okay?"

And what happens when kids get thrown in the mix?  Never fear, Mr. Low has an answer for that (I am not making this up):  "Who cares [about the kids]?"

Heartwarming, isn't it?  So sweet to think of a father not caring how his kids feel about their mother getting thrown off the family train.  "If their parents' contract ends," Mr. Low insists, "they're still better off than being stuck in the middle of a traditional divorce."

Are they?  Are kids really better off knowing that their parents marriage is set to expire?  That dad has a specific end date when he is allowed to trade mom in for a younger model?

This is, frankly, disgusting. 

The fact is that marriage is not, and never can be, only about two people and their feelings for each other.  Marriage is the foundation of a family.  And a family cannot stand on a foundation that isn't built to last. 

But, I've got to hand it to Mr. Low.  He's already made me feel like my marriage is stronger. 

After all, I was smart enough not to marry a jerk like him.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

All in a Day's Work

Yesterday we celebrated Labor Day by sending David off to work.  I'm sure I don't get as many points as my sister once did for delivering a baby on Labor Day (she's such a show off...), but I feel like I should at least be able to put some sort of cosmic tick mark next to my name for my efforts.  Um, I mean David's efforts, seeing as he is the one who had to work.

Although, I do feel like I should get some credit for the fact that, after a long day of willful disobedience on the part of my children, I did not lose my temper when I discovered Matthew and Leah had opened a package of goldfish crackers and used cups of water to making a swimming pool for them all over my back porch.  When our resident tattle tale, Michael, alerted me to the mess he asked, "Are you happy, Mom?" (Obviously, why wouldn't I be happy about a bunch of wet fish crackers swimming in their own moosh all over my door mat?)  Then he looked at my face and I must have looked terrifying because his expression faltered a bit and he took a step back before he said, "You're not happy at all."

I told him to help his siblings clean up the mess before I blew my top.  "Blow your top!!" he exclaimed.  "How would you do that?"  Then he dissolved into giggles that sounded like a highly amused fog horn.  I excused myself to the bathroom and remembered to lock the door.

By the time bedtime rolled around I was ready to call every single general authority who has ever stood up in conference and said that his darling wife never raised her voice at their children and say, "How do you know?!  You weren't ever home!!"

But I didn't, because I have a thing about making phone calls.

And then Leah managed to make me laugh when she saw a bug and yelled, "Holy yikes!", Matthew melted my heart by climbing onto my lap and asking to "nuggle", and Michael made his bed all by himself.

Ah, parenthood.  It's the best.