Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Banned Book Week

little mr. j and I went to the library this week and they had a very cool interactive display to celebrate.
They had taken different books that have been banned, wrapped them in brown paper, and put a description of why the particular book had been banned on the front. On the back, they put the title and author-and a sticker saying "This book is for display only.  If you would like to check out a copy, please see a librarian." I laughed, because I had just wondered if we checked it out, would we get to unwrap it.

little mr. j grew very impatient of my interactive display explorations.
I was having fun guessing the titles & giving myself little "yay, me!"s when I knew which book it was.

He wanted to know why I was so interested in those wrapped books.
"Why did they put them out there?"
"Why are you looking at those? "
"Why are they wrapped?"
"Do we get to unwrap them?"

So I tried to explain what a banned book is to an almost five year old.
Tough concept.
He nodded thoughtfully through my words and said, "oh."
As we were walking away he said, "We should really check out some of those books for little mr. b."
I asked him why.
He said,
"Because he's in band. He's in that class at school. They are banned books and they would help him."

I love how four year olds think.

So here's my banned book week gift to you:
That little man mentioned above brought a library book home from school last Wednesday.
(We like libraries.)
It was called Wacky Wednesday by Theo. LeSieg. (Do you know who that is? Hope so.)
The theme of the book is to look for something wacky in the illustrations.
Each two page spread had a certain number for the reader to discover. There are two on the following page (one half of the two page spread), but my son found three (which made a total of four, which didn't follow what the words were saying). See if you can find them:

Did you find an interesting table leg and two door knobs?
Did you see the black ooze coming out the middle of the door?
I don't think the illustrator & author really planned on it being there.
What could it be?
When we turned the page, we found out.
This book hasn't been banned, just censord with a sharpie.
And they forgot to edit the words to
"In the bathroom FIVE."

Because it is really wacky to shower with sharpie undies on.

For more information on Banned Book Week, visit the American Library Association's website.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Mile

One Mile.

One Preschool child, who has decided that he wants to run one mile.
In the school’s fundraiser event.

One Father.
One Father who runs marathons and rides a bike in crazy races.
One Father who would like to run one mile with the child,
But will be out of town the date
of the school’s fund raiser event.

One Mother.
One Mother, who has never run a mile straight in her life.
One mother, who has a Preschooler, who has to have a parent run with him,
In the school’s fundraiser event.

One Mother.
One Mother, who can walk really fast, even at an incline.
One Mother, who has set a goal to be ready to run with her Preschooler
In the school’s fundraiser event.

So now you have the back story. I have incredible news.


That might not sound like much to some people, but for me it is huge. HUGE!
You see, I can walk and walk and walk and walk and walk and walk and walk.
I can walk up hills and I can walk down hills.
I can walk fast and at an incline.
I can walk fast and jog for a bit and run for a little bit and then walk again.
I can even run away very quickly from a skunk at 8.4 months pregnant. (Me being the prego, not the skunk.)

Last week or the week before, when I realized that my mr. was not going to be here to take up this parenting challenge, I got a little worried. I realized that I was going to have to be the one to run with little mr.j. So, I decided to up my training game. I have been exercising, but I’ve not pushed myself to run very far.

I decided to change my intervals from times to distances.

I started with .3 of a mile, 2 times (walking fast in between) in my allotted half hour. I ran it. I was winded.

The next day, I ran .35 of a mile, 2 times in my allotted 45 minutes and walked really fast the rest of the time.

The next day, I ran .4 of a mile 2 times in my allotted half hour. (I think I did this for a couple of days.)

The next time I ran, I upped it to .5, but I couldn’t make it the 2 times. The second time I fell short.

Today was my day to do those .5s. Today I was worried. Here are the words of the voice in my head (Well, they probably won’t be the exact words from my head, but they will be coming from my head a second time how I remember them, so they will be close):
“Ok, you are warmed up. Weights were hard, but you did well. Time for running. You can do this. Let’s walk fast a quarter of a mile & then run until .75. That will be the half mile. Then we’ll walk a quarter and do it again.”

I agreed to go along with what I was being asked to do. And when I got to a quarter mile and started my (slow) run, this is what my mind said:
“Alright, maybe you should talk to _______’s mom and see if little mr. j can run with them. She’s a runner. She would be able to do it.”

Me (in my brain) talking back to myself:
“But he would be so disappointed. I have told him I will do this. I can’t give up.”

At which point, I said a tiny “please help me” prayer in my heart. At least I think I did right then- it might have been a left over little prayer from yesterday. I can’t remember exactly when I said it, but I do remember asking for help with this whole thing.

My brain:
“He’s going to be disappointed at some point in his life. This will just be his first big one and you will be the cause of it.”

I stopped listening & talking to myself at that point.

I started thinking about how I need to learn to breathe more efficiently while I run. My body is pretty strong, but that breathing thing is pretty important. I went to a luncheon last week and a woman who lost a lot (a lot lot) of weight was talking about her evolution into the fit and strong woman she is today. She mentioned how she upped her distance and speed incrementally. She talked about how the running was so much more mental than physical for her. She talked about how it was so hard for her until she learned to breathe correctly.

The luncheon conversation shifted & I didn’t get a chance to ask her specifics.

I started to pay attention to my breathing.
I tried to slow it down. I tried to breathe deeper. I paid attention to it.
And it got easier.
I couldn’t believe it.
Then I looked at my mileage. I was one tenth of a mile away from the half mile goal.

And I said to my brain:
“I can do this. My body feels fine. My legs don’t feel heavy (oh how they used to feel heavy). I’m not out of breath. I can do this. I will go two more tenths.”

And then I didn’t tell my brain this next part:
“If I can go two more tenths, I can go two and a half more. I am going to try.”

So I tried and I did and at .8 miles my brain said:
“Hey, what are you doing?”

I said:
“I am running a mile.”
And I did!

(Then I walked for a quarter of a mile & ran another half mile.)

Now I have to work on my speed. Little mr. j has a very fast “go” speed & I am worried that I won’t be able to keep up. I’m afraid it will be like trying to keep up with my laundry-or maybe even worse!

Also, I want you to know why this is such a big deal to me.
Do you remember junior high? Do you remember the mile run on the outdoor track?
I remember. I remember everyone lapping me numerous times. I remember being the last one in. I remember walking into the locker room where everyone else was showered and primped for the next hour. (Those were the days of the mandatory shower.) I remember how little junior high me felt.

Today I put that behind. Way behind and I am glad.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Swim Lessons

I thought maybe I should leave you with a better image after that gross one in the last post.

Here it is.

And just so you know,
he has sunscreen on.

And I am grateful for people
who can teach my children
the things
I cannot.
PS- I love this picture in many different ways.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gross Summer Bokeh

If you'd like to know what "bokeh" is, go here.
And if you don't want to go there-
it's a form of photography.
If you'd like to lecture the child who forgot her sunscreen,
please leave a comment.
If you'd like to have breakfast for lunch and dinner (we call it "blinner")
or clean the kitchen,
come on over.

And explaination of "blinner."
Our church starts crazy early.
And, I am lazy
and only like to fix one main meal
on Sundays.
So-this particular Sunday
we had "blinner"
and snacks when they all
got hungry again
Oh, and we usually only call it "blinner"
when we are having what's know as
traditional breakfast items
when it's the middle of the day.
Other days
It's just an early dinner
and mom's
off the hook
the rest of the day.

If you are grossed out-sorry.
Please remember to wear your sunscreen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday School

To read what it says, go here.

I just go back from the neatest meeting. I think there were probably about 200 parents and teenagers there.
It was called "Standard's Night." --If you're Mormon (member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), you'll totally recognize the next things I am going to write.-- We Mormons are a bit odd in the eyes of the world. We live by a pretty strict moral code. I have many not LDS (Mormon) friends & when we talk about parenting teens, my troubles and concerns are so far removed from what they know as normal American teen issues. I am so thankful for that. I am thankful the guidelines are spelled out so clearly in the little book above. If you'd like to see what one of tonight's youth speakers called the "Mormon teenager's handbook," click above where it says "here." You can read about how differently these teenagers live their lives.

Better yet- go find one. Go find an active (meaning attending church & participating) Mormon kid and talk to them. (People have done this with my kids, it's pretty enlightening.) Bet you'll be surprised. 

Anyway, the awesome thing about this meeting was that it was all about the kids. The kids conduted the meeting, led the music, said the prayers, gave the talks (ok-there was one adult that talked, he wrapped the evening up), and provided some very special musical numbers.

Here's what they covered:
The Language we Use
Keeping the Sabbath Holy

The adult spoke on the impact our standards have on ourselves and those around us.

There were three musical numbers; one piano solo, a violin duet with piano, and a vocal solo.
I was partial to the vocal solo.
Because miss s was the one to sing it.
She sings like an angel.
And is just now beginning to share her gift in public.
I cried.

And I was in awe. Where else would you find so many kids doing those things in front of a large group of their peers? And those peers supporting each other in their desire to be good people.

It was beautiful.
I am thankful I got to be there and feel what I felt.
And hear my angel sing.


Lesson: A big imagination is a wonderful thing.

And will help protect your brainwaves.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


(This is a picture of the sun behind a cloud. There's probably some relavance to this post, but right now I just like it and wanted to share and don't want to think too hard. It was in the sky, above my house. I think the picture would look better cropped, but I do not have that technology right now.)

Remember me?

My name is the mrs & I used to write
good things.

But I have been off
as of late
and now think
I may have it figured out.
Kind of.

I need to

I need to exercise
my body
and my

I have found time
to exercise my
And made it a priority.
Except when
the handyman is coming
or the kids need something.

I need to find time to
work that thinker.

It's been hiding in books
and brain training other
people's children.
And on facebook,
but I digress.

So, I will find the time
to work it.

Even if it means
I will miss a little sleep.
Even if it means
I must be more
organized with my precious
quiet day times.

I am going to commit
to help my little thinker,
because I don't like it when
I'm off.
It's odd.

Soon the mrs will be back.
Only better.
Fully on.


PS-I would like you to know that I did workout today. I did get all the laundry folded. I did make sure my family had something for dinner. I did remember all the September 17th deadlines that were so very ominous (and if I forgot one, oh man-I will be very sad). I caused some trouble and hopefully mopped it up. I took my vitamin. I played with children. I waited for children. I listened to children. I answered questions in person and on the phone. I watered the tree and picked up the pxxp. I played with the dog and mopped the floor. I know there's more, but this unexercised brain doesn't want keep listing, so goodbye for now. Goodbye.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Feeling Off

I wanted to give you a beautiful post.
Full of words and a picture and peace.

But I am feeling not so peaceful.
Interactions throughout the week have knocked my
calm-o-meter off center.

Did it start with the weirdness with a cashier and an interrupting trainer
at a store (not the dreaded WM) this weekend?

Was it that Sunday nap?

Is it because I'm finally managing our calendar & am actually on top of
home things?

I disagree with some of the methods little mr. b's football coach is using this year.
(my mr. is not that coach-he is only a helper this season.)
And I am keeping my mouth shut.
For now.

I thought I'd taught my children to not use their hands in anger.
From what happened last night, I guess they didn't learn.
(It involved 3 of the 4. Thank you, one who wasn't involved. I am grateful.)

Thought I'd found a great handyman.
Now I'm not so sure.
But some major jobs are done
& he's left me with more.

It's Wednesday.
I will work out tomorrow.
And things will be better.

So here's a joke
that came up at the beginning of the weirdness:

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Interrupting Cow.
Interrupting Cow. . . . .
MOOOOOOO. ----make sure you interrupt & don't let them say 'who'
(Ok, this is really much funnier when you hear it, so either say each part out loud or get someone to say it with you.)

What do you do when you feel 'off'?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today after school:

(Ok, really it wasn't today, it was the week before last & I just hurried and typed in a couple of things.  Original text is in this color. Finally I'm getting a few minutes to sit and ponder.)

Today in the after school barrage, two phrases caught me very off gaurd:
"I have to get a twitter account for my English class."
"All the suggested historical movies for World History are rated R, but my teacher says they are all historically accurate."

We always get goofy requests at the beginning of the school year. Usually it's needing funds for different things. Well, that and glue sticks.

This year it's been $15.00. They older ones have needed $15.00 for a number of different things.
Why $15.00 this year? Other years it's been different requests for different things or amounts.

But-really, twitter & R rated movies?

Here's your need to know:
I don't do twitter. Really, my life just isn't that exciting. And I do believe in such thing as information overload. And I try to protect my family from it.

We don't watch R rated movies in our family. The line is drawn. We just don't do it.
The stuff you put in your mind stays there and has big effects, even if we don't think it does.

How we dealt:
More explanation about the twitter thing. The teacher only uses it to send messages out, doesn't get messages back-it's easier than texting or emailing for him. My child agrees with me on the twitter thing. She wasn't too thrilled, but has set up an acccount and locked it down tight. Right now I am ok with it.

The movies. Really?
We have a "Clearplay" DVR. (It's a dvr that you can set out different levels of filtering out the stuff you don't want to view.) I thought when we got it, we would use it all the time. We don't. I thought I wanted to watch all those movies that didn't agree with my rating standards and know their stories. I haven't. But, I am glad we have it, because now when the girl needs to watch one of those movies, we can set the filters & enjoy. Maybe we'll start to use it more often.
(Disclaimer: I do tend to watch the edited for TV versions of lots of movies and the dvr was a Christmas present.)

So, we're set.
Except I need to remember to write the checks for picture days this week.
And there's something else they needed-can't remember right now, but it will come-probably in the middle of the night and I will forget it again.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For a Laugh....

or if you are like us-a lot of laughs, because we kept playing it over and over and over.

"Hey you dang woodchucks!"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


or maybe today,
because I haven't gone to bed yet,
when I was out in the driveway,
helping my mr.,
stain some shutters,
that I need to find a handyman to help hang,
my right eye started watering,
and hurting
and my nose started running
and I couldn't see what I was doing,
but I kept on staining anyway,
because I wanted to help
and I'm really good at staining.

and then it started stinging
so I gave up
and went inside
and got loads of sympathy
from my children.
two of whom had been out there helping
their dad,
but decided to do something
which was probably
a good idea.

and I washed my eyes out
and then closed them
because they hurt
and were very scary looking.

and now I have
a great
new found empathy
for people who
have allergies.

(it was really windy here today. hot and windy. i had sunscreen on my face and there were fumes. have no idea what did hit me. have never had that happen to me before. ever. weird.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday School

I haven't "done" Sunday School here in a while.
So, if you are new, just to let you know-

Sometimes I hold a baby during Sunday School & you get to hear all about that. (Two weeks ago, I got to hold the cutest little one who absolutely loved my hair. She grabbed it in a death grip & ate a couple of handfulls.-I had to leave the meeting, I was laughing so hard.)

Sometimes I go to my meetings and something touches my heart & I tell you about it.

Sometimes I get to teach something and I might tell you about it.

Sometimes something has happened during the week that's got me thinking in a spiritul way.

So, around here, Sunday School is a mixed bag.

Like today, I was nervous, so I didn't go-to the official Sunday School-but that's ok, because they were having the same lesson on Jonah that I sat through last week in Texas, so I didn't feel too guilty. I joined the foyer crowd. You know those people who hang out and visit & don't go to the organized classes; whom, if they get too loud, draw undo attention to themselves and get asked to quiet down & reminded that there are wonderful teachers who have prepared wonderful messages to be heard by you wonderful people.

Ok, so that didn't happen today & I had good reason to be hanging out. I was nervous.
Nervous, because, for the first time in a very long while, I was going to be teaching adults.
I can handle the kids (for the most part), but when it comes to the adults, I get antsy.
I needed to go over my notes.

Here comes the churchy stuff:

I've been praying for as long as I've known about teaching this lesson for His help and guidance.
And wow did He come through. I am very ever so grateful.

Last Friday, I was worried about how to organize the material into a lesson and had the impression to make an outline of the address that the lesson was focused on. (The lesson was from a talk -aka speech- given at a Church university.) I felt like I should outline that talk. After I did that, it was fairly easy to move sections around and make it flow for me. And- I had strong impressions about what was the most important to present.

I wasn't nervous until we got to church. But, as soon as I stood up in front of the ladies (in my church, the last meeting is separate for the men and women), the nervousness was gone. The woman who said the opening prayer in that meeting prayed specifically for the person who had prepared to give the lesson (she didn't know it was me). That touched my heart deeply. I know I didn't make the nervousness disappear. It was very faith affirming, and that was awesome because guess what the lesson was titled?
Yes, "Increasing our Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."

And here is a brief bit of the lesson- a little bit on how we can increase our faith in Him:
     -the basic Sunday School answers- Read your Scriptures & Pray
     -Remembering what He has done for us
     -Face our Challenges with Faith that He is there for us
     -and very importantly, live a temple worthy life.

Probably most of those make sense to everyone out there, but just in case that temple reference is throwing you, here's a link to help it make some sense:

Here is the final quote I used in the lesson-remember these are not my words, but I sure do believe them:

"I remember thinking when I seemed discouraged and everything was wrong, 'Why is life so hard?' Do you ever wonder that? Almost instantly, I flet an impression like a voice in my mind, saying, 'Well, would you like it easier?' At that very moment, something hit me and I said, 'No, no, no pleae, I'm sorry. Leave it as it is. I trust. I trust thee. I trust Thy ways.' I've never forgotten that experience. Don't ever try to think you are smarter than the Lord. Just do what He asks of you to do."


"I have learned for myself that Jesus has all power. That He desires to bless and help us. I know that He gives us strength to survive any challenge. I know that He doesn't require that we have the faith to walk on water, to be saved from an otherwise deadly sea or storm. We just have to try and keep trying."
      -John H. Groberg

For the full video, audio, or text of the talk this was based on, you can go here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good Goop

Picture from and more info here.

This stuff and a lot of elbow grease helped me get gum off our dryer barrel last week.

Thank you Goop.
You are my friend.
You treat my family's stains
in such a
kind and gentle
I am sorry we had to stoop
to get all that goo
off that
metal barrel
full of heat.
Thank you for being there with me and the clean, dry, stretched out gum-
when all my other help wouldn't work
and I didn't want to
try peanut butter in the dryer.

Thank you for going the extra mile and cleaning off the blue stains
from so many years of clothes
depositing their dye.
Each time I open the dryer and see the white spots
where we worked,
my heart fondly thinks of you.
And then it thinks-we should do that again
and bring that barrell back to its white days.
And my brain thinks-

So, dear Goop,
until we meet again-
say, like,
Thank you.

Ok, I read somewhere that I am supposed to do the following disclaimer thing if I talk about a product on a blog or someone will come hunt me down and there will be consequences. But I'm not "monitized" so really what could they do? So here it is: I bought this product with our family's money at a store. I found it in the automotive section of said store. The Goop people don't know who I am, but I am sure they appreciate our buying their product. I've been telling whomever asks about it for years. It really is incredible. If you go to that link that says "here" under the picture, it will tell you how to use it-when I went there tonight, I even learned something new. Something that I should have thought of years ago, and am now grateful to know. It has to do with plastic bags- and I'm going to use the technique. And, as long as you are still reading, I would love to inform you that due to some blessed dryer miracle, no gum got on any clothes. Well, at least I have seen no evidence of gum on the clean and dry clothing that went though the cycle before that mess was discovered. Thank goodness and goodbye. Oh yes, in another little miracle, no family members were snapped at during the episode. I am very pleased with myself. So there.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

About another Texas friend I that caught up with me over the weekend...

Picture from here.

When we lived in the Northwest and I told my child's second grade teacher that we were moving to San Antonio, she said, "Oh, watch out for the fire ants." And I said, "What is a fire ant?" And she said, "A very, very bad ant."

And she was RIGHT.
(She had lived there as a child & apparently has/had fire ant trauma.)

Well, when I was taking that last picture in the last post, my foot found it's place in a North Texas ant's mound. A North Texan fire ant mound.

Map & a mound of fire ant information can be found here.

Fortunately, while living in San Antonio, I became very adept at recognizing the tickly feeling of a bunch of ants swarming parts of my body and the familiar firey sting when they decided to bite.

And, fortunately, I am a very good screamer, kicker, jumper and ant brusher offer.
And, fortunately, I was the only one attracting the ant's attention.
And, fortunately, I got my family's attention & they told me, "You are standing in a fire ant hill."

I got a good picture along with a couple of bites that itch, itch, itch.

My child's second grade teacher was very wise.
They are very bad ants.

(Please don't confuse my very bad ants with a certain children's book, that I adore. Those book ants are wonderful. The fire ants are not.)

PS-This site has a great insect and pest menu, click on the spiders.
One wiggled when I visited and totally made me jump.

Deliver Me From Donut Day

Again, I haven't written in a while, but I don't want to forget this one. It's a doozy. I work in an elementary school. I teach ...