Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What Time Is It?

Time to read scriptures! We try to make time every night to read a chapter from the scriptures together as a family. This has had many benefits for us, but the most unexpected one is this:

It puts the little kids to sleep like magic every time!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Homemade Christmas

It is Christmas day, and I am happily eating Chocolate Crinkle Cookies & Egg Nog Bread (thanks, Mom!) with a tall, cold glass of milk as I sit at my computer.

We had the 6 oldest kids draw names and make gifts for each other this year, and it turned out awesome. Do you want to see what they made for each other? Of course you do, or you wouldn't still be reading!

The Pokemon-Obsessed Kid custom made I'm Taller Than You a ping-pong paddle and carry case, along with an IOU for some ping-pong balls.
The Little Lady Who Refers To Herself In The Third Person made a beautiful skirt for One Of The Letters Of The Alphabet.
Little Cowgirl Who Speaks Cowboy made The Girl Whose Name Rhymes With Nothing some froggy pajama pants.
The Girl Whose Name Rhymes With Nothing created a Pokemon case for the Pokemon-Obsessed Kid to carry all his cards in. Don't you love Mod-Podge? The pillowcase was a bargain-find.
I'm Taller Than You & One Of The Letters Of The Alphabet made Little Cowgirl Who Speaks Cowboy & The Little Lady Who Refers To Herself In The Third Person a quilt, pillowcases, and throw pillows to go on their new bed. Mr. Precocious got a Thomas bed set (the blanket used to be a sleeping bag with a broken zipper, so don't be too impressed) by Mom.
The Curly Headed Cutie got a "happy hands" quilt from Grandma.
Allen got to fix the window wipers on the suburban.

I got time to write a post.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Early Christmas

For anyone who cares to know, I had my 20-week ultrasound yesterday.

My good friend Heidi is an Ultrasound Professional and does such an amazing job that if I go to anyone else I am destined to be disappointed. Because Heidi and I live 7 houses away from each other and are no longer in the same church ward, we never actually talk to each other unless I am having another baby and need another ultrasound. Hmmm...I guess we talk at least every couple years, then. Anyway, I always feel a bit embarrassed when I call and leave her a message like the following: "Hey, Heidi, it's Gerberta. Um, I'm having a baby again, and I REALLY, REALLY want you to do my ultrasound. If it's not a huge inconvenience to arrange that between me, you, the doctor's office and the hospital, could you call me back?" She's always willing, and I am never disappointed.

Two babies ago I had an ultrasound with Joe-Ultrasound-Man at the hospital. I didn't want to call and bother Heidi AGAIN, and I thought, "I'm sure whoever will do a fine job." Wrong. He didn't let me look at the screen where the baby was, because I was pretty far along, about 32 weeks, and the baby was big so it was "hard to tell what anything is, anyway." (quote from Joe-Ultrasound-Man). 2 minutes later, and he says, "Everything looks good. You're done. Let me kick you on your way out, and thanks for the insurance money. My job is to disappoint pregnant women, and I am good at it." OK, maybe he didn't say all of that. But I bet he was thinking it. That was when I realized that Heidi is my Ultrasound Woman, forevermore.

Here is what makes Heidi so wonderful...
1) She takes the time to explain what I'm looking at on the screen.
2) She counts all of baby's fingers and toes.
3) She prints off lots of pictures for me to take home.
4) She shows me every detail.
5) She spends close to 45 minutes to complete the job.
6) She will not give up on discovering baby's gender. Which, by the way, was hidden by the umbilical cord for a good portion of the ultrasound. But, baby cooperated, wiggled and turned a bit, and there it was.

I guess patterns were made to be broken. Come May, our boys will have one more to help even up the family gender score.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Holidays!


For those of you who I know read my blog, here is your annual Christmas newsletter. If you want me to mail you the hard copy with actual kid names and photo, leave me a comment or send me an email. Otherwise, less mail for you to go through! I put way too much work into writing our update every year, so this year I had everyone write their own. I think you'll enjoy having a new perspective!

I hope everyone finds time this season to think about what they're giving instead of what they're getting. And I'm not just talking presents - there are so many other ways to give!

And now, for your reading pleasure, I present...

BLACK FAMILY NEWSLETTER 2007

Everyone is going to tell you about the highlights of this year from their own perspective!

Allen- Gerberta and I celebrated 15 years of married bliss in August. I attribute this longevity to Gerberta's agreeing that I'm right so she can fall asleep while I talk to myself about the merits of my brilliant arguments. I remain employed at Wavetronix, which has grown remarkably in its 7-year existence. It is still a wonderful place to work. Church service is an ever-increasing occupation. I particularly enjoy the opportunities this affords to go on high adventure scout trips with the young men. Above all, family life is the most interesting, challenging, and rewarding aspect of my good life. Gerb and I are as excited for the arrival of our ninth child as we were for the first. Call us crazy, and doubtless we are, but the insanity is priceless.

Gerb- The most exciting news this year is that we are expecting another baby! Allen & I celebrated our 15th anniversary with a 14-mile hike and a river run - something I never thought I would do. I was also thrilled to spend a week camping this summer with a dynamic group of 12-17 year old young women. What fun! I continue to enjoy life as a wife and mother and all of the craziness that comes with it.

A.M.- I turned 14 this year & I went on to Venturing Scouts where we do more challenging and fun campouts. I also started high school, which is much harder than middle school was. I have developed new talents in ping-pong and tennis, which, along with friends, eating & sleeping, are my passions in life (according to my mom).

E.M.- This year I was able to fly in an airplane for the 1st time to go to Texas for the Family reunion! I was also able to go to Girls Camp with my mom & had a blast! In November I turned 13 & am now officially a teenager. I am excited to be in my school play, Guys & Dolls.

J.C.- This summer I enjoyed catching frogs, swimming and singing with my family at our reunion in Texas. I have also been making new friends and working constantly in Mr.Z’s mind stretching, fun 6th grade class! (check it out at www.classroomofchaos.com)

K.C.- I turned 8 this year and got baptized on May 5th. In the summer we had a family reunion in Texas. We went to the beach, the water was cold but I got used to it. It was a fun year. I love Cub Scouts, playing with Isaac, Pokemon, swimming, and school.

E.G.- I went to 1st grade at school. I went to the beach at Texas. At Texas I got to practice talking like a cowboy. I like to write letters and draw.

G.A.- I playded with the dollhouse. I playded with HH. I rided on the tractor in Texas because it was so much fun! I sawded fire bugs & went to the beach.

H.H.- I like my trains. I love peanut butter, toast & milk. I love nursery at church and do NOT want to leave next year. Just try to make me. My little potty training toilet seat makes a cool cowboy hat.

C.D.- I learned to walk, then run, then climb. I can climb anywhere and get into anything. I can get away with this because I am so adorable.

New Addition- I am busy growing bigger. See you in May 2008!

May God bless each of you in the upcoming year!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Big Girls DON'T Cry!!

I don't know what is wrong with me these days. Yes, I am pregnant, but this is getting ridiculous! Everything makes me cry. Barbie movies, kids in the store, old people, radio commercials, listening to Dr. Laura & Glenn Beck, and especially music. Not only radio/CD music, but hymns at church and even those stupid, cheesy Christmas songs that have been playing since the day after Halloween!! I hate to cry, especially in front of anyone. My face gets all scrunched up and blotchy and I can't just have tears flow, I have to sob. It's humiliating, and the hormones are NOT helping. My friend Jenny sent me this video, and I bawled like a baby.



Please tell me it evokes emotion in you as well, so I can tell myself I am (somewhat? I'll take somewhat) normal.

*DISCLAIMER: I would like to clarify one point and say that I love GOOD Christmas music. Just not the above mentioned stupid, cheesy kind.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's That Time Again!

Time for potty training!

It's high time HH started using the toilet, and so far I guess you could say it's going well because he likes his little toilet seat. There's only one problem...




He likes it as a hat.

And for those of you who thought I invented my conversation with GA in the last post, here's what I found when I got out of the shower...


I guess she was exaggerating about it being on the floor. It wasn't so bad to clean off the table. And CD.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gerb Unplugged: Some Random Musings (It's long, so grab a sandwich)

To those of you who watch TV on a regular basis and still maintain a blog on a regular basis I ask:

How do you do it?

Because, as previously mentioned, I don't watch TV at all and I still don't have time to post to my blog regularly. Especially lately. When I first started blogging I decided that every post would have a picture. They are so much more interesting that way! However, today I am breaking my unwritten rule. Otherwise there would be nothing, once again, for those of you who are nice enough to check often. I also decided I would post at least once a week. That has obviously not happened either. Here's what I've been up to since my last post...

LIFE.

Do you ever have weeks or months where life just happens at such a rapid pace that there is no time to sit and reflect on the chaos (whether it be the good or bad kind) around you? That's what I'm talking about. Here's one small example:

We had Thanksgiving here at our house, just our little family and no visitors. We practically begged family members to join us but they all had plans. The good thing about being just us for dinner is this: MORE FOOD. The bad thing is this: I have to make ALL the food. Which I am used to for everyday stuff, just not the Thanksgiving caliber of meal. I baked 7 pies (3 were frozen, purchased from neighborhood kids for fundraising). Of the "from scratch" pies I made were a banana cream, a cherry and 2 pumpkin. No big deal, right? Well, silly me, I thought it would be fun to make the pumpkin pies from fresh pumpkin. What a job! They were a hit (still are...anyone want some pie?) but the work put into them may not have been entirely worth it. The entire day before Thanksgiving was baking & extras day - I made my pies, rolls, and frozen cranberry salad (it's worth it, trust me!) and that took all day. Thanksgiving morning I put in the turkey, made the mashed potatoes and gravy, yams, green beans & sparkling cider. I decided to skip the stuffing since the majority of the family does not appreciate it unless it's in turkey stuffing casserole. I also went for the kind of whipped cream I got to whip myself. More work, but I think that the difference in taste was definitely worth the 5 minutes.

We all sat down to eat, and within the hour everyone was done. Who washed dishes? Me. I decided I wanted to reflect on what I was thankful for during all of the food preparation time, and my family is definitely #1 on the list. So, since no one volunteered to wash, I just did it. (The kids did come dry the dishes, I must give them credit for that.) By the end of the 2 day ordeal, I was ready for a long nap - or at least a good book.

I decided that Thanksgiving is the time for me to show the family how thankful I am for all they put up with the rest of the year. It's definitely a labor of love, or else it wouldn't happen around here.


Other things keeping me busy:

(Today anyway...)Trying to remember not to use my kid's names in my posts. I don't want to make my blog private, but I hate not using their names. Their initials seem inadequate somehow. Why do there have to be wackos out there? Can't we all just get along?

CD started climbing a couple weeks ago. On the table, on the piano, on the beds, up and down the stairs...you name it, she climbs it. And I remove her from her lofty destinations or prevent her from reaching them. Plus, she had a disgusting runny nose for 2 weeks straight. That was fun to keep up with. But her 1-year-old cuteness makes up for it all. Every morning I marvel at how she can become even more adorable each day.

HH is as precocious as ever, and those of you who know any of my boys (who share the same personality for the most part) know that he's a delight, but quite a handful. He can get into the refrigerator and up on the kitchen counters all by himself (kitchen drawers make the most convenient ladder!) and likes to help himself to whatever looks good. When we had egg nog in the fridge, he would wake me up in the morning, carton in one hand and cup in the other, with, "Can I have some egg drink, mom?" He has discovered that non-fiction books about trains are much longer than AND have more pictures than children's versions, so he will sit and flip through one for a good, long spell. Add his independence to his latest full-blown ear infection and painful ingrown toenails (which the doctor keeps telling me he will grow out of), and welcome to my life.

GA is such a funny little girl. She is at an age where everything is absolute- black or white. She wants me to "do school" with her all the time, which would be fun but is not possible with other little people here needing attention, too. We make time everyday to color, practice writing her name, read a story (or 2 or 3), or play with Furryvilles or the dollhouse or Legos. She likes to keep me informed on what's going on around the house, especially when I'm trying to take a shower.
(knock, knock)
Me: "Yes?"
GA: "Um, are you in there mom?"
Me: "No, I'm an alien life form, using your mother's voice."
GA: "Um, OK mom, um, CD is going down the stairs now. And HH won't stop being mean to me because he is not so good at sharing."
Me: "Well, I'm in the shower right now. Can we talk about this in a minute?"
GA: "Um, but CD can fall down the stairs so you better come get her now, OK, mom?"
Me: "In a minute."
GA: "Um, and CD also got HH's breakfast and put it on the floor. And um, she likeded it, so maybe you should make some more."
Me: "WHAT? Did she make a big mess?"
GA: "So, mom, um...maybe you need to get the vacuum out. You better stop taking a shower now, OK mom?"
And so on.

EG is becoming as obsessed with reading as her older siblings. She is strict about rules and does not like it when other kids do not follow our family rules. She likes to inform me when they are not following her interpretation of the rules, which I believe is often called a 'tattletale'. She is an arts and crafts fanatic, often leaving behind paints, water, paper, scissors & tiny scraps of paper for me to clean up - or for CD to eat, whichever comes first. She loves learning and would do math/reading/spelling worksheets all day if I had enough of them.

KC is the man with all the questions. He and his 2 younger sisters are also notorious room-destroyers. I don't know how their room can be orderly and clean and then 5 minutes later look like a tornado came through. He loves to pay all of the neighbors visits and make some kind of note or treat to take over with him. He's a socialite if we've ever had one. He feels very put-out when I will not allow him to go to a friend's house before his jobs and homework are completed. He is obsessed with Pokemon - always wanting to talk about Pokemon characters/cards to anyone who shows even remote interest. He is also into getting all his Cub Scout requirements signed off so he can advance. Thanks to one of these requirements, he decided yesterday that doing dishes is FUN! Thank you, Cub Scouts!

JC becomes easily frustrated when it comes to getting things done on anyone's time but her own. That's all I'm going to say about that. I get to do a good deal of nagging to get her out of the door in the mornings, which we both hate. Her talents are in writing and drawing, and she's a frog lover. Frogs! Not the real kind, just the cutesy ones. I'm not sure how she'd do around a live little hopper. JC is still the sassy gal in the family, and also a good helper around here.

EM is also a great help when she's asked. She enjoys art and outside sports, most especially Ultimate Frisbee. She is fun to go shopping with, something we both enjoy. Otherwise, she's holed up in her room reading some book series about magical pants that fit a girl and all of her friends. What in the world??

AM has become obsessed with 3 things: friends, ping-pong and tennis, in that order. We noticed his screen was pushed out of his window, and we all know what that means with teenagers, right? He isn't really the type of kid to do that sort of thing, so we asked him about it. He was sneaking his tennis racket out of his bedroom window because he didn't know if we would let him play with it outside. Ummmm....did he think we expected him to use our indoor tennis court??
Wait...I thought of 2 more obsessions: Food and Sleep. In that order. He is at least a good 3 or 4 inches taller than me now.

Hey...was that my Christmas newsletter? YES! Consider it a personal greeting, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Just kidding. I'm making the kids each write their own summary of the last year for our newsletter, and they'll have to edit it down to one paragraph of about 3 sentences each so they can all fit on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. I love writing projects! Did you know that I occasionally print out an email so I can go through and edit it with a red pen? Crazy, I know.

I'm not sure how to end this random post.

How about this?

THE END.

P.S. My big kids read this and noticed I still left one kid's name in. It is now fixed! Foiled again, blogstalkers!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's Not A Mid-Life Crisis

I have become very aware of something recently.

I will soon be the mom of 9 children. NINE! Not that I don't think I can handle it. It's the rest of the world that I'm concerned for. Will they know that it's impolite to ask things like, "You're done now, right?!" or "Are those ALL yours?" I am always tempted to reply with the sassy remarks that cross my mind ("Heck no! We're just getting started!" or "No, I borrowed them from the local orphanage") but instead give polite answers. I don't want them to think ill of me.

Which brings me to my next epiphany.

Am I looking like a mom-of-many? Do strangers look at me and think, "Look at her, she can't even take care of herself - let alone all those kids!" I know, I'm being a bit dramatic. But it's only to explain myself to those who are wondering what's going on.

It's like this.

I looked at myself in the mirror a few weeks back and wished my hair was a bit more tame. I thought, "How would my hair look if it was straight?" So I straightened it. And then it needed bangs, so I gave myself bangs. The kids all asked, "What happened to your hair, Mom?" or, "Your hair looks different. Is it going to be curly again tomorrow?" I love the honesty of children. So I decided to forget the straightening thing and just love what God gave me - but I kept the bangs. I liked how they helped me look a little more....I don't know. Nice, I guess.

Then I thought about make-up.

When we had our family pictures taken about a month ago, I put on the basics - eyeliner & mascara. My 13-year-old daughter told me I looked good with eye make-up, that it made my eyes look "brighter". So I put on make-up, too. And you know what? I liked it.

Anyway, to make an already long story longer, I'm making an effort to look my best these days. You'll have to be forgiving if you drop by unannounced in the middle of the day and I'm still in my PJs, though. That's still going to happen. But when I'm out of the house, I'm going to look my best - and hopefully completely shock anyone who sees me pregnant and asks, "Is this your first?"

I'll proudly answer, "No, it's my ninth. Isn't it great?!"

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tag, I'm It

I have been "tagged" by both Shellie and Su in the last week. This means I get to share 7 random things about myself with you. I am also supposed to "tag" 7 other blogging friends, but I honestly don't know who would roll their eyes at the idea and who would be a good sport. If you want to share 7 random thoughts, leave a comment and let me know.

Random Item #1: I LOVE old pictures, like the one of my dad in his first car posted above. There is so much personality and interest in an old photograph - each has a story waiting to be told.

Random Item #2: If you knew me before the age of about 6 or 7, my name was Donna - at least when family was around. Donna is actually my middle name, but one of my grandmas told my parents that I would hate my name and blame them for it, so I was "Donna" for a good, long time.

Random Item #3: I do not like large bodies of water. They scare me because of all the unknown. Is there a piranha in there? How deep does it go? This may be due to the fact that I did not learn to swim until I was nearly 18. The funny thing is, I'm OK with the ocean - but only from the shore. I'm slowly learning to overcome this fear, though. Give me time.

Random Item #4: In high school I always told people I wanted to have 32 kids someday. 32 was my lucky number, and it seemed like a good number of kids to shoot for. My plan was to adopt 25 and have 7 with my husband. I had all of their names chosen. (Names like Brock Lee & Calli Flower - they were the twins) When I married my husband and my amazing mother-in-law had her 16th child, I realized that she will be living that dream for me once all of her kids are married.

Random Item #5: I love music. Some people love music for the music, and some people love music for the words. I love different songs for different reasons, but I especially love songs that capture emotions that are very real to me and songs that bring back memories in vivid detail. Actually, some songs I do NOT like because they bring back memories that I would prefer to leave buried in the deepest recesses of my mind.

Random Item #6: I have a hard time making real, true friends. I don't know how to explain this one really, so let me just say this: I have to know that the person is genuine. I'm not sure how else to explain it. I can't allow myself to be vulnerable with someone else unless I feel my secrets are safe with them. And once I decide you're one of these friends, you're stuck for life. Words are such a mucky mess when trying to describe things like friendship and love, aren't they?

Random Item #7: I can express myself much better in sign language than I can by speaking. The English language is frustrating at times because it does not translate the passion and depth of meaning behind words which I prefer in ASL. Because of this, I have a love for learning new words and vocabulary. The more words on my side, the better I can express what's really going on in this crazy head of mine.


I could continue, as my life can be rather random, but that's 7 items so that's where I'm stopping.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My Halloween Evolution

As a child I wore this Witchiepoo costume (from H & R Pufnstuf) for as long as I can remember. Even after the brittle mask cracked and broke, I continued to wear the plastic costume. I loved being Witchiepoo.

Many years later, as a high school student, my friends and I wanted to go get some free candy on Halloween. (Isn't that all that teenagers go trick-or-treating for?) Alas, I did not have a costume, and only about $2.00 to my name. I knew most costumes were clearance priced on Halloween, so I went to the local mall to look for a bargain find.

I didn't find anything that cost even close to $2. But I did find some fart spray at Spencer's Gifts, and that got me thinking...what do people use fart spray for?? Maybe if they were a piece of poop?

My Halloween costume was decided.

I found a black trash bag (brown was not readily available) and cut out 2 leg holes, put on a black shirt, colored my face somewhat black and took a look in the mirror.

Not enough.

I drew a couple of flies, cut them out and taped them to the trash bags.

A little better.

I knew what would complete the outfit. I put my hair in a ponytail on top of my head, with more elastics in succession to achieve a tapered look up top.

Perfect!

I knew this blog would be incomplete without pictures, because who would believe me? I emailed my friend Julie, who pretty much documented my entire teenage life with her camera, and asked if she had any poop pictures.

Julie delivered (as I knew she would), and I present to you my completed look - Gerb the Poop, 1988.




I better not hear anyone saying they couldn't come up with a last-minute costume this year! I'm giving up one of my greatest ideas here.


And that, friends, is how I evolved from Witchiepoo to...well, just Poo.

You Should See It At Night!

** Welcome TIP JUNKIE Readers! And hello to those visiting from A SOFT PLACE TO LAND too!**
If you have any questions about how any of this was created, leave me a comment and I'll be happy to respond. Thanks for stopping by!

*******

Here's why I haven't posted anything new in the last week....
(driveway and garage)

(front lawn... check out the witch on the roof!)

(cemetery close-up)


(inside the crypt on the driveway)

(part of the spook alley inside the garage)


(the front room inside the house)


(more of the front room)

(front steps)


(witch on the roof appears to be flying at night)

Remember last year? Well, Allen really outdid himself this year. (And there are plenty more surprises you don't see here.) You seriously need to come to our haunted house on Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Look at what we woke up to yesterday morning! I promise, it was much more beautiful than my picture appears. It was the best photo I could take half-concealed from the front door in my PJs.

I guess this means no more garden-fresh tomatoes this year?

Bummer.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wouldn't You Like To Be A CODA, Too?

(Interpreting for Mom and Dad at my older brother's graduation from Junior High, 1983)

I mentioned before that I am a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). I was born a CODA, I'll die a CODA, and the life I've lived in between has been largely defined by the fact that I am a CODA.

And I LOVE it!

Most CODAs fall into one of two categories:
1) You love Deaf culture, enjoy being a "helper" for your parents and other Deaf people, embrace the language of ASL (American Sign Language) and keep the culture in your heart throughout your life - often becoming a sign language interpreter.
2) You can't stand having to be around Deaf people all the time, resent your parents for asking you to interpret at/for anything, escape the culture as soon as you can and blame all future problems on your parents.

I definitely fit into category 1. I have such fond memories of interpreting for my parents in the most interesting of situations before the ADA law came into effect and businesses and public organizations were not required to provide interpreters for those who were Deaf or hard-of-hearing. Hospital visits, Deaf clubs, church; what a diverse world I was able to experience as a young interpreter! My favorites, though, have to be situations of interpreting at my high school.

My brother Chip and I had the amazing opportunity to interpret for each other's Parent-Teacher Conferences. So we always....well, let's say we looked out for each other. Soon after I graduated, Chip helped lead a student walk-out in support of teachers who were in a salary dispute with the district. My parents were immediately called into the office to discuss Chip's rebelliousness and negative use of leadership ability. They asked me to come interpret.

The principal thanked my parents for coming, thanked me for coming to "help your parents understand the gravity of the situation", and proceeded to tell them in biased detail about what Chip had done and why it was wrong. Well, Chip and I had been talking about his plan for a couple days, so I knew what he did. So instead of interpreting what Mr. Principal was saying, I proceeded to "interpret" for my parents Chip's reasoning and logic behind what he did. When the principal was finished talking, I concluded as well. When he asked my parents what should be done with Chip, they told him how proud they were of him for standing up for what he thought was right and that they backed him up 100%. The principal, flustered, did not know how to respond. He thought he had made himself clear...and I'm sure he did... but my parents got a different story.

Of course, now - as a professional interpreter - I would never do such a thing. The fun thing about being an interpreter is the variety of situations you get to work in. If you like consistency, you can choose to work somewhere like an elementary or secondary school. If you enjoy variety, you can work freelance - through an agency or on your own - and you never know what you'll experience from day to day. I have some incredible stories I could tell, but it's kind of like working for the FBI: I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Confidentiality is important.

Back to life as a CODA: most CODAs I know fit into category 1 like myself. We love to share stories of our childhoods, and I think we all like to be the center of attention. I personally started out quiet and shy and then discovered a love for becoming an entirely different person on stage in drama classes - then there was no stopping me. In fact, most CODAs who embrace the language and culture seem to be outgoing and precocious.

My kind of people.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

All I Want For Christmas

My hopes and dreams of the past few years have been realized:
Josh Groban has finally come out with a Christmas CD!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Are YOU An Acronym?

I was born an acronym. I came into this world as a CODA (Child Of Deaf Adults) and acronyms have been following me ever since.

It wasn't until after my family became LDS (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, best known as Mormons) that I realized what a complex language acronyms can be in and of themselves!

So I wrote a song about it. A parody, really.

I was asked to emcee a talent show at church a few years back and was worried that I would be lacking in material to keep the audience entertained between the various lip-syncs and ballroom dance numbers. I had jokes. I had funny stories. I even practiced my accordion in anticipation of my big night, but nothing seemed enough, so I wrote a song about the acronyms found in daily conversations between those of the LDS faith. If you are not LDS, you may think, "What's the big deal?" Actually, if you are LDS, you may think the same thing. But here goes:


"Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" Originally by Air Supply

"LDS Life" Parody by Gerberta

My family was converted when I was eight years old

We loved this new religion - the missionaries called us "gold"!

I learned what CTR means from attending Primary

But I was unaware back then of Mormon acronym vocabulary!

When I joined the MIA, my friends liked to go TP

I went along but felt unworthy Sunday morning at BYC

Then my MIA Maid president told me all about EFY

And how the boy she had met didn’t mind PDA

and they would NCMO at the dances each night!

Well, I thought it sounded special, so I flew to SLC

Then I rode UTA to attend EFY, but they dropped me at the JSB!

And I didn’t know where the WILK was,

It was my first time at the “Y”…but I found my way around there and I knew…

This was LDS life. (repeat 5 times)

Look at me now, I’ve had 6 miracles and we drive an SUV.

My husband’s not a GA, but we have FHE and read D&C.

He goes to PEC & PPI and every last Sunday we do HT & VT.

We listen to KSL every day until three & our kids watch KBYU faithfully.

And, oh my heck, I forgot to mention that he graduated from UVSC!

We look forward to the day when we will have a missionary.

And he can learn the discussions and he’ll SYL while he is there in the MTC!

When he gets out in the field he’ll do a lot of BRT.

And then he could be a ZL, or maybe a DL, heck, he might even be the AP!

When he’s done he’ll return with honor, and find himself a wife.

And they’ll do all the same things that we did – that’s how it is.

That is LDS life. (sing to fade)



Okay, THIS IS A TEST...Did you get all the acronyms?




Monday, October 15, 2007

You're Welcome

You're Welcome
(found in the life history of my husband's maternal grandmother)

You're welcome little stranger babe,
As welcome as the spring
That drives the winter gloom away
And brings the birds to sing.
The boon of love you brought to me
Was like a gift divine
To build and hold us heart to heart
Forever, baby mine.

Look at that sweet face. Is it any wonder why we keep having babies? For those of you who didn't get my somewhat elusive post-announcement, I am pregnant! Due around May of 2008, and excited at the idea of another sweet little squishy-cheeked person joining the family.

As I have shared my news, (and even before!) I have discovered many others who are joining me in the journey.

Welcoming Baby #1 are:
Sister-in-law Nancy
The Fabulous CJane
One of my former YW, Kortnie!

Welcoming Baby #2:
Elle's Sunday School teacher, Erika

Welcoming Baby #3:
Sister-in-law Trina
Sabrina, Cutest Mom of Boys (and soon a GIRL!)
Fellow church secretary, Valeri
Eden's "church-teacher", Sarah

Welcoming Baby #4:
(and BOY #1!) Sister-in-law Michelle
Cousin Julie, AKA Pottymouth Mom

Welcoming Baby #5:
BFF Rebecca, who has done this with me simultaneously before!

Anyone I don't know of yet?




Come on, everybody's doing it. You know you want to, too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

There Are Two Seasons in Washington...Winter and August

I have returned from my Washington trip, and I must say, it's always a great time at the Larson's! How can a trip go wrong when you are met at the airport with your very own 6-pack of waxy chocolate mini-donuts?? Rebecca and I shared in many adventures, including a shop-til-you-drop day of perusing through people's yard sale treasures in the misty rain, plenty of game-playing fun (always a must with Rebecca, even if she does always win),
Cute little Hannah's repeated asking, "What's your name again?"
A little karaoke with the Larson girls,
Good food galore, especially when prepared by Rebecca herself (I DID like the Thai food, too!),
And a drive-by of a creek which shares the name of a music group I enjoy!


To be honest, I can't do the trip justice after reading Rebecca's version...maybe you should just read it, too: Good Times With Gerb

Thanks for a fun weekend Rebecca, Doug & girls! Let's do it again sometime.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Maybe You Should Read It Again...

Mike is one of my best friends. I met Mike the same night I met Allen, so we've known each other a good, long time. He is considered a brother to Allen and I, an uncle to the kids. Mike calls us often, which we appreciate since we aren't so great at calling him. When I answer the phone, he usually says something like this:

"Flamerta? What's up? Anything new?"

To which I used to respond, "Nope, nothing new. Same old, same old."

Mike told me at one point that, if I was ever NOT pregnant, I could instead answer, "Well, I'm not pregnant!" And har, har, har, we'd always have a good laugh over that one.

Mike just got married this month, to the beautiful Any (pronounced like Annie). I am looking forward to calling him sometime and asking, "What's new?" and hearing the response, "Any's pregnant!" No pressure, though, Mike & Any.

And, by the way, nothing new around here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Could Hide It Under There...

Question:

Where in the world can you hide your favorite chocolate-waxy donuts in a house full of eight kids?

I used to be able to hide treats (ex: donuts, Girl Scout Cookies, Chili-Cheese Fritos, Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins, Snickers, etc...) in the canning pot or ice chest in the pantry. I could just close myself in there and enjoy to my heart's delight. But, the kids are getting smarter.

"What are you doing in there, Mom? Why are you holding the door closed?"

What is a woman to do? Yes, it is purely selfish to want to enjoy an entire box (that's right, friends - not a 6-pack, an entire box) of chocolate-waxy mini donuts all by myself. But, here's the problem. I can't share, or it goes like this:

Me: "Here, HH. Have a donut with mom in the pantry. Shhh. Yum, yum, right! OK, you're done. Want to play with trains? OK, bye sweetie!"

(2 seconds later)

GA: "Um, mom? Why does HH have chocolate on his face? Because GA wants to have chocolate on her face, too. It's OK." (She refers to herself in the first person. It can be cute.)

Me: "OK, GA, here's a donut. But, don't tell anyone, OK? Alright, let's clean off the chocolate so no one else can see...great job, princess! Now go play with your dollhouse, OK honey?"

(2 seconds later)

All kids not previously mentioned: "Mom, what's going on in the pantry?"

Me: "I'm.....praying. I'll be out in a minute."

Kids: "Can we pray, too?"

Me: (partially giving up) "OK, look, here, everyone gets a donut. Sorry I lied about praying."

Random child: "Uh...didn't you already eat a donut, Mom? Did you get 2? Can I have 2?"

All kids: "YEAH! WE ALL GET 2 DONUTS!!"

And so on. Then they're all gone.

Question:

"Wow, 8 kids?! How do you stay so thin?"



Now you know.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Look, Mom, No Hands!

Yes, it's true. Our cute little CD has become a regular walking member of the family! She's been walking for a couple of weeks now and she's still a couple weeks shy of her first birthday. It is the cutest thing to see this little person walking around like a big person. It's like having a full-grown kid in a teeny little body. Her personality comes out more and more each day.

She has a rivalry with HH, both vying for mom's attention, but she can hold her own.

She gets mad when I try to take her picture, because I'm talking cutesy to her and telling her what a doll she is, how smart she is, but I'm not picking her up.

She loves to play (for lack of a better word) fetch. Throw one of her stuffed bunnies and she'll retrieve it for you. It is the most adorable thing. (See, kids, I told you we didn't need a smelly dog!)

She is as in love with milk as her brother, HH. If I get it out of the fridge for any reason, she starts to squeal and bounce and walk as fast as her stubby legs can carry her to the kitchen.
She enjoys chasing our bird, Buddy, around the room. And Buddy plays along, always staying just out of reach. (I know what you're thinking, "Gerb's a softy! She got a pet!" Better than a stinky, shedding dog or a bossy, hairy cat. And, really, don't even get me started on cats. I don't care if you like them. That's fine. But I'll never change my opinion - it has been cemented even more strongly due to the fact that we live so close to a veritable cat breeding ground. But don't get me started on that, either. Seriously.)

CD also has excellent taste in music. When the good stuff is playing, she's a dancing machine.

She can change the entire atmosphere of a room with a smile or her laugh.

When those big, bright eyes look up into mine, I wonder what she knows that I don't. There is unconditional love and trust there, and wisdom beyond her years.

And that's saying a lot, since she doesn't even have one year under her belt yet.




(sigh). I love being a mom.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Getting Ready For Halloween

Allen and I have never been very festive when it comes to decorating for holidays. This is more a factor of time than anything else, I think. However, last year Allen decided we should decorate the house for Halloween. "Sure," I said. "The kids can help us make a few decorations during family home evening." We traced and cut out bats to tape on the windows. They were pretty cool. But Allen had something more in mind. He made the large witch cut-out to put over the front window, complete with green light in the background. (you can see our cool bat cut-outs, too.)
He constructed 4 tombstones from plywood, rebar, paint, and fake blood to include in our own little cemetery, right in our front yard. He cut out the sign and created the fence from posts and wire. This was still under construction as the first trick-or-treaters appeared last Halloween night.
This ghost was made from a wire frame and an old sheet. It was attached to a pulley and the string came into the bedroom, enabling us to move the ghost up and down. There was a black light shining onto the ghost to help it really stand out.
Our pumpkins were all carved with scary faces to fit the haunted house theme, and lined the stairs to the front door.
This skeleton prisoner was created from a skull and a bag of random bones, wired together. Allen built a body from boards, complete with ribs. I made the orange jumpsuit while Allen wired red Christmas lights into the eye sockets and built a gallows to hang him from over our garage.

Throw in a fog machine, some dry ice and a CD of spooky sounds, and we had quite a Halloween display!

But that was last year. Allen has had a whole year to think about other spooks and decor to add to the mix. More skeletons, coffins, a grim reaper...the possibilities are endless! We're going to have to start setting up at least a week in advance this year.

So, come Halloween, stop by for some treats...and maybe a few unexpected tricks!

We're dying to see you....
MMMUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!!!!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

What's For Lunch?

After each new school year begins, it is always fun to ask my kids how many students in their class bring a lunch from home each day. Generally the answer is one or two, themselves included. I, for one, am a HUGE fan of home-made lunches. Let me share some of my reasoning with you:

1. School lunches always have been, still are, and always will be pretty much disgusting.
2. Sack lunches from home can be catered to fit the likes and dislikes of each child.
3. Items in a lunch from home are much more valuable in the lunchtime trading game because no one else has them.
4. It is a way for kids to have a little piece of home while at school.
5. I like to decorate lunch sacks with pictures, jokes, and each kid's name.

On occasion we will send our kids with money to purchase a school lunch (like if I am having a baby that day or we all slept in or we ran out of sack-lunch staples like bread or fruit). When they return home I will ask, "How was lunch?" The answer varies. Here are some of my favorites:

"It was pizza day - I hate pizza day! They just re-heat already cooked 5 Buck Pizzas and the cheese is all mushy and the crust is like cardboard."

"I was excited because there were apples, but they were the kind that taste like they store them in vinegar. The lunch lady said they were called Red Delicious. I call them Red Disgusting."

"I think it was supposed to be macaroni and cheese, but it was just gross."

My kids tell me about their friends who get the cafeteria lunches, eat what they like (usually 1/3 or less of what they are served) and dump the rest in the garbage. Do their parents know what they are paying for? Is it really worth it? Is there something I am missing here?

I love making lunches for my kids. It is fun finding jokes that they will enjoy to write on the front and adding an unexpected treat in the bottom of the bag. They are always pleasantly surprised when the typical PB&J is replaced with a bagel and cream cheese, a tortilla roll-up, or their favorite, tuna. I always add a vegetable or fruit, depending on what I know my kids like and will eat. Apples, carrots, celery with peanut butter, pears, green pepper slices, cherry tomatoes...we even sent 'cucumber popsicles' (peel the cucumber, cut it in half and insert a stick in the bottom - it looks like a lime popsicle and is great for dipping in ranch!) for a while one year when our garden was overflowing with cucumbers.

At a time when treats are no longer allowed in classrooms and parents are not allowed to bring homemade items to share on birthdays, shouldn't someone be concerned about what's going on in the food line at the cafeteria?

Here is my suggestion:

The school principal and lunch staff should be required to eat what is being served for lunch that day. If they think it's worthy of them, it can be served to the students.


But my family will still be bringing sack lunches, and you're going to want to trade for what they've got.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Surprise Endings

I have had a few requests that I write a blog about my sweetheart, Allen. Let me say this: As much as I LOVE the spotlight, he avoids it. Unlike me, Allen is not a real showy kind of guy who likes to bare his secrets to the world. They say opposites attract, and in many cases that fits us to a T.

But I will give you a little snippet of what I know about Allen that you don't: he is great with surprises. (I, on the other hand, cannot keep a surprise a secret to save my life. I'm too excited to give it to the lucky recipient.) Like the time he got me a piano for Christmas. How do you keep that a secret? He pulled it off flawlessly. I was convinced I was getting a deep-freezer.

Allen read my last blog about the Twilight series of books and came home with a copy of Eclipse for me. What a fun surprise! (He also read the entire spoiler on the book at wikipedia and threw out little hints of what was to come...check out his comment on my last blog entry.)

I have been devouring this book as much as I did the others while attempting to keep the house above "hit by a tornado" status. This morning I finished it. On page 599, I found some writing in the binding:

...and there was another surprise, the itinerary for a trip to visit my friend Rebecca in Washington!

There's your snippet. If this doesn't embarrass him too much, there may be further installments.

Thanks Allen!
I would have just called you, but you're in that meeting. Let me know if you want me to delete this post.
Love, Gerb

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

I have read the first two books in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, and I will be the first to admit that I was hooked. I read both books in 3 days and finished the second book, New Moon, the day that the third book, Eclipse, was released. I HAD to read it. However, I couldn't bring myself to buy it because I must read a book before I buy it. This usually means I find it at the library or borrow it from a friend.

I believe I am currently #3,249 on the hold list at the library for Eclipse. And Madison won't let me borrow her copy unless I let EM join Girl Scouts. (which I would be more inclined to do if they didn't have to sell a bajillion boxes of cookies every year, by the way.)

So, as I have patiently waited to acquire a copy of this book, I have had time to think about it. A lot of time. And some things don't make sense anymore. So, please, if you could help me out, here is what I want to know:

(warning: these questions will sound ridiculous to anyone who is unfamiliar with these books. And some questions may give things away if you haven't read the books yet. Just thought you'd like to know.)

1. Does Bella finally become a vampire in Eclipse? Because I'm not so sure I want to read it if she doesn't at least try.

2. If Bella is truly, irrevocably in love with Edward, why is she so disgusted with the idea of being married to him? I am a female, and I know how (some) females think. Most females, if they are so sure of their feelings and immensely in love with someone that they would put their life on the line for them, or become a vampire to be with them forever, marriage would be a welcome proposition. What's her problem?

In fact, Bella is starting to get on my nerves. What is it that Edward sees in her, besides the fact that she smells so appetizing? Is his attraction based on the fact that he can't read her thoughts? Or that she has NO self-esteem? (I guess that can be question 3.)

And now some commentary... (warning again: MAJOR SPOILERS on Book 2 here...)

New Moon held my interest at the beginning, up to the point where Bella saves Edward and they are flying home from the big vampire domain under the foreign city where unsuspecting tourists are eaten for lunch. After that point, I continued reading voraciously for one reason alone: Question #1. (Does Bella become a vampire?) Let me draw an analogy here. Reading the remainder of New Moon was like watching a soap opera. I once had to endure Days of Our Lives for a couple of weeks while my mom was visiting, and when I saw part of the show a year later, the same things were happening. The plot never moved forward. To be fair, the Twilight books have much better character development. But the plot at the end was like this: Edward is a vampire. Jacob is a werewolf. Jacob hates Edward. Edward tolerates Jacob because he loves Bella. Bella's father hates Edward, but loves Jacob. Bella doesn't understand why anyone loves her. Bella wants to become a vampire. No way, says Edward. Why not? says Edward's family. And on and on.



Please, if you have read Eclipse, could you help me out and give away the ending?


When the time comes, I'll buy a box of your Girl Scout cookies.