Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wooba Wooba

I have had so many thoughts racing through my brain today. Most were not blog-worthy. So, despite the fact that I wanted to write a blog post about my goals for the coming year or maybe even a recap of 2008, you get to hear the story of the demon of my childhood - the Wooba Wooba Monster.

The kids and I were talking about things that scare us. For All-a-Boy, it was the Zorgons in the movie Zathura. For Hubba it's flickering lights - he is positive "they are gonna blow!" For Coolister, ElemenoB and Thumbelina it was playing Uncle Chip's version of hide-and-seek called hide-and-scare. And that reminded me of the Wooba Wooba monster.

My oldest brother, Toby, was watching Sesame Street with Chip and I one day. For some reason we noticed a particularly freaky monster at the 'Monster Disco' that day - one with angry black eyebrows and fangs. Toby, being the oldest brother, saw the fear in our eyes and decided to mess with us a bit. Another monster said the words "Wooba, wooba..." at some point, which prompted the name of this furry green demon who would lurk beneath our beds and in our closets for what seemed an eternity.

I must admit, I had it easy. Before we climbed the stairs to bed Toby would simply say, "Gerb- look out for the Wooba Wooba monster. He's under your bed." Or, "Cover your ears tonight - the Wooba Wooba monster might call for you." Poor Chip shared a room with Toby and had to listen to the monster until he was finally able to fall asleep.

The monster knew only one word. Wooba.

Toby would lay in his bed and quietly start with a long, drawn out "Wooooooooba..." and then he would ask Chip, "Did you hear that? He's here!"

Toby is a good guy. (Now.) But I will be honest and say that I am a 36 year old woman who is still afraid of the dark because of that blasted monster. And here's why...

I had finally had enough. I knew the monster wasn't real and I wasn't going to let Toby scare me anymore! I was tired of checking under my bed and in my closet. He was never there! As I confidently walked to my bed, sitting on the edge to remove my socks and crawl in, two hands came from beneath my bed and GRABBED! my ankles, shaking them, crying "WOOBA WOOBA WOOBA!!" I screamed! I probably fainted! Toby crawled out from beneath my bed, laughing.

The Wooba Wooba Monster stopped coming after it scared Chip so badly that he grabbed some scissors and stabbed it through the hand. Funny what a trip to the E.R. can do to a person's desire to scare little kids.

Wait...

Why the heck am I writing this story for my blog?!

I have no idea. But there it is.

So, um... Happy New Year! And may your 2009 be Wooba Wooba free.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Green?

(photo from glassrootsofmontana.com)

I was thinking back recently to a time when writing poetry was my life. It defined who I was, it helped me to get the feelings I had deep down in my innermost core out onto paper in as abstract or concrete a way as I desired. Some poems took days to compose, some hours, some minutes.

One such poem I wrote became a favorite. It came to me one day as I sat in the alcove under the stairs in front of apartment #6 of Bay Village Apartments, pen and notebook in hand. I loved this poem so much that it even inspired my favorite color for that year - as well as the purchase of my beloved first pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars (back before they were cool). It contained only 6 words:


Why Green?
Because blue loves yellow.


I don't expect that to be earth-shattering for anyone out there.

But it still makes me smile.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Big and Little

I was watching Coolister, my biggest kid, as he washed the dishes last night with my littlest boy, Baby O, playing at his feet. And I couldn't help but think - I remember when Coolister was Baby O.

I think it was yesterday. At least it feels that way.

Time sure flies.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

This is WAR!

Apparently, the "tooth fairy" reads my blog. Why do I write"tooth fairy" that way? Because the "tooth fairy" I am referring to is an impostor.

Let me explain. I am well acquainted with the tooth fairy who picks up teeth and leaves cash at our house. Very well acquainted, actually. I mean, with 9 kids - that's a lot of teeth!

You can imagine my surprise when I found a nice little package on our doorstep last night. I brought it in and showed it to Cowgirl, who was ecstatic to have a visit from the "tooth fairy" when she hadn't even lost a tooth! We all know this is impossible. I mean, haven't we all seen "Santa Clause 2"?! Plus, the letter on the package was written in a different font than was used last time. And this note was full-sized, not tiny tooth fairy sized like the last one. And I always know when the real tooth fairy is coming. I had no advance notice here. I rest my case.

The impostor's note read:
(click on the picture to enlarge)

And inside were these:
Not Peeps, but sugar-coated marshmallow people decorated with frosting. Because, as we all know, the marshmallows and sugar coating are not enough to produce a true, bouncing-off-the-walls sugar high. We must give the children frosting as well.

I will say this - these Peep impostors are much cuter than actual Peeps. But no matter. The sugar-induced hyperactivity was twice the norm.

I will find you, "tooth fairy". And when I do... it's war.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Who Knew?

One thing I love about Christmas is getting treats from the neighbors. It is no secret that I have quite the sweet tooth and I love eating holiday sweets... except for Peeps. These disgusting lumps of marshmallow coated with sugar crystals are an Easter candy that has been exploited to fit every possible holiday.

Hey, you can like them. I'll still be your friend.

...back to the Peeps.

Last Sunday a well-intentioning neighbor brought over EIGHT! packages of Peeps Christmas trees for our family to enjoy. "They were left over from what I gave to the kids in nursery at church today," she explained. "And you have all those kids, so I knew they'd get eaten."

The thought was very... sweet. But just imagining the sugar-induced high that my kids would be experiencing made my stomach feel sickly.

The kids were already bouncing off walls. Continuous strains of "Can I have a Peep? Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I, Mom?" were reverberating through my ears as I deliberated a possible solution to the overabundance of Peeps.

"Let's sleep on it," I responded. "I'll have an answer in the morning."

It turns out someone else took care of the Peeps for me.

Cowgirl had lost one of her front teeth that very afternoon and set it in the usual place, on top of the microwave, in anticipation of some cold, hard cash from the tooth fairy. As we headed for bed I placed the Peeps on top of the microwave as well, in 2 stacks of 4 boxes each.

In the morning we found this note:


The speculation among the kids is now that the tooth fairy collects teeth to replace her own.

Tooth fairy, wherever you are, thank you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

That's What It's All About



One of my favorite Christian musicians, Kenneth Cope, produced this short video.

Forget the hustle and bustle of the season for a moment...this is what Christmas is all about.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Slightly Imperfect

While perusing the aisles of a local dollar store for a few items needed for a gift exchange I came upon the sock aisle. Socks, I thought to myself, I need those. Unfortunately the selection of colorful, fun socks left much to be desired, so I turned my attention to the boring white variety.

I was surprised to find a decent name brand with not only one pair, but two in a pack. Why are these here? I wondered. Upon closer inspection I noticed a small label on the front of the socks: SLIGHTLY IMPERFECT. "Slightly imperfect?" I wondered aloud. "I wonder what that means?"

Coolister was with me and he quickly responded with, "Maybe it's referring to the girl, not the socks." I took another look... she looked pretty good to me. In fact, compared to her, my physique would be labeled something along the lines of ENTIRELY IMPERFECT.

Isn't it great that we don't have to wear labels? I mean, labels like DONUT CONNOISSEUR or DOMESTIC GODDESS, those I'd proudly wear. But there are other labels I would prefer to keep to myself.

We all have imperfections. I think that's what makes us interesting.

You know what? Maybe SLIGHTLY IMPERFECT isn't so bad.

In fact, SLIGHTLY IMPERFECT is keeping my feet warm right now.

I'll take SLIGHTLY IMPERFECT.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Would I Say If You Were Here


Thank you, Dad, for giving me my love for children.

Thank you for teaching me to have a sense of humor.

Thank you for giving me that uncontrollable love for performing.

Thanks for loving me unconditionally.

Thank you for teaching me compassion.

Thank you for my awesome metabolism.

Thanks for all your support in whatever I decided to do.

Thanks for making me laugh.

Happy Birthday, Papa.

Every song I sing is for you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Goin' Back To Cali: Disneyland

(Picture a smaller version of my family with Mickey Mouse here)

We had to do it. It had been 5 years since the last time we took our kids to Disneyland, so we put out the big bucks and went again.

But this time we were prepared.

Last time: We took all 6 of our kids, ranging in age from 8 months to 9 years old. Disneyland was not the happiest place on earth. We had to push a stroller around all day which was nice for the cargo space but awful for navigating around and through crowds. Half the kids could not go on rides with a height requirement so we had to take turns sitting outside those rides with the vertically-challenged people while the others had a blast - and then switch off so the adult who missed out would get a chance to get in on the excitement of something besides the "Dumbo the Flying Elephant" ride. We had fun, but by the end of the day we were exhausted and vowed not to return until Coolister was at least 18 years old.

This time: We sent Coolister and ElemenoB to Disneyland with the cross-country team on Saturday after the big race. They had fun enjoying the park with friends (more importantly, without mom and dad). Then on Wednesday we left the 3 smallest family members at grandma's with Coolister and ElemenoB while we took the remaining 4 (ranging in age from 5-12 years old) to enjoy the Magical Land of Disney. It was perfect. Everyone was tall enough to ride everything except Indiana Jones, and only Princess missed out on that one. No strollers, no crying babies, no diapers to change. Just a lot of running around and having a good time.

I would now like to present some awards to the theme park in regards to this last visit.

Fastest Ride goes to Space Mountain with an extra shout-out to whoever thought up the fast-pass... I love you.

Coolest Land is awarded to Toon Town. The rides aren't worth waiting in line for, but the motif? Awesome. I could spend a whole day just wandering around there.

Scariest Ride for sure goes to the rockets out front of Star Tours. I feel like I'm going to fall out of those things every time! Can't they just tear those babies out? My fear of heights may have something to do with it...

Biggest Mistake goes to the person who took out Bear Country Jamboree and replaced it with a Winnie the Pooh ride! Seriously, Winnie the Pooh?! I mean, Bear Country Jamboree was a classic! Speaking of which...

Best Remaining Classic Ride/Feature goes to the Jungle Cruise. I love the remarks the guides make and the fact that they come up with new ones every time. I just hope they don't turn it into a canoe ride called "Pocahontas' Colors of the Wind" or something. I mean, look at what happened to Swiss Family Robinson - it's now Tarzan's Treehouse.

Most Improved = Nemo's Underwater Adventure. I always thought the submarines were fun, but they were a bit random. The Nemo theme helped tie everything together.

Least Worth the Wait goes to Autopia. I think the excitement of this ride comes from the idea that those who are not old enough to drive get to try it. But combine getting stuck behind someone who stalls every 20 seconds with the hard gas pedals and it's really not worth the wait for an adult. (p.s. Thumbelina didn't like it, either.)

OK, I could go on all day, but I've already been on the computer for much too long.

Final words: We had a great time.



p.s. What do you think? Any awards you'd give to a Disneyland ride?

Goin' Back To Cali: Thrift Stores!

(Imagine a picture of all my thrift store treasures here)


One of my absolute favorite things about coming to California for a visit is the chance to shop at the local thrift stores. Here on the high desert I have my favorite spots to shop - and I am never disappointed.

This year was no exception.

My 2 oldest girls have been indoctrinated in the fine art of bargain shopping and they were excited to join grandma and I in a shopping adventure. First, we figure out the best day to go. That was Tuesday, when early bird shoppers (9:00 am to 1:00 pm) got half off on all clothing items. Half off at a thrift store = suh-wheat deals!

I have been shopping for hardback books to stock our library-in-progress and found some good ones! Letters To Emily and Watership Down were my 2 favorite finds this trip.

I won't get into too much detail on our amazing purchases - but I'll tell you this: ElemenoB now has fun Christmas gifts for all of her friends as well as a load of new clothes for herself. Thumbelina found a few treasures as well. And me?

Let's just say it's a good thing we brought our trailer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Goin' Back To Cali: Saturday Was A Special Day

(Since I am not on my own computer you'll have to imagine
a picture of Coolister finishing his race here)

Saturday was the day that Coolister ran at Mt. SAC. For those of you who are not from Southern California or who don't give a lick about any kind of competitive running, Mt. SAC is a college that hosts an annual invitational cross country race for high schools in the west - best known as Footlocker.

So? Big whoop. you're thinking. Well, it IS a big, HUGE whoop. Because I ran at Mount SAC back in the day. I remember those treacherous hills, the horrendous switchbacks, the endless dirt... I remember it all!

We made the trip down to Southern Cali (that's what us former locals call this area - we're cool that way) and arrived the day before the big race. I had knots in my stomach. Coolister had more food than I eat in an entire week in his. We got a hotel room near the college so he could meet up with his team to make the needed race preparations the night before. (I later learned that this included pressing every button before exiting the hotel elevators and seeing who could leave the most plastic spoons in other people's pockets, unnoticed.)

The morning of the race, he caught the team's charter bus at 6:15 am. We (in true family fashion) arrived just in time to see him cross the finish line - and what a glorious finish it was! He came in with the front of the pack - his face beet red, dripping with sweat and with dirt in his teeth. It was a good race.

We then followed him around, his own entourage, as he talked smack with his teammates ("...and then I looked up, saw the guy in the red jersey and said, child's play! when I totally wasted him in the last 300...") and cheered on the runners in the remaining races.

(Picture of Coolister cheering on runners he didn't even know... he would name them as they ran by - "Good job, black shirt! C'mon Superman! Pass up green shorts up there!")

I'm not sure which I enjoy more - watching him race or seeing him cheer others on.

My absolute favorite part of the day was when, before the senior boys' race, I noticed many of the guys from Coolister's team gathered in a small circle, heads close, whispering. I couldn't wait to hear what hyjinks they were cooking up! I walked over, close enough to hear, and realized they were... praying.

(I wanted to take a picture, but it somehow seemed inappropriate.
Just try to picture it in your mind.)

This was the best moment in my whole day. I don't know how to describe what I felt just then.

What an amazing group of kids.




P.S. The 2nd best moment was possibly seeing the girl who ran dressed like a banana.

(picture of running banana here)

I was a little jealous, because why didn't I ever think of that?

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Blue Sweater

Christmas! The season is here. I have so many reasons to love this holiday, but the most prominent are the memories of the years that we had the least - monetarily, anyway.

Our first few years in California were tough. After my Dad lost his job in Iowa we moved to California to live with my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Dick. They were generous enough to not only offer my father employment but to also welcome us into their home. We lived with them for quite a while until Mom and Dad felt like we could try to make a go of things on our own and we moved into a nearby apartment. Mom and Dad told us that there would not be much for Christmas that year, but we would all be receiving a little something.

I remember well a trip to the mall a few days before Christmas to see the holiday displays and do some window shopping, something we did often. As I passed one particular window I caught sight of a beautiful blue sweater. Oh, how I wanted that sweater! I was at one of the most awkward social stages of my life. I had difficulty making friends and I was sure this sweater could help me in that department. With this sweater? Instant popularity! Friends galore! I slipped into the store, waving my family ahead.

I found my size and held it in front of me. It was so soft and warm. I looked into a mirror and could see how its blue color brought out the color of my eyes. I didn't dare try it on for fear that it would be a perfect fit, cementing the thought in my mind that we were made for each other, this sweater and I. I looked at the price tag... there was no way. I couldn't even ask.

I folded the sweater up and placed it back with the others in shades of red, purple and green. After one last, longing look, I hurried to catch up with my family.

Over the next couple of days we enjoyed some simple holiday traditions together - making cookies and decorating the tree. On Christmas Eve we delivered cookies to a few of our neighbors and friends then came back home to enjoy some Christmas treats. As we watched some holiday programs on the T.V. a loud knock sounded at our door. We ran to find who was coming to visit on Christmas Eve, throwing the door open eagerly. There was no one there. We were excited when we looked down and noticed a large box, filled with canned food, a ham and a gift for each of us! Christmas morning could not come quickly enough.

After a long, restless night, Christmas morning dawned. We gathered around the tree, eagerly anticipating the opening of gifts. There were a few things for each of us and we (im)patiently sat as each person took turns opening their presents one at a time, the way Mom liked to have us do it. Why we weren't allowed to just tear into the paper like wild banshees and get to what was inside was beyond me, but Mom made the rules.

I don't recall what my other gifts were but when it finally came my turn to open the mysterious gift left anonymously, I said a little prayer in my mind... "Please, Heavenly Father, let it be the blue sweater..." then I stopped. I felt a bit embarrassed. Who was I to ask God for a silly sweater? And why get my hopes up? The chances were slim to none. I slowly opened the gift and could not believe my eyes.

There it was. My sweater. The right size, the right color. We were made for each other.

Some may chalk it up to coincidence, but I choose to believe that God knows us personally and He knows what our needs are. And I think He works through others to bless us in simple ways when He knows we need it most.

This may sound over dramatic to you, but to a young pre-teen girl in need of a boost in the self-esteem department?

It was my own Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ess Oh See Kay Ess!

I have a sock dilemma.

I love socks. LOVE them! I love putting on a new pair that still has all of its inside future-dryer-lint fuzzies intact. Yet it seems my funky high-arched feet are something of an enemy to my beloved foot coverings since they quickly get holes in the heels.

Easy, right? Just go get new socks!

Herein lies my dilemma: I am a bargain shopper. I can purchase a package packed with a plethora of plain white socks at a reasonable rate. (Don't we all love alliteration?) But white socks are so... boring.

I want variety. I want pizazz! I need stripes, polka dots, zigzags and argyle patterns in thick cotton or wool blends! (But please, no domestic or farm animals. I am 36 years old, for Pete's sake.)

Back to the bargain shopper thing: the socks I truly desire cost me as much for a pair as it would put me back for a pack of their plain white counterparts.

Check the dollar store! you are thinking. I am way ahead of you. The dollar store and I are well-acquainted. But I have yet to find a nice, thick pair of dollar store socks that make it through more than 3 wearings or one washing (whichever comes first).

Sure, I have the good fortune on occasion of finding a nice pair of fancy socks on clearance in a snazzy store. But those days are few and far between. And when they do happen, chances are one of the people I share my house with will see them and say, "Awesome socks, Mom!" and I will give them to them because, after all, I am a MOM! And as such I am constantly working for the title of "Kid's Favorite Person (for today only)!"

And so, before too long, the battle of the socks will be decided. And once again, the plain guys will win.

And it's okay.

Because someday, when I am an old lady with money to burn, you will find me in a wide variety of funky footcoverings.

Some will call me eccentric.

But you and I, we will just smile at each other knowingly and let them wonder.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You Lucky Locals!

Time's up! And the "Custom Random Number Generator" over at mathgoodies.com tells me that the lucky winner is: Comment #2, ~j! (applause!)


UPDATED! Check the bottom of the post...

I have 2 tickets.

They are for the Utah Regional Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker.

They were a gift from our fine city when we won the Good Neighbor Award.

Wasn't that thoughtful and nice? And we really appreciate it.

But there's this thing...

You know how some people are all artsy-fartsy and some are not?

We are all about artsy-fartsy.

Art galleries? LOVE them!
Plays? Musicals? First in line!!
Musical performances? BRING THEM ON!

But dancing... how do I say this?

I can't dance. Let's just get that out there. If you need someone who is crazy and can move around, wildly flapping their arms and imitating moves of decades past, I'm your woman. That's all I have to offer.

That may or may not have to do with the fact that watching other people dance puts me to sleep.

Please! Don't anyone be offended! (And don't tell me I should watch that famous-people-dancing t.v. show. We have rabbit ears, and I don't have time.)

Can you imagine how embarrassed I was when I fell asleep and SNORED at a modern dance concert back in 1989?! I had like a billion friends in this thing! But I could not. keep. my. eyes. open.

Here's where you come in. Can you help a girl out? Save me the embarrassment of ruining our family's good name and attend the Nutcracker Ballet for us. I am offering 2 tickets for the Covey Arts Center performance on Thursday, December 18th at 7: 30 p.m.

Anyone?

Balcony seats!

Anyone?

Great date night!

Anyone?

p.s. In the event that more than one person responds to this post, I will do that "random number generator" thing that other people talk about. I have no idea what it is, but I'm sure if I google it I can figure it out.

Since there is some interest in the tickets, I'll do the random pick thing. To answer questions: This is in Provo at the Covey Arts Center (a.k.a. the old Provo Library building). No, I don't have to know you for you to get in on the tickets. And I'll stop accepting comments tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, Dec. 4th) at 1:00 p.m. And by the way, I am SUPER excited that someone else can enjoy these.