Saturday, February 28, 2009

All-a-Boy Inspires Me

He did it. All-a-Boy's getting karate lessons. I'm wondering if the same thing would work for me...

Dear Family,

I would like an iPod for the following reasons.

First, when I have to go places by myself, like the grocery store, I can listen to the iPod and I won't have to listen to the noise around me (like giggly girls and really interesting conversations that I am tempted to listen in on). Plus it would be like having Josh Groban or Bono or whoever singing to me while I shop and that would be awesome. Also, when I need a vacation I can just go in the pantry with my iPod and eat Girl Scout cookies by myself and not have to hear everyone asking, "Where's mom?"

Second, music makes me more happy and motivated. When I am feeling sad because we are out of chocolate cake or ice cream or cheese, I can listen to a cheerful song and it will make me happy. Also, exercise is very important and I will be more motivated to exercise if I have an iPod to listen to while I do it. So iPods are good.

To top it all off, I deserve it. For instance, I do lots of things like make food and change diapers. I also wash, dry, fold and put away the laundry. I could do these things while spontaneously singing and dancing if I had an iPod.

In conclusion, an iPod would block out noise, make me happy, and I deserve it.

Please consider these reasons and respond as soon as possible. Please tell me the reasons why.

Sincerely, Gerb (a.k.a. Mom)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Like The Song Says...

There is sunshine in my soul today!

Do you know why? Because every moment of every day in my life is a choice.

I choose how I react to every single thing that life throws at me. I can choose to make the best or worst of any situation. No one else chooses for me. I choose. It's all up to me.

It's kind of like having a choice to be one of the Seven Dwarfs each time a new situation presents itself. I can be Grumpy. I can be Dopey, Sleepy, Bashful, Doc, or Sneezy... (OK, maybe this isn't working out like I was thinking originally.) Well, anyway - the point is: I choose to be Happy!

When the sun is shining, I choose to soak in its warmth.

When the storm clouds gather, I choose to marvel in their swirling, ominous beauty.

And when the rain falls, I choose to dance.

I choose.

And for all of you? I hope you choose sunshine.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Karate Kid?

All-a-Boy had the assignment in class to write a persuasive letter a few weeks ago. We get one of these from at least one child every year, usually asking for a puppy (which, I'm sorry, will never happen. Because puppies become dogs and dogs become children and I will never have a dog in my family Christmas photo.) All-a-Boy must have known there was no chance for a canine companion because this was what he wrote instead:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I would like karate lessons for the following reasons;

First, it would be a new experience. Having karate lessons will help my self-esteem. Self-esteem is very important for a person my age. It would also help my confidence, and you’re always telling me I’m feeling sorry for myself so confidence is an important key to change my attitude.

Second, the exercise is also very important. I don’t think I am getting the physical exercise that I need. Karate will keep me physically strong and happier because I’m healthier. And I will also be more energized. So karate is good.

To top it all off, it will teach me self-defense. For instance when I’m on the way to scouts and someone steps out of hiding and tries to kidnap me, normally I would be forced into their car or house. But if I knew karate I could fight them and get away safely. And if Coolister is being a jerk and won’t let me upstairs or in my room or he’s just being mean for the fun of it, instead of just getting beat up without being able to fight back I could defend myself.

Please consider these reasons and respond as soon as possible. Please tell me the reasons why.

Sincerely, All-a-Boy

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Never Know What I'm Gonna Get

Today was a bright, sunshiney day.

The moment I stepped outside I felt invigorated and happy. I wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather rather than spend the day in the house so I decided on the spur of the moment to take Hubba, Curly and Baby O to our favorite semi-secluded park after dropping Princess off at kindergarten.

When we arrived the kids immediately raced to the playground.
They climbed, ran and threw wood chips to their hearts content until Hubba looked at me suddenly, wide-eyed, and exclaimed:

"Mom, I gotta go to the baf-room!"

We hurried to the other end of the park and saw the sign on the bathroom doors:


I told them it was time to head home but Hubba assured me he could hold it, so the playing continued.

As Hubba and Curly explored the slides I took Baby O over to a tree that cast its perfect likeness against the mural behind it.
I heard someone honk their horn and instinctively turned - Hubba and Curly were both in plain sight.
Nothing to worry about. I finished snapping a couple more pictures and walked over to the playground.

"It's time to go," I announced. "We need to get you to a bathroom, Hubba."

"No we don't!" he answered happily. "I already went!"

"What?!" I said, looking instantly for the usual wet spot.

"Yeah, over thay-er!" Hubba said, pointing at the fence.
The chain-link fence.

By the street.

At that point, what could I do? We played a while longer then headed for home.

Apparently I'm not the only one who can be spontaneous.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eight Years

Cowgirl turned 8 years old today.

I can not believe my sweet, crazy Cowgirl is growing up so fast.

I can still remember the day she was born. Allen and I had not officially decided on her name yet and the doctor asked, "What are you going to call her?" I told him we had not agreed on her name yet but that I really liked the name (insert her real name here). Allen immediately said, "I guess her name will be (real name) then." That was the day I discovered that I can get pretty much whatever I want right after having a baby. It was a beautiful thing. Almost as beautiful as she is.

Cowgirl probably does not know that she was a gift to me, an aid in my healing from the heartache of losing my father to cancer just a month before her birth. I could not remain sad with such a bright-eyed little angel in my home.

For those of you who don't know Cowgirl, here is a story which illustrates her personality pretty well...

Last night our family was reading scriptures together. We always take turns reading a few verses each. When it was Cowgirl's turn she read, "...that awful monster the devil, and death, and... (a slight pause here, then) ...BEEEEEEP!" And then she clarified: "I didn't want to say that bad word."

We all chuckled. Apparently the word H-E-double-hockeysticks is inappropriate whether it is in the scriptures or not.

As we continued our reading, everyone substituted the word BEEEEEP wherever they felt it was needed. She may have started a new family tradition.

Happy birthday, Cowgirl! Our life would not be complete without you.

(Pictures are by the talented Jason of Backroads Photography)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Shoes!

I ran into someone I had not seen in a long time the other day. "I wish I had new shoes on!" he lamented. I grinned. I had not thought about that in a while...

Long, long ago in a place not too far from here I used to work as an American Sign Language interpreter. Every morning I would go to an elementary school and enter the classroom of a teacher who did not appear to enjoy her job. My assignment was not to jazz up the teacher's lectures in order to keep the child I was interpreting for awake... although I often wished it was.

One day, something exciting happened. Miss Teacher came into the class with a twinkle in her eye and a poster in her hand.

"Do you know what happened yesterday, children?" she asked, smiling. They all shook their heads, wondering what had caused this transformation. "I bought new shoes!" she answered, shifting her feet at different angles to show off her new purchase. "And guess what happens when we get new shoes? We say the 'New Shoes' poem!"

She turned and hung the poster she carried in the front of the room. It was decorated with all sorts of shoes she had cut out from magazines and various advertisements, and in the middle was the poem, 'Choosing Shoes'.

And I fell in love. (With the poem, silly.)

Soon after this I changed jobs and interpreted at a state college. We often had meetings that were less-than-exciting... until one day when all that changed.

"Does anyone have anything to bring up?" the boss-lady asked as the meeting began. I looked around. Everyone was doodling on paper or otherwise trying to stay awake. And then I saw them... Boss-lady had on new shoes. I raised my hand.

"I notice you have on new shoes, boss-lady!" I pointed out with all the excitement I could muster. Everyone looked. She smiled. "Yes, I do. Thank you for noticing, Gerb. Anyone else?"

I raised my hand again. "Do you know what happens when someone is wearing new shoes?" I asked. And before she could answer I stood up and said, "They get the 'New Shoes' song!"

I immediately broke into an impromptu dance, reciting the poem in a sing-songy manner directed at boss-lady. I ended with a flourish and sat down to the applause of my co-workers.

"Thank you, Gerb," boss-lady said, laughing. "Anyone else have new shoes?"

I sang for 2 more people that day and for several others since. I noticed that people often happened to buy new shoes the week of our meetings... coincidence? I think not.

How about you - got new shoes? Well, go slip them on and enjoy...

Choosing Shoes
by Frida Wolfe

New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes.
Tell me, what would you choose,
If they'd let us buy?

Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
Strappy, cappy low shoes;
Let's have some to try.

Bright shoes, white shoes,
Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
Like some? So would I.

Flat shoes, fat shoes,
Stump-along-like-that shoes,
Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
That's the sort they'll buy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

He's A Mystery

I love Dove chocolates.

Not only because they are smooth and creamy, but because each wrapper holds a small message which my kids like to call "fortunes".

I found some heart-shaped Dove valentine candies in the clearance basket at the store and purchased them to put in the kids' lunches. This morning I asked All-a-Boy what yesterday's fortunes were.

"The first one said 'Be a little mysterious' so I pulled the hood of my jacket over my head and scrunched down in my seat. Then I went to see what the other one said...." He let out a big sigh. There was a definite mood shift here... I gave him an inquiring look.

"It said, 'Remember your first crush'. (insert eye roll here) So I just threw that one straight into in the trash can and kept being mysterious."

Good plan, All-a-Boy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

UPDATED: School House ROCKS!


In a smart, last-minute move,
Thumbelina has been cast in the part of


Resistance is futile. You must come now.

School House ROCKS!

My 2 oldest girls are performing in a stage production of "School House Rock" this weekend.

You totally want to come.

It is held in the auditorium of our local middle school (the one that pretends to have a dress code when it seems convenient) THIS Friday and Saturday, February 20-21 at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for students (or $1 for students with ID).

Remember "Interjections"? "Conjunction Junction"? "I'm Just a Bill"?

Yeah. Come see.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Don't You Want To Lick The Bowl?

A friend sent me an email recently detailing a new restaurant that I think would become BIG if brought to the states.

It's called "Modern Toilet".
The seats are made from toilet bowls, the tables are glass-topped sinks.

The food is served in toilet bowls.

And the final course, served in mini-urinals, looks mighty tasty.

Anyone for dessert?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mom and Me

Saturday morning I got a phone call from the video relay service.

It was my Mom.

"Gerby," the interpreter said, "you don't have to come today. It's supposed to snow pretty heavy. What do you think?"

"I'm coming, Mom. See you in about an hour."

I have not spent quality one-on-one time with my Mom in a very long time and I had been anticipating the day with a feeling of excitement. I wasn't going to let a little snow keep me home.

We had a great time.

We had breakfast.

We talked about everything under the sun.

We did a little shopping.

We went and got Mom's hair cut.

It was a great day.

As I was leaving Mom lamented over the fact that her hair was becoming much too gray and her hip has been giving her problems.

I lamented over the fact that I do not make the one-hour drive to visit her more often.

It's a fault I plan to remedy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dancing Queen

We had a Valentine's Day dance at our church on Saturday. As a general rule I tend to avoid dances where there are other adults present. Especially when the flier mentions "ballroom dance instruction".

I can not do any form of organized dance. I was kicked out of Modern Dance class my sophomore year of high school for a good reason. (Apparently watching 80's Madonna videos was not a good way to learn to modern dance. Whatever.)

We arrived at the dance as a teenaged couple were strutting their ballroom stuff in the gym to the cheers and applause of the crowd. After a few more numbers the lights were finally turned off.

It was time.

Allen asked if I wanted to dance to a half slow, half happy-bouncy kind of song. We took our place among the other couples and I immediately began to attempt a half sway, half bounce sort of dancing.

"You're right," Allen said. "Maybe we should just sit down."

But when the band started to play some upbeat Elvis numbers I really couldn't help myself. Allen joined me as we tore up the dance floor.

(Much to the horror of others.)

We brought the house down with a big finish which included some move we invented where Allen picked me up and swung me in a circle. I felt like we were the stars of High School Musical or something. It was awesome.

(I don't care how goofy I look in this picture because I love that Allen is captured here in the middle of a genuine laugh!)

Well, that was enough dancing for the night.

So we thought.

The band surprised us with a few more modern numbers that I just couldn't stay in my seat for. Allen was engaged in the fine art of conversation so I took the opportunity to relive my old 'church dance days' and do a little dancing with myself.

And then we went home and played RockBand.

The end.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hilarious Hubba

I love the way Hubba's mind works.

Today at church one of the teachers was sharing the story of his baptism with the primary aged kids. He spoke about how, as he stepped into the water, it was the coldest water he had ever felt. He even felt goosebumps standing there, waiting to be immersed.

"But after I was baptized it didn't matter how cold the water was because I felt very warm. Do you know why I felt warm?" he asked the children.

Hubba's hand immediately went up and before anyone had a chance to call on him he asked, "Did you peed your pay-ants?"

I love this kid.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Operation: Love and Happiness

As Valentine's Day approaches each year I am always reminded of the years that I hated Valentine's day. I would wear black clothing. I would buy myself a box of chocolates and eat every one, wondering if they would taste better if they had been a gift from someone else.

All of this changed one year when I received a simple reminder that I was loved. Every year since then I have tried to let others know that they, too, are loved - even when it may not appear so.

This year I came up with Operation: Love and Happiness.

There were 3 phases, but I'm only going to tell you about Phase 2. (Because that's all I want to tell you about, that's why. Some things are more exciting when kept secret.)

I decided to create some valentines with messages of love and happiness on the inside. On the outside, I simply put: 'To whoever finds this.'
Over the course of the last couple of days I have been leaving these little Valentines in random places all over the city. The most difficult part of this was to hide them, but in plain sight - and without being caught. Difficult, but extremely exhilarating!

There are some on the campus of our city's high school.

(I could not take any pictures because there was ALWAYS someone around! Coolister helped me come up with some good places to leave them at parent/teacher conferences.)

A few are scattered throughout the local shopping mall.
The city cemetery is decorated with several.
Our public library houses quite a number of them in various places.
Phone booths throughout our surrounding neighborhood have valentines stashed conspicuously.

I plan to visit a few local parks today and leave the remainder of unexpected surprises there.

Thumbelina asked if she could make some and leave them around her middle school today as well. (It's contagious!)

I hate to admit it, but part of the reason I am planting anonymous valentines all over our fine city is purely selfish.

It makes me feel SO giddy and warm to think that maybe - just maybe - one person who finds a valentine will really need it. Maybe one person's day will be brightened. Maybe it will bring a smile to someone's face.

I know it worked for me!

(I'm smiling.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Smokin' Deals!

I am the queen.

The queen of bargain shopping. Pinching pennies. Purchasing items at hot, smoking steals of deals... whether I need them or not.

Take yesterday for instance.

I had an hour to kill between a doctor's appointment and the time for Princess' kindergarten to start so I decided to pick up a few things at the grocery store.

After finding the items I needed, I went in search of the things I could not live without - simply because their price would be too good to pass up.

My first find was the Little Smokies. Did I need them? Of course not. Does anyone ever really need Little Smokies? But when they are marked at 2/$3.00 and have a coupon for '$1 off the purchase of 2' attached... and I find I have 2 other coupons for 40 cents off each package... 60 cents each? Get in the cart.

The next steal I found was fruit snacks. A whole wall of them! I held back and only purchased 6 boxes at 50 cents apiece since they expire at the end of the month. But who can resist putting Barbie fruit snacks in their 15-year-old son's lunchbag? (Not me.)

My most amazing deal of the day was the Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls (with cream cheese frosting!). As a do-it-from-scratcher I tend to avoid these. But I couldn't say no to NINETEEN CENTS per tube! They expire on Saturday, but we could TOTALLY eat these by then! I bought the remaining 6 packages.

As I headed to the front of the store to pay (next to nothing!) for my cart full of groceries (that I didn't need) I was elated as I calculated my savings in my mind.

I happened to be in the drink aisle and spotted my guilty pleasure... at $1.29 a bottle.

Not such a bargain.

But with all the cash I'd saved (on things I didn't need) I decided a celebration was in order.

Here's to bargain shopping!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Melancholy Day

I planned to write about why I'm feeling melancholy today.

Then I started thinking about the word melancholy and how much I like the way it sounds.

Melancholy. Melancholy, melancholy.

It just rolls off the tongue very nicely. Try it...


Melancholy, melancholy, melancholy, melancholy.

Have you ever said a word so many times that you start to wonder if you're even saying it correctly anymore?










(Am I saying it the right way anymore?)

And then I started thinking about what a funny word melancholy is.

Melon + Collie = Melancholy

Yet it has nothing to do with melons or collies.

I wondered, if melancholy were a color, would it be a shade of orangey-peach?

Or blue?


And then I forgot why I was feeling melancholy.

But I still like the word.

Even if I don't like watermelons or collies.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Play Clue With Me...

Someone's been hiding their talents...

Who could have done it? And how? And where?

Last Friday there were seven possible suspects, numerous hidden talents and at least eight rooms in the house... so the possibilities are endless.

But I'm pretty sure it was Jason.

In the living room.

With the butcher knife(s).

What do you think?

(You can read more about his amazing feats of skill here!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Come Again

I looked out the window from the comfort of my couch and saw that my small corner of the world had transformed from a dry and blustery winter day to a thing of rain-soaked beauty.

The most immediate plan to form in my mind was to run outside (still in my church clothes, no less) and become soaked to the skin - letting the water run down my upturned face as I spun in circles, arms outstretched, welcoming this gift from the heavens. I had a fleeting moment of giddy anticipation...

...until I remembered that it is only 36 degrees outside. And that I am a major wimp when it comes to cold.

Oh, Spring, where art thou?!

And so I mouthed these words to the overcast skies:


Friday, February 6, 2009

Unconditionally Loved

Boy oh boy do I love this baby!

And I think the feeling is mutual.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Show Me What You've Got

We figured out last night that this month will bring the first opportunity for ElemenoB to attend a church dance since she has become that magical age of 14.

I decided some advice was in order. The other kids all agreed.

We plugged her iPod in and taught her some classic dance moves.
My old standby was always the step-touch-repeat. If you want to get a little crazy, you can throw in a finger snap every once in awhile.

There's also the jump-dance. All you do is jump and move your arms and hands in whatever fashion you please. Coolister says this is the more common way for teenagers to dance these days. (No more step-touch-repeat? I don't believe it.)
Apparently Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is still played at every youth dance so Coolister gave some instruction on the proper moves.
My favorite dance, though? The Freak. It's where you purposely dance like a dork so no one will think you're too serious to have fun.
See, doesn't Cowgirl look like she's having fun?

ElemenoB just stared at me with a half-smile. I know she was worried she couldn't pull off the same amazing moves as me.

I told her not to worry, I'd be sure to help her and her friends tear up the dance floor the next time I come chaperon.

Thumbelina allowed me to demonstrate.
ElemenoB gave me another half-smile in response. I think that means she's excited about it.