Friday, August 30, 2013


I discovered this morning that there is a sad lack of photos of my pal Trish and I together.  

(I wrote this back in April but never posted it.  Today I was thinking about my friend Trish and all of the awesome memories we share and continue to create.  I remembered writing this, found it, and am posting it to share with her.  Love ya Trish!  When it comes to friends you are the real deal.)

"Red, Red Wine" came on the radio this morning as I drove the kids to school and I was instantly transported back to my old teenage stomping grounds: West High School.  I could clearly picture my friend Trish and I hanging out near our favorite little patch of grass in front of Building 3 or wandering the school grounds, singing our own version of "Red, Red Wine" to the disgustingly attached teenage couples we came across.  P.D.A.... go get a roooooom! You need heeeeeeeelp!...  Maybe we were singing it more for our own amusement, to help dispel the awkwardness we felt around them.  It sure worked!  We would laugh, amused by our own cleverness as we continued singing this mini-parody we had crafted about their obnoxious public displays of affection.

As I thought about it this morning, though - I wondered what the other kids thought.  The ones our song was directed toward.  The couples who would make out between classes and be awkwardly attached to each other all through lunch.  Maybe they felt like swapping spit was a way for them to ease their own uncomfortable feelings when they were embarrassed for the two giggly girls who maybe should have kept their voices to themselves?

Nah.  We totally rocked that song.  Still could if we had to.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First and Last

Today my Little O started kindergarten and my oldest daughter Elle (formerly known as ElemenoB) moved into her college dorm.  It is Little O's first day of school and Elle's last day at home.  I don't think any mom should have to deal with both of these things in the same day, but it is what it is.

Yesterday Little O presented me with this picture:

When I asked him to tell me about it he said, " This is you, the one with the girl hair, and this is me, the one with a lots of things sticked to me.  You can look at it when you are missing me so much while I am gone at school.  We are holding hands p-cuz we love each other sooooo much!"

After I got all of the kids off to school this morning Elle loaded her boxes and bags into the van and the two little boys and I drove her over to her new home across town.  After she finished check-in and we got everything into her little apartment I had to get back home to get Little O ready for kindergarten.  As we drove away I couldn't help but get a teensy bit teary.  Even though we'll see her again very soon and probably fairly often, it will never be quite the same.  She'll never really completely be here, in our home, again.  I know it's what we've worked at for so many years but it doesn't make it any easier.            

Half of this room is looking pretty empty today.

X and I took Little O off to his first day of school this afternoon.  Little O had no problems with our leaving once he was situated in his very own chair with his own container full of play-dough.  The problem was with X.  Once he realized that O was not coming with us, he started to scream and cry, "NOOOOOO!  My O! My O!  Where my O?"  He kept up like that the whole way home and I wanted to go back and get my little boy and tell the teacher, "I'm sorry, I've made a big mistake.  He shouldn't be here."  But I knew that in reality it was exactly where he wanted and needed to be so I went home and looked at the picture he gave me while X calmed down with some string cheese and a dose of Little Einsteins.

I'm going to miss these two this year!

Little O's first day of kindergarten picture.  He's so dang cute I can hardly stand it!!

My favorite (not her favorite) of all of Elle's senior pictures.  The wind came and caught her hair just so and made her look all supermodelish, plus she's got a genuine smile and a Star Wars shirt on.  I think you can see her personality as well - not only is she beautiful on the outside, look at the beauty behind those eyes. This picture is all Elle!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to School 2013

  My elementary school crew

This summer, as every one before it, flew by at the speed of whatever the fastest thing you can think of is.  A couple of weeks ago when I started getting school packets in the mail I thought they were sending them out earlier than usual (denial at its finest).  I told myself that I didn't need to buy into the whole idea of every kid needing new school clothes and then two days ago I panicked that none of my kids had new school clothes and took 8 of them shopping at the same time.  The best part of that day was when I had 6 of my kidlets somehow attached to the shopping cart at Target and two walking alongside.  They were happily and dramatically singing bits of Les Mis to each other (except for Little X who wouldn't stop singing Fish Heads) and quoting Monsters U when and a random kid pointed at us and loudly proclaimed to his mom, "Oh, WOW!"  I like to think we looked like a parade float of happiness.  I'm wishing in hindsight that I had taken a picture, but I didn't.

Anyway, yesterday was the first day of school for 6 of my family.  Our sleep schedule is still in summer mode but I think we managed pretty well in the morning.  I got everyone fed, packed lunches, prettied-up some hair and made sure that teeth were brushed.  All-a-Boy and Thumbelina biked off just after 7:00 and Cowgirl was the only one at the new bus stop just across the street from our house when the middle-schoolers' bus pulled up at 7:30.  Then as I concentrated on getting the elementary schoolers ready I realized I had forgotten to take pictures of the other three.  Oh, well.  I'm still living in a summer fog.  Some of them will have First Day of After School Pictures this year. 

First Day of School pictures:



First Day of After School pictures:


First Real Day of School picture:
 Thumbelina, who got her braces off yesterday - just in time!

Little O had kindergarten testing yesterday and he's super excited about going to school but really upset that he can't eat lunch at school like everyone else.  I'm pretty sure that if the "kindergarten testing" was really a test he would have failed miserably.  But he was sure cute trying!  The only letter of the alphabet he knew by sight was O because it's the first letter of his name.  He knew a few of the numbers and could hold his pencil the right way so I'll call it a success.  He also insisted on having his picture taken even though it's not his first day of school until next Wednesday.

ElemenoB moves into her college dorm next week.  She is also turning in her papers on Friday (as in, tomorrow!) to serve as a missionary for our church.  She plans to attend one semester of school and then serve an 18 month mission. She and Allen the Younger will overlap in missionary service by 6 months or so and won't see each other for 3 years.  That gets me every time I think about it.  

Allen the Younger has been on his mission for over a year.  I never thought I'd hear myself say it, but the time is flying and his weekly letters home (can you call email 'letters'?) have me checking my email every half hour on Mondays, sometimes into the afternoon.  I miss him like crazy but I love hearing about his experiences and the lessons he's learning.


I remember when old people used to talk about how time flies and I always thought they were crazy and sentimental.  I now have one child serving a mission, one going to college, a senior and freshman in high school, one 7th grader in middle school, kids in the 5th, 3rd and 1st grades, one starting kindergarten and just one left at home to keep me company.
I'm suddenly this mix between old people and weepy first-day-of-kindergarten mom and I'm trying to find ways to take in all I can and enjoy the happy moments.

Like seeing these faces when they can't hold still long enough to take a 'pioneer picture':

And remembering how lucky I am to be celebrating 21 years of marriage to this handsome guy:

Life is awesome!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

You Get What You Pay For

This first picture is a starting-off point to help illustrate my story.  It was taken in June.  Please notice of the length of my hair.

I can't believe I am going to write a whole post about my hair.  But here it goes, because I want to remember the lesson I learned the hard way.

I have mentioned before that my best ever hair stylist cousin moved to Texas and left me and my hair all alone.  I'm not a big fan of change, so my hair was ignored for about a year.  The good thing was, it grew out.  The bad thing was, it got super frizzy.    I decided to just be brave and go get a little trim but I wasn't sure who to go to.

A friend recommended two stylists so I tried to make an appointment.  The first was scheduled out for almost 3 months and the receptionist at the second asked me to call back because they were too busy at the salon to take calls right then.

I remembered how I had taken All-a-Boy to a local hair school and gotten his hair cut for FREE with a discount card that I have.  I remembered how much he loved it and how good his hair looked afterward.  I figured I was just getting a trim to make my hair feel more healthy so it wouldn't be so bad to have a student do it.  I rationalized that they have instructors who supervise everything that they do.  So I did it.  I still had one FREE haircut available on my discount card so I called the hair school and made myself an appointment. 

I told the student who was going to cut my hair exactly what I wanted: just a little trim, maybe 1/2 inch off all around.  I emphasized that I was trying to grow my hair longer and just wanted it to be healthier.  She got her instructor and explained what she would do.  The teacher reminded her that curly hair is shorter when it's dry and longer when its wet.  A nod, a smile - understanding all around.  The student was friendly and told me she only had a few months left of school.  I was relieved to know she had some experience. 

After my little trimming of hair was complete she dried it with a diffuser.  "Your hair is SO curly!" she kept saying to me as I laid back in the chair so she could dry it properly.  When she was finished she asked if she could give me a messy bun in the back because it would look SO cute with the curls!  I agreed.  When she was done she showed me the finished 'do.  It was pretty cute.  "Oh! I forgot to have my instructor check it off!" she said and went to find her.  The teacher reminded her that she was supposed to have the cut checked off while it was still wet and unstyled, but everyone seemed happy so all was well.

I gave her a tip (because the haircut was FREE, remember?) and went about my merry way, feeling so cute with my messy curly bun 'do.  The next day I took the messy bun out and washed my hair.  When I looked in the mirror, it was obvious something was not right.   

The front of my hair was longer than the back.  I dried it with a diffuser, thinking it would fix the problem.  The back of my hair was really curly - because it was a lot shorter than it had been.  The front of my hair?  Pretty much just naturally frizzy.  I tried curling the front part of my hair with a curling iron but it only made things worse.  I pulled the longer sides back and pinned them up.  That was better. 

This first picture shows my hair pinned back, the way I wear it pretty much every day for the last 3 weeks since my hair disaster.  It looks pretty normal, right?

 When I pull the back of my hair to the front you can see how much shorter it is now. 

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for!  Here's the new haircut without the pin-it-back disguise:

Can you tell that the front is longer than the back?  From just the front it doesn't look so bad. From the side, though...

Here are the differences in length when the back and front are pulled straight.

The worst thing is, it wasn't a FREE haircut after all.  I tipped the stylist-in-training $10 so I'm sure she thinks she did a fantastic job!

In haircuts and in life, it is good to remember that you get what you pay for.