Bagels for Breakfast

My mom and stepdad got married during the summer of 1987. While they went on their honeymoon (which was really a cross country road trip where they went from job interview to job interview), I got to spend a few weeks up in British Columbia with my grandfather.

My grandpa was awesome. He was a pilot and had amazing stories from World War II. He also told us kids a lot of stories about The Red Baron (I know now just how untrue those stories were because The Red Baron was World War I, but my grandpa never let things like facts get in the way or entertaining his grandchildren). My grandpa was an artist, with a studio in his house where he painted and sculpted. He had a kiln and all these great glazes to paint on to ceramics. He let me make a few things that summer. He took some pictures of me and started painting my portrait. He never did finish it (he was never happy with it and kept tweaking it over the years), but I have that now. My grandpa was a story teller. In addition to the airplane stories, Grandpa would often tell us about how he was really born on Mars or something, or he would line us kids up, call us to attention, march us around the room, and yell things like, “Wipe that smile off your face!!” and then tell us to stand “at ease”. He would have us sit in a circle, then gave us Indian nicknames (mine was Princess Long Hair) and tell us more stories that always started with “Many, many moons ago…”. Even though I was the only grandkid up there that summer, he still called me Princess Long Hair, still marched me around, and still told me story after story.

That summer my grandpa took me on walks around his neighborhood. He read to me from “Around the World in 80 Days”. He took me to the library to check out books and he got picture books of zebras so he could sculpt a zebra. He taught be to fox trot and do the box step. He showed me pictures of him and of his first wife from before the war (they both looked like movie stars). He let me wander around the yard while he played bocce with his friends. He played ping pong with me in his basement. He took me to a water park (even though he didn’t swim at the park). He made sure my passport got stamped going into Canada, even though at that time I didn’t need a passport to get into Canada and they never really stamped them anyway. It was my very first passport stamp. He took me to the Okinagan Lake and let me watch for Ogo Pogo. He taught me to play the beginning of “Somewhere, My Love” from “Dr. Zhivagho” on the organ. He taught me to play chess. He played War and Crazy Eights with me for what seemed like hours on end, and even tried to teach me to shuffle a deck of cards (it never worked).

Every morning for breakfast he would have a grapefruit. I would have a bagel. I don’t remember ever having bagels before going to Grandpa’s house. This was a real treat. I wanted bagels for breakfast every morning. I wanted bagels for snacks. I wanted bagels with my lunch. I wanted bagels almost as often as I wanted a glass of milk (which, if you know me, you know that is a lot). At one point, when I asked for yet another bagel to eat, my grandpa said, “I’m going to make you a huge bagel necklace so you can just pick it up and take a bite whenever you want.” The image in my head made me giggle.

I had a bagel for breakfast this morning. It wasn’t anything special. Just a plain bagel, lightly toasted, with butter. However, whenever I eat bagels, I still think of my grandpa, how much fun we had, and just how much he loved me.

Random Friday

Look at me. Blogging. And giving Random Friday. You know what makes it even better? I’m random about when I do Random Friday now. (I thought of that all on my own, too. I’m so “special”.)

*****

I went running for the first time two nights ago. I was in one of those moods and just wanted to get out and use that energy for something good. The way my neighborhood is situated we have a main street that circles around the neighborhood. If you walk on the sidewalk on the outside of the circle, it is just over a mile. If you walk on the inside sidewalk of that circle it is just under a mile. I try to stay on the outside as much as possible. However, I always just call it a mile. So I decided to make it through that mile, knowing I wouldn’t be able to run the entire thing. But once you are on the circle you can’t cut through halfway to get home. You have to either turn back or just keep going. I alternated running and walking around the entire mile. I probably walked more than running (or jogging… and I don’t know what I would call that last little bit there where I was so tired and felt like dying. It wasn’t running, jogging, walking… it was just trying to move!), but I made it. So I rounded up and said I ran half a mile. My legs still hurt. Two days later. My shins didn’t hurt at the time, but they do now. Urgh. I’m going to do it again and again and again until I get used to this and can run half a mile without walking. Then a mile without walking. It’s going to happen.

*****

One of my little brothers is getting married in about three weeks. He asked me to come up with some music to play at his reception (not dancing music. Just nice background music. I guess it’s mostly a calling reception?). So I have picked out some Harry Connick, Jr. (the “We Are In Love” album is perfect), Diana Krall, Norah Jones, the soundtrack to “Sleepless in Seattle”, and some random songs that I have on my iTunes or on CDs (such as the love songs from “The Princess Bride” or “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”). Do you have any good songs/albums you would suggest? It’s fun to get to do this. I like feeling helpful.

*****

I’m not very helpful to my friends. Sorry. I promised Heather a CD… still haven’t sent it. I promised to send Dana some books. Still haven’t sent them. I promised another friend some glasses from Ikea. The box is in my van, still not sent. I feel like a complete untrustworthy loser. I really am sorry and am working on rectifying the situation.

*****

I love Jen of Cakewrecks. I wish I lived in Florida so I could be her friend. She is funny and witty and just plain cool. And so is her husband. When I met them at the Cakewrecks books signing I just wanted to stay and talk to them forever and then be all, “Hey, wanna go grab a bite to eat? Come over and play Scattegories? Meet my parents??”

And now I’m sounding all stalker crazy. I’m not! I just wish I could be like her.

And Stephenie Meyer. I want to be her friend, too. We both live in Arizona and we’re both moms of three boys and we’re both Mormon… heck we even share a birthday. I have had some people say their friend knows Ms. Meyer and could probably introduce us. However, I can just imagine some kind of awkward encounter where I am complete starstruck and make myself out to be some kind of imbecile. It’s been known to happen. No, if I’m going to be friends it’s going to have to happen in some kind of natural way, like we end up in the same ward or happen to meet at something and just hit it off (like you sometimes do with friends, you know?). However, I just don’t see that happening. So, I will continue to be crazy stalker fan.

*****

I have found that I like books. I mean, I like pretty much all books. I don’t have a set genre that I read and that’s it. I don’t truly hate most books that I read. I can find great things about everything. Even books that I don’t enjoy I can find something wonderful to recommend about it. Except “The Road”. I’m still mad at myself for reading the entire thing.

*****

Aiden’s birthday is in less than a week. We told him he could have a big birthday party when he turns eight (he’s turning EIGHT!!!!), but because of all the demands being made on Ches at school, there is literally not one day where Ches is home that we can do a party. And I can’t afford to just take Aiden and a bunch of friends to do a party somewhere. Besides, I can’t handle doing it on my own. I’m at a loss. I’m thinking of letting him invite some friends to a movie and maybe a sleepover and perhaps getting a sitter for the other two boys. That could be fun, right??

*****

Parker loves preschool. He is learning his letters really well and sings the ABC song all the time. He’s figuring out the sounds, and recognizing letters in everything now.

He is also figuring out numbers. I was making some chicken nuggets for lunch the other day. I got out six nuggets and Parker saw what I did and said to me, “There are six and I only want four, so if you take away two then I will have four chicken nuggets.” I was in awe. He’s my math genius.

*****

If you are an Epbot fan, you have probably seen the link to this game. If you haven’t played it, go for it. It’s awesome. I’m stuck on level 26, though. My computer is too sluggish for me to jump just right. Urgh. I’m going to keep plugging through, though.

Because I’m a stay at home mom and all my kids are in school so apparantly I have all the time in the world to do things like play games and take naps.

(Yes, that is me being passive aggressive)

*****

When I go to Boise for my brother’s wedding, I’m going by myself with my kids (Ches has marching band stuff all weekend and can’t go). I’m so excited because I’m staying a few extra days to give my kids a fall. A real fall!! With fallen, colored leaves. With a real pumpkin patch. With cool air and sweaters and jackets. With hot apple cider and hot chocolate. I. Can’t. Wait. 🙂

Food, Glorious Food

You know what would be cool? If I had a personal chef. Yup. That’d be more than cool. More like awesome.

See, I love to eat. But I hate to cook. And I have very little imagination when it comes to deciding what to prepare. I am much happier letting someone else just make something and put it in front of me. I try new things that way, and I don’t have to think hard about whether or not I like it. I just eat it.

I also snack a lot. Well, not a lot because I don’t actually like the snack foods we keep around the house (goldfish crackers make me want to gag). The kids have plenty of snacks, but if I want a snack, I’ll dig around until I find a chocolate bar (more often just picking myself something up in the checkout lane at the grocery store) or eating a piece of bread. Yeah. Because snacking on bread is so super healthy. I pretty much like to snack on bad foods (chocolate, potato chips, ice cream, chocolate chips…)

If I had a chef, however, I wouldn’t snack as much because whatever food we have would be going towards a meal and I wouldn’t want to put out the chef by eating something he is going to use. That and I would know I have a super yummy meal coming up, so why snack on something and fill up on tortilla chips when something great is coming in a couple of hours?

I want to eat healthily, but with that whole lack of imagination thing, I get bored easily. If I had a personal chef, he would be in charge of making sure I’m getting the right amount of servings of everything and not too many calories and man oh man, would it ever taste good, too.

Yup. I need a personal chef. Why should movies stars get personal chefs and not band teacher wives??? Oh yeah. That whole money thing.

You know what would be cool? If I had a bajillion dollars. Yup. That’d be more than cool. That’d be awesome.

Fatherhood

I am a wife and a mother and I know that this is a hard job and we have to all rally around each other for support and stuff… but I’m a little concerned about something lately. See, while we’re all “motherhood is the most important job IN THE WORLD” we also start to put down our husbands and the fathers of our children.

Now, let me say straight out… I believe motherhood IS extremely important and you will NEVER hear me say that it isn’t and you will NEVER hear me deny just how hard it is.

But by assuming that I have it so hard and I do all the important stuff… what’s left for my husband? Isn’t his job as husband and father just as important? Isn’t his job pretty dang hard, too? Where’s all the affirmation for fatherhood?

I’m so tired of hearing women talk about their husbands as if they are complete imbeciles. Guess what? They can too clean the house! They might do it a little differently than you do, but they CAN do it. Ches’ jobs include taking out the trash and recycling, cleaning the kitchen on nights I cook, cooking dinner on the weekends, cleaning the bathroom, yard work, folding all the clean laundry,and being in charge of getting the garbage and recycling cans to the curb and back in the gate on the right days of the week. Is that all he does? Absolutely not! He is always picking up and cleaning things around the house. Why does he do all this? Because he doesn’t expect me to be the maid. He knows how to clean, he knows what jobs I hate to do or just don’t want to be bothered with, and he makes an effort to help me out. We got married young, while we were both still in college full time and working part time, and we got in the habit of helping each other out from the start.

Guess what? Your husband knows how to take care of the kids!! It’s true. They are his kids, too. It’s not like you were handed a secret “Moms only” handbook when you had the baby and dads don’t get to learn anything. As moms we had to learn as we go, and dads do that, too. Do they parent the exact way we do? No! Is that wrong? NO!! Dad is a different person than Mom and so of course they are going to do things a little bit differently. As moms we have to let them do it their way. It’s not going to kill our children if Dad rough-houses with the kids, or if he makes them do their homework before having a snack, or if he washes their bodies before their hair when giving them a bath… Mom’s way isn’t the only way.

On this note, if a dad is watching the kids while mom is gone (whether it’s because she is out of town for the weekend or because she is gone to a movie with her girlfriends), IT IS NOT BABYSITTING. Do not ever say “My husband is babysitting tonight.” Really? Are you paying him? How would you feel if you heard your husband say, “Yeah, my wife babysits our kids while I’m at work”? Babysitting is a part time job where the sitter gets compensation (usually monetary) for taking care of children that don’t belong to them. It is NOT babysitting to care for your own children. Stop degrading your husband by calling him a babysitter.

Guess what? Your husband knows how to prepare food. True story. How did they eat before they met and married you? They may not prepare the most healthy or gourmet dinners, but let’s be honest. Do you? Especially when your husband is gone for dinnertime and you just need something for the kids… do you really NOT just make them hot dogs or mac-n-cheese? Quit acting like dads only ever feed their kids junk food and McDonald’s. It may happen, but it’s not going to kill the kids.

Guess what? If you act like your husband is a complete and clueless idiot when it comes to fatherhood, he’s going to play up the part. I knew a guy who’s exwife treated him so poorly over the whole parenting thing that he started to purposefully put the baby’s diapers on backwards. He knew that’s what she expected, so he did it. Was it the right thing to do? No. (Although I find it amusing!) However, she could find something wrong with the way he put diapers on no matter what, so he figured he might as well play it up and rise to expectations. I was recently talking to a couple of women and the one said, “Well, I have to hurry home before my husband freaks out. He hates it if I’m gone too long. He can’t handle it.” She had been gone one hour. I asked, “Oh, how old is your baby?” thinking that if the baby is a newborn the mom probably wants to get home and feed the baby. “Well, the baby is 13 months and her sister is 3”. Really???? Dad freaks out after an hour with kids of that age?? Or is it really MOM who freaks out and has never let dad have a chance to change a diaper or get a snack or even tuck his daughters into bed???

I hate that when I go out of town people shockingly ask me, “Can Ches handle you being gone? Are the kids going to eat a lot of mac-n-cheese? Should I check on them while you’re gone?” NO! The kids still go to bed on time (or mostly on time!). The house is cleaner when I’m gone. The kids eat super yummy food when I’m gone. Ches takes them out and gets to spend all sorts of great father/son time with them when I’m gone. Do they miss me? Absolutely! But not because I make their beds a certain way or stir the oatmeal to a “better” consistency. They miss me because I’m mom and they love their mom.

As important as motherhood is, mothers are not the be all, end all. We are not the center of our little family universe. Just because dad isn’t there as many hours a day as we are doesn’t mean he isn’t there as a father and can’t do anything. Stop degrading fatherhood!! I couldn’t be a mother without Ches. He keeps me sane. He keeps me grounded. He calls me out on my craziness. He is a good, attentive father and a kind, loving husband. I am only as good as I am at this job because I have him. I know that not all fathers are as good as he is and not all husbands are as good as he is. I know that it is not always possible to have a father in the home. But we should be giving fatherhood better attention than we do. As of right now, fatherhood gets the short end of the stick.

Gimp

I have been walking late at night with my neighbor and friend, Kim. We go out almost every night, leaving between 9 and 10 pm (all depending on husbands’ work schedules, RS activities, soccer practices, etc.), and we average 3 to 6 miles a night. Kim decided to sign us up for a little Biggest Loser challenge. It’s 12 weeks long. I made my goal to lose 2 lbs a week. Because of the walking we’ve been doing, I lost 2.4 lbs the first week. WOOT!! I didn’t even change my diet or anything. That was JUST walking, my friends. So excited. I like this walking stuff.

Wednesday night, I got home from walking and had to finish up some laundry so Ches could wear clean pants to work in the morning. I was finishing up the load I needed, so by now it was about 1 am. I ran upstairs to get an empty basket, then came back downstairs to go to the laundry “room” (the garage). At the bottom of the stairs, someone left a wooden sword. I didn’t see it, stepped on it, and twisted my ankle. I fell to the ground, crying. I have never hurt my ankle like that!! The worst part was that no one was awake to check on me or give me any sympathy. So sad.

All day Thursday I was in a lot of pain. My ankle was a little swollen in the morning, but I didn’t think much of it. By afternoon, I was in even more pain, so I lay on the couch with an ice pack. Kim came over to pick up her daughter, who I’d been tending. I told her about my ankle, and when I took the ice pack off, I realized how much my ankle had swollen. It was huge. Bigger than a golf ball, yet smaller than a tennis ball. (I can’t think of anything to compare it to. Sorry.) There was no bruising, just the swelling in that spot. Kim offered to wrap my foot for me, and when she looked at my ankle, she said, “Ummm, I think this is broken.” Grrrr…

So I called the doctor’s office and made an appointment for Friday morning. Kim wouldn’t let me drive to the doctor (in case it was broken), so she drove me and watched Parker in the waiting room. The doctor said the same thing as Kim. Because there was no bruising and only swelling in the one spot, and because there was only pain where there was swelling, it was most likely a fracture. He sent me off with orders to get x-rays done. And he made me sit in a wheelchair out to the car. Kim had to go into the imaging place and have them bring out a wheelchair for me. Grrrr…

I don’t like wheelchairs. They feel silly and unnecessary. That’s just me, I know. I just don’t like them.

So we sat around in the imaging place for probably an hour before I got called back for my x-rays. That took all of ten minutes, and I was wheeled back out to Kim’s van. Kim took me to her house for lunch while we waited for the doctor to call back. With instructions. He had already given me the prescription for crutches (which I’m not spending money on unless I absolutely need to) and said I would probably have to come back in once he read the x-rays so they could set me in a splint or something. Grrrr…

Finally, about at almost 3 pm, the doctor’s assistant called and said there was no fracture, just swelling. It’s just a bad sprain (which is kind of weird since there was no bruising…) so my instructions were to stay off my feet until the swelling goes down and there is no pain. And it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and use the crutches. Well, I didn’t get the crutches.

I had it in my head that it will be a couple of days and I”ll be back to normal. Yeah. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday with my foot up and just trying to rest it. It’s still swollen. It’s still in pain. It’s going to take me a lot longer than a couple of days to fully heal. Or at least heal enough to function.

And the worst part? I can’t walk. Now to lose weight I’m actually going to have to diet. Grrrrr…

Library Policy

I spent a good part of Saturday morning looking up books that I wanted to check out at the library, only to find most of them were checked out. So I placed them all on hold. Then Ches and I rounded up the kids and headed off to the library to just get whatever other books we could find (and return the ones that were due, of course). Two hours later, we returned home with our “book box” overflowing, as usual. Not even 10 minutes later, the library called to say one of the books I had placed on hold was now at the library and could be picked up within the next five days. Grrrrr. I wasn’t planning on going back to the library for a couple of weeks, actually. Luckily, my friend Kim spends a lot of time going by the library, so she took my library card and picked up the book for me last night.

Ches and I were gone last night (sold another item off Craigslist! YAY! So we were delivering it to a disabled guy that bought it) and I forgot to take my cell phone. Which is too bad because Kim needed my library pin number to check out the book. So she went to the front desk and said, “I can’t remember my pin number and I have been calling home to get it, but there’s no answer!” The librarian kindly said, “Oh, I can pull that up for you right here!” She wrote it down on a card for Kim (who was pretending to be me), and the book got checked out (yay! Now I get to finally read “Inkheart”!).

Then Kim said, “Oh, and you know what, my first name is spelled wrong in the system. Can we get that fixed?” You see, even though I had signed the card and filled out the forms correctly, someone had typed my name into the system as SHRIAH. It’s funny because whenever I get an automated call from the library they pronounce it just like that. It sounds like the first couple of years I was married and couldn’t say my whole name because my new last name starts with that “SH” sound. For some reason I always managed to say, “My name is Shariah Sh–” and sound completely drunk. Why is it that the good little Mormon girl is the one who always sounds drunk or looks high in pictures?? I’m NOT! Anyway…

So Kim points out to the librarian that the name should be spelled SARIAH instead of SHRIAH and the librarian says, “Oh, we can’t change that without picture ID. Sorry.”

So Kim and I spent a good portion of our walk last night laughing over the fact that the library has no problem just handing out pin numbers to people with library cards, but they can’t change the name in the system (even if it’s clearly written correctly on the back of the card) without picture ID. It’s really funny, although I can’t help but be a little worried about security there now.