Friday, December 10, 2010

The Anti-Newsletter Newsletter

     I have an ongoing love affair with Christmas newsletters.  As in, I love how nicely they burn in my fireplace.  Or I love how I can flip them over and make my grocery list on them, which saves paper and gets me in good with all the environmentally friendly types.
     It was this intense love that first inspired me many years ago to start a tradition of including the anti-newsletter as part of my Christmas card mailing every year.  I’m proud to say I’ve stuck by that tradition.  Most people are familiar with my annual Christmas poem, the one where I rewrite the popular “Twas the Night Before Christmas” tale by incorporating into it the events of our year.  The motivation behind this is quite simple, really:  I want you to READ IT. 
     I know holiday newsletters can be boring.  BO-RING.  You know it, too.  And being the attention hog that I am, I simply cannot sleep at night if I think my precious Christmas message is sitting, unread, in shreds in the bottom of your gerbil cage.  On the contrary, I’d be happiest if you read it, laughed ‘til your cheeks cramped up, then invited all your friends over for a public reading over hot cider and figgy pudding.  I NEED you to read my Christmas message. It’s THAT important.
     But…after ten years of butchering Clement Moore’s well-beloved classic, I fear I’m running out of creative options.  Let’s face it, there are only so many ways to reconfigure the same poem year after year after year and still get good results.  So this year’s anti-newsletter is derived from a popular party game known as “Two truths and a lie.”  This is where players offer up real facts about themselves, along with a made-up “fact,” and others have to guess which is the made-up one.  Fun, right?

     Are you still reading?  STEP AWAY FROM THE GERBIL CAGE!

     In the spirit of that game, and in the hope of entertaining as well as informing, I’ve put together a list of “facts” from the past year of our hum-drum existence.  Some really happened and some, well, not so much.  You get to read and figure it out:

-Hallie beat the snot out of a big scary guy who was trying to grab her and knock her down.
-So did Livvi.
-We got a cat and fell in love with her and she’s now a beloved member of our family.
-We got a cat and got rid of her two weeks later.
-Lucas learned to use the toilet and never misses the bowl.
-Lucas learned to use the toilet.
-Ben is an adorable first grader and is reading like a champ.
-We had our first ever experience of being stuck in the middle of a cattle drive.
-We got a pet hamster and taught her to do chin-ups.
-Our pet hamster learned to use the toilet and never misses the bowl.
-Hal, Liv, and Ben played spring soccer for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed learning the value of sportsmanship and physical fitness.
-Hal, Liv, and Ben played spring soccer and whined non-stop because spring soccer in Utah is just plain cold and miserable.
-Mommy drove through the security gate at BYU (her place of employment) and broke it.
-Mommy got busted in a panty raid at a BYU dorm.
-Lucas fell out of the family van and got his foot run over.
-Lucas finally had surgery to have his webbed feet corrected.
-Hallie got her navel pierced for her 10th birthday
-Hallie got her ears pierced at the mall on her 10th birthday, at which time she turned gray, nearly passed out, and ultimately threw up in front of the cash register.
-Livvi turned eight and was baptized by her uncle Jerry.
-Livvi celebrated her eighth birthday at boarding school.
-Mommy turned 40 and had an awesome white trash bash with awesome friends, complete with mullets and karaoke
-Mommy spent her 40th birthday in a room with padded walls.  Just her, a cupcake, and a candle (oh, if only).
-Ben has finally quit being so clumsy and didn’t trip and injure himself once this year.
-Ben tripped while riding an escalator and ripped his leg open, exposing the bone and making mommy slightly nauseous.
-Lucas and Ben both donated their eyelashes to science.
-Mommy won the “Ms. Mentally Unbalanced Spanish Fork” pageant for the second year in a row.
-Mommy posed as a journalist and attended a press conference in downtown Salt Lake City so she could meet Sheri Dew (and she did).  Don’t know who Sheri Dew is?  Your loss.

So there it is, the “Party Game Edition” of the Reynolds family annual anti-newsletter.  No, I’m not going to tell you which were the truths and which were the lies.

Sorry I’m not sorry.

Lots of love and Merry Christmas to all our family and friends.       ~Jacey, Hallie, Livvi, Ben, and Lucas

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Neverland Ranch? No, never.

I think it's safe to say that as parents, we do many things on a regular basis that we'd probably rather not do.  We wipe noses and bottoms.  We clean up spills.  We sit through Christmas...oops...HOLIDAY concerts at school.  We freeze our tails off at soccer games.  We watch Sponge Bob and Hannah Montana and Pee Wee Herman.  Ok, Pee Wee is really more for me, but that's beside the point.  (Don't judge me.  Have you ever seen all the hilarious things he does with his famous giant underpants?  He's a genius, I tell you).

So is it wrong for me to admit that I just plain don't like it when other people's kids come to my house to play?  I do it because it's just another one of those obligations on my LONG "Stuff-I-do-cuz-it's-good-for-my-kids-but-I-secretly-hate-it" list.  I want my kids to have friends.  I want them to acquire better social skills than their mommy has by interacting with others regularly.  I even want my home to be a place where the neighborhood kids feel welcomed and warm and fuzzy and all that.   I will never tell my kids I don't want them to have their friends over to play.  BUT...

I don't have to love it, do I?  I don't get the moms who always tell me, "Oh, I LOVE having your kids over.  It keeps mine occupied and out of my hair."

Why am I not so fortunate?  I mean, far be it from me to question my own natural magnetism, but why can't they leave me alone when they come over to play?  Must the curse of my popularity carry over even into my dealings with the younger generation?  It's a terrible burden.

What typically happens when my kids have friends over is that they raid my fridge and my cupboards, demand drinks and snacks, pull every toy out of every toy box just 'cause they wanna, drag out the craft box and head straight for the glitter, and let me know about every five minutes that we are not nearly entertaining enough for their tastes.  This leads me to believe that their own homes are some sort of Michael Jackson Neverland Ranch equivalent (minus the inappropriate sleeping arrangements, of course), with roller coasters rocketing through their bedrooms; llamas and shetland ponies meandering around the stadium sized arcade-slash-playroom;  an accordion-playing Italian guy with a monkey in tow; and hot dog and cotton candy vendors strategically placed all over their miniature golf course front lawn.   Let's not forget the Speedo-clad Justin Bieber wildly jumping off of the trampoline into the olympic-sized swimming pool in the back yard.    Man, no WONDER these kids like it better at their own houses!

What's so boring about us anyway?  I'll have you know I once did Just Dance on the Wii in front of my daughter's friends mistakenly believing they'd peg me as an awesomely fun mom.  Instead I got the eye rolls and the gasps of horror as one tweener announced that she would surely KILL her mom if she EVER did such a thing in front of her friends.  My own daughter was unfazed.  Go figure.  

Maybe, because of who her mother is,  she's learned to take her entertainment however she can get it, even if it involves said mother making a complete jackass out of herself in front of prepubescent witnesses.  Hey, it's no pony ride, but it's cheap...and much easier to clean up after.

Now that I've outed myself, I don't want my local girlfriends to be afraid to send their kids over to play.  Having friends over is like folding the laundry or changing the dirty diapers.  We do it for the kids, and we do it with a smile.  Please be assured that your precious little ones are in no danger if they enter my dungeon...uh...home.  I'll care for them like they're my very own.  Promise.  (Insert evil laugh here)

I probably won't ever be "that" mom, the one who puts on an apron and busts out the craft paint and bead boxes in order to keep the neighborhood kids gloriously entertained.   But they're welcome to watch as much of my cable TV as they can of charge.

Sorry I'm not sorry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Would you like a cane with your cap and gown?

I am under-educated.  Even as I typed that, I was questioning, "Is undereducated all one word or should it be hyphenated?"

See?  It's a wonder I can even function from one day to the next being this ignorant.

Oh sure, I finished high school--graduated with honors even--though I still wonder how that happened.  I remember skipping class a lot.  One time in particular, my friend who was a year ahead of me (though maybe not much smarter than me at the time) decided to take me out in her little Chevette during math class and "teach" me to drive.  Hey, at least I was learning SOMETHING, right?

Our classroom of choice for that afternoon was a residential neighborhood.  Yeah, I know.  Smart.  So I sat behind the wheel--nervously--and had my very first driving lesson, administered by a person who had a good three months of driving wisdom and experience under her belt...and an un-airconditioned Arizona.   I'm sure you can see where this is going.   We started off driving in a straight line.  What could go wrong, I ask you?  Nothing.  I was doing just fine until we came to a side street and my friend abruptly yelled, "TURN HERE!"   Turn?  You mean the car?  How do I turn?  Can't we just keep doing this straight thing?  I'm good with straight.

Ok, so all of that conversation was really just going on in my head and not out loud.  I really should have put my thoughts to better use.  More like, "This pedal on the left is the brake, right?  And this thing with the handle and the window on my left is the door?  So I should just put my foot on that pedal thing and open that other thing with the window and the handle and get out right now, before something bad happens--something I'll be blogging about in 20 years.  And what the heck is a blog?"

As you can probably guess, the rational thoughts did not prevail in this instance.  I did as I was told and I turned.  Sort of.  I can't quite describe what happened in great detail.  I can only say that in my attempt to turn left, I under shot.  Or is it under-shot?  Or undershot?  Regardless, where I/we ended up was at a dead stop on the front lawn of somebody's brand new home, with the Chevette's bumper gently kissing the stucco on the walls of said home (Michelle, do you remember this, or have you chosen to block it out?).

It was not until THIS moment that I used that brilliant pedal and door exit strategy and swapped spots with my partner in crime.  She threw that baby into reverse and we high tailed it outta there quicker than we could say mandatorysummerschool.

I have no idea why I just shared that story.  I guess it popped into my head when I started pondering ways I could prove to my devoted readers that I don't always make the smartest decisions.  Are you convinced yet? If not, here's the point I had planned to make when I started this post:

I am under-educated.  I should have done the college thing years ago.  As a result of not doing that, I find myself a divorced mother of four who needs to do it NOW.  Not only do I NEED to do it, I really WANT to do it.  But the position I am in is one of having to work in order to support those little angels, then come home to my OTHER, more challenging job of raising those little angels,  *AND* take a class here and there as I can, hoping to finish in time for my great-grandchildren to be present at my graduation, assuming I still have my sanity (and my continence) by then.


 If I had my way, my full-time job WOULD BE studenting.  Not a word, you say?  I know!  This is what years of not going to college has done to me.  Were it not for the fact that I love my job and am grateful beyond measure to have it (my boss reads my blog sometimes), I would quit my job and mooch off the government for a few years in order to get that book learnin' stuff out of the way.  In a heartbeat.

Oh crap.  I think that last part makes me a liberal.

Sorry I'm not sorry. This time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Arrested Development

I recently took my four year old in for his well child checkup.  Since we moved to our new home two years ago, I've almost come to dread my kids' doctor's appointments.  This new doctor of ours is really, really, REALLY thorough.  A few of you caring moms may be wondering to yourselves, "Now why is that a problem?"

I'll tell you why.

Overly zealous doctor=more work for overly tired single mommy of five.  No, wait, four.  I just have the four kids.

The first thing he does is hand me a stack of papers containing a slew of questions about my child's development.  At first I assumed they had misunderstood and perhaps they thought I had brought him in to apply to medical school.  The volume of paperwork was about the same.

Can he draw people?  Yes.  People who look like sperms with stick legs.
Can he count to twenty?  Yes.  Oh, you mean all at once?  No.
Can he hop on one foot?  Yes. Right before he falls on his face.
Can he do that taco thing with his tongue?  No, but I can. While hopping on one foot. Wanna see?
Has he read War and Peace?  Does the Cliff's Notes version count?

Next, as he was examining my little guy, he started paying close attention to the way he was breathing.  He informed me that he was concerned about his mouth breathing.  Really?  Don't ALL kids breathe through their mouths, or is that just all of MY kids?  I guess this would explain why the windows in my house are constantly fogged up pretty much November through February.

So the doctor tells me that I need to start watching him while he sleeps to see if he's choking or gasping in his sleep.  He THEN informs me that the best time to catch this behavior is between 2 and 3 a.m.   Cluelessguyinthewhitecoat say WHAT????  It's about this time that *I* start choking and gasping:

Sure, doc, I'll get right on that.  I mean, I almost feel guilty about the 4-5 hours of sleep I'm ALREADY getting on a regular basis.  But I was just wondering, will you be writing me a prescription for methamphetamines NOW, or AFTER I drive my kids over a bridge due to exhaustion-induced psychosis?   Yes doctor, now will be fine.  Thank you.

He tells me that a small number of kids who mouth breathe end up having a severe under bite.  Hmm.  Between 2 and 3 a.m., you say?   I can live with the under bite thing.  It seems to be working for Jay Leno.

I should probably take his opinions about my child's development a little more seriously than I do.  He even suggested I should contact the state about their programs for developmentally delayed kids.  Really?  I fell for that with my now ten-year-old when she was a baby and wasn't crawling at 12 months.  She was my first and I went into breathe-into-a-paper-bag panic mode when they suggested she may be "delayed."  NOT MY CHILD!  Turns out she wasn't.  She was fine.  Still is.  Spelling bee champ and fully toilet trained.

I don't need an annual doctor's appointment to make me feel inadequate as a mother.  That's what church is for.

Now that I'm on child number four, I'm a little more relaxed about these things.  My child can run in the house screaming with an arrow going diagonally through his head and I'll calmly tell him to go get a cold cloth to put on it while I casually walk to the medicine cabinet to find some arrow wound ointment.  (Have you SEEN what they charge for five minutes in the ER these days?  I'll take my chances, thank you very much).  So you'll have to forgive me if I'm not terribly concerned about the development of a kid who doesn't know the difference between a sad and a worried face on a flip chart in a doctor's office, BUT who can also take apart my hard drive and put it back together...while making a taco tongue.  Of course, he's the same kid who runs around in a shimmery Supergirl costume while singing the Star Wars theme off-key.  No, I was NOT stupid enough to include that last part anywhere on his assessment paperwork.  We'll just keep that little tidbit to ourselves.

Guess how many times I've set my alarm for 2am and camped out near my four year old's bed since that highly encouraging doctor's appointment.  I'll give you a hint:  about as many times as I've read War and Peace.

Sorry I'm not sorry.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My apologies...NOT.

I've decided on the "theme" for my next string of blog entries.  Did you like the Pollyanna experiment?  Good.  This will be nothing like that.

I've made a new virtual friend.  Her name is...ok...I don't actually know her name.  But she's really cool.  Trust me.   All I know is she calls herself MrsFatAss.  I really fell in love with her when I read THIS post.  It's her sorry-I'm-not-sorry post.  It's pretty self explanatory.  Or, if you're not so much of a wordsmith and it's not so self-explanatory, you can read what I'm about to post and you'll pick up on the concept. Hopefully.  

My virgin sorry-I'm-not-sorry post has to do with the way I write and talk.  If you're going to be a regular reader of my ramblings--and oh, you ARE going to be a regular reader of my ramblings--you'll need to take heed of this disclaimer.  I'm no Mary Poppins.  I tried to be Pollyanna, and it was fun for a while, but also a little painfully unnatural.  

My happy place exists mostly in the sarcasm zone.  

I don't really fit into the Molly Mormon mold.  I bake cookies for my kids but I don't enjoy it.  I don't scrapbook.  Period.  I don't put vinyl lettering on my walls or hang wreaths on my front door any time other than Christmas. Not that there's anything wrong with that.  And yes, I sometimes use what some of my mormon counterparts might consider colorful language.  If I don't like something, I might say it sucks  (GASP!).  If I DO like something, I might say it's the shiz-nit  (EEK!)  From time to time I use those dreaded 'D' and 'H' words (CHOKE!).  And as you now know (see above), I sometimes even have the nads to type that ghastly A word...right out loud!    (Does it count when I'm only writing it as part of someone's internet handle?)   Oh yeah, I guess we can add 'nads' to my growing stash of in-your-face potty mouth palaver.   Somebody stop me!

So this blog, especially the posts to follow in the coming days/weeks, is going to be very "me."  If you're not comfortable with the real me, this would be a good place to stop, close this blog window, and immerse yourself in that latest issue of Readers' Digest that's sitting on your nightstand. 

Oh yeah, sometimes I'm kinda honest/mean, too.  In a loving sorta way, of course.  Forgot to throw that in there.  

I said 'virgin' up there, didn't I?   Oopsie.   The rebel in me just takes over sometimes.  If you need me, I'll be running around with scissors in my hand and tearing do-not-remove labels off of mattresses.  

Sorry I'm not sorry.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gettin' Jiggly With It

They're itchy.  They're tight.  They're hot and uncomfortable in the summer months.  They always slide halfway down your butt when you bend over.  They look totally unnatural.  They rip easily and often end up in the trash after just one use.  They are completely out of fashion.  They look crazy hot with a pair of Daisy Dukes and some high heels (ok, not really).

And I love them.

I'm talkin' 'bout pantyhose, people.

I pray daily for pantyhose to make their big comeback.  Please, sisters.  I know it's a hugely unpopular request, but back me up on this one.  Can I really be the only one who appreciates a good pair of pantyhose for its jiggle control value?  Am I the only one who feels sort of commando-ish without them?

I'm so concerned about this subject that I sat in the women's meeting at church on Sunday and just eyeballed everybody's legs.  Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be there for the spiritual enrichment, but come on--this is IMPORTANT!   I observed that the only legs adorned with nylon were the ones attached to old ladies (and me), at least from what I could tell.

This is extremely depressing to me.

You know when you buy a really cute new outfit and you're all excited to wear it and then YOUR MOM goes and tells you how cute it is?  Yeah, depressing like that.

I just wanna know who I need to talk to about nudging the trend back to that happy place where wearing pantyhose is cool again.   Britney Spears?  Tiger Woods' supermodel anorexic ex wife?  Somebody on Dancing With the Stars?  Miley Montana or whatever her name is?  Who influences what the kids are wearing these days?

That last question sounded like something my grandma would ask.  Perhaps I really am meant to hang--or jiggle--with the pantyhose crowd after all.  I suppose I had better embrace it.

Oh Jiminy Christmas, now where did I put my dad-gum stockings?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A new leaf 'n all that

Writing really is my passion, in case you somehow failed to pick up on that about me.  Unfortunately, I've spent almost four months now (really?  how sad) doing anything BUT writing, as is evidenced by all the missing posts between May 5 and now.   I promise, the posts have been floating around in my head all this time.  I just haven't been disciplined enough to sit down and try to translate them into something that makes sense while being ridiculously entertaining to the slightly off-balance crowd.

So I'm turning over a new leaf.  Some people have even said (some REAL people and some that are just in my head) that they miss my posts and wish I'd write more often than I do.  Now, since more often than NEVER equals BARELY EVER, I'm thinking I can make that happen.   I know, way to push myself and exceed expectations.

And in that spirit of doing the bare minimum, I'm counting this as my first post.  Think of it as a teaser, my way of getting you to salivate for what awaits you in the coming days.   I'm giving you a reason to jump out of bed excitedly in the morning, probably even before your alarm goes off.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pollyanna Day 30

This is it.  Day 30.  The final installment of Pollyanna.  I've enjoyed doing this, mostly as a way to use my writing muscles and keep them active.  I'm already trying to figure out a new writing project.  Stuff I hate, maybe?  The anti-Pollyanna?  We'll see.

The thing I'm feeling especially grateful for today is my workplace.

Great co-workers and the best boss ever.  Today I sat in a two-hour long meeting.  Most people that I work with, including my boss, know how I feel about meetings.  BLECH.  Can someone say "root canal with no anesthetic?"   But even as I'm sitting there longing to be...well...anywhere else...I can't help but look around the room and be oh so grateful for the people I get to work with every day.  When I first started there over a year and a half ago, they pretty much scared the tar out of me.  I had the highly presumptuous notion that they were all going to be very stuffy and hoity toity and--because they're all professors and PhD types, at a church-owned university, no less--I was sure they were all going to look down their noses at me (the divorced mom with a crapload of kids who wasn't smart enough to keep her butt in college in her twenties).

I don't usually delight in my own wrongness, but I'll happily eat my hat on this one.

I believe that I am blessed to work with some of the finest people I could ever hope to meet.  I love how genuinely kind and funny and hard working they are.  I mostly love how all of their little imperfections have made me feel right at home.  I'm thankful for a boss who has the patience of Job.  He's thrown me to the wolves, all the while letting me work out the kinks and have my learning experiences at his expense!  Every time I'm sure I'm going to be told I need to do better, I instead hear how grateful he is for my contributions and how I'm doing such a great job.  HUH?  I'm really glad he thinks so.  He must be off his meds.   He's been forgiving and understanding of my weaknesses, while acknowledging my strengths and helping me to find ways that I can put them to use in my job.  Who does that?  Certainly not anybody I've worked for in the past.

p.s.  I don't think he usually reads these, so to those of you who think this is a suck-up post, think again.   That stuff is much more effective in person anyway.   (Oh by the way, Dr. R, did you enjoy the cold, fizzy beverage I brought you earlier today?  Good!)

So I end the Pollyanna experiment on this note:  I have an awful lot of little things to be thankful for every day.  There really are a bunch more than I even got the chance to name here.  But for now, I'm done.  At least until soccer's over.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pollyanna Day 29

Today I came home, changed into grubby clothes, pulled my hair back in a ponytail, and started on laundry, dishes, and picking up messes.  Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Makeup.   Ever seen those pictures that sometimes get sent around via viral emails?  The ones of celebrities without their makeup?  It's hard to believe that people can look so incredibly different with just a little foundation and mascara.

Believe it.

One time, many years ago, I was sitting in the living room putting on my makeup.  I did this every morning, because I had three sisters, and there was a delicate schedule to which we had to adhere.  It involved rotating through the showering, blow drying, and makeup application processes.  By the time I was ready to put on makeup, I had to be OUT.

So I'm sitting on the couch with my handheld mirror, completing the final steps of the transformation process, when I move the mirror to one side and see my kid brother on the other side, chin resting on hand, staring at me.  He was observing this process rather intently.  I gave him the wide-eyed, jerk of the head, non-verbal, "WHAT???!"  He says to me, "Wow.  You look really different with your makeup on."  I say, "Yeah, I know," then continue primping.  He continues, "No, I mean, you look REEEEEEALLY different with your makeup on.  Bethany and Jenna and Alyssa (my sisters), they look KINDA different with theirs on, but you look REEEEALLY different."   Translation:  "Lucky for you somebody invented makeup."

Baby brothers are such jerks.

But not really.  He's right.  I am VERY thankful for makeup.  I'd like to be able to say that the unaltered me looks just like Ms. Locklear up there on the left, but that would be a bit on the generous side.   Were it not for the wonder of Maybelline and Cover Girl products, I'd walk around looking more like this guy:

Sadly, sometimes I do.  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pollyanna Day 28

After a bit of an emotionally stressful day today--or maybe more like an ok day with some emotionally stressful moments--it felt good to come home and throw on these babies:

My Nikes.   Look at these ugly things.  They are dirty and dingy and worn out.  I bought them just under a year ago, I think.  They have been my companions through morning after morning of stinky, sweaty workouts.  They've been filled with sand and drenched with icy cold stream water and covered in mud as I've hiked my way around the Wasatch.  There is nothing cute or girly about them.   And I heart them.

I have a foot injury that nags me continuously.  These are the only shoes I can put on and wear morning til night and still be comfortable.  And I WOULD, if they weren't so hideous. One of these days they're going to give up the ghost and I'm going to be sad.  Really, really sad.  

But for now, they're my BFF's.  They're on my feet as we speak.  I worked out in them after work, wore them to the park, played badminton with the kids, then chased a few ducks around a pond.  I'll probably be wearing them till I crawl into bed tonight.   NOTE:  I put the "bad" in "badminton."  

I'm thankful for my tried and true companions.  They're with me through thick and...well...thick.  But I'm working on that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pollyanna Day 27

We didn't make it to church today, thanks to some conniving little children.

NOTE:  There's a lot of mormon-speak in this post.  If you're confused as you read, it's probably because you haven't been baptized...yet.  

Forgiving children.  Most Sundays, I dread going to church.  There, I said it.  Sitting for over an hour with four kids who know I can't beat them in public can be challenging, to say the least.  It takes every ounce of patience I have to get through the first half of church.  I rather enjoy the second half, since my children become the responsibility of others, and I get to sit quietly and learn about all my spiritual shortcomings in peace.

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, "I just don't know how you do it."  My response is usually something like, "Uh, you don't want to know."   I won't lie.  It's not easy.  It's exhausting most Sundays.  But I don't go to be entertained or even comfortable.  I go because I need it and my kids need it.  And I'm clinging to the hope that one day, it's going to pay off.

So today, when I woke up and my oldest child was complaining of not feeling well, I nodded my disbelieving nod and urged her to continue getting ready for church.  Next thing I knew, my  next oldest child was on the couch saying she did not feel well.  After that, the oldest child was on the couch under a blanket complaining that she felt nauseous every time she stood up.  I wasn't happy about it, but I resigned myself to the fact that we were probably missing church today.

Sure enough, as soon as we were close to the church-is-almost-over mark, suddenly everyone was off the couch and dancing around the house...and hungry.   I made sure they knew how displeased I was at their trickery and how I didn't appreciate having to miss church for kids who were pretending to be sick.   Did I mention that I expressed my displeasure quite LOUDLY?  

A few minutes later, as I was working on a post for my other blog, I see my kids standing in the kitchen, whispering and busily doing something with small plastic cups and water and bread.   When I asked what they were doing, they told me they wanted to make it up to me, so they had planned to hold church at home to make me feel better.

Man, is their mommy a jerk.

They were even wearing Sunday clothes (see pic above) and had dressed Lucas in HIS Sunday clothes.  They told me they wanted to have "sacrament" (don't worry, we didn't do anything sacreligious or irreverent here).  They were going to have testimony meeting and have opening and closing prayers and songs.  They asked me to be their primary teacher and we had a short little lesson from the scriptures.

This was one of those moments that made me cry a little.  I'm thankful for good little kids who redeem themselves every now and then, even when it's really MOMMY who needs the redemption!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pollyanna Days 25 and 26

I'm still catching up from "missing" day 24.  So here's 25 and 26.

radKids.  I'm sure my friend Jen with one N will tell me that I'm writing the program name incorrectly, but I can live with it.  

Today my feisty little daughters graduated from a child safety/awareness program called radKids, which happens to be taught by my good friend, Jen with one N.   Graduation day consisted of each of the students using their newly acquired self-defense skills on a poor, poor man in a padded suit.   Nineteen kids total took their turn--twice--pummeling the "bad guy" as he tried to grab them.  The parents sat by and watched...and clapped...and he took hammer strikes and elbows to the face, knees to the groin, sweep kicks to the shins, and stomps to the feet.  He's gonna need a massage and a bubble bath tonight.  I'd be willing to bet he's soaking as you're reading this.

This program rocks.  It sounds really, REALLY silly, but each time those kids would get into their radKids defensive stance and scream at the top of their lungs, " STAY BACK!!!!,"  I would get goosebumps.  What a powerful thing to hear from a group of 5-12 year old kids.  I thought the roof was gonna raise a few times.  If you haven't put your kids through this program yet, DO IT.  If you don't have this program yet where you live, find one like it, or get your police/sheriff's department to start one.  Your child's safety and empowerment are more than worth it.   Thanks, Jen with one N.  You did a fantastic job.

Old friends.  I got a call from a former co-worker/friend of mine today.   I worked with him back in my Prudential days in Phoenix, which has been nearly 15 years or so now.  I guess maybe what I'm really thankful for is the wonder of Facebook and other social media that make it possible for people to reconnect where they otherwise may not have been able to do so.    When you have friendships in junior high, high school, even college and into your twenties, you don't realize how superficial those connections often are, simply because of lack of maturity and life experience on the part of one or both persons.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with some of my old friends and discovering what it's like to have mature, meaningful interactions with them.  We're not chit-chatting about cute boys or the band we went to see the other night, or those shoes we simply MUST have (well, not ALL the time, anyway).   We relate to one another on completely new levels because of all the growing up and real-life stuff we've done over the years.

Thanks so much for calling me today, Ims!  It was great to hear your voice!  And thank YOU, Facebook, for making it possible!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pollyanna Day 24

This post should have happened last night, but there was just no time.  NO TIME, I say!  Thanks to my girlz who came over and hung out (and laughed) and talked (and laughed) with me last night after the kids were in bed, I learned why I should be grateful that I'm not a certain love-starved animal living in the zoo.

I'm not a giraffe.   Most people who know me already know that I'm not a giraffe.  But you probably don't know why I'm THANKFUL that I'm not a giraffe.  It's ok.  I didn't know myself, until I was enlightened last night.

It seems my friend "Jane" (name changed to protect the semi-innocent) went to the zoo as a field trip chaperon this week.  It was cold and wet on this particular day, so many of the animals were inside, including the giraffes.  I didn't know they made houses that tall, did you?

I digress.

So "Jane" observes that the giraffes are in their own little stalls, separate from one another.  The male giraffe is banging his head repeatedly against the side of his stall.  Over...and over...and over again...until he's bleeding. The female giraffe is just hanging out in the next stall, blissfully oblivious to the tantrum that's happening right next door.   When "Jane" inquires as to what in the world is wrong with this poor male giraffe, she's informed that he's...well...a bit frustrated.   Apparently, his lady friend next door was in heat, and he was none too happy about being kept from doing his manly duties.  I guess their stalls aren't really built to accommodate any sort of bumping and grinding, and it was just too darn cold to let them outside.  Gee zoo people, something tells me they wouldn't have noticed the weather.  But the thought of "Jane" having to explain such a scene of animal debauchery to those kindergartners does make me giggle a little.  Or a lot.  Actually, we laughed til we cried last night.

"Jane" explained it like this:  "It was cold and wet and miserable at the zoo that day, but all I could think was, 'At least I'm not a giraffe.'"

Indeed, Jane.  Indeed.  I'm sure we all share that sentiment.

I'd write more on this subject, but I've got to run out and get my season pass to the zoo.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pollyanna Day 23

You know how you sign your kids up for city soccer and it rains and snows and blows gale force winds for half the games but the city won't actually CANCEL a game unless someone gets struck by lightning?  Well, this isn't about that.

Soccer.  Being a soccer mom is a whole lotta work.  It sucks up a whole lotta time.  It eats up a whole lotta disposable income in the form of drive thrus and take-n-bake pizzas and gasoline and anti-depressants. BUT...

Watching my kids play their last few soccer games, some of the sport's virtues have started to shine through just a tad.  I like what my kids are learning from it:  

Set a goal.  
Run your butt off.
Work hard.
Work together.  
Run TO it, not AWAY from it.  
It's ok to want to beat the other guy, so long as you play fair.  
You may not like your opponent, but you can still play nice.
Sometimes you'll lose, but don't be a jerk.

When soccer first started,  I was worried that I wasn't going to live to see the end of the six-week-long season.  Or more likely, my CHILDREN weren't going to live to see it.  The six weeks really have flown by.  No, that's a big fat lie.  The six weeks haven't dragged like I thought they would.  "Flown by" is a bit strong of a phrase here.  And while it's been a big drain on my sanity and my energy levels, I'm grateful for the life lessons my kids are learning while playing.  

It beats the snot out of ME having to teach them these things.  That's what I'm paying the city for, right?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pollyanna Day 22

After a day of work, kids, dinner, kids, grocery shopping, kids,dishes, kids, homework, kids, laundry, kids, soccer, kids, bath night, and last but not least kids...I'm really thankful for Tylenol PM.

Nighty night.

(Snarky 'nuff for ya, Tam?)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pollyanna Day 21

I guess that means I've kept this up for three whole weeks now.   I'm seriously impressing myself.

If you grow up in the Mormon church, there are certain songs that you sing so often as a small child and know so well by the age of twelve that you can sing them in your sleep...while standing on your head...while juggling flashlights.   One of them is a song about blossoming trees.

Popcorn popping.  

I looked out the window and what did I see?
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree.
Spring had brought me such a nice surprise...
blossoms popping right before my eyes.

I can take an armful and make a treat...
a popcorn ball that would smell so sweet.

It wasn't really so, but it seemed to me...
popcorn popping on the apricot tree.

Living nearly my entire life in the desert, I never really picked up on the significance of this song.  In Arizona, things go from brown to green.  Not much drama or fanfare (or popping) involved in the process.

Now, being in a place with four actual seasons,  I get it.  I get what this little ditty has been trying to convey all these years.  Trees come to life in the spring!  So do flowers and bushes and plants and even grass.

This is my second spring here and I think I'm more in awe this time around than I was last year.  What a blessing it is, after enduring a long, cold winter when everything goes gray and dormant, to see every color of the rainbow  popping up on lawns and in parks almost overnight.

Tulips are my new favorites.  My daughter said to me the other day, "Mommy, I always thought tulips were just pretend; that they were just made-up flowers in movies.  I didn't think they really existed."   How sad is the life of a desert rat?   The poor kid thought tulips were the Easter Bunny of the plant kingdom.

I love spring in my new home.  Everything is green and vibrant with color.  The pictures above are of a tree in my back yard.  It looks a lot like popcorn popping, don't you think?

I suddenly feel like writing a song...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pollyanna Day 20

I have a new morning routine.

Pomegranate Craisins.   For about the last couple of years now, I've performed the same morning ritual:  Get up, throw on the workout clothes and sneakers, grab my water bottle and a handful of granola along with a handful of cherry flavored Craisins.  It's a yummy little taste sensation that provides just enough sustinence to keep me from getting light-headed and passing out during my workout.  .  

So last week I'm doing my shopping and I go to grab my usual week's supply of these goodies when something new catches my eye:  POMEGRANATE flavored Craisins.   Ooh.  I was intrigued.  It took me a few minutes to get up the courage to take them off the shelf and put them in my cart.  Cherry Craisins and I, after all, had been entangled in a two year long love affair.  This was a big step for me.  I'm so glad I made the switch.   Pomegranate is the bomb-diggity!   Sorry, cherry, but it was time for a change.  

p.s.  I highly recommend these tasty snacks.  A word of caution:  one handful at a time is plenty.  I probably don't need to explain the effects on your tummy when you OD on dehydrated fruit.   If you don't see where I'm going with this, do yourself a favor and just take my word for it. time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pollyanna Day 19

I'm almost out of the teens!  Final stretch, here I come!

Oceans.  Last year, when Disney put out their somewhat condensed version of the Discovery series, Planet Earth, I rounded up the kids and headed to the theater.  I had seen parts of the documentary on TV, and I thought it would be way cool to check it out on the big screen.  I was not disappointed.  There were parts of that film that actually caused a medium sized lump to form in my throat.  Yes, the cinematography is amazing and it was beautifully done, but what wows me is our planet.  Earth is such a super star.

Disney's follow-up to that film, landing conveniently again on Earth Day week, is another triumph.  I took the kids to see Oceans today (after a bad experience with mexican food at Los Hermanos--hate that place).   I can't say I loved this one as much as I did the first, but there were one or two of those lump-in-the-throat moments.   Most of us never experience more of the ocean than some knee deep frolicking on the shore.  I love how, through the wonders of modern technological advances, we can experience things that we'd likely never have the chance to otherwise.   There was, of course, the occasional force-feeding of environmental propaganda, with the big bad humans being painted as the destroyers of all things earthly and pristine.  But I anticipated it and took it with the usual grain of salt (the organic variety, of course).   Overall I say, good job, Disney.  Can't wait for the one about the big cats next year, the one with lions eating smaller, vulnerable animals.   Now that's what I'm talkin 'bout.

Men with stubble.  Every day as I drive through town, I pass one gargantuan diesel pickup truck after another.  More often than not, they're pulling flat bed trailers loaded up with quads or snowmobiles or jet skis.  It's always the same kinda man driving these trucks:  the MANLY man, complete with camouflage cap and a good 48 hours' worth of stubbly beard growth.  These men are HOT.  Hot, I say.  There's no shortage of  outdoor activities where I live.  We've got mountains, lakes, rivers, canyons, and waterfalls.  This means hunting, fishing, hunting, hiking, hunting, skiing, and also hunting.   This translates further to gun racks and expensive boy toys being paraded around on flatbed trailers.

I'm not even a little enamored with all the metrosexualized mama's boys running around town these days.   Please forgive me, but I'm inclined to post yet another set of song lyrics that say it better than I ever could:

These days there's dudes gettin' facials
Manicured, waxed and botoxed;
With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands
You can't grip a tacklebox

With all of these men linin' up to get neutered
It's hip now to be feminized
I don't highlight my hair;
I've still got a pair;
Yeah honey, I'm still a guy

Oh my eyebrows ain't plucked
There's a gun in my truck
Oh thank God...I'm still a guy 

This song makes me giggle right out loud every time I hear it.  Last night as I was headed home in my sexy mom minivan, I got stuck behind a very long caravan of what I later found out were SWAT team hell week participants.  Fire trucks, unmarked police cars, sheriff's department vehicles, and lots of guys in camo gear being tormented by their peers and pushed to physical limits (they were behind the fire trucks and they were pushing them up the street, for crying out loud!).  Of course, it didn't look like any of them had shaved in days.  I've never seen so much stubble in one place.  So to all of you manly, testosterone-oozing, fuzzy-faced men driving around town, please accept my gratitude for providing all the eye candy.    I, for one, am glad you're still guys.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pollyanna Day 18

Day 18.  Pollyanna's back.

Friends who know me (and still like me).  I had a hard, hard night with my kids a couple of nights ago.  My patience had been wearing thinner and thinner over the course of several days, and on this particular evening, I lost it.  My kids paid the price and so did I.  The next morning, I did what I often do when I'm struggling with my mommy duties and I contacted a friend who always knows what to do in these situations.  This is a friend who has talked me down from more ledges than I can even begin to count over the last few years.  I am so very grateful for people in my life who know me and understand me (or who at least try to pretend to understand me) and who are always thoughtful enough to say the things that will help ME at that particular moment, rather than throwing the usual cliches at me.  "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, " or "When you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on," or "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger."   All lovely sentiments, I suppose, but hearing these things from a friend doesn't exactly make me feel like he/she is in tune with my specific struggles in those specific moments.   The friends who "get" me because they've TAKEN THE TIME to "get" me are the ones who save my life on a daily basis.   This makes me think of a song I like a lot.  I'm going to risk being labeled a cheeseball and post the lyrics here:

Sometimes I swear, I don't know if I'm comin' or goin'
But you always say something without even knowin'
That I'm hangin' on to your words with all of my might and it's all right
Yeah, I'm all right...for one more night-
Every day...

You save my life

I'm a better person for all that you've taught me and my family is blessed every day for my knowing you.  I'm forever grateful for your love and friendship in my life.

The beginning of the end.  I work for a major university.  Yesterday was graduation day.  Graduation day is so fan-flippin-tastic.  As I left campus after work, I couldn't help but smile as I looked around.  I saw proud parents walking along sidewalks with their cap-and-gown-adorned sons and daughters.   I saw the droves of graduates lining up outside campus to have their parents snap their pictures in front of the big signs at the entrance of the university before they made their way to graduation ceremonies.  The face of accomplishment truly is beautiful.  There's something about seeing someone work hard to achieve a goal--or a dream--then being there to see them cross the finish line and do their victory dance in the end zone.  Ok, that was a reference to two completely unrelated sports, but you see where I'm going with this.  Graduation day just makes me happy.   I'm not a professor, but I do work in student outreach, so in some ways, I feel like my little babies have grown up and conquered the world.   Go get 'em, my little lambkins.  

Mom.  My mom moved here about a month or so ago.  We are all so glad she finally decided to make her way out of the desert and into the promised land (sorry, couldn't resist).  I have no doubt that she probably feels pulled in a thousand different directions because now that she's here...well...FREE BABYSITTING!  For all of us!  She watched my kids for me today so I could go into work and I just want her to know that I appreciate her. Whenever she's been here, my kids always come home, look around the house, and say, "Oh, Nanna's been here."  She washes and folds clothes, vacuums, cleans the kitchen, and generally straightens up around the house.  She doesn't have to, but I'm grateful to her for her efforts to make my day a little easier when she visits.    Thanks, mom.  We love you!

The Anti-Pollyanna

I'm shifting from Pollyanna mode for a moment to gripe about something.

I don't have much time for TV anymore, but when I get up early to do my workout every morning, I usually flip the TV on just to help the time pass if I'm on my bike.  I keep seeing this pet food commercial that's starting to get on my nerves a little.

I've not been shy in the past when it comes to writing about my lack of affection for furry creatures.  I'm not a hater, I just don't love them, ok?  I would never dream of abusing an animal, BUT:  They do not ride in a car with me.  They do not sleep in my bed or sit at my dinner table.  And  I do NOT don them with sweaters and hair bows.  So now that we're clear on that, the commercial...

It's for a new refrigerated pet food.  HUH?  Really, pet food people?  The lady doing the voice-over says something like, "You wouldn't feed dry, boring food to your family.  Why feed it to your pet?"   Why indeed.  Hmm, let me think on this for a second.

Because my family is...well...HUMAN.  Never once have I seen any of my children lick their bungholes clean.  Nor has any one of them ever asked me if they could have some raw roadkill for a snack.  From what I've seen, we humans just seem to have higher culinary standards than our animal kingdom counterparts.   I refer you to my post about my friend's cat who ate her bird on Christmas morning.  Pretty sure the little guy wasn't refrigerated...or cooked.  No seasonings.  No hollandaise sauce.  Just raw poultry, feathers 'n all.   So contrary to the line of hooey that this ad is trying to sell me, it seems like a nice bowl of dry, room-temperature kibble would be considered a gourmet feast by a creature who might otherwise be happy getting his dinner from the bottom of a trash can laden with egg shells and poopy diapers.

I guess I just never cease to be amazed at how there can be people struggling every day, not knowing where their next meal is coming from, while others are throwing down their disposable income for something that can be "found in your grocer's pet food refrigerator aisle."   I wasn't able to find anything online that reveals the actual cost of these revolutionary new pet products, but I'm guessing they ain't cheap.  

Gripe session complete.  

Pollyanna will be back, as soon as she's finished whipping up some glazed salmon with mint and cucumber slaw.  It's her cat's favorite, after all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pollyanna Day 17

It was going to happen at some point.

Tonight is the cop-out post.

My bed.  I love my wonderful king sized bed with the 80-lb. memory foam on top.  I love it so much that I'm going to visit it right now.

Rest assured, I have lots of thankful items on my list for the coming days.  But tonight, it's all about getting my six solid hours.

Nighty night.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pollyanna Day 16

Short and sweet tonight.

Thunderstorms.  We had a few today. I love the sound of the sky cracking and rumbling in the distance.  Arizona may have the best thunderstorms of any state in the U.S.  I think thunderstorms are one of three things I actually miss about living there.

The last few hours with my children has been just short of unbearable.  This is the best I can do tonight.  I promised myself thirty days of Pollyanna, but tonight I'm letting myself off the hook and settling for Eeyore.  It's still Disney, right?  I'm in the realm.  Same neighborhood, different block.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pollyanna Day 15

Day 15.  Halfway done.  I thought this would be much, much harder than it actually has been.  I like forcing myself to write a little every day.  Two words:  cheap. therapy.

No this is not my child and no I was nowhere NEAR this child when this picture was taken.  You can stop dialing the authorities right now.  It wasn't me.  I'm not responsible.  I'm only using it for entertainment after the fact.  

Grown-up time outs.  Mommies, I think you'll relate to this one.   Just a few minutes ago, my darling three year old threw one of his all-too-frequent-as-of-late mini tantrums.  This time, it was over the fact that I wanted to give him a handful of crackers in a bowl for a snack, while his idea was for me to hand him the box and let him go to town.  I don't think so.  As a result of this momentary meltdown, he was exiled to the time out corner.  Three minutes of utter torture.  No contact with anyone in the house.  No TV.  No outside play.  No speaking or being spoken to.  For three. whole. minutes.

My question is, at what point in our lives does time out morph from being a form of agonizing punishment to being something we seek after like the Hope Diamond?  I did something today that I have needed to do for a long, long, long time.   I spent a day all by myself.  No kids needing my services every second of every minute all day long.  No work (sorry, work).  No talking to anyone (sorry, anyone).  Just me, the laundry, my mop, a good book, and the sunshine.   Ok, so it wasn't exactly a cruise on the Mexican Riviera, but it may as well have been.  I got things done that have needed being done for a long time.  And I got them done without interruption.  I went to the store BY MYSELF.  I sat out in the sun BY MYSELF (unless you count the book).  I watched Law and Order: SVU BY MYSELF, following the plot from start to finish because I could actually hear the TV.  Don't judge me.  I love that show.  I'm not saying for sure, but I may have the tiniest of a girl crush on detective Benson.

Yeah, that's Olivia Benson.  I said don't judge me.

So today, now that my kids are home and my time out has come to a tragic but inevitable end as we prep for two soccer games and something-or-other at the school later tonight, I'm feeling thankful for alone time.  And even though I'll pay the price later, since it means working on Friday when I don't usually have to, being cut off from the outside world for the better part of a day was simply magnificent.

I don't care what my three year old says.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pollyanna Day 14

With the sun showing itself more frequently these days, it's inevitably time to remove the layers and start showing a little more skin.  Sigh...REALLY. BIG. SIGH...  So today, I'm feeling the fake tan love.

Jergens Natural Glow Lotion.  Every spring, this stuff becomes my new BFF.  Well, for a few weeks anyway.  What can I say?  I'm not very loyal.   A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on my couch watching a movie with my kids, when I noticed my bare foot sticking out of the bottom of my dark-colored pants.  The bleached out tone of my skin contrasted against the blackness of my clothes was reminding me of something, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was.  Then it hit me. You know those little plastic moons and stars you can buy to hang from your kids'  bedroom ceiling, so that when you turn off the lights, the room is instantly transformed into a tiny little solar system?   You know that sort of greenish-white glow they take on when the lights go out?  That was it!  That was the color of my foot.  I was sure that if we had lost power at that moment, it would have been perfectly all right, because we could have easily followed the glowing appendage protruding from my pant leg, which was emitting enough light to rival a Studio 54 disco ball.  So, you see, there's pasty white skin, then there's bright-enough-to-read-a-book-by-it skin.  Mine was definitely the latter.   But no more.  I busted out my Jergens and I've ramped it up to a lovely shade of ashen.  This stuff works.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pollyanna Day 13

Is it really day 13?  I'm tired today, and feeling a little too lazy to even go back and look at the last post so I can know for sure.  We'll just call it 13 for fun.

Yesterday, I mentioned my gratitude for the good men of my church and neighborhood.  Today, it's the ladies' turn.

Perfectly Imperfect Women.  Today at church, I was having a conversation with a friend about how hard we women--especially moms--can be on ourselves.  We rarely give ourselves enough credit.  On the contrary, we can usually be found tearing ourselves down, and in a way that we would NEVER tolerate if someone ELSE were doing it to us.  If you're a Christian woman/mom, you can pretty much quadruple the self-loathing factor.  We have a way of convincing ourselves that nothing we ever do is good enough or Godly enough.  So as I was discussing this with my friend, I commented (rather sarcastically--yeah, I know, shocker) that I was stunned to hear her say that she herself is not perfect.  At that point, because she apparently found that notion to be quite hilarious, she blurted out a phrase containing a word that you don't often hear in church, then was instantly horrified with herself for letting it slip out so easily.  We had a very long, hard laugh over this little incident.  Moments like these make me grateful for all the great women around me who choose not to take themselves too seriously.  More importantly, they get it.  They get that we are all imperfect people just struggling to make it through each day without breaking down and using our children as human pinatas.  It's a tough world out there, girls.  And while we're technically supposed to be striving to make our homes a haven, more often than not, circus side show is as good as it gets.  Stop fighting it.  Just grab some cotton candy and enjoy the elephant ride.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pollyanna Day 12

Busy day.  This will be short. Sorta.

Today, it's all about the lawn.

Good men.  I live in a neighborhood filled with good, decent men.  I was out in my front yard doing a little clean-up work this morning, when a couple of neighbors/fellow church-goers pulled up in a truck and said, "Hey there, we're just going around turning people's sprinklers on for them for the season."  Translation:  "Hey there, sad single lady with no man around, we know you're a landscape-tard (True Story.  I am.), so we're here to save your lawn."  Can I just say that I love these men?  Now, to all the neighborhood wives who may be reading this, please do not freak.  I mean that in the most non-romantic kinda way.  I love them like you love your mechanic or your gay hairstylist.  Ok?   Side bar:  If your husband IS your mechanic, then disregard what I just said.  And if your husband is a gay hairstylist, well, you've got bigger problems than the lonely neighbor lady and her sprinklers.   But in all seriousness, I'm so thankful for good men who are unselfish with their time and energies, who willingly give of both to make sure a sad single girl like me has a pretty green lawn and clean furnace filters.

Landlords.  My. landlords. ROCK.  Period.  I live in the cutest little house in the cutest little neighborhood, and I adore the people who rent to me.  Do you know what they do for me?  They MOW MY LAWN.  Front and back.  Every week.    They are so, so kind.  They don't want me to have to worry about it. Again, I think it's that poor, pitiful single mom thing that's working for me here.  I'm so not complaining.  I took my kids to the park to play and have a picnic today, and when I came back, my lawn had those pretty diagonal tracks all over it.  I knew the landlords had been here working their magic.  If I needed to do the yard work, I certainly could.  But it's one of those small blessings to know I don't have to think about it.  It's taken care of.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pollyanna Day 11

Today's gems are a bit random.  You're probably asking yourself how that's different from the other ten days.  Good point.  Read on:

Special Deliveries.  I ordered a book the other day from  The friend who recommended it to me (love you, Erin) strongly urges others to patronize local businesses and not send their hard-earned dollars to the big dot-commers, but...well...I can't help myself.  I love getting packages.  And even when I go online, punch in my address, and pay for the darn thing myself, I'm still surprised when the cute little brown package shows up on my doorstep a couple of days later.  "Why, lookie here.  Somebody sent me something!  I wonder what it could be."   So yesterday my unexpected package arrived and I was so excited...and surprised!   In case you wanna know, the author is Laurie Notaro and the book is called, I Love Everyone (and Other Atrocious Lies): True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl.  Check out all her books here.   Or visit her website  She rocks.  And so do little brown packages (that aren't ticking).

Politically incorrect toilets.  Huh?  Nope, do not adjust your internet.  I said "politically incorrect toilets."  I would like to meet the tree-hugging, one-square-of-tissue-per-wipe whackadoo who thought it would be a good idea to invent something called a low-flow toilet.  Ever tried to flush something other than urine down one of these environmentally friendly doohickeys?  Good luck with that.  My house is new enough that I think I may be the victim of this cruel creation that probably had its beginnings in Al Gore's pretend global warming research lab.  In other words, I think my master bath toilet is one of those low-flow gadgets.  I'll spare you the details as to how I've drawn this conclusion, but let's just say I'd love to thank Al and his minions personally by paying a visit to them and using their low-flow toilets (though I doubt Al has one) about an hour or so after eating a giant plate full of linguine.  

I guess I can't really blame them.  These are probably the same people eating wheat grass and tofu for every meal.  I wonder if they've ever even SEEN a brick of cheese...or a Twinkie.  They probably don't expel anything larger than a rabbit pellet on any given day anyway.  So for them, I guess those low-flow toilets do the job.  Not for the rest of us, Al.  Not for the rest of us.  I'll take a 13 golf ball flusher, thank you very much.
I'm wondering, incidentally, exactly how much water am I conserving with these PC toilets when I have to flush them three times in order to clear the water?  I'm just askin...

Taco Rides.  Don't know what a taco ride is?  Well, technically, neither do I.  Click here for the Facebook page if you really want to know more about it.  Here's what I DO know:  It involves people in Nebraska or Iowa or both or something hopping on bikes on Thursdays and riding 10 miles to eat tacos, then riding back.  Why in the world would a Utah girl care about a bunch of bike-riding taco-eaters in the prairie lands, you might ask?  Let's just say that one of those bikers is a "friend" of mine who happens to have THE BEST, rock-hard thighs of any man I know.  And I do believe that those beefy hunks of man-thighs that I so love to pinch are mainly the result of lots of bike riding.  Taco rides included.  And for the record, he didn't think I could find a way to worm taco rides into my Pollyanna posts. Ha. Guess I showed him.  Really, what's NOT to be thankful for here?  Mexican food and sexy legs...does it GET any better?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pollyanna day 10

Yeah, that's right.  We're in the double digits now.  Day TEN.  T--E--N.  I really never saw myself being so consistent with this project.  Look at me go!

Stuff I'm glad about today (and don't be misled by the photo, this is not a cooking post--have you MET me?):

Child Protective Services.  This morning was a pretty typical morning at my house.  Up at 4:30-ish.  Worked out, showered, banged on the walls to make kids get out of bed, made lunches, banged on the walls some more, made breakfast, banged on walls, got myself ready, pretended I couldn't hear my boys screaming and crying and trying to kill each other via kicks to one another's groins, and fought nonstop with a seven year old who believes her sole purpose on this planet is to make her mommy cry on a daily basis.  So far so good, incidentally.  She's fulfilling her destiny quite well to this point.  As I stood in my bathroom feeling depressed over all the stuff my makeup wasn't hiding (like my hips, for example), I looked at the wooden spoon sitting on my bathroom counter, the one I carry around with me a lot lately to discourage bad behavior in certain family members. It's merely a deterrent, I swear.  I thought to myself how thankful I am that there are laws and entities in place to discourage bad behavior in MOMS.  I mean the kind of behavior that involves burying children in back yards or eBaying them.  This could have been the morning I made the headlines with that wooden spoon--or something larger and heavier, except I remembered that I'd likely get in trouble, and prison gray really isn't my color.  Maybe it's my CHILDREN who should be thankful today.

Some of you may be gasping at the notion that a mommy could have these thoughts, but please, just get over yourselves.  You've had them.  You're just not brave or dumb enough to write about them.  I am.  So there.

My microwave.  My mom was over the other day.  She just moved and was consequently without a microwave for a few days.  She mentioned how she didn't realize how much she used it until she didn't have it.  Amen, my sistah (or muthah).  How in the world did anyone ever survive without this marvelous invention?  I guess when they made their corn dogs and chicken nuggets and fish sticks, they actually had to heat up the oven.  How horribly primitive.

Ok, so it was a LITTLE about cooking.  Arguably so.  There are some non-believers who don't consider using a microwave to be real "cooking."  Probably the same people who don't consider corn dogs and chicken nuggets and fish sticks to be real "food."  Whatever.  Suddenly I'm hungry.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pollyanna Day 9

I like this little experiment.  I like how it forces me to think about the little everyday things that make life a tiny bit better.  So in that spirit...

My flat iron.  I have just plain awful hair.  Sometimes, if I don't do anything with it, it takes on that "I was just burned in a fire" look.   Sure, it's got natural wave, but in all the wrong places and in all the wrong directions.  I remember (back in the day) when I heard how my cousin's new wife liked to put her hair on an ironing board and straighten it with an iron.  Yeah, the kind you use to de-wrinkle your clothes.  I was tempted to try this.  The problem with that, though, is that I REALLY hate ironing...of all kinds.  I don't bust out an ironing board for my skirts, why would I do it for my hair?  If only I could use the clothes dryer to iron my hair like I do my clothes.  Now  THERE's a briliant idea. can imagine my sheer delight when some genius of a human being invented a tiny little hair-ironing device you could hold in one hand--no ironing board required.  As we say in Facebook land, "LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE!"  I am SO very thankful for my flat iron.

My car heater.  I guess this really should have gone on yesterday's list, experiment, my rules.  Once again, after a lovely and warm weekend in St. George, I spent a hellish evening at my kids' soccer games.  We have yet to have a game...or a practice, for that matter...where it's not windy and ridiculously cold.  I'm hopeful for today's game.  So far, sunny and 61 is the forecast.  Glorious!  Annnnyway...all I could think about yesterday as I was freezing off on the sidelines, and fighting with a three year old who has no ability whatsoever to restrain his irritability, was how I could not wait to get in my car and turn on the heater. It's a small modern-day convenience, but it means an awful lot when you're fighting with four very cold, wet kids who do NOT care how miserable they're making you by being miserable.  It's just me, me, me all the time. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pollyanna Day 8

I must say I never thought I'd be consistent enough to make it to day THREE, let alone day 8.  I'm patting myself on the back as we speak.

A couple of things I'm feeling warm and fuzzy about right now:

Garage door openers. Think about it for a minute.  If you have a garage, how much simpler is your life because of that little remote with the magic button on it?  I'm a soccer mom now...for a few more weeks anyway.  I'm in the car, out of the car, backing out, pulling in, coming, going, constantly.  I love that I can just push a button and the door opens and I'm in...or out.  I think having to get out of my car thirty times a day to open and shut the garage door would probably alter my mood, and not in a good way.  I wonder how they managed back in the Little House on the Prairie days, you know, when they had to get out of their wagons to open the barn door in between soccer games.  What a jip.

Snow.  It makes me appreciate the warm, sunny days.  That's all I'm going to say about that, because certain people who live around here tend to get hostile with me when I start speaking positively about snow.  So I won't. Starting now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pollyanna Days 6 and 7

As I said on day 5, I'm doubling up Sunday and Monday, since we were out of town and I was purposely ignoring the internet.

The Sun. Warm, sunny, balmy, 80 degree weather.  And a hotel swimming pool.  I took the kids out of town to someplace much warmer.  It was simply divine.  I swam with the kids, then I watched them swim while I worked on minimizing my pastiness.  (It's just too soon to call it a tan.  I am WHITE, people.  Freakishly WHITE!).  I loved being able to just sit outside in the sun for a while, with nothing to worry about except for the possibility of three of my four kids drowning.  Hallie's my only swimmer.  Livvi's improving.  The other two need work.

Hotel Housekeeping.  The kids thought I was a little weird when we came back to our room on Saturday and I became positively giddy when I saw the crisply-made beds and fluffy clean towels which had magically appeared in our room during our absence.   Kids.  They don't know anything.  Moms,  I know you get it.  Just the idea that I get to climb into a fresh bed that *I* did not have to make, and I get to dry off with towels washed and dryed and folded by SOMEONE else...Oh, I'm getting dizzy thinking about it even now.   Did I mention they emptied the trash, too?  It almost makes up for the Hefty bag full of laundry I brought home from the trip--which, incidentally, will NOT be done by someone else.  Ok, dizzy spell officially killed.