Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's Happening...

Dylan - getting more and more mobile (shown here on top of Dad's laptop table)

Alex - tested for allergies (negative so far) and evaluated for asthma (positive)

All the Boys - played with out-of-state cousins at the Gateway Children's Museum

Adam & Alex - wrote their names in salt during "Activity Jar" time

Mom - appreciated the $10 gift card sent by Kohl's

Adam - taught Dylan how to roll a ball (Dylan didn't cooperate for long!)

Dad - scored bonus points by getting Mom a Sony Reader for her birthday

Dylan - experimented with various drinking methods (he prefers the dog water, but Mom insists on the new sippy)

Mom - sharpened her piano skills playing in a band for Footloose! (and is now taking lots of Ibuprofen to combat tendonitis)

On to October!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Collecting

I've never been a buyer of books (or of movies for that matter).  There are few books I've read - or movies I've seen - which I would ever read/watch a second time.  It's not that I haven't read books worthy of a second read-through.  I simply won't be interested in re-reading any until I've run out of new books to read, and that just isn't likely to happen.

Since I never intended to read the book again, I just didn't see the point in buying

Lately, however, I've started harboring this secret desire to own books.  Not to read them, necessarily, just to gaze at them on a shelf, peruse their titles, ocassionally pick them up to thumb through, and nostalgically recall what possessed me to own them in the first place.


I asked myself this question and decided the following are largely to blame:

1) I recently read two books recently about book collecting: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I'd recommend, and The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, which I wouldn't.  Both idealized the idea of book ownership and made me want to own some of the books whose characters, plots, subjects, or morals affected me in some way.

2) I saw Alicia Michaelis's bookshelves, which house hundreds of her favorite books.  I commented on how much I envied her shelves, and her reply was, "I love my books."  I decided then and there that I want books of my very own to love.

But I don't want shiny, new books.  I want broken-in, interesting-to-look-at books with a bit of history.  I have no intentions of filling bookshelves with signed first-editions, but a nice, worn, read copy (hardcover if available) of each of these would thrill me to no end.  (Note to husband: when you read this, you can keep this as a future-Christmas-presents list if you'd like.  Hint, hint.)

Any and all Roald Dahl children's books starting with The BFG
Children of the Promise series
Alicia, My Story
Any and all books by Anne McCaffrey
The Book Thief
The Help
Harry Potter series
Flags of our Fathers
Summer of the Monkeys
The Girl Who Owned a City
The Chronicles of Narnia
A Wrinkle in Time Series
Fablehaven Series
The Giver
The Work and the Glory series
The Sword of Truth series

I'm hoping to get a chance to go wander through the shelves of Ken Saunder's Rare Book Store in Salt Lake City. 

Side Note: Yes, it has to be that store.  It was part of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, and now I'm dying to check it out.

I'm captivated by the idea of finding treasures amongst someone else's cast off books.

Which books do you either own or long for?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is He a Cup?

Adam has never seen the benefits of learning his friends' names, prefering to refer to them during play as "kid," and to me as, "you know that boy who was wearing blue..."  We've been encouraging him to learn one classmate's name each day, and we ask him at dinner if he met anyone new.  The first kid whose name he reported was Soda. 

A few days later, he was excited to tell me he'd learned another name. 

Me: "Really?  Whose name did you learn?"

Adam: "Carlos, and guess what Mom?  When we go outside for recess, we are in the Five Squat, and Soda is the leader of the Five Squat."

Me: "The what?"

Adam: "The Five Squat."

Me (still confused): "Is that something you choose to do, or something your teacher asks you to do?"

Adam (looking at me like I should know exactly what he's talking about): "It's something we choose."

Me: "Is it like a group or a club?"

Adam: "Yes, it's the Five Squat, and Soda is the leader."

Me: "Oh, did Soda make it up?"

Adam: "Yeah, and you have to be five to be in it."

Me: "Oh... the Five Squad.  It's squad, honey.  It means it's like a group."

Adam: "Yeah, and Soda's the leader."

Alex (finally joining the conversation): "Is he a cup?"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Change in Focus

A couple weeks ago, we finally made the "big move" to move our television downstairs to what someday will truly be the family room.  For now, it has sheetrock but no mud/tape/paint.  It has old stained carpet from my brother-in-law's old house but no pad/tackstrip.  It has functional lighting and outlets, and it is completely wired for surround sound and projector.  When my father-in-law decided to give us his old surround sound system (and mother-in-law offered an old couch), moving the tv down made sense, despite the... uh... rough edges of the room.

As soon as we made the decision, I started re-arranging living room furniture.  I've always wanted a nice room where the focus is on people and conversation, not on the large ugly rectangle on the wall.  I've always struggled to decorate knowing there was nothing my limited (a.k.a. non-existent) budget could do to pull focus to somewhere more interesting.  I've always given in and oriented the couches to provide ample seating around said large ugly rectangle.  Finally, I was able to try out new combinations of furniture, bring the piano - my most prized possession - out of banishment, and purchase a few nice looking, albeit dollar-store, wall hangings.  Finally, I enjoy being in my own living room!

I expected that by putting the television in to a largely unsupervised, child-run area of the house, I was probably in for a fight if I wanted to regulate how much television was watched and how much Wii was played.  Interestingly, the opposite has happened!

The kids have the ability to go downstairs and watch tv or play the Wii pretty much whenever they want.  Adam takes after Daddy in his abilities to understand and manipulate electronics and remotes, so navigating multiple menus is no deterrent. 

But they rarely do!

I filled a storage ottoman with picture books (where there used to be DVD's), and Alex spends much of his time on the living room couch, book in hand.

Adam spends most of his time with Dylan, playing with the baby toys in his room.

The house is quieter and definately more peaceful.  Except of course, for right now, when the kids chose to turn off the tv downstairs and are now sliding down the stairs instead.  Hm... that's kind of against the rules.

Blog done.  :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


Alex is always mixing the different elements of dinner (corn, rice, etc.) together to form what he calls "restipees."  One morning, we had a hard time settling on a topping for our pancakes, and I ultimately gave in to one of Alex's restipee suggestions:

Yes, that is a peanut-butter-and-frosted-flake pancake.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This Guy...

...deserves some face time on the blog!  He's become so mobile, and so full of it, constantly into everything.  But he's still cute as can be.  Here are some of his best moments recently:

DISCOVERY GATEWAY: It wasn't his first time here, but it was his first time here as a 10-month-old, which apparently makes a very big difference.

REDNECK REDHEAD: Daddy dressed Dylan in a white onesie and a pair of denim overalls, and Mommy was smitten!  I took way too many pictures and had to share at least a few.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Good Deals!

Our Back-2-School funding was running pretty much on empty this year, but thanks to a couple of really good deals, we were able to get what we needed. 

But I'm mostly posting this just in case you didn't know about the Sears Kid Advantage program yet.  Basically it goes like this...

You buy your kids clothes at Sears.

You keep the receipt if it is Lee or Levi's brand.

When (notice I say when, not if) the clothes get frayed, torn, or otherwise mangled, you take them back to Sears.

Sears lets you pick out any item of the same size and brand, and you get the brand new replacement...


I learned this last summer and bought all of Adam's school pants there.  He trashed them, but not until the end of the school year.  Thankfully, we'd bought them big (we never know how fast that kid is going to grow), so we'll get at least until Christmas out of them.  We took them and the receipt (I like Lee brand jeans) in to Sears and came back out with...

...four brand new pair of pants, just waiting to be worn to school.  The best part is, I don't have to be hyper-vigilant about not letting Adam ride his bike in his school pants.  (I do still at least try, though.)  If he breaks them, they'll fix them.  For free.  Awesome.

The same day, I also got to go to a clothing swap a friend was hosting.  I donated a bag of clothes that no longer fit me.  I came home with a few great items for each member of the family.  (Except for Kirk... it seems no one donated any items for 6'3" men.  Too bad.)  I'm thinking that this upcoming summer I may host my own.  So if you go through the kiddos dressers in early summer, hang on to your give away items!  Maybe in August, you can magically turn them into something useful.

(These are the items I grabbed that will fit us now.  Yes, those are three Shade shirts I got for free.  I had a whole separate pile of things that should fit the kids next year.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I'm so glad I didn't have the misfortune to unknowingly have bestowed the name "Edward" on Adam prior to my "Twilight" exposure.  His vampire teeth - 100% natural btw - (and let's face it... my beauty in my bathrobe and Saturday morning hair) are enough to turn what should have been a precious, rare photo (Mom never gets piled on by the boys... that's what Dad is for) into a slightly disturbed picture.  You decide for yourself!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


My first thought when I saw the school fundraiser items (the new, reduced size Happenings card) was to immediately send them back with a note saying, "Adam will not be participating this year."  I did not want to fundraise.  Period.

Then I read the note outlining the rewards.

1. Candy grab.  Whatever.
2. Some stupid frog thing that any kid would immediately lose.  (Ok... maybe those weren't the exact words.)
3. Ice cream party.  Hm.
4. Bounce party.  Yep... Adam would pretty much love that.

My second thought was that perhaps it was not fair for me to make the decision for Adam whether he would participate or not. 

So I sat him down and explained that Mommy would not do the work for him.  If he wanted to sell them, he would have to think of people to call, call them, and ask them to buy a book.  I explained the reward system and asked if he'd like to sell them or just take them back to the school.  He decided he'd really like to try to sell four.

I asked him to come up with a list of people to call.

1. Uncle Jack
2. Grandma and Grandpa Fife
3. Grandma and Grandpa Casdorph

Unfortunately, anyone else he could think of has kids who will also be selling them.

So Mom and Dad agreed that if he could sell three, we'd buy the fourth.

Calling his list was a good exercise in using the phone.  I told him the numbers, and he dialed himself.  I also wrote up a picture cue card to help him remember what to say.

"Hi, this is Adam," he started robotically, never really warming up into a normal speech pattern.  "I am selling coupon books for my school.  If I sell four, I can go to a jump party.  They cost $20.  Would you like to buy one?"

Everyone on his list was a sucker.  (Thanks, guys!)  I am now the proud owner of a $20 coupon book, and the proud mommy of a five year old who is willing to work for what he wants.

I heard the next fundraiser is candy bars.  Great.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Anniversary Golf

I remember posting a big huge post about how Kirk and I met, but I think I neglected to mention that the reason for all the sentimentality was that we were celebrating our 9th anniversary.  We did it up in style this year, using gift cards to golf, go to the movies, and eat out... all for free. 

This was my first time golfing, something we've been wanting to do together for a long time.  I was really nervous at first and had a rough time getting started, but once the other pair in our foursome took our advice and played ahead, I loosened up, found my swing, and had a great time.

This picture wasn't from our anniversary, but I just had to post it.  Somehow, we still look so happy, even after nine years!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Activity Jar

Our schedule around here runs pretty consistently.  It has to or one of two things happens:

  1. People are late to school or
  2. Mommy goes crazy

I get up at 7:00 to squeeze in a 20 minute workout before the rest of the house stirs.

Dylan wakes up at 7:30, and while he drinks his bottle, I begin my dedicated one hour of cleaning.

By 8:30, the other two are generally up, and I make breakfast.

At 9:00, the kids get dressed while I double-check school bags, diaper bags, purses, etc. to make sure everyone has everything they need for the day.

At 9:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Dylan goes down for a nap, and I make the final preparations to get Alex off to school.

But as Dylan goes down on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, it's the hour the older boys look forward to most:  THE ACTIVITY JAR.

The activity jar is filled with strips of paper on which are written various activities including crafts, games, and storytime.  As per the request of a facebook friend, here are some of the ideas:

  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • Mario Party 8
  • Write a letter to friends
  • Storytime
  • Sidewalk paint (cornstarch, water, and food coloring in muffin cups)
  • Twister
  • Wii Fit Plus
  • Playdoh
  • Finger paint
  • Salt trays (small amount of salt in a cake pan, kids can draw in it)
  • Dance party
  • Puzzles

Each MWF, the kids get to draw an activity out, and together we play for about an hour, unemcumbered by baby brother, who truly does mess up everything.  And the kids love the activity jar so much, we can also use it for weekend bribery.  "If your chores are done by 10:30, there will be time to do the activity jar before Dylan wakes up..."

Here's the highlights of the first paper slip chosen: sidewalk paint.  (Thanks to Sarah's blog - shown in the background - for the great idea.  Sorry guys, can't link it... it's private.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Buckle Your Seat Belts

Life has been so exciting lately that it's gotten in the way of my blogging.  But that means I have lots to catch up on, so buckle your seat belts as I give you installments over the next week or so.  First up:


ALEX started preschool at Shayla's Preschool this year.  My preschool selection was based on three basic factors:

1) The school needed to be pretty close to home.
2) I needed to cost less than what I paid for Adam's preschool.
3) The school had to have some actual sort of curriculum (not just glorified playtime).
4) The teacher had to be someone who wouldn't just give in to adorable brown eyes.

I was fortunate enough to find all of this at Shayla's, and bonus, she's just around the corner.  Alex and I get to walk there together each school day, and I've really enjoyed the opportunity to actually get to know my middle child.  He gets side-aches easily (I'm going to have him officially tested for the munchkin version of asthma here pretty soon), so we play games like I Spy with My Little Eye to practice colors, or we count the sidewalk sections from point A to point B.  There are 31 from the corner to the first lamp post, if anyone was wondering.  So far, he loves it there, and when I ask him who his friends are, he responds, "That same gwirl," referring to a neighbor's daughter who we saw walking there on the first day.  One of these days he might actually learn her name!

ADAM had to unbearably wait until the 30th to start school, giving time for the kindergarten teachers to complete the assessments.  He did very well on his assessment, struggling a bit with the letters (as expected) and shining with the numbers (as expected).  Mrs. Wallis was particularly impressed at his performance on the "bean game."  She showed Adam four beans, then hid a certain number in one hand.  She showed him the remaining beans and asked him how many were hiding.  Without a moment's hesitation, he nailed each question.  She also gave him a set of items to count out for simple addition and subtraction problems, but he did them all in his head instead.

On the first day of school, I was excited to show Adam the assortment of snacks he could choose from for school.  After sorting through Teddy Grahams, fruit snacks, granola bars, and crackers, he turned and said, "Mom, my teacher said I could bring an apple.  Can I just bring an apple?"  Sure thing, bud.  You are certainly welcome to choose fruit any day!  Then, "Mom, please don't cut it.  Big boys need to eat big apples."  He took an apple for the first two days, finally choosing from the snack bin on the third school day.

MOM also started school again this year as a music teacher at Navigator Pointe Academy, a charter school near Airport 2.  I've helped out with their after school theater program for a couple of years, so when they lost their music teacher, I was surprised to get a phone call.  What did surprise me was the content of the interview, when the principal basically said, "Tell me what subject(s) you'd like to teach and what hours you want to work, and we will make it work for you."  Hard to turn that down!  I told her "only music" and "only afternoons," so I teach 2nd to 5th grade music and continue to help with the after school music and theater programs.  I work 16 hours a week, and so far, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to make a difference outside of my home. 

The kids are adjusting, and Alex really loves his babysitter.  When I dropped him off earlier this week, he said, "Mom, are you going to leave me here?" 

Worried I might be inciting tears, I answered truthfully, "Yes." 

"Thank you!" he said, as he bopped into her house.

Dylan, on the other hand, is punishing me, acting good for the babysitter and good for Daddy (who picks the kids up about 15 minutes before I make it home) but then starts to cry and whine the moment I walk through the door. 

We're all adjusting to the new and varied school schedule, and I'm relying heavily on the "village" it traditionally takes to raise a child.  Thanks to all those involved in helping shuttle my kids to or from their assorted schools.  It has been such a relief to know I am surrounded by people I can trust with my goons.