Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Thoughts - Buffet Style

The idea of a buffet is definitely quantity, not quality.  There are plenty of places in the valley to get great seafood, an excellent stake, delicious pizza.  But if what you're in the mood for is a little and (shrimp AND mashed potatoes AND cornbread AND ice cream AND jello AND cottage cheese with pineapple), the buffet is the perfect place to go.  Here's my a la carte jumble of thoughts from our recent buffet trip:

  • We paid for two child meals and two adults.  I'm pretty sure Kirk and I ate enough to make the kids prices worth it.  Alex ate enough to justify one adult meal.  Adam ate enough to justify the entire tab.
  • When Dylan eats free, I guess there's no reason why he shouldn't have three servings of ice cream.
  • The trip can be considered a success if you take your kids home looking like you dipped them in the chocolate fountain.
  • There are a lot of old people at the buffet.  Thankfully, they seemed to think my chocolate-dipped children were adorable.
  • There are also a lot of seriously overweight people at the buffet.  It kind of made me wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg.
  • To a first-grader who recently completed a science unit on coral reefs, the signage at Golden Corral is easily mistaken as Golden Coral.
  • The dinner rolls are amazing.  But you kind of have to stalk the bakery to get one, because they go really fast.
  • The idea of seemingly self-cleaning plates really appeals to me.  Just leave your dirty ones on the table, and they magically disappear while you're off dirtying another one.  It's possibly the kids didn't notice the phenomenon.
After eating plenty of dessert, the kids were in various states of contentment.

Alex, having eaten more than his stomach could comfortably hold, opted to lie down at the base of the table for awhile.

Dylan, figuring there was little space left on his face for more chocolate, sat contentedly at the table.

And Adam went back for more spaghetti.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


It's no wonder my kids are so argumentative.

Kirk and I have been having an ongoing debate about the pronunciation of a new household fascination ever since Adam spotted a certain book at the book fair.

I looked at the series title.  NINJAGO.  I mentioned it to Kirk.  "Adam really wants a nin-JA-go book," I said.

It's "NIN-ja-go," he corrected me, plenty of condescension included.

"Really?  I don't know why, but I really thought it would be said nin-JA-go."  But I shrugged it off when he explained that they're NINjas.  And legos.  NIN-ja-go.

The next day at the book fair, I asked one of the parent volunteers, "Are you all sold out of the NIN-ja-go books?"

"Oh, you mean the nin-JA-go books?  Yeah, we sold out yesterday."

I triumphantly lorded my new discovery over Kirk.  Try saying this one out loud dripping with sass and attitude.  "The moms at school all say it's nin-JA-go.  And their kids have been reading the books longer, so I think they're right."  Yeah... all the moms.  'Cause I totally checked.

But he stuck to his guns.  "Nope.  They're wrong.  It's all based on a cartoon series.  About NINjas that are made out of legos.  It's NIN-ja-go."

I actually let it drop and forgot about it.  [I don't know how this happened?!]  Until Alex's birthday party when I overheard my nephew Mason talking to Alex.  Somewhere in his sentence I clearly heard him reference a nin-JA-go.  Petty as I truly am, I hurried upstairs to share my newfound knowledge with Kirk.  Ya know... just to educate him.  I wouldn't want him to embarrass himself walking around saying NIN-ja-go.  So in the name of philanthropy, I pointed out his error.

Fed up, as I often get, with my inability to force him to admit he's wrong, I turned to the solver-of-all-our-disputes.  The internet.  I found a commercial in which the announcer clearly used the pronunciation of nin-JA-go.  And Kirk said, "Hm."

And we moved on.

The moral of the story here, is that I was right...  thankfully our kids don't always argue like we do.

Alex received a Ninjago toy for his birthday, which he and Adam worked on together for two solid hours without argument, reminding me of the beauty of teamwork.

For our part, Kirk and I did our best to keep the redheaded destroyer out of the way.

And don't let Kirk convince you that this was one of those times he was just opposing me to watch me get all riled up.  I'm fairly certain it wasn't.  :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

#9: Learn More About Autism

I'm not crossing this one off the 40-by-Forty list yet, but it's a task I've decided it's time to tackle.  According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, approximately 6 out of 1000 children will have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

I'm not sure if the average individual has the opportunity to meet 1000 children in his or her lifetime.  But, quickly tallying students at school and in theater programs, I know that over the last 10 years, I've easily already met that number.  And I find it interesting that, reflecting on those same groups of students, my personal experiences support the 6-in-1000 statistic.

I figure that in the next 10 years, I'm likely to have the opportunity to teach, direct, and befriend at least another six children on the autism spectrum.  I'm determined this time around to at least be armed with a bit more knowledge so my impact can be as positive as possible.

So I looked up a list of books on autism, and the first to be available at my local library was Nobody Nowhere.  This book is incredibly unique in that it is actually written by a woman who was able to learn to operate outside her autistic tendencies.  Apparently, the ability even to recognize one's own autism is far from the norm, and to be able to write a novel about it is that much more remarkable.

But in addition to autism, Donna Williams' childhood was filled with abuse and food allergies which make some of her experiences difficult to attribute to any particular factor.  The book was very interesting, but not the eye-opener I'd hoped for.  In fact, it wasn't until the afterword that I felt I "learned" some things that I could use.

So, for my future reference, a few ideas gleaned from my first novel regarding autism:

  • Difficulties in expressive communication may actually happen because the autistic person has to distance himself or herself from emotions.  It is really hard to communicate without emotion.
  • I want to try keeping my voice as even and soothing as possible, but stressing the most important words.  Williams suggests that for her, there had to be a balance between soothing (which she would tune out) and accented (which would make her nervous) if she was going to understand anything.
  • It's not that people with autism have no language skills.  It's just that their language is not my language.  If I want to communicate, maybe I should try learning the child's language rather than expecting him to learn mine.
My quest for knowledge is far from over, so if you have any recommended readings (or personal advice) feel free to comment!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hooker Boots

Call them what you want to, but in our house, boots to the knee are commonly referred to as hooker boots.  I won't go into what we call the person in the boots.

Lately, Dylan has combined his just-like-mommy obsession with his longstanding love of everyone else's shoes.  The result is something I'm sure I'll use as blackmail when he brings a pretty girl home.

Maybe we need to start encouraging just-like-Daddy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


You know how in Emperor's New Groove, the first thing you see is a llama in the rain?  Well, here's this story's llama-in-the-rain:

And just like Kuzko's story had a beginning, so did this one.

It was kind of a princess-and-the-pea day where despite the number of mattresses I stacked, I could still feel the pea.  And sadly for Kirk, it seemed that he'd unintentionally placed every pea I'd felt.  The poor guy spent all morning as Head Pea Exterminator and did so with little complaint.  As such, I think he was more than eager to run an errand while I started baking the cake for Alex's birthday party.  This cake, while easy to frost, required the careful placement of 7 different colors of batter - which I managed to do while letting Adam and Alex help me... a feat in and of itself.  I finished the final layer of batter just as Kirk walked in the door.  I put the cake in to bake for 45 minutes and found that with one less major hurdle to jump that day, my mood was much improved.  In fact, I couldn't feel a single pea!

I enjoyed making the pretzel ladder and then headed off for a 23 minute bath, knowing I'd want to be out when the cake was done.  Out with 2 minutes to spare, I entered the kitchen, ready to tackle the next steps.  I leveled the cake's dome.  I pondered how to flip it onto the cake plate.  I gratefully accepted Kirk's offer of help.  We discussed our concerns that it might stick to the pan, and I promised not to freak out if it did.

And Kirk flipped the cake.

The cake pan slid on the plate surface and in mere seconds, cake was everywhere.

As promised, I did not freak out.  At least not on the surface.

My brave Head Pea Exterminator dove into DCM (damage control mode) and asked if I was okay.  I smiled and laughed a strained laugh and replied, "Yeah.  But I'm just gonna... sit... on the floor over here for a minute."  And I lowered myself to the floor, leaned my back on the counter, and tried to breathe.



Birthday party at 6:00.


A cake that takes 45 minutes just. to. bake. not to mention the time it takes to color and carefully pour the batter.


Do-able.  Kirk rushed to the store for a new cake mix, and I re-donned (yep, it's a word now) my apron.  And my faithful Head Pea Exterminator brought me a peace offering, even though it really wasn't his fault.

Together, we mixed, colored, greased, poured, laughed, joked, and got the darn cake ready.  He made the frosting and dinner.  I frosted, decorated, and teased him endlessly about having thrown the cake on the floor.

Dinner, dishes, and cake were all done with multiple minutes to spare, and I'd say our Leprachaun Trap was well worth the effort!

Still, Kirk will never live down "that time when you threw the cake on the floor..."

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Special Bond

As I type this, I am listening to Alex yell at Dylan, "No, Dyl.  Bad Dylan.  Bad baby," despite my frequent reminders not to yell at his brother.  I suppose there's the occasional moment when they actually like each other, but for the most part, those two are like water and oil.

So it's a good thing that Dylan and Adam seem to have a special bond.  Sure, Adam hovers incessantly, and Dylan screams at him multiple times each day.  Sure, I often hear Adam screaming, "Mom!  Dylan won't get off me!"  But those times are [thankfully] balanced by these times:

I imagine allegiances will probably shift as they grow up, and there will be plenty of two-against-one combinations, but right now, I am loving the Adam/Dylan dynamic!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14, 2008

I don't know how this happened.  Apparently, on March 14, 2008, Lindy Ross must have been at my house and must have asked to use my computer and must have opened Blogger to post to her blog, not realizing it was signed in to mine.  She must have started a post and not finished it, and she was probably frustrated when she got home and found it missing from her drafts.  I just found it in mine.

This wouldn't be a big deal at all, except that in May 2010, Lindy Ross died in a tragic accident while on her way from her home in Colorado to go stay with her family in Idaho and help out at the Starlight Mountain Theatre.  She was driving with her three young children, thankfully unharmed, whose ages mirror mine almost exactly.  She was younger than me, but not by much, and though we'd only met a handful of times, our lives were too similar to not feel some sort of connection.

When I got the news of her death, I literally collapsed onto the couch.  I bawled.  I called my sister, whose husband is Lindy's brother.  I talked to Skye.  I drove to Idaho to help pull off the fundraiser that was scheduled for that weekend and still had to happen despite the family needing to plan a funeral.  The trade-off was that I had to miss the funeral, because I could only manage one shotgun trip to Boise.  

I can't even really say that I knew Lindy.  I'd met Lindy.  I'd looked forward to getting to know Lindy that summer since our stays in Garden Valley were scheduled to overlap.  But in that brief acquaintance, Lindy impacted me.  I was impressed by her confidence, her beauty, her talent.  Her quick smile and open honesty.  Lindy and I would have been friends.  I just know it.

So here it is, the surprise I found stored on my blog.  A little, neglected bit of Lindy Ross, posted on 3/14, just as she intended it, just a few years late.

Favorite pair of shoes: I have a really cute pair of off-white shoes that are New Years Resolution: oh I `have many, but one is to have a years suppy of food storage.What are you listening to right now: Zayden and Kaleah watching Enchanted and Kyler on the phone.If you had $200.00 to spend on yourself what would you buy: A really good massage! and some new shoes, Dinner and maybe mini golf with Kyler!Random Thought: I'm really hungry!Favorite place to go in the city you live in: I love taking the kids for walk to the park. not a whole lot here in boise.....Book you are reading: oh if only I had time to read grown up books!

Lindy, you are missed.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I just can't believe that another Fife is five.  Alex comes up past my elbows now, but it's his personality that just seems to get bigger every day.

He and I have invented a game where we sing our conversations.  I can even get him to scat.  I love it when, without realizing it, he repeats back my melodic patterns with new lyrics.  Or when he finishes my musical phrase, inadvertently leading it back to the tonic.

His vocabulary seems to be rapidly expanding as well.  It's one of my favorite stages, where the words go far beyond one and two syllables, the sentence structure becomes increasingly complex, and sometimes - if you filter out all the giggles - you can pretend you're conversing with a full grown human.

He's never had confidence issues, but it is still so much fun to see him find his own place in the world.  He is starting to grasp his unique talents and wanting to make his own mark.  He loves going to gymnastics each Thursday, and I'm glad we've found something that he can call his own.

He still touts orange and blue as his favorite colors, and though he's gone through a no-strawberries spell, he swears he'll love strawberries again now that he's five.  He seems happy in every environment, loving school and primary and time at home.

I'm thrilled that he still has his husky little voice, but his laugh right now is an obnoxious cackle I could certainly do without.  He's looking forward to auditioning for a show that mom isn't doing, saying, "I really need to do Oliver again.  I'm starting to forget the words."

He's registered for Kindergarten in the fall, and I keep wondering how one building, no matter how large, can possibly contain Alex.  But I can't wait to see what he's going to accomplish, how fast he's going to learn, and how happy everyone will feel when they get to see Alex's smile every day.  His is definitely not a light suited to hiding under a bushel.  I'm so proud to see him share his light with the world!

Happy Birthday, Al!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I always feel bad for those who try to photograph Dylan.  They spend so much time and energy trying to get him to smile.  What they don't realize is that he already is.  He just doesn't smile with his mouth.  He smiles with his eyes.

Who knew that smiling with your eyes has its own name?  Apparently, it's called "smizing," and anyone who knows D knows that almost all his expressions come through his baby blues.

I could tell the photographer seemed disappointed that she hadn't captured his smile.  Hadn't captured it?  False.  She just didn't see it.  But for this mama, who has learned to substitute minute differences in his expressions for the words he doesn't say, these pictures are perfect.  100% Dylan.

Plus all the fun shots, I got the shot I'd gone in for.  A traditional, looks-good-amongst-a-wall-of-cousin's-school-photos-at-Grandma's-house headshot.

And in case his cuddly, sweet nature doesn't grow with him, I'll be glad to have this memory:

Thanks, JCPenney, for once again delivering easy, cheap, and consistently adorable memories.  And I can't wait to get Alex's done next!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Poker Face

This one's for you, Uncle Brett.

If you have a full 2 minutes and 10 seconds of your life to dedicate to watching Dylan dance, just hit play.  If you just want the highlights, check out:

:50 (First chorus)
1:20 (Freestyle)
1:47 (Wicked step-touches)
2:10 (End pose)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Puppy Sitting

After a weekend of dog sitting, I think I now have an appreciation for what it is to be a grandparent; all of the fun with none of the responsibility.  We watched three dogs, which was a perfect ratio to our three boys.  

When the boys were insistent on taking the dogs for walks, I attached leashes and sent three boys with a dog each into the backyard.  My dad has always referred to this type of activity as taking the dog for a choke, since most dogs excitedly pull against the leash, choking as the reluctant owner struggles to keep the dog's desired pace.  Well, unfortunately for the dogs, this was neither a walk nor a choke; I am fairly certain the kids took the dogs for a drag.  When I opened the door to let the hoard back in, I was greeted by three pair of puppy dog eyes which plainly said, "Seriously, woman?"

Taggert, the littlest of the bunch, was perfectly Dylan-sized and reluctantly willing to play the part of live toy for the weekend.  We quickly identified Dylan's point-and-grunt combination as his way of saying, "That dog should never have to walk on his own four paws.  Please bring him to me, and I will carry him around.  I will probably even try to carry him up and down the stairs, so you'd probably better watch us pretty closely."

By Monday, I was pretty tired of the point-and-grunt and perfectly content to have the puppies go home. Being a grandparent must be awesome!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Holding Still

I'm just so bad at it.  Holding still.  Any pet we've ever had has liked Kirk more, and I like to think that has at least something to do with it.  Good pets like to sit on their owner's laps, and my lap just seems to be hard to find.

After last year's adventures, I've been having a bit of a hard time adjusting to a slower [read: showless] year.  I'm struggling to feel content in the moments of relaxation and feeling resistant to filling them with mundane things like laundry.  I thrive in a social atmosphere, and I'm having to re-learn how to fill my own emotional cup without late-night Village Inn runs.  I even shed a few woe-is-me tears to Kirk over a recent Friday night spent at home.

And I've just decided that with my new calling on the Trek committee and my Tuesday night classes, I'm going to have to give up the auditions I'd been riding my "at-least-I'll-have" hopes on.

Yes, I'm struggling to adjust.  I'm feeling a little too grounded.  I'm fighting crazy hard to get myself to hold still.

But there are so many moments I am glad I'm here for.  We finished The Witches, and I loved reading to my boys, "It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you."  We went and saw The Lorax, and I loved hearing Alex explain that the best part was when the trees grew back, because it was a happy ending.  Dylan has learned to meow.  I love spending time with my adorable redheaded kitten.  My house is less dirt-encrusted.  I am less tired, less cranky, less stressed.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."  -- Ecclesiastes 3:1

This is my season to learn to hold still.

It's a good thing the view is so cute.