Summer Book Trek Wrap-up

30 08 2008

I was involved in two online reading challenges this summer. I didn’t review nearly as many books as I thought I would (only one!)–and I actually didn’t even read as much as usual. However, I still had a good time and enjoyed seeing what other people were reading, too. Here’s the official sum up from the Summer Book Trek:

I had planned on reading these:
Upon the Mountains by Gale Sears
Before the Dawn by Dean Hughes
Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen
Red Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham
Fablehaven 3: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer


1. How many fictions books by LDS authors did you read?
I’m not entirely sure because I didn’t keep track. At least eight.

2. Did you read more than you would have read if you hadn’t participated in this book trek? I probably did read more LDS fiction because this challenge pushed the books by LDS authors to the front of my queue.

3. Did the reviews posted by other participants influence which titles you read? No, but I did see quite a few that I’m looking forward to reading in the future.

4. Did the Whitney Awards influence which titles you read? How? Yes. There were a couple that I read just because they won or were nominated for a Whitney Award.

5. Did the many, many virtual blog tours that happened this summer influence which titles you read? How? No.

6. Did you finish all the books you had planned on? Why? No. I didn’t finish either dragon book on my list because (for me at least) you just have to be in the right mood to read about dragons. For some strange reason this summer, I wasn’t.

7. Did you discover any new authors whom you now love? Not in connection with the book trek, but I have found a couple of new ones from looking on

8. Did you nominate any of the books you read for Whitney awards? No.

9. Would you be interested in another LDS themed reading challenge either this winter, or next summer? Yes. It’s good for me to have some goals in life.

Wendy, the Back-to-School shopping freak

29 08 2008

Last Saturday, I had a mission: buy back-to-school clothes.

Nothing was going to get in the way of accomplishing that goal.

I don’t enjoy shopping with my children. It isn’t something I enter into lightly. I suppose I’m experienced enough (read: I’ve endured screaming/crying/fit-throwing/drag-my-children-out-of-the-store-ing more than once) to know that a successful shopping trip with four children takes planning and a rare alignment of the stars.

The day started out well–the sun was shining and we were only an hour behind schedule. Stan didn’t have to work, so there would be one parent to man the stroller and one parent to herd the other children. I had the route planned in my head to avoid the carousel, the kiddie rides, and the indoor playspace, while still getting to the stores we needed. I had coupons.

Yes. I was ready.

In the parking lot (not even in the mall yet), my nose started bleeding. Not a good sign.

Luckily, we had some baby wipes under the stroller for just such an emergency. I made a beeline for the restroom as soon as we got inside, and tried to tell Stan, “Go ahead and–“

“We’ll wait,” Stan said. He’s no dummy.

I ducked into the first stall, which, of course, had to be completely clogged. I found this out only after shoving several wadded clumps of bloody toilet paper inside. Nice. I ducked into the next stall as soon as the coast was clear.

I don’t have a lot of experience with bloody noses. I’ve only had three or four my entire life, and they’ve all occurred over the past couple of years. Mostly, they’ve stopped after a couple of minutes.

With Saturday’s bloody nose, I had no such luck.

I would press the tissue to my nose, wait for a couple of minutes, then slowly remove it.

Drip. Drip. Dripdripdripdrip. “Rats!”

Several more minutes. Same result.

Eden came in after awhile. “How’s it going, Mom?”

“Still going.”

A full ten minutes later, I exited the stall and looked in the mirror. Lovely.

Still, Stan was hanging out in the hallway with four kids. They were ecstatic to be at the mall. And I am not a wuss.

I carefully washed each hand (separately, of course–the other was needed to ebb the flow) to get the disgusting bloodstains off, then I even more carefully scrubbed the tip of my nose with an index finger for the same reason. I re-entered the stall one final time, stowing some tissue in my pockets for later (just in case) and neatly folding a very thick square to replace the haphazard wad I was currently using. A quick switch, a final flush, and I was on my way.

Stan raised his eyebrows. I did, after all, still have a copious amount of toilet tissue swathed over my face with one hand. “Still going?”

I nodded. “Let’s shop!”

“Do you want to go?” Stan asked me.

I looked at him over my toilet paper veil. I glanced at the kids, dancing around the stroller. “We have to.” I said.

Stan looked at the kids and sighed. “I guess you’re right.”

There’s a man for you. Not the least embarrassed by his wife’s bloody nose in a crowded shopping mall–more concerned, in fact, that he disappoint the kids.

We walked into the bustling mall. “Are you putting pressure on it?” he asked me, indicating the bridge of his nose.

What? Pressure? Oh, right. “Not really.” I said. But I started to right away.

And next ensued one of the craziest instances of back-to-school shopping ever.

We went to one store, where they have good quality clothes and I had a pretty good coupon. Unfortunately, one-handed shopping does not come naturally for me, and I was also having trouble being heard, most likely due to the thing pretty much covering my mouth and nose.

I was giving muffled instructions, the kids were pulling things off shelves, and Colby decided he was ready to get out of the stroller. Really ready. Squirming and screaming ready.

After a hectic twenty or thirty minutes, there was a sizable pile of clothing on the front seat of the stroller, Colby was still crying, and we were finished.

No, really. We got everything we needed in just one store.

Halfway through, I was feeling a little, you know, moist, so I turned to Stan. “Am I still okay?”

“Uh-uh. You’re leaking through.”

While I was trying to figure out how to swap with the back up in my pocket without grossing everyone out and getting blood all over the clothes (I’m sure the clerks were giving me the you-get-blood-on-it-you-buy-it glare the entire time, but I didn’t make eye contact so I can’t be positive about that) Stan reached over and said, “Here. Just do this.” He folded the bottom half of my compress up, peered under and around to make sure I was covered, and said, “Good as new.”

So anyway, I took Rainbow and found another rest room while Stan paid the bill. Lo and behold–the gusher had stopped! I was so relieved. I could again walk the mall like a normal citizen, not ducking my toilet paper covered face in shame and embarrassment.

We finished our mall errands quickly, and although I spent more money than I would have if I’d had the time to look around a little more earnestly, I think–overall–it can be considered a successful shopping trip.

Of course, we got home and I found quite a few unapproved items that Rainbow liked and stuck on the stroller, which Stan didn’t realize while he was checking out. But they can be returned. Nice try, anyway, Rainbow.

School starts on Wednesday, and clothes-wise, we’re ready.

Now we just have to get school supplies . . .

A Little Rainbow Love

28 08 2008

Today while I was drawing chalk pictures on the sidewalk with Colby, Rainbow yelled, “Shadow!”

I first thought she was talking to a dog, since I know someone with a dog named Shadow. When I turned, though, I realized she was talking to her shadow.

She was running across the cul de sac. “I’m chasing you, Shadow!”

She almost made it to the opposite sidewalk when she arced. “Now you’re chasing me, Shadow!”

Love that girl.

Who knows?

27 08 2008

Tonight on my way home from Enrichment Meeting, the song “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was playing on the radio.

I started laughing so hard. I’m not entirely sure why.

Well, aside from the fact that the lyrics are hilarious.

From my head to my feet, yeah–

Washington’s State Animal

26 08 2008
I saw this little beauty the other night when I ducked outside to make sure the van door was closed.


When we moved to Washington (five years ago this month! Wow, how time flies–) we were living in an apartment in Tacoma (already furnished and paid for by the Company). I had asked for a bottom floor apartment because I was seven months pregnant with two toddlers. I didn’t want to have to deal with carrying kids and groceries up and down stairs all the time.

They (whoever “they” are) graciously granted my request.

Unfortunately, the bottom floor was not exactly at ground level like I was picturing. It was more, you know, down a flight of concrete stairs. Sigh.

It was during this time that I was introduced to one of the above-pictured specimens.

On the floor.

In my kitchen.

I apologize for the overuse of italics, but really. I had never seen a slug before, save in cartoons. I’m not a screamer, but I’m pretty sure a surprised yelp escaped me. I can’t remember how I got rid of it, and I am still not sure how it got into the apartment. It’s not like we left the door open long enough for a slug to slither through. We had a sliding door that went outside onto a grassy area (that our kids weren’t allowed to play on–long story), but we never opened that. I think it must have come through the dishwasher somehow, because it was very near and I happened to be doing dishes at the time. Which is what I should be doing now instead of writing about slugs.

So I’ll let you go. Rest assured the sight of slugs no longer make me feel faint, or yelp, or even blink. They’re everywhere. (But that doesn’t mean I have to like them.)

New sport?

25 08 2008

Zach told me, idly, the other day, “I thought of a new Olympic sport. Instead of discus, you throw a cat.”

I blinked.

“It’s called catcus.”

I blinked again. Huh?

“Or else they could catapult cats.”


“They could call it catapuss.”

I turned to look at him, then busted up laughing.

Then he said, “Stuffed animal cats, of course.”

That’s when I saw the stuffed animal cat sitting on the rug. A bit of Olympics overload, hm?

Farewell, Beijing

25 08 2008

I LOVE the Olympics.

It’s weird, really, because I’m not much of a sports fan. I try to catch a bit of Wimbledon each year (tennis is SO a sport, Amie!) and it’s always fun to see the Final Four, but, well, that’s about it.

So my obsession with the Olympics is rather singular. I have probably watched at least two hours EVERY NIGHT since the Olympics started. That’s a lot. I don’t generally watch a lot of television. But tv-watching habits aside, I’ve definitely gotten my sports fix. For the next four years.

One thing you kind of have to put up with if you want to see the exceptional athletic prowess of the Olympians are the asinine phrases of the commentators. Don’t get me wrong–I love Bob Costas as much or more than the next person. He’s been my favorite since I was a kid.

This is not about Bob Costas. You know who I’m talking about. The ones who make such obvious statements as, “This is going to hurt the team” when they’ve fallen off the balance beam. For some reason, most of the annoying commentators seem to be covering gymnastics. For your reading enjoyment, I’ve culled some of the most awful.

“She is MONSTER TOUGH.” (I think every girl wants to hear this about herself.)

“The pommel horse has been like Waterloo today.” (Which means bad. But only if you’re French. Napolean especially.)

“He is exuding confidence today with his mannerisms and gestures.” (As opposed to exuding it through his sweat glands.)

“So far it has been carpe diem for him–seize the day and seize the opportunity.”

“Wow–crazy international storylines crossed.”

“I’d have to say that right there looked like a choke.”

“That’s a ‘Yeah, baby!'”

“That was back to back amazing!”

“He is MVP to the 10th power!”

I stopped commenting on the comments because I was starting to sound a little snarky. And I love the Olympics and the commentators do a great job. Usually.

When they aren’t being annoying.

P.S. Thanks to Melissa for commenting and reminding me of this gem: “He gives 110%, 110% of the time.” Mathematically, that’s not even possible. Don’t they know that?

Reunited, and it Feels So Good

22 08 2008

[Usually, I try and put the captions underneath the pictures, because this is the normal way of captioning. However, I was looking at some old posts with the kids last night, and found that it’s a little different in a blog with all the scrolling and whatnot. Any preferences? I’ll try top captions on this post–let me know if it’s easier to read.]

The best day of last week was when Stan flew into Idaho–back to the bosom of his family. His plane was late, so the kids were going a little crazy in the airport. Rainbow had a complete meltdown and was spread-eagled out on the floor, moaning about some injustice inflicted upon her. I finally dragged her into a chair and told her to watch through the security doors for Dad. She just glared at me.

When Stan stepped on the escalator, I took Colby right up to the doors and said, “There’s Daddy! Can you see Daddy?” He let out this little whimper and pointed his chubby finger towards the glass.

We were ALL so excited to see him. I’ve got my happy back.

Stan made it into town just in time to go to the county fair. Here he and Colby are, checking out the 4-H animals.

I have to say, the fair has really gone downhill since I’ve been there last–you know, 13 years ago or something. The 4-H stuff was fun, but there wasn’t a lot of other participation–I was expecting more quilts and produce and, well, fair-type stuff. They didn’t even have any rides (which, really, is probably a blessing) or a SCONE booth. Can it even be considered a fair without scones?

[Interesting side note: I’ve found out since moving to Washington that what I’ve always thought were scones–dough stretched out and fried in hot oil–are actually NOT scones. When the English are talking about scones, it’s an entirely different animal. (As are their muffins, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.) We had an enrichment meeting right after moving here with the theme “A Fair to Remember” where the difference was explained to me. I was completely confident I knew what a scone was, but really a scone is more like a biscuit. Only tastier. But not fried in hot oil–those are Elephant Ears or Tiger Somethings. Incidentally, they have both the fried-in-hot-oil kind AND the English kind at the state fair here. You know, for all those English people who end up in Washington state during September and want to go to a fair. But I digress.]

The sheriff’s office was giving out free Creamies, though. That was pretty cool.

The other pretty cool thing was a tank. (Although I think the soldier there called it something else. Tanks are, I guess, even BIGGER.) The kids enjoyed going up inside it. Looked a little claustrophobic to me, though.

Stan didn’t get to spend much time in Rexburg. We were ready to get home (and I think the Grandparents were ready for us to get home, too). Still, we made time to go and get a sno cone. I don’t know why, but there aren’t many shaved ice venues where we live. (Okay, maybe I do know. It rains all the time here.) Anyway, they were delicious.

Here’s the whole fam, sitting on the steps of MJH–which, by the way, is looking its age. You can’t see it in this picture, but the pole on Stan’s side wasn’t connected at all on the bottom due to the stairs crumbling away. The door was open to the gym behind us, so I went up to take a little peek. It smells exactly the same. It was almost eerie.

Heading home, we stayed with Steve’s cousin and her family at a cabin on Couer d’Alene Lake. It was beautiful, and a fun way to break up the drive home.
We were able to swim for a little while the next morning before hitting the road again. Sweet Colby.

And then–we were home. Well, like seven hours later. It was a long trip, but a wonderful vacation overall. Now–we’re back to the regular grind.

Cousinly Lo-ove

19 08 2008

One of the greatest joys I’ve had so far as a parent has been seeing my siblings and in-laws becoming and being parents. It’s great to be able to ask their advice and to love my nieces and nephews. Another benefit has been the friendships between my kids and their cousins. All of their cousins, no matter what the age, are their best friends. It’s great! They love to see any of them, at any time.

This is one of my nephews, little Hank. He is seriously one of the cutest and funniest kids I’ve ever met–and, even better, he seems to like me. (For some strange and unknown reason, I have this strange need for little kids to like me. If they don’t, I’m completely let down and feel as though I’ve failed . . . something.) Anyway, before we headed home we were able to spend some time with Hank and his siblings at their house.

Colby’s knees were pretty much permanently stained from crawling around who-knows-where our entire vacation.

Eden and her cousin Marian are best buds–and they’re just at that age when posing for the camera is the best thing EVER.

Totally posed, but still pretty cute.

This is my newest nephew, Louie (whom Hank called ‘Loulie‘ for awhile) who is a totally sweet baby, cooing and smiling whenever anyone talks to him.

A couple more of Hank–can you tell I don’t have a 2-year-old right now? I can’t get enough of his cuteness.

Here is the shot of our two families–with eight kids 8-years-old and younger, I guess I should just be happy half of them are looking, right? Wait, are half of them looking? I guess only three are–the girls, too, I should have known it. Well, anyway, we LOVE our cousins!

The Lake of Jefferson County

18 08 2008

Another fun day trip during our Idaho vacation: Rigby Lake!

We used to go to Rigby Lake a couple of times a summer when I was a kid, having a weenie roast and cold pork and beans for dinner after swimming or paddling to the island with my cousins. Good memories.

Rigby Lake is much the same (and cold pork and beans still taste good there)–except now you have to PAY $5 to park. No kidding. (This could explain the relative lack of the usual lake riff-raff I remember . . . )

But I digress. The kids had an absolutely fabulous time, and Stan’s sister and husband put up a delicious spread–thanks for the party, guys!

Rainbow, testing the waters
Zack, being especially daring (for him)

Sweet Colby, enjoying the mud

Eden spearheaded this “mini lake” diorama, complete with weeds for trees. Check out the lovely muddy legs.

Posing under the beach (er, golf, actually) umbrella–love the cheeks and Rainbow’s graham cracker.