Days of Gratitude: Twenty-nine

31 12 2008

Humor-Saved Situations

Went to Rite-Aid today with three children of mine (Eden was at a friend’s) and the neighbor boy. Supposed to be a quick trip: pick up prescriptions and Sudafed and nylons and NyQuil. Out.

However, Rainbow brought her allowance to buy some candy (as if we haven’t been on a continual sugar high since Christmas, but whatever) although she ended up buying a sparkly crown with earrings instead.

(Tangent: don’t you just love the random junk found in drug stores? I think a really fun game would be to go with a group of friends to Rite-Aid or Walgreen’s or Bartell’s and give everyone ten minutes and five dollars to find the tackiest and most unusual item in the store. Just imagine how cool that would be!)

So–we then went to Goodwill (even though my brain was telling me, “Beware! Unwise!”) to get some random items for a couple of Zack’s science experiments. We found the stuff, and the kids begged to go and “look” at the toys for a “minute”. I spent about ten minutes just chasing Colby around, then said, “Okay. Time to go.”

Wait a second. I forgot an integral plot point to this story.

In one of my forays back to the toy section, Rainbow was sitting on a tricycle. “Look, Mom! A Little Bike!”

Rainbow never got a Little Bike. Eden outgrew hers, so we figured Rainbow could just use it. And then Rainbow got a Big Bike, so we figured all would be well.

We figured wrong.

Little Bikes are especially good for tearing down the steep driveways of our neighborhood into the cul-de-sac. So Zack prefers his Little Bike and Eden prefers her Little Bike and Rainbow gets stuck out in the cold.

Still, the Little Bike at Goodwill was almost a Real Tricycle, not a plastic sort-of Big Wheel. Real Tricycles, while charming and undoubtedly fun, are also more tippy than the sort-of Big Wheels we’re used to. And if there’s anything I’m sure of, it’s that we don’t want tippy things where children can fall over and break bones.

I told Rainbow, “Well, it’s nice, dear, but I think your dad will need to stop by on his way home from work and look at it.”

So, back to “Time to go.”

We arrived at the checkout exactly behind the lady who, I kid you not, had two carts full of stuff. TWO. You would think she would have taken pity on Zack, who is not only cute but also only had a small hand-carried basket to check out. And he was paying cash.

She didn’t.

We waited for at least ten minutes, probably closer to 15, though. And the entire time I was chasing Colby. I set him down; he laughed and walked toward the doors; I caught him and brought him back. Repeat.

Sorry—-I again have neglected a key plot point in my narrative. We stepped in line behind the two-cart lady and I realized I was missing someone. “Where’s Rainbow?” I said.

Seconds later, Rainbow tore around the corner. Riding (at a fast clip, too) the Little Bike.

Here, the bargaining began. Between bouts of Colby-chase, I tried to get Rainbow to put the bike away. I told her Dad would come and look at it after work. I put on my stern face and told her to put it back NOW. I eventually gave her an ultimatum: Put the bike back and Dad will come look at it after work, or I will rip it out of your hands and put it away and there isn’t a chance you’re getting this Little Bike.

She pouted. She stewed. She glowered.

As the items in the second cart began to dwindle, I told her, “If you don’t make a decision now, I will have to make one for you.”

Here, Neighbor Boy (who is an only child and probably has never been left unattended in the store before, as I kept doing to retrieve my two-year-old—-but he was with Zack and Zack is eight! Right?) put in, “Wendy, I think I will decide for her. She needs you to rip her hands off the bike.” (You thought that phrase was just narrative embellishment. It wasn’t.)

I nodded. “That was the same decision I was about to make for her.”

[Insert ripping of hands off of Little Bike—plus disentanglement of legs—here.]

I tucked Colby under my arm like a football and jogged, with the Little Bike in my other hand, to the back of the store where a particularly efficient employee had already put another large toy in Little Bike’s place. Maybe we could use some of this efficiency to Open Another Check Stand. Of course, I do have a degree in Business Management, so perhaps I am just being snooty.

I returned to the front, finding Rainbow in the exact position as I left her: sprawled out on the floor as though the world had ended. Zack purchased his spoons, birthday candles, and magic cookie jar (another check stand  had finally opened, but he decided just to wait). I took Rainbow by the wrist (or was it her ankle? No, I’m pretty sure it was her wrist) and pulled her along the floor.

Of Goodwill.

We reached the door, where Colby arched his back towards outside and screamed. I could no longer carry him with one hand. Rainbow immediately retreated into a little ball when I let go of her. I sighed.

I try not to be a yeller. I really do. And I am happy to say that I was successful this day. I said, very calmly, “Rainbow, I can’t carry you to the car. I have to carry Colby. If you don’t get up and walk to the car, you won’t be able to play the Wii at all today.”

No hesitation.

She got up and walked to the car.

(Of course, she ended up losing her Wii privileges later, due to biting her friend on the leg, but that’s a different story all together.)

Days of Gratitude: Twenty-eight

28 12 2008

Toddler Belly Laughs

If you take a ping pong ball, stick it in your mouth, and then blow it out with a big puff of air, your toddler just might laugh really hard. And then he might go and get the ball so you can do it again. Several dozen times. Still laughing just as hard as at the beginning.

That trick never gets old.



Days of Gratitude: Twenty-seven

28 12 2008


I’m not sure exactly what Stan said to the kids before he left to run some errands today, but I think it went something like this: “Mom and Colby are asleep. If you’re really quiet and don’t wake her up, you can play the Wii as much as you want!”

I got a good two hours.

Days of Gratitude: Twenty-six

27 12 2008

Date Nights

Do I need to say anything else? Stan and I are dedicated to weekly date nights, but somehow December has gotten away without us having one until last night. It was wonderful. Being with my husband is, of course, the best part, but another great part is having the babysitter put the kids to bed. Heaven.

Days of Gratitude: Twenty-five

26 12 2008

Jesus Christ

The first time I realized I was ‘very religious’ wasn’t until I was in my twenties. I worked in a mall at a Hallmark store, and one day my co-worker said, “She didn’t come to pick it up yesterday because she’s very religious and doesn’t shop on Sundays.”

I thought—-“Oh! Am I very religious?”

Up until that point, ‘very religious’ had been reserved for the Orthodox Jews who never trimmed the corners of their beards and the people with “Honk if you Love Jesus” bumper stickers on their cars.

I guess I considered myself ‘religious’, but hadn’t yet made the leap into ‘very religious’ until someone else pointed it out to me.

In fact, I hardly gave my religion extra thought at all; it seemed less like a religion and more like my way of life. I had, of course, realized that not everyone believed the way I did, but I hadn’t realized that going to church every week, reading my scriptures every day, and praying multiple times daily thrust me into the ‘very religious’ category.

Sometimes I’m a bit thick-headed.

Christmas, for me, is about celebrating the birth of God’s son through a mortal woman. I love the end of “The Living Christ”, a document drafted by the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles of my church.

“He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”

For Him, today, I am truly thankful.

Days of Gratitude: Twenty-four

26 12 2008


This is only the third Christmas in my entire life that I haven’t spent with my parents. I realized that first Christmas away from home (when I was 27 and my kids were 4, 2, and 1) that you don’t really become an adult until you have to be Santa Claus.

But that’s not what I started out to write. On Christmas Eve, I was so grateful for my family—-both the one I grew up in and the one I am half in charge of. We sat around the Christmas tree and sang a couple of songs, had a small display of talent, and then Stan read the Christmas story from the Bible. We did the same thing growing up; in fact, one of the ways I remember my grandfather’s voice is to think the words, “And there went out in those days a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”

Another source of joy this night was when Stan asked the kids why it was important for Jesus to be born. Both of the older kids gave great answers (“to be an example”, “to show us the way to act”) and we prompted Rainbow just a little bit towards the end of Christ’s life. She then told us in surprising detail about the crucifixion and resurrection. We didn’t have to say much beyond, “And then what happened?” She was concurrently engaged in a game of human pinball, calling out, “The angel came!” Zing! Zing! “And they came to see Jesus and it was empty!” Zing! Zing! “And then Mary was there, and she saw Jesus!” Zing!

“How could Mary see Jesus? Wasn’t he dead?”

“He was resurrected!” Jump, grin, zing!

Out of the mouths of five-year-olds . . .

Photo Catsup (or ketchup or catch-up)

24 12 2008

Here are a few random pictures from December—-


 There’s nothing quite like muffins for breakfast while watching tv.


That’s right. No wonder the big kids don’t want to go to school: look at what they’re missing!


Can anyone name that city?


Stan had a little business trip and got some nice photos.


The market—-


Stan had a good point: how do you carry these when you go to buy them?


The same city at night.


A cool tree covered with ferns and moss.


A Christmas party with face-painting—-yay!




The ward Christmas party with Santa—-


Eden and her b/f/f


“I’m jus’ sinking . . . ”


Hey, baby.


The butterflies hatched!


Rainbow, the butterfly whisperer.


And what Christmas is complete without frosting sugar cookies?



Eden posed with every plate, but I’ll only post one.

Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!

Hello, Snow

24 12 2008

I took these photos yesterday; today it’s been raining fairly steadily, so the snow is melting away. I never did get a picture of our snowman, either, and the one of the snow fort didn’t turn out. Still, here’s what I did get. We’ve enjoyed the snow while it lasted, and if it cools off we may have a white Christmas after all.



 Some pots in the backyard


The van (it hasn’t been driven since Saturday).


Guess who made the snow angel–

Days of Gratitude: Twenty-three

24 12 2008

A Clean Bedroom

I realized that, in requiring my children to have clean rooms for Christmas, it was a little hypocritical of me to have such a messy room myself. There were boxes of books moved in from the sewing room to make way for Christmas projects, there were pallets for the two kids who seem to think they need to sleep with us every night, and there was all sorts of general clutter that needed to be taken care of. So I did.

Ahh. That’s nice.

Christmas, we’re ready!

Days of Gratitude: Twenty-two

22 12 2008

Snow Forts

Zack and I have been at loggerheads lately. (Where is that phrase from, I wonder?) I weep, wail, and gnash my teeth (gnash is such a great word) and he defies, sasses, and makes inappropriate noises. I am reminded of that part of Sleepless in Seattle where Tom Hanks says to his date, “He’s eight.” And she replies, “He’s good at it.”

Zack is good at being eight.

Today, it was same-old, same-old with the arguing and the bargaining and the demanding and the stubborness. (I’m not telling you who did what, because we both did a lot of each–maybe that’s where he gets it. But I think his big problem is he thinks he’s the parent. [Either that, or his big problem is that I am his parent.]) Anyway–

I’m grateful that I let it go for the afternoon, long enough for us to go outside and build a snow fort together. An entire hour without a single argument–it was wonderful. If only I could figure out how to make cleaning like building a snow fort . . .