Oct 31, 2011

Ghost Story

Our Home Teachers came over tonight to give us our favorite lesson of the year. Every October, we get to hear about the naughty little ghosts who ate the wrong foods because they didn’t obey their mommy and they turned different colors. I should have gotten a copy of the story from them, but since I didn’t, you can find a slightly different version here. (I like this blog, btw. Take a minute and look around a bit.)

You all know my mom passed away five years ago, but every time I hear this story, I still think about her. I have to wonder when I didn’t listen to her and things went horribly or maybe just a little wrong. I’m pretty sure she was right about sewing too fast (most of the time). And driving too fast (especially when you get caught!). Wanting to grow up too fast, and staying up too late…no wait, I got that bad habit from her.

One thing I did appreciate was her willingness to just drop everything and spend time with us. I’m starting to wish I would have learned that lesson a little better. I watch the kids growing up and changing right before my eyes from babes to adults. That’s one great thing about blogging, I get to record some of that. Then maybe my kids can gain a little insight from my accumulated wisdom…obviously Baby Doll needs some; she doesn’t listen to her mama very well either.

Oct 30, 2011


We had a fun Saturday! It started with Sport’s team winning their last league football team. Now they are off to the playoffs as the number one seed. Yeah, we think it’s cool too. Then my little army got busy and cleared both gardens and cleaned up the backyard. After that we figured it was time to party. My sweetie made us an amazing dinner and we watched Halloween movies and Bossy made a cool 3D Haunted House.

When they put in The Nightmare Before Christmas, my sweetie and I slipped out to go to JC Penneys. I had a good coupon and I managed to get Scout a new shirt and Baby Doll a cute jacket for a grand total of 49 cents! It was a good trip. But somewhere during that timeframe, we had a little discord at home. By the time we got back, Bossy had packed up her family and hit the road.

After a bit of discussion, it turns out that Bossy and the Prima Donna had words and the Dog Walker just had to throw his 2-cents in. Anyway, some apologies were in order. Unfortunately, Bossy was mad enough that she was not answering her phone. That’s when I devised my brilliant beyond brilliant plan. If you read the post about the Dog Walker’s corn maze, you know that Bossy’s family is trying to win their apartment building’s Halloween Lights and Display Contest. The prize is reduced rent for the next month, wouldn’t that be nice?!

When they cleared that garden today, the Dog Walker brought around all the rest of the cornstalks. Bossy had hoped to take some home for her display, but before she got the chance, Dog Walker had tied them all up in the front yard. It seemed to me that the best way to apologize was to have Prima Donna and Dog Walker sneak over to Bossy’s apartment and leave a bundle of cornstalks on her doorstep.

So we loaded up the van with the nicest bundle we could find and three pumpkins (one personally carved by the Prima Donna) and a letter of apology in a Halloween cup. We drove the ten minutes to her apartment, arriving at about 11:30 PM. We snuck around to her front door, hoping that her lights were still on. They were. Honestly, it was difficult to decide where to put the cornstalks, because they already had such a fun display, but we managed. I snapped a few pics so you could see her amazing job. I’d give her the prize!

Then we tip-toed around to her back door and doorbell-ditched the ceramic mug with the letter and some treats. You should have seen us run for the van! We peeled off just as their door opened. The kids thought it was way fun to “Sneak-or-Treat” someone. Maybe we should just start a new tradition. But next time not something as messy as cornstalks.

Oct 29, 2011

Guest Blogger: Halloween Costumes by Sweetie

My wife nicely made sugar cookies for me for Pack Meeting on Tuesday. Then she did sugar cookies again on Friday for Girl Scouts. After that much baking, she didn't make the cool pumpkin Rice Krispie thingy... which messed up everything and it's all my fault. So now I'm the guest blogger.

OK, a Halloween memory is the assigned topic. We went to the costume parade at the elementary school today. (On Friday... when Halloween is on Monday... lame...) but there were a few old-school homemade costumes that really showed some creativity. Those are always my favorites. Which brings me to my story.

When I was a kid, sometimes we got really cool hand-sewn costumes…like the little cheetah suit my mom made. I also remember all of us dressed up as a band of Indians. My brother had an amazing clown costume.

As we got older, the costumes were more likely to be made from whatever was lying around. When I was 7 or 8, I was tired of being a pirate or Indian and wanted to be something really scary for a change. I decided a mummy was just the ticket. The plan was simple, wrap and pin a torn up sheet to a white background. After some thought, my white thermal underwear was selected as the background.

I came downstairs in my white thermals (we called them long johns), and my mother started laughing and said she had a better idea. She went and got a piece of paper and pinned it to my back. She and my older sister where laughing hysterically while I stood there dumbfounded. So my costume was long johns with a sign... and it made people laugh. I wanted to be scary! But what choice did I have? Off I went.

My classmates thought my costume was lame. But as we walked down Main Street, I left a wake of adults laughing hysterically as I walked by and they saw the sign. It was the early 70s and there was a strange craze sweeping America from baseball games to parades to inaugurations. Audiences were gasping not at flash mobs, but something a bit more lonely and with way fewer clothes.

For those of you old enough to remember the old Ray Stevens’ song… fastest thing on two feet…
The sign my mother had stuck to my long johns and sent me parading around the school, down Main Street, and eventually trick-or-treating said simply, Alaskan Streaker.

No pictures exist of the actual costume and typing the word “streaker” into Google images didn't seem prudent. SO instead of pictures, here is Ray Stevens' version of the song.

Oct 28, 2011

Gifts for Scout


Birthday Suit!
I think I’ve told you before that I try to make a big deal out of birthdays because I almost shared mine with my older brother (his is the 22nd of January and mine is the 25th). Mom grumbled every year about making another cake when we had barely finished the first one. I promised myself that I would never do that to my kids and it’s a good thing because our birthdays are practically on top of each other. 

It’s almost November and that’s another big birthday month for us. Bossy’s is the 1st and the Dog Walker’s is the 4th.  I’ve got them covered for gifts already. The Dog Walker’s was easy because we bought him a Letterman’s jacket and since it was so expensive that is pretty much it.
Grandpa and Taco
Bossy is a little more tricky. Now that she is a mom and on her own, I try to give her things that I know she probably wouldn’t buy for herself. You know, like jewelry or clothes, accessories, that kind of thing. I won’t spoil the surprise since she usually squeezes blog-reading into her day.

My grandson, Taco’s birthday is also this month, but my sweetie LOVES buying little boy toys, so he is covered too. Our last November birthday is Scout. She is turning 6 this year, can you believe it?! She is so grown up for her age since she has all of these older sisters. She would love it if I would just give her makeup and jewelry. I’m much more inclined to look for games and dolls. I’ve been scouring the Internet for some good deals (since you all know how cheap I am!). My typical budget for birthdays this year is $50.00 although in most cases I sneak it up to about $75 (shh, don’t tell sweetie…).

Since I still have about 4 weeks, I have plenty of time to look. What do you think? Should I buy toys or maybe some cute clothes?

Toys drive me crazy because my sweetie has this aversion to throwing anything away. I’m much less sentimental and I get tired of constantly being part of the cleanup crew. I keep saying we just have too much stuff! Check out all of these LPS toys! And these are just Crafty and Princess’s collection. There are more kicking around the house.

Scout loves puzzles and games. They were playing Cootie this morning before she headed off to Kindergarten, but I hate the pieces that are always getting separated. Dare I confess that I have a large box of stranded game and puzzle pieces stashed behind my closet door? I keep telling myself that one of these days I’m going to pull it out and sort it all, but it just doesn’t happen.

So what did you love when you were six? Remember, my budget is only about 50 bucks…OK, 75, but don’t tell sweetie.

Oct 27, 2011

The Cheetah Costume

See the cute little curly-haired boy in the cheetah costume? I know, he looks like my little Curly…but it isn’t. That is my sweetie! My MIL made this costume for him when he was just a little guy. His brothers and sisters wore it. Then when the time was right, my MIL gave him the costume. Every one of my kids have had a turn wearing it.

This first pic is of Bossy. Isn’t she cute?

This one is of the Dog Walker surrounded by Teach and baby Princess and me, of course.  (I know, I look bad, but Princess was only a month old...)

And this one is my sweetie with Curly (just so you could see how much he’s grown).

And finally, Curly the way he will be dressed on Monday for Halloween except that I'll probably tie his ears on straight (although with the way my life goes, you never know). I love traditions like this that span generations. And I can tell you, my MIL is quite the seamstress. This costume is still in excellent condition after 40+ years. (And so is my sweetie.)

Oct 26, 2011


Teach is so talented!
Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. The best part is the chocolate, but there are other things I enjoy too. I told you last week about the Dog Walker’s corn maze. I love the decorations as long as they don’t get bloody or gory. Except for the crowds and the parking, I love going to the parades at the elementary school. My kids line up in grade order and walk through the entire school, including the gym (where they cram in all the parents and grandparents).

But when I was a kid, the Halloween parade was an actual parade! We gathered the entire school, marched right out the doors and down main street. Shop owners and workers stepped outside to watch and wave as we crowded the sidewalks and pushed and shoved our way down to the city building where our parents found us and picked us up. In the 1970s we didn’t worry about being kidnapped or checked out. It was a small town and everyone knew everyone else.

One thing we didn’t really do as kids was carve pumpkins. My parents had a garden, but we never had pumpkins growing in it. Occasionally we were given some near Halloween, and then Mom might carve them, but she always used the leftover pumpkin to turn into something delicious to eat.

I personally don’t like carving pumpkins. The one time I do remember trying it as a child, I totally messed it up. No one explained that you had to cut the top on an angle so it didn’t fall in. And I hated that messy, sloppy, seedy glop that you have to pull out before you screw up the cutting part. I still pretty much feel that way.

Thankfully, my sweetie loves this particular activity and he is happy to teach the kids. Some of my older kids can cut amazing designs! Last year Bossy made one with a pic of Lightning McQueen carved into it. It was amazing! I will take some pics after we carve (well, I watch) them this weekend.

But that’s not the story I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you about our first Halloween together. We had been married for about six weeks and we lived in student housing at the University of Utah. Our little circle of apartments had a Halloween party and they had a contest for the best pumpkin. My sweetie was all over that. Even though we were broke, we invested a couple of bucks in a medium-sized pumpkin. My sweetie did a good job with the face and then we decided to dress it up. We added a baseball cap and my favorite mitt. In our humble opinions, it was BY FAR the best pumpkin in the contest. We were so bummed when we didn’t win! It was years before my sweetie would agree to enter another carving contest. He was certain that all of them were rigged.

Look at this huge pumpkin we grew in our own garden this year! It’s about 15 inches high and very heavy. Suggestions on carving patterns? Maybe I can find a contest…one that’s not rigged…

Oct 25, 2011

Halloween circa 1975

Halloween is sneaking up on us and it sure doesn’t feel like October here in Utah. Yesterday I saw a sign that read 78 degrees! There have been many years here that we have snow by now. Not that I’m complaining…I don’t like being cold.

You all know that I grew up in a small town in central Utah. My brother who was just two years older and I liked to trick-or-treat together. The problem with these small towns is that the houses are not all that close together. So one year we devised a brilliant beyond brilliant plan. We would take our bikes to go trick-or-treating! That way we just might be able to get to the entire town before we had to head home.

We were so excited! We planned our costumes so they wouldn’t get caught in our bike chains and we discussed at length how we would balance our plastic pumpkins on our handlebars to carry all that loot we planned to collect. The plan was foolproof!

We headed out around 5:00, since Mom wouldn’t let us leave any earlier. We sailed along, dragging our bikes right up on the porch with us. (In hindsight, it’s amazing our neighbors put up with that.) It was a little tricky carrying our caramel apples from the lady a couple of doors down, but we managed. We covered the west half of town in about half the time it normally took and then we started strategizing the best places to go next.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of things we didn’t plan for. The first was the fact that we were going to get tired! It was only about 7:00 and my legs were already burning. The second thing was the rain. We were clear up on the east side of town when it started sprinkling.

By the time we raced back to our street, we were totally drenched and so was our candy. Some things were recoverable, but the Smarties were wet and beginning to dissolve. Most of the Tootsie Rolls had turned into a gooey mess. It was a sad end to a happy day.

Oct 24, 2011

The Reunion

So yesterday I left you hanging and that’s exactly what we were doing. We stopped right in the middle of main street in Fairview and my sweetie and I both jumped out while the Drama Queen moved to the driver’s seat. We made our way quickly to the dance hall.

We were only about 10 minutes late, but as we pulled open the double doors, it was obvious that everyone was seated and already enjoying dinner. Of course we had to walk all the way across the room with everyone looking at us. Thankfully, my sweetie’s best high school friend, Tom, who we hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years jumped up and welcomed us. Unfortunately, his table was already full….and so were all the others.

So we walked over to the buffet table and stood there until someone insisted on taking our picture. That’s when she confided to us that the tables had been set for 8 people each but it was too crowded so they removed a place setting from each table and now there was not a single spot for two people to sit together.

My sweetie went searching for plates while I stood awkwardly by myself at the buffet line. He plastered on a smile as he handed me my plate and promised in a whisper that they were “fixing” it. We slowly filled our plates and sure enough, by the time we were done they had found a place for us to sit at one of the tables.

I was a little surprised that I didn’t seem to know anyone even though my own hometown was only 14 miles away. We listened to people talk and occasionally my sweetie offered a comment or memory. As soon as we were finished with our food, we excused ourselves and carried our chairs over to Tom’s table.

The rest of the evening passed pleasantly enough as we reacquainted ourselves with Tom and met his wife. At some point they rounded up all of the classmates and had them pose for a picture. They promised to put it on facebook, but we haven’t been able to find it yet.

When that ordeal was over, my sweetie asked me to send the Drama Queen a text and ask her to pick us up. The ever-obedient wife, I tapped it out immediately. Less than 10 minutes later, the Drama Queen responded with, “I’m chillin’ in the parking lot.” Unfortunately, my sweetie was now standing with about 5 other guys and they were having a rather spirited conversation.

Tom’s wife and I chatted for about 30 minutes before the Drama Queen sent me another text. She was obviously getting tired of waiting. About 30 seconds later, the Dog Walker sent me a text from Grandma’s house. Baby Doll was inconsolable. Thankfully, my sweetie’s little jam session broke up right about then and we were able to make a smooth get-away.

When we arrived at Grandma’s, I jumped from the van and hurried to the front door. But Baby Doll was sitting on the floor, calmly chewing on a piece of taffy. Another false alarm! Since it was a two-hour ride home, I decided to give her some milk anyway.

We hit the road about 9:30 and headed for home. It was fun and interesting listening to my sweetie talk about kids he hadn’t seen for 30 years (although none of them were kids any more). When we got home, he pulled out his old yearbook and we talked about all the people who hadn’t attended the reunion and speculated about why they might have stayed away. We discussed his friends who had divorced or passed away. Those who were successful and those who weren’t. Their kids, their grandkids, their jobs, their trophy wives...It was well after 1:00 AM when he finally headed up to bed and I sat down to write my post. So today I asked him what he wanted me to say about the reunion and he said, “I don’t care, I’m over it.” Really?!

Oct 23, 2011

Smokey and the Bandit

Today was my sweetie’s 30th high school reunion. We got the invitation about a month ago and he was absolutely adamant that we weren’t going to go. Last weekend I erased the reminder from our calendar. Then during a vulnerable moment I decided to give it one last try. When he showed some signs of giving in, I quickly made the phone calls and got us committed.

The reunion dinner started at 7:00, but Sport’s football game was at 3:00 so we figured there would be plenty of time to enjoy the game, drive to Grandma’s and drop off the kids, and still back-track five miles to the reunion. We were so wrong!

The football game was half an hour late getting started. We were playing the only other team (besides us) in the league that was undefeated. Sport was nervous, but he kept his cool. All the boys held it together right through the final defensive play in the 4th quarter. We beat them 12 to 6. After much celebrating and Sport earning one of the two MVPs for the game (yay!), we piled in the van and headed south.

Now you know where Curly's curls come from!
We were expecting to have time to grab the kids a bite to eat and still change our clothes at Grandma’s before we headed back to Fairview. As we raced toward the freeway, we realized this plan was not going to work. Construction in Utah County was terrible although traffic was moving. (Northbound was pretty much at a standstill…) We decided we could stop at the MacDonald’s in Spanish Fork and change in the restrooms while the Drama Queen took the kids through the drive up. We stopped right before the speaker and my sweetie and I and three other kids (who had to use the bathroom) all rolled out. It seems that in Utah County it is impossible to get out of the construction! Even the MacDonald’s was redoing the stucco on the outside of their building.

As we walked passed the two porta-potties, my sweetie commented that they must be for the workers and we would just go inside and change there. Wrong! The restrooms were totally out-of-order, so anyone needing to use the facilities had to step out to the parking lot and head for the porta-potty. There was definitely not enough room to change in there!

picture credit
Frustrated, we climbed back in the van and headed further south. It wasn’t long before my sweetie was suggesting that we just turn around and go back home. He figured we wouldn’t get there in time, so why bother. That’s when I opened the bag and decided on a “Smokey and the Bandit” change. You remember when Sally Field changes in the back seat of that black sports car? Well, I changed in the front seat of a 15-passenger van with most of my kids riding in the backseat!

My sweetie was impressed and after about 5 more miles down the road, he decided that he could do the same. So we pulled over and quickly changed seats. Soon we were both ready for the reunion. The kids thought we were crazy (they were right!), but it was fun and actually gave us a chance to blow off a little steam since we were stressing over the fact that in 30 years we had aged….oh, about 30 years.

Since this is getting a bit long, I’ll give you more details on the reunion tomorrow. To prepare you might want to turn on a little Journey and break out the Burt Reynolds movies. Oh, and rat your hair up a little. It was the 80s after all.

Oct 22, 2011

Spooka Palooza

We finally got all the kids and grandkids gathered up by about 10:15 this morning and we made the short drive to the expo center. We arrived about 10:30 and easily found a parking spot. It was still early and the party was just getting started. I could tell the Dog Walker was nervous, even though he’d been looking forward to this day for a long time. He was finally making his “Personal Appearance” at the Utah Kid’s Club Spooka Palooza. They kindly gave us all free passes and we had a fantastic time!

I promised Teach I would keep all of her pics in, so here goes an exceptionally long post...

Playing with blocks in the middle of the floor of the expo center.

A fine introduction on stage!
Drama Queen and her new boyfriend, Taylor.
Loving the slides!
NOT loving the slides!

What should we do now?

Princess: I no longer want to be a dancer when I grow up...I want to be a pilot!
Hoopin' it up!
Trick or treat!
Livin' the dream!

We love Tangled!

Go Web Go!

A Knight? Really? I was thinking more like a Super Ninja!

And finally...the good guy gets the girl!
 Thanks for the fun, Nate, the Super Scout!
And Utah Kids' Club.