Thursday, February 27, 2014

Minnie and Figaro

At Haley's suggestion, I am expanding the kids' tv feature to include other cartoons in the real world. :)

Have you ever noticed that things are not exactly to-scale in the world of Mickey Mouse? Check out Minnie Mouse with her pet kitty Figaro.

Anything strike you a little wrong, there? Bizarre enough that a mouse would have a cat for a pet, but what kind of mutant cat is this to be smaller than a mouse?

No, when we apply the real-world filter to this one, it looks more like this...

Oh dear. I hope Figaro isn't feeling hungry!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lifting My Sprirt

A friend included me on a little chain letter recently. I usually kind of ignore those, but this time I chimed in because the topic was to share an inspiring quote, poem, or message. And I have two favorite bits that I use to lift myself up when I am having a rough time and I thought I could share them. 
The first is a reminder on the true nature of prayer:

"Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (from the Bible dictionary -
When I feel like my prayers are going unanswered, I re-read this passage as a reminder that the answer to prayer is not always immediate!

And the second is a reminder of God's love:

"But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (from the Book of Mormon -

I love the imagery of being held, loved, and protected in the arms of the Lord. It helps me feel that I can overcome whatever difficulties have come my way.

What are your favorite bits of inspiration and comfort?

Mr. Lopart Loves His Mother

In our continuing series on Handy Manny Meets the Real World, let's discuss Mr. Lopart. Specifically his mother issues.

This guy loves his mother. I mean he REALLY loves his mother. Any episode featuring Mr. Lopart is sure to include at least one reference to his mother. He is still trying to prove himself to his mother. He constantly searches for his mother's approval. And he seems to spend all his spare time with his mother. He goes to her house for dinner. He and his mother celebrate the cat's birthday together. He can't stand it when Mrs. Lopart wants Manny to come help her with something. Mr. Lopart's only long-term relationships are with his mother and his cat. On Valentine's Day, he mentions that he will not be going to the town's Valentine's Day party because he'll be spending the evening with "the most important lady in my life. Mother."

It's all a little creepy. A few years down the road, and I think we're heading into "Psycho" territory...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More Handy Manny Meets the Real World

You all know my deep love for children's TV and my need to express that love through snark. ;)

So today's episode of Handy Manny featured the tools' first airplane ride. In the highly unrealistic episode, all the tools went on a trip to Florida with Manny. The wrongness began when they tools all got to have their own seats in the cabin. Manny is a handyman (who never seems to charge anyone for his work, BTW)... how can he afford this many tickets?

Not to mention, apparently Handy Manny's local airport has never heard of the TSA's Prohibited Items list. It specifically mentions tools. Even more specifically, the list includes hammers, drills, saws, screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers. You might be able to get away with the tape measure, but I have a feeling it would fall into the category of tools more than 7 inches in length.

So the tools' first experience at the airport would really look a bit more like this...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Does This Mean I'm A Mormon Behaving Badly?

I'm hardly the first person to write a response to the so-called Well-Behaved Mormon Woman and her bizarre rant against the movie "Frozen," but I just can't get over it. I just HATE the fact that her warped viewpoint is being tied to "Mormon" in the minds of people who see it.

She never says anything in the post to claim that her point of view is shared by the church, but just the fact that she has chosen that particular title for her blog sends a subtext. And she of all people should agree, seeing as she's so obsessed with subtext that she has decided the entire movie is "promoting the gay agenda."

I'm not writing this post to debate the morality of homosexuality, marriage equality, or anything like that. She's absolutely entitled to feel the way she feels. And normally I take a very 'live-and-let-live' approach to people who want to express their opinion. Feel what you like, share your opinion if you choose to, and accept the consequences if there's blow-back. But don't share your opinion in the name of a whole religion, because then the consequences are not yours alone. Now the rest of us are involved as well and will end up facing some of that blow-back when people get the message that Mormons are uptight, paranoid, hateful people who see gay people hiding around every corner trying to get us.

Believe me, since moving away from Utah I have spent a lot of time debunking bizarre and false ideas about Mormons. Some of them are humorous. Some are just misinformation or misperceptions. I don't mind talking about those and sharing another point of view. But this is one I wish I didn't have to deal with, because it's so judgmental and full of over-the-top conspiracy-theorist strangeness. (But don't worry, she assures us that she is "not anti-gay nor am I here to judge homosexuals not worthy of their rightful and respectful place among society." Because surely no one would get that impression from her post. :eye roll: )  

And I have already gotten questions from some of my non-Mormon friends about this whole post, since it's been trending all over the Internet. I suppose it should make me glad that they didn't just accept it and felt ok about asking me my thoughts. It gave me the chance to point them to official church statements on homosexuality, marriage, etc. and to share my personal thoughts instead of just letting WBMW speak for me. But I don't like the fact that people I know - let alone people who don't have a friendly neighborhood Mormon to talk to - might think that I share her viewpoints.

It seems to me that a truly well-behaved Mormon woman would remember the whole thing about loving your neighbor and being a kind and loving person. And that 'judge not' clause might just apply here as well. (Yes, I'm aware that I'm being judgy about WBMW and thus not following my own advice.) 

*sigh* Compared to this, I will welcome the next time someone wants to chat about Mormons and polygamy.

Quick Funnies From Preston

Preston had seen a short cooking segment on Disney channel about artichokes and really wanted to try them. We bought some artichokes for him and he tried them: "It's good!" he exclaimed. But he didn't want another bite. And he went away to the other room for a few minutes. Then he came back out to confess to his Dad: "I don't really like them. But don't worry, I still love you even though you like artichokes and I don't."

Aaron assured him that it was fine if he didn't like artichokes and agreed that they could still love each other even without a shared love of artichokes.


We were watching Olympic curling with the kids and explaining things when they got confused. Preston is still figuring out the rules of the sport (frankly, so am I - every time I think I understand it, something happens to confuse my understanding) so he asks a lot of questions.

When they paused for a time out he asked: "What did they do wrong? Did they break a rule?"

We were confused by the question and asked him for explain what he meant.

"They're in time out... what did they do wrong?"

LOL - This child is a bit too familiar with time outs. :D


"Momma... I like that you're... I don't want to say it. It might make you feel bad..."

I assured him he could go ahead and say what he wanted to say.

"I like it that you're, you know, really kind of fat. Because it means you give good squishy hugs."


I was talking to Haley and described a woman in our ward as an "older woman" and Preston wanted more information.

"So is she kinda old like you? Or is she super old like Grandma?"

He backpedaled a little when he saw my face and tried to explain "Well, not super old like ready to die. Just really a lot, lot older than me."  

Somehow that didn't really make it sound better.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another Spider!!!!

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about my love for the creepy-crawlies in my former abode...

I know that some people keep tarantulas as pets. And they even have some at the Butterfly Gardens and the zoo that they let people carefully hold and look at. My kids have all held Rosie the Tarantula at the Butterfly Gardens and think that it's really cool.

Not me. Ick. I do NOT like spiders. And the bigger they are, the more I do NOT like them. Ewww... I get the shudders just thinking about them. Luckily, I've never had to deal with one too up-close and personal. I've seen them crawling on a wall or walking across the sand, but they were always far enough away that I could just walk (run!) away (as fast as possible).

A friend of mine was not so lucky...

He was a Marine and was out on a training exercise in the desert. When it came time for sleep, they didn't need sissy things like tents. They were Marines! They just tossed some sleeping bags on the ground and called it a night. The sleeping bags were mummy-style. So if you put your arms inside and pulled the top up around your head, the only part of you exposed to the chilly desert night was your face.

So there he is sleeping, just his face out of the bag. He woke up because something was tickling him. When he opened his eyes, he couldn't figure out what he was seeing at first... but as the remnants of sleep cleared, he realized that he was looking at a tarantula. Which was standing ON HIS FACE. On his face!!

Holy crap. It was on his face. He couldn't brush it away, because his hands were trapped inside his sleeping bag and in the panic of the moment he couldn't seem to figure out how to get them loose. He couldn't shout for someone else to brush it away, because the spider was standing partially over his mouth.

All he could think to do is to try to shake it off. While fully encased in a mummy bag. He re-enacted his attempts for us later. Picture a REALLY spastic version of a breakdancing move... kind of like the worm, but on his back. Shaking frantically back and forth and up and down. And that spider just hung in there.

After several long minutes, the spider finally walked across his face and dropped onto the sand. His mouth finally free, my buddy let loose with what I am assured was a pretty impressive string of profanity as he finally managed to rip his arms free and tear his way out of the sleeping bag.

Standing there shaking with adrenaline from the experience, he suddenly realized that everyone around him was watching him and snickering or outright laughing. Turns out that - good friends that they were - they had watched the spider climb onto the sleeping bag in the first place. Continued to quietly observe as it walked closer and closer to his head. Started to wake their neighbors and place bets as to whether it would step onto his face and how he would react if it did.

But according to reports, not once did any of them consider either sweeping the spider off their sleeping friend or waking him up to let him know it was there. After all, what would be the fun in that?

Kids TV is Educational... and Irritating

My kiddos watch TV. Too much of it. But I like to think that I'm at least mitigating the effects of too much TV by at least ensuring that they watch more of the educational programming (think Magic School Bus and Dino Dan) and less of the junk (like Spongebob and Amazing World of Gumball).

But since Rylen started staying home with me, it seems like kids' TV is on almost all the time so that he can entertain himself while I'm working. Which means that I get exposed to a lot of more kids' TV than I used to. And I've noticed that when I am exposed to too much children's TV, I grow irrationally hostile toward the characters.

For example, during the recent episode of Handy Manny where Manny and the tools are trying to decide what they should put in the town's time capsule, I kept thinking: "Maybe you should put that annoying wrench Rusty in there so we don't have to listen to him whine anymore." And then picturing the scene as they slowly lowered the lid to the box to trap him inside for the next 100 years.

I've also continued thinking about the characters' back stories. I used to think that Handy Manny was the only one who could "hear" the voices of the talking tools. (Kids' TV: Now with Schizophrenia and Cross-Dressing)

I've since re-evaluated this, because too many people in town have started holding conversations with the tools. Now I think that Manny is talking for the tools. Picture bad ventriloquism with Manny making the tools move around and talk to each other and the townspeople.

I spend way too much time thinking about this stuff instead of working. Not to mention making graphics to support my theories. ;)

And people wonder why I have to stay up all night to get things done...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014



My cousin just posted this picture on Facebook and it reminded me of a story from my time in Twentynine Palms, CA.

I am NOT a fan of spiders. I no longer panic and scream at the sight of one, but I will never be able to just calmly ignore one. I don't even like the little ones, let alone super-size spiders. *shudder*

When I first moved to Twentynine Palms, I got settled into my apartment. It was a nice little place. Part of a tri-plex and it even had a back yard!

I envisioned putting a little grill in the back yard and using the provided clothesline to dry my laundry and save on quarters at the laundromat. It was even fenced in so it felt like my own little space, though I shared the yard with the other two residents in the tri-plex. They were very nice so it wasn't a hardship.

And then came the day that I came home from the laundromat with a basket of clothes to hang on the line. As I headed for the clothesline, I waved at my neighbor, who was outside having a cup of coffee at the tiny table she had by her back door. She waved back and then told me to "keep an eye out" because she had seen a snake over in my part of the yard earlier and she wasn't sure where it had gone. But no worries, she was "pretty sure" it was just a harmless bull snake.

Yikes! But okay. I would be alert. I would be vigilant. It would be fi.... Holy crap!!! Is that a scorpion?!?!

"Oh, sure," my neighbor informed me. "We get those around here. Just keep a broom around and you can kinda sweep them outta your way."

Ahhhh... ok? So... when in the back yard I need to keep my eyes open for probably harmless snakes and have a broom with me to sweep away the occasional scorpion.

This was sounding like less of a great idea.

And then came the clincher. My helpful neighbor let me know that I should be sure to shake out my clothes "really, really, really good" when I took them off the line. Because sometimes tarantulas would crawl into the hanging clothes and if you didn't shake them out, you would take the tarantula inside with you.



No amount of quarters saved was worth the possibility of tarantulas in my laundry.

I thanked my neighbor for her helpful advice, picked up my laundry basket, and went right back to the snake-free, scorpion-free laundromat to use the spider-free dryer.

And I (quite literally) never set foot in that backyard again.

If you think that's bad (I do, but you might not if you are a braver person than I am), come back tomorrow for an even more horrifying story of spiders in the Twentynine Palms desert.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Like Butter

Now you know I'm a fan of butter, but seriously, are these Olympics sponsored by the American Dairy Council or what?

I swear, every night as I watch Olympics I hear one of the commentators talking about butter.

In the luge: "She's moving down that track like she's sliding on butter."

The slalom: "She's so smooth it's like she's skiing on butter."

Curling: "That rock slides down the ice like butter on a hot pan."

Cross-country skiing: "In these spring-like temperatures, it's like you're slogging through butter."

Figure skating: "The movements are just so smooth. It's like butter."

And of course... who can forget the slope-style skiing and the "Nose butter triple cork 1260."

Friday, February 7, 2014


As you know, Rylen likes to sit and watch movies on the iPad. But it's an old first generation iPad so it's kind of heavy for little hands. He figured out his own solution.

The mini-fridge in my office has a little ledge along the top of the door that acts as a handle to open the fridge. Rylen has figured out that it is just the right width and depth to hold an iPad. He sets it in there and it stands securely upright, allowing him to watch hands-free. (You know, because he needs his hands available to play games on my Kindle. ;) )

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Top 3 Reasons I Am Mom of the Year

Just today, I managed to qualify for the Mom of the Year award in the MOM FAIL category. Imagine if the committee considered my accomplishments on several days in a row! But today's nomination is based on three events that went over and above the standard requirements.

1. I was late to pick up my kids from after-school club. Which is a minor accomplishment in and of itself, but add in the additional information:
  • Rylen was wearing boots 3 sizes too large because I could not find his own boots (the search for said boots being the reason for the lateness) and stumbled over his feet and fell into the snow on our way to the car. 
  • The kids went outside in 0 degrees trying to find my car in the parking lot until the teachers made them go back inside.
  • All three kids were in tears when I arrived because they had gotten in trouble for climbing onto the huge snowbank at the edge of the parking lot to get a better view while looking for my car. 
  • I then gave them all ice cream with dinner to help them feel better, thus encouraging them to eat their feelings and contributing to future emotional eating issues. 

2. Once the boys cheered up, they began singing "Wrecking Ball" (turns out they know most of the words) and proclaimed their love for Miley Cyrus. And we all know what an excellent role model she has turned out to be. It could only have been worse if they followed up by asking to get a haircut and tattoo to match Justin Bieber.

3. And finally... you know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head? Like maybe Jimmy Fallon's song "Balls In Your Mouth?" (For the dirty-minded among you, that song is totally about warning innocent sea creatures to beware the balls of seaweed and tar/oil they might encounter in polluted ocean waters.) And you know how sometimes when a song is stuck in you head, you might start humming or even singing the song without even realizing it? And maybe you only realize it when your 5-year-old asks you: "Why would you put balls in your mouth? That's gross because they would be all dirty from playing with them." Yes, son. Yes they would.

And now my boys have stopped singing "Wrecking Ball," but only so they can sing "Balls In Your Mouth" instead.

Quick Funny from Rylen

I love it when little kids mispronounce words. It's so cute. I rarely correct them because I just find it adorable and actually miss it once they learn to say the words correctly.

Right now, Rylen says "chicken" when he means "kitchen." The other kids have corrected him often enough that sometimes he tries really hard to pronounce "kitchen" but it usually still sounds like "chicken."

Which is why he ran through the kitchen a few minutes ago squealing with laughter and came over to tell me that he and Lucy (the cat) were playing a game.

"Lucy chase me through the chicken!!"

Teasing just a little bit, I said: "The chicken! Really?!?"

Knowing what I meant, he tried to say "kitchen" instead.

"Lucy chase me through the chi... the chi... the kich... Lucy chase me through the living room!" 


Throwback Thursday

So the challenge for Throwback Thursday was to click back through your blog at random and link to an old post. For your enjoyment, here is a throwback to 2011 about my childhood career plans. :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Quick Funnies from Rylen

Rylen coughed loudly and I must have looked startled because he patted my arm and told me: "It ok, Mommy. That just my mouth."


I found some pudding in the fridge and offered it to Rylen with his lunch. His eyes grew wide and he exclaimed: "Oh my gosh! I need have it in my tummy!" (Coincidentally, I often have the same reaction to such treats. ;-) )

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Playdates Are Serious Business

My kids are always coming home from school and telling me that "So-and-So wants me to come play at her house. When can I go?" or "Can my friend What's-His-Name come over on Saturday?"

To which I respond: "Did you get her phone number?" "Did you give him our phone number?"

Sometimes this is met with a blank stare, the child in question having forgotten again that I need that sort of information in order to set anything up. Sometimes they tell me that they wrote down a phone number and put it on a piece of paper. But having seen the tiny scraps of paper with random numbers (sometimes enough to make up a complete phone number, but not always) and no name attached that my kids bring home from their friends, I assume they are sending the same sort of scraps home with others.

And then they wonder why the other mom and I never get in touch to set up time to play.

So when a coupon for free (pay only shipping & handling!) business cards came in the mail a few weeks ago, I had a sudden brainstorm. Business cards for the kids!

Now all the kids have stash of cards in their backpacks to hand out when they and their friends start talking playdates. It doesn't solve the problem of the paper scraps my kids bring home, but at least it gets my contact info to the mom in a way she can use.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Call Me Bubba

We are in the habit of calling all of our kids by various nicknames. For instance, Haley is also known as Hays, Hazy, Haybee, Missy, Sissy, or WaKeeny (long story). Preston might be called Press, Presto, Ky (for his middle name Kyler), or Potawatomi (again, long story). Brekken becomes Brek, Brekki, Brekster... You get the idea.

So one of the nicknames we use for Rylen is Bubba. It evolved from Baby, which we called him when he was (not surprisingly) a baby. As he got older, we didn't feel like we should keep calling him Baby, and it became Bubba. But he's also Ry, Ry-Ry, Rys... I don't think that Bubba is used all that more often than any other.

But lately Rylen has really latched on to Bubba. To the point that if we call him Rylen, he gets red in the face and angry and insists, "No! I Bubba!"

Yesterday after church I asked him if he had fun in his class. With a very sad face, he informed me that: "My teacher not call me Bubba."

And last night I checked on him while he was sleeping, only to hear him murmur: "You call me Bubba."

So for now, I guess we'll be calling him Bubba. :)