Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Here are a few new desktops that I have used to update my computer. The first one is one I made, from Scrap Orchard's March Mega Kit. The second is the free desktop from Shabby Princes, and the last is from Shabby Miss Jenn. I need to get my camera out and get some new pictures of my kids. I realize it is April tomorrow and I haven't taken hardly any pictures so far since January. I'm ready for some SPRING, and since the weather isn't cooperating outside, I have to compensate somehow!
I have a very fond memory of an April Fool's day prank that was spectacular in my adolescent mind. My mom, brothers, and I planned to surprise my dad with an overflowing toilet prank. As soon as he got home we started yelling that the toilet was overflowing. What made this a fantastic prank was the fact that we had two bathrooms, one up, one down. When he headed to the downstairs one, we all yelled that he needed to run upstairs because it was the upstairs toilet. Being the great sport that he was, he ran up the stairs. Of course we all thought that we should then tell him that it was the downstairs toilet and so we started yelling for him to check on that one. Of course, looking back, this was such a pedestrian prank, not worthy of any real prankster awards. We kids thought it was the best thing we had ever done and laughed until we couldn't laugh any more. With a number of years to look back on this, I'm sure my dad was playing along and never really believed that the toilets were overflowing. He was so good to humor us little kids.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
If I could only bottle the stubbornness of my second child; I could inject him with it at the age of 12 to stand strong against peer pressure.
The other morning was a difficult one and I left for work chastising myself, feeling like I was a terrible mother, and wondering if I should just drive off and never return.
It all started with a fight about socks. Yes. Socks. Nige didn't want to wear the socks that were in his drawer. Then, after finding something he would wear, there was the fight over snow boots and tennis shoes, with him flinging whatever he was wearing across his bedroom. After a lot of quietly informing him of the unacceptability of his actions, I got to point that I just couldn't take it any more. I yelled. Yes, I yelled. Looking at the sweet face above, I have a hard time believing that I could even look at the kid cross-eyed, let alone yell. But I did. It wasn't pretty. In the throes of a temper tantrum, tears and sobs included, I was yelling at him. I just made him cry harder. The kid couldn't be persuaded to do anything he wasn't willing to do.
After taking him to the sitter's house, and spending at least 5 minutes talking to him about going in, and his pleas of asking to be taken to work with me, I left for work, tears streaming down my face. Nigel is six. He is too young to know what buttons to push on me isn't he? Or has he some devious idea of how much this tore my heart into tiny pieces? I was betting on the second option that morning.
I've tried to narrow down what causes the cataclysmic meltdowns on this kid. There doesn't seem to by any rhyme or reason, but they just come and devastate me all the same. This morning it is all about taking a bath and getting ready for the Primary activity in an hour. Not to mention eating a cold piece of Ghiradelli pizza from Pier 49 that has been in the fridge overnight. Sorry kid, mom gets to win on that one hands down, no amount of tears will sway me!
So, after all of that, I just sit back and wonder how I can be a better mother to this kid. How come he is just so darn stubborn and no amount of cajoling and threats seem to make him do anything he doesn't want to? I suppose his spirit is just some sort of super spirit, saved for the last days when he can resist anything. Even his mom.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I just finished up with the Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. While I think it was a good story, it was a bit slow for me.
There have been mumblings about this story for some time and I've even had a couple of friends recommend it to me after I finished the Twilight series a couple of months ago. I think part of my problem was that I had heard all the hype about this book and came into it with expectations that weren't realistic. This book is, suitable so, in the teen section at the bookstore and carries with it a very good adaptation of the fairy tale. It just didn't have the action that I had anticipated.
Will I re-read it? Yes. I think I will even read it to Abbie out loud. There is nothing there that she wouldn't be able to read herself, but there are some words that she would struggle with because they are difficult names, etc. It is a story she would enjoy.
I think I will try to read the other books in Hales' Beyern series as well as some of her others. From what I understand, this was her first book and she is bound to be an author that I will enjoy more and more as she produces more work.
This must not be a very glowing review, but I did enjoy the book. Perhaps I've been spoilt by some authors who are more verbose and action packed, and in the adult section of the bookstore. Or perhaps I just need to re-read and spend a little more time looking for the hidden nuances that I'm sure are there.
Friday, March 20, 2009
It has been a rough day. All my dear sweetlings are sick in one way or another. Nigel has had a stiff neck due to his lymph node being inflamed and causing a muscle spasm. Try telling a 6-year old that you need to massage his neck, when he screams in pain!! Not fun. The other two are sick with the cough and fever that Nigel had last week.
So, in order to give me what help he could, Daniel sent me off with two of his gift cards to spend. I went to Deseret Book and ended up with a super cute wristlet from Vera Bradley. It is perfect as a wallet, but also as a phone holder, and even a little tiny purse if I don't want to take something big. It was just the touch of spring I needed.
So sad that there are days when only retail therapy seems to work. I though I was doing so well, but Daniel didn't think so. Off I went, and sadly, today it was what I needed to get myself back on track to nurse my sweet cuties back to health!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I love bookstores. In fact, I love the library! Now, let's be honest, I love anywhere books are located.
Tonight was the night, with Dan in class, mom and the kids get to goof off a little bit. So, after indulging in some Noodles and Co, we ran an errand to Barnes and Noble. No, it wasn't a necessary errand, like running to the grocery store for milk, but it was a very nice little breather for me to surround myself with so much literary presence. We spent a little time in the kids' section of the store and I came across some old favorites from my youth.
One book that I remember reading and really wanted Abbie to take a bit of, is Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski. I can't remember how old I was when I read this book, but I had my very own paperback copy that I bought through the Scholastic Book orders. They also had the entire series of Little House books by Laura Ingles Wilder and some all time favorites, Beverly Cleary.
Abbie ended up getting the first Harry Potter book, in paperback, since we have the hard back book, but didn't want it to get too abused. In ways I was disappointed that she didn't jump into some sentimental favorites, I'm glad that she is interested in reading, if just a little bit. For as much as Abbie and I are alike, we are vastly different in that I love reading, she doesn't, she loves math, and I don't. I hope that she will someday emerge a stellar reader. I'm sure it will take a while, but usually, everyone finds something that they enjoy reading, at least that is my hope. Perhaps Harry Potter will do the trick, it has for many other children.
Walking the rows of books in the store, the heavy coffee smell wafting around us, I felt comfortable. I could spend hours browsing, reading the book jackets, accumulating a stack for the register. Hmmm, perhaps I need to get the Kindle. That way I can read to my hearts content, without creating stacks of books to shelve or return to the library. Or better yet, they can have an electronic Kindle library....nope, no hope there.
Perhaps I'll sit down and go through the boxes of my old stuff and see if any of my books are still there. Probably not. Maybe after the first Harry Potter, Abbie will be interested in some of my old favorites and we can share them together. Or maybe she is from a different generation and those won't hold any interest for her at all. But shouldn't every girl read the Little House books.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Mondays are alway hectic at our house. Between getting home from school, homework, piano lessons, dinner, and family home evening, there isn't much time to do anything!
Okay, so that really isn't true. Tonight, as Dan and the kids were outside shoveling dirt (we are re-doing the front yard and need to remove a couple more TONS of dirt), I was inside making dinner. I started to think back to the "olden days" and how easy I have it now compared to then. For example, as I was cooking the hamburger for our spaghetti sauce, I was also loading the washing machine to wash towels. Once that was done, I was loading the dishwasher with dishes that need to be washed. To top it off, I was able to delay that start until 11:00 pm tonight! How easy do I have it?!? EASY!
I started thinking about how my dear sweet ancestors could truly only do one thing at a time with their household chores. The wash was seriously a full day event, and forget having dinner that night! How could you spend the day washing and still have time to cook? Somehow they did it.
I complain far too often about how much work there is around the house for me. I know that working full time with a full time mother load for two children, not to mention wifely responsibilities somehow overshadows the housewife role. It just doesn't even come close to where I want to spend my time. I complain that the loads of laundry are never ending and that there is dried toothpaste on the bathroom counter of my kids bathroom. Is that truly anyway to think?
To be honest, I have to sprinkle in some gratitude here and there, or I may forget how simple my life is. Oh, I know that there are more gadgets and activities to go around that eat up sweet chunks of precious time, but putting that aside, I have it made. In a couple hours each evening, I can make sure that my children are dressing in clean clothes (when the clothes make it to the hamper...or are mine the only children that hoard dirty clothes in their rooms?) and we all have at least one semi-healthy meal a day.
So, I sit here while my noodles are boiling, my wash is running and my dishes are sitting on a delay timer, somewhat coveting the washing machine in the picture above (hence the extremely large size). See, although I have it made, the human side of me wants just that little bit more. When will I ever learn?
I love this video!!!!! Take a look and have a warm fuzzy moment! It will make your day! I promise!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I like the word evocative. I'm not sure why it rolls off the tongue with such sweet pleasure. By those who don't know what it means, it has a brush with danger, something close to erotic, and maybe that is why it is such a fun word to say. Some will give me a strange look if I drop that word in conversation, and to be honest, I am not sure that some people have a clue as to what I'm saying. They smile and nod and I think that I have lost them along the way somehow.
I'm not going to say that I know a lot of words, because I don't. Yes, I someday hope to own my very own copy of the Oxford Writers Dictionary/Thesaurus, and increase my vocabulary substantially. For now, I am content to look up words that I come across and don't know. I love to see where they come from, and how they have evolved over time.
During college, I took several linguistics classes that delved into many facets of the English language. 7:30 am in the Taggart Student Center for anyone wondering. It was hard to stay awake and listen to the little professor (for some reason I can see him in my mind, but can't think of his name to save my life) drone on and on about parsing and VOS, SOV, frontal/labial stops. Something must have sunk in because I remember loving the content of the class, not so much the teacher.
There are days I think that I must be a linguistic genius. Today the question was posed by someone in my office, "Is 'hyphenate' a word?" Let me just say, I work in higher education!! Don't you think that at some point someone would have learned that hyphenate is a word and used frequently? Of course, this comes from the individual that asked if states were just miniature countries and if California had its own money system. I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on her. She doesn't read much. She thinks it is a waste of time.
So back to my word 'evocative'. I like to say it. I enjoy how it feels in my mouth when I do. Perhaps tomorrow, I'll have a new word that is fun to say and drop it in conversation with some unsuspecting individual!
Monday, March 9, 2009
I remember as a little girl, watching my mom in the kitchen, baking up all sorts of goodies. I would sit on the counter, or stand on a kitchen chair and watch as the baking soda, vanilla, and a little flour and sugar would create chocolate chip cookies or cake.
In fact, there was a time while we were living in Brigham City (I may have been about four at this time) I sat on the counter and sang "Cinnamon, cinnamon, who's got the cinnamon" from a road show or something that I had seen. I remember my parents laughing at/with me and I was certain that working in the kitchen was special.
I've always like to cook and bake, but I don't do it often enough. I was making yeast bread by the time I was twelve, and loved the process, even if it seemed to take all day. I learned how to put up peaches, and even did them by myself the year I graduated high school. That all seemed to end when I went away to college.
Living in an apartment with three other girls did not make for easy food storage, of even the smallest variety. I had one side of a cupboard for my staples and whatever else I needed, generally Rice-a-Roni. I didn't buy things like baking soda because I didn't use it. I spent as little time as possible in the kitchen, and when I did cook, I wasn't about to bake four dozen cookies for me to eat by myself. Oh, I know, there were guys next door that would have polished them off for me, but that is another blog post entirely! I do remember making Daniel a cake for his birthday when we were first engaged, but even that wasn't really baking. That was just a sorry mix! Anyway, I digress. I would often dream about the time when I would have my own kitchen, with all the staples that I had at my disposal at my parent's house. I knew that with a few ingredients I could go to the cabinet at any time and make chocolate chip cookies. It caused me a great deal of stress to think that I really couldn't cook in my temporary apartment like I had at home, or like I really wanted to.
Today when I got home from work, I had a bit of energy and decided that I needed to use up the blackened bananas and make banana bread. Then I though about the fresh raspberry jam my mom made over the weekend and how divine that would be with homemade bread. I got to work right away, made the bread dough and set it to rise while the banana bread baked. As I started to put away the ingredients back into the cupboard, I looked at my hand and it was holding a box of baking soda. All of a sudden it hit me. I had my own kitchen. In fact, I've had my own kitchen for many years now. I have baking soda in my cupboard, and a couple of boxes downstairs in the storage room. I have also reached that pinnacle of being in a place I remember my mom being; I have supplies. I have staples. I can make chocolate chip cookies anytime I want! I don't have to worry about invading anyone else's space. I have at least three other mouths to help me devour the cookies, warm from the oven. I can even take some to neighbors if I so desire!
Why is a box of baking soda such a status symbol? I'm not sure. All I know is that there is a small sense of security now that was always lacking in my temporary apartments during college. Is that orange box of soda what makes a house a home? I guess it is if your house is filled with the smells of baking banana bread and the moist yeasty scent of rising dough.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Disclaimer: If you are a fan of Golden Corral, I apologize up front, and in no way mean to offend you or anyone you know. I suppose that this can be funny or not...it just depends on your point of view!
In Daniel's family, we have started going out to dinner to celebrate the happy event of a birthday. Sometimes the birthday boy or girl gets to choose where we go with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins that can make it. More often than not, we end up at Golden Corral. Last night we celebrated Nigel's birthday along with Dan's sister Sonja's. It wasn't a happy experience.
First, we were supposed to have a room booked because there were 15 of us attending dinner. When we got there, they tried to put us in with someone else's family, and looked at us like we had grown two heads when we tried to explain that we were the first to arrive and the group in the banquet room was NOT our family. Luckily they had a couple of free tables in a corner, so after pushing tables together and jumbling seats around, we had seating for all 15 of us.
Now for some observations. In the past, I've determined that there is a certain, personality, shall I say, that patronized the GC. Let's start with some of those I caught a glimpse of last night.
What comes to mind when a women, somewhere is her mid to late 40's walks in with her family, dressed in a black lace, long sleeved undershirt, over the top of a teal blue, sequined encrusted top, over very faded and ripped denim capri pants. If it is anything like what came to my mind, I'm sure you were looking up the phone number for "What Not to Wear" and wanted to whip out your video camera for some secret footage. To top off this elegant ensemble, she was sporting some pretty sweet 80's hair, complete with the skunk motif of black roots and bleach blonde ends. The sad thing here is that I'm not exaggerating how ridiculous she looked. I'm sure she was thinking when she left her house that she was 'all that and a bag of chips', but sadly to say, she was a few chips shy of all that, let alone the bag.
Another table proved valuable, if somewhat disturbing entertainment. A small group of what I can only assume were drunk individuals, whooped and hollered along with the waiters and waitresses while they sang Happy Birthday to some poor unsuspecting sop a few table over. (Dan and I have a rule---No singing at dinner. This does not happen when were are out.) To make matters worse, they then proceeded to smear whipped cream over each other and drop food into each other's half filled cups of soda. You would think it ended there, but it didn't. Camera flashes went off every 30 seconds as they had to provide proof of their inane activities for posterity.
The children at the table behind us were even more boisterous than the ones we brought. At least our children at without screaming and throwing food at one another. The restaraunt became so busy and loud, not to mention filthy, I couldn't handle it any longer. It was an hour and a half of sheer torture.
Can't we just have a quiet dinner without all the chaos of an all you can eat experience? I just don't understand what it is about an all you can eat buffet that brings out all the crazies and drops peoples' IQ points by at least 100. (Yes, I know that means that someone will be in the negative, and I'm okay with that being the standard here.) Why is it okay to eat until your stomach expands until you have to undo your pants to get up? Or why do people go into this with that expectation and wear elastic waist paints to dinner in order to ease their pain?
I once saw a family there where the parents were both in electric wheelchairs because they were so big, they couldn't walk . They had a child with them that was well on her way to being just as incapacitated. I saw stacks of plates, with the remnants of dishes that had gone to digestive heaven. When I say stacks, I'm talking five or six plates each. What were they teaching this child? Am I any better at showing my children that we must have some restraint?
So, back to my title. I'm not a snob. I think that there are some fine qualities that a restaraunt like Golden Corral has. I love the rolls. Yummy. But, I also think that we as a human race have decided that one of the seven deadly sins, gluttony, isn't as sinful as the rest. We can eat all we want without anyone to stop us. The choices are wide and varied. Hey, they will even cook up a poor piece of steak to your level of doneness. Does that make it all right?
Just count me out next time we get together for a family birthday dinner. Unless we are going someplace that serves fixed portions, plenty of veggies and fresh fruit, and doesn't condone singing happy birthday in some sad sadistic way, then I may consider it.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I know I'm weird. I admit it freely. My house is been in a constant state of unfinishedness (if that is even a word, which I'm sure it isn't because spellcheck has red lines under it) with walls that need to be repainted, pictures hung, decorations purchased, but instead of doing these things, I have updated my computer desktop to display a new look for March.
I'm not sure why it is so important for me to do this, but I'm sure that the amount of time I'm on my computer has something to do with it. It could also be that paint takes money, decorations take money, and pictures need frames, which costs money. Money that I would rather spend on bills at the moment! Not that I wouldn't LOVE to go hog wild and purchase a 5 gallon bucket of "Museum" colored paint to finish off the (gagging sound effect here) yellow walls with the purple sponge paint, AND crackle finish and have my walls crisp and clean. I can live with it for a while. SIGH! So I compensate and decorate my computer desktop.
So, here is what is decorating my space for the time being:
Kit by Shabby Princess "Go Lucky" and Template by Andrea Gold
Desktop from Polka Dot Plum
Desktop from Shabby Princess
If only painting my walls and cleaning my house were as simple. I don't have to worry about all the socks left out and the toothpaste on the bathroom counter with a digital desktop. It is all there, and I can change it if I need to.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
So this is my baby. I can't believe how much he has grown and changed over the past six years. Luckily we had a digital camera when he was born, so I have pictures of the happy event. He was happy pretty much from the get go. Slept through the night at six weeks, unlike his sister who after a year finally got the hang of it.
I am so glad he is in our family. He is a story teller, and pretty much a ham. I found out today that he can be shy at school when he is the center of attention, but for the most part, he likes to act crazy.
Right now, his favorite words are fart and booty. Of course belching on command is another really "cool" activity. Nigel is also my dare devil. I tell the story (and it is 100% true!) about him climbing to the top of the fridge by grabbing the door handles and scaling the front of it when he was three. Needless to say, this mommy was scared to death. He doesn't do that anymore, but he is pretty much fearless about such things. He is scared of animals though...go figure.
Happy Birthday Nigel. You are my little tri-date kid! I love you!
Monday, March 2, 2009
Please go vote for my friend, The Chocolate Chip Waffle at Mormon Mommy Blogs. If you have seen her link on my blog roll, and visited, I'm sure you had a treat. Her blog is yummy and so fun with cool quotes, deep thoughts, and her own unique view of motherhood. Terresa and I were mission companions in Uruguay almost 15 years ago! Egads, we are getting old! But we lost touch until the marvelous tool of Facebook. Whoohoo! So please go vote for her blog. I can't remember what she wins, but who cares! It's all about the bragging rights anyway!
I'm sure that you have seen or heard about this little saying somewhere. I have seen various pillows, wall hangings, pictures, and other kitsch type paraphernalia. I'm not a fan of these types of things, but of the saying, I must say, "I agree".
So, as many can see, my last post was a bit of a downer and I was just feeling....well, crappy. It took me until today to realize that I hadn't "hemmed" my day in prayer. I had jumped up and didn't take a moment to communicate with my Heavenly Father.
I found this quote by David Bednar on the LDS.org website: "And even though we recognize the importance of prayer, all of us can improve the consistency and efficacy of our personal and family prayers. Blessings require some effort on our part before we can obtain them, and prayer, as a form of work,...is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."
Isn't that fantastic? It fits my feelings exactly. I really know the importance of prayer, but I can be so much better at it. Can't we all?