Thursday, May 30, 2013

Away In Austin

We went on a little family get-away to Austin for Memorial Day weekend.  Believe it or not, it is the first time we have ever done any type of trip  other than one where we meet up with extended family somewhere.

I had an idealized fantasy of how fun it was going to be to spend the weekend all together with just our little family.  I pictured us touring the State Capitol, telling interesting tidbits about some of our state's colorful founders and governors to our enraptured children as they gazed in admiration at the art and architecture of the building.

The reality:  Wesley fell asleep on the drive to the Capitol, so I stayed in the car with him while he slept and Tyler took the 3 big kids inside.  According to him, they passed through security, headed straight for the bathrooms, saw the rotunda with the dome reaching higher and higher, wanted to immediately climb to the very top of the dome, did that, and then were ready to exit the building for good.  No enlightening discussion of the State's history, no admiration for art and architecture.

When Wes woke up we went to meet them on the grounds.  Wes lept from his stroller and starting chasing every bird and squirrel he saw - which was a lot.  CT took the opportunity to use Wesley's stroller for his own purposes.  He sat in it and pushed himself down a nice hill right in front of the Capitol steps, thereby creating the new pastime of Summer Stroller Sledding.  He loved this and did it over and over again.  Many passersby did look a bit askance at this - I'm sure wondering what type of parents let an 8 year old hurl himself down a hill in a baby stroller right toward a lovely statue of a Texas Ranger time and time again.  That would be us.  We are that type of parents.

We are also the type of parents that decide it would be a good idea to just have some of the snacks we brought in the car as a kind of lunch, and then eat a late lunch/early dinner at...Golden Corral!  Tyler suggested as something fun for the kids.  I was surprised, because Tyler despises eating out at places that don't have food he deems worthy of the expense, which is usually pretty much everything that doesn't fall into one of three categories: traditional smoked meat Texas Bar-B-Que, Brazilian churrascarias, and In 'N Out Burger.  Anyway, he thought they would get a real kick out of the buffet, so we went.  It was a complete madhouse.  I was baffled as to why so many people were they at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I was even more baffled after we started getting our food and I remembered just how...not very good most of the food is.   However, there is definitely variety, and our kids liked looking at the choices.  Places like that just love me.  I paid $15 for a green salad, fresh fruit, a baked potato, and two veggie spring rolls.  Tyler tried to make up for my lack of expensive protein choices and ended up quite liking their "Wing Fest".  The kids favorite item was the cotton candy.  The whole experience was topped off with the little girl at the table across from us throwing up right after taking a bite of a chocolate dipped strawberry.  Anyway - the kids did enjoy it.  The downside is that now they keep asking when we can go again.  Luckily we can answer that going to Golden Corral is a special vacation activity and not something we normally do.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Any Way You Call Me, You Can Call Me...

Have you seen the list of top names for babies in 2012?  Here it is, according to the Social Security Administration:

Top baby names for girls in 2012
1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Isabella
4. Olivia
5. Ava
6. Emily
7. Abigail
8. Mia
9. Madison
10. Elizabeth
Top baby names for boys
1. Jacob
2. Mason
3. Ethan
4. Noah
5. William
6. Liam
7. Jayden

8. Michael
9. Alexander
10. Aiden

They are all pretty normal, even old fashioned names.  Nothing wrong with that.  I quite like it actually.
The thing that alarms me is the list of fastest-rising names, particularly those for boys.

Fastest-rising baby names for girls in 2012
1. Arya
2. Perla
3. Catalina
4. Elisa
5. Raelynn
6. Rosalie
7. Haven
8. Raelyn
9. Briella
10. Marilyn
Fastest-rising names for boys
1. Major
2. Gael
3. Jase
4. Messiah
5. Brantley
6. Iker
7. King
8. Rory
9. Ari
10. Maverick

 Messiah?  Really people?  I remember learning about a very popular practice in early 19th century America of naming boys aspirational names, like Major, Duke, Baron, King, Captain etc.  Messiah kind of takes that to a whole other level, don't you think?

 And I know parents love to make up names hoping for originality.  Is that the origin of Iker, or is that a famous historical or literary figure of which I am unaware? All I can think of is that song... 

My grandma and your grandma
Sitting by the fire
My grandma says to your grandma
I'm gonna set your flag on fire

Talkin' 'bout
Hey now
Hey now
Iko iko an nay
Jockomo feena ah na nay
Jockomo feena nay 

I realize that the word is Iko, not Iker.  Still.  It's what comes to mind.

Trends in names are so fascinating to me.  Perhaps because my name is Wendy, which is a name almost exclusively belonging to women born in the mid- to- late seventies.  Very trendy...for it's time.  So while I'm not quite a Jennifer, I do know what it feels like to have a name that is of a certain moment, and that moment has passed.  By the way, can we agree that Emma is the new Jennifer?  I think we can.  And Sophia is the new Allison.  And Isabella is the new Jessica.  Okay, I'll stop myself.  For now.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Accidents

I was getting ready to go to a school function with the family the other night.  I assessed the state of the shirt I was wearing, trying to decide if some dark splotches on it were water and would dry before I made it to the show, or if it was something more sinister and oil based and was there for the long haul.  During this appraisal I made the happy discovery that my shirt was, in fact, on backwards.  I had been wearing it backwards all day.  This knowledge allowed me to quickly turn it around so it was now on properly, add a light cardigan to cover the unsightly spots that were now on the back, and be on my way.

(Turning is around was easier than just changing to a new shirt for tow, no doubt obvious, reasons:  1) One less shirt to wash on laundry day and 2) I didn't have to take the shirt over my head, so no re-do of the flyaway hairs necessary.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Extra Credit

We went to Open House at the local elementary school the other night.  It was all very nice and the kids are doing good work, etc.   One conversation from the evening stood out to me especially.  We were talking to Lily's teacher, who always has great things to say about Lily.  Ms. X says to us "Lily remembers every story I tell!  She is just like a little Ms. X!  I bet she wants to be a teacher when she grows up just like Ms. X!  She always follows all directions and is so creative in her writing, and she is so thoughtful.  She is just a little Ms. X! She probably uses the same phrases I do when she's at home. She is just my mini-me! "

While happy to hear so many good things from her teacher I was a little, shall we say, miffed, that Ms. X would presume to think that all of Lily's good qualities:  her sweetness and work ethic and study skills and creativity, are the result of a 7 month acquaintance with a teacher.  I'm sure her natural inherited tendencies from her family, not to mention her home environment and the influence of her mother and father had nothing to do with the person Lily is. 

I am very grateful that Lily has a teacher who enjoys her, and is an enthusiastic and effective teacher.   I just wish she took a little less credit for my girl and her abilities.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sleeping With the Fishes

Sometimes Pinterest provides inspiration, sometimes it provides the basis of my nightmares.  An example:

It is a fish tank bed.  If you know me well you know why this and a can of Pillsbury biscuits can keep me awake for weeks. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Life on the Plains

A haiku I was compelled to compose yesterday:

The wind, relentless.
My mind like a tumbleweed -
restlessly rattles.

The wind and I are at odds with one another.  I am always telling Tyler that if I had been a Texas ranching pioneer (Perish the thought.  Ugh.  The flies.  The heat.  THE WIND. So thankful I was not.) I would surely have been brought low by "prairie fever" and ended up like poor Mrs. Brewster:  limp nightgown, wild hair, staring blankly into the distance rocking a baby back and forth, back and forth, contemplating when to pull out the old butcher knife.  (Yes, that's a Little House On The Prairie reference...These Happy Golden Years to be more specific.)

I don't mind a nice breeze, but when wind positively rattles the windows and whistles around the walls all day and night it really gets to me.  Maybe wind could be a new and effective interrogation technique for law enforcement.  Perhaps living on the Texas plains isn't the optimal environment for me...I wonder what is?  I'm thinking green mountains with streams and meadows for larking about in a la The Sound of Music opening song, but I don't think the opportunity will arise for me to move to the Austrian alps to test my hunch. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cold, Cold, Go Away

I am finally, hopefully, very nearly, almost over a terrible cold that has had me in its sinister grip for over three weeks.  It was a doozie of a cold.  On Monday I finally got my sense of smell and taste back, which prompted some thoughts about how losing your sense of smell has both positive and negative sides.

For example, food doesn't taste good, so it really takes the pleasure out of eating, and therefore you're not inclined to do as much of it.  That can be a big plus for dieters.  In fact, why do they not just come out with a diet pill that inhibits your sense of smell?  Or a pill that makes everything you eat after you take it taste like tin foil, or just really bitter or some other unpleasant sensation.  It can't be that hard to create such a thing. I think it's a winning idea.  Truly.

And there's another thing...this requires a story, so get comfortable.  Last Saturday the whole family was at Costco (yes, that's right.  We took the whole family to Costco on a Saturday.  I told you I'd been sick for three weeks right?  I wasn't in my right mind).  We were in the laundry detergent aisle and I added our usual Kirkland liquid detergent to the basket.  Tyler says, "They have a coupon for the powered detergent also.  I wonder if it's cheaper?  I know we never get it, but I don't know why."  We looked, and of course it was cheaper.  I had a vague notion that we never buy powder because I don't like it, but I couldn't remember what in the world my reason was, so I decided to give it another try.  We took out the liquid and added the powder and we were on our way.  Fast forward two days to Monday when my sense of smell started to return.  I walked downstairs that evening and said to Tyler "Something smells so weird down here."  I couldn't think what it could be.  Well, you guessed it, the first time I walked into the laundry room I figured it out.  That powdered laundry detergent was overpowering me with its "clean fresh scent".  And the box hasn't even been opened.  I shudder to think what will happen when I finally pull that cardboard strip and start using the stuff.  I'll have to put a clothespin on my nose while I load the washing machine...and who knows how I will survive actually having to wear the clothes that have been permeated by that smell.  If only I hadn't been robbed of my sense of smell by my cold I could have avoided weeks of olfactory unpleasantness with this detergent.  Although I am saving 2 cents a load over my non-offending liquid detergent, so there's that.

Lastly, another thing that's kind of a pro and kind of a con.  On Monday I also discovered that my kitchen washcloth was emitting some serious fumes of rottenness.  I'm usually highly sensitive to this and change my kitchen washcloth a lot, but because I couldn't smell anything I forgot all about changing it.  I guess the only pro here is that I was spared smelling it.  The con, of course, is that I was using a foul wash cloth to wipe my counters for a day or two.  But why am I the only one in my house who notices things like the smell of the kitchen washcloth?  You'd think someone would have mentioned it - we all use the kitchen quite frequently.  Oh well.  I am just happy to be very nearly, almost, quite possibly, over my horrible cold.

P.S. I shouldn't be surprised that people leaving comments know the same movies I do...the original Parent Trap, Sleepless In Seattle, and The Family Man. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Name That Movie

Sometimes I find myself thinking of obscure quotes from movies I really, really enjoy.  Do you want to know which one popped into my head yesterday?  Here you go:

"Did you bring home all your underwear and personal things?"

If I was into this blogging thing I might make it a contest in the comments to see who could guess it correctly first,  but my sister Sally would have to be disqualified.  She and I watched the same five movies over and over again for about two years.  I'd tell you which five movies, but then you'd be able to figure out where all my random quotes come from, so I'll keep that information on the down-low for now.

Here's another really random one from a different movie that Sally would get in one second:

(singing) "Horses, horses, horses"

And from that movie again:

"Who can believe this?!"

As strange as it seems, those two lines crack Sally and I up every single time.  

I just love having people around that laugh in all the same parts of movies as I do.  I had a good friend I met in graduate school who I visited once after we'd both moved.  We spent an evening each eating our own pint of Ben and Jerry's and watching a movie that contained this line:

"This is just...sub-par."

The fact that we both found that amusing was just one more reason it was a great trip. 

If anyone knows what movies all of these quotes are from I will be seriously impressed!  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Holiday Hoopla

We had some holiday fun around here.  Our ward had a Gingerbread House contest at the Christmas party.  We decided to be nontraditional and make a gingerbread semi-truck - Peterbilt, of course, in deference to Tyler's place of work :). 

Christmas was a great day.  The kids were so happy and nobody threw any fits about anything they got or didn't get or that someone else got or didn't get.

 Wesley happily ate all the chocolate from his stocking in between his turns at opening a present.

 And it snowed!  We had a white Christmas for the second time since we moved here.  Kind of amazing and totally awesome. 

After Christmas things went down hill a little bit - Tyler got pink eye and there was some other health-related unpleasantness, but after a couple of days things cleared up and calmed down and by New Year's Eve we were ready to party.

Some friends were asking if our kids stay up until midnight...that has never happened.  In fact they don't stay up at all if we're not at a party.  We do a big countdown after dinner, no matter what time it is, and toast each other with our Martinelli's and call it good.  This year we had some friends over for dinner and when they had to leave to go their family New Year's Eve party we did our countdown.  I think it was 8:30.  The kids loved it and it doesn't bother them one bit that it isn't midnight.

And now all the holiday hoopla is behind us and we are back to our normal routine.  Our church schedule changed to 8:30 am (it was 1:30 pm) and I am enormously excited by that.  I love having the whole afternoon to spend together as opposed to having the whole morning to wait around until it's time to get ready for church. 

What else am I excited about in the new year?  CT turns 8 next month!  We have family coming to town to see him get baptized.  We always look forward to visitors.  This summer I'm planning on spending a couple of weeks in Utah to visit - any of you who also plan trips to Utah to visit family during the summer should coordinate your times - synch your watches!  I would love to have a big party and see as many friends as possible!