Crayon Muffins

Jeffrey objected to my posting his letter about Target, so out of respect for my boy, I pulled it. I wondered when we would reach that point, and we are here- it’s OK, I want to respect my family’s privacy, believe it or not, and don’t mind editing some things. If it’s about me, all bets are off- if it’s about you, I promise a little prudence.

So this is what we did today:

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It was great fun, we used up all the reject crayons around the house, and we now have awesome crayon muffins to play with. Just be careful taking the hot pan out of the oven- I think TftCarriedropped a tray once, and while that makes a good blog post,  I don’t even want to think about that mess.

Knitting

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Maybe two-and-a-half is too young, but she’s totally into it, doesn’t care at all about mistakes and carries on undaunted. It’s so fun to watch her try…

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These are my yarns-in-waiting, to be knitted into scarves, socks, and a few mittens.

I was thirty before I learned to knit- but I always wanted to learn. Crochet, while very pretty, didn’t satisfy something deep inside me, and I yearned to learn how to make those ungainly needles spin pretty yarn into beautiful things. The first thing I ever made was a sock. I know. Who starts with a pair of socks?  Now, I make all kinds of things, and find such satisfaction and joy in the process- I don’t even care so much about product anymore. If it’s prety, I’m satisfied.

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These little fingerless Rent gloves came off my needles last night for little Mira, Mo’s daughter. Now Bean wants a pair, Jeffrey wants a pair- and truth be told, I kind of want some too.

Dear Billy Mays

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Mighty Putty sucks. Don’t waste your money. Oxy Clean was the bomb, but you have utterly failed me with the Mighty Putty. If you’re not careful, my TV pitchman loyalty may jump ship and buy a Sham-WOW. Be careful, Mr Mays, be carefull. That is all.

2008: The Year in Review

I have to admit, I’m not really looking forward to doing this – I mean, who wants to pick at the nasty, unhealed, festering gob that was last year? And only seven days into the bright and shiny new year? But, with a heave and a sigh, I will avail myself, in the name of good blogging (what? you wanna argue?) and glance briefly over my shoulder at the departing year of the Rat. (That should have been my first clue, right?)

January: Ah, yes, it’s been a year- wait for it- tomorrow! Yes, since that knock on the garage door in the middle of the day, where I greeted the angst filled eyes of my dearly beloved. We embarked on the new Journey of Unemployed, bravely thinking “oh, this won’t take long…” Ah, the folly of youth and inexperience. We discovered the horror of the (very broken) welfare system, and opted to rely on ourselves and our church. I did start painting again, and Abby discovered M&M’s fit nicely up her nose.

February: My mom came to visit, and got snowed in with a sprained shoulder. I became a delegate in the presidential caucuses and learned the value of napping. Working at the Bishop’s Storehouse once again lighted up my life. The Random Crap posts began, and I sold my first painting on Etsy.

March: The Cheese Painting still languishes away on Etsy, while we get fantastic good mail from bloggy and real-life friends all over the country. It’s amazing. Jeffrey decides he wants to be a writer too, and publishes his first two short stories online. The Hair Challenge begins and I give up The Knot and begin the long journey toward liking my curls. (still working on it, btw)

April: April is dark. I struggle with the unemployment, now going on four months. April is very dark, emotionally, as we struggle with things I cannot write about. All the posts are either about hurt, or about my hair. Sheesh. Why do you awesome people even read this crap? It hurts to re-read some of it. And we just keep truckin’ on… Abby turns two, and Mama smiles.

May: I resort to making lists- simple things that make me feel OK. You get some recipes, some ideas, some random crap. We began the long journey towards getting Beanie some help and some OT and PT. Someone found a fantastic local cheese monger, and someone else sent me a gift-certificate to the cheese monger. I still don’t know who, but I still love you. Mo hacked my site. Abby busted her lip open, and I introduced you to Harold and Maude, my butterflies. You also got to see my closet, my kitchen sink and the inside of my ‘fridge, for some insane reason.

June: Abby moved into a big girl bed and I took Mo to see Sex and the City, for which I’m still waiting to be forgiven. We had our first lightning storm of the summer and Stella got her grove on in my new fancy antique birdcage. Honey ice-cream enters my life (and arteries) and I have a moving experience at the Humble Market. My garage sales yield some good stuff, including a LV handbag and an armoire for the TV. Yes! Small victories, people- small victories. The job hunt continues.

July: A French touriste ran over Auntie Heather, delaying our visit… We made jam, had fireworks (shhhhh! they’re illegal…) and celebrated. The Best Cherry Pie Ever came out of my oven, and I discovered Ree. I made a bunch of stuff, and Jeffrey and I headed off to Salt Lake City for a conference, which turned out to be great, great fun.

August: Utah was a blast. The job search continues, even though we have now passed my personal point of panic. Amazingly, we are still alive. I tried to potty-train Abby, and gave up. We had a suicide in our family, and things look bleak and sad everywhere I turn- We struggle with how or what to tell my kids about their uncle, and grief rolls on. Jeffrey turns 7 at the end of the month, and we get ready for school to start.

September: School starts, and when a friend gets engaged, I am recruited to help with the wedding. Auntie Heather avoids foreign drivers and manages to make it up for a visit, and the kids fall madly in love with her- we all do. Beanie turns five and decides to give up dressing like a girl; I have a sad moment for his innocence passing.  David and I celebrate nine years together, and nine months of no job. A childhood friend of mine became a widow, and I count my blessings.

October: Random Crap carried on, and Beanie finally got his IEP and admittance to a fantastic school. Hooray! I have a fantastic birthday, due entirely to the awesome people that love me. I went to the Temple for the first time eve, and began my love/hate relationship with ivory dupioni silk. Abby found my make-up, and Beanie and I took off to California for the weekend, courtesy of Grandma.

November: Vote! Yay! That’s all I have to say about that. Oh, the poop jokes my family can’t seem to grow out of… I got pink eye, and I got ticked at Motrin. There were struggles, and things look bleak. Going on eleven months… no job yet. It’s not for lack of trying.  My lungs suck, and I dry-drunk dial the blog. I skip Black Friday because, hey, it’s easy to stay home when you have no money! But I make all my Christmas presents this year, and that makes ME happy.

December: Abby, for some reason yet to be determined, cracks a bunch of eggs in my bed. My sewing machine dies, and my dentist comes to the rescue. I finish another painting, and bow out of Christmas cards for the first time ever.  Insomnia kicks in big time, and random people continue to do amazing and generous things for my family. We make it out of town just before a blizzard, and head off to California for Christmas and the Never-ending Vacation.

Specific Crap

I’m going to cry. Really, really, I am crying. No school tomorrow either. That’s three snow days in a row. Beanie NEEDS to get back in his classroom- the boy (and I) have had enough of the free-flowing vacation, and we need some Structure, ya hear?

Supposedly, structural engineers are checking all the schools for roof cracks, are having the roofs shovelled and cleard, and blah blah blah. Sheesh. Not the kind of structure I was looking for, guys.

Snow Day

No! Nooooooooo! Isn’t  almost three weeks with my kids enough? Why? Whyyyyyy? Today was supposed to be my day to get stuff done. I was going to clean, organize and get the house back in order. But noooooooooo…. the schools had to close. First day back, and they close. Why can’t Mom close for the day? That would be good.

Instead, my mostly clean house is a disaster now, as my children dug out all their Christmas presents, opened wrappers and promptly lost pieces. For a few hours I tried to rein in the chaos, but eventually I gave up,  plopped down with my knitting and ignored everything.

My friend brought Stella the Bird back, sans a few feathers. Seems her cat was enchanted with poor Stella, and knocked her cage over twice, in an attempt to get at the tender little birdie-snack inside. I can’t even imagine the nightmares her little bird brain is rolling. I think she’s happy to be home.

Tonight, after the kids were all banished to their rooms, I undecked the halls, tore the tree down, and David schlepped the boxes back to the garage. The living room is back to normal, at least until the beasties wake with the dawn.

Please, oh please, let the magic golden chariots of school come rolling ’round the corner tomorrow… please please please…?

(Edit: 11:56 pm NOOOOOO! I just checked the district website. No school January 6. That’s Tuesday, right? Right? RIGHT?? Awwww crap. Crapity crap crap. I’m going to go cry.)

The Journey Home

Thursday afternoon, January 1: Begin scouting around mom’s house for all the stray detritus small children leave after visiting grandma’s for two and half weeks. Realize we have room for only 739 pounds of junk, and begin to pare down the piles. Mom’s garbage can and recycle are both overflowing, and I’m only down to 912 pounds of junk. Crap. Ask to borrow retired neighbor’s half-empty cans, and fill to overflowing.

Thursday night, January 1: Exasperation is my new BFF, and boys just don’t understand that I HAVE NO IDEA which bag the RED spiderman jammies are in, just wear the BLUE ONES I LEFT OUT and NO I AM NOT UNPACKING to look for them! Grandma and grandpa are clearly frazzled by the extended invasion of their quiet, peaceful lives; at this point, no one can even decide on dinner.  Grandpa opts to run for the Border, I do a drive-by of my favorite Chinese place, the kids do leftovers, grandma raids the freezer for any leftover frozen yogurt, and Cousin Michael eats my Chinese leavins. This is the dregs of a vacation.

Friday morning, 4 am, January 2: Abigail decides sleep is is meaningless, and chats cheerfully for the next two hours about the state of my eyelids, daddy’s snoring, Mickey Mouse and how much she likes the “magic” noise her stuffed bunny makes.

Friday, January 2, 9:30 am: Thank you, mom, for letting me sleep and for feeding the boys breakfast. Wave buh-bye to the noon departure plan, and usher in the 2:00 idea. Check the online weather and DOT traffic cams- our plan is coalescing; all systems go.

Friday, January 2, High Noon: I forgot to tell all the fam about the change in times, and people stop by to wave us off, only to find chaos, confusion and delay. Welcome to my life! Cousin Michael drives me to the market to pick up bribery food for the drive, while David backs the ‘Burb into mom’s driveway and begins the schlepping.

Friday, January 2, 2:00: Hot damn, we actually hit a target! The kids are wedged in, buckled down, and as long as no one moves, the colossal amount of stuff packed to the rafters should be fine. I’d feel like the Beverly Hillbillies, if we could tie a dog or small child on the luggage rack. Or maybe a rocking chair.

Friday, January 2, 2:08 pm: Hugs and kisses and tears. We are again a soverign nation unto ourselves.

Friday, January 2, 2:28 pm: Our first phone call to tell us what we forgot. My sneakers, and a double-secret recipe of Sourdough starter from my uncle. The starter originated in Alaska in 1975, and I’ve been begging some for years and years. He finally gave in, and I FORGOT IT. Mom will look into shipping live cultures. Crap.

Friday January 2, dinner time: Been on the road six+ hours, pull into Wendy’s for a potty break, some hot dinner, and to get the wiggles out. When we pull into the parking lot, it is empty. Looking back at Abby, I swing my door open, and BASH my heavy Suburban door into the car that pulled up while I was turned around. Awesome. Turns out the lady was mellow, and in a rush to get HER kids to the potty too. We end up talking and exchange road condition info, not insurance cards. Whew.

Friday, January 2, late: Been on the road around 8 hours. Kids are beginning to whine and are on their fourth or fifth movie, and it has begun to snow. The chain-checkpoint waves us through, despite our lack of chains (we have them- somewhere under all the packed crap in the back…) Tender Mercies. It doesn’t snow long, but road conditions are sketchy and snowy for many miles. So much for Interstate speed. Go to sleep, children. Please?

Friday, January 2, near midnight: Fog. Icy fog. Frozen fog. 160 MILES of fog. Oh yeah. The roads are clear and mostly dry, but the fog is causing me to screw my face into tight little knots of geeked-out stress. Fantastic. At 40 mph, we ought to be home next week!

Saturday, January 3, 1:30 am: Abby wakes and decides she is DONE being in her carseat, DONE being in the car, DONE with buckles and driving and roadnoise and car food. DONE.

Saturday, January 3, 2:00 am: The Beverly Hillbillies pull into a Holiday Inn Express somewhere in Oregon (Oregon is an odd place; I think it has middle-child syndrome) and at 2:10 am, fall into beds. Very, very awesome beds. Either I was too tired to care, or HIE has the most comfortable hotel beds ever. We all slept in our clothes. No one cared. I’m still waiting to feel smarter.

Saturday, Januray 3, 9:30 am: Commiting the Cardinal sin of waking sleeping children, we pile all the whiny, prickly, tired children back in the burb and bounce off down the road. But what’s a morning without a fight? DH and I are bickering, as I am now driving, and he keeps attempting to drive from the passenger seat. No matter how hard he stomps on his imaginary brake, it doesn’t work, but instead is a direct line to my Annoyance Button.

Saturday, January 3, various: Ooohing and aaaaa-ing at waterfalls, rivers and lakes that were unfrozen when we left, but are now frosty wonderlands of delight.

Saturday, January 3, 4:12 pm: David promises the boys they can do anything they want when we get home, only just be quiet a little while longer. Desperation sets in. The sun is setting, the roads are icy. We see two spin-offs. David’s brake still doesn’t work, and my Annoyance Button is set to Hair-Trigger. Vacation is FUN!

Saturday, January 3, 5:30 pm:  Have to use 4×4 powers of the super Suburban to breach the berm in our driveway. The Deacons (teen boys) at our church have shoveled our walkways and drive three times, but the snowplow left us the 4′ berm. Holy crap, the only place I have ever seen so much snow is in Tahoe while skiing. Unreal.

Saturday, January 3, 5:32 pm: We all sit in garage for a second… Home? oh, sweet, sweet home! Funneling from the car like ants in a poked anthill, the kids swarm the house. DH turns the water back on, the pipes are mercifully fine, the house is warm, and my mother-in-law has thought to bring over fresh milk, bread and bananas. Hallelujah, I don’t have to go to the store! I take back everything I ever said about her!

…wait a minute….? Nah.

Saturday, January 3, 6:00: We are all as far away from each other as possible in our house. DH is watching football while Abby is in the bath, I am fixing dinner, Jeffrey is in his room, and Bean is in the living room. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Saturday, January 3, 6:01 pm. The phone rings, and it’s some lady from church who is annoyed and needy and starts in on me about things out of my control. I am not even unpacked yet. I don’t know where my toothbrush is, and I haven’t even fed my kids yet, and she wants me to answer complicated questions I cannot even process. I think I am rude to her, but I can’t remember exactly. I turn the phone off for the rest of the night. We don’t unpack more than the bathroom bag, and let the rest slide until morning.

Sunday, January 4, 8:15 am: I slept like a rock. Like a log. Like the dead. Like a mother who had been travelling in 12-square-feet of car with three little kids and a husband for two solid days. I slept goooooooood.

Sunday, January 4, 9:00 am. Oh yeah. We switched to early church January 1st. Ooops.

I have 161 emails, 17 messages on the machine and 2’ pile of mail. Oh, and my Christmas tree and decorations are still up. There were half-a-dozen packages waiting on the porch, and a ton of thank-yous to write…

So we’re home. Home really is the sweetest thing.