Friday, January 28, 2011

monday, meat loaf, movies

Sunday, January 23- Sam was back in the kitchen.  He was excited about this cooling rack that Grandma Martha gave us.  The cookies he made were from the Mrs. Field's cookbook.  They're made from honey instead of brown sugar, which gave them a different, but delicious, texture.

Looks like Sam was doing a little sampling too.  Next he made jam filled butter cookies, and then Tuna and Garlic pasta, one of our family's favorite recipes.  Sunday evening Sam insisted that I go to a fireside. Turned out to be fascinating- an anthropologist sharing his story of his conversion to the LDS faith.

So when I returned I was happy to find all was well, the kids were all together, happily watching Power Rangers the movie, which was why Caitlin and Grant have been shouting "Go Power Ranger Pink! Go Power Ranger Red!" all week.

Monday morning I found the casualty of my absense.  My camera was lying on the floor underneath the sofa, and I realized that the shutter was shattered, so when I opened and closed the lens, parts of the shutter stuck out.  I imagined the cost of buying a new camera or paying for a repair. All morning I tried to remind myself to look for how this mishap could possibly be an opening in the universe.

When I took the camera in to the shop, not surprisingly, the clerk suggested I buy a new one.  Instead I decided to rip the shutter out of camera, and was happy to find that it worked just as well.  It just looks bad. So what I thought might be an "out with the old in with the new" experience became a "use it up wear it out" experience instead...all the more empowering for being more financially appropriate, at least for this month.

One of the many ways that we have been blessed lately...
Granddad and Judith have made a tradition of bringing us dinner every Monday night.  It's always delicious, and always fun to see what they've brought.  Kyle loves Judith's meat loaf.

This was the scene Tuesday morning.  Sam had everyone up before 6:30...5:30 PST, to watch the Academy Award nominations announced.  The kids were happy to see True Grit get so many nominations, and Inception pick up a few...two of their favorite movies of the year.

The girls were up too.

Since we weren't invited to the breakfast in Hollywood, we had one of our own Tuesday night.  The kids call breakfast at night brinner.

And I was busy thinking about brinner and forgot to have the kids watch the President's speech...What a flaky mom...

Wednesday was supposed to be the beginning of the daunting task of re-enrolling the family at the dentist. I was set for my own appointment, and driving to pick up Grandma Martha,who had generously agreed to babysit, when snow flurries turned to snow fall. On the way back to our house, just before we hit the somewhat formidable hill that descends toward our street, my brakes went out, and I couldn't control the steering. I hadn't realized how slick the roads were. I pulled off to a side street to see if it was a problem with the van or just a slick spot, but every time I pumped the brakes, they would shudder and the back end fish tailed. We decided to park and unload, and the four kids and Grandma and I hiked home in the snow.

It was nasty driving but beautiful walking. I felt grateful that we hadn't tried to drive down the hill, and that the boys were so happy to be out for a winter hike. It was a great opportunity for them to try out their new Buzz Lightyear of the joys of being a three-year-old boy no doubt.

So the world is white again...even though my teeth aren't.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

winder farms

There are times when you want to surround yourself with people you trust.  A team, a support system. My lawyer... my therapist... my dentist, dermatologist, hairdresser.  So one afternoon, last November, a knock on the door brought two gentlemen into my personal network.  The more outspoken of the two reminded me an awful lot of a younger, thinner Al Roker and smiled with such warmth and enthusism, it seemed like he had floated in with the Autumn sunshine.

"I'm your new milkman," he said.

The sound of which seemed to fill a need I hadn't known I'd had. 

So not half an hour later and I was the owner of a shiny, silver Winder Farms cooler, and making note of his instruction. I was to place it on the front porch every Monday night, so they could fill it with eight bottles of farm fresh, hormone free milk,  the thought of which filled me with idyllic excitement.

This was the first morning we walked out to find milk on our doorstep.

Who knew that the milkman could also bring chicken tamales. Y muy ricos tambien!

So buying hormone free milk is a bit more expensive than buying the store brand, but I have found, as the milkman suggested at his first visit, that I have saved money, not having to run to the store to buy milk. And the kids like the milk so much better than store bought, that they are willing to stick to the eight bottles per week. That means they have started to notice and regulate their own milk use (and abuse) in order to make it last through Monday morning. That's been a good thing.

Now we've begun to recognize the sound of the milk truck arriving around bedtime (ahem...) late bedtime on Monday night.
So what's happening here?  This is the scene of my children stalking...maybe this is reverse-stalking, since their actually spying on him coming to our house...the milkman.
Now it's our weekly tradition to wait for the milk Monday night.  I get lots of help when it's time to put it away.

This is comforting.

This week the cheesecake was on special. Ten dollars off! I can't wait to try it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

sausage, mushroom, monterrey

It's the weekend. Time for me to blog about pizza. Pizza so round...symbolic of wholeness, unity, celebration, inclusion, life.  Pizza- a relaxing, reuniting, togetherness ritual

Thanks to Pizza Pie Cafe Express for the text special.  I got two, two or three topping pizzas for five dollars each. Also picked up a cheese for Bethany and a pepperoni for Grant.

Here's the Canadian bacon and pineapple....that's for Mary.
 Friday evening I dropped Ben off at a friend's house down by the university, then drove over to PPC express.

I ordered, then sat down on the bench to wait...self-toasting by the big silver ovens, relaxing to the vibrations of the slow moving conveyor belts, breathing in the cheesy warmth.. the wonder of the so savorable pepperoni and the sugary-tang surprise of PPC's speciality, raspberry desert pizza..  The guy handed me my four hot boxes. I could smell the layers...the salty and sweet of one, the  milkiness of another...and on top, I was sure, was my favorite: the sausage, mushroom, and red onion.

Smells, so closely linked to memories, and sausage pizza, in particular, remind me of my high school summers at Sonny's Pizza.  I thought about pizza all the time then.  I thought about people in terms of pizza...tried to size them up by way of veggies or no, thick or thin, medium or large, whole or by the slice.

  I loved browsing in the paper goods closet. I guess I'm easily fascinated, because I'd find myself daydreaming about the large boxes of straws, napkins, Styrofoam cups. Loving the abundance, the preparedness, the suppliedness of it, I had a vision of myself running my own pizza place with my future family, in some other small coastal town, driving an old green pick-up...maybe like an '82.

Some place like Monterrey.  My senior year Mr. Biggle, one of my best teachers, took the physics and chemistry upperclassmen up to the physics museum in San Fransisco and the Monterrey Bay aquarium.  I'm grateful for that memory...though sometimes I forget to think about it.  So in Monterrey, there was a little pizza place, never knew the name, maybe that's the prototype of that particular fantasy.

Here's the sausage...spicey, mushrooms...earthy, generous in presence, and red onions...colorful and caramelized... pizza.

Last week was one of the quickest I can remember. Update on the exercise goal: followed up well with Sam, but had to give myself an okay to do some homemade yoga moves right before bed clause, because I just couldn't take the time to go out. I really wanted to make some progress in a few other areas of my life.

Like getting the house in order for one.  The kid consensus was: Monday was maybe the worst holiday on record.  All we did was clean.  I'm not really sure we had much to show for it at the end of the day, nothing picture worthy.

We ended MLK day with a small celebration, at least.  Ben talked me in to letting them use up our two gingerbread house kits .It wasn't like I'd been saving them for Valentine' I agreed... also hoping to gain back some bit of popularity.
This house wouldn't stand on it's own so we had to do a little engineering.  We're not perfectionists, as you can see.  It's all about snitching for most of us.

Ben is our artist.

Here's a midweek sunset that Sam photographed.

So Friday night, with Ben and Kyle off with friends, and Sam at a student leadership activity all night, and Bethany at a Irish Dance performance with Granddad and Judith, there was a new dynamic. Olivia grinned from ear to ear to learn that she was the oldest kid at scripture time.  Grandma Martha was over to share in our pizza night and catch up on some laundry. She introduced me to her favorite soap opera from Mexico, as no one had clout enough to stop the adults from choosing the programming, for a change. I happened upon the very episode where the priest learns he has an eighteen year old daughter.  Good thing it was in Spanish.

Saturday morning I was back to another unapologetic day of only cleaning.  First day of feeling like I'd made a difference.  Remember the pantry?  Looks better now.
I love the zen of empty shelves.

The laundry room is stabilizing. It almost makes me feel functional.

Made the kids help me till the little flower bed in front of the house, since the temperature was above freezing. Maybe I'll get the bulbs in the ground this week.  The basement is still a disaster.

Sarra per un altra volta.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

scrunchy tiger

January 11...  Craig's Cuts gives five dollar haircuts on Tuesdays.  Grandma Martha and I planned to take William and Grant, since she had been giving me frequent reminders that too long bangs can hamper a child's developing visual acuity.  Grant was all protest as we were heading out the door...trying everything from the limp body passive aggressive thing to screaming "I don't wanna haircut" for all the neighborhood to hear.  But as we pushed forward, Grant's protests became less fervent, and he started to enjoy himself.

William, on the other hand, grew more and more apprehensive as the cut approached.  In the end he opted for Grant's old favorite take- the- lollipop- and- run routine, and came home with bangs still in crisis.

Grant's after shot.  The face of new found confidence.  I want to smile like I ask myself...what am I afraid of?
In other news, Sam made this picture worthy plate of home fries.
We had out of town visitors..something I am most definitely not afraid of of...particularly visitors as easy going, fun to talk to, feels just like family, as our good friends from Maine (now Arizona) the Bennetts.  What a blessing to see them again.
Kyle demonstrated to us all the combined power of prayer, patience, pathos, and persistence when he wouldn't give up on what seemed like an impossible search and rescue mission.  Julie and Uhora, our dwarf hamsters, went missing in the basement after their cage fell to the ground in the middle of the night, precipitated by Julie's very aerobic activity on her exercise wheel. Kyle led the finding effort and the basement erupted in cheers when both hamsters were found several hours later.

Olivia came home excited about the Utah Flash tickets that had been distributed at school....And since everyone kept referring to it as the "baseball game,"  I thought it was probably my duty to give them a better education about North American sports.

We had a great time...proved again that we're all a bunch of high energy...chaos junkies.
Here are some of Sam's pictures.

I love what Sam caught going on with these ladies and their cell phones.  I love any situation that could be called, as my neighbor once put it, "a concentrated dose of humanity..."  any place where you can just sit and watch people doing their own thing.

Last week Grandma Martha bought some new action figures for the kids to play with at her apartment...and since she was too nice to "break Grant's heart" as Grant puts it whenever anyone tells him no...the new Power Rangers came home with the kids.  Grant and the Power Ranger were inseparable for days.  He named it Scrunchy Tiger.

All day Saturday I could hear him proclaiming on behalf of the Power Ranger "I am Scrunchy Tiger!"  It seemed like such an empowering declaration, I decided to make it my own mantra.  So I'm still thinking about what fears are holding me that I have this new alter ego.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

pizza promotion

Last week a flier on my windshield was my opening in the universe.  It said cheap pizza.

So Friday night the girls and I set out on what wouldn't have been an adventure for a normal person with a basic understanding of  local streets, nor for anyone with average parking abilities. I don't fall in to those categories so when I finally found the destined place,with it's promotional search light and all, I had to have my nine year old help me back our monster of a van out of the did-someone-from-Beijing-design-this sized parking lot in defeat and park elsewhere. We marched back, lifting Caitlin over snow drifts, skirting sheets of black ice, shivering in the cold because, as I always say, parking as far away as possible extends your life expectancy, and what's more, someone was offering free stuff.
Friday night was the opening of the new Pizza Pie Cafe Express.  They sell five dollar pepperoni pizzas, and in honor of the Grand Opening, it was buy one get one free.  Two-fifty a pizza!  Plus free kettle corn. There's Caitlin with our Friday spoils.

And Friday was movie night,of course.  Did I mention that I love Jack Black?  The boys ordered Be Kind Rewind from net flicks  Sam entertained the little boys with the popcorn popper. He's a good brother.  They are all good big brothers and I am grateful for that.

Saturday I thought I'd make a difference in the pantry.

Still thinking...

But Sam and I did make some progress in the area of goal setting. We've decided, and here I am publicly announcing it, to set a goal to run/walk everyday for six months...with some allowance for repentance, of course. We will plan a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood to reward ourselves, and to celebrate the boys' love for all-things-acted- I'd better start running-earning- saving...

We've been here for many months now and for many months I've looked out and thought about running in the park in summer sunshine, or the crunchy crispness of fall, and here was the day I chose to get out....
 I have to embrace this aspect of January to help me over come my S.A.D.

So Saturday night I tentatively brought up the possibility of returning to Pizza Pie cafe Express for another night of pizza pick-up adventure.  Was met with cheers and off we went.  This time everyone joined me, since they all wanted their own kettle corn.  Free stuff is worth a trip across town.  The big kids all took a turn spinning a big wheel for prize coupons.  We walked away with our four pizzas for ten dollars and about forty dollars worth of pizza coupons as well.  I felt so resourceful!

If only pizza could be used as currency for all the necessities of life.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

january mindset

A month or so ago, on a Saturday night, driving home from dropping Ben off at play practice I ran in to a little local market for a few requested items: Red Vines, chips and salsa, acne cream.  To survey the items at the check out  counter was a moment of I've-got-teenagers-running-my-life-realization...and I was okay with that..grateful to anticipate a Saturday movie night together.

So this week, alone in the girls' room, tidying up after the off to school rush I noticed a torn-out-of-a-spiral- notebook-sheet-of- paper speared on to the nail holding up the Twilight Eclipse calendar. The girls are growing up too.  Some one's New Year's resolutions were carefully listed on the paper.  Read my scriptures every dayExercise.  My favorite was Be nice to everyone... I hoped that included me.
New Year's day I had to come out of denial and call the heater repairman..again... It actually felt warmer outside than in.

Caitlin and I were enjoying how the snow was sparkling in the sun.

Ben was born to wear that hat.

So I've been asking myself if I've grown too old to believe in New Year's resolutions.  Maybe I'm just cynical about arbitrary dates in general, but  I do believe in change. I live hoping that Ether 12:27.."then will I make weak things become strong unto them.."  could hopefully, possibly apply to me. How about this laundry has stayed in the laundry room for two or so months now, only  emerging clean and folded.  That's a positive change from the living room piles- in-waiting. Here's a peek at today's laundry status.

Critical but contained.

I've been grateful for Grandma Martha.  She took the boys and Sophie Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning while Caitlin was at preschool.  I've been trying to catch up on a variety of things...not sure which to attend to first...don't admit that to a therapist...I've been doing a lot of praying as I go throughout the day. Praying for help to accomplish what needs to be accomplished, and to put off and let go of the associated stress of what doesn't...and to recognize the blessing of each day...moment...and reminding God that I'm putting this in His hands.  Grandma Martha has been an angel on Earth this week.

Sophie's four months old now.  I took her to her well-visit. Thirteen pounds, twenty-five inches long.  Speaking of angels, she had ear infections in both ears...but who would have known?  She never complained.
Caitlin entertained Buzz and Iron man this week.

And since get-the-kids-to-watch-less-television is always a part of the January mindset, I was grateful to see Caitlin initiating her own craft time.  I love her homemade paper purses!

I found a pile of Cd's on sale at Target, without the cases.  Ben was excited to see them and set to work making a compilation of his favorite songs, mostly 80's. Since there was no case, he engineered his own, folding the paper, decorating it, and laminating it with packing tape. I love the way Ben's mind works...his ingenuity, resourcefulness, and sophisticated interested nostalgia rock.