Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Random Thoughts and Happenings

Just a few random things...

If the word "douchebag" is offensive to you, do not read on.

I need an alternate word for "DB."  It's such an awful word.  But it nails, so perfectly, what a guy who is a DB is.  It's Stef from "Pretty in Pink" and Chet from "Weird Science" and White from "Dodgeball."  They don't just exist in movies.  They are in real life too.  I can spot them in a second.  I have great DB-dar.  They are worse than just a "bad guy" because they seem to have no soul, no redeeming goodness.  So if I'm discussing a DB with Chris in the kitchen or my older kids are lamenting a DB from school with small children present, "DB" isn't a good word for them to hear and repeat.  I need another word, but it has to capture the essence of "DB."  Send me your ideas.

Football season is over.  Calvin finished his season with his teams 5th trip to the Super Bowl and 4th win in a row.  His team is pretty amazing.  It's a group of boys and group of coaches that love each other.  Seriously.  Not one DB in the bunch.  ;)  He came home from his banquet and put his head on my shoulder for a while trying to hold back tears that wouldn't be held back.  I patted his back and just let him let them out.  He's so sad the experience is over.  I wanted to tell him that high school will be just like this.  That there will be other awesome teams.  But I honestly don't know if there will.  What he was a part of was truly magical and sometimes you only experience it once or twice in life.

Some of my aunts came over for dinner on Saturday.  Anna and I cooked for them.  It was so fun and so joyous.  It was like having 6 different pieces of my mother here with me.  I learned two very wonderful things from them.  1.  My grandma, mother of 12, took naps every day.  Phew!  I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one who needs naps.  It's in my genes!  2.  My mom liked to put her fingers in her sisters' mouths while she slept.  That's where Teddy got it from!  His grandma!  It's in his genes!
Six aunts, one cousin, one 2nd cousin, one daughter and one sister.  And me.

I like three pillows when I sleep.  Three squishy pillows.  One of my pillows disappeared several months ago.  I was very sad.  I searched high and low but never found it.  I had to make do with two pillows.  Then last week, another pillow disappeared.  Again it's gone and no one has seen it or taken it.  It up and vanished like a fart in the wind.  So now I'm down to one lonely pillow.  I hate it.  What happened on Monday night?  You guessed it, pillow #3 disappeared.  Ugh.  I was so tired that night and I didn't want to stomp around the house looking for my pillows.  I spied my shams across the floor and decided I'd take a sham out and sleep on that for the night.  Hopefully my pillows would turn up in the morning.  I took the pillow out of it's pretty sham case and lo and's my first missing pillow!  Then last night, I found pillow #2!  So one more and I'm back to sleeping in my usual comfort.  I don't know why I thought anyone would find that interesting.

Someone needs to explain to me Common Core and why I should love it or hate it.

Monday, September 30, 2013

There's nothing more sophisticated than diddling the maid and chewing some gum.

A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I were driving down Main Street and he spotted a Lamborghini parked in front of one of our favorite restaurants.  He was impressed.  I asked him, what's the big deal?  He tells me about how it's handmade and it costs probably $400,000.  I googled and he was a little off.  It's only $387,000.

$387,000 for a car.  Even if I was filthy stinking rich, I would have trouble paying that much money for a car.  It would be hard to justify.  Starving people on the planet would outweigh my need to blow money like that.

I started to think about what I would blow money on.  Like if I was just loaded.  And money were no option.

I love my house.  I want to live here forever.  So I don't want a big, fancy house.

My dream car is an old 1970's muscle car that costs about $25,000.

Even though I like to shop, I am happy with clothes from Penney's, Target, and even thrift stores.

I don't wear any expensive makeup.

My favorite shoes are Crocs.

I don't want to spend money on fancy purses or luggage or home decor.

You know what I would love?  I would love a maid.  I would willingly start dropping the cash for a maid to come in here and clean all this crap up.  Organize my house.  Keep it organized.  Clean my car on a daily basis.  Do all my laundry.  Toilets.  Scrub the stains out of the carpet.  Clean up after I cook.  Take out the trash.

Not having to do that stuff would free up tons of time.  I could go out to lunch and read books all day  spend so much more time with my children.  It really would be blissful to have a maid.  That's where I'm willing to blow my money.  That and a fridge stocked with fancy sparkling water.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Because I think the blind would probably be a little messier around the house. And lets face it they're not going to get all the crumbs. I'd possibly be walking around with a sponge.

Spencer and I had a conversation last night about a girl in his class who has a messy desk.  Spencer is a very organized, neat child.  Messes stress him out.  He was anxious about this girl who just takes her stuff and "shoves it in."  What's wrong with her, he wants to know.

What Spencer doesn't know is that he is being raised by that girl.  I am her.

I had the messiest desk ever.  My desk in third grade was so messy that my teacher, Mrs. Mott, dumped it out on the floor and made me clean all my stuff up in front of the entire class.  Papers went everywhere.  Pens, pencils and crayons rolled away like they were trying to flee the scene.  I wanted to melt into my chair.  It was a horrible experience for a 9 year old to endure.  Mrs. Mott didn't like me anyway and was probably secretly happy about dumping that desk.  Turns out she held my messiness against Anna too and made her 3rd grade experience a living nightmare.

I'm sure that Mrs. Mott was trying to teach me, in her warped way, to be more organized and productive and I wish I could say it was a turning point in my life.  I wish.

My locker in high school was so stinky that I never got my total locker deposit back at the end of each year.  They kept the $5 to, I assume, fumigate.

I continue to be messy and unorganized.  My method of organizing is shove the crap in the (cupboard, drawer, under the couch, garage, closet, under the bed, freezer, van) and if the door closes, SUCCESS!  All you need is for the door to close.  Sometimes you might have to shove and shove to get that door to close, but my motto is never give up.  You will get it.  Just keep trying.

Last night, I told Spencer to be nice to that girl.  Mommy is a little unorganized, I said.  He offered to teach me how to be organized.  Tonight he is starting with a binder.  Let's hope he's not using the Mrs.
Mott approach.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I can't believe it! You were *huge*! Like blubber! I couldn't even get my arms around you...

Lizzie loves to take pictures with my phone.  Usually she asks to borrow it and then she goes around the house taking random shots of herself, her siblings and me.  Occasionally, I'll go through the photos to see if there are any worth keeping and delete most of them.  This last time, she took a shot of me sitting at the computer doing something.  From the side.  It was a very unflattering shot and my first thought was, "I can't believe Chris stays with me if I look like that."

I'm a fatty.

Sometimes I forget that I'm a fatty and then I see a picture of myself how I really am and I'm reminded.  I'm not just a little fatty. I'm a really big fatty.

Ever since she took the picture, I've been thinking about it a lot.  About how fat I am.  And feeling very badly about it.  Here's the problem though:  Instead of feeling motivated to change, I feel motivated to eat an entire ring of Costco danishes.  Eating is what I do when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm bored, when I'm celebrating, when I'm lonely, when I'm normal.  It's what I do.  Food is good.  It tastes good and makes me feel good.

I'm not talking about the kind of food in pictures you post on Facebook of your quinoa and health shakes.  No.  I'm talking about the pictures of the loaded baked potato casserole and stuffed crust pizza.  I see the posts of the healthy food.  I read you say how its soooo yummy and you feel soooo good after eating it.  I don't believe you.  Have you ever eaten a burger from 5 Guys and fries?  That is what I consider soooo yummy.

And then there's exercise.  I HATE exercise.  I see you running and pxwhatevering and crossfitting and I feel tired.  I don't want to do it.  It's boring and makes me hurt and makes me tired and I don't even really believe it will work for me.

I don't know what to do.  Because I hate myself looking like this.  And I'm starting to worry about getting older and carrying this weight around.  I worry I will have a heart attack or stroke.  I worry I will get diabetes.

I don't know how to change.  There are so many roadblocks in my mind to doing it.  It's expensive to exercise and eat right.  I can't just throw items in a crockpot or casserole pan and be done.  With my busy life, I can't spend a great amount of time each night cooking.  I can't join a gym.  I can't buy workout clothes.  It will hurt.  It will make me tired.  It's boring.  I don't have time.

So I'm telling you skinny people, keep doing what you are doing.  Keep running.  Keep pxing.  Keep eating your almonds and kale.  Because you don't want to be me.  Almost 40 and fat.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hey kids. What's the deal with homework? you're not working on your home!

It's back to school time at the Vos Household.  It's my very least favorite time of the year.  I love having the kids home.  There's nothing I can do about it so I try and make the best of it.  This year we had a special back to school FHE and talked about each of us setting a goal for this school year.  The goals they set were very thoughtful and relevant to their lives.  I read this on another blog and decided this will be my goal:

Three Unbelievably Simple Parenting Ideas: 1) Children need a minimum of 8 touches a day to feel connected to a parent. 2) Each day, children need one meaningful eye-to-eye conversation with a parent. 3) There are nine minutes during the day that can have the greatest impact on a child: the first three minutes right after they wake up, the three minutes after they come home from school, and the last three minutes of the day before they go to bed.

They sound incredibly simple and like "Duh, aren't I don't this?"  But sometimes I need a reminder.  Especially the eye contact.  I am the queen of multi-tasking.  I talk to them while cooking, cleaning, folding, washing.  I need to be more present.  Hopefully I can keep it up longer than a week!

On Labor Day we spent our time swimming and BBQing with Anna and Tony.  At night all the children got their Father's Blessings.  It never ceases to amaze me how the Priesthood works.  I love that Heavenly Father knows what my children need and need to hear and then He works through the Spirit to tell my husband what to say.  It was a very special time together.

All the backpacks got packed.  All the clothes were laid out and washed.  The new shoes were all ready.

We woke up bright and early at 5:05 and I made omelets for each child before they left for school.  This was the first year that Emily drove herself and Christopher to Seminary.  I love it!

They returned home from school with all positive experiences.  Spencer has all of his friends in his class.  Almost every single one.  That teacher is in for a boisterous year.  Cameron, on the other hand, only has 2 friends in his class.  But he was ok with meeting new friends.  Calvin is starting Chinese as an extra class at the high school every morning.  That should be a challenge for him.  Christopher has classes from one end of campus to the other.  He said he will be late to one class every day.  Emily has a class called Advanced Science Fiction.  Really, this is a high school class?  I'm very interested to read the syllabus.  Lizzie doesn't go to school until tomorrow.  She's super excited about it.  Her backpack is almost bigger than she is.

Six kids at 4 different schools.  I'm tired already and it's only day 1.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I would drape myself in velvet if it was socially acceptable.

I recently came across a copy of my dad's obituary.  I hate it.  It makes me feel terrible awful.

We wrote it with the funeral home guy.  It was me and Chris and Anna there.  He asked us all kinds of questions.  I had never done an obituary before.  I didn't know there was certain protocol that was expected to be in obituaries.

After it was published, I found out that we did it wrong.

We put in every one's middle names.  Including my grandma's middle name.  Which was Maedream.  Apparently she didn't want anyone to know that.  Maedream  Maedream Maedream.

Also, we didn't include my aunt's names.  I now know that an obituary should look like this Bruce R. (Betty) Ballard.  The funeral home guy didn't ask us our aunt's names I guess.

When we saw my grandma after the obituary was published she was sure to tell me that it was the worst obituary she ever saw.  She said it was a travesty and an embarrassment.  Those were her exact words.

I wish I could forget what she said but I don't think I ever will.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm not taking advice from some girl from Long Island!!

I don't pretend to know anything about anything.

There's only a few things that, in my mind, I know for sure.  Like the Book of Mormon is the word of God and don't try potty training until your kid is good and ready.  Stuff like that.

Some people do things differently than me and that's ok.  But sometimes when I see or hear of people doing things differently from me, I wonder if maybe they are doing it better than me.  Should I be doing my stuff like they are?  I don't know.

There's an article in this month's Ensign about a family with three young children who gave up sports and dance and other activities for a year so they could spend more time together as a family.  They felt they had great success with this endeavor.

As I read this article, my heart sank to my shoes and tears flowed free.  Why did I feel this way?  Because I don't want to give up my kids' activities in order to have a closer, more successful family.  And as I was reading, I was feeling like the way that this family is building a strong family is the only way to do it.  And I am already struggling with how busy our activities keep our family.  I don't like being as busy as I am.  Even if each kid does one activity, I still have at least 6 activities going on all the time.  And I don't consider music an optional activity so with our 5 sports, we have 4 musics.  And they have scouts and Young Women, which is also not optional.  And there's doctors appointments and haircuts and birthday parties and all the other stuff that kids do.

This summer I want to go to Cedar Point as a family.   I went over the calendar to see when we could go. There was one day.  Just one day when nothing was scheduled when we could all go.

I try to look for things to cut out.  But honest to gosh, there isn't anything unless we stopped the sports they love and I let them stop music and we quit scouts.  And I don't think this would be the best thing for us.

The mom in the article says the inspiration she had to stop activities led to her “proudest moments as a mother.”  I can tell you some of my proudest moments as a mother.  Cheering for Emily at her swim meets.  Watching her play in the PCEP Symphony Orchestra.  Watching her induction into NHS.  Seeing CV snap the football in his first high school game.  Watching Calvin play the trumpet in the jazz band.  Seeing Spencer hit a double at baseball.  Watching Cameron sing in his school play.  There are other moments too.  Emily putting the girls to bed and painting their nails first and being so sweet to them.  Christopher and Calvin watching a game together and being nice to each other.  Spencer and Cameron riding bikes in the yard and having fun being together.  Seeing pictures of Emily and CV pulling handcarts at Trek.  

I'm realizing that our family is super busy and super scheduled but we made the most of our home time also doing the things that the Proclamation on the family suggests.  “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."  

We have taught our kids all of these important principles.  It's not always in a teaching setting like FHE.  Usually it's on the fly like Mom can't find the remote so lets say a prayer or Mom says something dumb to dad and he forgives her for being an idiot or someone is having a hard day and we all take compassion on them and help them or the garage needs cleaning out so we work together to get it done.

As I write this post, I am feeling incredibly good about my family and the children I am raising.  We are not perfect.  We are mostly imperfect.  And I mess up a ton.  But we are trying to do a good job and we love each other and my kids are respectful and talented and fun.  

So I don't profess to know much.  Especially about how you should do things.  You should do them how it's best for you.  And I'm going to keep on going the way I'm going.  And we'll be better if we just love each other and smile and wave on our journey knowing that all our paths aren't the same but they are what's best for us.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

If my parents had a mantel, I might be a completely different person.

When you were a kid, did you have a list of weird stuff that you thought were things rich people had?

I did.

I grew up in a lower middle class family.  Emphasis on the lower.  We never really wanted for anything.  Just didn't have many extravagant extras.  I had friends with money.  And after being in their homes and riding in their cars, I made a mental list of things that indicated you had arrived.

A double sink in the kitchen.  I don't know why this seemed rich to me.  But it did.

An attached garage.  I just loved attached garages.

Plastic tube hangers.  Ours were all the wire dry cleaner kind.

Separate pool towels from your everyday towels.  I never had a pool towel until I was 13 and my mom bought us all one for our trip to Florida.  I took our dumb peach and brown bath towels when I went swimming anywhere.  And our towels weren't the big ones.  They were the smaller, barely cover your butt ones.  I hated them.  I loved the beach towel from my mom so much I still have it.  It's raggedy and threadbare and Chris tries to throw it out every time he organizes my underwear drawer.  Yes to both your questions, I keep it in my underwear drawer and yes, he organizes it.

A car with cloth seats.  We had a Chevette for most of my childhood that had vinyl seats.  You stuck to it in the heat of summer.  We got a new Chevette when I was 12 with cloth seats.  I thought I was really living.  In addition to car accessories, power locks and windows.  Funny thing is, my current car has vinyl seats and roll windows and manual locks.

A fireplace with a mantel.  Love a mantel.

Carpet.  We had hard wood floors.  Carpet seemed so extravagant to me.

Funny the things we think indicate wealth.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's not a top, it's a bra.

Last week Calvin had a band concert and he and his fellow musicians did a really excellent job.  The weather was very hot for the evening of the concert and since Central has no air condition, the teacher told the students they could dress down for the event.  Shorts, skirts and casual shirts were permissible.  They were still supposed to follow the dress code of school.

They didn't.

I saw more bra straps that night than I do browsing through Victoria's Secret.  Why is it acceptable for young girls (or any female) to expose bra straps like they are part of the outfit?  It's ugly and dumb.

The skirts were so short even though they were directed that "when a relaxed arm is hanging by one's side, the fingers MUST touch fabric."  There was one skirt that was so short, I was sure I was going to see the girl's underwear.  Don't parents look at their kids when they get in the car?

And so I am lamenting the lack of modesty in the dress of youth today. 

I'm so tired of picking up my kids from school and seeing bra straps, spaghetti straps, short shorts and skirts,  incredibly tight pants and tops and yoga pants.  And I am sad. Sad that no one is teaching girls that this isn't good for them.  It's sending the wrong message.  

Boys have biological responses to these clothes that they cannot control without a great deal of effort.  Especially young teenage boys.  My poor boys know they are supposed to only have clean thoughts.  So they start out the day with clean thoughts.  But then they get to school and see bra straps.  Their minds wander to bras and boobs and they have to try so hard to bring their minds back to clean thoughts.  Luckily I have good boys who do this.  What about the boys who don't?  Their minds are going from bras to boobs to all over the place.  No wonder my daughter laments that boys are pigs and gross and treat girls badly.  How can they be nice and respectful to girls when girls are advertising themselves in such a demeaning manner?  

If there are any girls out there who want to date my sons, I am saying right now that you will not go with my boys in immodest clothes.  I'm not going to have it.  I'm sorry if it's harsh or mean but I'm protecting my boys.  And that includes prom dresses.  

I don't even want to get started on yoga pants.  Let me just say that I wore yoga pants in high school.  I wore them under my skirt and they were called TIGHTS.  Wear yoga pants if you are doing yoga or exercising.  But that's it!

There's a dress code at school but it's not enforced.  Emily and Christopher say nothing happens to the kids who violate it.  So really nothing will change.  I'm not going to get all Felice Martin on everyone but I'm going to complain about it here to my one reader.  Anna, I hope you enjoyed this and got my Felice Martin reference.  ;)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Yeah, when you look annoyed all the time, people think that you're busy.

I've been busy.

I've got 8 kids, you know.

Today I went on a field trip with Spencer and was talking to a dad and he said he has two kids and it feels like he has 6.  I laughed.  I have 8 and it feels like 8.

I listened to parents at a baseball practice complain that they have to split up and each take a kid to different activities.  And how hard it is.

People ask me all the time how I do what I do.

I don't really know.  I just do it.

And I love it.

Teddy turned one two weeks ago.  What if I hadn't had him and stopped with Genny?  He's such a sweet, smiley boy.  Reminds me of Spencer as a baby.  Happy-go-lucky.  Teddy doesn't like loud noises and screams when I use a paper towel dispenser in a public bathroom.  He doesn't like the door closing on the van.

Genny is trying potty training.  She's not quite ready.  She follows Lizzie everywhere and dances all the time and runs into the wall.  We call her DG for "Drunk Girl" on SNL.  Genny is terrified of dogs.

Lizzie is almost done with her first year of school.  She is going to young 5's next fall.  Lizzie is ALWAYS happy.  I mean always.  Always.

Cameron is playing baseball.  Mostly he makes decorations with his cleats in the dirt and uses his bat as a gun to kill zombies.  He is amazingly good at math but doesn't like school.  He doesn't eat much and is totally skinny.

Spencer is also playing baseball.  He and his friends have started a comic book club at school and they are writing comics.  They are cute and funny.  Spencer is so good at cleaning the kitchen.  He worries about everything and has a secret crush on his best friends' mom.

Calvin is another baseball player.  I love that his team is the Mudhens.  He is so good at the trumpet.  I love hearing him play.  He is always trying to make good choices.  Just today he chose not to see a movie that had a lot of inappropriate things in it.  He loves running track and is super fast.  Jimmy John's fast.

Christopher is trying so hard to get buff and get better at football.  He is obsessed with Dr. Who.  He finally made a friend this year.  I wish he had more friends.  No one gets him.  I wish I had lots of money to buy him some cool high school clothes.

Emily is beautiful.  She is realistic in her goals.  She is amazingly talented.  She wants to go to MSU for college.  I want her to stay home.  I have learned not to really talk to her for 30 minutes after she wakes up.  It's just better for everyone.  She has a cute boyfriend.  I love her.  We are good friends.

These kids just fill my heart with joy.  I don't have a lot of time with all of us here in this house.  Just one more year.  I wish I could freeze time right now.  I'm scared.  How will I do at letting go?  How hard will it be?  What is that phase of life like...having your children leave and fall in love and need you in a different way than they need you now?

I try not to dwell on what's coming in the future.  If I do, I start to feel panicky.  I'll just take what I have now.  Because it's perfect for right now.

And I love it.

Friday, February 1, 2013 questions...

Do you have pets?  No Never Ever Again
Three things close to you. Cell phone, a list on the back of an envelope and orange peels
Do you have a driver's license? If so, did you ever have an accident? Yes.  I've had 3 accidents that I can remember.  
When did you wake up today? 5:05 am
Your last movie: Pride and Prejudice
The last text message you received:  Senta Hill telling me I'm one of the few people who understand her busy life
When did you take your last shower? 10:30
What's your ringtone? The Hunger Games mockingjay whistle
Did you ever visit another country? Canada.  I got married there
Do you like Sushi? Only if it's deep fried
Where do you go grocery shopping? Aldi and Kroger
Did you ever take something to sleep better or fall asleep easier? No because then I won't wake up when Teddy cries.  But I wish I could.
How many siblings do you have? 1 perfect sister
Laptop or PC? PC.
How old do you turn on your next birthday? 39
Do you have glasses or contacts? no
Do you color your hair? yes
What are your plans for today? Getting ready for Bunco party tonight.  BUNCO PARTY!!
When did you last cry? Yesterday when I read a really horrible article on the internet.
What do you think is the perfect pizza topping? ham and pineapple
Hamburger or Cheeseburger? Cheeseburger.
Did you ever have an all nighter? TONS
What's your eye color? green and gray.  Greenish gray.
Are you able to tell Coke and Pepsi? yes.  I like Coke.
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