Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall is in the air. . .

Have you noticed that when the kids go back to school a couple of weeks later - almost like magic, there is this crisp clean feeling in the air?  The feeling is something you can't quite put your finger on, but it definitely feels a little like Autumn.  I wonder if it is some chemical the trees release as they ready themselves to change the color in their leaves.  Maybe it's just the drop in temperature.  I don't know - but what I do know is that I start craving apple crisp, and fresh, warm homemade bread with honey, and I get excited to pull out my sweaters and boots.

The garden is starting to wind down.  A couple of weeks ago it was bursting with ripeness, but now it looks a little faded and wilted.  It's kind of sad, in a way, but also exciting because it means that in a few months I get to plant a whole new crop.

We have had OODLES of tomatoes and cucumbers.  In fact, I hate to say it, but I got sick of the cucumbers.  They started tasting bitter when the weather got hot and I became wary of the taste!  We also have cantaloupe ( I NEVER spell that right so thank heavens-to-Betsy for spell check!).  The melons are huge and bursting with juice!  They're better than last year's crop.  The watermelon died, though.  We have a few, but the vines up and withered when we got that really hot spell.  We've tried one of them but it wasn't very good.  I've decided that watermelon from the fruit stand is better and cheaper.

We've also had carrots - still have another crop that's getting ready to harvest - and we have the scrawniest, most sad onions ever, and I'm not sure they're worth the time or space either.  Maybe I just need to plant a different variety, because last year's onions were scrawny, too.  We planted too late and got very few peas (plus the quail got into the seeds after we planted). 

The corn has been amazing, though!  So sweet and abundant!  I'm not sure it's cheaper to plant corn, but it is certainly worth it.

All in all, I think the best bounty that we've received from our garden can't be eaten, but it can be savored - and that is FAMILY TIME.  We've spent hours working together, watching, weeding, and harvesting.  Peter and I have done most of the work, yes, but even strengthening our relationship has had its own benefits for our kids.  Don't get me wrong - it hasn't all been sunshine and daisies - we've had some of our biggest family fights in the garden, too.  But, in the final tally, I think it's been an amazing harvest that we didn't expect!

I am so looking forward to the Autumn - raking leaves, long walks, Halloween, putting the garden to rest for the winter.  And definitely sweaters and boots!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's our anniversary!

Sweet 16!  How is it that I have been married for 16 years?!!!  I seriously just turned 16!  Actually, I've turned 16 twice, and then some.

So, what has happened in 16 years?  Maybe it would be easier to say what hasn't happened.  Here are just a few things that have happened.  We have. . .
  • had three kids.
  • moved  7 times, all in the first 7 years.
  • traveled 1,909 miles, 4 days, in a U haul, with a 6 month-old, and a sedated cat, from Orem, UT to Pittsburgh, PA, stayed 6 months, then turned around and traveled 1,909 miles, 4 days, in a U haul, with a 1 year-old, and a sedated cat from Pittsburgh, PA to Orem, UT.
  • been to California at least 6 times.
  • (Peter has) worked for 6 different accounting firms.
  • bought a house.
  • had to declare bankruptcy once.
  • amazingly enough, neither one of us has been kicked out of the house after an argument.
  • just since Danny's been born, we've had to call poison control 5 times (fortunately, it's never been serious!)
  • owned three cars, only one has been new.
  • I have had major hip surgery, knee surgery, and been on crutches for, cumulatively, over a year of our married lives together.
  • had the following pets: rats, fish, turtles, frogs, lizards, mice, parakeets, and so many cats that I can't even count.  Right now we have two cats. (I have to admit that the pets are all my fault - well, some of them have been Heather's fault.)
  • had countless computers and, but I don't think we've ever bought a brand new one.
  • for the first 2 1/2 years of our marriage we didn't have a T.V.
  • managed to stay out of debt for the past 7 years (excluding our mortgage.)
Obviously, we're not glamorous or exciting people, but, looking back on this list - and thinking of all of the things I didn't include on this list - we've certainly experienced quite a few things.  Marriage is not what I thought it would be.  I thought it would be my "happily ever after," but instead it was my "your life is just starting"!  It's a daily challenge for us to live with each other; even after 16 years, we're still dealing with a lot of the same things that we dealt with in our first year of marriage that caused a lot of arguments.  There are a lot of days that are boring, frustrating, and we feel a lot like two people who are living separate lives in the same house.  But I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade Peter for any other man on the face of this planet, and that I am glad that I am married.  We've seen a lot of marriages fail, and we've seen a lot succeed, and we both agree that staying married seems much easier than being divorced.

I think kids have added more of everything to our marriage: more happiness, more yelling, more smiles, more grief, less time together alone, less sleep, less boredom, less selfishness, less money, more laundry, and etc.  We've joked that we'd be better parents if we didn't have kids.  I cannot imagine life without them.  It's hard to explain, but even when we didn't have them it seems like they were always there, they just hadn't been born yet.

With all that said, this post is dedicated to Peter - Happy Anniversary, Honey!  Even though it seems like we're going through the "poorer, sickness, worse" part of our marriage lately, Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I was born this way

We got a letter from our insurance company - one that many of you have probably received - wherein they ask about a claim that they processed (six months ago, I might add).  They already paid the claim, but they want to know if there is any liability for someone else to pay it.  Basically the questions are as follows:
Is the reason for the above condition the result of accident or injury?
Did this condition happen at a location such as at work, at a business, or other residence?
Was this condition caused by someone's lack of care or caution?
Did this condition happen as a result of a car accident?
I guess I could have put that my parents are responsible, because I was born with this condition.  Technically my conception was "an accident", as it were; it did happen at their residence (as far as I know); and it was because of someone's "lack of caution"; but I don't think a car had anything to do with it (and I really don't want to know if it did.

The questions go on, and on - about 12 in all.  Basically, they could have saved time and paper by simply asking this:
Is there any way we can stick this bill to someone else?  Because we REALLY don't want to pay it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole!

Yesterday, I had one of the most bizarre experiences.  I fell down the rabbit hole!  You know - the one from Alice in Wonderland, the one Alice falls through, where everything is upside-down, topsy-turvy, and nothing makes sense anymore.

I can't go into specifics about why I had this experience, and what precipitated all of this (one word: family), but I can say this:  suddenly I was running out the door, asking people if I was still asleep, and I found myself sitting on the floor of our new shed with the door closed and locked.  It was the only place I could think of where I could be alone.

Sometimes I seriously wonder if all this is some huge joke - like, some evil child has me in a big jar, and every once in a while, this evil kid shakes the bottle, just to see what I'll do!  I know it's not, that there is a bigger plan to all of this, but that is the way I feel from time to time.  That evil kid is going to kill me, slowly, one shake at a time!

I eventually got up off the shed floor and returned to my house, where the Mad Hatter, the Hare, the Mouse, and the White Rabbit, were all waiting for me, offering me a good cup-o' tea.  I, Alice, have decided to accept that I am definitely in Wonderland!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Oh, the funny things kids say!

I quite often make up lyrics to songs.  Last night, with Danny and Heather, I was singing to "Let's Go Fly a Kite":

"Let's all go to bed, to rest our sleepy heads,
Let's all go to bed and start a-snoring!"

Anyway, it continued until the last words, when I sang, "oh let's go, go to bed!"  On cue and on pitch Daniel sang a long, clear "Noooooo!"  It totally cracked Heather and I up.

The kids and I packed up the wagon with towels and sunscreen and walked to the neighborhood pool a couple of days ago.  Our "adopted grandma" (Barbara) came out to talk to us and asked us, "Where are you going?"

Daniel said, "To the church!"

I said, "No, we're going to the pool."

"To the school!" he shouted.

"No, Danny - the pool."

"To the cool!"

Notice the cats in the background - I'd hate to be Freddy - Zuma has a stinky bum!
Finally I enunciated, "Danny - the p-p-p-pool!"

"Oh, to the p-p-p-pool!" he said.  Another laugh!

Emily has been watching Yu-Gi-Oh (or however it is spelled), and is therefore learning a completely different way of speaking.  The cartoon likes to use big words, so she's also been trying that out.  She asked me the other day if the garden was "exasperating" me.  I laughed.  Then, the other day, Heather and I listened to her go into her room, trip over her toy horse, throw it out of the way, and say, "Curse you, Horse!" in a gruff voice.

They say to be healthy and happy you should laugh every day - I do!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ahh, Ahhh, Ahhhhh, CHOOOOOOO!

So, supposedly, we're supposed to be stewards of this great and marvelous world God gave us.  I have no problem with that.  The problem I have is allergies!  Why, if I am supposed to (and I would truly like to) plant a garden, trees, pull weeds, feed birds, mow my lawn, why would God make that nigh to impossible by causing my body to treat every pollen, spore, and dust it encounters as a grave offense?  This doesn't make sense! 

I understand the reason for weeds (though I really don't like them!)  I understand the need for insects (except for earwigs).  It's all a test, and something about Adam and Eve and some fruit - I get that.  But why make it impossible for some of us to be able to enjoys God's great outdoors?

Sorry, I know I'm whining.  I'll just go take an allergy pill and lie down now!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Welcome to my Junk Drawer!

My mom had a special drawer in the kitchen devoted to just "junk".  It was a lost and found, of sorts, and also a go to place if you needed some odd thing for this and that.  As Mama went through the house, cleaning and tidying, she'd pick up small things and put them in the junk drawer.  If we lost a small item, the junk drawer was the first place to look, second only to my room (I was the youngest child, and I found my brothers' and sisters' stuff so amazing that I just had to take it to my room.  Okay, okay - I stole stuff!)

My Mama
What was in Mama's junk drawer?  Paper clips, safety pins, rubber bands, ponytail bands, assorted screws, nuts and bolts, nails, bobby pins, barrettes, push pins, a hat pin (who uses those anymore?!), a beat up hammer, assorted board game pieces, pens (some worked, some didn't), pencils that needed sharpening, batteries (that might be dead), old broken jewelry, interesting rocks we kids found and "had" to keep, stuff we didn't even know what it was or how to use it, earrings that had no match, rubber bouncy balls, a few jacks. etc.  She kepts the small items sorted in an old, plastic silverware drawer organizer, and under the organizer she kept obituaries that she clipped from the paper, coupons she would likely never use, our vaccination cards, and, off to the side, soup can labels rolled up in a rubber band (to give to the school for their fundraising). 
"The Paddle"

The most dreaded thing in the junk drawer, at least to us kids, was "the paddle" - a toy cricket bat made out of cherry wood - when Mom was really mad, you knew it, because you'd hear the squeak of the junk drawer opening, and you better run for the hills with both hands over your bottom!  The funny thing is, I only remember my mom using it once - the threat of it was enough to keep me in line!  The paddle was discontinued in it's use as a "board of education," though, when one day my dad thought it would be a funny joke to smack my mom's backside with it while they had a playful argument.  He didn't hit her hard at all, but tears came to her eyes when she felt it's sting.  She had no idea how much the paddle could hurt until then!  After apologizing sincerely to us, my mom only ever used it for drawing a straight line, helping to mark how tall we were getting on the wall, and other miscellaneous things it came in handy for.

I have vivid memories of helping my mom clean out the junk drawer every couple of years.  We never knew what treasures we'd find, and it was fun to relegate items to certain compartments and sorting through everything.

Now that I am grown, married and have kids, I have a junk drawer, filled with all the same type of things. I don't know how a house could NOT have a junk drawer!  Especially with kids.  It's strange, though, because when my kids have their friends over, and they hear me say, "check the junk drawer!" none of them have ever heard of such a thing!  But, they all love the idea, and I would like to think that they might start one of their own at their house. 

So, what does a junk drawer have to do with me and this blog?  In my life, filled with stress, commotion, kids, hubby, carpool, church, and everything else on top, I find myself needing the proverbial "junk drawer": a place I can go to put all the special little things I find here and there, so that if I need it in the future, I can hopefully find it in the junk drawer!  So here it is, my blog - my Junk Drawer! 

I hope you can find a few things you might need here, too.  And definitely leave whatever special thoughts or memories you, yourself have!  I just might need what you put in my Junk Drawer!