Archives for July 2011

Hammered Flowers

This is the perfect summer craft, even for those of you that may not be especially craft inclined, like myself.   And it’s fun for any age!

You’ll need:
Cardboard 
 (My husband just pulled apart a box.)
Thick Watercolor Paper 
 (That’s probably not the technical term.)
Masking Tape 
 (The wider the better.  We only had thin.)
A Hammer
(or two)

Flowers

First, send everyone on a flower hunt!  If you don’t have flowers, leaves work just as well, even weeds!

Next, tape the corners of a sheet of paper to a piece of cardboard.   Place flowers face down on paper and completely cover with tape.  Now hammer away!

Here’s a picture of my Mom helping Mase.  We forgot to tape the paper down this time, but it’s much safer for your digits if you remember this step.  Some kids may get a little crazy with the hammer.

Finally, carefully pull off the tape and behold your beautiful creation. 
Some flowers will work better than others.
We didn’t get so creative, but you could even make an eye-catching design out of the flowers. 
My mom learned to make hammered flowers from a man, who learned to make hammered flowers from a man, who makes and sells his hammered flowers for a living.  Our masterpieces are not for sale, as my daughter decided to decorate our aphid-infested plum tree with them. 
Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: Appreciating my lovely artwork.

My Anniversary Present

Last July, life was busy!  My husband and I completely forgot our anniversary, until my Mom called, “Happy anniversary!”

This year my husband decided to make it memorable.  He found discounted paragliding tickets.  My parents would even be passing through town to watch the kids.

This wouldn’t be my first time flying.  I’m actually quite experienced in the world of aviation.

While my friends were all having high school graduation parties, my parents took me skydiving instead.

We went static line, which means I wasn’t strapped to anyone, but my shoot would be pulled open by the plane, just a few seconds after I fell.

I was excited, but terrified!  I’d never even been in a plane before!

The worst part–you couldn’t just jump out of the plane.  That would be too easy!  Instead you had to pull this Indiana Jones type maneuver and walk out onto the plane’s wing, while it was in the air!  Then jump! 

My parents were kind enough to let me go first.   There were some bars to hold onto, but after only a few steps, I couldn’t hold on!  The wind blasted me off the wing.  I was completely disoriented for a few seconds.  The chute thankfully opened.

Then…peace.  

It was so beautiful and calm as I made the lengthy float down.  Truly a phenomenal experience…until I semi-crash landed and got tangled up in a cornfield.

After college,  I wanted to try bungee jumping.  Skydiving was so fun.  I thought this would be easy in comparison.  I jumped with confidence…until I starting falling!

I wanted down!  But I was stuck!  Up and down again and again…and again.   It was terrible and seemingly endless!   I could barely walk afterwards, my legs were shaking so badly.  I will NEVER go bungee jumping again.

So, back to paragliding.  I wasn’t sure.  This time I was strapped to someone.   Not the most romantic anniversary as that someone wasn’t my husband, but I was grateful he seemed to know what he was doing.

 There wasn’t much wind, so my instructor told me I had to start running down the cliff! 

 The running was scary, but the flying…awesome!

My husband had gone first and nearly had a hang glider crash into him after he landed.  My landing was not so eventful.  I was just happy to not be tangled up in a corn field. 

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Appreciating my groundedness, but hopeful to go flying again. 

I’m adding this several days after I posted, because my parents just reminded me of a detail I forgot:   On our skydiving adventure, one of the men that jumped immediately before us had a small mishap.  His para-shoot didn’t open!  Luckily, his much smaller back-up shoot saved him, though he came down quickly and semi-crashed into a muddy field about a mile away from his target.


And I’d like to amend my goal: Forever appreciating my groundedness.

Warning: Don’t Leave Anything!

I know I probably shouldn’t share this story.  It makes me look bad, but I think you’re all better off knowing. 
I can’t be trusted!

My husband’s childhood friend, Troy, was passing through town with his family and crashed at our house for the night.

A few days later, I noticed something in our basement. 

A blanket.

It was a little ratty.  Possibly a treasured baby blanket, but they didn’t call looking for it.  Maybe it wasn’t even theirs.  I was lazy.  I just didn’t feel like mailing that blanket.  So, I didn’t.

A couple weeks later we got something in the mail.   A small package from Troy’s wife.  Inside was the tiniest barbie doll shirt.  They had accidentally taken it and wanted to return it.  Are you kidding me!?!  Who takes the time to mail a barbie shirt?

We surely wouldn’t have missed that barbie shirt, but I guess that’s what good people do.  Return things.

You’d think I would have finally mailed that blanket, right?  Only I didn’t.  I intended to, but I kept procrastinating.   Then, I was sure they’d be coming back through town…anytime. 

It’s been about three years now.  We never used the blanket–too much guilt. 

FINALLY, my husband and his friend were both visiting Boise at the same time this past weekend.  I wrote myself about five notes so I wouldn’t forget it.  Sure, Troy’s kids are practically grown and probably don’t want the blanket anymore, but I was ready to be rid of my guilt.

I approached the wife with the blanket.  And a bonus, one of my children had smeared chocolate on it in the car.

She was gracious and laughed about it.  Yes, they’re good people.   Though I’m not so sure they’ll be visiting again.

Now I just need to take back this spoon.

My husband accidentally took it home from a Christmas church potluck in 2009.   It’s a great spoon, but I don’t use it either.  I just keep forgetting to take it to church.  I mean there have only been about 79 Sundays.

So, if you ever stop by and visit me, I’m warning you now.  Please don’t leave anything!  Though, we may still snatch it from you at a potluck, while you’re not watching.

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Week:  Return the spoon!

My OFFICIAL Apology

We had an eventful few days.  My family traveled to the happenin’ metropolis of Boise, Idaho for my husband’s 20th high school reunion.  I even got a very discounted rate at a nice hotel.  It was much fancier than the Motel 6-like hotel we usually end up at.

The festivities were, as you would expect, immensely exciting.

BUT, I don’t have time for that now.  I have something far more important to discuss.

I need to make:

My Official Apology to the Hotel Staff
and a Few Other Randomly Impacted People

First, I’m truly sorry…for the teeth marks on the Do Not Disturb sign.  It was just too enticing.

Also, really sorry…despite your efforts to be green as you stated in numerous signs all over my hotel room, my one-year-old, Dax, had different plans.   He had this uncontrollable urge to keep turning on the bathtub water.

And, due to the lack of a bathroom door lock, the water pretty much flowed…the entire trip!
Extra sorry…I exaggerated a little in the previous apology.  Dax wasn’t playing with the tub faucet the entire trip.  He took a few breaks to press buttons on the phone! 
A big apology to the front desk who received a call from my button-happy dude.   It took me a good twenty minutes to figure out I could just disconnect the darn thing! 
I’m so sorry…we abused our thermostat privileges. 
 Up and down.  Up and down.  It was a constant battle between my husband and myself.  Luckily, we had some cozy nights, as my side of the bed was closest to the controls.  Not that I planned for that to happen.

I apologize…for the footprints on the bedding.  I’m sure they’ll wash out.   

My deepest regrets…maybe the air vent was broken before we arrived, but it doesn’t stay shut anymore.

Big mistake…graham crackers.

Sincerely sorry…this one is for our hotel room neighbors.   Our seven-year-old daughter, Dani, decided to start her career as a pop singer early Sunday morning.   
 Thankfully,  the hotel did provide us with one secret weapon that abruptly ended her singing practice. The Disney Channel.  More specifically Phineas and Ferb.  She quickly morphed into a quiet vegetative state.
And as an extra big thank you to the hotel staff, I’ve accidentally kindly left you my very favorite pillow.  Please don’t throw it out cherish it forever.
Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Be grateful we are home, where the neighbors are not so close and everything is already damaged.

The ULTIMATE Tantrum!

Some days I feel outmatched as a mom.  My one-year-old, Dax, has always had a knack for tantrums, but the past couple of weeks he’s really stepped up his game.

Here are a few sources of his latest angry tirades.

“Daaaa!”  (Daddy! Don’t leave me!)

“Ahhhhhrrr!” (Don’t shut fridge door!)
“Ooww!”  (Must go outside!)
“Ck! Ck!” (I want snack!)
“Ck! Ck!” (Give me drink!)
“Ck! Ck!” (Want milk!  No water!)
“Ahhh ga!!!” (Orange juice!!!  No milk!!!)

Then there was the ULTIMATE tantrum this week.  

We have a ceiling projector set up in our basement.  My kids had just finished watching a cartoon and Dax had the remote!   For fear of losing the remote forever, (as we have before) I confiscated the remote.   And it began.

Dax was mad!   I was standing up and he started ramming into my leg, also pinching me!  Ouch!

I attempted to ignore him and reached up to turn off the ceiling projector.  And, this is the honest truth.  A can of V-8 fruit juice fell from the sky and landed on my already screaming boy’s head! (Please see footnote for falling juice explanation.)

Have you ever seen an already angry toddler get hit in the head?  He thought I did it on purpose!  I tried to cuddle my injured man, but he wanted nothing to do with that.  Now he was really mad.  For the next five minutes, Dax kept running and screaming.  Then he would purposely fall into a crying roll on the floor.  Again and again.

I decided to sit down and observe.  This backfired.  Crying, angry toddler came right at me and rammed his head into my knee!  My mommy heart just went out to my crazy injured dude.  He crumpled in my lap for just a minute.  I carried him upstairs.

But he didn’t truly want cuddles.  Dax was just revamping.  As soon as we sat down, the guy took off!  He continued his screaming run and roll maneuver for another ten minutes!  I’m not sure he even knew why at this point.

Finally, my toddler wore himself out.  Dax got up, with tears still in his eyes, and headed to the kitchen.  He found a few goldfish crackers on a bench.

After his munching, my tired little boy came over and gave me the sweetest cuddles.  My favorite thing!  We sang “Twinkle Twinkle.”  His favorite thing!  He was smiling and giggling…until the next tantrum.

I LOVE being a mom. 

Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Beware of falling juice.

Footnote: I called my husband and inquired, “Did you happen to put a can of juice on top of the projector?”

“No.  Why would I…oh wait.  Ya I did.  I was trying to get the projector to go lower.”

“Huh.  Nice to know.”

Extra Footnote:  The pictures are not from the ultimate tantrum.  They are from this morning.  He was mad because I wouldn’t let him teeter around on the top edge of the bathroom tub.

Tales of my TV News Journey: Part 3 of 3

Hitting the Big Time!

I loved working at a ski resort!   Free skiing!  And!  As I was physically working in the cold all day, I could eat massive amounts of food, while my extra pounds just melted off.  I also saw Tony Danza skiing once.  I know your jealous.

Still, I kept applying for broadcasting jobs.  Then it happened!   I got a position as a morning and noon news anchor!!!  It was in small-time Idaho Falls, but I wasn’t going to be picky.

My new boss told me, “See this large box.  It’s filled with resume tapes of people who want this job.  (It was.) There are many more experienced people applying for this job.  You are not qualified for this position, but, I had a good feeling about you.” No pressure.

Still, for someone who used to be terrified!!! of public speaking this was truly scary.  I did do some anchoring in college (also scary), but that was…college.  Now, this was REAL.

I was given a makeover.  They cut my hair and gave me a lovely football helmet look.  Then, they had the nerve to pluck my enormous eyebrows.   Since my salary was so meager (less than the ski resort) they also gave me an itty-bitty clothing allowance, which I never used.

The coloring in this photo didn’t transfer well, but here I am, sporting a lovely news anchor vampire look.

Surprisingly, on camera I wasn’t nervous.  It seemed like I was only talking to a camera and a few people in the studio, rather than the ten people who were actually watching.

I had always thought it would be so fun to get recognized and it began, almost as soon as I started.  I would be at the bank, the store, walking down the street, and people would come up to me, sometimes even saying nice things.  Exciting right?  Only it wasn’t.   I felt awkward.

At the news station I was in my comfort zone.  I befriended all of the people I was working with.  My co-anchor was like a big teasing brother.

And, I thought I was doing a decent job.  I also often ended up helping to produce the show, as my producer, who I adored, had a bit of a drug problem.  Our minuscule ratings were even up!

One night,  there was a highly unusual weather situation in Idaho Falls.  A bad storm hit and caused some damage, maybe from a micro-burst.  I can’t remember.  It was a big story for the local news!  My power went out and I had no idea about any damage.  I went to bed early so I could still get up at my normal 2 am hour.

When I went into work, my producer hadn’t made it to work again.  I would be producing and anchoring for the day.

The news director came in later and started just yelling at me.  “Why didn’t you come in!  No one came in!  Didn’t you know we needed help covering stories last night!”  I should have said, “My power was out.  I didn’t know what happened.  You should have called me.”

BUT, I wasn’t so skilled at confrontations back then.  I took the berating and didn’t say a word.  I would like to shake my old self.  “Stand up for yourself!”  But I digress.

Except for that day, I really had a blast in my news job, but it wasn’t to last.  After about six months, I was blindsided!

New management took over our parent company and I was called in to meet with them.  They were changing things up, getting rid of people–including me!  There was a six month out in my contract, so I didn’t technically get fired, but really, I did.

My co-anchor would be leaving too.  His contract was up in just a couple of months and they weren’t renewing.   My occasionally high producer kept her job.

Their supposed reasoning behind the decision was very lengthy and confusing.  It had to do with a competing station. They, of course, topped it off by mentioning the time I didn’t come in during the storm.  Again, I said nothing!

I admit, I did flub my words daily a bit, and there was also that day where I accidentally burst out laughing on-air…and couldn’t stop, but they didn’t bring it up.

I was later informally asked if I would like to move to weekend anchor or producer.  I preferred to leave.

I was most upset because there weren’t other job options for me near Idaho Falls.  I knew I would have to move, away from the guy I was dating.

We were not a good match, but I was so attached.  I couldn’t break it off while I lived there.  Thankfully, he wasn’t ready to propose.

I moved back, to a different area of Salt Lake, and met my wonderfully sweet, handsome, and cheesycharming husband at a church activity just a couple days later.

Sure, he completely snubbed me at our first meeting and dated my best friend before me, but, that’s a story for another day.

I’m so grateful I lost my anchor job.

Thus ended my TV news journey.  I went on to sell and write radio commercials, became a college recruiter, and now I have a most challenging, but rewarding career as a stay-at-home mom.

Some days I think my kids would like to fire me, but they are forever stuck.  Haha!

I know people don’t get jobs and are fired from jobs and there isn’t a seemingly good reason.  Life doesn’t always take a turn out for the better, but I still can’t discount the experiences I’ve had.   I am grateful for them.

Grateful Mom Goal:  Try to see the big picture.  

Related Stories:

Tales of my TV News Journey: Part 2 of 3

 An Unforgettable Moment

After I dodged the tornado in August, I still couldn’t find a broadcasting job!  I was broke, so I stayed in Salt Lake and finally got a job at a ski shop in nearby Park City, then took a lift operator position at Deer Valley ski resort.

I kept applying for on-camera news positions out of state, but also applied to be a news producer at a Boise, Idaho television station.  On-camera jobs were so competitive and I had to be realistic with my job expectations.

I drove up to Boise and did a lengthy interview with a woman who was in charge of hiring.   It went fabulously!

I knew I could do that job well.  I was confident and sure I was going to be a news producer and move to Boise.  Except, I didn’t get the job.  Or, any other news job!  Arg!

So, in Salt Lake I remained.   My older brother and sister-in-law were living in Texas at the time, but they were visiting family a few hours away, near Idaho Falls.  My sister-in-law had gone through a miscarriage, but was now 22 weeks pregnant, with twins!

But there were some terrible complications while they were in Idaho. My sister-in-law was transferred down to a Salt Lake hospital.  On December 8th, my father’s birthday, she lost her little boy, Corban, but gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Lisa Zoe.   Lisa weighed one pound.

I wish I could say I was a huge comfort and help to my brother and sister-in-law, but I wasn’t.  Being young and not having any children of my own, I couldn’t comprehend the depth of their pain.  I didn’t know what to say or how to act.  Still, I got to hold my precious little niece in the palms of my hands and I will cherish that experience forever.  Lisa passed away December 18th, in my brother’s arms.

I’m so grateful I didn’t get that job.
Grateful Mom Goal:  Cherishing my little ones.

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Related Stories:

Tales of my TV News Journey: Part 1 of 3

Salt Lake City 1999

A good blog friend emailed me this weekend, telling me she didn’t get a job she had hoped for.  Uhg.  I was immediately reminded of three amazing job failures I’ve had.

The Tornado

I was a Broadcast Journalism graduate and in 1999 I was interning at a local TV station, KSL, in Salt Lake City.   I thought it was intimidating, but so fun to go out on stories.  I was always fascinated how the reporters would get recognized wherever we would go.

I worked hard.  I was even given two positions as a station Tour Guide and as a temporary Associate Producer while interning.  Then!  I was offered a full-time position as an Associate Producer.  Woo-hoo!  I was scheduled to fill out paperwork on August 11 at 1:00 pm

I might have been a little extra…I don’t know the right word…uptight timely back then.  I would always go early to work and just hang out in my car, in the parking lot, for about fifteen minutes.  Traffic was so unpredictable and I was NEVER late.

The next day the woman who had given me the job was leaving to a different state.  She said not to worry–I had the job.  I only needed to fill out the paperwork.

The station manger called me into his office just after she left and said, in fact, “You do NOT have the job.”   What!?!  I had, previously, told him that my goal was to work on camera, and he was looking for someone long-term.  I was crushed.

So, from 12:45 pm to 1:00 pm on August 11,  when I should have been sitting in the parking lot, waiting to fill out paper work, I was just chillin’ in my apartment.  That’s when it hit!

The tornado.

It struck from 12:45-12:55 pm, right through downtown Salt Lake, exactly where I would have been sitting in my car!   All of the car windows were blown out of the cars in that parking lot.  Eighty people were injured and a man died in the trade show tent that was adjacent to the parking lot.

I’m so grateful I didn’t get that job.


Grumpy Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: Relax.  Being early is overrated.

Related Stories:

Our Summer Education: Bugs and Batman

My children are always coming up with creative and fun ideas.  This summer, they have been especially busy, working to share their knowledge on some important matters.  I mean, I didn’t know that…

While wasps like to crawl on your fingers (click for photo), bugs prefer to crawl on your face.

Also, did you know that if you’re given a healthy snack of strawberries and blueberries, it will taste much much better if (while Mom’s not looking) you add almost an entire tub of cool whip?
And, I never realized that Batman only likes to go boating in water that is mixed with eggs and flour. 
Finally, a lesson on gentleness, courtesy of my three-year-old.

“My butterfly died.  I just loved him so much.”
“Sorry buddy.  What happened?  How did he die?”
“I squished him just like that!” Mase says as he pinches his thumb and forefinger together.

Grateful Mom Goal: Keep enjoying our educational summer.

Blog Bluffing: I’m Coming Clean!

A few days ago, I had an unusual blog experience.   I was checking up on one of my earliest blog buddies.  I didn’t know her well, but she has a cute site and had been expecting her first baby.

I noticed she already had her baby, in June.  I looked at her latest entry.  There were several anonymous comments.

They pointed out that her timeline didn’t match up.  According to her previous posts, her baby should have been due in September of this year, but here was a full-term baby in June.

There were more discrepancies, not just with her timeline, but with what she was writing.   After looking over some of her posts, I still want to be wrong, but it seems she didn’t actually have a baby.

I’m hoping there’s some good explanation?  A miscarriage she was embarrassed about?  A secret adoption? Maybe she was an undercover blogging special agent!   OR, it could all have been a hoax?  She may not even be a she!

A couple of you may know who I’m talking about.  I’d rather not mention her name or blog.

She hasn’t deleted the questioning comments, nor has she refuted them.  So, I thought I would set the example and fess up to a few things of my own.


My Twelve Tiny Blog Bluffs
and Confessions

 **I’m adding this late because I saw some confusion, but you just need to click on the subjects (like Snapping) to find more information about a particular story.**

#1 Snapping

I may have said implied that I don’t yell at my kids, only snap.  It’s possible one of my recent snaps came out a bit like a yell, but only once…a day.  And since I’m talking about me, I’m planning to whiten my teeth soon, but I deceptively whitened them (using Picnic) for my blogging profile photo.

Evie’s twenty-two rock babies are still very precious, but they are being completely neglected!

#3 Our Pet Snail


My daughter’s pet snail met it’s doom in the dishwasher.  Today, I’m coming cleanish.  Maybe the snail cup had been sitting in the kitchen and I might have unintentionally dumped him in the dishwasher…but I can’t be sure.

I was going to stop listening to questionable lyrics around my kids.  That “Catch a Grenade” song came on the radio while I was driving with my children this week.  It’s just so catchy!  I left it on.  Hopefully, we will still not have any more grenade ditty’s on our way to church.
I admitted to eating an entire bag of Three Musketeers Marshmallows, BUT, I didn’t actually finish off one bag of Halloween candy.  I finished off two.  The kids helped me (a little) with the second bag, so I didn’t think that should count.

#6 Jail

 You may already know, I used to have a real jail in my home.  My confession: some days I would like to have a jail again–to keep my rambunctious kids in!
After our big oil disaster, I haven’t been so good at keeping the oil up high, like I professed I would.  We’ve had two more oil spills.  One of them, just this week!
  He’s still dressing backwards and most days I don’t say anything.  I’ve decided to let this cute phase last into his teenage years.
 
  Despite my goal to appreciate the new scissored look of my couch, I’m NOT.
We are those neighbors again.  Our great beauty of a van has returned to reside in front of our house…and may never leave.  Though, my neighbors might.
This one isn’t my fault!  I intended to throw away that terrible elk, but my husband wouldn’t let me.  He insisted requested we save it, to help keep the freezer cold.  Years from now…when we move into the nursing home… I will have my grandkids finally toss that smelly elk!

I was going to get rid of my son’s weapon also, but, much like the elk, it still stays with us…no one is safe!
Ahhh…I feel much better getting that out.
Confessing about having a fictitious baby might be a bit more difficult, but I think freeing also.
I’ve been a little concerned since this whole blog incident happened, but I’m fairly certain most of my other blog friends are completely real…right?
Grumpy Mom Goal: No more songs about grenades.