Wednesday, October 3, 2018

On the First Day of Halloween . . .

We've already gotten into the spirit of Halloween, because it's the first day or so of the month.  Blythe has been thrilled.  Brandt has not.  On Sunday Blythe asked me what the date was, and then she asked what day it would tomorrow.  When I told her it would be October 1st, she said, "Do we get to decorate for Halloween?!"  I told her we would, and she was super excited. 

So on the first day of Halloween, I began decorating.  I hauled everything up and worked through boxes, putting things out while saving stuff aside that I thought Blythe liked to do.  As she got home, I was outside, and the first thing she said was, "Can we decorate for Halloween?"  She was so excited.  I said I had started, but I had things for her to do, and she raced inside to see what I had done.  She came right back out, mad at me.  "I wanted to put things on the piano!" she said.  "I wanted to do the bat's blood!  I wanted to hang the bats!"  I apologized, and agreed to let Ellen come over and help decorate.  The two of them did stuff together, and it was all okay.  They spread bones around front yard, named every Halloween decoration (eye roll), stuck bugs on the wall, and put glass ornaments on the black twigs.  It was just enough to give them some leeway in how they decorated, it filled the time they were together, and they both had a great time.  The shuse looks spooky which Blythe and I like and Brandt and Kent don't.

And then, as if decorating wasn't enough, we got booed.  That's right! On the first day of Halloween, we got booed.  Brownies and fruit snacks on a cute Halloween plate, accompanied by a card and a bag full of cut out ghosts.  All we had to do was tape a ghost to our door, fill the plate, and pass it all along to the next family.  What a way to start the month!

I'm going to put some bats hanging from the mantle, too.
I just haven't gotten to that, yet.

On the second day of Halloween I found myself too busy to make anything to boo someone with, but I did hang spiderwebbing on the porch.  Still not finished with all the outside decorations.

On the third day of Halloween I got my act together, and with Blythe's help, we made monster munch, a popcorn/peanut/candy corn/Reeses Pieces/pretzel mix covered with a peanut butter and honey mixture that makes it much like caramel popcorn, and equally addictive.  I was happy/sad we had lots left over, because I know I'm going to eat waaaaaaaaaay too much. 

After some discussion, we chose to boo the Runias.  Blythe had talked to Evan at school, and he had said how desperately he wanted to get booed.  They have a camera at their front door, so we had much discussion about how they could drop it off, ding dong, then flee without being seen and recognized.  I suggested we make them look like ghosts, but as we don't have any small-ish sheets, I gave them white towels to put over their heads to mask their faces.  It was decided I would drive them down to the culdesac and drop them off.  They would ring the bell, then dash around the side of the house, into Sertoma Park, and meet me two culdesacs up.  That's a good plan.

I drove them into the culdesac, dropped them off, and told them to be sneaky.  As I came around the corner heading out of the culdesac, there were the Runias returning from a walk.  I realized that they were going to be walking right into the children trying to boo them, and Brandt and Blythe were going to get caught.  I hoped the children saw them coming before emerging from hiding.  I parked at the end of the culdesac and watched.  The Runias went into the house through the garage, but then Dane brought out the trash, twice, and seemed to not be in any sort of hurry to get back inside.  The garage finally closed, and I turned around to see that happened with the kids.

They had just started out from behind the neighbor's fence when they heard the garage open.  They darted back into hiding and slyly watched the Runias come home.  They stayed hidden for a few minutes after the garage closed, and once again, I parked at the end of the culdesac to watch how it all unfolded.  I saw the children creep up along the front of the house, towels over their heads, and deposit the monster munch on the porch.  Brandt rang and they dashed away into the field.  I couldn't see if anyone came, so I drove up to meet them.  They met me, having not been caught, and we all found the whole experience rather thrilling.  We had to do one final drive by to make sure they had found the treats, because neither of them heard the doorbell ring inside the house, and they worried no one heard and the plate was still on the porch.  They must have heard, because when we drove past, the plate was gone.  What a rush!

I'm not sure I would want a treat from either of these people.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Unrestful Thoughts or Vocabulary

I read to Blythe last night, and after the chapter, as she was supposed to be settling down and getting ready to fall asleep, we had the following conversation.

Blythe: "Mom, what's the word that means the smell after rain?"
Me: "What? Fresh, clean."
Blythe: "No, not that.  I was looking up vocabulary words at school today, and at the bottom of a page I sat the question, 'What's the word that means the smell after rain?' and I was going to click on it to learn the word, but then I had to get off the computer.  It's driving me crazy! I've got to know what it is! I won't be able to sleep until I know.  Will you please look it up on your phone?"

I didn't have my phone on my person, so I went downstairs and looked it up.  Here's what I found.  The word is "Petrichor."  Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɪkɔːr/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek πέτρα petra, meaning "stone", and ἰχώρ īchōr, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

I went back upstairs and read Blythe the definition.  She said, "Oh good. Thanks Mom.  Now I'll be able to sleep."  And she rolled over and was rather quickly asleep.

This morning I went biking with Maureen.  I shared this experience and the definition, but as we talked, I realized I had no idea how to use it in a sentence.  Was it a noun? And adjective?  I was at a loss.  So I got home and looked it up again to see how it should be used.  Here's what I found today. 

noun: petrichor
  1. a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.
    "Other than the petrichor emanating from the rapidly drying grass, there was not a trace of evidence that it had rained at all."

I think this is a word I will try and incorporate into my regular parlance, and will encourage Blythe to do the same.  I'm delighted that she's looking up words and wants to know what things mean.  In this regard, she's Kent's child for sure!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Being Difficult

Blythe is often difficult.  Maybe even more than often.  Maybe all the time.  Brandt, on the other hand, is practically always pleasant and helpful.  Suddenly, however, this weekend, Blythe has been super coorperative, obedient, and helpful without complaint.  We've done cleaning and straightening and work, and she's been right in there, doing what I ask.  I very nearly asked her, "Who are you and what have you done with our daughter?"  In sharp contrast, Brandt has been a pill.  I've asked him to do things, and he's picked up a book, sat on couch, and ignored me.  He's been defiant, disobedient, and indifferent, ornery and bratty.  What the Yellowstone?  I've been at a loss.  What happened to Brandt? 

I've become convinced that they got together and talked, and Blythe expressed she's tired of being the bad one.  Would Brandt please take a turn?  He agreed and took over helm, showing all the same defiance and difficultness usually characteristic of our Blythe. 

This leads me to ask, Why does it have to be so difficult?  Will they ever both be good at the same time?  Will it ever be less challenging?  I suppose I should be grateful that they largely are not awful at the same time.  If that happens, Kent and I will have to flee across town to Grandma Sue's house.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Primary Program

Today Blythe participated in the ward Primary program.  As always, it was fantastic.  The children bore sweet testimony through their parts and their singing, and they even recited a small portion of The Living Christ.  Blythe was reluctant to participate, saying she was embarrassed to stand up in front of everyone and say her part, but she did a beautiful job.  With the senior Primary girls, she sang the verses of Gethsemane, the closing song.  The singing always brings the spirit the most.  Blythe's part was,
I feel God’s love and peace when I serve others.  Once my mother invited some people for a little party.  I invited Saneh and Will Echols.  Saneh loves humming birds so I drew a picture of one for her.  I felt really happy when I gave it to her. 
I think this is very thoughtful.  Blythe was self-conscious about it, not wanting to mention Saneh by name.  She tweaked it just a bit to say, "I invited a friend and her son," without naming names.  I can't believe how big she's getting.  We only have one more Primary program with a participant, and then Blythe will be in Young Women just like Brandt is in Young Men.

We are pleased with the wonderful things the children are learning at church and the way their testimonies are growing.  It warms my heart to hear them bear testimony of Christ and his church.

And just as a side note, Barbara Christensen came up to me at the end of Relief Society and said, "I know you already know this, but Blythe is beautiful!"  I do know!

Wilderness Survival

Back in June, when Brandt went to scout camp, he did all of the requirements for his wilderness survival merit badge except one.  He needed to "Improvise a natural shelter. For the purpose of this demonstration, use techniques that have little negative impact on the environment. Spend a night in your shelter."  The whole summer has passed, we're nearly at the end of September, the weather has turned, the nights are cool, and I realized we needed to get this requirement finished.  So last night I helped Brandt "improvise a natural shelter" in the "wilderness."  We were in the backyard, but it was outdoors, so it counted.  We took our six patio chairs, tied a tarp over them, and called it good.  It's improvised, right? We went over to see if Jarom Oyler wanted to sleep with Brandt is his shelter, but he wasn't available, so I became the next best option.  Brandt might have preferred Kent, but Kent preferred me, so there it was.  

We slept under the tarp.  Well, Brandt slept.  I sort of tossed and turned and passed a rougher night as the blow-up mattress I was sleeping on deflated, and I was left on the ground.  I suppose it could have been worse--there were no rocks digging into me, nothing alive ran across my face, it didn't rain--but it wasn't great.  However, that one more merit badge finished, bringing Brandt one step closer to eagle rank.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


There was a lot of enthusiasm for family scripture study this morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fall Soccer, Part 1

Blythe has begun playing fall soccer again.  The past two seasons, Brian Bradford has been her coach, but Angela is having a baby in a few weeks, and he didn't feel like he could do it.  Kerrie, his assistant coach, is going to have a baby anytime, too, so she was out.  They had no one.  Barbara Lepinski put out a plea to all the parents, asking for help, and I felt like I should volunteer.  But I know nothing about soccer, really, and I didn't want that responsibility.  So I asked Mikayla.  She's coached for years, she knows what she's doing, and I hoped she would be willing.  I'm happy to report, that in exchange for me watching her children during practice (Monday's right after school) and at the games (if Guy wasn't home from work or Brick had a game), she said yes.  


So far, the season has been much improved over any of the past.  Mikayla is either a miracle worker, or the girls are figuring it all out, because they are actually having success.  They won their first game!!  And not only did they win, they scored three goals.  THREE!!!  Those of us watching from the sidelines were astounded and absolutely thrilled.  The other team did score one goal, but to win, and to win handily, was just fantastic.

Sadly, their second game was a rout.  While they did score two goals, which for our team is fantastic, the other team scored nine.  Nine to two is a demoralizing defeat.  Our poor goalie came out at the half and cried and cried.  Blythe didn't seem too concerned, and we pointed out that most of them looked like sixth graders when the majority of Blythe's team are fifth graders, and they've been playing together as a team for longer.  

They lost their third game, but only by one, and they scored again.  The fourth game, this afternoon's, they tied, one-one.  

Blythe has been playing well.  She's been more aggressive, charging the ball and throwing her weight around as she's defended her goal.  She had a great run in the third game, taking the ball up the sideline for more than half the field.  When we talked about it after the game, she said, "I kept telling myself, 'You play defense. You shouldn't be clear up here with the ball.' But I just kept going because I could."  It was really a fantastic move.

So far, I haven't taken a single picture of Blythe during any of her games.  I've been watching at least one of Mikayla's kids every time, so I haven't been able to really photograph anything.  But I'll have a Fall Soccer, Part 2, and actually take some pictures of her.  I have, however, taken a picture of Cora who has been with me for most of the first four games.  She has a fruit snack on her nose.  Why, you might ask?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Biking Sunrise

For the past month, it has been dark dark when I've begun biking in the morning.  I have a front and rear light and I wear a reflective vest, plus I try and watch traffic around me carefully.  I haven't wanted to move inside to do spin yet, because it hasn't been too cold and I really like to be outside as much as possible.  One perk of it being dark when I start is that I get to see the sunrise.  Several mornings recently have been absolutely glorious.

September 4

September 6

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Kent woke this morning with a serious case of bedhead.
The children thought his hair was hilarious!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Pictures Taken on the Sly

I took two pictures today, on the sly, without those I was photographing even knowing.  Blythe needed her dress for church ironed, I was supposed to have done it yesterday, and I forgot, so I pulled everything out this morning.  She wanted to help, asking, "Mom, when are you going to teach me how to iron?"  Who knew she wanted to know how to iron?  We went through steps, she sprayed and ironed, and I made sure she wasn't resting the iron on the fabric for too long in any one place.  It's her favorite dress at the moment; we wouldn't want a big iron mark burned into the fabric.

Then, Brandt passed the sacrament for the first time on our side of the chapel.  We don't have assigned seats, but we do feel more comfortable on the left side of the room, and our "route" is the one that takes the deacon up on the stand to give the sacrament to the bishopric.  That's serious business!  Today was the first time Brandt  had that route.  I really wanted a picture of him starting out, but he was too far away to be sneaky about it.  So I waited until he was closer to us, and then I surreptitiously snapped his picture.  I should have been thinking about Jesus, and after I took the picture, I did.  But it warms my heart to see our boy passing the sacrament.  I think he needs a haircut.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Texting or Funny Children

Here is a recently discovered text.  
Can you tell who sent it?  
I can.