This month's visiting teaching lesson:

I have to start this post by saying that I've always been blessed with amazing visiting teaching companions who teach me so much about so many different things. I met my current companion in the bathroom at church just after we moved here. She told me right up front that she hadn't been visiting teaching in over four years. She had a good excuse though- she's a mother of triplets, plus three other kids. I don't know how I got to be the lucky one who was assigned to her when visiting teaching became a possibility in her life again, but we have had a lot of fun together over the past four years (and nobody had better try to break us up!).

This morning we had an appointment to visit one of our sisters. Cindy was coming from a physical therapy appointment at the other end of town. I dropped the boys off at her place so they could play with her kids while her husband worked from home, then drove to meet her at Jackie's. Sometime after I arrived (as I was basking in the glow of actually having gotten there first even though I was 20 minutes late!), the phone rang. It was Cindy, and she had just gotten out of her appointment and was not going to make it in time. I heard through the receiver, "So enjoy your visit with Katie!" and then goodbye and that was it. Jackie and I had a great visit, and then I went to pick my kids up at Cindy's, where she was just arriving home. I couldn't help but notice how un-bothered she was that she had missed the appointment. I knew that if I had been in her position I would have berated myself for HALF THE DAY. But not Cindy- her appointment had run late, and she seemed to understand that it was physically impossible for her to be in two places at once, so she called to let it be known and left it at that. And it really wasn't a big deal at all! Like I said, we had a great visit without her and all was well. The sky didn't fall, we didn't say terrible things about her behind her back, and the Church is apparently still functioning. So that was my visiting teaching lesson this month: you can't be in two places at once, life goes on even when you can't make it, and there's no need to beat yourself up over little things that are just not your fault. Beautiful.

*Cindy- How can it be that I have not a single picture of us to go with this post!?


I carried a watermelon

I thought I would take the very sad occasion of Patrick Swayze's death to blog about my obsession with the movie Dirty Dancing.  It always has been and always will be my favorite movie of all time.  When I was younger, my friend Christina's mom taped it off HBO and edited out the commercials and the racy parts so that we could watch it over and over and over again in each other's living rooms.  We knew all the lines:

"Look, spaghetti arms!  This is my dance space, this is yours."
"Go back to your playpen- Baby."
"Where is my beige, irridescent lipstick!?"
"If you love me, you have to love all the things about me."
"Me?  I'm scared of everything!  I'm scared of what I saw, of what I did.  Of who I am.  And most of all, I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling, the rest of my whole life, the way I feel when I'm with you."

and the classic...

"Nobody puts baby in the corner."

Christina and I practiced the lift on our sofa cushions.  Oh we SO did!  The lift has to be the best moment in all of moviedom.  Both the lake scene and the final scene.  And oh, when she misses it when they do the Shelldrake and she does that funny thing with her thumbs!!  And the soundtrack- don't even get me started.  I'll just say that Hungry Eyes is a very integral part of my running mix.  I think I may have to watch it again, you know, out of respect for Patrick Swayze and all....


My personal hymn looker-upper

In Relief Society yesterday the opening hymn was Love at Home.  I always feel a little self-conscious when we sing well-known hymns since most people who've grown up in the Church know them by heart and I usually still need a little help from the hymn book.  When the singing started I had to peek over the bench at someone else's book to find out the page number (What?  Listen when they announce the hymn number and turn to it right away?  Huh?).  I started to think about my friend Eva, who always used to flip my hymn book to the right page for me when I was brand-new to the Church.  Even when the number wasn't announced, she knew every single one by heart.  

We kept singing Love at Home and I kept thinking about Eva and her family.  I thought about the time I had to stop by her house late at night to get something for school the next day.  When I looked past her into the living room, there were her parents and brothers and sisters, all in pajamas and with hair still wet from the shower, reading the Book of Mormon together.  I remember her mom's homemade jam, and how one time they decided to remodel their kitchen, so they checked out videos from the library to learn how to do it themselves.  Who does that!?  And here is a picture of my wedding cake- made by Eva's mom (and I REALLY appreciate her decorating skills now that I have tried my hand at wedding cake baking!)

I was so happy when Marley was born on Eva's birthday.  Her two little girls are so lucky to have her for a mom- someone to teach them, love them and flip their hymn books for them:).  I love you Eva- Happy early birthday!


Fun Facts About Fleas:

1.   An adult flea can live 3 months without "feeding" (on your blood).
2.  NOTHING can kill a baby flea egg.
3.  Baby fleas eat what is called "flea diet", which is adult fleas' poop.
3.  The number of fleas you observe crawling on your dog represents about 5% of the total flea population currently residing in your home.
4.  A diaper pail full of stinky diapers is like a little flea Disney World.

So I took the dog to the vet a few weeks ago.  Several days later I was brushing him and I noticed bugs crawling around in the brushed-off fur.  I had a little freak-out on my front porch.  I still have vivid memories of contracting head lice on a trip to Egypt when I was five.  My mom tried various methods to get rid of them and the only thing that worked was a dip in the Atlantic ocean.  And we can't afford a trip to the beach right now, much as I would love to take one.  I can still see the red handkerchiefed head of the maid who infected us.  I don't think my mom has forgiven her yet- I bet she still remembers her name.  Anyway, because my past trauma centered around lice, and because I had never seen a flea before, I assumed that the bugs were lice.  

An internet search reassured me that canine lice can't be passed to other species, and that all I had to do was bath Mustang with a lice shampoo and that should take care of the problem.  So that's what I did.  Except they came back.  So I bathed him again and they came back again and I bathed him again and they came back AGAIN.  I remembered a story that my grandmother used to tell about when she got head lice in college and they wouldn't go away and someone told her the only thing to do was to shave her head.  I contemplated shaving the dog.  My grandmother told me not to do it because he would be "terribly embarrassed".  That I would have liked to have seen.  But I decided to call the vet first, just to make sure that there wasn't some other, less drastic solution.  The vet said I needed to burn the dog's bedding.  Our bedroom carpet is the dog's bedding.  I am not setting fire to my carpet.

So two nights ago Eric and I were getting into bed and I saw a black speck on the sheet and it hopped.  And I knew then that Mustang did not have canine lice, he had fleas.  About this time I also figured out that the little bug bites all over my legs and tummy were actually flea bites.  

It took the entire afternoon and evening to vacuum every inch of carpet, every baseboard, every piece of upholstered furniture.  Then we sprayed the house and the yard and washed every curtain, towel, sheet and article of clothing not in drawers.  Today I mopped the floors twice and they are still sticky with extract-of-chrysanthamum residue.  It does smell kind of good though.  There are still several loads of laundry to wash, curtains and bedskirts to iron, more vacuuming and possibly another round of spraying ahead.  I'm thinking of buying a special kind of dirt that's made of either crushed up seashells or microscopic freeze-dried plants (depending on which online source you trust) that will kill any more fleas who venture into our yard.  The crushed up seashells/plants make tiny cuts on the fleas' bodies which causes them to leak fluids, get dehydrated, get constipated and die by fecal poisoning (all completely true).  I almost feel bad for them.  No I don't.



A morning prayer-

Me: Heavenly Father, can you please help me to get more sleep?
HF: No, not right now.
Me: Well can you at least help me to find a good under-eye concealer?
HF: Okay, sure.
Me: Thanks.

A bedtime conversation-

Me: What is the DEAL!?!?  Why can't I make a decent chocolate chip cookie for my son's school party?  All the other mothers will think I'm stupid!
Eric: I think you need to relax.  Do you think you're being too perfectionistic?
Me: NO.  I'm not being perfectionistic- it's not even my fault.  It's the universe's fault.


Thanks for the clarification

So I was getting the kids ready for school this morning and Brigham asked me to read him the lunch menu so he could figure out if he wanted to take or buy.  If he hears the words french fries, cheese sticks or "chilled fruit bar", he buys, otherwise, he takes.  Today's choices for entrees were: country-style steak with gravy, and pork chop.  I noticed a little star next to pork chop, so I looked for the footnote to see what it meant.  "Contains pork products".  So glad that Child Nutrition Services could clarify that for me!

Thanks for all the advice on the anesthesia question- it sounds like getting put out is the way to go.  I'm still a little worried about it, mostly because I was assured that one of the medications in the IV will erase my memory of the whole thing.  Why do I need my memory erased if I'm going to be asleep anyway?  That seems strange to me, but oh well.  It sounds preferable to cracking, grinding and sucking, at least.


Adventures in Oral Surgery

Today I went for my pre-wisdom-teeth-removal consultation. I was, of course, running late. I had dropped the kids off at school at nine and planned to stop at the grocery store before the 10:30 appointment. I got sucked into the mouthwash isle on the way to the checkout. Who can tell what to believe? Alcohol-based or Alcohol free? Is it worth the extra 3$ for "nighttime protection"? I stood there imagining a little army of plaque-warriors doing battle in my mouth while I slept. I picked up a 6$ bottle that's supposed to be able to dissolve the "biofilm" of gunk that brushing and flossing alone can disrupt, but not completely eliminate. I put it in my cart. I turned back to the shelf and reconsidered. I heard a crash. I turned around to find the $6 bottle on the ground, gushing clear liquid. Marley was smiling sweetly at the pharmacist, who had witnessed everything. I apologized and asked for some paper towels, and stood awkwardly while he refused to let me help clean up the spill. I was going to be late to the oral surgeon! But I couldn't just walk away while the poor man cleaned up my mess! I had to stand there and "help" by making small talk! By the time I got in the car I had 10 minutes to make it a distance I knew would take me 20.

I arrived at the office 13 mintues late (had to get lost at least once, or I might have an identity crisis). I saw on the door that the doctor's first name was Uday. Not a good omen. The lobby was sort of disturbingly plush- more like a nice hotel lobby than a dentist's office. Hi! So sorry I'm late! No, I didn't print out the paper work online. Mind if I change my baby's stinky diaper on the floor? Can I hold her screaming in my lap while he looks at my teeth? Thanks!

Actually, Uday turned out to be not sadistic at all, and even very nice. And Marley was mostly calm, having already accomplished her morning's mischief. Now I just have to decide whether or not to be put under. All four wisdom teeth are coming out, and I'm told they don't look like they'll present any special challenge. Eight shots or one IV? My hatred for IV's is strong. I'm also kind of scared to be put under, since the only time I've ever seen someone come out of anesthesia was when Brigham had his tonsils out and he was like a posessed demon-child for a good hour afterward. I really don't want Uday to see me that way. I jokingly told him that 8 shots couldn't be worse than giving birth, right? He said that some women have told him they'd rather give birth. Really? Reeeeeeeaaaaally? Have any of you had this done? What did you do and how did you like it?


Dear Brigham,

One day I hope you are cursed with a child who is as stubborn and picky an eater as you are.  I will never forget sitting at the table with your brother while we heard from the bedroom:  spank #1..."Briggie are you going to eat it?"....spank #2..."Now will you eat it Briggie?"....spank #3....it took four spanks to break you.  You have been spanked only a handful of times in your life- all the other times for doing something dangerous to your immediate health and well-being.  We don't like to think of ourselves as spankers, but when your eating repertoire dwindled to about five foods, Daddy felt it was time for drastic measures.  I condoned it, I don't mind saying.  Only because you would not be bribed, bullied or cajoled into eating your dinner.  Spinach feta risotto, I think it was.  That was kind of a mean thing to serve a four-year-old wasn't it?  

Well, your spanking days are, I hope, well behind you and yet you remain a picky eater.  Last night I made Thai roasted eggplant salad.  You sat at the table for an hour and a half.  I sent your brother to sit by you and eat candy corn from a bowl, hoping that would motivate you.  The rest of us went outside to play croquet on the lawn and still you sat.  Finally I allowed you to join us, but there would be no food unless and until you ate your dinner.  You would not touch it.  

Around 5:00 this morning you came into our room and announced, pitifully: "I threw up."  My heart ached a bit when I saw that all you had in your stomach was about a half a cup of slimy green bile.  You slept all morning, finally waking up around 11:00 and demanding gatorade and/or rice milk.  I snagged Marley by the foot as she crawled by on her way to some mischief in the kitchen and we headed to Kroger, where, you said you had seen rice milk many times and you could direct me to the exact isle that housed it.  When we got to the stop light I noticed the "Mexican pupuseria/taqueria/convenience store" on the corner and pulled in.  We purchased some horchata mix and headed home.  

You drank your mexican rice milk slowly, as instructed and then began to do what you always do when you recover from the stomach flu: wax poetic about food.  All kinds of food you would never consider eating if you hadn't just starved for twenty four hours.  Once I was chopping an onion and you asked me for a piece of it.  This morning I vetoed your first five suggestions because we either didn't have them or they didn't exist (like "cheesy cereal").  We finally settled on "fried toast overflowing with butter".  You had one large piece and are now asking for a second. 

Something tells me tonight you'll be back to your old ways, sitting slumped in your chair, mouth clamped, digging in for a long night of negotiations over the amount and composition of your dinner.  But it's been nice to have your alter-ego here for a few hours.  I'm really going to miss him.


Eggwatch ***Updated***

Our chicken eggs are due to hatch today, tomorrow and Thursday. When the boys got home from school just now they checked the incubator to find that three or four have already pecked little holes in their shells. I'll take pictures and keep you posted!

5:49 P.M.-
We took the eggs out of the automatic egg turner and put them on the floor of the incubator so they won't get tangled in the little cups when they hatch. We can hear them cheeping!  Here is what they look like at the moment:

7:19 P.M.-
Chick #1 has hatched!  The boys named him Underdog, because he was the smallest egg and the first to hatch:

7:52 P.M.-
Chick #2 (named Superman/Supergirl) hatched...he/she looks similar to Underdog, only bigger.  Underdog is getting stronger and fluffier by the minute.  They are stumbling around with the remains of their yolks attached to their bums!

5:44 A.M.-
I've been awake for about an hour and a half now.  There is something making weird noises underneath our bedroom window and I could not shake the bizarre feeling that it was one of the chicks.  Finally I got up and they are all (four of them now) fluffy and warm inside the incubator.  I'm a little worried that no more hatched overnight.  Two of the remaining eggs are "pipped", or have little holes in them.  Guess we just have to be patient and wait and see.

12:47 P.M.-
M and I just got home from a friend's house to find that we still only have four chicks.  The two pipped eggs (don't you love that word!) have made very slight progress.  One of them is poking around a little with his beak but he seems very weak.  If he makes it I'm going to name him Pipper.  I'm worried about the rest of them, though I don't know if I should be.  The eggs weren't technically supposed to hatch until tomorrow, but doesn't it seem like if four of them hatched early then the rest should too?  I guess I'll just have to watch and wait and trust in their chikenly wisdom.  I found out what the strange noise was last night.  A cricket.  Not a chicken death-song.  The things we convince ourselves of at 4 in the morning.

2:33 P.M.-
I've been trying to clean my bathroom for the past hour, but haven't gotten very far because I keep stopping to watch the chicks.  Pipper just hatched- he's little, and at first I thought his feet were all balled up (this happened to one of Eric's class' chicks last year and he died after a few days), but I think they're actually okay.  The other chicks are stepping all over him- hopefully that's okay.  And he is gray as all the other ones are!  How will we ever tell them apart?!

8:06 P.M.-
Nine chicks and counting!  One was named Houdini because he escaped from his shell without cracking it all the way in half.  Two others are named Jenna and Rachel, after our triplet friends who came over tonight just in time to see them hatch (while their brother Jared was at Scouts- of course we'll name one after him too).  We have 23 eggs in all.  The hatch rate for chicks is usually 50-75%, from what we hear, but we may get even more than that.  Anyone need a chicken or two?  

8:28 A.M.-
Nineteen chicks and counting....I was serious about that offer.

11:45 A.M-
All but three of the eggs have hatched now, and one more looks like it might hatch today.  They seem to like to hatch in the afternoon and evening.  I'll have to start thinking now about what we're going to do with all of them.  The box we were going to keep them in until they can be outside isn't big enough for this many, but I don't want to give any away until we can tell which ones are hens.  This afternoon we'll take them out of the incubator and start giving them food and water.  I've given up hope of telling them apart, as they're all grey and not a mix of colors like we had last time.  I think I know which one is Underdog, since he has a white bum and two white-tipped wings.  

Why I did not complete my daily household task today:

I have a bad habit of sitting in front of the computer while I eat breakfast and lunch.  I need entertainment while I eat, so if I'm alone, I content myself with email and friends' blogs.  So....I was looking for Megan's blog to see if she had paused in her house hunting in California to update all her broken-hearted friends in North Carolina.  I knew that her blog address was some combination of her and Paul's names, but I had to go through about 4 iterations before hitting upon the correct name-order and nickname usage.  Along the way I found several gems that enhanced my lunch-eating experience greatly:

Failed attempt #1 produced this:


Hi People! Welcome to my site. Guess what, I have a HOTboyfriend named PAUL!! We have been going out for like a month and a half! Me and him have sooooooo much in common :)! 

Failed attempt #2 introduced me to a lovely couple living together in Cincinnati, OH.  They have two pugs and just got pre-approved to buy a house.
At detour #3 I got to check out the details of another couple's recent bathroom remodel.  I noticed a link to the blog of a girl named Keturah, which is a name I've liked ever since I read the book Keturah and Lord Death (which I highly recommend, unless you're squeamish about eyeballs doing things they're not supposed to do, in which case you should skip it).  Anyway, I actually looked up Keturah on wikipedia two nights ago, where I found out that she was one of Abraham's concubines, (some people think that she and Hagar are the same person), which made me not like the name quite so much, but still enough to follow the link on Paul and Megan from Portland's blog to Keturah's blog.  Her cat has diabetes.  She just moved to California.