Saturday, January 31, 2009

Megan's Efforts, Mom's Relief

Disclaimer-You will notice due to my attitudes regarding each event, I made no effort to take or have a camera for pictures. A nice mother at each event knew of my ambivalence and kindly took photos for me. I will post them as soon as I receive them.

Those of you close to me have unfortunately had to listen to me grumble and complain about Megan's Science Fair project and the School Spelling Bee.

Now, I am definitely in favor of academic achievement in the classroom. Homework, spelling, reading etc. are all part of our everyday afternoon/evening routines. (Although, don't even get me started on my views of homework...)

But, when the (Mandatory) Science Fair project packet came home mid-December, Mike and I both did our fair share of grumbling. It would be near impossible for a fourth-grader to do a science fair project on their own--it turns into busy work for parents. It did however get finished-no one really had a good time working on it, we all took turns complaining about something to do with it.

Mike because he was put "in charge of it,"
Megan because Dad kept putting it off,
Luke and Ellie because they couldn't eat the ice cream being "tested," and
Joshua, because he couldn't color on the big white display board."

A week before the project was due and still plenty of 'busy work' left to do to get the project finished, Megan comes home and announces that she was one of the top two spellers in her class and would thus be moving onto the School Spelling Bee.

Mike and I offered the typical proud parent responses, UNTIL, Megan produces a list of 200+ spelling words, (MANY of which Mike and I had never heard of or could attempt to pronounce.) She continued to tell us that the Spelling Bee would be held the day before the Science Fair Project was due. All typical proud parent responses ceased, and Mom's complaining began.

Science Fair and studying for a Spelling Bee all on top of typical nightly homework, reading, spelling, extra-curricular activities, chores, etc. How much should a 10 year old be expected to do?

The night before the Spelling Bee, we tested Megan on 5 words-she spelled all of them incorrectly. "Oh well," we reassured her, "It is an honor to have qualified. Just do your best."

So the Spelling Bee comes, and what does Megan do? Her very best. Megan came in 6th out of 27 fourth, fifth and sixth graders!!!!!!! (She ended up being the top 4th grader.) Typical proud parent responses were given.

Two days later was the Science Fair Open House. I was not happy as I patiently waited for the Open House to be finished, so I could help Megan take down her display. There were about 1 million parents and children in the lunch room, it was 125 degrees, and Joshua was on about his 15th (NO EXAGGERATION) piece of licorice. I wanted to leave. I was irritated. I was hot. I was ornery. The project was finished. LET IT PLEASE END.

All of a sudden, I hear a familiar name, "The next Honorable Mention for fourth grade is, 'Megan Sowby.' And what happened then? It was no typical proud parent response.
I burst out laughing.

Way to go Megan. We are proud of your efforts and achievements.
Truly, we are proud parents.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We Must Not Get Out Much...

Due to the time and location of our activities last Saturday night and our commitments on Sunday morning, we decided kind of last minute to get a hotel room to stay in.

Our kids, hooped and hollered and danced around, as though we said we were going to Disneyland. (Which we have done several times in the past, and upon announcing it they have never danced around.) Mental note to us parents: Save $100's and $100's and stay 30 miles from home for one night instead!!!!!!
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We arrived at our hotel Saturday night in time for Luke to begin jumping from bed to bed in the hotel room, Joshua to stay perched in front of the full glass closet door and stare at himself for the duration of the evening,

Megan asking if she can "take home all the bottles in the bathroom." (Shampoo, mouthwash, lotion etc.)

and Ellie excitedly exclaiming, "Oh Mom, THERE IS a bathroom."

Swimming in the pool, kicking each other in bed, arguing about who gets what pillow, complaining about who has to sleep next to who, and finally some peaceful slumber took care of our first 12 or so hours at the hotel.

Surely though, the highlight must have been, what my children assumed was an 'All-You-Can-Eat-Affair.' ...Breakfast at the hotel...

Fortunately there were very few people eating breakfast at the hotel that morning, and so they probably didn't notice (although otherwise VERY well behaved), that our children probably put one of everything on their plates. No-didn't try one of everything.

Upon Luke seeing a sausage patty on my plate, he excitedly asked where they were, I told him, and he returned with THREE on his plate. (Didn't like them after the first bite...)

Megan was so excited about the individual boxes of cereal, "Do you think we can take home one of the boxes?"
Megan excited about the cereal was NOTHING, compared to Luke's excitement about the . . . . . Margarine . . . . .

(Now here is where it needs a small explanation-I am a butter snob. When we lived with my parents a few years ago, they always had soft BUTTER in a dish. I have NEVER returned to ANYTHING else. It is real butter that is it at our house. Luke on the otherhand, talks frequently about margarine in a tub. (Yes, the very cheap ones, that probably can cause fatal heart valve cloggage instantly if one isn't careful.) At stores, he will try and sneak the large (always the industrial size) tubs of margarine, into the cart. Never have I given in.)

Back to the hotel. There in a basket, carefully arranged were small individual serving sizes of cream cheese, jams, butter and
. . . Luke's . . . much desired margarine.
Two of which were held firmly in his little hand and asked with much sincerity,

"Can I please take these home and have them on toast this week. It will be so yummy?"
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Upon careful consideration and rationing, one has since been used since Sunday. The other is, "Waiting for a day I really want it."

Are Mike and I as parents, depriving our children??

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thought For The Sabbath

We visited our old church ward in American Fork this morning. It was so good to see so many familiar faces. It made me think that one day this is what heaven will be like-reuniting with friends and acquaintances forever...

A quality (some may argue a weakness), I'm not sure I've ever shared with the blogging world is my love to always know what is going on around me. As my husband puts it, "Quit staring!"

BUT, back to the Sabbath Day...

In our church, the passing of the Sacrament is a quiet event, well as quiet as it can be with us crazy Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) having so many kids per family.

It is the perfect opportunity to not only think about all the things we should be thinking about, but also if you have the right kind of seat in the chapel, you can see a lot of people...

And of course I haven't seen a lot of these people for 4+ years. I have every excuse to be looking around me and not paying attention to the 21 month old son sitting on my lap. Right?

Well, I did eventually return my wandering eyes to my son, and what I saw, should not happen from one tiny broken up piece of bread...

So as any good mother would do in this situation, I took it as a learning opportunity and firmly whispered into Joshua's 21 month old ears,
"Your cheeks should not be bulging while you eat the Sacrament bread!!!"

And then I am told by those in my family who were paying attention to our own business, that Joshua had taken not only one HANDFUL of bread, but as it was being passed to his sister, he quickly grabbed another HANDFUL.

There were a lot of people in the congregation today. They ended up having to bless some additional water to have enough for everyone-I promise though, Joshua only had one helping of the water...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Have I Ever Shared My Bad Habit?

Recently I was out shopping with a good friend laughing and having a great time (Hi Lesley). We were discussing the musical, Annie, they were performing at the local high school. (I was going to be taking my children to see it the next day.) Lesley whilst giggling said something similar to, "Daddy Warbucks says "a word" kind of a lot of times, but don't worry, your kids will feel right at home." Of course dear Lesley had kindly prefaced the remark with, "Don't be offended." Who can be offended with the truth? Besides it was just as she predicted-my kids did feel right at home, they didn't even bat an eyelid.

Now I could regale you for hours of stories of my children using this word. But I will refrain, although for posterity's sake I'll include one of each.

Megan at 2 years old was trying to put a CD in and she said, "Damn it-it not work."

Luke at 3 years old when asked to go get dressed (by my mother no less), responded while stomping up each stair, "Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!"

Ellie at 3 years old when taken outside in the dead of winter, "Damn it's cold."

I'll tell you, like I tell my kids. It is a "Mommy word. When you are grown up you can say it too."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ever Predictable Me!?

Well, in the landscaping industry, it is winter and therefore Mike's hours aren't as long as other seasons. (Only 10 hour days vs 14 hour days!) Mike is spending all his days at the office, as he recently was promoted to "The Boss" as my kids affectionately call it. Mike and a co-worker decided to begin to carpool to work. They meet at a designated parking lot and one leaves their car. I believe it saves them about $2 a day as they each drive very efficient cars. Mike loves it though because he can get phone calls made and work done.

Mike's car has one key with a remote. HE has lost the other one. My car has one key with the remote, HE has lost the other one. But I am smart and have a spare key hidden somewhere on my car. He is not smart and doesn't have a spare hidden somewhere on his car, or even own a spare anywhere at home. I tell him frequently he should get a spare key cut...

Which is probably why, this evening when he called me from the designated parking lot the first thing he said after

"Can you come pick me up?" was

"I don't need a lecture, I was just telling Bruce that I was going to get a lecture about a spare key."

So the question is? Did Mike get a lecture? YES he did. And for good measure he was also gently reminded to . . .
"Go and get a (insert Tiffany's favorite word) key cut this weekend!!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mom Had To Take Care of Dad's Dirty Work . . .

As I drove to the designated meeting spot to retrieve my two eldest children on Tuesday morning, Ellie spoke excitedly about showing Megan her ear-rings. I, on the other hand, drove nervously as I anticipated seeing Megan. I also had unkind thoughts towards my dear husband for leaving me to do the dreaded task of telling Megan her 4 year old sister has her ears pierced.

As Melanie's car pulled up next to mine, I jumped out quickly to meet Megan before she got to our car and had to endure listening to Ellie's proud announcement.

I put my arm around Megan and said something along the lines, "Don't be upset, but Daddy let Ellie. . ."
Ha-I didn't even need to finish the sentence. I didn't have to break the news! Instead Megan interrupted me with,
"THAT! IS! NOT! FAIR!-I wasn't even allowed when I was 8."
Megan ran over to the car, climbed in and was of course greeted with Ellie holding back her hair and proudly showing off her sparkly, diamond stud ear-rings.

To which Megan just . . .
giggled. . .

(Although as her mother I happen to know that giggle. It is the giggle that says,
'If I don't laugh I am going to cry.'

Though I have heard quietly asked questions such as "Ellie, did it hurt?" Megan has turned down all offers to go and get her ears pierced.

This is Megan's true personality coming out-her thrill is in the arguing-
you tell her she can do something-she no longer wants to.
Maybe there's a lesson to be learned here . . .
Maybe it will work to say, Hey Megan-You can smoke and drink and be bad all you want . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Will Be A Lesson In Forgiveness . . .

Part 1
Megan has been 'begging' to get her ears pierced for about 4 years now. She was told "Perhaps when you are 8." As that age was approaching, she was told, "Maybe when you are 10." As that age approached, she was told, "Probably when you are 12, if not, when you are 21 for sure." (Please note all of these "age promises were her father!! I was kind of indifferent.) Around age 10, the asking began again with the same answers from Daddy.

Lo and behold, Christmas 2008 morning came and Megan received a gift certificate from Santa, to Classy Chassis (a local beauty supply store) with instructions, "Time to get your ears pierced."

Ahh-the excitement-the squeals-the smiles. . . until the days followed and Megan kept putting it off. She will admit, she was a little scared. Her responses when asked have been, "I don't know. Now that I know I can, I don't know if I really want to."

Part 2

For almost a year, Ellie has been sticking stickers on her ears, hanging Mr. Potato Head ear-rings from her ear lobes, even attaching candy Swedish fish to her ears. All in an attempt to pretend she was wearing ear-rings. Her asking to get her ears pierced was always, "No, you have to be much older." Since Christmas morning, as Megan's ear-piercing requests have been waning, Ellie's have been building. . . To which Mike would simply answer, "Ask Megan to give you her gift certificate." To which Megan would argue something along these lines, "No way. I'm going to use it to buy something else at the store." or "There was NO WAY I would have been allowed when I was 4. Why should Ellie?"

Which brings us to Part 3 of the story.
"Why should Ellie?"
I don't honestly have an answer, except to say Ellie must have caught Daddy in a weak moment. Before I knew it, we were pulling into the parking space, having listened to Ellie singing animatedly , "We're going to Lassie Chassies."
As Daddy turned the car off, Ellie's face turned very sober . . . Mommy explained that we could go back home, Ellie's thoughts were slow but her little hand reached down and unbuckled the seatbelt, the car-door opened and Ellie was going in. As our requests were made known to the clerk, Ellie's face showed little emotion, except . . . pure fear. Mommy and Daddy kept telling her she could back out at anytime. There was never a verbal response just slow nods or shakes of her head . . . The ear-rings were carefully chosen, her hair was kindly clipped back, Ellie's face never cracked a smile, instructions were kindly given, tears were surely close to the surface and then . . .

JUMP went Ellie almost out of her chair as the first ear-ring was put in . . . before Ellie had any chance to release any tears . . . JUMP went Ellie out of the chair again. No tears fell...but no smile appeared either.

Ellie's little hands stayed on her neck for minutes. Her first trip with pierced ears was to Nana's house where a show-off smile finally appeared and then Daddy (another weak moment) took us to McDonald's.

Ear's pierced! Nana's house! McDonalds! Can life get any better for a 4 year old?

And those consolations must be why it was so easy to then exclaim,

"It didn't even hurt when she shocked them in!"

Poor Megan-isn't home . . . she has no idea yet that her FOUR year old little sister's ears are pierced . . . and where will Daddy be when Megan gets home and makes the discovery. . .
GONE TO WORK . . . smart Daddy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cowboy Boots, a Bare Bum and a Scooter

(click to enlarge)
Joshua received his first pair of cowboy boots for Christmas. The past couple of days, he has become obsessed with them.

Sunday, he wore them for his nap (Daddy allowed that!) and to church.

Monday, he wore them most of his awake hours.

Tuesday night he wore the boots and only the boots.
(Well, until Luke went and got his cowboy hat for him to wear too.)

Wednesday, at 8:15am, Joshua put his boots on over his pajamas and asked Luke to take him outside. Luke gladly obliged.

Wednesday, at 11:45am, Joshua STILL had the boots on (yes, his pajamas too!) and walked towards the door and with his toy cell phone in hand waved, "Ba" (bye) to me. He was off to ride his scooter.

Finally, Wednesday, at 12:30pm, we walked upstairs for his nap with Joshua crying "boo, boo." (boots, boots)

Mean old mommy had removed the boots before naptime.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Place To Be On Friday Night

Upon answering our children on Friday evening that we "aren't doing anything tonight, except enjoying a peaceful evening at home," we were suddenly surrounded by a party in the making. Invitations were made, posters hung, even party hats were being constructed (it turned out the hats didn't fit anyone-not even Joshua).

It started with a yummy dinner consisting of steak, twice-baked potatoes and salad that had no complaints from ANYONE.
(Ok-There actually was a complaint from me-when I observed how much WHOLE milk and BUTTER was going into the twice-baked potatoes, courtesy of Mike)
But ooohhhhh they were YUMMY!
After dinner was cleared, it was time for the 'Prde' to begin. The opening act was 4 children flailing their arms dancing and singing to welcome us. The song and dance came to an abrupt halt when Ellie got elbowed in the forehead and began to cry, followed very closely by Joshua getting knocked to the ground and slamming his head against the couch.
Tears were dried, apologies made and the games began. First Twister (even 7-month pregnant Mom played, but the camera was FORBIDDEN), followed by Old Maid (where it seemed the interpretations of the rules were-if you draw the Old Maid, you giggle or announce it to everyone.) Of course the evening ended with the ole' Sowby favorite-Hide and Seek. Why is it the favorite? Because Daddy suddenly disbands all rules and regulations and allows children to hide in places that Mommy ususally disagrees with. (Note photo of Luke on top of the 8 foot tall cabinets!)

Everyone was given a piece of candy as a treat, which Dad promptly made into eyes, and Luke into a moustache and everybody sent to bed, so Mom could wake up at 4:45am the next morning to get to her temple shift.

Please do not be deceived of the joy, laughter and happiness that must be present in the Sowby home. If my memory serves me well, there were arguments about which game was next, why Ellie kept announcing who had the Old Maid, someone giving away a hiding spot. . .
Is there really any such thing as a peaceful evening at home with four children?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pet Peeve or A Little OCD?

(Thank you to my sister-in-law, Cindy for her 'modern-day approach-to-research' for this information.)

I think sometime back in high school, I discovered I had a pet peeve, or perhaps even a little OCD. If I was ever in a bathroom, and the toilet paper was not coming from on top of the roll (see diagram), no matter where I was at, I. would. change. it.

In fact, it bothered me so much, I wanted to know if there was a right or wrong way to hang toilet paper. Now of course my high school days were before the "Why don't you Google it?" era. However, back in that day, I read Dear Abby FAITHFULLY every day in the Deseret News. And lo and behold one day, there was an etiquette article addressing this very issue.

Ahh-At last I had proof.

There WAS a right and wrong way to hang the toilet paper. Now I had research to back me up in my efforts to right people's homes of incorrectly hung toilet paper. And still, 17+ years later, I admit I am still switching people's toilet paper.

Are you hanging your toilet paper correctly?
(If not, I have obviously not been in your bathroom recently!!

For the "modern day" research, feel free to check out the following link:

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009-Turning Outward

Happy New Year!
I don't make New Years Resolutions. I don't like them. However, a couple of years ago as 2007 rolled around, I decided to make a random list of 52 things I would do that year. They ranged anywhere from, "Defrosting my freezer" to "Making a meal with fish" to "Cleaning all my blinds in one day." They were VERY random. I actually forgot about the list half way through the year, but when I found it the next year, I was pleased to find I had done almost 80% of what I had originally written.
So, a new year has rolled around. This year, I have changed my list a little and made a random list of things I would do to be more spiritual and thoughtful of others, and turn some of my focus outside of what just I want to do/accomplish. Here is my list.

Some Random Things I will do in 2009

(In no particular order and with no definite date.)

Send a funny card to a friend

Surprise someone with a meal

Write a note of thanks for something that may usually go unnoticed.

Write a letter to each child and put in their baby books

Make a phone call to someone I haven’t spoken to in over a year

Spend an afternoon doing only what the children want

Deliver warm homemade rolls to someone

One full day during which my voice isn’t raised

One month where I read my scriptures EVERY DAY of it.

Take a friend to lunch

A day with no negative comment

Offer to baby-sit somebody’s kids for a couple of hours

With my children, weed somebody’s yard

Double my fast offering one month

Read the whole Doctrine & Covenants

On MY birthday, send flowers to my mom.

Iron a shirt for Mike for at least 20 minutes

Treat a friend to a pedicure

Visit the family history library

Take the kids to This Is The Place Heritage Park

Do a session at the Logan temple

Read a book by a General Authority

Have a month where I write in my personal journal 6 times

Treat Megan to a pedicure

Bear my testimony in Sacrament Meeting

Send somebody a bouquet of flowers

Invite a family over I would rather not

Allow Luke to be the boss for one day

Allow Ellie to be the boss for one day

Take an over-nighter with Mike (before the baby is born)

Help my children tie a quilt and give it away

Make a delicious dessert and give it all away

Take my children to a nursing home

Write a letter/e-mail to an old friend from England

Complete my sister-in-laws wedding album

Make a homemade gift and give to someone out of the blue

Take my older 2 children to the LDS Humanitarian Center

Invite a family over for Family Home Evening

Do something kind for the garbage man

Which one would you like to be the recipient of... I am very open to suggestions...


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