Memorial Day Moment

(Grandma Madeline, Grandpa "Lum", my Dad and Aunt , Fife WA c.1944)

After having too much fun Memorial Day, Miss Is came down with the crud; coughing, sneezing, sore throat… you know all the particulars. Not only was I exhausted from the festivities, (those of you who witnessed just how ‘festive’ it was) I begrudgedly did the motherly duty and took care of my fallen Farmer.

I had tried to keep her downstairs with us but with David having an early morning (not that I have to get up or anything too) and Maddy unable to quiet bouts of coughing and moaning in between fits, I conceded the battle and retreated the both of us to her room.

Now that she was all snuggled up in her own bed, I stared at her with what light seeped through the blinds. “When did my baby get so big?” There was no way I was even going to try to survive the night sharing the twin sized bed.

Ignoring the toys and books scattered all over her bedroom floor, I pulled the trundle out and then started a one-woman raiding party. I snatched a small, lumpy pillow from D.J.’s room and another, less-lumpy one from Devin. Now all I needed was a blanket and those would be found on the two, top-most shelves of the game closet. I pushed aside the sleeping bags and blindly grabbed for the first blanket I could find then hoofed it back to her room.

As I plopped down on the trundle and tossed the blanket over myself, I was caught off guard by what was now covering my lower half. It was my quilt, the quilt my Grandma made me. It had been years, quite literally, that the tear and chocolate stained quilt had done anything other than sit on a shelf. Through my adult life it has always been the ‘just in case’ blanket that was never really meant to be used – hallowed even − stowed away just out of reach and knowing that it was there in the dark recesses of my mind was enough.

At once I remembered what all this quilt and I had been through together and how much I missed the aged, arthritic hands that had lovingly, painfully sewn each stitch. That because her namesake lay in the bed next to mine, the poignancy and the irony of the situation more than tugged at my heartstrings. A few hours too late, I had my Memorial Day moment.

Grandma never officially served in the military but she had raised several young men who did, spanning the later years of WWII, the Korean War, and even Vietnam. She was a remarkable woman, rooted in faith and humbled by her many, almost an unfair amount of life’s struggles ranging from poverty, illness and death.

Lying there, staring blankly at the ceiling as I was reluctantly pulled along Memory Lane by my younger, more innocent self; Maddy’s latest coughing bout brought me back. Motherly instinct took over, leaving the girl in white, knitted knee-high socks and an orange and brown plaid jumper back where she belonged. Somehow I managed to catch the surprise vomit in the tub that only a split-second ago held the plastic versions of brownies, sliced cheddar cheese and a miniature sized box of Duncan Hines cake mix. It was then that I understood how Grandma did it.

Love your children. Hold their hands, kiss their boo-boos, scold them for being naughty and praise them for their efforts whether they are successful and especially when they are not. Teach them respect and humor; how to work hard and how to have fun. Instilling a healthy sense of duty and honor, to take pride in ideas and people wholly worthy of it.

Grandma had never known the all too common phrase but lived and understood it better than anyone else I have ever known…

Families Can Be Together Forever

Derby Day

(The Most Dangerous Car!)

Last night D.J. participated in his first ever Pine Wood Derby. He finally got to build his own car and watch it scream down the track... okay, it didn't scream exactly but it did mosey on down and smelled a few roses before crossing the finish line.

He was so excited to be building his own car that he opted to use the IMD Method (Ignore Mom & Dad) and mounted the wheels himself which lead to his ultimate demise. Slightly disappointed by owning the slowest pine there, D.J. took it all in stride and shrugged off the defeat like a trooper.

Losing - I mean early elimination - does have its benefits. He ate a hot dog, bag of chips, apple soda and a killer, chocolate/chocolate with sprinkles, Costco cupcake that was woofed down in record time. Notice the smudges of chocolate frosting not only on his face but fingers and forearms?

(Derby Dude, D.J.)

Yummy in the Tummy

(Almonds Joyously & Want S'more's)

Last week I made Raspberry & Key Lime cupcakes for a RS/YW Welcoming Activity. White cake flavored with Key Lime extract and lime zest, filled with raspberry goodness and topped off with Key Lime frosting, a fresh raspberry and more zest for extra zestiness. I think they turned out pretty good despite using whipped frosting; I wouldn't recommend piping that stuff - sure, it's nice and fluffy in the tub but morphs into an unusable, sweet goop if you play with it too much. It doesn't like my room temperature either, best in the fridge. *brain-blast* Maybe I should put the frosting in the fridge before and after piping? Look who's so smart!

Today's baking expedition was brought to you by D.J.'s Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby Bake Sale to raise money for Day Camp. While meandering aimlessly through the aisle of Winco, (it was a rare and blessed occasion, the Farmers weren't with me!) I came up with my latest and maybe not-so-greatest recipes... Almond Joys and S'mores.

I cheated - nothing from scratch here so that means you can do it too! Betty's (gotta love the old bat) Triple Chocolate cake mix and her Whipped Cream (new) and Fudge tub frostings.

The Almond Joys are filled with whipped cream/coconut heaven, slathered with almond frosting, rolled in sweet, angel flaked coconut and decorated with sliced almond flowers sporting semi-sweet chocolate chip centers and sprinkled with finely grated Hersey's milk chocolate.

S'mores have mo-mallow cream centers, fudgy frosting tops with mini mo-mallows and skewered in the side by a graham cracker segment. Honestly, I tried roasting the mini-mallows with my bendy candle lighter... note to self, not too brilliant of an idea. If I had large mallows, broiling them in the oven for a nano-second or two would be perfect; toasted and not a ball of flaming stupidity to warm my common sense by.

Maddy kept asking to help so I put her to work doing what Farmers to best - absolute and total destruction. She enthusiastically smashed, squashed, and pulverized a few graham bars to dust that we eventually sprinkled over the cupcakes to finish them off.

With any luck, they'll be yummy in the tummy and the Cub Scouts won't have to pay so much for camp.

Bake it til' you make it... or your eyebrows singe.

Getting Our Toes Wet

(She's tan already!)

After mowing the lawn, trimming the edges, pulling a few hundred weeds and cleaning out the second bay of the garage, it was time to pin the hitch and pull the boat from its winter hideaway.

With a lot of help from Devin, we wiped down the inside, swept, and washed the windows; it hadn't been touched since we parked it last fall. The farmers were changed, gooberized with sunscreen and ready to go by the time Dave finished his contract. The motor started right up the second try, giving us the green light to hit the water.

(All bounced out.)

The Farmers Three took a spin on the tube; even Maddy was brave enough to catch some air the first time out. Devin and D.J. however, once little sissy jumped ship, crossed the water like a skipping stone. There were a few times I thought we'd lose them but they clung to the back of the beast for all they were worth with giggles in the belly and a smile on their face. D.J. climbed into the boat and collapsed, "That was fun."

(Yeah, you can tell it's me by those huge, blinding white thighs!)

Next it was my turn to slough off the boring, stay-home mom shell and try to be cool, at least for my farmers. Having strapped the bindings on extra tight, I yelled "up" all the while praying that I wouldn't get a mouth full and look too much like the moron I really am. By some miracle I popped up out of the water without even getting my hair wet and managed to live through two sets of rollers en route to the unwritten, designated wake boarding end of the lake.

I zigged, I zagged, and zig-zagged again. No air as of yet but I'm working on mustering up the courage and dispelling the image of me in a full body cast sucking my roast beef dinner through a straw because I did something extremely stupid is rather difficult to do. I'm hoping to jump the wake by the end of the season or at least make the attempt.

(Me and the Farmers Three.)

Over the winter I had forgotten how much I loved being out on the lake; the slap of the water lapping against the hull, the smell of SPF 50 in the hot afternoon sun and the toasty feeling of drying out on the bow after a dip. Yep, summer has arrived!

My Boyfriend's Back

(Now Seating)

Cruising Craigslist Tuesday on the off-chance that I could find something in my "wouldn't that be nice" file at a steal-of-a-deal price, I stumbled on this set of six bar stools @ $30.00 a piece or $150.00 for the lot. Located in the same town, I thought I'd check them out and see if it was all they were said and pictured to be.

There was no problem whatsoever in handing over the moola for these stools once I realized what was offered; heavy, solid wood, extra-wide rope seating with supports in great/good condition besides being dusty, a few little nicks my Farmers would soon add to and a broken, back leg brace (aesthetics only and completely fixable). Two trips and a half-hour later, I was do'n the Happy Dance!!

The Friday before, I landed two office chairs. The first was a black, high-back fancy-pants executive chair for David's office. He's been doing some contracting lately and the thought of sitting in his broken chair for the next two weeks for hours on end wasn't going to make this job (or him) even remotely pleasant to deal with.

The second (different listing, same seller.. a little old lady who recently got out of the real estate business and these were from her office) I claimed for myself, a grey managers chair with all the bells and whistles my backside could ever want or need, both in excellent condition and both - together - for the price of a task chair at Wal-mart. * flailing around like an upright seizure, I call it dancing *

I've yet to 'work' in the chair or use the new squishy mouse pad... my monitor has been kidnapped and enslaved for contracting purposes but I'm looking forward to trying my new toys out.

Hey la, Hey la.... my boyfriends back!

(Re: I'm in love with Craig! March,2008 My Boyfriend's Back by The Angels, c.1963)

A Mothers Day to Remember

(What a young man!)

Yesterday was a very special Mother's Day, it was Devin's first time passing the Sacrament. Like the nervous mom that I am, I spent the entire ordinance looking like a pew gopher, sticking my head up as high as my neck could stretch to keep an eye on how he was doing. I held my breath hoping that he wouldn't drop the tray, miss a row, get lost or run into another Deacon. In retrospect, it probably looked like I had little faith in him but he did wonderful and I was so proud to the point of giving him an awkward, one-armed bear hug when he returned to sit with us. I got a little something in my eyes and the head cold I've been fighting for the past week suddenly got all sniffy. He gave me his quirky smile and then proceeded to move to the wall end of the pew before I had to reach for a tissue.

Chicken enchiladas and salad for dinner, F.H.E with Maddy giving an excellent lesson on how to give a blessing and then it was time for the presents! D.J. made me a card, he called it the 'slave' card. It had different flowers in a pot and on each stem was written a chore that he would do whenever I asked. Very sweet. Maddy got me a Bakers half-sheet so I can make my yummy cinnamon rolls (a la Charity) and Devin gave me a squishy mouse pad, a much needed gift!

Hope you had a very Happy Mothers Day too!

I Survived

(Of what little remains of my sanity!)

Twenty-four people (22 at one time), 10 days and occupying every inch of my 3,205 sqft. home. At least a dozen rolls of Charmin extra-soft, 12 liters of soda, 8 gallons of milk, 16.8 lbs. of pork, 20 cups of rice, 6 boxes of cereal, 2 Party-sized Lasagna, 3 garlic bread loaves, and enough snacks to stock a theaters concession stand during the opening weekends of all six Star Wars movies and I haven't even begun to cover the lot of it. (To really "feel" that paragraph, say it in one exhausting breath with total disregard for grammar and punctuation.)

Important things I learned from this experience:

1. The sparkling cleanliness of my home that I worked so hard to perfect was officially D.O.A. (Destroyed on Arrival) the moment the doorbell rang. Wisdom gained: Next time leave the house in disarray and forgo all pretense that you're the reincarnate of June Cleaver.

2. I can control the level of happiness in my guests just about as well as I can control the weather. Wisdom gained: Happy is as Happy does; always keep your raincoat, umbrella and galoshes handy and just go with the flow and sing in the rain... or cry, which ever comes first.

3. The moment my youngest left the baby/toddler stage is the moment that I apparently forgot what real 'baby-proofing' is. Size and height is all that matters. Wisdom gained: If it's smaller than a bread box and not stamped with Fisher-Price on the bottom, it should be placed at least 7 1/2 ft. from off the ground plus the height of the nearest possible ladder a wee farmer can devise.

4. Having plans is like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Tie a big black sash across your eyes, spin like a figure skater and try to walk upright in whatever direction makes you look less like a drunken sailor after a six month, wartime cruise in the Gulf. The moment you lose sight is the moment you realize that coming within the general direction of where you should or wanted to be is miraculous. Wisdom gained: Kiss your tail-less ass good-bye and refer to back to number two.

In the end, D.J. was baptized, Devin now holds the Priesthood and nobody died. What more could a girl as for?

One person, 10 days on a private beach in Hawaii, 12 pina coladas, 6 bottles of sunscreen, 2 trays of decadent desserts, a pillow soft lounge chair and absolutely nothing I have to do or remotely think about during said period of time.

I survived!