I'm going to teach my sons important things.

I am currently done with all the schoolwork I can do. I'm waiting for a paper to go through grading but seriously, there really isn't anything I can do right now. All this freedom! What to do! For starters, I've been doing some thinking. Non-school-related thinking. Allow me to share what this thinking has come up with.
Put this kid to work!
My sons are now 9 and 13 (You: "gah! no way! you look too young to have a 13-year-old!"). I want them to be useful members of society, but also to not drive any future roommates or spouses crazy. Therefore, I will teach them things! I also like to have goals, and I like to have ones I can work on with the boys. Here are our goals for the next couple months:

  1. How to cook five meals well. I mean dinner meals, and no, this doesn't include ramen noodles. They already know how to make ramen. I am talking things like pot roast, taco soup and chicken alfredo. Meals they already love, but that seem to have a touch more effort put into them. If it goes further than the five meals, great. If not? At least they will be able to do more than pour cereal into a bowl.
  2. How to do laundry. We're doing pretty good with this. They can sort clothes, start the washer, switch them to the dryer, etc. The part about actually getting all the clothes into the hamper in the first place is proving trickier. We shall persevere. 
  3. How to clean the kitchen. We're doing not as well with this. Our kitchen is the most used room in the entire house, and is a bit lacking in command central potential. They know how to do dishes and everything, but it's hard to clean off tables and counters when they have a bunch of homework and mail on them. Need to work on this. 
These three things should help set them up pretty well. 
What else is happening: 
  • I'm on a bit of a break from school, or I will be after my last assignment is graded. I will start student teaching in a local high school in January. 
  • I spent Monday evening at the ER due to a kidney stone, which I passed today, hallelujah! Also TMI, but oh well. 
  • B's work is going through a major shake-up (for us). I know everything will turn out fine, but it's hard to get the news with zero prior notice and waiting to know what's going to happen. 
  • The boys are doing great in school, and the Bean is kind of a tyrant, but pretty much awesome.


That's good! That's bad!

For today's irregularly schedule blog post, let's go back in time, to ... this morning. Shall we see how the day has gone?
First off? Gratuitous photo, not from this morning.
Memory Grove, April 3, SILLY KID!
Moving on.
I slept in a bit this morning (like, 20 minutes).
Oh, that's good! No, that's bad!
Not only did I have to make sure the boys were ready for school, which is usually no big deal and does not require me to get out of my jammies, I also had to have The Bean and I ready (sleeping in did NOT help), so she and BF could go to the allergist.
Oh, that's bad! No, that's good!
It was just a check-up for both of them. BF has environmental allergies up the wazoo, but they appear to be well under control. The Bean has food allergies and had to be tested again.
Oh, that's good! No, that's bad!
While she's been tested before without problems, the lady testing the Bean pushed the test prongs pretty hard into her back. The Bean was pretty irritated for the 15 minutes they had to wait for a reaction.
Oh, that's bad! No, that's good!
The test still showed a reaction to eggs, which I expected, but the milk reaction was WAY less than in used to be and the peanut reaction was nonexistent. So nonexistent, in fact, that I had to remind the doctor she had a peanut allergy.
Oh, that's good! No, that's bad!
The skin test results meant that we needed to move to the next test level to see if she still has a peanut or milk allergy. Which means a blood test. Which means taking blood from my 2 year old. Which means I have to hold down a 2 year old while people stick her with needles.
Oh, that's bad! No, that's good!
While it isn't fun, good result on the blood test means she's just a step away from being declared allergy free! So, off to the lab on the elevator we went! Conveniently, the lab was just one floor down from the allergist. 
Oh, that's good! No, that's bad!
That lab isn't not covered by our insurance. At all. So we had to leave for the next lab.
Oh, that's bad! No, that's good!
The Bean had her blood drawn just up the road at the Instacare, which we love. The phlebotomist was really sweet with her and it was pretty quick. The Bean didn't cry much and recovered quickly (she was more concerned about a bit of road rash she got on her leg earlier in the morning). And she got a sucker! We also needed to go to Target to refill prescriptions, so I decided a trip to Menchie's for some dairy free goodness was needed!
Oh, that's good! No, that's bad!
Public Service Announcement: When you get to Target, you should check to make sure the only set of keys to your van is on your person before locking the car door.  
Oh, that's bad! No, that's good!
It took two phone calls (one to my friend to get the number of the locksmith that lives in my neighborhood, one to the locksmith) to get someone to help. The locksmith (Fuller's! Super nice guy!) was just up the road, which was VERY lucky (since he works all over the county), so ten minutes later I had my keys!
Oh, that's good! No, that's bad!
While ten minutes is not a long time to wait for your car to be opened, it is a VERY long time for a little girl that can climb out of any cart (and her mother who has to control her in a busy parking lot) to wait for Menchie's. She was threatened with NO Menchie's!
Oh, that's bad! No, that's good!
I was actually able to talk her out of throwing a fit REALLY fast, which is a HUGE deal for her, so she got Menchie's after all! She sat in the cart waiting patiently. She was even very good at Target, so it was a welcome end to a stressful day! (Yes, I know the day is only half over, but I've decided the stressful part is over). 

Oh, that's good! No, that's GREAT!* 


*Well, great except for the part where I had to pay for our prescriptions. Epi-pens, people! So expensive for something you really, REALLY don't ever want to have to use! Why do they have to expire? I have two unused ones, just mocking me with their expiredness!

** Anyone recognize the book this post is styled after? One of my favorite children's books ever!


This is how March is going to be.

B starts training for work on Monday that lasts through June, and I'm finishing up my semester this month, so it's going to be a little crazy around our house. Should be fun. Sure.
Now for a list. Ten things that pop into my mind. Go!
  1. We found these awesome shoes at Ross. They were size 18 .. a bit big for the Bean. If they were smaller, I would have gotten them for my brother. He shares my love of orange. I'm sure his wife is so sad these weren't his size! 
  2. These really were as awesome as they look! 
  3. The kids are watching Veggie Tales. I'm going to be stuck on the Dance of the Cucumber all day, which should be fun for everyone around me. I'm going to the grocery store today and when I see the tomatoes, I'll think about how sad they are and how they cannot dance. 
  4. We bought Hugo and are going to watch it tonight. The guys have seen it, but the girls haven't. We're having friends over and eating tacos, which is what JKT would eat every day if we let him. 
  5. I'm working on a paper about cultures in Utah. I'm having a hard time finding/determining which sources are primary versus secondary. I need a lot of primary sources. Any tips figuring out which is which? 
  6. The Bean is sitting on my lap, making it very hard for me to type. She likes to do this when I'm practicing the piano, too. It's a lot harder on the piano because she plays along. 
  7. Snap Circuits are awesome. We have two sets that we've had for over a year, but the boys had barely touched them until this week. Now they are EVERYWHERE, but it's worth it. We have Snap Circuits Green and Snap Circuits Jr. and both boys (ages 8 and 12) play with them, but I think BFT (who is 12) may need harder projects. 
  8. The Bean is obsessed with drawing. She draws circles and straight lines and little people on every piece of paper we let her get her hands on. 
    See the little people/heads at the bottom! She says this is a picture of
    friends. Nice photobomb, BFT. And she's not really cold, her nails are
    painted blue, just fyi.
    1. I really like this blog. Her sewing projects are cute, she does great tutorials and sew-alongs, and she's funny. And her little girls are ADORABLE. If I get back in the mood to sew, I'm heading straight to her blog and making Bean a bunch of cute things. 
    2. Speaking of blogs, have you noticed a lot of blogs are doing a TON of sponsored posts? It feels like several blogs I used to really like are just posting stuff about free things they are reviewing (which they always seem to love, which makes me question whether they love it out of guilt) or posts about their sponsors. I don't mind them making a buck, but why not occasionally do the kind of posts that brought people to your blog in the first place? 
    3. This is the number ten. 
    4. Just kidding, this can be the 10th thing. B hooked up the fish tank that has sat empty in our living room for over a year. It's 80 gallons, so it's pretty dang big. I was getting annoyed with the empty aquarium, so I threatened to do a nice scene inside it with plastic dinosaurs, maybe some Little People. I'm sure some action figures could make an appearance. Lo and behold, B started getting it together! He put the sand in, and that sat for a couple days, so I put a little T-Rex from Toy Story in there. He didn't appreciate my contribution. It's now all hooked up, with water and everything! Last night we went to PetSmart (someone needs to go there and adopt Markus the cat! He's so very sweet!) for some good pooping fish. It's to get the bacteria levels right, people. Oddly enough, you need some waste to get the filter going correctly to keep things clean. Who knew?
    5. Okay, there's another thing ... while we were at PetSmart by the fish tanks, a fish jumped out of one of the tanks onto the floor and completely freaked out a little boy (maybe 3 years old) that was by us. It was seriously hilarious. His older sister was freaked out, too and her little legs were still shaking ten minutes later!
    Ta dah! Ten things! With bonus things!


    Let's look at The Bean's kitchen again, shall we?

    Here's a few more detailed pictures from The Bean's kitchen she got for Christmas. Let's look at what it started out as, shall we?
    Nice messy garage! With two tone paint! Fancy.
    We started with an oak entertainment center I bought at a yardsale. It had drawers, a glass front cabinet door, and lovely brass hardware. I used a deglosser on the entire thing and primed it before applying 3-4 coats of high gloss enamel. We started this right after Thanksgiving so the paint would have time to cure.
    The Bean checks out what's good in the fridge. 
    Okay, it's not really a fridge, but it stores her food,
    her dishes, and other toys. The curtain I made hides
    another storage area. 
    We replace the glass in the door with hardboard covered in chalkboard contact paper. I used my Silhouette to make the text and the fork.
    The Bean microwaves EVERYTHING.
    B made the microwave and I did the numbers on my Silhouette. The handle is from Lowe's. The clock is from Ikea, and the flower from the dollar store.
    Glass cooktop ... 
    We wanted to make a glass cooktop, so B cut a piece of plexiglass to size, rounded the edges, and painted the back with black spraypaint. The burners are from the Silhouette, and B salvaged the knobs. The countertop was sprayed with texture spray paint. The cap looked like what we wanted, but it ended up being a bit like sandpaper. We would probably go with something else if we were to do it over again.
    "Let me show you my oven!" 
    B reconfigured the front of the entertainment center, removing the drawers and their frames, and building a new door out of MDF with a false drawer on the bottom. The top handle (and the one on the fridge) is from Ikea, and the small handle is from Lowe's.  
    The Bean at play. We do not condone hanging babies in the kitchen.
     We put a double hook on the side for her apron and, um, baby. She has made us many things, from microwaved water to cake. I bought her felt food and many of the dish ware sets from Ikea. Her wonderful "Grandma on the Hill" bought the cutest kitchen set I've ever seen from Costco, too. It came with pink pots and pans and a ceramic tea set. 
    Hope this kitchen will be played with for years!


    We remodelled a kitchen. A preview.

    Is remodel the right word? I guess it is. I found a solid oak entertainment center ...
    ... and turned it into this:
    Christmas morning. The Bean made us imaginary juice
    and plastic croissants. Delicious.
    And by "I," I mean "B and I," of course. I'll do a post with the details later.

    We listened to beautiful music.

    I answered the call for helpers on Facebook and was able to volunteer Benson and I to help at a Christmas concert put on by one of my favorite bands, The Lower Lights. We got to help set-up the admissions table and take tickets and stamp hands when people started to arrive. We didn't get to be in the auditorium for many of the songs, but it was great just being there.
    This was BF's second Lower Lights concert and my third. The whole group is very nice and will come out and mingle with the audience after the show. We've met many of the band members and BF got to talk with several of them. They put on a great show. There's so many members they don't get to rehearse much, but the lack of polish is totally made up for by their incredible musical skills. There wasn't a song we didn't love.
    Inside the venue, the Masonic Temple in Salt Lake City. They offer tours,
    which we're going to have to do. It was a very cool building.
    Ryan Shupe played with the band on their Christmas album. I
    remember seeing him play with Peter Breinholt about 14 years ago.
    The concert was on a Thursday night, and we got home very late. BF's a trooper! It was such a wonderful night!

    EVERYONE had to be there, too.

    We saw the lights at Temple Square with our friends and half the state of Utah. It was PACKED (it always is). But it was beautiful (as it always is).
    The Bean was most definitely NOT COLD on this trip.
    The streets looked beautiful from the top of the
    Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
    Santa Claus visits were a bit hard to come by this year. Our church had an adult only party and the mall Santas? Sheesh. They won't let you take your own pictures and for some reason I wasn't willing to pay for their picture packages (starting at only $24.99!)
    My sister found a car dealership in SLC that had Santa visiting. She managed to get all the grandkids there from that side of my family. It was a really cute set-up (think cute fake snow and a vintage firetruck) and we were the only ones there. Not only did they let us take our own pictures, but they had a photographer there who took a bunch of pictures and emailed them to my brother for free. Need to see Santa (or, I guess, buy a car), go to Hinckley Dodge. But not when I'm there. I liked the lack of crowds.
    The Bean wouldn't go until after she saw JK visit with Santa and survive.
    She was a little unsure, but she had a nice talk with him.
    This is the look you give Santa when he starts telling you
    the chores you need to do to be good.
    Fortunately they were all deemed good. That would have been awkward on Christmas morning, not giving toys to one of them. To be honest, it would probably have been The Bean who got coal.