Friday, February 27, 2009

Getting high on Vanilla Extract


I have a weakness that I believe few have as severely as I do, and that is an addiction to homemade chocolate chip cookies. The smallest attempt at coercion will work on me especially if chocolate chip cookies are needed by anyone. "Anyone" can be the guy in China who's had a bad day and, because my attuned-ness is so strong, I would feel, through long-distantceESP, that he has a need. Unfortunately, "the need" never sends a mailing address.

China map

This afternoon, I used "the need" for this Nestle ambrosia as a tool for stopping a fight. One of the three volatile elements had to be removed from a possible nuclear explosion, so I took Uranium (Reed) upstairs and had him help me make C.C.C.s. By the way, it is Friday and on Friday's rules are meant to be broken (the rule that every woman fights throughout the week: Thou shalt not eat anything yummy, chocolaty, or of a fattening nature...until the day lipo suction is free or covered by everyone's insurance").

chocolate chip cookies

I rarely let the volatile elements into the baking/cooking area but I thought this might be a good tutorial. Everyone needs to know the basics like how to boil water, how to turn on the burning-food-recovery-fan, or how to make C.C.C.s. Reed pulled up a chair so he was almost as tall as me standing by the big bowl. We successfully put in the first 3 ingredients and mixed (I love Kitchen Aides). Then I brought out the eggs and vanilla. I don't think Reed knows this, but it's the vanilla that brings the hungry sailors to their death when the Sirens start singing. It's not the song really, the gals are all just holding a bottle of pure vanilla, blowing it the sailor's way as they sing over the opening. Thus, the thing that drives all to crave cookie dough is the smell of vanilla (well, it might also be the ozone smell from the mixer as it overheats, but I'd put my money on the vanilla).


These particular Sirens were drinking the vanilla just before their concert, and it looks like they are a little tipsy too, overdoing it for Ulysses I suppose. 35% alcohol can have quite an effect on singing female island dwellers.

I let Reed hold the teaspoon as I filled it with vanilla. As he poured it in the bowl I watched him inhale. I asked "do you like how the vanilla smells?" Reed answered with a dazed smile, "yeeesss." He set it down on the counter while we put the rest of the ingredients in. As I was putting the lid back on the flour container, Reed looked down at the now empty vanilla spoon and asked if he could smell it again. I laughed and said yes, but I guiltily felt like I was feeding a drug habit. He stood there for a minute or so taking more taking heady whiffs of the wonderful vanilla bean's extract.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bad Kitty, 5 stars for this uniquely educational alphabet book

Bad Kitty

This evening we drove home from my sister's house after hanging around just long enough to get ourselves invited over for dinner.  Actually, that wasn't my intention, she is just very gracious and thoughtful plus my kids seemed to be rummaging through her cupboards like they never get fed at our house.  My cute little beggars.  On our drive home we pass through downtown Ogden which isn't all that down-towny, but that's what it's called.  All things, including quiet down towns, inspire 7 year old and 3 year old brains.  I actually don't know of anything that doesn't inspire the very aware brains of the young.  Compared to them, I'm in a state of comatose. Here are one of the many random observation inspired conversations from tonight's drive.

Douglas:  Is this downtown?

Mommy:  Yes

Isaac:  I want more chicken!

Douglas:  Do you know why they call sky- scrapers, skyscrapers?   It's because they scrape the sky.  ( 3 seconds of silence)  Why are there always cops down town?

Isaac:  Look at the lights!

Mommy: (focusing on obeying the speed limit in a 35 mph) Uh...because people sometimes don't obey the law downtown?

Reed:  I know, it's because lots of people loiter!

Reed's understanding of loitering comes from one of my very favorite alphabet books called, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel (recommended by the illustrious Naomi).  On the page with the letter L, when the kitty was being very bad, his crime was Loitering.

Bad Kitty loitering1

This book is a classic in the world of alphabet education.  So, if you want a break from B is for Bear and H is for Helicopter, try B for "Bit Grandma" and H for "Hurled hair balls at our heads."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Heads up! Or down?

head stand

"If you need to stand on your head, please do it on the floor and not on the desk chair," I said while Reed attempted this unnatural move on a swiveling desk chair which sat next to our new monitor. The same monitor that, within the first week of purchase, had been stabbed in the heart by a pencil that I can only imagine wanted a closer look. We put a finger in the bleeding wound and it survived leaving an eighth of an inch scar. Since then I've noticed when we are looking at various celebrities, news people, or whoever on this monitor, that there is a great amount of nose wiping to be done. "What is that under her nose? Why won't anyone offer her a tissue? Why doesn't Brad just wipe that off of Angelina? I bet Jen would love to see this coverage!"

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

It always seems to take a minute before we remember that scar on the monitor and that it's not the fault of bad hygiene, or whatever category nose wiping falls under. I sometimes forget that celebs have people that check their noses before they hit the limelight.


As for Reed's "need" to stand on his head, it turned out that the need had been met in that small chair-balancing act and he was from that moment ready to face his other needs. Some of which included a bowl of popcorn, a chocolate chip cookie and a device designed to find missing Lego man heads. We only had one head and for all I know it's probably in my vacuum bag. Oops, and I'm not going in after it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spock's Coffin

spock's coffin

As I lay in the machine, head in a vice, encased in a magnetic conical white tube, with the sound of horseshoe clopping and a space ship's engine, my mind went instantly to Star Trek: Wrath of Kahn.  Spock dies, sniff, sniff, and his comrades place him in a large black case which I can only imagine felt like the inside of an MRI machine.  He is propelled to the pre-pubescent planet named Genesis (the planet was born of a torpedo, don't remember the details, but it ages quickly. I believe he is dropped on it when it was still experiencing terrestrial pimples).  After a 45 minute equestrian sci-fi ride, I was finally pulled out of the MRI machine feeling like the dead but thankfully still of this world. 


We'll see what kind of embarrassing pictures result from this brain scan in a few days.  I know I have a brain at least (yes I do doubt this once in a while) and it must be fairly big since it took 45 minutes to take.  Or maybe the length of time was simply an inability, on the technicians side, to get my cranium to smile.  I told Chris I'd make sure to give the camera a tight mouthed grin, but I guess that must have been insufficient.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Queen Ornery


This afternoon you may address me as "Her Royal Ornery-ness."  Do you ever get into a mood and know that it's going to take a pedicure, body massage, a trip to somewhere tropical, a quart of diet Coke and a gallon of chocolate to snap out of it? 


I'm in one of those determined moods and I have a cemented furrowed brow to prove it.  I'm not going to go into details on the subject but I'll say that it has something to do with my adorable children, one of which has just rent his church pants from the knee down.  If he had intended to go into a worthy battle and had chosen to write a title of liberty on them I might have forgiven him, but this was instead an act of defiance for being put on a time out.  True, there was a small rip already but a one inch hole should not grow to a 12 inch hole in an hour's time no matter how angry the wearer is.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just a ventilation project


Taking children into public places is almost as dangerous as jumping on a trampoline with a land mine chained to your ankle.  In the case of taking mine to a store, it comes out as more of a psychologically damaging experience merely from the anticipation of said bomb exploding.  (Side note:  have you ever noticed how stressful opening those cardboard-wrapped containers holding Pillsbury biscuit dough can be?  I have other people open them for me, as the suspense is too great and I nearly go into cardiac arrest every time it pops open).

I think it's hard to fully understand public display of children, or PDC, unless you are personally involved and have been slowly worn down one whine at a time.  Whenever all of those hired specialists come into a chaotic child infested setting, fresh from a full night of sleep, chipper after their caffeine stimulants, and mentally prepared, of course having read up on the subject on misbehaving children the night before, one would think the parents are just ill-trained morons.  Characters like "Supernanny" make it look so easy, like the parents are just looking at things from the wrong point of view and just need to step back and go into it with a new game plan.  I suppose, if the parents could stay the night in a hotel, get 20 minute breaks every 3 hours, 15 minutes with HR discussing where they're going with this kid cultivation project, that they too could manage with the same success as Supernanny.


A masterpiece of shopping cart art, love it!

Shopping experience:

Cart selection arguments

Department destination arguments

Running up and down aisles while trying to get the loudest tennis shoe squeak.

Taking on the role of floor sweepers while trying to perfect the Worm.

"Can we get a toy" repeated at 10 second intervals for at least a half an hour.

Keeping an eye out for rogue toys who feel that jumping into a patrons cart will be their one way pass to freedom.  Theory behind this one is "if it's in the cart mommy will buy it."

O.k, I'm done with this ventilation project.  Can one buy groceries over the Internet?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How much cents (sense) do I have? A lesson in economics.


The other day the boys got valentine's cards with some money from Grandma & Grandpa H.  They've been learning about currency in school.  Reed likes to think of all money in cents.  So, say he has 5 dollars, he'll ask how much do I have? Mom says "you have 5 dollars."  "No!  How much  money do I have?" Reed clarifies.  Mommy doesn't understand obviously so I ask, "how much do you think you have?" (always turn the question back to the asker, and while we're asking, what do you think of your mother?).  "No, how much cents do I have?"  Mommy clues in, "oh, you have 500 cents, you are a rich man!"  He was satisfied for a while until Douglas brought his money over to the table and Reed bragged about how many cents he had to Douglas.  "I have more than you," boasts Reed.  Douglas, never one to be out done, said "no you don't, I do."  They had the same amount by the way.  This turned into a full on yelling argument.  Mommy intervened and threatened to make sure neither of them had the most by taking it all away. 

They calmed down.  About 5 minutes later, still sitting at the table I overhear Douglas talking to Reed saying, "Well, he wants to spend five hundred million billion dollars!"

Mommy's alert buttons start flashing and gets up to halt a new fight over money.  I jump to the same conclusion and threaten once more to take the money away when Douglas defends himself and his brother.  "We were just talking about how much Obama wants to spend."

They really do listen!  In fact I think he heard me say something like that one morning when he and Reed came up and took Chris' place in bed.  The alarm went off and the annoying lady who ruins my morning starts talking in her the-earth-is-going-to-explode-tomorrow voice.  "President Obama says in his address to so-and-so that he's going to need another 500 billion dollars to..." blah, blah, blah.  I drowsily complained and asked the ceiling and Chris who was in the shower who might be able to hear me, "where in the world is he going to get 500 billion dollars?!  Doesn't he know there's already a deficit?"  It turns out they were listening and merely rehashing information but with the same astounded inflection.  We should figure out how many cents that is and drop him a note, just in case he doesn't know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Mom, do you know where I put Mr. Incredible?"

Reed and Douglas enjoy playing with Chris' iphone which happens to have a camera. Here are two of the pictures he found. The ones not featured included R2-D2, a purple bug, and a lone soldier, who in previous times has been called the "bad guy."

El Dorado Trek

Here we have Tulio attempting to de-wing Hopper after what must have been an epic battle. Lieutenant Sulu is obviously trying to hold Tulio back, saying, "Tulio! He's already dead, we need to stop this senseless violence and go find Bo Peep! I swear I saw her just a minute ago, and she is soooo cute!"

dead grasshopper

R2 Tries to Explain

"Thanks for your support man! When R2 ran over my foot I thought I was a gonner. Those sand people would have been right on me if you hadn't flown by," said the struggling soldier.

photo (9)

"Oh, it was no problem. I've been searching far and wide for something they call the Force" said Mr. Lightning while looking out over the desert for his aircraft.

"Beep, reep, doooooot, reep, deep, deep, weeeeoooo" explained the little droid with much enthusiasm.

"What was that about?" asked Lightening.

"I don't know, the dude's been making those sounds all morning, every time I would say 'I need to force myself out of this pit'," answered the soldier.

"Beep, reep, doooooot, reep, deep, deep, weeeeoooo" explained the little droid again with even more enthusiasm.

"See what I mean? Droids."

"Say, do you think he knows something about the Force?" asked Lightening enthusiastically.

"Na, he's just a big bucket of bolts," answered the soldier.


"AH! What was that for?!"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Mr. Rogers Experience


Earlier today, while sitting in the car with my family, watching the world go by, I found myself in the usual random mental revelry.  I started to share an experience with Chris and before I could stop myself from revealing my somewhat embarrassing train of thoughts I told him that I'd had a Mr. Rogers experience the other day.  I came home from some errand and once I'd walked in the door I proceeded to take off my coat and then my shoes.  Then with the same rhythm, bypassing the tossing of the shoe and catching it part, I put on my slippers and slid on my sweater.  I mentally noted this Mr. Roger behavior as I walked down the hall adjusting my sleeves (putting on sweaters always disrupts the position of whatever long sleeve shirt I'm wearing).  After sharing this strange experience, Chris, with what seemed to be sincere curiosity, asked if I then visited the Neighborhood of Make- Believe.  Hah-hah!  Upon reflection, I was probably already there and have been for some time now.

Mr. Rogers neighborhood

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

All things tend toward Entropy

roman ruin

"I didn't knock it down, he did!"

The title of this entry is a thought that randomly and sometimes consistently (see entropy) comes to mind as I review the day's activities, relationships, and physical state.  This statement, from some science class that I probably got a C in, has been firmly and permanently encased in my left frontal lobe, under the scarring or "brain cloud," the neurologists keep "finding" to explain away some of my behavioral traits.

Definitions provided in part by Wikipedia with clarifications and further explanations by Beckipedia.

"In many branches of science, entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system. The concept of entropy is particularly notable as it is applied across physics, information theory, mathematics," and I might add the raising of boys.

It may be that raising girls has a similar tendency, but as I do not have any, all of my research is a result of being constantly surrounded by those who bear the Y chromosome with great pride and confidence. Pride meaning there is no shame for skillfully breaking wind and confidence in the fact that one knows they can do it anywhere and anytime, on command.

"In thermodynamics [raising boys] (a branch of physics), entropy, symbolized by S, is a measure of the unavailability of a system’s energy to do work."

Usually, this "system" says that his legs don't work anymore or he's "too tired to go to bed," but only when the "system's" auditory organs detect vibrations coming from the direction of the "system's" mother's mouth. Unpredictable as to what the chosen "unavailability to do work"  might be, the "system" does show some consistency in its need to ignore one certain voice or element.

"It is a measure of the disorder of molecules in a system, and is central to the second law of thermodynamics [raising boys] and to the fundamental thermodynamic [male sibling] relation, both of which deal with physical processes and whether they occur unexpectedly."

Here again (politely skirting the double implications of the last bit of this quote in relation to intestinal issues), we see the will not to conform to what propriety demands, though in certain environments with the proper stimuli (candy, threats, long amounts of time in pressure chambers) the molecules [boys] that govern the system can be persuaded to get along with the other molecules [boys], and when the theory is actually played out as the simulations predict, it can be unexpected and pleasantly rewarding.

"Spontaneous changes in isolated systems [boys] occur with an increase in entropy. Unexpected changes tend to average out differences in temperature, pressure, density, and chemical potential that may exist in a system [boy], and entropy is thus a measure of how great the unexpected changes are."

As certain systems break down, flail sporadically on the ground (or lab table), and a heavy layer of condensation collects on the system's surface, one might observe gradual changes.  First, the system dries up, apologizes to the matronly lab technician for the sudden, unexpected moisture, temperature, pressure and saline level.  Then, the system and the lab technician hug in an upper appendage-ing way and to everyone's surprise the system suddenly goes back to normal, fighting entropy for at least an hour.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lucy wins the Super Bowl!

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On Sunday we attended the blessing of Jared and Rhi's new baby girl, Lucy.  As you can see she is quite the adorable creature with big beautiful blue eyes.  Below is a collection of photos I took at Rhi's parent's house who had us all over after the blessing for a wonderful lunch, thank you guys!  Of course, guacamole , chips and hot wings were consumed.  It has been reported that Super Bowl Sunday is the day in which the largest amount of avocados are consumed in this country and I didn't want to be left out.


As far as Super Bowl Sunday goes, I watched the last 38 seconds, which really equals 38 minutes of the game (38 seconds + 3 timeouts + 2 commercials - 1 bathroom break + 3 trips to the refrigerator = 38 minutes),  so I know that the team with the yellow on won and not the Arizona Cardinals.  They really ought to rename that team as there are no Cardinals in Arizona.  The Arizona Blue-footed Booby for one or the Arizona Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  Maybe just the general bird classification, the Arizona Anatidae.  Just a thought, and it was random, as are most of my thoughts.  No offense intended, just a desire for accuracy in the naming of sports teams.  If I were a Team Namer (is there a class you can take in sports ed. school to be qualified to do this?), where football teams are involved, I'd go with names related to large, hairy, muscley, IQ challenged beasts (the last trait is only a result of constant head bashing not an insult).  The Sicilian Cyclopes,  the Battling Buffalos, the Rambunctious Rhinos or the Lugubrious Ligers.  Alliteration should also be a required part of the naming process.  Congrats to that yellow team, but I'd never tell them they were yeller in front of them.  Shall we go on to the subject of costume/uniform color?  Yellow?  Hmmmm.

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Brooklyn's life size Lucy doll

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Alyssa and Reed cooking everyone plastic food, yum...

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Grandpa and Lucy

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Jared, Erin, Rhi, and Lucy

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Grandpa and Douglas

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Chocolate cake faces.

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Merry Christmas!

December 2018 (Cliff’s notes version:  Merry Christmas, we love you all, and have a happy New Year!) Dear Family and Friends (...