Thursday, November 18, 2010

She loves me

As I helped Rosalie out of the booster seat in the car, she turned her little round face up to me and said, "Thanks for bucklin' me, Mom."
She tells me she loves me twenty times a day. It's what she says when she wants my attention but doesn't have anything to say.
As we started to walk away from the car I felt her arms wrap around my leg. I slowed, so neither of us would fall over, and looked down at her. She nuzzled me, then looked up again. In the same sweet voice she said, "I was just wipin' my nose on your leg."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stupid dogs!

Two days ago, my sister-in-law wrecked her car on the way to my house by swerving to avoid hitting two dogs who were hogging the road. The same thing has nearly happened to me a number of times. One icy day, after a near accident with my babies in the car, I decided that, if it came to a choice between someone's dog and MY CHILD, that dog would be flat and I would have no regrets.
That didn't stop me from reflexively slamming on the brakes just a couple of months ago to avoid ramming a dog who veered into the road just as I was passing him. He had done the same thing to the two cars ahead of me--I was watching. If I'd known he was trying vehicle-assisted-suicide, I would have been more helpful.
Ever since that day my three-year-old yells, "Stupid dog!" every time I have to slow the car down suddenly.

This morning, after doing a few household tasks, I followed my two youngest girls to my Mom's house next door. I immediately noticed that there were only three muddy boots on the front porch. After checking around the house, I headed to my sister's construction site. There I had the joy of beholding two dogs playing tug-of-war with a pink and red rain boot while other dogs watched, drooling.

I yelled as I ran toward them. They stood and stared. The tug-of-war winner cocked his head at me with the boot crushed between his teeth. I yelled the dog owner's name and one of the workers said something that made the dog drop it. And I yelled some more as I waved the boot in the dog's face and said things amounting to "No! Bad dog!"

I don't know what those construction workers thought about me as I stomped off, but I don't care. I wasn't about to lose another boot to those. . .unspeakable. . . . . .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stroller Ride

I love this drawing by Meredith. I love that she and Rosalie are holding hands. And we all look so happy.
Also I love how she shows my flyaway hair. And my super-skinny arms. (I only wish.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coming soon to a selected theatre

Casey and Lissa had the ultimate daddy-daughter date last Friday. They left the house at 4:45 am, drove to Provo, and spent the next twelve hours being extras in a film depiction of the Haun's Mill Massacre.

Lissa had the time of her life.

She had kids to run around with and snacks to eat.

All sorts of people to fuss over her clothes and hair.

Even live, egg-laying chickens to play with. (Note anachronistic elastic hair band on wrist. Hopefully, that doesn't cause any of her scenes to be cut.)

Casey's prodigious beard growing talents were featured. People at church and work had begun to comment.

Even people at the shoot said things like, "I keep wanting to ask you to build me some furniture."

His favorite part was playing a dead guy. (Note gunshot wound to the head.)

They learned some interesting things about the process of making historical re-enactments.
For instance--150 years ago everyone was really dirty. After they put everyone in their costumes, they shook dirt colored chalk all over them to make them look authentic.
Also, if you stick flaming torches into a barrel with dry ice at the bottom, the fire will suffocate instantly.
Also, if they ask you to be the guy who gets tackled by a mob through the fence of a horse corral, be prepared to have your face rubbed into the muck through 6 or 8 takes. Luckily, Casey wasn't that guy.

Lissa's prodigious emoting talents were featured. With the help of red eyeliner and peppermint oil. She may even have a close-up.

So, will we get to see it? And when? If only we knew!
All we know is they plan to add this footage to the Joseph Smith movie currently playing in the Legacy Theater in Salt Lake City.

Even if it never makes it to the screen, it was fun. And they even got paid! (Not much, but it just made it even more awesome from Lissa's point of view.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

10:10 pm, 10/10/'10

Last night we had a party to celebrate the confluence of a whole bunch of ones and zeros.
"Why are we doing this?" asked Anderson.
We tried to point out how rarely the dates line up like this, which makes it cool, right?
"Can we have ice cream?"
"You just had two desserts at Grandma's, so no."
"What are we going to do for the party?" asked Meredith.
"We'll run around making noise for 10 seconds."


"That sounds like the stupidest party ever," declared Meredith.

But at least it was short.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I took Lissa on a mommy-daughter date last Thursday.
We went indoor rock climbing. It was a first for both of us.

Lissa's goal was to climb up high enough to touch that green thing that looks like a turtle shell. She got so close!

(Here she takes a little rest.)
Unfortunately, the more she tried, the weaker and shakier and more blistery became her hands. We learned that you can climb the highest on your first go before you use up your strength.

And Lissa found a new use for the fountains just outside the Salomon Center. (Ahhhhh...)

My favorite part? Trying something new and exciting (and a little scary) with my daughter along.

Second best? Outside confirmation that. . .

Friday, August 6, 2010

All that she wants

We had one of those days where all our best laid plans resulted in a promise to go to the zoo being broken. And this after we drove to Salt Lake--an hour long trip.

Instead, we went to the movies with a dozen of our cousins. On the way out of the theater I handed Rosalie the box of Raisinets. There were four or five left. She tried to get them out of the box and ended up spilling them on the floor where they were trampled.

It was just too much for her. She collapsed next to an arcade game and began to moan. I let her have a few minutes to herself while we were gathering everyone up. She began to pull off the rubber edging on the game case. Aunt Victoria reattached it while I tried to cheer up my three-year-old by rubbing her back. And I asked her what she wanted, hoping it would be "I wanna go home." (That's what she wanted on the trip there.)

At first I didn't understand what she said. I asked her to repeat it. And again. At last I understood--the thing she wanted was. . . a Unicorn.

I had to ask.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In which I drop names like something my toddler handed me when I wasn't paying attention

Last night some of my family and I got to go see Will Swenson and Audra McDonald star in the Orem Hale Center Theater's production of "110 in the shade."

It was amazing.

One of my sisters overheard a man say he had flown out from New York to see this because in New York you'd pay a couple of thousand to see Audra McDonald through binoculars. Here, no one was farther than 7 rows away.

And that woman can ACT. And SING. WOW.

And then there's my cousin Will. Yes, my cousin. Will. All the Hale cousins used to play together at the Ranch every summer. And even then I knew Will was going to make it big in Show Business. He was unstoppable.

The whole cast was excellent. So, if you are in the neighborhood and you have a chance, I can recommend this one.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You can get there from here

On our way to Utah's amusement park--Lagoon--on Monday, Casey did a search on his phone for the nearest Little Caesar's Pizza. Here's what the search told him:

Little Caesar's Pizzaria
Mundaring, WA

Distance: 14,229 miles
Time: 55 days 0 hours
Traffic delay: 22 minutes

(Dad, are you sure you didn't search for the farthest Little Caesar's?)

The driving directions began simply--from Farmington, Utah drive northwest to Washington, etc., etc.
Then there was step 35: "kayak across the Pacific Ocean--3,879 miles."

With a left turn at Hawaii (nice of them to plan for pit stops, doncha think?) you again "kayak across the Pacific Ocean" to Taiwan. Then after winding your way through most of Indonesia, "kayak across the Pacific Ocean"--to Australia. After that you're almost there!

All I can say is good thing it's so easy to get a second opinion from the internet. We found a much more efficient route that cut a good 12 days off the total travel time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Good Day

On Monday we took our kids to Lagoon for 11 hours. Here are some of the things they said during our stay:

"That was the ride of my life!"--Rosalie, age 3

"Curse you, Gravity!"--Anderson, age 8

"I want to go home!"--Meredith, age 5

"This is the perfect day!"--Lissa, age 11

"I want to go home!" --Anderson

"Why can't we go on another ride?" --Meredith

"Can we do three more rides before we have to leave?" --Anderson

And during the car ride home:

"That was too much fun. Maybe next time we could go halfway through some lines, and then pretend they're closed. And we'd be really disappointed."--Anderson
(Some of us prefer our roller coasters to be emotional.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Scuba Diva

Ignore the hand signals. This person is not okay.

Getting certified for scuba diving was one of the best things I've ever done because it resulted in me getting up close to the reefs in Grand Cayman and Cozumel--experiences that were amazing and unforgettable. But the actual certifying process was fraught (fraught I tell you!) with difficulty. It was also very revealing.

"My name is Edith, and I have an "attention seeking personality disorder."

Right from the start I singled myself out from the rest of the class. It was easy. I just popped back up as soon as I could so the instructor would have to come help me personally. For the rest of that class I was the proud recipient of several comments like these: "What claustrophobia?! You're doing fine!" "Are you a plant from the Salt Lake Class?"

You'd never know that I tried to keep a low profile during the next class. Not with my dramatic clawing for the surface from 15 feet down after I forgot how to clear the regulator before re-inserting it and breathed in pool water. My sister and I came back for extra practice after that--simply another way to get more attention, I assure you.

I could have complained about the question they marked wrong on our first written test that I actually got CORRECT, but you know, I was really trying to get this thing under control.

But with the end of the course in sight, I managed to create a truly attention-getting scenario. For our Thursday night class I began developing a cold sore. Friday I was sick and exhausted--and that's when my tooth began to hurt. On Sunday my face began to swell. After lots of internet research and several long-distance phone consultations with my favorite dentist (Thanks, Joey!) I was pretty sure I needed a root canal. On Monday my local dentist confirmed it and said she could do the first part then, and the second part on Thursday. But our last dive was scheduled for Tuesday night, and you can't dive with a partial root canal. Your tooth is liable to implode.
That's when I called our divemaster, Greg, to see if, by any chance, there was a group going to dive on Friday? Or even Thursday night? He informed me that I should have gone with his group that went on the previous Saturday. Yes, that WOULD have been better. Let's do that.
Then I remembered that you are not allowed to dive within 18 hours of flying. Since we were flying out Saturday, a Friday dive wouldn't work anyway.
After a flurry of phone calls and consultations with every medical person I know, my brother-in-law Mike set me up for an appointment with his brother, the endodontist, for Tuesday afternoon. Endodontists are not as conservative as dentists; they do the whole root canal in one go. I was only hoping I'd still be up for a dive after that.
It was a little awkward unscheduling with my dentist in favor of a "professional." But it was worth it. The appointment was fast and, after the numbing shots, painless. Lucky for me, I guess, my tooth was already dead.
When I left an hour later I wasn't able to smile like I wanted to, but I was humming inside with relief that I'd get to do my last certification dive. And you might think that that would be the end of my pathetic plea for attention. Not at all.

Diving in the Homestead Crater is wonderful because the body temperature water is fully enclosed by rock walls--no currents and no creatures to add complications. And it would have been wonderfully uneventful but for two things--somehow my hubbuddy and I managed to get ourselves down to forty-six feet before Greg hauled us back up to our 40 foot limit. (We got a scolding for that.) And partway through the dive my knee joints and forearms began to feel a little odd. Like they were cold, or cramping or something. By the end of our dive they felt positively buzzy.* And even though I just really wanted to forget about it and go blithely on to our family vacation, I felt like I had to mention it, just in case it was the bends.

Greg swore. And began to tell me just how much I DID NOT WANT to have the bends. And that's when I knew I'd gotten his attention! And that I needed help to overcome my disorder. And that's my story. Thank you for your kind attention."

*Pretty sure it was a combination of dental medication, exhaustion, and malnutrition from five days of being sick and mouth-sore. It went away slowly over the next few hours. And the lightheadedness, which I didn't mention, went away right after we ate our late dinner.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rampant Cannibalism

My two older girls came upstairs with the shrieking heebeegeebies--a mouse was devouring the carcass of another mouse in our window well! "Eww, eww! "
From their description I gathered they thought a new breed of vicious flesh-eating rodent had moved into the neighborhood. I pointed out that the poor trapped thing was simply out of other options. So they decided to rescue it.

With a long-handled butterfly net and a piece of bread on a string, they freed the beastie to roam the fields round our house.

Ani came to tell us about the rescue, and stayed to obsess some more about the revolting behavior of eating your own kind. It reminded me of the story I had read just that morning in the Old Testament--a woman goes to the king to complain about her neighbor. You see, there was a famine in the land and the neighbor lady had proposed a plan: Let's eat your son today and my son tomorrow. So they ate the first son, but the next day the lady who came up with the plan refused to follow through. The king found this pretty upsetting. (But not for the same reasons the woman did.)

My toddler, Rosalie, also seemed bothered by this tale of maternal munching.
I reassured her, "I would never eat you, Rosalie. I would rather starve to death."
Her response was a flat, "I taste yucky."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Two days ago my sister Victoria got us to sign up for scuba certification.
I had assumed, what with us leaving on our family cruise in three weeks, that we wouldn't have time to get certified before we left. (Yes, I've known about the cruise for months and months. And yes, I did sort of hope it was too late.) But apparently, we have time.

And I knew Casey wanted to try it, and I thought it might be a really cool experience. So, despite the fairly high price tag, we signed up.

Yesterday, when we walked in to the dive shop, they had us all sit around a table and introduce ourselves. Then he told us it was time to get in the pool. What? I thought we had to learn some theory first. Or at least the names and functions of all the parts that will keep me from drowning!

But apparently, that's how it's done. We suited up, stuck that fancy bit of rubber in our teeth, and went under.

I tried to stay calm. I tried to believe I wasn't suffocating. I wondered, if you spend less than a minute under water will they give you a refund? And then I went up for air.

I stood there alone above water with my mask on my forehead (which I learned later is the sign of a distressed diver) until the instructor surfaced to see what was wrong with me. I admitted that I might have claustrophobia. He said I'd have to come back on non-class days for more practice. Right. This when I'm already spending 6 of the remaining 18 evenings away from my kids before I leave them for 9 days. And didn't you just get that I don't want to spend MORE time underwater right now?

Well, after a quick review of procedure, and the instructor prying the buoyancy regulator out of my fingers (oh, I don't have to hold that?) so I could hold his hands and try again, I was fine.
Phew! I didn't just waste a couple hundred dollars.

(I also panicked the first time I tried to snorkel. The water was choppy and I couldn't handle trying to breathe with my face under water at the same time that I was trying to stay afloat. When I put on a life jacket I could just concentrate on breathing, which, really, is the most important thing.)

We did all sorts of exercises for a couple of hours and then we were done for the day. I left feeling really excited. And tired. And hungry! Does scuba burn calories? Because Casey and I both hit our lowest weight in months today.

I woke up in the night to the sound of the wind rushing over our rooftop. It sounded like an ocean dragging on the shore. An ocean of air. I started to feel claustrophobic again. I wondered if I would drop my regulator. Or get carried away by the current. I wondered if dolphins ever get rabies. Eventually I had to turn on my light and read a book. The whole thing. And then listen to another book on the ipod before I finally fell back to sleep.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Once (quite recently) there were some Easter eggs. They were happy little monsters. Well, actually, some of them were sort of angry.

Then something terrible happened. One by one, they began to disappear.

Some of them vanished for obvious reasons.

But as more and more of them went missing, some of them began to worry.

Others were relentlessly cheerful, even when faced with their own destruction.

The full peril of their situation began to dawn on the few who remained.

They needn't have worried. It didn't help.

Airhead was the only one left.

He attributed his survival to Show-and-Tell. "If my five-year-old owner hadn't begged her mom to make me hollow so she could take me to Pre-school with her, I never would have made it. If only the process hadn't give her mom "balloon-ears-syndrome" more of my fellow monsters would be with us today."

Eventually, Airhead moved past the tragedy and started a family.

And the circle of life goes on.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Emily's Song

This is Casey, posting a video from my sister Emily's wedding shower. The rest of my sisters and others put this little song together about Emily's life and some still haven't seen it.

Not for the squeamish

Anderson had his stitches out today.  (Already!)
Casey thinks that I should have shown the "before" of his wound.  I don't know.  I got a lot of complaints about Lissa's squished finger.

 Here is before: 
And here is after:

So, leave the first picture up or not?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

. . .like you need a hole in the head.

Casey called to say he'd be bringing Anderson home from his cousins' house.  Since this was the plan, I said, "Okay."
"Didn't my parents call you?"
"About what?"
"Anderson cut his eyebrow open on a scooter.  Could you call your dad to see if he can take a look at it?  We'll meet him over there."

It's nice to have a surgeon in the family and living next door.  And lucky when our injuries coincide with my Dad (and Mom) being home between missions.

Anderson rode in the backseat of our car while Grandma Songer held his head and coached him in Lamaze breathing.  Grandpa Hale confirmed that he would need stitches, and then offered to do it himself.  While he gathered his supplies, Anderson lay on Grandma's couch and was comforted with sippy cups and a blanket fresh from the dryer.
Two-year-old Rosalie, who heard us talking about getting Anderson warm, attempted to put her coat over him.  The pink blur moving towards Anderson's face was met with a hasty, "No, no!" and a strong-arm.  She burst into tears.  (And learned that no good deed goes unpunished.  Wish we could try that again.)

Surgery on the kitchen table:

Anderson was very brave.  The injection of the anesthetic into the wound produced some complaints but he held still anyway.  When he felt his forehead go numb and learned he wouldn't feel any more pain during the operation, his big sigh and grin of relief were comical. Six stitches later, he got a candy bar and went home for dinner.

We wonder what kind of scar he will have.  My dad says scars make men look more attractive.  Clarissa called him "The Chosen One." 

Anderson's third eye:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Romance vs. the eight-year-old boy

Tonight our family watched Sydney White--a modern version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs--(yes, that is the correct spelling of dwarfs, Mr. Tolkien.)    And I DON'T recommend it for children, but this is not a movie review.  This is a psychological snapshot:  It's the end of the movie.  Sydney has fallen asleep in the library after pulling an all nighter to finish a major paper.  Tyler Prince is searching for her everywhere--she'll be late for her presidential election debate!  At last he finds her.  Her face is so peaceful in sleep.  How will he wake her?  Hmm...
Anderson knows! He shouts it out, "SLAP HER!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

To the Rescue

Meredith burst breathlessly through the door to tell me, "Mom! Chloe was doing a cannonball on the trampoline and Rosalie moved into her spot and Chloe accidentally, um..., like..., squished her flat."
 Mirthfully, I mean mercifully, I found her saddened but unflattened.  After a few minutes of lap time she was ready to go outside again.

 The  next time Meredith burst through the door to tell me that Rosalie's boot was stuck in the snow and she was "crying her head off!"
By the time I got to her she was, luckily, still capitated, but wailing.  When I got close she was quick to tell me what was really bothering her. "I peed!"
 I appreciated the warning, as it altered my rescue plan somewhat.

And now she's back outside again.  The day is just too beautiful--49 degrees!--to stay inside.  And rescue workers are standing by.  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sugar Cookies and Sex Appeal

Today when we walked into the chapel for Sacrament meeting, I noticed two things: One was the number of young men and women in formal wear and the other was the alluring smell of white cake in the air. If you know me, you know which one was the more interesting to me. (Here's a hint--I'm a sugar addict.)
After I thought through the possibility that it might be Mother's Day, or a new holiday in honor of early-switch-from-Daylight-Savings, I realized that there was probably no dessert in my near future. So I turned my attention to the Prom dresses. It was interesting to see that more young men than young women from our ward had gone to Prom. At least, I counted four tuxes and only two ball gowns.
Can I say that I still think it's weird that there is this tradition here in Utah to wear your Prom clothes to Church the day after? I mean, sure they're expensive and you normally only get to wear them once, but they are a little flashy for Sunday worship. One was FUCHSIA with a huge tulle skirt, and the other was cut DOWN front and back--and inadequately disguised with a loosely draped wrap. (Here is the too-low-cut dress.)

I tried to contain my judgementality by sketching some lovely future prom dresses for my daughter--I do believe you can be stylish, attractive, and modest at the same time. Because I can't really draw they ended up looking like something I knew my daughters would never want to wear. But for fun I told them they would get to have high-necked, long sleeved dresses made of wool. Or poison. (That's so boys can look but not touch.)

After the meeting I followed both Prom dresses up the stairs for choir practice. The smell of cake was so strong, I remarked on it out loud. That's when FUCHSIA informed me that it was the other girl's perfume. Other girl then said, "It's called "Sugar Cookie.""

I sat next to her during choir practice so I had half an hour to ponder the effect of that dress combined with that smell on any normal teenage boy. At some point I said to the girl, "I imagine that scent is really effective." Her reply?: "Oh, yeah!" I twitched with the impulse to jump out of my chair and go tell her date's mom.

By the time my son hits high school, I hope they've developed portable sensory deprivation chambers. 'Cause that's the only way he's going to Prom.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Valentine's Day Vignette

Yes, it's been a while, but here are some highlights from the day.

I Sink I Love You

It was a few days before Valentine's Day. Lissa came up stairs, after bedtime, to bemoan the fact that she still needed an idea for her Valentine's Box. I was reading my friends blog about her bathroom remodel and the idea was there--"How about you make a model of a sink? It could say "I sink I love you!"" I waited for a laugh, or even a groan (the true sign of a good pun.)
"What? I think it's a good idea," I said.
"That's just the first thing you thought of!" she complained. "What else could I do?"
"Sorry," I said. "That's all I've got."

After a day or two, she came around. Here is the result:

Don't you love the crystal finials on the handles? The white ribbon is supposed to look like spraying water.

It brought back memories, I'll tell you. In sixth grade I made a model of our wood stove and it said, "My Hearth Glows For You." My Dad helped me paint it with real stove blacking. My dad also made possible the drain hole in the base of the bowl of this sink. He's always a good one for helping my improbable ideas become real. Thanks, Dad!

Valentine's Package

My sister Kate sent homemade goodies, without which we'd have had none.

You can see that Meredith loved every bit of this package, from cookies to bubble wrap.

She was inspired to create a Valentine of her own.

You can always count on Kate to spread the love. Thanks, Kate!

My Favorite Things

My good husband bought me a box of Turtles. I LOVE turtles! And what's really great about it is that he doesn't really like them. He could have bought something we both like. Or something he likes, since I'll eat anything. But he thought about what I like instead. That's true love right there. Thanks, Casey!

So, yeah, another good Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things my kids say

Anderson, who needs glasses soon, has been told that they can be expensive.
"How much?" he asks.
We say, "Around $150."
He shouts, "Cool! I can trade them in for a DS!"

Rosalie, in the process of potty training, chants "I'm going potty trained!" over and over down the hall past the open doors of the Sunday School class, despite repeated shushings from Mom.

Grandma gave us a bag of Valentine's Day candy to share. I was eating them enthusiastically, in preparation for a month long fast from sugar starting the next day (in support of Anderson, who gets $100 from Grampa S. if he can do it.) Meredith (age 5) said, "Mom, don't you think you should save some of those for the other kids? I think you've had enough."
When I tried to remove a jelly bean that was stuck in my molars, she got suspicious and said, "You'd better let me hold the bag, Mom."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Those Crazy Inanimate Objects

Our microwave has started to show its age. It has become moody. It began by flashing the word SHELLFISH across its readout every morning, followed by asking us to enter the serving weight.

Poor thing has never yet been asked to do anything involving seafood. Have we been thwarting its life's ambition?
We simply pushed cancel and continued cooking our cheese roll-ups.

Then it began beeping insistently in the middle of the night. It would take Casey or me a few minutes to wake up sufficiently and stumble downstairs in the dark to investigate. Each time we were greeted by glowing green letters alternately flashing BEEF PORK BEEF PORK BEEF PORK!!!
We mostly eat chicken. And cheese-roll-ups.
This time the microwave refused to be canceled. We had to pull the plug. After three or four nights in time-out, the microwave backed down.

We've reached an uneasy truce. The microwave no longer wakes us up in the night. And we look the other way when it swears.

Some of the objects in our house have entirely too much personality.

(pillow monster by Meredith)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mini Man

This was Lissa's present to her Dad for Christmas.
It's a replica in miniature of his desk! And himself!

The resemblance is uncanny.

She was going to do one of me, too, but she didn't want to have to make a miniature couch.