Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tag, I'm It!

I'm lucky enough to get tagged by Julia to play this little game of sevens:

A. List seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself.

B. Tag seven people to do the same.

C. Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you tag "whoever wants to do it."

1. I hate not being able to see; I swim and sleep in my glasses.
2. I have all my wisdom teeth in my mouth--and I'm not afraid to use them!
3. I am fanatical about my children's nap- and bed-times.
4. I spy on my little sister via her and her boyfriend's MySpace pages.
5. I genuinely enjoy Disney's High School Musical and High School Musical 2.
6. I usually check my email more than 5x a day.
7. I have never downloaded a song. (Gasp! The horror!) I don't know how.

Okay, so there you have it. Now, I tag Sally, Tracy, Melodie, Deborah, Rebecca, Kellee and Ruth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Checking My Academic Brain

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.
Are You a Dumb American?

Here's a fun quiz from Joni, who noted incorrect use of "you're" in the above text.

Okay, I was a little nervous to take the quiz, but it was pretty basic. Test yourself and feel good about how smart you are! I was never a big history buff. I had an unusual combination of learning-loves: English and science. I didn't care for history or math in school. Usually, English-y people love history and math and science go hand-in-hand, but my brain works a little differently. What can I say?

Monday, August 27, 2007

School's In!

So, today was the first day of school. Maia and Mason were both very excited to get back to school and see their friends. We have heard great things about both of their teachers so I think we're in for a good year.

To be honest, I was a little worried that Maia wouldn't let me put in her characteristic hair bows for her first day of fourth grade but she didn't bat an eye. Is it so wrong that I love it that my oldest child is still just an innocent little girl?

She came home super-thrilled that she had Media on the first day and that there was a new sequel to one of her favorite books in the library. She's had her nose in it all night. That's my girl!

Mason ran halfway to the school. He was just so excited! He loved walking with the whole family. Daddy went to work late to make the traditional trek with us.

Mason came home happily reporting that for the first time in his three years of school, he does NOT eat lunch at ten thirty in the morning!

These faux pupils would not leave the house until they, too, were wearing backpacks. They also insisted on getting their pictures taken with pieces of paper, just like they'd seen Maia and Buddy do.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What's in a name?
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Okay, I am totally cheating on this. The above is for my first name and maiden name (apparently my maiden name is the 9752nd most popular last name in the U.S. while my married name is 129th most popular last name). When I did it with my married name it came up with 1. I do love my married name and it's ease of use. For a girl who had to spell her first, middle and last names all growing up, having a last name like my married one is a welcomed change.

I have always loved my first name. I feel like it's uniquely mine. I know other Mendy's exist (I'm even related to one: Michael's mom's husband's daughter's daughter, got that?) but I've never met one.

And I like it that way. Once when I was at BYU, a girl came over to my apartment for a study group with my roommate and she saw our message board. "There's a 'Mendy' who lives here?" she asked incredulously. I happily cried, "That's me!" Then she went on to explain that she, too, had a roommate named Mendy. I quickly said, "Well, I don't want to meet her. I've never met another Mendy and I don't want to now." She gave me a funny look and went on with her study group. Then next time my roommate hosted the study group, this gal came up to me and said, "I talked to my roommate Mendy and she said that she doesn't want to meet you, either!" Now, that's a girl I can relate to!

I am not trying to sound unfriendly or snobby, but my name has always been mine and mine alone. I cannot image being in a large group, hearing my name and turning to see that someone was actually calling the girl next to me. It's just unfathomable to me. (By contrast, my Michael's number on the census search is 2758--no wonder we get phone calls for the wrong Michael all the time!)

Whenever my mom is with me when I introduce myself to someone new she apologizes to me. The conversation can easily go like this:

Me: My name is Mendy.

New Person: Mindy?

Me: No, Mendy.

New Person: Mandy?

Me: No, it's actually "Mendy" with an "e."

New Person: OH, Wendy!

Me: No, Mendy. M-E-N-D-Y.

I have learned that I can shorten this whole process by just spelling it from the get-go.

Lots of people wonder if my name is short for anything. It's not. When my mom was pregnant with me, she wanted to name me Abigail and call me Abby (if I was a girl, of course) but my dad wasn't on board. Then, my mom's best friend's husband said, "You know what name I think is nice? Mendy." And that's where it came from. My mom swears by this story, but "Uncle Alan" denies it and now claims that he'd never heard the name before in his life. The controversy!

There are two categories of people who understand and accept my name immediately upon hearing it: children and foreigners. I think it's because they don't have years of only Mindy/Mandy/Wendy being ingrained in their brains.

It used to really annoy me when people said my name incorrectly. In college, I met some people who would just call me Mindy because they said it was "easier." I actually had a couple of guys ask me what the big deal was when I corrected them on how to say my name. They said, "It's just a vowel!" to which I responded, "Yes, Jiff (or Mitt) it is 'just a vowel,' but it makes all the difference, doesn't it?" I do let it slide more these days; I think there are several people at church, for instance, who call me Mindy. Oh, well.

So, that's the extra-large scoop on my first name. It's unusual; I love it. Sometimes it's a pain (like when people think it's a typo and "correct" it for me) but I wouldn't trade it for any other name. I hope all my kids like their names as much as I like mine!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Maia Did It!

When Maia was just about to start first grade, and just shy of six years-old, she announced that she wanted to get her ears pierced. I was excited and told her that would be no problem. Well, her dad thought it should be something special so he suggested that we wait the month until her sixth birthday. I agreed with that.

Maia started first grade and mentioned to a mother w
ho was helping in her class that she was going to get her ears pierced on her upcoming birthday. This well-meaning (I think?) woman informed Maia that getting your ears pierced feels like bee stings. From that day forward, Maia changed her mind on the whole ear-piercing issue. She wanted nothing to do with it.

I tried to convince Maia that getting your ears pierced is, in fact, not like getting stung by bees. She didn't believe me. When her cousin Courtney got her ears pierced I had Maia ask her how she thought it was. It didn't matter what Courtney said about a lack of pain; Maia didn't buy it. In fact, Maia got rather mad at me for pushing the issue.

So, when Marlee started her campaign to get pierced ears I embraced it. Michael did wonder what happened to the idea of waiting for something special, but I said, "We tried waiting and now look: we have a child too terrified to get it done!" (Maia has become increasingly afraid of more and more things as she has gotten older.) I think that, along with Teensy's incessant pleading for "pokey earrings" made him give in a little on the whole issue. In the back of my brain, I hoped that if Teensy got her ears pierced and she told Maia it wasn't bad, then Maia would get the courage to do it, too. (Please don't think I think a girl should have her ears pierced by the time she's 8 or there's something wrong--the issue is that Maia was letting another fear cripple her and that is just so hard to watch.) Anyway, my secret hope was that Teensy could be positive peer pressure for Maia.

I learned from the Courtney thing that I had to play it cool. I didn't say, "Hey, Maia, look at Teensy's ears! She got them pierced and she said it didn't hurt!" I said nothing. These two sweet girls share a room; I let pillow talk work its wonders. Not two days after Marlee's big day did Maia come to me and say, "I've been thinking, Mom, and since Teensy got her ears
pierced I think I can do it, too." Worked like a charm.

So, this morning after Maia's piano lesson I hired her teacher to come back to my house and sit with the younger three children so Maia and I could go to the mall. Maia was so excited! She chose little sparkle flowers, too, but hers are white with a greenish/blue center. I was a little nervous for her when I realized that there was only one worker in the store. Teensy had had the luxury of two workers being in the store and, hence, had gotten both ears pierced at the same time. Maia would have to do one ear at a time. I talked with her about it and she told me that she'd be fine--she comforted me!

I didn't feel as queasy this time. I don't know if that's because Maia is older and looked bigger sitting in the chair or because I'd been through it before. The lady put perfectly centered marks on Maia's lobes and then pierced them. Each time the "gun" fired, Maia's eyes got huge and a little annoyed-looking, but she didn't make a peep. She was so brave to get her ears pierced after living in fear of it for so long. Now she has a big smile and beautiful earrings.

And they are crooked.

I still can't believe it. The right one is exactly on the mark and the left on
e is...not. The earring is actually sitting slightly below and outside the mark. It makes me sick. I tried to act happy for her, and just mentioned it casually that she could let that heal and then we could get it re-pierced so it would be perfect like the other one. She looked at me like I was nuts and just said, "Nah, I'm fine with it, Mom."

So, I have to be fine with it, too. It's not perfect, but she loves it and I love that she did something she was afraid of--and did I mention she rode the escalator in the mall, as well? It was a banner day for Maia. I hope she can always remember how small this act really was in relation to the large amount of fear and anxiety she associated with it. Maybe she'll be petting dogs soon!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Teensy's Earrings

Well, last Friday I took Teensy out on a mommy/daughter date and she got her ears pierced. She has been begging to get earrings--"not clip-ons, the pokey kind"--for a little while now. As a girl, I had to be 13 to get my ears pierced and I remember feeling like it was torture to wait that long. I always said I'd never make my daughters wait; they could get their ears pierced when they wanted. Admittedly, I was thinking they'd ask around age 5, but Teensy's always been a little mature for her years. Michael took a little convincing but eventually gave us his blessing that Teensy could pierce her ears.

I took her to the mall and we headed to Libby Lou where she picked out her first earrings. She chose a pair of little sparkle blue flowers which she proudly refers to as her "sapphires." As she sat her little body in that big chair I started to feel queasy. When the girls who pierced her ears were hunched over her with those piercing guns in their hands, I had butterflies in my stomach. I had to stop myself from calling the whole thing off; I was so nervous!

Then the girls pierced my Teensy's ears. I couldn't blink! I was scrutinizing her face to see if there was any sign of pain or sadness. Her eyes got really big when the earrings went in and then a huge smile spread across her face. "That didn't hurt one bit!" she exclaimed. She happily admired her new reflection in the mirror.

As we walked through the mall to continue our special time together, Teensy was literally skipping. She was flicking her hair back so her ears would show and telling anyone who crossed her path that she had just gotten her ears pierced and that she "didn't cry or scream at all!" She was just so hap
py. We ended our date by stopping in the Disney Store and grabbing dinner at "Old McDonald's."

Even now, four days later, the magic continues. "Blue" has been replaced in her vocabulary by "the color of sapphires." She's made bragging phone calls to various loved-ones. She is just so pleased and I am pleased for her--for being brave, for being responsible to help keep them clean.

And an added bonus is that now my almost nine year-old has decided that she can be brave, too, and wants to get her ears pierced. Another fear conquered for Maia--yeah!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Minimal Blogging To Come

Am idiot...fell up steps in own home...didn't quite succeed in catching self...broke finger today...throbbing pain...sheepish feeling...ugh!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pay It Forward

I won this fun little contest on Ruth's blog (to know me is to know my love of winning all games) and part of the deal is that I would post the same contest on my blog!

Here you go:

I will send a handmade gift to the first three (3) people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. You may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. (So, you must have a blog to participate.)

How fun! Now let's all pay it forward, give each other gifts just for the heckuvit, and comment away!

If you are one of the three, I'll contact you to get your mailing info (if I don't already have it.) If you're not one of the three, hurry and click over to the winners' blogs to see if you can make it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Pleasant Outing?

Last week my kind neighbor offered me her extra tickets to the free matinée at the local movie theater. My kids were thrilled at the prospect of watching a movie on the big screen. So, today I coiffed the kids and loaded them in the car to go see Over the Hedge.

Since the tickets were free I decided to splurge and get a large popcorn and soda for them all to share. Their little eyes were bugging out of their heads when they saw that giant bag overflowing with popcorn.

We went into the theater and Mason chose our seating location: middle of the very last row in the theater. I placed open napkins on their four little laps and gave each of them a little pile of popcorn. Teensy turned to me with a big smile on her face and said, "This is a good idea, Mommy!" My heart swelled with a feeling of contentment as my brain whispered, "Look what a fun mom you are!"

My daydream of myself as Super Mom was interrupted by Mason's whining/scolding voice directed at Teensy and the $5.00 64 ounces of Sprite being poured all over the theater floor. Fabulous! I kept my cool, threw my extra stash of napkins on the puddle and then gently scooped up all the popcorn bundles off of the kids' laps. "Quick! Let's go get a refill and come back before our seats are taken and the movie starts!" After various moans, pleas and maybe some tears (not from me...yet) I herded my flock down the 927 stairs and back out to the concession stand where we got our free refill.

Once we were back in our seats with our popcorn bundles redistributed and the "two hands on the cup at all times" rule instated I was feeling good again. Mackenna was so happy to eat her popcorn; she made me refill her "pa-corn" whenever there were less than two hand-fulls on her napkin. It didn't take Mason long to start complaining that I had brought them too early and why wasn't the movie starting? Ugh!

Poor Mackenna kept crying during the movie. She wanted to know where the turtle's mom was, where the raccoon's mom was..."Turtle wants his momma!" I kept trying to comfort her that he didn't need his momma. Of course, my little momma's girl could not comprehend a creature not needing/wanting his/her momma. Happily, I report that her crying did eventually stop.

Teensy was cold and doing her best to lay down across three seats; two of them were occupied with Mason and me. Mason, of course, did not like her kicking him and Mackenna did not like sharing my lap with Teensy's head.

Just when everyone finally settled down Teensy had to go to the bathroom. So did Mason and Maia. So, the five of us tripped over people's legs to get to the aisle where we traversed the 927 steps yet again, this time with Mackenna screaming the entire way down (she wanted to walk but I was carrying her because she had taken off her shoes back at the seats). Somehow Marlee managed to pee all over her skirt in the restroom so she was crying when we returned to the theater. I arranged the wet part to the side of her and pulled the shorts-part of her outfit as far down on her legs as I could to make her more comfortable.

Not five minutes after we hiked up the stairs and re-tripped over the strangers in our row to regain our seats, Teensy announced that she had to pee again. Are you kidding me? Why did I ever buy that blasted Sprite? I told her that I was not going to hike the four of them out and down again; her choices were either she could hold it or I could slap one of Kenna's diapers on her in the darkness of our last-row seats. Neither choice appealed to her so I listened to her incessant "Is the movie over yet?"/"When will the movie be over?" until Mason announced that he, too, had to pee again. I grabbed Kenna and told Maia to head to the restroom.

And that's where we were when the movie ended. By then I didn't even care. I walked the kids out to the car and was strapping Kenna in her seat when Teensy realized that she had left her purse in the theater. "Well, what's even in it?" I asked. "My make-up and cell phone," she replied so matter-of-factly that it made me smile.

Unbuckled Kenna, listened to more whining from Mason about how he doesn't want to go back in, herded my flock back into the theater where I am chased down by worker wanting to know where my tickets are...but we found the purse! Back to the car, rebuckled, listened to Mason lament that we never do anything fun (Grrr...) and headed home. Halfway home Teensy realized that she had also taken a stuffed chic into the theater. Seriously. Well, we'll just have to hope that the good theater workers find the chic and we can gather her later. Mommy's not dragging four kids another inch today.

And yet, in spite of it all, I can't help but look up what movie is playing next Wednesday morning. Am I insane? Or just a mother of four? Or does the second imply the first?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fabulous Foursome Reunion

This is me and my best friends from high school. Of course, that statement merely implies a four-year friendship which is simply not the case with us; the four of us have been friends since we were five years old. We were in the same classes from our earliest days of school through graduation. I love these girls!

Yesterday we had our annual Fabulous Foursome BBQ ("Fabulous Foursome" is a name some teachers in our high school gave us) with our families. It was such fun to see my old friends and chat with them. I loved talking books with Ann, with whom I've swapped titles almost since The Cat in the Hat. I marveled watching Renee expertly mother her three adorable little boys. And there's no topic I don't enjoy chatting and laughing about with my dear Dawn. Even though I don't get to see Ann and Renee very often, the years of friendship behind us make it so easy to just pick up where we left off.

What adds to the fun even more at these family barbecues is watching all of the kids play. Maia was at my brother-in-law's for a sleepover so she wasn't there, but we still had ten kids (7 and under) running around. The kids really enjoyed swimming, hot-tubbing and playing baseball with each other. I think Teensy developed a slight crush on Ann's Colin; she was his constant shadow (as he was Mason's).

Four and a half hours just flew by and I was sad to go. I could have visited with my friends (and held Renee's baby) and watched our kids play all day. Ann, Dawn, Renee and I have been with each other through so much--chasing boys on the playground, learning to flirt with boys in more effective ways :), singing in choirs, playing field hockey, being in plays, going off to college, getting married, burying loved-ones, having kids... The Fabulous Foursome is just something I can always count on!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My Romantic Hero

Reader be warned, the cheese factor of this post is bound to be extra sharp. And there might be a little spoiler if you haven't read Eclipse and plan to do so.

After reading Eclipse I decided to make a couple of little lists about some of my Michael's characteristics. Here goes nothing.

How my Michael is like my own Edward Cullen:

1. He is very protective.
2. He is extremely intelligent (and he's only lived half of one lifetime).
3. He reads my books.
4. He has a hard time controlling himself when he kisses me :)
5. He'll love me for eternity.

How my Michael is like my own Jacob Black:

1. I didn't want his first kiss (now known in our family lore as "lip rape").
2. He has a reckless streak.
3. He's always warmer than I.
4. He's got Native American blood in his veins.
5. He'll always love me.

I could think of more, but I'll quit. Just thought I'd share how my husband is like the hero in a teenage romance!

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Jokester, I'm not

So, my dear Cyber Pal Sal (I love how that just rolls off the tongue) challenged me to post my favorite joke. Her visiting teacher's hubby is deployed and she (the VT, not Sally) tells him a new joke each time she talks to him. So, there's good news and bad news. The Good News: I have finally discovered a secret talent! The Bad News: My secret talent is forgetting jokes.

Literally, the only joke I can remember is one I got off of Laffy Taffy when I was a freshman in college. Here goes nothing:
What did one strawberry say to the other?
Drum roll, please........
"If you weren't so fresh, we wouldn't be in this jam!"

Sorry, Sally, that's all I've got! It's pretty good, though, right? Fresh/jam? It's cute! Right?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

In a Word

1. Where is your mobile phone? counter
2. Relationship? haven
3. Your hair? clean
4. Work? endlessly
5. Your sister(s)? funny
6. Your favorite thing? dough
7. Your dream last night? unremembered
8. Your favorite drink? water
9. Your dream car? mine
10. The room you're in? favorite
11. Your shoes? comfy
12. Your fears? unfounded
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? better
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? family
15. What are you not good at? thick-skinnedness (do made-up words count?)
16. Muffin? blueberry
17. Wish list item? kitchen
18. Where you grew up? Shrewsbury
19. The last thing you did? read
20. What are you wearing? skirt
21. What are you not wearing? nail polish
22. Your pet? nonexistent
23. Your computer? handy
24. Your life? busy
25. Your mood? happy
26. Missing? keys
27. What are you thinking about? pool
28. Your car? vacuumed
29. Your kitchen? dated
30. Your summer? fast
31. Your favorite color? yellow
32. Last time you laughed? today
33. Last time you cried? today
34. School? soon
35. Love? much

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill