Monday, April 27, 2009

My Reindeer Flies Sideways

We are sneaking up on graduation season again. Since I was raised in an unschooling family, I was spared a whole bunch of really boring graduation ceremonies. I have still attended more than my fair share for the MANY aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that populate my life. Out of the many, only one was really exciting and different--that was the graduation for GED students, many of whom were MUCH older and more experienced than the average callow High School Graduate, and most of whom had worked REALLY hard to get to that point. They really appreciated what they had worked for--and it showed!

But mostly graduations are the same old, same old. However, just like in almost every other area in my life, I just don't do graduations the way most people do. The very best reason, is a specific set of song lyrics.

They are a parody, set to the tune of Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance"--what is commonly referred to as "The Graduation March". I learned LOTS of parodies as a child--many to popular classical tunes. Most of them came thanks to a certain uncle and aunt of mine (and they know who they are!)

So, as a very young child, I learned words(!) to Pomp & Circumstance--

My reindeer flies sideways, he is better than yours.
My reindeer can cha-cha, he can open doors.

My reindeer’s a girl scout; he can dig a latrine,
Your reindeer likes purple, my reindeer likes green.

Your reindeer is far away, my reindeer is near.

I would love to give credit for these brilliant lyrics, but alas, I have no idea who their author is. If you start humming the Da,da,da,da,daah, da, of the graduation march, you will see how perfectly they fit.

It was a favorite song, and spent a lot of time on my, and my siblings "personal hit parade", being belted out in enthusiastic and off key tones.

One of the more humorous outcomes of this is that at different times, in different years, not one, but two of my unschooled siblings attended a friends graduation ceremony, and came home to announce in tones of shock and horror that the Graduation March they used was "My Reindeer Flies Sideways"!!!!

Now, my own brilliant children (on a long car drive) made up additional verses! So, for all of you who have a graduation or two looming on your horizon--Quick! Memorize these! You will be stunned by the difference it makes (or doesn't make) in the interminable ceremonies!

My reindeer cuts firewood; he can dance in ballet,
My reindeer is awesome, he can cook a soufflé.

My reindeer is perfect; he will look at the stars
Your reindeer is trouble; he will steal your cigars.

My reindeer flies backwards, he can knit and crochet.

My reindeer drives semi’s, he has wrestled a shark,
Your reindeer eats donuts, mine can parallel park.

My reindeer paints portraits, he can play the trombone,
My reindeer likes softball, he can dial the phone.

Your reindeer is stupid, my reindeer is smart.


Saturday, April 25, 2009


A little update on some of the things that are going on:

Here are the promised pictures!


The chicks have tripled their size and are mostly feathered out. Their heads are still fuzzy, but their bodies definitely have feathers. Also, their curiosity has been fortified with boldness, so now we find them perched on the light, on the water bottle or any other place they can get too! They have also tried some yummy bugs--the kids delightedly gave them worms and slugs from the garden, which they loved!

This picture really doesn't show the size difference. They are at least 4 times bigger than they were 2 weeks ago, and they eat at an astonishing rate (you know the old thing about eating like a bird? Apparently that means eating all the time , several times your own body weight each day !)


Mostly sewing this week.

I finished the First Communion Dress. She looks like an angel. (I am promised pictures, and will post them as soon as they arrive).

I also made a baby bonnet (spur of the moment, no pattern--easy peasy actually!) out of some remnants on hand. Except-- I forgot the little fact that this sweet girl is less than half of my newborns (who were practically linebackers!) So, as you can see--it is a little bit large!

Baby Sweetcheeks modeling the bonnet! (She doesn't seem too impressed does she?)

Here is her Grandpa modeling the bonnet for her!

I have been "modesting up" some dresses for various girls for the school dance. I have finished one, and am working on another, and will probably alter yet another.

I also ran support for My Favorite Gentleman as he did a construction sidejob (so that we can pay for the entire brake system that went out on my car!)

I have 2 rowdy boy cousins here with LargeBoy, and they (Oh raptures of delight and joy!) got permission from the neighbor to fish in his pond!

We have an unexpected houseguest. MFG's buddy from high school was passing through a few weeks ago (in his job as a traveling home theater system salesman), and stayed for a few days. Then he got back on the road, got to a large city in a nearby state and called us at 5 am, because he had been shot! In the leg. With a 45 caliber handgun. He is now here recuperating. It was a botched robbery at a bad motel. He got shot in the upper leg, and it missed both the bone and the artery. He is very lucky. I am not sure how long he is here for, but it is nice to have someone who appreciates whatever I cook, and thinks leftovers are a privilege!

Living a blessed life

During the last week, I have had a chance to read blogs from several beautiful, wise virtual friends
who are going through many types of pain. I cried with them as I learned from the lessons they share, the beauty they find in life, even during their trials (or maybe it is more correct that they find beauty especially during their trials).

My life has not been free of trials, pain or difficulty. However, the more I live through, the more I see that the sweetest blessings I have recieved have been those that came in the middle of a trial. I have had uncountable numbers of miracles-miracles of timing, when the exact person that I needed was exactly where I needed them to be, with the tools/equipment/experience that I needed at that moment.

Every life has hardship. There are basically only 2 choices.

A)Deal with it,
B)kill yourself.

If you choose option A)--Deal with it, you have two further choices:

A) Deal with it well
B)Deal with it poorly.

There are MANY variations of "dealing with it poorly". I will let you observe those for yourself (hopefully from a safe distance).

In my opinion, "dealing with it well" takes:

faith and prayer
a sense of humor
a sense of gratitude.

Prayer for me is not a "weak" or "passive" option. Prayer is a very real power, which even non-believers have studied and found gives both physical and mental health benefits. Prayer not only reassures me of a loving Heavenly Fathers interest in, and care for my individual life (which is pretty darn amazing, when you think about it), but I have had prayers answered so many times that I cannot doubt its efficacy.

A sense of humor serves you very well when your only options are to laugh or to have a total, sobbing breakdown. Sadly, these two options present themselves together fairly often in my life. Being the mother of a child with multiple neurological handicaps gives me this choice all the time. Wait--now that I think about it, I should have said "Being the mother of a me this choice all the time" that would have been more correct.

Motherhood moves these two options to the forefront of your life like nothing else can. When you walk into the living room (like a certain sweet young mom that I know) to find that your angelic children have thrown an entire (extra-large, family sized) canister of flour all over--and then thrown cups of water all over that, so that instead of having a huge floury mess to vacuum up, now you have a huge flour paste mess--you know you are deep in the forest of motherhood. Laughing through tears is permitted.

"Making Flour Angels"

My mom, above her hospital bed, when she was diagnosed with acute, agressive leukemia the week of her 50th birthday, had 2 signs posted:
One said
"How do you make God laugh? Tell Him your plans!"
and the other said
"Never knock on death's door--Ring the bell and run--He hates that!".
That is one of the reasons she is my hero.

People would tell her all the time "Oh, I could never have that many children--I just don't have the patience!" To which she would invariably respond "I didn't have the patience when I started!" Patience comes one crisis at a time. Trust me--laughing is better.

A sense of gratitude is amazing. It changes the focus of your life from an inward looking perspective "oh poor me, I don't have_____" to an outward looking perspective, where you can see how much you really do have. If you are trying to live a grateful life, you will still have times where it is hard, but you will find yourself forcibly jogged from your little rut of self pitying gloom to see how good you really have it--if you pay attention.

Two examples from my own life--both on days where I was feeling very sorry for myself, deep in my own dark little "pity party". One was a day where I was missing my mom quite dreadfully. Two news items were brought to my attention--one the suicide of a father, who had held in his sorrow,stress and sadness until he could no longer cope, and the other a mother who was in a deadly car accident. The children of these people also lost their parents, but unlike me, did not have a grace period of several months to spend precious, aware moments saying goodbye. I am so blessed.

The other was a day when being SmallDaughter's mother had me at the end of my tether. I was (once again) wallowing in self pity, thinking how hard my life is--she needs watching every second, 24/7, she pinches and bites when she is frustrated, and has no way to communicate what she needs or thinks or feels, she ... (on, and on, and on) when I started talking to another mother in the waiting room at therapy. She was there, waiting for her son to finish his therapy. Her son, who was around the age of LargeBoy, who had been a bright, creative, noisy boy, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and the surgery and treatments had saved his life, but he could no longer talk, walk, take care of himself in any way--and the tumor had reoccured. (If you really need a dose of gratitude, hang out in a pediatric waiting room and find out how good your life really is!) My problems were instantly reduced to the tiny, miniscule things that they really are. Gratitude saves the day again.

I live a very blessed life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vacations, Houseguests, & Birthdays, Oh My!

I have found that for me at least, the rule for vacations is: it takes just as long to recover as the vacation took. That means it takes 3 days to get back into my groove after a long weekend, and 3 weeks to get back into it after along vacation. This is also true for other exciting events. The last 2 weeks have been CHOCK FULL of cool happenings. Truly something (or several somethings) every day.

We have had houseguests. Both the "Yay!They are finally coming!" kind, and the "Yay, they are finally leaving!" kind. With that said, all the visits were neat, and the one that I had been dreading was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be--we were both on best behavior, and once again, good manners saved the day!

In my mind, I picture myself with a fabulous guest room--bright, spacious and airy, with thoughtful amenities that make the guest feel loved and cared for (a water glass on the nightstand, a thick fuzzy robe and towel set, a basket of toiletries, thoughtfully chosen books in the nightstand). Yeah. Well, I'm not there yet. If you come to see me, the airy guestroom is still in my head, but you will be loved and valued, so I guess that counts for something--even if the only shower is down in the corner of the basement and may or may not have a few little spiders in it (@#$% spiders!).

We had a wonderful Easter. I love celebrating not only spring, but truly the most important part of the gospel--the Resurrection, with other believers all over the world.

We went to Kirtland, which will be another post.

We talked, we visited. I seriously think Heaven will be enough time to finish all the exciting conversations that we started here! How I love spending time with my family.

I love the flexibility our school has--infinite! When cousins come from far away, they get to be our first priority--we are not on someone else's schedule of what is important.

LargeBoy has been planning his birthday party all year. It wasn't even really that close to his birthday, but it was when we could get all the cool people here!

All he wanted was to have his Uncle R (age 16), his various big guy cousins (ages 20, 18, & 14)and his two best friends to go play with him out in the fort in the woods. We are blessed to have such great guys in our family. When I think of what selfish, self absorbed jerks most guys that age are, I am even more grateful for these strong, kind, loving examples of manhood that my son idolizes.

They had a cookout and threw marshmallows at each other, and a great time was had by all. Super easy on me too!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


We have a semi-tradition. That means that on some years(ahem, last year), I drop the ball and forget to plan it, or other stuff happens, but we usually have our traditional easter gathering.

I love having an all-ages easter egg hunt. It works out very well. We have in the family, a HUGE box of plastic eggs, collected over the years, which live at Grandma's house. I have the best yard for parties. Everybody brings a potluck thing and a bag of candy (or whatever) to fill the eggs with, and a good time is had by all. Grandma is also GREAT at hiding the eggs.

We have a little ones hunt inside the fence--basically walk around picking the eggs up like manna from the ground. The bigger people--anyone who wants to--go out to the larger yard, and rush around like maniacs! It's great! Then we have fun sitting around eating and talking.

I do love having parties where you don't need to bring a checkbook!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Long Promised Pictures!

I apololgize for the focus issues, but this one shows the chicks cute coloring. They will grow up to be lovely glossy black hens, but now they are just cute!

Here are several of them demonstrating how well they can stand in their food dish (which is why it gets washed out so often!) Chicks are not fussy about their personal cleanliness issues.

Here are the easter eggs my creative crew colored. I wish you could see the incredible detail on EACH egg! My favorite is the TMNT Michaelangelo made by LargeBoy.

When we had colored every possible egg, I stuffed bits of wool into the leftover dye cups and look at the gorgeous rainbow of softness that emerged! Sometimes I just love happy accidents.

Easter thoughts:

Dying eggs always makes me wistful, because my little (next younger) brother is the all time genius of egg dying and Jack O'lantern carving (not at the same time, though!) He is now far, far away, and it makes me miss not only him, but all the rest of my scattered family.

Must stop posting and go attempt to remove the egg dye from the carpet. Thanks SmallDaughter. Glad we still have the wierd old carpet. And the steam cleaner. Sigh.

Old museums

There is nothing quite like an old museum for collecting a strange bunch of stuff. Our Cub Scout troop went to see our local old museum (the oldest in the county) today. I have never been to this particular museum, and it did not disapoint.

Every time I have a wave of nostalgia for times gone by, I am forcefully reminded of the wierder aspects of Victorian society. In this case "the largest collection of anthropomorphic displays in the country, including a chicken and duck tea party, a frog and rat band and a duck wedding". However, in real life these are SO MUCH WIERDER than the description!!

Yes, they are little scenes with taxidermied animals playing the major parts--although for the tea party it is with the heads of said fowl mounted on little doll bodies. Also there is one that defies all logic and attempts at accurate description--imagine a doll, with the head made out of a giant lobster claw, with a small fur hat. (I told you--defies logic, at least!) What were those Victorians thinking?? These scenes were very popular at one time (URGG!)

Fortunately, the rest of the museum was neat! Cool local history, an informed and passionate guide, something to interest everybody (antique guns & WWll era plane models for the boys, spinning wheels and antique clothes for me, native american (from both North & South America) artifacts for BigGirl ).

We will definitely be returning.


Last night, I was driving along, out in the country, heading south, with a huge vibrant red-orange fireball sunset on one side, and a huge pale orange full moon on the other. It was a very beautiful and dramatic moment.

This morning, the sunrise was almost the opposite. The bare trees to the east of my front door were silhoutted against a sky the in the color palate of apple blossoms and cherry blossoms. From white, to palest pink, up the spectrum to intense pink. A perfect spring time set of colors.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An ounce of morning is worth a pound of afternoon.

The chicks are fine, thanks for asking. I am trying to round up a camera to document their cuteness (QUICK--while it lasts--I know what is coming!)

Today, I nobly resisted the urge to crawl back into my fabulous, warm bed (after fixing MFG's lunch for work, a little before 5 am). I am sewing on a massive project--a first communion dress for a friend's daughter. I am actually using a pattern--which is good, since this dress is much more complicated and intricate than either of the wedding gowns I have sewn! She will look like an angel, though!

It is spring break, so we have fun company for the week in the form of our spiffy cousin, ExtraLargeGirl (same age as LargeBoy, but a couple of inches taller than BigGirl) and SmallDaughter doesn't have school, which really makes working on projects difficult. And, since I am up to my earlobes in projects...early morning is my only hope. And, since they were all up SO late last night---I should have quite a bit of quiet morning.

In SUPER FUN NEWS: In the mail yesterday, I got 2--count them, two!--pieces of real mail! One was a wedding invitation (for a neat wedding I am decorating in June, congrats to S&G!), and the other was a letter from the Spinners and Weavers guild--I won a scholarship to take a felting class! I am so excited!!! The class is in October--and the only caveat is that I have to teach the guild members about what I learned (whee--I love teaching! At least I love teaching fun grownups!)

Also...still snowy. However, since we live in an interesting little weather spot, we noticed yesterday that while we had a nice sugary dusting of snow on our grass, at the hatchery (17 miles away) they had actual drifts.

I hope the weather forcast for a dramatic warmup is right--we are having an easter egg hunt/barbeque potluck on Saturday! (I like the idea of the easter bunny coming on Friday night, so that the sugar high is on Saturday, and Sunday we can focus on the actual meaning of Easter!) Some years I am even on the ball enough to have that happen!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chick Magnet

Well, it is definitely spring. How do I know? The old saying "April Snow Showers bring May Flowers". What? That saying doesn't neccesarily refer to snow showers? Well, it does here. Sigh. At least the grass is greener under the snow.

But--in the exciting news! The chicks have arrived! Today we drove over to the hatchery and picked up 25 chicks. They are so cute and the boys are even cuter as they watch each milestone--"Look, mom! They're eating! Look, they're drinking!, Look, they can perch on the railing!" Plus, the Wonderdog is FASCINATED! He just stands and watches with his tail wagging like crazy!(But NEVER by himself!)

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Interesting how familiar terms are used in a different way by yours truly.

For instance, when other people use the term "spinning" it means (1)whirling around in one place either on your cute little feet or on a swing (VERY popular when I was about 4--less so since then) or (2) a trendy term for a plain old stationary bicycle (still pedaling away, still never getting to see anything!)

HOWEVER, in my life spinning means the extremely old fashioned method of twisting wool or other fibers into yarn. Also, my "Fiber Friends" Group has nothing to do metamucil, laxatives or "regularity", but is a delightful group of ladies who enjoy making tremendously creative things out of various fibers--spinning, weaving, knitting...the list goes on and on!

Which brings us to my version of "bookmaking". Unlike the usual usage of "being a bookmaker" or "making books", mine has nothing to do with gambling. It is (again) the very old version of the word--literally making books. I learned how to bind books to make a few super-special Christmas gifts, and like so many other aspects of my universe, it has taken on a life of it's own. I have been doing some more today. OOOHH!

When I get a working camera again, I will post some pictures.