Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I'm sitting in my living room with my nut case family. There are four laptops and one desktop computer in this room right now. Four of them are all logged into Skype and they are talking to each other online. Whenever anyone talks it echos like we are in a football stadium on their sound system. It's cracking me up. Could we not just turn off the computers and talk to each other? Weirdos. Actually they are all trying to get set up to talk to my brother's family that just moved to Brisbane Australia. We just finished a conference call with him planning our future with the Laketown property. Maybe someday we'll all build luxury cabins and live there sipping cute fruity drinks with umbrellas in them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maddie Says

One day last week Maddie and I were talking and I was encouraging her to poop in the toilet and not her diaper. I reminded her about one time when she did it and all the fun things we did for her. We cranked the music really loud and had a marching parade all around the kitchen and living room, painted her fingernails and toenails, gave her candy, sticker on her sticker chart to earn a new movie, wear her favorite dance leotard and more. She smiled politely as I listed all the amazing cool things we get to do in my most exciting and animated voice with energetic hand motions and facial expressions. When I ask what she thinks and if she will try the potty now her comment was in a tone of complete dismissal, "Yeah, but that's just a fiction story, right Mom?" Just try not laughing until you cry when you are at your wits end trying to potty train your three year old and they tell you that the whole idea of them using the toilet is a fiction story. What am I supposed to do now? Ben learned the difference between fiction and non-fiction a month ago in school at the library. He has been pretty consistent about using those words about things in all facets of his life when describing real or imaginary things since then. Obviously Maddie has picked up on it too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lots of Dancing These Days

We've been dancing a lot lately around here. While making lunch today in the kitchen I was watching Ben and Maddie dance around the living room. After a bit Ben came in and told me, "I don't like to dance very much. All I can do is just twirl around and that's just for girls."

Celebrity Connections and Cakewreck Wreckage

No secrets. I'm a Wreckie. If you don't read this blog http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/, you need to. If you want to laugh so hard you can't read through the tears in your eyes, read this blog http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/. My friend Bill, err, I mean Burton has been featured a few times now. He's AWESOME. To be truthful, unless you are a wreckie yourself you likely won't appreciate his most recent creation. But these are impressive. Bride of Frankenstein. Banana Slippage. Burton's website. Tonight I read the comments left by people all across the country. He has a serious fan club growing. There were tons of people praising his work, ladies asking if he was single and even a marriage proposal. Jenn at Cake Wrecks published a book with tons of new wreckage. Bill and his wife, Jeannie, and I have been dedicated wreckies for a long time now. We were supposed to go on a double date for my birthday to her book signing, but it got cancelled. On the new date Brian was out of town on business. They generously offered up their kids to babysit mine and off we went with one of his latest creations in hand (Lenin in a hot dog bun riding a poo wave - a combination of multiple wrecks over time). Even being the third wheel on their date I had a blast. Kind of fun to be driven by a celebrity and have to wait around for him to network. Except that Jacob was a disaster and screamed for almost 4 straight hours - not sure they will ever be willing to babysit again. It was bad. Really, really bad. Someday we'll have to do a real double date where Brian can come. They are some of the funnest people I've met here in Virginia!

Brian's Report on "Miscalculation"

Last week Angie posted about her late night reunion with the previous Young Women presidency. As Angie stated, we did think that the meeting could be a little shorter than they were when the presidency was in place. However, we also recognized that this group of women had not had a chance to fraternize for a good while, so that obviously throws all calculations out the window. Today I had my first assignment in my new church calling to give a talk to the spanish-speaking congregation in our area. I arrived a bit early so I could have a moment to talk with the Bishop before the meeting. While I was waiting, I saw Heidi, one of the sisters with whom Angie served in the Young Women's presidency. She told me that her husband had miscalculated her return as well--he tried to delay feeding their ~6month baby so Heidi could feed her upon returning from the social event. Upon hearing this, I simply told Heidi that I gave up trying to judge Angie's return from events like this a long time ago. Now, I simply take care of everything as if she is not going to return that night--I know that Angie easily gets pulled into the conversation and quickly looses track of time. Even when she does eventually decide it is getting late and comes home, she may pass another hour or more simply parked outside our house talking with the person that gave her a ride. As I see it, Angie spends a lot of time every day tied to and caring for the needs of our kids. Eventually her battery gets depleted and she needs a little time with friends to recharge. When she gets a chance to get out for a short break, she deserves to take full advantage of the time away. I know she truly loves us and will come home once she has refilled her "social battery." Meanwhile, I get to hold down the fort until she comes home later in the evening. . .or really early the next morning.

Chair Theft Update - Crisis Averted

Upon Brian's return home Thursday evening I was, well, loosing it. People just don't believe me about Jacob. He is so pleasant when we're out. He's not pleasant at home. He screams. All day long. This particular day Jacob had been screaming from almost the instant he woke in the morning until 5pm when we all heard the familiar sounds of Daddy's key in the front door. Poor man. He didn't know what he was walking into. Honestly we only heard the key because I was out of scream at the moment. Jacob had shredded every last nerve in my frail psyche. Ben and Maddie had made a massive mess of cut up paper scraps, markers, crayons and staples all over the kitchen table and floor and were NOT interested in cleaning it up. Jacob was buckled into his high chair with a snack and screaming at the top of his lungs. I'd had it. I was yelling and angry, "Clean that UP!!" "Stop Jacob!" and the like. For anyone under the false pretense that motherhood is all glamor, you are invited over to my place for a reality check. Some days just suck. No. Some days really, really really SUCK rocks. But there are no smoke breaks for a mother at home (see my post Aug 3, 2009). We all heard the key in the lock and since no one ran to greet him, he tried to bait them with a friendly, "Fee fie fo fum..." I met him at the door and confessed in tears that it would really be best if I left now. The kids hadn't done anything wrong but I had and I needed to leave now. I NEEDED to leave NOW. He is a saint. How I scored a husband like Brian I will never know. He just said, "Okay. Go ahead." I knelt down and snuggled Maddie in my arms and told her she didn't do anything wrong. That Mommy was having a hard time and making bad choices so I needed to go on a walk. I told Ben he didn't do anything wrong either and that I loved them both and walked out. Now what? Tears streaming down my face I stood for a minute, then sat on the front step. Where was I going? I had no idea. Then I saw them. A bunch of kids hauling lumber over the hill and through the forest. Excellent. I was keyed up for a fight and here we go. I just had to follow them to find the stolen chair and I knew it. So I did. I could tell about where they were headed so I circled around the woods beyond their destination and came back right at them. There is a lovely group of post high school kids selling drugs in our neighborhood. Great, right? One guy got out of jail and can't find anyone to take him in so he's been living in the woods. The weather is turning cold so they were starting to build a shelter for him. As I approached I saw it. Right in the middle of their group with a kid sitting in it. A neon yellow tag still hanging off the right arm with my name address and phone number on it. I told them I wanted to know which one of them stole my chair. Of course they said it was theirs, they bought it and to get out of there and leave them alone. I picked up the chair and dumped the kid into the dirt. Showed them the NEON yellow tag with my name and one kid all of a sudden said he didn't know where it came from and it was just there when they came. Idiots. I told them they better not be found stealing anything else from my yard and walked back toward my house. Not twenty steps later I heard them all yelling at each other and fighting. Apparently they all decided that the guy who stole it was in trouble with the clan and wasn't allowed to come down there anymore. I turned around and yelled back how convenient it was that they already knew exactly who stole it. I didn't care who it was. Make sure no one messes with me again. I don't think they will. They were nice to me and my kids all summer. I took the chair back to the house and then walked to a friends house and sat at her kitchen table while she cooked dinner for her family. Turns out her day was just as bad. Only her problems were real. Good to put life into perspective. In the end we got the chair back so Ben doesn't have to buy a new one and I don't have to figure out what to do about the whole situation. I figure he's suffered enough emotionally to qualify as full punishment. I know he won't leave things out again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Maddie Says

Maddie watching Snow White on the computer got off the couch for just a second and Ben swooped into her spot. She got mad and instead of yelling at him like she usually does, she came straight to me to report, "Mom, Ben got in my spot and that is going to make me so MISERABLE!" Who says that? Mom. When I'm cleaning a poopy butt in the bathtub because she doesn't want to poop in the toilet. "This makes me so miserable. Why don't you just use the toilet? I don't have time for this!" Maddie going up the stairs this morning with Ben. "Uh oh. I have to stop talking. I have the hiccups now." Ben "You don't have to stop talking." Maddie "Don't you hear my noise? HICCUP!! See? If you hear my noise it means I have the hiccups so I can't talk. HICCUP!!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009


This is my 700th post. Seems that I ought to have something profound to say. Thought about it for three days. Nothing. Same thing happened when I passed 100, 250 and 500. Nothing. Brian said I could make a list of my favorite 700 words. That would take forever. So lacking some great idea, we'll just say that after 700 posts in about 18 months of blogging, I must be addicted. I'll leave you to do the math on that one. Anyway, I haven't been able to find a hobby I could stick with since we got married 10 years ago. Don't think I didn't spend oodles of cash on scrapbooking paraphernalia trying to make that work, take classes in cake decorating and wish and dream about doing other expensive things, but nothing ever stuck. I guess blogging must be my hobby. Here there is the list I can come up with. Sorry it doesn't have 700 bullet points. I do enjoy a good math problem though, so consider it 7 x 10 to the seventh power. That at least equals 700.*(see note) Why I love blogging:
  1. The price tag is right up my alley. Free.
  2. I can do it at 2 am in my pajamas when I can't sleep.
  3. No mess to clean up or junk strewn all over my dining room table from it.
  4. Grandma and Grandpa love hear stories about the kids since they only see them once a year.
  5. The only way I know to "use" all the pictures we take of the kids.
  6. Practice my writing while documenting the story of our family. Someday this will all be a real treasure to our kids to read (or maybe it's just ammo for their future spouses to ridicule them).
  7. Seriously it's my therapist. I can say whatever. Let it all out. Think through my thoughts and feelings outside myself and get perspective. So yeah. Daily therapy sessions so a wonder for my soul and sanity.

*Thank you Generation Z. You are correct sir. Even though at one time I boasted the title of mechanical engineer, I have long felt firm in my conviction that my brain has since turned to mush. A near useless gelatinous substance that resides in my huge melon that is no longer capable of holding onto information any more complex than where the pink crocs were last discarded or how many minutes are left in an episode of the current cartoon. My error in math has proven the point! 7 x 10 to the seventh power does not equal 700. It is 70,000,000. Thanks for the comment, made me laugh at myself at least. Wonder if anyone else caught it. For the record though, had I written it out in number form 7 x 10^7 rather than text I think I would have caught it.

Maddie Says

Ben made me a crown today. I was wearing it when Jacob woke up from his nap. I sat in the rocking chair with him wearing it for a minute before the other kids came to find me. Maddie asked about it and told me I was a princess. I told her I was a queen. "No," she said. "Princess!" I explained that I used to be a princess, but then I got married. A queen is a princess who got married. "Well...well...well you're the only guy who wants to get married. Nobody else ever does." Maddie has quit drinking milk. It's become a struggle at dinner. Two days ago Brian told her it was energy and she had to drink it up so she could run fast. She wasn't buying it. He made her run around the kitchen-living room circle to test how fast she was. Then she drank half her milk and ran again. Imagine that. She was WAY faster according to dad. He convinced her to drink the rest and she was even faster still. Last night she wanted me to do the same thing and tonight when Brian told her to drink her milk, she said it was energy milk and had to test how fast she was before she drank it. But she did drink it. Hey, whatever works, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Don't Wanna!!!!

Need I say more?

Lessons Learned

One of the things we love most about our house is the huge soccer sized front yard we have. It is so much fun to let the kids run wild and free. Right now things are even better with the leaves off the tree. Their "leash" is a bit longer so to speak. I can see far into the woods and keep a good eye on them from the house now. Today I put Jacob in his crib to nap and popped his bedroom window open so I could hear him. Then I sat on the lawn in one of those folding chairs that collapse down into a bag. While the two big kids (Maddie in full pink princess dress up) played in the leaf covered field with rakes, climbed the dirt hill in the forest with shovels building important kid creations and exhausting themselves looking for the fox den.
My favorite part of the day was watching his thirty six pounds and about the same of his buddy Anthony try to break apart a tree the wind took out a few weeks ago in a huge wind storm. It is laying at the far side of the field still. They climbed on the trunk on the root side and balanced all the way to the top, falling over and over, but always climbing back on never deterred from their objective. Finally they reached the top of the tree where the branches began to splinter off in random directions. The two five year old boys grabbed hold of a branch that protruded up above their heads and jumped to swing forward and SNAP! The entire branch broke and they tumbled to the ground in a heap. Anthony's mother and I called out to them to see if everyone was okay. They were laughing on the ground. Even from all the way across the huge field we could tell in an instant that all was well. The two boys were so proud of themselves for breaking that huge branch off of the tree. Then they carried it away to the left then the right all over the field together. It was delightful to watch their joy.
As we finish cleaning up all the outdoor play paraphernalia and are heading back into the house the Gutter Helmet truck shows up. Ben goes nuts. "Can I watch them? Please?" No problem. I put the folding chair halfway to the neighbor's fence so there is ample space between him and any danger of falling parts falling from the roof. Maddie went out to watch them install a new gutter. I watched the kids with open windows sitting at the kitchen table while they watched the house and the workers. Soon they got antsy and I heard the workers ask Ben what Maddie's name was so they could ask her to stay away. I gave her a warning to stay away or come inside. She was inside within two minutes. Ben followed. The workers were done five minutes later and I told the kids they could go back outside again.
Neither of them wanted to go out again, so I told Ben he needed to bring in his chair, put away the orange cones and his bike. He said no. I pushed telling him that someone would steal them if he didn't take care of our things. He continued to resist and before I could win the argument I was distracted helping someone with something. Next thing I know it was an hour later and the bike and cones were there but the chair was gone. I hollered to Ben asking if he had cleaned up the chair. Nope. I told him it was gone. We searched all around the neighborhood with no luck.
Now he was motivated. He took the bike and cones to the side fence while I did one more walk to the pool and back to look. Upon my return I heard him wailing in the side yard. I yelled to ask what was wrong. He was totally distraught. He wanted someone to open the gate, which must be done from the inside. He is fully capable, so I made him to do it. As we went in the front door together he told me through his angry glare and sobbing tears that now someone might steal the bike. Now I understood his emotions. He got it taken care of. When he came back in I asked him what we were going to do now and mentioned that the chair cost $10 and that I was sad he made the choice not to obey so we lost our chair.
I knew he felt awful. I could see it all over his face and I wasn't really sure what to do when Maddie called me into the kitchen and he quickly disappeared. Ten minutes later I searched the entire house, looking under beds and in quiet corners so I could reassure him that it was going to be okay. We would figure out a way to buy another one and I would talk to Dad to see how he could help us do that. After a thorough search of the basement and main floor I headed to the basement where I found him at the computer desk. I hugged him and told him it was alright. No surprise, he was reserved and didn't want to say much. His paper was turned over and he told me he needed to be alone for a while so he could make me something. I gave him a hug and went up to the kitchen again.
It wasn't too long before he emerged with a picture of me and the blue chair. He had written below the picture he had written "I AM SRE MOM BEN WIN I HAF 10 B" in sound spelling. (I am sorry Mom. Ben. When I have 10 Dollars...) Then he explained that he ran out of room to write the rest of the "dollars" and that he made a B instead of a D but told me that he'd give me the money. He had even calculated how long it would take him to pay back the debt. He said "I get $2 every Saturday and $1 if for fun money so it will take me ten Saturdays, okay?" My heart melted. Sweet, sweet boy. He is so pure in heart.
Now I have a dilemma. One of the things I believe in most strongly is the concept of Choice and Accountability. You have to be held accountable for the things you do or you will never become a functional, contributing, quality member of society. Technically he does have the ability to pay for the chair. It will take sacrifice on his part, which I view as a good thing. I just think that $10 and two and a half months is a bit of a high price to pay for a sweet little five year old boy. I wish desperately I hadn't told him it was $10. I wish I had told him it would cost him $5 or not quantified it at all. That's what I usually do. Be noncommittal up front then figure out a reasonable contribution that he can make to reconcile the situation. I think that is why he was so willing to give his money to fix it. He has obviously developed that sense of accountability at some level.
Maybe $5. Yeah. I know he has $3 and that would only mean two weeks of sacrifice. That is enough. I do believe in mercy too, I just don't know where that magic line is. Where will he learn consequence and mercy? $8? $3? Mercy is important too. That is what the Saviour has given us. What better way to teach that concept. Alas, I must think and consider and do the right thing or my child could end up being a leach on society because of this one little blue chair, right? Okay, maybe it isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but it is today and it is a big deal to him. What a great kid. He's going to turn out just fine.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Tonight I went out with the old Stake Young Womens Presidency. It was a reunion of sorts. When you spend that many hours with a group of ladies over a year and a half, you just become fast friends. We hadn't been together since July and it was so great to catch up with them. We really were good friends. So much so that our presidency meetings were often three hours long. Brian (and Carol's husband Bryce) concur that there is a unique female thing going on when women work together in the church and foster friendships like this. Without being able to remember the exact wording, Bryce said basically that there was a pre-meeting warm up session where we had to all meet and greet and say hellos. Then we do the business portion of the meeting for which we were supposed to meet. Finally we have the cool down portion where we discuss upcoming happenings and talk a little more about this and that. All in all it takes about three hours for us to meet as a presidency. Of course with this group of friends we always had half time break in addition - Annandale testimony meeting report. No kidding, rolling on the floor laughing. The other three of us are coming with popcorn and candy sometime just to observe. Tonight Brian figured since we didn't have any actual business to discuss or events to plan now that the meeting could be drastically cut to two hours of social time. Even I was surprised by his large miscalculation. Usually he's really, really good with numbers and all. I left at 6:30 pm and returned a few minutes after 11:00 pm. Yep. A four and a half hour meeting. Gosh it was fun. I'm so totally glad Outback was dead tonight. Empty tables all over the restaurant so we didn't have to be in any rush to leave. Guess the economy really is hitting hard. The night was perfect. Perfect I say. I miss my friends!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Crazy Neighbors

As I'm leaving the neighborhood multiple times all morning long for various errands today I see the same lady in front of her house. In the course of three hours I had observed her take a kitchen broom and sweep away the autumn leaves in a diagonal path across her lawn for the garden hose to lay in. Then she proceeded to fill a bucket with sudsy water and wash the wheel wells on her car. Not the whole car. Just the wheel wells. All this in the pouring rain. Think she's alright? She must be soaked to the bone and a little batty too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

While You Were Out

Dear Daddy, While you were out I learned how to wave hello and goodbye, climb DOWN the stairs alone, clap my hands to celebrate great stuff and give high fives. Missed you while you were gone. Love, Jacob

Saturday, November 7, 2009

She'll Never Make It

Overheard from the basement while Maddie and Ben are playing house together. Maddie on the verge of yelling at Ben: "NO!! You can't go camping!" Ben starts wimpering and crying. Maddie in a sugar sweet voice: "Okay, baby. You can go camping now. It's okay. Don't cry. Don't worry. You can go camping now. See? Right here you can do it." Maddie will never make it as a mommy. You have to be hard nosed, follow through with all your terrible rotten threats and be just plain overall mean. She's a softie and it's kinda cute.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Seven Bens

"I wish there were seven Bens."
Pointing to his morning job caterpillar chart, "Cause then I could just do this eating one and the rest of the Bens could do the other jobs up to here (pointing at the end of the caterpillar) and then I'd just be ready for school."


All day today Maddie has been telling us that her real name is Madilyn. This could cause some real confusion later. It's not like she chose to be Sally or Jane that is totally different. Her name is Madison, nickname Maddie. Maddie is also a nickname for Madilyn. She's really gonna screw people up with this. Even when Brian called tonight, first thing she said, "Hi Dad! You can just call me Madilyn for short."

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Today Lucinda offered to pick up Ben to take him to the bus stop. A blessing to me so I didn't have to wake up Jacob and dress everyone and take them out in the cold weather. My thermometer says it is 40 degrees right now. They left their house, I waited three minutes and then told Maddie (eating her cereal at the breakfast table) that I was taking Ben out to Anthony for the bus. I walked Ben out the front door about ten steps to where I could see Anthony and his mom approaching. Waited until he met up with them and they turned toward the bus stop and headed back into the house, closed and locked the deadbolt on the front door. Maddie was still eating. I rustled around a few papers and junk on the counter near her and grabbed a load to put away upstairs and headed up. From upstairs I could hear Maddie jabbering and singing "I Am Like A Star" happily to herself. I started cleaning and sorting a pile of odds and ends on the floor in my room and keeping an ear open to hear Jacob's stirrings so we could get him breakfast and be ready for preschool. Eventually I heard her put the bowl on the counter. The familiar clink of the bathroom door open. Stool scraping across the floor as she moved it into position at the bathroom counter so she could wash her hands. Then it was more or less quiet. Great. She's playing in the water. I hope it isn't too big of a mess was all I could think. After about five minutes, I started thinking I ought to check on her soon, but she must really be having a grand old time. How much foamy soap will be on the counter? Before I got the chance to go downstairs, I heard the doorbell ring. Weird. Who would come over this early? I saw through the glass a neighbor that lives a bit away. She only speaks Spanish and I see her at the bus stop when I do walk Ben up but we don't talk much. Then I open the door and see Maddie perched on her hip. She is on her cell phone with someone and telling them that I am here and I answered the door. She's talking to our next door neighbor describing who Maddie is and getting directions to my house because she doesn't know where I live but recognizes Maddie. She found Maddie walking the street on Zion drive at the bus stop on the busy road at the edge of our neighborhood and crying. She watched for me but I never came. Then Maddie started walking farther down the street alone. She had no coat. It was barely 40 degrees. Her hands were like ice. She had a single tear on her face. I feel like pond scum. How could she get out? Why would she leave? What was she thinking to walk to the bus stop alone? Did she not see me come back inside to the kitchen for a few minutes with her? She knows I won't ever leave her alone at home. Am I sending mixed messages by walking ten steps outside the door without her joining me? How do I help her understand what to do and what not to do? How do you explain to the neighbor I'm not a negligent mother? Maddie must have left immediately after washing her hands for her to have got that far and back so quickly but I never heard anything. I'm so MAD at her. She knows better and yet she doesn't. She's three. She needs my love. We sit on the couch for an eternity. She won't talk. Not a single word. No tears. Nothing. She's frozen emotionally. Doesn't want anything. Doesn't move an inch. Just sits in my arms as I silently cry my tears into her soft hair asking questions she won't answer and telling her how I feel with no signs of any response. Finally she tells me she was just going to find me at the bus stop because she finished her breakfast. Logical to a three year old. Do what mom asks (eat, clean up) then be independent and go find mom, after all, you know where she is and how to get there. How do you show love in that situation and still scare them straight so they never leave again? Which do they need more? Preschool started five minutes ago. She's upstairs watching Dora in my bed while I feed Jacob breakfast. She needs to be home now for a little longer. To feel safe. Then we'll head out and begin our regularly scheduled program. Like nothing scary happened this morning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Maddie Mae, From Your Rotten Mommy

It isn't like I didn't make a cake for Maddie's birthday. It's just that her birthday was on the first day of Joy School. And I taught. And it was a lot of work to get all the supplies ready for the lesson that day and get the entire year organized. And I was still figuring out how to juggle kindergarten bus stop pickups and infant nap time. I made the cake. The day before her birthday in fact. I just didn't get it frosted. Or decorated. I suppose my desire to be a cake decorator has lead to high expectations of myself. I wanted to try a new medium. Fondant. She wanted a princess castle. Perfect match. Maddie's low expectations - Simple design - My zero skills with fondant.
Turns out the box of fondant scared me. It looked at me and stared at me and glared at me and taunted me to open it up and try it. I was scared. I was weak. I didn't open it. In fact it's still sitting on the counter today all the way on November 2. Long past the day I had to throw out the original birthday cake because it was covered in mold in the giant cake Tupperware that had to be decontaminated for bio hazard reasons. Long past the time I made a second cake, frosted it in plain white and shook a plastic container of colored sugar sprinkles across the top and drew a little "3" with black icing. She had been asking me and mentioned twice to other people that she didn't get a cake for her birthday. Yeah, she's old enough I can't fudge stuff anymore.
Five weeks later, she asked at a time I didn't have anything completely pressing that needed attention or the world would end. When she asked me point blank why she didn't get a cake for the third time I dropped everything and said, "Let's make your birthday cake together right now!" The smile stretched from ear to ear and maybe even a little farther. She didn't care that it wasn't her birthday. She didn't care that I was no longer under the delusion of making a gorgeous princess castle sculpted with fondant. She just knew that I loved her enough to make her a cake. She lasted all of thirty seconds in her helping, but we had cake that night. She felt like a million bucks.
Just to set the record straight before I start getting hate mail, we did celebrate her birthday on her birthday. We had a party at preschool that day when I taught. I made cup cakes to her exacting demands on decorations. We sang. She blew out candles and had fun together with 15 people in the house. Brian came home from work early so I we could go to Chuck E. Cheese and live it up. She had a blast and by the time we got back to the house it was all I could do to crawl into bed with the flu. You know you feel bad when you are standing at Chuck E. Cheese and want to lay down on the greasy bench or the filthy carpet if need be and sleep as tears start to slip down your face from the body aches. We went home, opened presents and Brian basically put the kids to bed alone. I couldn't have eaten cake that day anyway. So we did celebrate. I gave it all I had. In the end, she just really, really needed a cake. And a cake she got...five weeks late.
This is one of her favorite presents. She was elated to dress up the next day as Cinderella.

If You Could Extend a Calling to Mickey Mouse, What Would You Ask Him to Do?

After the lip sync on Saturday night, President Weber asked Brian if he could take our family picture all dressed up and oh yeah, after that can he please have a chat with us. Uh oh. Brian came to find me cleaning up our room from the carnival games and tell me they wanted me to do something for girls camp this summer. I was confused. A chat with the boss man means you're in charge. I can't be in charge. You'd just have to understand how the hierarchy of camp goes. It entails long term commitments over four years, etc, etc. I already more or less told them it wouldn't work for me. Don't get me wrong. I told them I wanna go. I just can't be in charge. I have been actively involved and willing to help with about anything. Even certification. Yuck. Certification. After a while we had all our gear loaded in the car and went to find out what was our upcoming camp adventure. We do a fabulous photo shoot in the lobby and then head off to have our chat about 9pm with kids in arms. We have all three kids. We're in full costume as Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The kids all have balloons. Jacob's is on a three foot long stick. They are wired and cranky at the same time. Jacob displayed his newly mastered skill of walking and babbling loudly while we chat. He has his balloon on a stick and was whacking Pres Weber on the head almost the entire time we talked. Ben and Maddie Mae were crawling up and down on the other chairs and asking questions. President Weber then asks Brian to serve on the High Counsel. To my credit, I didn't laugh. I have a bad habit of laughing at times like that (Bishop Bradley asking me to be YW Pres and Pres Nelson asking Brian to serve in the Bishopric). Not for lack of faith in my sweetheart. It's just that old people do that job, right? Right? Old people. I thought one of the requirements to be on the high counsel was to have white hair. Anyway, who asks Mickey Mouse to have a leadership role in a church. He'll do a great job and will LOVE working with a spanish congregation again. He hasn't been able to use his spanish much at all here like in Houston. Down in Texas half our friends were from latin american countries and we spoke spanish all the time in our home. During our time in Virginia he has only been able to translate stake conference every six months. Not exactly immersed anymore. Anyway, it's my turn to support him in his busy calling so he can enjoy the blessings of service. He'll be awesome!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Zufelt Costume Emporium

The Zufelt Costume Emporium opened up again for another successful Halloween season. We loaned out the Flintstones and various witches and animals. Our family dressed as the Mickey and Minnie Mouse Crew. Recycled costumes for Brian and I back from before Ben was born but the kids were all new. We had fun, fun, fun dressing up as always. I was pleasantly pleased to be able to do a family theme again. I figured last year would be the last time I could impose my costume will upon my children. Fortunately, we went to Disneyland this year which got the kids all excited about Mickey and Minnie. Good luck for me.
This is what we wore to the lip sync. I got to be a judge of the competition. They had me be the mean one, like Simon on American Idol. If I had it to do over I would definitely opt out of a mean judge. Really, what's the point? Why should we have someone designated to be cruel and demeaning? It just isn't really needed. No value added. If you're fool enough to volunteer to be in a lip sync you shouldn't have to be beaten up afterwards. Our room at the carnival was a beanbag and ring toss game. Lots of kids came through. I think overall they enjoyed the fun. It was followed the next week by the traditional Trunk-or-Treat and a big wild carnival put on by the church youth for the little kids. Brian went as a wizard and manned the balloon animal station for the entire night. Even when the Trunk-or-Treat started in the parking lot the line remained. Kids were skipping the candy mother load in the parking lot for a little balloon. I had to take my kids around the parking lot on threat of death from them. By the time Brian finished the last balloon for the last patient kid, the Trunk-or-Treat was pretty much over and people were loading kids in their cars. Oh well. I suppose our donation to the cause was the balloons this year instead of candy. Dang. Guess I'll just have to eat it all. Ben brought his new little friend Connor from down the street. Turns out his family shares a private driveway with our friends the Roberts. The two boys are becoming great friends. They ride the bus together every day and play at recess and at free play time in school. The carnival was honestly a bit overwhelming. The gym was packed and noisier than I've ever hear it. Ben wasn't a very great host. He was so excited he kept running off alone. Poor Connor ended up asking to go home early. We were heading out the door when they announced that they'd start the Trunk-or-Treat in ten minutes. Not wanting him to miss the best part I hung out with him in the hall where things were a bit more relaxed until it was time to go out to the parking lot. Seemed to calm his anxiety and once we got outside again Ben was better at staying with his buddy. They had so much fun going from car to car. I was grateful the night ended on a high for him. Sugar high, yes, maybe, but a high just the same. The last of our celebrations was on Halloween night. We did a bit of trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. Since we live in townhouses, you get a lot of bang for your buck for lack of a better way of putting it. We didn't walk far at all and only half the houses had porch lights on, but they collected plenty of candy. Then it started raining so we headed home. Even though the rain was light and let up completely, once we got home we only had ONE group knock on our door. ONE. So like with the night before, we failed to hand out much candy at all. Over the lips and past the gums. Look out hips, here it comes. I love chocolate.

My Life

This is why I feel so ugh. Life has been busy since Ben started kindergarten. He has half day so I have no freedom. Morning shower while Ben gets ready for the bus stop with dad - 1 hr to feed Jacob and Maddie and get her to preschool and do ALL my errands - Jacob naps - pickup Maddie - arrive just in time to get Ben from the bus - make lunch for everyone - clean it up - negotiate with Maddie to use the potty and take her afternoon naps - boom...the day is over. I'm feeling a little stuck and am losing my patience after two months of stuck-ness. Maybe in Jan or Feb Jacob will shift to one a day naps. Can't believe I actually WANT that. I must have a screw loose. Never thought that would happen that I want a child to give up a nap. Isn't naptime supposed to be a mother's sanctuary? Not so right now. Naptime is just a series of three time intervals that never align with each other that are swapped between Jacob, Maddie then Jacob again that make me unable to leave the house or do anything fun and glorious that I need to do. You know, like grocery shopping.