Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let the Differences Begin

We had our BIG phone call tonight.  About two hours.  Lots of digits, data and forms racing through my thoughts now.
Tonight we heard over and over and over:
"Yeah? Okay." (no pause for our affirmative repsonse, just on to the next thing)
"So what does that mean? Okay. Well..."
They just didn't fit in the conversation how I would use them.  Just a little difference I'll have to get accustomed to.
I really liked our relocation lady, May.  She asked if we knew anyone there already.  We mentioned our friends the MacArthurs and Nielsons who were/are in Singapore.  Right off she asked if we go to their church and then confessed she didn't go to our church, but did go to school at BYU and knows all about our church.
Later in the conversation she mentioned we had to get a copy of a certain form to show we actually sold our vehicles when we left just in case the auditor pulled our file because he was in the mood to check one with a last name ending in "Z" on that particular day.  Then Mr. Auditor would ask her how she knew we actually sold the car and without missing a beat she said, "I will just tell him because I know they go to that LDS church and people that go to their church are very good.  They have very high values and never cheat and are always honest about every single thing always.  So they don't even need that paper.  You can trust them."  I could hear the smile on the other end of the line.  What a sweet, high honor to give us.  She was fun and I'll be glad to meet her when we arrive.
Oh yeah - we still have no move date, but we can now buy the plane tickets and pay the fees to apply for the kids school.  Soon people.  Very soon we'll know when we go.  Just not tonight.

Ear Infections and New Glasses

Nov 10/11 - Jacob wakes up at midnight screaming. He is totally inconsolable. We wrestle with him for nearly two hours when he begins to verbalize what is wrong. He says his ear hurts. Actually, he's pointing to his ear and saying "Owwie eyes!" He is still totally inconsolable. At 2am we give him pain meds and 20 minutes later he is crashed out. At 6am the scene begins to replay so we dose him up again with pain meds and he's out again in 20 minutes. We call the doctor when they open at 7:30 and get an 8:30 appointment. Double ear infection. Start antibiotics. Come back in 10-14 days. The two week check up falls right when we are having company for Thanksgiving and I realize his birthday is just a little bit past the ear check up date so we'll just put it all together. I gets distracted by little people with urgent needs while I'm on the phone making the appointment. The soonest they can do the 2 year check turns out to be Dec 7. I forget about the ear check needing to be sooner, but figure it isn't that important anyway. I've never had a return infection with either of the other two kids. We'll be fine. Nov 24 - Thanksgiving Wednesday. Jacob gets his very first pair of glasses. We pick them up at about 6:30 pm. He gets fitted and they tell me to bring him back in a few days after he gets used to them and Grace can tweak it a little if she needs to. Jakey thinks the glasses are pretty cool in the office. As soon as I start driving home he rips them off. I pull over. Put them on again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Nov 25 - Thanksgiving Day. Jakey says his ears hurt. I try to loosen the ear piece a little. Bound and determined to make glasses a positive experience for him I relent and let him stop wearing them for the day so we can go get them adjusted on Friday so they won't hurt him. Nov 26 - We take him in and Grace thinks they fit just fine. I tell her he's complaining his ear hurts. She's pretty convinced they look about perfect. She loosens them to appease me. They are slipping down his nose. She tightens them back and we go. I'm mostly satisfied. Jacob is one little devil. Day after day after day. I loose patience over and over and yell at him all the time. Probably really loudly in his sad little tender ears. Dec 7 - We finally go to the doctor for the well check. Guess what. He has a double ear infection. Mom S.U.C.K.S. Poor guy. He tried and tried to tell me and eventually gave up saying anything about it. I had such tunnel vision about making the glasses work out that I totally screwed up the ear infection thing. Start antibiotics again, something stonger this time. Come back in 10-14 days. You better believe I was there on day 10. Dec 17 - clean bill of health from the pediatrician. Good job mom. Finally. The glasses you ask? Not going quite as well. See my other post about what he did with them today. Rrrrr!!!!

This Could Get Really Expensive

The lady at the eye glass shop, Grace, and I are becoming quite good friends. She's fantastic. Always friendly and enormously helpful. Checks in on me and upgrades the kids glasses at no charge because we've become very, VERY frequent customers. Today I dropped Jake and Maddie off at Palmer's to run up and get Ben fitted in his brand new glasses. Everything went along just fine. We chatted while she worked and then we left. Took Ben over to play with Anthony for a while and eventually went to get the little two from the Palmer's place and bring Owen home for a play date with Maddie at our house.
We had no more than pulled out of their neighborhood when Maddie tells me Jacob had taken his glasses off and was bending them. We were at a stop light so I tried, without success, to get him to either hand them over to me or put them back on. He thought it was quite the fun game. I did get him to put them on himself but he can't do the ear pieces by himself. We were almost home so I figured he'd wear them on the outside of his ears for a minute and we could fix them. No such luck. This is what he did in that short little time. Punk kid.
I picked up that brand new pair of glasses exactly five weeks ago tomorrow. I can't afford a new pair that often!! What am I going to do with him? I'll take him in tomorrow morning and see just what they can do about it. I'm hoping they are salvageable. Maybe I could just buy the one ear piece that was twisted in a circle and then bent backward as far as it could go. The other side is no big deal in comparison.
I've also been wondering, do they teach classes in glasses adjustment? It would save me a TON of time to not have to visit my buddy Grace on a weekly basis. I do love her, but ghee whiz!!

Yucky Eyes

Jakey has yucky eyes. He's really upset, laying down in bed screaming for me to come take care of it. It's a sad situation. He doesn't want to go to bed. We make him lay down in his bed which makes him mad. He lays on his back and cries and cries until tears begin rolling from his eyes down his cheeks toward his ears. The tears just cause a whole big mess. The get the ears all wet. And his cheeks. And then he gets more angry and upset by the yucky eyes getting everything all messed up.
My suggestion is to knock it off, stop crying and go to sleep. Instead I have to go wipe his eyes dry (and cheeks and ears). To me it feels like the instructions on the shampoo bottle - "Wash, rinse, repeat." There is no end to yucky eyes around here some nights. The one thing that does keep me smiling is that when he is hollering out from his room in the deepest of desperation he'll yell, "Angie!! Help! Angie help me please!!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry christmas!

And a happy new year!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Miracle

My sister called today. She was just checking in to make sure everything is okay. You see, something miraculous happened. Something almost unheard of. She got my Christmas card. And it arrived BEFORE Christmas. She wanted to know if I was okay. Did something go wrong? Should she be worried about my totally weird and out of character actions? I concur. I have a horrible, terrible, rotten record. I have always mailed my cards by New Years with one exception. The year Jacob was born I mailed it in February because it was just too much to deal with in the month of December (he was born Dec 5th). But I don't think I've ever mailed them before Christmas Day. Enjoy the abnormality this year folks. I make no promises about the future.

Maddie Is Getting a New Bed

Maybe it's the fact that we got the kids bunkbed from the trash.  A neighbor threw out a beautiful headboard and footboard early one spring.  Being cheap like we are, we snagged them.  Brian is handy enough he intended to make the side rails and we'd have a really nice bed.  They sat for 9 months being moved from one random location.  Then one day, we saw the same neighbor, who was then moving out of the house, ditch another bed frame that just coincidentally happened to match the first.  Fantastic!!  I had noticed that the first set was meant to be a bunkbed anyway.  We nabbed that part and then with a pattern to follow, Brian soon had the bunkbed designed, built, sanded and varnished.
For a long while I THOUGHT that I loved it.  Pretty light wood, cute design and he even added safety rails ta boot!  Seems like the kids have had it about a year now and I have decided that it is the perfect bed for Ben.  Unfortunately, Maddie needs a new one.  You see, she only wakes up on the right side of the bed about one day in seven.  That leaves six days of whiny, rotten, complaining, tantruming for my disaster child.  I've about lost all patience with her so I've made the arbitrary decision to blame it on the bed.  I'm just going to buy a new one.  There is only one simple requirement for the new bed, for which I will pay ANY amount of money.  There must be FOUR, yes count them, FOUR "right" sides of the bed.  Absolutely no "wrong" sides of the bed for her to wake up on.  If you have one of those for sale, please notify me ASAP.  It'll be worth every penny I spend on it.
Authors Note:  Yesterday I paid a cute neighbor girl, Haley, to come be a mother's helper so I could get some things done around here.  She came.  She was great.  She tried and tried and tried.  But Maddie Mae was a disaster (can I add "as usual" here or is that too mean?). Haley even brought some old bread and walked the kids over to the lake to feed the ducks.  A totally delightful adventure if you ask me.  Maddie tantrumed about going.  Tantrumed about getting socks on her feet.  Tantrumed about zipping her coat.  Then they left and the sweet gal had to call me from her cell phone because once at the lake, Maddie kept running away into the woods and not listening. Sweet Haley is only twelve and not physically strong enough to wrestle her into submission to keep her safe from herself.  I ended up bundling up to hike to the lake to drag that stinker home again with me.  So I paid someone to watch my kids and I end up spending the whole time disciplining my child.  At least Ben had a lot of fun. And Maddie?  Well, she had to take a nap in the afternoon. Non-negotiable.
Remember folks, I blog my reality and yesterday it was a rough one.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thumb Installation

Ben has become a fantastic helper in the last year.  If we ask him to help Jacob he is usually quite willing (not so much with Maddie Mae though).  Last night we went caroling to a few families we haven't seen around in a while.  The kids had fun, but it was cold outside and we were bundled up.  Jacob was buckled in his seat on the drive and pulled his mittens off, then of course he wanted them back on.  I couldn't reach him so I asked Ben to put them back on Jacob's hands.
He grabbed the mittens and fumbled with them for a minute trying to figure out how to get them onto his little brother.  Finally he asked, "Where does the thumb go?  I can't find the hole for it." (they are the type with no thumb hole).
Thinking on my feet, I replied, "Jacob doesn't have his thumbs yet."
"Huh?" came the reply.
"We go to the doctor when he turns three to get them installed."  The look on his face was priceless.  He was completely shocked but totally suckered into believing it.  Still he questioned me after a few seconds, "So Jacob doesn't have thumbs!?!?  Really?  Do they really glue them on?"
"Yep," I confirmed.  "Don't you ever lose yours, because the insurance only pays for one set.
"NO! You're kidding me!" he exclaimed and we all laughed.
Then Maddie chimed in, "I don't have thumbs because I'm not three anymore!!  They came off."
Ben and Maddie are such a hoot when I tease them.  I love it and so do they.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The Package Has Arrived!!

First thing this morning, Brian told me the package details have FINALLY arrived, including the work authoriztion from the company.  This was really the key to getting us going with all the nasty details of our move (work permit, visas, school applications, etc.).
We have an expat coordinator to help us through the process too.  Wanna guess what the second email was?  Our coordinator left out of town for the holidays until the 28th of December.  Can you see the eyes rolling back in my head as I formally give up?  I'm guessing we're not getting out of here quite as early as we had thought.
I suppose that's just fine with me anyway.  Who couldn't use more time?  Maybe Ben will even finish his semester of school now before we go.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Charge! All Little Pink Marshmallows, Charge!

I LOVE how much my kids love the snow.  Maddie Mae is outside now with Lucy (3) and Isacc (6).  Isacc went down on the sled backwards, flipped backward and thought it was awesome!  He was so excited, he ran over to tell me.  The girls, all bundled up like gigantic pink marshmallows, waited patiently at the top of the hill for the return of our one and only sled.  Isacc climbed most the way up the hill when all of a sudden the pink marshmallows started running.  Well, maybe it was less of a run and more of a funny little pink waddle with more emotional urgency than actual speed in all that snow gear.  Being the pessimistic gal that I am, I thought, "Oh no.  They are running and fighting over who gets the sled next."  Much to my delight, the two little girls pelted Isacc with snowballs.  Of course they only got one each and then just stood there.  They may pack a good offense but we need to work on their defense.
I love how the snow transforms the world into a magical playground that keeps my kids happy for weeks and weeks.  I wish we got it more here in Virginia.  It's so fantastic!!

She Thinks She's Teasing Me

It's the first snowfall of the year.  Schools closed early.  The kids are all here.  Jacob and Becca are napping.  Ben and Anthony went out to sled on the pool hill with their school buddy Jacob.  Maddie Mae had a bit of cleaning up before she left for the outdoor fun.  Finally she got everything put away (markers, puzzles and playdoh) and we bundled her up properly for her excersion.  As she left the house with a gigantic smile to join the boys I said, "Have fun out there, okay?"  Her reply came quickly, "Okay!  And you have fun in here all by yourself."  She was teasing me about my terrible misfortune of being left alone in my own house for a little peace and quiet.  Oh poor, unfortunate me.  I figure it'll be another 20-25 years before she realizes that I've just been given the ultimate gift, even if it's only for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

He's Two and I'm Moving. It Is What It Is.

I'm already two days late. Of course I'm full of excuses. Saturday our plans quickly turned from what was expected to be a day of errand running into a delightful day of fun when we happened by the Stoddard home around lunch. Jeff was cleaning up the yard and burning the autumn leaves. We ended up having a fire and roasting marshmallows, hot dogs, apples and potatoes outside while the kids ziplined landing on the trampoline. It was a totally delightful day we all agree. Of course, that did mean that we changed our plans and I didn't do the grocery shopping.
Sunday I went to make a birthday cake for Mr. Jacob. No eggs. No cake.
Monday just didn't come together for me and I'm not doing well with the stress of moving. I did make it to the store, but couldn't force myself to bake a cake. Then Mindy called and after the kids were ready for bed we went out to Five Below and at least bought the poor kid a birthday present. They don't have the best selection for toddlers, so he's getting some amazing stuff - a blow up chair and a battery operated hampster that runs around in a ball. Yipee!
Now it is Tuesday morning and I got myself together. I got the cake batter ready. Trying a new 3D cake pan loaned to me by a friend. It was missing the clasps to keep it together, but she said, "You're an engineer, you'll figure it out." I decided I would give it a shot by wiring tying it together, using pliers to get it as tight as possible and using a cake batter that is relatively thick in the first place. You can see the amazing results right here.
Here I am. Disaster cake. Two days late. No energy or willingness to try again. I think I'll honestly frost the lump on the pan, stick a candle in it. We'll sing and open his presents and call it good for the year. Poor guy. At least he's only two so he won't even care. Hopefully he knows I love him just as much as anyone else that may have received a great cake.
UPDATE: I took that fantastic cake over to Heather's house Tuesday night. We took it apart, frosted the part that looks like Pooh's brains splattered all over the pan, took his head out of the mold, smothered it in frosting and stuck his decapitated head right smack dab in the middle. We lit two candles and sang Happy Birthday over and over while Jacob and Hazel blew out the candles over and over. I think it was a successful celebration for a couple of two year old birthday kids. We totally let them stick their fingers in it, lick, restick and lick again. Honestly, could it get much worse? And everyone was happy.
Referring back to the title of this post: He's two. I'm moving. It is what it is.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dreams Do Not Come True

"I didn't know my dream wouldn't come true. Only my alligator dreams would." That is what I hear from the landing at the top of the stairs. She's leaving her bedroom where she has been playing with Ben and Anthony and it sounds like they have imparted some of their very impressive wisdom upon her. Maddie came on down the stairs to where Jacob was cuddling in my arms after he had woken from his afternoon nap needing a little snuggle time before he could rejoin the land of the living. She approached him to tell him in the most stern voice she has ever mustered, "Jacob. Do you know that your dreams will not come true?" Dramatic pause. "Well, do you?" Pause. "Jacob! Yes or No? Which is it? Do you know that?" Jacob just stares at her and she is losing patience with him. She persists and I attempt to deflect the intensity of the questioning. I explain that Jacob is still a little bit sleepy and isn't ready to talk. "Okay, but Jacob, your dreams will never, EVER come true. Remember that. Because wishing stars are not real. They are just suns floating in the sky." And off she went.

What To Do In Fairfax - Updated for 2010

Hey Friends! Here it is again this year... Because I'm a Christmas junkie, I put together a list of fun things to do in the Fairfax area and thought you might want to know about them too. At the bottom are several other things through the year that my family enjoys. My calendar is full of post-it notes telling me to check on this or that as they come around. Hope you find something great for your family here! Merry Christmas! Angie Fairfax Station Railroad Museum http://www.fairfax-station.org/ click "News and Events" then either "Events Calendar" for schedule or "Holiday Train Show" for description of event 11200 Fairfax Station Road Fairfax Station, VA 22039 Dec 4 & 5, 2010, Sat 10-5 and Sun 12-4 Outside free, inside about $5/adult and $1/child Usually first weekend in December hosts a big train event on their property. Four or five small train towns are setup inside for viewing with all the intricate details (people, houses, trees, etc). Free outside are the larger trains (shoebox sized?). The railroaders set up track surrounding the entire building and drive their remote control trains all over the track they build. Kids can run around and follow the trains, talk to the owners, watch them hook and unhook their engines from loads. It's great fun. Also available - a caboose to climb in, santa makes an appearance each year at random times and sits in a sleigh handing out candy. We skipped in 2009 because it snowed -- BIG mistake!! The outdoor trains had snow plows on them and the show went on as scheduled!
Frying Pan Park Old Fashioned Country Christmas http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/fpp/events.htm
12:30-7pm, carolers, animals, puppet shows, hay rides with Santa. Several events require registration on the website, others are open. Bethlehem Walk http://www.parkwood.org/ 8726 Braddock Road, Annandale, VA Highlight of our Christmas season each year. Free. Usually second Sat & Sun in Dec. Dec 11 and 12, 2010 4-8pm both nights. Sunday is always more crowded than Saturday. Take your children on a walk through Bethlehem where the character towns people are in full costume and sitting at kid level to engage them in talking about the new baby and the star in the sky, walls are decorated floor to ceiling, children collect trinkets as they journey to find the baby Jesus outside in a stable with real sheep, goat and donkey. Tiny Tots Holiday Concerts At most high schools in Dec, get ticket info in Nov. About $5/ticket High school bands put on concerts geared toward young children, usually with special visitors like Frosty, Santa, Elmo, Dora, etc. Santa Train http://www.vre.org/ Burke VRE station and several others 2010 buy tickets Nov 29, ride Dec 11 - sold out this year. $5/ticket, buy in person two weeks before train date. Online sells out almost instantly. Walk in tickets last about 30 minutes before they are gone. Take a 50 minute train ride and meet Santa from several VRE stations. Festival of Lights - Washington DC Temple Visitors Center http://www.dctemplelights.lds.org/ 9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, MD 20895 Fri Dec 3 - Sat Jan 1 Free Nightly holiday musical programs, typically at 7 and 8pm. Trees decorated with 500,000 lights, international nativities collection from all over world on display inside, live nativity outside with Bible story over speaker system. Website has great info and pics for a sneak peek. Wreath Laying in Arlington Cemetery http://wreathsacrossamerica.org/ Arlington Cemetery - Metro access suggested. Usually second Saturday in December. Dec 11, 2010 at noon Free Help honor our fallen soldiers by helping lay donated wreaths at Arlington or other cemeteries nationwide. See website for where and when to go to help. Lighting of the National Christmas Tree - Pageant of Peace Between White House and Washington Monument. You can't miss it. Free tickets distributed via online lottery at beginning of November. www.recreation.gov If you don't get tickets, just go after the ceremony or on any other night to see other groups perform for free, see trains driving around National Tree and a tree from each state and territory decorated. http://www.nps.gov/whho/2010_national_christmas_tree_.htm
Botanical Gardens in DC
Daily 10-5, holiday hours Tues & Thurs until 8pm with musical performances. http://www.usbg.gov/education/events/Seasons-Greenings.cfm
The Botanical Gardens in DC has a really awesome display each Christmas, too, with small, model buildings from the Mall sculpted from leaves, bark, sticks, grass, etc. They look amazing! Be sure to go into the back room to see the train, Santa's workshop, and fairy land! Chantilly Bible Model Train Display Dec 11, 2010 10am-3pm Free 4390 Pleasant Valley Road • Chantilly, Virginia 20151 http://www.chantillybible.org/LifeatCBC/Events/ModelTrainDisplay.lsphttp://www.chantillybible.org Multiple indoor electric train displays to watch and enjoy. Have even had a kid table of wooden train tracks for the kids to play with and build. Water-Skiing Santa http://www.waterskiingsanta.com/ National Harbor in Maryland Free. Multiple days, as early as Dec 4 Lighted Boat Parades on the Potomac River (several)http://www.fairfaxchristmaslights.com/boats.php LDS Church First Presidency Devotional First Sunday night of December. Broadcast via satellite feed to 3900 Howard St, Annandale, VA. OR view online at http://www.lds.org/ Mix of stories of birth of Jesus Christ, orchestra, choir and soloists performances. BEFORE the broadcast there is a live singing of Handel's Messiah with live orchestra beginning at 6:30pm. Bring your own score or borrow one at the door. http://www.fairfaxchristmaslights.com/ --- top Xmas light displays. We have gone to the one on Shadow Lane in Fairfax Station before --- it is really neat. Lots of other fun Christmas things to do and see on her website. Bull Run Festival of Lights http://www.nvrpa.org/parks/brfestoflights/
Nov 24 - Jan 9
Drive through light display. Kids loved this. We drove it at about 1 mph so we undid seatbelts and they were in heaven with freedom to move and explore and be excited in the car about all they saw. About $12/car but if you go on a weeknight there are coupons on the bottom of the webpage for $3 off.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The saga of the chairs is finally over!

Friday, November 26, 2010


The results are in. Anthony gets good reviews on his brine soaked turkey today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Salmonella in Your Socks

First, the background story: Fruit flies have been plaguing our house for the better part of two weeks. We have cleaned up, put away, throw out and disinfected to no avail. Today I even checked all the heater vents on the main floor to see if Jacob (who likes picking them up) had stuffed some fruit down in one and it was now moldy and rotten. Nothing. Yesterday at lunch they had seemed particularly bad and one landed on Maddie's sandwich. She flipped out. "The bugs are getting me!! They are eating my lunch! Help me!!" she screamed as tears began to roll down her cheeks. Being near my wits end with the situation myself, I tried to comfort her that a quick waft of her hand could scare them away. When she calmed from her hysteria into more of a general state of agitation I laid out my proposal. "I don't know exactly why we have fruit flies. I can't seem to get rid of them no matter what I do, but I can't do this alone. See that yogurt cup from breakfast you guys left out? And the smashed banana no one bothered to wipe up when they squished it on the table? That stuff attracts the flies. Does anyone ever have small little "spills" when they pee in the toilet? That attracts flies. Keeping them away is a family project and if you want them gone we can all work on it together." They were so frustrated with the situation they were actually sold on the idea! We set to work. They cleaned up the table, even wiped the whole thing down. Every trash can in the house was taken to the back yard. Every toilet was scrubbed and the floors by the ones that they use most. I even threw out the flower my friends gave me for teaching at Super Saturday in behalf of our cause. We checked the entire kitchen for any produce laying about. "Now we wait," I told them. They should be gone in two days. Fast forward to this morning: Today was laundry day (defined as such because if I don't wash today, I'll have to wear the last pair of underwear and I really hate the "emergency" pair). I was quite pleased with myself. Maddie and I had everything sorted early. Load one washed and dried. Load two in the washer. Go to move load two from washer to dryer. Lift the lid and there is still water in it. Weird. Why didn't it spin and drain out? Button says it finished it's cycle. It can't break. I don't have time for that. Ugh. Wait. My socks are starting to feel kinda wet. Oh heck. There are soap suds on the floor under the sink and it's full of water. Dang it! I was so careful! See, sometimes when I grab a bucket of laundry to dump in the washer, something falls out the back side of the bucket into the sink. When that happens, it gets sucked down to the drain and blocks it off so the water can't drain out...and it overflows...and makes a big stinking mess. I remove Brian's sock and the water immediately drains out of the sink. I turn the washing machine on again to rinse and spin. Then I commence the drying out and cleaning up of the water mess. Yuck. When it's pretty much done as much as I can figure other than to let it dry out I look in the sink just one more time shaking my head about the stupid situation I find myself in. Wait. What's in the drain now? I reach in and sweep my finger around pulling out a piece of old, raw chicken. NO!! That's disgusting! How did that ever get in there? Oh yeah... Two weeks ago I went to get frozen chicken from the deep freeze. The chicken breasts had clumped together so I started banging the bag on the metal washer top to break them up so I could take what I wanted and leave the rest. It was a 20 lb bag and it got a little unruly and one chicken breast tried to escape. I snagged it out of the sink, put the rest away and went upstairs to wash it up. And that's how we got raw chicken in our basement sink. I'm hoping and praying it is the source of these horrible flies that will NOT go away. With a two day life span, we'll know soon enough, but I have high hopes for a quick resolution to my problem. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Now, I suppose I ought to go and disinfect that sock for salmonella. Or maybe I can skip it since I don't intend to put the sock in my mouth.

Bad News on High School Graduation

Got some seriously BAD news today.  Brian needs a copy of my high school diploma to apply for my visa.  I turned the basement inside out today with no luck.  I have a college diploma but apparently I must not have graduated from high school.  Brian seems to think I was too wasted to remember anything in those days.  The good news is that I found an old certificate listing all the honors and fru-fru things I got at that graduation I apparently never went to.  UGH!!!  To request a copy just adds so much lag time to my planning!  I'm frusterated.  Just the first of many, many to come I'm sure.

Friday, November 19, 2010

'Mom! My shadow makes me look like a teenager! ' - maddie mae'

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Thursday, November 18, 2010


I'm laughing, crying, happy and tight in my chest with nervousness. Brian just called from work to say he got the official "Welcome to the Singapore Team" letter at work today. It's offically a go, folks. His anticipated move date is January 1, 2011, though we'll flex that a little bit so we don't have to pack out our house on Christmas Day. I'm thinking pack out Jan 3 so the holidays will be anything other than relaxing. Still, we're super excited for this big amazing adventure. Stay tuned for plenty of emotional breakdowns to come. (You know that's true, I hear even Brent lost his vision and lost it the night before the movers came. If he can't hack it I've got no chance.)
Hopefully this means that we'll get our "package" details immediately so we can begin working on the important things like passports, medical clearances and school admissions for the kids.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A close call...

Ben came up from the basement today and told me, "Mom, I changed all the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer and I took out all the flint."  Boy am I lucky he took out all the flint.  With it rolling around inside a metal drum, I am sure it would have generated sparks.  The clothes would then have caught fire and our house would have gone down in flames.

Mommy, do I like that?

Last Sunday we had guests over for dinner and made one of our favorite recipes—baked potato soup.  As usual, Ben was extremely excited and asked if we could have bread bowls.  Angie obliged and Ben came back multiple times for more soup to fill his bowl.  


Maddie, on the other hand, decided she did not like it at all.  It was a big struggle to get her to eat any of the soup.  She pretty much nibbled on the bread, ate the cheese off the top of the soup, and left the rest untouched.


Through the rest of the week we had soup a few times for dinner.  Each time was the same story—Ben was excited and Maddie hardly ate any.  After fighting with Maddie all week, I pulled the last of the soup out for one last dinner tonight.  Maddie asked me what I was making, to which I told her, "Baked Potato Soup."  She then asked, "Do I like that?" with a doubtful look in her eye.  


Now, we have learned that anytime our kids ask if they have had something before, we should immediately respond with, "yes, and you loved it."  Therefore I immediately responded with a simple, "yes."  Her doubtful look quickly turned to an enthusiastic grin as she bounded out of the room declaring to Ben, "Ben, were having potato soup and I LOVE IT!"  Apparently she really did love it tonight—she happily polished off three bowls.  Its amazing how a little person's tastes change according to her mood.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jakey's Shadow

A few weeks ago I dropped off some things at Dani's Duds consignment sale with a friend. We decided to swap kid watching with the inspection and sorting tasks. She went first and I took my Jakey, her Grant and Soren, another little guy I was watching. We were at the back door of a convention center in the loading dock area so I took the three little boys over to the diesel zone which had 3 parked trailers and nothing else there.
We looked at rocks and dirt and the lines between the slabs of concrete when Jacob discovered something magic. He was amazed by it and how it would move so totally unpredictably. The other two boys couldn't figure out what he was going so nuts over. I decided to play a game with him. I told him to get my shadow and he'd run full speed to stand on my shadow head but just before he got me I'd duck so he would miss. At first he was totally confused. Then he saw the merit of this super cool game. Soon he was giggling beyond control and saying "m-ah! m-ah!" (more, more). It was beyond fun to see him so delighted and having so much fun as we ran around the empty parking lot with a twinkle in his eye. I love that kid and his spunky personality.

Cleared For Take Off - Part 2

This is for Anthony. I was planning to update the picture on the other blog post of my lovely mouth accessory but before I got to it, someone had to complain about the picture quality. I took that last picture with my super cheap cell phone camera sitting at a super duper long traffic light on my way home from the office visit. But Anthony just had to whine about it. So here you go Sir. Here is a picture of the metal they screwed into my head. And the lovely accessory I hope to never be using again in just two short weeks. But if you want to check it out personally, come on over for Thanksgiving dinner.

PS - Ben should be loosing his tooth in two or three days I would guess. That will be a fun picture to take.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Almost There

We're down to the wire.  Ben and I want a picture with our missing teeth.  He's got one on the verge of coming out and I get my molds made on Tuesday for my permanent tooth.  Add about 1 week for the lab to make my teeth and install them (for lack of a better word).
He's got about 10 days but that little stinker is hanging on with all its might.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cleared for take off

Can you think me a better way to start your day than a 7 am oral surgery? My life rocks! At least it was the last one. I an cleared to get my three fake teeth made in two weeks. This thing will finally be over.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just Call Me Angie

Jacob has started calling me Angie. It sounds more like Andy, Ah-Gee or even Nandy but it's darn cute. He always begins with Mom. If I am distracted or not paying close enough attention to him he moves on to Angie but he tilts his head to the side and his voice intonation makes it sound like a question. Love it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Too much to do makes

Too much to do makes for a mama that curses drivers who don't go on green lights until they turn yellow. They go and i'm stuck.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


This move is going to be hard beyond belief I think.  I just got an email from a gal in Singapore asking the ages and birthdates of my kids so they can place them in the right classes at church.  I got all choked up over it.  I'm going to miss this life so much.  Let's just be honest. There is no replacing Lucinda and Anthony.  It's gonna be lonely and rotten.   It always is.  The first 6 months can suck, then we'll find our groove.  Or maybe by then we will have convinced the Mazza's to move over with us!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Walking out of church today with Maddie in the waning late afternoon sun she exclaimed exuberantly, "MOM!!  My shadow is showing me that I am a teenager!!"
Brian got a new shipment of some seriously impressive stage magic tricks for his upcoming gigs.  After he performed/practiced a trick for the kids, Maddie says to Ben, "I'm giving him a thumbs up for that one."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Some Things Are Hot, Others Are Not

Listing things on Craigslist is a bit of a crap shoot if you ask me.  I listed our piano a week ago. I have only had one interested party and they wanted me to drop the price in half. I sort of figured it was a good deal to start with.  Then I listed a treadmill for what I thought was high but gave myself room to negotiate down and it fold for full price, picked up and paid within 2.5 hours of listing.  A crap shoot for sure. 
Now, what else can I get rid of today????

Cinnamon Applesauce

I was missing my annual applesauce production at the house since we can't take it with us when we move.   So I found someone to help.  Agatha and I went to the orchard, got our apples and we made applesauce together.  Okay, I poked around the kitchen while she made it.  I taught her last year and she wanted to make sure she had it down perfectly before I left.  It tasted AMAZING right off of the stove all warm and my house smelled fantastic.
And because people are always asking me for my recipe I thought I'd post it as well as the "How To" so I can find it easy next time I'm asked.

Cinnamon Applesauce

(with a food strainer/sauce maker)


  1. Wash apples.
  2. Quarter apples.  If you are using a strainer which automatically removes the seeds, stems, and peels, then you can leave them on the fruit. Otherwise you should remove them at this point.
  3. In your largest pot put ½" to 1" water in bottom of pan.  Fill with apples up to the top and put the lid on.  Since the apples will soften and squish down I often fill past full so the lid rests on the apples.
  4. Cook the apples on high until a fork will easily go through the top middle apples.
  5. Remove apples from heat.
  6. Scoop into the food strainer and process.  All trash will be expelled out the back side.  Collect the applesauce from the spout.  If you are not using the strainer you can process by hand with a potato masher.  Depending on desired thickness of applesauce, you may want to include or reserve the liquid from the pot.
  7. Use this recipe as a general guide.  Every apple has a different amount of natural juice and varying degrees of sweetness.  Do this to taste, realizing after the sugar and cinnamon get fully dissolved and cooked in it will sweeten slightly.
    • 8 quarts of applesauce
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 Tbsp cinnamon


If you choose to can the applesauce for long term storage follow these directions:

  1. Clean and sterilize bottles. 
  2. Boil lids.
  3. Using a wide mouth funnel, fill jars with applesauce to the bottom of the neck (about ½ inch from top).
  4. Wipe top rim of each jar to remove any sticky residue that would prevent sealing.
  5. Put on a sterilized lid and tighten ring around the neck of the jar.
  6. Place in the water bath canner.
  7. Once all the jars are in the canner, fill with water so that it is about 1 inch above the tops of the bottles.
  8. Bring to a full rolling boil.
  9. Reduce heat and process the jars at a steady gentle rolling boil for 20 minutes.
  10. Place a bath towel on the countertop to protect from heat.
  11. After the jars have boiled 20 minutes, remove the jars from the canner and place on towel.  Leave on towel while they cool.
  12. If you are going to process more bottles, dump out about half of the hot water from the water bath and refill with cold water before adding the new jars to the canner.  If the water is too hot the jars will crack from the quick temperature change and applesauce will leak into the water making a sticky mess.
  13. Lids will suck down as the jars cool causing them to seal.  You will often hear a popping noise when this happens.
  14. Lids should seal within 24 hours on the countertop.  Once they are completely cool, check for a seal by pressing down on the lid. If it pops up and down it has not sealed.  If it is firmly down the seal was successful.  If they do not seal, they will need to be reprocessed by boiling again. Before reprocessing, check the lid to make sure the surface is smooth with no defects before reprocessing.
  15. After the bottle seals, unscrew the ring and let it dry to prevent rusting of the ring.  Rinse the bottles to prevent ants from finding the bottles with any amount of sticky sugar residue.
  16. Once everything is dry replace the rings and store.  If you are short on rings, they are not necessary for storage, simply useful once the jar is opened for use.


For planning:

    • ½ bushel makes approximately 9 qt jars, will vary a little depending on type of apple


Tips and Tricks:

    • When processing multiple batches in a row, dump out about half of the hot water and refill with cold water before placing the next set of jars into the water.  If the water is too hot the jars will crack from the quick temperature change.
    • Bring a bath towel to place under applesauce collection pan.  Because the apples are boiling from the stove, the heat can discolor your table if the pan sits directly on the wood.
    • If you are mass producing, you can have 4 pots of apples cooking at a time.  If your apples are particularly juicy, instead of adding water to the next pot just recycle the juice from the apples left at the bottom of the pot after you scoop it all out into the sauce maker.
    • Sometimes if you have filled the jar just a little too high it will leak out during processing putting a little bit of apple into the water.  This is not a big problem but you will want to wash the jars to keep the ants away.
    • To keep your jars pretty and free of water spots on the exterior, you can add 1 Tbsp vinegar per 1 gallon of water in the water bath canner.
    • A water bath canner is not required—you can use other types of pots as long as the water covers the top of the jar.
    • To measure and mix the ingredients I use one of those old see thru Tupperware cake covers as a bowl.  I measure 8 qt of water and mark it with masking tape on the outside.  Then I can quickly just fill the "bowl" to the 8 qt mark and stir in the sugar and cinnamon for batch after batch.


Recommended Equipment:

  • Apples
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Sink
  • Cutting board
  • Large knives
  • Large bowls
  • Large pots with lids
  • Bath towels
  • Hot pads
  • Sauce maker/food strainer
  • 4 cup Pyrex measure to scoop into strainer
  • Spatulas
  • 1 cup measure
  • 1 Tbsp measure
  • Long spoon to stir
  • 9x13 pan to catch applesauce from strainer
  • Pan to boil lids
  • Jar lifter to remove processed jars from water bath

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm Blaming Stephanie

I got a fantastic email this morning.  Our pictures from the photo shoot we did with Stephanie this weekend are ready!!  Of course I logged in and started checking them out right away.  I'll post some soon for you, but I was totally happy and excited and focused on my laptop, keeping just a vague eye on my children playing in plain sight.  Maddie was going back and forth making a project for her preschool friends.
Each friend was to receive a small picture she colored and cut out.  She would come from the kitchen to the living room and put them one at a time on the wall as she finished, explaining the ins and outs of the process and who got each one to me as she came and went.  In the corner of my mind I kept thinking that I needed to nip this taping to the living room wall thing in the butt before it got out of control but didn't act quickly. After all, on Monday when we were on our date she had taped that one thing she wrote on the wall and I let it stay.  Then Tuesday she added something else and I hadn't reacted.  Finally we had six beautiful creations on the wall and I finally pryed myself from the pictures to have a talk with her.
"Maddie, did you remember that we shouldn't tape things to the wall?  That's our rule."
"Because tape can pull off the paint.  Remember?"
"No.  You never told me that before." (Likely true, I've probably only had the conversation with Ben.)
"Okay.  Let's look for a place that it IS okay to tape." I show her a delux spot for taping on the side of the piano.
"How about here?"
"No.  I want to put them over there."
I go over to the wall to begin moving the creations but don't see any tape.  I'm impressed.  I didn't know she could do a tape ring!  Cool.  Wait. There is no tape ring...the papers are sticky!  Oh dang it.  I see residual purple glue stick both on the paper and the wall.  She glued the papers to the wall.  At least they are still wet so we can take it off without too much trouble.
I announce that the next project is to wash the glue off the walls.  As I remove the last paper, it's stuck.  Oh bother, the Tuesday creation was glued on too.  We spend a while scrubbing the walls which she isn't too happy about.  The bright side of the story?  Because we had to wash the wall I did the whole thing and now there are zero wipings from childrens' noses along the wall.  So while I may be blaming Stephanie for the glue on the walls because her amazing photography skills had me locked in my seat, I suppose I should also give credit for the clean, booger free walls.  Thanks, Steph!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Irresistable Maddie Mae

Last night Grandma and Grandpa Zufelt let Brian and I go out on a date. While we were gone Maddie made a project to display on the wall. She always takes great pride in the letters she writes. After she finished she took it to Grandpa and asked him, "What does this say?"

Grandpa told her he didn't know and asked her what she wrote. She told him that of course she couldn't tell him what it said because she couldn't read!! Obviously, Grandpa had to figure it out. Duh. He's the one who can read.

Today Maddie was totally upset about wearing her patch. It was the first day she had to wear a new one, meaning the sticky was going to be fresh and strong again so it might hurt a bit more when we took it off after her four hour sentence. Our current deal is that after she finishes eating lunch it goes on. Attempting to make the best of a rough situation I spread the patches she spent lots of time decorating all out so she could pick her favorite. She could think and decide over lunch and then let me know when she finished which one she chose for today.

She was adamant that she didn't need the patch, that it would hurt too bad and various other logical reasons that she was unable to wear the patch. When it came right down to it in the end, Maddie couldn't decide which one. She put her hands on her cheeks and with all the exuberance of a four year old said "Oh!! Well ALL of them are the most beautifulest and I love them all but I don't want to wear them, just give them to my friends (fwends) to share them." When I insisted it was time to choose one or I would do it for her, she chose one stating, "Well, actually, this one is the most beautifulest one. I'll wear this one today."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Take Home Message #1

".... (in a family) love is spelled T-I-M-E...."
Pres Uchdorf

Here is what happened today at our house. Maddie got a flower eye!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crossing My Fingers

Hopefully soon, we'll have a brand new family picture I can proudly display at the top of our blog. I mean the one with Jakey's face drawn in is nice. And it makes a statement that every parent understands completely, but he's a cute guy and deserves to really be in the picture no matter how many moms have told me the picture made them laugh out loud.
We've got family pictures scheduled for next weekend with Stephanie Pilling Photography. Check out her blog and website. She's great at what she does.
She did our pictures April last year and I have received endless compliments on the amazing work she did for us!! I love the photo and have it in our living room. It makes me happy. Cross your fingers we all have happy smiley faces. I know I am!

Two Heart Murmurs, a Neuroma and Some Cool X Rays

Wild day today. Thinking overnight I realized maybe I could check out my foot xray for the podiatrist and save a buck or two from having to do it all again. At 7:10am found out they were open at 7am. Perfect! Threw all my stuff together for the days outings. Brian dressed Jakey and I put cereal in two baggies with sippy cups of milk for breakfast for Maddie and Jakey. We were out the door by 7:30am. First to the xray place in downtown Fairfax. Unbuckle kids, get CD with xray images, buckle kids. Drop off both kids in Fairfax Station at Rebecca's place at 8:05am. Gridlock traffic to Annandale inside the beltloop for my podiatrist, only 4 minutes late, found the office easily. Wait. Chat with doc, examine the foot, check CD of xrays. Diagnosis - Neuroma between 2nd and 3rd bones in foot. Get a steroid shot into the nerve in my foot, nurse wraps it up all fancy like. 9:50am Not sure where to go I head toward Unique Thrift Store nearby to do some shopping for summer clothes for the next 3 years since they apparently don't sell in sizes that accomdate an American woman. 10:00am Realize don't have enough time anyway, abandon plan, call Brian, set lunch date. 10:01am Head to pick up Maddie in Fairfax Station. 10:25am Get Maddie Mae, leave Jakey. 10:45am Maddie falls asleep in the car. 10:50am Arbys with Dad for a special date with Maddie and Mom. 10:51am Maddie informs us it is NOT a date because there are three people and only two can go on a date. She cannot be persuaded. (Note to self, start talking with her about group dating before getting exclusive.) She picks our table, acts silly and enjoys herself mostly. 11:20am Head to the cardiologist for Maddie because pediatrician heard the heart murmur again and it hadn't disappeared since the last year. 11:30am Pediatric cardiologist has great setup for kiddos. Finding Nemo movie is playing on the TV and they have a huge fish tank with fish matching the movie!! And toys and books. Specialists hear TWO different problems in there to investigate. We have EKG and ultrasound pictures while she watched Dora the Explorer. Only problem she had with it was taking the electrical sticker pads off of her body everywhere. Diagnosis - Venous Hum AND Innocent Heart Murmur Both are "okay" as far as that type of thing goes. No restrictions. No worries unless she has other issues develop, she's fine and it's no big deal. We're happy. 1:10pm Leave Cardiologist to pick up Jake. Maddie falls asleep in the car. 1:30pm Jakey sleeping too, wake him up and pack him in the car. 1:55pm Home at last. Long day of doctors. Traffic and stop lights. Could be worse. Could be much, much worse. Glad those visits are over. 2:45pm Bus stop alarm goes off, pack up and leave where we hear that the consignment store down the road has ballet slippers and tap shoes today, one pair of each approximately Maddie's size. Also find out she needs these things for the dance class she starts on Monday morning. 3:30pm Search the house for the missing ballet slipper (that has probably been missing for a year). No luck. 3:45pm Load up kids to go buy ballet slippers and tap shoes before they disappear. It's been a long day for us around here. Dinner proved it. We had a quality meal of pancakes with chocolate chips. And nothing else. Well, can I count maple syrup as a healthy side dish? The kids had to clean up the house then they got to watch a 30 minute Magic School Bus episode that arrived from Netflix and it was off to bed. Follow up: - Maddie has no follow at all unless she has trouble in the future. - Steroid shots in my foot every 2 weeks for a couple weeks until the flare up goes away. That's what I'm doing to celebrate my birthday!! Upcoming: - The other referral Maddie got from the pediatrician was to see an opthomologist. In one eye she has odd coloring often indicitive of a tumor growing inside the eye. NOT COOL. She was due for a visit mid to end of October anyway but they advised me not to wait that long. Between our insurance, looking for a doc that specialized in pediatrics and the doctor's calendar, best we could do was Oct 1st. Hope that's soon enough. Pray for her eyes and her sight. I know God does hear prayers, even if he does get squished in the truck (see last post from Maddie Mae). Maybe the glasses don't really help her see better after all. P.S. - Don't you wish you had cool pictures of your foot?? Anyone know what that bone thing poking down in the middle of the foot is? Brian thinks that's the problem and the totally missed it! He cracks me up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

maddie to dad today while

maddie to dad today while driving - God is everywhere. Even in the toilet. But where does he sit in the truck? Does ben squish him?

AAAHHHH!!!!! School Uniform Order

Just did a tentative order from the approved vendor for the school uniforms the kids will need when we move. For just pants/shorts for Ben alone the order came to $257. I had to stop there before I had a heart attack. I'll let that settle in for a couple of days before I look into skirts for Maddie, then polo shirts for both, plus shoes, socks, etc. Maybe this isn't the right thing for a tight wad penny pincher like myself to do. We look for $2 clearance pants and I prefer to shop consignment sales, but even consignment sales on the half off days for heaven sakes!!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rain Gutter Regatta

Ben had a blast at the Rain Gutter Regatta for Cub Scouts in August.  A month later, we got the newsletter and found out he won the "New Tiger Overall Winner" Award.  He was pretty proud.  They let siblings participate as well.  Maddie was super cute because she wanted to be independent, but could barely reach to blow with her straw.
Best part of the morning?  After the competition they dumped the water, lined the gutter with aluminum foil and filled it with ice cream, chocolate topping and sprinkles!!!  It was heaven for more than one kid.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Victory on Windows and Taxes

About 14 months ago we had a crack in our front window and needed to get it replaced.  It is a huge bay window type and it wasn't cheap.  We had three companies come out and give us their sales pitches.  Each one would give us a huge, mega discount if we just bought THAT NIGHT.  Company #1 we liked, but wanted to shop around.  Company #2 was okay, but more than #1.  Company #3 was the most expensive but with their promised discount could slide in just below #1 by a couple of bucks - or so they claimed.
The sales guy, Max, kept referring over and over to the $1,500 tax rebate we could get.  Yes, yes, we know about that.  It is a 30% rebate on the total cost.  We are only doing one window, so we can't max that out.  He swore up and down we were wrong.  With him there, we looked up the wording of the tax law online and showed him.  Even after reading it, he swore we'd get the full $1,500 allowed by law back.  He was pushy and insistant and we were pushy back that we wouldn't buy from him because we knew we wouldn't get the money back.  Finally, we told him the only way we would buy from him was that he would put it in writing on our contract that they would reimburse us the $591 we would NOT get back from the government after we filed our taxes the coming April.  He confidently agreed and wrote it in the contract.
In April of this year we filed our taxes and came up $591 short of the $1,500 promise.  No surprise to us.  Brian pursued it over the course of a few months.  The company was surprised.  They hadn't ever had to do that before.  They had to talk to their tax guys and their accountants to even figure out how to pay us back.  I'm sure Max thought they were golden when we signed the contract on the night of the sale.  Too much time would pass between install and tax time.  Most people forget stuff like that after 14 months.  Not the Zufelts.  Yesterday we got our check in the mail.
When it came time to pursue the reimbursement, I pulled out the contract and my heart sunk.  The wording of the promise was less than strong.  I was all but convinced that we weren't going to see a penny.  My compliments to HomeFix for standing by their word.  I love the new window too, so I guess I'd recommend them.

Maddie On Preschool

Maddie obviously had a nice time at preschool today.  She was happy and excited when Mallory dropped her off.  She wanted me to see her cool painting.  After a few minutes home I asked if she likes preschool.  She stopped in her tracks, looked at me with hands on her hips and an annoyed voice and said, "I still don't like learning."  Then walked off.  I guess I'll never win that battle.  She's been saying it since the very day she started last year and never varies in her answer.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bowling with jacob is fun!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sleep Timer

The tv in our room has a sleep timer. It's a magic little invention.  You push the button and in 30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes it turns itself off.  I've become accustomed to the dull noise and dim lights lulling me to sleep every night.  Even when I come in dead tired, I turn the tv on and put the volume so low no words could possibly be understood and roll over and go to sleep.
Sunday night I forgot to put the sleep timer on.  At 3am I woke to the dull noise of the tv and an infomercial.  The next morning I found a link open on my laptop on the side of the bed for this: http://www.thecontour.tv/index.php
Note to self.  Hide the credit cards during the night.  I remember thinking I could use those electrodes for my back pain like the chiropractor used to do.  But still, hide the credit cards, Brian.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Whine Whine Whine

Maddie uses a whine about 85% of the time.  It grates at everyones nerves.  We hate it.  We genuinely can't understand what she is saying because it's so high pitched and squeaky.  Yesterday we went bowling and on the drive home we got a dose of it.
Ben: "Mom, last time we went bowling with Dad and Grandma we stopped at Wendy's and got ice cream.  I wish we could do that today."
Mom: "We can't today.  Sorry."
Maddie: "Ben, we did NOT stop at Wendy's last time."
Ben: "Yes we did."
Maddie: "NO!  WE DID NOT! That's not the truth!!"
Mom: "Maddie, Dad told me that he did go to Wendy's last time.  Maybe you don't remember or maybe you didn't go with them." (they were all in the same car)
Maddie: "No!  Ben did not go to Wendy's."
Mom: "That's what Ben remembers and it's okay if you remember a different story.  Let's not talk about it anymore." 
I commence silence and Maddie begins to whine.  And whine.  And whine.
I ignore her.  Not one word out of me.
After about a minute she stops whining.  In a totally calm and normal voice she says, "Mom, I was whining and whining and you never told me to stop so I just kept whining more.  Why didn't you tell me to stop whining?"
She said it so matter of factly.  As if when I tell her to stop it makes any difference at all.  Like I was solely responsible for her inability to stop whining.  Had I just made a simple request, it would have terminated immediately.  That is not my standard experience with this child. I dare say that my requests, which admitidly aren't gentle, just send her into a more intense tyraid of frantic screaming, typically accompanied with throwing herself on the ground and moving her body such that she looks like she is plagued with intense and unrelenting pain.
What is my take away lesson?  This girl knows what she's doing.  She's playing her cards at just the right moment to manipulate me and play on my weaknesses.  Yesterday I threw a wrench into the equation and she didn't know how to play me anymore.  How do I use this to my advantage?  The jury is still out but I know there is a gem of parenting knowledge hidden in that car ride.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Uneventful Dentist Visit

I almost forgot to post the latest from the dentist visit the kids had.  Mainly because it was more or less uneventful.  That is a miracle in and of itself.  No one kicked or hit the staff.  No one screamed at the top of their lungs.  No one spit on the staff.  No one hyperventilated.  That is not to say it went well.  Just that we had a lack of all those things mentioned above and let me tell you people, that's some MAJOR progress!!
We had Jakey nap at Lucinda's place while we went to our appointment.  Brian met me at the office as is our custom since we have to hog tie each of the two kids to make the visit happen.  Unfortunately I'm not an octopus.  In the past that could have come in super handy at restraining those flailing limbs and protecting the staff at the office.
Ben started out.  We talked about what would happen before we went, again, and how crying was okay but hitting was not.  It is okay to be worried and scared.  He can ask us questions or take a break or whatever, but no spitting.  We are not to scream and shriek but we can tell the workers what we don't like and see if they can change things around.  Thank the Lord we got Miss Charlotte as our hygentist.  She was an angel.  It didn't take long after she came into the isolation room instead of the big open area where almost all patients are seen to ask, "Does he have trouble with his teeth?"  My immediate response was, "Not really blah, blah, blah" until I looked at her eyes and realized the real question.  "Does he freak out over this stuff?"  "Um YEAH!! He's not likely to see those other public chairs anytime soon."
Miss Charlotte was a miracle.  We even got Ben to use the electric brush thing.  Then she squirted water in his mouth to rinse the paste off his teeth without telling him what she was doing and he gagged and if you ask him he almost died.  It was tears from then on.  The flouride went off almost without a hitch until he tasted it and gagged.  He refused to shut his mouth after the 60 seconds were up to spit it out and he was pissed off about it too.  He just kept letting it drip out of his mouth in nasty saliva drool all over.  I just got him lots of tissues and let him wipe and wipe and wipe, but his refusal to shut and spit just put his saliva glands into overdrive. It was pitiful.  They got their xrays, though they tried twice for one shot and since the second was worse than the first and he at least got something, she decided not to traumatize him and let it be.  Again, bless Miss Charlotte.
The dentist noticed he has the beginnings of his first loose tooth on the bottom front so that will be a bit of an adventure.  What's the going rate for the tooth fairy these days anyway?  And why does she pay in the first place?  You know there is no root left on that thing right?  That blows the idea that she's recycling it to save the planet.
Maddie Mae did pretty good, though she didn't love it.  She mostly liked climbing up and down on the chair that moves and acting like a monkey in the room while we waited for Ben's turn.  She's a great kiddo.
There you have it.  A bit of an ordeal, but put in perspective with other dental visits?  Cake walk.

The Case of Maya and Miguel

This is a letter received from my brother and sister in law. Dear Brian and Angie,
Missy and I stumbled across a random photo in the glove box of our Explorer. After careful examination of the clues and facts we have concluded that you two are responsible for the practical joke. It all started about a few weeks after your last visit to Utah. Missy and I were at a drive-in movie theater when we needed to get a flashlight out of the glove box. As I was fiddling around in the glove box trying to find the flashlight I knocked the glove box loose spilling it's contents all over the floor. Without much light to see, I carefully tried to reassemble all of the items and place them back where they belong. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted what looked like a photograph. "That's strange" I thought to myself. I don't remember ever putting a photo in the glove box. "I wonder what it is a picture of?". As I pick up the photo I see that it is a woman lovingly embracing a dog. "Could this photograph belong to the previous owner of this vehicle and it has been stuck behind the glove box all these years?". Turning the picture over I see it has a message written on the back:
"Dear Brett and Missy,
It was great to run into you and catch up over dinner last weekend. I can't believe how long it has been since we saw you last. Thought you might want a picture of our daughter Maya and dog Miguel. Keep in Touch".
I must be losing my mind. I didn't know old age could catch up to some one so fast. I couldn't for the life of me think who would have given us this photograph. I definitely don't remember going out to eat with anyone recently. Maybe this picture has been in here for a long time. Wait a second there is a date stamped on the back of the photo from when the picture was printed. Lets have a look. May 25, 2010. Whoa this keeps getting weirder. That means we would have had to had dinner with them within the last month or so. My mind wouldn't completely forget about it so fast would it, and why would it be in the glove box of our Explorer, we hardly ever drive it anymore. Wait a second. Brian and Angie had borrowed our car recently to travel down to my parent's house during their visit to Utah. Is this their mischievous and cunning side coming out? It has to be. I can't think of anyone else who has had access to our car recently. Lets take another look at the written message. The handwriting looks familiar. It almost looks like mine, but a lot nicer and more readable. Is handwriting a hereditary trait? Who knows, lets go with that. That gives us two clues - we found the photo shortly after you had borrowed our vehicle and the handwriting looked familiar. Might not hold up in a court of law but I'm going to go ahead and call this case closed.
You really had us going for a little while that night. Missy and I were scratching our heads desperately trying to figure out who the photo could have possibly come from. Well done. Oh and if you didn't leave the photo then Missy and I will really be confused.
-Brett and Missy
Okay. So maybe I did find a random photograph in the parking lot of a Safeway grocery store in Cedar City. I looked around for the owner and when the owner wasn't anywhere to be found I ask myself, "Self, who could benefit from this photograph?" The answer was clear as day. Me. I could benefit from this handy photograph.
Oh boy that was fun. I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks as I wrote the note (yes, my handwriting is bad, like a boy and apparently like Brett's). The worst part was that we could never tell him or probe to ask if they found it or they'd know it was us. I was brought to tears again reading Brett's email tonight. As I read, I thought the fact that the glove box fell apart was fantastic! If I had known the glove box was going to fall off, I could have played it differently. Anyway, they are two dang good detectives! The date stamp on picture!! Brilliant!!
Now the thing that is still killing me? We've done something like this before. But for the life of me, I can't remember who we scammed. I think it was to my brother Jason and something to do with an old girlfriend but I can't quite put my finger on what it was. He's always a fun guy to mess with. (J - do you remember what we did to you? I need another good laugh tonight.)
Friend or Foe
(you decide)