Tag Archive: Children


Gotta Love Kids

You know that feeling, when you get into bed at night and all of a sudden you revert back to a child and think for a split second..”Is something under my bed?” Maybe you don’t, but many times I have found myself thinking that.

I have been scared many times in my life by real life “creepers” so I tend to have an overactive imagination with some things.

We have some “interesting” neighbors that have moved in that have made us more vigilant when it comes to making sure things are locked up when we leave, etc. I  hate feeling like this in my own home. It didn’t used to be like this.

Well we are very active in our church and attend meetings every Sunday. When you live in the type of neighborhood I live in, most people know when you are gone on Sundays and at what times and for how long. This is information  that you really don’t want people knowing if they want to break into your house.

So each week in the back of my mind I think, “They know we are gone, I hope they don’t try anything”.

Two weeks ago, we came home from church and I had just come out of the bathroom. I was singing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, or at least trying to because I couldn’t past “Chippewa on down” because I couldn’t remember the words. So I was in my own little world trying to figure out what the next words were. I came around the end of my bed and turned to go out the door when something grabbed my ankle from underneath the bed.

I really shouldn’t have to explain my reaction. It was like having a near death experience. I screamed for at least 2 minutes before I heard my daughter laughing. She is lucky she started laughing or the adrenaline might have jumped and  I might  have started kicking her in the face.

I seriously had to sit down after this. Have you ever been scared so bad that your heart hurt? My heart was pounding so hard it hurt. I sat there breathing hard and holding my breath. Like Fred Sanford does when the “Big One” is coming:

Anyway, I decided that the next time I sing The Wreck of the Edmund Fiztgerald it will be Tim Hawkins version:
Advertisements

Today I reflect upon the trials that my husband and I have gone through in the last 4 years. At times when there seemed no hope, Heavenly Father always reminded us of His presence and love for us.

Today I read a post on Facebook from a friend and neighbor of mine. I realized that even how large my problems have seemed, they pale in comparison to some.

With this said, I am including two links. I urge you to click on these links. Read them and try to help. Despite the problems this world faces, I refuse to believe that brotherly love and kindness do no exist.  There are good people out there who are wanting to do what God wants and truly follow Him in every sense of the word.

Please read and help if you can.

 

http://www.heartsforbinghams.org/

 

http://jasonandstacybingham.blogspot.com/

Facing Your Fears

This past week, I was privileged to travel with a group of about 30 youth and a few adults to Jackson Hole Wyoming for a youth conference.

In my mind I tell myself that I am an adventurous soul, but then some situations I get in I truly ask myself, “What were you thinking?”

Our first day we embarked on a river raft trip down the Snake River. I was all stoke for this until we actually got to the river. All of a sudden, I remembered the time I almost drown as a kid and I started getting really nervous. Not to mention that the entire boat contained young girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Then there were four women and on guide. In my mind I kept thinking, “Shouldn’t we have at least one more guide so if I fall in someone can help me back in, while the other guides the boat?” No, no more guides just Alex.

As we started off down the calmer part of the river, Alex was good as relieving our fears and told us he hadn’t lost anyone yet. This particular sentence wasn’t very comforting because I had a doctor tell me he had never had any problems with a certain surgery and guess what…I was his first problem and nearly died. So I kept thinking to myself, I will be the first of Alex’s “losses”.

I realized that as we conquered each wave, how I relaxed more and actually started enjoying it even though the water was only 48 degrees and I had lost all feeling in my right foot.

I came on this trip with three of my children, one daughter and two sons. I knew two of my children were the adventurous type, but my one son really surprised me. You could get a bracelet for jumping into the river at a certain point. He actually jumped into the water. My daughter was the first on our boat, which was not surprising, to jump in and my other son… He had to do it three times. I am not sure I would have been that adventurous at their age.

At one point my “safe” son was actually “riding the bull” at the front of the boat through the waves. This really surprised me. After we got on the bus, my younger “crazier” son informed me that he had ridden the bull through the lunch counter. This almost gave me a heart attack. I guess he figured it was better to do it and then ask for permission later. This kid will be the death of me.

By the time we ended the trip I was really wanting more river to conquer as was most of the girls. The whole trip was designed to get us out of our comfort zone and try new things. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and would in fact do this again. It was very fun.

That night we drove in to Jackson to play night games at the high school. I actually found this to be more out of my comfort zone than almost anything else we did just because of what happened there.

I am an extremely jumpy and paranoid person. Because of experiences growing up, I am extremely cautious when put in some situations. A couple of weeks before coming on this trip, we had a retired police officer come and speak to the girls about being safe and how to avoid bad situations. It was very informative and added to my paranoid nature.

While we were playing night games, I started to get really thirsty. I noticed a building by the football field where we were playing. I decided that I would walk over and see if there was a drinking fountain. Now it was dark and the only light came from a couple of street lights and some flashlights the kids had.

When I got to the building and noticed it was restrooms, I decided I was use the facilities while there. As I approached a door to see which bathroom I was at, a voice came out of the dark asking me what we were doing. I nearly died. I couldn’t see anyone and could only tell in what direction the voice was coming from. I knew the voice was not attached to anyone I knew so I was extremely startled. I explained that we were playing capture the flag and the person asked a couple of more questions. At this point I had a few red flags going up in my head. I decided to leave the conversation and continue on to my destination…the lady’s room. When I got to the back side of the building, I started getting more and more nervous. I realized that I had just put myself in an extremely volatile situation. I was behind a building, in the dark and a stranger knew I was there and I was pretty sure that a few or anyone even knew the stranger was there.

I decided to go into the bathroom anyway because at this point I really had to go and couldn’t wait. When I entered the bathroom, the light automatically came on, which kind of scared me because I was already on edge. I got in the stall and did my duty and as I was getting ready to go out of the stall, the lights went off. I nearly had a heart attack. I kid you not, I thought I was about to get involved in a smack down and no one would a hear a thing that happened. I stood there with hand on handle listening and waiting to see if I could hear anything.

After a couple of minutes had passed, I knew I couldn’t stay in the stall all night and that I had to come out. I slowly opened the door and tried to look in the dark for any movement. Because the stall door next to me was opened, it blocked any dim view I had of the exit. I stood there for what seemed an eternity before I finally shoved the stall door next to me hoping that if someone was on the other side of it, I would knock them out on impact.

After the door stopped swinging, I listened for noise and didn’t hear anything, so I decided to head for the exit. I took about four steps when the light came on. I stood there with a deer in the headlight look thinking I was going to see the perp in front of me who had shut off the light, but there was no one. After my heart slowed to 300 bm I realized it was possible that the lights were automatic in some way. This did not remove the fear I was feeling. I stood with hand on the exit door handle for about five minutes trying to figure out what I should do. Do I slowly open the door and look side to side or do I just bust out like the flippin’ john was on fire. I came to the conclusion that if someone was out there, they would be surprised by my bolting out of there and thus giving me an upper hand.

It was probably about 5 minutes before I had the guts to bust out. I swung that door open and flew out of there like there was no tomorrow, not looking what was behind me.

I later found out that this guy ending up being obnoxious and thus ending the kids’ night of fun. Which confirmed my suspicions of the guy to begin with. I shook for quite a while afterwards.

The next day of our adventures took us to a ropes course at in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. Here we would be facing our fears on a rock wall and zip line. I was really stoked for this and thought it would be fun. When we arrived, I soon noticed how secluded it was and how some of the trails were hard to see.  Now we had been seeing bear warning signs along the road, so in the back of my mind there was a small thought of perhaps running into one. As we were walking along this trail to a hidden pavilion, all of a sudden I see a giant brown head. I nearly dropped dead right there until I realized it was a brown lab. I told myself what a stupid idiot I was to get so scared and the chances of seeing a bear would be slim to none.

Well that fear was intensified when the advisors of the course told us that a black bear had just come through there earlier that morning. Geez! Are you kidding me? Now to add to the anxiety of the zip line, I was freaked out over seeing a bear. My mother’s cousin was mauled by a bear in Alaska and the story was published in a book. I had been reading this book earlier this year and decided that I would never come within 100 yards of an Alder bush. This whole book was about grizzly bears coming out of Alder bushes.

When we finally got to the rock wall, I was nervous but I had done a rock wall a couple of times before so it wasn’t too bad. It was when I got to the top and realized that the only way down was the zip line. I don’t know how I had ever talked myself into this, but me and heights have never been bff’s and it wasn’t about to start this day either.

I stood there in almost a frozen fear of how high I was and how it was intended for me to get down. I shook as the advisor hooked me up to the zip line, thinking how stupid I was to agree to this. We were at least 30 feet in the air and one had to walk out on this plank that was no wider than 2 feet and perhaps 2 1/2 long. It looked like 4 inches square from where I was standing. I climbed out on the plank holding on to the telephone pole behind me like a stinkin’ cat. I stood there with everyone cheering me on and trying to get up the nerve to go. I just could not get myself to jump. I kept telling myself to do it and just get it over with, but I couldn’t. Then I looked below and there stood my two sons, yelling at me “You can do it Mom!”. I knew at this point, I had to jump. They had to see that their mother was not a wuss.

I truly believe I passed out on the jump because it was a blur and then I am pretty sure I woke up the entire community of Driggs from my scream. I screamed, and screamed and screamed. Was it fun? In a sick sort of way. Would I do it again? Not entirely sure. As we were leaving the course to go to the cars, it was getting dark and I realized I was on a trail that was surrounded by what looked like Alder bushes. I nearly plowed over those in front of me trying to get to the cars. If there was anything that scared me more than that dang zip line, it would be something coming out of those bushes and getting me. So did I face my fears? I felt like I was the entire trip. Do I think I handled them well? Perhaps some of them, others not so much so.

So my first two children were girls. Girls were so much fun.  I could dress them up and they got along most of the time. Rarely did I have a smack down between the two of them. My next two children were boys.

Boys are an entirely different species all together. When my boys were younger, they got along great together. Better than the girls. As they grew into teens, I started noticing BIG differences in their behavior. I am not sure where in the genetic code of humans that the burping and farting in public gene mutated in males. This is hard to understand as a female and one that I will never understand. For some reason the teenage…and I might add, older aged male, seem to think this is the best way for impressing the babes.  Let me put that myth to rest right now. That would be no.

When my youngest son turned 13 something changed. Not only did he change, but he passed whatever he had on to my son that was 15.  My polite 15-year-old son suddenly started farting wars with the 13-year-old.  Two years later despite my constant nagging things have not changed.

This is not the only problem with teenage boys.  The burping and farting they are constantly doing seems to drown out common sense or deadened it.  I am still not sure which.  I truly believe they will do anything to embarrass me even if it isn’t on purpose.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys and they make me laugh everyday. They are hilarious, but they come with horrible side effects sometimes.  Take my trip to town a couple of days ago.  We came to a store where they were selling newspapers outside of the door.  I am sorry, but I hate this.  I hate being  jumped at a store door without an exit route.  I have told these guys over and over that I do not want a newspaper.  As I sat in the car looking at the front door and trying to figure out how to get into the store without getting a sales pitch, my son says this “I got an idea, I will just go up and “pants” him and then when he is distracted you can go into the store. I bet he will never want to sell anything to you after that”.  After I recovered from envisioning this scene, we opted to go through the garden area and avoid him altogether. I wasn’t sure my son wouldn’t try something.

Amongst my purchases at this store was a toilet plunger. As I am getting into the car, I find that my car has a new hood ornament which took some doing for him to get it off after he put it there.  I seriously counted my blessings that I saw that before I got going down the road.  Once we get going down the highway he then proceeds to stick the plunger on the roof of the car to pretend it is a police siren, you know like in the movies. I had to put up with this for 7 miles.  With my neighbor driving right behind me the whole 7 miles.  Then he has the nerve to tell me that he wants to make a bow that will shoot one. Guaranteed, I will be the first to get it in the face.

Then the other day we went into a store. I was stuck there with him again despite the many times I have told him he is not coming with me ever again.  We came out of the gardening area and started down an aisle where we both saw this really cool green glass looking ball. We both reached for it at the same time to feel it. After touching it we realized it was plastic and that is was a toy ball.  My son quickly  grabbed it and started reading the label.  “Hey”, he says “this says this ball can bounce 150 feet in the air, I don’t believe it”.  As soon as the, “I don’t believe it” came out I knew he was going to see if the claim was true. The first words out of my mouth was, “Don’t do it”.  He must have turned off his “hearing aids” and decided that not only was he going to bounce it on the floor, but he better make sure he gives it enough power that it will do what it claims. He was standing at the top of one aisle and I started down another aisle just as he bounced it.

I looked up to see the ball go through the ceiling tiles.  This was a good 30 feet up.  The ball hit those tiles just right that it lifted them up and turned them enough that they fell out of the rim they were sitting in and came down on his head.  I personally did not stick around for the whole thing to play out.  When I saw the sky falling, I wasted no time in disappearing.

My first thought…”Dang it, they just saw everything on security cameras”.  My second thought, I am getting out of here before they realize he belongs to me.

When my son finally caught up to me, he begins to complain about the paper cut that one of them gave him on his face.  No, “sorry mom, I should have listened to you”.  No, nothing.  It has been 3 days and still no apology. Perhaps someday when he has a son I will get an apology. Because despite my hopes for change, I think the gene will mutate in his future sons also.

Home remodeling is not for wusses.  During my growing up years, there is only a couple of houses that I recall not being involved in a remodeling job of some sort.  My mother had this innate ability to take something ugly and make it beautiful.  I remember one particular house that I went with them to look at.  I remember walking into this four walled container of fecal matter and telling my parents that I would not move into that house if they decided to buy it. It seriously looked like someone had urinated on the walls or something in the front room.  The toilet was so disgusting.  The house smelled horrible.

My parents bought the house because they got a great deal on it.  I moved in kicking and screaming.   The house did have to be cleaned up before we moved in which helped a little bit.  When my mother was done with it, it was beautiful home.

I will be the first to tell you that I hate remodeling.  Mostly because I hate things being in chaos and it would eventually lead to not having a bathroom in the middle of winter. Utah winters in the past were not kind. You would sometimes have to plow a walkway to the car through 3-4 feet of snow. This year it has been 3-4 inches.

When my grandmother passed away, the doctors did not want my grandfather living alone.  He was pretty feeble.  So my mother and father sold our home and we moved into my grandfather’s house.  It was a two bedroom, 1 bathroom home.  There were 5 of us.  My parents made do until we could remodel the home to have 3 more bedrooms and a bathroom. See, I told you all remodeling leads to being without plumbing at one point and time.

This remodel job started in the summer and went into the winter.  My grandfather had a greenhouse that he had made that was in his backyard about 200 feet away from the house.  When it came time to install the new toilet, shower and sink, the water had to be shut off to the bathroom.  My father built us a porta-potty of sorts in the greenhouse for privacy.  Unfortunately it was in the winter and we had a lot of snow.  I remember a few mornings making the trip out to the greenhouse dreading the frostbite I was getting braced to receive.  This makes you pretty tough.

I am about to “out” my mother on this and may she forgive me.  I did not understand her situation then like I do now that I have had four children.  The birth of children seriously damages anything related to the bladder and the lack of control thereof.  Did not understand this at that time.  I am a lot more sympathetic of her situation now.

One particular morning when our bathroom was still located in the great outdoors, she woke up and had to go out to the “greenhouse”.  She realized as she got up that she had to go pretty bad and wasn’t sure if she was going to make it.  She had a pretty steep flight of stairs to go down and realized when she got to the bottom that there was no way she was going to make it without having an “accident”.  So she made an executive decision to just step off to the side of the steps and go. She hit a patch of ice which caused her to go down along with her pants.  Even now, 25 years later, I still laugh at the picture this paints in my mind. I envision Bambi when he first stepped on ice.

Now thank goodness Google wasn’t around to do a drive by “shooting”.  I would hate to find her on a Google map search somewhere.  I could not stop laughing that entire day.  I had graduated from high school and was at home so I was stuck there painting all day.  When it would get quiet…you know the 7 minute lull….I would envision my poor mother in her predicament and start laughing.  She would just look at me and give me that “I know what you are thinking about look” and then proceed to tell me that she wishes she would  have never told me what happened.  Well today I almost had the same experience she did, only I kept my pants on and ice was not involved.

The first house my husband and I lived in had to be completely remodeled for it to be livable. I decided after the 10 years of that that I would never remodel again. I will paint, but I won’t tear the entire house apart. So for the last couple of months, I have been giving my walls a fresh coat of paint after 7 years.  Today I decided that my children’s bathroom needed a new look.  I have unfortunately been smacked with the short stump and am at a huge disadvantage at reaching ceilings, let a lone vaulted ceilings.  I have not to this day spent money on a step-ladder.  That is probably why I have nearly died a few times.

Today I had the can of paint on the bathroom sink and I was standing on the side of the tub trying to paint around the ceiling.  I had a chair in between me and the sink so I could just step around to make things easier.  I stepped on the chair with one foot to reach the paint can and for some reason the chair slid, thus causing me to do the splits.  I am sure even when I was a baby that I could not do the splits. I am not genetically built for them.  My sister tried forcing me once which, quite frankly, I was lucky I could still have children afterwards.  Anyway, as the chair slid I felt the muscles pulling in places that no woman wants muscles pulling.  My daughter and husband was on the other side of the house discussing bikes and handlebar tape.  I yelled for help, groaned for help, prayed for help.  No one came. I managed to grab on to something and get myself pulled back together. I had a flashback to when I was 24 months pregnant with my youngest son (not really, but it felt like 24 months), I went to kick a ball and missed.  Couldn’t walk for weeks from a pulled groin.

I do not think that I will be walking the same after today. There is something about pulling the groin muscle that just messing everything up.  I nearly crawled into the kitchen to where the beloved family with hearing problems were.  No comments like, “sorry, we didn’t hear you” or “are you OK”.  All I got was laughter.  It haunted my ears as I am sure it did my mothers years ago.  Why did I even tell them.  Everything you do as a teen comes back to haunt you as a parent.  At least I was within the privacy of four walls and my pants were stretchy.

Can I Embarrass Myself Enough?

I grew up in a family that enjoyed having a good time.  My brothers were constantly pranking us five girls.  Of course we would always pay back. One particular week stands out more than others when one of my brothers was off work and made our lives miserable.  In the process we all started pranking each other something terrible.  My father even got in the action.  Which was out of the norm.  Usually Mom was the one who would go toilet papering with us kids and other “various activities”, all good and legal fun (at least it was legal back then). Toilet papering was our favorite thing to do. If you got toilet papered, you were the coolest people on the block. I remember my friend and I saving up tons of paper towel and toilet paper to get a boy’s house that I had “liked”.  I remember one buying spree prompted the store checker to ask us what we were up to….we just smiled.  Admitted nothing.

This  particular week off for my brother was a nightmare for the rest of us.  We would find the neck and arm holes of our pajamas sewn shut when we put them on.  We found the legs of our nylons sewn together.  My mom found her clothes missing (that was my dad), my brother found a brazier in his gym bag while he was in the boys locker…(this was a  good one).  My sister found a fake snake in her bed and we found fake spiders (that looked very real) hanging from our ceilings.  We were renting this home and the basement was unfinished.  My father had been in the military and somewhere my parents had picked up military cots for us to sleep on.  We came home from school to find all of these nailed to the beams on the ceiling. We came home and found our beds outside..this was in the winter.  We got my brother back by hanging all of his clothes off the roof of the house, including his tidy whiteys.  We put vinegar in his cologne….(I think this made my extremely patient brother upset) At this point, things were getting out of hand. We knew my father had had enough when we built a snowman in the front yard and instead of using a broom, we used a toilet plunger.  This did not sit well with him.

One prank that went bad was my sister had put shoes above a door that led downstairs hoping that she would nail someone in the head when they opened the door.  Well she did alright….the telephone repairman.  Nailed him good she did, then she blamed it on the younger, less-defensive siblings.

Anyway..this  is kind of the way my family is.  One of my sisters imparticular will call and give any child of mine that answers the phone…including my husband….a good teasing about one thing or another before asking for me.  I pretty much do the same to her children or my other sister’s children. There have been times when she or I or another sister will pass on the street and pull the old “finger up the nose” gag to be funny.  These types of things are just normal for us.

The other day, my sister called asking me to help my nephew do his taxes.  She gave me his cell phone number and I gave him a call.  I was half way through giving him crap about how I work cheap, etc…when the voice on the other end told me I had the wrong number.  Well…that was embarrassing.  If we weren’t always trying to pull one over on each other, then things like this wouldn’t happen.  Take today for instance:

I went to help my sister do something for my father.  She left before I did, but I came upon her at an intersection.  As I came closer, I decided I was really going to get her good.  She was directly behind a truck that was waiting to make a left hand turn.  There was no one in front of me and I was going straight.  I went really slow and stopped right by her.  I stuck my finger up my nose as far as I could get it and put the stupidest look I could conjure up on my face.  I sat there right next to her knowing full well she would see the color of my car and turn and look.  Sure enough, when I turned to see the look on her face half expecting her finger to be up her nose too…I came face to face with an irate looking woman who did not resemble my sister at all.

I don’t think I have ever covered my identity as fast as I did at that moment.  I sat there thinking to myself…”idiot, idiot, idiot”.  How could I mistake that car for my sister.  I ran through my head where the car was exact make, model and color.  Her big hair looked like my sister’s big hair from the back……yada yada yada..

If I was not constantly trying to pull one over on somebody, stupid things like this would not happen to me.  Next time, I will be more cautious.  I will drive up slowly take a good look to make sure it is who I think it is…then I will shove my finger up my nose.  Problem solved.

Why I Love My Kids

Today was a very stressful day.  In the area we live in, we have been receiving a lot of rain instead of our usual snow.  It made for some very scary roads.  This morning the sun had come out and the roads were wet, but not icy. Or so we thought.

My daughter came home from school yesterday telling her father that her car acted like it was overheating.  So this morning he put some antifreeze in it and took it for a spin to see if the problem was taken care of.   He hit an unseen patch of ice and totaled her car.  He is O.K., but the car was not.  My husband was so broken hearted to have to tell his daughter what he had done to her car.

Kids have this ability to be so resilient when as adults we worry ourselves into the ground.  I happened upon the following entry that my daughter wrote in her blog.  I have to share it with you because it brought a huge smile to my face during an extremely stressful time and put what is really important into perspective.  My family.

Arianna’s Entry:

RIP, Sparky

BENSON, Utah- 1996 Dodge Intrepid “Sparky”, 16, met his demise Jan. 20, 2012 after sliding across an icy road and slamming into one heck of a mailbox post. His bumper was torn to shreds, his lights were shattered, and both of his airbags were ejected. Due to my family’s inability to pay for his medical bills, he was euthanized at Cache Valley Metals the morning of his accident.Sparky left us with a rich legacy of driving into ditches and growling like a hungry grizzly bear. He was a morose individual, always snarling unhappily when his engine came to life, skittering across the road when the snow was falling. Sparky hated winter and winter hated Sparky. He would be glad to realize that he no longer has to deal with snow again.Sparky was adopted my junior year in high school after my parents’ Intrepid exploded on their way to get him, thus, forcing them to bring him home. He was a carefree car at one point of his life, his power steering ripping you across the asphalt, his engine a gentle hum.

The day that he first drove into a ditch and had to be pulled out by a tractor was the day when part of Sparky died. He’s never been himself since.

Sparky and I had many adventures together, such as driving to BYU on the freeway for the first time and that time when I ripped off his BYU tramp stamp with a spatula. He got the nickname Sparky after his battery died at Steve’s house and the jumper cables nearly electrocuted poor Steve. His battery failed him two times that night. I thought I would lose him.

How Sparky could have looked in his glory days.

He is survived by me, and I don’t know how I’ll replace him. We’re all as broke as the Sphinx’s nose around here, but we’ll find some way to make do.

The world will be a lot more quiet without Sparky around to growl at it.

Here’s to you, my dear friend. May your axle be straight and your engine a proud roar in car heaven.

Game On!

For Christmas every year, we buy one or two boardgames because we love playing games as a family.  Every Sunday night we have what we call Family Home Evening and we have a lesson on gospel topics and then we plays games and have treats.  Everyone takes turns doing different things.  Family Home Evening is not Family Home Evening with the games.  We take turns picking a game and spend the night laughing or fighting if it is Pictionary.  It never fails, something about Pictionary brings the worst out of at least one person.  If you put my two daughters together on a team, guaranteed you have your work cut out for you to win.  It is like they can read each other’s minds or something.  The family joke, “Hey, I feel like fighting…let’s play Pictionary”.   Pit is also a family favorite.

This year for Christmas I found one of the funniest games.  It is called Redneck Life.  I bought it at www.newegg.com.  That was the cheapest place I found.  They also offer an expansion pack which is worth the extra cost to buy right off. This game is based on The Game of  Life only it is in redneck version.

You shake one or two dice (depending if you are using expansion pack) to see what grade you graduated from.  Then a payday comes with that education and a job i.e. Monster Truck announcer, bouncer, bass fishing guide…etc.  You roll the dice to pick your spouses name.  i.e. Big Belle, Corndog Pete….

The first time we played we were all depressed because you automatically go into debt.  You have to buy a house and a car etc.  Throughout the game you have “accidents” that make you loose teeth.  The object of the game is to see who has the most teeth at the end.  There are factors that determine this at the end.  You can gain some teeth back through various ways.

The worst part of it for me was that I ended up with 34 children and 31 of them were all named Darryl and had red hair.  This forced me to buy enough vehicles to get this family around.  There is a space you land on where you can take the kids to the babysitter (babysitter being whatever player you choose) and “forget” they are there.  Then the babysitter adds that many more kids to their kid list.  By the way, each kid you have takes away $10 from your payday.  So if your payday stunk in the beginning, it really stinks if you have a ton of kids.

We have laughed so hard during this game.  Tears streaming.  The first time we played, I landed on a square that said, “Your parents didn’t want you when you were born and left you at the hospital, start over”.  This pretty much sucked, but I did get even at the end.

This is a hilarious game.  I had to edit some of it for my kids (they are 14-19) just because I didn’t feel it was appropriate for our home but it is stuff you can work around.  The cars and houses that you have to buy are actual pictures of real homes and vehicles.  I would hope that people don’t live in things like that or drive things like that, but I have an uneasy feeling that they do.

If you want a fun game to play, this is it.

I am not sure there is one woman on this planet who enjoys cleaning a toilet.  If there is I would like to meet them.  Yet, to have to clean something so disgusting is far better than not having one at all.  At least during the flu season.

When flu season arrives, toilets are our friends.  About 3 Christmas ago, we found out just how grateful we are for those porcelain pieces of furniture.

We had a family Christmas party at my sisters.   This is once when I can honestly say, those who weren’t there are the luckiest suckers on earth.

The family Christmas party was held just days before Christmas.  We have about 70 plus now in the extended family, but I believe at that time there were probably only 60 something and of those sixty I believe only 35 of us were there.  My husband and kids and I always have a Christmas Eve party.  I planned big, we had Chinese food and all kinds of goodies.  It was great fun until later that night one of my kids complained of not feeling well.

I hoped that it was just something passing so that their Christmas would not be ruined.  By the time we went to bed three children were sick.  We started dropping like flies people. Christmas morning welcomed the entire family having the flu.  The worst Christmas ever.  We barely managed to get packages opened between trips to the bathroom.

Most of us laid and moaned all day.  I began to wonder if some of my cooking had given us all food poisoning, until I started calling around and getting calls from the family.  What we realized is that within a five-day period 26 of the 35 people had the flu.  It nearly took out the entire family.  We then thought that perhaps we ate something at the party that gave us food poisoning.  We could not find a common denominator.  I do believe to this date nothing has made me sicker except for morning sickness.

When  every Christmas rolls around at least one child tells me that they never want to see Chinese food again.  It is not what made everyone sick, but everyone remembers what it is like revisiting that meal over and over again.  I have always been one that hardly ever throws up.  I remember the few times I have it has been with a migraine combined with motion sickness.  Other than that, morning sickness with my first child for 5 months was the only puking I have done.

Up until this Christmas day, I had not thrown up for 15 years.  I broke that record and made up for all those years in 6 days.  None of us could eat for about two weeks.  It was horrible.

I bring this up because I think there should be laws that only person can get the flu at a time in a family.  I don’t know who to talk to about this, but it is unfair for a mother to have to deal with.  I came to this conclusion last night while I was up most of the night with two sons suffering from the flu.  It is going on three days now and neither one of them has slept for the last two nights because of the attachment they have with “John”.

I breathe a sign of relief that we made it past Christmas before this hit, but now I await to see how many of us get it.  Unfortunately when Mom gets sick I still have to be mom.  No quitting for me.  I am keeping my distance and crossing my fingers.

So the next time you mumble under your breath while elbow deep into the toilet, remember what it would be like if you didn’t have one and what you would have to clean up.  Puts everything into perspective, I say.

So with yesterday being the last day before everyone went back to school, we wracked our brains trying to find something to do as our last “hurrah”.  After a lot of thoughtful contemplation we decided to have a Nerf gun war.  Feeling like I do today, I wish I wouldn’t have suggested it. We got all of the guns and ammo together and found a place for the war.  We sat up the bunkers and made up teams.  After the first round we decided that the teams weren’t working for us so it suddenly became a “free-for-all”. I realized after about 45 minutes why they suggest you wear protective eyewear.  I was hit in the face 4 times.  I nailed my son right between the eyes once and just as he turned around his sister shot him in the forehead.  Ears were impaled, and heads were shot.  Nothing was sacred people, nothing. One thing that has been a problem with me for years is that if I get laughing, I quickly become immobilized.  I lose all strength in the body and can do nothing to protect myself.  This is a huge weakness of mine and it has been used against me many times. Yesterday was no exception. Some of the Nerf ammo has velcro on one end.  I shot my daughter in the butt and the ammo was just hanging there.  She could not deny I hit her, the proof was there waving to the world. I started laughing so hard that I couldn’t pull it together.  In my moment of weakness, my son shot and hit me in the tooth.  That was it.  I fell to the ground unable to move because I was laughing so hard, tears flowing.  It took me a good 10 minutes to get myself back in the game. Not once was I able to be “King of the Ring”.  I never could get everyone out so that I was the last person standing.  I seriously need to brush up on my skills.  I have to admit I pwned on loading.  I could load and shoot faster than you can say “Bob’s Yer Uncle”.  I had to, I was an easy target for everyone, which pretty much sucked. It has been decided that the war must have a second, third and fourth round at least.  I have to admit, despite the pain…it was pretty fun.  Next time…game on.  I am showing up looking like Rambo.  There will be NO survivors. Someday I will have to decide to grow up…but today is not that day.