Friday, June 21, 2019

An Honest Discussion About Campfire Cooking

One of the best parts of camping is the food. Amiright?

Of course there's the question of where to go and what to take and how long to stay and what to do, but the most important and exciting question is what are we going to eat? My personal definition for "camping" is "going to the mountains overnight to eat."

Someday I'm going to go backpacking with Scotty, and imma need to take a pack goat. For my foods. Because my foods aren't gonna be cans of tuna and MRE's.

When we went camping last week, we made a meal plan that utilized the campfire quite a bit. We ate some tried and true campfire meals. Like hot dogs and smores.


You can roast hot dogs and marshmallows with confidence. I mean, sure they mostly end up charred, but somehow it works. They're hot dogs, after all. Just slather them in jDawgs sauce, and it will hide all their flaws.  


(I will add here that when it comes to smores, I am a traditionalist. Graham crackers, mallows, Hershey's chocolate bars).

We also tried campfire cheese fries. I don't care what the People of Pinterest and the Mighty Internets say - I didn't believe the cheese fries would turn out. Scotty wanted to give them the test, though. 


Scotty and the kids gave them a thumbs up and even made another batch. I only ate one fry, so I don't feel like I can adequately assess the dish, but the one fry I ate was like unto a frozen fry from the grocery store that was baked in the oven (which is kind of what it was except... campfire). I much prefer my cheese fries deep fried, like fries are meant to be. 


For one of our dinners, we tried campfire pork nachos. 


We decided to heat the meat on our camp stove first, which was wise because the chips would've been charred if we'd left them in the coals long enough to heat the meat. Many of them were charred anyway, and they tasted like smoke. 

In my opinion, after trying it out, there's no reason for nachos to go in the fire. Yet, this idea is all over the Pinterest, and no one says, "By the way, your chips will taste the same way your hair smells after it's absorbed five minutes' worth of camp smoke." Let this be a reminder to one and all that Pinterest is chock full of lies. LIES! 

(And there was no way I was gonna fall for campfire French toast. I took one look at those photos and said, "Nope. Uh-uh. Ain't no loaf of bread comin' out of a campfire lookin' like that!" LIES!)

Our final campfire meal was one that we tried for the first time last year: breakfast burritos!


I pre-make the burritos at home (scrambled eggs, sausage, and cheese in a tortilla) and wrap them in foil. Then we just put then in the coals and turn them a few times until they are heated through. They are pretty yummy, especially since the tortilla crisps up, but they are also easy to burn. It's hard to heat them through without getting the tortilla too charred. I like to put Herdez Guacamole Salsa and sour cream on mine.

My thoughts on campfire cooking after last weekend are: some things are okay cooked over the fire, but I think most things are better NOT. Next time we camp, we'll take more advantage of our favorite Goodwill purchase: our two-burner camp stove ($25). 



Wednesday, June 19, 2019

My Life in a Few Pictures

Here are some photos of things that have been going on lately:


I mentioned a few posts ago that I've been making some stuff out of old barn wood. I've sold quite a few pieces, and it brings me joy to create things and send them out into the world. With the time and resources I put into making these crafts, I figure I pull in about $1 an hour. It's definitely not something I'm doing to "make money." But it's something I've always wanted to do, and I've learned a lot of new skills along the way. 

I decided to use this as my "Choice & Accountability" value project toward my YW Medallion. I passed my ten hours a long time ago. I'm going to retire either at the end of this week or next. I need to eventually put all my crap away and start taking care of my living space again. 

I have a few custom orders to finish up, and then I can close up shop.

One of the things I wanted to make was a shark:


I made two of them. I sold one, and I have one left that I might hang in Eva's room because she loves sharks (she has shark bedding and several stuffed sharks).

Moving on... here's a sample of what I deal with as a mother of three girls:


My girls have the most tangled hair. I've tried so many products and special brushes. Some make it easier to manage, but nothing keeps it from turning into a rat's nest.  Daisy's is the worst because hers is the longest and thickest. It looks like this pretty much every morning. 


I have brand new, twin baby nephews. SQUEE!!!

They are so tiny and so sweet. I love them and want to snuggle them all the days, but when I hold them, I know that I don't want any more babies of my own. I'm perfectly content enjoying other people's babies at this point. 

Raise your hand if you love Aunt Brittany!


Just look at those skinny, little arms, and those baggy elbows! SWOON!


I've gone two summers without jDawgs sauce in my house. This year, we are fully equipped to enjoy summer hot dogs. We like to get the Kirkland Signature all-beef hot dogs from Costco and top them with sauerkraut, thin-sliced dill pickles, and jDawgs sauce. 

Oh my yum.

Speaking of "yum," I tried the coconut shrimp tacos at Cafe Rio yesterday for the first time, and I loved them! How have I gone this long without them? Why didn't anyone tell me they are so delicious? (Seriously, I've never heard any feedback about the coconut shrimp tacos, which are only served on Tuesdays). 

I don't have a picture of the tacos, but I do have this picture of Eva eating black bean juice from a can:


It's relevant because my kids love the black beans from Cafe Rio. 

While I'm talking about food, I might as well tell you that I often sneak to Chick-Fil-A for free breakfast without my kids, and then I hide in the church parking lot to eat, and I put all the evidence in the church dumpster. 


I don't really even like Chick-Fil-A breakfast all that much. I had to force down this breakfast burrito. But the time alone with food is beautiful. I gotta admit, it was the Coke that really made it so. And I'm now two days sober. So I don't even know what to look forward to this week. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A-Camping We Did Go

We've gone camping the last two weekends in a row. The first outing was our ward (church) camp out. It was just a one-nighter, but we had a great time. Scotty was on the planning committee, and therefore, I was on the planning committee by marriage. Things went pretty smoothly, though. Our kids had a blast running around with their friends.

This past weekend, we went camping as a family. Now that we are getting further away from the diaper and bottle lifestyle, we can start doing this more!

(Even though it's a ton of work to go camping, and I'm daunted by it every time!)


I bought Scotty a new tent for myself for Father's Day.

I have tent issues. I hate being in tents. I feel like I can't move. But our new tent is a "cabin" tent, so it's nice and tall, and I can stand up straight in it. That made a huge difference. Scotty didn't really want a new tent, but after we camped in it, he admitted it was a good buy.

Plus it has lights! LIGHTS!! They were pretty amazing. You push a button and the tent lights up.

Holla!

Since we went camping over Father's Day, let me preface this post with a few camping-related details about the father of my children.

During the day, the picnic table at our camp site was in direct sun, and it was pretty hot. I commented on this fact, and within a few minutes, Scotty had strung a tarp over our camp spot.


I joked that I was thinking about leaving Scotty after we got home from camp, but his tarp hanging skills were so excellent, I decided to stick with him a while longer. 

Really, though, Scotty's tarp hanging skills are pretty sexy. The fact that I can make a subtle comment about the lack of shade, and he creates shade for our family within minutes is a part of his character that I really adore. 

Another series of attributes Scotty has can be seen in the way he handled this scenario:


We went for a walk around Silver Lake, and Scotty saw that someone had left a make-shift teeter totter on the side of the path. He got so excited and told Nicky to get on the other side. They teetered. They tottered. And then the log snapped in half, and Scotty flew to the ground and landed flat on his back. 


And he just laid there laughing. 

I love this about him... how he has a playful side and gets excited about things like teeter totters made from tree stumps, and how something can go wrong, and he will still laugh about it.

I felt some gag-worthy love toward this guy over Father's Day. I'm so grateful to share my life with him. And I am utterly spoiled. 


As you can see in the photos, there's still snow in the canyon. There wasn't any where we were camping, though. We camped a lot lower, but we drove up to the lake where there was still quite a bit of snow. There were people snowboarding and skiing still! 

{a mound of snow at Brighton Ski Resort}

Silver Lake still had some ice on it in some places. 


And about half the trail was still covered in snow. It made for a fun, adventurous walk.

Back at our camp, we hung out in hammocks, ate some interesting campfire food (post to follow), played card games galore (I taught my kids how to play Cover Your Assets, Speed, and Solitaire), and surveyed the wildlife. 

On Sunday morning, a moose wandered right through our camp site. We moved our kids behind the picnic table as a precaution, but he just moseyed on by.

We all had a great time and came home sufficiently filthy and reeking of "camp."





Monday, June 17, 2019

(My) Kids These Days

Nicky
  • Is 12 years old
  • Wears gym shorts and Hawaiian shirts
  • Loves watching Dude Perfect
  • Is obsessed with Paul Blart Mall Cop (but if you must know, he prefers Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
  • Wears a size 11 shoe
  • Is too big for kid's pants and too small for men's pants
  • And I can't find dress shirts that fit his neck (so Sundays are very awkward)
  • Is very responsible, and I wish he could drive
  • Always helps without being asked (but won't ever do his chores)
  • Is very money-conscious and is always lecturing me about what I spend (I hate having him at the store with me)
  • Is really inventive, clever, and funny
  • But can also be really annoying. He's a twelve-year-old boy, after all
  • Is a good writer and cartoonist
  • Always has sore legs
  • Is very critical of others (sadly, I think I know where he got it)
  • Never asks to play with friends
  • Chose to do summer piano even though I told him he didn't have to (for the first time ever)
  • Asks every day if we can go to Disneyland
  • Refuses to read anymore Harry Potter books, and I just have to be happy that he made it through the first two
  • Enjoys golfing and has a pretty decent swing
  • Imitates Gordon Ramsey every time he eats
  • Also thinks he's Derek Hough and can critique dances
Daisy
  • Is 9 years old (almost 10)
  • Is a really good helper, but it has to be her idea to help
  • Has really thick hair that has amazing potential, but I have to fight her to brush it, and she usually sports a rat's nest
  • Loves unicorns
  • Always gets headaches
  • Keeps saying she like sushi, but I'm not so sure
  • Has an expander in her mouth and will eventually get braces
  • Also says she likes Takis, but again... I'm not so sure
  • Loves to sing and is actually pretty good at it
  • Is always trying to convince me to let her drink caffeine
  • Sits way too close to the TV, and if she had it her way, watching TV and YouTube is all she would do
  • Likes to be in charge of things, and I always have to remind her that I am the primary chorister, and she is not
  • Yells at everyone a lot
  • Makes really dumb excuses for everything, and always gets hurt when its time to do chores
  • Has made a lot of wonderful progress after having really bad anxiety for a long time
  • Likes to draw and do art projects and makes some really cute and creative things
  • Doesn't have a lot of patience for things she's not naturally good at (she gets that from me)
  • Didn't want to do summer piano, but after a week of no piano, started begging for it
  • Was so excited to see Aladdin and has been singing "A Whole New World" for weeks
  • Has major issues with honesty
  • Asks everyday if she can make slime
Zoe
  • Is 6 years old
  • Is my most touchy-feely child and has no awareness of personal space 
  • Likes boys and is very forward about telling them she has a crush on them
  • Has lost a few teeth and has a lot of overcrowding. The orthodontist has big plans for her
  • Loves riding her bike and rides really fast
  • Needs to work on her potty mouth
  • Wants to wear pajamas all the time
  • Is pretty whiney 
  • Has big, impossible ideas all the time
  • Has gotten really tall in the past year
  • Needs a lot of attention but also a lot of alone time
  • Has the cutest spattering of freckles across her nose
  • Wants chicken noodle soup all the time
  • Loves penguins
  • Drags blankets everywhere and refers to her favorite one as her "booger blanket," and I'm just not going to ask any questions about that
  • Is so fun to watch when she's playing. She perfectly demonstrates childhood joy
  • Really wants to take ice skating lessons
  • Doesn't like milk and always asks for water with ice
  • Sleeps on the top bunk 
  • Needs her tonsils out, but I keep putting it off
  • Recently learned how to microwave popcorn, and she makes it all the time now

Eva
  • Is 4 years old
  • Is equal parts adorable and horrible
  • Has a sippy cup habit that we're never going to kick
  • Loves sharks and has shark sheets, a shark blanket, and several stuffed sharks
  • Gets away with a lot
  • Makes major messes 
  • Throws big tantrums
  • Always pats my belly and asks if I'm having a baby
  • Has the same potty word problem as Zoe
  • Still wears diapers at night and completely soaks them
  • Is very disruptive in primary every week
  • Is a sugar junkie
  • Sleeps on the bottom bunk
  • Always has to go potty wherever we go
  • Pees her pants and then tells me she spilled her water
  • Hauls blankies around (all my kids have been blanket kids)
  • Always says "psych!"
All of Them
  • Hate doing chores and would rather cut off their legs with a hacksaw
  • Are creators and love making things and doing projects. We have daily art project messes
  • Want to be barefoot all the time
  • Watch way too much TV 
  • Love cooking - I've had to develop a "kitchen helper" chart and make a rule that no one is allowed to help cook unless it's their day to be the kitchen helpers
  • Fight all the time

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Hit the Ground Running

This week has been really busy. This morning I decided to give myself half an hour of blogging time before I hit the ground running. Then I have to... well... hit the ground running.


I just put in an grocery order on my lap top from my bed. I can't believe this is my life! I can grocery shop from bed! I even qualify for a free delivery! But I opted to pick it up. I'm a little weirded out by grocery delivery, but I think I need to open my heart to it at least long enough to use my FREE opportunity. But the problem with delivery is, that would require me to stay home, and I like to have the freedom to spontaneously exit my house at any time. Having to stay home to wait for people is a hard thing to ask of me.

As I am currently in bed, I'm haunted by a sour milk smell. I don't trust my nose as much as I used to. I used to be like a hound dog (with the exception of recognizing my own stench - I'm pretty sure I was the stinky kid in high school), but having smelly kids has ruined me. So there's this scent I keep catching a whiff of, but I can't hunt it down or even determine if it's real. It doesn't help that I have two kids with horrendous morning breath laying within arms reach of me. So many smells! There is no hope for us!

Right now, Zoe is my "Mom!" kid. I think she says "Mom!" every ten seconds, and sometimes, even if I respond quickly, she is already saying, "Mom!" again before I finish. She also asks me the same questions over and over. And she's very, very whiney. She is the middle daughter, and I often wonder if she is going to have some "middle child" issues. She seems to always be fighting for attention. They all do, actually, but Zoe's need for attention seems to be the most amplified right now.

Since school got out, I've gotten really bad at providing meals for my family. I'm usually pretty good at having a plan. I get most of my dinner prep done early in the day, and we eat pretty soon after Scotty gets home from work. But for the past three weeks, I haven't been able to get my crap together enough to make dinner. Part of it is the heat. It's not that hot yet, but it's hot enough that I don't want to cook. I need to shop for some "cool" food - like salad and sandwich fixings. I didn't include any of that in my grocery order for this week. Maybe next week. In the meantime, we have lots of cereal in our storage room.


Speaking of the temperature, I've been working on my wood crafts outside almost every day for the past few weeks (see #4). When I cut or sand, I try to wear safety goggles and a mask, and let's be honest... I forget to keep myself hydrated. I've ended up with heat exhaustion a few times. Last night was particularly rough, so I am making a written commitment to you here and now to drink more water.

And while I'm on the topic of hydration, I need to make a written commitment to you, dear readers, that I will stop drinking soda after Father's Day. I drank my first soda of 2019 on Mother's Day (Ruby Red Squirt), and I will drink my last one on Father's Day.

Hold me.

The first three sodas I drank were fantastic. None have been very good since. Yet, I keep drinking them because I want to relive the fantastic ones.

Last week I had to get a new phone. One of my many flaws is that I am constantly dropping my phone. Am I clumsy? Do I need a different case? I don't even know! But suffice it to say... my phones take a beating. I got a new phone in December of 2017, and within three months, once of the mics went out (I assume from being dropped all the time). Because of that, I had to use speaker phone to take phone calls, and I couldn't use Marco Polo without ear buds for over a year. Then last week, I was at Walmart buying an orbital sander (I have some things to say about this, so hold tight) when I dropped my phone, and it landed flat on it's face on the concrete floor. It seemed to be fine, but the next morning, when I tried to turn on my flashlight to find my clothes to go walking in the wee hours, it wouldn't work. Then later that day, I discovered that my camera also didn't work. I decided to go ahead and get a new one (and by "new" I only mean "new to me" because I actually got a "used" one, but glory hallelujah! I have a camera! Which I can't live without!)

I'm still getting used to having the ability to hold my phone up to my ear when I talk. I have to learn how to answer a phone all over again because I'm so used to holding my phone out in front of me and being on speaker phone. I'm also relearning that when I hold the phone up to my ear, I'm the only one who can hear the person.

With having a new phone, I've had to login to all my apps all over again, and for some reason, my photos aren't uploading to Google Photos, so I don't have any pictures for this post. I should probably insert a few gifs for your entertainment.



And now I have some things to say about Walmart.

Evil corporation... bal bla bla... stick that speil here. I know we're supposed to hate Walmart and shun it and all that... and the thing is... I do hate Walmart. And every time I go there, I seethe. But there are some things that I just have to get at Walmart. And I tried to buy an orbital sander from somewhere else, I really tried! But they were out of stock, and the closest store with one in stock was 20 minutes away, but the Walmart down the street had one.

Now here's the thing I hate most about Walmart: they treat everyone like a criminal. Granted, there's a lot of crap that goes down at Walmart. Our local store has a cop on duty. People have been shot in the parking lot. All sorts of exciting things happen there, and our Walmart is probably just "moderate" on the scale of Walmart scariness. Nevertheless, I AM NOT A CRIMINAL (although I will confess, I daydream about shoplifting and wonder if I'd be any good at it) (also, I recognize that saying "I AM NOT A CRIMINAL" probably makes me look more like a criminal).

In my experiences at Walmart, I have been chased down and told I couldn't wear my backpack in the store. Mind you, it was a small backpack that I used as a purse last summer. My purse? Bigger than the backpack. I could hide a lot more my purse than my backpack, but okay, Walmart.

We now get stopped at the door if we have anything in our cart that isn't bagged. Even milk. So basically, if you buy milk at Walmart, you are assumed to be shoplifting.

The Walmart I usually go to (which I refer to "yonder Walmart," and which is not the one immediately by my house) recently remodeled, and now they have gates that you have to go through to get into the store. You are only allowed to exit the store by walking through the registers, and a few weeks ago I watched a showdown between an old lady trying to leave the store empty-handed and the gatekeeper employee. The lady tried to go through the gates, and an alarm went off, and the employee was trying to make her to to a register, but the lady said, "I'm not buying anything!" and then she repeatedly tried to walk through the gates until the employee finally gave up and let her go.

I feel bad for the employees for having to enforce the stupid Walmart laws.

Though I really need to get off this subject, I'm still not done. No. Because I have to throw in here how stupid it is that Walmart now closes off their make-up section and tries to make you pay for your cosmetics at a special register. May I also say that I'm annoyed that they lock up pregnancy tests and condoms? And fake eyelashes? I don't even buy any of those things, and I'm still annoyed.

Now my goal whenever I go to Walmart is to get away with not paying at the cosmetic register and get out of the store without being stopped. It's become a game.

And I now bag my milk.

So back to the fact that I needed a new orbital sander.

Turns out, they have the dang things locked up. If you want a sander that costs $18.66, you have to find an employee to unlock the case for you. Now, I didn't buy the $18.66 sander. I splurged on one that was $29, but that doesn't matter because even if I wanted the $18.66 one, I still would have had to wander the store for 20 minutes to find an employee with a key.

I couldn't help but notice the $300 pressure washers on the other side of the aisle that were free for the taking, but the $18 sanders were locked up.

I can't help but wonder if Walmart is actually creating criminals. After all, we become what we are treated like, don't we?

And thus ends my half-hour of blogging that actually ended up being an hour.




Tuesday, June 11, 2019

We're almost half-way through June (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: My kids have been keeping me pretty busy this summer. But not in the manner of going out and doing all the summer things and having a grand old time. They are keeping me busy with things like 2 quarts of lemonade spilled on the kitchen floor and the constant demand for help with pushing up their Otter Pops (the last Otter Pop got eaten yesterday, and we are officially Otter Pop-free... for now).

Fact #2: When 2 quarts of lemonade end up on your kitchen floor, you get to mop 18 times in 24 hours. It's great. Just great. And even after the 18th time, you'll still find sticky spots.

Fact #3: My house is pretty messy right now. Yesterday I was babysitting my nephew, and he said, "Your house is really messy. You probably haven't vacuumed in seven years." I just laughed - because I have kids critique my housekeeping skills all the time, even ones who live in messier houses than mine. My nephew is an only child, though, and what he doesn't realize is that I have to vacuum three times a day (I'm not even joking) to keep my house clean, so if I miss one day of vacuuming, seven years' worth of crap piles up on the floor.

Fact #4: Part of the reason my house is messy is because I'm in "project mode." I've been doing some wood crafts - mostly July holiday decor. I have a stash of barn wood that I've been wanting to use, and I inherited a scroll saw, so I've been makin' junk. I've experienced a fair amount of trial and error, but I'm figuring things out.

{barn wood after I pressure washed it - oh my heart}

Fact #5: The reason I'm working on these wood projects is because it's something I've always wanted to do. It's not something I want to do for a living, per se, but I've always wanted to make a few things to sell - just for a brief season. I'm not looking to make a lot of money - just enough for my Moochies fund. I got a bee in my bonnet this summer, and I'm trying to push myself to do some of the things I've always wanted to do but have always found reasons not to do.

Fact #6: One of my favorite musical lines from The Greatest Showman is "Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake." The first time I heard that, I got chills because I'm a big dreamer, especially late at night. That's when I come up with all my big ideas, and I end up laying there in my bed making plans and daydreaming about seeing them to fruition. Then the next morning, I wake up all rational, and my dreams are crushed before breakfast. This summer, I'm trying to make more of my dreams and big ideas happen. Hence... wood crafts.

Fact #7: When I go into "project mode," I end up stashing my supplies in boxes or bins and leaving them accessible so I can get to them easily. Then when I'm "over" my projects, I put the boxes or bins in the basement. I realized, this time around, just how many random bins of project supplies I have laying around. It's fun in some ways because I can go from bin to bin and find all sorts of supplies. I have paint galore! But it also makes me realize how often I invest in supplies that I end up not using.

Fact #8: Since I've been in "project mode," I've intentionally chosen to saw, sand, and paint rather than clean, exercise, or enforce structure in my household. I intentionally chose this week to not prepare my singing time for Sunday until right before church (with the exception of choosing the songs. I try to have all the songs chosen a month in advance so our pianist knows what she will be playing). Sawdust over singing time. That was my motto for the week. So I went into primary with just a list of songs and winged it.

I got through by making up activities as we went, but it was very chaotic, and I was very clearly unprepared. For example, we were supposed to sing "Kindness Begins with Me," and it dawned on me in that moment that I don't really know that song. I had to say, "Um... does anyone know this song who can quickly tell me the words?" Preparation is important! I learned my lesson. But... will I apply it?

Fact #9: Another thing I'm doing this summer to fulfill my million dreams is I am teaching a dance class. This is one of those "things I've always wanted to do but have always found reasons not to do" (see fact #5). I have lots of reasons to not teach dance... namely the fact that I haven't danced in 17 years. But also... who do I teach dance to and where? It's not like I could ever get a job at a dance studio at this point in my life. But I love teaching dance, and I especially love to choreograph. That's what I miss more than anything from my dancing years - choreographing. Even though my dancing ability isn't really there anymore, I always have choreography running through my mind. Scotty often notices when I zone out in the car, and he'll say, "Are you dancing?" because he knows that in my mind, I'm choreographing to the song on the radio.

Fact #10: I decided to just go for it and put together a summer dance class. I have about 12 girls participating from ages 9-13. Our weekly class includes a character building lesson (this week will be on kindness), stretching, technique, and a small piece of choreography. I told the girls I haven't danced in 17 years, so they are going to see me try some stuff and possibly fail, but we are all doing it together. These girls are right within my level of ability. I can do everything I'm asking of them, so it's perfect place to start. Hopefully as the summer goes on, all of us will improve our skills.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

These Things I Fear

I've been put in some situations lately where I've had to face the possibility of failure. For most of my life I haven't tried anything that I didn't already know I could do. I've never learned to deal with failure in a healthy way. I'm horribly afraid of it. And it's funny because I can say all the right things about failure to everyone else, but the truth is... it's okay for everyone else to fail. They will overcome! Failure shouldn't be a setback. Ultimately, they will triumph and have a beautiful success story. I believe in them!

But me?

Oh, I can't fail. No, no, no. I have to get it right the first time, or I am nothing. 

NOTHING, I say!

The only way I can face failure is if I do it in secret. No one can ever even know I tried! I'm very prone to giving up just to eliminate the possibility of failure. The fear of failure has held me back a lot in my life. Who knows what I've missed out on because of it!

Fear of failure is pretty common. I'm sure many of you can relate to what I'm saying. Not all of my fears are as common, though. And some are just downright silly...

For example, I have a deep fear of being fooled by a celebrity look-alike. I used to love watching talk shows where they would have look-alikes go out in public and see who would fall for it. I remember once watching a lady cry hysterically because she thought she was meeting Bono. I never want to be that lady. Not that I would cry if I met a celebrity, I just don't want to ever think I've seen a celebrity when I haven't.

This fear recently resurfaced because I saw a series of instagram posts where people were trying to figure out if Johnny Depp was in Disneyland. They eventually determined that it was not Johnny Depp, but I have to say... it really did look like him, and I could have easily been fooled.

I also fear that someday I will be right next to a celebrity and not even notice. This fear stems from another Disneyland-related incident. When I was 12 I went with my dance studio. We went through the park in different groups, and at the end of the day, everyone was talking about how they saw Robin Williams there. I didn't see Robin Williams. But what if I did, and I just didn't know?


Am I obsessed with celebrities? Not really. But human behavior and lifestyles intrigue me, so if I'm in the presence of fame, I'm gonna wanna stare and observe because it's something that's completely foreign to me, and I'm fascinated by that. Plus, FOMO.

I have a newly found fear of getting stuck in a foam pit. My friend Shannon braved the foam pit at her local jump place, and the foam ate her alive. She had to be rescued by another mom. Now I know... I must beware the foam.

I'm afraid of choking on carrots. I came to this conclusion while I was eating carrots in the car. I became very aware of their texture, and how you kind of have to chew them for a long time before you can swallow them, and you build up a collection of tiny chunks that could easily slip down your throat or get inhaled into your lung.

I don't worry about choking on any other foods. Just carrots.



I'm afraid to be the person whose phone goes off during church. It's an honest mistake, and I don't necessarily frown on people to whom this happens. It could easily be me someday. What I hate is that it becomes an immediate case to solve. The game is on.



I don't ever want all the people like me - the ones who can't function until they know whose ringer just went off - to know that when "Safety Dance" starts playing in sacrament meeting, it's coming from my bag.

Speaking of cases to solve, I'm afraid of being framed for a crime. And being buried alive.

I'm scared of setting off metal detectors.

And falling off toilets because the seats are loose.

And, of course, I suffer from the fear of starting a blog post and not knowing how to finish it. Yes, that's one I face pretty regularly.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Currently {June 2019 Edition}

Reading: Nothing. That's twice in a row that I've put "nothing" here. I just don't feel like reading right now. I don't know what my deal is.

Watching: Nothing. What is happening here? No books. No shows. Who am I?

Singing: "We Didn't Start the Fire."

Stressing about: How to keep my kids busy for the rest of the summer.

Wearing: Knee-length shorts that are baggy and have an elastic waistband, a tri-colored shirt, and my Donny & Marie flip-flops. I totally look like a mom.

Craving: Sleep. Normally I put food here, but I'm in the mood to sleep. I really want to curl up in my bed with my strategically placed pillows and and take a nap. And if I wake up next to a Philly cheese steak sandwich, I won't mind one bit!

Excited for: A nap. Will I get one? Not so sure. I actually hate napping, but it's all I want to do right now. I hope that makes sense to someone out there.

Trying: To enjoy my kids this summer. The days are so long, and I feel like I exhaust all of my creativity and energy by 10:00 a.m. I just don't know what to do with my kids when they're home. I honestly don't have the energy for this. But I'm trying!!!

Feeling: Pretty run down. I'm ten kinds of tired right now.

Suffering from: An irritated throat. I had influenza back in February, and I never entirely got over the cough before I started having (what I think is) seasonal allergies. So I've basically been coughing for three months straight, and my throat itches like a demon. Now I have a sinus infection, and it has made it even worse. Wo! Wo, I say!

Buying: Too much food. I can't stop. And I justify it by saying, "This will be great for when we go camping!" So now I have a storage room full of "camping food," and we're going camping, like, one whole time this summer!

Annoyed by: The footwear industry. I feel like there are no shoes out there for me. I am always on the hunt for shoes that fit and feel good on my feet, and I never find any. They all rub the backs of my heels, are too narrow, have the arch support in the wrong place, or make my feet go numb.

Missing: The shows and characters that Nicky loved when he was little. Like Handy Manny. I don't have Handy Manny in my life anymore. I miss Handy Manny.

Loving: My bed. Have I mentioned how tired I am?

Frustrated by: My kids lying. I know it's developmentally normal for children to lie, but I hate it so much. Especially when I see what happened, and they know I saw, and they still lie to me. Really?!? Are ya'll trying to gaslight me?

Learning: How to use a scroll saw.

Regretting: Getting rid of my Littlest Pet Shop toys from childhood. There's nothing else I regret getting rid of, but I sure wish I had those toys. They were the original Littlest Pet Shop Toys, and not the large-headed figures of modern-day. I had tons of them, and my girls would have loved them!

Procrastinating: Making a doctor's appointment. I need to go in for a follow-up on my blood pressure.

Thankful for: Scotty's knowledge of electrical work. He has spent a lot of time in our attic lately installing soffit lighting and security cameras on our house.






Wednesday, May 29, 2019

"Summer" Break is in Full Swing (and ten other random facts)

Fact #1: We've been getting an unusual amount of rain around here for the past few weeks. I don't necessarily mind it unless I'm stuck downtown with four kids in a downpour, and I'm three blocks from my van hiding out under an awning outside a cafe, and we are all wearing flip-flops.

(Flip-flops + rain = imminent death).

Fact #2: My kids celebrated the last day of school by splashing in the gutter.


Fact #3: Zoe has been going through a "wear pajamas all the time" phase for about three years now. I make her wear real clothes to school, but she usually changes straight into pajamas as soon as she gets home. Sometimes we have to let her wear a a nightgown under her dress for church just to keep the peace. 

Fact #4: Today I'm patting myself on the back because I paid off my library fines. I kind of had to, or they would've sent me to collections. 

$28.99

Small successes, folks. 

Fact #5: As hard as summer break is with the kids, there are a lot of benefits to having Nicky around. He is a great helper, and he is so much like his dad. Today I was supervising him using some power tools (while trying to remain calm), and it's amazing to watch him because he just knows stuff! I asked him once, "Did Dad show you how to do that?" and he said, "No. I just know." And there I was searching for YouTube videos for no reason. 


Fact #6: The kid can't play a ukulele to save his life, though. Just saying. I spend an hour last week trying to get him to hold the darn thing without looking like he's scared of catching a disease from it. He never got there. 

Fact #7: But how lucky am I? Scotty is amazing. I really mean it. And Nicky is a Mini Scotty. So I have these two incredible men in my life. 

Fact #8: I currently have a sinus infection, a stye in my eye, and a possible broken toe. And just for good measure, I stabbed my hand with a skewer so I'm punctured, too. 

Fact #9: Even though it's still May, my personal May chaos has come to an end. Hallelujah! I'm very grateful that my aforementioned ailments (see fact #8) didn't hit until after the madness. 

Fact #10: Scotty and I have slowly been making small improvements around our house, such as swapping out our builder-grade faucets and installing soffit lighting. It's all very exciting! 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sitting

I'm currently sitting in my driveway. I hang out here a lot in the summer while my kids ride bikes.

Here's how it goes:

1. Kids want to ride bikes
2. I open garage and get bikes off hooks (they hang on the wall)
3. Kids ride bikes for 7 minutes
4. Driveway ends up covered in bikes and helmets, kids disappear

We are right on track today. The kids just got into the Otter Pops and are out of sight. I know they are eating them in the living room in front of the TV, which is against the rules, but do I want to get out of my camp chair and go inside to enforce rules? Heavens no.

Speaking of Otter Pops, I am suffering an Otter Pop injury. Ever had the sharp edge of the pouch slice your inner cheek? Otter Pops are dangerous!

Also, my kids leave Otter Pop wrappers everywhere. I've banned Otter Pops from the house, but people keep giving them to us. Why y'all got to be so giving with the Otter Pops?

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I'm currently sitting in my La-Z-Boy in the living room. It's old and threadbare, There's a hole in the arm rest, and I imagine that there are all sorts of mysterious treasures shoved in there. Boogers and garbage, mostly. But ignorance is bliss, so I'm never going to look.

I cleaned the living room and kitchen today, and it took a really long time to get the floors done. The floor will always be my greatest nemesis. Sometimes I think I should get a robot vacuum, but I don't think a Roomba could handle the task at hand. What I really need is part-time custody of a large dog. Then again, that only solves the food part of the problem. I'm not sure what to do about the broken crayons, the Legos, and the Otter Pop wrappers. My part-time dog probably shouldn't eat those.

Sitting in my recliner is the reward I'm giving myself for a job well done, yet, as I've "rested," my kids have managed to destroy the room with blankets and stuffed animals. My reward comes at a cost.

When is Roomba going to invent a dumpster-sized robot vacuum that can suck up garbage, toys, and disobedient children?

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I'm currently sitting on my bed. I can hear my kids fighting downstairs. I really just want to know the truth: do my kids fight more, less, or the same amount as children in other families?

Another mom once told me that her kids never fight. I can't even process this.

The good thing is that my kids have the capacity to reach both ends of the spectrum. When they get along, they are really amazing. Like, it's some level 10 sibling love. And when they don't get along, it's some level 10 fighting. So I guess we need to know level 10 fighting to know level 10 love.

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I'm currently sitting in my father-in-law's chair. I don't usually get to occupy this seat, but he's not here, so I called dibs! He must've eaten something cheesy recently - based on the piece of shredded cheese I found on the armrest. 

On most Sundays, we go to my in-laws' house to visit. Sometimes we go there even if they're not home - which is the case today. On Sundays we like a change of scenery. Plus their back yard is magical, so we like setting our kids free here. 

I realized recently that I've been going to my in-laws' house on Sundays for over twenty years! More than half my life! 

I didn't know that time would go so fast. 

I still feel young, and yet, I don't get ID-ed when I buy cigarettes at the gas station each week.* I look at the sign that says, "We ID anyone who looks younger than 30," and I mourn that I apparently look my age. 

Thirty-five.

Then I look over at the kid next to me - also buying smokes - and I see that his ID says he was born in 1998, and I think, "WHAT?!? Kids born in 1998 are buying cigarettes?!?"

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*I don't smoke, but a friend of mine does, and she sometimes asks me to grab a pack for her. She wants to quit, so at some point, I'm going to have to say, "I'm sorry, but I can't buy them for you anymore. It's time!" but not yet. 


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Summer begins in 5...4...3...

It's the the last day of school, and I'm ready, but I'm not ready.

I'm ready for lazy mornings and not having to drive ten thousand places every day. I'm ready for a break from dance lessons and after school programs. I'm ready to put the coats and snow pants away and to not worry about sickness at every turn. I'm ready to let my kids play in the hose and consider it good enough for a bath. I'm ready for BBQs and fresh summer produce and days at the park. I'm ready for mid-day naps under the swamp cooler.

But I'm not ready for:

"I'm hungry."

"Can a friend come over?"

"What are we going to do today?"

"We aren't supposed to have chores in summer!"

"You're the worst!"

"Can we do water balloons?"

"It's too hot!"

"This is so unfair!"

"Can I have another popsicle?"

"It wasn't me!"

"Moooooooommmmmm!"

And I'm not ready for bikes laying all over the place, the never-ending tracking of sand and water in the house, or battles over too much TV. I'm not ready to be constantly soaked in my own sweat and suffering the urge to claw my face off if I have the smallest bit of make-up on. I'm not ready for Scotty to be gone nearly every-other week, and I'm not ready for ugly, knee-length shorts. I'm not ready to take four kids and twelve bottles of sunscreen everywhere I go. And I'm most certainly not ready to do anything involving a swimming suit.

So bring it on, summer. Except don't.

(More like Day 3 for me)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Parenting Is...

...trying to convince your kids to eat all the Lucky Charms and not just the marshmallows

...asking "whodunnit" all day everyday and knowing that you're never going to get the answer

...finding stickers all over the furniture and knowing that you didn't give them to your kid, so where are the the dang things coming from?


...reaching under the seat of your car to blindly locate a missing shoe and bringing your hand out covered in peanut butter

...having a child jump on you at church, which forces your gum to fly out of your mouth and into your hair

...and then having to gnaw off an inch-long chunk of your hair with your teeth to get the gum out before you lead the music in primary




...finding surprises in the toilet multiple times a day

...finding surprises on the toilet multiple times a day

...having to make stupid rules like, "No acting like a gorilla!"

...and having to follow up with stupid consequences like, "Anyone who acts like a gorilla will have to write I will not act like a gorilla 100 times

...being asked "Can I make slime?" everyday


...worrying about morals, safety, developmental milestones, manners, health, and work ethic all while beating yourself up because you forgot to put sunscreen on

...having to decide when to smell-check and when to just assume it's dirty

...making eye contact with a dude in IHOP while you're on the toilet because your kid ran out of your stall and through the bathroom door, and that guy's table is right outside

...always being the bearer of bad news. You can't have candy for breakfast! Mermaids aren't real! Yes, you have to have a shot today! You're too tall for the play place because you have been genetically engineered to be six-feet tall by age five! Potato chips are not vegetables! No, you cannot make slime!


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Here I Sit

Here I sit on the last Tuesday of the school year. I just got home from Eva's preschool "carnival." Unfortunately, "carnival" means "shoving over 50 parents and 40 students in a small, hot room together for an hour and sending them home with an Otter Pop."

The weather has been rainy and chilly for the past week, so all the end-of-school activities that are normally held outside have been moved inside. At the beginning of last week, it was in the mid to upper 80's for several days. Since our swamp cooler isn't hooked up yet, our house was 82 degrees for four days straight. Gotta love spring in Utah!

The butter when my house was 82 degrees

Scotty just got back from Paraguay. He was gone for nine days, and you know what? I handled it. At the end of each day, I patted myself on the back because everyone was alive, and the house was still standing, and it was MAY! The weird thing is, after Scotty travels, I tend to get a little depressed. I don't really understand it. I'm fine while he's gone - I mean, I'm kinda nutso, but I'm not depressed. Then when he gets home, it's like a wave comes crashing at me from behind. BAM! And I just want to lay in bed for three weeks.


While Scotty was gone, I drank soda. Nearly six months of sobriety out the window! I had two Ruby Red Squirts (amazing!) and three Cokes (amazing!) You guys! I love soda! I LOVE IT!!! And I want to have one occasionally, but I don't know how to moderate it. Once I taste that sweet nectar, it's all I want and all I think about. I had my week-long love affair, and now I have to stop, or I'll spiral out of control. Scotty always says, "Why don't you just drink it on the weekends?" I wish I could. But unless someone is with me at all times to slap it out of my hand on weekdays, there is no way to enforce that rule.

My first Coke in 2019 - It was beautiful

I'm kind of bugged, though, because quitting soda doesn't seem to have made any impact on my life or my body. I was drinking a minimum of 32 ounces of Dr. Pepper everyday, and very often, I drank more. After five and a half months without a single ounce of ANY soda, I weigh the same, and my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are the same. Where is my reward? What am I making this sacrifice for? I want my juice or I want a pay off!!!

Since it's May (and you know by now that May is cray), I had a lot of stuff to handle on my own while Scotty was gone. Two talent shows, three field trips, church, Mother's Day, and a jump rope performance, to name a few.

Nicky told me several months ago that he wanted to dress like a chicken and "bock" "Don't Stop Believin" in the 6th grade talent show. He stuck with this dream, but he changed songs because he was afraid he would forget the words (not sure how this matters when you're "bocking," but whatever). He decided to do "Baby Shark," but the day before the talent show, we couldn't find his chicken suit, and I feared I'd accidentally sent our stash of adult-sized onesies to the DI during my Marie Kondo episode (I bagged them all up and put them in the basement to store. We have more than the average amount of adult-sized onesies. Chickens? Check! Unicorns? Check. Christmas-themed pajamas? Check. I couldn't find the bag and thought I must've taken it to the DI with other bags by mistake). Nicky was so upset with me, and I ended up ordering a chicken onesie from Amazon with very expensive shipping to get it to us on time. Then, by some miracle, Nicky found the onesies in a bin in the basement - one that was labeled something completely unrelated to adult-sized onesies (oops!) I was able to cancel the Amazon order (thank heavens), and Nicky went on to perform a lovely chicken version of "Baby Shark" for his peers.


Over the weekend, Nicky's teacher texted me and asked if he'd be willing to do his chicken performance in front of the whole school on Monday... and he did!

(I know, I know. My child is gifted. I try to stay humble about it).

Three years ago, Nicky was so shy, he couldn't even walk into the school office by himself to call me if he was sick. Now he dresses like a chicken and "bocks" in front of the whole school with no fear.

I'm trying to be okay with the fact that that is Nicky's last week of elementary school. On Thursday at 1:00, he'll walk out of the school for the last time, and I might be a mess. The school has a tradition of "clapping in" the kindergartners on their very first day. The whole school lines the lobby and hallways and applauds while the kindergartners come in. Then on the last day of 6th grade, they have a "clap out" where everyone applauds the 6th graders as they walk out of the school.

I can't even.

This year I had a kindergartner and a 6th grader, so Zoe was "clapped in" and Nicky will be "clapped out." Tomorrow is the last day of kindergarten, and I'm so sad. I want Zoe to be in kindergarten forever, and I would mind if Nicky stayed in 6th grade forever. This has been such a great school year for all of my kids (except Eva because she's a pain in the tush... I had to shove her through the preschool door crying pretty much every day). All of my kids (even the one that's a pain in the tush) had fantastic teachers who have all earned their place in heaven, as far as I'm concerned. Nicky had an especially wonderful year, and I'm so grateful! 

After Thursday, it will still be May, but it will no longer be cray. I'm not sure what we'll do about that. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Questions to Ask Your Boyfriend

Occasionally I like to look for writing prompts on the internet. Most of them really aren't my style, but sometimes I find a prompt or questionnaire that I like. This one made me laugh because it's titled, "Questions to ask your boyfriend."

Since I'm fresh outta boyfriends, I guess I'll answer the questions myself.

1. What movie was so sad you will never watch it again?

I think this is a really good question, but I can't think of one. There are plenty of movies I won't watch again but not because they are sad.

2. What are the two biggest lessons you've learned from previous relationships?

Since I haven't had a lot of romantic relationships in my life, I'm going to answer this from a friendship perspective.

Lesson 1: The best friendships are built on the true version of yourself.

Lesson 2: Competition can't be a thing.

Just don't ask me how often I still fail at these lessons.

3. What would be the absolute perfect day?

I'm not going to answer this question because I kind of hate it, but I want to point out that this question pops up in, like, every questionnaire in the history of ever.

4. What did you learn a little too late?

I feel like my life's lessons have come at the right time, but I wish I'd had better social skills as a teenager and young adult.

5. What gross and unhygienic things do people do that bother you?

I'm not a huge germaphobe, so I can tolerate a lot. I'm not saying I like gross and unhygienic things, but I'm not super sensitive about it. The one thing that really annoys me, though, is when women don't properly care for and dispose of their menstrual products in restrooms. Ladies! C'mon!

6. What habit do you have that you don't think many other people have?

I make a clicking sound in the back of my throat when I'm tired, and I always space my steps evenly between cracks in the sidewalk. I also like to shoot rose petals out of my nostrils. Don't knock it til you've tried it!

7. What are you too hard on yourself for?

I don't want you to know!

(Funny how I'm secure enough to admit that I like shooting rose petals out of my nose, but I can't tell you what I'm hard on myself for).

8. What habits do you have that annoy other people?

Oh boy. This is something I just have to guess on. I tend to be a bit of a control freak, and that might annoy some people. Also, I clear my throat a lot, and that's probably irritating to listen to. I sometimes meddle where I shouldn't, and I probably give people unwanted advice and act like a know-it-all.

9. What do most people overestimate or underestimate about you?

For some reason, people always assume I'm good at doing hair, and I'm really not. My whole life, people have asked me to french braid their hair - like there's something about me that says, "This girl can braid!" It never goes well. I'm really bad at doing hair.

I don't know if anyone really underestimates me. I'm surrounded by people who believe in me. Whaddayaknow!

10. How often do you feel utterly worn down?

Umm....

This might be May speaking, but as far as I can tell... all the dang time.

11. What is something that you should do but will never do?

Iron.

12. What was the best thing about how your parents raised you?

My mom never really helicoptered. She let me make a lot of my own decisions, which is something that worked really well for my personality. My dad was good about making me earn money and spend it wisely.

13. What do you most look forward to about getting old?

Having no house payment.

At least, that's the goal. We have a plan, and we are on track with that plan, but we are also open to direction from the Lord.

14. What is the biggest sign of weakness in a person?

Not being able to admit when they're wrong. As a person who does not like to be wrong, I know this to be true. But also, not being able to forgive.

15. What's something you tried really hard to like but just couldn't?

This Is Us.

I can't with Mandy Moore. I just can't!

16. What makes you different from most people?

You mean besides the fact that I like shooting rose petals out of my nose, and I don't like This Is Us?

17. What was the best mistake you ever made? 

I thought and thought about this, and I honestly can't think of a time I've made a mistake and things turned out better for it.

18. If money was no object, where would you live?

I would buy several houses in an old run-down neighborhood and make many of my family and friends move there with me (which they will agree to... because FREE HOUSES). We would fix up the houses and help build up an existing community.

19. Who was the most toxic person you've ever known?

I don't know if I can really bestow that honor on someone, but a former co-worker comes to mind.

20. What were the last two books that you read?

Even This and Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter both of which happen to be by Emily Belle Freeman, and I read them at the beginning of April, so dang, it's been a while since I finished a book.

21. If you dropped everything and went on a road trip, where would you go?

I'd love to head across the nation and hit several places along the way. I love road trips, so I'm really good with anywhere! I'd love to see the Redwoods and the Oregon coast. I also really want to go to Nauvoo. And Mount Rushmore. I could go to Idaho to see Shannon and Cyndi or to Memphis to see the temple Scotty helped renovate. I love South Carolina, and Disneyworld has been calling my name for quite some time!

22. What makes you nervous?

Calling people on the phone. It's so stupid, but I know a lot of you can relate. I'm always worried that I'm bothering people or that I'll have to face some form of rejection. But mostly I worry that we won't be able to hear/understand each other.

23. What makes you angrier than it should?

People letting me go ahead of them when they have the right of way in traffic. You were there first! Just go! You disrupt the flow when you start flagging people to go ahead of you. I may be the most impatient person on the planet, but I can wait three seconds at a four-way stop for my turn. Keep a movin!

24. What are the manliest and least manly things you have ever done?

I guess this is where the boyfriend things becomes relevant. But never fear! I will answer this question! When I was a kid, I tried to master the art of peeing while standing. It was both the manliest and the least manly thing I've ever done.

25. How do you feel about pets and animals?

Pretty much the same way I feel about kids. They are wonderful when they are clean and well-behaved.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Patriarch's Granddaughter

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet a blogging friend, Erika, in person. We became acquainted over twelve years ago as part of the same blogging community. Erika emailed me a few months ago and told me she was coming to Salt Lake for an archery tournament, so I sent her a list of ideas for things to do while she was here, and I made my way downtown so I could spend some time with her.

One of our main topics of discussion was religion. Erika is Methodist, and I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We had some great conversations about our experiences with God's love and our faith. Erika asked wonderful and genuine questions about my church, and I felt a lot of enthusiasm about answering them. One thing she asked about was patriarchal blessings. I was really excited about that because patriarchal blessings have been a big part of my life!

In my Church, members have the opportunity to be given a one-time blessing by a patriarch - someone who is ordained specifically to give these blessings. The purpose of the blessing is to offer the individual guidance from Heavenly Father and to declare the persons' lineage in the House of Israel (read more here). The blessing can give counsel, promises, and warnings and help us understand our spiritual gifts.

We do not openly share or discuss the specifics of our patriarchal blessings, but I can tell you that mine has been very helpful throughout my life. The older I get, the more sense it makes, as I have seen portions of it fulfilled. Some couples choose to share theirs with each other. Scotty and I have read each other's, but we'd been married for several years before we did that. This is just based on personal choice.

The reason I say that patriarchal blessings have been a big part of my life is because my grandpa was a patriarch. This is an office in the Church that not many people hold. Patriarchs maintain that office through life unless it is lost through transgression. They may, for health reasons, stop actively giving blessings, but they remain patriarchs, as was the case with my grandpa (read more here).


Since my grandpa was a patriarch, my grandma was given the responsibility to type the blessings. Each individual is given a copy of his or her blessing so they can read it any time. The blessings are also maintained by the Church so if a person loses their copy, they can request one.

The blessings are not written down beforehand. The patriarch may jot down some notes, but the blessing is essentially dictated by the Spirit. It's quite phenomenal!

My grandpa would always have two tape recorders going when he gave blessings (the second one was for back-up in case there were any problems with the first one). My grandma would then listen to the tapes and type the blessings on her type writer (computers were eventually an option, but my grandma was mostly a typewriter gal).

Generations 

I spent countless hours playing in my grandma's house while she sat in the office typing away to my grandpa's voice. I was always there since I lived right across the street. The recordings of my grandpa giving blessings were just part of the everyday background noise in my grandparent's house along with the clickety clack of the typewriter. Because of this, I grew up hearing hundreds of patriarchal blessings.

Another thing my grandma did was schedule the blessings. She always put the information for the individuals on post-its and hung them on the door frame next to the phone. Since my grandparents lived in our community, my grandpa gave blessings to a lot of my friends and school mates. I always loved checking the names on the door frame because there was usually a name of someone I knew.

Whenever my grandpa was giving blessings, my grandma would take the phone off the hook. We always knew that it was blessing time when we got the busy signal. Sometimes I'd sit in the window and watch across the street, waiting for the people to leave. Then I'd try calling to see if I got the busy signal. If I did, that meant another person was coming for a blessing, and I couldn't come over yet.

G&G

Even though my grandpa lived across the street, he wasn't in our stake, and therefore, wasn't our patriarch. With special permission, I was able to receive my blessing from my him when I was 17.

Not only was my grandpa a patriarch, my great-grandpa was as well. Patriarchs aren't common, but father & son patriarchs are even less so!

And all of that is why I nearly jumped for joy when I got to tell Erika about patriarchal blessings.

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For a fun read, check out this blog post where I gave a tour of my grandparents' house.