Monday, December 22, 2008

It ain't nothin'

So...I didn't take the kids to church (a week ago) on Sunday. The baby has the leftovers of a cough/cold and Joey and Gabe have the beginning of one. So out of courtesy I kept them home... I did, however, have an appointment with the Bishop for tithing settlement later that afternoon. So Spen stayed responsible and watched the kids while I kept that appointment.
I took a couple goodie-bags with Oreo Truffles (thanks Stefan for starting that horrible tradition in my house, they're pure evil) one for the Bishop and family and another for whomever else I ran into. Anyway, I went in and made my greetings with the people waiting for their appointment as well. This family happened to be that of my home teacher, so it worked out great to hand them a bag of truffles. I felt all *with it* and holiday-ish. So after a brief conversation with them about the Young Men's trip spelunking and the pictures of Spencer that they had captured, they went in for their meeting. This left me alone in the foyer. I walked over to the side table that had some leftover programs from Sacrament meeting sitting on it. I picked one up to see who had spoken and if I had missed anything. As I read down the list of speakers I got to the the special musical number and what do you think I saw? and I quote "Special musical number by......Sis. Naomi Durrant" Uh............really? I wonder how that went. Considering the fact that I wasn't there... and I didn't know about it. After I pulled my stomach out of my foot, I went to the talk to the guys is the clerks office and I wish I would have said something clever like "I sang today? How did I do? was it good. I wish I could have been there." But I simply admitted that I had no idea that I was supposed to sing, we all laughed and then they asked me to sing the following week, which was yesterday. This time I was thoughtful enough to show up.

good day to ya.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Way back in the, I don't know, late 70's early 80's (my sister could tell you) when we still lived in Utah, my mother had the great idea that we should make a Nativity Scene out of salt dough. I remember it being fun, and it all looked beautiful. I also remember every Christmas after that, bringing out the little figures and knowing that it was truly Christmas time. I began, with age, to be able to tell the ones I created from the ones made by mother and sister(they were much better). But I still loved every part of it. Some how that Nativity scene ended up coming to live at my house. I don't remember what all was in that first scene, all I know is what I have today: Mary, with a pink face and yellow robe, Joseph, in blue, bald with a brown beard, a shepherd in brown, a yellow star, a silver sheep(I think) that doesn't stand on its own, and a silver bunny with black ears. A bunny? you say? I don't know if there really was a bunny in the stable, but when your mother's name is Bunny, there are bunnies at everything. Anyway, about 8 years ago I decided that it was time to sit down with my kids (Spencer and Sariah and baby Gabe) and make another salt dough Nativity scene. My pieces were much better this time. We didn't paint them. I am assuming that after the process of making the dough and the characters and cleaning up and chasing the (Oh my) 3 whole kids I had at the time, that I just didn't have the heart to attempt painting. But nevertheless, we had our scene to add to the one of my youth. We even added a baby Jesus this time and a camel. Well this sweet little scene lasted and lasted... until this year. A child with the first name beginning with a J-(take your pick, there are only 2 and I really don't know who is to blame) decided to take the clear plastic box they were stored in, and shake it. 28 year old salt dough doesn't hold up well to a good shaking, 8 year old salt dough holds up even worse. I pulled out all of the really old pieces, Mary and Joseph had only minor damage, they lost their heads and a few bits off other places. The *sheep* and bunny were fine and so was the old shepherd. As was baby Jesus from the new set. The star lost its bottom. The other parts and people were shattered. I threw the unsalvagables away. And decided to attempt to fix what I could. As I was gluing for posterity sake, Jacob picked up the bunny and accidentally, but promptly broke off the ear. After I was finished with the others, I went to work on the bunny ear. I don't know if there was too much glue or if my gluing skills had been impaired at that exact moment, but I managed to get the bunny ear back on and glue my finger to the back of the rabbit at the same time. It wasn't just a little spot that I could pull free from. I was stuck tight to this stupid little bunny who wasn't and probably shouldn't have been there at the Nativity scene anyway. Now, how to get unstuck. Spencer, in his genius, mentioned that when he had read the super glue package it suggested using vegetable oil to get the glue off your skin. Maybe, off your skin, but definitely does not work to remove you from a salt dough Nativity rabbit. From past experience I knew that fingernail polish remover was the only thing that really worked. Question was, did I have any? I remember when packing to move, that I decided to throw a lot of half empty bottles of stuff away, thinking that I would just replace them when we got here. The *pack rat* me always advises against this. The *stuck to the bunny* me, is grateful that in the case of the almost empty bottle of polish remover, I listened to the *pack rat* me. But, where was it? I wasn't sure if I had unpacked it, or if I had left it in the *extra bathroom stuff* box. So of course, that is where I looked first. Come to find out, the *trying to be organized* me had put it away in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. all said and done, 15 minutes later I was freed from the bunny. It took a little longer for the acetone to cut through all the vegetable oil and I was really STUCK to that rabbit. Needless to say, I think we'll be making a new scene this year when the kids are home for vacation. Perhaps we'll add some more bunnies. Or maybe just a bunny trap.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I am grateful that y'all read my posts in spite of my poor typing, stinky grammar, bad spelling and crappy proof reading skills. I can only imagine how crazy it must drive my teacher friends. Thanks for closing your teacher brains and reading anyway.

I am also grateful for super-glue. . . and finger nail polish remover. I'll tell that story later. I'm still recovering.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Angry Tree, part deux

Heather asked how cold it was. I could make something fantastic up and say that it was -25 and there was a blizzard a foot, but I can't lie this close to Christmas. The weather has been amazing and very Texas familiar. God has been very kind when we move, he changes the weather to help us acclimate better. It snowed on Christmas Eve the first year we were in Houston. And the weather has been very friendly to us now that we are back in Wyoming. So the weather was probably in the mid to high 30's. It's a different, dry cold. Not the sink to your bones wet cold that you get near the Gulf. So anyway back to the tree... The ride home was fairly uneventful. As uneventful as you can get with 7 kids, 2 grown ups, the *not broken* dog, and a tree tied to the roof of the family vehicle. We got home and got the tree off the roof and were pleased to find that the height we needed was exactly what we had chosen. No we didn't pre-measure. Come to find out our ceilings are almost 8 feet the tree was 7 1/2. We sawed off some of the lower branches and stuffed this 15 year old tree into our nice big sturdy tree stand. We filled the bottom with water and proceeded to decorate. Lights and all the old ornaments, and the little snowmen with the dangling mittens. And the snowmen heads with the bells for bottoms, so cute. These are the ones my mom-in-law sent us over the years. Anyway we got the tree decorated. And while it was pretty, it was still thin, and a tiny bit Charlie Brownish. So the next day I decided it needed some tinsel/icicles to fill in the holes. I used to love that stuff, but it's only fun to pull it out of a cat or child's throat just so many times, then it gets old. I must have felt pretty desperate to have to resort back to tinsel. I was a little upset after buying the tinsel and a few other things from a local store (of which I refuse to name because they are so over priced there,(most of the time), I get angry when I shop and refuse to give them any credit or recognition.) Tinsel in a package of 1000 strands at Wal-mart costs 50 cents. I paid $1.09, this was on sale from $1.99. And that wasn't all. We also needed more lights for our roof. So I paid $8 something, also on sale. I came home upset and then Jason went to go run an errand and took the lights with him just in case he found some cheaper some where else, he did. $4 thank you Ace Hardware. Anyhoodle, while he was gone the tree and I got into a fight. It started to lean a little and so I tried to straighten it out a little. And it fell on me. I have never EVER had a Christmas tree fall, let alone fall ON me. So I put it back up and tightened the screws in the base. This wasn't going to work. With the tree being so fresh it had soaked up all the water we had put in the base. The bark was sopping wet and had turned into mush, the screws had nothing to dig into. So what is the first thing that comes to my mind? Duct tape. It fixes everything. I put the tree back on the ground ornaments and all, actually I don't know if I put it there or if it put itself there, and proceeded to wrap duct tape around the trunk of the tree to give the screws something to grip into. I then put the now half decorated tree back up into the stand. I was irritated. And the lights were falling off. The only logical(hormonally logical) solution was to un-decorate the tree. So I started pulling the lights off. Spencer was trying to help. It wasn't really working, and just to prove that I wasn't the only irritated thing around, the tree fell again. That was all I needed. So I grabbed it, drug it through the house and threw it out the front door... and there it STOOD, yep, stood in its smug little manner. If trees had mouths it would have been smirking. Now there is a story, kind of a legend really, to anyone who grew up around Shumway's. It has to do with children being in trouble and a tree being vaulted out of the house, but that story belongs to Christin and if she chooses to tell it that's up to her. But we have heard it in my house and so when Jason came home he thought for sure the kids were up a creek in trouble, and that he would enter to find me a raving lunatic. He was relieved to find that I wasn't having any trouble with the kids, just the stupid @*&%#$#@ tree. He fixed it by screwing pieces of 2x4's into the trunk and wedging it into the base. Needless to say it'd probably stand until July if we let it. So I redecorated, with the help of super-glue of course, to glue the little bells back on the bottoms of the snowman heads that had broken on their jaunt through the house.
I typically have great reverence, respect and admiration for the trees we get to help us celebrate Christmas. I admire their beauty, being lighted and decorated with love, care and tradition. I'm always a little sad for the life of the tree that was shortened. BUT when I look at this tree, all I can think is how much I'm going to enjoy using it for firewood.

Good day to ya.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey Makes People Grumpy, or Attack of the Angry Tree

Either that or I've just been hormonal for the last week. I'm guessing that is probably the REAL explanation. But the turkey excuse works for me, it's dead so it doesn't mind taking the blame. So Thanksgiving came and went and it was OK but I'd rather not talk about it. I cooked, we ate and there were leftovers. Our day after Thanksgiving family tradition is going and getting a Christmas tree. In Texas this involved a trip to Wal-mart or Kroger, followed by a lot of shaking, bug spray, and a hose, for the tree that is. This year we were able to continue the *original* tradition and go cut down our own tree, and it only cost $8 not $25-$75 (depending on how many bugs you want included on the tree.) Now there is something I must explain, I have a thing with Christmas trees. I have two. One is a fake fiber optic sparkly tree. The other must be real. I grew up under the false impression that I was allergic to pine trees in the house so my family had to have the short ugly fleece snow covered, fake tree. Which now, when I see it, brings back some nice fluffy feelings of carefree Christmases past. That is beside the point. I had a friend whose mother had 2 Christmas trees. The one downstairs in the family room was covered in the ornaments that the kids brought home from school or church, and popcorn strands or paper chains, etc. The OTHER tree was upstairs and decorated elegantly with the *no touchy* sort of ornaments. I thought this particular set up was brilliant and from that day forth I decided that one of my life long goals was to have two Christmas trees. And in the year 2002 I got my wish, and it has been that way ever since. (I'm easy to please what can I say) Anyway, where was I... Oh yes, this year we got to go up to the Big Horns and cut our own, no bugs included, they all got cold and took off. Now the interesting thing about going up to this particular mountain range from where we live is that there's a lot of up. For example, the conversation in the car went something like this "Oh look! There's a nice tree, did anyone bring the climbing gear? No? well lets drive on and see if we find a more level spot so we don't have to repel back to the car." Drive on we did. Now seeing that the majority of the Big Horn mountain range is available to Christmas tree cutting our options seemed pretty open. Had we been here three or four kids ago, this process could have taken hours, but my expectations have wained a bit and so I saw a decent spot that looked safe enough and we stopped. So here comes the exciting part. We then piled out of the suburban all 9 of us and the dog. I had the baby in the snuggli, she's 13 months old, snuggli's aren't meant for 13 month 22lb (give or take a pound) babies. So I guess it would be better said that I had the baby crammed into the snuggli. Sariah had Jacob. Spencer had the dog. Jason had the saw and Joey who wanted to be carried. And I think that Gabe and Caleb we're close on Sariah's trail. We followed a little closed road just a short way and came to a cattle guard. Now honest to goodness, half of my kids have never seen let alone crossed a cattle guard. That really didn't seem to be a huge deal unless you know that the dog hadn't had much, if any, experience with one either. (He has a past life so I don't know what he did before we got him) Anyway Spencer was the first one to the guard. I suggested that the dog would be fine crossing, so to proceed. I guess he went a little fast because halfway across, the dog freaked out, lost his footing and one of his back legs slipped through the grate. He got across, but was limping on the other side. "GREAT, " I thought, "we broke the dog." Jason crossed picked the dog up, (which is probably what we should have done in the first place.) Crossed back over and carried the dog to the car. He (the dog) was fine. Turns out he just scratched up the inside of his leg. Meanwhile back at the cattle guard, Jacob had figured out how to cross on all fours, hands and feet. It wasn't good enough to go just once he had to go over at least 3 or 4 times. Spencer learned that his feet are big enough to stretch across two rungs, so he went across 3 or 4 times as well, to his credit, one time was carrying Joey. Caleb and Gabe we're fine. And Sariah carried the saw. While we waited on the other side for Dad to return, I sent Spencer up the side of the mountain to check out potential victims, I mean trees. When Jason got back, we all headed up. It only took three times up and down to different spots to find the almost *perfect* tree. When I wrote earlier about my expectations, this is part of the change, I'm just not as picky anymore. Our tree turned out to be the first one I sent Spencer to check out. So we agreed, Jason sawed, we conquered. And then we headed down the mountain, across the cattle guard that bit the dog, to the car to have our leftover Thanksgiving lunch while dad tied the tree to the top. Which, after 10 years of practice, he has gotten quite efficient at doing. So we ate lunch, peed in the trees and on rocks (it's great having so many boys) and headed back home to decorate our trophy...
to be continued...