1. It’s the season for moving, I guess. My dear sister, Kenneren, just moved out of our parents’ house on Thursday. My grandparents are moving to a smaller place that’s much easier to maintain, Jonathon’s brother’s family just bought a house, his parents are househunting with varying degrees of success, and his sister is seriously planning to move to another state. And here we are, staying in the same place for another year or more. In the past ten years, the longest I have stayed in one place without moving is two years. The three (at least) we’re planning on staying here feel so long, in both a really nice, settled (three years? Ha!) way, and in a grating way. The longer you live in a place, the more friends you make, the more connections you have, and the more it feels like home. But the longer you live in a place, the more irritating its flaws seem. Still, this has been a good home for us so far, and I’m glad we’re not joining the mad rush to go live somewhere else right now.

2. I find it interesting that my boys have no shame about lauding themselves when they do a good job. When Lego learned to walk, he’d clap for himself while walking. Yesterday he was playing his harmonica and whispered in my ear that he wanted me to clap for him when he finished each “song.” If I forgot once or twice, he’d remind me, “Clap, Mommy!” Duplo will say, “Good job!” and “Did it!” when he successfully does something. Even my piano students, aged 8–10, will tell me stuff like, “I know I’m going to pass off all my songs today!” and “I did awesome!” As adults, though, we’re so afraid of bragging that we don’t praise ourselves. At least, I don’t, not even silently to myself. No matter what I do, I think I should have done it a bit better, or maybe think that others do that sort of thing all the time, that it’s no big deal. Instead, I should learn from my little boys the joy that comes from doing something that’s hard for you, and knowing you nailed it. Good job! You did it!

“Controlled” chaos

Parents of young children speak of how their homes are constantly in a state of “controlled chaos.” I guess the controlled part means that the parents step in to discipline when the chaos puts people or property at risk, and that they’re running along behind the kids, putting away the messes they make as they go. Sometimes (yes, only sometimes), I feel less like I’m controlling the chaos and more like I’m the designated disaster cleanup crew.

Like this afternoon. We’d come inside after two hours of playing outside in the gorgeous fall sunshine, and Duplo was hungry. He climbed a chair to get to the table, and before he could do anything terrible, I snatched him up to put him in his high chair. Of course, on the way, he snagged a glass that was on the table and pushed it off, where it broke on the tile floor.

I smoothly (if I do say so myself) finished putting him in his high chair, got him a snack, and started working on sweeping up the broken glass. Lego wanted to come into the kitchen, probably to see if what I was doing was interesting, but I told him to stay out because the glass might hurt his feet. So of course, the most logical thing for him to do was to put my high-heeled boots on and come stomping in onto the glass. He simply did not understand (or was pretending not to) that there were no conditions on “stay out of the kitchen,” and that the order still stood regardless of what kind of footwear he had on.

Once I was finished sweeping, I decided that now might be a nice time to wash the floor too. I’d been meaning to do it for a couple of days but hadn’t gotten to it, and now I had my toddler occupied and away for a few minutes, plus I’d just swept. I planned to mop, but as soon as I mentioned I was going to mop, Lego got two washcloths out and told me one was for him and one for me.

So I got a bucket of soapy water and dipped my rag in. Lego did too. Pretty soon we were well on our way to a clean floor. Except for Duplo getting bored with his snack and Lego wanting to walk on the wet parts of the floor, all went well.

Afterwards, I decided to do what I’d been dreading all day: can the ripe tomatoes from our garden. Not that canning in and of itself is unpleasant, but it’s not really a job little ones can help with, and it takes a long time. It also makes a big mess. But it had to be done.

I figured Lego might be able to help me skin the tomatoes, so I helped him scoot a chair up to the counter in front of the bowl of cold water. Duplo tried to climb up onto the same chair, so I got him another one. I also opened a container with some cereal in it for him to munch on while we worked.

Instead, just as I put the tomatoes in the boiling water to scald, he poured the cereal on the counter and then spread it all over, onto his chair and the floor. Cereal rolled into every corner of the kitchen on my still-damp floor.

I had to get the tomatoes out of the water, so I did that, watching as he continued to spread the cereal everywhere, crushing some of it with his hands.

And then he climbed down from his chair and walked on it. Crunch crunch crunch.

A sound came out of my mouth that was a little like a siren. I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but it startled the kids enough to make them run out of the kitchen. I used the ottoman to block Duplo’s way back in, at least for a few seconds, and asked Lego to guard him.

I swept up the cereal and crumbs as quickly as I could, and then the kids were back. As I peeled the skin off the tomatoes, Duplo kept finding stray pieces of cereal on the counter and putting them into the water. Over and over, he’d put one in, I’d say no and take it out, and he’d put another one in. And over and over. Next it was a container lid. And the container to match. And a piece of paper.

And then he lost his chair privileges.

Is that the part where I controlled the chaos?

(I did get the tomatoes canned in the end. And nobody was even injured.)

You get what you pay for.

Less than three weeks ago, I was in Payless looking for church shoes for Lego when I saw that a whole bunch of their flip flops were on clearance for $3 and $5. I assumed that they were perfectly good shoes (for Payless), but that they were marked down so low just because summer was ending.

Seeing as how my current flip flops were in terrible shape, I bought a pair of simple metallic silver ones for $3. I wore them for the rest of the day, and by evening, my right big toe had rubbed off the silver paint, revealing dark brown or black beneath. Classy.

The next day, I had a matching spot on the left sandal, except this one was white. They didn’t even match. Apparently they just had a whole bunch of extra flip-flop bottoms left over in the factory, so they spray-painted them in metallic colors without even making sure each pair’s left shoe’s underlying color matched the right’s.

Each day I wore them, the rubbed-off part became larger until there was a large, smudgy foot-shaped spot on each. When they’re on my feet, the spot doesn’t show terribly much, and since I do like to wear flip flops around the yard in the summer, I’ve continued to wear them anyway.

Until today, when the thong part detached from the shoe bottom.

This has got to be a new record for the fastest a pair of shoes has worn out (19 days, to be exact). I wanted to take a picture to show you all how these sandals look at least a year old.

I’d complain, but then, I did only spend $3 on them. Oh, wait. I’m still complaining.


1. The fastest and most effective way to get Lego to wake up from a nap (say, when falls asleep on the couch too late in the afternoon) is to put him in his bed. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible.

2. I just bought some faux suede teal flats. For some reason, having such utterly impractical shoes makes me feel rich, even if I just paid $2 for them at a yard sale.

3.Yesterday, I came to a four-way stop. Another vehicle approached the intersection at almost exactly the same time as me. I thought I’d gotten there first, so I started to drive into the intersection. When I saw that the other driver was moving into the intersection too, I stopped to let her pass. As she drove by, she gave me a very stern, angry look and shook her head slowly several times. I had to laugh. Obviously she was a Latter-day Saint woman who would never flip someone the bird on principle. But she was not above letting me know that that’s exactly what she would have done were she, you know, the type.

4. My dad got us a season pass to the pool for the summer. We are loving it! We’ve only been three times, but the kids just love the water, and it’s a great way to get out of the house when it’s hot without melting into a puddle of goo.

5. Duplo weaned himself (more on this later) just in time for Jon Boy and I to take a mini-vacation next week. Talk about timing!

Pudding Cake

I’m too lazy to make cakes from scratch, but ones from mixes are always so dry and airy that they just don’t satisfy. So yesterday, as I was making a cake, I added half a package of chocolate pudding mix and the appropriate amount of milk to my cake batter. It took a little longer to bake, but it turned out so amazing that I will be doing this every time from now on. Oh my word.

*dies and goes to heaven*