Saturday, September 29, 2007

Harvey the Wonder Hamster. Again.

Last night, my husband and I were watching tv in bed. He suddenly cocked his head with a weird expression on his face, and looked off the side of the bed. There was Harvey, M's hamster, coming for a visit. He put her back in her cage.

About 20 minutes later, I hear a scratching sound, and look over. There is Harvey, walking on a piece of paper that had fallen off my side table.

I am so glad that hamster always comes to our room when she escapes. Befuddled, but grateful.

We invited my mother, the murophobe (fear of mice/rats/other rodents) to spend the night after telling her about this. Shockingly enough, she politely declined. LOL

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I wanted to share some of M's art.

Like every other artist, his art wasn't appreciated. Note the teacher comment in the upper corner. Now, in his defense, when he drew that picture, his teacher had told them to imagine they had a new puppy. They were to draw a picture of a rule they'd have for said puppy. Well, I've got to admit that what he drew would be near the top of the list of rules I'd have for my puppy too.

This door hanger was done at primary. I've got to wonder two things. One, what his primary teacher thought when she saw that, and secondly, how she didn't keep from collapsing into a fit of giggles when she saw it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The time I lost a person

This actually happened in March of 2005, but I was looking at my old blog and laughing over this story, so I thought I would share it.

We signed up to host a Japanese engineering student for 3 weeks. Y attended college in Tokyo, and came here for about 3 weeks. Each student stays with a volunteer family. We had three other families in our neighborhood who are also hosting students.

The boys arrived Thursday evening, dead on their feet from jetlag. They were expected to be at the college at 8:30 the next morning. We put together a carpool with the families in our neighborhood so we weren't all driving every day. So, it was my turn to pick up the boys after school the first day.

I arrive at the university and get in the car pickup line. I get up to the front, and tell the translator who I am picking up. Three of the four boys hop in, including Y. I ask about the fourth, and they point to another car and say he's riding with them. I told them I was supposed to bring him home. I ended up having a couple of admin types there, and they assured me everything was ok. I was really unsettled about the whole thing, but felt like I had no choice but to leave. Especially since the other car had already left!

I immediately called S, the host mom to the boy. Got voice mail. Told her what had happened, and that it just wasn't sitting well with me. I just knew that S would've called me if there had been a change in plans. Asked her to call me back.

So around 6pm, S calls me, and I can tell two things. 1- She hasn't gotten my voice mail. 2- Her student never made it home.

She and I go into full panic mode and she begins calling the other host families and administrators on the list, trying to figure out where this kid has gone. He finally got back to Sarah's place about 8:30pm.

Long story short, here's what happened: Another host parent, who shall hereafter be referred to as "Kidnapper" had a carpool going with HostFamily3. Kidnapper was supposed to pick up on Tue, Wed, and Thur, and keep the student until 7pm. Since it was FRIDAY (duh!), Hostfamily3 had come, picked up their student and left before Kidnapper arrived. So Kidnapper arrives, gets his student, and thinks KidnapVictim is his other charge ("Since they all look alike" he said). Tells him to get in the car.

They go merrily on their way, not knowing there was a problem til 7pm. When Hostfamily3 doesn't come to pick up their student, things begin to fall into place. By this time, all of the instructors and half of the host families are aware of the situation and are in full blown panic.

Poor kidnapvictim is so upset and traumatized by the whole thing that he begins to cry. Poor kid is probably exhausted due to jet lag, doesn't speak English, and has been in the US less than 24 hours. I felt so bad for him.

I felt so awful for my role in the thing. I don't know what more I could've done, short of flinging myself in front of the other car.

It could be worse though. I could have inadvertently kidnapped one of the students! LOL

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Started a photography blog

I wanted to have a place where I could showcase some of my favorite photos I've taken.

You can see it here:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Food Storage

There is a case lot sale this week at Macey's, a local grocery store. Being a good Mormon girl, I strapped my littles in the car, and drove on over after the big kids were in school. I put Z in a front carrier so I actually had room in my cart, and put S in the nifty little race car seat.

Let me back up. LDS people are counseled to have a year's worth of food storage at all times. Well, that's not technically true. When we lived in Japan, it was only a 72 hour kit per person. I've been told by my military friends that they've been told to keep cash that would last a while. I can't remember whether they were supposed to keep that money in the bank or not. However, since I am a Utah Mormon, it is a year's worth of food, and two weeks worth of water. As a point of reference, one adult needs 14 gallons of water for two weeks. Nursing mothers like me, and pregnant women need more.

Why a year's worth of food storage? It's anticipated that some hard times are ahead of us, and we are counseled to be prepared for that. Do I personally think it'll be a year's worth of hardship and no food shopping? No. I think we will be expected to help those out who don't have any. After all, we are a Christian church, and would it be very Christ-like to turn away starving kids with a shotgun? Of course not!! I had a girlfriend have her husband lose his job, and they didn't have much money in savings. They lived off of their food storage until he got a new job. She said having that food saved was truly a lifesaver for them.

We have some food storage on hand, but definitely not a year's worth. This was the inspiration for today's trip. That, and the fantastic deals.

You are supposed to store food that you will actually eat and use. Then, once you get a pretty good supply going, rotate the food through, buying a few cans here and there so it's not something you go into debt for. With these tips in mind, I bought a case of diced tomatoes, a case of tomato sauce, a case of tomato paste, a case of water chestnuts, a case of cream of mushroom soup, 25 lbs of flour (I will go through that within a month or two, given my penchant for baking) and 20 lbs of sugar.

I am exhausted, trying to get all that stuff in my cart without crushing Z while lifting it in, dealing with a hungry and cranky toddler. But, we are that much closer to being prepared.

K begged my to make salsa today, using our veggies from the garden, so I need to take a breather before she gets home from school. I am sure she'll want to help. She did a lot of the work for our pasta sauce, so I expect she'll want to help again. I expect I'll blog about that, including pictures of our soon-to-be-made beautiful salsa.

If you would like to read more about food storage, and living wisely, visit this website:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Questions, questions, questions

These are all questions that M asked me while eating his breakfast this morning:

How do you make a molecule by hand?
Do we have a microscope that sees molecules?
What are bowling pins made of?
Do you think that if you played baseball, using a bowling pin as the bat, would the bowling pin break?
If my arm gets cut off, will you buy me a mechanical arm?
How does a mechanical arm work?
Are there any dangers to a mechanical arm?
Could magnetix harm a mechanical arm?
What day is it?
What are we doing today? (this has been asked 5 times, and it's 7:47am)
Can you get a mechanical stomach?
Can you get a mechanical toe?
When you put your fingers on the home row when you're typing, how do you figure out how to push the other keys?

Well, he is done eating, so I shall cut off the questions that I'm repeating. For now. LOL

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That's it, I'm moving

Our gorgeous, beautiful sandbox that my husband built, and the scene of the latest spider incident.

I blogged about finding that hobo spider in our bathroom Sunday.

Today, I let all three kids go play in their fancy sandbox. The big kids took the cover off. Lurking in one of the pails was a black widow! I am so, so glad that the big kids found it and told my husband, who killed it. I shudder to think of S not knowing it was poisonous and trying to pick it up. Or one of the kids not noticing it and getting bit.

I am really upset now. :(

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Boundaries People!

I woke up Friday morning with a pretty raging case of mastitis. I attempted to call my doctor's office to make an appointment, but their phones must have been down. I kept getting an error message that the call could not be completed at this time. I chewed up motrin tablets and hoped it would get better.

When I woke up on Saturday, it was NOT better. Husband took the older kids with him, and Z and I headed down to the instacare clinic.

We're sitting there waiting, and this lady is chatting on the phone, setting up a babysitter so she can go golf with her dh that afternoon. I'm thinking WHY is she getting a sitter for later if she's here with 2 kids at the instacare?

She sets up her babysitter, then comes over to visit with me, and first off, asks why I am there. Being being really open (and suffering from some boundary issues myself, hence the blog), and kind of hoping to embarrass her, I tell her exactly why I'm there. She said, "Oh, you must've caught it early, you still look pretty good. I had it with my son and was so sick" (her kids are boy- 4ish and girl 6ish).

I find out that her boy is there because of pinkeye. oh great. I HATE pinkeye. Had it a couple years ago, and it was miserable. But, she is doing her best to limit contamination. She's trying to get him to not touch anything (thank you!!). He starts playing with a magnadoodle. She grabs a disinfecting wipe, takes the toy away, cleans it off. Meanwhile, he grabs another toy and begins playing with this. Watching this struggle keeps me highly entertained for several minutes.

Then, this 17ish kid comes in with a bloody rag on his head, and some blood lines down his face. Ooooh, a bonafide emergency! Well, being nosy that I am, I'm dying to know what happened and what his wound looks like. They whisk him right back to double check his wound to see if he should get priority treatment or not. He is back out in the waiting room a couple minutes later, it being decided by staff that he is not about to die. He is there with one person (a parent maybe?). They both jump on their phones and are making phone calls. I am surreptitiously watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of his head wound.

She admits that she wants to see the cut on his head. I admit I do too. SCORE!!! He moves the rag away to show his cut to about five family members who have shown up for moral support! I announce that I have seen the cut, and she wants me to describe it, so I do. But, my description isn't enough.

She WALKS OVER THERE, and pushing past the now dozen family members who are there, asks to see his head wound (maybe she tells them she's a nursing student?). Meanwhile, pinkeye boy is going to town, touching all toys. Note to self- most parents aren't as good about disinfecting their kids, so disinfect toys in waiting room before allowing children to touch them.

She tells them that if it were her, she'd clean it really good, apply some neosporin, and put a butterfly bandage on it. Well, I have to admit that I kind of agreed with her; it wasn't that bad of a cut. Stitch worthy, but not NEEDED NEEDED, if you know what I mean. She comes back, and as she's disinfecting the toys again, tell me what she told them, and how they wanted to be seen anyway. I responded with, "Well, not everyone is a do-it-yourselfer". At this point, she is called back.

When she is out of earshot, the dam breaks loose. Wow. She has really, really offended this family who is having a Real Medical Emergency.

"Can you believe the nerve of her, telling us to just stick a bandaid on it?"

They're asking the receptionist her opinion (from across the room of course). She agrees it could use medical attention. During this flurry of discussion, it comes out the cut was caused by a sewer pipe. I inwardly decide that yes, he should see a doctor and get on antibiotics due to HOW he got the cut.

They sat there clucking and hissing and being really upset and offended for a good ten minutes, until I'm called back.

I got my antibiotics, and am feeling much better today. It was an entertaining visit to the instacare though. Definitely worth my $30 copay.

Bugs bugs bugs

When we moved to this house, we had a big earwig problem. I hate earwigs. yuck.

This year, we replaced all of the windows, which almost completely got rid of the earwig problem (inside anyway).

Since we got back from camping, I've found a couple of hobo spiders. According to some websites, they are very dangerous, others say that hobo spiders are harmless and the other sites are lying.

Here's the smartest hobo of the bunch; we've tried killing him several times with no luck.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Detectors Save Lives

A friend of mine lost her sister in law when a gas leak caused her house to explode. She is trying to raise awareness about this issue, and the importance of having not only carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, but a combustible gas detector. I'd suggest visiting her website.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Beaking up is hard to do

I am such a dork. I am a cheater.

I have had my auto and home insurance policies with Met Life for several years and have had no trouble (no claims either though). Our agent is a nice, personable guy, and I've been happy. I've checked rates occasionally, and have found ours to be the best.

A couple days ago, another insurance agent came into my husband's work, and wanted to give apple to apple quotes. This new guy's quote was so competitive, I doubled our coverage, lowered our deductible, and added our RV to the policy and we're still paying less per year!

So, now I have to break it to my old agent that we are moving on. Obviously, the numbers speak for themselves, but I still feel bad. I will probably take the chicken's way out and send him a letter, including a thank you card, and a copy of the new policy so he can see why.

Camping Trip

Every Labor Day weekend, we go on a camping trip with my in-laws. We go to the Mountain Man Rendezvous in Ft. Bridger Wyoming. People will dress in period clothing: either trader, settler, or Native American, and sell/buy goods that would be sold in that era. We don't dress up, though my kids are dying to. One of these years I'll make them outfits. There's usually a few guys in loincloths too!

We used to camp in the boy scout camp at East Fork of the Bear, but since the boys got ATVs, we camp elsewhere. A few years back, some boy scouts set the mountains on fire, doing a lot of damage. There's still dead trees all over the place. You can see them in the above picture.

We had a moose neighbor, but he didn't get much closer than he was in this photograph.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Harvey the Wonder Hamster

Harvey, wearing a taco. Yeah, she didn't quite get she wasn't supposed to eat her costume, but then again, the fine points as to why she was wearing a taco escapes me.
Since I've blogged about K's gecko, it's only fair that I talk about Harvey the Wonder Hamster.

About a year ago, my older kids started begging for hamsters. They thought they looked so cute and funny in the pet stores. My mom has a bona fide phobia of reptiles due to her brother's hamster having babies, and the babies getting loose in her room. So, I never had rodents growing up, and never had much interest.

After much begging and room cleaning, we got two hamsters. We put them in a tank that was 20" long by 13" wide. Thought it would be plenty of room for them. Night one went smoothly. Night two, K's hamster attacked Harvey, blinding her in one eye and nibbling on her tail (who knew they had tails?) til it bled. The next morning, I drug my pregnant self over to walmart and bought a second hamster enclosure.

K lost interest in her hamster pretty quickly, and we sold it on Craigslist a few months later. M still LOVES his hamster.

The hamster enclosure I bought is a Hartz branded cage. It's the Hartz® Placy City Extreme™ Fun House™ for Active Hamsters & Gerbils to be specific. Apparently, it wasn't designed for EXTREMELY intelligent hamsters, as Harvey can easily escape from it unless we tie it shut. Never having heard the adage (or choosing to ignore it) "throwing good money after bad", I bought the Hartz tubing accessory kit, figuring we could take the escape easy section off of the top and making the cage escape proof. No dice. She was able to escape from that even more easily! Luckily for me, Harvey loves my bedroom. Every time she's escaped, she heads straight for my room, which makes capture much easier. I live in fear that I will step on her in the night, as without my contacts, my vision is practically nill. So far, no hamsters have been squished, or lost into our ductwork. Thank you kind God for this!

Hartz product boxes proclaim that their product is satisfaction guaranteed, but to read the small print, you have to go to their website. There, they explain that to get your money back, the product must be unused, and returned to them in it's original packaging with a sales receipt. Seriously? I wrote a stern letter to the Hartz company, telling them the trouble I've had with escaping. I also told them a seven year old had paid for all of their products with money he'd earned by doing chores. We hadn't kept the receipt or box because we didn't realize our satisfaction hinged on having these items. Their response? A form letter restating their policy. Whatever!

So, if you have a hamster, do not buy any Hartz products. I have serious questions about their quality assurance, given that I doubt we have a hamster genius on our hands.