Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last Sunday

A few months ago Vince and I joined a community choir--we actually tried out and made it although we readily admit that we were coaxed, cajoled, and begged to try out by the director and so she had to let us in at that point no matter what our try out sounded like. Anyways. Choir practice is every Saturday night from 7:00-9:00. Since we have 9 AM church Sunday morning we always have to remember to tell the kids to SHOWER or BATHE while we are gone. Last Saturday we forgot.

Of course only Eva had cleaned herself so we (and by we I mean I because Vince had early meetings) had to wake them up early to get it done before church. I decided to wake Ivy first--since she is the slowest. She got right up and took a normal bath which was a relief because we didn't have time for her to spend the normal 60 minutes in there. Actually, all the bathing went very smoothly and I remember feeling very relieved and happy about it. Then we had to start breakfast which was easy because I had cold cereal in the house and there is nothing better than cold cereal when you are rushed in the morning. Except when the person who did the dishes the night before doesn't turn the dishwasher on. All the bowls were dirty. So we had cereal in soup mugs. Which worked out well. One soup mug did not fill them up so I told them that they could have another when they were COMPLETELY DRESSED. Just as a reference it was 7:45 when I made this announcement and Ivy was dressed--all she had to do was comb her hair and put shoes on.

8:35 (we were supposed to leave at 8:30) Ivy announces that she is ready for her second mug of cereal and I have to tell her we're leaving and it's too late which prompts a response like: "WHAT?! That's not FAIR! I was going to have another bowl but YOU wouldn't let me and I was hungry! And I HAD time then but you wouldn't let me and that's not fair! I'm STAAAAARVING!!!! I CAN'T go to church so hungry!" She can spit all of that out in like 3 seconds and of course it was accompanied throwing and contorting of body parts in various directions. I tried to reason with her: "But Ivy I woke you up FIRST so you would have time. You had 40 minutes to find your shoes and comb your hair. You should have moved FASTER." It was no good--there was no reasoning with her and really I should know better anyway.

8:38 We get in the car with the crying Ivy.

8:40 We are halfway to church, Ivy is still moaning about breakfast but abruptly stops when Ethan says: "I get to pick the bench today!" This of course started a cacophony of "What? Why does HE get to choose? I never get to pick it! It's NOT FAIR!"

8:41 I announce that only Mom and Dad will choose the bench from now on. Forever. Ethan responds with, "OK but can we sit on a little bench?" I have NO idea why he is obsessed with the little bench thing but we have this talk. Every. Week. We fit on a smaller bench. Barely. And no one likes to sit that close to each other. I tell him that we are not sitting on a little bench--that's one reason we leave early.

8:43 We arrive at church and everyone gets out of the car to go in. Except Ethan because he is upset that he doesn't get to choose the bench and that we don't get to sit on a small bench.

8:45 Eva, Nathan, Ivy, and I sit down on a bench to wait for the meeting to start. Ivy resurrects the breakfast drama. I tell her that she now has a strike because I don't want to talk about it anymore and if she gets 2 more strikes she will not have dessert. She hits me.

8:47 I take Ivy into a classroom so she can stand in the corner.

8:49 I leave Ivy in the classroom and tell her that when she is done with the yelling about breakfast she can come to the chapel and sit with us. I go back to the chapel and sit with Eva and Nathn and realize that Ethan is still not there. A friend points him out to me. He is in the chapel. Sitting on a small bench.

8:51 I go sit by Ethan. Right. By. Him. Hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder. He tells me that there is plenty of room and WHY can't we sit there! I start to think of how to coax/beg/drag him back to our bench and then get a bright idea. I say "Ethan--are you OK with me sitting this close to you? Because if you're OK with this we can sit here but you have to sit right next to me the whole meeting." He agrees.

8:54 I motion Eva to our seat and tell her we are going to switch benches and ask her to get our stuff. She acts like Ivy and says something like "What?! Just because HE wants to! Why do We have to move!" And then stomps off to get our stuff. The ladies behind me are giggling and I am fighting giggles because the whole morning suddenly seems very ridiculous.

8:55 Eva comes back with Nathan and our stuff and sits down with a big SIGH. The ladies giggle more. Then I remember where Ivy is and that she needs to come back but I can't leave without compromising my spot Right. Next. To. Ethan. So I tell Eva and she sighs again and goes to get Ivy.

8:57 Eva and Ivy come back and Ivy immediately earns another strike. Because of the breakfast drama. The ladies giggle some more. I say to the ladies "I wore yellow because it's a happy color" and "Nathan's happy!" They giggle some more. I smile and fight down the giggles. Ivy lays her head down on my lap to cry silently and Ethan asks if I can move down a little. I tell him that's not part of the deal.

8:59 Vince comes and looks at us and the bench. He has a questioning look in his eyes when our eyes meet. I can hear him asking: "Why are we sitting here? What's wrong with Ivy?" Before he can say anything I say: Don't say. A word. Just sit down." He says "OK." The ladies laugh some more. We are past giggles at this point.

3:00 PM I tell Vince about our morning and why I was a little short with him just before the meeting. When I get to the end he says, "I was going to ask you why they were so reverent and how impressed I was!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Congratulations Eva!

We are very excited that Eva received a $200 scholarship to her violin suzuki camp this year. She was chosen because she "demonstrated that she is working very hard on her music". In addition to the $250 she earned from fundraising she has almost earned the entire cost of the camp!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Didn't I Already Finish School?!!

I have so far managed to not "help" with any school projects this year. Ivy had BEAR month (Be Excited About Reading) where the kids are supposed to do several cool projects about books they've read and I didn't help. At. All. Because I've been busy with Nathan, piano,... Besides it's HER project and it ended up OK so I felt vindicated for my lack of participation. I also didn't help with science fair projects--that apparently worked to Eva's advantage as she not only advanced to the district competition for the first time ever but also advanced to the regional competition. I didn't want to help with Reflections projects either so I convinced the PTA board that it would be super helpful to have a "submission clinic" where the Reflections committee prepares the art for submission. I was quite proud of myself, to be honest.

But Animal reports are due this week. Yay. The teacher sent a note home saying that they WOULD need parent help--we were supposed to sign a form and return it (which I didn't but I DID read it). Ethan has to construct a diorama, write a written report, and prepare an oral presentation. We've known about this for a long time but have procrastinated in order to prepare him for college because everyone knows that when you go to college you have so many projects and papers due all the time that you have to do them all at the last minute anyway. So we are responsible parents.

Last night we started (and finished) the diorama (Vince and I are both college graduates--we can start and finish big projects quite quickly now). It was really big because we decided that Vince would be the best person to help with the diorama and I would be the best to help with the written report--we made no determination about the oral presentation but I will try to go watch and smile encouragingly. Anyhow. The diorama turned out big. Because Vince was in charge and I am reminded of what Vince's Aunt Betty said about our coffee table: "It turned out bigger than you thought it would, didn't it--that's because those Olcotts always make everything big!" It's true.

Eva woke up this morning and was asking about the really cool features of the horned toad lizard diorama like the anthill, ants, prickly pear cacti, giant boulders, grasses, horny toad,... She said to me: "Why is it so big?" and then "Mom, how come you didn't make my animal diorama this cool?" She didn't wait for an answer to the first question because--duh--and I was a little surprised/hurt/sheepish/giggly when she didn't wait for the answer to the second question either. She just walked out of the room laughing. Rude. Just because when Eva did her animal diorama Vince was really busy and I helped with the whole project. Apparently even though her frog diorama included a pond with actual water and lily pads (among other things) it was neither large (true) nor cool (debatable since she thought it was cool at the time and said the other kids were ooohing and ahing) and doesn't compete with what Dad can produce. Not a huge surprise, I guess.

Now I have approximately 20 hours left to help Ethan finish that written report...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Laughable Logic

Lately one of my children has been impossible to reason with. Relatively. Because I don't think my children have perfect reasoning skills. I once watched a neighbor in Logan try to reason with her very spoiled three-year-old. It was ugly. At that point in time I decided to never debate anything with any child under the age of five and to have limited discussions with any other child. I still haven't decided if I will try reasoning with teenagers--I have about 6 months to develop some kind of plan for that.

Anyway. It's Ethan. Yesterday I woke him up at 7:15 so he could be ready to leave for church at 8:30. I woke him up several times (and I knew he was awake because I was getting ready to give him a "buzz" on his belly and he started giggling). Finally, at 8:15 I told him that he'd better hurry because he had to have a bath or shower and be dressed and ready to go or else I would leave him and he could wait for Dad to pick him up. I'm fairly certain that would be unpleasant because he jumped out of bed and headed straight for the tub. He was ready in time--whew--but he was furious when I told him he would not have time for breakfast. He said to me: "WHAT?!! You KNEW I would be hungry!" I just looked at him and tried not to smile and said: "Yes. Yes I did. Which is why I woke you up over an hour ago!" He said: "But you KNEW I would be HUNGRY!" Sigh. I had to sigh or else I was going to just laugh out loud and I'm pretty sure that would have ended unpleasantly... We just left at that point...

So last night Eva was sniffling (she has a cold) and Ethan said "Blow your nose." She ignored him as big sisters generally do with little brothers--that or whack them upside the head or arm, anyway. A few minutes later we heard "EVA! GO BLOW YOUR NOSE NOW!" We had to intervene at that point and tell him that he shouldn't yell at his sister. He replied with (drum roll) "But SHE told ME to blow MY nose a few days ago!!" Okay, so maybe the drum roll was really my eyes rolling. We ignored that and everything was quiet for the next five minutes or so until Eva started blowing her nose...and blowing...still blowing.........and.....blowing some more. At this point Ethan was just about beside himself and couldn't help but yell, "STOP BLOWING YOUR NOSE!" I thought this was hilarious, but managed to contain it to a chuckle and say, "But Ethan--YOU told her to blow it!" He responded with "But she's doing it on PURPOSE!"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Some Friendly Advice...

Dear Librarian,

I love going to the library! I enjoy bringing my kids and helping them find books and appreciate how it feeds their love for learning. Perusing your shelves in that quiet, peaceful atmosphere is relaxing and refreshing...

We do our best to return books in a timely matter. I believe in taking responsibility for overdue items...I'm sure you know this because you can see that we have replaced and/or paid for books in the past. We always pay our fines and never complain...I like to think that in our own way we are contributing to the 'buy more books' fund...maybe this is why we pay more fines than many other people.

A few weeks ago I received a notice that we had a book long overdue--it was a surprise to me, but I initiated a 2-week search! We searched our vehicles, under/in/around all the furniture, in all the dresser drawers, kitchen cabinets, garage (please don't ask why--we were desperate), through every book in our personal library, closets, ...... everywhere we could think of!!! I even crawled under my children's beds--please don't judge me for not wanting to explain exactly why this was such a big deal for me--you're a librarian, use your imagination...

Finally, I gave up and decided we would have to replace this book...past experience has taught me that I can do this 60-70% less on my own than from you (I've always wondered why) so I came to the library to pay the fine so I wouldn't incur more fines while I waited for my order to come in to replace the book. Imagine my surprise/relief/annoyance/frustration/anger to be told that I don't have a fine for that book, nor is it overdue. Apparently, you accidentally shelved the book without checking it in and didn't discover your mistake until another patron went to check the book out at which time you checked the book in (finally), cleared the book from my account so I wouldn't receive fines (thank you, by the way, for that), and then checked the book out to the next patron. So why am I frustrated and angry?!

Because you MISSED a step!!! You should NOTIFY me of your error so I don't waste DAYS of my life stressing, searching, being annoyed with my children! A simple phone call, message, note in the mail would's not a big deal really. I just need to know!!!

A Mom Buying Books this Week

PS--if you are a school librarian, thanks so much for your patience and for checking out another book to my 5-year-old even when we couldn't locate the one he already had checked out. The whole family looked everywhere because we know that when he goes to the library with his class he has to lay his head down on the table if he does not have his book. After 3 weeks of that thanks for telling me to wait to buy the book! You know your teachers well--Nathan's teacher had it THE WHOLE TIME! Which wouldn't bother me if he didn't have to lay his head on the table instead of quietly looking at books...

Note to self: It's not always the kids' fault the books are missing...check the library/classroom BEFORE crawling under beds!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Family Home Evening

We started with a song chosen by Eva, I Know My Father Lives. I picked the starting note and it was in a lower key because I didn't want to sing high and Eva spent the whole time frowning because it was in a different key than the one in the book--near perfect/perfect pitch IS a curse!

Ethan offered a prayer which was uneventful and sweet because he prayed that his siblings would be healthy--he was home quite sick yesterday.

Nathan had scripture and it was at this point that I realized I forgot to help him with it. No problem! He knew he had the scripture and he had his scriptures out and open to a page and started "reading"--rather, relating a story. None of us were quite sure about the specifics but there was a lot of fighting, some death, Nephi, the Lord, and help. This went on for almost 5 minutes. At the beginning I offered to help, but he declined. 3 minutes into it Vince offered more assertive assistance and was rebuffed. We eventually just sat and listened and smiled at each other and tried not to giggle. In the end, "the Lord helped Nephi".

Next was the lesson and I was in charge of that. It was a good lesson (about Repentance) until I asked Vince if he could explain a scripture and he explained it differently than I anticipated, resulting in a healthy discussion between he and I. The kids found this very amusing and quickly picked "sides". (Ethan woke up this morning and asked who was right and I told him we both were and explained it to him--Vince didn't say anything and I started to ask him if that was right and then decided I didn't really want to know and it didn't really matter anyway and Vince didn't offer anything so--all's well that ends well!) The irony that it was mom and dad engaging in distracting discussion during FHE was not lost on me--or the kids. During last night's discussion Ivy handed out her activity, a coloring page, and the kids all colored, ate cookies (Dad's treat), and listened to Mom and Dad have a gospel discussion. Good times.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Funnies

Ethan: "Mom, when Dad dies do I get the golf clubs? Because he has a nice wooden driver. They don't make those anymore." Which is funny because he's never been golfing for real. Ever.

Ivy: "MOM, I need to tell you something important! If you are by a volcano and you see some part of the volcanic stuff that looks black DO NOT put your foot in it or else it will burn up your whole leg!!" Good to know--now I will be extra cautious around volcanoes!

Ivy, when we were paying a bill at the hospital and she was too "busy" for my liking so I was taking her by the arm and putting her on a spot on the wall: "You're HURTING me!! WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HURT ME! OW!" Seriously, all I could think of at the time was how much I WANTED to hurt her at that moment! Then she sat on the wall and smiled nicely at the receptionist.

When I went to call the kids for dinner I found Ivy and three friends shrink-wrapped to a light post. Good times.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Last year we had a stranger scare in our neighborhood. I received a call from another parent letting me know that someone was driving around the neighborhood asking kids to help him find their lost puppy. It turned out to be another neighbor that we all know talking to a confused child but we spent an hour that evening rehearsing/role playing all various situations that might occur and how to handle them. We talked about our family's secret password. The kids took turns playing the "kid" and the "stranger". We had a great time and I was convinced that I had done my part to teach my kids what they needed to know to keep them safe.

Until the very next day when Ivy took a ride home with someone who was an acquaintance of mine and a stranger to her--I was not happy! I couldn't believe that the VERY NEXT DAY after we rehearsed for an HOUR that she took a ride from a stranger. There were extenuating circumstances where someone she did know and trust told her to get in the car with this other woman but still. I cannot figure out why she didn't ask for the password and/or refuse. And a big part of me was very frustrated with the person who was trying to "help".

Fast forward a year to this morning. I'm trying to teach the kids responsibility and accountability so when Ethan wouldn't get out of bed this morning he missed his ride and had to walk to school. I actually think Ethan prefers this lots of days and he loves to run so he woke up at 8:15 and left the house at 8:38 (school starts at 8:45) knowing full well that I was NOT going to excuse his tardiness and that unexcused tardies are a big deal at our house. (He totally got there on time!) A few minutes after he left a neighbor calls me, very concerned, because she saw Ethan on the way to school and saw a man she did not recognize call Ethan to his minivan and talk to him. She tried to turn around but by the time she did Ethan and the minivan were gone. That's so scary! I immediately called the school and discovered Ethan was in school. When I talked with him he said that he was very close to the school and had crossed the street when the van stopped, a man got out, and called him back. Ethan went back--which is totally the wrong thing to do and I told him, which is another frustration because we have been talking a lot lately about respect for authority and obedience. So I guess the new rule is you don't necessarily have to respect people you don't know. Especially ones who stop you on the way to school. When he went back the guy told him that he didn't see Ethan look both ways before he crossed the street. Really? Who does that? And anyway the way the street is Ethan only has to look ONE way--there is no other street--it's a "T" situation. It's hard not to be suspicious there's something else going one. And he had crossed the street safely!!

So here's a shout out to all the "helpful" people trying to keep my kids safe. Please just watch carefully if you're concerned and talk to me. If you don't know my kids STAY AWAY! If you see a strange kid do something irresponsible and/or careless here's a few suggestions: sigh, roll your eyes, talk to the air, groan, yell obscenities in your rear view mirror, tell the kids in the car how that is NOT ok, honk your horn, wag your finger at them, look the other way.... And be SUPER cautious when you're driving near a school. But NEVER stop a child you don't know, don't talk to them, don't ask them to come back to your vehicle, really I would prefer it if you didn't even make eye contact...

For the record Ethan says he did look and cross the street safely and the man showed up after he reached the other curb. (Which is what the neighbor seemed to see) I did let the school know that a stranger had stopped my son on the way to school and we will yet AGAIN talk about stranger danger and how respect for adults/authority figures does NOT apply in certain situations. And I will keep praying as always for my kids because it is NOT possible for me to prepare them for EVERY single possibility.