Thursday, April 24, 2008

Recent Quotes From My Kids

Mashuga, cocking his head, asked, "Mom, is Barak Obama on American Idol?"

"No, he's running for President."

"Oh." He thinks for a minute and then asks "So, does whoever wins American Idol get to be president?"
And then, an overheard conversation between Kaitybean and Scud.

Kaitybean: Who do you want to grow up to be like, Mom or Dad?

Scud: Dad. Except one thing. Mom gives three chances. Dad only gives one.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Funny Picture

This time, sent to me by my mom. Sort of echoes how I'm feeling right now about the presidential race.

Dear Bertha

Some people might say you're old, egg-shaped and that you have no nose.

Even when you were new to us, there were those who thought you were worn out, that you'd been around the block one too many times.

But, from the moment I saw you, I was in love.

You were born less than a decade before you came to us -- a first for our family. Your gold paint glistened in the sun and gave us motivation to keep you clean -- another first for us.

Unlike all of those other gutless wimps of mini-vans, you held your own even in the mountains. A press on the accelerator and you would do what you were supposed to do -- accelerate. I remember taking you up and down the mountains between Utah and Denver and the way you would push to the top, leaving sports cars and trucks in your wake.

You saw us through 130,000 miles of trekking. I drove you when we moved to Littleton, Colorado. Then, you kept us safe and happy on many trips between Colorado and Utah. You were there to help us bring our precious newborn Mashuga home from the hospital. Then, you took us back to the hospital six weeks later when he had RSV and pneumonia.

You were there, of course, when we moved back to Utah and into the happy home we own now. You've stuck with me through trip after trip after trip driving children to their charter school. You took us on our first family trip to Disneyland and then sat in the parking lot of the hotel without complaint when we took the shuttle back and forth. You never even got to see Disneyland, did you? But, we took you to the ocean also and you loved that, right?

You have been sticky and grimy inside and out. You've never complained. And do you remember when your door stuck open all the time until my Dad fixed it? It was pretty crazy there for a while. We never knew when you'd decide to drive down the road with all of your insides showing. And sometimes the solanoid in your starter liked to stick. One of us would have to climb under you and pound on the starter until you started. Not a very nice trick, but I know it wasn't your fault. Sorry we never got you a new starter.

So, Bertha. The insurance adjuster gave us the bad news last week. He called you a total loss. Total loss! Can you believe that? After all of the craziness we've put you through, a little front end damage (0kay and a cracked radiator and maybe some engine damage) and he dismissively calls you a total loss. Doesn't he know who you are?!?

I'm afraid we're faced with some tough choices my friend.

One of the toughest was the choice to buy an inexpensive car that fits our whole family. It will fill the gap while we save for something nicer. I didn't want to even think about replacing you with anything that wasn't obviously a step up. I was uncooperative and insistent on looking around. Maybe I was right, maybe not. But when a neighbor offered to sell us their 92 Mazda MPV just days after our crash, when it had just recently passed safety and emissions, when it was well within our price range and meant we did not have to get rid of all our capital for what was probably temporary car, when that price tag was only 50% of the low blue-book price, I had to grudgingly agree with JDub that it was an answer to our prayers.

So, you may have seen him parked next to you in the driveway, but I thought I'd better tell you myself. We have a new vehicle. He's green. His name is Carlos. But, even if you say it sexy by trilling the r, I still don't like him yet.

First off, he's a wimp. Pushing on his accelerator is, well, highly disappointing. There's not a lot happenin' under that hood. He complains a bit about steering. Every time I turn a corner, I just want to shake him by the steering wheel and say "Hello! Carrrrlos! This is what you're supposed to be doing!" He is in serious need of a lube job and an alignment. He's short and doesn't have very much storage space or leg-room for our family. (I'd forgotten how spoiled we were by you and your roominess.)

Oh, and this little van is just a bit too pretentious for my liking. I don't know, technically, whether he's a mini-van or an SUV. His hard, boxy edges give off the appearance of an SUV, but as we discussed before there's not much "sports" or "utility" goin' on with this guy. You could totally take him. At least you've never pretended to be something that you're not. You're solidly a mini-van, dorky to the core. And with your egg-shape and your funky little bra, I think you've pulled it off with style.

And last of all, he stinks. Now, don't get me wrong, he's not all smoky and smelly and disgusting like he could be. But, he just doesn't smell right. And I know what you're thinking. You stink too. Sometimes in the last 6 years you have stunk to high heaven. But that's different. That's family stink. It's sort of like the difference between changing your own children's diapers and changing OPC diapers. Other people's children always smell funnier.

So, I am grateful. Really I am. We have something that will get us through this rough spot, that will help us stay out of debt while we save and look carefully for a new car, one I can feel happy with making a part of our family. It really is a tremendous blessing that Carlos has come to us at this time in our lives.

But, I'm still grieving. I feel sad to lose you. Stupid. Can you ever forgive me? You've given us a strong, solid six years of car bliss. Sure, you have your faults. There were times you just stopped going for no reason at all. Then, you'd start again without any explanation or change. Your radio doesn't work. But, you're my girl. My friend. You've been through so much with us, a huge asset and major contributor to our family's happiness. You've done so very much for us and in a moment of stupidity and bad weather I rammed you head first into a solid-metal boat of a car. I'm so sorry.

My dad comes home tomorrow. He and JDub will have a look at you to see whether or not we should try to fix you up and enjoy you for whatever time you have left. As long as it's not too expensive, I think it might be worth a try. I hate to just give you away to our insurance company, even if they do give us more money that way. But, if it's going to cost too much and end up being a long, painful goodbye then maybe it's better for us to leave things the way they are. Part with a hug and kiss, gratitude and good memories.

I guess that's all I have to say, Bertha. You've been wonderful, no matter what anyone else says, no matter how many times I've taken you for granted and wished for a newer, better model. You have been absolutely perfect for our family and I hope you've enjoyed us, too. Only time will tell what our future holds, whether we will be together or apart. You're just sitting sadly in our driveway, waiting for the next phase of your life.

No matter what happens, I'll always care for you and remember you fondly.

Again, I'm sorry it had to play out this way.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Motivating, no?

Exactly what it might motivate one to do is up for debate.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Joy Comes in Moments

A conversation with Scud last night as he was settling down for sleep:

Scud: Mom, I realize you and Dad do so much stuff for us. I want to thank you for that.
Me: You're welcome. I'm grateful to be your mom.
Scud: I'm grateful to be your son.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Hi everyone! How are you all? It seems like forever since I've written anything here. Life has just been busy and full and rewarding and my little blog here has not had the draw it sometimes has. Too busy living and learning.

But, I had to come tell you the latest. I rear-ended a tank yesterday. Okay, not exactly a real-live tank. It was just a big, old, heavy, metal car. I looked down for a moment and then when I looked back up it was right there. If it had been dry, regular weather I would have had enough time to stop. But, (and I must interject here, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE WEATHER HERE IN UTAH??????) since it was snowing and the roads were wet and slick, I slid right into the back of his car.

Thankfully there were no injuries, though my neck is a bit sore today. His car didn't even have a scratch. Man, I wish I would have looked at the make and model of his car so I could get a picture and show you all just how SOLID it is. But... I was a bit distracted.

Our lovely Toyota Previa, Bertha, did not fare nearly as well. Her front end is all bent in; we can't open the hood. Lights are falling out. The fan belt squeaks. She died on me while I was taking kids to school this morning and wouldn't start again until she magically came to life when JDub came to rescue us and turned the key. (Isn't that always the way?)

The insurance adjuster is supposed to look at it today and give us the damage report. We have a $500 deductible and, gratefully, have that saved up. We may even need to find a new car if the damage is too great. We shall see what our best options are.


Everything is well. We're all well. The guy I ran in to was exceedingly kind and easy-going about it.

It would be easy to complain that, as soon as we are out of debt and about to begin building a full emergency account we will be shelling out at least $500 and possibly be looking at the necessity of buying a new car (hopefully without any debt).

My sister texted me a quote a while ago that has really carried me through some of the difficulties of the last little while.

"If you can't see the bright side, polish the dull side."

So that's what I'm doing:
  • I got in an accident yesterday and nobody was hurt!
  • My kidlets are just fine!
  • We chose not to involve police in the accident, so I didn't get any kind of citation!
  • We will have to pay a $500 deductible to cover the expense of this accident, but we already have it in the bank. Hooray and hallelujah for emergency savings! Dave Ramsey, my friend, this is only one of many times over the last few years that I have wished I could kiss you on both cheeks like an old Italian grandmother.
  • Bertha the gold van has taken us through over 150,000 miles since we bought her in 2002. This is the very first time we have had to do anything major to fix her. We have replaced tires and brakes and the muffler, done basic maintenance, but when all is said and done this has been an exceedingly reliable car.
  • When she died this morning on the way to take kids to school, we were on a residential road just a block from our home. I drove up and down State (a very busy street) yesterday and even on the freeway and didn't have a bit of trouble. I am so, so grateful for the timing of it all.
  • Even though we have been talking about lowering our coverage since we own our van outright, we have not done that yet. Thank goodness we still have comprehensive!
  • And hey, I may even get a new vehicle out of this ordeal!
Isn't life crazy and funny and just interesting? I live a blessed life and I know it. No complaints here.

PS I'll try to get a picture up for you soon.

Friday, April 04, 2008


For those of you following along, it is now official. We are now debt free except for our house. And it feels WONDERFUL.

We made our last payment just in time for a significant pay decrease for JDub. Yesterday I worked up budgets for the next two pay periods and, since we have no debt payments, we will be just fine.

Can you hear my enormous sigh of relief?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

25 Ways to Simplify Your Life with Kids

"You won't get to ultra-simple if your life includes children ... but you can find ways to simplify, no matter how many kids you have."

Another fabulous post from one of my favorite blogs:

I was surprised by how many of these we actually do, and how many I've never even thought to do.

I'll be working over the next little while on:
4.Regular Cleanups
6. Prep the Night Before
10. Always Prep Early
25. Focus on Doing, Not on Spending

The last one especially spoke to me. I want to DO the simple things with our family more.

What about you? After you read it, come back here and tell me which of Leo's tips were most helpful for you, will you please?

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