Monday, September 29, 2008

The Two-Fold Mission of this Post

Women's Conference:
I went to Women's Conference on Saturday. We got tickets on the plaza level, which means on the floor, a stone's throw away from the action. I had never sat that close before. Since this is only my second time in the Conference Center it wasn't too hard to get closer than the last time, but I'm pretty sure I won't get that close ever again.

I enjoyed the entire conference but my favorite parts were:
1. The Choir. They were terrific. The leader was extremely enthusiastic and the songs were quite cheerful and energetic.
2. The intermediate hymn: The energy in the room was electric. I loved it.
3. Elder Uchtdorf: His talk made me really appreciate what it means to have talents and to be creative. He said we are spirit children of the most creative being in the universe. So true. I have a new-found appreciation for my spiritual heritage.

We went to dinner afterward with the girls and that was fun, too. Interestingly enough, I got home at midnight. Crazy. The entire family was asleep when I arrived, surprise!

The Reason I Love Fall:
Here we are, about to hop into October. Amazing. It's time for me to post about my favorite part of fall. I love the weather. I love the colors. I love the birthday celebrations and Halloween. But I SUPER DUPER love pumpkins!

We grew some sugar pumpkins this year and we have 8 coming to full fruition. One of them has been picked and given away to a friend who loves to bake with pumpkin. I am eagerly awaiting the baking and the carving of the remaining 7 pumpkins.

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin tart, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin pasta (psych...that sounds gross even to me!)

The only pumpkin problem: Whatever I bake will only be eaten by myself. My kids and husband will maybe have a piece of whatever I bake, but the rest will sit on my counter top, begging for me to inhale it all. I'll have to bake with the pumpkin knowing that I need to give some away or else I'm afraid I might turn orange and become the shape of a pumpkin if I don't.

Anyone out there have any favorite pumpkin foods? Anything I didn't already mention? Please provide recipes where possible. And if the recipe involves cream cheese, so much the better.

(If anyone is wondering how I can eat so much pumpkin with a LapBand, I can't. But I can eat a small piece and dream about eating the rest, that will have to do.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Student Education Plan

Every year I am forced to attend my school district's version of the parent-teacher conference. But, instead of this little get together being just between me and the teacher, I get to bring along my child. Then the three of us sit together and first ask my child what his/her strengths are. Then we ask that child what he/she can work on. We set goals. We write what the child will do to attain these goals. Then we talk about how I, as the parent, will help the child reach the goals.

This is the most retarded, idiotic, waste of time I have ever encountered as a parent. I cannot believe I am forced to this every single year. What is the point? Let's address each of my concerns:

1. I take my child with me. Why? I want some one-on-one time with the teacher. I want to get the real low-down about what is going on with my kid. I want privacy and reality.

2. What are my child's strengths? Why am I asking the child? I want to know what the teacher thinks are his/her strengths. Come on! I want the teacher's viewpoint. They are the ones who spend 6 hours a day, 5 days a week with my kid, supposedly teaching them. The teacher should know what the kid's strengths are.

3. My kids weaknesses. Okay, I think its fine to have the child fess up and own up to their own problems. I think it is a good exercise in self-realization for them to come clean.

4. Goal setting. Again, I want the teacher to help me out here. The teacher ought to know what is up. The teacher should be very aware of what my kid needs to work on. I am busy after school trying to get the kids to do chores, finish homework, get shuffled off to soccer or piano or whatever, make dinner, clean up from dinner, get baths, scripture study, and prayer. Like I said before, 6 hours in an academic environment with my kid ought to clue the teacher in.

5. How the child can attain the goals: Again, I'm fine with this part. The kid should come up with their own plan.

6. How can I, as a parent, help them attain their goals: This is the horrifying part for me. As I stated in problem #4, I'm a busy gal. I have a hard time committing to completing anything else around here between 3:30 and 9:00. I'm up to my neck in what I like to call, "schtuff." This is similar to the grade the kid gets for homework and home reading. Those grades are not a reflection on anyone else but me, the mom. If I wanted to get graded on being a mom, I would call up DCFS and have them do a home study just for fun. Then I would contact the police department, fire department, my local clergy, as well as a peer group and ask them to grade my performance.

If you haven't heard me say it before, Parenting is one long guilt trip after another. Like a Merry-Go-Round that keep spinning and spinning, faster and faster, with no sign of letting up and no brass ring to grab because some other more put together, well-coiffed mother has already grabbed it and has it grasped in her perfectly manicured hands as her clean, well behaved children smile gratefully and admiringly up at her.

NOTE: I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, but it's on my mind and I have to gripe about it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

As Promised...

Has anyone noticed that my new favorite way to punctuate is with three dots? As in... Weird how I've taken a liking to three little periods in a row.

Harold was sick this weekend. A harsh cold. He spent hours sleeping on both Saturday and Sunday. He was still feeling pretty lousy on Monday, better but lousy, so he stayed home from work. He cannot stand staying home for 3 days in a row even if he is sick so for FHE last night the four of us went to the dollar theater to see Indiana Jones. Harold had seen it and didn't like it but for some odd reason has been trying to convince me to see it ever since. For $2 for the entire family, I'll give it a try. Plus my expectations were low so I couldn't go wrong.

We got there at a decent time, about 20 minutes before the movie started, which is a big deal for my ever-late family. We found some seats and I immediately could tell I was going to be irritated during the movie. You know when you have people sit down near you and they are loud and obnoxious, shouting to their friends on the other side of their row? When this happens I get a kind of a ticked-off, irritable feeling and start preparing to be annoyed. I had to remind myself that you get what you pay for so keep those expectations low, missy!

There is a scene in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan and Greg Kinnear go to the movies and are talking during the previews and a lady tells them to hush. He says "you want me to be quiet while a HOT DOG is singing?" Apparently it was the part where the movie vendor is promoting buying treats at the snack counter. I love that part of the movie, but I'm kind of like that woman, once the lights go down, STOP TALKING!

During the pre-show there was lots of talking, a calmed myself down and figured that once the lights went down a hush would magically fall over the crowd. The lights go down, the previews start and the kids behind me are LOUDLY talking to each other. Not even attempting to keep it on the low-down. I just couldn't handle it, my nerves were already a little raw, so I whip my entire body around and and say "Hey!" The kid apologizes and even after his siblings or friends, whatever, were still talking he was sushing them. Good job kid! Thanks for respecting my right to a peaceful movie.

Then the movie starts. All goes fairly well until a lady behind me and to the right (who had been chatting VERY loudly during the pre-movie show) starts doing it again. Only this time it is a running commentary.

Cate Blanchet's character shows up:
Loud Lady Response: "Who is SHE?"

Indiana splits open the casing of a mummy to reveal the nastiness inside.
Loud Lady Response: "DISGUSTING!"

Indiana reverses a poison dart at a foe and kills him.
Loud Lady Response: "EW"

NOTE: Ew and Disgusting were the LL's favorite words last night.

The crystal skull is revealed.

At this point I start laughing, uncontrollably. My body is shaking as I try to stop myself. Harold starts laughing, Sav starts laughing, the three of us have our entire bodies shaking and rolling as we try to contain ourselves. I mean at this point all I'm thinking is, "Is it weirdo night at the dollar theater? Do all the movie crazies go to some class wherein they learn the fine art of disturbing other movie-goers? Am I am candid camera?"

At some point early on I had turned to the LL and made a nasty face (yes in the dark, where she probably couldn't see...) and Harold says, "Honey, she's got something wrong with her." YA THINK? Turns out she really did. I think she had a mental retardation, for real. Then I felt bad for my nasty look. But I still couldn't help busting out into laughter at least three times during the movie.

Harold says the running commentary made the movie for him. Even now...I am sitting here with a grin on my face. I guess it made the movie for me, too. Although spending 2 hours of time with Harrison Ford is a secret dream of mine, so that aspect might have helped.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heidi Ho

I had my two-week follow up appointment with my surgeon today. All is well. I fessed up that I have been eating things that were not pureed. He was cool with it. I also told him there were foods I was NOT going to try until I was sure I had healed. Things like salad, raw veg, beef. etc. He reiterated that the chewing until the food is complete mush is key.

Have you ever tried to do that? Most of us chew, chew, chew, Swallow, chunks and all. How about talking and eating? Do you find that when you talk you don't pay attention and just swallow whenever? I do. I was on the phone the other day talking with my sister when I realized I was done with my food and I had no idea whether or not I had chewed it well enough or not. I can't do that again any time soon.

My dear daughter had her first progress report....drum roll please....straight A's. Thatta Girl! We went to parent-teacher conference last night even though with her grades our attendance was not required. All the teachers sang her praises and I could tell they were wondering why we were there. I think positive reinforcement was a good thing for Sav. She seems to really like the praise and hopefully that will keep her going for the next little while until the next progress report, and so on, and so on... She also made a goal in last night's game. Sah-weet!

We had an interesting convo with my boy the other day. He wanted to know if it was okay to take one's own life if you were dying anyway, to save yourself from the trauma of it all. He wanted to know if he could pull out a gun and use it if he was falling from a very high cliff anyway. Where does the kid get this stuff? Like it is more manly to just shoot yourself than to freak out as you are falling from a 500 foot cliff. We talked about the sanctity of life and how Heavenly Father is the only individual with the power to take life, no matter what, even if you are falling from a very high cliff. He thinks about dying a lot and is worried about the pain I think.

My dad is gearing up to attend BYU. My alma mater. (Did you know Alma Mater is Latin for nourishing mother? I like that.) I am a little sad about that. Only because I MISS those days. All the blogging possibilities!!! What am I going to do??? I need good blogging material. You know what? I should join a gym. There are crazies all over a place like that. Or let's see....I could sign up for a pottery class. I would imagine a pottery class would be excellent blog fodder. Too bad I'm not pregnant, those pre-birth classes are a good place, too. I need to get out more because even at Wal-Mart I could probably find some good material. I feel like a comic who has run out of inspiration. Writer's block if you will. I have resorted to only blogging about my children and I KNOW that isn't that interesting.

I'll work on getting out more, and being more observant. I think that might be the answer. I was super observant at BYU because I was just so happy to be there, and mesmerized by the young kids who thought they were something special. Which they are, as my BIL Justin would tell you. Right Justin?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jail Bird

Just when you think there is nothing to blog about....Congrats to a certain someone on not going to jail this week.

Note To My Dear Readers: Pay your speeding tickets. Don't leave it until you have a court date. If you do have a court date, attend court. If you do not attend court a warrant will be issued for your arrest. When said warrant is pulled up on a kind policeman's computer while he has you pulled over for another moving violation, you will be arrested. Your spouse will have to bail you out. Then another court date will be set. Your lawyers may inform you that time in jail is a strong possibility. The prosecuting attorney may not care that you have a family. If by some small chance you avoid jail your community service work. Do not delay.

Note: Harold currently has a speeding ticket (remember Wyoming [hey that sounds like a movie title!]). Anyway, I don't want to pay the ticket. I don't. I think we should be able to pay half and half in order to NOT break the bank this month. But after the story above, Harold thinks I am wanting to push our limit. I don't. I just don't want to pay the dang ticket.

Harold, don't pay. And if you get arrested in the near future, I promise to bail you out.

P.S. The above story is not a story about my husband, although it could be if he doesn't stop harassing me tonight, I may let him rot in the County Jail.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Ever had ground up Won Ton soup? Don't do it. Not good. Won Tons should be eaten whole. Period.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Lapband Note: Yesterday I hit a low. I kinda don't want to go into it, but suffice it to say I was crying on the phone to Harold and feeling super down. After that conversation I decided to take control instead of feeling out of control and I did the following:

I arranged to have lunch with Karen (it was her b-day).
I arranged to get a pedicure on Friday (H gave me a gift cert for my bday last year, time to use it).
I decided to forget going back to work until Thursday (today).

Now I feel tons better. Well, eating at Cafe Rio was pretty helpful, too. Check this out. I ordered the soup and a flan, both of which will go down pretty smooth, still taking super careful care to chew every last bit of lump or bump in my soup. I ate about 1/4 of the soup and 1/3 of the flan and was SO FULL! It was the weirdest thing. Granted, I did have a drink with my lunch (which is a lapband no-no) but I have been eating so little and I was eating soup anyway I figured it didn't matter if I drank or not.

But I walked outta there, having eaten so very little, fulling ultra-ultra full. If this is what the lapband is going to do for me.....bring it on!

Soccer Note: Mack had a game on Tuesday. I didn't go because I was feeling kinda icky and it was raining out. I just couldn't expose myself to that. (So I exposed my kid....nice.) Anyway, he scored 6 out of 7 goals. Woohoo! I was so sad I missed it but so proud of my little "Playah"

YW Note: Sav had to highlight me in YW on Tues. The coolest thing she said about me was that I "let her be herself." I was stunned but completely pleased. I am so glad she feels she can be herself and be proud of who she is and that I LOVE HER. My girl rocks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Since the cat is out of the bag, its time for me to share some fun food stories. I was on liquids for quite a few days postop and may I just say that having only liquids gets really old? I could feel my stomach rumbling something fierce, but the weird part was....I didn't feel hungry. I am attributing this to being postoperative, and not because I have a band in there. But I got sick of the noise, no really. I would be just sitting on the couch, recuperating, and my stomach would be rolling and rolling and growling and super, duper ticked off. It was LOUD. I advanced my diet faster than I was supposed to and started eating mushy food. Mushy food is going to be on the menu for the next 3 weeks by the way. But my stomach has decided it isn't going to kill me from the inside out. I think it's still pouting, but it'll get over it.

Anyone out there ever heard of the Happy Baby Food Grinder? My mom had one growing up. She loved it. You could take what you were serving the rest of the family for dinner, throw it into the grinder, and Voila! your toddler who had few teeth could gum down some lasagna. I happen to have said food grinder at my house. My mom asked if the one I had belongs to her....and I think it does. It has a dated look to it. I'm not sure why I still have it, but thanks mom! This little guy is going to save my life, and the life of my loved ones who live in my house.

I have now used the grinder for a pasta dish a nice lady in our ward brought over, for lasagna (who said it was just for toddlers with no teeth?), and I plan on using it for a crockpot chicken recipe I'm trying out tonight.

If you think I am going to buy baby food to get me through the next three weeks you are Crazy! Although I really used to love the baby food plums. They had a little tapioca in them and they were oh, so yummy. (I even used to choose this as my "treat" when my mom took me to the store...remember mom?)

Which reminds me, tonight is mother-daughter night at young women's. We are supposed to bring a dessert we enjoy to share. Maybe I should buy a dozen or so jars of baby food plums to spread around? Nothing like making a broad announcement at a church function "Yep, I had lapband surgery...wanna suffer with me?" So I get to make a chocolate cake, because that is what my dear daughter requested. I could probably gum some of that down, but I've had enough chocolate cake in my lifetime....thankyouverymuch...and I don't need any more tonight. Tonight will be an exercise in enjoying people and company, and not food. This will be good for my relationship with food. We are on a bit of a break...only seeing each other 3x a day instead of 24/7. That kind of codependency is unhealthy.

But now that I've mentioned it, I think I'm gonna make a quick trip to Wally's to see about those plums. They gotta have some redeeming value in them, don't they?

Monday, September 8, 2008

The New Me

I've been debating about whether to post about the latest development in my life and after some soul goes...

On Thursday, September 4 at approximately 7:45 a.m. I entered an operating room where I had a Lap Band inserted into my body.

Many of you probably know what this is, but for those who don't, the brief explanation is that a Lap Band is placed around the upper portion of your stomach, creating a smaller stomach pouch, with an access port wherein saline can be inserted or withdrawn. The smaller stomach pouch pretty much restricts your food intake, therefore the Lap Band is considered a dieting tool.

This is a picture of how the band is inserted. Sorry if it grosses you out.

I have been thinking about getting this surgery off and on for the past 2 years and the pieces finally fell together in August(meaning insurance will pay for it, and the personal timing was right).

Some people may consider a LapBand an easier road than just plain ole dieting and exercise. They may be right. But, I am here to report that undergoing surgery to help lose weight was not an easy decision and I am pretty sure I have a rough road to hoe ahead. The band will not do any of the work for me. If I want to eat chocolate and ice cream all day, I can sure do that because pretty much having liquid calories is completely possible and will allow me never to lose weight. I still have to make choices about getting the RIGHT kinds of food into my body, as well as stay on track with exercise.

Basically, my new band will signal me when I've had enough. My body has probably been trying for years to give me the signal and I would ignore it. I can't do that with the band. Ignoring the signal will cause problems that I won't go into just yet.

I decided to come clean, as it were, because I feel I have an ultra supportive group of family and friends who will understand and appreciate this decision and why I made it....

And will help me go shopping for skinny girl clothes in the next 1 to 2 years. Yes, it is going to take that long. The band isn't the bypass, the weight loss is way less dramatic and is more like a regular diet. I just needed a boost, a very important, vital boost.

The possibilities of weight loss are endless. I can lose 0 pounds, I can lose all my excess weight, but most people lose 60% of their excess. Only time, and responsible choices will tell.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Soccer Mom Strikes Again

It's soccer season again. I love soccer season. I love watching my kids run up and down the field, getting all sweaty, gasping for water or a breath, with big smiles on their faces. I love watching them use their physical prowess to gain access to the ball and of course a goal or two is nice as well.

I am a soccer mom. I have no shame in that. In fact I take great pride in it.

Nichols Family Soccer History:

2006: Mack's team rocked the planet. He was all over the field, dominating the ball, and making goals. He was a bit of a ball hog, but everyone knew if they wanted the team to win, get the ball to Mack.

2006: Sav's team: Completely uninspiring. Sav would run up to the ball with all kinds of energy and then all of a sudden come to a screeching halt just before she reached the ball. No kicks, no goals. Sad.

2007: Mack's team: Less than inspirational. Lots of kids, still too small to play positions so it was still like watching a kid magnet roll around the field, attracting every player within a 30 foot radius.

2007: Sav's team. So stinkin' sweet. Sav rocked. She wasn't a big scorer, but she was IN THERE. She would rush the ball, take it away, she was a great forward and a great defender, often assisting in getting the goals. Her coach would tell everyone how great she was. I LOVED watching her games.

2008: Mack's team: 16 players. Last night there were 17. Okay. That means 6 are sitting on the sidelines while the others are still so fascinated with the soccer magnet that getting them to play positions is difficult. He is still having tons of fun, so still fun to watch.

2008: Sav's team: What happened? Last year's coach told our friend who is coaching her age group this year that if he got ANYONE on the league this year, it needed to be Sav. I watched last night as she got too tired, wouldn't rush the ball, and when she got near the goal she hesitated too long and the other team rushed her and would get the ball back.

COME ON GIRL! Get your stuff together. I want the girl from last year back. I know you have it in you. Go, go, go! I am not entirely sure where the kids get their physical prowess. It must come from their dad, because it wasn't from me (see side note story below). So, I owe a great big thanks to H for giving me children who for the most part ROCK at soccer, who bring me at least 4 to 5 weeks of sheer joy in the fall.

Side Note: The other night at a friend's BBQ another woman who was invited pulled out her adult trike. If you don't know what that is, this is a plaything thatlooks like a scooter but has two places for feet, one for each foot, so essentially a jacked up scooter. I have been there when she has pulled this out before and insisted on NOT riding it. The other night, everyone was trying to get me to ride it again. I refused. I know what happens when I do physical stuff. Finally, when I felt no one was watching, I decided to try it out. You get on and really have to work your body in a weird way to get the thing to move, swaying back and forth INTO the force, its odd. So I hop on and try to ride. After a minute I decide to go UP a tiny little driveway curb so that I can take the trike to the top and use some of the momentum to help me learn how to ride this beast. Well, I approach the tiny, itsy, bitsy bump and SLAM into it. I proceed to topple over, landing on my right knee and using my arms to keep my face from slamming into the sidewalk, coming within 2 inches of doing major damage to my moneymaker(that would be my face). Ouch. I get up, look around, and sure enough no one saw. But dang, at that point a little sympathy would have been nice. But this little story is exactly why I am hesitant to EVER try something new physically.