Friday, June 18, 2010

because it's summer...

and now is the time to do summer-y things.

We bought a large wading pool today...and we like it. I have to toot my own horn and say that I am a genius. I put the slide from our swing set into the pool and then draped the hose on the slide. How fun is that? My kids were delighted. I am also a brilliant genius because I put
a tub of water at the bottom of the steps up to the slide, so when the kids get out to run around, they wash the mud off their feet before they slide back down into the water! (someone pinch me, my creative juices are flowing so freely today.)

Dev and Calvin were in summer lovin' heaven aaaaalll day. And while they played, Bogey slept, and I crafted outside in a camp chair, I was in a little heaven of my own. I started work on another rug, a "junk" rug, just to get rid of extra scraps (you know, because just throwing them away would be so wrong!), and I have decided to share the process with you, dear blog readers. So stay tuned...I will take pictures and post them so you can see the awesomeness that is me.


speaking of summer, here's a shot of my gargantuan garden that I am oh-so-very-proud of.

Isn't it pretty? Please note the non-trench, fence-filled, gopher-warding space. That there represents many, many hours of hard work (and for some reason, whenever I was out digging the trench, I had that song from the movie "Holes" stuck in my head. You know the one: "You've got to gooooo and dig those holes!" (If you don't know what I'm talking about, please remember that this in no way detracts from my coolness.) Also, please note, all the leetle veggie seedling heads that are poking up. (that means I'm doing something right!) Husband went out and bought sufficient drip system equipment today, so tomorrow's project is installing it. Should we succeed in this mission, our job will become significantly easier (because right now, it takes a good 30 + minutes to water this bad boy.) Next, we'll be in search of mulch and all it's good benefits.

And, hey, lest you fear I was exaggerating, here's one of the deepest gopher holes I've found.

(I photographed my foot on purpose so you could get the proper perspective. See, there is a method to my madness.) I dream of the day I can stick a trap down in that hole and watch the little flag go up (indicating a catch). It's become the vision that spurs me forward.

Sunday is Father's day--that means I gotta run to the store tomorrow and find something great for the Husband.

AND MONDAY is the first day of summer!

Happy summer everyone!

I won!

I won the giveaway over at Evelyn's blog, Hanging by a Silver Lining! Wahoo!!!!!!!!!!
Totally made my day! I've never won a giveaway before. I'm super excited! Now what should I buy? Ooh, the possibilities are endless.
If you haven't had the chance yet, head over to Evelyn's blog. It's AWESOME! This lady knows motherhood and she knows how to write right (ha! ha!).
And I'm not just saying that because I WON!
Thanks, Evelyn!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The capacity to be more

I've been feeling busy lately...not with resentment, just busy. As I walk through my house, I notice things that I need to do. As I look at my kids, I remember things that I wanted to do with them, teach them, say to them. As I think about my day, I remember more that I want to do that I haven't done yet.
Our library has this amazing program where you can bring a sack lunch and go listen to performers while you eat. (I remember my elementary school doing something similar, and I liked it back then, too.) Today, the performers were a harpist and a cellist. I knew I had to go. I've always wanted to play the cello. I played the violin for many, many years from elementary through high school, but I didn't really enjoy it. I secretly really wanted to play the cello. In junior high, I told my orchestra teacher that I would like switch, but a bunch of other kids had just switched instruments and we were short violins, so she talked me into staying put.
In college, I tried again to learn when I signed up for private cello lessons (beginning), but right before the semester started, they changed the prerequisites for the class: you had to major in music to take private lessons. I was so disappointed.
Today, as I sat in the library, Bogey on my lap, and a Bologna sandwich in my hand, listening to the sweet sound of the cello drifting through the quiet, I got misty-eyed. It was SO beautiful. And I wished, again, that I could learn to play. I sat for most of the concert trying to think of a way I could pay for lessons, and an instrument, or teach myself. I came up empty.

I went out to the garden tonight as the sun was setting and got the watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers planted. There are the last thing in the big garden to go in. I meant to plant them earlier, but we had company, and then we got just didn't get done until tonight. When I put the seeds into the ground I encouraged them to grow fast. Like the weeds. The weeds are already sprouted and growing. I spent some time pulling them out. I still didn't get done because there are so many, but I discovered by bending down close that the peas are about to make an entrance into the world. And the beans are already up, growing at full speed. There is something miraculous about seeing a seedling poke its head through the dirt. I want to pat each one on the head and say, "good job!"
They did it. They were just this dormant seed last week, and now they are a little plant. Not only that, they are going to grow into big plants, with the capacity to create more of themselves. What a miracle.
I get that I am like the seed. I get that I have potential to do many things that I am not currently doing. What gets me is that I WANT so badly to do those things, and I feel choked out sometimes by other things--little things, but things I have to do--like dust. Or dishes.
One of my little bean plants, small as it is, is already being choked out by weeds. I spent a lot of time pulling the troublemakers out and encouraging my seedling. "Never you mind those rotten weeds. They aren't important. You're the important one, and I'm going to do everything I can to make them die and you live."
If I was the seedling, and God was the gardener, I think he would be saying the same thing to me. Except, I've been looking at it wrong. The chores, the schedule, and the opportunities are not the weeds. The weeds are the guilt I feel when I can't do everything. I'm only a seedling. I have lots of time to grow. (Impatience may also be another weed I need to pull out. )
It's the capacity to become more that drives me forward. I know I can be more than this, so I try. It doesn't happen on my timetable. But it is happening. That should be enough.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I've picked up a stomach virus that I WILL NOT be going into detail about. I think I will take a bloggy break and curl up with a good book for a few days.

While you're waiting for me to come back, check out this giveaway that my friend Evelyn is hosting on her blog...the giveaway is awesome, Evelyn's blog is awesome, Evelyn is awesome.

This will be the first giveaway I have ever entered, so I hope I win!

YOu can enter, too; here's the link: . The giveaway is only until June 17th, so hurry and enter for a chance to win!

Now, if you'll excuse me, a deep soft blanket and my book are calling to me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am at war. Many of you are not aware of this fact, but it's true. The war of which I speak plays out tirelessly from day to day in my backyard.

I speak of the war with the rebel gophers who have invaded my land and eaten my plants. Actually, to be fair, there were there first. They were a present problem when we rented this place. I was willing to work out a peace treaty with them--they could stay and eat all the weeds they wanted as long as they left my plants alone. That treaty was broken by THEM, so now it's war. So far, I've taunted only with the hose down the gopher hole (*psh! kid's stuff!)
I came out last month to find the captain gopher up on his watch rock and managed to capture this picture of him before he ran off to rally his troops:

(Just kidding. This is not my picture. I found it at plagiarism is wrong, and also, I don't think that's a gopher.)

Our defense? Protect what is truly and rightfully ours. So me and my troops (I'm the Captain because it was my idea.) put in a fence around our garden spot before planting. First we rototilled the area down deep to wreak general havoc and kill any gophers already dwelling there. Then we set to work. Gophers dig about two feet at their deepest (we read) so we put the fence (made of chicken wire) two feet into the ground, and two feet above the ground.

Take that, gophers, you're not the only ones that can dig a hole.

The Captain approves. And also the Captain is dang proud of all the work this took (real Captain work--grunt and spit work). Eat chicken wire, gophers!

Dev (the co-captain) also approves, and also wanted to take a thumbs up picture of the trench like the Captain. Good co-captains always want to be like the Captain.

General Calvin was in charge of supervision and looking cute for the picture. He hates the gophers, too.

Private Bogey won't keep his eyes open to smile for a picture. But he's in this war to win it, too.

Notice Commander and Dictator-for-life Husband in the background, briefing Dev on her next mission. He's the real brains behind this operation.

Next tactic is gopher traps (winging their way to our house as we speak! ooh, I'm giddy with excitement just thinking about it) Can't wait to drag the little furballs out of their holes. Mwahahahahahahahaha!

stay tuned for pictures of the completed garden...coming soon!

my real introduction

Awhile back, I wrote, in passing, an introduction of myself that was slightly sarcastic
Whenever I sit down to blog, I think of it. I think I should have followed that post with a real introduction of myself.

I think I did myself an injustice.

I've been thinking about how I would prefer to have myself introduced if I were the key-note speaker for a group of people who recognized my achievements for what they were. Instead of the less-than impressive intro I scribbled out earlier, I would rather it say something like this:

"Erin attended college for four years and loved it. It was a pivotal time for learning and growth. She made many friends and learned many things that she still carries with her today. While in college she met the man who would eventually become her husband. Before they fell in love, they were great friends and spent lots of time getting to know each other before falling in love. Erin's husband is still her best friend, greatest advice giver, and truest sounding board. They married not only for this life, but for eternity also. A marriage so perfect could not be written in the movies. A year and a half later, Erin spent 9 grueling months growing a baby inside her, endured 11 hours of labor, and 6 months of sleepless night just to ensure this new human would be healthy. Then, she did it all again for the second time, enduring moments of bedrest and another grueling labor and sleepless nights to ensure a second human would be healthy. As if that is not enough, Erin has undergone the same process for the third time as well.

Because her husband is in school, money is tight, but Erin has become a champ at balancing the budget, sewing, rug making, gardening, couponing, and finding or creating unique recipes to overcome the odds and make ends meet. She prefers to make most things herself, but when needs arise, Erin is perfecting the art of patience and bargain hunting. Erin also homeschools her children, a feat in and of itself, and averages about 100 hours of service to her family each week (still mega impressed with that number, by the way.). Erin loves to write. On top of a daily journal, Erin also maintains a blog, and writes poetry and fiction. Currently, she is serving as the Gospel Doctrine Teacher in her ward, and Assistant Stake Librarian in her Stake. Someday Erin hopes to write a book, obtain her doctorate, raise her children, start a business, and volunteer her time to a charity. She is a loving, giving, generous, happy person who has learned heaps from her career as beloved wife and mother, and we are honored to have her here."

Wouldn't it be nice if all us stay at home moms received that kind of praise everyday? One of my friends wrote the comment on her blog, (said by a stay-at-home mom) "I have a degree in Life!" I love that.

p.s. help! I have been trying for days to post this hilarious video of me and my kids, but every time I try to download it, it says there is an error. Anyone seasoned bloggy veterens have any suggestions for me?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

lessons from Joseph the slave

Sometimes being a mother can feel like a slave. Have you ever felt like a slave? I have. Mostly when my kids are demanding ("I said I wanted milk not WATER!"). Not to mention the amount of chores I throw down everyday--laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, clutter control, weed, vacuum, dust, ....this is my life.

I was thinking about this while I was hanging my laundry out to dry today (by the way, still LOVING my clothesline infinitely more than my dryer. The dryer is good for skivvies though. Don't want the whole neighborhood to see my skivvies.). My occupation doesn't get much respect. Even some who are in the same occupation as me don't have much respect for it. I know I didn't have much respect for it when I first became a mother. It's all so...thankless.

You know how before an important speaker stands to address his audience he is introduced by someone? "Dr. Impressive was valedictorian at Harvard when he got his doctorate degree. Since then he's gone on to write 32 books about how to eat completely with chopsticks for the rest of your life. In addition to writing books, and working as a lawyer 80 hours a week, Dr. Impressive also coaches a Little League baseball team AND volunteers 40 hours a week at a food bank. He is also running for President next year, AND he's preparing to go on an archaeological dig in Cairo next weekend. In his free time, Dr. Impressive likes to invent culinary masterpieces. We are all in awe just in his presence."

I've often wondered what introduction I would receive in a similar circumstance: "Erin received her associate degree in Photography, but has done nothing with it. In fact, she almost considers that degree a waste of time because she realized that her true love was English, so while pursuing a Bachelor Degree in English, she met and married Husband, and shortly thereafter, she had Dev, and then Calvin, and then Bogey. While helping her husband through school, Erin often logs in 100 hour weeks. Scraping cheerios out of the carpet, vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, mopping, laundry, changing diapers, making dinners, creating menus, grocery shopping, and doing dishes are all part of Erin's responsibilities. In her free time Erin likes to do crafts and gardening. She prides herself on the amount of gopher holes she can destroy in one hour, and she babbles to herself while she hangs up her laundry. In the coming year, Erin is hoping to find the strength to get up early enough to do some sit ups and put on some make up before the kids wake up." ooh, impressive. (Actually, I am impressed with the 100 hour work week. I just pulled out my calculator to see how my days added up to a week's

I was thinking about Joseph who was sold into Egypt as a slave. His story is so inspiring to me. Way to make lemonade out of lemons there, Joseph! Joseph was put into a position of slavery by his brothers, who hated him. But instead of throwing his wrist to his forehead and exclaiming, "Oh whoa is me!" Joseph sucked it up and got to work. He worked so well that he became head slave of all of Potipher's house. The bible says that Potipher had such trust in Joseph that he didn't even know what he had, except the food that was put in front of him. Then the story is played out again when Joseph refuses Potipher's wife, and he gets thrown in jail. Again at the bottom, Joseph sucks it up and works until he is head prisoner and the guard puts him in charge of all the other jailers. Joseph knew he was a slave, right? Where's the part where he rolls over and dies? Where's the part where he stamps his foot and shouts, "This is just soooo unfair!" My first thought was that he probably accepted that whatever happened to him was the Lord's will, so he went with it. But does someone who's just "going with it" really prosper that much just on sheer dumb luck?

I have a feeling that Joseph, who maybe didn't think this was where his life was going to go, and perhaps wanted to do other things sometimes, actually enjoyed his work--albeit hard and thankless. He goes from being subject to the decisions of others to conquering and becoming master of it.

When I became a mother, I had very different plans. I would not be one of those "typical" stay at home mothers. I would work and I would not get tied down. I would not bake, and I would not sew, and I absolutely would not drive a mini van! I was subject to all those stereotypes that told me that motherhood is slavery and that if I truly accepted it, I was giving myself a life that was less than what I could achieve. I was in bondage to that idea. As I've "served my time" I've come to realize that motherhood has nothing at all to do with subjecting myself to the whims of my family, but lifting them to higher and loftier goals. My kids are learning infinite lessons in life skills, compassion, socialization, love, service, and the Gospel, and they are learning it from me. Who would teach them if I didn't? (The answer to that question is: no one.)

It's more than that though, if I were not put into the position of mother, I would be incomplete as a person. I think back to that newly married girl who felt such a strong pull to be something "important" besides a mother, and I just shake my head at her. I feel sorry for her. As a mother, I'm a more rounded person than she ever was. There are things I've learned as a mother that I couldn't learn any other way. I am grateful that I have changed my ideals to be a stay at home mom. I would be less of a person if I didn't. The lemons in my life have given me the sweetest, most refreshing, most delicious lemonade ever imagined. If I would have known that this is what motherhood was--what God had planned for me--I would not have fought it so hard.

I am not the slave in my home, I am the Queen.

What better career is there than that?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Broken Breaker Box


I started my laundry one ordinary April morning. The power went out. It was odd, but I decided to sit and wait it out. It wasn't that much of a nuisance, since it was the middle of the day and we had the sun to brighten our home. After three hours without power, I hailed my neighbor to ask after her current electrical situation. She had power. I called the electric company, and it was then that I learned a valuable lesson that I have repeated dozens of times over the past three weeks: switch off the individual breakers, switch off the main breaker, wait 15 seconds, pick dirt from under your fingernail, open the breaker box again, turn on main breaker, turn on individual breakers, rinse, wash, repeat (that last part's a joke, don't rinse off your breaker box. You'll electrocute yourself).

Over the past couple of weeks, this little adventure has happened more and more frequently. Always when I run my dryer. Mr. Electrician finally mosied out today to look at it. He informed us that our entire breaker box may need to be replaced, and definitely our main breaker switch at the very least. He said he'd have to order special parts for it, which may take a week or two. In the meantime, he warned us, we should use as little electricity as possible. No dryer. No dishwasher. No microwave. For. two. whole. weeks. (Dun. Dun, DUN!)

A Tale of the Broken Breaker Box OR My Awakening

Chapter 1: Last night, using the microwave for dinner prep was insane. The power went out four times in 10 minutes. Ugh! The kids were rifling through the movies, trying to pick one to go with our TV dinners. That clearly wasn't going to happen.

"Hey guys, let's go build a campfire (in our newly weeded fire pit), eat dinner outside, and then have some s'mores!" I said, to disperse the groans as the power went out again.


Movies were forgotten as we all grabbed our plastic tray dinners and sat around the campfire eating and laughing and talking. S'mores were had by all, except Bogey who set one ginger finger on the roasted 'mallow before declaring it "yucky." Dev and Calvin both said that they wanted to make a fire and eat dinner outside every night. It was an incredibly pleasant evening. The kids played on the swing set, we watched the sunset, we added logs to the fire. It was beautiful.

Chapter 2: Since Memorial Day weekend, and all the company I had at my house, and the broken breaker problems, my laundry has gotten completely out of control. Arms are growing out the sides of the basket, and I'm afraid it's going to start scooting itself around the house looking for an easy meal. I woke up this morning knowing I had to do something. So, we went to the store and became the proud owners of some clothespins. Calvin was insatiably curious about what I was doing when I started tying rope around the trees. Dev informed him emphatically, "This is how they used to dry clothes, in the old days, long time before breakers broke and ruined dryers." Indeed. I am pleased and happy to report that a clothesline dries every bit as good now as it did 100 years ago. More than this, I actually enjoyed my time out there hanging up the clothes--the quiet, the lifting and bending, the feel of the cool, wet clothes on my fingertips, the breeze, the grip of the clothespins, and, interestingly, the intense feeling of accomplishment that I had done something on my own that didn't cost anything (except $3.98 for the clothespins--money well spent, I say) AND I am pretty sure it didn't take the clothes nearly as long to dry as the ol' dryer takes. It felt like I whipped through the laundry ultra fast. Didn't quite get it done, but that is because I was behind. I found myself wishing that I could dry my clothes like this all the time. Why not? When Husband came home and saw what I was up to, he only shook his head and laughed ("So like you" I believe were his exact words). When I told him I might not need the stinkin' breaker trippin' dryer, he only shrugged and said, "It'll save us on our electric bill."

The Moral:

Is it possible--slightly possible-- that our modern day conveniences are a tiny bit of a nuisance? I mean, power at my house has been sketchy for three weeks, and will probably remain as such for another two, yet I find myself spending more time with the kids (when wii and dvd player don't work, we are forced to play together), and I find myself spending more time outside (watching the clothes flap in the wind, weeding the plants, shoving the hose down the gopher holes, puttering... and I mean that in the best sense of the word.) Is it possible that our modern "conveniences" actually *gasp* hinder us in some ways?! (Let it not be so!) I submit that they do, and that our ancestors lived a much, much, much less stressful life (at least not stressful in the way we are stressful.) Maybe I'm not ready to carry in my water from the well everyday, but I have learned that sometimes electricity doesn't = easier.