Saturday, August 30, 2008

Take me out to the ball game

Last night we had free tickets (thanks, Donna!) to the Las Vegas 51s game. Saving on the entrance fee meant, of course, that we emptied our wallets on concessions. Hot dogs, $4; watered-down lemondade, $4; pretzel, $3; nachos, $5 . . . you get the picture, times six. Good times.

We were lucky to have nice seats close to the action, with lots of room to spread out. We were even luckier to sit by Betsy Fowler and her young friends Aaron and Ethan. I say lucky because talking to Betsy gave me something to do besides watch the game (j/k), and having the boys there gave Tyce some instant buddies.

Harrison made me laugh because he is just so independent and cute. He liked moving up or down a row and talking to the other game-goers. I moved a few rows down at one point to take pictures and I heard these old black guys say, "Where's Harrison? Oh, I think he's with his Pops. That Harrison is a cool little dude." Harrison also enjoyed taking pictures with Tyce's camera.

Cameron liked growling for the camera to show me how ferocious he can be.

Bryce and Mary had fun.

And I did too.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What the twins have been up to

Harrison has learned how to wink,

Cameron has liked running around and yelling at the top of his lungs,

Harrison has made things like this "kite" of unusual construction,

Cameron has really enjoyed reading,

and the boys haved loved playing in the dirt together, watching Caillou, and riding their trikes to the mailbox.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day of School

This is what a 3rd and 7th grader look like:

The night before Bryce gave both kids a blessing to start the year. Everyone was really excited for a fresh start. It's so nice to have shiny new folders and pointy pencils all lined up. Then there's always that hope that this year will be the best ever!

We got back on track with breakfast and scripture study.

And then we went outside to take some pictures. Tyce's school has uniforms--certain colors of polo shirts and nice pants. Mary can wear whatever she wants but somehow ended up matching her brother!

Both kids reported that they had great days. This my eighth "first day of school" and I'm realizing that there's a honeymoon period when everything's awesome and new. Those pre-whining, pre-homework-dreading days are some of my favorite days of the year.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

5 Things

Ashley tagged me--I feel so cool. Ashley is one of the best 12-year-olds around, and the fact that she wants to know five things about me . . . well, you can see she is very mature for her age. j/k

1. I've started listening the the Christian radio station. This is very recent, as in only a few days now, but I'm liking it. It plays an interesting mix of ballads (a lot), rock (a lot), country (a little), and rap (one, that I've heard so far). In Houston there is a Christian radio station with the tag line "God Listens." I've always loved the marketing on that one.

2. I'm a perfectionist. Not in the self-congratulatory way--I'm not a snob. This means that the things I do, I do with all my heart. For example, my church callings--all the way. But then housework--hmmm, if conditions are perfect and the stars have aligned, then great. Otherwise, I save it for when things are just right (meaning the kids aren't underfoot, I'm not too tired)--or there's a crisis and I have to mobilize the troops to MOVE MOVE MOVE! (Read: I'm about to have visitors). So I guess you could say that I'm also a procrastinator. I am working on being more middle-of-the-road on ordinary things.

3. I like black TV shows, always have. As a kid I watched Sanford and Son, What's Happening?, and Good Times. I still love those! And of course The Cosby Show, like everyone else. In recent years I've enjoyed Everybody Hates Chris (love it!), Tyler Perry's House of Payne, and The Bernie Mac Show. I was really, really sad to hear that Bernie Mac died this month. We like to watch Everybody Hates Chris with the kids, though I have to weed out the ones with a more mature subject matter (like when Chris got his first kiss at a spin-the-bottle party). We can't have our innocent children getting ideas now, can we?

4. One of my many pet peeves are people who are know-it-alls, show-offs, or one-uppers. Please forgive me if I've ever done that to you, because that would certainly be the pot calling the kettle black. I used to have a friend who was pretty much all three of those rolled into one. After many conversations and outings, one time we went to a seminar together. I said, "That was really interesting how the presenter used this device," and she said something like, "Actually, it was more like this . . ." and I nearly lost it. I got kind of combative (nicely) and started making arguments I didn't even believe in because I was just so sick of being pushed down.

5. I think I'm a good cook. I'm not a great baker but I love to plan meals. The first cooking I ever did was in college and my first attempts were not too great. But I gained a working knowledge of how things go together, and now I like to modify, and even create recipes. Did you know that I am a Taste of Home field editor? A very lucky break on my part, I will say, having moved to a less-populated state when they were looking for new field editors. I know I'm not the BEST cook out there but I really enjoy it, which is handy when 5:00 rolls around!

So there you have it. I tag Carmen, Brooklyn, Jenny, Kilee, Kim O., Kim H., Merridee, Mom, Natalie, Rachel, Shannon, Sofie, Stephanie, and Tyce. (But only if you want to.)

P.S. We have watched the Olympics (some) and I feel lame that I've never mentioned it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Identity Revealed

If I had given you a few more clues, such as:

This person was eating a snack 5 minutes before dinner, or
This person was hiding under the table when it happened, or
This person thought it was a good idea to use a steak knife to stab at frozen fruit,

you may have guessed that the unfortunate victim was our very own Mary Rachel Jones.

Her biggest problem now is keeping it bandaged up. The poor girl said that she could feel three out of the five stitches and she wanted to scream. So I guess she's earned the right to show off.

Click on the picture and I'll tell her you got the full effect, so she doesn't yank off her dressing every time someone new walks through the door.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Long ago when Bryce and I talked about getting married in August, I loved the idea of having a holiday in a month without holidays!

(Of course, at the age of 21 I didn't really factor in that one day I'd have children and they'd be starting school around that time, and that the romantic anniversary trips I'd envisioned would have to be moved up or postponed. LOL)

Can you believe that 13 years ago today I began my life with the most wonderful man in the world? It was a beautiful start to a beautiful life.

Only by marrying Bryce could I have the very life I have now, with our four amazing children. Sometimes I think of that, and it blows me away. I'm grateful for divine intervention on that front, for giving me what I've always wanted--which is more than I deserve.

I love you, Bryce!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Someone sliced him-/herself on the knuckle trying to chop a frozen smoothie with a knife. Who do you think it was?

The urgent care doctor said he was going to give a shot to numb the area, and I asked about the lidocaine cream, which is what our other kids have gotten when stitches have been in order.

He said, really amiably, "I don't know, do you think I should?" It was exactly the kind of response I would expect if I'd been with a girlfriend deciding what to order for lunch.

(Wow, it all looks so good! I'm thinking of ordering the nachos.

No, you totally should get the crab cakes. They're more expensive but everyone says they're worth it.)

It was a little disconcerting, this ER doctor asking my opinion about something I know nothing about. Strangely, the patient got both the cream AND the shot. And five stitches.

We went to Sonic afterwards, so if it weren't for the injury, then . . . well, we'd have had a pretty boring afternoon, wouldn't we?

Monday, August 18, 2008

If you need a good laugh

There's nothing I like more than a communication break down. Just kidding. I like a few things more than that, but I bet you can't guess what they are.

I would love to order a cake like one of these. Actually, I would love to MAKE a cake like one of these.

I would also be sure to write a "message" using what I perceive to be good "grammar."

And if you wouldn't mind checking this one out, I think you'd enjoy. But I don't really care either way.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

They're back!

Breaking News
Henderson, Nevada

Renowned explorers Bryce Jones and his son Tyce returned from their 8-day journey to the wild frontier yesterday. Their arrival was met with great exuberance as the family welcomed them home with hugs and kisses and cries of, "Gimme those Doritos!"

The camp-weary travelers took a moment to expound on the highlights of the trip.

"I ate a ton of food!" Tyce bragged. "I went upstairs to weigh myself just now and I've gained 2.2 pounds."

"I hope I lost 2.2 pounds," Bryce said wistfully.

A combination of culinary delights, rigorous hiking, and merit badge classes made up the campers' days.

"I earned my environmental science, shotgun, rifle, archery, and leatherwork badges," Tyce reported. "It was awesome!"

"He worked really hard," informed his scout master. "In fact, now this one gang wants him to join because he's pretty good with a bowstaff."

But not everything about camp was rosy.

"I almost died. Again," huffed Tyce, referring to his cliff-diving incident from May. "Dad and I were in the canoe, and then the wake from another boat rocked us. We both leaned the same way, and suddenly the canoe capsized. I started freaking out--yeah, I'll admit it--because the water was freezing and I didn't know how we were going to get the canoe flipped over. Dad kept telling me not to panic. Eventually I scrambled into our troop's other canoe, shivering like a drowned rat after seeing my life pass before my eyes. But then Dallin and Gonzalo laughed at me and I started to feel better."

Bryce had a slightly different take on the matter.

"Yes, our canoe did capsize, but we weren't in any danger," he said. "I had it totally under control."

Another water traveler agreed. "Dude, that was some sweet maneuver the old guy did. He, like, made it to the other canoe, hefted little dude in, flipped his craft up to empty the water, put it back in the river, and climbed back in. It was sick," admired a young man known as Macky D.

But both campers agreed that all was well than ended well.

"I had a blast!" Tyce said.

"It was really fun," said Bryce.

Now all that's left for this dirt-attracting duo is to shower and unpack. A slightly larger task might be keeping those little kids out of the Doritos.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Birds and the Bees

This has been weighing heavily on me for some time, that I need talk with Mary about how bodies change and grow, where babies come from, etc. But whenever I really thought of it--like between DVD changes of Lord of the Rings, or right before piano lessons--it wasn't the right time. Well yesterday she asked, "If you felt like Heavenly Father wanted you to adopt three more children, would you?" and I said yes. And then, "If you then got pregnant with sextuplets, what would you do? Give some away?" and I said, no, I'd do the best with what I'd been given, because children are a gift from God.

She looked at me skeptically. In her eyes, I'm barely managing the four children we have now.

Anyway, she asked why I hadn't ever given birth, and how it worked. Ah ha! The moment had arrived.

So I turned on Caillou for the twins and took her to the back bedroom to talk. After I'd told her the basics, she wanted to know how we were mammals if we were created from an egg. That took a long time to explain, mostly because she kept interrupting me with other thoughts. She also had many questions on the mating rituals of humans, since she knows quite a bit about the mating rituals of lions, crocodiles, and cuttle fish. Thank you, Animal Planet. Let me just say, that girl isn't shy.

Some of her inquiries, while astute and/or hilarious, are not, shall we say, appropriate for a family blog.

So now I can cross "the talk" off of my list. Knowing Miss Mary, this won't be the last.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Family Home Evening

Last night the three kids (minus Tyce) and I went with the sister missionaries to Alice's house. Alice moved here with her husband and 5 kids after Hurricane Katrina. She is a lady who is taking the discussions, and we were there to do Family Home Evening on the Plan of Salvation. It went well.

You know how some people just exude awesomeness? I think Alice is amazing. There was something special about their family because the twins kept saying on the way home, "I had so much fun." Her house is tiny, but it's clean; it's crowded, but it's full of laughter. The sister missionaries brought popcorn to share, and then Alice brought out some candy and one of her boys offered our boys some leftover chicken. I was worried about dropping popcorn or spilling red Gatorade but Alice kept saying, "It's okay, don't worry about it, Keyshawn will sweep that up later, CJ can clean up a spill," and I was like, I am the most uptight person in the world. Because I couldn't stop micromanaging my kids, even if it was just in my mind.

I admired how she made me feel comfortable in her home. I wish I were more relaxed and could make people feel comfortable like that. I wish I had less anxiety about everything. I'm one of those hovering people who always has to make sure nothing goes wrong, but guess what, sometimes things go wrong. And intellectually I know that it's okay. It's like I feel that it's somehow my fault--that the cup was too big, or the chair too wobbly, or the floor too sticky, or whatever. How can I learn to let go? Hmmmm, I am working myself up just thinking about it.

Anyway, I hope that Alice and her family will join us at church. She is a wonderful lady.

And that's the point of this post. That other stuff is just the internal dialogue I hear when the other voices in my head are on vacation.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Late Nights and Early Mornings

I've been burning the candle at both ends. I had a Sesame Street deadline this week for starters, and then there was book club, and yesterday Mary and Sara had a "late night" over here (like a sleepover without sleeping over). That's right. All the mayhem and none of the sleep. They made a space ship out of laundry baskets, watched the movie "Eragon," and caught bugs in the jungle. I mean, our backyard.

But I have to keep Mary busy or she entertains herself, like taking pictures of herself doing this:

or this.

My memory card is always full of surprises.

Anyway, we have both night owls and early birds around here. It's been hard to greet the little boys with enthusiasm when they come bounding in our room before 7 a.m. You know that song, 9 to 5?
Tumble outta bed
And stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
Yawnin', stretchin', tryin' to come to life

That's how I feel. Except I work 6 to 11. And I could totally use a giant kettle of ambition.

This morning it wasn't the twins waking me up, it was my husband. I had to drive Tyce and Bryce to the church at 6:00 a.m. to load up for Scout camp. Good thing I was so tired because the realization that they'll be gone for a week didn't really hit me.

I'm sure they'll have a great time at Camp Kern. It's in northern California somewhere between Yosemite and Sequoia and they have to take a barge in to the camp. Sounds pretty cool already.

The three boys are ready for the long trip. But are the leaders . . . ?

And now I'm hoping that Bob the Builder can babysit for a while so I can take a cat nap. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Book Club

No one finished the book, and until Karrie showed up and trumped me, I had read the most pages (5). With all the kids home I didn't do much (any?) reading this summer. Did that stop the awesomeness? Not one bit.

Angie suggested we turn our book club into a little writer's group for the evening. So everyone picked a different genre and began writing for 5 minutes. Every five minutes we stopped and passed our papers to the left, picking up where the previous author had left off. Finally the person who began the story read the completed work.

Here is one; I will post the others whenever I get a round tuit. Perhaps you can tell where one writer stopped and another began!


Upon entering the lecture hall, Brad noticed a beautiful woman seated in the back of the room. As he ascended the stairs, he intently kept his eyes on her, hoping to make eye contact before being seated. His mind should have been on his looming final exam, but he couldn't suppress the thrill that ran up his spine when his eyes met the woman's' gaze. She had green eyes, he noticed, and a faint blush rose in her cheeks as Brad approached her chair.

"Do I know you?" she asked.

"I don't think so, but I'd be happy to change that. I'm Brad." He held out his hand and she lifted hers to meet it. Her hand was soft and her grip firm. He hadn't expected that. He looked deeply into her eyes and was overwhelmed by her beauty. He took a deep breath and tried to think of something to say.

"I'm Cindy," she said. "What brings you Ancient Civilizations?"

"Where?" Her beauty was so distracting.

"Ancient Civilizations," she repeated. "You know, the class we're in right now."

"Oh yes, Ancient Civilizations. I've always been fascinated by the Icelandic peoples. They've always intrigued me." The Icelandic peoples, he thought. What was I thinking?

"Uh huh," she said. "Too bad this class is about the Aztecs and the Mayans."

"Oh, well I like them, too," he stammered. He didn't feel like he was making a very good impression.

"Well, the least you could do is take a seat," Cindy said. "The lecture is about to start."

"Ummmm, right," stammered Brad. "Can I chair in the sit next to you?" Stupid, stupid, stupid! Brad cursed in his mind.

"Class, the ancient Mayans had a ritualistic tradition regarding marriage. First, the young tribesman would state his intention to court the maiden of his choice. Then the father would either accept or decline his gift, usually of a goat's head. If he accepted, then the couple were married that day. If the father denied the gift, then the would-be suitor was thrown into the pit of grievance, as a sacrifice to the gods."

Brad looked at Cindy. "Good thing I'm not Mayan," he thought dismally.

THE END . . .
or is it?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

And they all go marching down . . .

I question kids' movies about talking animals. Is it less threatening to teach a lesson through a talking penguin? Is it cuter to look at a pig than a person? I like animals. But I don't know if an ANT is really qualified to teach others how to act. I seem to remember getting some pretty wicked ant bites when I lived in Texas.

A few weeks ago the kids and I saw "Ant Bully" at the $1 summer movie. I saw "A Bug's Life" and "Antz" and I was truly skeptical that a third movie starring members of the Formicidae family would be worth my time. So here's the annoying thing. I totally liked it. And the kids liked it. Someone might even wonder if ants are more evolved than people, because look how everything turned out in the movie--those bugs taught that boy a pretty good lesson.

Well guess what. We have ants in the house. I know they're the geniuses of the insect world and could probably teach me a thing or two. That's not lost on me. I'm sorry, but I have to wipe my conscience clean of those images. Outside in their world = cute. Inside in MY world = ewwww. Call PETA if you must. Let the chemical warfare commence.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A new passion

The little ones want to do whatever the big ones do, and playing with Legos is their new hobby.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The 8th Grade Me

Okay, you're dying to know what was in those journals, aren't you? Don't lie. I've picked out a few entries to share, so no sneaking into my room when I'm not home. As I've said before, my journals are full of stressing about school work, testimony-building experiences and declarations of wanting to choose the right, and, of course BOY DRAMA.

Sept. 10, 1987 (Thursday)

I should record this as the worst day of my life. First, Mom yelled at me because I missed the bus. History was a bore, I broke a test tube in Science, no real problems in Engligh, but I'm 2nd chair again to Jason in Band, I really almost threw up after running only one lap in PE, I was SO bored in Computer Lit., and I made less than a 50 on the math warm-up. I also lost the election for reporter in Band. I can hardly think of ONE good thing that happened today. I'm glad I'm going to sleep so this day will just go away. Maybe this is a test to see how good of a Beehive president I will be.

October 24, 1987 (Saturday)

I found my History book in the Lost and Found after a book check. Thank heavens! Chad S. is so so so sooo fine!! He is a total babe! He always says hi and bye to me. Kenny L. has the most adorable personality! He put his arm around me and said, "Let's walk to class," and I said, "Sure, Kenny," and oh, he is so adorable! But the thing is that none of them like me for more than a friend. Total bummer. Do I like John? I wish I could hook a lie detector to every boy to find out who they really like.

February 6, 1988 (Saturday--10:09 p.m.)

Chris just called me and confirmed plans to go to the movies next Saturday. We're going to see "For Keeps" at 8:00 with some other couples. Chris said he'd pick me up at 7:45 AND pay my way. My immediate reaction was I'd pay for myself, but he'd said it was his pleasure for him to pay, so I said okay. How sweet!

Mom said she couldn't believe she's letting me go on a DATE (not a date, Mom--a GROUP DATE) and stay out so late. She said I'm supposed to wait till I'm 14 to go on group dates, and I, with my logic, said, "Mom, I was in your stomach for 9 months, so technically Ive been 14 since July." Can you believe a sister missionary told me that! She doesn't know what Dad will say about staying out so late but if he says no or something, I will scream!!! I REALLY want to go. Being a young woman in the Church is hard when most of your friends aren't Mormon.

March 17, 1988 (Thursday)

I haven't written in quite a while. There have been MAJOR goings-on in my little world. First, Derrell and Stephanie went together and broke up. Derrell was really upset. Tonight, John actually got up enough courage to ask her and she said yes!!! He asked her in the Band hall after the concert. He is so happy! Words cannot describe how happy he is. He still can't believe it. Well, with the birth of every relationship there is also a death. Unfortunately, the death happens to be mine. This afternoon I hated Chris so much that I was going to write a note and break up. I think I will.

March 18, 1988 (Friday)

Today marks my second month anniversary with Chris. Today also marks the end of our relationship. I did break up, and I was so happy!!!! You would not BELIEVE how much I feel better. I'm free!!


Etc. etc. etc. Repeat for several more years.

Friday, August 1, 2008


You know how when you're thinking about a lot of things and there's a lot of stuff going on--not major scary stuff, but more like, "How should I handle this," and "What should I do next about that,"--and you just feel unsettled all the time? Kind of anxious, or somehow vaguely freaky?

Well, now you've looked into my brain. For your safety, please bring a flashlight.

Tonight Bryce and I are going on a double date with our good friends. I was surprised when I saw J. at a stake meeting and he said to me, "It looks like we're going out this weekend!" I looked around with a nervous laugh but no one seemed to think it sounded weird.

In other news, I've been reading my old journals. In some ways I love looking in on my younger self, to see how much I've grown and all the good experiences I get to remember. I was such a cute girl! But in other ways I'm like, "Wow, this is so embarrassing. Why did I think this or that?"

The worst is all the drama surrounding the boys I loved. I want to yell into those pages, "Don't do it! Don't call him again! Seriously, did you not get the hint the first time? You're better off moving on RIGHT NOW!" And yet, the drama rolls on. Ugh.

My only consolation is that by writing all that down, perhaps I saved some poor roommate or friend from listening to my ramblings.

Hmmmmmm . . . probably not.