A blog named BETTY

Friday, December 21, 2007

Only the dust-bunnies know...

I don't know why, exactly, but I've always stored the kids' Christmas presents under the bed. I know it's not the most discreet of places, but I'm a second-generation believer of "if you want to ruin your own Christmas, go ahead and look at your presents." Oh, I wrap them up in the store bag--even "tying" them shut with the bag's handles (cuz we all know that would stop any curious kid dead in his tracks. "Dang! Foiled again!"). In the early days, I'd even double or triple bag them so they couldn't see through anything. That was mostly because those kids found crawling under our bed especially fun, and I didn't want them coming face to face with their gift. Now that they are a bit more hygienic and less limber, they go under there a lot less. As a result, I tend to just drop the gift on the floor and give it a good kick to get it as close to the center of the bed as possible.

My kids haven't mentioned this brilliantly super-secret hiding spot for years, so I might've started wondering if they'd forgotten. I've never been sure if anyone has even peeked under there. It seemed clear that either 1) they're incredibly clueless and don't heed the material consumption-fest of Christmas, or 2) they're incredibly smart and purposely don't mention it, knowing that to bring it to my attention could possibly cause me to find a better spot (in which case, they give me waaaaaay too much credit).

As it turns out, they're mostly smart, and I found that out thanks to the one with the least experience at subterfuge...Shnookie4 (Bless her cute, innocent heart.) She bought Shnookie 3 a present at the store. When we got home, she walked in the door and said "Now, where am I going to hide this? I'm definitely not hiding it under your bed, cause that's the first place she'll look!" Hmmmmm.

If I had had to guess which one of my kids would peek, it would've definitely been Shnookie3. So that wasn't such a surprise. What IS a surprise is what a good actor she is--she's never made a single suspicious performance on Christmas morning. Scary...and yet quite impressive.

So, am I changing the hiding spot? No. I'm just kicking the gifts harder. If she's intent on spoiling her Christmas, she should at least have to crawl in farther through the dust-bunnies to get there. Hard work like that builds character.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

I gave BETTY a facelift. Doesn't she look pretty? She deserved it. When I saw the banners Shabby Princess made and that they were on sale, I pounced. BETTY is worth way more than $1.88, of course, but I know she loves a deal as much as I do.

Merry Christmas, BETTY!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

When? When? When?

Here's what I cannot get out of my head this week:
At what age do you figure out that closing your eyes helps you get to sleep faster?

Okay, yes, the remote was missing again, but let's get past that.
Have you ever noticed how kids lie in bed, eyes wide open, until they fall asleep? Granted, it is cool to witness that moment when their eyelids flutter closed, and they fight it, just like in the movies. Yet adults don't do that (with the exception of my husband, who has the ability to start snoring BEFORE his eyes close, every time he lies down to watch TV. But he's always the exception to every rule. I'm used to that.). They climb into bed, snuggle in, and close their eyes. THEN they fall asleep.

Maybe God made it this way so you could sneak up on your kids and be able to tell instantly if they're asleep yet. With adults, you have to do a full-on stakeout, holding very still and watching their breathing patterns. (Again--not so hard with Hubby. Snoring? Sleeping. Sleeping? Snoring. Couldn't be easier.) But who has that kind of time when you've got kids?

Oh, and don't even get me started on kids who think they can fool me into believing they're asleep by closing their eyes. Rookies.

I actually remember being six, and telling my mom I couldn't sleep. And she told me "Just close your eyes, and you'll go to sleep." I thought that was the craziest thing I'd ever heard. As if someone would actually do that! Ha!

I'm thinking that kids see it as surrendering. It's their JOB to fight sleep. Adults? We see it as escaping. Bring it on! The sooner the better! So maybe the exact moment that kids decide sleep is a GOOD thing is the exact moment that they figure out the close eyes-then-sleep thing. As far as I can tell, that's definitely a done deal by the teenage years. But my 9-yr-old isn't there yet. Still fighting the good fight. Soldiering on. Battling the sandman.

So, my current best answer to the "when" question is: somewhere between nine and 13.
I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Thanksgiving was at our house. It was wonderful. It was exhausting. I've pretty much been in bed ever since. Including most of my birthday. Sigh.

Being in bed so much has given me a lot of time to think (what can I say--I couldn't find the remote for awhile there). It's allowed me the luxury of fine-tuning my "I am made of paper" theory. Seriously, while going through chemo and recovering from it, it ran through my mind constantly "I am made of paper." I'd even say it out loud to people, like that should explain everything. They'd nod as if to say "ahhh...the made of paper condition. Gotcha" and change the subject.

So here it is: being made of paper means being so fragile that the slightest breeze or change in the weather or outside force can ruin you (or at least wrinkle you forever). In this analogy I, of course, am the paper (I think we've established that), and these outside forces are like unto a tiny little germ, missing a nap, or--heaven forbid--being forced to walk to the mailbox (you'd be surprised how evil can conspire against you). Those things can take days...weeks...to recover from when you're in a paper-like state.

As I've been lying in bed this week, it occurred to me that I'm not just plain paper...I am a paper boat! During the dog days of chemo, I was a paper boat made of rice paper: not water-safe in any sense. Just meant to be kept on a shelf out of reach (actually, maybe a really high enclosed cupboard, since I wasn't much to look at either!). I think that last year, I was a boat made of regular paper--could float for a brief time. Currently, I'm thinking that I'm a boat made of coated paper, so I can withstand water better and am stronger. But during weeks like this, my coating is a little thin. Someday, I'd like to be one of those toy boats made of plastic. Even dollar-store plastic would be great! It's probably too much to ask for to be Tonka plastic (surely they make boats, right?), but a girl can dream.

As if all of this weren't fascinating enough (!!), another level just occurred to me: When I had shingles and people asked me how it felt, all I could say is that it felt like I was turning into WOOD from the inside out. Paper...wood...get the connection? Whoa.

So, in summary, I think we can all agree that what we've learned is this: You should never, ever hide the remote from Erin.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I am so NOT my mother's daughter

Last night I was rummaging through my dusty recipes, preparing for the Thanksgiving feast, when Shnookie4 spies something that just CRACKS HER UP. I look her way, and she has my recipe card notebook. She's points at one of the recipe and says "Oh my gosh, Mom, you have a RECIPE for chocolate chip cookies!! Isn't that just weird???!!!" The look on her face says, "What are people thinking? As if you can just MAKE chocolate chip cookies using things in your house. Everyone knows they come in a tube from the store! Doh!"

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bump in the Night

I have to say, Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday. I've had bad experiences since becoming the mom versus being the trick-or-treater. It's like a huge ball of stress and over-sugared frenzy wrapped up together. Really, I do not have demanding children, and I'm lucky that way. They were fine when I came to my senses and stopped hand-making their costumes (okay, the oldest was only 5 when that happened, but knowledge that it was ever so doesn't seem to bother them.). And they were more than thrilled when I gave up my quest to revolutionize the treat paradigm by handing out little toys instead of candy. ("Mo-o-o-o-m, that's soooo embarrassing!") And the fact that I only get one or two underexposed pictures of them doesn't faze them a bit. Obviously, THEY are quite content with our run-of-the-mill, status-quo, store-bought halloween. It's time I just admit that it's MY expectations of this holiday that make me miserable. I put off buying costumes every year, because I can sew. And when I did sew their costumes, they cost less (okay, probably not), and they lasted for YEARS. They could play dress-up all year round without them falling to shreds. And they were original. It is I who cannot stand the thought of them out there in a sea of costumes identical to theirs. Sigh.

It's true...*I* am the spoiled, demanding little halloween snot. Maybe by the time I'm 60 I can deal with that.

Soooooo, speaking of costumes and under-exposed photos, here's the line-up at our house for this year:

Shnookie4 is a vampiress, and she gets the award for easiest costume this year. Saw it at Wal-Mart. Liked it. Bought it. Never changed her mind or asked for any accessories (although I'm thinking now that a pair of fake fangs would've been a good idea. oops) Shnookie3 is a mummy, and she gets the award for the most difficult costume, because I had to shred sheets and hot glue them to clothing and then RE-DO it all again when the clothing wouldn't stretch enough to go onto her body. So yes, I did sort of make this costume, and yes, it did remind me of why I don't do that. HOWEVER, it was very rewarding that everyone raved about how real she looked. Stroke, stroke, tail wagging...

I think you can tell what Shnookie1 is (on the right). And this is a perfect example of my afore-mentioned argument for home-made costumes. I made these for husband1 and I when Shnookie was just a year old (he was a single red M&M--cute, cute), so that was 15 years ago. And someone has worn one of them every year since then. HAH! How's that for good economics??!!

Oops--obviously I'm too lazy to figure out how to turn that the right way. Sorry!
Shnookie2 and her best friend win the most original costume for the year. They are Tracy Turnblad and Penny from the movie Hairspray. Is that not perfect? Her friend came up with it when she and her mom noticed how the movie girls' height was so different...much like Shnookie and friend! Shnookie had to wear a black wig (which I was up hairspraying and curling at midnight) and padding, but her friend's hair (and body, lol) are so much like Amanda Bynes.
This costume wasn't only a little difficult to put together, but so worth it, considering what a hit it was. Shnookie did most of the work, too, which is a nice perk for me. She had a little trouble with the body padding at first, though, and this is how she looked:
That had me laughing and gasping just a wee bit! I think we'll save the "bun in the oven" look for another year. gulp.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Abhorrent Badgering causes Cacophony

I just saw a blog about mustache observation. Wow, that's hard to compete with! I don't think Betty could handle being quite THAT specialized.

Anywho, I want to show off this project that I FINALLY finished. It doesn't look like it, but it took me forever to put it together. I got the brainstorm to make a word of the week thingy to help my kids get ready for the SAT/ACT's. So I looked up a list of vocab words that are on these tests, and I chose one for each week of the year (that would be 52, Einstein ;)). The most grueling part was looking up all these words and making up sentences for each one. It was A LOT of work. But the good news is that I now know each of these words forwards and backwards. My kids will have nothing on me. I'm gonna kill when I take the SAT.

I had the words spiral bound into two tablets (that would be 26 words per tablet). The guy at the copy place had to go through EVERY SINGLE WORD and tell me whether or not he knew it. Fascinating.

So I used (mostly) Shawna Clingerman's Pile of Scribbles and Funk digital kit to make the paper that covers the clipboard. LOVE this kit, and it's the colors I'm trying to do in my kitchen, where the clipboard hangs. Of course, the whole thing is heavily modge-podged to withstand the strangeness that goes on in our kitchen. Viola!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Out with the Old

It's that magical time of Shnookie 2's life when she's preparing for braces. Unfortunately, she inherits my "gotta hold onto these teeth" DNA and has lost only 5 baby teeth on her own. She'd already had a bunch pulled over the years as it became necessary. I think the dentist was trying to show her uptight mouth that 'see, it's not the end of the world to give up a few.' But, alas, message not received, because we had to make another trip to chair this week.

The orthodontist had sent instructions to our dentist to pull 4 teeth. The dentist took one look in her mouth and said "Oh, no, it's gonna be way more than 4, I'll tell you that right now." Shnookie 2's eyes pop out of her head. Then he starts counting "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9...." I have to admit, the mother bear in me was shocked, and I had to question the dentist on this matter. I mean, really--can you just DO that? Start yanking out unauthorized teeth? Is this the wild west? I felt a little panicked, like I should call the orthodontist or my congressman, or SOMEOME. What kept me in my seat was the fact that I trust this man, he's actually a friend of ours, and he's done excellent work on us in the past. He assured me that most of them were just hanging by a thread anyway.

It only took 20 minutes--a messy, unnervingly noisy 20 minutes--and they were all out. They gave her laughing gas (have to admit, I was little jealous of that point), but she was still quite tense, so I stayed with her. Rubbed her feet mostly, which was probably only annoying, but all the rest of her was rather unaccessible. A mom's gotta do something. It's hard to just sit there and see the water streaming silently out of the outer edges of her eyes.

It reminds me of the time when she was only 5 months old, and they had to stick a thingy down through her tear duct to puncture a hole into her nose. (It was clogged and she was getting eye infections) About killed me. At least this time they didn't make me hold her down. ~cringe~

One of the incredible things about Shnookie2 is that she's such a trooper and doesn't complain EVER. So when stuff like this happens, I have to remind myself that things are probably at least twice as bad as what she's saying. It's been a week, and she's still in constant search of soft foods that sustain life.

Before I got braces, I had to have 10 teeth pulled, although they did it in 2 visits. But the time I had the 6 pulled at once, I was pretty miserable. I probably remember it more than is natural, but that's me. And I REALLY remember how on the way home from getting all those teeth yanked, my mom just had to stop by the library to get something, and I had to go in with her. Truly awful. I was so numb that I couldn't tell I was drooling. Not my proudest teen moment. So all the way home with Shnookie 2, I'm telling her "I will NOT take you to the library now." I'm not sure how that translated through her drug-induced haze, but it made me feel like mother of the year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


And now for your viewing pleasure (or torture, depending on how you feel about gorgeous scrapbook pages featuring adorable children, ahem), my most recent layouts:

Journaling: Starting very young, Shnookie4 showed she wasn’t afraid to get in there and mix it up on the soccer field. Because of that, Dad started calling her “tenacious!” Now that she’s 7 and on her own team, she’s earning that title more than ever!

Please note: I KNOW that tenacious is spelled wrong on this picture. When I first showed it to Hubby using the big "look what I did, aren't I a wonder, and you'd better goosh all over it" flourish, he got this instant panicked look, tried to recover, and said it was lovely. Not one to miss such subtleties, I was all: "What, what?? What don't you like?" Poor guy. He had to break it to the English snob that she'd spelled a word wrong in BIG BRIGHT RED letters and posted it on the world wide web. I'm sure he was heartbroken. Soooo...I have corrected it on the original full-resolution original, but I'm just too lazy to change it on this copy. I know...I'm a disgrace to English snobs everywhere.

Next...(I promise, they don't all have such lengthy albeit charming stories behind them.)

My niece, Alaina Despain, took and filtered this amazing photo herself and graciously gave me permission to scrap it. It's of my oldest nephew, Todd, and his son, Quinton, at our family reunion this summer. Doesn't it just give you chills?? Especially the way I scrapped it?? Bwahahaha!!!

These are our friends, Shannon and K.C. VanHorne. We went to the town concert this year together, and they stood there and danced in the middle of the crowd. It was so sweet!!

The kit I used on that page is by Sausan Designs. Now, I am not much of a designer stalker--I'm really too cheap to spend what it takes--but I am quite taken with Sylvie's work. I find that once I buy something of hers, I use it over and over and over. Almost every page I've done in the last 6 months has something of hers. And can you believe this woman comments on every layout in the galleries that uses something of hers? Either that, or she's stalking ME (yeah, right), cuz she never fails to compliment my work with her stuff. I surely admire that in a designer.

This is using the picture I showed you before of my kids and friends playing in the rain. Good times.

And finally...

I took the girls up the canyon last week, and the leaves were drop-dead gorgeous. They knew we'd be doing some photos, so Shnookie4 grabbed her new hat. We got her hair cut in a reverse bob, and it's so stinkin' cute!! Then, you add this hat, and she's so chic I could just gobble her up!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New clock

Lookie what I did! And it's about time! BWAHAHAHA!! We got this great clock from Target where you can put in your own pictures. We were looking for a contemporary nickel-finish clock-- to go along with our new modern living room--and when we saw this, I wasn't sold at first. But then I started thinking of the theme possibilities, and I just had to have it! The idea is to change it once-in-awhile--ya know, for holidays or special celebrations, or when I get the urge for change but can't drag my sorry butt up a ladder to paint. This first edition is in tribute to the new family room: each circle is a picture of something in the room, in the multiple of the hour it represents. Get it??? So, for 3:00, there's the 3 bamboo sticks that lean up against the shelves. I am so clever I can hardly stand it sometimes! :)

Here's the run-down for each hour:
1- Pear canvas that hangs over the fireplace
2- Vases on the mantle
3- Bamboo
4- Pictures of the kids that sit on the shelves
5- Little plants scattered about
6- Strings of beads from the uplight thingy
7- Blue candles, which technically aren't in the room, but could be
8- Nickel-finish handles on the stacked 8-drawer thingy I refinished
9- Appetizer plates, which also aren't in the room
10- Shoes, because we keep the shoe basket in there
11- CD's
12- White chocolate chips with our new rug as a background (ya gotta get pretty creative when you get up in the double digit numbers!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

On the Market

Yup, it has happened. Shnookie 1 (let's just call him Corbin for this post. Ya know, since I'm too lazy to edit the photo. ((Totally cracking myself up))) has turned 16. And besides being able to get his license to drive, it also makes him eligible for a license to date. Wa-hoo!

I had this flash of inspiration--20 minutes before he was to arrive home from school--that I should put a sign on the garage that would embarrass him. So I whipped it up on the computer, chuckling all the while, and got it slapped up there, JUST as he and his friend walked up to the house. Was he embarrassed? Does he LOOK embarrassed? lol (He's the one on the right, btw.) Actually, he responded how I'd hoped and seemed quite tickled (although he wouldn't be too tickled by my use of the word 'tickled,' teehee). My son is a guy who doesn't take himself too seriously, and that might be my favorite thing about him. Although it's hard to choose, cuz he is one amazing kid. And I'm not just saying that as his mother; it has been scientifically proven by 4 out of 5 dentists. Or something like that. And thus begins my shameless bragging about my oldest... (hey, once a year, I'm entitled, right?)

I often tell Hubby that Corbin is the person I wish I was at his age. He has tons of friends, from all different walks of life, and he has them for all the right reasons--because he's kind and unassuming, and people are just drawn to him. He really takes pleasure in knowing people and intereacting with them, but doesn't need to be the center of attention. In fact, adults who come to visit call him shy (which his friends think is hilarious), but it's not really the right word. I don't know what the right word is, lol, but he's got some Grandpa Williams in him, and he's just not one to showboat. (Unless if it's just us, and he's talking about his sweet b-ball or skating skills. Then it's downright obscene how that kid brags! :))

Corbin has a great sense of who he is and is pretty darn secure with that person. I love the crazy streak in him that prompts him to wear my knee-hi pink fuzzy toe-socks on the basketball court. I swear that kid could make anything look cool. It's all an extension of his sense of humor, which is razor-sharp. It could make him world-famous, but never will because of the afore-mentioned absence of showboating. Fine with me!

Have I mentioned that he's happy? Teenager AND happy, you ask?? Mind-boggling. Starting as just a tiny lad, he had a very infectious smile and playful spirit. I look at him now and can't figure out where he's hiding that pudgy little fellow...until he smiles. I live for that smile! I swear I'd do anything for it. Luckily, I don't have to do much to see it, cuz he's a pretty cheerful guy. We were talking as a family once about how to handle anger, and he shared his pointers. Hubby and I were all "What? You get angry? Did we miss that millisecond?"

I'm gonna have to save the rest of the brag list for next year, cuz I could go on forever! I haven't even gotten to how he gets good grades, works hard at his sports, does the dishes and chores without being asked, is a great big brother, and single-handedly feeds and clothes a 3rd-world country every month. (Okay, maybe just a 2nd-world country.) I do, however, want to mention how I admire his spiritual side. Sometimes Hubby and I wonder about how his 'soul' is doing--but only because that whole "non-showboating, laid-back, don't say an extra word if you can avoid it" thing keeps him from blaring his feelings to us. Then we'll find out, totally by accident, of something extra-ordinary that he's done that shows us how solid he is. Happens all.the.time. He has great values, is willing and ready to stick up for them, and somehow manages to inspire others to live their own truths. All of that without hardly ever speaking. Truly amazing. I feel so blessed to have him in my life. I just hope--as impossible as it seems--that there are 3 more like him out there, somewhere, for his sisters to marry.
I love you, Corb-a-lulu-man!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I am my own imaginary friend

I'm a little freaked out today, because I keep noticing that I'M TALKING TO MYSELF. Maybe it's because hubby is out of town, so I don't use up my quota for adult words during the day. (He usually works from home, so I run into him frequently. No, that's not as sexy as it sounds.) Maybe it's because I saw the Law and Order episode last night where the lady has multiple personalities, and I started wondering if she was less lonely than other people. (She was faking it, BTW, so she's just like the rest of us--normal crazy.)

I was piddling around the house this morning, and all the sudden, I realized that I'd just said "Well, you and I both know that's not gonna happen." WHAT??? Scary. Well, at least I have the comfort of knowing that a minimum of 2 of my personalities are in agreement with each other. It's so nice when we can all just get along.

To be fair to myself (all of the myselfses), I'm not a total snob. I do talk to other people during the day...like the bonehead drivers around the mall. I tossed quite a few "What are you thinking?"'s and "Don't even try it, Bub"'s their way today. And that's when I realized that I need to talk to a real person--someone like BETTY. Thanks Betty, you're always there to save me from myself....and myself...and...myself...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

One Less to Brush....Finally!

My baby finally lost her first tooth!! You'd think she'd won the Nobel Prize with how excited we all are!At the end of 1st grade, Shnookie 4 was the only one who hadn't lost at least one tooth--most had lost at least 2 teeth, in fact. I was actually very impressed with how well she handled this distinction, since such MAJOR FLAWS tend to weigh heavily on kids. Maybe it's all the practice of always being the (barely) second smallest in the class. And she's such a perfectionist, you'd think it'd unravel her tender 7-yr-old psyche. Could it be possible that this child is already comfortable in her own skin? Wow. That'd be cool. I wanna be like her when I grow up.

So last week, she comes running to me "My tooth is loose, my tooth is loose!!" And then she leaves it there until it's dangling by a thread and driving us all crazy with anticipation. I kept walking into rooms finding her cornered by Shnookie 2, who was trying to convince her (read: threatening her) to let someone just pull it already! (Which is hilarious, considering Shnookie 2 was EXACTly the same way, maybe worse.) She let it hang there so long that it actually popped out while she was brushing her teeth. She didn't even notice until she saw it go doooooooowwwn the drain.

Then we were faced with the whole "I can't put my tooth under my pillow, so how will the Tooth Fairy know to give me money?" thing. Luckily, I was born prepared to answer to the big questions. "Write her a note, explaining what happened. It'll be fine."

Then the 3 older Shnookies decide to be REALLY HELPFUL and tell her that, since she had to wait so long to lose her first tooth, the fairy will definitely give her LOTS of money for this one...probably 5 dollars! This is the most fiscally-minded 7-yr-old girl you'll ever meet, so she's VERY EXCITED. yea.

Later, when the Tooth Fairy grudgingly puts $3.00 under Shnookie's pillow, she finds the cutest note ever written:

I lost my tooth
in the sink
I hope you under

Made my night, I tell ya!

Monday, September 10, 2007


(生きているとどまること is Japanese for Stayin' Alive)


Shnookie 2 and I were invited by our neighbors (a mom and daughter) to the NuSkin award ceremonies Saturday night. No, they do not sell NuSkin and were trying to lure us into their web. Their friend is the event planner for NuSkin, so she gives them free tickets every year. This is cool because they feature great entertainers, and this year it was Robin Gibb. So we donned our spandex disco jumpsuits (selecting just one from our vast collection was the hardest part), and off we went!

Also noteworthy here is that I finally got to eat at California Pizza Kitchen, which proves that I am really hot stuff now. It's all the way at the Gateway--downtown Salt Lake City--which might as well be two states away for how often we get there. As we came out of the underground parking structure, I remarked that it was the kind of weather that made an outdoor mall in Utah almost actually make sense. Seriously, for a state who specializes in extremes in seasonal weather, what were we thinking? You're either trudging through a foot of snow at that 'mall,' or you're rushing from store to store trying to avoid the deathrays of the 100+ degree sun. For about a week in Fall and 3 days in Spring, though, it's quite pleasant. Genius. And I was lucky enough to be there during one of those windows. Yummy!

Our goal in heading for the concert was to miss the actual awards ceremony and get there just as Robin was bursting onto stage. We were about an hour too early for that. I don't know what rock my head has been under, but whilst there, NuSkin has turned completely Asian. All that Shnookie 2 really knew was that we were going to see one of the BeeGees, so she was even less prepared than I for this turn of events. About 15 minutes after being seated, she turned to me and said "What is this? The Japanese Emmy's?" That's actually the best description I can think of, so let's leave it at that. Many beautiful, well-dressed Asian people accepting awards and walking down the catwalk....cameras flashing...confetti falling...rock music blaring. Very surreal. And neverending.

Eventually, however, Robin Gibb did burst onto the scene, and we had a blast! Neighbor Mom and I broke out our disco moves, whilst Neighbor Girl and Shnookie 2 just moved....as far away as possible from us. Actually, we all really got into it and had ourselves a good ole rompin girls night out. Very cleansing and soul-fortifying.

And while I was storing up energy all week for that little outing, I got some more scrapbooking done! May I present exhibit A, which is a layout I worked on with the help of my niece, Stephanie, and my niece-in-law, Tiffany, at our recent family reunion. They made the mistake of agreeing to listen to my pitch about DIGITAL scrapbooking, and now they have fallen under my mesmerizing spell. Few can resist. I'm sure they're churning out digital creations night and day now. Isn't this picture the cutest? It's my youngest two with a group of their cousins, and while I snapped the pic, it was my niece, Alaina, who did all the real work of getting them in this position! (Not that that stops me from taking all the credit for an awesome shot, mind you!)

Just to clarify...when I say these kids are my girl's cousins, they're really their second cousins twice removed or some-such. (a.k. My nieces and nephews' kids) I just couldn't get "Second Cousins Twice Removed or Some-Such" to fit in the title space. Not that I didn't try. I'm no quiter.

Exhibit 2 is a layout using some photos from July, when I took the girls to the Sweet and Sassy salon. In order to get my $500 worth from the makeover (slight exaggeration), I took them immediately to the park and did a photo shoot. I like to keep these kinds of photo on hand to show people that we do own combs. (I know, technically these prove nothing, since nary a one of our own combs were involved, but let's not split hairs. BWAHAHAHAHA)

Journaling: While taking some pictures of the girls at the park, I decided to distract them by asking them about boys. They had some very strong opinions! Before snapping each shot, I’d ask them if a certain boy was cute. I don’t remember their exact responses, but I believe their expressions say plenty!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Yes, she CAN scrapbook!

To be a true scrapbooking blogger, I guess I need to show off my latest creations. Lately, they've been few and far between, thanks to back-to-school madness (really, must they pack ALL the fund-raisers, field trips and mixers into the first week of school???). So let's enjoy, since who knows when the next layout will surface?!

This is a page about this year's ward campout. It's such a highlight in the girls' lifes, and I love reviewing the pics over and over. It's called 6 Signs of Successful Camping, and the tags say: Major morning bed-head; Flattened tent; He-Man wrestling; Hauling out the gear; Traces of s’mores on your face; Extinguished fire.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Chad Who Dangles No More

(Yet another blog entry about health, BUT NOT ABOUT MINE this time! It's about Hubby's medical care, and I share this with permission. Which I probably received only because he knows that no one reads this--not even him.)

For several years, Hubby has had a little hanging piece of extra skin--a skinny blob, shall we say--on the underside of his arm, near the armpit. One day, he arbitrarily decided to start calling it his "Dangling Chad." The name stuck. And, due to his fondness for parading Chad around and sticking it in squealing children's (our own....as far as I know ~cringe~) faces, the kids became very familiar with it.

Some day, at least one of our kids will be history class, studying the 2004 presidential race, and the teacher will ask "Does anyone know what a "Dangling Chad" is?" Can you picture it like I do? My sweet child raising his/her hand excitedly and offering up the details of my husband's skin mutations? That's gonna hurt the psyche. And, since we're on the subject, THAT'S NOT ALL. He's setting them up for humiliation on oh so many fronts. Like when he wants the dishwasher started and bellows "Fire up the BARBIE!!" Or--the one that has already affected every single one of the poor little people--how he uses his middle finger to point at things. (His pointer finger nail was mangled in high school, so he trained himself to not put it out where people would see it.) All four of them somehow learned this habit as toddlers (does NO ONE pay attention to me? Hello!) and each of them has come home scorned from it when they hit school.

So....back to Chad....
A couple of months ago, Hubby decides to spruce himself up a bit. One of the targets of this mini-makover? Yup...Chad. Ten seconds in the doctor's office and Chad is no more. While most of the kids are barely stirred by this event, Shnookie 2 takes it especially hard. Well, not really, but she and Hubby had quite a few giggles over her 'bereavement.' After all, she was the one who spent the most time with Chad dangling in her face, since her dad liked to try to trick her into "gnawing it off" for him. (TMI???) I guess she'd bonded--maybe some sort of Stolkholm syndrome?? Anyhow, she was somewhat mullified when we assured her that Chad has gone to a much better place. She just wishes she could've kept his remains.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Crazy, Sexy Cancer

This show, "Crazy, Sexy Cancer" has been advertised on TLC for months. The first time Hubby saw the commercial, he turned to me and said "Hmmph. That must not be the kind you got." Bwahahahaha! I soooo had to agree with him.

After all these months of promotion, the show actually aired this week. I was glued. And not just because I could so relate to every second of it that it was almost painful, but also because it was REALLY well done. I thought, anyway. I may have been a little swayed by her "all the cool kids have cancer" approach. But seriously, it's a documentary film by a twenty-something woman with cancer, and it was so REAL, but also funny with just enough of the artsy. I had to force myself to go to sleep before the end, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest.

One thing I came away from the show with is a huge sense of gratitude, especially about my children. I am considered young to have had cancer (especially for a kind that afflicts 70-yr-old men!), and I've felt that profoundly at times. Felt sorry for myself, I suppose. Most of the women featured in this documentary, however, were even younger, and they were facing a future not knowing if they could have children. Wow. I guess I'd spent so much time shaking my fist at fate for putting my young children through the yucks of cancer that I hadn't even considered how lucky I am to even have them. gulp!

10,000 silent but heartfelt 'thank-you's' ascending to heaven...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I missed blogging for a few days...uh-oh--starting the neglect right out of the gates! Shnookie2 (13 yrs)--who thinks if I'm on the computer AT ALL, I must be blogging--said this to me: "You love BETTY more than me! sniff!" LOL She's such a funny girl!

So, the biggest news around here is that I went to my oncologist this week for my 3-month check-up, and my blood counts came up a little! Dr. Glenn was practically giddy, as was her helper-doctor, whom I've never seen before, but he evidently can read a chart, as well as take cues from the main doctor-lady. Happy! Happy! They both stood there above me, smiling from ear to ear, congratulating me. I felt like the big girl who just did the first poop in the potty. Go me!! (I actually said that, several times, cuz it's hard to know what else to say.)

Since I know you're dying to know!...Here are the results:

Red count (Hematocrit)- 34.3 - which is normal and has been for awhile now, therefore proving that it IS possible for me to be normal in some area.
Platelets - 98 big ones!- which is officially the highest I've had in at least 4 years! To give perspective, normal for a typical human being (I say this cuz I'm really trying to accept that normal for others may never be 'my' normal. Being extraordinary is a burden. sigh) is between 140 and 390. As further perspective, the lowest platelet count I have recorded for me is 15, which was right before I started my last chemo. Now that I know the averages and such, I get why they were shocked that I wasn't spontaneously bleeding nonstop. (Platelets are what clot the blood.) Luck was obviously on my side, in that those last few platelets were the strongest, most super-human platelets known to mankind!
White count - 3.04 - which is also a new natural high for me. (I got to 3.25 once, but that was after an injection of Elasta, designed to boost the white. Only technically cheating.) We're especially happy about this one, since it's been the big battle for me. White cells fight infection; normal is between 4 and 10; I got down to .4 several times during chemo and no one was happy about that! (least of all me, particularly when it resulted in shingles. OUCH!!) Cute story here: Hubby promised me a new car if I got over 2.0, which is ridiculous, since I have no control over them. But he likes to give people incentives to up their performance, and he knows what motivates me! He'd probably take total credit for my improvement if you asked him :). But he did make good on his promise, and my white counts (and my very white butt) enjoy the brand-new minivan very much!

So now ya know! My poor kids know waaaaay too much about blood counts. They've said so many prayers that've started with "Bless Mom's white count to come up." They'll all either go into the medical field or else never step foot in a medical office again. We'll let their therapists untangle that mess.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Shnookies 1 and 2, as usual, were gone visiting their Cali dad all of July. I hate, hate, hate, hate it. AND I dislike it very much. It is like a few days of heaven when they get home--we're all just giddy! This year, they got home on August 2nd, and it was extra nice cuz they came home in the middle of the day (instead of at night like usual), so we had the rest of the day to party. Shnookie 1 had his friend, Andrew, over (I'll say his name, since I don't care if anyone stalks him. If you need his address, just email me. HEE!) within an hour. I had to run somewhere, and while I was gone, it started POURING rain. I came home to find Shnook 1 and Andrew playing basketball in the rain, soaking wet! I cannot tell you how happy that made me!

Pretty soon, Shnooks 2 and 4 were also out there, splashing in the big puddle we get in the driveway. Then they were joined by a neighbor friend, and it was a splashing free-for-all. I got my camera and started snapping away. (Used the 'underwater mode' for the first time, btw. Probably shouldn't have, but I just had to jump at the chance. Goodness knows this is the closest I'll ever get to being actually 'under water' with my camera! Come to think of it, why does a non-waterproof camera have a underwater mode? Hmmmm)

So all the kids are running free in the downpour, and I'm just giggling and happy as a clam about it. Why? First of all, my oldest and youngest are reunited with each other and their friends, so I feel whole again. Second, I have this distinct fond childhood memory of playing in the warm rain as a youngster and just feeling free as the wind. Now, many of my so-called childhood memories have turned out to not be true, since my older siblings are involved in them and have absolutely no recollection of the fantastical situations I envision (like a snake chasing me up a log and Laurie saving me from certain death). I'm a vivid dreamer, so I'm never quite sure what tricks my over-active mind is playing on me when it comes to memories. So, I was never quite sure if this was 'one of those' memories. Afterall, when it happened I lived in Eastern Oregon and couldn't have been older than 4. Then we moved to Western Oregon, where I became VERY familiar with rain, and never once did I ever have the urge to don my swimming suit and play in it, cuz it was always FREEZING. As a result, I had serious doubts regarding the validity of that particular recollection. Flash forward to 2007, giddy mom with her underwater camera in Northern Utah... IT'S TRUE!! IT MUST BE TRUE!! There ARE places in the world where rain is not cold and wet and miserable all year long!! And my beautiful kidlets are getting to make that beautiful memory of their own. I am complete. Sigh. (good sigh this time.)

Oh, and while we're sharing all these happy vibes, this experience also reminded me that there is a silver lining in everything--evin in having a driveway that has never drained properly, despite being re-poured twice and having every drain know to man attached to it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Acts of God

So I had a hurricane named after me. (At least, that's how I like to see it.) I had high hopes for my natural disaster namesake, but it didn't amount to much. Is it wrong to be disappointed? Is it sick that I'm jealous of the Deans out there who are getting to watch their gathering drama? Probably. I missed the 'big one' by one slot. If only mother nature would've mustered up all her fury while 'ERIN' sat ready on the national weather service's roster of names. Sigh.

My favorite dream of having a hurricane namesake was that people would actually listen to me. Like "ooooh, Erin is talking...watch out or she'll unleash her fury!" Maybe even my children? Not gonna happen. Sigh. You'll understand when it happens to you.

Did I mention 'sigh?'

oooh! Perfect segue into the cute story I've been meaning to record for posterity:

Last week, we're driving home in the car and Shnookie4 (that's what I'll call my youngest child for now until I get over worrying that someone will read this and stalk her) asks from the back: "Mom, how are tornados made? Is it when it's windy and someone throws dirt into the air and that makes a tornado?"

Hmmmm. My thoughtful answer: "Well, no, nature makes the tornados, but I'm not sure how it all actually happens." (Telling myself that of course I really know, but there's no way a 7-yr-old could understand my flawless scientific explanation. Yeah, right.)

Her immediate response: "If you don't really know, then maybe that IS how it happens."

She has a point, you have to admit.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Make way for BETTY!!

I have a blog!! I have been writing in it in my head for over a year now, but I find that doesn't do me much good. And--of course--it doesn't do humankind in general much good, since what I have to say will revolutionize existence as we know it. I know...how selfish of me to keep it all to myself. HEE

I thought my teenagers would think it's cool that I'm blogging. Uh, no. They both were totally like "WHY would you do that?" I choose to think that this is just another instance where I am way ahead of them in cool, and they'll realize it later. I can't think of a single example, but it happens all.the.time.

As for the name of my blog: it totally cracks me up, and I'm thinking I'm oh-so-clever. Another strike out with the kid folk. More fodder for the delayed 'cool mom' phenomenon. They shall see...BETTY will rule the universe!!! mwahahaha