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Back to Preschool

I went to go drop Adam off at his preschool Halloween party yesterday and one of the teachers came running out after me, "Wait, wait, wait!" They were short a teacher (conveniently sick on the craziest day of the year) and needed some help.

Ummm. . . sure. Not quite what I had in mind for my day, but okay.

I ran the play dough station and taught the kids about the Spiral Jetty and worked on perfecting my favorite play dough skill: making a cube.

Before the big parade, the kids got their wiggles out with some crazy dancing. Kaleigh got to help Junie B. Jones play the piano. She seems to have a way of getting what she wants.

And then it was time for the big parade. (Actually, just a walk down to the end of the block.) Adam fell down three times. (Kaleigh was completely focused on walking in a straight line and didn't fall down at all.) Doesn't she look old?

Here's the group. One of the teachers asked me if I missed the chaos of teaching preschool. With a ratio of one teacher for every five or six kids, it didn't really feel much different than life at home.

Except I don't get paid. And I don't get to send them home at the end of the day. And I have about a hundred other distractions and responsibilities, at any given time.

But they're mine. And I love them. AND I get to trim their fingernails whenever I want.


The Wacks in Lucy's Ears are Having a Party

"Mom, you
really need to clean out my ears! There are a bunch of wacks in there, and I think they are having a party."

-Lucy Ballard, Age 6

I know that I've let this go on too long, but years ago, when I was cleaning Rachel's ears, she asked me if I found a wack. You know. . . she heard me say that we needed to get the wacks out. . . so the singular version must be "wack."

It always makes me smile, so I just let that one go.

It probably wouldn't do any good if I tried to correct them anyway. I have tried to teach Rachel the correct pronunciation for the word "remote" about a thousand times. And despite my efforts, she still calls it the marote.


Crazy Hair Day

Today was Crazy Hair Day at school.

There is a tall plastic cup hidden inside of Lucy's hair to hold the shape. (My friend used a roll of toilet paper when she did her daughter's.)

Lucy absolutely loves her hair (and the attention) and would just as soon have her done like this every day.

We were a little short on time this morning, so Rachel got to wear the wig.

I curled my hair today for Gloria's retirement party. Adam told me I looked pretty. "Like another lady." Hmmmm. Maybe I need to spend more time on my hair?


Colors of Fall

Sardine Canyon was beautiful today.

And the colors in the valley were absolutely stunning.

A Weekend of Exciting Firsts and a Melancholy Last

The kids dressed up for their first Halloween party of the year. (We were late, so no pictures.)
We left our pumpkins out on the porch overnight for the first time. (And they didn't even get stolen.)
We attended United Way's first pumpkin/book giveaway at the Oasis Community Garden.
Lucy found her first 4-leaf clover. (I am one proud momma.)
We got more free pumpkins from Ogden's first Witchstock Festival. (Now we have plenty of backups.)
Steve attended the Jackson Ward Chili Cook-off for his first time. (Actually, he was in charge of it.)
Steve sat next to me during sacrament meeting for the first time in a few months. (Primary Program.)
Rachel and Lucy had their first piano recital.

And one mournful last. Rachel and I went to go say our goodbyes to our sweet neighbor, Pam, who is battling esophageal cancer. It was a very somber experience.


Return Receipt #1093487684864

Last week, I was sick in bed for a couple days and my good husband offered to run some errands for me. I told him there were a bunch of packages in the back of my car that needed to go to the post office, and he agreed to take them there for me. A few days later, one of the packages was returned back to me because there was no postage on it. I asked him if he forgot to pay for one of the packages. . . and he told me he didn't pay for any of them.


"I just walked to the front of the counter and dropped them off and left, like I normally do," he explained.

"Yeah, but that's when I print out pre-paid labels for the postage. Those packages hadn't been paid for."

"Well, you didn't say that. You just told me to take them to the post office, so that's what I did."

I was immediately bothered/more like really upset about the packages because #1 Who drops off packages at the post office without looking to see if there is postage on them? #2 I didn't include my return address on some of the packages. And #3 I couldn't even remember what all of the packages were. . . They were all "returns" that had accumulated over the last few months.

Miraculously, to date, I have received emails verifying the receipt of four of the seven "lost" packages. And so far, there hasn't been any mention about the lack of postage.

So initially, I worried that we were going to lose all of the packages. . . and some $400 worth of merchandise (a replacement part for our broken microwave, three pairs of shoes to REI, some ridiculously expensive underwear from Hanna Andersson for big-bummed little girls, etc.) But instead, it looks like Steve just saved me fifty bucks in postage.

Who knew you could get away with something like that?

Well, that was a really long story to explain why this return receipt email I received the other day was especially amusing/almost made me pee my pants:

Ms. Ballard,

Thank you for the opportunity to use and investigate/break your Wii. The children have taken advantage of hosting it in our home. Within 24 hours they were seeing/making problems. With a detailed analysis and an extreme case of applied guilt it was diagnosed as simply needing a new cord. Our in house/gone for the hunting weekend mechanic will order and deliver the new cord once it arrives at our warehouse/house of wear & tear. An additional shipping notice will be sent at that time/or not. Due to the recent developments, Rachel will no longer need to make an appointment to use the Wii gaming system as it will no longer be in our possession. We will be sending all working items as well as destroyed items, with our earliest delivery route/when I get off work. We expect that the delivery will take place sometime within the next 2 days. It will not be necessary for you to sign for the delivery as we will drop it and run to prevent any further damage.

Ms. Ballard, we do want to inform you that in the future we will go to great lengths to prevent a situation like this happening again/we will not borrow anything over $3. We appreciate your patience in the matter and do understand a low rating if you choose to provide such. Our borrowing reputation is important to us and we again apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Thank you for your time,

Ms. Ballard/Angela
Depatment of Failure
801 941-XXXX


Grandma Gloria's Party

Grandma Gloria turned 60 on Sunday and we had dinner at our house to celebrate. We (well, actually, it was mostly Steve) made Baked Chicken Croissants, Spaghetti Squash, Couscous, and Green Beans.

After dinner, Angie and I took the kids downstairs and helped them each make one of these tennis ball people to give to Gloria. The kids had written five reasons why they love Grandma Gloria on little slips of paper, which were stuffed inside each of the mouths.

Here are Rachel's, Lucy's, and Adam's.


With the help of their tennis ball people, they sang Happy Birthday to Gloria and then stood in line to present her with their presents.

She read every piece of paper, one by one. The kids loved it.

This grandma is jumping into the sixties with some sweet new technology at her fingertips. She got a brand new MacBook, and we pitched in towards a digital camera for her birthday. Before you know it, she'll probably be ready to start a blog. . .


Teeter Totter

I found the old teeter totter video from the playground on the way to the Tetons.


I think Steve "won".



As promised, here is the winner:

Congratulations, Ramanda! Send me your address, and I will send you your new cd. I am quite certain you are going to love it.

It looks like Sarah Sample is one of CJane's favorites too.


Black Island Farms (Round 1 & 2)

We went to Black Island Farms for our first time back at the end of September. I've never been willing to pay the regular ticket price, so Debra organized a little field trip with her preschool group and invited us along. At $3.50 per kid, it was an absolute bargain.

We went on a hayride and all of the kids got to pick out a pumpkin. I forgot my camera at home, but at least my phone takes decent pictures.

There were so many fun activities, and we mostly had the place to ourselves. There was a pumpkin bounce house, corn mazes, pig races, and giant slides. They really have enough things that we could have stayed all day, but we didn't plan on the weather being so warm. We ran out of our water, and there wasn't much shade for the little ones. And I could barely keep my eyes open because we had gotten home so late from our Las Vegas trip.

But we had a great time and Adam got to hang out with his cute little girlfriend.

I was excited when I found out that Adam's preschool was going to Black Island Farms for a field trip. We went last Wednesday and invited Audrey and boys to join us. Half of the moms in Weber County joined us too. The parking lot was completely full of minivans and there were hundreds of little kids running around.

This would have been the best picture ever, but I was a few seconds too slow. There were dozens of kids (and parents) out in the pumpkin patch, and this little boy just dropped his pants and went to the bathroom. The funny part was that nobody seemed to notice. Why does everyone have to notice when Adam pees in public?

Even though I did remember my camera, I didn't take very many pictures because I felt so sick. But I did get a couple shots of these funny kids.


Sarah Sample (Giveaway)

Sarah Sample's CD Release Show is taking place in Salt Lake City right now. I wish I was there to take part in the festivities, but I am home sick.

Actually, if I weren't sick, I would be going to my Relief Society scrapbooking activity. And, sadly, I am also missing Kelly's Tupperware Berserk. Scrapbooking. . . Tupperware parties. . have I turned into a bona fide Utah mom?

But back to Sarah Sample. Many years ago, Sarah worked for Steve as a server at Cafe Sabor. In addition to being a very talented singer/songwriter, she possesses some amazing limbo skills. (Too bad my video footage is so poor.) And she also, unknowingly, gave me a lot of confidence when I was a new mom.

I was making myself an Island Oasis smoothie and Sarah was talking about backpacking somewhere. . maybe the Wind Rivers. . . and said that she would like to go on a backpacking trip with me and Steve someday. I gave my default response about having a new baby and not being able to do things like that. Without missing a beat, she said, "Whatever, just bring her with us!"

That brief comment helped me realize #1 kids didn't have to prevent me from doing what I wanted to do and #2 there were actually some people without kids who didn't mind hanging out with people with kids. Both very poignant lessons that have served me well.

Buy Sarah's new album, Someday Someday, here.

Get a free download from the album here.

Go here, scroll down, and click on Tour Dates to find Sarah in a town near you.

And now for a giveaway:

Post a comment (share an important life lesson, if you'd like) to be entered into a contest to win a copy of one of Sarah's other albums, Never Close Enough. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Monday, October 18. And then I will sincerely attempt to deliver (or mail) the cd to you in a timely manner.

Listen to one of my favorite tracks from the album, Count the Colors, here, and enjoy a little bit of Bear Lake nostalgia.