“Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Yo, Yo…”


Looking back #2

On March of this year we went to San Diego (yes, I am playing serious catch-up on this Rad blog). We went with a home school group to Sea World, and no, we weren’t home schooling back then but I believe in not letting school get in the way of my children’s education (thanks Mark Twain). My incredible niece, let’s call her “Chuck”, allowed us to stay with her and her hubby and then she accompanied us to Sea World.

Touching this starfish was a big accomplishment (Chunk #1 would have nothing to do with it)

Chunk #2 gave this Dolphin the endearing name of  “Dolphy”.  Later, after she was splashed, she felt differently.

At the temple

Ain’t she great?

The next day we did our usual trip to the Mormon Battalion

After this I went looking for the IKEA.  I thought for sure I could remember where it was.  I couldn’t.  After passing the zoo twice, the historic district and a certain mall five times, I gave up.  The Chunks were patient but very tired so I headed for La Jolla and we found-

The. Best. Tide-pool. Beach. Ever.

It was a Thursday afternoon.  No one was around.  This was OUR beach (for about an hour anyway). It was one of those perfect moments in my life.

Chunk #1, you told me that your favorite part of this beach was seeing the little crabs and seashells and sea anemones.
Chunk #2, your favorite memory of this beach was touching the sea anemones that were covered in sea shells.

In the soundtrack of my life, this song is somewhere in my list of top ten — mmmm, maybe top five:

Tell me some of your songs…

She’s Home

“…the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
~Walt Whitman, “O Me! O Life!”, Leaves of Grass

Click here to read about someone I know who contributed a beautiful verse to this world.  She was my neighbor, growing up, and I loved her and her whole family.  Mostly, I remember jumping on the trampoline with her and her sweet prayers in church. Her name is Cindy Abbott  (Dec 1, 1952-February 17, 2011)

**Art Credit: Alpha and Omega: On My Way Home, by Wulf Barsch (1985, oil on paper, 24″ x 50″).  This piece of work is a representation of mankind’s eternal journey homeward to God.

Shadows of Valentines Past

I loved Valentine’s Day as a child. Then I got older and started to dislike it – greatly. Then I was luke warm towards it. Now, I love it. I adore it.

Today I have Valentine memories floating around in my head and as I stop to take a look,  I realize I no longer cringe at them. They make me laugh, mostly.  Here, come have chuckle at my expense.

2nd grade: I had the coolest package of Valentine cards where you could assemble them so that parts moved. For example, I had one where a boy was giving a girl flowers, and you could move the flowers back and forth. This one was the best one. This one I saved for my biggest Crush. I sat in my bedroom, at my desk imagining how I would give it to him. The next day, with my boy-crazy friend, Shannon, giggling at my side, we walked up to the Crush, handed him the card and walked away. He said nothing. By afternoon recess I was so over him. He didn’t say anything!  No reciprocation.  Unbelievable.   I remember walking up to him, again, with Shannon at my side, and I don’t know what I said but I held my head high, let him know I had moved on. He still said nothing. What a waste of an awesome card.

4th grade: Another crush. These were the days where you checked your cards to make sure you didn’t give any boys the wrong idea (you know, the Lisa Simpson debacle when she gave Ralph Wiggum the “I choo choo choose you” valentine – those fiascos need to be avoided). And, I’m sure boys felt the same way. However, I did save the best card for my Crush. And it turned out, this crush went out of his way to give me some Big Red gum. None of the other girls in the class got any Big Red gum…in a special envelope…..with a special note. However, after school, I discovered that my friend, Teri, also received the same kind of package from the same boy. Perhaps this is where the seeds of Valentine resentment were planted.

6th grade:  A boy named Robert spent all year flirting with me.  I didn’t like him like “that” although he always made me laugh.  On Valentine’s, in homeroom, he kept giving me conversation hearts with special messages.  I turned him down.  I don’t remember how, I don’t know what I said. I was probably snotty and mean.  If I could go back in time and punch myself in the face for that one, I would, because before the bell rang, Robert was no longer sitting at his desk.  He was under it.

Jr High: Every year the Jr. National Honor Society or the Jr. Key Club or one of those respectable clubs would sell carnations. You could buy one for, I don’t know, $.50 or $1.00, with a message, and it would be delivered to the recipient’s classroom on Valentine’s Day. I was happy to receive five. I was elated to receive 10 (I don’t know how many I got). But, once you entered the hallway with your bundle of flowers, the popularity contest was in full swing. The girl with the most carnations walked those corridors with her garden of love and messages and the crowd would part like the Red Sea, gawking at her spoils. Were these all from boys? How many were from just her girl pals? You wondered and you envied as she floated by (and even got her picture taken for the year book). Aaah, Jr. High, you are such a strange place.

High school: I honestly cannot remember my high school Valentine Days and this could be either because they were just plain boring, or, they were terrible and need to be blocked. I have no idea. Actually, I do have one memory. I got a card from another Crush that said “Cupid is Stupid”. It also had candy and some cherry chapstick attached. I loved that Cherry Chapstick. The card made me giggle. That was enough for me. I’m pretty sure that the same Crush handed out similar valentines to other girls who he knew liked him. You see this motif popping up again and again.

Freshman year of college: I painted black hearts and hung them up outside our dorm room the week before Valentine’s. I don’t know if my roommates appreciated this. A girl, who lived in the basement came up to visit us. As I sat on the brownish linoleum, she watched me paint the black hearts and then said “you are so cool” whilst something like “The Smiths” played in the background. She creeped me out and then I questioned my actions for a little bit, but I continued in my tongue-in-cheek display of being a jilted Valentine. On the actual day there was a knock on the door by a boy, dressed as a big pink bunny rabbit, who came to see why this apartment was so anti-valentine. I laughed, hard.

Sophomore year of college: I had a date with a boy who gave me a puzzle Valentine for a dance earlier in the week. He was cute, funny, and charming. We were about to go out when the phone rang. It was my old boyfriend.  For some strange reason I allowed for a conversation.  He said things like “Just called to see how you’re doing.” No “Happy Valentines” or anything to indicate that day of celebration because that just wasn’t his style. I wanted to be petty and say “I’m on a date.”  But then I didn’t want to be petty.  But then I wanted to be petty (back and forth, back and forth)…  I was uncomfortable listening to him while looking at my date.  Again, if I could go back in time to fix my behavior, I would.  Except instead of punches, they would be quick slaps, back and forth across the face. (Hang up the phone!)

Senior year of college:   I had grown up a bit.  I’d even lived and served abroad for a year and a half.  I wasn’t quite so self absorbed (or I’d like to think so anyway). I had learned to not care about Valentines…..until…..a boy.  I had been crushing on him for a while.  He left me a big Gerber Daisy with a note on our doorstep.  It said, “Thanks for being such a great friend, Love (I seriously am unsure of the name)”.  How great!  I got a daisy from my crush!  But wait, “such a great friend”?  What did that mean?  I realized, later that he had sent similar flowers to other girls.  You see this theme, right? There really was no escaping it.   That same night my now husband, then friend, found out about the daisy and made fun of it.  He also made me a Valentine that looked like a booty-crack over some jeans, but when you opened it, it was a heart.  Funny.  (I discovered, after our marriage, that he had made the exact same valentine for another girl while in high school….sheesh, I can NOT get a break, can I?)

Today:  I sent my children off to school with treats for a party, and valentine cards and lollipops with lips and mustaches attached for their friends.  They had no expectations of crushes, romance, or feeling special by someone else (as far as I can tell, anyway). Tonight we will go to a friend’s house for Crepes (french things are always appropriate today, no?).  Yesterday we had a pink and red dinner.  And sometime soon, the Valentine Lady will visit.  I love these moments oh so much more. And for the record, Cupid is not Stupid.

When and if they need it, I can’t wait to share my ridiculous Valentine shenanigans with my Chunks. But, perhaps they will be better at this stuff than I was.


*photo credit:by Daniela Arrais on flickr.com

So, what are your favorite/least favorite Valentine memories? 

January Slide Show #19

Taken 1980(ish)

I grew up in a house where I could literally climb the walls.

I sometimes wonder if it is strange to have such a strong attachment to a building made of wood and bricks.  But I’m not going to ask the question because I don’t want to really hear the answer.

I adored my house. It was like another member of my family to me. Seriously, I get sad that I was never able to introduce it to my husband or my kids.  It is my first and last definition of Home. Everywhere else I’ve lived fits somewhere in between (although, the Blue Bungalow is not far behind).

Today I looked at this picture and could immediately feel the wood- the smooth banister, the rough walls.  I get flashes of memories, in smells and sounds, mostly. I still breathe in the scent from the cedar wood. My mind tunes in with the echo of the stairs- the hollow sound of the twelve wooden steps that resounded with each smack of my feet. I still hear the creaking floors and feel of the warm winter sun through the west windows, by the piano. Yes, these details pull me home, and I wish I could go back.

And there are other things this picture reminds me of.  I miss the walls that led to the children’s wing (it sounds like a mansion when I say “wing” but it wasn’t. That’s just what we called it -it jutted out of the house like, well, a wing and it was where we children slept and played).  Back to the walls. They were made of brick.  It was there that I would position my feet between each cube of stone, climb as close to the ceiling as possible, and wait. My goal was to jump down and scare the next person to walk down the hallway (usually hoping it was Guy), but I was never Ninja enough. It was always worth a try.

I was certainly dorky enough.

Have a great weekend!  January Slide Show ends Monday.


This slide show is to remember Kodachrome’s 75 years on this earth.  Click here.

It’s that time of year again.

I’m dejunking, people! I have my seasons (read SEASONS not REASONS—although of course I have my reasons but they don’t need to be itemized here)

I’m in that dejunking season again.

I’m not very good at it. What I do is I look at boxes and say “why do we still have you?” and I go through it. Then my hands get sticky with memories and I can’t let it go.  But, last season, I got tough on myself and finally disposed of quite a few items, including this ridiculously awesome souvenir.

You see, about twelve years ago, the streets of Argentina echoed of Enrique, Shakira, and Ricky.  It was everywhere. So, while waiting for the use of the phone in the bus terminal of Cañada de Gomez, I bought Enrique’s mug for .50 centavos.  I stashed it in my luggage until the end of my mission (a sister has to stay focused, you know), and then kept it in a box of “mission stuff” for the next eleven and a half years.  So, I said goodbye to Enrique last Spring and laughed at the fact that his mole was photoshopped off of his face.

Now, the question is, do I get rid of this?

It was a “gift” from my husband.

Ten years? TEN years?

Tonight El Jefe and I celebrated the ten year anniversary of our first date. How the heck do I remember the actual DATE of our first date you may ask? Well, as I was getting ready for the historic event, I made a mental note that it was the birthday of my niece, Lauren. And something in me said, “Hey you can always remember your first date with El Jefe because it’s Lauren’s b-day.”

So,  Happy Birthday to this girl:

photo by La

Lauren, while you were turning 14 and dancing to Justin Timberlake, El Jefe and I shared a pork burrito, enchilada style, at the new hot spot of Provo – Cafe Rio.

Can anyone imagine our joy when Cafe Rio came to Sin City?  Well only if you’re Cafe Rio fans I suppose.   Now we can eat there, every year, on this day….or any other time we feel like it.

I will admit though, we almost didn’t go tonight.  I found out that today is also National Waffle Day (so many things to celebrate on this day, the 25th).  El Jefe had the option of Pumpkin Waffles or Cafe Rio.  Although Pumpkin Waffles are my fave (and I happen to LOVE “Brinner” – yes, that’s short for Breakfast for Dinner – no I did not make it up but I wish I did), where was I?  Oh, yes, I kind of wanted Pumpkin Waffles for dinner but I was glad I did not have to cook. El Jefe chose Cafe Rio.  Yum!

Oh, and the story gets better.  As we were paying I looked at the price and said “[El Jefe], why’s it so cheap?”  He said “we got a discount.” Oh really, you just asked for a discount and “Viola!”

I was so confused.  What discount?  How’d you do that? Then El Jefe pointed out my niece’s cousin.  Now, when I say that, you say, “La, then that would be your niece, too.”  No, this cousin is on my niece’s other side of their family.  This gal could also be called my “sister’s niece”, or my “brother-in-law’s brother’s daughter.”  Confusing enough?  Oh, but let me add some more confusion to the pot.  This lovely girl, let’s call her “S”, is weirdly “related, but not related” to us in two different ways.

  • One: She is my niece’s cousin, or, my sister’s niece, or, my brother-in-law’s brother’s daughter (as I already said).
  • Two: Her sister married a boy who is the son of my father-in-law’s cousin, or, she married my husband’s second cousin.  (who we’ve actually never met…)

I love it!  It’s like we’re related but, really, we’re not.  But we are, but we’re not…..for some reason I feel like we could be characters in a Jane Austen novel but I’m not sure why…..

Alright, after all that, I’ll bring it to the point: she works there and threw us a discount.  Thank you “S”.

Some snapshots around the table:

Rather than a picture of me, I felt you should see a picture of the Cafe Rio salad with grilled steak and cilantro lime vinaigrette.  Did you read that?  CILANTRO LIME.  Like my brother would say, “Aaaaaaaaaah, delicious.”

So my dear, El Jefe, who knew ten years ago that we would be married, with a couple of chunks, and I’d be typing up blog entries in bed about how ten years ago we went on our first date while you snored away next to me in our own Blue Bungalow?  Who  knew?

Photo of the day

photo by El Jefe

I remember this day in Bear Lake clearly. It was literally the calm before the storm.  My family had a “fireside” until the drops of rain finally drove us indoors.  The lighting here was perfect.  El Jefe took quite a few gems as the sun set behind the storm clouds.  Later that night, he captured some really great lightning images.

I share this picture because remembering this day soothes my soul.  There are those days where the memory of them just calms you. Plus, I love this kid.

We went “non-traditional” this weekend….

So, my family actually celebrated our Thanksgiving about 3 weeks ago.  What’s a family to do when they’ve already gone through the blood, sweat and tears of a Turkey dinner?

Why, go to a casino buffet of course!

Strange, you say? Totally not classy, you murmur?  IMPERSONAL,  you scream at me (thus the capital letters)?

Heck no, I respond. Heck. No.

photo by El Jefe

Happy Thanksgiving!!

How was your turkey meal today?

More thoughts on being the Mommy.

Laura Jonah kiss

I’ve been going through some of our old pictures and trying to organize them.  It’s funny how, when you look at different stages of your life,  old feelings and emotions seem to tickle the back of your brain and say “remember?”

I love this picture, but when I think my state of mind during that time period, I cringe. I don’t like to dwell on it too much because I have since come a long way.  I know that on one hand I felt  gratitude and relief because I was blessed with a fat and happy little boy.  But on the other hand, I was still filled with doubt and fear that seemed to sweep upon me the first time I held this boy in my arms.  Motherhood was a difficult transition for me because I just  really wanted to do it right.  But the responsibility was daunting and I didn’t quite “cowgirl up” at the beginning of this journey.

Each time I became a new mother, I grew a whole new heart.   That first heart?  I resented it a bit.  Not the boy.  No, I did not resent him.  I resented all the new emotions and fears that came with him.  I saw the world in a different light but I was focusing on what a scary place it can be.  I didn’t remind myself of the protection I could be.  Instead I felt weak and overwhelmed and scared.

I have sobered up since then.  I now choose Strength over weakness, Love over fear, and Faith over doubt.  It is also good to remember where we can turn to for strength  when we feel weak as a mother or worried about our children.  I love this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life.”

So, this fat one volunteered to be my first guinea pig.  He has taught me much.  And I hope my prayers cling to him throughout his life.

9 years ago tonight…

I went on my first date with this hunka hunka burnin’ love…

love-machine dsc02550

We doubled with some friends and went to Cafe Rio.  El Jefe and I shared a chicken burrito, enchilada style. We went to a movie. He asked if it would be all right if he could hold my hand. Later on we went swimming in an indoor pool (after all it was March, in Utah, brrrrr). How brave was I to go swimming on the first date. My how things have changed.

About two years later he asked me to marry him on the 3rd anniversary of my return from Argentina. I said “Yes!” Everyone around us said “Finally!”

Two kids, one huge house project later, and here we are!



Chunk #1 is Amazed.



Chunk #2 is in awe.


El Jefe is suspicious.

(When I took this suspicious picture, I thought, “I wonder how many pictures I’ve taken of El Jefe in the driver’s seat?” Then El Jefe said out loud “I wonder how many pictures you’ve taken of me like this?” So I thought it was only fitting to attach this particular one.)

Happy 9th anniversary of our first date, Boy Sweetie.

The Valentine Lady and other things…

“Valentine’s Day is for amateurs.”

I don’t remember exactly where I heard that quote, but I thought it was funny.  The guy saying it was some kind of Smooth Operator and didn’t need a holiday to prove his love.  On some level I’m sure I agree, we should show our love everyday.  But still, Valentine’s Day is fun.

When El Jefe and I first celebrated V-Day as husband and wife, I remember thinking “I should make it special.”  I declared that week as “Love Week” and then wrote a song to the tune of “Love Boat.”  I think I tried to have something special for each day of the week.  I wish I kept the song somewhere but I bet you can at least figure out the first line: “Love Week! It’s Love Week!….”  I don’t know what El Jefe thought of it.  He certainly laughed … at me, with me, who knows.

Well, now I’m a mommy and Valentine’s is a bit different.  Chunk #1 had his first Valentine party at school.  I watched him with his Lightening McQueen cards,  deciding who gets what card and why.  As he wrote out his classmates’ names I remembered my grade school days of choosing the right card with the right message for the right person.  I certainly wouldn’t want the same debacle that Lisa Simpson faced when shchoo1e gave Ralph Wiggum the “I choo, choo, choose you” card. No , no.

Of course, Chunk #1 isn’t at that level of awareness  (or egotism for that matter).  He had just a few requirements of his own.  His closest friends had to have the card (and tattoo) with Lightening McQueen on it, while the girls had to have the card (and tattoos) with Sally on it.  The name had to be written perfectly centered inside the heart that said “To:”.   It had to be written with a red pen.  And of course, Mrs. S had to have the biggest one.

The Party was a smashing success.  Uh, but unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera.

But, here are some pictures from Valentine’s DAY.

For breakfast, we had “french toast de l’amour”:


This little valentine just loved the  heart shaped strawberries.  I believe the direct quote would be “aaaawwwwwww”.


Later that day, the Valentine Lady came.  The Valentine Lady is a long standing tradition from my side of the family.  She leaves Valentines and treats, and even sometimes gifts, at the doors of deserving young children…and even grown men.  Chunk #1 would like to catch her, but this year he was napping when she happened to leave something for him and #2 at our front and back door.



Nothing says “I love you” like chocolate.

The next night we had our red and pink dinner (so, I guess it was “Love Weekend”!).  Yes, that is a heart-shaped meatloaf standing before you.


If you’re wondering how I made those mashed potatoes look like cotton candy, the secret is beet juice.  Beet juice also gives gravy a nice rosy color (and no, you can’t taste the beets).  As far as the actual beets go, I thought they might be more palatable to the Chunks if they were cut into little hearts.  No, they weren’t.  But El Jefe loved them, given his history with the country of Denmark.

Here’s a dirty trick, I had Chunk #2 believing for two seconds that the potatoes were cotton candy. Looking back,  that wasn’t very nice of me.  A three-year-old’s dream come true would be cotton candy for dinner.  No, sorry dear, just potatoes…

Blah blah blah

Today came with a new funk. Actually I don’t know if this is the same funk, or revenge of the funk, or funk II: electric boogaloo. Whatever it may be, on these days, I always find something else to occupy myself. Get away from the norm. Avoid responsibilities. Don’t answer the phone. My family room is a mess and I have two piles of laundry on the couch next to me. Oh, and the chunks are playing video games. I’ll be mother of year tomorrow.

So, for the last few hours I was having fun looking at pictures. I then occupied myself with the development and such. I have to admit, I didn’t like digital photography back in the day (even as soon as 4 years ago). Why? For one, you could totally tell when it was digital. I was just picky like that.  Even now, I can tell when it’s a digital shot  but I have to take a really good look at the picture. For two, I had once learned the rare art of darkroom development. So, that alone made me a bit snooty, and a kind of purist. When I used to shoot a lot, my favorite part of the whole process was the darkroom. To this day I still want a darkroom in my house. But now, as digital is totally the norm, I know that the darkroom days will just become some sort of rare art form, like bookmaking.

But these days I just love the digital. I also love all the ways I can play with an image on the computer. I am still just learning the computer stuff. This is my hubby’s specialty, but today I had some fun. Here are just a few:

Summer ’08 in Mapleton (taken by La):



Summer ’08 in Rexburg (taken by El Jefe):




October/November ’08 at Legoland (taken by El Jefe, I think)


June ’08 at Lake Tahoe (taken by El Jefe)


For SusyQ and Hank

I love this photo. I love that this little guy gets to stay with you longer and, hopefully, forever.

The Great Northwest Expedition 2008

This summer has been CRAZY. I have lots of pictures, but that will have to wait.

Here is an update of what’s been going on:

Right after school got out El Jefe took a solo vacation to Rexburg for ten days. Yes, ten whole days.

Two days after he got back, we headed to Lake Tahoe for a family reunion (my side of the family). It was heaven. I will blog about it later.

We got back from Tahoe Sunday night, and Monday morning El Jefe headed off to Scout Camp for five days. Yes, five more days.

Four days after he got back, we headed North again. We had to be in Washington on Sunday evening for El Jefe’s family reunion. After that, we drove over to Idaho for El Jefe’s extended family reunion. We went through five states in one week! We. Are. Awesome. Seven states in all! Or We. Are. Crazy.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Sleeping under the Northern Nevada stars. You forget how many there really are when you’re a city girl.

2. Driving through little towns wondering if they are a nice place to live.

3. Walking through a lava tube near Mt. Shasta, CA. That was cool.

4. The views!

5. Sleeping in the most comfortable bed ever in Bandon, OR thanks to my brother “Hank,” his wife “SusyQ,” and her family.

6. Holding a live starfish. I love tide pools and seeing all the creatures but I don’t really like touching them.

7. Racing with my nieces on the beach in Bandon.

8. Looking at Multnomah (sp?) Falls and trying to get the perfect B&W shot to hang in our bedroom.

9. People watching at Multnomah (sp?) Falls. Seriously.

10. Running in the morning hours on the beach at Ocean Shores.

11. Finding a ton of sand dollars on said beach.

12. Being in the presence of the Largest Spruce Tree (in the world?).

13. Being in the presence of another freakin’ huge tree (a Cedar), but I don’t know it’s rank or comparison to other trees.

14. Being within 90 miles of Forks, WA and being able to get a better sense of where a game of Vampire Baseball might take place (that’s for all you Twilight fans).

15. More views and more driving (is that a highlight? Just the views I suppose).

16. Jumping into icy cold water for the sake of a relay race and dressing like a super hero to do it. Just ask my husband’s cousin’s son. Ok, it was just a wet suit, but Guy says my superhero name would be Iron Girl.

17. Finally water skiing for the first time in five years. Note to self: Just because you are a mommy doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you like to do.

18. Helping coach some cute little girls to get up on ski’s for the first time. (El Jefe’s cousin and his second cousin one removed?!) They were seriously close to getting it! (After I skiied one of them said “Good job! You did better than we did!”)

19. Riding the Rexburg Carousel.

20. Playing in the cool weather of Rexburg (thanks for having us Mom and Dad A.)

21. Watching Chunk #1 peel out in the go-karts at the “RIOT ZONE!!!” because he is now “four enough” (something the child has been looking forward to all year).

22. Making a come back as the “Lady of Catan” (and then immediately losing that title in the next game).

23. Staying up til 2:00 and cracking up with Dave and Lisa.

24. While on Temple Square, asking El Jefe’s Danish friends, “So, did you see the Christus statue yet?” I caught myself half way through that question but it was too late. The words came. We laughed at my stupidity. And we moved on. (For those who are wondering why that was a stupid question: the ORIGINAL Christus statue was created by a Danish artist and resides in Denmark. They can see it any time they want.)

25. Doing some triathlon training with Kristy. She kicked my booty.

26. Having my bike fixed by Ike. Thanks Ike.

27. Visiting our favorite store, IKEA.

28. Stopping and swimming with friends at Warms Springs Ranch on the way home. That place holds a lot of childhood and teenage memories.

29. Walking into our house and sleeping in our own beds (although Chunk #1 still wanted to camp or sleep at somebody else’s house).

Whoa! That’s a long list from just the top of my head. We made a lot of memories on our 15 day trip and we went over 3000 miles. El Jefe and I still like each other and we still like the kids, too. That’s good. El Jefe also just calculated today that he has spent a total of 7 days at home this summer. So, now I say, “Let the house projects begin!!! or Continue!!!” “Yea!”

Pictures will be coming soon…

Passing on traditions

Dear siblings,

Do you remember the following rhymes?

“Engine, engine, number 9 Going down Chicago line, If the train should jump the track Do you want your money back? ‘Yes!’ Y-E-S spells ‘yes’ and you are not it!”


“My mother and your mother were hanging out the clothes. My mother punched your mother right in the nose. What color was the blood? ‘Green!’ G-R-E-E-N spells ‘green’ and you are not it!”


“Bubble gum, Bubble gum, in a dish. How many pieces do you wish? ‘Five!’ One, two, three, four, five, and you are not it!”

Can you think of any others?

I’m having memories of us (and the Abbotts) gathered in a circle in one of the shallow ends of the pool, with our fists held out, with one of us singing the rhyme and knocking the fists so we could figure out who was “IT” for “Marco Polo”, “Sharks and Sardines”, or “Colors.” Such great summer memories. I miss it.

Today I taught Chunk #1 the rhymes and how to choose who is “IT”. It was pretty funny. If you recall, the person who said the rhyme had to tap their chin since they were using their other fist to tap everybody else’s fist. Did that make sense? Anywho….it was funny to watch Jonah try to coordinate the rhyme and remember to tap his own chin as well as the other fists in order.

I love those kid moments.

Of course, his favorite was the one about “my mother punch[ing] your mother right in the nose.”


Ok, I’m a nerd. I looked up some other rhymes just for fun and I totally forgot one of my favorite ones!

“Inka binka bottle of ink, the cork fell off and you stink, not because you’re dirty, not because you’re clean, just because you kissed a boy behind a magazine and you are not it.”

Ta, ta, tee-tee, ta…

To all my siblings who went to George E. Harris Elementary, today I had flashbacks of our old music teacher Mr. Kriski (sp?). I’ve been taking the Chunks to a music class with my friend “Van” for the past two weeks. They have all these cute little activities that help develop rhythm, or review colors, or teach the range of notes, or whatever. Today there is a segment where a gal reviewed the duration of notes, and she totally bust out with calling a quarter note “Ta” and a 16th note “Tiki” and a half note “Ta-a”….

I couldn’t believe it. Mr. Kriski lives on. That’s when the flashbacks started. Except, he called a 16th note “tee-tee.” On the way home I was singing. “Ta ta tee-tee ta terry-terry tee-tee ta ta.

Then I started singing the train song “‘Panaca, Panaca, no one’s from Panaca!’ ‘My Mother’s from Panaca’ ‘Whoops pardon me!’ Hear that train go clickety-clack….” Guy, if you could finish the song for me, it would be much appreciated.

So now the question is, where is that scary little man that tip-toed across the music room teaching rhythm and beat that will never be forgotten? Where is that man that yelled at children in such a terrifying way so that when he asked you “Why did you do that?!” you knew to never shrug your shoulders (no matter how meekly or with whatever amount of humiliation) because he would just yell “DON’T shrug your shoulders at me!” He was such a great music teacher, but I will remember the fear instilled in me just as much as the lessons on the duration of notes. I will never forget the duration of notes. So, where are you Mr. Kriski?


I was always in the back row of his class because he seated us from shortest to tallest.

The soapy bucket where kids would dip their recorder, swish it around and then leave it in a bin to dry. Gross (I brought my own recorder from home…probably bought for previous siblings who wanted to avoid the same thing).

The Halloween song

The School theme song.

The xylophones

“Harris Singers”

Oh ya, Mr. Bissel (sp?)

I last saw Mr. Kriski when I was in high school. I went with my friend to The Meadows School to pick up her little sister. We went inside to go into her classroom and Mr. Kriski was standing by his classroom door. He was seriously a head shorter than me. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it. All those images of this scary, towering man were, well, not gone….I was just confused. Here he was, like, 5’2″ yet in my childhood he made me feel like he could crush me with his bare (yet dainty) hands. Oh, by the way, Mr. Bissel was at that school too. Did you know he was a shorty, too?

I feel the need to create a special VH1 episode of “Where Are They Now?”

15 minutes later, Post Script:

I just looked up the two of them on Google. I somehow remembered that Mr. Kriske’s (yes I’ve learned it’s with an “e”) first name was Jeff. He and Mr. Bissell are still at The Meadows School. Guess what grade Mr. B teaches? Also, Mr. Bissell is on RateMyTeacher.com and his ratings sound like some of our siblings descriptions. One of the ratings said “He doesn’t even teach you. All he does is talk with Mr. Kriske.” I’m sure that first part, coming from a student, is exaggerated, but that second part cracks me up. Oh, and Mr. Kriske has his own line of curriculum books on teaching music. He looks like a bigwig in the music teaching circuit.

Why am I wasting my time telling you this? Because I really thought they were dead. That just goes to show a child’s warped perception. I thought they were super tall and I thought they were super old.

The End.


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