Monday, August 27, 2007

Also Known As...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

Very Lady Jen the Harmonious of Withering by the Wold

Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

What's a wold* and why am I withering by it? I like my peculiar aristocratic title, though. Very cool. (Thanks Scots.) I think I will make my students call me this. Well, maybe not the kindergarteners. Just the 7th graders. And my friends. All my friends must now address me as Very Lady Jen the Harmonious of Withering by the Wold. Okay, just Very Lady Jen the Harmonious.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

Duchess Jen the Innocent of Fiddlers Green

Wait, I actually like this one better. I am innocent. (No laughing Katrina and Kathy! You know it's true.) I like fiddle music. And I have lots of green (Irish) blood. So you may address me as either of my peculiar aristocratic titles. :)

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:

Entirely Miss Reverend Lady Jen the Disheveled of Menzies on the Minges

Okay. They just keep getting better, don't they? I love this one. This is the one. I want this one.

*wold: a tract of open country; a low hill

Thursday, August 23, 2007


There are some things that they don't tell you about in parenting books. One is that when you are raising boys you should be prepared to have all kinds of creatures come into your house. I have had bug boxes full of grasshoppers, ladybugs, butterflies, moths, and other varieties of creepy crawlies spend the night on my coffee table. I don't mind. Really. It's been quite interesting seeing these fascinating creatures up close.

A few days ago the boys found a fat, furry caterpillar. They were so excited. They fixed up their biggest bug box for it with sticks and grass and leaves. They played with her (they decided it was a her...I didn't ask how they knew) and named her "Catty." Catty became their pet. They took her with us wherever we went and showed her off to kids and adults alike. They took her out of the box and let her crawl over their hands and arms. That's what Adam was doing on Tuesday night. He was sitting on the couch looking at Catty as she crawled on his arm and asked me all kinds of questions about her like "What kind of butterfly would she be?" "When would she make a cocoon?" and "How long did she have to stay in the cocoon?" I answered as best I could. Then we went on with our night. We watched cartoons together and had Popsicles for dessert. I put the boys in bed around 8:00 as usual and was lying on the couch trying to enjoy a few minutes of peace before doing end of the day chores. Around 8:15 Adam came out of his room and said, "Mom, did you put Catty back in the bug box?" "Ummm, no," I answered, "Didn't you?" "No. I forgot. I sat her on the couch arm when I got up." I jumped up since the couch arm in question was the very one my head happened to be lying on. Thankfully there was no squished caterpillar under my cheek. We looked all around the couch for Catty but she was no where to be found. She wasn't under the cushions. She wasn't under the couch. I felt like she was crawling in my shirt, but she wasn't there either. I told Adam that it wasn't very responsible for him to leave Catty out of her box to which he responded, "I got distracted by the Popsicle!!"

Adam was so sad. He had become quite attached to Catty and couldn't understand why she would run away to where there was no grass for her to eat when she had a perfectly fine home that he had made for her. I finally got him settled down and back into bed, but I continued to look for Catty because now instead of being a fat, furry caterpillar in a bug box, she was a big, hairy bug crawling around my house. I just knew she was somewhere in the couch and as soon as I sat back down she would attack. I'm not necessarily scared of caterpillars, but I don't want one on me. Especially when I least expect it. So I continued to look to no avail. Catty had disappeared.

Adam has since accepted that Catty is gone. And I have since accepted that there is a creature loose somewhere in my house. And every morning from now 'til winter I will be looking for, not Catty the caterpillar, but Catty the butterfly.

Everything by Number

What does it mean when a kid counts everything? My Adam does that. When we were at "Walking with the Dinosaurs" he leaned over and said "15." 15? "15 what?" I asked. "15 teeth on that big dinosaur mouth," he answered. I never would have thought to count the teeth in the huge mouth that framed the curtain where the dinosaurs appeared, but he did. Since then he has also started counting many more things, including the train cars that pass whenever we get stopped at the crossing. I didn't even know he was doing it until one day he said, "What comes after 99?!? What comes after 99?!?" Once I told him, he hurried and caught up with his counting and ended up on 257. Wow! That was a long train. Who knew? He has also apparently been counting the days that his brother has had the "American Dragon Jake Long" game boy game. A million. As in, "He's had that game for a million days. When do I get a turn?" I'm not so sure that one's accurate.

Last night at motocross at the North Idaho Fair he said, "Mom, did you know that there are 8 of those bumpy things on the track?" "No I didn't know that." But I do know how many times he asked for a snow cone. A million.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Moose On The Loose

Ever since I read about Marmitetoasty's love for moose, I have wanted to show her these painted moose that we have in town. There were originally lots of these moose statues that were painted by professional artists. They were placed all over town and then sold to benefit local schools. They appeared in parades, in front of businesses and in parks. A few were purchased by locals and are still here. I found six of them.

This one is on a condo balcony on the corner of Government Way and Sherman Ave. It seems kind of out of place, but you never know where you might see moose these days!

This one stands outside the school district building on 4th Street. Check out the victorian boots.

This one is standing in front of Kootenai Medical Center. I love that it is surrounded by a huge flower garden.

This one is in front of Cafe Doma on the corner of 5th and Sherman. Pedestrians can get up close and personal with this one since it's right on the sidewalk. This was the most dangerous picture to take. I had to parallel park!!

To get the picture of this one I had to go through the drive through at Del Taco. The boys were thrilled because they got root beers. And I got a diet coke. The cartoon character theme is especially fun.

I think this one is my favorite. I love the mini moose riding on top and the nature theme of the painting. It stands in front of Forest Steel on Government Way.

It was really fun driving around looking for moose and taking pictures. I'm probably lucky I wasn't in an accident or at least yelled at (or worse) by other drivers! It was quite a little adventure, in the spirit of Marmie herself.

Monday, August 13, 2007


This morning I have a staff meeting. That means three things.

1. It's not long until school starts. (Aka summer's almost over.)
2. I should start thinking about school shopping, lesson planning, and classroom set up.
3. I have got to go to the beach tommorrow!

Monday, August 06, 2007


I can't tell you how much I love this movie. As the opening scene began, I started smiling and I don't think I stopped for the next hour and forty-seven minutes. I love the music. I love the characters. And I love the story of "Hairspray."

Tracy Turnblad is played by the amazing newcomer Nikki Blonsky. She does a terrific job getting Tracy's passion for dance across to the audience. And that passion comes out in all of the scenes she's a part of whether she is doing a solo or dancing and singing in a group. I love that Tracy is confident, determined, open-minded and accepting. She's who I would want my daughter to be if I had a daughter. The cute-as-can-be Zac Efron* plays Link. The relationship between Tracy and Link is so sweet to watch as they realize that, despite their differences, they are meant for each other. The scene where Link sings to Tracy's picture is one of my favorites. The incredible Elijah Kelley and the ultra-adorable Amanda Bynes are also among my favorite characters as friends of Tracy and Link. Not to mention Christopher Walken, "The Queen" Latifah, Michelle Pheiffer, and James Marsden.

But my favorite character is Edna, Tracy's mom. She is played by the buxom beauty...John Travolta. Yep. John Travolta. I have to admit that when I heard that he was playing a woman in the movie I thought it might be bad. But I was wrong. I love Edna and Mr. Travolta played her to perfection. Edna is just wonderfully sweet and entertaining. She worries about her daughter, frets over her own appearance, and loves her husband. And she overcomes her fears to step out of her comfort zone to stand with Tracy, protect her marriage, and shake it like she's never shaken it before on live t.v. Go Edna!

When you put all of these amazing characters together with the terrific soundtrack and the feel-good plot, you get a movie that I can't wait to own. It just makes me happy! It made me happy on the night I saw it and it makes me happy now to think about it. And I love it when the chubby girl gets the guy!

*Don't tell anyone, but I love "High School Musical" even though I haven't been in high school for 17 years. High School Musical 2 premieres on August 17!

Close to Home

This past weekend we had planned a weekend trip to Montana. But we were reminded that there was a big festival taking place just outside Missoula, where we would be staying. (I'd tell you the name of the festival, but Arrty said that my use of the word involved has reached its limit, so you'll have to check out the link.) There would be 15,000 extra visitors to the city, so we decided to stay home. The boys were already excited about our trip and were disappointed when the plans changed. To make it up to them, we let them choose many of the weekend's activities. So here's what we did.


Skyhawks (the boys sports camp) finale. It was great fun to watch them practice all that they had learned during the week in tournaments with their campmates. And Arrty got to go watch, which thrilled the boys. They love to share these kinds of things with both of us.

Lunch at Red Lobster (Adam's choice). We all love Red Lobster, even though Adam usually orders mac and cheese.

(Friday night I went to see Hairspray with my girls. But that will be tomorrow's blog.)


We spent the morning doing chores like cleaning house, mowing lawn, doing laundry, etc. Then we made a quick visit to my folks' house and had a late lunch at Outback (Arrty's choice). The boys had ribs, Arrty had the porterhouse, and even though I wanted to try the chicken, I couldn't resist the Outback Special. Then we went to see "Underdog" (the movie). It was really cute and the boys loved it. I love taking Josh to funny movies because he has this wonderful laugh that fills up the theater. Very cute. Adam giggles and shakes, and is just as cute. Then we went to Home Depot with a short list of home improvement items.


We spent Sunday morning, just as we do every Sunday morning, at church.

Then we went to Silverwood Theme Park which is only about five minutes from our house. The boys wanted to go to the water park first, and since it was their day to choose the activities, that's where we went. (Here's where I wish I had a digital camera so that I could share some of my pictures.) They spent an hour and a half playing in the water while Arrty and I sat in the sun and talked about life, our family and all of the body art we were seeing. Then we went to the ice skating show, the magic show (which the boys loved so much that they bought magic tricks for their souvenirs), and on the train ride. After that it was time to hit the rides. We went on the raft ride and the log ride twice each, the Ferris wheel, and Arrty and Adam went on Timber Terror. (Josh isn't much of a roller coaster fan.) And the boys went on the last ride of the night on the Red Baron kiddie planes. Then we had to make a trip to the candy shop where the boys bought huge tubes of colored sugar that they got to fill themselves. They had a great day and so I had a great day.

So we didn't get to go to Montana, but we sure had fun close to home. And we got to sleep in our own beds, which is always a bonus if you ask me.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Every month I publish a women's newsletter at our church called Grace Notes. It contains ministry news, upcoming events, a getting to know you page, and an article that I write. I thought I would share this month's article.


“Hurry up, Adam.” “Let’s go, Adam.” “Catch up, Adam.” These are all things that I say several times a day. Adam is just one of those people who takes his time. He’s never in a hurry for anything and has the tendency to get distracted by the littlest thing: a bug or a feather or a flower. It’s one of the things about him that drives me crazy and it’s one of the things about him that I love. This particular personality trait in my youngest son causes all errands to take twice as long as they should. It causes me to practice patience when I sometimes don’t want to. And it reminds me to slow down and enjoy life a little more.
This week Josh and Adam have been at Skyhawks, a sports day camp where they have been learning and practicing baseball, soccer, and basketball. I’ve stayed close by walking in the park and sitting in the shade reading and writing. And from the very first day, all over the park, I could hear Adam’s coach saying, “Come on, Adam.” “Hurry up, Adam.” “Let’s go, Adam.” I couldn’t help but smile. Hearing it from someone else has helped me to understand and appreciate my little slowpoke a little better. But I began to wonder about his coach. It he getting frustrated at his straggler? Is he tired of hurrying him along? He doesn’t know and love Adam the way I do and, although he’s been very patient, I’m sure he hasn’t had the time to grow to appreciate Adam’s lack of hurriedness.
This, like so many other things in life has caused me to consider my relationship to God. How many times has he said to me, “Hurry up, Jen?” “Come on, Jen.” “Let’s go, Jen.” There are things in my life that I’m supposed to be doing but haven’t quite gotten around to yet. There are places I’m supposed to go and people I’m supposed to see, but have gotten distracted by urgency instead. But I’m blessed because, like I know and love Adam, God knows and loves me. Even more. And lucky for me, he has unending patience and teaches me, even on the soccer field, to listen to his voice. So now when I hear that voice hurrying me along, I’ll try to pick up the pace. And the next time I’m rushing Adam, I’ll be a little more patient.