Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On the way home from soccer....

Mat: "Mom, what age will I be a grown up?"

Me: "Well, when you turn 18, you can start making big decisions on your own"

Mat: "What happens when you are married for 100 years? Do you get married again?"

Me: "No, you just throw a really big party."

Mat: "But what if you die?"

Me: "That's okay. Mom and Dad will always be married. We'll see each other again later. We were married in the temple so we will always be married if we make good choices. That's why it's so important for us to be kind to each other and follow the commandments."

Megan: "Yeah. When you break a plate in the kitchen, you gotta sweep it up. But not the kids. Only the moms"

Me: "Yep."

Meg: "Yeah."

Mat: "Broken plates are sharp."

Satisfied silence.

Friday, September 25, 2009

King's Singers

When we were kids (the sibs and I, that is) we would go up to the Seminary building and watch Donald Duck cartoons on Family Night. My dad was a Seminary teacher in Utah, which meant that it was a full time job and he had keys to the building, which was located about 200 yds from the High School. It looked and smelled alot like church, but it had a candy bar machine, which I think would be an excellent addition to the mother's lounge. Can I get a witness?

On occasion, we'd head down to the Seminary building and drag the couches from the foyer into my dad's classroom and set up our own little cartoon theatre. We each got a little change to go get a candy bar and I'm sure there was probably soda and ice cream as well. Dad would hook up two VCR's and record a copy of the video that we had rented. I know, I know...it's illegal and the FBI will hunt us down like the dirty dogs we are then punish us with up to 50 years in prison or fine us eleventy billion dollars. I'm pretty sure we didn't grasp the wrongness of it back then...Dad being a teacher of doctrine and all.

So you might imagine we had a serious home video collection. You need to understand, however, that Dad didn't just tape one show on one tape. He taped show after show so that you had 5 or 6 different types of movies/nature specials/cartoons/General Conferences on any given tape. (My frugality has roots.) This led to a great deal of watching things in fast forward in an effort to get to what you were really trying to see. I specifically remember having a big thing for Johnny Appleseed, but in order to get to it, I had to fast forward through a nature special on Bengal Tigers and a bunch of guys singing a capella. Bo-ring. I must have scanned tigers and singers a hundred times before I ever gave either one the opportunity to educate or entertain me. I'm ashamed to say that I never did watch the tigers at normal speed, but once I stopped on The King's Singers, Johnny Appleseed was history. I developed a love for those particular guys and those particular songs that were on that particular tape. My mom and dad loved them too and it was one of the ways that I connected with my parents as a teenager.

I went home for a visit as an adult and painstakingly went through our video collection looking for the Johnny Appleseed/Bengal Tigers/King's Singers tape. Gone. I was crushed. It's one of those things that feels irreplaceable. I've searched for recordings of the particular concert that we had taped, but no luck.

Then just the other day when I was pulling weeds, I was thinking about that tape and wishing I could listen to it (I miss my dad) and a little voice whispered "YouTube!" (Isn't the Spirit up to date?) and I am pleased to embed for your listening pleasure....The King's Singers:

It made me cry, because of the memories, but I hope it at least makes you laugh a little. Or maybe you just think I'm more of a geek than you had previously thought. Either way.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Before Megan and Laney were born, I was a boy mom. I would yell out "Dumptruck!" "Choo Choo!" "Big Digger!" and there were cheers from the backseat. We were consumed with making the coolest, hilliest, most complicated train track possible. We added to the track collection at every gift giving opportunity.

Now my boys are in school and during the majority of my waking ours I'm a girl mom. Some things are the same: both seem to think the only choices for lunch should be corn dogs or ramen noodles (toss in a quesadilla once in a while just to mix it up), but everything else is different. We have less trucks, less dirt, less bugs, and less pee on the seat.

We have more tea parties (and more playdates. Girls love to hang with other girls. It's nature.)

More baking and more aprons.

More dancing (or twirling with blankets). Same dif.

More emotional breakdowns

More manicures

More changes of clothing and thus, more laundry. Don't you "dress" for dinner?

More advice on which shoes/shirt/earrings I should wear (and NOT wear).

More singing in the car. Meg loves Leona Lewis, Taylor Swift and Ingrid Michaelson. She has a good ear. She's the one who is always saying, "Turn it up, Mom!" I oblige. She sings "And IIIIII looooove the way you say good morning, and yooooouu take me the way I am." under her breath. Makes me smile every time. Laney kicks her legs to the beat like nobody's business.

A sharp increase in Barbie inspired musical performances. Darn you, Diamond Castle, darn you!

More floral decoration of park benches.

The greatest thing is that my boys haven't disappeared. I'm a girl mom and a boy mom. Although realistically, I'm just Ethan's mom, Mathew's mom, Megan's mom and Laney's mom. Each one of my kids has a knack for bringing out the nicest, kindest, most nurturing parts of me. And then two seconds later, they serve up the worst, nastiest, most sarcastic and impatient parts of me. Sometimes I take a breath and overcome. Sometimes I let er rip and say the thing I shouldn't say in a tone I shouldn't have taken. And that's the part I get to feel bad about (thank you, Spirit) and I am GUARANTEED another opportunity to do better. Usually within 24 hours.

I love being their mom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scrub Scrouts

Happy scouting, kiddo. Put in a good word for me for den mother.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things I know for sure

*If you have recently hit, bit, pinched, kicked or spit on somebody you are going to be the one asked to say the prayer. Feel free to repent after you've blessed the food.

*When one side of the tablecloth is dirty, just flip it over. There's no point in just using half of it. This doesn't work if something wet has spilled on it, unless you haven't cleaned the kitchen in a timely manner and it's already dry. Then, go ahead and flip it. Unless it's Thanksgiving or something.

*I will never ever ever love to mop the floor.

*You will not realize that the new potted plant you bought for the living room is WAY TOO HUGE for the spot you had in mind until you've put all the seats down in the van, shoved it in (kids are driving with the "jungle experience"), drove it home, realized that the pot you wanted to use is currently home to an azalea, replant azalea next to the garage, lovingly put the huge plant into the extremely large and heavy clay pot, caringly tuck it in with MiracleGro potting mix, lug it in to the living room (resting along the way...it's ginormous). You stand back it you think, "Huh. That looks retarded." Go about your business. Try to give it a chance. Maybe it'll grow on you. Nope. Still looks retarded. Lug it back outside, dig the plastic pot out of the trash and re-repot plant. Shove it back in the van and hope you won't buy too many other things while you're at Walmart.

*It doesn't matter how many times we have spaghetti, I will never know how I'm supposed to know how many noodles to make. It's a mystery to me.

*My heart is going to break when Megan no longer gives me a "squeezy hug", lip kiss, nose kiss, butterfly kiss/right eye, butterfly kiss left eye, kiss on the right cheek, kiss on the left cheek and then insist that I repeat the whole process for her, right before bed. Heartbroken, I tell you.

*I'm never going to stop dreaming that I'm in high school and and I've sluffed my English Class all year and now it's time for the final and I'm ready to straighten up and fly right, if I could only find the office to get a printout of my schedule. I actually DO remember my locker combination, but have no idea which locker is actually mine. I wake up with my stomach tied up in knots and I'm indescribably relieved when I remember that I get to be a mom today, not a stressed out, angst ridden teenager.

*Nursery is the best calling. There are snacks involved.

*I'm a homework junkie. I love when my kids have homework. It feels so right and wholesome to insist that they "get their homework done before they play with friends". Just saying that to them makes me feel like a good mom. It's a no brainer and it's at least one time during the day I don't second guess myself. Duh. Homework before friends = responsible parenting. If they have no homework, I have been known to get on the internet and find them some. They'll probably bring this up at my funeral. I'm okay with that.

*Allowance is the way to go. Giving my kids $2.50 a week has solved the following problems:
*begging for treats in the check out lane. Didn't bring your allowance? Bummer.
*tithing and savings are very real to them. Their tithing and their savings.
*when you get to spend 1.25 each week, you quickly learn that a $6 carwash is a rip off. No more begging to go through the carwash. And a diamond studded prayer cross they saw on an infomercial (only 3 installments of 39.99!) is nuts. I was happy that I didn't have to get into the intricacies of why we don't wear prayer crosses. Even diamond studded ones with the Lord's Prayer inscribed so small you can only see it with a magnifying glass. Even those ones.
*when they beg for something, I ask them if they'd like to save their allowance to buy it. If they say yes, great. If they say no, then I ask them why I should pay for it if they don't want it enough to save for a few weeks to get it. Unstoppable logic. Beautiful.

So if we are talking about getting results, $7.50 a week is a killer deal.

*If your saying the Lord's Prayer and you forget the words, I highly doubt you are going to have a magnifying glass handy.

*It is VERY DIFFICULT to get a fat wiener dog to lose weight.

*Having a stash of Kit Kats in my nightstand drawer makes it substantially harder for me to stick to my diet.

*I am a wiz at unwrapping a Kit Kat without making a sound. It's a talent I've carefully cultivated.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One of the things I love about my husband....


Mark turned 32 on Wednesday. So of course he got to use the special plate. And the fancy glasses. We really know how to party. We get crazy. He chose lasagna and garlic bread for his birthday meal followed by the most sinful chocolate cake known to man. Oh my. Let me tell you a few of the ingredients and then you'll know that I speak the truth: 1 cup melted butter, 5 eggs, 2 cups sour cream, chocolate chips, almond extract..

Need I go on?

As is often the case with birthdays as an adult, the day was full of work and kids and school and discipline. Mark has been working ALOT and it looks like that's going to be the way it is at least until January. Yikes.

Perhaps that is why he is giving me this less that convincing smile: exhaustion? perhaps?

No matter. A little pep talk perked him right up. He really got into it.

Happy Birthday, hon. I'm so happy we are now in the part of the year where I'm only 1 year older than you instead of 2.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Power of pink

Don't underestimate the power of pink to get a girl through her first day of preschool.

Pink pencil box with pink flower stickers, pink pencil, and at least 1 pink crayon. We settled for a purple pair of scissors. Pink was unavailable.

Pink shirt, pink sweater, pink flowers on the jeans, pink socks, pink shoes, pink backpack and don't even think that elastic in her hair isn't pink. It so is.

And just for consistency, a pink sister and a hug from dad who came home from work just to tell you to have a great day.

I love you, Miss Megan. You make me like pink.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Nowadays you'll find us sitting on the sidelines of a soccer field 3 times a week. I know, right? 3 times seems excessive and just imagine if one of my other kids were to play. It'd be death to the family dinner hour. As it is, however, Mathew is the only one of my children to choose to play sports. Ethan refuses, but I think it's because he sees soccer as the usurper of horse riding lessons. I know in his mind if he says yes to sports, soon he'd be horseless and he simply won't budge on the issue. It's horses or nothing. Megan sees no point in putting on a uniform that does not involve pink or splarkes. I bet your sweet bickies if I were to bedazzle a soccer uniform, she'd run out on the field and play like a Central American...(c'mon, you know those guys rock at soccer.)

So, I must admit I am enjoying this season MUCH more than our previous two. As you may recall, we've had a few speedbumps in past years. It might not surprise you that I came into this year with fairly low expectations. But no. This year we have a goalie. We have a real ref. We have strategy. We have little boys who really really want to kick the ball and relish in the glory when that ball rolls into the goal (ok, sometimes accidentally).

Our team is called the Green Machine. I dig their new uniforms....it helps that it reminds me of my good ole Payson. Go Big Green! Oh yeah, I just remembered that I always hated yelling that. Big green? What the heck is a big green?

Nevertheless. I love sitting on the sidelines and getting into the game. And not that it matters, it so totally does, but the Green Machines are unstoppable! They are undefeated...even by the 8 year old girls they scrimmage with twice a week. 8 year old girls!

So, so far I haven't gotten in any fights with other soccer moms, so that's progress. Although Laney did fall down the cement steps by the field because she thought it was a hilarious game to run from me while I scream "NO LANEY! NO! DANGER!". Not so hilarious after all. Ouch.

The other thing I've noticed is that boys really need a coach. You know.. a guy who isn't your dad and won't take any of your bologna. When that guys says, "Mat! Stop pickin your nose!" or "Mat, hustle! Get in there and kick that ball!", he stops pickin, hustles and kicks the ball. It's inspiring. And because he's not his dad, and he doesn't love him and have to say it, when he yells, "Way to get in there!" it's like manna from heaven to a six year old boy. The only challenge is to zip my lip and let him do what he needs to do, although every ounce of the mommy in me wants desperately to explain that perhaps the reason he isn't hustling is because he's a little tuckered out from the cold he had last week. No excuses....just coaching. I'm zipping the lip and Mathew is loving soccer.

So am I.

Go Big Green.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This morning I realized a dream of mine.

All four of my kids hit the high note while lip syncing to 'Take on Me' by A-ha.

(even the 18 month old)

Train them up in the way they should go...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This morning I woke up to the sound of my husband leaving the house to go teach early morning seminary. It was early.

Then I went about the business of convincing my oldest two to please remove themselves from bed and get dressed for school. That sounds so simple, but anybody who does it knows it isn't simple at all. Countless times I have to remind and redirect so that we can leave in a relatively calm manner. Which means I must remain calm as I try to convince them to obey without losing my temper and raising my voice. This is not easy when it seems that my voice is imperceptible to the Hufford ear. I strive to be calm. I pray to be calm. I ask forgiveness for not remaining calm.
I crave calmness.

I open up my laptop to check the weather because the sky is looking dark and ominous.

Nothing. No internet.

I do as I have been taught by my extremely computer literate husband and go unplug the cable modem and wait a few minutes and then plug it back in and try again.


We have Vonage, an internet based phone service, so that leaves me with no email, no phone and if you recall, no cell (may you rest in peace).

I'm cut off. Incommunicado. I hate it. I'm getting worked up.

Suddenly a normal morning feels stressful and unfair. On the way to take the boys to school, I feel tense and worried. I have panicky feelings of not being able to call and tell Mark that I don't have a phone! I can't email him that I don't have email! Mark is the guy that fixes everything and he doesn't even know that everything is broken. I am not joking when I say that I was on the verge of tears.

And what the heck is up with that?! Wasn't I JUST romanticizing about living in Sarah Granger Kimball's pioneer house? Was I thinking it would be fully networked? Milk a few cows, wash some shirts down by the river and then IM the hubby to come in from the field?

As the morning progressed, I began to get used to the silence and I stopped desperately trying to "connect". We were just fine. We had more than enough laundry to keep us busy and nobody required 911.

Perhaps the powers that be are trying to tell me something. You want calmness? Then calmness you shall have.

Now just be calm.