Friday, December 30, 2011

Last Night In The Car

The kids and I were driving home from a long day of many errands.  We had run out of conversation, the radio was turned low and I reached over to Drew in the front seat, patted him on the back and said, "I love you buddy."
He looked straight ahead and responded, "O...kay?"  Then, after a couple of seconds he added, "Why do you always do that?"
"Do what?"
"Whenever it gets quiet you tell us you love us."
"I don't know, maybe because one day you'll be on your own and won't have me around all the time and then once in a while, when you're by yourself and it's really quiet you'll hear my voice in your head telling you I love you and you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside."
"Huh.  I'll remember that...when I'm rocking in a corner...all alone...after my first break up."  And then he pretended to choke back fake tears.

That boy, he mocks me.  But one day he's going to be alone in a room.  And it will be quiet.  And he will have had a hard day.

And he'll know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The question on everyone’s mind…

…other than, “Who will be the GOP nominee?”
Or, “Which starburst flavor is superior?” (strawberry) (duh) (like, not even a close call)
Or, “What kind of a world do we live in where the Lindsay Lohan Playboy issue sells out but we can’t get anyone to read The Wall Street Journal?”
Or, “How is it that I can rally 127 Google followers but I can’t get one of my family members to accept my friend request on facebook?”  

All good questions, but the one that I know is burning at the tips of at least 11 of your tongues is, “Did Vern get her kids a dog for Christmas?”  My friend Emily stopped me in church Sunday morning with this precise inquiry, so I will tell you basically the same thing I told her.

He’s the color of brown sugar with soft, droopy ears.  His pug nose is dotted with dark brown freckles, and he smiles ALL the time.  He slept through the night on day one and has snuggled his way even into my cold, dead heart.  

Ladies and gentlemen, meet “Jimmer”.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

'Twas 2 Nights Before Christmas

‘Twas two nights before Christmas, when I looked at my roots
And declared then and there, I should do something, SOON.
All my regular stylists were busy already, 
with clients who didn’t procrastinate heavily.
So with gift card in hand and some reckless abandon, 
I called a salon and begged my locks lightened.

The stylists were nestled with their hands in one’s heads, 
while visions of Biolage conditioned their dreads.
With one in a burka and I in my coat, 
I searched for the one that might cause me to gloat.

When out of the back there arose such a clatter, 
I looked up and saw what, indeed, was the matter.
For standing there waiting to greet me, her client, 
was a girl fresh from high school, still awaiting her moment.

I followed her, slowly, I crept to her station.  
I bemoaned it already, my keen sense: trepidation.  
For how would a girl whom I sure could have birthed, 
give me and my locks the lift we deserved?

But onward I pressed, reading “People” to help me, 
she washed and she cut, then applied color liberally.   
When what to my wondering watch should appear, 
it had been THREE WHOLE HOURS and I was STILL HERE!

I spoke not a word, but was reaching ballistic 
when she finally quit drying and asked, “Do you like it?” 
I looked and quite frankly, I didn’t much care.   
All I wanted was to get the crap OUT OF THERE.

“It’s great!” I lied and I jumped up to pay, 
but the gift card I had was causing delay.  
I just couldn’t take anymore so I said,
“It’s your problem now – I’m going home to bed.”

I sprang to my car and sped home to my people, 
where dinner was made and o’er food we did mingle. 

Blah blah blah, I can’t rhyme anymore.  The point is I paid way too much money for a girl who probably asked for Polly Pockets from Santa for Christmas last year to cut and color my hair and I almost had another birthday while I waited.  When I came home and regaled my tale of unfairness and OH THE HUMANITY to my husband he couldn’t quite wrap his mind around why this was such an injustice.  While he spared me the line about starving children in Africa I detected a bit of sarcasm as he grabbed me in a hug and said, “It’s okay, you’re home with us now.”  Indeed there are bigger problems in the world, but still.  THREE HOURS?  I should have at least thrown something in the crock pot before I left.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Caramel Winner

Using it looks like the winner of my caramel hunk o' burnin' love goes to lucky #13 which in this case turns out to be "Jaydee & Shaunda"!  Send me your mailing address to vernmaster at gmail dot com and I'll get this little number out to you.  Oh, and I drizzled it in chocolate.  Hope you don't mind.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When The Hormones Are Rockin' Don't Come A Knockin'

Last night.

I was preparing to go to bed when I passed the living room and saw my daughter in the fetal position on the couch.  "What the...what's wrong?"
"I have a huge Biology test tomorrow and I forgot ALL my notes at school."
It was after 10pm folks, and usually by that time, USUALLY, all of my parenting strategies go out the window because I'm mentally already in bed.  My body still hasn't brushed her teeth or washed her face but my mind is already under the covers, curled up next to my personal space heater in the form of a middle aged man with great legs who is warming up my toes.  But last night, I rose to the occasion.  I put on my mom cape and asked, "What time do you have Biology?"
"First," she replied.
"Perfect," I said.  "Just sleep in and I'll take you after 1st period and you can make up the test later."
I know what you're thinking:  I WISH YOU WERE MY MOM WHEN I WAS A KID.  Aren't you?  Because at this point I was seriously contemplating nominating myself as The Best Mom Ever How Can I Ever Thank You and erecting a statue.  As I stood there waiting for her to jump in my arms and tell me how awesome I was she instead responded with, "What about Seminary?"
(...)  "Come again?"
"I mean, what am I supposed to do about Seminary?"
(You guys, why am I always having to spell out to my children how to be under-achievers?  I recognize I am the resident expert, but sometimes it's exhausting.)
I said, "Well, you would have to miss Seminary."  (Again, this isn't bad news!  Here I am, your mother in her Mother Cape saying, "Don't get up at 4:45 am.  Don't worry about your biology test.  Instead, SLEEP.  And then, EAT A HOT BREAKFAST FOR ONCE.  And THEN!  Make up your test later after you've had plenty of time to study and I will even write your tardy note to the office and WHERE THE HELL IS MY PLAQUE?!)
Instead?  She burst into tears.
I don't...I just...what...yeah.
So I took off my pretend Mother Cape and went to bed to let her deal with all of her teenage-ness by herself.  This morning I promptly made up for abandoning her by sending her a text message that I loved her and wished her well on her test, after which I came in to check my email.  I glanced down at the notepad next to the computer and couldn't help but laugh as I saw what Samantha had scribbled on it:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Final December Giveaway

I don't have anything clever, interesting or self deprecating to say so I'm just going to get to the point and tell you that for my final giveaway this month I am offering up:  CARAMEL.  I've already made two batches this season but for you, I'm willing to make one more.  Only one thing you can do to enter and that is:  leave a comment.  You have until Friday, December 16th at midnight so that I have enough time to get your info and hopefully mail it to you before Christmas.  If not, you can enjoy it for New Year's.  Party hats, kazoos and caramel - sounds like a good NYE party to me!

Ready...go!  I hope you win!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Even Better Than A Cardboard Elvis

Two days ago I made a discovery.  Or rather the internet made a discovery.  Actually, the way it started was someone made a delicious recipe, and then they told the Taste of Home magazine in 2008, and then my SIL found it last month, and then she told her blog who then told ME.  Kind of like one of those gossip exercises where you all sit in a circle and one person whispers to the person next to them, "Vern's blog is hilarious" and you continue around and by the time you get to the last person they're like, "Your fern's dog is nefarious?" and everyone learns their lesson about spreading gossip.  Except at the end of this you get cookies.

The point is, my sister-in-law doesn't share stuff unless it's amazing, so when she posted a link to Peppermint Meltaways I knew we needed to make them.  Samantha had to take a treat to school for a meeting today so we decided to try this recipe out.  The result was a revelation.  People, these were so good.  They were even better than finding my boyfriend's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:

Better than California Adventure at night,

Drew discovering FaceGoo,
or Samantha getting her braces off.
 Better than the kids meeting Elvis,

seeing Samantha in my wedding dress,
or Drew getting the help he needs.

The only problem with these little gems is that they are bite-size (like "fun size" on Atkins) so it's easy to eat 3 or 4.  Or 7.  I saved 9 of them to give to a friend for her birthday because that's how many fit perfectly in the box, then proceeded to put them in the fridge so I wouldn't be tempted.  There are 4 left.  Hey Cheryl, wanna go to lunch instead?  Moral of the story:  Go here, and make these.  You'll thank me later.

Hatch Patch Creations - Winner

Do you know what happens when one is in charge of a Christmas program meant to entertain 250 people when the biggest party she has ever planned didn't exceed 20 guests?  First, she makes The Polar Express out of a cardboard box, constructs a sleigh out of foam board and the North Pole out of posterboard and streamers, and then orders elf costumes, reindeer antlers, and 300 bells from Oriental Trading Company.  In other words, she sort of doesn't do anything else for a while other than plan this party,  because if it goes poorly there is no one else to blame. I don't mind doing things poorly as long as I can point the finger at someone else in the end.  Case in point:  The Felicita Ward Road Show of 1987.  I didn't ask to be one of the lead parts so it wasn't my fault that I sucked.  (For the record:  MARIA'S FAULT.)  See how that works?

In the end the program was a success, largely due to the grown man who agreed to squeeze into Drew's pajamas from 2 years ago and my pink Snuggie to play his part, not to mention the other grown men who pranced on stage before night's end or the boys in the process of reaching six feet tall who acted out the enthusiasm of elves.  And in case you were wondering, it's easy to make a 15-year-old girl look like a man with a little help from a Napoleon Dynamite wig and glasses.  At any rate, now that it's over I can finally announce the winner from last week's giveaway even though the deadline for entering was (remember?) at 7:34 pm on Friday.  I used a very advanced selection process and in the end, our winner is:  CRAZY LIFE OF VERONEAUS.  Congratulations!  Please send me your email address to me at vernmaster at gmail dot com and Hatch Patch will send you your gift certificate.  I'm planning one final giveaway for the month of December so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Christmas Wish

The truth?  (Note to my niece Rachel:  I hope you are sitting down.)

I want to get my kids a dog for Christmas.

I've envisioned the scene in my head numerous times; we would open all the presents on Christmas morning and then Cory and I would say, "Oh wait, we forgot one," and then we would walk to the garage, carefully lift the one box with holes in the top, and present it to the kids.  They might look confused for a moment and then a tiny bark would escape from within, causing their eyes to bulge out like a balloon in the death grip of a toddler.  There would be screaming, hugging, and potentially a few tears as they unwrapped the one gift they never thought they would ever get in their whole life, and right then and there as those dark brown eyes peer at them from under the gift wrap they would receive all their answers to the meaning of life.  Most importantly, they would learn once and for all that yes, their mother loves them THAT much.  The kids would frolic with the dog in the house for a while, maybe take him for a walk, chattering all the while about OH-MY-GOSH-THE-BEGGING-AND-GUILT-TRIPS-FINALLY-WORKED! and they would want to sleep in the same room as the puppy on that first night so it wouldn't be scared.

And the next morning I would wake up and say, "Well, that was fun!" and take the dog back to the store.  Breeder.  Pound.  Whatever.

Because that's really the only reason I want to get the kids a dog, so I can see the look on their face when we give it to them.  After that it's just vet bills and watching them eat their own poop, like urinating off the balcony on your honeymoon.  What do you think, can a person survive that kind of psychological damage or should I just stick with plan A and get them iCrap and video games?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Winner

The video wouldn't let me rotate, so sideways it is.  Either way, Vennessa is the winner of "When I Grow Up I'll Go On A Mission."  Vennessa, be sure to send me your mailing address to vernmaster at gmail dot com!

Hatch Patch Creations - Giveaway!

If you have been reading here for very long you may have noticed a few things about me; I love Pierce Brosnan, my children make me look bad, the way to my heart is through Roberto's and the beach, and I haven't been real heavy on the giveaway front.  But it's December, and you're not done shopping yet (Or are you?  And if so, did you remember to buy me some tact and an extra memory card for my menopausal brain?  WELL THEN GET BACK OUT THERE MISSY.)  (Memory Cards for our brains!!  Somebody needs to invent that, make it into an app and then remind me to download it.)  And since you're probably not done shopping I'm just trying to help you out.  (By the way, I haven't forgotten about announcing last week's giveaway winner it's just that I said you had until midnight, and I also said I would let Drew pick the name, and I didn't necessarily think that through because at midnight we were both asleep and this morning he was in a hurry to get to school and blah blah I promise to post it later!) (Blah.)


Today's giveaway comes to you from my friend Jill who eats cotton candy for breakfast, turned down an offer to slay her neighbor's 50 lb turkey for Thanksgiving (she's still new to Montana), and also manages to strengthen families worldwide through her business, Hatch Patch Creations, maker of family home evening packets.  You may recall some of my botched experiences with family home evening (like when Drew thought Samantha was Jesus, or when our deep discussion turned to talk of boogers) so this is the kind of product that was intended for people like me.

Sometimes Jill uses people she knows as inspiration which is why our friend Lorie gets mentioned in her "It's Nifty To Be Thrifty" packet, because Lorie is so cheap the Goodwill calls to ask her how she does it.  (But she and her husband got through med school with four children and NO DEBT, so you should call her.  Except be prepared to send your kid outside to pee so you don't have to pay for the water to flush the toilet.)  I hesitate to probe whether I have inspired any such lessons, but I have to say that "Harry The Unhealthy Hippo" strikes me as suspicious.  (Besides, HOLY HYPOCRITE BAT MAN, how many pieces of cake did Jill have on her birthday?  Answer:  No sense in bothering with "pieces" when you can just eat THE WHOLE CAKE.)  THE POINT IS, these packets are handy whether you're trying to gather your family around for a teaching moment or need something quick for a preschool or Sunday School lesson, and all you have to do is click your mouse a few times to download it.  And...Hatch Patch Creations is giving away a $50 gift certificate to do just that.  That will go a long way folks, especially since each packet contains the lesson, illustrations, a scriptural theme, a recipe, and a game or activity idea.  In addition, (20% more free!) Hatch Patch is offering a two week promotion where you can buy the "Mary & Joseph" kit and get the "Samuel The Lamanite" kit for free.  Simply enter "DECEMBER 12" as the promo code at checkout (picture and info below).

So, you know the drill - you get one entry for a comment HERE and another entry for a comment on "Hatch Patch Creations FHE Kits" on facebook, which you can get to by clicking here.  You have until Friday at 7:34 pm.  (BECAUSE I CAN.)  (And I should still be up.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When I Grow Up, I’ll Go On A Mission - Giveaway!

It’s one of my favorite stories to come out of my family yet.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, much like other Christian faiths, we believe in missionary work.  Most of our missionaries are young men between 19-21 years old, but many young women and empty nester couples also serve anywhere from one to two years as missionaries.  My parents served several years ago in Minnesota, and in the last year we’ve had two nephews return from two year stints in Missouri and Mexico, leaving one nephew out in the “field” who is currently serving in Brazil.

My nephew, Marshal, just got home last month from Mexico.  With one sister living in New York, a brother in Los Angeles, and two nephews of his own that had been born during his absence, the entire family gathered at my brother’s home in Utah to be there when he came home.  It was a momentous occasion that they all took very seriously, which is to say my sister-in-law got online and set about ordering sombreros and fake mustaches for everyone to wear in the airport as they waited to greet him.  That is how I know my SIL is completely integrated into my family because I come from a LONG line of airport shenanigans.  Like when we made a big banner out of butcher paper to wish my sister a happy 40th birthday as she exited the terminal (she was still in her 30’s) or the time my family wore red, white and blue and my Dad played “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy” on his ukulele as they welcomed me back from basketball camp.  So yeah, sorry Michelle, but YOU ARE ONE OF US NOW.  (I’ve known for some time.  I hope you don’t take it too hard.)
So there they were, this large crowd of sombrero toting, mustache donning hooligans in the Salt Lake City airport waiting for their son/brother/uncle to round the corner so they could put their arms around him for the first time in two years.

He came around the corner alright. 

Wearing a sombrero.  AND A FAKE MUSTACHE.

You guys, seriously.  This wasn't planned, which makes it only one of the 8,001 reasons I am stoked to share a last name with these people.  

(photos courtesy of Kinsey)

I won’t lie, I want my son to go on a mission.  He is almost 12, which means he would be eligible in about 7 more years.  I’m not anxious to get rid of him, and I know it would be hard to let him go, knowing that I would only hear his voice twice a year on Mother’s Day and Christmas, but I want him to go.  I want him to sit in living rooms or grass huts or dirt floors and tell people that Jesus lives.  I want him to write emails about seeing people get the light back in their eyes when they hear the gospel.  I want him to learn what it really means to rely on God.

I just read a book that I’m going to give Drew for Christmas called, “When I Grow Up, I’ll Go On A Mission”.  I love it because it illustrates with real pictures of real missionaries all over the world doing the same work.  Unless you have served a mission before (Cory did, I didn’t), all you really know about missionary work is that it’s hard, that you secretly hope you don’t get called to serve in Utah, and that you come back and say it was the best experience of your life.  I like the fact that this book gives a peek into the whole missionary experience, from sharing the gospel to helping a neighbor or from eating shave ice to tossing back a coconut, (let’s be honest, the shave ice really sold me) what you really get is a glimpse of love, the way God intended.  You see that Heavenly Father knows his children, He loves his children, and He’s using the ones who already know that to make sure the word gets out to the rest of them. 

So yes, I’m giving Drew a copy of this book for Christmas.  I will also be giving a copy to one of YOU, because the author, Valine Vikari (who, when she’s not writing fun books is probably spelling her name for people on the phone), has donated a book to give away!  You can enter by doing two things:  1) Leave a comment and, 2) “Like” the book on facebook, and leave me a comment to that end.  You have until midnight Sunday, December 4 to enter after which I will have Drew randomly pick a winner.  Seems fitting, don’t you think?  If you don't win, you can still order the book from the website.  I think it's going to be good for Drew AND you.  But if not, we’re still preparing in other ways: