Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In Summary

I am apparently not immune to contracting the vomitrocious bug passing around my children. I seriously considered another 1 a.m. blog entry, but my sense of humor appeared to have been flushed down the toilet along with the half-digested remains of yesterday's dinner.

Apparently, Thomas was not immune either. He cheerfully emptied his stomach onto his bed and then gently chatted aimlessly with his father while I tried to get back to sleep.

It's been one of those weeks. You already know part of that. Three vomiting children, one after-hours doctor visit, one trip to the hospital for testing (to rule out appendicitis). On top of that, my husband was out of town (lucky man!) until late Saturday night, which means I was flying solo through the jungle of irritable illness. 

I thought that Elijah was improving yesterday, but he couldn't sleep last night and now he is almost delirious with fever today. He is having a brief rest before getting passed off to his normal pediatrician and then likely the blood tests that we narrowly escaped on Sunday. I almost started crying when I left a message for the nurse. My nerves are just really worn thin. I didn't get to sleep (post-kneeling to the porcelain god, pardon my language) until 3 a.m. last night. Then we were awaken at 4:15 by the twins. That may be when Thomas vomited but I really have no idea. It's all a blur. 

All in all, I slept maybe four hours last night, which is the crowning achievement to my weekend marathon of midnight emergencies. Other than being on the verge of tears, I'm doing okay. But do you know what will NOT be okay? What will NOT be okay is when I take Elijah in to the doctor in an hour and he suddenly perks up and acts like he's the healthiest child in the universe. It happens every time and I doubt today will be the exception. Not only is this an expensive way for my child to suddenly feel better, but it's also more-than-slightly embarrassing. "Hi, Doctor. He's really, really sick. See how he.. uhh... get back here, Elijah! You're supposed to be SICK!" If that happens, which it inevitably will, I think I will let myself finally cry. And possibly say a few swear words in my mind. And smile and act like I have my act together, of course.

Little Laugh

Funny true story told to me by the person who did Elijah's ultrasound yesterday. (Now we know for certain that he's not pregnant. Phew.)

Earlier in the week, she was called in the middle of the night to come do an ultrasound. The doctors thought a patient was exhibiting signs of appendicitis, so she was called to look for visual confirmation. After a thorough examination via ultrasound, she (the woman telling the story) said, "Well, I don't think it's your appendix. I don't see any trace of it here."

The patient replied, "Oh yeah, of course. I had it removed a few years ago."

The ultrasound tech looked at her in amazement and went home to get back to sleep.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Why I Confess

It should be assumed that the more astute of my readers have already ascertained my religious preference. If, for some reason, the subject is still a mystery to you: I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as the Mormon Church. 

I created this blog at a time when I felt pressured to conform to certain stereotypical and cultural expectations for young Mormon mothers. Many more poetic and clear-minded than myself have elaborated on the injustices of these stereotypes, so I need not bore you. 

Suffice to say that this blog takes a snapshot of my inability to conform to The Ideal. Hence, they are my Confessions. I regularly confess to being not only imperfect, but also ... dare I say it? ... stubbornly human and prone to error. 

This blog is not about Mormonism per se. It is not a missionary effort to try to explain my beliefs to others. It is not a candle on the hill, though I wish I felt it could be. At times, I grow cynical. At times, pessimistic. At times, I become downright sarcastic. But lately, I have felt a growing concern that I do not do myself justice.

To put it simply, I am a happy person. I am not only happy, but cheerful and prone to laughter. I am childlike in my desire to simply enjoy the world around me without conforming to societal pressure. I crave the association of people who uplift me, encourage me, and set an example of happiness. I consider myself charitable--not in the traditional sense of doing hours of service, but in the way I look at other people. I strive to see the good in all around me, and when I see ugliness or cynicism or evil, I always know that there is more to the person than that. I refuse to define people by their worst attributes. 

I understand that those who have hurt me in the past may or may not be the same people today, and the essential characteristic of being human is the ability to change. Therefore, however difficult it may be to deal with the emotions of past hurts or recover relationships that have been marred by difficulties, I have ultimate faith that all people would be glorious if I could see them through God's eyes.

I strive to positive and cheerful and happy. Yet life is not always positive or cheerful or happy. I just lived through a weekend that was so emotionally tiring that I still feel incapable of rational thought. Negative things happen. Negative emotions happen. When surrounded by the fog of negativity, how does one strive to dispel the gloom? For me, this blog is an excellent way of working through those emotions, wrapping them up nicely and then kicking them out of my cerebral back door. 

When I write, I explore how I feel, why I feel that way and what I can do about it. It is a healthy process. Most rational adults would recognize that a public confessional to all the world is not a necessary part of that process. One could write the thoughts and then save them away, but I just don't work that way. 

For one, my readers comments help me to feel connected to the real world, especially during my most frustrating times. And secondly, I sincerely hope that my honest assessment of life as Mormon Mother will help others to feel less ensnared by impossible ideals and more hopeful that one can be both humanly imperfect and also perfected by the refining fires of life.

Most blogs I read are a celebration of the joys of life: a record of the best and happiest moments, the sweet kindnesses of husbands and children, and the bliss that make life on earth bearable. I record the opposite--without apology, usually. Yet the things I write are the scratches and mosquito bites of daily life--the irritations, if you will--and never the mortal wounds. The most painful moments are felt privately and alone. I have not the desire nor the strength to open those doors to the public.

Why philosophize about the purpose of this blog? I have been feeling increasingly guilty that I strive to be around positive people, yet I portray myself as obsessed with negativity. I want to assure others that my life is not doom and gloom. I have sweet moments of joy, but those moments are as sacred to me as the bitterly painful moments in life. I am very sentimental by nature, but not publicly so. This blog has a vital role in my life and I hope others will enjoy it for what it is and refrain from judging me for the truths that are also present, but not presented here

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A 1:00 a.m. Quiz For You!

I just finished scrubbing my bathroom floor. It is now 1:24 a.m. as I write this. Why, oh why, was I scrubbing the floor during the wee hours? I'll give you a multiple choice question and see how many of you can guess right! A cyberpat on the back to each of you who guesses correctly.

Question #1: Why was Juliana scrubbing the bathroom floor at one a.m.?

(a) She just loves housecleaning THAT gosh darn much!
(b) The floor just really needed it, and she just couldn't put it off any longer.
(c) She always does her best house cleaning at night. What is this "sleep" thing you speak of?
(d) To deal with the results from the following conversation (see below) :

Joseph: My tummy hurts.
Mom: Elijah's tummy was hurting this evening and he threw up. Please go to the bathroom instead of vomiting in my bed.
Joseph (a few minutes later): I sat there by the toilet and just couldn't throw up!
Mom: Umm go get a bowl to throw up in, just in case, then go back to bed. Please. I'm tired.
Joseph: I've gotta go potty.
Mom: *grumble grumble grumble*
Joseph (a few minutes later, reappearing and clutching his stomach): *GRRRRROOOOOOAAAANNNN*
Mom: PLEASE go get a bowl to throw up in so you don't ...
Joseph: *Cough cough*
Mom: No! You're coughing! Coughing precedes vomiting!! Get to the ....
Joseph (running into the bathroom): *puke*
Mom: Auuugghh! Not right THERE. Go to the toilet! Stop wasting time with the light switch! Go. To. The. Toilet.
Joseph (running toward the toilet, but not there yet): *puke puke puke puke puke*
Mom: THE TOILET!!!!!
Joseph (getting closer, almost there): *puuuuuuuuke* I think a little bit of it went in the toilet.
Mom: *sigh*

Question #2: Why in the world is Juliana blogging about this now instead of sleeping?

This one, I'll just give you the answer. You've uncovered my cruel secret. I awake easily and thoroughly. Once I'm awake, I'm wide awake. Some have the gift of falling asleep in an instant. I have the ability (some of the time, when I'd rather be sleeping) to wake up instantly. This ability fails me at times like 5:45 a.m. when I ought to get up and exercise instead of lounge in bed.

Also, a secondary reason for blogging about it now instead of sleeping was that I saw a certain humor in the situation and couldn't resist typing it all up while it was fresh on my mind. I'm awake anyway. Why not?

(By the way, if you guessed (b) on question #1 above, there is a lot of merit to choosing that answer, but it's not the right one.)

Friday, September 26, 2008


I really don't know why I get such a kick out of this. I haven't really watched Simpsons in years. And yet... for some inexplicable reason... this just cracks me up every time I think about.

I present to you myself and my husband ... simpsonized!

Try it out at the shamelessly ad-entangled site here: http://simpsonizeme.com/

A little perspective

This interview with Bono puts the number $700 Billion into a little perspective. I encourage you to glance through it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Are we going to enable bad business practices by bailing out huge commercial sectors? If so, where do we stop? Do we have a choice? Is there any other way? If we have to act decisively, do we have to act in panic or can we calm down and think it through? How bad is this problem anyway? Can we learn anything from FDR or the Great Depression?

Whatever your thoughts on our current economic situation, send your thoughts to your local leaders:

You can sit there feeling helpless. Or you can write to the men and women who are supposed to be representing you and beg for caution and moderation.

Best Job In The World

I know this is a tired old theme with me, but I never get sick of it because it's real life every day.

People call stay-at-home motherhood the "Best Job In The World." I think about this frequently when mopping up spilled cereal bowls, wiping pee off the walls or changing my shirt for the bazillionth time because Elijah spit up on me. (Yes, it's been a few years since the spit up, but it's awfully hard to forget because he was so consistent and volumous.)

I am frequently heard to grumble something that sounds like, "Best freakin' job in the world, huh?" My husband will confirm this exact phrase is highly overused in our house. Sometimes I wonder if it's an old-fashioned form of torture invented by diabolical minds. ("I know! We'll make her stay at home with the kids! Limited social interaction, mental stagnation and gallons of bodily fluids! Mwahahaha!")

Despite my bitter ramblings, however, I do frequently think of it as the best job in the world. Flexible scheduling (although I'm on duty 24/7), grateful clientele, and the promise that someday in the future they will all be in school and my work week will allow six hours a day when I can wipe the pee off the walls without them trying to step in it. Bliss!

Okay, perhaps even my Optimistic Take sounds a tad on the Sarcastic Rant end of the spectrum. You'd forgive me if you were at Maceys today around 11:30 a.m. Hi, I'm the one with the screaming children who were alternately hurting each other and demanding things that Mom was not about to buy just to appease a temper tantrum. (As if!) The bagger looked very concerned and said, "He's going to lose his voice." I replied, "Yes, I hope so."

The best part of this temper tantrum, however, was how it changed into this when we got home:

Mom: "I know how much you'd like to use the Maceys bathroom. We're home now and we have four toilets you can choose from. Which one would you like..."
Mom: "I understand how upset you are and I'm sorry to see you so sad, but we cannot go back to Maceys right now."
Mom: "Quick! Get onto the toilet! I'll help you!"

In retrospect, I'm super proud of how calm I stayed and how hard I tried to validate his feelings instead of just telling him no no no no no. But it got a bit tense there for a while. The funniest part was when Elijah's screaming got so intense that Thomas spontaneously burst into tears and Elijah started screaming, "NOOO TOMMY! YOU DON'T CRY!!!!!" Good times, good times.

In retrospect, the whole thing was pretty funny. And the kids are calmly sleeping now, so I can sit here and blog while ignoring the sticky floors and piles of dishes. What other employer would allow this kind of mid-day break? And what other clientele would give me great big bear hugs and sloppy kisses on the cheek when I'm doing a good job? (I really would rather not know.) Maybe this is a pretty good gig after all.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Almond Cinnamon Ice Cream Sandwiches

I think I just discovered the most delicious frozen dessert ever. So simple, too, if you can get your hands on the cookies!

This dessert uses "Anna's Almond Cinnamon Thins" that you can buy at the Marketplace at IKEA. (Score! A little googling reveals that you can buy them at Walgreen's and other places, too!) These little cookies deserve a great big shout out on their own because they are packed full of flavor. At only 23.33333 calories per cookie, you really can't go wrong, unless you get addicted and eat the whole package. So without further ado, I gotta give 'em one of these:

Now that that's done, here's how to make them into the world's most delicious dessert. Add ice cream. Freeze. Voila! Instead of a big, calorie-laden chocolate cookie and an inch of ice cream, use these petite thin cookies which want less ice cream but have just as much flavor per bite. I think of it as a European take on a typical American overindulgence.
I was making homemade ice cream with the kids this afternoon and dropped a spoonful of ice cream on these cookies just to experiment. The ice cream was soft so I just squished the other cookie on top and put the finished product in the freezer. A few minutes later, I was in almond cinnamon ice cream paradise.

I'm headed up to IKEA tomorrow to buy a bunk bed for the twins and restock my Almond Cinnamon Thins. Drop by and we'll visit dessert paradise together.
Note: there were only a few bites left when I decided to blog, so you get a photo of half the creation. You can see how delicate the cookies are and how little ice cream is needed for optimal deliciousness.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Dreaded "C" word

Do your days follow a pattern like this?

You wake up. Yawn, stretch, run through your morning routine. Then it hits you: it's 20 minutes until your kids need to get to school and you haven't figured out breakfast! You rush into the kitchen, willing inspiration to slap you in the face. Eggs would take too long. Ditto pancakes or waffles or anything that involves heat. Even oatmeal would be stretching your luck.

And then you open up the cupboard to see a dozen cold cereal boxes staring at you. Cold cereal! Voila! Just plop it in a bowl, pour some milk and the kids are ready to rumble! Inspiration has, indeed, hit.

Unless you're me.

If you're Juliana, you open up that cupboard and see the cereal laughing menancingly down at you. It's screaming, "You'll HAVE to serve us today! There just isn't time for anything else! Mwahahaha!" So you grumble and murmur and complain and frown until the kids stumble into the room when you say cheerfully, "Look! Cold cereal for breakfast!!" The kids cheer. They clamber to the table and then it happens.

It always happens! Why me?!?

Things are okay at first, but then it starts with a child leaning across the table. Down goes the cereal bowl, bits of mush and artificial flavoring splattering the hardwood floor. The child starts screaming hysterically. You rush around, trying to decide which is more urgent: the screaming child or the hardwood floor that is slowly soaking up all that icky, sticky, ooey, gooey yuck. 

The decision doesn't matter because the screaming child cranks the anxiety level in the room way up until another child inevitably follows form. This time, if you're lucky, the cereal bowl dumps forward onto the table instead of the floor. Phew. But then child #2 gets playful (instead of angry) and plops his tummy onto the table and waves his arms about, gracefully splattering milk and dried bits of Cheerios onto the floor, walls and .... you.

The positive side note to this is that inevitably child #1 will stop crying and start giggling. The downside to the giggling is that child #1 will always ape child #2. This will start spiraling out of control, and you can hear the boxes of cereal laughing at you derisively and uncontrollably.

The children scream and cry and giggle their way through the end of this debacle until you are ready to faint in exhaustion.

Then you look at the clock: 7:37 a.m. This is not the way to start the day right.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

You thought I was kidding

This is good. Thomas really outdid himself this time.

I've told you before that the twins bedroom is decorated like a prison cell: bare walls, no furniture except one toddler bed and one mattress which is sitting on the floor. Why only one bed? How quickly we forget. The twins dismantled the other bed... repeatedly and energetically. It got to be a bit of a safety hazard having them swinging metal poles around at each other saying things like, "It's a sword!" or "I'm going to hit you now, Lijah!"

Boys will be boys.

We even replaced the doorstop, which was one of those uber-non-child-friendly ones that comes apart and can unscrew from the wall. The only reason why they would leave it alone is that it goes BOOOOIIIIIINNNNNNNNNG! when it's still attached. So we bought the kind that you can actually pound into the wall permanently. This is what our life is like and I suspect you know what I'm talking about if you're a parent, too.

So yesterday, as usual, we put Elijah in our bedroom to fall asleep while Thomas battled off his drowsiness in the twins room. All was going well until something made me go check on Tommy.

When I went in, he couldn't stop rubbing his eyes. They were clearly really bothering him, so I asked Josh to rinse his eyes out while I went for the benadryl. Thomas was mumbling something clearly irrational about "the wall" making his eyes hurt. I just patted him on the head and tried to validate his feelings: "Oh, the wall hurt your eyes? That must be very ... ummm ... disturbing. Err sad. Err uncomfortable! I'm sorry that happened." Meanwhile thinking this kid is obviously very tired because walls are flat and can't hurt people's eyes.

So the eye got rinsed out, the medicine was taken to try to reduce the itchiness and Tommy went back to bed. Then he pointed over my shoudler and said, "See? That's where the wall hurt my eyes!"

Huh. The delusion is getting more specific. Curious.

I looked over my shoulder to where he pointed. Behind the door, a small chunk of the wall had been torn apart. Yes, folks, that's right. He had used his sweet, tiny hands to tear off the sheetrock and, naturally, rub it in his eyes.

The obvious next question? "Ummm Tommy... sweetheart... did any of the sheetrock, you know, go into your mouth? Did you swallow any of it?"

I swear he actually sounded embarrassed (a first for this free thinker) as he answered quietly, "Mmhmm."

Josh and I looked at him for a moment or two, told him to get comfy and promised we'd check on him in a few minutes, then headed for the computer to look up the poison control info. Turns out that sheetrock is not hazardous if ingested, which was good news. I grabbed my vacuum and headed to the bedroom to clean up the rest of the mess.

Best of all? It wasn't until nearly 24 later that I realized this is a story worth sharing: in a room filled with nothing, my son tears apart the walls themselves. It was so very ordinary that I forgot how really funny it was.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Movie Clips!

Note: The awesomeness of the many video clips on this post seems to have brought my blog to its knees. The background apparently decided to take a vacation. I'll see if I can fix it up. :)

Thanks, Kami! What a fabulous idea for a blog entry: my favorite video clips!

This one I couldn't find the actual video, but those of you who have seen the movie will be able to fill in the details. From one of my favorite movies, The Truman Show:

And I have to include at least one scene from another favorite movie, Persuasion. I could watch this any day of the week! Haven't seen it? Come on over for a movie night! My second favorite Jane Austen.. maybe favorite...

Gotta love this scene from Enchanted!

This one is a bit long, but you can fast forward to about 3:00 to get to the kiss. ;) Or enjoy the subtle humor that makes this a fabulous movie. From A Room With A View:

This is one of the greatest Jane Austen moments, done so well to show the sparks between Lizzie and Darcy:

Now you're invited to join the party! Let's see a few of your favorites! Leave a comment to let me know you're in.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Closed Doors

My children love to leave the doors to the outside open. I'm not sure if it's laziness or an overabundance of good will toward the flies, which come and feast off the crumbs on the floor. (Which, come to think of it, may be deliberately dropped by those three-year-old conspirators. Hmm.)

Sometimes, I get so aggravated that I lock the door to the backyard and tell them to knock when they want to come in. This leads to problems such as me not hearing them knocking and me feeling like the world's meanest parent because I've locked the kids out of the house. Minor details, but still a nuisance. So I try to leave the door unlocked, but closed.

Occasionally, Elijah will stand at the back door crying for me to open the door. I have to assure him that it's not locked and he can open it himself. Yet he will still give up before trying, and stand there crying until I turn the doorknob for him.

A few minutes ago, Thomas informed me that he wanted the door open. I told him that the door would remain unlocked but closed. This just sounded wrong: I think of doors as locked and closed or unlocked and open. So I thought about it some more and, being me, had to internalize the concept a bit.

Is it possible that I view life this way? Do I think that doors closed to me now are closed forever, unless some third party comes and hands me the key? Do I sit around waiting passively for somebody to open doors for me, like a toddler who is too lazy to just turn the doorknob to see? The answer, I'm sorry to say, is yes. I'm constantly waiting for some cosmic sign of what to do with my life. Unfortunately (?), God treats me like an adult. He's waiting for me to try the doorknobs myself, so no cosmic sign is headed my way soon.

Ahh, dang. I'll have to figure things out on my own.

This has me thinking about career options. I've always said I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom and voila, I've now accomplished my life goal. Uhh, now what? If the day came when I needed (or wanted) to work, what would I do? What would I be? I have a college degree in Communications Studies, which is a blend of marketing, public relations and journalism. I think I would really enjoy marketing or public relations, but I have no real-world experience and my major only required a couple classes for each genre specifically. (It was heavy on Comms Theory, so I'd love to sit down and chat Spiral of Silence or Neil Postman with you sometime. Good old Neil Postman!)

On the other hand, I have a serious real estate fetish. Yes, I regularly check out lot prices and scope new developments for no reason at all. My latest hot spot is down in Vineyard right off Utah Lake. Some gorgeous lots right next to the walking trail, but who wants to live underneath those massive power lines? Come on, people. 

I love talking about homes with people. I think I could seriously enjoy being a real estate agent. But this line of thinking presents some major problems: nobody's buying houses right now and there are a bazillion realtors around already. Two on the same block as me (right next door and three doors down) and my brother is a realtor as well. So who in the world would ask me to help them look? It's absurd. Also, I wonder if I'd enjoy a profession that was a bit more cerebral. Could I use my analytical skills in real estate? Probably, but it seems like something more academic would be up my alley.

I've said for years I'd love to go get an MBA. I have a serious entrepreneurial streak but I hate the fact that I don't know enough about accounting or tax law or how to run a business. But an MBA would be so ... sterile. I need an outlet for my creativity. Which brings me back to marketing: it's a blend of business and creativity.

I argue around in circles, waiting for that cosmic sign. Luckily, I already have my dream job so I guess the debate can wait. And if I could choose a profession based on what I love instead of what would pay the bills, I've known that for years: I'd be a writer. I want to write a novel or two before I die, and not just a crappy novel that nobody sees. I want to write something worth publishing. I wish I could go back to school and get a Masters of English or Creative Writing or something. Maybe someday will ... if I just receive some kind of sign that it's right.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Proudly Unaffiliated

I'm proudly not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic party. I'm really split on the issues, so I see no reason to try to choose allegiances. This can all be proved by that wisest of all founts of knowledge. Behold the Internet Blog Quiz!

Your Issue Profile: 52% Obama, 48% McCain

Truth be told, you're not really satisfied with either of the candidates.

You could vote for either of them. You are the typical coveted swing voter.

You may want to narrow yourself down to a particular set of issues in order to pick your president.

Or start looking at third party candidates. One of them might suit you better.

p.s. My fellow Utahns may disown me for voting for Obama, but if they do, they'll have to get rid of most of my family and friends, too. I've never seen Utah so un-Republican as I have this year. Thanks, W, for uniting us with a common purpose!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Once a Googlephile ...

... always a Googlephile.

Have you tried Chrome yet? It's Google's new web browser, butting up against the behemoth that is Internet Explorer. After giving it a test run for an hour or so, all I can say is that it's streamlined and speedy! I have that same feeling that I get whenever I buy a new computer, install new RAM or get a better internet connection. By which I mean: it's noticeably faster for me personally.

It was released several hours ago, so why haven't you jumped on the bandwagon yet? 

You're probably saying to yourself: she was right about iGoogle. She was right about Google Reader. Google Analytics? That just plain rocks. And I wish I'd heeded her warnings about cuil. So where do I sign up? You can download by clicking below:

If you need further convincing, you can read the nerdiest comic book that I have ever seen: