Friday, December 26, 2008

Nothing says Christmas like... machine guns

Status: Practically snowed in. Will it ever stop?!
Song: "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash

Merry Christmas to all you lovely people! I just thought I'd briefly check in before heading off tomorrow, braving the building snow drifts, and flying on a plane to...


Oh, yeah. You read it right. I'll blog all about it too...

But back to Christmas. I know we rank pretty high on the mean parent scale, which my kids were quick to point out when we wouldn't let them open any presents until after we ate a good breakfast (with the tree taunting in the other room)... and did the dishes.

When we finally released the young 'uns to open the gifts - in an orderly youngest to oldest manner (hey, at least we don't make them save the wrapping paper--anymore)- the modest Christmas we decided to have was a hit. We enjoyed the family surrounding us, the giving spirit, the reminders of our Savior, but most especially the NERF MACHINE GUN. *The official name is the Nerf Vulcan.

It was the envy of every male in the house, and a few females too. Check it out.

My first Youtube upload. *sniff*

Really, we had a great Christmas. We actually gave the boys an X-Box (used from a brother-in-law) but they never saw it coming and almost cried. Seriously. Oh, the leverage...

Enjoy the snow everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Cards - New Age Style

I know I'm a Christmas slacker this year (for more evidence, see older post here), but I really think this is the way to go for Christmas cards. I could say that we're trying to do our best to help the environment, or that we just got our family pictures back a few days ago, or lots of things. I could also say that I just didn't quite get to it, and frankly didn't remember until all the over-achievers sent theirs to me in the mail. I'll let you pick whichever excuse sounds good to you, but for whatever reason, we're doing e-Christmas cards (blog and email style). I think it's the wave of the future - I really do. We'll probably reach more people this way, anyway.

The Theler Christmas Letter
(see picture at top of blog)

2008 has been a busy, but fulfilling, year in the Theler household. We are incredibly grateful for Jason’s job and the security it gives us. We took a Stay-cation this year and hung around home. It was a lot of fun and just goes to prove you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.

Jason is enjoying his fourth year as an Elementary School Principal, and the students and faculty love him. He feels like he has a pretty good grip on things now. This year Jason succumbed to spouse pressure and has taken up running. He impressed his coworkers on the School District 5K run so much that he has been invited to join a district team that will run a 170-mile relay race this June. It probably won’t be long before he can out-run Jaime. (Darn it!)

Jaime participated in many races this last year, including her first Sprint Triathlon (where she placed third in her division – much to her surprise). She works out regularly, and keeps extremely busy as a full-time mom/household manager (the official-sounding title is nice) and part-time author. In March, Jaime’s second book, Enjoying the Journey, was released and just last week she finished her current manuscript, a children’s fantasy which we hope you’ll see on shelves soon.

Brennan is now 10 and the most voracious reader we know. The library has a hard time keeping up with him. Brennan is in the A.L.L. program (an advanced class) again this year and enjoys the challenge it offers. He is also still doing karate, and is now a blue belt—well on his way to a black belt. Brennan is our most tech-savvy child and loves all things computer, video game, and military. He also participated in soccer and flag football this year.

Ian is 8 and very outgoing and athletic. Ian wants a Ripstick or a trampoline more than anything, but he’ll take soccer, basketball, skateboarding, football, wallball, or baseball, too. Ian is in karate too and is a green belt; his instructors are amazed by his power. This year Ian tested into the A.L.L. program and is enjoying making new friends and being challenged academically. He has discovered some really fun books, and now has joined the ranks of the book-lovers. (Jaime’s hard work has paid off.)

Senea is 5 and started Kindergarten this year. She loves it. She’s a blossoming little reader and loves to write notes to anyone—her friends, parents, siblings, grandparents, Santa, Jesus, etc. She adores all things girlie and “cute” but this year has seen a switch from dress-ups to artistic creativity. Every day Senea makes new works of art—so many that we can’t store them all. She loves to draw, color, cut, paste, paint, and make her own paper books (she is the author and illustrator – we wonder where she got that idea?). We have an entire wall dedicated to her “art gallery.”

We are so grateful for all our many blessings, including dear family and friends, and for the hope and happiness our knowledge of Jesus Christ brings us. May His peace rest upon your family and we wish you all the best for 2009. Feel free to stop by our family blog at to catch up on what’s going on with us (we update it regularly).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Polar Express and no hot water (again)

Status: Waiting for the plumber to navigate the snowy roads to COME BACK and fix my hot water heater -- again. Grrrrr
Song: "O Holy Night" by almost anyone

No hot water again. I don't know about you, but for $200 that I paid a week ago. I *should* expect hot water. Needless to say, I did not go run my 5 miles today like I planned (inside, since it's snowing like a giant with a bad case of dandruff) and instead I'm hanging out at home crossing my fingers the plumber doesn't get in a car accident on his way over, cause I really want a hot shower!

***The Real Reason for this Post***


Last Saturday we went with Jason's family to the Stringtown Polar Express in Lindon. If you've never heard of it, then get onboard! (Ha ha, a little train humor.) A group of six homes in a family in Lindon have dedicated their large yards, love of trains (a real one you can actually ride), and the Christmas Spirit for years now to run a Polar Express experience. We've been the last 3 years and I have to say this year they outdid themselves. *Good job, Cheri!!! I know she pops by my blog every so often :)

The train fits 14 people at a time and they have it down to a system, where they take reservations and move people on and off seamlessly. The first half of the ride showcases about a billion Christmas lights as you ride to the North Pole where you get to see Santa Claus (and boy does it beat waiting in line somewhere, let me tell you!). The ride back to the station is my favorite part, with beautiful music playing and you ride past a nativity scene, then beautiful pictures of Jesus Christ's life by artist Simon Dewey. (And Cheri, if you're reading, who sings the Mary Did You Know song? I want it!) We love this Christmas tradition.

I'll post some pics, then give you all the contact information so you can go experience it yourself (if there are any spots left).

Waiting in the heated barn watching the movie The Polar Express on a big screen.

All Aboard!

Some of the great lights. I know they're fuzzy,
but I was on a moving train in the dark, after all. :-)

Santa's receiving room.

All the kids with Santa.

You can visit their website, Stringtown USA for more information, to place reservations, and to view a beautiful slideshow of some of the art displayed on the train ride.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Twilight Before Christmas

Status: Cold (a high of 30 degrees. Yuck)
Song: "Little Drummer Boy" by Josh Groban

We might as well start the week off with some fun. So here you go!


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Status: WAHOOOOOO!!!!
Song: "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang

I finished my book!!!!
Hip Hip Hooray!!!!

That's right! We're talking 300 pages, 75,000 words of pure, finished awesomeness!

I actually have a few things to go back and fix, but they're so teeny tiny minor that they really don't count. Now begins the hunt for an agent, since I plan on going national with this one. I've got about 40 to try.

I'll be back in the blogging groove now. Yippeeeeee!!!!

*There are 17 exclamation marks in this post, but I really think this big of an accomplishment deserves 20. So... !!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The hot water saga continues

Status: Paying someone to come fix the hot water heater.
Song: "Superfreak" by Rick James (I need a happy, kooky song right now)


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hot water - better than chocolate

Status: Soooo thankful for hot water
Song: "Clean" by Depeche Mode (apropos, I think)

For those just joining this blog, I think I should clarify. In reading my last post, you may assume that I did not shower in 4 days, which is so not the case. I do, in fact, pay attention to personal cleanliness. Which is why I am so delighted by my piping hot shower this morning that I am writing a blog to share with everyone!

I guess the "Yell at the appliance" repair method really does work. The hot water heater knew I meant business. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coming up for air and unfortunately, NOT a hot shower

Status: On the last chapter. Yes, really!!!!!!!!!
Song: "Run the Show" by Kat DeLuna

Hey, all. I'm alive. Really I am.

Unfortunately I am in a state of non-shower because our stupid hot water heater decided it was entitled to shorter working hours. Obviously it's just exploitative to expect the pilot light to stay lit and actually heat up the water--all the time! So three times in the last 4 days I've done the winter, oh my word it's freezing, quick take off the clothes and leap into the shower, only to leap back out with a SCREAM. No hot water. Nada. We're talking snow run-off not hot.

Apparently the hot water heater has a 5 year warranty, which just expired 15 freaking days ago!!

I wish I were kidding.

The hot water pilot light and I are getting really closely acquainted. Mr. Pilot Light, meet Tyrant Coldilocks, who thinks a hot tub at 104 degrees is tepid. Be afraid, be very afraid...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas decoration slacker that I am

Status: Soooo close to finishing my book. We're talking days (but don't look at the state of my house)
Song: "Terra Firma" by Delerium

Okay, so I don't have my Christmas tree up. In fact, the Christmas decorations are still boxed and crammed in the shelves hanging from my garage ceiling above where we park our van. I know that I'm trailing behind the neighborhood. But have you ever tried to wrestle a 50 pound Christmas tree from above your head while balancing on a ladder in the semi-darkness because the garage door has to be closed and we all know how not-bright those garage door opener lights are? Yeah, now maybe y'all have some more sympathy for me, huh? You know some obscenely high statistical number of domestic accidents happen while precariously balancing on something at home while wrestling with something high up (the exact statistic I don't know, but you'll have to trust me on this one). And I don't want to be another statistic. I'm more than a number!!

Sorry, I've been reading YA books so I had to throw in a little teen angst. So over it now...

So I'm a Christmas decoration slacker. But at least I have my blog all decorated prettily!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Terminator on the brain

Status: Still MIA, but the book's almost finished. Yea!
Song: "You Could Be Mine" by Guns N Roses (just cause we cycled to it in class this morning and I love the Terminator movies.)

I wrote a post on my other blog and since I have that GNR song going through my head, I've got Terminator on the brain. Did you know there's a new one coming out? It's called Terminator Salvation and Christian Bale - love him - is John Connor. Oooooh, I can't wait! (And now the secret's out--I'm an action movie lover.)

Here's the teaser.

**It was just brought to my attention that the Terminator movies were, in fact, rated R. *Gasp* I've actually only seen the first two, and that was back when I didn't watch ratings like I do now. *cringe* Good news! Terminator 4 will be PG-13. So now I don't have to censor myself :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Might have been better two days ago...

...but still funny.

Status: Total blogging slacker - doing lots of family stuff
Song: "Holiday" by Green Day

I'm thinking this would be great for next Thanksgiving.

Here is a new way to prepare your Thanksgiving Turkey.

1. Cut out aluminum foil in desired shapes.
2. Arrange the turkey in the roasting pan, position the foil carefully. (see attached picture for details)
3. Roast according to your own recipe and serve.
4. Watch your guests' faces...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just a note

Status: Briefly coming up for air between finishing my WIP and Thanksgiving preparations
Song: "When All Is Said and Done" by Vertical Horizon

Hey All! I'm hoping to post at least one giving thanks kind of blog this week, but just a heads up that I'm devoting almost every spare minute to writing so I can get this book off before Christmas. So the blogging will have to go a little back burner, unless I just need some R&R. (Crazy that I unwind by writing, eh?)

Anyway, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and will soon be back to my blogging norm.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jaime rants about politics, toothpaste, and Obama as a vulcan

Status: Getting to the end of my current book, so the blogging may get scarce the next little while
Song: "Cloudless" by Peter Gabriel

This year was a year of firsts in politics here in the U.S. And if you were paying the slightest bit of attention to the Presidential Race, then you can think of plenty of those on your own. For my rant today, the first I want to talk about is the first time I think politics actually has surpassed the ridiculousness of celebrity worship. Perhaps this is not a first, and I just haven't paid enough attention to enough politics, but I'm still going to rant on it anyway.

You know what set me off? The news headline that "Web-savvy Obama may be without email."

You're freaking kidding me, right? Whether I voted for him or not, I support the new President of our country, and I don't mind hearing all about the policies he wants to implement, or who he appoints to his cabinet. Meetings with other prominent leaders, okay. I'll even concede cool things about the White House the Obama's can expect to enjoy.

But do we really need to stop what we're doing to contemplate which breed should be the "First Puppy?" And I know Barrack Obama playing basketball is more news worthy than wars in the Middle East. Don't forget how important Michelle Obama's choice of apparel is (you might not believe the blogs devoted to her dress choice. Um, get a life people?) Stories about the potential "First Grandma" are mildly okay. She's a cute old lady, so I'll let those ones slide. These are just some of the headlines I've seen dashing around the Web on a normal day.

It more than smacks of hero worship. And frankly, it's driving me batty. I see more about Obama than Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, etc. etc. I couldn't care less about the minutae of an actor's or actress's life, so why do I care if Obama's email service is down? Did we get a whole news story when some other senator couldn't get into his email? And maybe I'm a little off here, but I *think* that it will get fixed before he takes office. Certainly the U.S. Government can make sure the President of the United States has internet access--somehow? (Although, with some of the government programs I've had to slog through, maybe that's too optimistic.)

How long before our President starts doing celebrity endorsements? I can see it now.

"Hello, I'm President Obama. When I'm going into a peace summit with world leaders, I want to make sure my smile is at its best. The only toothpaste for the White House is Crest Whitening. Not only is it the one most recommended by dentists, but with its patented whitening formula I can knock the socks off any dictator who may or may not be a tyrant, but we won't actually call him evil, even though he slaughters tens of thousands of his own people. But if he uses this toothpaste, at least his smile will be without reproach."

If I see a headline talking about the Obama's getting a haircut, or which toothpaste or shampoo they use, I will totally lose it.

**I was looking around for a picture of President-Elect Obama for the blog and came across this one that would have made milk shoot out my nose if I'd been drinking milk at the time. It in no way is disrespectful to Obama. Well, any more than putting vulcan ears on him can be. If someone made John McCain look like Scottie I would have loved it too. I come from a Trekkie family, so this is hilarious to me. I got the picture from Enjoy!**

I'm sure vulcans value their pearly whites, too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Worst First Date

Status: Getting ready for family pictures tomorrow
Song: "We work the black seam" by Sting

No horrible first date I ever had tops this one. So here's a fun story to start your weekend off with a good laugh.


If you didn't see this on the Tonight show, I hope you're sitting down when you read it. This is probably the funniest date story ever, first date or not!!! We have all had bad dates but this takes the cake.

Jay Leno went into the audience to find the most embarrassing first date that a woman ever had. The winner described her worst first date experience. There was absolutely no question as to why her tale took the prize!

She said it was midwinter--snowing and quite cold--and the guy had taken her skiing in the mountains outside Salt Lake City , Utah. It was a day trip (no overnight). They were strangers, after all, and had never met before. The outing was fun but relatively uneventful until they were headed home late that afternoon.

They were driving back down the mountain, when she gradually began to realize that she should not have had that extra latte. They were about an hour away from anywhere with a rest room and in the middle of nowhere! Her companion suggested she try to hold it, which she did for a while. Unfortunately, because of the heavy snow and slow going, there came a point where she told him that he had better stop and let her go beside the road, or it would be the front seat of his car.

They stopped and she quickly crawled out beside the car, yanked her pants down and started. In the deep snow she didn't have good footing, so she let her butt rest against the rear fender to steady herself. Her companion stood on the side of the car watching for traffic and indeed was a real gentleman and refrained from peeking. All she could think about was the relief she felt despite the rather embarrassing nature of the situation.

Upon finishing however, she soon became aware of another sensation. As she bent to pull up her pants, the young lady discovered her buttocks were firmly glued against the car's fender. Thoughts of tongues frozen to poles immediately came to mind as she attempted to disengage her flesh from the icy metal. It was quickly apparent that she had a brand new problem. Due to the extreme cold.

Horrified by her plight and yet aware of the humor of the moment, she answered her date's concerns about "what is taking so long" with a reply that indeed, she was "freezing her butt off" and in need of some assistance! He came around the car as she tried to cover herself with her sweater and then, as she looked imploringly into his eyes, he burst out laughing. She too, got the giggles and when they finally managed to compose themselves, they assessed her dilemma. Obviously, as hysterical as the situation was, they also were faced with a real problem.

Both agreed it would take something hot to free her chilly cheeks from the grip of the icy metal! Thinking about what had gotten her into the predicament in the first place, both quickly realized that there was only one way to get her free. So, as she looked the other way, her first time date proceeded to unzip his pants and pee her butt off the fender.

As the audience screamed in laughter, she took the Tonight Show prize hands down. Or perhaps that should be 'pants down.' And you thought your first date was embarrassing. Jay Leno 's comment..."This gives a whole new meaning to being pissed off."

Oh, and how did the first date turn out? He became her husband and was sitting next to her on the Leno show.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A game of Tag

Status: About 2 chapters from finishing my current manuscript (YEA!) - then edits.
Song: "The Mummer's Dance" by Loreena McKennitt

It finally happened! I can't tell you how happy this makes me.
Really, I'm getting choked up.

I've been blog tagged! I've been waiting for months for someone to tag me (and if you already have & I just didn't know, I'm soo sorry). Now I feel like I'm fully accepted into the blog world. Like, maybe, I'm "popular." *Sniff*

Stephanie tagged me for... drum roll...

6 Quirks.

I have to tell you 6 of my quirks (only six?! How will I choose from the avalanche of idiosyncrasies in my psyhe?) and then tag 6 people.

Here goes:

Quirk #1 - This is probably the biggest. I don't like chocolate. *Gasp* Yes, you heard me right, and no, I don't know how that is even possible. Probably just a genetic defect.

Quirk #2 - I can't sit on an unmade bed. It just makes me cringe. I used to go over to friends' houses and make their beds so I could sit on them. Rumpled blankets on the couch are close enough to an unmade bed that I can't do it either.

Quirk #3 - My comfortable temperature is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And since most of the year where I live the weather is below that, and most people keep their houses colder than that on purpose in the summer, I am almost always cold. Jason calls me "Coldilocks" and my brother used to say all the time that if you dropped me in a boiling lake I'd still be cold. I *love* my electric blanket.

Quirk #4 - I'm a compulsive email-checker. I have 4 email addresses and check them multiple times a day. I also used to have internet on my cell phone and would check email at the store, in the car, etc. I got rid of the cell phone internet, and am working through a 12 step program to break the email-checking habit. (Not really, but it's not a bad idea.)

Quirk #5 - I am a horrible shopper. First of all, I usually talk myself out of buying stuff while in the store. Then, if I do actually buy something, chances are I'm going to return it anyway. It's so bad that my family teases me about it and Jason will buy me a whole load of stuff for Christmas that he knows I'll return, but he hopes that I'll keep one or two things. It's kind of a running joke.

Quirk #6 - I am the Morning Person of all Morning Persons. I physically cannot sleep in. Even if I go to bed at 3 a.m. I'll be up by at least 7:30. I think the longest I have *ever* slept in (in my life) is 8:30. Maybe 9:00. And I think it was from serious jet lag from a trip to Europe. And just forget having me around much past 10:00 p.m. I usually get up between 5:00-5:30 a.m. My kids are all the same way (Jason often reminds me that it's all my fault).

So there are 6 of my quirks. I hope you'll still like me after reading them...

So now I'm tagging: Lori-ann C., Deborah T., Jenny W., Mindy S., Stephanie R., and Marissa T. You're IT!

Leave me a comment to let me know you got the tag so I can go peek at your quirks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remember Veterans Today

Status: Grateful for the millions who serve and die for our freedom
Song: "Hammerhead" by The Offspring

Thank a member of the military.

Happy Veteran's Day

*I went on a field trip with Brennan's class to the cemetery this morning and took all these pictures myself. Yea!*

Monday, November 10, 2008

Know your choking protocol

Status: It's raining, it's pouring...
Song: "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions

There are lots of things that make me choke figuratively. Politics sometimes. The stupidity of some people (esp. myself). When my kids say something outrageous in all sincerity and I try hard not to laugh so I pretend to choke not to offend their sensibilities, etc. Even though that kind of choking has a lot of possibility for blog fodder, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the chunk of food caught in the airway so you can't breathe and start turning purple kind of choking.

**Complete aside: Some people make their blogs more artistic by changing font size and color. What do you think? Do you like it? Or is it just distracting?**

You're probably wondering why I'm addressing choking, then. Well, snuggle in and get comfortable because I've got a story.

Once upon a time...

...there was a family. This family had had a long couple of weeks, complete with friends in the hospital, hectic sports schedules, school projects, and the dad (we'll call him Jason) working insanely long hours. A Saturday with blessedly nothing on the calendar rolled around, and the parents decided that they really didn't want to cook. But since the mom (we'll call her Jaime) is a bit of a Penny Nazi (a nickname used in all affection, I assure you) they scoured the coupons and found one for 2 free kids meals at a nearby IHOP with the purchase of some adult food.

"Let's go, and even if the food is so-so, at least we didn't have to cook it," Jason and Jaime decided.

"Yippee! IHOP serves 4 star cuisine!" shouted the children.

The family *finally* piled into the mini-van with everyone's coats and shoes and headed to the restaurant, planning on some so-so or 4 star food (depending on the character) and at the least a semi-peaceful meal. Only semi because any time you throw 3 hungry kids into a booth waiting forever for their chicken fingers, there is inevitably some fighting and commotion. Although hopefully no one would color on the other's clothes with the crayons this time.

The food arrived and the family dug in, with varying degrees of enthusiasm (Jaime's sandwich was technically what she ordered. The kitchen didn't feel like following her request of not toasting the bread and not putting on the orange slices of American "cheese" - although calling that stuff cheese is really a stretch, like calling Campbell's soup "home-cooked", but I digress...). The family were talking and eating (and in the kids' case, doing both at the same time, a habit which the parents are working on diligently) when the oldest boy started choking.

He grabbed at his neck and started turning red. Jaime waited a second to see if he could cough the food out. When it was apparent he couldn't, she leaped across the table and yanked him from the booth, passing him with great aplomb to Jason. He wrapped his arms around his son and proceeded to do stomach thrusts (you may know that as the Heimlich maneuver) and back slaps. After some tense moments, (and three sets of stomach thrusts), the offending chunk of food dislodged and the boy started to cough. Dad collapsed onto a chair.

So much for the peaceful dinner out.

Jaime, in typical mom fashion, then emphatically hammered home the point, "That's why I keep telling you to take smaller bites!" Which has been a source of contention at meals for a while now.

The rest of the patrons got free entertainment with their meals, and the parents did not have to call 911, so I guess you could call it a success.

The moral of this (true) story? Know your choking protocol.

Here's an article that shows you how to do it. And here's an article at Wikipedia that explains the protocol.

And I am so grateful that we did know what to do.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bad Writing Contest Winners

Status: Not liking shopping on a Saturday
Song: "Numa Numa" by O-zone

A friend emailed me the link to a local paper's Bad Writing Contest Winners for this year. It seriously made my day. Here are some of my favorites:

Best nod to a runaway bestseller

When Bekka — sweet, adorable Bekka, scrapbooker, scripture chase champion, pure, innocent chaste Bekka, who made her own modest swimwear and provided Rice Krispie treats for every missionary homecoming — when Bekka announced her engagement to Ed, everyone in the ward knew it was right, because Ed was, as any fool could see, Bekka's perfect match: good looking, strong, and a vampire.

—Eric Samuelsen

Best romance

Theirs was a romance straight out of the Old West, replete with trusty horses, cowboy hats, boots, spurs, six-shooters and shouts of "yee haw!" which is probably why the condo association had them evicted.

—Lynn Nielsen

Best cliffhanger

From the tips of her toes to the ends of those pesky hairs on her head that even spray and brushing never hold down, Sarah sensed something huge was about to happen to her, and it does, too, on page 157.

—Steve Warren


Detective Smyth, a former English teacher, stepped over both mutilated bodies and a spreading pool of blood on the floor, to use a can of yellow spray paint (that the killer had left behind) to correct typos in angry words scrawled on one wall: "Yu'll never katch me, kops!"

—Robert B. Robeson

You can see the whole list here.

You can see the whole list here.

And some more hilarious, milk-snorting winners from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest here.

Here's my favorite from that one:

"Die, commie pigs!" grunted Sergeant "Rocky" Steele through his cigar stub as he machine-gunned the North Korean farm animals.

Dave Ranson
Calgary, Alberta

Friday, November 7, 2008

We've achieved bike helmets

Status: Happy for a weekend with no plans
Song: "Clocks" by Coldplay

I finally did it! I bought us all good bike helmets! See? (Click here if you don't remember why this is such a momentous occasion.)

Part of the reason it took so long is that I heard about a law office about 30 minutes away that sells them for dirt cheap (a publicity thing--I think--since they are accident attorneys). So it just took me a couple weeks to actually get enough free time for the trip. But I dug through the available helmets and got the best bang for my penny-pinching buck. And my boys don't have to wear pink helmets, either.

In other, completely frivolous news, I got my hair cut. Big deal, you might think. But for me it is a big deal, considering it's been about a year since my last hair cut. I took some "before" and "after" pictures, but they did not turn out well. I must not have the taking-decent-pictures-of-yourself gene because 98% of all the ones I take of myself **note: this section has been revised at the suggestion of my husband, and considering my rant on beauty recently, I agree** are not very flattering.

The whole point to the story? You can see the haircut next time you see me. I was also thinking of posting a crazy hair Flashback Friday but I had a hard time finding old pictures of crazy hair. I guess I didn't go too wild in the hair department. I didn't even do the huge 80's bang thing too much. And Jason was no help at all, either. Oh well. Any of you, feel free to steal my idea and post crazy hair pics.

Have a fantabulous weekend, and check out my other blog for a fun, frivolous, and anti-heavy book recommendation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's all about child labor

Status: Tired from staying up way too late
Song: "Running from the Scene" by Manic Bloom

*epiphany* I finally get it. Until now, I didn't know that all the reasons I thought I chose to have children were completely wrong. The whole idea that I will grow as a person, that by relinquishing my own life for that of my children will make me more compassionate, that we will continue on the family, that a part of me will live on in someone else, yada yada yada. Total bunk. Some of you may still be deceived by these and other faulty reasons.

But the real reason for having kids is to have your own child labor force.

Yep. That's it. We need to get back to our roots. Our ancestors knew all about it, that's why they had monster families. They needed children to run the farm! Well, I've been working way too hard, while my labor force runs around and plays.

"No more," says I. "I am now enlightened."

So how did my first morning of enlightenment go? We woke up to 3 inches of snow and it kept falling. Jason had to leave early for a conference, so I was gearing up to shovel the driveway while my children watched me out the windows from the comfort of the warm house. Fortunately my oldest is a real smartie, and he was bundled up in snow gear before I finished breakfast. "I'm going to shovel the driveway," he announced. Whereupon his younger siblings--who melt into a puddle of wailing and tears when I tell them to make their beds--quickly got dressed too and headed outside.

And my labor force shoveled the driveway and sidewalks. I didn't even have to put on snow boots. It was marvelous!! I've been working waaaay too hard.

*crack* (whip cracking) Shovel faster!!

Don't let their adorable-ness fool you. They're just my personal sweat shop.

Senea decided it was the perfect time to play on the swingset.

I am a magnanimous tyrant. I let them start a snow fort after they were finished.

**Disclaimer: This blog is completely tongue in cheek. I in no way condone, agree with, or participate in the very real atrocity of child labor. I find the practice abhorrent and of course will give my children two 15 minute breaks, a lunch hour, and the video game time they are entitled to by the U.S. Constitution. Oh, wait. That's not in the Constitution?**

(Just getting used to the avalanche of political correctness on the horizon.)

100 POSTS!

I didn't realize that I had reached my 100th post, like two posts ago.

Happy 100!!

*Sniff* I'm so proud...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't forget to VOTE!!

Status: Going to vote
Song: "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood


Monday, November 3, 2008

Synchronized Swimming - on a stage?

Status: It's been one of those days
Song: "Crazy" by Seal

I don't have time for a long post, so here's a fun video for you on a crazy Monday!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pics! Pics! Pics! From Halloween!

Status: Kinda excited for the time change. It will make getting up at 5:15 so much easier because my body will think it's slept in!
Song: "All Night Long" by Peter Murphy

We have to post a few Halloween pics, don't we? The first ones are from a neighborhood Halloween Party. The house was full, and there were easily twice as many people we would have liked to be there. Rumors are flying that next year it will be at my house, and we can cram more people in, because it was so much fun!

Jason and Jaime - the Doctors on call.

Jason with the Calloways, who really might have been in the cast of Mamma Mia.
They were also the winners of the Best Couples Costume Award.

Lynett and Dale A. - Mr. Clean and the Dust Devil. Winner of the Most Creative Costume.

Mia, with her Best Costume award. (Please excuse the fuzziness. I guess I had a case of the shakes or something that night. I was probably laughing.)

Carol and Adam - totally grooovy, man! (Even if the photography is not. LOL)

Kristi was just excited to show she could still do this, but dressed as Nastia the 15 yr. old Olympic gymnast, I guess we're not surprised.

And now some pics of carving pumpkins. It was another Homestarrunner Halloween for our Jack-o-lanterns. (And if you don't know Homestarrunner, I promise to enlighten and convert you in a future post.)

Senea just dug right into the slimy pumpkin innards.

Halloween morning dawned with a spectacular sunrise.

And the kids excited to be off Trick-or-Treating. Ian was a ninja (but a good one, notice the white uniform). Brennan was an alpine paratrooper, complete with parachute pack and portable radio (you notice the antennae sticking out - and no, it's not a golf club. It's an antennae!) Senea was--shocker--Cinderalla... again. Mom had the priviledge of taking the kids Trick or Treating and I went as a... well, a mom. Sorry all, it was one of those days and I did not dress up.

But here's a pic from last year, when I wore that wig all day, even driving around town, to the post office, and to the store.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick-or-Treat Tips - Now a moot post

Status: So thrilled there's no snow for Halloween this year!
Song: "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo

**Note: As you can see from the date, I started this post yesterday morning, fully intending to finish it. Then my day imploded. Soooo, I'm actually posting Saturday afternoon - in November. Just pretend it was up yesterday.

In the last week or two you've all been hearing all those safety tips for Trick-or-treating. You know, stuff like wear light clothing (I dare you to find a vampire wearing pastels, come on!), make your kids take flashlights, only go to houses you know, etc. etc. etc. And those are all good safety tips. I'm not knocking them. But you can find stuff like that anywhere (like here, and here, and even this official one dressed up in a cutesy layout from the Food and Drug Administration here ) .

Because, above all, this blog is for community service (okay, not really, it's really just a way for a writing junkie to get out some of the twitches) I'm going to give you Trick or Treat tips you probably won't find anywhere else. You might want to print them out. Or get them made up in those vinyl letters that so many people have on their walls these days (speaking of, I'd like to get a little saying or two if any of you know a vinyl letter person). I won't mind. You could even tattoo them on your body, but you might have to use your back or an entire leg to fit them all in , and that would just look tacky. So let's not go the tattoo route, okay? Unless you want to tattoo something easy like "The Theler Blog Rocks!"

So here are some Trick-or-Treating tips from Jaime's cauldron of life experience. *From now on we'll just say TOT because Trick-or-Treating is so freakin' long to type*

1. It doesn't matter what costume you use for a baby, they are so cute you can just wrap them up in an orange blanket. Bring a big bag because the cuteness factor always works and you can get lots of candy. *This is probably the only legitimate way for adults to actually go TOT, because we all know the baby isn't going to eat it, so really mom and dad get the bag of goodies, but everyone overlooks that fact because they're blinded by cuteness.

2. The older you get, the more creative you have to be with your costumes in order to score the candy. For example, my Senior year of high school a friend and I safety-pinned a large blanket around ourselves, and my sister and a couple of her friends wrapped up in throw blankets and we went as a bedding set (I was half of the comforter, the others were pillowcases). Once we explained our costumes we got candy on pure creativity.

3. If you're taking small children with you, a stroller is a must.

4. Find the neighborhoods with the highest density of houses. You might as well get more stops per mile.

5. If there's a large black sheet with a jack-o-lantern on it, be ready for it to be some guy with it on his head ready to jump out at you. (Adults have way too much fun with this holiday.) Also be ready with a change of clothes for your kids.

6. Do not wear a French maid costume. Yes, there is a story.

7. If you have a Microbiology class presentation on Halloween, you can dress up as cholera. It makes for great discussions, and lots of priceless looks as you walk around campus.

8. TOT in college dorms is a ton of fun, even if you don't actually live in the dorms. Make sure to go with a group of your friends, though.

9. Don't let those parents who spend the whole month of October sewing costumes for their kids intimidate you. Tell everyone you are trying to foster your childrens' imagination when you tell them to figure something out with the stuff already in the house.

10. Take advantage of the day to dress up, because others would wonder if something's wrong if you were to walk around dressed up as Spongebob, say, in the middle of February.

Happy Halloween!

I'll post pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Great Theler Grape Stomp

Status: It's a Wednesday. And Wednesdays kick butt more than Mondays.
Song: "Oceano" by Josh Groban

Last week you may have noticed me mention grapes a few times in my little Status-thingey. I don't really have a grape obsession, even though I did have a dream involving grape juice all over my kitchen floor and a number of unexpected house guests who stood around arguing while I tried to clean it up but it wasn't working because the rag just kept dripping purple juice and I was in my pajamas which were getting purple splattered all over them and...

So, nope. Obviously nothing weird or psychoanalytic about grapes here.

I do want to share a little of the Great Theler Grape Stomp. It's not something that will be famous, like the I Love Lucy Grape Stomp episode, but it was memorable. And if you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, then I need to get a bumper sticker that reads "Officially Old & Crusty, So Get Out of My Way, You Whippersnappers!" or maybe "You're Driving Like a Bat Out of Hell!" Please tell me you've seen that commercial. *I tried to find it on Youtube but couldn't, so I'll give a brief rundown. The commercial is of three people in the car. Two men and one woman, who is driving. One of the old guys yells at her as the car creeeeaaakkks along, "You're driving like a bat out of hell!" Creeeaaaak. "You're going to get us killed!" Creeeeeaaaaak. It's hilarious, believe me. (And thanks, mom, for helping me remember it right :)

Anyway, back to the grapes. Someone from Jason's work let everyone know that she was being overwhelmed with grapes. Before Fall Break, Jason mentioned that since I would have some extra time, maybe I might want to go get some and make grape juice, since our kids guzzle juice like budding juice-a-holics.

So Jason was thinking, "Free juice."

I was thinking, "Extra time?! You do realize I will have all three children home from school--for like, 5 days, and half the neighborhood is gone to Disneyland and the rest of the neighborhood is doing something else besides staying here, which means the kids will be bored cause there's no one to play with, right?" Needless to say, I didn't head any grape expedition over Fall Break.

Last Monday night Jason gets home and announces that it's all arranged for us to go pick the grapes, he's borrowing a juicer, and it's so incredibly easy, and did he mention it's free juice? So we pile in the van with the ladder, some buckets, various grape-picking paraphernalia, and the camera--because if I have to do this I might as well get pictures so I can write a brilliantly entertaining blog, right?

Well, by the time we finally finish dinner and get everything and everyone in the car, it's starting to get dark. We make it to the house and no one's there. We didn't go all that way for nothing, so we make ourselves at home and just head to the backyard, hoping there aren't any guard dogs. Luckily, only a cat or two pointedly ignored us traipsing into their territory.

There was a wonderful trellis/arbor covered in grape vines. I'm totally jealous of that trellis/arbor thing. And the grape vines. It would be a heavenly place to sit in the summer. Anyway, there are tons of grapes still. But all the ones easy to reach are gone. Probably picked by the 5 people left in the county who didn't make it to Disneyland over Fall Break. So we have to climb up ladders and contort our bodies to reach the delicious bundles of purple goodness taunting us just out of reach.

I had to decide between taking pictures of my children at the top of the ladder stretching to reach grapes and then falling off--but my new camera has a nice Sports setting that would capture the action nicely--or climbing up the ladder myself and letting the kids take pictures. It was hard. On the one hand, I just went through some major heart ache to get this camera (see camera post here) and my children have been known to trip, fall, run into things, and drop things on an hourly basis. On the other hand, bathing my 8 year old with a cast because he broke his leg falling off the ladder would be a big pain. As would the trip to the Emergency Room, and the doctor's bills. I handed over the camera and picked grapes.

And so for my brilliantly entertaining blog we have some truly wonderful pictures.

Like this.

And this.

I think the composition of this one is true genius.

This one captures the essence of the top half of my ear nicely.

The study of lighting in this one is moving.

This is probably the best one, though. I mean, who wouldn't want to immortalize the foot of the ladder? And yes, I do retain the copyright to this pic. I might be willing to part with it for a reasonable price. Maybe I'll put it up for auction.

Note: We do have a few pictures with actual faces in them, and grapes, too. But it doesn't go too good with the theme, so I may post those another time.

We got a lot of grapes, got hit in the head by a lot of falling grapes, and even found grapes in our sweatshirt pockets a few days later. Mmm-mmm good! Then I made some juice, and the house smelled yummiliciously grape-y for a few days. So if we invite you over for a glass of fresh grape juice, make sure to be adequately impressed.

The End

"Hey!" you say. "Where's the stomping?" And you would be right to say such a thing. The stomping of grapes came in every time we took a step--up and down the ladders or on the ground. The grapes were so ripe they literally rained down. We should have spread a tarp and then we could have had an official stomping. As it was, I'm still cleaning out the grapes from the bottom of my tennis shoes.

An important book

Status: Thoughtful
Song: "Arcus" by Amythestium

Today is my stop on a blog tour for a book I think almost every mom, youth leader, and even teenage girl needs to read--A Future for Tomorrow, by Haley Hatch Freeman.

Please visit my other blog for my review. And then get your own copy or borrow mine.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Microwave your toothbrush

Status: Excited for a halloween party tonight. Now if I could just figure out a costume.
Song: "Ready or Not" by Lou Gramm

Yep. It isn't just a catchy title. I thought this might be a nice little tip to pass on, with cold and flu season at the door.

You can find the original article at (But I've cut and pasted the whole thing for you.)

If you're like most people, you get a new toothbrush every six months, but you really should be changing your toothbrush more often, like every three to four months. When the bristles get worn and lose their rigidity, they don't remove plaque as well. But you should also do some maintenance within that three months, when your toothbrush is just sitting out in the open. After all, think about all the germs and bacteria floating around that would love to attach themselves to your moist toothbrush.

So to prevent colds, flu, and other sicknesses, once or twice a week run your toothbrush through the microwave on high for 10 seconds immediately before brushing your teeth. If someone in your home is sick, you may want to sterilize it in the microwave each time you brush. If you're the one who's sick, after the illness passes, ditch your old toothbrush and replace it with a new one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just a quickie

Status: On a roll
Song: "Yesterday" by Foreigner (I went to John's spin class this morning at 5:30 and am now in a classic rock mood.)

Hey everyone! I had a couple of ideas for some really cool blog posts, with pictures, and one was even a Flashback Friday. BUT I've burst through the writer's block that has had me in its clutches and am on a roll. So no great post today, but here's a quickie video to start your weekend off with a laugh.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the Mood For a Little Vampire?

Status: Almost finished making grape juice. Yea!
Song: "Let Down" by Another Cynthia

Visit my other blog for some recommended books that really suck (ha ha). Just in time for Halloween.

Click Here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Of bike rides, blood, and staples

Status: Canning grape juice from the mounds of grapes someone gave us
Song: "Whispers in the Dark" by Skillet (because it's Ian's favorite at the moment)

**This blog post is rated PG (due to graphic content). If you are a child, please check with a parent before reading on.**

I think all parents have some things they could do better at. I am pretty good at making my kids brush their teeth and forcing them to eat more well-balanced meals (rather than just Go-gurt and Goldfish). I make sure to know where they are, put a stop to potentially dangerous behavior like throwing rocks at each other while playing Army, and drag them to bed at a decent time.

However, I fall way short when it comes to bike helmets. Even though a neighbor recently had a horrible bike crash that would have been much worse if he hadn't been wearing a helmet. And even though a friend told me about her neighbor's son who crashed on his bike, felt a little sick (they thought he was catching the flu his siblings had), and passed away in his sleep due to a head injury. So even with this, the thought of trying to fight my kids to wear a helmet makes me tired.

I know I'm a slacker. I never wore a helmet while growing up, so I never got used to it. And the helmets that we do have (I did buy some, I just don't make my kids wear them) are horrible. They are pieces of junk. They were cheap at Wal-Mart and I passed a display and thought, "I should buy helmets for my kids." So I did.

**Warning: Crochety old lady sentiment coming up. The older I get the more I realize you get what you pay for.** The helmets are therefore sitting on a shelf in our garage, taunting me with my shortcoming in this area. But they are so uncomfortable, I whine to myself (and the kids join in). And apparently my family all have heads vastly different from the average head size, because the helmets wobble like one of those hawaiian hula dancers that you (well, not you. But, people) put on the car dashboard. And did I mention we look ridiculous?

But don't worry, I will repent and reform on the helmet issue. And here's the story...

Sunday evening after dinner we decided to go for a walk. Our kids wanted to go somewhere that is a little far for little legs. So we decided to all ride our bikes, instead. How fun! A family bike ride! *snort*

As we were getting ready to head out I thought to myself, "Self, you should make the kids wear bike helmets, because we're going out of the neighborhood and there will be more traffic." So I mentioned it to Ian, who promptly complained that the helmet didn't even fit him. Which is true. So I caved, and we rode down the hill, bare-headed.

We got maybe 3 blocks away when it happened. Ian was riding on the sidewalks and trying to catch air off the curbs. He turned to go off a curb at the same time Brennan changed direction. Ian swerved to avoid crashing into Brennan, and his front tire hit a big rock at the foot of a tree.
He came up off his seat, and would have tumbled over his handlebars, except that the branches of the tree stopped him.

He looked confused when he got off his bike, and put his hand to his head. "I'm okay," he said over and over again. But he was dazed and kept wiping at his head. Then we noticed the red stain creeping across his blond hair. Jason took a look and pronounced that Ian would probably need stitches. At that Ian started freaking out a little. I rode up front with him back home, reassuring him that we'll take a look when we get there.

After a little cleaning up, and more blood (you know head wounds, they bleed A LOT), we determine that one of the tree branches actually punctured Ian's scalp. We didn't think it went into his skull, but my sweet little boy now had a hole in his head. Literally.

**Warning: Graphic pictures coming up.

**If you are squeamish, just scroll past the pictures.

**I mean it. If you don't like the idea of a hole in your child's head, then you won't like these pictures.

**They're coming now.

**Last chance to scroll past them.

**Did I mention they're a little graphic?

I know, you see worse on prime time TV. But trust me. It was not fun in person.

Ian was shaky and an interesting shade of grayish-green with white pallor underneath. Jason heads to the Insta-care with him. Ian promptly throws up all over the waiting room. ("It was really gross," Jason told me.) They did a local anesthetic to numb the area. ("I didn't like the needle, it hurt," Ian said. Brennan told me he had to look away during that part. Brennan went along because he felt bad.)

Then they stapled the wound closed. Yes. Staples. Think big staple gun. Now imagine putting it to your head. And pulling the lever. *shudder*

Ian now has 2 staples in the top of his head. We can't wash his head until tonight, so if you've seen my child running around the neighborhood and at school with blood-matted, dirty hair that looks like it hasn't been combed or washed in two days, that's because it hasn't been. And please don't turn me into Child Protective Services.

We are buying bike helmets really soon. Good ones.