Monday, August 27, 2012

Camped Out

Well, I’m back.

I must apologize to those of you who hang upon my every word, as my words have been few and far between this month. I have a good excuse (if any excuse can be classified as such).

You see, I’ve been camping. I’ve been camping a lot. Not once, not twice, but three times in the past three weeks, with my three kids, I have ventured into the wild and experienced its wonders. I wore out my flip-flops, my daughter is now a pro at peeing outside while I hold her in “hover” position, and I’m pretty sure my hair will smell like I smoke a pack a day for two more weeks, regardless of how many times I rinse and repeat.

Basically, I never want to hear the words “great” and “outdoors” in the same sentence again. Ever.

I may also be boycotting the words “sleep” and “dirt,” as I have had too little of one, and too much of the other. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

But because I am filled with positivity (I took a shower) and light (I shaved my legs), I am taking this opportunity to turn my own pain and suffering into a tidbit for the rest of you. I’m that generous.

The first thing you’ve got to know is that I’m not a hater. I love being outside. Camping and I usually get along quite well. I don’t mind dirt, bugs, and sleeping on rocks, and I enjoy roasting mallows, singing “Kumbaya” around the campfire, and swimming in water that won’t turn my hair green (although there are often green things floating in it). I’m a country girl ya’ll.

But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Camping is a lot of fun. But FYI, it is also a lot of work. Especially for the women/mothers/people that do all the work that keeps everyone else happy just sitting around and basking in the “vacation” part of the vacation (i.e. the men). Therefore, when considering a camping trip, you would do well to remember this simple equation:

Estimate the amount of fun you will have on this campout.

Times that number by two.

Add 1 for each pound of stuff you have to pack.

Add 25 if your family eats more than just hot dogs and s’mores.

Add 10 for each child you have (husbands count if you have to pack for them).

Add 50 for each two-year-old you have (husbands may also count here).

Times this number by 3 if your significant other is more concerned with bringing toys (motorcycles, weapons, fishing equipment, etc.) than having clean clothing and sufficient bedding (IloveyouHoneyyou’reperfecttheway

The number you end up with is the amount of work you will have to do in order to have this thing called “fun” while camping. I will leave it to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it.

Some of you may also want to add a bit to the equation depending on the number of pounds you gain on your lively excursions (aka: Let’s-see-how-much-junk-we-can-consume Campouts). So, let’s see, that’s FOUR for me. But it could have been worse, right? I mean, it was three camping trips with hardly a break in between and my workouts went down the tube… so that’s totally normal, right? Should come right off. Right? RIGHT?!

Ok. Bring on the lettuce.

Obviously, camping was a lot of work. It was also a lot of fun. I wouldn’t trade my campouts this month for anything. I was with people I love, who maybe kinda probably sorta love me, and we made some great memories.

But I’m gonna lay it out for you here, people. Don’t bother to ask me to go out into the woods again any time soon, because I am

Officially. Camped. Out.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Language Arts

Here, we have Idaho.

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It’s a great state, Idaho. We have a lot of this stuff:

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Photo courtesy Forever Yours Photography

And we can't forget these. Lots and lots of these:

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Which is the reason everyone had a conniption when our state quarter turned out like this:

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I know.

But were you aware, my fellow Americans, that Idaho has its very own language?

Idahoan is an eloquent, difficult language to master. It doesn’t just roll off of the tongue like German or Mandarin Chinese. No. Idahoan is the real deal. No Rosetta Stone $80-a-month learn-it-quick program complete with DVD/CD/smart phone ap/online lesson/interactive software can teach you these highly developed patterns of speech.

Thankfully for you, I am a born and bred Idahoan. Four + generations of my family have learned and developed the complexities of this language and drilled them into the deepest recesses of my subconscious. I am therefore more than qualified to teach you everything you need to know about the beautiful tongue. And I won’t even charge you – this time.

First off, there is no word too short to make shorter. Anything ending in ing should quite automatically become in’ without batting an eye. The letter d may also be omitted in many cases, perhaps most commonly in the word and (as in the phrase an’ stuff).

Second, the letter t is almost always an optional consonant. Words like hunting and forgot become huh-in’ and forgaw. Idahoans seldom bother to close their mouths when speaking such words. Why waste such valuable time? There are spuds to be dug.

One word you must certainly add to your vocabulary is gonna. You may not find this word in a dictionary, but that does not mean it isn’t a real word. It is a sophisticated abbreviation of the words going to and is yet another way to save time in speech. I’m gonna go to the store, Mom. Dad, that dog’s gonna get hit by a car. Son, I’m gonna take that gun away if you point it at your sister one more time.

And if you’d really like to tap into the deepest roots of the Idahoan language, you’re going to have to ignore correct grammar as it is defined in our current society. We were should always be said, we was. One should never use the common they saw, but always replace it with they seen. It’s quite simple, actually.

There are many other complexities of this language, some too deep for immediate understanding.  The articulate slang we use may take years to learn (potatoes are spuds or bakers, and are certainly never called po-ta-tohs).There are many more letters of the alphabet that become optional when used in certain contexts (the letter e is often removed or replaced with the letter i, as in the word tent (tint)). The diversity of the individual Idahoan’s voice inflections can be grueling to interpret. It takes time and dedication to truly become one with Idaho and the decadent wealth of her linguistics.

The French can keep their language of love. I speak Idahoan.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Casual Parenting (Complete With Quiz!)

I have three kids. As of right now, I have three kids age 3 and under. So let me answer the typical questions: Yes, all three were planned; yes, it can be pretty wild; no, I am not (that) crazy (yet).

Now, I’m not sure we can compare in any way to America’s favorite oversized family the Duggars and their infamous tater-tot casserole (no, they aren't Mormons!), but just as you can't quite figure out how Jim-Bob and Michelle do it, you may be wondering how Aaron and Kayla do it.

You may also be thinking:
How do they lead such a frivolous, carefree, Hollywood lifestyle?
When do they find time to look so beautiful/handsome/fashionable?
They really have it together.
They are are my idols.

Okay, maybe you’re not thinking that last one. But I’ll tell you how we do it. It’s simple, really. We have been turned on to a little something called “Casual Parenting.”

Casual parenting is the latest craze! Scientists and parents all over nowhere are buzzing about it. Some really big names in Hollywood are using it. It’s a proven parenting method with nothing but the expected results!

Haven’t heard of the casual method? Dying to know its secrets? Take this quiz to find out how you measure up:

Question #1: Your child throws a horrendous tantrum in a public place. Your reaction is:
A)    Ignore. Better yet, try pretending the child belongs to the people behind you.
B)    Console the child as best you can and leave with apologetic glances.
C)    Public shame.
Question #2: Your child tends to strip and run naked in the front yard. Your reaction is:
A)    Pretend you don’t notice. It’s your yard after all. All those people driving by don’t have to look.
B)    Chase the naked one down and re-dress. Over. And. Over.
C)    Spank said nudist in front of the neighbors.
Question #3: Your child is on the playground and begins to quietly throw sand at another child. Your reaction is:
A)    Watch out of the corner of your eye. If it happens again and looks like it was done out of spite, then you’ll step in. Probably.
B)    Jump up and remove your child from the situation before the other kid’s mom has to save him.
C)    Scream across the playground at the child as loud as you can.

Congratulations, you’ve finished the quiz. Your results are waiting!

If you answered:
            Mostly C’s: Your kid is most likely going to grow up with a complex of some kind (or many of them). And they will probably blame you for all their problems and be really rebellious teenagers. And there’s a possibility they could end up on the Dr. Phil show. Look out.
            Mostly B’s: You’re an angel. Your methods are wonderful, but may not always be effective. Try reading up on some new methods here.
            Mostly A’s: Congratulations!! You’re already a Casual Parenting pro. Keep up the casual work!