Friday, November 30, 2012

Grace? She passed away thirty years ago...

(Name that movie.)

I know, I know. Two posts in one week. Please, hold your applause until after the performance. Here it is, the 2012 Haynes Family Christmas Tree:

I got to pick this year. And this is what I wrote about it over at St. George News.

In other news, tonight my family and I attended the Kalamity dance show for a cause thingey. That is not the official name of the event - at the moment it escapes me. In a nutshell, it is super terrific dance show, the proceeds of which are given to a woman named Meg who is battling bone cancer. There is another show tomorrow night, so if you are in the St. George area, get yourself down to Desert Hills High School at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday the 1st). You won't regret it. It's tons of fun, just remember to take some Tylenol beforehand.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra!

(Name that movie.)

Happy Thanksgiving? Merry Christmas?! What month is it?!

Sorry it's been so long, but here is what we've been up to:

We feasted. Do you know what I see when I look at this picture? I mean besides the Hottie McHottiepants in the background.

My humongous pan of raspberry pretzel Jell-o salad. It is bigger than the turkey or the mashed potatoes or anything else, as it should be. I love that Jell-o salad.
Here we are, eating:
Notice my poor, sad children back there at the kiddie table. See that old, dusty television behind the Lovesac in the background? I told DJ that all I want for Christmas is for that TV to be taken to the D.I. That, or dunked in gasoline and burned to the ground while I do a celebratory dance. That's my Christmas dream, everyone. I hate that TV.

We also went Christmas tree hunting in Kaibab. Here I am acting like the only doe in the world with antlers:
 This is a tradition that my dad started. I'll admit, the antlers make more sense when they are on a guy.

Here is Macey singing with her school choir at the Dicken's Festival:
She is the upper-right-most blur. You know, the one with a black shirt and the blonde hair.

Finally, here is what I wrote last week at St. George News. Can you tell I was coming down from eating half of a Costco pumpkin pie when I wrote it?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Turkeys, hamsters, Santa, and other mythical creatures

Today my mom, my sister's husband Manny, and I ran the Turkey Trot 5K. Deja vu, anyone?

Here are all of our people, preparing for the race by having our picture taken by a stranger. We are so hard core.
Speaking of hard core, here is my mom crossing the finish line:
I think that is pretty awesome. Not just because my kids' grandma runs 5Ks, but check out the turkey, random rapper hamster, and Santa Claus behind the finish line. What a reception! Every race should have mythical creatures awaiting you at the finish line. How motivational would that be?! I would run a marathon if there were a unicorn or Yoda at the end of it.

I love the Turkey Trot. Historically, I have had excellent luck at this race. I always win something. Last year I came home with the grand prize - a pair of running shoes from St. George Running Center. This year as we were making our way out to Washington Fields, DJ predicted that this would be the year that we brought home a turkey.


As you can see, Manny also won a turkey, but it is clear that I am more enthusiastic about it by the height to which I have hoisted my bird.

I love free turkeys. And I love how my husband's use of The Secret just won us the main component of our Thanksgiving feast.

(Speaking of Thanksgiving, I wrote this thing over at St. George three days ago. Sorry, I have been a massive slacker about posting these things. You'll like this one. I mention Abe Lincoln. It's very Thanksgiving-y.)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

a RAD metaphor

This morning I did the Color Me Rad 5k with my mom and my sister's husband, Manny. It was super fun and also a metaphor for our earthly lives. We start out pure and white and clean, and as we go through life people throw paint at us until our perfect white hoodie is ruined. RUINED, I say.

After that, you decide that since you're all filthy and ruined that you might as well ruin your sister's/daughter's/wife's lives as well:

And then you die and go to heaven to take a shower and find that somehow the evil of the world has made its way under your hat and onto your hair.
And then you take a shower and the color mostly washes off, but you still find paint powder all over your car and your house and everything you touched between the finish line and your shower door. I suppose it is not a perfect metaphor.

In other news, this week I wrote about how to get over the Romney Lost Bummers. You should read it. Is anyone else having a severe case of the bummers since Election Day?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Like sands through an hour glass...

Hey guys.

Another week has passed. How does that happen so quickly?! It was the usual grind - homework, Halloween, carpool, cleaning, ballet, Wal-mart - you know. It is a grind, but it is my grind and I love it. Usually.

Halloween is the best. No, that is not sarcasm. See if you can tell what we are:

Olivia was Frankie Stein from Monster High. I was Rapunzel. Tess was Rapunzel. Chancho was Ironman. Macey was a witch. And DJ was a Dad Who is Too Embarrassed to Dress Up But If He Wasn't He Would've Been Flynn Ryder.

Now we are amidst the post-Halloween sugar crash. My kids need to clean their rooms. They are cranky. I am too tired to boss them around. Halloween is the worst.

So I wrote this thing about the younger missionary age. You should take a look. I am excited for sister missionaries to be able to leave earlier, aren't you? Say yes.

Over and out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Things have been a leetle busy. Hence the blog silence. BUT, yesterday was kind of a big deal, so here I am.
Just to jog your memory, recall that in October we join together to celebrate the lives of two people: Christopher Columbus and me. Yesterday was my thirty-second birthday. It seems so OLD when it's written out like that.
To celebrate I bought myself a used bike off of Craigslist.
And Carrie threw a surprise party for me.
I also got a new phone which I love with an unhealthy love. Really. It's a problem. One handy feature that it has is the screenshot, which allows me to share the following ridiculous exchange that occurred tonight between DJ and my running buddy, Audrey:
Happy birthday to me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

My Cold War globe, ballet day, and more!

Hiya, all.

First thing's first. I bought a globe at the D.I. today.

And then I painted it yellow. And then I noticed Ceylon, which is now Sri Lanka. This discovery piqued my curiosity  I found Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe. East Germany. West Germany.\

How old is this globe?!

Obviously I am going to need a Sharpie marker or my kids are going to have problems in geography class.

This reminds me of how, when I was a teenager, my family owned a set of World Book encyclopedias, copyright 1988. I used to read them all of the time when I came home for lunch while I would eat my bowl of Frosted Mini Spooners/Corn Pops/Marshmallow Mateys/(fill in any number of Malt-o-Meal cereals here).

(This is probably why I never dated in high school. I was just too darned smart for high school boys. Yep, that's it.)

Anyway, because encyclopedias do not magically update themselves like Wikipedia, all of the factoids I memorized were from 1988 and prior. I used to know all of the winners of the Kentucky Derby up until 1988. Really. I had all of that crucial information committed to memory. I knew SO MUCH about West Germany, it's disgusting. And I was really happy when, in 2001, I finally learned that the Berlin Wall fell. Good for you, Germany!

Besides painting a globe yellow and taking a trip down memory lane, I also took my girls to ballet today. That is the view from the driver's seat, while waiting for Macey to get out of her class. I have a lot of thinking time on ballet day. Two 45 minute ballet classes, back to back. 45 minutes is an awkward chunk of time. It isn't enough time to go shopping or go home, but it's too much time to sit in the car and stare at Olivia's leotard butt.


In case you didn't catch it on Facebook, I also wrote this thing about mobile phone addiction for St. George News. While I was researching (yes, I research - don't act so surprised) I came across this video that I thought was quite nice. It's really worth a look.

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's not the weekend anymore!

I have all of this stuff rolling around in my brain like marbles in the bed of a pickup truck. I'm going to dump it all out right here, right now, on the Internet.

I may regret this.

We had a relaxing weekend. Saturday was Chancho's first day of City of St. George Smart Start flag football. Let me see if I can break this down for you: Smart Start basically means that you pay the city to go to a public park and play catch with your own kid. But it was an organized game of catch, followed by some running and kicking. Chancho loved it. He puffed his little chest out with pride as we walked back to the car.
We drove to Las Vegas for my husband's brother's engagement party. I hate Las Vegas. Have I ever mentioned that before? Anyway. We had some cousin time. This is every grandchild on the Haynes side of our family:
And these are all of the Hayneses, minus Seth who is still in Kenya:

Kind of a sad thing about this gathering was that both of DJ's parents have long since passed away and they missed the whole thing. Unless they were haunting us...oooOOOOoo....

Even Grandma Marilyn was there, wearing the Playboy bunny necklace that she found at a yard sale, bless her heart.

On Sunday we took a drive up to Pine Valley because we had HAD IT with the desert.

We rolled down the windows and just snorted in that mountain air. It was rejuvenating. What is it about mountain air? It's just so fresh. The laundry detergent people try to copy it, but they're not even close. I love the mountains.

Oh yeah, and I wrote this thing for St. George News. I felt kind of "eh" about it, but whatever. Something had to give this week.

Friday, September 28, 2012

It's the weekend!

I made it through this week! Can I get a hallelujah?!

My two-year-old nephew has been staying with us for a few days. And there's the everyday babysitting of cousins and neighbor kids. And the taxi driving and the homework and the folding of the dreaded laundry. And writing the humor column. And preparing singing time. And cooking dinner and every other darned meal that these people I live with like to eat.

But do you want to know one of my favorite parts of the week? My morning run with my friends.
I think it is the only reason I am sane. Sort of sane, anyway. Unfortunately it has done nothing for my grammar.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

cheeseburgers and spray paint - my two loves

I feel inclined to apologize to the people of Washington City who just witnessed me going to town on an animal-style cheeseburger at a public park.
I've been craving it since Seattle, I was starving, and it was AMAZING.

I must be going through a growth spurt.

I can't seem to eat enough or sleep enough lately. And I've been unusually cranky.

I have also been nesting. I have spray painted everything in my house that stays in one place for longer than five minutes. I almost got Chancho the other day. Almost. He's little, but he's fast.
Which reminds me, what does Donald Duck have against Chip and Dale anyway? We've been watching a lot of that lately and it makes no sense. So much animosity in that Donald Duck.

I know what you're thinking. I am certain that I'm not pregnant. This is just a case of regular old, crappy hormones. May they pass quickly.

(I almost forgot. Here's what I wrote this week over at St. George News. Remember when the turkey chased me in Minnesota? Elise 1, Rapist turkey, 0! Boo yah!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two weeks later...

Sorry about the blog silence. You know how it is - school is in, so I find myself driving to and from the elementary school about twenty times a day. Sometimes I think it would be easier to camp out on the school lawn with just a sleeping bag and a cooler full of salsa and chocolate milk.

On top of that there are the wild pool parties.
And the cousin visiting from Ohio for the weekend.
And I was in charge of concocting ten billion centerpieces for the church potluck.
Oh, and DJ came home with all of our Seattle crap to unpack, plus a hundred or so pounds of halibut and salmon to find a home for. Plus two enormous boxes of Washington peaches that I feel guilty about not turning into jam. Plus two large sacks of Washington corn, which is still stuck in my teeth. Plus a beard.
Somewhere in there my girls started ballet.
And my garage door broke. For a day or two it hung open at a wonky angle, officially making ours the classiest house in the cul de sac. My husband and brother in law finally monkeyed it back into place, but I assure you we are still classy. When I came home from Seattle I discovered our swingset leaning toward the ground at a roughly 45 degree angle, where it remains to this day.

I am also supposed to be writing my "humor" column right now. I'm currently 72 hours past my deadline and for some reason my brain is just NOT in funny mode. I keep trying to write and it is not coming out humorous. It is coming out like a technical manual.

Here's where we find out if this new Blogger app works. Cross your fingers.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Let's try this again...

I hope the video works this time. Cross your fingers, friends.

P.S. You want to know who is the world's luckiest sonofagun? My husband. He decided to walk down the river a ways the day after the boat incident and what do you think he found in tree snag downriver? His backpack. When he called me he had all of his money laid out on the counter to dry. That guy and his crazy good luck, huh?
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wherein Elise has a heart attack.

How did you guys like listening to the Platters? They're pretty all right, huh? I have another YouTube video for you today, but you'll have to be patient because I have a story first.

So my husband is in Alaska on a fishing trip this week. He scheduled the trip back in June or something and when he booked it I got this pit in my stomach. Just a little knot of worry, but I ignored it because I tend to overthink everything. No, really. I UNDER think a lot of things, but where the immediate physical safety of my loved ones is concerned I am hyper vigilant, believe me.

Fast forward to last night around eleven o'clock. My phone rang and it was DJ (or "Hottie McHottiepants" according to my phone). When I picked up it should have been immediately obvious from his tone that something was amiss, especially since he had gotten in much later than usual. Unfortunately my mouth works much faster than my brain and I said, "Uh oh, did your boat break down?" immediately BEFORE I realized that something really serious had happened.

"Something happened," he said and that little knot that formed in my stomach back in June turned to a lead weight.

I'll paraphrase my husband's story: After dinner he and his fishing buddy decided to fish the river for salmon, so they headed out planning to fish from the shore. When they got there an employee of the lodge they are staying in told them to take out one of their fishing boats because they would have better luck and they would have more fun than they would fishing from the bank.

So DJ and his friend rowed into the river toward what looked like a good fishing spot. The river was running fast yesterday since it has been raining since they arrived in Alaska. As they rowed the current forced them into a log jam.

One thing led to another and their boat overturned. My husband's waders filled with water and he was pulled under the river, with the force of the current pinning him against the snag of logs. He fought the current with everything he had but was pulled even deeper under. DJ is not a weak man and the river still held him down against the logs. He looked up and could barely see the light of day above him through the water.

He said, "I thought, 'This is it...Elise and the kids...This is it.'" He said that he felt strangely peaceful, even as he fought the water, thinking that his life was about to end. He kept pushing and fighting and eventually he prayed, "Please God, not today. Not today." He prayed there under the water, pinned down by the force of the river, when suddenly a few logs gave way and he was pulled through the snag of logs.

He came out of the water downriver and somehow made his way onto the bank. (You can imagine that at this point of his story I was near hysterics.) "Elise, you should have gotten a different phone call tonight. Those logs shouldn't have given way," he said.

There was definite divine intervention up in Alaska yesterday. Needless to say, it has been a life-changing experience for both of us. I am indescribably happy that my husband is safe. And I am endlessly grateful to my Father in Heaven for giving us a few more years together. I will try to remember this when DJ drives me bonkers by throwing his dirty clothes on the floor two feet away from the hamper. This video will be a handy reminder:

(And in case the curiosity is killing you - yes, the boat is still in the river. It's barely sticking out of the water, pushed into the log jam. And yes, DJ's backpack with his driver's license, debit card, and $400 in cash is still floating out to sea toward Russia.)

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Like if George Washington brought you here.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, "Elise, you are lonely. Your husband is in another state. You probably stay up through the night listening to music on YouTube and pining away, whatever that means. What songs have you been listening to to intensify your loneliness?"

I am glad you asked.

The Platters. Oh, The Platters. This is one of my personal favorites:

The first time I heard this song I was about ten years old. My dad (he's a deejay - did you know that?) played it at a church dance. I watched the couples dance around the basketball court slash dance floor and my ten-year-old heart almost palpitated right out of my rib cage.

If I wasn't so lazy I would create a playlist of Songs That Make Elise Lonelier, including but not limited to: Anything by The Platters but especially "Twilight Time" and the above, "Chances Are" and "Wonderful Wonderful" by Johnny Mathis, and anything by Nat King Cole. That guy's voice is like eating Nutella straight out of the jar. So rich. So smooth. So awesome.

(The batteries in my smoke detector are low. It has been squawking at me since I got home from Seattle. I know, I know! But you forget - I am a procrastinator. It is my duty to ignore it. Tonight is the first time it is annoying me enough to want to whack it off of the ceiling with a golf club. Or maybe change the batteries.)

I just love music. And YouTube, if you couldn't tell.

(Speaking of George Washington, I feel compelled to apologize to the inordinate number of blog visitors who have been led here by searching "George Washington" on Google. I'm sorry that Google brought you here, whoever you are. I am clearly not an expert on our first president, nor would I be an appropriate source to cite in your research paper. I can, however, count to ten in Spanish and make a decent pork barbacoa, if you're interested. Let's be friends!)
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm going to the nut shop...

How many days until summer vacation? I'm beginning the countdown to summer 2013. I think it's somewhere in the range of 270 days. That's a whole lot of links in my paper chain. I'm going to need a lot of construction paper.

I had forgotten how much work real life can be. I've spent the last few months living the lifestyle of a sloppily dressed heiress who hasn't been granted access to her enormous trust fund - lounging by the pool, ignoring the housework, fretting over the color of my toe nails. It has been peachy.

And then Washington County School District had to come along and ruin it all.

It has been a busy week. We had two First Day of Schools:

We hosted two birthday parties:

We had a few haircuts by my cute sister Mianne:

Between the immunizations, the mopping, the bill paying, the taking of meals to baby-havers, the scrubbing of the hard water stains out of the toilet bowl with a pumice stone, the grocery shopping, and et cetera, I've come to this conclusion: Real life is for the birds.

I'm going to the nut shop where it's fun.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bringing home the aluminum!

Remember how I promised to write about our last week in Seattle? Here's me making good on my promise.

After church last Sunday I sent DJ and the kids blackberry picking so that I could accidentally fall asleep while reading 99 cent books on my Kindle. When will I learn, I ask you?! When?! Here are their pickings:

Their eyes are bigger than my stomach.

And so I made jam.

Did you catch that?

I made JAM!

Elise, who can barely remember to remove the plastic wrapping from her frozen Digiorno, made JAM.

It was glorious.

At least I think so. I didn't actually taste it before I left it up in Seattle. For all I know it's total crap. I even gave a jar to my friend without tasting it. I am either wildly confident or stupid. Maybe both.

Sometime after the jam project we drove up to Deception Pass and from thence onto Whidbey Island.

We got to the bridge just as a beautifully scenic fog rolled over the top of it and I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest all over again...

...and DJ bench pressed the bridge.

The day before we flew home our friends invited us over for homemade sushi and a badminton tournament - a winning combination! We divided into four teams and therefore only three teams received a medal and got to sing "O Canada" with their hands over their hearts. Let's play Spot the Canadian:

Why isn't there a medal for fourth place? There should be. I'm inventing one right now and it's aluminum. Filled with chocolate.

Monday morning we woke up really early and hopped a plane to Las Vegas.

We said goodbye to Mount Rainier, the trees, the cool temperatures, and DJ.

But there was no time for mourning. Have you ever been in an airport with four children, three 50 pound suitcases, a carseat, three kid-sized carry-ons, and a purse loaded with granola bars? In Las Vegas?

People stare at you.

It is the Olympics of motherhood. And I got the aluminum medal.
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