My exciting life with a house full of boys

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clean Socks - PLEASE!

I hadn't done a load of whites since Saturday. It was now Wednesday and in this house that's a long time to go without. As I sorted and gathered the dirty laundry from each room, I began to notice something peculiar.

The twins rarely have much in the way of white clothes. This is mainly because they are 9 year old boys who run around in jeans and t-shirts and light colors would certainly show all of their activities for the day. But something was missing. I looked around on their floor, behind the door and in the closets but could only find one dirty, inside-out, holey sock.

That night after showers I asked them about the missing socks. "I don't know, Mom" was the answer I received and expected. But with further interrogation I was able to solve the mystery.

You see, it's getting cold here in sunny AZ and these boys like to snuggle. I had noticed that they were sleeping with socks on but didn't think much about it. They've done this in the past. But to my somewhat horror I found out that they were not only using the same socks they had worn that day, but the same socks they had worn since Monday.

"That's gross! Why didn't you put clean socks on? Your drawer is full"

"I wear them for at least 3 days. That's my record".

"Why?" I asked giggling under my breath

"Because I don't want to get up early to grab a pair since they are already on."

Can you believe I let my kids wear them with such big holes that their toes poke through. Apparently it doesn't bother them anymore than the smell or filth that is already on their feet.

I think my goal is to find some Male inspired fuzzy sleeper socks. A million dollars to the first person that can tell me where to find them with out the ridiculous faux leather brown sole.

Jenny Matlock

Monday, October 17, 2011

At The Crossroads

We stood there, my sister and I. Alone but together without the throngs of children that usually surround and fill our space. She lives in another town and these times together are cherished moments. We had the chance to spend a few minutes without the bickering, whining, fighting cousins to do our favorite thing together, aside from a mean game of Scrabble, shop.

And that's when we found ourselves at the crossroad. Do we go right? That's where our eyes took us first. But then the reality hit in an instant. We must turn left. And so with heads hung low, and laughter filling the store, we headed to the plus size section. Numbers followed by X's. Skinny people may not even know that there is such a thing.

Darn those sodas, and doughnuts, and cookies, and large plates of food, and too many carbs, and mangled ankles, and needy children, and hundreds of other excuses.

We've gained weight. Lots of weight.

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And so it starts today. Protein and Pilate's.

Maybe next time she comes to visit me and the squabbling cousins are left at home and we are faced with another crossroad we can turn to the right.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Favorite Granite Cleaner

Granite counters. So pretty and shiny and durable and I love them but I hate to clean them. They always end up dull and streaked unless you spend extra time and effort wiping them down. Wiping off your counters should not be a project.

I think I have tried every product out there that guarantees a clean streak free shine - Not - as well as a few home made concoctions - Fail.

But I have finally found one I love. LOVE!

In a spray bottle add:

1/4 C. Vodka or Alcohol (I used Vodka because that's what I had on hand and for those of you that know me it wasn't to drink but for a pizza sauce recipe that Bret makes and is to DIE for.)

3 drops/squirts Dawn dish washing soap (This is also essential if you may be tempted to drink your cleaning solution)

1 C. water

I use a regular dish cloth nothing special and have no, I mean NO streaking, my counters shine and the alcohol disinfects.

Try it. You will LOVE it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Troy, Thalia, & Tourettes

I went to school with Troy

We were friends

I remember him having slight "ticks" but didn't think much about it

After graduation, I would run in to him occasionally at the grocery store where he worked

Fast forward 25 years

This is Troy now

I can't in good conscience sit idly by and do nothing

And so I will share his story and his way of life with as many as I can

Imagine the millions in blog land

If only 10,000 parted with $10, lives would be forever changed

For the better

Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo bank - if you don't have one in your state then a Wachovia bank will link up.

Make your deposit to the Troy J. Marley DBS Benefit Donation Fund

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Are Hurricanes

This seasons hurricanes.

Bret's name is even spelled correctly.

Side by side.

Hopefully we won't cause any damage.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lift, Lighten, Love

This may be familiar to some. It's a song I find myself humming every now and then and thought I would share -

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.

Can you imagine what our planet, our nation, our communities, our families would be like if each one of us chose to lift someones burden, lighten someones load, and love someone in a deeper way all on the same day?

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keep the Refrigerator Klosed!

Today there was black smoke in the sky.

The lights dimmed and then later went out.

Sister called, her husband was okay. Transformer blew.

Kids thought the end had come.

No air conditioning (Remember it's like 182 degrees outside in the shade)


No lunch (their excuse was that mom kept calling out, "Keep the refrigerator closed!")

No toilet

Wait - what do you mean no toilet?

Lesson about energy, water and the function of the toilet was quickly taught.

Brother in law and crew got the power back up and running in 2 hours! way to go guys and so glad none of you were hurt!

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June @ 107

My indoor personal weather station read 107 degrees outside. Thats with the gauge meassuring from the shade. You'll notice it's 8% humidity and I am keeping the indoors a nice cool 72 degrees. Yes, I like it cold and Yes, it costs me a bundle.

So what do you do when it's this hot?

The kids do nothing. They don't want to and frankly neither do I

We swim

We keep Sonic Ice in the freezer for instant ice cold water

We try to remember to water the plants because when you don't, they look like this - oops I forgot.

We remember that it's easier to stay cool than to warm up. June, July, August and September and then the best winters ever.

Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Irresponsible Indescribable Irreplaceable

It began 22 years ago. My husband and his best friend had a trip planned. Our friend challenged me to come along and bring my boys, then 3 and 18 months.

"Bring a chair and sit there. We'll do everything else."

I nervously went along and a love affair was born. Every summer since that August so many years ago I have packed up our family car with gear and taken my boys to the mountains to camp. It didn't matter the age, my pregnant condition, or the weather predictions. Pack n Plays, baby swings, toys, bikes, coats and swimsuits, cooking gear, lanterns, coolers, food, sleeping bags, tents, first aid kits, and so much more have filled every tiny crevice of our car then truck then Suburban. If Bret couldn't come then I would load up the boys and we would go without him. Sometimes if work permitted he would join us on weekends but often times I went at it alone.

It was on these mountains that I caught my first fish, saw my first bear, hunted my first deer, stayed awake to listen to the coyotes yelping and elk bugle. I sound like a guy.

I overcame my fear of thunderstorms after being stuck with my children all alone in a tent in the most ferocious thunder and lightning storm that I had ever experienced. I learned how to cook on a camp stove, in a dutch oven and over a fire. I am much better in a camp kitchen than my home kitchen. I learned to love the outdoors.

I gained a confidence and independence that filtered into other parts of my life.

We had a favorite area that quickly became my "happy place". My children believed that this was where the 3 little pigs lived. And so that it what we called it. The 3 little pigs.

Every time I've wanted to run away from life, this is where I've gone. Even If I couldn't actually take the time to literally go there, my mind would at least allow me to visit.

On May 29 a fire was left unattended. That fire, or what some have described as an uncontrollable beast, has devoured my mountain. It has become the largest wildfire my state has ever had. The lookout tower that my boys all climbed and "marked" is now a tower of twisted metal. The aspens that crossed the road letting us know we had 3 more miles until we got there will no longer quiver in the breeze. The fresh scent of pine after a rain storm will never, in my lifetime, smell the same. Not in this forest.

My biggest sorrow is that I will not be able to continue this tradition with my youngers and my grands. Their memories of our trips to Westfork will be short and limited. Their adventures were few. And my grands will never know their Nana's happy place. Yes, we'll go back. But the landscape is forever changed.

One irresponsible act led to indescribable destruction that is irreplaceable in my lifetime.

BUT - I have my pictures. I have my memories. I have great family stories to tell. I have a love for the outdoors that I am forever thankful for.

Here's to you Kim for challenging me to do something that would forever change my life and My Bret, who had the trust and confidence in me to let me pack up and go each and every summer.

Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Gave It Up

For several years I have been dealing with physical and mental symptoms that are undiagnosable, at least accurately. I've dealt with serious post partum depression, headaches, memory loss, aches, acne, difficulty losing weight and fatigue. Major fatigue. It doesn't matter when I go to sleep or when I wake up. I get the kids off to school and lie down and fall asleep. I wake up and take a shower only to want to lie down again. Yes I've had tests and of course nothing seems to be wrong, not hormones, thyroid, etc. I've popped thousands of vitamins and nothing helped. This wasn't the kind of mom I envisioned myself to be. I didn't want to be lazy and inactive but my energy was gone. I can honestly say that I really prayed about this and didn't like or want to admit to what I was feeling.

You see, my husband has asked me for years to quit. "I'm telling you, that stuff is poison." But I don't listen very well. I'm to proud. If he was right then that would mean that I was wrong.

I realized one day that I may be wrong. I took the leap of faith and I gave it up.

And so I quit. I had tried before. Many times, but never successfully. But this time I played a game with myself. I wasn't giving up the icy cold refreshing bubbles that I so loved and craved. I could still have it any time I wanted. I wasn't giving up the caffeine that sometimes lifted me. I could still have it any time. I decided that I was going to simply give up the "poison". The aspartame. My drink of choice. Diet Coke.

Many people have different views about this chemical. Look it up on the Internet and you will find hundreds of thousands of pros and cons. That's not really what this was about. It's more about me finally following that tiny whisper in the back of my mind that said to do it. And so, it's been about 4 months since I have had a Diet Coke or a diet drink or snack of any kind.

What changes did I see? Nothing. At least not for a while. But then one day I realized that I had sent my kids off to school, took a shower and went on with my daily things without crawling back into bed. I was dreaming again. I hadn't realized that I had been missing that for a while. My mom commented on my complexion one afternoon, "your skin looks brighter, fresher" and I realized my pores were smaller and I hadn't broken out in several weeks. I have not been eating out as much. I realized that I would want a soda and go to a drive thru - every single day. And lastly I just plain felt better. Coincidence. Some might say, but I never have believed in coincidences. I haven't lost any weight but I now have enough energy to get myself to the gym so we'll see.

Giving it up wasn't so hard. Once I decided I could still have the real stuff it made it easy. Now, as far as the real stuff is concerned...I don't really like it. It's too sweet. But there are just some meals, pizza and Mexican for sure, that I HAVE to have a soda with and so it's the real thing. But I find that I don't even finish one full glass compared to the three or four refills I would have of the diet.

So is it poison? I don't know about the rest of the population but for me I think it is. But shh. Don't tell my husband he was right.

Jenny Matlock

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No Plastic Surgeon After All

I'm getting older. Somethings about this aging process I really don't mind. But then there are others that I fear, dread, and am frankly beginning to experience.

My siblings and I all have a shared trait. We have bags and dark circles under our eyes. For me, as I get older it is getting worse. It doesn't matter how much sleep I've had, how many vitamins I've swallowed, the black eyes remain. I've tried eye creams, preparation H, ice packs, sleep, and many expensive cover up creams but inevitably people continue to ask me if and why I'm tired. I hate it.

As I am aging I have noticed that I don't have as many wrinkles as some of my peers have. Again genetics. Instead, I am sagging. You see, I have an extremely oily complexion. Always have. When I get a sun burned nose, it doesn't dry and peel. My layers of skin simply slide off. So instead of deep creases caused by wrinkles I am developing deep creases from sagging. (We are only talking about the face right now.)

Then there is my neck. You can always tell a woman's age by her neck. Kathy Lee Gifford should be the poster child for this. Her face looks great with the layers of paint on her face but look at her neck. That can't be hidden without a turtle neck. And now I am seeing it. Ever so slightly as I turn and the light hits me just right I have the beginning of a turkey neck. I am becoming my grandma.

These three things bother me, more so than my waist line, graying hair, or liver spots that are beginning to show up on my hands. I have seriously considered making an appointment with a plastic surgeon to see what can be done. Subtly of course. Until now. I think I have found the solution and I am so excited to try it out. Tell me what you think.

For those of you that have emailed me, called me and text me - IT'S A JOKE!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Morals VS Finances

I am so stinking tick off! Several different things happened today that just lit me up and so I'm venting. Several years ago, more like ten , we were working for a contractor who taught me a very valuable lesson. One that I check in with now and then to see where I truly stand. He was a friend. A man that we trusted. A man that said he wanted to help us gain a secure footing in our company. (Side note: We've been self employed for sixteen years.) Months after a particularly large project was completed he still had not paid us in full. Unfortunately this ended up with lawyers. We never received the tens of thousands that he owed us but we learned a lesson.

He made the comment, "I know what the moral decision is but this is not a moral decision. It's a financial one."

And with that he told the necessary lies and forged the documents that got him off the so called financial hook and obligation. We pulled up our boot straps and went on. But I am always surprised at dishonest people who otherwise are very good. I simply don't get it. I can almost guarantee the way different cultures will pay us and do business. From their ethnicity to their religion. I won't break it down here because I don't want to throw everyone into the generalization pot. But very few customers have proven us wrong to date.

Gripe #1 - I am floored by the "buy and bail" that is so prevalent right now. If you aren't familiar with the term it is when someone intentionally purchases a second home with the intent of walking/foreclosing on the first. It's also referred to as a strategic foreclosure. You mean a strategic way to get away with something or out of something that you don't want to deal with. It's cheating. And cheaters stink. People aren't even ashamed to admit that they intentionally walked from their home. Wow. I'm sure I'm going to offend someone but I honestly don't care right now. I understand having to leave and foreclose on a property due to illness, death, loss of job etc. But to outright bail because your property lost value is down right dishonest in my eyes. Especially if you can continue to afford said property. Moral decision VS financial decision. How many "bailers" cancelled their cable and satellite, lowered their cell plans and all the perks, gave up the fast food and restaurants, vacationed less or not at all. I don't understand why you walk when you had planned on living there to raise your family. So what if the value dropped. If you can still afford your payments then why leave. If it was purchased as an investment then bad gamble. You signed a contract. You made an agreement. You didn't come out on top this time. To bad. Life is unfair. But for crying out loud hold on to your honor. Honor. Does anyone have it anymore? Do people even know what it truly means? Everyone is looking for the easy way out. No one is willing to work or suffer through to keep what matters. Self dignity. Honor. Self respect.

Gripe #2 - Once again another business man is taking us for a ride. Why? Because he screwed up and he needs a fall guy. So instead of taking responsibility and recognizing that he isn't going to come out on top this time, he is choosing to throw us under the bus for his benefit. He is slandering the work we do and the company we own. He is trampling over friendship and professionalism in order to get gain. And yes, he does fall into one of my unmentioned categories. It makes my blood boil because I know he knows the truth. Where is the courage to do what is right? A person shows their true character by what they do with their money. Rich or poor.

I've reread what I wrote and I sound arrogant. I don't mean to be. I have an expectation. I teach my children to do the right thing. To be honest in everything they do. Everything. It can be hard to do what is right and take responsibility for our mess ups. It takes courage. But by standing strong it builds character and self respect and no way will I allow someone else's decisions take that away from me. I've worked to hard to earn it and to keep it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Know Where My Kids Are

What I've done this week:

walked 13 miles and complained about my blisters
went grocery shopping
washed 7 loads of laundry
made a bank deposit
added oil to my car
filled my 37 gallon 10 mile to the gallon gas tank and choked
picked up my lap top from the repair shop
went to church
went out to lunch with my daughter in law
changed out my broken cell phone
cleaned my house
shuttered about my weight gain and clothes not fitting
drank lots of water to curb my soda craving
talked to my sister on the phone
went house hunting with my mom
got frustrated with my kids because they didn't tell me where they were going

Thought of Japan

perspective changes

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm Sorry Chicago

A friend of mine called and asked if I would like to take his horses out. They hadn't been ridden in a while and needed some exercise. Uh... Twist my arm.

Bret and I loaded up the trailer with our new found horse friends Tonka and Tears and headed East. Many a wonderful trail is to be had in this area of dessert. Washes and jumping cholla abound along with the beautiful sight of nearby surrounding mountains. What wasn't present was rain and snow. This is why I love Arizona. 5 hours to the beach, 2 hours to the snow in the winter or cool pines in the summer. Phoenicians have it made. It's January and we are in short sleeves and sun glasses and brought plenty of water. If you've never made it to this lovely state, now is the time to come. Just please drive the speed limit and stay in your lane. (that could be a good gripe for my next post.)

A little - okay a lot - saddle sore but hope to do it again soon before it gets to hot and the rattlers come out.
For my curious out of staters we were at Usery Mountain Park, the white cactus is a jumping cholla so named because the tines are so thin on the end that you can't see them when you brush up against them and so they have the appearance of jumping. They hurt something terrible when you get poked with them too. The tall skinny dark green cactus is a saguaro, and the mountains in the background are the Superstitions, home to the tale of the lost Dutchman.