Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Jan '08


Today I canned. I am a canner. I am one who has canned.

This is a big deal for me. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom I’ve realized that other women my age in my own neighborhood are terrifyingly domestic and know how to use food dehydrators and pressure cookers and can their own produce that they grew and hand-picked in their backyard. Their food storage shelves are lined with glass jars filled with delectable edibles, packaged with love.

I’m not quite there myself, but tonight I did can some wheat and sugar. While I didn’t exactly tend the wheat fields or sugar cane plantations myself, I helped put the lables on the tin cans before someone else dumped the wheat and sugar in for me. That’s close, right?

Our relief society borrowed the canner from the local cannery and ordered the supplies for us, so all we had to do was show up with a check and then assemble and seal the cans ourselves. It took a couple hours, but now we have nearly 100 cans of red wheat, white wheat, and white sugar for our food storage. If something bad were to happen tonight, we could subsist on wheat grits and sugar for six months! Although we might clear our pantry of the Little Debbie’s first.

Jan '08

Daytime Living

I recall one day during my former life as a desk-job employee driving somewhere during my lunch break and suddenly taking in all the cars and people, everywhere, around me. Now that I don’t spend 40+ hours a week anymore sitting at a desk I’ve realized that stuff exists outside the four walls of the office. It’s amazing. People are out during the day. They get groceries while it’s still light outside. They go to the library. They weed their gardens (when it’s not winter). They take walks. And now that I’m home more I’m part of this super-secret society that lives while other people are holed up in their offices. It’s great!

The flip side is daytime television. There’s a whole other world out there besides prime-time telly. I was watching a show the other day while feeding Wes. The commercials featured were for:

1. Motorized scooter company
2. Hearing aid company (you can try before you buy!)
3. Two different vitamin products
4. Prescription arthritis medication
5. Three different life insurance companies
6. Teaser for upcoming Survivor episode

Any guess as to who the target market audience is for The Price is Right at 9 a.m.? The Survivor teaser threw me, until I remembered that the 80-year-old woman I visit teach is a die-hard Survivor fan and would leave the television on while we gave her the lesson. So there you go.


It’s about time…

You know it’s about time you cleaned out the fridge when you find a cream cheese container marked, “Best if used by April 23, 2005.”

Jan '08


This week John and I were remembering how difficult that first day was after Wes was born. The words “Down syndrome” were big and scary then. But now we both agree that it’s not a big deal, not like it was then.

The first day of our child’s life was harder for us than for other parents of healthy children because what immediately followed the words “Down syndrome” was a long list of the medical risks associated with DS and the physical and mental challenges that one extra chromosome would bring to our child. It was scary–a laundry list of everything that could go wrong.

Can you imagine what the birth day of every normal child would be like if doctors rountinely confronted the parents shortly after the delivery like this:

“I’ve looked over your baby and I’m sorry to tell you that he may get sick four times a year and throw up in his bed. Very possibly he’ll be bullied in the playground and come home crying and with bruises. He may wake up with nightmares that you can’t console. He might have dyslexia and hate to read. Possibly he’ll be enormously shy and have trouble making friends. He may have a terrible temper and break things. Statistics show he’ll try cigarettes and alcohol and may become addicted. Likely he’ll cheat on some tests. He might get in a car wreck and be seriously injured. Don’t be suprised if he lies to you rather than tell you where he’s been. Worse-case scenario: he becomes a drug addict, fathers several children that he beats, and shoots himself in the head before he’s thirty. Oh, and by the way, congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby boy.”

I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again: Every child will have some problems during his life. With Down syndrome, it’s a little more intimidating up front because the possibilities of what could go wrong with him are spelled out pretty frankly. But like with any kid and any situation, you have to expect the best. And with Wesley, we try.


Jan '08

Things I Can’t Help But Love

1. That my baby sleeps through the night. He’s been doing it since he was about three months old. It is the Best. Thing. EVER.

Possibly his sleeping-through-the-night success could be attributed to this book and my efforts at establishing a general eating/sleeping pattern.

2. My new KitchenAid Professional Series 600 stand mixer (Christmas gift from John)


and the bread that’s so easy to make with it.


3. The Baby Bjorn, which makes possible doing certain things, like making and eating dinner, whilst the baby thinks he’s being bounced and cuddled. And sometimes he even falls asleep in it.


4. Special K Chocolatey Delight cereal. Whoever thought to put chocolate pieces in breakfast cereal and then market it to women as a weight-loss tool was genius. GENIUS. I could eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


5. The Devil’s Trail Mix. I made this for the first time for a work function years ago, and I can’t remember how I came up with the recipe. It’s called the Devil’s Trail Mix because it’s not as healthy as real trail mix but you can’t help eating lots of it anyway.


Here’s what you put in it:

Bite-size Nutter Butter cookies
Bite-size Teddy Grahams
Bite-size Chips Ahoy cookies
Peanut M&Ms
Reeses Pieces
Cereal, such as Special K Chocolatey Delight or Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs
Chocolate chips
Peanut butter chips

Mix all together in large bowl. Either eat as is, or microwave for two minutes or until chocolate chips and peanut butter chips melt enough to slightly coat all the cookie goodness. Cool and enjoy.

Jan '08


This month a book is being published that I edited:


It’s a middle-grade fantasty novel. Here’s the book description from the back cover (which I also had to write):

After a baffling car accident left him fatherless and his mother without memory, fourteen-year-old Xander Sparks was taken in by his “Uncle” Cristo. One night Xander and his best friend Shane are attacked by strange, deadly creatures that swarm into the house, leading Uncle Cristo to reveal a secret magical gate that opens to a far-away world called Ardan. Tragically, Cristo is critically wounded, and only the most powerful magic in Ardan may save his fading life—a rare dragon tear from the Dragon Tower. Xander, Shane, and their new friend Princess Allana undertake the dangerous journey into fantastical wilderness where they must overcome the trials that guard the tear and threaten to thwart their desperate purpose. Their adventures uncover magic and mysteries they never expected that will ultimately change their lives forever.

Dramatic sounding, eh? It’s really a fun book to read. I’d edited a couple other books before, but this is my first for the fiction market. It took a long time (because I was also working full-time) and it was a lot of work. But worth it.