Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Time to Home School

As a parent, I have found no problem in using 'because' as a valid response to a question. This response has gone undefeated, until this morning...

My Son: "Mom, can I have another treat?"
Me: "No."
My Son: "Why?"
Me: "Because."
My Son: "I think I learned in kindergarten that 'because' doesn't mean anything, unless it has a sentence behind it."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
"Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son- of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given."

-"The Book of Mormon", 3 Nephi 1:13-14

Friday, December 17, 2010

Design Friday: Handel's "Messiah"

For this Christmas season, I thought it appropriate to highlight one of the undisputed most inspired and beautiful musical works- George Frideric Handel's Messiah.
Since I don't have the time to give an adequate write-up (or even plagiarize), I thought I'd direct you to this article in the December 2010 Ensign. (It even includes a video of the MoTab singing the Hallelujah chorus). I especially enjoyed the "Lessons from Handel's Life" at the end. Particularly having confidence enough in our abilities to accept criticism, and learning to recognize and act on inspiration given to us from heaven. What I admire most about revolutionary designers and artists is their confidence in their own style, as they face criticism from rejecting what is generally accepted. Almost always, their works are not immediately accepted but they remain confident and ultimately transform their field of work.
I also believe that revelation is not reserved merely for inspiring us to swing by some one's house, or giving someone a phone call. As we strive to create, we are entitled to receive revelation as well. After all, as Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. This is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Answers for the Santa Question

Here is an article, "Yes Mark, there Really is a Santa", that a reader directed me to last year. I haven't needed it yet, but it's good to be prepared. Do you know of other good responses to The Question"?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

During the Christmas season, we yearn to establish family traditions and make lasting memories. We remember with fondness the feelings we experienced as children during this magical time of year- smells, food, music, decorations. What we didn't realize as children, is that for the adults, these memories are accompanied with a generous helping of stress.
My husband and I decided that decorating our tree would be a great activity for Family Home Evening this week. I found a story explaining the symbols of Christmas, and decided it would be a great way to tie in a remembrance of Christ. With each symbol, I would have my son take a coordinating ornament and hang it on the tree. Then, with Christmas music playing softly in the background, we would decorate the tree and laugh and reminisce over each ornament and the story behind it. We would then bask in the glow of our tree while nibbling on Joe-Joe's and sipping on eggnog. What a cozy scene....
In reality, when the time came for Family Home Evening, my baby girl was experiencing great discomfort and was only happy laying on her tummy on my knee while I bounced her. My husband had strained his back earlier that day and was unable to bend from the waist up without experience excruciating pain, let alone hold/comfort said baby. Therefore, the lesson was relegated to him. The lesson did not go as smoothly as anticipated (do we really not own one ornament with a candy cane?), but was fine. When it was time to decorate the rest of tree, my son's enthusiasm was uncontainable. A box was tipped over, ornaments nearly crushed, and bubble wrap and tissue paper strewn about. I handed out ornaments while I bounced my squirmy, baby girl. There was little time for reminiscing. Our normally delightful Christmas music began to annoy me. By the time we were done, my voice had found the forced happy tone that all mom's know (which only a trained ear can discern the volcano of anxiety and stress it is capping).
Reaching and putting ornaments on the tree proved too much for my husband's back. He sat and held the now calm baby while I prepared the refreshments. I did not care about cuteness anymore. I served the Joe-Joe's from their package. My husband drank his egg nog in the living room, while my son and I ate ours at the table. Things didn't go quite as planned, but it was over. Thank heavens.
Upon reflecting on this evening, I was sad that I did not enjoy the moment as I had hoped. As I wondered where things went wrong, I realized that what I experienced was probably not abnormal. I have crossed the threshold into adulthood. Sadly, being in charge of making memories is much more stressful than going along for the ride. But, I don't worry. Most importantly, I know in my son's eyes that it was a success. (I know this because during a seven day vacation this year, that included New York City, Niagara Falls, and Palmyra, his favorite part of the trip was swimming at our hotel pool). So I say, during this month give yourself the gift of simplicity. Hopefully, then we can enjoy the memories a little too. Until something breaks

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Goldfish is People!

"They're making our food out of people. Goldfish is made out of people! We've got to stop them somehow!"

Anyone know the movie??

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913

A frosty Christmas Eve, when the stars were shining,
I traveled for the home, where westward falls the hill.
And for many, many a village, in the darkness of the valley,
distant music reached me, peels of bells were ringing.

Then spread my thoughts to olden times, to that first of Christmases
when shepherds who were watching, heard music in the fields.
And they sat there and they marveled,
and they knew they could not tell
whether it were angels, or the bright stars a singing.

But to me heard a far, it was starry music,
the singing of the angels, the comfort of our Lord.
Words of old that come a traveling, by the riches of the times,
and I softly listened, as I stood upon the hill.
And I softly listened, as I stood upon the hill.

- Robert Bridges

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Graduation

My husband and I have graduated into a new level of parenthood. Tonight our son dubbed us, "Mean". Now I feel like a real parent.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Game Changer

I am reborn. I, who once felt downtrodden, am now uplifted. I, who once felt discouraged, now feels optimism. I, who once felt like my very life was being slowly sucked into a black hole with no hope of return, now feels on top of the world. For the past week, my daughter has gone to sleep without fussing, can usually be returned to a nap after awaking with a burp, actually takes decent naps, is sleeping longer periods at night, and will sometimes drift off to sleep when put down half awake. I owe this miraculous change in my child to one thing- the binky.
After two weeks of life, my daughter started fussing when it was time for her to sleep. During these times she required being held- preferably standing and bouncing. Nothing awful, no screaming, just tiring. We tried giving her a binky, but from the beginning she made it very clear that she wanted nothing to do with it. This was communicated to us by gagging, coughing, looking insulted, and crying very loudly when we attempted to give her the binky. We figured the bright side was that we would not have to deal with weaning her at some future point. On top of this, she seemed to hate being in the car. On at last 3 occasions, instead of sleeping she would cry. And cry. And cry. When things started getting worse at six weeks instead of better, it began to wear on us. Wear at our very soul.
One night, my parents babysat for us so that my husband and I could go on a date and have a conversation that lasted longer than 5 minutes, and on a topic other than our children. This had not happened for about 4 weeks. Three hours have never been so refreshing. When we returned, we were witnesses to a miracle. My parents had somehow persuaded our baby to not only take the binky, but she was laying on a blanket on the floor peacefully drifting off to sleep. My jaw dropped to the floor. I don't care how they did it, but they did.
Since that day, the binky has continued to work its magic on our baby. Not only is she sleeping better at home, but she actually sleeps in the car! And I can say with true conviction that I'm a believer in the miracles that a binky can perform. The binky difference has been so big, we will gladly deal with weaning her if it means we can actually sleep, in our bed, and without an aching back. I don't pretend to ignore the fact that nothing stays the same for very long with a baby, but hope is alive.

Thank you binky. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A House of Order.... Please!

The other day, our darling, baby daughter was having a rotten day. There was much crying and little sleeping on her behalf. These bouts of crying are particularly frustrating on our son because he 1.) hates loud noises, and 2.) feels helpless in making it stop. In an attempt to create understanding, my husband explained to my son that our daughter needed to get into a routine. This was something my son could work with! A few minutes later, my son presented to us his draft of our baby's new routine:

7:05- Wake up
7:06- Eat
7:07- Nap
7:08- Eat
7:09- Nap again
7:10- Eat again
8:01- Nap for 9 minutes
8:02- Eat
8:03- Calm down time
8:04- Nap
8:05- Calm down time
8:06- Eat
8:07- Calm down
8:08- Nap
8:09- Calm down
9:01- Eat
9:02- Go to sleep

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Top 14 Signs You Have a New Baby

Besides the obvious clues, here are my "Top 14 Signs You Have a New Baby":

14. There's an increase in the number of one-way conversations you have in a day.

13. You cheer for burps.

12. Your standards for a good night's sleep have become more liberal.

11. You're in the business of stopping leaks.

10. You consider changing from pajama bottoms into sweatpants to be an upgrade.

9. Showering has become a luxury and is now done in record speed.

8. Every 3-4 hours you wonder, "Left or right side?"

7. When your husband gets home from work, he finds you sitting in the exact same spot on the couch nursing as when he left in the morning.

6. You log about as much time on your couch sleeping as you do in your bed.

5. You've suddenly adopted a new exercise regimen that consists of walking the equivalent of 1 mile a day, in your house, while rocking and bouncing.

4. Breakfast for dinner has become a weekly occurrence.

3. At no other time would you be okay with another human tooting on you.

2. Making sure your son's frogs get fed twice a week has become a challenge.

1. Your heart has quadrupled in size.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...

Yesterday, instead of taking a shower I decided to mop my bathroom floor. Mopping one's bathroom floor becomes top priority once the toilet has overflowed and water is creeping out through the door (and can I just say that watching the water in your toilet bowl rise, and rise, and rise to the edge is the most horrifying thing ever?). While this alone was fun, what made it even more fun was when I realized that my sweet baby had prematurely awaken from her nap, and was screaming her head off. The cherry on top was that my son was home sick from school, and my husband was on call and would not be home until the next morning.

If my mama had told me about yesterday, I would have found a hole to crawl into and never come out.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Which is Worse?

Shopping for jeans or bras? Discuss.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

'T' is For...

The homework assignment was to draw five things that begin with the letter 'T'. Apparently, I have need to discuss with my son what he wants to draw (and what is appropriate to draw for a school assignment) before he commits his ideas to paper.

This kid cracks me up. Sometimes, all I can do is shake my head.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Female of the Species

(This is kind of long, but amusing. Don't mess with Mama Bear!)

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.


When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can,
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail-

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws-
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale -
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.


Man, a bear in most relations, worm and savage otherwise,
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger; Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue - to the scandal of the Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity - must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions - not in these her honor dwells -
She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else!

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions - in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!
He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges - even so the she-bear fights;
Speech that drips, corrodes and poisons - even so the cobra bites;
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw,
And the victim writhes with anguish - like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of abstract justice - which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern; shall enthrall but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him and Her instincts never fail,
That the female of Her species is more deadly than the male!


-Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good Old Fashioned Rule Days...

Here is an enlightening conversation I had with my son in the car a few weeks ago.:

My Son: "Mom, I still remember my teacher from preschool."
Me: "Yeah? What do you remember?"
My Son: "I remember she asked us which tattoo she should get."
Me: "Your teacher was getting a real tattoo?"
My Son: "Yeah. She wondered if she should get her kid's names or stars on her back."
Me: [to myself] "Awesome."

Funny. This topic had not been listed in the newsletter they sent home each month highlighting the curriculum. When I asked my son what he did/learned each day, I thought I was on top of things. Apparently, not.

FYI: The class all voted for her kid's names.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Don't Know Who I Am or What I Am

The other day, I happened upon the 10 Signs of Alzheimer's disease. After I read them, I was somewhat disturbed to find that I qualify for half of them:
  1. Challenges in planning or solving problems- I am daily confounded by the question, "Should I shower, nap, or eat?"
  2. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure- Washing the dishes, cooking, and general housework are lately neglected or left unfinished.
  3. Confusion with time or place- I no longer know what day it is.
  4. Withdrawl from work or social activities- I've only been out of the house 3 times in the last 2 1/2 weeks.
  5. Changes in mood and personality- Just ask my husband.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy HalloThanksMas

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a craft store perusing their Halloween merchandise. As I picked through the usual selection of neon wigs, cat headbands, skeletons, cauldrons, grotesque makeup kits, etc., I realized that the CD sampler display at the end of the aisle was playing "Let It Snow". The other end of the aisle held shelves of stuffed turkeys, coruncopias, and autumn wreaths. I then experienced what I have titled "seasonal vertigo". Any one else suffering from this condition?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

And On That Farm There Was a Mom

There are many firsts in life. Last week, my son got to meet his new sister for the first time. As you can imagine, this was a moment my husband and I looked forward to with much anticipation. When my son came into the hospital room I was just finishing feeding the baby, who was hiding discreetly under a blanket. The following dialogue ensued:

My Son: "Where's the baby?"
My Husband: "Mommy's feeding her."
My Son: "What is she feeding her?"
My Husband: "Milk."
My Son: "Like a pig!"

I knew it was only a matter of time before my son made that connection. This is not, however, the first time I've made that connection.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Day Old Child

My day old child in my arms
with my lips against his ear
I whispered strongly "How I wish
I wish that you could hear,

"I've a hundred wonderful things to say
(a tiny cough and nod)
Hurry, hurry, hurry and grow
so I can tell you about God."

My day old baby's mouth was still
and my words only tickled his ear,
but a kind of light passed through his eyes,
and I saw this thought appear,

"How I wish I had a voice and words,
I've a hundred things to say,
Before I forget, I'd tell you of God,
I left Him yesterday."

-Carol Lynn Pearson

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Giving Our Daily Work Some Credit

Sometimes I think it is easy to discount the routine, daily work we do as mothers as secondary in our efforts to help build the kingdom of God. Afterall, we have visiting teaching to do, callings to fill (and magnify!), meetings to attend, etc.... But here is a quote from Dallin H. Oaks that I found very grounding (emphasis added):

"'Seek first to build up the kingdom of God' means to assign first priority to God and His work. The work of God is to bring to pass the eternal life of His children (see Moses 1:39), and all that this entails in the birth, nurturing, teaching, and sealing of our Heavenly Father's children. Everything else is lower in priority" ("Focus and Priorities," Ensign, May 2001, 83-84).

Obviously, our work as mothers can coexist with other things that might be asked of us to help build the kingdom (and nurturing/teaching all of God's children is certainly included), but it's comforting to know that the time and effort spent with our little ones- no matter how mundane- is the best thing we can be doing above all else.

So go out and wipe those snoozy noses with pride!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Design Friday: Womb Chair

In honor of my current state, I chose to highlight the Womb Chair for today's Design Friday (yes, an actual Design Friday!).

picture from knoll.com

The womb chair was designed in 1948 by Finnish designer Eero Saarinen (I highlighted the incredible Eero before in this post). Saarinen was challenged by Florence Knoll to create a chair she could "curl up in", and this chair was his response. The chair was designed to encourage a relaxed sitting position providing emotional support and a sense of security- hence the "womb" name. This chair exemplifies Saarinen's ability to challenge rules and set new standards for modern design. It is considered to be iconic representaion of mid-century Scandinavian organic modernism.

(Funny, my womb looks just like this chair in the ultrasounds!).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Freezer Jam

A month or so ago, Better Homes and Gardens listed tips on how to clean the air in your home. My favorite tip was the advice they gave to remove dust mites from your child's room. For stuffed animals that can not be laundered, they suggest merely freezing the animals once a week for a few hours. In that case, I think I need to buy a deep freeze.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Penny Saved

Over the last few days, I've had conversations with friends about correcting cashiers for being overcharged a few dolllars. In all of these conversations, they have expressed bashfulness about bothering someone about a measley $2. If you are inclined to feel that way, I will tell you why you shouldn't be apologetic. One word: Target.

The other day I needed to make an exchange at Target, as I had received a gift that happened to have a defect in it. Because I did not have a gift receipt, the customer service girl explained to me that since the product had been on sale at some point in the last 90 days, but was now selling at full price, I would need to pay the $2 difference. An even exchange was not an option. I went round and round with her. I made it clear that I did not want money in return, I wanted to trade my item for the exact same product, only without the defect. It did not matter. Her computer would not allow her to make an even exchange without a receipt. I should have talked to a manager, but I relented. I ended up paying $2 to make an exchange. My bitter feelings toward Target and their lame-o return/exchange policies that have laid dormant since my wedding have been renewed.

As I walked through the store I realized that there is no reason for us as customers to be apologetic for bothering cashiers about a $2 overcharge mistake. Sure, it's only a couple of bucks, but $2 is important to stores and they certainly do not apologize for taking it. Why should we? A penny saved is a penny earned.

Monday, September 20, 2010

B.Y.Blue

My son and husband were able to attend this past weekend's BYU v. FSU football game. While I had planned and hoped to go, reality told me that tailgating plus standing in the sun for 4 hours would probably not be a good idea with a due date just around the corner. Sadly, BYU was tromped 10 to 34. But, my son had a great time at his first football game and has shared cute insights into his day. The following is one of my favorites:

My Son: "I got to have a pom-pom at the game!"
Me: "Really? That's cool! Did you shake it?"
My Son: "Yep. I shook it everytime BYU scored. I didn't get to shake it very much."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Choose Ye this Day to Serve the Lord"

My mom recently made me aware of a talk given by Julie B. Beck at BYU's Women's Conference back in April. It is very powerful and inspiring. I could not find a text copy of the talk, so I have put a link to the video on my sidebar under "Inspiring Articles". Here are the quotes and teachings I found inspiring:

"Taking care of our posterity takes precedence over all other things."

"The vision of our family is the vision of our purpose before the Lord"

"All priesthood power has order, boundaries, and limits to its use. But in our personal lives we are only limited by our faithfulness and desires to acheive that ability to receive that spirit to function in our lives."

"The ability to seek, receive, and act on personal revelation is the most important skill we can acquire in this life. When we have that spirit we can walk with God. We can know and discern and make proper choices... Education is wonderful, but being able to feel the Lord's power and spirit upon us is the ultimate education we can acheive. With that we have power and influence. Without it we will not be able to navigate in this life. The adversary will pick us off one by one."

How do we choose to walk with the Lord and how do we do this?
Know our responsibilities and how to fulfill them:
  • Increased faith and personal righteousness
  • Stronger homes and families ("Women are like a lioness at the gate, the home. Whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her.")
  • Women support each other

Prioritze ("When our priorities are out of order we lose power.") Sister Beck's system for priortizing:

1. Essential- ("If I don't take care of these things, the blessings of eternal life will not be mine nor the blessings of my family.")

  • Revelation- Knowing the mind/will of God. (Increased through reading scriptures, personal prayer, time to ponder, sincere fasting).
  • Making & Keeping Covenants. (sacrament/weekly repentance, temple attendance, sharing the Gospel, service).

2. Necessary- (What is necessary to create an environment where the Spirit of the Lord is present? Making a home.)

  • Making a house of order (cleaning/homemaking/family meals)
  • Smiling/being happy
  • FHE/family time to teach children to walk uprightly
  • D/C 25:5- Support husband, vs. 10- value things important for family. Not wordly things.
  • Self reliance (temporal self reliance leads to greater spiritual self reliance)
  • Loving one another

3. Nice to Do- (Crafts/hobbies/recreational reading/movies/lunches with friends/travel)

  • "When our priorites are on that list, and our time is devoted to those things, then our priorties are out of order and we lose power."
A mother works many shifts (morning, afternoon, night). Ask self, "Where do I need to be at the top of my game?". Safegauard the "afternoon shift" when everyone comes home tired, hungry, needy, and less loveable (including ourselves). They are also more teachable and more grateful. Don't expend energy on other two shifts.

Using a paperback Book of Mormon, write three questions on first blank page:
  1. Who am I?
  2. Whare are my responsibilities in the House of Israel?
  3. How do I fulfill my resonsibilities?

As you read, write the answers in the blank pages at the back of the book.

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Unexpected Gift

One morning in August, I opened the shades to the back door and was surprised to see a monarch caterpillar crawling along the top of the door (a surprise, because my butterfly garden was a joke this year, lingering somewhere between life and death most summer long).

My son and I admired it, and then I got crazy and suggested we catch it and keep it in a jar. We found a suitable jar and then filled it with grass and a stick (a must for every bug jar). We named it "Antennae", and the jar spent the rest of the afternoon on the floor where my son was playing- so the little caterpillar wouldn't be lonely. Get this. I even I printed out a coloring page of the Butterfly Life Cycle and had my son color it (Whoa, girl!). I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Antennae. I figured he would go the way of every other bug that gets put in a jar. But then something miraculous happened. That evening, Antennae spun a platform and hung from the top of our jar.

The next day he became a cocoon (I learned their cocoon is actually their exoskeleton) and there he hung for the next 10 days. My son and I regularly checked up on him and talked about how exciting it would be to see him turn into a butterfly. That day came quicker then we expected. One afternoon, I checked on the little guy only to find that he had emerged from his coccon a full grown butterfly. We moved him into a bigger jar, and waited for Daddy to come home to release him.

My son was a little sad to see his "pet" take flight, but we were grateful for the time he shared with us. I felt like Mother of the Year for providing such a hands on learning opportunity for my son, esecially because it was such a spontaneous event. We just caught a bug. You have to be grateful for gifts like that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

That Little Boy of Mine

Two eyes that shine so bright,
Two lips that kiss goodnite,
Two arms that hold me tight,
That little boy of mine.

No one could ever know
how much your coming has meant.
To me you're everything.
You're something heaven has sent.

You're all the world to me.
You climb upon my knee.
To me you'll always be
That little boy of mine.

- Forster Music Publisher, Inc.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why Can't My House Clean Itself?

Right now, my biggest priority is to get my house in order before the baby comes. I am now being forced to deal with things I have ignored/accumulated since we moved. As storage space is at a premium in our home, this involves making decisions about throwing things away... not my strength.

Sitting and staring at the clutter hasn't seemed to get the job done. My next strategy is to wait for some magic fairies to appear and do the work for me.


Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thrown Under the School Bus

Here is a conversation I had with my mother when I was a small child balking at going to school:

Me: "I don't want to go to school"
My Mom: "Honey, it's against the law for you to not go to school. If you stayed home, the police would put me in jail."
Me: "Okay, I'll go. But I'll have tears in my eyes."

Contrast that with a conversation I had with my son this morning:

My Son:"I'm not going to school!"
Me: "Honey, it's against the law not to go to school. Do you want the police to put me in jail?"
My Son: "How long would you be?"

This kid's tough as nails! Consider me thrown under the school bus.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bad Design Friday

Part of understanding good design is understanding bad design. Design is part of our everyday life, and it drives me nuts when things do not function as they should. My soul sings when things are designed with thought and work efficiently.

Today I consider the sign. To me, the purpose of a sign's design is to clarify when things are not blatantly clear. A well placed, well designed sign should efficiently communicate, instruct, and dispel confusion. A lack of signs in a common sense location is frustrating (ex: detour signs that do not efficiently guide you through the detour resulting in getting lost). On the
flip side, I find it incredibly annoying when there are so many signs trying to communicate an idea, it leads to confusion and delay (as Sir Topham Hat would say). To me, this suggests that the best possible or most efficient solution has not been found for the problem.

So, here's my example of a poorly designed sign. I found it in an airport on one of my recent travels. I actually found it pretty amusing (it was also 11:30 pm after a 6 hour day of flying so I was easily amused).

Operating in an airport must have something to do with the ambiguous closing time, but what's the point of posting your hours of operation, if you're not going to post your hours? Why even commit to an opening time at all? Why not just say: "Daily From: Open to Close"?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some Things Just Aren't Meant To Be...

I intended for the week before school starts to be a nice, relaxing week sprinkled with a few fun outings to give summer break one final hurrah. Instead, in the first 3 days:
  • I managed to loose my son's most beloved blanket and stuffed animal at church. The blanket would be irreplaceable, and I learned through some online research that my son's stuffed animal has become a collector's item sold for around $50... making it irreplaceable as well. Both items were thankfully found 3 days later.
  • My son's lingering cough, which has been interrupting his sleep (and mine) for far too long, developed into a sinus infection- requiring a trip to the doctor and the pharmacy.
Mix that in with a church meeting, a haircut and a routine doctor's appointment for me, my son's school's orientation, and no time to clean the clutter left in our wake, and the week started off feeling anything but relaxing. Such is life, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is This News?

This morning I read a headline from a local news source that stated, "Weeks After Having a Baby Can Be Full of Challenges". Is this really considered news?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mean What You Say

Here is a recent conversation my son and I had while perusing the Lego aisle of a store. I'm learning that I've got to be prepared to defend my position- even if I think it supports his.

My Son
: "Mom, isn't Lego Set A better than Lego Set B?"
Me: "They're both pretty cool."
My Son: "Yea, but isn't Lego Set A better than Lego Set B?"
Me: "Yea."
My Son: "Why?"
Me: "Well.... Lego Set A has X,Y,and Z"
My Son: "Yea, but Lego Set B has this, that, and the other."
Me: [Foiled again]

Monday, August 2, 2010

Combating Super Woman Pressure

"We cannot do everything, all the time, all at once. We can, though the years, do many things, at different times, one at a time. It is important to see choices as opportunities, not as frustrations."

- Jaroldeen Edwards

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Battle I Am Fighting...

The heat index is 112, and we are being advised to take extra care to avoid heat related illnesses. Why then, has my son decided that today he will only wear a turtle neck?

I think I deserve a medal of honor.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

X-Ray Vision

When I was a child, I was amazed by my mom's super-ability to find something I had been searching for the moment she walked in a room. It seemed to me, she had x-ray vision. There was nothing she couldn't find.

Now that I am a mother myself, I now understand the secret to her power and I am happy to amaze my son with the same ability. The secret? A child who considers "looking" for a belonging to be an act of taking a step into one room, looking in one spot, leaving the room without another sideways glance, and considering the article lost forever.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tell Me About Your Mother....

"Isn't it incredible to observe just how tentative we have become about this task of raising children? Parenting is hardly a new technology... [Y]et we've become increasingly nervous about bringing up the baby. It is a sign of the times."
"Mothers, especially, have been blamed for everything that can conceivably go wrong with children. Even when their love and commitment are incalculable, the experts accuse them of making grievous errors in toilet training, disciplining, feeding, medicating, and educating their youngsters. They are either overpossessive or undernurturing. Their approach is either harsh or permissive. One psychiatrist even wrote an entire book on the dangers of religious training, blaming parents for scaring kids with talk of the next world. Thus, no matter how diligently Mom approaches her parenting responsibilities, she is likely to be accused of twising and warping her children."
"...The task of procreation was never intended to be so burdensome. Of course it is demanding. And children are challenging, to be sure. But the guilt and self-doubt that often encumber the parenting responsibility are not part of the divine plan. Throughout the Scriptures, the raising of children is presented as a wonderful blessing from God- a welcome, joyful experience. And today, it remains one of the greatest privileges in life to bring a baby into the world to love and care for. What a wonderful opportunity it is to teach these little ones to revere God with all their hearts and to serve others throughout their lives."

-Dr. James Dobson, "The Wonderful World of Boys"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oil Spill Map

Since the Deepwater Horizon disaster started, I have been curious to know where and exactly how big the spill spans in the Gulf of Mexico. For anyone who's curious, I finally found a map that does just that.

Obviously, the damage of oil spills is horrendous and we are familiar with the effects of other ocean spills in the past. It has led me to wonder: How does the environmental impact (and risk/effects of accidents) in offshore drilling compare to land drilling? Would it be better in the long run to pursue land drilling rather than offshore drilling?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

We just returned from a family reunion in which: we had way too much fun from morning till night, my son drank an appalling amount of soda, and we stayed up way too late. We were also able to reconnect with wonderful grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins (and even an old college roommate!) that we don't see nearly often enough.

We are now in recovery mode. Blogging will resume its regular irregularity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fathers & Sons

"We now know that there are two critical periods during childhood when boys are particularly vulnerable. The most obvious occurs at the onset of puberty, when members of both sexes experience an emotional and hormonal upheaval. Boys and girls at that time desperately need their father's supervision, guidance, and love. But according to Dr. Carol Gilligan, professor at Harvard University, there is another critical period earlier in life- one not shared by girls. Very young boys bask in their mothers' femininity and womanliness during infancy and toddlerhood. Fathers are important then, but mothers are primary. At about three to five years of age, however, a lad gradually pulls away from his mom and sisters in an effort to formulate a masculine identity. It is typical for boys during those years, and even earlier, to crave the attention and involvement of their dads and to try to emulate his behavior and mannerisms."

- Dr. James Dobson, "The Wonderful World of Boys"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Over My Dead Body

After 6 years of post-graduate training (with 4 more to go), my husband recently opened a fortune cookie that read:
"You will soon change your line of work"
It sends a shudder down my spine every time I think of it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Design Friday: Aspiral Clocks

I thought these were so cool, I had to include them in Design Friday... which apparently has become more of "Design Whenever I Feel Like It". These are called Aspiral Clocks, and were invented by London natives Will Aspinall and Neil Lambeth.


To tell time, the circle slowly turns as the red/yellow ball rests on the ledge indicating the time. The ball slowly progresses through the numbers until it reaches the 12th hour, at which point it rolls through the hole in the middle and comes out at the bottom again. The clock is about 13 3/4". I love their fresh and creative take on a very old design. This, to me, is an awesome example of form following function.
Here's their website for more information.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Denim Underwear

Sometimes I just don't understand why some products are on the market. For example:



Is there really a huge demand for fake denim diapers? Have mothers all over the world been petitioning Huggies for fake denim diapers? Did this product appear favorable in focus groups? Are making diapers look like denim supposed to make a child in only a diaper at the store look less white trash? Do people really think this looks cute? These are only a few of the questions I've asked myself as I've seen this product stocked on shelves, and tried to make sense of it all.


And then one day I understood. Baby diaper trends must be following the c
lothing trends of young women- denim underwear! Now mommy and baby can match!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

"My Country, 'Tis of Thee"
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrim's pride,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

Our father's God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light.
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King!

-Samuel F. Smith (verses 1 & 4)

"The Star-Spangled Banner"
Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the wars desolation!
Blest with victr'y and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star spangled banner In triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

-Francis Scott Key (verse 4)


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For My Reference

Whenever I use the words "a few" and "several" with my son (such as in the sentence: "You have a few more minutes to play") our conversation is derailed into a lengthy discussion as to what those words actually mean- an ingenious stalling tactic. Apparently, at some point in my son's young life a teacher gave a concrete meaning to each of these words, which apparently differs from my word usage. So I turned to Webster for some help:

Few
adj 2 at least some but indeterminately small in number
Many adj 1 consisting of or amounting to a large but indefinite number
Several adj 2a: more than one b more than two but fewer than many
Some adj 2a being one, a part, or an unspecified number of something named or implied b being of an unspecified amount or number

As you can see, Webster was of no help. I'm guessing my best strategy is to avoid those words altogether.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Love It When...

... people riding in golf carts make pedestrians step off the sidewalk into the dirt, so that they can pass.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Impressions

"'Well,' [Wilbur] thought, 'I've got a new friend, all right. But what a gamble friendship is! Charlotte is a fierce, brutal, scheming, bloodthirsty- everything I don't like. How can I learn to like her, even though she is pretty and, of course, clever?'
"Wilbur was merely suffering the doubts and fear that often go with finding a new friend. In good time he was to discover that he was mistaken about Charlotte.Underneath her bold and cruel exterior, she had a kind heart, and she was to prove loyal and true to the very end."

-"Charlotte's Web", E.B. White

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Truth Inspired by Fiction??

Over the last year, news of millionaires willing their fortunes to their pets has increased. These headlines always cause the majority of people to shake their heads in disgust and ask themselves, "Who are these people and where do they get these ludicrous ideas? Willing their money to a pet. Crazy."

But, when you think about it, it does have a familiar ring to it.... doesn't it? Yes, the plot does seem oddly familiar- only a little bit jazzier. Can anyone say, "AristoCats"??? It seems to me that this 1970 Disney hit/"classic" just might be to blame for inspiring the seeming trend in pets becoming independently wealthy. It's not so cute in real life, is it? (I'm willing to bet there was a butler that mysteriously arrived in Timbuktu in a trunk via airmail after each of these stories broke, too.) If this trend continues, we'll all be singing "Ev'ry body Wants to Be a Cat".

And don't be shocked if one day people start using their dogs as nannies.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Only a Dad

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart
that his own rejoice
To see him come home and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling and striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all,
To smoothing the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
These are the lines that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

-Edgar A. Guest

(I am grateful for the "best of men" in my life. Happy Father's Day!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Design Friday: A Little Humor

Today I decided to poke a little fun at our design efforts, lest we take ourselves too seriously. Here is an article from "The Onion" that was brought to my attention by an alert reader. Enjoy!

Seashells Transform Suburban Bathroom Into Tropical Hideaway

Formerly the Watson's bathroom, now an enchanted portal to the gleaming white sand beaches of Bora-Bora.

"WOODMERE, OH—-A wicker basket filled with seashells and placed on top of a toilet tank has magically transformed Dale and Paula Watson's suburban bathroom into a serene tropical oasis, sources reported Thursday.

"I can't believe the difference adding those seashells made," said Paula Watson, who had somehow been transported from a beige, run-of-the-mill bathroom to an unforgettable island paradise thousands of miles from the Greater Cleveland area. "Every time I walk in here now it's like, 'Wow, where am I? CancĂșn?'"

According to household sources, the extraordinary transformation took place at approximately 10:32 a.m., when Watson neatly arranged a handful of seashells inside a round wicker container and looked up to suddenly find herself at a beachside resort where all the troubles of modern life just melted away.

The magical seashells, which are able to conjure up the cool, tropical breeze of a seaside cabana, were personally gathered by the couple during a recent trip to Myrtle Beach.

"It's like our own little island getaway right at home," said Dale Watson, who stood as if surrounded by palm trees and soft white sand beaches in the spot where there had only been a shower mat and curtain before. "I feel like I should be eating grilled mahimahi right now."

"This is the way life should be," Watson added. "Time just slows down in here."

Eyewitnesses agreed that by merely gazing upon the seashell centerpiece, one is whisked away to an enchanted garden, lush with exotic flowers, fluttering hummingbirds, and shirtless natives whose brown skin glistens with sweat as they present trays stacked high with pineapple, mango, and tender cuts of pork.

Guests of the Watson home have confirmed that visiting the tropical utopia, which is lo≠cated at the end of the hallway, second door on the left, light switch above the sink, is a breathtaking experience they will never forget.

Grandmother Ilene Watson, 77, said she could spend the rest of her life in the carefree bathroom environment without complaint.

"It's so exotic," the mesmerized septuagenarian said. "Just like when Harold and I used to go traveling after the war."

Although delighted with the transformation, Paula Watson said she had plans to improve the 80 square feet of island paradise by adorning the blissful space with vanilla-scented coconut candles, a ceramic clown-fish figurine, and sand-dollar shaped soaps.

"I love our secluded little vacation destination, but we can always spruce it up a little," Watson said. "It would be neat to get a large glass container and fill it with beach sand, a piece of coral, and more seashells."

"It's like bringing the Pacific Ocean to us!" she added.

Watson also admitted she's had her eye on a nautical-themed light-switch-plate cover featuring a seahorse, which would further transform the tropical hideaway into the magnificent kingdom of Atlantis, a stunning underwater realm where dolphins and mermaids dance and play.

This is not the first time that Watson's home has undergone such an incredible metamorphosis. In 2004, a framed painting of two deer instantly turned the family den into a rustic hunting lodge, while in 2005, the corner of the living room became an old English cottage after a porcelain tea set and a vase with dried flowers were added to an end table."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

While I freely admit that I am not a creative genius when it comes to making food, I do pride myself on being literate. Which is why it is so frustrating when I follow a new recipe to the letter (which requires no special technique), and this happens:


Or maybe genius is all in the eye of the beholder. It looks like I just created Chocolate Chip Crepes!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Frog or Toad?

When I was little, "Frog and Toad are Friends" by Arnold Lobel was a classic book for our family. Not only did I find their adventures amusing, but I enjoyed the contrast between the optimistic Frog and his pessimistic Toad friend. I found comfort in the fact that I was nothing like that grumpy, unmotivated Toad.
And then I recently read "Tomorrow" in "Days with Frog and Toad". In this story, Toad has an epiphany that if he does his work today, he'll have more time tomorrow to do what he wants (i.e. sleep).

And then I realized I have more in common with Toad that I thought.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Walls of Steel

If you are pregnant, have ever been pregnant, or have ever been around pregnant women, you are probably familiar with what are known as Kegel exercises (the strangest exercise yet known to man -er- woman). According to "What to Expect When You are Expecting" these exercises are critical in preparation for delivery and postpartum recovery, and 25 reps should be performed during various times in a day. According to one expert I know, a woman's level of commitment to these exercises will determine the level of incontinence in her golden years.
For those who find their dedication to Kegels lacking, and grow bored/distracted after, say, the 4th repetition, I have discovered a solution. After your baby has grown to a large enough size to put pressure on your bladder, simply catch a cold that involves frequent, heavy, coughing. Not only will you be forced to practice your Kegels... but you will also gain insight as to what it might be like to be incontinent in your golden years.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spell Checker

(Here's a poem my English teacher in High School shared with us. I thought it was pretty clever).

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it I am shore your pleased two no Its letter perfect awl the weigh My chequer tolled me sew.

-Unknown

Friday, June 4, 2010

Design Friday: Lighting

Okay, back to the elements and principles of design. Today is the element of Lighting. Lighting encompasses both natural and artificial light (or a combination of both), and serves four functions: visual activity, enhance room decor, mood, and safety.

Picture from April 2006 "Architectural Digest"

Picture from April 2006 "Architectural Digest"

Lighting is perhaps one of the most important elements of design, because of its ability to affect the appearance of all other elements (such as color, texture, and space) and can minimize architectural flaws. Good lighting can really make a room sing, but is usually not very high on most people's priority list. In fact, in movie production, lighting is often the first thing to go in budget cutbacks.
Until we can afford a lighting designer to customize our home, here are the four lighting zones to keep in mind that each room should have to improve it's functionality and atmosphere:
  • Ambient- For overall lighting. It's also nice to have the ability to lower light levels to affect mood (think dimmer switch).
  • Task- Lighting focused on designated work spaces to improve productivity (such as a desk lamp).
  • Accent- For enhancing architecture, bookcases, etc.
  • Wall- To enhance artwork
If this is a subject your want more information about, I recommend you check out, "The Art of Illumination" by Glenn M. Johnson. He is a professional lighting designer, and in the book he discusses lighting techniques for each room.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paranormal Activity

For the past few years, a ghost has haunted our family (I say family, because it seems to follow us when we move). As a child this would have frightened me to no end, but I am tolerating it surprisingly well. I have not seen or heard the ghost, but I am sure we have one. The evidence largely comes from our kitchen, and only occurs during the evening hours. Here's a typical example of our ghost's activity: I will be in the kitchen and leave the room for some reason. When I return, cupboard doors will be wide open. In some cases, I have closed the doors, left the room, and returned to find them open again. Spooky, huh? Perhaps one day I will discover the cause of our ghost's unrest. Is he searching for a beloved glass or a long, lost, plate? Is there something I need to know about the Ziploc bags? I may never know.

Does your home experience paranormal activity?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Love it When....

... I'm shopping online, and the enlarged view of a product is equal to or less than the size of the original picture.

Monday, May 31, 2010

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That marks our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Liet.-Col. John McCrae

Friday, May 28, 2010

Design Friday: The Guggenheim

(To those who enjoy Design Friday, I apologize for it's M.I.A. status. I'm hoping to jump on board again, but sometimes there just isn't time to do the research I'd like to.)

As I was inspired by my recent travels to NYC, I thought I'd highlight the Guggenheim Museum today. This was a building that was a goal for me to see in person, but sadly I was not able to go inside. Kudos to my husband and son who made the haul with me, at the end of a long, long day in which we forgot the stroller.


The Guggenheim (Solomon R. Guggeheim Museum) is a contemporary and modern art museum that was completed in 1959 on the upper East side of Central Park. While many are familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style homes (such as "Falling Water"), it may be surprising to learn that he is also the architect of this spiraling modern building.
Commissioned in 1943 by Solomon R. Guggenheim to house his collection in Manhattan, Wright first envisioned the building as a red marble, inverted ziggurat. Over the course of the next 16 years, his vision was slowly altered as Baroness Hilla von Rebay (the museum's first director and Guggeheim's art-advisor) and James Johnson Sweeney (the museum's second director) expressed disagreements over the building's design concerning such things as the exterior color, gallery lighting, and whether the building would upstage the collection.

For a more thorough history of the building's conception and construction, visit the interactive timelines found at the Guggenheim's website.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Soundtrack of My Life

I used to have fun imagining what it would be like to have a soundtrack running in the background during my daily activities- like a movie. Thanks to my son's new talent at whistling, I no longer have to wonder. He whistles while he plays, works, reads, pretty much all day. Like any good mother, I have learned to tune it out, so I didn't realize the extent of his whistling until my mom began remarking on what she hears in the background whenever we talk on the phone.
It took some concentration, but I compiled a short list of what I might hear in the background on any given day (his repertoire is much larger than this list):
  1. Frosty the Snowman
  2. The Indiana Jones Theme
  3. Tunes from our local ice cream truck
  4. Come, Thou Fount
  5. Thomas the Train
  6. The 12 Days of Christmas
  7. I Saw Three Ships
  8. I Lived in Heaven
  9. Baby Beluga
  10. Yellow Submarine
  11. Star Wars music
  12. A medley of any songs
It's not exactly what I imagined growing up, but there it is. What is the soundrack of your life?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our Personal Best

"I see these [young women, young mothers, and older women], and I feel to invite women everywhere to rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass."

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Two Way Street

These days, when we talk about separation of church and state, it is usually in the context of arguing to elect officials who are neutral in their faith for fear that religious beliefs will impact legislation, that God should be eliminated from any rhetoric pertaining to the country (eg. the pledge of allegiance), prayer should be eliminated from schools, religious monuments should be removed from city properties, the list goes on and on....
So, I was a bit disturbed when I read about about a request made by House majority speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Nation's Catholic Community conference earlier this month. In her speech she said:
"The cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops that come to me and say, 'We want you to pass immigration reform,' and I said, 'I want you to speak about it from the pulpit. I want you to instruct your' -- whatever the communication is,"

and

"The people, some (who) oppose immigration reform, are sitting in those pews, and you have to tell them that this is a manifestation of our living the gospels,"
The clarification statement that her spokesperson gave wasn't any more comforting: "From health care to energy security to immigration reform, the speaker believes the faith community has played and will continue to play a critical role in our national debate." It's nice to know that Pelosi recognizes the faith community as being critical in national debate- and isn't afraid to use it.

Perhaps Pelosi has forgotten that separation of church and state is a two way street.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Report

In honor of "Lost's" finale, I decided to highlight two favorite children's books that explore the idea of our humanity being interconnected. Unlike the show though, these books won't take you for a ride, don't involve a random tangent in time travel, and have an ending that is relevant to its beginning. :)

"Charlie Cooks Favorite Book", by Jula Donaldson. It's plot is basically a book inside a book inside a book, etc. and is written in a very playful, witty manner. The illustrations are quite clever and detailed. It's just a fun book to read.


I first discovered "Each Peach Pear Plum", by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, at a friend's house in their book basket, and I immediately fell in love with it. This is an interactive book that links a bunch of familiar nursery rhymes together in a game of "I spy", with characters hiding out on each page. The illustrations are very whimsical and fun.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Children's Verses

Every now and then I overhear my son singing songs he's learned... with a twist. Here are some of my recent favorites. Feel free to teach them to your children!
  • Singing "wet willy"* during the musical intervals between lines. (example: "I lived in heaven a long time ago, it is true.... Wet willy!")
  • "Stir it once, stir it twice, stir that chicken soup with diarrhea."
  • "The world is a rainbow, with many kinds of doo-doo heads." (I don't think he understands how true that is.)
As you might have gathered, my son has a new fascination with bathroom humor.

* Wet willy is when you lick your finger and stick it in someone's ear. This was taught to my son by his uncles.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I [Heart] Southwest

Here are three reasons my loyalties for Southwest Airlines have recently strengthened:

1. No baggage fees.
2. They do not fee you for flight itinerary alterations.
3. Killer deals.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mother's Day (blog observed)

I was out-of-town last Sunday, so I was unable to post on this very important day and I refuse to let it pass by unacknowledged.
You might find it interesting, that the very woman who campaigned Congress for years to set aside a day of observance for mothers, Anna Jarvis, was an unmarried woman who was not a mother herself. Isn't it great that there's an official day to celebrate our mothers who devoted their life, love, and bodies to give us life, teach, train, and provide us with opportunities. Here are four passages I recently came across about moms that I thought I'd share:

"But let it never be forgotten that in the establishment of this great country there were women also, and those not a few, who molded the bullets, who planted the ideas out of which grew the rhetoric of their sons and husbands, who skimped and saved and even starved to make possible eventual victory, who bore and nurtured the sons who became the dead of those vicious battles of war, who were left widows by husbands who are remembered as heroes. And what was true then has been true in every subsequent crisis. Where anything of lasting value has been created or built, almost certainly women have played vital and at times even pivotal roles."
-Gordon B. Hinckley, "Motherhood: A Heritage of Faith"

"The true strength of any nation, society, or family lies in those qualities of character that have been acquired for the most part by children taught in the quiet, simple, everyday manner of mothers."
- Gordon B. Hinckley,
"Motherhood: A Heritage of Faith"

"The love of a true mother comes nearer [to] being like the love of God than any other kind of love."
- Pres. Joseph F. Smith

"Rock Me to Sleep"
Backward, flow backward, O tide of the years!
I am so weary of toil and of tears...

Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue,
Mother, O mother, my heart calls for you!...

Over my heart, in the days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever has shone;...

None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber's soft calms o'er my heavy lids creep;
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep!

- William Cullen Bryant

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Fun Encounter

Weather permitting, Design Friday will be back next week...

(A rule of thumb that my roommate and I learned in college, is that public transportation will never cease to enrich your life with interesting conversations. I only wish she could have been with me in New York.)


While riding home one evening, my party and I (a total of 5) sat at one end of the subway car in a seating area that held 6 (3 seats facing 3 seats). My son was busy using a pole as a jungle gym, so I sat back with my aching feet propped up on my husband's lap.
All of a sudden, a little 60 year old woman moved from her seat on the opposite end of the car, by-passed many open seats along the way, parked herself at my side, and curtly exclaimed, "Too much air conditioning. This isn't your living room." Startled, I sat up and moved over to make room for her (the resemblance of a subway car to my living room is uncanny!) and she sat down heaping her bag in my lap.
All conversation ceased with this new seating arrangement, and we all sat in intimate silence looking at each other. Luckily, she was prepared with some ice breakers, and the duration of our journey was filled with her quizzing us with random questions that we failed miserably... but which we enjoyed thoroughly. Here are a few of my favorite snippets:


Lady: [out of nowhere] "So, are you from Florida?"
Me: "Why do you ask?"
Lady: "Oh, I'm just an old lady. Don't bother me."
[silence]
...

Lady: "Where's a good place to live in Florida without a car?"
Me: "Are you planning on moving?"
Lady: [irritated] "I don't have any money."
[silence]
Lady: "Where's a good place to live in Florida without a car?"
Me: [thinking] "Ummmm..."
My Husband: "I don't know... Miami?"
Lady: [scoffs and rolls her eyes]
Me: "Maybe, Tampa?"
[silence]
...

Lady: "Where do you live?"
Mother-in-law: "Queens."
Lady: "It's changed, hasn't it?"
Mother-in-law: "Yea."
Lady: "How?"
[silence]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Things I Learned in New York City

My family just returned from a fun (and consequently tiring) trip to New York City. My husband's parents were our hosts, and we had a fabulous time. The Statue of Liberty, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, and exploring Central Park are a few of the things we were able to do.
I had only been to New York once prior in high school, and it was interesting to rediscover the city during a different season of my life. For example, I learned:

  1. It is impossible to not look like a tourist, no matter how hard you try.
  2. New York City is a fun place for your budding reader to practice his new skills. For example, my son was able to sound out and read, "Sex and the City" all by himself! (Luckily, he has not asked questions).
  3. It is not unheard of to hear the ice cream man's truck at 9:30 at night- though what he is vending at that hour is unknown.
  4. Playing "I Spy" is a fun way to pass the time while waiting for the subway to come. You'd be amazed at the variety of objects hiding in the tracks!
  5. When bathrooms are hard to find, your standards of cleanliness take a huge dive.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gimme a Break

Taking a break from blogging for a bit. Be back next week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever.
That when we live no more we may live ever.

-
Anne Bradstreet