Sunday, December 25, 2011

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks of the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (vs. 3 & 4)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Stocking Story

The first Christmas that my husband and I were married, I decided to sew our stockings. This would be my first sewing project flying solo without the aid of my mom (i.e. hovering over her shoulder while she sewed for me). I bought my fabric, cut out my pattern, and started. It was a beast! I constantly ran into problems, my techniques were amateurish, and my fabric was way too thick to easily fit under the sewing foot- we're talking about 6-8 layers of velvet and batting here, folks (a combination of ignorance and insanity). Due to blood pressure concerns, I abandoned the project.
Two Christmases later, and with a little more experience under my belt, I finished one of the stockings (the other was honorably discharged) and sewed two more with thinner/easier fabric. Mistakes were made along the way, but they were completed in a week or two.
This year, I had need for a new stocking. I am proud to say that this stocking was completed in two nights (and with 4 days to spare till Christmas Eve)! I am quite proud of myself. While others could probably have completed it in a few hours, I have obviously set a new personal best. It is truly a Christmas miracle.

(Obviously, I got a little carried away with my son's stocking- the one exploding with Christmas joy- but he loves it still the same. I plan on redoing that one and my original Deluxe stocking sometime in the future.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The First Cut Is The Deepest

The other day, I decided it was time to trim my baby girl's bangs/mullett. Now she looks like this:




Poor baby. Thank heavens hair grows.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree

Last Saturday we put up and lighted our Christmas tree. I should say, my husband lighted the Christmas tree. I tried to hold my tongue in critiquing his work. Lighting the Christmas tree is one duty we both expected the other to handle after we got married. It's a debate that still continues each year. But, honestly, does it really make sense for the short person to light the tree? This is one task that a tall person can not relegate. But I digress...

Nothing makes your home feel more like Christmas than a Christmas tree. I love it. And as you can imagine, my baby girl was elated by this curious new object in our living room. On Monday we put on the ornaments. When we were done, I swear I heard her say, "Game on." Now, a large part of my day is spent keeping her from chewing on the cord and batting at ornaments.

Not seen: my baby is actually behind this tree.
Only 11 more days of this cruel game... 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Reality Relief

A conversation recently held in our car...

My Son: "Mom? What does 'sooki' mean?
Me: "Sooki? Use it in a sentence."
My Son: "Hello. My name is Sooki."
Me: "Where did you hear that name?"
My Son: "In 'The Saggy Baggy Elephant' the elephant's name is Sooki."

This conversation brought me great relief as 1.) It was a question I could answer, and most of all, 2.) My son's school friends were not exposing him to tales from "Jersey Shore" (think Snookie). How much longer do I have to be fielding questions from Golden Books?

My feeling is, not long enough.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Under My Skin

If I hear another sentence begin or end with the phrase "In this economy," I might just go drive my car off a bridge.

Not really... but it's getting old. Is there change in sight?

Monday, December 5, 2011

You'd Better Watch Out...


Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1st Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation

I finally sorted through the heaps of Thanksgiving schoolwork my son brought home last week. This gem was my favorite by far...


Not only by what after-dinner activities seem to be taking place on the deck of the Mayflower and the active marine life, but also because of the conversation taking place between the pilgrim and Indian.

Indian: "This is fun isn't it?"
Pilgrim: "Ya."

I suppose there was probably a lot of small talk around the table that day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving weekend!
My first pecan pie ever. I'm so proud, I don't know if I'll let anyone cut into it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Lot to Learn

This conversation took place after I unpacked our bags and straightened up after returning from a recent trip to Legoland...

My Husband: "Honey, the house looks great."
Me: "Really? Thanks!"
My Son: "I don't see anything different."

We'd better work on that, for the sake of our future daughter-in-law!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trash Collection

Yesterday, during my son's baseball game, I was inspired to pick up the litter scattered all around the bleachers and sidewalks. Candy wrappers, burger wrappers, and bits of food were all properly disposed of in nearby garbage cans. I felt compelled to perform this great service, because each of these items nearly found a welcome home in my daughter's mouth.

Maybe my daughter and I will adopt a highway.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Man Cold

It's getting to be that time of year... cold/flu season. Here's a little clip* to have a little laugh about it- and specifically the dreaded "Man Cold"!!

* Just so you are warned, peruse the other clips at this site at your own risk. Some are pretty crude.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Whale of a Tale

According to this article, PETA is now suing Sea World on the grounds that they are violating Amendment 13 rights by "enslaving" their killer whales and forcing them to perform for Sea World's profit. Just a few questions regarding applying human rights to animals came to mind after reading the article:
  1. Do animals deserve human rights if they have no accountability?
  2. Could the same argument be made toward any pet owner? (No doubt PETA members have pets...)
  3. Does this mean we can prosecute animals that kill people (or other animals)?
I was remembering a time a few years ago, when I was leaving a zoo and protesters were handing out literature on the evils of zoos. I thought about their argument, and I decided that these people might be a little short sighted in their argument. I can't think of a better way to produce affection or love of animals, than to make them accessible to the general public... and especially children.
After my son saw a Sea World show, his love for orca whales blew through the roof. Obviously, I believe that animals should be cared for appropriately, but these Sea World shows just might be the best PR the orcas could ever hope for.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2 More Days...

... until I can rid myself of the bulk bag of candy I bought for our church party, and I will finally have some peace and quiet from it calling my name in the pantry!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ponderings During the World Series

It took me about 23 years of life on this earth to buy a pair of white pants. Until then- while I was often tempted to buy them- I could hear them taunting me from their clothing racks, "Buy me, I dare you. I can't wait for you to stain me within the first 10 minutes of wearing me! What will it be first? Spaghetti sauce? Ink? Dirt? Bwahahaha!"
Contrast that with...
Major League baseball teams, who have chosen white as their pant color of choice for playing a game that involves diving around in grass and clay.

Obviously, they don't clean their own uniforms.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Design Friday: Then & Now

I saw this commercial while watching the World Series the other day (Go Cards!). I thought it was such a creative idea. In my research on the commercial, I also became aware of this website. So cool. It is amazing to ponder on the passing of time, how  things change (or don't), and the memories we are walking in everyday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Life Sculpture

Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy
With his marble block before him,
And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
As an angel-dream passed o'er him.

He carved the dream on that shapeless stone,
With many a sharp incision;
With heaven's own light the sculpture shone,-
He'd caught that angel-vision.

Children of life are we, as we stand
With our lives uncarved before us,
Waiting the hour when, at God's command,
Our life-dream shall pass o'er us.

If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
With many a sharp incision,
Its heavenly beauty shall be our own,-
Our lives, that angel-vision.

-George Washington Doane

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How To Be a Good Mom

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."

-M. Russell Ballard, "Daughters of God"

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Power of Music

A little boy named Diego was introduced into my son's class at school a few weeks after the first day of school. Diego speaks little English, and causes frequent disturbances in class. While he never personally bothered my son, my son still found Diego's outbursts unnerving. I tried to help him understand how Diego might be feeling, but Diego remained a frequent complaint in our home.
While driving in our car, I had some children's music playing in the CD player. A song came on whose lyrics included the line, "If you don't talk as most people do, some people talk and laugh at you, but I won't! I won't! I'll walk with you. I'll talk with you. That's how I'll show my love for you." After the song was over, the following conversation took place:

My Son: "That song gave me an idea."
Me: "What?"
My Son: "I'm thinking that I could be a better friend to Diego."
Us: "Why?"
My Son: "Because he doesn't talk like me."

He then went on to ask my husband to teach him a few Spanish phrases that might help him talk to Diego. Since that night, my son has become somewhat of a defender for Diego. In the length of this short song, my son had gained a new compassion for Diego that I, alone, had not been able to help him realize.
My son has always been very tuned into conversations and lyrics- even when you think he isn't. This sweet conversation again reminded me of how important it is to be careful of what messages are being sent to our children through the music we play. Music really can shape children's thoughts and attitudes. What are we teaching our children, when we aren't teaching them?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Joke's on Me

At meals, my baby girl does not tolerate her sippy cup to rest anywhere on her tray. When she is done drinking, she tosses it on the floor. Every time. Her accompanying "Uh-oh" is starting to seem a little bit insincere.

Then, the other night this conversation took place....

My Son: "Why is mom such a good cook?"
My Husband: "Because she always makes good food?"
My Son: "No, like it's a joke. Why is mom such a good cook?"

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Favorite Things

Last night, at the end of a looooong weekend of my husband being on night call, I was actually singing this parody of "My Favorite Things" by Hilary Weeks:

When I don't constantly nag at my children-
They just do their chores, like sweeping the kitchen.
When they put toilet paper back on the roll,
It feels like I've witnessed a small miracle.

Bedtime and naptime and bedtime and naptime
Bedtime and naptime and bedtime and naptime
Did I mention it's nice when the kids go to sleep?
These are a few of my favorite things.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Calling Without a Handbook

"I recently saw a woman respond when it was said of another, 'Since she had the new baby, she isn't doing anything in the Church.' You could almost see a baby in her arms as she protested with emotion: 'She is doing something in the Church. She gave that baby life. She nurtures and teaches it. She is doing the most important thing that she can do in the Church.'"
"... Would our perspective be more clear if we could, for a moment, look upon parenthood as a calling in the Church? Actually, it is so much more that that; but if we could look at that way for a moment, we could reach a better balance in the way we schedule families."
-Boyd K. Packer

Monday, September 19, 2011

Darling, I Don't Know Why I Go to Extremes

Sleeps too much ... Won't sleep enough
Only wants to be held ... Won't cuddle like she used to
Messy diaper every 4 days ... Every diaper is messy
Can't wait for naptime ... Can't wait for her to wake up
It'd be nice to sleep in ... It'd be nice to be back on schedule
Looking forward to the next milestone ... She's growing way too fast!

Caring for my baby makes me realize... I'm never happy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Constitution

In honor of the signing of the constitution in 1787 (tomorrow), here are some really neat quotes from the talk, "The Constitution- A Glorious Standard", by President Benson (I have tinkered with the formatting). Also, here is a link to the National Archives and some neat Q&A's about the constitution.

"To understand the significance of the Constitution, we must first understand some basic, eternal principles. These principles have their beginning in the premortal councils of heaven."
  1. Agency
    • "The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments."
  2. The function and proper role of government
    • (Quotes D&C 134:1-2,5) "In other words, the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens."
  3. The source of basic human rights
    • ‍"Rights are either God-given as part of the divine plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government."
  4. People are superior to the governments they form
    • "‍Since God created people with certain inalienable rights, and they, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that the people are superior to the creature they created."
  5. Governments should have only limited powers
    • "By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft, and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. The creature cannot exceed the creator."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

7:00 is the new 10:00

Since my early teenage years, I have had a fond appreciation of sleeping in. I love to sleep in. Anyone who has ever lived with me knows this.
The other day, I was discussing sleeping habits with two of my friends. I proclaimed my love for sleeping in. One friend agreed with me, and the other proudly stated that she loved to get up early (blah!), and even worse, go running  (double Blah!). I reiterated the fact that I hated getting up any earlier than I have to. To which my fellow sleeper explained to the other, that sleeping in for me was probably seven o'clock. I agreed that this was true. And then I stared blankly at the table and wondered what has happened to me. How is seven o'clock in the morning- an hour I once considered not meant for man's eyes- now sleeping in for me? I am living a lie.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Lettero

Dear Dora, Diego, Handy Manny, Maya & Miguel, etc.,
I am writing this letter to inform you that your efforts to teach my son Spanish by interjecting random Spanish words/phrases/expressions into your English dialogue is not working. In the past 4 years, I have never once heard my son use a Spanish word as a result of viewing your program. (Which isn't really surprising when you consider that most people can't remember a lick of Spanish after studying the language for 2 years in high school). I'm not sure why you are trying to teach my son Spanish, but I find your methods questionable. To be honest, I think the language you are teaching would be more accurately described as "Spanglish".
Until your program includes an exchange program allowing children total immersion in the language and culture of Latin America or Spain, including classes on navigation/orienteering or home improvement (in Spanish), I just don't think you will have any success. Lo siento.
Sincerely,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lessons I Learned from 9/11

For my high school graduation present, my parents took me on a trip to New York City (a tradition that had started with my older brothers). Among the activities on our itinerary was a trip to the World Trade Center. The day we visited the towers was overcast and gray. We took an elevator ride to the very top floor. The room was surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, and you couldn't help but stand as close to the window as you could to see the view below. I remember my knees weakening and catching my breath a little as I looked down to the street. It was truly staggering. The cars below looked like little matchbox cars. Unfortunately, due to high winds, we were unable to access the obeservation deck on the roof that day. "Oh well," I thought to myself, "I guess that gives me a reason to come back." I would have never in a thousand years guessed that I would never be able to visit these buildings again. In a few years, the World Trade Center buildings were gone.
I was in college when it happened. I was walking home from an early morning class, and as I approached my apartment building, some girls passed me on the sidewalk and told me some news about an airplane flying into one of the World Trade Center buildings. Not realizing the magnitude of the accident, I responded, "What, is the world coming to an end?" When I reached my apartment, the girls across the hall had their door open and were watching the news. As I watched the story unfold, I realized the gravity of the situation. I sat for an hour glued to the TV screen watching reporters describe events that were, up until then, only imaginable in the movies. Except, this was real, and real people were suffering. A fear, insecurity, and vulnerability I had never experienced filled my heart. The wickedness and hate it took to carry out this assault was unfathomable. When I could watch no more, I walked to my room and prayed for peace. I decided to take a shower and get ready for the day. Even though I knew that my university was at the bottom of the list for a terrorist plot, I still felt unsafe. While I showered, I actually worried that my apartment building would be leveled while I showered, and that my body would be found naked in the rubble. I couldn't imagine a more humiliating way to die- so I took a fast shower. Later, I listened to some comforting words, and the process of healing began.
A couple of years earlier, I had began the application process to be a volunteer at the 2002 Olympics. In 2001, I had received my assignment. I would be stationed in Solider Hollow with the cross country ski events. After the events of 9/11 unfolded, I began to worry that the Olympics, with an international crowd, would be the next venue for a terrorist plot to take place. I talked with a friend who strongly encouraged me to move forward and not to let fear guide my decisions. In the end, my fear won out and I did not pursue my volunteer assigenment any further. This is a decision I still regret.
Now with the 10th anniversary, I have reflected on the event and how it has shaped my life. I can think of two ways. The first, is that now I know that you can't depend on anything to be there when you come back. Now I try to take advantage of things when I can, and enjoy them as if I will never be able to again. The second lesson, is that fear should not be the method by which you make your choices. This is actually something that is easier said than done, but when you understand that sometimes opportunities only come once, fear will only lead to regret. 9/11 was an awful day, but hopefully, instead of reopening and nursing old wounds each year, we can instead choose to grow stronger from the lessons it has taught us, accept each day as a blessing, and then take advantage of the opportunities that each day gives us.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Religious Freedom

"Religious freedom cannot be reduced to freedom of worship, nor even freedom of private conscience. Religious freedom means that religious groups as well as religious individuals have a right to exercise their influence in the public square."

- His Eminence Francis Cardinal George

Monday, September 5, 2011

L'Envoi

When earth's last picture is painted, and the tubes are
twisted and dried,
When the oldest colors have faded, and the youngest critic
has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it- lie down for an
aeon or two,
Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall set us to work
anew!

And those that were good will be happy: they shall sit in a
golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of
comet's hair;
They shall find real saints to draw from- Magdalene, Peter,
and Paul;
They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired
at all!

And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master
shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work
for fame;
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his
separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things
as They Are!

-Rudyard Kipling

Monday, August 29, 2011

An American Panda

After a fun day at the National Zoo, my kids and I were waiting at the Metro for our ride home. The following heartwarming conversation took place:

Me: "Do you like your new stuffed panda?"
My Son: "Oh yes. I love it."
Me: "You and your sister are my little pandas."
My Son: "And you are our panda mother, cause you have a panda stomach... a little bit."
Me: [Forced smile]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Things I Learned in D.C.

  • While swimming in the hotel pool, it is possible to go up/down the elevator 5 times in a one hour period, allowing a total of ten minutes of actual swimming before it thunders. 
  • A one bedroom apartment is a luxury suite compared to a hotel room, when traveling with kids. (And a nice, big closet technically counts as a second bedroom for baby!)
  • If you are without paperclips or bobby pins, the straw on a can of WD-40 can be used to pick a bathroom lock.
  • Most everything in D.C. is FREE!
  • You can request free tours of the White House, Pentagon, Capitol, etc. from your state representatives.
  • Renting bikes on the national mall is a great way to see the monuments and memorials...
  • ...If your baby hates the Burley, her wailing is a great way to clear the sidewalk of pedestrians ahead of you, and attract the sneers of judgemental people.
  • Aersol sunscreen is considered a potential terrorist weapon when visiting the Capitol and will be disposed of mercilessly, even if it's hot as blazes outside.
  • The Capitol dome is actually two domes: the exterior dome, and a smaller interior dome.
  • The statue on top of the Capitol is named "Freedom".
  • George Washington was 6'2".
  • Martha Washington was a widow with two children when she married George. She and George had no children of their own.
  • The Washington D.C. temple's majesty never fades.
  • The 2 pandas (Mei Xiang and Tian Tian) in the National Zoo are on loan from China for 10 years... just like a lot of our money.
  • The original Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence are on display in the National Archives.
  • The National Archives also has a really cool gift shop.
  • The Arlington Cemetary holds the remains of over 320,000 servicemen and women.
  • Martha Washington's great granddaughter married Robert E. Lee (their home is now part of the Arlington Cemetary).
  • The White House tour is very family friendly, and does not allow strollers, diaper bags, or purses.
  • Anything that happens in D.C. can be increased in significance by titling it, "National". For example: If, while parking, you scrape your car on the garage wall, you can call it a "National Owie" (I give credit to my son on this one!).
  • There is a metro stop called "Foggy Bottom". This is a hit with young children... and some adults.
  • Even if you expect to walk a lot, you have understimated the amount of walking required when visiting D.C.
  • It is impossible to see everything there is to see in D.C. within a month's time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Government is No Robin Hood

While on our trip, I read the article, "Punishing the Rich is Impractical, Unethical", by Michael Medved in USA Today. I am not familiar with Medved, but I found this article very interesting. Here are some of the points I liked (in my words):
  • The top 5% earn 35% of adjusted gross income but pay 59% of all income taxes.
  • It is normal to want to emulate people who are wealthy. It is wrong to want to "annihilate" them.
  • The rich generally work hard, earn money, pay taxes, spend and invest. We should not want to discourage this pattern.
  • Instead, we should focus on ways to break dysfunctional behavior that leads to poverty (help teach new skills, better schools, safer neighborhoods, etc).
  • The government taxes tobacco heavily, and has reduced smoking rates. It also subsidizes loans and grants and has tripled the number of people able to gain a college education. It does not make sense to penalize them.
  • Tax hikes will not penalize the already existing millionaires and billionaires (who live off investments). Instead, it will place obstacles in the way of those trying to become millionaires and billionaires (by taxing income).
  • And in Medved's words: "Though progressives trumpet 'fairness' as their priority, there's nothing fair about government conferring generous dispensations on dysfunctional, dependent conduct and imposing onerous encumbrances on those who enrich both themselves and others. It is both unwise and, at the deepest level, unjust to promote hatred and resentment where gratitude is due and to offer indulgence for values that require correction."

The idea of encouraging good behavior and fixing dysfunctional behavior makes sense to me. I think America's dream is that we all have a chance at wealth. It is wrong to demonize that desire, and the path to wealth should not be discouraged.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to Reality!

For the past month, my family has been living in Washington, D.C. My husband had a month long course he had to attend there, so the rest of us decided to tag along and make the most of it. We had a great time packing in as many of the sites as we could- and there are a lot of sites to be seen!
We returned just in time for the first day of school. It was a great experience, and all of us (except perhaps the baby) have grown a fondness in our hearts for our nation's capital... a fondness that was quickly tempered by two hours of traffic on our return trip.
I expect my blogging will be back on track this week because, 1.) I have lots of fun stories and ideas to post, 2.) my baby's naptime is once again my alone time, and 3.) a smartphone is no longer my primary means of accessing the internet.

Happy New School Year to All!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baking Q&A

Question: What is worse than your son having a breakdown because you decided to try a new dessert recipe instead of his standard favorite treat?
Answer: The new dessert turning out to be a burnt, miserable failure, completely contradicting your optimism and reassurance that this new recipe coud be his new favorite.


Question: Is there a silver lining to burnt caramel dumplings?
Answer: Yes. You eat much, much, much less dessert than you would have otherwise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pack Rat

Pack Rats are real rodents that live in the desert. In their foraging, should they chance upon a shiny treasure, they will drop what they are carrying and take their new treasure home. Their burrows are filled with all of the little treasures that they have found.
So, a slumbering camper might find in the morning that the spot where they left their watch has been replaced by a stick. Or, someone might find that at home, all of their favorite pens that make writing a joy, have slowly been replaced by cheap-o pharmaceutical pens that hardly write at all, and someone else's backpack is full of someone's favorite pens... for example.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodnight Moon

Smoke trail from Atlantis- 5/14/10 (personal photo)
The shuttle program is deeply rooted in my childhood memories. From a young age, space exploration captured my imagination, and has always been a thing of awe and wonder. Man in space bringing home perspectives of our world unlike any other, and views of the mysteries of space... incredible.
As a little girl, I remember watching videos made by astronauts, and laughing as they ate bananas and sent the peel spinning through the anti gravity air. Our family would often drive to the local high school's parking lot and search for the orange glow and smoke trail of a launched rocket on the horizon. Later, I was able to witness in person a rocket light up the night sky like the sun- an unforgettable experience. Visiting the Kennedy Space Center is where the beginning stirrings of patriotism grew in my heart. Nothing can make your heart swell like an IMAX film on our space program set to Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man".
Shuttle launches are perhaps something I have taken for granted, yet a tradition that I had hoped to share with my own children. My husband and son have seen launches from a distance, but nothing in person. Now with Atlantis' final mission, I mourn the end of a chapter in my life and in our nation's history. I can only hope that, like a good sequel, it will be back so that my children can exeprience the same pride and wonder in man and in our country.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Under Where?

The below picture is evidence of why it might be a good idea to blowdry your hair in the the children's/guest bathroom every now and then:


It's amazing the things you miss when you focus below eye level.

Monday, July 4, 2011

America For Me

'Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of the kings,-
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.

So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

I like the German fir-woods, in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack:
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free,-
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.


Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.


-Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Things That Are Cute for Children or Babies, But Not Cute for Adults:

  • Jabbering to yourself until you fall asleep
  • Wearing dress-up clothes in public
  • Smearing your meal all over your face
  • Toots
  • Missing teeth or gummy smiles
  • Running around in only a diaper... or naked
  • Grabbing people's faces
Oh, the difference a few years makes for propriety...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear Mr. Lionel Richie of "The Commodores",

What do you mean by "easy like Sunday morning"? Do you mean "easy" as in, not difficult and no worries? Or do you mean "easy" as in, waking up before your children so that you can shower, instructing your child to eat their cereal (who is holding a hunger strike because you do not have pancakes), and then convincing this same child they need to put on Sunday clothes, while blowdrying your hair, and feeding and tending to your baby, and then gathering 25 heavy bags (all of them necessary) to load in the car- and most Sundays doing this alone?
Please clarify.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To all the dad's rockin' their Dockers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Innocent Question

Recently, my mom picked us up to take our family to the airport. As we were getting our last items packed, the following dialogue took place:
My Mom: [to me] "Is there anything I can do for you while you are gone?"
My Son: [without even looking up from his lunch] "Clean our house?"

Why cleaning, of all things, crossed my son's mind is a mystery, but after we laughed it off I thought, it would be nice for children to be taken seriously once in a while too.... :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gifts and Talents

"The gifts of the Spirit can guide and enrich our lives. They can strengthen us spiritually and temporally. They can help us bless the lives of others. Most important, they can bring us comfort in times of trial. They can help us magnify our callings. They can help guide us in our relationships. They can help us avoid being deceived." -Robert D. Hales
As a stay-at-home mom, I have found that one of my biggest challenges is losing direction in my personal goals. While I know that I am doing an important and meaningful work as a mother, this stage is very unlike the majority of my life's experience. I am in charge of my goals now. I am not working toward an educational goal whose path is mapped out, and I do not have deadlines or assignments given to me by other people. And I like that. I like being in charge. But in the routine of my day to day work, it is easy to forget the direction of my personal goals.
Lately, I kind of fell into studying about gifts of the spirit. I have been surprised by how relevant this topic is to finding direction in my life. Below are three resources that have helped opened my mind in understanding what gifts of the spirit are, how they can benefit us personally, and why/how we should discover the gifts we have been given or would like to be given. Looks like I have an assignment to work on now!:

"What is Your Calling in Life", Spring 2011 BYU Magazine
"Gifts of the Spirit", Robert D. Hales, Feb. 2002 Ensign
"Return: Four Phases of Our Mortal Journey Home", Robert D. Hales, 2010 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Big Promises

Lesson Learned:
Grocery shopping in a wholesale warehouse club is not the time to start believing your son's promises that he will stop eating only the marshmallows in Lucky Charms. (2 lbs. 12 oz. of Lucky Charms, to be exact).

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Oh, beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!

-Katherine Lee Bates, "America the Beautiful", vs. 3

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me....

As you well know, the world did not come to an end last Saturday. But, don't worry, according to this MSNBC article, Howard Camping has recalculated, and there is a new "end" in sight: October 21st. Woo hoo. My favorite part of the article is that Camping is not returning money to listeners who donated to his cause, because it is already being used to educate people about the world's end. Which he apparently knows nothing about.
Which leads me to one question: having twice miscalculated the world's end, does he have any followers left?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We Know the Family to be Eternal

A quote from the March 2011 Ensign article, "Teaching the Doctrine of the Family"

"Many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. ...
"... There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence. ...
"We of all people, brothers and sisters, should not be taken in by the specious arguments that the family unit is somehow tied to a particular phase of development a moral society is going through. We are free to resist those moves which downplay the significance of the family and which play up the significance of selfish individualism. We know the family to be eternal."

-Spencer W. Kimball

Monday, May 23, 2011

Salt in the Wound

A little bit ago, after a bitter inner struggle, I caved in and authorized the use of food storage boxes as nightstands in our bedroom and my son's bedroom. Sad, I know. As someone who appreciates great design, this was (and still is) kind of buggy.
I came to this point, because a.) we do not have any more room under beds, b.) I refuse to store our food in the garage, and c.) we do not own nightstands. I do not like them, but they serve a purpose.
And I figured I could lower my standards just a little. Maybe I'm being just a little ridiculous afterall. It's not like the rest of our house is anything great. No one will ever see them. It's better than nothing. I'd rather have food if I'm starving. Etc., etc., etc.
After all that inner turmoil to arrive at this point, you can imagine the distress the following conversation with my son caused, while organizing his room:

Me: "Get me your books off your nightstand."
My Son: "Nightstand? What nightstand?"
Me: "The nightstand next to your bed."
My Son: "Where?"
Me: "The boxes next to your bed."
My Son: "Those aren't a nightstand. Those are boxes. I call them dummy boxes."
Me: [to myself] "So do I...."

Nothing like a child's perspective to bash any delusion that I might have in fooling somebody into thinking that a stack of boxes are furniture. Talk about selective imagination. [sigh...]

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'll Think About it Tomorrow

Last night, I was amused to see this headline in Yahoo! news: "5 Reasons to Skip Your Workout". I have to say, I am disappointed in the quality of journalism these days. Could they really only think of five reasons???? Next time, they should contact me. I would be happy to share my endless number of reasons to skip a workout.
(Like, posting on my blog....)

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Child's Perspective

The perspective of a child is so refreshing. Here are two comments my son made within days of each other, that prove how much they adore even our simplest efforts. If only we could see ourselves more often through the eyes of a child:

"I'm going to draw a tree like my teacher. [draws a simple tree] She says she doesn't draw very good, but that's not true. She draws beautiful."

My husband took my son with him early to church one day for choir practice (I was home with a sick baby). The choir happened to be singing many of the Easter songs from the Primary Songbook, so my son joined my husband in practice. The new choir director (who also happens to be the Primary music leader) told the group that she was not a very good musician, and would be happy to take suggestions on song arrangements. My son turned to my husband and said, "She lies. She's a great musician."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Riddle Me This!

It is at certain times, that I have felt the true power and weight of my responsibility as a mother, to shape and mold the understandings of my son. How is a mother to answer such an innocent, unassuming, and naive question, as this one posed by my son the other day?

"Mom? Do girls mostly listen and boys not listen, or are girls mostly chatty and boys listen?"

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

"We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high.
"...Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are, better than you are, and better than you have ever been. ...We thank all of you, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God." 

- Jeffery R. Holland ("Because She Is a Mother")

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Grave Hath No Victory

Yesterday, my son and I captured a katydid in a jar. The word "capture" really doesn't accurately describe our effort, as the poor thing had a broken leg and didn't put up a fight at all. We threw some grass in the jar, and put it on our counter top. All evening long it moved in slow motion, if it moved at all. Before my son went to bed, I prepared my son for the inevitable. His bug would probably be dead in the morning. I almost threw it out in the yard last night, but I decided I would let my son oversee its burial services. I mindlessly widened the air holes in the plastic cover and went to bed.
After my son left for school this morning, I checked on our little dead bug. This is what I found:


That would be a picture of an empty jar. Which means, somewhere in our house is a fugitive katydid- most likely laying eggs, my husband considerately suggested before he left for work. How can a humongous, bright green, gimpy katydid disappear without a trace in a little house? I can't wait to see where it turns up... or when the infestation will begin.

* It was probably crawling on us in our sleep, per this Onion article that my brother sent me a few weeks ago. (I wouldn't read it if you're sensitive to talk of earwigs...)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What a Wonderful World

I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom, for me and you.
And I think to myself, "What a wonderful world."

I see skies of blue and clouds of white,
The bright blessed day and the dark sacred night.
And I think to myself, "What a wonderful world."

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shakin' hands sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really saying, "I love  you."

I hear babies cryin'. I watch them grow.
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself, "What a wonderful world."

Yes, I think to myself, "What a wonderful world."

-Louis Armstrong

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bachelor for a Night

The other night, my husband had to work so I had a self-proclaimed night off. With no husband to impress, we had pancakes and scrambled eggs for dinner (not that that's ever stopped me before). The garbage can was full, so empty food boxes took up residence on my counter. The dishes? I didn't touch the clean dishes in our dishwasher, and the dirty dishes stacked up in our sink. After my baby's bath, I didn't bother to drain or put her tub away. After I got the kids in bed, I indulged in a little T.V. while I worked on a sewing project.

And then I cleaned it all up before I went to bed...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hereditary Succession

A royal marriage is fun to watch in a pageant/fairy tale/chick flick sort of way. I am excited to see the pomp, flourishes,  and regal touches of William and Kate's wedding. Every little girl has dreamed of being a princess. Before we get too carried away though, here are some quotes from Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" on the notion of hereditary succession:

"Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad are distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind."

"For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honors of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them."

"But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens a door to the foolish, the wicked, and the improper, it hath in it the nature of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions."

"...[A] king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling for a year, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more  worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cars 101

My Son: "Why can Ramone [from Disney's "Cars"] move up and down?"
Me: "Because he has hydraulics"
My Son: "What are hydraulics?"
Me: "They are things you can put in your car to make it move."

I realized the lameness and redundancy of my response the second it left my lips, but as my son seemed satisfied (or, more likely, realized he wouldn't be getting an intelligent answer from me), I left it at that.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend

I love Easter. The colors, the food, the celebration of a marvelous and life saving miracle. Easter is right up there with Christmas for me. (Ironically, much of Good Friday was spent convincing my son that his school holiday was not due to Earth Day. I'm not sure where he picked that up).
Each year, I try to accumulate new ideas that will help make our Easter celebration more meaningful and fun. Here are some new ideas I found this year:
  • A timeline of Christ's last week on earth. This can be read each day leading up to Easter.
  • A Jell-o creation using Easter colors. This is a fun addition to Easter dinnner- assuming you don't forget it after you've made the 30 minute drive to your Grandma's house. Not sure if it's worth postponing a whole dinner to retrieve, but, after two days spent preparing it, we did.
  • A cute way to shape dinner rolls (I'm sure it could be used with rolls from scratch)
  • A cute way to fold napkins. (This can be done in the car on one's lap, while your mom drives you back to your house to retrieve the Jell-o salad. Having your mom drive will spare you a speeding ticket.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Died That We Might Live Again

He died that we might live again,
Lord Jesus, our Redeemer true.
He died on Calv'ry's lonely hill.
His life he gave for me and you.

He rose from the grave on Easter morn,
Our Savior and our King.
He showed his love for all mankind.
For his great love, give thanks and sing.

Rejoice! Rejoice! and sing, sing, sing.


- Thelma McKinnon Anderson

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Children's Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the light is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations
That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence;
Yet I know by their merry eyes,
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret,
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine.

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there I will keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the wall shall crumble to ruin
And moulder in dust away.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

But, It's a Two Way Street

Here is a quote from the same talk by Boyd K. Packer that yesterday's quote came from, that is just as important:

"It was not meant that the woman alone accommodate herself to the priesthood duties of her husband or her sons. She is of course to sustain and support and encourage them."

I stumbled upon this talk, "A Tribute to Women" accidently, but found it quite profound. I think it does an excellent job of explaining men's and women's different roles, how they are of equal importance, and how they work together.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Official Backup

For those who think that women within the church are degraded and subservient, I just don't get where they are coming from. The Brethren have got our back:

"Holders of the priesthood, in turn, must accommodate themselves to the needs and responsibilities of the wife and mother. Her physical and emotional and intellectual and cultural well-being and her spiritual development must stand first among his priesthood duties.
"There is no task, however menial, connected with the care of babies, the nurturing of children, or with the maintenance of the home that is not his equal obligation. The tasks which come with parenthood, which many consider to be below other tasks, are simply above them."
-Elder Boyd K. Packer

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Children's Dictionary

Vacation /va-ka-shen/ (noun): Not being required to leave your home for school or work.
Example: "You stay home and take care of the baby, so you're always on vacation."

*The irony of this being that "always being on vacation" means I'm NEVER on vacation!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4th

"You are very ambitious and apt to overdo your zeal for success. Do not let disappointments or failures dishearten you. You are resourceful and able to do many things. You are capable of deep love.

- Fortune-Telling Birthday Book

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why I Am Excited for Government Run Healthcare

In the past 2 days, I have had the extreme pleasure of spending time in the DMV and then at the County Health Department. Spending times in these places caused me to reflect on other experiences I've had with government agencies, and then on the direction our healthcare is headed. I'm excited! Why?
  • Government facilities are always so clean
  • Government workers are always so helpful and friendly
  • Government = efficient
  • I love taking numbers and sitting in large waiting rooms
The future is looking bright!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dead Man's Gulch

I'm a survivor.
Because I grew up in a land devoid of freezing precipitation, I decided to take a ski class in college. It equipped me with the skills necessary to get on/off the ski lift and down the mountain in one piece. I enjoy skiing a lot, when it is done on my terms: I do not purposefully attempt to create distance between my skis and the ground, I do not purposefully race at breakneck speeds, I do not purposefully run courses that are more challenging than a blue. Last week, I skied the equivalent of 3 black diamond courses. And I didn't even need snow.
I knew going into the latter half of the week it was going to be hard, but I had no idea. Here is just a taste of what the last 5 days of my life entailed (in addition to my usual duties):
  • A husband with church meetings 2 nights, and overnight call the next 3 nights
  • One 24 hour period without seeing Husband at all (see above) 
  • 2 unplanned doctor's appointments for baby, and a diagnosis of bronchiolitis. She's fine, but that required...
  • ...a trip to the pharmacy and 3 daily nebulizer treatments added to the routine 
  • Soccer practice and a game for my big boy
  • Baby waking multiple times each night coughing or crying
My intent here is not to complain (okay, maybe a little), because I know that every woman has weeks like this, or worse. In the middle of my "solo" day, I began to think ahead to what still laid ahead with dread. And then, I remembered my ski class.
In my first few classes, I realized that if I paid too much attention to what the course held in store for me (groomed trail and/or what kind of injury or death awaited me if I lost control), I would become unnerved and my muscles and heart would tighten with fright. I learned very quickly that if I focused on what I needed to do now and only a few moves ahead, I could stay in control. When I got to the bottom, I would be amazed that I was able to accomplish something that initially seemed so impossible from the top.
This kind of focus is what got me through my rough spots last week. As life felt more and more like a cruel treadmill with no stop button or means of escape, if I focused on what I needed to do now- and not on the misery that still awaited me- I was able to handle things with a better sense of control.
So there you go. I don't know how this reconciles with keeping an eternal perspective, but it got me through the last 5 days alive. And the fact that I'm alive is remarkable.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Game Placing Reminder

Just in case you forgot:

First, is the worst.
Second, is the best.
Third, is the one with the hairy chest.

But that's not all...
Fourth, is the one drinking alcohol.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Peace, Be Still

I have been reluctant to write about the devastation in Japan, because natural disasters like that, and the tragedy that ensues, is hard to wrap my mind around- cities destroyed, families ripped apart, suffering, the terror and panic that must accompany it all. I tend to personalize the stories that I read about, and that does me no good. That being said, it seems pretty insensitive to ignore it all together, and write about underwear instead...
Over and over, I keep thinking the the only person who can make sense of any of this, or heal what seems impossible to heal, is our Savior. Events of this magnitude always remind me of that. So, I thought I'd share some quotes from a speech by Merrill J. Bateman, that provided peace to me at another time when I felt shaken:

"Even though we live in troubled times- and prophets have indicated that there will be turmoil in the last days- it is possible for each of us to feel peace, to have the peace of the gospel in our lives. We believe that is the most important message we have for the world."

"At the Last Supper, after finishing the meal, the Savior and his disciples sang the Hallel. The words of the Hallel are from Psalms 113 to 118..."
"So, at the Last Supper with His eleven disciples- Judas having left and Jesus knowing where he was going- Jesus is then singing about His own death.
"In that setting He went on to talk to His disciples about the most precious gift He had to give them. That gift was the gift of the Holy Ghost..."
"He knows where he is going, and there is peace in His heart. He knows He is going to the garden, and He is going to the cross. He is telling them He is leaving them His peace.
"'Peace I leave unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.' (John 14:27)" 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17th

"You are retiring, thoughtful, and rather philosophical, and you have definite opinions. You do not invite the advances of others, and, when you receive them, you are indifferent. Those who are fortunate enough to gain your confidence are true and loyal friends."

-Fortune-Telling Birthday Book

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness

It is that time of year when you will hear grown men saying things like: "sweet sixteen", "final four", "selection Sunday", "march madness", "tourney time", or "bracketology". Don't be fooled by the innocent use of alliteration. These phrases are not excerpts from nursery rhymes. They are a symptom of a very serious obession, for which the only treatment is to let it run its course. This takes about a month. It appears to be somewhat contagious, but 7 years of exposure has not yet affected me*. If you are like me, this SNL clip can help you laugh through the tears...

*. Jimmermania is a different thing.

**And on another note, who cares? Crises in Libya and Japan, balancing the budget... at least he has time to fill out his bracket.

**And in other news, who knew? Girls, if your husband is requesting a vasectomy about now, perhaps family planning is not the reason...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Incredible

This is why it is important for Dash's uniform to be constructed from fabric that can resist extreme friction:


(I'm going to miss those undies. A little boy could instantly become Dash, and run just as fast, just by wearing them).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You Know Enough

"Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts—these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone. As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, 'Be not afraid, only believe.' (Mark 5:36)
"Through the years we take these important spiritual steps over and over again. We begin to see that 'he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.' (D&C 50:24) Our questions and doubts are resolved or become less concerning to us. Our faith becomes simple and pure. We come to know what we already knew."

-Elder Neil L. Andersen, "You Know Enough"

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Man's Trash...

Last summer, my son started a collection, which he keeps in a shoebox in our garage.  It began innocently enough, as he collected rocks from the "moon", pinecones, and sticks. I loved it. It was so cute to see his fascination with ordinary objects, and brought me back to my own childhood (I had forgotten how valuable parking lot gravel can be). His collection was something I felt I could give him complete ownership over.
And then, things took a strange turn. My son began collecting garbage. Used lollipop sticks, candy wrappers, chewed gum, paper plates, empty milk boxes, an old pair of shoes, a sock with a hole in it... Things that I had thrown away in the kitchen, would mysteriously appear in his collection. In order to keep the bugs at bay, my husband and I have had to start regulating his collection. Being a sentimental person myself, I have been a little reluctant to completely hijack his choice of treasures, but, as my husband put it, "Sometimes trash is just trash."


And that's an important lesson to learn too.