Monday, March 31, 2008

The Disposal

One of the most disconcerting things is what occurs when you turn on your garbage disposal (if that is what that thing in your sink that grinds up stuff is called -- mine is actually called the "in-sink-erator") while there is some non-food item sitting in it. Usually, I find, these non-food items are kitchen utensils, spoons in particular seem to enjoy a good visit down the disposal. Anyway, it makes a horrible sound (those of you who do this as regularly as I do know what I’m talking about). It rattles your nerves, like someone jumping out from behind a door to scare you, so even though your hand was right on the switch, it has now leapt to your mouth or your frantically beating heart in panic, and it can’t seem to register, with all that grinding noise, how to quickly turn the thing back off. All in all, it is probably only a matter of seconds before you come to your senses and realize what you must do (no, not reach in and grab the spoon! Turn the disposal off), but it seems much longer because the affect lasts a good deal longer.

It is almost as damaging to your nerves to turn the disposal on, even with nothing lodged in there, if you think you are turning the light over your sink on. I am not certain why these two identical switches must always be side by side, but a hesitant little guessing game must be played each time you go to turn the light on. Still, that isn’t quite as bad as the aforementioned because at least you are not left with a chewed up spoon which you don’t throw away because that would be ridiculous -- even though you can’t bare to use it ever again because it is so rough and disturbing to your palate.

Back to the spoon in the disposal, knowing how upsetting it is, I have to wonder why I always turn my disposal on with out checking for anything first. Each time, just as my hand is flipping the switch, I hunch my shoulders, grit my teeth and close my eyes – waiting for the worst. Is it simply because I forget to check each time? And the fearful posture I take as I flip the switch is something akin to slamming your car door just as you realize your keys are still in there -- your mind thinks, “noooo! Stoppp!” yet your hand continues to slam the door? Or is the truth simply that I can not bare to put my hand down that dark hole to check the disposal? I mean there is something in there that no one has ever seen (well, except for whoever put it there to begin with and maybe lots of other people, but it sounded more mysterious to say no one had ever seen what was in there). Whatever it is, it grinds food up in seconds and even chews up metal spoons. Giant spinning blades? Sharks? It’s unnerving. Once I saw a small scene from some shrunken woman show where she fell into the garbage disposal just as it was about to be turned on. No wonder I’m so horrified of the whole thing. Those of you who check your disposals faithfully, with-out batting an eye, have my admiration

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Delicious Snack

So, I occasionally buy a super tasty snack called “Munchies.” Yes, the name is silly and I would feel much cooler saying how I love the snack if its name was different, but don’t pass judgment just yet, wait til you hear what it is. It is nothing new really, it is just Doritos, Cheetos, Sun Chips and Pretzels all mixed together. The thing is, Mike can never understand why I buy it. I think it’s the pretzels. I have to pick all of those out. I’m pretty sure they are just there as a filler. Mike told me I would be better off just buying three separate bags of chips and mixing them. He even threw in that I could mix up a bunch and just “freeze” some – I guess to appeal to my Mormonly instincts to can, bottle, freeze and store. The real problem with that is, in “Munchies,” the chips are smaller than normal size – you know, so you can toss a few Doritos, Cheetos and Sun Chips all in your mouth at once. Who out there among you could be unhappy with such a pleasant snack? Still, I like what Mike left in my Easter basket:
And here it is, all mixed like it should be (not a single pretzel to rummage past):

Surprising Situations

One of the cool things about being a mom is you constantly find yourself in the most surprising situations, situations you just never really considered experiencing before children came your way. I call them “surprising,” but they shouldn’t be. In fact, every time one of these situations occur it should come as no surprise at all.

For example, today I was at Old Navy holding a bunch of clothes. I wasn’t planning on buying them all, merely hanging on to them while I considered. Unfortunately, I was also holding a certain 10 month old who was considering something totally different. She was considering throwing up the meal she’d recently eaten. Soon enough, she decided the best course of action would be to avoid the sparkling clean floor, opting to release her meal upon the moppy looking pile of clothing I was holding instead. Somehow it managed to get on pretty much every article. What was I to do? The only thing I could have possibly used to clean it would have been more of the store's clothing. Certainly I didn’t feel that sticking them back on the racks would be honest. And telling the store clerk, “Excuse me but these clothes seem to have throw up on them, would you mind if I traded them?” seemed an improper course as well. I was left with buying the clothes as the only suitable option, which was only made awkward by the fact that someone had to handle them in order to ring them up. Although polite, she didn’t seam to overly relish the task.

There is some good news in all of this – I got to bring home more cute clothing for my kids than I otherwise might have purchased. On the downside, it all had to be scrubbed free of throw-up. Everything has its price I suppose. Luckily, most of these interesting situations can eventually be looked upon with a little laughter (except for the time 15 month old Goldie screamed for three straight hours on a single flight, finally screaming herself into such hysterics that she threw up – I have never felt to laugh upon that . . . ).

A Love Song

I love this "first semester Spanish love song." I haven't even taken Spanish, but I know enough to understand most of it. I think most of us who have taken a semester or two of any foreign language would have learned similar phrases . . . though whether or not we'd be clever enough to weave them into such a moving love song is another matter altogether.
P.S. I love when he says he doesn't remember 11 because everyone can count to 10 in Spanish. Also, thank you Amy for sending me this to begin with.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bad Tooth Fairy

My mission, here on my blog, it is beginning to seem, is to bolster the confidence of other mothers by giving them one example after another of my motherly failings -- refusing to allow my children to exercise their creative minds in crafts, never making a princess skirt for my daughter, etc. Well, if seeing my weaknesses helps just one of you out there to think, "I guess I'm not such a bad mother after all," then my purpose is served. (Don't worry, my kids are resilient, they'll be fine). Anway, here is one more instance of my being a less than perfect mother.

Daisy lost a tooth on Saturday. It was her first and she’d been dying to lose a tooth, so we made quite a fuss over it. Then, on Tuesday, Abe lost a tooth. It was his seventh. I thought we’d seemed excited enough, but apparently not. That evening he came to me and questioned, “Mom, why do people get so excited about some people losing a tooth and not so much about others?” I tried to cheer him up and tell him we were excited but we just thought he was more used to losing teeth by now or something. Still, you’d think after my son hinting that he was feeling a bit left out of toothy attention, we would not have let things end up in such a manner that he would have cause to tell me the next morning, “Well, the tooth fairy didn’t come last night.” -- which is exactly what he did have cause to tell me because no, the tooth fairy did not come. She forgot all about the lonely, hardly paid attention to, seventh tooth of my son. Man, bad mom. Still, last night the tooth fairy did leave him this dollar: Yah, it’s a shirt. Sweeeeet.

P.S. I am not such a bad mom now anyway because by performing my motherly duty of complaining loudly that I couldn’t make my daughter a princess skirt, I inspired the pity of a very wonderful sister who sent this in the mail (along with a letter saying it was from her fairy godmother and telling her how she was a real princess up in heaven, etc. It made me cry. Nice.):

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Zebra Cat

Aaahhh!! I saw a Zebra cat today. It looked pretty much exactly like the cat I’ve drawn here (well, except that it looked real). I was out running along a rather foresty path near my house. It’s always a little dream-like out there what with the gray drippy weather and the tall pines and scraggly blackberry bushes all covered in moss. Suddenly this zebra cat hopped out a few yards in front of me. It looked at me slightly frantic and wild-eyed for a brief moment before dashing off into the blackberry bushes to my right. I saw a few last glimpses as he bounded through the bushes up the hillside and then he was gone . . .

Anyway, I’m wondering if anyone can enlighten me concerning this breed of cat, or if I’ve discovered a new species (which will then be named after me – Nancicus zebricus perhaps), or if I was simply hallucinating what with the mist and all.

Thank you for your input.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Little Notes

There is something I love so much about finding a little note left somewhere for me. Just a silly or kind little thing that makes you realize someone was thinking of you or of making you laugh with out your even being there at the time. My high-school friends and I loved notes. Liz and I would steal Jessica's car horn and leave ransom notes, and we were forever writing and passing each other ridiculous papers at school. (I must apologize to them that none of those notes are posted here as I could only find funny long ones). In college friends and I would leave notes on each other's cars, and my sisters and I also left each other notes. I am sad I couldn't find more of them. I did find some of the long thoughtful ones, but there were many many more left as birthday signs, or bathroom mirror notes or Amy cursing me for not being home to go running with her that I couldn't find! Still, here are a few samples of the happyness that is a note.

A treaty note: this was left in my suitcase with a box of party-mints (the lyrics are from a song "Party Girl" that we used to love)

A goodbye note: this was left on my dresser by my sister-in-law Allie as they were headed back home after a Summer visit.

A "here is something for you" note: this was left along with a new curling iron and blow-dryer by my sister Megan before she headed on a flight back home (she had mocked me during her stay for having the same old curling iron we'd aquired from her friend Kim during high-school).

A "little bit smart-alecy" notes: Both of these were left by my brother Chris. One next to a tithing check and the other on the wall on my 16th (driver's liscence) birthday.

The compliment note: This was written on my history paper by Pat Butler (who taught many of us) He liked the paper.

The kid note (a personal favorite type of note): this one was left from my little Tessa who is all grown now, but she lived with us for a time when she was my small little niece.

This kid note was from my very own son when he felt he had gone astray

The Husband notes: Obviously these are some of my favorites. Not because they are what you might think a husbandly note should be, "I love you, you're the best," but because they just make me smile at my spouse.

This particular husband note was left on the counter for me along with some of his finals.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Metaphor, maybe.

I’ve been feeling a bit sluggish in my running lately. A week or so ago, as I was out, I decided that I needed to kick it up a notch. In cross-country we would do “intervals” once a week to increase our speed and help keep us from plateauing. When I’m training for something big, I like to add intervals to my routine, but all I am trying to do at present is avoid those times when you slip from normal comfortable pace to slow haggard pace. Generally this happens on hills, so I decided to use proper form and kick it into gear on the hills. Not to kill myself, mind you, it’s just that occasionally there is a very fine line between sluggish and slow, and fairly quick, and I notice that most often on hills. So, my goal lately has been to resist the temptation to barely stumble up hills (which are VERY plentiful here), rather, to bring my arms more in synch with my legs, lift them a little higher and lift my legs a little more in the proper hill running technique. It was this very thing, just kicking it into gear enough – not to necessarily go faster, but to maintain when it’s rough – that gave me an edge in many a cross country race and I hope that at present it will help push me past my rut.

As I was running up a fairly long hill today, it occurred to me that there might be some way this related to real life. Some sort of a metaphor that I couldn’t quite articulate (after all, I was “kicking it up a notch” on a fairly long hill – plus, I think you have to be talking to “articulate”, so maybe I mean some type of a metaphor I couldn’t quite formulate?), perhaps something about trials or times of spiritual plateau? Maybe something about that fine line between being sluggish and actually doing quite well? I’m not sure. I’m just leaving it here in case anyone else can make something useful out of it.

P.S. I also have always been quite successful at using the easy down hills to my advantage, though that is less about work and more about totally going with the hill . . . metaphor there? I’m really too tired. Goodnight.

Granny Wooldridge

These bunnies were an Easter gift for my kids made by Granny Wooldridge. Granny Wooldridge is so great. She doesn't think it's fair that my kids don't have a grandma here, so she is always doing sweet things for us. She lets me get flower starts from her garden, made Penny a blessing dress, gives me apples for baking, etc.
Anyway, I had to show off these bunnies because they are my new favorite thing. I don't know if the pictures do them justice, but they are the coolest critters ever. I am in love with them and if I could sew, I would make them all the day long out of all sorts of different cool fabrics and give them to everyone I love! Happy Easter to you all!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dear Akiko

Abe told me today that his 1st grade class is being pen-pals with another 1st grade class in Indiana. Pen-pals. Those used to be quite the thing when I was growing up. Everybody wanted a pen-pal. I even wanted a pen-pal – in theory – in reality I had several experiences as a pen-pal and failed equally with each. Other than Abe’s class I wonder if pen-pals are around these days. People don’t write letters much anymore. They probably exist now in the form of text-mates or cyber-pals or something – all of which sound far less wholesome than the original “pen-pal.” Below are my pen-pal experiences (at least the ones I remember) in no particular order (since I’m not sure what the order was).

1. Name forgotten, but whatever the name was, it was attached (along with her age, address, and pen-pal request) to the remains of a helium balloon in our backyard. It had made its way from somewhere in Idaho all the way to me. Winds of fate you would think. Alas, I wrote her and she never wrote back.

2. Akiko. This was by far my most successful attempt at pen-paling. My older brother was teaching English in Japan and she was one of his students. We wrote back and forth for some time. She was a bit older and ended up coming to CA to go to school. She gave me her number to call and actually talk. I am horrified to admit that being a bit shy at the time and feeling far more pressure in live conversation than the written word, I did not call nor did I ever send my phone number. We eventually lost touch and I actually do wish I could ever discover what became of dear little Akiko.

3. JoAnna. This was by far my most disturbing pen-pal experience. I received her letter (completely unexpected) in my mailbox in about 9th grade. She lived all the way in Poland and her letter stated that she had received my name and address from a “group of travelling clowns.” Most of you can see right there why I was disturbed with out me even writing it! Who on earth were these clowns? Why were they giving out my name to random children in Poland!?? I finally remembered that at one point earlier in the year my English teacher had us write letters that a group of people would be delivering to children (I hadn’t known it was for pen-pal purposes – perhaps it was just letters to cheer up sick children. It had been very vague. I certainly don’t ever recall being told they were travelling clowns). Anyway, I went ahead and wrote JoAnna. She’d asked fairly specific weather questions, so I told her what the temperature range was where I lived. I thought I’d be helpful and use her fancy Celsius ways . . . unfortunately I forgot that you don’t simply subtract (or add?) 32 degrees from everything and so my calculations were very incorrect. I don’t know what kind of crazy temperatures I told her, but she never wrote back. Perhaps she assumed I was a liar with my crazy temperature remarks.

Well, that’s all for now. There may have been several others, but if they exist, they have been forgotten – which would suggest they were even less successful than the above mentioned ones, and if that is the case, they must have been sad indeed!

Friday, March 21, 2008


I was looking at some cute crafts my sister-in-law had done with her kids today and wondering why I won’t try to do fun little things like that more often. I did once let them paint colorful milk on bread before toasting it. That was a hit, and I’m not bad at giving them “tasks” to complete with a picture – something they must create like a new planet and the creatures that inhabit it or some such. But, in truth, that is generally just to keep them busy and I am not involved until called in at the end to view the finished products. Perhaps even worse than the not-so-bad fact that I don’t do creative stuff with them very often, is the awful fact that I sometimes discourage them doing such things themselves simply because of the potential for mess. Take Daisy for example. She is actually quite the crafty girl in her own right. There is always so much cut up paper, glue, etc. left around after though that I am not always encouraging. Still, I’m trying to be less concerned about the clutter. I didn’t even make a peep when Goldie dumped out several bags of beans yesterday so she could glue them to paper:
And here is a little of the stuff Daisy has managed to create despite my "stop the mess" nature:
She had made a mouse in school and then came home and all on her own helped Goldie recreate a similar thing.
Another time she made a bus and used those little metal clips that splay out in back (which I didn’t even know we had) to make the paper wheels actually turn.
She seems to enjoy collages where she will make the shape of a holiday thing and fill it in with paper, stickers and marker – such as this Christmas tree.
But here is something so cute it makes me want to cry. It is my favorite thing ever made by one of my children. This was actually made by 3 year old Goldie this Halloween. Abe and Daisy were busy doing there own sophisticated crafts and weren’t interested in helping her, so all on her own she made this spider. She did all the cutting and taping of body and legs (which is tricky for those inexperienced little hands) as well as the drawing of the face. When she showed me this little spider she’d done all on her own I nearly passed out at being so in love with my child (that is one thing I love about motherhood. Not just the constant love for your child, but the occasional waves of nearly crushing adoration).

The post that was hardly a post at all

I haven’t posted for so many days (OK, three or four). That is so unlike me and here all of you are hoping and wishing and waiting for a new post – just as miserable as can be. And yet, I have nothing particular to post. The trouble is these blog entries always seem to be about a particular thing, and what of when you have no “particular” thing to write of? That is certainly seldom a problem for me as there are often ever so many particular things floating about in my head just waiting to hop out onto the page. Alas, lately there has been very little going on up there (in my head) that is more than small and random – hardly worthy of a post (I do like those two words: particular and post).

Even now, I have no real intention of posting, but here is what happens: I come up to get ready for bed – you know, wash face, remove contacts, etc. Mike thinks this process is rather slooow, so he remains downstairs flipping through the TV channels. The plan is that he will arrive up here just as I am done with all my little rituals. And what of when he doesn’t arrive? Well, I begin fiddling around with blogs, or reading, or anything other than what I need to be doing which is going to bed. I’m so tired. Why won’t I go to bed? The trouble is, Mike has probably fallen asleep on the couch, but I don’t like to go to sleep with out him, so I wait up. Couldn’t I just go get him you ask? Well, certainly, but I keep thinking to myself something like, “he’ll be up in a minute, I may as well read this email while I wait.” And of course it’s always entertaining, so I don’t go get him, I wait. Eventually he does come, but I’ve been awake the whole time, while he’s had a nice little snooze, so even though we both go to bed at the same late hour, I don’t think I’m getting the same amount of shut eye.

Oh well, sometimes he doesn’t get an unfair extra nap. Sometimes he is watching the end of a Star Trek episode or a PBS documentary. Tonight I believe it is a Lewis and Clark one. It actually was very good, but I knew it wouldn’t get over until 11:00 and I didn’t want to get sucked in. Of course, now I am up here wide awake at 11:00 anyway! Why oh why?

Well, how’s that for a post? I feel like saying, “HA! I fooled you!” So, at least I will add something overheard today that I liked (it began with Daisy’s first loose tooth).

Daisy: Mom, I think I can feel the root of my tooth.
Goldie: Root? What’s a root?
Daisy: Did you know how trees have roots?
Goldie: Yah, I did know that.
Daisy: Well, your tooth has a root . . . like it has been planted.

Mike has finished the documentary and related it's ending to me. Now I want to post all about that. I won’t, but poor Lewis. He had horrible bouts of depression, etc. The rigors of the trip kept it somewhat at bay, but in the end he committed suicide. And Sacagawea was only like 16 and so cool and intelligent and just impressive to the whole group. She’d been sold to her bum mountain man husband who had another wife and didn’t seem to have done anything worthy of such a personality as she. She carted her newborn son along for like 1 ½ years helping the crew. Apparently when she died (shortly after the birth of her daughter), her children were sent to be raised by Clark.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday at our house

Well, here we are . . . with our gun. Look at us. It's a Sunday for crying out loud! We never should have left the security of extended family Sunday dinners. What's to become of us? Still, perhaps it isn't so unsabbathy, it is afterall mearly a BB gun. That can't possibly be considered as unwholesome as shooting a rifle, or even a .22 -- just an innocent little BB gun. Plus, as you can see, I am still in my Sunday best and we are only shooting the remains of a broken Sunday dinner plate. Which leads me to how this Sunday evening activity all came about.

I was just about to break out the super-glue to glue back on the broken side of this plate when Mike told me that it wasn't worth saving as it already had another large crack down the middle. This was shocking to me and here is why: Mike is a keeper. No, not a keeper like,"He's a keeper! Don't let go of him!" -- though he certainly is that. But, I was referring to him as a "keeper of things" -- meaning, someone who does not believe in throwing stuff away. It would appear that it was perhaps the opportunity to shoot something up that allowed him to overcome his natural ways. That is why I was so willing to join in, and I cherish this newly acquired information, because I am not a keeper (once again, I don't mean I'm not one you'd want to keep) simply that I do not like to keep "things." I now feel better equipped to deal with this difference in our natures. In the future when I want to throw something out and Mike can't quite part with it, I will simply suggest we shoot it up -- maybe even blow it up (if shooting doesn't tempt him enough). Of course, that still won't allow us to give things to the needy, but it's a start, definitely a start.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The truth about Penny

I sent some of these photos to my sisters awhile ago telling them that up to that point I had only forwarded the most flattering photos of my little Penpen and that now it was time they knew the full truth. Now, dear reader, you too must know the full truth.

Ohh, the truth about our little Penny is, she drools a lot. She also generally has fairly chapped cheeks and the hair on the crown of her head floats about constantly like a wispy tuft of angel hair blowing in the wind. She loves to yell greetings or the need to be noticed with a very loud, “AH.” She also kicks. Most babies seem to like to kick but then grow out of it, but Penny continues to find kicking a great outlet for those times when smiling simply isn’t good enough for expressing all her happiness – kick kick kick if I’m reading a book she really likes, kick kick kick when Mike comes home from work. She also yanks and pulls very fiercely on ears – Abe and Mike’s ears in particular (perhaps because they are not covered by hair). When she sees food she hopes to eat, she has a very particular laugh – a laugh that can switch very subtly from excited to panic depending on how long it takes for her to receive the food she’s after. When chewing on a particularly tasty toy or book, she makes a very contented and chewy, "num, num num," sound. It generally gets quite a few laughs as it is reserved for non-food items. When eating real food, she occasionally makes a sound like she is repeatedly spitting watermelon seeds from her mouth. She is the first of my babies to give kisses . . . although, so far only Abe and I have been very willing to receive these open mouthed wet drooly bonks on the face or head. She gets called lots of little names that contain the word "pen" -- pigpen, penpal, etc. But most often she is "Tumbles" (which came from calling her my little tumble weed), or "Trublums" (which somehow came from trouble maker). When we are praying she looks about like, "this is GREAT!" and then begins banging on her high-chair and yelling loudly and happily. She once blew a raspberry so well that spit flew onto the face of a man on the bench behind us in church. (We had no idea she'd been so succesful until hearing peels of laughter from behind). She seems to give our other children attention according to their respective ages -- more for Abe, less for Goldie. She assumes that anything anyone ever has is her very own to yank away and put in her mouth as she pleases, and she prefers TV cords, paper of any type, those springy door stops, and very muddy shoes to all else. I’m not sure if the very fair and accurate picture painted above would cause the normal reader to think, “That baby is the greatest thing on earth,” but oddly, all of it causes us to think that very thing. I can’t really explain why those things make me so happy that I feel slightly like I can’t catch my breath, but it’s very nice that they do.

My Israel Roommates

Yes, two posts in one day! I was thinking of my experience in Israel the other night (where I was lucky enough to spend a semester in college). I wasn't thinking of all of the amazing Israel stuff so much as I was thinking of a few silly things about living with my roommates. There were four of us, and it was my first and only experience living with roommates (though living with my sisters was not much different). I am posting this picture because if any of them are lurking about reading this, I know it will grab there attention like nothing else could.
There were 176 students in our group, and we were all part of the Jerusalem branch. We lived in the gorgeous Jerusalem Center. Our dorm rooms were on one half of the building and the boys were on the other. Visiting the dorm of a member of the opposite sex was strictly forbidden except on one occasion – a monthly home teaching appointment from your assigned home teachers. The two boys that home taught us were great. They gave meaningful lessons (in fact I still remember one about building our own spiritual fortresses), they took us for one lesson to the Garden Tomb, and, perhaps our favorite thing of all, they gave us the candle pictured above. It was a birthday present for one of my roommates. Similar candles were sold everywhere in the Old City – but none of them could possibly compare to the candle they gave us, because none of those candles had "Happy B-day" carved into their wax or little black and white photos of our four faces along with black and white photos of our two home-teacher’s faces stapled into them. After all their goodness to us, I am ashamed to report that we found this thoughtful gift to be thee most hilarious thing imaginable. In fact, for some time after Jerusalem we continued to re-gift this very candle to each other . . . until it was lost and no one could quite remember who had been given the precious gift last . . . until now. We can all assume that the photo is proof of my possession. I found it again when we moved here and ohhhh I can’t wait to re-gift it when one of them least expects it!

Speaking of re-gifting, I don’t know why it seems so funny to continue to pass certain things on. Growing up, my sisters, friends and I would often have some silly thing that we kept passing back and forth to one another. There was another special thing from Israel that we passed about – until it too has been lost somewhere with one of us. Everyone bought fancy Nativity Scenes in Jerusalem. I bought a decent one, but then I also found a little old shop where there were a bunch of very roughly carved little tiny scenes and I bought several of these cool little sets for family. One set, however, had no sheep. The shop-keeper assured me and my roommate not to worry as he rummaged through a big barrel of trinkets. He then proudly produced a similar looking sheep about three times the size of the other figures in the set. He was so pleased that he’d found a match and seemed so certain that it was a perfect fit that we ended up shrugging and taking it with the set. We loved and laughed over this monstrous frightening nativity sheep and in the end I think stuck it in someone’s suitcase as a surprise for when they got home.

Lastly, as roommates we got along very happily . . . except for one minor thing. Two of my roommates liked to go to bed early while the other two of us liked to go to bed late and then talk til even later. There were constant annoyed “SHHH”s from their half of the room and nervous raised eyebrows and pursed lips from our half. Unfortunately it was not until our last week in Israel that my late night roommate and I remembered that everyone had filled out an information sheet before coming to Israel on roommate preferences. One question asked specefically if you liked to go to bed early or late. We brought this up to our early-to-bed roommates only to be met with nervous glances between the two of them. They then confessed, “Well, we talked about it and decided that if we put ‘early to bed’ we’d be stuck with nerdy roommates.” Well, they were obviously saved from that fate by getting the coolest of cool roommates, but ohh how they suffered for there trickery!! If only we’d been able to use that against them the whole time!!

Well, that’s that, just some silly memories about those fun days. If I had a scanner I’d put pictures of us on here, but alas the candle will have to do.

Lessons from a butterfly net

The previous post (about kids learning . . . or not learning something from FHE) reminded me of one of my favorite Daisy stories. It was a summer or two ago. Daisy would absolutely not share her butterfly net with a neighbor boy even though she was no longer using it. Because my kids generally do seem to know the "right" answer in FHE or Primary, I thought I could make Daisy's situation more clear to her by presenting it thusly:

"Daisy, what if they told a story in primary about a little girl who had a net that she was done using and a sad little neighbor boy who had no net to use? Do you think they would say the little girl should share the net or just keep it for herself?"

It seemed to be working. Daisy paused and pursed her lips in an uncomfortable thinking sort of way, but then she replied (in a tone of some annoyance), "Mom, they would never say that kind of a story in Primary!" And with that, she skipped happily into the house with her net.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

FHE lesson applied to real life

I was in the bathroom last night shouting various pleas and threats to get my children to come and brush their teeth before bed -- I wasn’t getting much cooperation, but it wasn’t too long before Abe showed up.

“Mom,” he said, “Remember that family night story last night about the girl asking her friends not to say bad words?”

“Uh-huh,” I said. Though, in truth, I’m not sure I did remember exactly. My memories of our family night the previous evening were more of throwing together a quick lesson when I realized Mike wouldn’t be home to do one, someone shouting that Penny was tearing the pages from a library book, someone else complaining that Goldie wasn’t being reverent and shouldn’t get any ice-cream, and I remember trying to get my children to pay attention to different scenarios and how they could best be handled. One of these scenarios, I presumed, was what Abe was referring to.

“Well, I did that in school today,” Abe humbly told me, and then the rest, but first, a little background for you:

Abe has recently become great pals with a certain boy at school. He is forever telling me what the two of them did at recess or bringing home pictures they made together where they each took turns drawing something startlingly ferocious onto the same dinosaur (until, in the end, the fearsome creatures have wings, horns, swords coming out of their sides, etc.). Apparently Abe’s pal had been using an offensive word, and so my brave boy mustered his courage and said, “It’s alright if you use that word, but could you please not say it around me?”

“Wow! Abe,” I said, “I can’t believe it! I’m so proud of you! It takes a lot of bravery to do something like that!”

“It does??” He asked, his smile growing bigger as he thought it through, “yah, because you don’t really know if they’ll like just keep saying the word, or like not want to be your friend anymore.”

Luckily, his little pal was willing to curb his language to please Abe. Here is the thing – the one small thing: It may be that his language didn’t necessarily warrant much curbing. You may be the judge, but the word he was using, apparently, was, “Holy.” When Abe told me the word, I was a bit confused. I asked if he meant he was using a holy word, like the Lord’s name, or was he using “holy” followed by a four letter word? No, just “holy” – more as in, “holy cow!!”
Well, hmmm. I’m not sure in the strictest terms if that is considered a swear word. I’ve always thought it rather innocent myself, but it may be that Abe has a keener understanding than I. After all, haven’t I explained to him that we don’t use our Heavenly Father’s name as an exclamation because it is holy?? Well, if we are to be careful with holy words . . . certainly you could argue that “holy” must needs be holy.

I didn’t care. I wasn’t about to ruin this moment by mentioning that his courage might have been slightly unnecessary. I was truthful enough when I said, “I’m happy that if something made you uncomfortable, you stood up for what you believed, Abe.”

And, what of his playmate, you ask, the kind pal who really wasn’t saying anything so wrong. What is he, or his mother for that matter, to think of being asked not to use such a word? I don’t know. I will leave that to them. My boy learned a valuable thing and I plan on being extra careful not to shout, “Holy Cow” from here on out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Marshmellow Peeps

Who in their right mind would write about marshmallow peeps? No one is the answer, but I never have claimed to be in my “right mind.” I’m not even sure I know what my “right mind” is since I keep writing about things no one in their right mind would write about – meaning I must generally be in my “wrong mind;” and when put that way, it is very disturbing for me to think about – being in my wrong mind . . . obviously that is a place no one would ever want to be.

But, here I am, all in my wrong mind, (starting not only a sentence, but an entire paragraph with a conjunction!!) writing about marshmallow peeps. I will say, in my defense, that rather strong feelings seem to exist out there concerning these little treats. I once read an article about how many are produced and about web-sites devoted to doing crazy experiments, etc. with marshmallow peeps (the more I type that name, the sillier it sounds). So, I’m just saying that I am not alone in having thought about the little guys. Apparently loads of people are in their wrong minds when it comes to the sugary bunny shaped delights.

Now, to the meat of the matter (though there is probably no meat in the peeps): I couldn’t quite understand how I could have such unreasonable differing opinions about the treats when they are the same whatever the color or shape. Here are my feelings:

1. Marshmallow peeps are good at Easter time only. They are awful and not even worth considering when made as Halloween pumpkins and ghosts or as Christmas trees.

2. Even at Easter time, the only acceptable colors for peeps are pink and yellow. It makes me shudder to think of consuming the blue, green or purple varieties.

3. A peep, even one that meets all the above criteria, is only good if it has sat out and gotten a little hard.

There you have it. That is how I feel about the fellas. I confronted these thoughts the other day when Goldie had me buy some marshmallow peeps at the store. I was happy to oblige, it was Easter, they were pink, but they are still sitting down stairs in an open container waiting to harden. All at once I realized why the craziness of my thoughts. It is this: marshmallow peeps are really not very good. That is why I don’t like them at other holidays or in other colors. The soul reason I like them as I described in my three points is that in that way they are associated totally with happy childhood memories – before peeps started expanding their horizons with other holidays and other colors, when they were simply the two colored Easter variety that my parents would hide for us to find on Easter morning – after they’d sat out all night getting a bit crunchy. It makes me happy to remember this and it makes me laugh that I could like a treat purely through association with a happy childhood memory. Thanks mom and dad for all the happy holiday memories I have! I will always remain loyal to the pink and yellow Easter peeps because I will associate any attack upon them as an insult to my happy childhood.

With that warning said, you may as well all comment because I know every last one of you has something to say about the very odd little treats.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bad bad mom!!

This here “skirt” pretty much proves that I am the worst mom in the world. Mike bought me a sewing machine several months ago. From the start, Daisy begged for a princess dress. I told her that might be beyond me but assured her we could make a princess skirt just as soon as we got some material. Then, just to try the new machine out, I sewed the rough shape of a “skirt” on the only material we had in the house. It wasn’t really meant to be the “princess skirt” or even a skirt at all really – I mean look at it. No hem, no elastic waist, no glitter, nothin’. Sadly, after several months of me saying we’d make her skirt “soon,” she gave up. That alone wouldn’t have made me feel so bad, but she’s done it with such cheerful resignation. She somehow manages to actually keep this “skirt” on for hours. She tells everyone that it is her princess skirt and someday we may even sew some cute things on it. She happily claims that she’s all set to be a princess for Halloween now (though she did decide to at least make her own very sad little paper excuse for a crown). Seriously, what kind of a mother am I!!?! Someone, make that poor girl a pretty skirt!
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