Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Little Ones

The two little ones haven't been in enough photos lately. Funny how in a family with more than a few kids you become one of "the big kids" or "the little kids." And it either changes or stays permanent depending on whether or not new kids come along to bump you up to big kid status. For example, in my own family I was forever one of "the three little girls" simply because we were at the end of the family, and no manner of aging or growing was ever going to shift us up. In our family now, we have the three big kids and the two little ones. It has confused Goldie a bit because she only recently joined the ranks of the big kids. Anyway, here are the two little kids.
This picture is blurry, but I like how Jesse appears to be looking off at some exciting thing in the distance -- something he has been waiting for that has only just appeared on the horizon.

Penny continues to more fully take on her role as entertaining toddler, which Mike and I both love for all the laughs it gives us. On Sunday Mike was eating some of his Father's Day Pringles. Penny kept asking for more and more chips. Finally Mike told her, "No more chips." She wandered for a moment -- pondering. Then returned to say, "How bout one for Dais?" So Mike handed her a chip for Daisy and said, "OK, go give it to Daisy." Penny looked him straight in the eyes as she shoved the chip into her mouth and garbled out, "I don't have one."

And Jesse. Oh Jesse. He is possibly the easiest baby I have had and I've had some pretty easy ones (saving of course my dear angel Daisy who I loved fiercely but who nearly drove me to a nervous breakdown with her utter refusal to sleep EVER for about nine or ten months despite month long attempts at crying it out, music boxes, co-sleeping, etc.) But really, he is just so easy and pleasant. I worry I neglect him because he demands so very little. He generally sleeps through the night. If he does wake up I just give him a little pat to soothe him and he says, "Yes, thank you. That was silly of me to bother you. Now I'll go straight away back to sleep." What a nice nice little boy I have!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh Father's Day

During Sharing Time in Primary yesterday the kids were making Father's Day cards. One of the kids in our class asked a leader how to spell dad. Only he misheard her and wrote BAD. When she corrected him, he simply added DAD. So his card said BAD DAD, which made me chuckle.

Then in class Mike taught all the kids how they could all hold up their fingers and say, "Dad, I have FIVE Father's Day presents for you." At which point they would count off to five as they folded each finger in and then punch their dads. He had them practice a few times to make sure they could do it right.

Then, to top things off, Goldie made Mike a special card. "Only," she informed him, "I didn't know how to spell all of Father's Day, so I just spelled some of it." Here is the part she spelled.

Oh Father's Day Father's Day . . . how like fathers you are.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Running, Garage Sales, and Red Hot Pokers

I ran 14 miles this morning. It didn't feel good. It wasn't the distance so much, mind you. It was just that mostly my body loves to be running, but every now and then, something goes awry and from the get go it just feels unnatural and all wrong. I could never get into a groove, my knees hurt, and I kept having a stitch in my side that wouldn't leave. I guess it is OK to have those days once in awhile training so long as you don't on race day, but I had big plans for being productive and weeding more of our jungle today, and now all I can do is lie here feeling weak, useless, and unable.

At least I can lie here all useless for now. Jesse is napping and Mike took the other kids to some garage sales. I have mixed feelings about this garage sale business. I despise having so much "stuff" around, and honestly my kids each have about 8 million stuffed animals now. But, the kids think it is the funnest thing ever. Even Penny will excitedly ask, "Garage sale?" when Mike's around in the morning. And, it gives me a chance to have a little time to clean up the house and relax all alone on Saturday mornings. And all alone is worth quite a bit.
Anyway, look at these "flowers." Pshaw. Flowers?! Amidst all our weeds, we had tons of these monocot style groupings that I just knew were some type of lovely Day Lilly. I've mentioned I love flowers, so I was quite excited for all these pretty lillies to bloom . . . but when they did bloom, they were not lillies at all. Even as I saw the bizarre triangles developing I kept refusing to believe they wouldn't somehow change into a traditional flower shape. I was out running one morning when I saw some that were further along than my own. I ran past thinking nothing but then stopped cold as the realization hit me. The things I had just run past were the same things that were growing in my yard -- everywhere in my yard. I didn't have lillies, I had RED HOT POKERS!! (Only I didn't know they were called Red Hot Pokers til my friend Kelly told me). I felt like I had been duped -- like someone had played a dirty trick on me. I don't want to offend anyone who thinks they are lovely, but I went so far as to call them "ridiculous." Sure I could see a few strategically placed in a well landscaped area looking alright (mostly behind other prettier things -- just to add a little drama), but all on their own they seemed totally inappropriate.
But that was before the birds came. It turns out birds love these little Red Hot Poker guys. It is like we have hundreds of tiny bird feeders in our yard. At all times of the day you can look out and catch various little birds landing on these things and looking for bugs or drinking nectar or whatever it is they are doing. I took this picture of one just to show you what I mean. I feel like we have a little wildlife bird refuge in our backyard now (patrolled by a giant and somewhat clueless dog). And oddly, these pokers don't look quite so silly to me anymore. I am maybe even starting to like them. It's just like Rudolph. Everyone thought he was totally ridiculous looking until Santa paid him a little attention . . . next thing you know, everyone wanted him to play their reindeer games (like Monopoly). Yes, that is how I feel. Thanks to the attention paid to these flowers by a few birds, I see them quite differently. I think I might even want to invite them to play Monopoly now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Airplane and Balloon Notes

I like this. Yesterday Abe and Daisy were arguing. At some point, apparently, Daisy decided to apologize by throwing an airplane into Abe's room with a small note attached saying she was sorry. Abe loved such a clever apology and sent a message back. Between last night and today, they ended up sending quite a few airplanes flying from upstairs to down, or one room to another. Occasionally a small note would come floating down attached to a balloon. I hadn't paid much attention to what the notes said until they decided to tape them all onto one balloon to keep. Here is what I found on this balloon in no particular order (punctuation, capitalization and spelling as they truly were):
-- thank you
-- no your welcome and thanks!!
-- come on (I think this one came to Abe when Daisy was waiting for him to come play a game with her).
-- to Daisy thanks
-- Good morning
-- we are small but we are strong, I won't punch you all day long (what? I don't know, but cool)
-- WAKE UP!!!
-- let's play toys!
-- OK
-- Your welcome and thanks
-- to Abe i am Sorry
-- thanks and Good night
-- sorry?!
-- it's ok
-- thanks I Love You
-- good night!!!
-- show time!! (I think Abe sent this up to Daisy when I said they could watch a show last night).
-- no your welcome and thanks!!

Oh! So funny! Literally right as I was typing this post, an airplane came flying in the room from around the corner going to the basement (where Abe and Daisy are playing so as not to wake their napping siblings). Here is what was attached:
(That says "Mom will you please get us a snack" if you couldn't read it). I had to pause to get them some crackers and chocolate chips -- which I left on the top stair before sending an airplane down with a note saying, "Look on the stairs" . . . only the note fell out of the airplane (how do theirs' always stay?) . . . so it wasn't as perfect as it should have been. Anyway, what cuteness from my kids. Things like this almost make you forget all about things like the terrible sobbing tantrum one of my daughters threw this morning!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Risks We Never Took

Here's something interesting (or not I suppose, depending on the viewpoint of you, the reader), but it is this: We were not the safest of children growing up. We ran about the neighborhood never thinking to tell a parent of our whereabouts. We walked to the store when it was dark outside. We spent many days running around on our roof (which makes me shudder to think of -- my parent's roof is very steep and high). Etc.

Despite our careless ways however, we did know that there were certain dangers you simply did not toy with. Certain risks you never took. How, or even if, my parents meant to impress only these things upon us, I am uncertain, but the impression was made, and the terrifying deeds were never done. (And as for the other areas where we were careless . . . well, that was in another time . . . a time when kids weren't kidnapped, and they didn't fall off roofs). Here are some of the things that were no joking matter in my family.

1. The lid removed from a can with a can opener. One sure fire way to invite trouble was to remove a lid with a can opener and then simply toss that lid in the garbage. Or worse, leave it hanging on the edge of the can. That simply was not done. You ALWAYS put the severed lid in the bottom of the can it was removed from. Otherwise later, when you were reaching your hand deep into the garbage (for some unknown reason) one of these razor sharp lids would most likely sever your hand (maybe your whole arm). It wasn't until I was married and on my own that I once in awhile threw one of these lids away not in the can, and even then, only if I was feeling especially bold and rebellious.

2. Plastic bags. I don't actually know if this came from my parents or school teachers, but I do know that if a plastic bag was put over your head . . . maybe not even put over your head, maybe just somewhere near your head . . . you would immediately suffocate. No no, you couldn't use your hands to remove the bag, you would be far too terrified and confused for that, and you would only have about five seconds before you were dead anyway, so . . .

3. Look for rocks before diving. Ironically, my dad had given us that advice for years BEFORE he himself dove into a sandbar or rock or something at a lake in Yellowstone -- nearly killing or paralyzing himself. I still recall seeing him come stumbling up the hill leaning on my brother and covered in blood. We certainly didn't question or mock that advice after that event.

4. Giggling so much with our friends that we didn't watch the road while we were driving. This advice may have not been heeded as well as the others . . . and it may have been given solely to me. I'm not sure, but ohhh my friends and I loved to laugh and laugh and laugh . . . and my dad lived in constant fear of the danger our giggling would subject us to.

5. Bang toys on the piano. OK, nothing dangerous would happen to you if you did this (other than incurring the wrath of my mother), but that was also one "forbidden" thing that came to mind. We may have jumped on couches and hung from banisters, but we did NOT bang toys on the piano.

Anyway, that's all. It just made me wonder about what things I am most adamant that my kids avoid. Perhaps I should just stick with those five because steering clear of those things did land me safely here -- in adulthood.

Some Penny

Numbered List Lately Penny phrases every thought as a question. We'll walk outside and it will be blustery. "Is it windy, Mom?" She'll ask as she shields her eyes from the gusts. "Is it mine?" She'll say happily if I hand her a drink. "Is it Jesse?" If she hears him. It is very cute. Also, yesterday Abe came in from playing outside with his sisters. He'd been treated poorly and grumpily told me, "I don't want to play with them anymore. I'm going for a ride," and he hopped on Penny's tiny little bus scooter. I couldn't help but chuckle, and when he asked why, and I explained that usually someone "going on a ride" to blow off some steam would be going off on their bike or in a car rather than a tiny toy scooting around the house, he had to admit he looked a bit funny and before long he was cheerfully shouting for Penny to chase him as he zoomed about. She, however, was uninterested in this game of tag and after ignoring his request several times, she simply said, "You wish." Abe and I thought that was the funniest thing ever. I couldn't imagine where she would have picked that up until Abe told me that I say that to him all of the time! (I think it is only when he says things like, "Can I stay up all night and eat ice cream?" though). Anyway, Pen is a fun little girl.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beginnings of Summer Adventures

Occasionally someone will tell me I'm a good mom. I like that, naturally, but am not exactly sure what being a "good mom" fully entails. Whenever someone gives me such a compliment, I try to think of anything specifically I do that could be considered truly "good." I can't think of any real strong points, but maybe my mothering is like myself in general. I think that most people would consider me a good person. "Nancy? She's good. Yes, most assuredly she's good." Yet they would perhaps have a feeling of vagueness themselves as they thought of me as good and if asked to pinpoint just how I am good or where exactly any goodness in me lie they would not be sure. Still, I think (or hope) they would remain convinced that I am -- despite the lack of clear and easily visible markers.

Anyway, who knows exactly if or how I'm a good mom what with the specefics so lacking. My kids, for the most part, are pretty good, so perhaps the natural supposition would be that I made them that way by my good mothering? Really they probably just came good. Either way, I will tell you quite sadly that, good mom or not, my momness is lacking in one area -- the area of fun. I just am not naturally a super fun mom. I don't really love thinking up or taking them on fun adventures or coming up with creative crafts. I manage to squeeze by with a few things now and then that require very little effort on my part (like telling them to divide a paper into nine sections and create nine aliens for me, or, we did buy those round papers that they color and ship off to be turned into plates), but mostly I just don't do fun things. Recognizing this, however, I have decided to try and do at least one "fun" thing a week with them over the Summer. So far, so good. Week one: the Zoo (thanks Shannon and Priscilla for coming too). Week two: 4-wheeling and sleeping over at my sister's in Idaho (thanks Megs for letting us come on such short notice. There were ten kids under age nine between us, so very nice of her). Not all weeks will have such BIG fun things (sometimes it will be a park or small hike), but I am trying to let them have their fun -- even if it isn't in my nature to do so. Here are a few pics from the zoo and Megan's house.

The Zoo

Meg's house

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Little Music

Friday night we tried to go to the movie Up as a family. Unfortunately Jesse found the theater to be thee single most terrifying place he had ever been thrust into and began sobbing hysterically (and he's not much of a cryer -- crier? The town crier or cryer? -- oh these thoughts spawning other thoughts -- how can I ever stay on track?). Anyway, I left and took him home to bed. I was sad to miss the show. Mike and the kids thought it was about the best Pixar yet. But, as I sat in my quiet home glancing through the Ensign, I didn't mind so much. One article quoted one of Oscar Wilde's characters saying, "After playing Chopin, I feel as though I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own." I fell quite madly in love with that quote. It expressed in such moving wording how I already feel about reading novels and how I now believed I should most certainly feel about music (if I could ever claim to understand the world at all).

So, I immediately retired to my chambers (huh?) where I began plunking out, somewhat discordantly, Pachelbel's Canon in D and then a few hymns (initially with enough enthusiasm that I used my left hand . . . which eventually dropped out of participation). And while my own playing limitations didn't allow me, during this particular session, to weep, mourn, or soar with love or joy, I did have a few good moments of small inspiration concerning the raising of my children. So. That is all I really have to say. Hmm. Odd to end so abruptly -- not just here, in the typed word, but in my own head. That was that. All there was. Well, good day to you all then.
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