Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little Blogging Info

I am putting this on here just because I think it might be of interest to many of my blogging friends and family out there who have been wanting to make their blogs into printed books.

As I've mentioned, I've done two such books so far and am working on a third. I love having them right here in our home, but it is a lot of work to get them ready to print. I have been using the booksmart software (I think most bloggers I know have used this). It does slurp your blog up, but you really still have to go through and edit every single page. Once you know how to really work with and change their formats, you can get your posts just how you want, and I do think it is really fun to be able to choose different backgrounds for each page, or have a picture take up an entire page, etc. Still, it is time consuming, and I think a lot of you have been wanting to do it, but putting it off because you don't want to dig in and commit to figuring out how to edit the pages, etc.

Soooo . . . that brings me to this: my cousin Jenn started blogging fairly recently, so I was a bit amazed when she said she had already printed off several books. That is, until she told me about this website for doing blog books: Blog2Print

I haven't done it myself, but it sounds ridiculously easy, so it might be the answer for all of you who want the book minus the work. My cousin said you basically go in, give them your blog address, choose the type of cover you want and picture you want on it, tell them which posts you want included in the book (like Jan. 1, 10 - Dec. 31, 10), and print your book. I think it basically just tries to keep the layout as you have it already in your blog.

You do loose a little flexibility -- for example, I think the pictures are all just a standard size and, at this point, you can't choose to make some bigger or to go in and change the layout of certain pages, but the pics she sent me of her finished book looked great, and for so little work, it might be worth it to some of you to loose a little of the say about each page's look.

Anywho, toodle-lous,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cows, Etc.

Any time I drive past cows, I really really want to stop and take their pictures.

Hey cows, how are you doing?

Well, not just cows. Pretty much any animal. I mean, here are some boring little pigeons.
And here, are some horses? No, donkeys?
And in the spring, when the grass was so green everywhere, I nearly cried at having to drive past a field of sheep every day with out knowing whether or not the owner would ever allow me to place my children among the sheep and take their pictures. I never asked. Only wished.
And, speaking of horses (we were speaking of them -- a minute ago when I thought the donkeys were horses): one day, I missed a dentist appointment and had to have Mike come pull our truck out of a snowy ditch because I had pulled over (not very carefully) on my way to said dentist's to take a picture of a horse that was just standing there -- wanting his picture taken.
But these cows. Well, I have been driving past them, and wanting to take their pictures, for months now. Usually they are standing (or sitting) in nothing but muddy slop. Yesterday, however, they were coated nicely in snow, so what could I do but drive home and return with my camera?

Is this something everybody likes to do? It seems like it would be. Later, cows.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Colors, Horoscopes, and the End of the World (Probably)

Someone said a shocking thing to me recently. I had just spoken in church -- not a talk or anything big enough to give you a real feel for me, mind you. I had just been asked to share a few thoughts on a favorite hymn (which the congregation then sang). Our ward does that sometimes in lieu of real musical numbers.

Anyway, a few days later I was talking to our ward Relief Society President when she said, "I was talking to my husband the other night -- you know, after you spoke in sacrament meeting and -- do you know anything about the Color Code personality stuff? (I nodded my head side to side and shrugged a little) You do? Oh, well, I said to my husband, 'She has got to be a yellow!' Have you ever taken the test? I'm sure you are a yellow."

"Oh, I took it once," I said, "I think it said I was a white . . . maybe I did it wrong . . ."

"White? Now that is really surprising. I had you pegged as a yellow for sure. I just don't see you as a white."

Yellow? Do you know much about yellows? They are the fun seekers. Their main motivation is fun (or so the color code folks say)! How must I sound when I speak publicly? Is being called a yellow personality after a good thing? Is it akin to being called, "A real live wire" -- like I once was after giving a lovely Mother's Day talk in a ward for the elderly? Yellow?

And, it may be that some of you haven't the foggiest idea what I am talking about, but you see, according to DR. (yes, I capitalized those for effect) Hartman Ph.D. (yes, I know I already said, "Dr." but I am trying to give him all the credibility I can, even though I have no idea who he is other than: the Color Code guy), but, as I was saying, according to him, we can all be divided into four groups based on color: red, blue, white and yellow. (I know, that was cute of me to make each word the right color, but I couldn't really make white be white or you couldn't read it on the page).

Lots of folks put a tremendous amount of stock in this business, and, when I took the test and read about my being all white and what not, I could see why. My being diagnosed as "white" made perfect sense to me (once I read what on earth it meant): apparently whites are all about calmness and peace and absence of confrontation and tact and needing kindness and a bit too content and non goal oriented (but lovely all the same). I read it and thought, "Yes, that is me. There is nothing in the world worse to me than contention and I hate to ruffle feathers or rock boats and I need people to be really really nice." And perhaps my offer of "maybe I took the test wrong" when my Relief Society President was insisting on my yellowness only further affirms my white-peace- keeping-tendency-ness.

But, back to me coming off as all yellow. WHAT? Wowzers. Sure I like a little humor and cheer and all, but I am actually not one bit fun. That is a sad thing to admit, but it is true, and I don't actually really even care if I have much fun. Boring, I know. But yellows are the ones who, apparently, might be expected to haul you off to do some spur of the moment unexpected fun thing. They are the ones whose enthusiasm keeps the world from being a place of overwhelming and utter boredom for the rest of us.

And I was mistaken for one of them!

Me: who was so reserved and quiet as a child that siblings' friends had no idea of my existence. Me: the rather stodgy no fun girl. And, while I am still absolutely no fun, and the last person in the world to be dragging anybody off on some last minute adventure (if one of those happens, rest assured, it is my husband or one of my sisters dragging me off . . . I am far too boringly content: funless).

BUT, that is not all. Have you heard the news about our astrological signs? Well, let me tell you! I read recently (in our respectable local news no less) that your "sign" is determined by the position of the sun relative to certain constellations on the day you are born. Unfortunately, those positions were determined some 2000+ years ago and really aren't accurate anymore because gravity has done something or other to the earth and changed the alignment of things in the meantime. Do you know what this means? It means that all my Capricorn loving life, I have actually been . . . a SAGITTARIUS! That means instead of being a "stable rock like character," I am something else that I know nothing about (alright, I knew nothing about the Capricorn traits either 'til I just now looked them up -- but stable and rock like sounded nice, and I have always cherished my Capricornness despite knowing nothing about it). Maybe Sagittarius is way better, but it feels all wrong to even consider such a thing. It feels traitorous.

What's to be made of all of this? One hardly knows. Why, I don't even know who I am anymore! One minute I'm a peace loving Capricorn, and the very next, people are calling me a yellow Sagittarius. Maybe even a "yella'" Sagittarius (and we all know that if you are yella' you are a scaredy cat). Geez. Earth shattering. I probably shouldn't have shattered all of your earths as well. This is one case where ignorance would have probably been bliss (I still wish people would stop telling me that Pluto isn't a planet for example). You might even have been able to remain in your happy ignorance (if I hadn't come along and ruined it) because I think this news about the horoscopes being hundreds of years outdated is being kept on the down low. Why, did you know there is even an entire NEW sign? How will society cope if people left and right start discovering that they are not the Scorpio they have always thought themselves to be -- rather, an Ophiuchus? How will they feel knowing that the Babylonians dropped their sorry astrological sign because it made for 13 signs and well . . . 13 is a creepy number? Bedlam. Our entire infrastructure will likely collapse. Sorry for spreading the news of an entire population soon to be verging on identity crises (that's plural for crisis -- pronounced cry-seez . . . plural because there will be so many of us in crisis mode).

Anyway, I am going to go stock up on wheat and rice and water and chickens, and probably let Mike get all the extra guns and ammo he has been wanting. I'll write again soon . . . if the Internet hasn't crashed. Best of luck to all of you. Especially you Ophiuchus folks.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

You Deserve Some New PJ's

Why aren't you in very many posts lately little Miss Daisykins?

You certainly deserve to be. Why, you should be in every post. And the other day when you were trying to tell me something and I was putting you off a bit because I was a little busy, I suddenly felt so awful because I realized that you are getting so grown up and before too much longer, it might be that you won't be coming to me trying to have my attention, promising to brush my hair if I read one more chapter of a book, or asking to snuggle by me on the couch. I realized I better spend every minute I can basking in these years of you still being my little girl and still having time for your mom.

Besides, look at you:

Anyone with any sense can see that you obviously have the force. At any moment, it is clear that that apple is going to begin tugging at its own stem before "pop" -- off it will snap to leap into your hand. Having the force is rather special.

But, I am now leaving the "letter to Daisy" format as I tell the story about your new pajamas.

Cute little pajamas seem to be something I am quite fond of getting for my kids when they are small, but Abe and Daisy and even Goldie have reached a stage where it doesn't occur to me to buy cute little pajamas anymore. Sure I buy them the occasional flannel pj bottoms, but they are usually just worn to bed with an old t-shirt, and often there are no flannel bottoms even, but just some old cut off sweat pants or basketball shorts.

Daisy was invited to two birthday parties this weekend. Both of them were "sleep over" themed. And while there was no sleeping over involved, the plans included wearing pajamas to the party, painting nails, etc.

Daisy had nothing special to wear in the pajama department, but she didn't complain. She found her best pair of flannel pajama bottoms and asked if I would help her thread a needle so she could try and sew up the two splits in the rear and the one in the knee. She did her best and didn't whine at all about the fact that they looked a little awkward now. However, within about ten minutes of trying them on, they had split in a new spot. They were so old and thin that this was just going to keep on happening. Still, she asked for no new pajamas, just sadly asked if I would have any time while she was at school the next day to try and fix the new tear.

Also, I'd told her earlier that if she wanted to go to both parties, we couldn't buy expensive presents. She was a good sport and again didn't complain at all (though it is fun to show off a bit by bringing the "best" gift to a party). She chose out very modest little presents -- never mentioning at all that there were things she would have rather we got for them.
When we got home, she went down to our little cold basement and wrapped the gifts the best she could in the only wrapping paper we had -- red and green Christmas wrapping.

This is starting to sound very sad now, isn't it? Like we are some poor family making due from the depression era. Still, all remained happy enough until we heard ripping coming from the other room and discovered that Jesse had torn open Daisy's carefully wrapped gifts.

For some reason this was the last straw. Daisy started to cry and cry and had no desire to re-wrap the gifts, or even to have me rewrap them as she suddenly seemed to realize how foolish Christmas wrapping paper would look anyway. Pretty much everything seemed ruined.

Poor girl. But, with dinner and homework and the like, the gift fiasco was soon forgotten and everyone was tucked in bed for the night -- with birthday party one being the next day after school. Before going to bed, Daisy quietly reminded me to see what I could do to fix her pajama bottoms better the next day.

So, I finally mustered my good mom self into action and went off to make things truly better for my deserving little Daisy: new pajamas and yes, even new pink cupcake-and-ice-cream-cone covered wrapping paper. She was quite happy to discover these things when she got home and looked very cute heading off happily to her party in her new little pajamas.

Unfortunately she woke up very sick this morning and so won't be going to birthday part number two, but at least she has cute pj's to snuggle in all day. It is very fun getting a surprise for someone when they deserve it and probably even need it, but haven't asked for it. Especially fun when it is your own child.

I love my strawberry blonde oldest daughter. She's pretty darn great.

Mike Can Fix It

Jesse is always going around pointing out to me things that are broken. Sometimes they are things he has broken and come to show me. Sometimes they are things that are just broken -- who knows by whom or for how long. Often they are things that aren't actually broken at all but either aren't working the way Jesse would like or just look broken to him. What I like though is that he always follows his comments about something being broken with a nodding of his head and a reassuring, "Dad can fix it." Always. I love that he is so certain of that.

Also, the other day I noticed a bunch of cereal crumbs mashed in a little crevice in one of our kitchen chairs. It was a skinny spot, so I grabbed a little 3x5 card and scraped it along there -- hoping to flip the crumbs out. A few minutes later I returned to the kitchen to find Jesse just finishing up the same activity with the card and the chair and loudly proclaiming, "I did it, Mom!"

"What did you do?" I asked.

He looked at the card; down at the chair; then replied, "I don't know." I loved that he was just mimicking what he'd seen me do even though he had no idea why anyone would do it or what it would accomplish.

Penny Conversations

The other day Penny, Jesse and I drove to Krispie Kreme to buy a dozen donuts. Yes, I had just left the gym, and yes the drive was more than one should be willing to take just for donuts, but never mind that. The cashier gave us each a free donut (I guess for buying a dozen?). Penny insisted we sit on one of their little tables to eat our free ones, so we did. On the way home, however, she kept insisting she needed another donut. Our conversation went something like this:
Penny: Mom, can I just see in the donut box?
Me: Why do you need to see in it, honey?
Penny: Mom! Please! Can I just see in it.
Me: Alright, you can see in it. (I show her the donuts.)
Penny: Mom, can I just have another one?
Me: No, silly, you just had a whole donut.
Penny: Please mom!
Me: No honey, we will have some later with the kids.
Penny: Can I have one when I go for naps?
Me: No, but do you know what you can have? When we get home you can have some lunch!
Penny: Can I have a donut for lunch?
Also, yesterday I was mixing some orange juice in the morning with our little hand held electrical mixer thing (I don't know what it is called, I just know it makes orange juice be all frothy -- which I like). Penny said (as if suddenly discovering the answer to some mystery), "Mom! I sometimes hear that sound at night!"

"Do you?" I asked, "I do sometimes use this to make orange juice at night."

"When I hear it," Penny continued, "I sometimes talk to myself."

"You do?" I questioned, laughing, "And what do you say to yourself?"

She smiled. "I say. 'I wish that wasn't on.'"Cute girl. But geez Louise. Someone should wash the mirror in those pictures. Really!

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