Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Open Doors and Doggerel Ditties

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel calming down when I sing to him. I just sing little doggerel ditties about how much I love him and how cute his feet are, but I guess he finds their familiarity soothing.

. . . eating cashews. Sometimes they're just so good.

. . . Joy saying that some mint-chocolate cookies we made were "picey" (spicy). Years ago I visited Cathy's family, and when her young niece declared that a carbonated drink was "picey" I thought it was the cutest thing I'd ever heard. It made me smile to hear my own daughter use the same pronunciation all these years later.

. . . reading part of Luke 2 with Joy at scripture time. This afternoon she asked me to tell her a story about "people," so I told her about the shepherds who saw angels near Bethlehem when Christ was born. When I mentioned that the story was in the scriptures, Joy requested that we read it when we got home. We agreed to put our Book of Mormon reading on hold tonight and read from Luke 2 instead. It was sweet to read that marvelous story together.

Not-so-favorite moments:

. . . dozing off and having Joy awaken me with a poke to the nose.

. . . realizing that after I left the car door open for Joy to climb out in our parking spot, I never got around to closing it. Fortunately, a perceptive neighbor apprised me that my car door was still wide open . . . three hours later. Miraculously, my battery wasn't dead (yet).

And another thing . . .

. . . self-reliance was not a high priority among the Hendrickson kids today. Daniel's coming down with another little fever, so he wanted me to carry him everywhere, and when we came in from the car Joy was pretending she was blind and wanted me to lead her by the hand through the parking lot.

Also, it's hard to know how to classify the memory of rocking my toasty little boy this evening. I love cuddling and comforting him, but it's sad that he wasn't feeling well. Thank goodness for medicine to bring his fever down.

Cider and Song

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . drinking mulled cider with my sweetheart (tasty mulling spices courtesy of Trader Joe's).

. . . Daniel watching in bemused wonder as Joy and I sang a discordant duet of "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet" during family home evening.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . Daniel opening the closet door and revealing Daddy's and my hiding place when we played hide-and-seek for home evening. Ironically, Joy saw me immediately, but she didn't find Daddy until Daniel opened the door a second time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Chard Cometh

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . making some really great rolls.

. . . having relatives to dinner.

. . . making garden plans. I think I'll plant some chard.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Toys and Tag

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing tag with Joy while we were out for a walk. She would chase me as I quickly pushed Daniel in the jogging stroller while he kicked his feet in excitement. Eventually Joy would call for me to slow down, whereupon I would start walking and she would catch up and tag me. Then I would tag her right back and start running again.

. . . hearing Joy chime as she walked around the house. She put her star stacker in her backpack, and every time she took a step something else in the backpack bumped the stacker's music button.

. . . taking my kids to a toy store and watching them play with lots of fun things.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . Joy asking me for nearly everything she saw in the toy store. Apparently she absolutely needs a watch, a glittery ball, a rocket launcher, and a plastic ear of corn, among other things.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Improv and Roadblock

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Joy's adaptation of a Thanksgiving song Pink Grandma taught her. Joy began with the usual chorus: "Pilgrims and Indians ate together, Pilgrims and Indians ate together . . ." then she added her own lyrics: "Pilgrims and Indians jumped on the bed, Pilgrims and Indians jumped on the bed . . ." As if that weren't enough, she then improvised a whole extra verse about Pilgrims and Indians jumping on the bed, sung to the tune of the hymn Come Thou Fount. I tried to laugh as quietly as possible so I wouldn't disrupt the creative process.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . happened while I was riding down the mall escalator with my kids. I was holding Daniel, and Joy was standing behind me. When we reached the end of the line I stepped off and looked back just in time to see that Joy had fallen on her toosh at the bottom and thirty people were about to pile down onto her. I grabbed her foot and yanked her out of the way just before an elderly couple fell on top of her. Yikes.

Game Day

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing Settlers of Catan with Pink Grandma.

. . . playing the Thanksgiving Alphabet game. This year's alphabetical list of things we're grateful for is:

Apple Slices
Bread & the Brain
Gerbera daisies
the Heart
Phillip and Priesthood blessings
the Restoration
Spencer and Stained glass windows in the temple
Vladimir Horowitz
eXternal hard drives
Yellow Sunshine
Zyzzyx Road

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tastes of Zion

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . having my family all under one roof. I love hearing my brothers laugh together.

. . . dropping off some food at a local charity, and seeing the place abuzz with volunteers and other donors. It makes me feel like my town is a true community when I see so many people caring for others.

And another thing . . .

. . . my favorite Joy quote of the day: "Daniel's cranky, but I'm not. I'm just frustrated."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Joy Has All The Answers

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally dropping off my ward's donated candy at Operation Gratitude's site in Van Nuys. The congregation donated thirty-nine pounds of sweets to be sent to troops overseas.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . Joy sobbing in the car's back seat because I didn't know when the next election was. She can't wait to vote again.

And another thing . . .

. . . my effort to give Joy some firsthand experience with the phrase "I don't know" kinda backfired. While I don't have all the answers (even when she REALLY wants them), she is apparently never at a loss:

Me: How tall is a giraffe?
Joy: Very tall.
Me: How many bagels come in a bag?
Joy: Lots.
Me: Where is Zimbabwe?
Joy: Very far away.
Me: When is the next election?
Joy: Um . . . January!

Well-Punctuated Fun

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Phillip play Christmas music on the piano.

. . . teaching Joy how to type periods, question marks, and exclamation points.

. . . tickling Daniel's tummy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pupusas on a Rainy Day

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing rain fall outside.

. . . sitting in the temple's celestial room with my sweetheart.

. . . trying a local El Salvadorian restaurant and loving the pupusas, horchata (El Salvadorian-style), and the soccer game on the big TV across the aisle. I usually find TVs in restaurants annoying, but there it seemed like part of the fun.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Must Remember That Hiding Spot

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing hide and seek with my family, and finding a spot where Phillip couldn't find me.

. . . giving Mom H a big hug.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . every time Daniel woke up crying during the night. I'm still not sure what ailed him, other than the runny nose.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hugging my little family.

And another thing . . .

. . . my kids both got haircuts today. Daniel looks like Daniel-with-shorter-hair. Joy looks like a totally different person. That's partly because her hair was cut a bit shorter than I expected, but also because my friend styled it very differently from what I am used to.

I usually just brush Joy's hair, put a clippie or two in it, then leave it to its own devices. My friend brushed, blow-dried, and curled it into a cute little flip. It made Joy's hair seem more like an intentional style, and therefore a statement about what she (or the person grooming her) likes and values.

If boy haircuts make any statement at all it tends to be something like "I am a boy." Girl styles can say anything from "I'm practical" to "I'm sporty" to "I'm high maintenance; ask me out if you think you're up to the challenge." While I'm sure that my no-frills approach to Joy's hair made some statement about me (and possibly about her), I wasn't so conscious of hair's impact on people's perceptions until I saw Joy's new do and thought, "Who is this child, and what does she stand for?"

Maybe the effect will wear off as I get used to Joy's new haircut (and as the flip relaxes--goodness knows I couldn't replicate it even if I wanted to). In the meantime, the whole thing is a little surreal. It also makes me wonder how others' perceptions of me would change if I did something so trivial as change my hairstyle.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Missed the Husband and the Plate

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daddy coming home from his conference. Hugs for everyone!

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . Daniel using one of the plates as a discus.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Ending and Homecoming

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the happy ending of Toy Story 3. And the the interrogation scene--"No! Those were vintage!!"

. . . getting home to my kids and enjoying their familiar little quirks. It was fun to help Daniel turn on all the lights in the house when he got up from his nap, and to help Joy microwave s'mores just the way she likes them: without chocolate. It was great to get away from home, and now it's great to be back.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pomodori = Yummy*

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . an overnight getaway with my sweet husband. Thanks to Papa and Red Grandma for watching the kids!

. . . Corner Bakery Cafe's Chicken Pomodori Panini. Yum.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . this interchange:
Mama: "AAAAH! Daniel just broke my glasses!"
Joy: "Blow my nose."

*Actually, "pomodori" is an Italian word which roughly translates to "made with tomatoes," but in this case I felt that "yummy" was a more effective description.

I Heart VT

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting teaching. I was tempted to stay another hour, but my kids were getting tired. She's one of those people I just click with, even though we differ widely on some things. In that sense, she reminds me of my friend Siobhan.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lead By Following

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending today's leadership broadcast regarding the new Church handbook. You wouldn't think two hours of instruction on Church administration would be enjoyable or inspiring, yet it was both in spades. Apostles are just like that. I came away with a firmer conviction that I can do good in this work and this world if I invite God to guide me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Was Closed

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . driving up a mountain with my mom. It was nice to have some time to just talk without lots of distractions.

. . . telling Joy about Neil Armstrong's historic lunar landing when she asked for a story "about the Moon." Mom even got to chime in with her memory of watching it on TV as a girl.

. . . hearing Joy tell herself a story as we drove along. It went something like: "Once there was a frog who wanted to go to Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving was closed. He waited outside to see if it would open, but it stayed closed. The end."

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . two words: flat tire. Don't worry--it went flat and was fixed before I drove up the mountain. However, the fixing process was tedious and decidedly not fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Only A Model

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . baking cookies with my sweetheart.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy is still into watching rocket launch videos on YouTube, and to a certain extent I am, too. Even after watching it the tenth time, I still think it's pretty awesome to watch four million pounds of space shuttle launch into space.

As long as Joy sticks to her favorite space shuttle and Saturn V videos I'm happy to watch them again and again. Unfortunately, she's also taken a shine to a video of five model rockets lifting off. Repeatedly. In slow motion. With rock music in the background.

Near the end, Joy commented, "I don't like this one." I then felt free to confess that I didn't like it either. Then, fickle toddler that she is, Joy said, "Well, I like it. Let's do it." And she played it again. Sigh.

One and Two

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking Daniel to the park on his own while Joy was at preschool. It was nice to just have some one-on-one time and follow him around wherever he wanted to go.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . having two kids crying on my lap at the same time. Daniel was wailing because Joy accidentally closed his fingers in the bathroom door, and Joy was distressed because he didn't calm down when she said she was sorry.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Squashed Pancakes

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a looong nap this afternoon.

. . . looking into Joy's big brown eyes.

. . . adding some leftover pureed squash and pumpkin pie spice to pancake batter, and finding that the result actually tasted good.

. . . writing my first poem in years--a haiku inspired by my job (of all things).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Incentive to Vote

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my husband fixing the kids breakfast so I could sleep a little longer. I love him so much.

. . . my bored toddler whining, "Mom, let's go vote!" Anything to get out of the house.

Reverently, Quietly

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching my kids close their eyes and bow their heads at prayer time. Daniel only keeps his bowed for a moment, but it's still cute.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

O, How I Knead Thee

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . making a good batch of rolls.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Perfume and Spaghetti Sauce

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Elder Scott's recent fireside on marriage with my sweetheart.

. . . watching a space shuttle launch on YouTube with Joy. It was awesome. Joy liked the Saturn V model video better, though. Maybe it was because of the background music.

Not-so-favorite moments:

. . . when Joy asked me to click on the video of the Challenger explosion. Then kept asking to watch it again. I told her once was enough.

. . . glancing up from my grocery list just in time to see Daniel pull a glass jar of spaghetti sauce off the store's shelf. The cleanup crew was very gracious.

And another thing . . .

. . . I recently happened upon a random blog post about what it means to the author to be/feel feminine, especially now that she's a few years into motherhood. It made me consider where my sense of femininity comes from. Is it from my appearance, what I do and am, or some combination thereof?

I was reminded of Audrey Hepburn commenting on her role as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. In the opening scene of the film her character was dirty and unsophisticated, but Hepburn recalled, "I was wearing my perfume. Inside I still knew I was a lady." I don't wear perfume, but I do have a few little things that make a big difference in how I feel about myself. I keep my toenails painted, I always wear my silver hoop earrings when I'm awake, and I rarely leave the house without putting on lipstick (when I'm at home there's no point, because I just kiss it all onto Daniel's cheeks). It's a simple regimen, but I stick to it and feel like a frump when I don't. Ironically, my fashionista sister who owns every cosmetic on the planet feels little inclination to wear earrings or lipstick. I guess between the two of us we cover all the bases.

That said, is femininity really about appearance? How we look impacts how we feel and how we act, so I'm sure there is some visual aspect to femininity, but in a larger sense I think it is more about what we do and are. I believe the ultimate expressions of femininity are nurturing children, being a supportive wife, cultivating good character, and lifting others (and likewise the ultimate expressions of manhood are raising children, being a supportive husband, cultivating good character, and exercising the priesthood to serve others). It is those activities that realize each gender's similar yet unique mission in mortality. It's a lot easier to focus on applying lipstick than refining character, but down the road the latter will have a far greater impact on my happiness and destiny, and those of my loved ones, too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Literature and Life

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Joy say "Whoosh!!" every time her Lego plane took off from the carpet runway. She was feeling inspired by a library boardbook about airplanes. She was also inspired by Calvin and Hobbes to say that something under her bed was drooling and she had to feed it some blocks.

Tea and Wolves

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . a great discussion at book group tonight. We enjoyed discussing the book, but I think my favorite part was the discussion of siblings afterward. It was interesting to reflect that my sister and I are so different, and she doesn't always make the choices I would, yet she has strengths that I admire and sometimes yearn for.

. . . reading Three Cups of Tea. I particularly enjoyed the chapter called Haji Ali's Lesson. It made me reflect that, like many Americans, I am in such a rush to complete tasks that I often forget to build relationships and enjoy the simple goodness of life.

And another thing . . .

. . . I hosted our co-op preschool class today. One of the boys morphed into a snarling wolf, whereupon one of the girls declared herself to be Belle and dubbed the other boy the Beast who should save her and the other princesses. However, the Beast decided he would rather color his picture and Joy opted to be a wolf instead of a princess, at which point Belle and Ariel took matters into their own hands and tackled the original wolf themselves. Girl Power.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vote for Hobbes

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . voting.

. . . taking Joy along to the polling place, and watching her practice inking in a sample ballot. She voted for Thomas Jefferson for President. And Lincoln and Kennedy, too. We left proudly wearing our "I Voted" stickers. When Phillip arrived home wearing one, too, Joy was delighted.

And another thing . . .

. . . I tried to have a teaching moment with Joy, showing her pictures of the state gubernatorial candidates as I prepared to go vote this morning. She interrupted to ask me to help her find the page in her book where Hobbes does a big cannonball into the tub and splooshes Calvin onto the floor. Priorities.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hungry for Popcorn

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Joy say, "We're going to play a game you never played before. It's called . . . Run On Your Toes!!!!"

. . . eating popcorn this afternoon. Cuz popcorn makes everything better (kinda like chocolate). PowerPop, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . .this exchange:
Joy: I'm hungry.
Me: I'm stressed, dirty, and overwhelmed. What's your point?
Joy: I'm hungry.

Chuckles and Sighs

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy participating in the ward Primary program. She actually remembered her line (with a little prompting), but she didn't sing a word of the songs.

. . . a smile exchange while Joy was up in the front of the chapel. I noticed her looking at me, whereupon she smiled at me and I smiled back. Then she grinned, and I grinned, too. Then she made a super ugly frog face and I turned my attention back to the kid at the pulpit.

And another thing . . .

. . . voting is a vital right and a privilege, but I am eager for the election to be over. I'm sick of hearing harsh voices calling each other liars, and of wondering whether a proposition is truly worthwhile or whether the supporters just hired a really skilled publicist.

I think Americans agree on the fundamental things we want--good education, the means to support our family and afford a home, reasonably affordable healthcare--but the details of achieving those things are complicated, and it's hard to know which expert to listen to, and which politician is both willing and able to clear the road instead of blocking it.

Capitalism and democracy--they're messy, imperfect systems, but at this point they're the best we've got.