Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the annual Hendrickson Christmas Eve Party. We shared a tasty dinner, played the mystery gift game,* sang carols, and listened to Aunt Laura tell the Nativity story using pie crust she had cut into the shapes of wise men, an angel, a shepherd, etc. I always look forward to this gathering. Some elements vary from year to year, but we always have a fun, uplifting time.

. . . putting our family's gifts under the tree once the kids were asleep. I've long known that Santa is more an idea than a person, but Christmas gift-giving still feels magical.

*I can't think of a better name for this game. The family sometimes calls it a white elephant game, but the gifts are new--usually ornaments purchased by Mom. We take turns choosing a wrapped gift or stealing someone else's, and after all the gifts are chosen we trade until everyone is satisfied. Good fun.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Fun

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . lots of family fun: sharing blueberry muffins for breakfast, going to the archery range, and strolling the temple grounds looking at the lights.

. . . shooting my last two arrows into the target so close to each other that they touched. Of course, I also shot one into the branch above the hay bales. Oops.

. . . watching Joy dash across the temple lawn toward Papa shouting, "Look! I have new boots!!" We bought them for her yesterday to keep her warm and dry in the rain, and now she wears them everywhere, and shows them to everyone. I even noticed her showing them off to a senior missionary in the Visitor Center. Simple pleasures.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Joy of Giving

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . singing carols while Phillip played the piano.

And another thing . . .

. . . all month I've been thinking that since Christmas celebrates Christ's birth, it would be good for our family to give Him "gifts" by serving others. I particularly wanted to involve Joy, so she would see this season as a time of giving and loving, not just getting.

Today I talked with her about how fortunate we are to have plenty of food, a warm home, clothes to wear, and even a few toys. I explained many families in the world don't have those things, then I showed her a catalog for Heifer International, through which we can give a family a goat, sheep, or other animal that will provide nourishment and income to help support their family. I asked Joy which animal we should help pay for. She chose rabbits, and I added a flock of chicks. It felt good to help other families take steps toward self-reliance.

When we were done, Joy said she wanted to help more people. I suggested that we sort through our toy bin and donate the toys we don't use to kids who don't have any. I was surprised to find that she had an easier time parting with things than I did. As she filled a paper bag with a third of her toys, I resisted the urge to comment about how cute one item was or how long we'd had another. I'm proud of her for being willing to give so many of her toys to others.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thank You, Egg Nog Lady

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . wrestling with the complicated, buggy music program we installed this week. I despise that program. Not a mild loathing, mind you. A tooth-clenching, depths-of-my-soul hatred. I had more choice things to say about it this morning, but we'll leave that between me and the delete button.

. . . when I was in child's pose trying to de-stress from using the music program, Daniel pulled my hair and Joy climbed on my back.

. . . burning my tongue on hot cider. The cup felt lukewarm; the cider felt like it had been heated at the center of the Earth.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . rubber stamping with Joy.

. . . hearing her say "I love you."

. . . lots of husband hugs.

. . . eating chocolate graham crackers with homemade icing between them. They're best after they've sat a few days and softened a little. Who needs Oreos?

And another thing . . .

. . . the Trader Joe's egg nog shortage continues. This evening I reached the dairy section just in time to see another woman reach in and remove the last carton of regular egg nog (there was still lite and chocolate, but I'm not a fan of the first and I'm scared to try the second). She noticed me watching and asked if I'd like her carton. I replied that I couldn't take it, but she handed it to me insisting that she'll be just has happy with a carton of lite egg nog. Bless her. Joy immediately began flapping her wings up and down the aisle shouting, "Yay! We have egg nog! That's my favorite thing!!"

Tinkerbell's Pack Mule

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Daniel giggle when I tickled him.

. . . having a long, thoughtful discussion with Joy about a picture of Lehi's Dream (she had a lot of questions), then making caramel corn for our home evening activity.

. . . making a suicide smoothie with Joy. I got six kinds of fruit out of the freezer and asked her which of them we should add to the blender. She decided to throw them all in. The result tasted like tropical punch (no surprise).

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy has decided she's Tinkerbell, and she runs around the house flapping her "wings" all the time. It's cute, but since her hands and arms are necessary for flight she has decided that she can't carry anything (unless she really wants to, or briefly forgets and falls out of character). In such cases of emergency, she has concluded that it's my job to carry anything she wants moved from one room to another. Most of the time I play along (if she says please), but I'm hoping this particular game will be shortlived, or that Tinkerbell will learn to fly with a backpack.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Much Learning, No Nog

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . Trader Joe's being out of egg nog again. I like their variety of it, but I've only seen it in stock once all month. What's with the nog shortage??

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending a chapel session at the temple, where a member of the temple presidency spoke about the symbolism of the temple and its ceremonies. I always learn so much from those sessions.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Elvis and Yoda

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . spending hours cooking a delicious dinner, only to wind up eating it by myself because the kids ate s'mores for dinner (don't ask) and Phillip was occupied entertaining Daniel who has been stir-crazy because of the rain outside. Sigh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . singing Christmas carols to the kids at bedtime.

And another thing . . .

. . . you learn some very interesting things from the internet. For example, when I was shopping for tree toppers on, Joy asked to look at the 11" Lighted Elvis Presley Star Christmas Tree Topper, and we learned that customers who bought related items also bought strings of plastic Yoda Christmas lights. We also learned that sells ornaments, garlands, and pepper spray. Who'd have thought?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Trees and Lullabies

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . Joy falling out of a tree, then asking me WHY she fell out of the tree. She was totally unsatisfied with my answer because she doesn't comprehend the concept of getting distracted.

. . . Joy waking up with a barking cough hours after bedtime. Time to get out the humidifier.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . after we got the humidifier going, I asked Joy if she wanted me to sing her a song. She requested "We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet" and I started quietly singing as I rubbed her back. I had scarcely sung two lines when her eyes drooped closed and she fell back asleep. Sweet girl.

Slightly Less Cluttered

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . standing a little straighter after a visit to the chiropractor.

. . . decluttering my desk while Daddy took the kids to run errands. Thanks sweetheart!

. . . hanging out with my mom this afternoon. It was nice to just sit and chat about random things.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Is More Than Cookies

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . finally baking a holiday cookie recipe I've been yearning to try . . . and finding out it wasn't that great.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . smooching with my sweetheart.

. . . watching my kids play together.

. . . hearing a friend who recently joined a Christian church say that Christmas is especially exciting for her family this year because their new faith gives the season new meaning.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pigs-Frogs and Paint

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy announcing that she's a pig-frog. Later in the day she said, "Too bad you can't paint air."

. . . holding Daniel's hands and spinning him around and around, then watching him lay down and giggle on the grass until he could see straight enough to reach up and ask me to do it again.

And another thing . . .

. . . I wonder if anyone has conducted a scientific study to determine how long the average child will paint on paper before they get bored and try painting other things. You may infer what you will about any real-life experiences that may have sparked that question.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good Mixer, Bad Parent

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . trying to calculate half of 2-1/4 cups of flour (with 1/4 of the result being whole wheat flour), while my toddler cried a few feet away because I banished her from the kitchen for getting into things while I baked her birthday cupcakes. Sometimes it's really hard to tell whether I'm tenaciously teaching important life principles or just making needless mountains out of molehills.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . baking bread with my new Bosch mixer, and finding that it really does knead so well that you only have to let it rise once. Awesome.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old Friends Never Get Old

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending my office's annual Christmas party. While nightclubs aren't normally my cup of tea, it was fun to see old friends. I worked for that company full time before Joy was born, but since she arrived I've worked from home just a few hours a week. The vast majority of the other employees were hired after I "retired" and many have no clue who I am, but the ones who do know me were delighted to see us and hear how we're doing. I was touched by their excitement and genuine interest in our family. It's easy to love people who love you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Menchie's and Muppets

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy's birthday party with family, then a trip to Menchie's with many of her friends (and their families). Joy had a blast, and we had fun, too.

. . . watching The Muppet Christmas Carol with my sweetheart. I love this film, and try to watch it every year. I like the yin and yang of Michael Caine's serious performance as Scrooge contrasted with the zany Muppets around him. The film's both fun and heartwarming, and it always reminds me what Christmas is really about.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . Let's just say today reminded me that a good night's sleep is vital to one's physical, emotional, and domestic well-being. Early to bed tonight.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hanging a Trader Joe's centerpiece wreath in our home (hooray for Command Strips!). For some reason, that little wreath makes me happy every time I see it.

Crooners But No Kissing

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip taking care of the kids all day so I could work, shop, and relax a little. Much as I love my kids, kid-free time is my favorite gift to receive.

. . . decorating the Christmas tree while Daniel napped. It was fun to watch Phillip and Joy both get so into it, and for Joy the decorating never really stopped. She spent the rest of the day rearranging the kid-friendly ornaments on the bottom third of the tree.

And another thing . . .

. . . My daughter Joy has told me in no uncertain terms that she likes hugs but does NOT like kisses. When I give her a hug, it often requires some serious willpower to resist kissing her cheek, too. Good thing my son Daniel has no such compunctions.

. . . I initially told to create a Christmas station based on Josh Groban's "Little Drummer Boy." One of the first songs it played was a Frank Sinatra carol, and when I indicated that I liked that Pandora started playing all crooners, all the time. I eventually convinced it I wanted some variety, but along the way it was kind of interesting to sample the music of the Rat Pack, etc., and decide what I thought of them.

I like Frank Sinatra – he has a solid, clean style of singing. Andy Williams has a good, straightforward sound, too, but Johnny Mathis rubs me the wrong way somehow. Nat King Cole is pretty good, but he adds flourishes here and there that can be distracting to me. Dean Martin sounds smug and cocky, and I tend to skip him. Sorry Dean.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Library Meltdown

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . Joy having a meltdown in the library. I had tried to explain the Dewey Decimal System to her, and apparently it was a little overwhelming.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing my kids laugh as they played together.

. . . putting up Christmas decoration with my sweetheart.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Embrace the Chaos

Today's not-so-favorite moments included:

. . . cutting a cookie recipe in half, but forgetting to halve the flour. You know a cookie recipe is good if you double the flour and the dryish result is still pretty tasty.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . listening to Josh Groban sing O Holy Night. I think that song is the king of Christmas carols, and Groban sings it like an angel.

And another thing . . .

. . . I've decided to put my not-so-favorite moments before my favorite ones in each post. Better to end on a good note.

. . . I've noticed that most of the stress in my life stems from the fallacious assumption that children behave in an efficient manner. For example, I wrongly expect that we'll walk directly from the car to our front door, that bedtime potty breaks will be expeditious affairs, and that articles of clothing will be donned in rapid succession with no pausing to roll around on the bed or pretend one is a farm animal. My life is much less stressful when I just accept that toddlers move at half-speed, with many detours. Sometimes the detours are more fun than the main journey, if I remember to embrace the chaos rather than resisting it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Talk and Listen

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . helping Joy give her first talk in Primary. I consider it a success in the sense that I only had to give 80% of it by myself. Joy said the whole first line before clamming up, then she answered a few questions (Me: "Who's this?" Joy: "Joseph Smith") and reprimanded me when I tried to leave a line out. She said the final line ("InthenameofJesusChristamen!") with a big smile on her face.

. . . the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Babysitting was available at the chapel, so I was able to savor a whole, uninterrupted hour of music and uplifting messages with my sweetheart. Bliss.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pumpkin Pie and Electric Carols

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . eating Costco's pumpkin pie at the church Christmas Party.

. . . having several opportunities to genuinely help someone out. It always amazes me that when I pray for the chance to serve someone, opportunities to do so fall right in my lap, often within a few hours of my request.

. . . finally going one whole day without an elf fail.

And another thing . . .

. . . the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" song is a guilty pleasure of mine. You haven't lived until you've heard "The Carol of the Bells" played on electric guitars.

. . . I used to crochet a lot, but I've done it very little in recent years. Today I looked through some afghan patterns and felt tempted to plan a new project, but my hobby time is very limited and I decided there were other things I want to do more than spend hours making a blanket. I'd rather read to enrich my mind, or hone my cooking skills making food that can nourish and give pleasure to my loved ones and me. There may be a time in my life when I need or desire to make blankets again, but it isn't now.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wreath Score, Elf Fail (Again)

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daddy coming home from his trip!!

. . . finding out that a wreath hanger is just $2.50 at Michaels, then purchasing said hanger so I could hang my lovely Trader Joe's wreath that kept falling off the little bracket on my door.

Not-so-favorite moment:

. . . yet another elf fail. I forgot to relocate it last night, and when Joy woke up this morning she was disappointed to find that the elf's magic was apparently gone because it hadn't moved. Fortunately, when we left home this morning I quickly moved it to the piano after Joy walked out the door. When we returned she was delighted to find that the elf had magically moved while we were gone.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pandora and Farkle

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . listening to Christmas music on

. . . seeing Joy lead Daniel out of the front room so he wouldn't be frightened by the loud vacuum. I was touched that she noticed his distress and took action to help, and that he trusted her enough to follow her.

And another thing . . .

. . . Remember yesterday's reference to the elf you can't touch? At naptime today I was ushering Joy toward the bedroom and she announced that she's and elf so I shouldn't touch her or her magic might go away. She then asked me to make up an elf name for her. I dubbed her Farkle.

. . . Also, I babysat a friend's two-year-old son this morning, and the kids and I took a walk to Trader Joe's. With the two boys in the stroller and Joy tagging along, I got some interesting looks and comments that I had my hands full. It's kind of odd that while I'm excited by the idea of having three children someday, many non-Mormons I know think I'm either brave or crazy to even consider it. Sure, there are crazy moments, but when I watch my kids play together and see how delightfully different they are, I'm excited to meet the next Hendrickson and see what they contribute to the mix.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cookie Lament and Elf Fail

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . turning on Christmas music and putting up some of our decorations.

. . . taking a power nap while the kids slept. It was really short--I'm not even sure if I actually fell asleep--but it made a world of difference in my energy level (see below).

Not-so-favorite moments:

. . . Daniel waking me up at 3:15am because he had a 103.2 temperature. Fortunately Infant Motrin and half an hour of rocking brought it down so we could both go back to sleep. Yawn.

. . . committing an epic Mom fail. Last year we received an Elf on the Shelf--a little elf doll with a cute book explaining his story. Joy and I unwrapped the elf for the first time tonight, and I set him up on our piano. Then we read the book that said the elf watches kids for Santa, flies to the North Pole each night to report, then returns by morning to watch in a different spot (translation: parents move him to a new spot after the kids are in bed), and kids can have fun finding his new location in their home each day. The book emphasizes that you should not touch the elf, or his magic may go away so he can't fly to Santa and tell him how good you are.

Of course, Joy immediately pointed out that we had ALREADY touched him. I realized that that detail, plus the fact that Joy had seen me unwrap him from the box, probably destroyed any illusion she might have that the elf was really Santa's helper. When I suggested that we shouldn't touch him any more so his magic won't rub off, Joy patiently replied, "Mom, it's just a game." Sigh...yes, it is.

And another thing . . .

I like baking cookies. I like eating cookies. I don't like the fact that most recipes yield several dozen cookies, most of which will be eaten by me since I'm home with them all day, every day. I'd happily share with friends, neighbors, and even random strangers, but when I do their enthusiasm often seems tempered by visions of each cookie going straight to their hips. I guess I could make smaller batches so I won't eat so many each time, but eggs are so darn hard to halve, quarter, or (heaven help you) third. Maybe I'll start freezing half the dough--I've read that you can store dense cookie doughs for four to six weeks.