Monday, February 28, 2011

Kisses and Kudos

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . arriving late at church because we stayed in bed too long. I felt bad about misaligning my priorities.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . when I dropped Joy off at her Sunday School class, she asked me for a hug and then a kiss, then she gave me a kiss of her own. Then she said "OK, go now."

. . . my family liking the cheesecake I brought to dinner.

. . . Daniel giggling with delight as he walked down the stairs at Papa's house.

. . . my sister being shocked/delighted by my new short haircut.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Let Them Eat Cheesecake

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . realizing I'm nearly out of Halls. Good thing the store's open til midnight!!

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels (and What the Neighbors Thought) at the library today. I was disappointed in Cleopatra, intrigued by Eleanor of Aquitaine, and sympathetic toward Marie Antoinette, who struck me as a good-hearted person who suffered undeserved scorn from both the nobles and the poor.

And another thing . . .

. . . I baked my first, honest to goodness, springformed cheesecake today. We'll see how it turns out after it's cured in the fridge overnight.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Lament of the Introvert

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally feeling like I'm getting well. Hopefully I'll feel that way tomorrow, too.

. . . reading with Joy.

And another thing . . .

. . . this morning I read a blog that I follow regularly. The post was about a major milestone in the woman's life, and I was so happy for her I was moved to tears. As I read, it occurred to me that I feel closer to this stranger who has no clue who I am than to most people I see in person on a regular basis. I suspect that's due partly to my personality, and partly to my current circumstances.

I've always been somewhat introverted, and it often takes real effort for me to get beyond smalltalk with people and discuss what really makes us tick. It's even harder to do that now that I'm so busy with motherhood. I don't spend much time socializing away from my kids, and it's hard to have a meaningful conversation when I constantly have an eye/ear on them. Some people manage to be very social when they have small children; I'm not one of those people.

I suppose that's why some blogs hold such appeal for me. The writer I read today bares her soul on a daily basis, and in a few minutes each afternoon I get a window into her heart without having to coordinate schedules or arrange a babysitter. As I read her daily joys and disappointments, things that hurt or make her happy, and just her everyday activities, I feel I really do come to know her. I feel like she's a friend, yet you could hardly call this a friendship since she doesn't know me from Eve (her blog doesn't allow comments, and she has so many thousands of readers that I'd be lost in the crowd, anyway).

As for real, face-to-face relationships, I feel like I have many dear acquaintances but few close friends here. My family fills much of my emotional bucket most of the time, and I am usually too busy to think beyond that, but now and again I wish for a friendship where we know each other inside out and savor every minute we spend together. I can't think of anyone who fits that description, lives in the same state I do, and isn't married to me (the worth of my good husband is incalculable, but it's nice to have non-family friends, too).

In some ways I feel I'm starving amid plenty. Out of all the women I associate with each week at church and parenting class, there's got to be someone I could really connect with if I weren't so busy and introverted. Sigh.

Daddy Dishes and Scratchy Notes

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . feeling bleh all day. I suspect it is due to pregnant hormones more than the pesky virus.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daddy volunteering to do the dishes because he could see I wasn't feeling well. Bless him.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy has decided her hands are bugs that like to crawl around on things. This morning she told me that her right hand is mother bug, and her left hand is father bug. I guess mother really is always right. ;)

. . . Joy has begun showing increased interest in the piano. She likes me to stand next to her and tell her, note by note, how to play whatever song she has opened to in the hymnbook. She calls sharp notes “scratchy notes,” which is cute.

So far I’ve just been telling her the melody note for the right hand, but this afternoon she observed that “father bug” (her left hand) wanted to be involved, too. I started giving her a left hand note to accompany the melody here and there. I’m sure it’s good for her musical development, but it takes about four times longer for her to mentally process multiple notes at once.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Temple Halls

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending the temple with my sweetheart.

. . . going out to dinner afterward. It was just a visit to a burger joint, but even that feels special when I'm alone with my sweetie.

. . . a nice lady handing me a Halls throat drop when I was coughing in the temple session. It worked wonders.

And another thing . . .

. . . when Phillip ran out the door this morning, Joy asked why he was going so fast. I explained that he was running late and had to hurry to catch his train. "You mean he has to run like an ostrich?" Joy asked. Um, how fast does an ostrich go? About 40mph? "Yeah, he has to run like an ostrich."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Broken, Frozen, Lost & Found

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel using one of our small plates as a discuss. Nine down, three to go.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading "Goodnight Moon" with my kids. Daniel giggled when I whispered "Goodnight to the old lady whispering hush."

. . . having a ball dancing with my kids at a parenting class we attend. They both even learned to freeze when the music paused.

. . . taking the kids to the local frozen yogurt place, just for fun.

. . . finding a favorite earring I thought I'd lost. Good thing I kept the other one.

And another thing . . .

. . . I'm still coughing a bit, but I'm finally starting to feel better.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Elephants, Birds, and Fish--Oh My!

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . waiting forever to see a doctor today. My cough refuses to leave, and seems to be getting a little worse, so I decided to seek medical advice on it. The good news is that they prescribed a few things that seem to be helping.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . dancing to a few movements from Saint-Saens's "The Carnival of the Animals" for our home evening. We played the bird song, fish song, elephant song, and a few others, pretending to be the animal depicted. Joy really got into it. Daniel just wanted me to push him around on the scooter.

And another thing . . .

. . . which is the greater travesty: that stores are selling Easter candy a mere week after Valentine's day, or that I actually bought some?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Raindrops and a Lime

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . trying a sweet lime (a farmer's market novelty) with breakfast, and finding it bland and boring. The kids didn't like it either. Since we specifically asked the vendor to help us pick a good one, I think we'll pass on those in the future. At least we gave it a try.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy playing more tunes on the piano. She asked what her song was called, and I said she made it up so she should name it. She asked for some suggestions and settled on "Raindrops."

. . . eating some cookies Phillip made last night. Sometimes you just need some good ol' butter, sugar, and chocolate.

. . . a warm shower on a cold evening.

. . . husband hugs.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Berry Bread and Moses

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel finally climbing in and out of his car seat on his own. I was particularly grateful because I didn't want to try lifting him in and out with a pulled muscle, even if it does feel a lot better than it did last night.

. . . making another loaf of strawberry bread from the fragrant berries we bought at the market last night. I made the flour about half whole wheat this time, so it's healthier and still tastes fabulous.

And another thing . . .

. . . while Joy and I were discussing how far it is to Africa (the land of Curious George's nativity), Joy sagely observed that you would need a boat to get across the ocean, unless you had a prophet like Moses around to divide it for you.

Squash Blossoms and Pulled Muscles

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy pestering me with questions when all I really want is to cough my lungs out in peace.

. . . coughing so hard that I pulled another muscle in my abdomen. Now it hurts to even clear my throat.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing an eight-year-old boy at the farmer's market say, "Look, Mom! There are the squash blossoms! How many are we going to get?" I'm actually tempted to get some myself; I had some delicious cheese-stuffed, roasted squash blossoms at a restaurant once.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 100 Song

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the smell of bread baking.

. . . watching my kids roll a ball back and forth to each other. Daniel laughed every time he caught it.

. . . Joy playing a pretty sequence of notes on the piano. When she finished she told me she'd been playing "The 100 Song." It took me a while, but I eventually figured out that she was referring to our hymnbook, which was open to Hymn #100 "Nearer, My God, to Thee." The tune she played in no way resembled that hymn, but it was still lovely. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weeds, Pilates, and Hobbes

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . finding out that my mother-in-law probably caught our miserable cough when we visited her on Sunday. Sigh . . . I hoped we weren't contagious any more.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . glancing out my window and seeing our Korean neighbor weeding my container garden.

. . . Joy suggesting that we start a Pilates video so we can get some exercise. I sure needed it.

. . . Daniel calming down when I hugged him during his pediatric checkup today. I'm glad that I'm a comfort to him.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy has now decided that she is Hobbes and Daniel is Calvin. I would have chosen to be Hobbes, too.

. . . I know it's common for kids to imitate their parents, but this is a little silly: Daniel sees me blow my nose so often these days that he's started asking me to blow his, too, even though it doesn't need it.

. . . it's hard to strike a balance between teaching my kids self-reliance and fostering an atmosphere of love and service. I want Joy to learn to do things for herself and ask for assistance when she needs it (rather than, say, just announcing "I can't pedal this bike" and waiting for someone to come give her a push). However, I also want to teach her to serve others (especially her little brother), and I want Daniel to perceive his sister as a positive presence in his life, not just someone who provides entertainment and competes for toys. I suspect that demonstrating service is a critical part of teaching it, so I think I need to look for more opportunities to serve my daughter, and show her opportunities to serve others.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . realizing that I'm coming down with a cold, in addition to my persistent cough. Sheesh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . celebrating Valentine's Day with heart-shaped pancakes for dinner, and Pink Grandma's personalized Valentine cookies for our FHE treat. I also stuck notes all over the house telling my husband lots of reasons why I love him.

. . . reading a quote from President Hinckley (cited by President Monson here) that it's hard to be self-centered when you have a spirit of gratitude. It really is true. Since I'm sick and getting sicker, I was often tempted to feel sorry for myself today. Every time I remembered to think about all I have to be grateful for, I truly did feel better.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Clouds and Cake

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . still coughing now and then.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally being well enough to attend church, which happened to be a very uplifting ward conference.

. . . hearing Joy's delight at the colorful clouds illuminated by the sunset.

. . . my husband loving a carrot cake I made today.

. . . being visited by a stalwart home teacher, and cheerful visiting teacher.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Errant Artist

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . When I got out of bed and entered our bathroom this morning, the first thing I noticed was that the doorknob was wet. Then I noticed that it was purple. I realized Joy had painted it, along with every other knob in the room and a few other things besides. I called out her name and began to search the apartment, but I couldn't find her anywhere. My annoyance turned to panic as I wondered if she had gone outside and wandered who-knows-where. I was just about to run out and look for her when I spied her hiding behind our stroller, purple paint brush in hand. I immediately escorted her to the bathroom and we scrubbed off the paint together. I'm sure I'll laugh at this years from now. In the meantime, I'm going to move our paint to an undisclosed location.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a family outing to Bed Bath & Beyond to replace a few household items and get one or two fun things. Hooray for gift cards!

. . . visiting a nice lady with a nice cat.

. . . eating a bowl of Cheerios. Sometimes there is great comfort in simple, wholesome things. Of course, I also enjoyed eating more strawberry bread.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blissful Slumber and Strawberry Bread

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my husband taking care of the kids this morning so I could sleep in.

. . . making strawberry bread using the pint of berries we bought at the farmers' market yesterday. It is very tasty and we've all had multiple slices. I just wish I'd remembered to substitute wheat flour for some of the white so it was a bit healthier (we'll ignore all the butter and sugar that went into it).

And another thing . . .

. . . coughs are becoming a rare occurrence in our home, but every time I quit taking Mucinex those occasional coughs become miserably unproductive. Sigh.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Learning to Love My Farmers' Market

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . trying a blood orange at the farmers' market. I've always been curious about them. This one was pretty good.

. . . watching Daniel grin as he flipped on a light switch.

. . . reading Daisy's profile on It's kinda trippy to think that of the 14 million Mormons in the world, the Church chose to interview someone I know.

. . . Joy insisting that she's a bird and needs to flap her wings as she walks.

And another thing . . .

. . . Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal Vegetable Miracle (about her family's year-long commitment to eat just they could grow or that was grown locally) inspired me visit a local farmers' market today. I'd been leery of it in the past because I thought the organic produce would be too pricy, but I discovered that it can be very economical if you're sensible about what you buy.

For example, the grocery store sells five pound boxes of satsuma mandarins for about $1.50/pound, but it's hard to tell whether they're all good, and it's even harder to eat them all before they dry out or go bad. At the FM I found satsumas for $2.50/pound, but I could handle and even sample them to make sure they're good, and then buy just as many as my family can eat before they get overripe. I spent less money and got a better product.

The celery situation is even better. I usually need ONE rib, not a whole bunch (which will then rot in my crisper drawer), and at the farmers' market a vendor let me have a single celery rib free when I bought some of his strawberries. Score.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Four Hands

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . eating blueberry pancakes.

. . . chamomile tea calming my cough.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy is still channeling Curious George, and since the books say that George has "four hands" (feet with opposable thumbs apparently count as hands), Joy has started using her feet to hold things. I don't mind her using her feet to lift clothes out of her drawer, but I draw the line at letting her put a vitamin in her mouth with her toes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Milano Test

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel throwing a bar of soap on my foot. He is developing a pretty good arm, which is great, but it can be hard to communicate to him which objects should be thrown at which other objects.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Daniel hold our building's front gate open for neighbors as they came and went. Very gentlemanly of him.

. . . watching Joy climb up a tree trunk all by herself. Practice does make perfect.

. . . singing a song an octave low at home evening. I don't want that to be a permanent thing, but it's fun for a change. Heck, it's fun to be able to sing at all after what I've been through lately.

And another thing . . .

. . . my nurse friend suggested that Joy and I try taking Mucinex for our miserable, wracking coughs. We bought some this morning, and it really has made a difference. We still cough a bit, but not as often and it doesn't feel like my respiratory track is trying to turn itself inside out.

Just to be sure things were better, I decided to try the Milano Test. Phillip bought a bag of Mint Milano cookies a few days ago, and every time I've bitten into one I've immediately erupted into a fit of coughing (perhaps due to cookie dust, or simply because coughs are killjoys). This afternoon I removed a cookie from the package, cautiously took a bite, and . . . my lungs just kept right on breathing as if they'd never heard of coughs. Huzzah!

Of course, since no experiment is truly valid unless you can replicate it, I ate another cookie just to be sure.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Goodbye, Taste

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . you don't want to know.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . kissing Daniel's dough-boy cheeks.

. . . watching a Conference session this morning. The sick kids and I stayed home from church for the second week in a row, and as I was wondering how to invite the spirit of the Sabbath whilst spending yet another day home in pajamas, Phillip suggested I stream a session. It was a perfect way to uplift us and give me some inspiring things to reflect on.

And another thing . . .

. . . I am very happy to announce that we are expecting our third baby (due in early September), but I'm not so thrilled about a minor side effect resulting therefrom. No, not the weight gain or frequent bathroom breaks or pinched sciatic nerve. I'm talking about the fact that my sense of taste changes, and I can't tell whether a recipe genuinely tastes lousy, or if it's just that I'm pregnant. For someone who loves food and cooking as much as I do, that change really sucks some of the joy out of life. It's like an artist suddenly seeing the world in shades of grey, burnt orange, and split-pea green for nine months. Baby, you're worth it, but I'm sure glad the condition is temporary.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chard and a Weird Jedi

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip home late again. Thankfully, this should be the last time for a while, since he's turning in his presentation tonight.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing the little chard seeds sprouting in my container garden.

. . . watching Weird Al's Star Wars Episode I parody over and over with Joy. My favorite line: "And the Jedi I admire most/Met up with Darth Maul, and now he's toast." I also enjoyed the Emperor's impressive piano skills.

And another thing . . .

. . . this morning Joy was writing with a red pencil. She usually writes random letters and occasionally our names, but today she decided to write a word Calvin and Hobbes use when they careen off a ledge in their wagon: "AAAAAAAA."


Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . my respiratory system trying to turn itself inside out every few minutes. I realize that coughing plays a practical, even vital role, and that if my body couldn't do it my condition would quickly become worse, if not fatal. Still, I look forward to the day when my body won't need to go into convulsive fits of coughing several times an hour.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling with the kids. Daniel's nearly better and Joy's on the mend, but both still want lots of hugs, and that's fine by me.

And another thing . . .

. . . until this recent family illness, I hadn't realized the enormous power of suggestion where coughs are concerned. Just as we often yawn when we see someone else do it, I've noticed that when anyone in our family begins to cough, another person soon joins them and soon we have a whole coughing chorus.

*Don't worry--I know it's really spelled "cacophony."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Smiles and Killer Pot Pies

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . looking at the "nutritional" information on the premade pot pies I bought for dinner, and finding that one contains over 1,000 calories and more than my entire daily allotment of saturated fat. I think I'll climb back in the saddle and cook dinner myself tomorrow.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Joy snooze with Daddy on the couch this evening.

. . . hearing my husband get excited about a chart of firing neurons that he made at the lab today. And about the hot cocoa mix I bought him this morning.

. . . smiling at Joy as she drifted off to sleep this afternoon. I got to wondering how often she sees me smile in my relentless pursuit of domestic order and harmony. I think frequent smiles would communicate even better than words that I love her, and that there is so much to savor in life.

What A Girl Wants

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . virtually every moment of this day. Yesterday I felt 80% well; today I felt 80% terrible.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling with my kids (even though my back hurt).

And another thing . . .

. . . this day provided an interesting object lesson about needs vs. wants. I felt eight kinds of miserable, and desperately wanted my husband to come home early to help and provide moral support. But I didn't need him to come home early, whereas he definitely needed to be at work preparing for a big presentation next week. Some wishes aren't granted, and yet we survive.

. . . this post title is also the title of a teen chick flick in which Amanda Bynes plays Colin Firth's long lost daughter. It was fun in a cheesy, predictable sort of way. The best part was watching Firth rock out in leather pants in front of a mirror as his daughter helped him rediscover his wild side. Also, you know you're old when you have no interest in the hip teenage musician Amanda hooks up with; you'd rather be dancing with her dad Mr. Darcy--I mean Colin Firth.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Strong Windows, Weak Immune Systems

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Daniel wind up and pitch a metal paperweight at our front window. Miraculously, the glass didn't break.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Daniel giggle every time he put a cashew on a board book, then lifted the cover and watched the nut slide to the floor. Ah, simple pleasures.

And another thing . . .

. . . Daniel and I are nearly out of the woods (even my back pain subsided to a dull ache by this evening), but Joy is marching steadily into them. She had a fever all day, and spent much of it napping on the couch. I told our snake he had better practice proper hygiene because he's the only only one in the family who hasn't gotten sick yet.

Murphy's Morning

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy waking up at 5:30am with a barking, croupy cough.

. . . Daniel spitting up.

. . . me coughing so hard I strained my back.

. . . my back hurting every single time I coughed.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . when my busy husband with a pressing deadline offered to stay home and help today.

. . . writing a note to woman I visit teach. It's funny how serving someone else can ease your own burden, at least for a little while.

And another thing . . .

. . . at Cathy's suggestion I tried some chamomile herbal tea in hot apple juice with some honey. It really did make my throat feel better, and it didn't taste as bad as I expected it to (though I did use just one tea bag instead of the three she uses). It just tasted . . . a little weird. It tasted and felt like I had dissolved a small pat of butter in some apple juice.