Monday, October 31, 2011

Cartoons and Pumpkins

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Joy sing in the Primary program. Occasionally she became distracted and stopped singing along, whereupon Phillip and I started mouthing the words (if we knew them) in the hope that she would see us and start singing again. Sometimes it worked. Even when it didn't, it was fun to watch her.

. . . a pumpkin carving party at my parents' house. Joy and I collaborated--she told me what she wanted, and I made it so.

And another thing . . .

. . . at church a couple women encouraged me to check out They said it had tons of craft ideas, recipes, organizing tips, etc. They also said it is easy to spend hours there, and wonder where the time went when you finally resurface. The last thing I need in my life is another time sucker, but against my better judgment I decided to check it out. It seems like a bunch of pleasant randomness. I chuckled at a couple cartoons (this one and that one), then shut the page before I could find anything I couldn't tear myself away from. Maybe I'll revisit the site again, but I think it would probably be asking for trouble when I already have so little time to spare.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Garlic and Wheat

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . planting some garlic in the borrowed garden. In the past I've had a hard time getting over to it often enough to keep weeds at bay and harvest what the plants produce, but I can't bear to have someone offer me their plot and not take advantage of it, at least in a small way. I've made a plan to get over there at least twice a week to check the garlic's progress and do battle with the morning glories. I may plant a few other things, too, but for now I'm just happy to have something in the ground. I've never grown garlic before, and I'm curious to see how it will do.

. . . buying wheat and flour for a ridiculously low price at the local bishop's storehouse. It was also nice to show my kids the little grocery section where bishops can refer ward members who need financial assistance. I explained how we take care of each other in the Church, paying offerings to help others in need, and when they get back on their feet they'll pay to feed other people, maybe even us if we ever run into trouble. It's comforting to be part of a community that takes care of each other, and to know that we have that support system if we ever need it.

. . . checking out the creative costumes at the ward Trunk-or-Treat. I love seeing what people come up with.

. . . watching a BYU quarterback high-five the referee.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bouncy Breakfast

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

. . . bouncing on my exercise ball during breakfast to keep my fussy baby content. Eating oatmeal whilst bouncing upon a big plastic ball is not as difficult as one might think, but drinking orange juice was a challenge.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . checking out all the creative costumes at a community Halloween party.

. . . fixing a very bland soup.

. . . giving my baby corny nicknames like Kick-A-Foot, Cuddlebug, and Little Fuzzy (because her hair is fuzzy, and I love feeling it against my cheek; Daniel likes to rub his nose in it).

. . . hugging my husband.

And another thing . . .

. . . Daniel is learning a lot of new words and sounds, and for the most part I encourage him to say things correctly, but I find myself reluctant to phase out some of the random toddler words from the days when he first started talking. I know that someday he needs to learn to say green, orange, and yes properly, but I'll still feel a bit wistful when he stops pronouncing them nee-nee, jar-jar, and nuh.

. . . yesterday I heard that the city officials in L.A. may ask the local Occupy Wall Street protestors to vacate city property. Apparently there are sanitation issues at their encampment, and the lawn and trees are starting to die because the city has thoughtfully turned off the sprinklers. Also, as one city official pointed out, the mayor and city council can't actually do anything about Wall Street, so it might make more sense for the protestors to do something that will more directly help their cause. The whole business, reminds me of a snarky editorial I recently read about people's desire to "do something" when they're actually doing nothing. Perhaps the OWS folks should pull up stakes and vow to move their bank accounts on November 5.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Takeout, Bad Directions

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

. . . driving 80% of the way to an appointment before remembering that my doctor recently moved her office to a different city in the opposite direction.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . buying Menchie's takeout for two on my way home from a meeting. It was fun to see the look of delighted surprise on Phillip's face when I set two bowls of fro yo down on the table.

And another thing . . .

. . . after reading about some pioneer women this afternoon, I am so grateful to live in an age when living conditions and medical advancements make infant mortality very rare. On the other hand, as my kids get older they will face greater moral dangers than they might have in other eras. I'm grateful that God loves us enough to teach us how to navigate these troubled waters, and I pray I'll do a good job of passing that knowledge and love on to my children.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Naps Good, Cabin Fever Bad

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

. . . thinking my computer was on the fritz because I couldn't type anything in a spreadsheet. Then I realized my son had turned off Number Lock when he was tinkering with the keyboard earlier. Whew/duh.

. . . trying to think of ways to keep three kids and me from going stir crazy after we've been together for hours on end. I'm sure it will be easier down the road when Anna's schedule is more flexible and she wants to do something other than recline in my arms all the time.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Anna breathe as she napped against my shoulder.

. . . Daniel laughing uproariously as I helped him stay atop the big exercise ball.

. . . the smell of baking bread.

. . . Anna taking a long nap this afternoon. Yessss.

And another thing . . .

. . . I got to talking with a Mexican this morning about the thousands of people who have died in the recent drug wars in his country. Until this morning, I had always assumed God gave us the Word of Wisdom to spare individuals and their families from the blight of addictions. Today I realized that, as President Hinckley noted, there would be far less suffering in many areas of the world if all people heeded God's counsel to avoid drugs and treat their bodies like the temples they are.

Voices In My Head

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my kids breaking out in cheers when I mentioned we would have a sliced pear with lunch. Joy played a celebratory fanfare on the piano, and Daniel gave Mih-mih two kisses. It reminded me of the day Daniel gasped with delight when he discovered we would be having beans with our meal. Just plain beans. I'm glad they enjoy healthy food. Of course, they were also excited about the chicken nuggets, but I thought it was cute that the pear got the bigger reaction.

. . . introducing Anna to the little play mat we bought when Daniel was a baby. It was fun to see her kick her feet excitedly as she gazed at the colorful animals suspended above her. Her siblings were even more intrigued by all the toys, and I bet they'll play with it even more than she does for the first few days.

. . . my mom calling to say how much she enjoyed the post I put on our family blog last night. While I've long since reconciled myself to the fact that my handful of readers prefer to lurk rather than comment, it is encouraging to get a little feedback now and then, and know that my posts are meaningful to someone.

And another thing . . .

. . . as the mother of a newborn, I have an uncanny ability to hear Anna crying before other people do. I also have an uncanny ability to hear her crying even when she’s not actually doing it. I’m so tuned in to catch the very first whimpers that I sometimes think I hear them when Anna is perfectly content or even asleep. It doesn’t help that there is another baby in our building who is just four days older than Anna, so sometimes I really do hear a baby cry; it just isn’t mine.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Building a Shack and Dragging a Tire

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

. . . getting hit by the baby bus (translation: Anna woke me up about every two hours last night, and I got up this morning feeling tired as heck). Fortunately Phillip was here to help me get the kids ready this morning, but I was really dragging by dinnertime.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . throwing convention out the window and making microwaved s'mores using peanut butter cookies smeared with Nutella. They were pretty good. Would have been better if the mallow had been roasted with an actual fire, though.

. . . making a "haunted shack" for our home evening activity. It's like a gingerbread house, but we used graham crackers instead of gingerbread, and decorated with candy corn, gumdrops, and M&Ms. I handled the icing, Phillip supervised construction and carved graham cracker tombstones, Joy stuck on the candy, and Daniel ate up all the sweets we gave him.

And another thing . . .

. . . sometimes parenting reminds me of my days on the high school track team, when my coach made us sprint with a heavy tire tied behind us. While I'm sure it strengthened me, it was also very frustrating when I wanted to dash along at top speed but the weight I was towing cut my pace in half.

I often feel the same way these days. There are tons of things I need to do, and many more that I want to do, and I would love to work through them quickly and efficiently. I can't really do that when my hands, my attention, or both are occupied by at least one of my children most of the time. I know this is just a stage of life, and there will be phases when I have more time than I know what to do with, but sometimes it's hard to be patient and enjoy the phase you're in.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vampire Beetles and Erupting Water

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

. . . Anna waking up early during naptime. Having my baby unexpectedly wake up while her siblings are napping is like getting your tax return, then backing your car into a light pole. Sigh . . . I had big plans for naptime, little baby.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing a vampire ladybug in one of our Halloween books. The writing is just decent, but the illustrations crack me up.

. . . sitting on the couch hugging my husband. It's been a busy week, and it was wonderful to finally share some quiet time together.

And another thing . . .

. . . this evening Joy decided to express her affection for me with a kiss, then Daniel chose to express his affection by clobbering both of us with the exercise ball. Yes indeed, boys and girls are very different.

. . . I read today that if you microwave water for a long time in the right conditions, it can actually explode. I could have sworn that happened once in our microwave a few years ago, but it's never happened again and for a while I thought I'd imagined it. Snopes says it really can happen, though, which is both reassuring (I'm not crazy) and unsettling (who wants superheated water erupting in their kitchen?). Take home message: don't microwave water longer than you need to.

The Anna Remedy

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

. . . seeing all the junk on the covers of tabloids at the grocery store. One of my favorite things about Trader Joe's is that their checkout areas don't include tabloids, girly magazines, or any other periodical that leaves you worse than it found you.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy commenting that when she's sad, it makes her feel better to kiss her baby sister.

. . . dinner coming together quickly because I had prepared most of it beforehand.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Joyful Hug and a Snarky Vegetarian

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy running to greet me when I picked her up from school. Her hug nearly knocked me over, but the memory kept me smiling hour later.

. . . women from the stake watching my kids so I could worship in the temple today. Thank you. The temple always lends clarity to my life, and recharges my spiritual and emotional batteries.

. . . randomly happening upon a snarky vegetarian food blog, and reading "the golden rule of bad kitchen habits: cheese fixes everything." Yea, verily. Bread helps, too. Also, the roasted yams with walnuts post make me laugh. Hard to say whether it was genuinely funny or I was just up too late. Probably both.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Singing Grandmas and What's-Her-Name

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Pink Grandma coming over to visit and share some more musical videos she's made. They included Teddy Bear's Picnic, which she did as a favor for me. My mom used to sing it as she read a picture book, and it was fun to hear it again all these years later.

. . . the planets aligning so I could bake bread and prepare dinner. It felt good to take some time to cook an actual meal, rather than just throwing something together at the last minute.

. . . hearing Daniel laugh.

And another thing . . .

. . . sometimes Joy chides me for forgetting to address her by her latest pretend name (e.g. Curious George, Chloe the Dog, etc.). I usually tell her that I forget because the name changes so often, whereupon she vows that she will never change it again. That usually lasts about an hour.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Huzzah for Tacos

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

. . . being really hungry and having no clue what to fix for dinner tonight. We ended up having takeout from a Mexican food joint down the street.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . going out to the car all by myself while the kids were inside with Daddy. Sometimes it's just awesome to get from front door to driver's seat in thirty seconds, rather than ten minutes.

. . . eating a potato taco. It sounds weird, but it was actually pretty tasty.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Sleeping Angel and Honeydew Sorbet

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

. . . feeling really tired, and still having lots to do.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting our new pediatrician. You can tell that she really likes kids and cares that they are healthy and happy.

. . . reading a cooking magazine for a few minutes.

. . . going to Menchie's with my family.

. . . watching Anna while she was sleeping. She looked so cute and peaceful.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cocoa and Shooting Stars

We just got back from a family trip to Arches National Park. Some of my favorite memories included . . .

. . . seeing some incredible sandstone arches up close. When you're standing right under an arch, it looks both more awesome and more fragile because you can see all the cracks and places where slabs of rock have fallen away. One fellow hiker at the North Window Arch commented, "Yeah, this thing's coming down any minute . . . geologically speaking."

. . . seeing lots of chipmunks.

. . . sharing jokes and memories with my parents and siblings.

. . . stargazing together and watching for shooting stars.

. . . Anna sleeping for hours at a stretch in her little Moses basket. Thanks, Mih-mih.

. . . drinking lots of cocoa.

. . . hanging out with my brother Andrew (he lives out of state, so I don't get to see him often), and talking with him about his big vegetable garden. I had no idea he even had a garden until he handed me a jar of homemade jalapeno jam.

. . . eating Papa's Dutch Oven cherry cobbler.

. . . my parents watching the kids while Phillip and I hiked around the Windows on our own. It was nice to be able to talk without interruptions and hike at our own pace. And smooch a lot.

. . . sleeping in on Saturday morning while the family played with Joy and Daniel. Sweet bliss.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don't Kick An Elevator Shaft

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

. . . an unfortunate mishap on my way to a doctor visit. For some reason, when the elevator doors opened the floor of the elevator was still several inches lower than the main floor, so as I stepped toward the lobby my sandaled foot kicked the side of the elevator shaft. Owwwwww. I guess if I'm going to get hurt, the best place to do it is outside a doctor's office.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Phillip give the kids piggyback rides as he waltzed along to the Blue Danube Waltz. After that he lay on the floor and let them climb on his chest and jump off. I can’t imagine enjoying that, but he let them do it over and over, and they loved every minute.

. . . figuring out a way to get three kids to nap in two bedrooms, at least for now.

And another thing . . .

. . . I recently an interesting thought on acting by George C. Scott (who played the title role in the film Patton, among other things): "I think you have to be schizoid three different ways to be an actor. You've got to be three different people. You have to be a human being. Then you have to be the character you're playing. And on top of that you've got to be the guy sitting out there in Row 10, watching yourself and judging yourself. That's why most of us are crazy to start with, or go nuts once we get into it. I mean, don't you think it's a pretty spooky way to earn a living?"

Clowning Around

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

. . . Daniel curiously poking his baby sister's eyes. Of course, my efforts to dissuade him just make him want to do it more.

. . . accidentally ordering the double cheeseburger combo instead of the regular hamburger combo at In-N-Out. I didn't mind the extra patty, but I'm not a fan of American cheese (or of paying an extra two bucks for the privilege of eating it). At least the lemonade was tasty, and the kids had a good time.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the mother of one of Joy's classmates mentioning that her daughter likes Joy and wants her to come over to play.

. . . Daniel gleefully pressing on my nose to hear me make the sound of a bicycle horn (I learned that little trick from a missionary companion who always told people she wanted to be a clown for a living; she was kidding but they all believed her).

. . . going to Menchie's for our FHE activity. Pumpkin fro yo + cinnamon graham fro yo = bliss.

. . . Anna looking at all the lights and colors with wide eyes as we walked home along a busy street this evening.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Candy Train and Yellow Conference

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

. . . my dear son constantly forgetting to whisper during stake conference. Still, I have to admit it was kind of cute when he got excited about the colors in his book and shouted "Yellow!!" right in the middle of someone's talk.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . chatting a lot after conference today. It is always pleasant to talk with friends, but especially when you spend most of your time home with a baby, interacting with people under the age of five.

. . . playing with our electric train as a family. Phillip put candy in the cargo car and let us choose a piece each time the train stopped in front of us. Once the candy was all gone, he let the kids and me take turns driving the train around the tracks. It was fun to watch Joy experiment with the different switches, and see Daniel captivated by the train as it slowed or accelerated in response to his turns of the dial.

And another thing . . .

. . . after conference today, a mother of seven children said that the transition from two to three kids is the hardest by far.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Clear Signal and a Clean Floor

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

. . . getting blisters walking the halls with Anna, who inexplicably refused to doze off at stake conference tonight.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a nap while Phillip watched the kids.

. . . vacuuming. It's nice to finally have a clean floor again.

. . . playing dominoes with Joy. I was falling asleep by the fourth round, though.

. . . listening to a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy speak tonight (while Phillip took a turn doing laps with Anna). It's always a unique experience listening to a General Authority at a local conference. Even if the other speakers were really good, when an Apostle or Seventy comes to the pulpit there's a different feeling in the room. It's as if things come into focus more, or the static in a radio signal goes away and messages suddenly come through more clearly.

Christians and a Flu Shot

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

. . . my arm being sore from the flu shot I got this evening.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel inviting me to sit next to him so he could tell me that he has two eyes and two feet.

. . . the times I parented positively and effectively, instead of just reacting. Today was a much better day than yesterday. I think it helped that I got more sleep last night, and did much more praying today. I asked for God's help more fervently because I was so keenly aware of how much I needed it.

And another thing . . .

. . . This evening I indulged in reading a few blog posts. One of them was STM’s in which she linked to a thoughtful post by a non-LDS Christian. The woman recalled how fellow Christians in high school spoke derisively of Mormons, but her experiences as an adult taught her that Mormons are generally good people who share many of her values, and that it would be better to learn from and draw strength from each other rather than focusing on our differences.

It was lovely to read the warmth and respect the author and many of her commenters feel for Mormons and for each other. They are Christians in the true sense of the word. I hope I am, too.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yes, I Am A Geek

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

. . . most of this day, for a hundred little reasons. I won't waste your time with the details. Let's just say I'm looking forward to going to sleep and starting fresh tomorrow.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . listening to Joy making up a song on our walk home from the store.

. . . snuggling Anna. Babies are even more comforting than teddy bears.

. . . hugging my husband when he got home tonight. Husbands are very comforting, too.

. . . discovering that Wikipedia has a big entry devoted entirely to "Spider-Man's powers and equipment."

And another thing . . .

. . . I seem to be developing a sort of Spidey Sense about Daniel. I can usually tell he's about to throw something a few moments before he actually hurls it across the room (which happens countless times each day). We should have named that boy Chuck.

. . . I heard a mom call her child "Precious" this morning. I don't think I could ever use that word as a nickname; I've read/watched Lord of the Rings too many times to hear it without thinking of Gollum.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yogurt and a Daisy

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

. . . Daniel breaking the childproof device on our cupboard that contains toxic chemicals. "Childproofing" is simply no match for Daniel (he can open pill bottles, too).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking up to the sound of rain falling softly outside.

. . . more giggles with Daniel.

. . . making funny faces at Joy (until she politely asked me to stop).

. . . taking silly pictures of Joy wearing a headband that makes her look like a giant daisy.

. . . eating homemade yogurt with the kids. We stirred in some honey, then Daniel and I added granola and blueberries to ours. It was really good, and we polished off every bit of our latest batch. Time to fire up the microwave, pull out the thermos and instant thermometer, and make some more. I'm thinking of investing in a bigger thermos.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kicks and Giggles

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

. . . realizing that buying pumpkins today probably mattered more to me than to the rest of my family members combined. I feel like many of my efforts to do fun things as a family end up being anticlimactic and often downright stressful. I wonder if the memories will be rosier than the events themselves, or if I’m just going about this all wrong.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna kicking her legs enthusiastically as I got ready to feed her. It was fun to see her get so excited about something.

. . . a giggle fest with Daniel.

. . . hearing Joy reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance" to Daniel after we put them to bed. She calls it "talking to the flag."

And another thing . . .

. . . a friend recently blogged about her children's nicknames, which got me thinking about my kids' nicknames. My children came up with the nicknames I use (I don't think anyone else uses them, except for Daniel in one case). Joy used to call herself "Dwah" and Daniel "Dan-o;" she has since matured enough to pronounce both names properly, but I still use her toddler versions now and then. Daniel calls Anna "Mih-mih," which I think is even cuter than her real name. I'll probably call her Mih-mih until she starts junior high and begs me to stop. Even then, I may not be able to help myself.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Apostles and Armadillo Eggs

This weekend's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching four two-hour sessions of General Conference. Exhausting but inspiring.

. . . spending time with both sides of our family.

. . . taking two naps in one day.

. . . taking a walk along the lake with my sweetheart. We walked the same trail six years ago as newlyweds.

. . . eating an armadillo egg (a cheese-stuffed jalapeno pepper wrapped in bacon and grilled), at a Mexican restaurant. It was fun to try something different with such a kooky name. At least, it was fun until I bit into a really spicy part and my mouth caught fire.