Monday, February 27, 2012

Pretzels and Prophets

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading The Ensign as part of my scripture study today. It inspires me, and just plain puts me in a good mood.

. . . making pretzel treats with Joy.

. . . kissing Daniel's doughboy cheeks.

. . . seeing my husband's smile as he walked in the door.

Another Sunday Walk

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

. . . strolling around the chapel for two hours with a tired baby who would not sleep. At least she's big enough for the Ergo carrier now, so my back and shoulders don't hurt.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy giving me a big hug when I dropped her off at Primary.

. . . taking a nap.

. . . hanging out with the fam at my parents' house.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Denzel and the Parrots

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting tons of things done while Phillip had the big kids up at my parents' cabin.

. . . enjoying the sights as I walked with Anna to run some errands. We saw colorful flowers blooming, noisy parrots nibbling seeds in the trees, little sparrows perched in a tree, and a sliver moon up in the sky.

. . . happening upon an old quote I had written down from a Reader's Digest interview with Denzel Washington. He said that "success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me." I thought about that several times throughout the day, and it did me good. It reminded me to take a deep breath and relax, but it also helped me see what I might be doing to prevent peace (i.e. stressing about something that doesn't matter, or looking for the negative in someone instead of the positive). Doing what's right is the moral thing to do, but it also tends to make us feel better.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tomatoes and an Apostle

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

. . . waking up tired.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy giving me a big hug when I dropped her off at school.

. . . browsing a garden center and daydreaming about what to plant this year.

. . . Daniel saying "I love you, too."

. . . listening to the words of an apostle as I watched a recent message from Elder Packer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Manners, Visits, and Pancakes

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Daniel say "Thank you" and "You're welcome."

. . . visiting several families in our ward. I could have talked to any of them for hours.

. . . mixing up my favorite homemade, multigrain pancake mix, which keeps for months in the fridge. It's nice to know that on any given day I can whip up a meal everyone will love in just five minutes. "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hugs, Smiles, and the Big Bike

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

. . . feeling very tired. Anna's been waking up a lot at night lately.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy helping me out and giving me lots of hugs while I was helping in her class this morning.

. . . watching Daniel play an electronic memory game we have. He's a smart little cookie.

. . . Anna smiling and snuggling against me when I got her up from a nap.

. . . Joy setting aside a video game to play with some neighbor kids outside in the courtyard. Very old school of her. I love that we have several friendly kids in our complex, and an enclosed place to play.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy is probably the tallest child in her preschool class, so she rides the biggest bike in the bike yard. It makes her look twice her age to me.

Yogurt, Rice Cereal, and Drama at the Doctor

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

. . . holding Joy down while she got a little prick for a TB test. The nurse had tried to put her mind at ease by explaining what would happen, but the more she talked the more nervous Joy got.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna actually swallowing little mouthfuls of food, rather than just dribbling it all down her chin. I was rather effusive in my praise after tonight's meal (if you can call a teaspoon of rice cereal and apple puree a meal--I guess everything's relative).

. . . making yogurt. It's a simple process and not terribly exciting, but for some reason I find it very satisfying.

. . . cuddling Anna.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reunions and Wacky Naps

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

. . . Anna's nap schedule being unpredictable today. It's frustrating not knowing what to expect.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . having dinner with family and some dear longtime friends who lived across the street when I was growing up. We love them like family but since they moved to another city we don't see them often. It was sweet to hug them, introduce our kids, and catch up on how they are doing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spanish and Tons of Oregano

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

. . . pacing the chapel halls for two hours with a heavy baby who never did fall asleep.

. . . making a minor (read: colossal) miscalculation when I was cooking dinner. The recipe called for a certain amount of fresh oregano. I didn't have any fresh, but I know you can use a third of the amount dried. I got the conversion mixed up, though, and dumped in triple the amount the recipe called for. That's right--I put in NINE times the amount of oregano I was supposed to. Fortunately there was no permanent harm done (I rinsed most of the herbs off the sauted zucchini then put it back in the pan before adding the rest of the frittata ingredients), but I felt pretty silly.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . talking to a Mexican sister in our ward in Spanish while Anna and I sat in the lobby (for some reason Anna prefers that over the classroom).

. . . taking a nap.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Simple Saturday Pleasures

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy helping me do chores this morning.

. . . having Daddy home to eat lunch with us.

. . . listening to Anna babble.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flames, a Film, and a Tummy Bug

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

. . . little Anna feeling sick. It's nothing serious, but it's always sad when your baby doesn't feel good and there's nothing you can do but cuddle them.

. . . hearing people flame each other over a controversial issue on the radio. I really wish people would try to respect, understand, and work with each other instead of just writing the other side off as evil, foolish, or both.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . eating homemade chips and salsa, then watching a movie with my sweetheart. It's hard to find a film that Phillip and I will both enjoy, but when we do it's fun to watch it together.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Breeze and an Orange

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . gazing down the valley at the puffy clouds floating about green mountains. Lovely view.

. . . feeling the cool breeze as we walked into a store. Daniel kept exclaiming that the wind felt good on his face.

. . . making waffles for dinner.

. . . watching the Fantastic Four go camping.

. . . reading a random site about Jewish cooking. It referred to "Rav Avigdor Miller (1908-2001), [who] was known for joyfully appreciating every aspect of life and encouraging others to do the same. He spoke about the wonderful world Hashem created for the sake of man. His talks were deceptively simple, even childlike. He wasn’t above speaking about the color of the sky or a piece of fruit. His homespun, even folksy style belied his intense awareness and focus—he out-Zenned the Zen (l’havdil)."

"He spoke about appreciating an orange and how Hashem had designed it specifically for our enjoyment. Rav Miller told us that every detail in this gorgeous fruit, from the delightful color to the tiny little sacs inside which contained the juice and burst refreshingly in our mouths, was created for our pleasure. He exhorted us to keep in mind when we make our blessing (and during the act of eating), that Hashem created everything for each of our own personal good and even happiness."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Boy with the Umbrella

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

. . . strapping kids into the car on a rainy day. It didn't help that I had parked under a particularly drippy tree.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Daniel strolling along carrying a little red umbrella. It somehow made him walk even slower than usual, but he looked so cute doing it.

. . . Anna grinning and chortling happily when she saw me coming in to get her up after naptime.

. . . hearing Anna laugh uproariously at Joy's antics.

. . . this comic.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nibbles and a Bite to Eat

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

. . . Anna using her fancy new teeth to nibble her mama. Owwwwww.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy hugs.

. . . eating good food with my sweetheart on Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines and Rice Cereal

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . helping the kids make valentine notes for grandparents and such. I find that I enjoy many holidays more now that I have children, and Valentine’s Day is no exception.

. . . sticking Trader Joe's Valentine stickers all over our front door and dining table. They come off easily, so why not? I figured it would be a fun surprise for the kids when they wake up tomorrow.

And another thing . . .

. . . Anna is making progress in the solid food department. Most of the rice cereal still comes right back out of her mouth, but at least she now lets me insert the spoon seven or eight times before she cries, instead of tearing up the first time I put it in her mouth.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Goodbye, Neverland

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . talking with some friends today.

. . . eating cake and ice cream.

. . . smooching my sweetheart.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy loves to play make-believe games these days (usually involving characters from her current favorite movie The Incredibles), and she usually wants me to play along. Unfortunately, I am coming to the realization the I have no imagination to speak of. I'm happy to relate a story, but I have no desire to make one up.

I'm willing to play make-believe as long as it follows a familiar storyline, but once Joy starts adlibbing my brain shuts down. I'm not very good at coming up with creative scenarios, and the dull ideas that I do manage require more mental effort that I'm usually willing to muster. I'm happy to do things (like do a puzzle or go for a walk), or make things (like a picture or a batch of cookies), but please don't ask me to be Mrs. Incredible battling a third giant robot. The result will be disappointing, and my brain will probably redline in the process.

I guess that's pretty clear evidence that I've become a practical, black and white, bottom line grown-up. Peter Pan would have no use for me. He might enjoy eating my cookies, though.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

God's Errand and a Day at the Park

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

. . . Daniel accidentally dropping a pear, then accidentally stepping on said pear, thereby crushing said pear into our carpet. Sigh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending a leadership broadcast from Salt Lake, and feeling inspired to do a few specific things to help someone I know. I'm not really sure what will come of that choice, but it feels good to be on the Lord's errand, and to know that even if I can't see how my action will help, He knows and can direct me as needed.

. . . a pleasant afternoon with my little family at the park. It was fun to watch the big kids play together while Phillip and I kicked a ball back and forth and Anna watched contentedly from the sling.

. . . bringing home fro yo to share with Phillip when I returned some library books tonight.

. . . a big Anna grin.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

School Day, Not School Night

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

. . . rushing dinner and dashing out the door to attend a mandatory meeting for Joy's school, only to arrive and discover that the meeting is next week.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . helping out in Joy's classroom this morning. I really enjoyed seeing what she does each day, and joining in the fun with her and her classmates.

And another thing . . .

. . . I helped Joy learn to make oatmeal today. Unfortunately, the directions on the packet did not include the warning "Do not open the microwave door while your bowl is on the counter next to it. Doing so may tip the bowl over and dump oatmeal all over your pajamas."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jurassic Arms Race

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna squealing happily on her play mat.

. . . Joy telling me that her paper Apatosaurus is safe from her paper T Rex because the Apatosaurus has rocket boots like Syndrome. In their next encounter the T Rex had acquired his own rocket boots, but never fear, the Apatosaurus took him out with his laser.

And another thing . . .

. . . I know that Apatosaurus is technically the correct name for a certain long-necked dinosaur, but deep down I still think it's just a fancy way to say Brontosaurus. Apparently Blogger agrees with me, since its spell checker recognizes "Brontosaurus" but not "Apatosaurus"(it suggested "thesaurus" as the only possible replacement). I guess the Blogger dictionary was created by a fellow Generation Xer.

Thirty-Nine Winks and Free Fro Yo

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

. . . Daniel waking up an hour early this morning. That's the last time I let him take a super-long nap after church.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna smiles.

And another thing . . .

. . . I learned that a local Yogurtland store was going to give away free frozen yogurt this afternoon, in honor of the first National Frozen Yogurt Day. As soon as Daniel got up from his nap we headed to the fro yo place. I expected it to be crowded, but I didn't realize we'd have to park a block away and wait in line forty-five minutes. Not sure I'd do it again, but hey, it's fun to do something a little different now and then.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Laundry and Chocolate Milk

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip turning on our fun music playlist (rock, country, pop, Latin, all shuffled together) while we did our Saturday chores. It feels good to work together.

. . . Joy offering to help out a lot around the house. She helped clear the floor so I could vacuum, accompanied out back to start the laundry, asked me to teach her how to fold it, and helped me put it all away. I was impressed that she offered to help so much. I've tried to help her be more self-reliant lately, and I think she likes feeling responsible.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy also has been asking me to teach her to cook things she can make all by herself. I’ve struggled to come up with ideas, since most cooking involves flames and sharp knives (neither of which I feel comfortable letting a preschooler handle). Even most of the ingredients are out of her reach. Still, I wanted to help her learn this practical, fun skill she is showing an interest in, so I decided to try a simple recipe with her this afternoon. It was basically bite-size frozen bananas.

The recipe called for slicing two bananas, spreading a little peanut butter on them, dipping them in melted chocolate, then freezing them. I had to muster every ounce of self-discipline I possess to sit back, keep my mouth shut, and let Joy do things her own way. After all, it doesn’t really matter that the bananas were cut different thicknesses, or that Joy ended up with peanut butter smeared all over her clothes. The important thing is that she is learning her way around the kitchen and having fun doing it.

That said, I need to make a more concerted effort to find some kid-friendly recipes. The only other one I’ve come up with is oatmeal, and that didn’t exactly spark Joy’s imagination.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the banana bites were just OK. Don't think I'll be making them again. On the other hand, the dipping chocolate made fabulous chocolate milk with some milk and a little sugar mixed in. Maybe I'll try that with Joy next time.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Solar Cooking in Winter

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

. . . opening a package of valentines and discovering that it contained no envelopes. The other package of identical cards has envelopes included. They cost the same amount of money and came from the same store. Weird.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . an older gentleman offering to help me carry drinks to my table while I was wrangling three children at In-N-Out.

. . . hearing Daniel and Daddy laugh as they played together.

. . . cooking my best solar oven dinner yet. Even in winter you can get the oven plenty warm on a sunny day; the only problem is that the sun sets around 5pm, so you either have to eat dinner early or keep it warm in your oven for a while.

. . . Daniel giving me a big hug.

And another thing . . .

. . . sometimes I feel like Anna is Dr. Skinner and I'm the pigeon, being conditioned to go certain places and do certain things. Late in the day she gets pretty fussy, but she calms down if I walk out of the family room and into the kitchen or one of the bedrooms. As the evening wears on, I find myself spending a lot of time in those rooms.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Service and Salsa

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

. . . losing my house key in my car. I still can't find it. Good thing I have a spare.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hanging out with Anna on the big bed.

. . . chatting with Phillip over chips and salsa tonight.

And another thing . . .

. . . this morning I prayed for a chance to help someone, and I hadn't even finished my prayer when a neighbor knocked on my door asking for help with something. God truly answers prayers.

. . . while we were watching cartoons this morning, Joy pretended that she was a mermaid and her pet whale kept asking her pet shark questions about what they were watching (e.g. Whale: "Who's that?" Shark:"It's Donald Duck." Whale: "Is his last name 'Duck'?" Shark: "Yes."). I suppose it makes sense that a little girl who loves to ask questions would fantasize about creatures that do the same thing.

. . . you know you've seen the Fantasia Pastoral number way too many times when you start to notice inconsistencies in the number and color of pegasus colts.

Light Exercise and Erupting Milk

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

. . . milk erupting because I heated it way too long in the microwave. I thought that could only happen with water, but apparently I was wrong, and I have a burnt finger to prove it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a walk with Anna and Daniel after we dropped Joy off at school. I used to take lots of walks with Joy when she was a baby, but I got out of the habit when additional kids made my life a little more complicated. I want to start doing it again, though; fresh air and exercise is good for souls of all sizes.

And another thing . . .

. . . I winged it with dinner tonight, tweaking this and substituting that (mostly out of necessity because I didn't have a few things the recipes called for). Sometimes improvised dinners turn out fabulous; other times they're terrible. Tonight's effort just turned out OK, but we were hungry so we didn't mind.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sling Cookies

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna smiling up at me when I came in to get her up from her nap.

. . . Joy helping Daniel ride his tricycle by pushing from behind as he pedaled.

And another thing . . .

. . . you know you're desperate for sugary baked goods when you're willing to wear a baby in a sling for over an hour while you mix dough, spoon it onto baking sheets, and bake three batches of cookies.

. . . I'm noticing a pattern when three-year-old boys run footraces with bigger kids. The toddlers have no prayer of winning, but when they cross the finish line second they either change the rules ("No, the finish line was THERE") or refuse to accept defeat ("No, I won"). The latter drives Joy bonkers. Even when she knows she is right and someone else is wrong, she feels no peace if the other person disagrees with her.