Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Sisters and Two Lessons

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

. . . Joy asking for a napkin as we sat down for breakfast.  It was a perfectly legitimate, civilized request, consistent with standard practice in our home, but it felt like someone was saying, "Geez--you've only done 384 things for us in the last five minutes.  You forgot one.  Shape up, you slacker!"

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking to the sound of Joy entertaining Anna in her crib a few feet away.  Joy's affection for her little sister can often be so exuberant that it's overwhelming, but this morning she was perfectly gentle, and it was lovely to lie there and just listen to them having fun together.

. . . Anna cheerfully kicking her little baby feet in her bath.

. . . talking with Cousins Rachel and Nathan, who are visiting from out of state.

. . . meeting my brother Rob's girlfriend.

. . . hearing some very good lessons at church--one on family home evening ideas, and the other on pornography.  While the latter wasn't the cheeriest of subjects, the teacher (a therapist by trade) did the best job I've ever heard of explaining why viewing pornography is corrosive to a person's character.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hanging out at the park with my fam.

. . . eating breakfast cookies.

. . . going out with my sweetie.

And another thing . . .

. . . am I the only one who tidies up my house before a babysitter comes over?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fuchsias and Breakfast Cookies

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . this stormtrooper cartoon.

. . . giggling with Daniel over some random thing.

. . . seeing a neighbor's fuchsias in bloom.  When I was a child, my dad always bought my mom a fuchsia for Mother's Day.  It would bloom beautifully until the Santa Ana winds dried it out a few months later, then he would buy her a new one the following year.  We especially liked the ones whose flower buds looked like little balloons, because they made a fun popping sound when we lightly pinched them.

. . . making breakfast cookies this afternoon.  They're so yummy.

And another thing . . .

. . . did you know that Blogger's dictionary recognizes "stormtroopers" but not "stormtrooper"?  Sheesh.  You can bet I added that important word to its dictionary.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Han, the Hacker, and Jingle Bells

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

. . . having minor computer issues.  They turned out to be the result of an ailing graphics card, but at first I thought they were caused by our resident hacker (that would be Daniel, who occasionally causes unintended havoc by clicking random things in his computer account; we try to limit what he can do from that account, but he excels at finding loopholes).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel happily singing Jingle Bells to himself this afternoon.

. . . scoring a used bike helmet for Joy on Craig's List.  Her old one was too small.

. . . exercise with Phillip.  He wants to work his abs in preparation for a long-distance motorcycle ride this summer.  I'm just happy to have an exercise buddy (and a cute one, at that).

And another thing . . .

. . . this evening I read that in the original script for the original Star Wars, Han Solo was a big green monster with gills.  I'm SOOOO glad they nixed that idea.  I'll bet Princess Leia is, too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pilates and Rodney

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy and Daniel giving me big hugs.

. . . reading an article about Rodney King, twenty years after the riots. King has his issues, to be sure, but he strikes me as a decent man doing his imperfect best to scrape by in life.  His legacy weighs heavily on his shoulders, but he hopes it will ultimately do the world some good.

And another thing . . .

. . . I tried doing another short Pilates routine this afternoon when I started getting a little touchy again.  Even with Daniel asking me questions every thirty seconds, the exercise managed to improve my mood a lot.  Must remember that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Linda and Tatterhood

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

. . . trying to navigate Blogger's new format.  I'm sure I'll learn to love it, but right now I'm still working up a sweat climbing the learning curve.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting Pink Grandma.  The kids sure love her, and she sure loves them.

. . . telling the kids a couple fairy tales on the drive home from Grandma's.  Specifically I told them a version of Tatterhood, and a story of seven princesses who mysteriously wear out their shoes every night.

. . . visit teaching Linda (and her husband, who likes to sit in on our conversations).  It's lovely to visit warm, friendly people.

. . . reading about a female Episcopal priest touring a Mormon temple in Missouri.

And another thing . . .

. . . my bathroom scale either has a wry sense of humor, or just likes to keep me on my toes.  This morning it cheerfully informed me that I lost 43 pounds last night.  Dubious, I stepped off then back on, whereupon it said "Just kidding--you actually weigh roughly what you did yesterday."

Monday, April 23, 2012


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

. . . most of them. I regret to say that it's been a short-fuse, sour milk, tenaciously wretched day. Here's to a good night's sleep and a new beginning tomorrow.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing lots of purple blooms on my hardy sage plant.

. . . making multigrain pancakes for dinner.

. . . doing ten minutes of Pilates tonight while Phillip took the kids to buy dessert supplies. Exercise truly has an amazing ability to lift your mood.

A Goose Egg and 20 Reset Options

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

. . . Daniel crashing and burning as he ran to our car. Before this day, I had only seen goose eggs that big in cartoons.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally getting around to posting on my family blog. I try to do it every two or three days, but it's been nearly three weeks this time. I suspect the grandparents were becoming slightly disgruntled.

. . . Joy giving me a hug.

. . . perusing a site with 20 Ways to "Reset" when your kids (and you) get a little grouchy. Lots of good, simple ideas.

. . . seeing Cathy's comments on some previous posts. It was kind of fun to imagine her as a missionary in Guatemala, scheming how to access homes surrounded by razor wire.

And another thing . . .

. . . Vonnie, I recently saw a quote that reminded me of you: "God only lets things grow until they're perfect. Some people take longer than others."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Hike, Some Hugs, and Love Notes

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy writing love notes to family members.

. . . going on a little hike with my family. The big kids splashed in a stream and we all enjoyed the scenery and fresh air.

. . . Joy saying that one of of her favorite parts of the day was watching me hug Daddy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sand and Diapers

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking my kids to the beach. It was cold, there was traffic, we got home way past nap time, and Anna still has sand in her hair, but somehow it was all worth it to do something fun and different together.

And another thing . . .

. . . I often feel a bit guilty about the dozens of dirty diapers I add to America's landfills each month, but I just haven't been able to stomach the hassle and upfront cost of cloth diapers. Tonight I read an article that made me feel a little bit better. It noted that every kind of diaper has some negative impact on the environment, whether it's trash in landfils or energy spent laundering. In the words of environmental scientist Donella Meadows, "It's great to try to move our lives in the direction of ecological righteousness, but it's also true that every human activity has environmental impact. . . . From the earth's point of view it's not all that important which kind of diapers you use. The important decision was having the baby."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Literate Ninja Fairy

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

. . . Daniel riding over my big toe with his motorcycle.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy saying "I'm a ninja fairy."

. . . Joy reading books to a little neighbor boy who came over to play.

A Sealing Room and a Spelling Question

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

. . . breaking three of my favorite bowls. Now I only have one left. Time to start scouring the internet for replacements. Siiiiigh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling sweet baby Anna.

. . . watching the big kids ride bikes together in the cool afternoon.

. . . worshiping in the temple with my sweetheart.

And another thing . . .

. . . why do we spell shipping with two P's and worshiping with one? English is so messed up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Flowers, Cookies, and an Elbow

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

. . . a run-in with a condition called Nursemaid's Elbow. Daniel was stubbornly sitting on the floor when we needed to go somewhere, so I took his hand and pulled him to his feet. He immediately began sobbing, and for the next two hours he cried every time he moved his elbow even the tiniest bit. We took him to the doctor as soon as we could get an appointment, and of course, the condition resolved itself thirty seconds before we walked into the office. Almost instantly, he went from crying and cradling his arm to climbing on chairs, flipping light switches, and playing with the waiting room toys as if nothing had happened. At least the doctor was able explain what happened, and what to do if his elbow ever dislocates like that again.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip noticing that I was stressed and, indicating a plate of chocolate chip cookies he'd just made, observing that flour, sugar, and butter can do wonders for a downcast spirit. I sampled the proffered cookies, and indeed, their curative properties were quite miraculous.

. . . walking through a local wildflower garden with the kids. Joy and I decided to photograph a flower in every color of the rainbow, from red poppies to a half dozen varieties of purple flowers I can't even name. It was a lovely place for a stroll.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Awake But Tired of Typing

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

. . . spending half the home evening lesson with an ice pack against my cheek because Daniel accidentally bopped me with his head while he was horsing around.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . happening upon a site about "guerrilla gardening." I could see myself getting into that someday. How fitting that one of the possible approaches is "seed bombing."

. . . reading Alma 5, about a group of people who had lost their way in life, and were converted by a prophet. I love the phrase "they awoke unto God" (v 7). It perfectly describes what it feels like to realize that God isn't just something to talk about in a chapel one day a week, or a stern rule-maker setting restrictions on your life, but rather a loving Father who can illuminate and magnify every day of your life, and help you reach a potential you scarcely dreamt you had.

And another thing . . .

. . . I think Anna is starting to turn a pale shade of orange. It must be all the carrots, peaches, apricots, and squash I'm feeding her. Time for more pears and spinach, Baby Dear.

. . . I've been meaning to print a new edition of my cookbook for a while (the last edition was printed in 2009), and Phillip kindly watched the kids this morning so I could work on that. It always takes longer than I expect, and I ended up spending the afternoon on it, too, while Joy played outside with friends and the littles took extra long naps. You wouldn't think all that sitting, typing, and clicking would wear a person out so much, but somehow it does. And I'm still not done with the last section.

A Puddle and the Von Trapps

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

. . . Daniel tripping as we left for church, and falling headlong into the perpetual puddle outside our front door. All his clothes were soaked, so I took him back inside to change him into a dry outfit.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing a family sing a musical number in sacrament meeting today. The oldest son played the piano, and the dad got all choked up as they sang together. After they finished, the youngest son leaned forward and blew into the microphone as if it was a giant birthday candle. Somehow, I don't think that last part was scripted.

. . . going for a walk with the kids this afternoon. We went down to the train station, and when one of the trains went by Joy waved at the engineer. She was pretty tickled that he waved back at her.

And another thing . . .

. . . we often go to one of the kids' grandparents' homes on Sunday, but today we didn't happen to have any plans. When Joy asked who we would visit today I replied that we wouldn't be going to anyone's house today. She pointed out that we'd be going to church, though, so I guess we did end up visiting Someone--we went to God's house.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Buff and Bella Notte

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . using my REI dividend to buy a Buff. I mainly plan to use it to keep my hair out of my face when I'm gardening or cooking, but it was fun to experiment with the the sixteen other ways to wear it, too. I love that there's a Pirate option. Arrrr.

. . . attending the Young Women's annual spaghetti dinner to raise money for Girl's Camp. The girls in our ward do a lovely job with it, with good food, nice music and decor, and even elegantly dressed servers. I must obtain the recipe for that salad...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bread Tears and a Flying Jacket

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

. . . the "M" key being really stiff on my keyboard. It's never been the same since Daniel dumped water on it last week.

. . . Daniel having a meltdown this afternoon because Joy chose the piece of bread he happened to want. I told him he could go to his room until he was done crying, but five minutes later he was still wailing. I went in and asked if he'd rather eat bread or cry some more. Without hesitation, he replied, "Want cwy some more." Thirty minutes later he was still going strong, and only the suggestion that we watch a video finally pulled him out of his crying rut. I really must remember not to let him take a late nap--he's always extra fussy afterward.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna kicking her feet in excitement when I came into the room.

. . . watching The Steadfast Tin Soldier from Fantasia 2000. We all like that one, and Daniel asks me to tell the story of it when we're in the car. His other favorite is the "No Capes" conversation from The Incredibles. I think he likes the way I do E's voice, and the fact that I get so into her lines.

. . . finally getting my pantry reorganized. Gotta make room for the baby food.

. . . Joy tossing her jacket in the air to make Anna laugh.

. . . Daddy giving Joy pointers about how to play chess.

Smooches and Smoothies

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip giving me a big hug and kiss when he came home. I really love that man.

And another thing . . .

. . . earlier this week, I got to wondering whether the Green Monster Smoothie (sans yogurt) might be improved by the addition of some Nutella. The answer, my friends, is yes. Very much yes.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Eggs and a Shipwreck

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

. . . looking at photos of the wrecked Titanic in my parents' National Geographic. I don't believe in ghosts (at least not the Halloweenish horror flick variety), but those photos still creep me out for some reason.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my parents hosting a belated Easter egg hunt for the big kids. A good time was had by all, both old and young

. . . the simple joys of being with my family.

And another thing . . .

. . . I have mixed feelings about the baby stage of parenting. On the one hand, babies really complicate things with their frequent meals and naps, and the limit on how long I can be gone before they need to nurse again. On the other hand, they bring such sweet joy to life. The moments I spend cuddling Anna and making her smile are some of the most genuinely happy times of my day. Part of me can’t wait to get all my kids to the toddler stage and beyond so we can get out and about more, but another part of me wishes I could have a little baby to snuggle every day for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Things of Earth and Heaven

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

. . . finding out that the main ingredient in my favorite BBQ sauce is high fructose corn syrup. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Joy and Daniel play with the neighbor kids.

. . . eating Cadbury Mini Eggs.

. . . smooching my sweetheart, and chatting with him while I did dishes.

. . . watching a short dramatization of Christ's death and resurrection. I loved seeing the Savior at the end as He spoke with Mary Magdalene, but it's hard to put my finger on why it touched me heart so much. I think it was the love and joy that emanated from His face. You'll just have to see for yourself; maybe you can explain it better than I can.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seek and Ye Shall Find

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

. . . my car breaking again. Fortunately the store was ten minutes from our building, so I could walk home.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Daddy play with the kids. They sure love him.

. . . Joy losing her first tooth. We put it in a fancy little pouch under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy.

. . . putting together an egg hunt for our family home evening activity. It was really fun to fill the eggs with candies each family member would be excited about, and a few clues to where they could find little Easter presents.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fonz and Futility

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

. . . Joy waking up sick this morning.

. . . spending a lot of time on a dinner that turned out so lousy I had to throw it away.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy being excited that Christ resurrected today. On Friday we showed the kids a cut-out picture of Jesus, and a piece of white cardboard cut in the same shape as His body. We put the picture in a box representing His body in the tomb, and we put the white cut-out on a shelf above, symbolizing His spirit going to Heaven. This morning Joy was thrilled to find that the box was empty and the Jesus's spirit and body had reunited (i.e. been taped together). It was the only part of this day that went according to plan, and while I wish the family gatherings had work out, this little celebration of the Savior's Resurrection was more important than all the fun we missed.

. . . playing chess with Joy. At one point she warned me not to go near her side or she'd get me with "the fawns." Phillip asked if she meant "pawns." I kind of like "the fawns" better. Or perhaps she meant "The Fonz"?

Stuck in Park

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

. . . my car refusing to shift out of park. Thank goodness it waited to break until we were outside our building, instead of back at the grocery store. That would have been a long walk home.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . escaping the Trader Joe's parking lot with our groceries and our lives. That place is a zoo on any afternoon, but the day before a holiday it was a madhouse.

. . . neighbors offering to loan us their car so we can visit family tomorrow. Bless them.

And another thing . . .

. . . I've noticed that, while Daniel asks me "Why?" at least one hundred times a day, about virtually any request I make of him, he feels no compulsion to answer that question when it's directed at him. I'm not sure if he even grasps what that word means; perhaps he just uses it as a delay tactic to make me keep talking instead of making him do what I ask him to do.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Anna and Tin Tin

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . imbibing the cuteness of my sweet, smiley baby.

. . . watching a fun movie with my sweetie.

Shower and Squeals

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna squealing with excitement when the front door opened. She has already learned to associate that phenomenon with Daddy arriving home.

. . . chatting with friends at a baby shower.

. . . making Anna giggle.

. . . hugging my kids.

. . . hugging my sweetie.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gloves, Tomatoes, and Unruly Locks

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

. . . discovering that the garden center only seems to stock gardening gloves in "Munchkin" and "Smurf" sizes. Are my hands abnormally huge, or do glove makers just not have a realistic notion of how large women's hands are?

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing purple blossoms appear on my sage plant.

. . . Anna giggling at Joy's antics.

. . . buying a few veggie plants for the borrowed garden. I'm trying four different varieties of tomatoes; we'll see how they compare.

. . . seeing Daniel's unruly bed head when he got up from his nap. His hair looks perfectly normal when he gets up in the morning, it looks crazy when he gets up from naps.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love Family, Hate Cleaning

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

. . . cleaning our snake's tank. Bleh.

. . . starting to clean a mountain of dishes.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finishing that mountain of dishes.

. . . seeing Joy smile when I told her, "I love you."

. . . Phillip giving me a hug.

And another thing . . .

. . . Daniel has learned the word "Why?" and he says it all. the. time. Joy continually bombards me with questions, too. It can be exhausting, but I know in ten years I'll wish she was asking more questions about the whatever's weighing on her teenage mind.

. . . this evening I asked my family what had made them happy today. After everyone had answered, I realized that we had all shared something that involved another member of our family--Phillip and Daniel going to the store together, Daniel and Joy playing in the courtyard, etc. We have our share of squabbles, but it warms my heart to know that our favorite memories of the day were made together.

Fog and Conference

This weekend's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . driving down a mountain in very thick fog. I was going to be driving on my own (Phillip had a conference at school yesterday), and I debated whether we should just stay at the cabin for the night. When I prayed about it, though, I felt a peaceful assurance that we would get to Pink Grandma's house safe and sound. There were a couple dicey moments when we couldn't even see the lines on the road, but I stopped and prayed for help, and my prayers were answered.

This weekend's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing the inspiring words of a prophet and apostles.

. . . being with family.

. . . eating lots of treats.

. . . Anna staring up with wonder at tree branches moving in the breeze.

. . . Daniel hollering "Amen!" from another room when a talk ended. We hadn't realized that he was listening.

. . . hearing a couple talks that really speak to challenges our little family is facing right now. After the session Phillip and I went for a walk and agreed to study them in more depth this week and discuss how to apply them.

. . . hearing a speaker relate that when President Monson's daughter comes to visit, he always says, "Look who's here! And aren't we glad! And isn't she beautiful!" That sounds so like him. It must warm her heart so to be greeted with such enthusiasm and love. I want to be a parent like that.