Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Piano and a Useful Rock

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

. . . Joy adopting her "oh, you quaint simpleton" voice when I used a magic rock "wrong" as we were playing make-believe.  The thing didn't exactly come with instructions.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling Anna.

. . . making funny faces with Joy.

. . . visiting a lovely older couple who invited Phillip to come play their piano.

. . . hugging my sweetie.

And another thing . . .

. . . this morning Joy told me I was a queen, then she tried to sell me a semi-semi-precious rock she got on a recent trip.  I told her I'd rather spend my taxpayers' dollars fixing roads than buying fancy rocks I don't need (I know--I'm way too practical).  She replied that this was a magic rock that builds and fixes roads, and for one pretend dollar I could use it for a month.  I told her that sounded like a good investment, and I took her up on it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tamales and the Queen

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching the chipmunks scamper around outside my parents' cabin.

. . . seeing Dad's mountain lilac in bloom.

. . . eating yummy tamales.

. . . watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics with my mom.  I always enjoy watching the athletes parade in, and seeing how the host country has chosen to represent its history and culture.  The part with James Bond and the Queen was fun.

And another thing . . .

. . . the only time I wish we owned a TV is during the Olympics.  I could watch them all day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Whistling and Half Dome

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading books to Anna.

. . . my girls being so happy to see each other when they got up this morning.

. . . Anna grinning with delight as I whistled some Sibelius to her.  Daniel told me it was annoying and asked me to stop.  I tried whistling the Andy Griffith song instead, but he didn't go for that either.

. . . looking through our family history book with Daniel.  He liked seeing pictures Phillip and me at the temple, of Joy and himself as babies.  We need to make new book now that we have another little munchkin in the family.

. . . Phillip calling to announce that he was on the summit of Half Dome on his trip with the scouts.  I'm a little envious, but very happy for him, and touched that he thought to call and share the great news.

And another thing . . .

. . . "The days are long, but the years are short" (Somebody).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Magic and Almost Mobile

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .
. . . scouring a fabric store looking for curtain fabric.  You'd think that a store with hundreds of different patterns would have at least one that resembled what I had in mind.  Hopefully we'll like what I settled on.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading NieNie's blog.  Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your joys and making my day a little happier.

. . . watching part of a magic show at the library.  I found it really entertaining, but my big kids got bored after just a few minutes so we went to the children's portion of the library instead so they could play with blocks while I read Arthurian legends.

. . . playing with Anna and hearing her laugh.  She is so close to crawling.  Countless times a day, she leans forward from where she is sitting, then thinks better of it.  Any day now she is just going to take off.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Order, Vaughn, and Water Balloons

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

. . . Anna waking up really early.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . listening to Vaughn Williams's "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis."

. . . Daniel giving me a hug and saying "I love you."

. . . hanging out on the big bed with my sweet, smiley baby.

. . . organizing stuff in spare moments.

. . . chatting with Phillip as he spent the morning at home getting ready for a Boy Scout trip.

. . . the big kids and I taking turns playing a video game involving water balloons and a crocodile.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vanilla-Scented Courtesy and Drawing Six

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

. . . accidentally knocking a bottle of vanilla extract out of the cupboard, and having it spill all over the counter and my clothes.  The good news is that my kitchen and I smelled delicious for the rest of the day.  And yes, I wore those same pants all day--you couldn't really see the vanilla, it smelled nice, and I had many more pressing things to do than change my outfit.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Daniel say, "Fank you," ("Thank you") when I handed him something.  Later when I said "Fank you" to him he replied, "You're luhcome."  I love it when my little man is polite.

. . . playing Uno with Daniel.  Slapping down a "Draw 2" card is often a more dramatic event than winning, especially since I made up the rule that you can counterattack with another Draw 2 (if you have one), and make your attacker draw four cards.  Heaven help you if he has yet another Draw 2, though, because you may find yourself drawing six cards instead of the original two.  While that may not be the standard way to play, I think it makes the game more interesting.

. . . having friends over to dinner.  Huzzah for good food and good conversation.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Glitter Face on the Day of Rest

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a nap.

. . . Daniel waking up from his nap with glitter on his face because he fell asleep on Joy's fairy wings.

. . . talking with my honey bunny.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Prattle and a Sticky Joke

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . chatting with Anna in baby talk.

. . . making a kissing sound at Joy as she walked out the door to go play.  She made a kissing sound back, and left with a big smile on her face.  It really is the little things that knit a family together.

And another thing . . .

. . . Silly joke of the day: What is brown and sticky?  A stick.

. . . Remember the friend we treated to cheesecake yesterday?  She had her baby this afternoon, eleven days early.  Nice timing.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Girl Talk and Cheesecake

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading a board book to Anna.  She can even turn the pages now.

. . . Red Grandma reading to the big kids.  It was fun to hear her read a couple of my old favorites: Edward and the Pirates and Two of Everything.

. . . meeting some friends at Cheesecake Factory for dessert to celebrate the upcoming arrival of one friend's new baby.  It was a delight to chat the night away while eating unabashedly decadent food.  My food philosophy is to eat fairly healthy food most of the time so I can live it up now and then if I feel like it.

And another thing . . .

. . . when we go grocery shopping, I usually put Daniel in the shopping cart seat and Anna in my Ergo carrier.  Now that Anna's old enough to sit in the cart without toppling over, I've finally started putting her in the seat.  Daniel is more excited about this than anyone else because he loves the freedom of walking whithersoever he desires.  His mom isn't a huge fan of that, though, so I think on long shopping trips he'll still find himself in the cart for at least the next few months.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Peril of Freeze-Dried Yogurt

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

. . . Anna gagging on a yogurt melt and spitting up her whole lunch.

. . . Daniel pelting me with questions while I cleaned up the spit-up and prepared a second baby lunch.  Then all of a sudden he gave me a big hug and told me he loves me.  It's moments like that that remind me why I signed up for this job.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy coming in from a walk with friends, and excitedly telling us that she had a surprise to show us.  We made a family field trip around the corner to see where a pipe had broken and a miniature geyser was gushing onto someone's lawn.  It was definitely worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Command Strips and the Bill of Rights

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

. . . doing so much, yet still having so much more to do.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally getting around to hanging some hooks by the door for our jackets.  Command strips are one of the best inventions ever.  You can hang things without putting holes in your wall, and if you decide you don't like the location (or in my case, you accidentally put your hooks too close together), you just peel the sticky strip off and hang the hook somewhere else with a new strip.  Love it.

. . . talking with Joy about the Bill of Rights, which is engraved on a plaque in a local plaza.  Explaining some of the articles--and the abuses that inspired them--made me more grateful for the rights we enjoy in this country.

. . . watching Phillip and the kids have a grand time swimming together at a friend's house.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Geeky Mashup and Obscure Holidays

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

. . . trying to answer Daniel's question, "Why does this [paper I just tore apart] not go back together?" and other things no one over the age of three even thinks to ask.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Inigo Montoya wield a light saber.

. . . hanging out with my sweet, smiley baby this afternoon while Daddy took the big kids to Papa's cabin.

And another thing . . .

. . . this evening I happened upon a list of all the USA's national food-related holidays.  July 9, for example, is National Sugar Cookie Day.  A few other holidays were a little more obscure, such as National Noodle-Ring Day (Dec 11) or National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day (Nov 15).  I also learned from another site that today is International Puzzle Day (Daniel would approve), May 1 is Save a Rhino Day, and April 26 is Hug an Australian Day. Oddly, July 16 is not any sort of holiday at all. Obviously the list is not all-inclusive, though, since it fails to note that May the 4th is Star Wars Day.  Oh well--no one's perfect.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Muggy and Yummy

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

. . . muggy weather all day.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . swimming in the pool with the big kids.

. . . cooking a yummy dinner.  It's always gratifying to make something really good.

. . . reading to Daniel.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A New Griddle and Weedy Thoughts

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . talking with friends at a pool party.

. . . making silly faces at Joy and hearing her laugh.

. . . test-driving the new pancake griddle Phillip gave me for my birthday, and finding it quite satisfactory.

. . . playing Settlers of Catan with Phillip and Joy.

And another thing . . .

. . . I've been following Josh Weed's blog since I read his Unicorn Post a month ago.  His posts and the scores of comments they receive have given me lots of food for thought about what love is (and isn't), what sin is (and isn't), how to parent with love, and what it truly means to be intimate with someone. His recent question about how Christ would want us to respond to bullying inspired very thoughtful comments from a blogger named Christopher Franklin about whether you should passively "turn the other cheek" or take action as Christ did when He made a whip and drove money-changers out of the temple.  I'm copying a portion of his comments below because I'd like to remember them:

"Submit yourself only when doing so serves a higher good. Do not submit yourself out of pacifism that doesn't accomplish anything good (Jesus would not have submitted to the cross if it didn't serve a higher good. On the other hand, what good would have come out of him standing passively by while the temple was defiled?).

Love others AS you love yourself, as Jesus commanded. Don't love yourself more than others. Don't love others more than yourself. Loving yourself more is selfishness and sets you up to be self-righteous; Loving others more is self-deprecation and sets you up to be a victim of abuse.

We all have a responsibility to stand up for good things, even in the face of persecution. Sometimes the best way to stand up for truth is to submit by choice, thus keeping your power to make such a choice. Sometimes submitting makes a powerful statement, such as when Ghandi fasted for several weeks. However, there are other times when submitting only supports your enemy. This kind of submitting doesn't make a powerful statement: it makes no statement, such as failing to state the truth when your opponent has already stated a lie.

Jesus turned the other cheek at times, literally. However, at other times, he spoke out strongly against the hypocrites. There were times when he kept silent when asked questions. He also overturned tables at the temple and made a whip. In every one of these cases, his behaviors did not serve to be passive. His silence or non-actions were as powerful as his accusations and actions.

If you walk two miles with your enemy, instead of one, you have made a powerful statement: "My love for you is more powerful than your selfishness."

If someone is asking you a question and answering them will be like throwing pearls before swine, you are sending a powerful message by staying silent: "You don't have the power to cajole me into playing your game."

If someone is spreading lies that have a negative effect on others, you can make a powerful statement by standing by the truth: "I am not afraid to let others know the truth, even when you threaten me physically or socially."

When you turn the other cheek to a bully, you are sending a powerful message: "You may have power to hit me, but you don't have power to scare, control, or humiliate me."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Defiance and a Back Rub

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

. . . trying to help Joy learn to swim.  I was so tense and clueless that we both just got very frustrated very quickly.  I can't imagine what it will be like teaching her to drive.

. . . Daniel flatly telling me "no" when I asked him to put a puzzle away.  I find that the biggest challenge of parenting is figuring out how discipline in a respectful, constructive way.  Sometimes I do a fabulous job, and other times I colossally mess up.  I handled this particular interchange decently, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth the rest of the afternoon.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . a big Anna smile when I really needed one.

. . . Phillip giving me a back rub this evening.  After I spent hour after hour give, give, giving today, it felt lovely to just relax and receive something that felt so good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Pool and a Dog Pile

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . buying myself a couple treats at Trader Joe's because it's my birthday this week.

. . . swimming with the big kids and my fam at my parents' home.

. . . Uncle Sean teaching Joy how to swim.

. . . hugging Phillip while he played with Anna.

. . . watching the big kids dog pile Papa.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chocolate Yes, Baby Food No

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

. . . sitting in church and realizing I had forgotten to bring some baby food.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . surviving Sharing Time again.  As usual, delivering the actual lesson and activity was a breeze compared to my preparation thereof.  It's not that the preparation is particularly difficult; I just psyche myself out and make the whole business seem harder and more intimidating than it actually is.

. . . Pink Grandma giving me a box of See's chocolate for my birthday. Actually, an even better gift was her comment that she'd be happy to watch our kids while Phillip and I go to the temple periodically.  I love to go, but it's hard to fit four hours of babysitting into a student budget.

. . . Anna giggling as Daniel and Pink Grandma made her laugh.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Monthly Dread

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

. . . stressing over sharing time in Primary tomorrow.  I'm not sure why it weighs on me so much each time I have to plan it.  Even if it's a total train wreck, our lives will all go on.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . having friends over to dinner.

. . . Phillip telling me that he missed me so much on his recent motorcycle trip that he considered ditching his traveling companions and coming home early.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Swingin' & Cheatin'

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

. . . trying to make popsicles with a maddeningly useless set of molds.  No matter how long (or short) I thaw the popsicles, the sticks always come out when I try to pull them out of the molds.  I finally tossed them today so I won't be tempted to use them again. Next time I'll just freeze popsicles in Dixie cups covered with foil, with popsicle sticks poked through.  Not quite as earth-friendly, but definitely more mom-friendly.

. . . Daniel making the same request over and over, as if asking for the tenth time will somehow change the fact that we are out of bread, or that I don't know where a particular toy is.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna happily kicking her feet as she rode in a swing at the park.

. . . talking with Joy about what temples are for.

. . . eating blueberry pancakes for dinner.  I love blueberry season.

. . . hearing Phillip laugh as he played with the big kids.

. . . hugging Daniel as he sat on my lap during family prayer.

And another thing . . .

. . . you might be a parent if you have intentionally looked at your child's Uno cards to help them win and end an interminably long game.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Basil and the Organic Rant

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

. . . reading another blogger's rant about her struggle to feed her family nourishing, organic food on a very tight budget.  While I am not quite as strapped for funds as she is, I relate to a lot of her concerns.  We're both stay-home moms trying to feed our families healthy and minimally processed food, making lots of things from scratch, and feeling frustrated and a little guilty that we can't afford to feed them as much organic food as we want to.  Humane, organic meat, in particular, is a lovely idea but it's so expensive that I just can't bring myself to buy it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . snuggling Anna.

. . . seeing a volunteer basil plant flourishing in the glazed pot I inherited from a former neighbor.  That's also the only pot in which I've successfully grown lettuce (i.e. the plants didn't bolt in the first two weeks).  Perhaps the glazed finish has something to do it.

. . . making strawberry lemonade to drink with dinner.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Princess and Pirates

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

. . . hearing a bunch of drunk lake goers sing the national anthem miserably off key.  Twice.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sleeping in at my parents' cabin this morning because Anna slept late and the big kids miraculously played nicely upstairs for over an hour.

. . . seeing a boat on the lake dressed up as a pirate vessel, complete with black sails, pirate flag, and a crew of 20 in garb and armed with squirt guns.

. . . watching the annual fireworks show with my sweetie.

. . . watching Tangled with the fam.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Flowers and Sprinkles

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

. . . feeling tired.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing Anna be back to normal after she was so under the weather yesterday.

. . . frosting cookies with Joy.

. . . taking a walk with the kids to see what's blooming in the neighborhood.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wrong Song

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

. . . accidentally singing the wrong lyrics to a Primary song, and throwing everyone else off.  Oooooops.

. . . Baby Anna spitting up a lot.  It was sad to see her feeling so lousy, but I'm grateful to report that she was much better by the end of the day.  Consequently, so was I.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hugging my sweetheart at the end of a very long day.

And another thing . . .

. . .  I find that I sometimes tolerate or even encourage annoying behavior in my oldest children as long as they are happily doing it together.  Helping my kids build friendship matters more to me than making sure they're not bugging anyone.