Friday, August 31, 2012

A Fragrant Stroll and Book Number Two

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

. . . potty training.  We'll leave it at that.

. . . feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number and scope of things I'm not getting around to.  It happens every week or two or three; I'll probably feel better in the morning.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . .  Anna cooing, "Mama."  Yes, she did indeed coo.  I'm not sure if she was talking about me or just having  fun making bilabial nasal sounds, but either way, it was heartwarming.

. . . sharing a green smoothie with Daniel this morning.  Joy recently announced that she doesn't like anything that comes out of the blender these days (green or otherwise), so I find myself making lots of green smoothies while she's at school and sharing them with Little Man.  Now that Anna can drink out of a cup, she enjoys some, too.  Bonding over semi-frozen spinachy beverages--gotta love it.

. . . taking a walk after a rare summer rainstorm.  Every yard smelled different, depending on what was planted there.  I caught myself sniffing people's landscaping like a bloodhound as I walked past.

. . . Joy and me finishing our first chapter book together, whereupon Joy hurried over to the shelf to choose our next one.  That's my girl.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Toilet and the Dragon

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

. . . being Dragon Mom for about twenty minutes this morning.  At least it was only twenty minutes.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . coloring with Joy.

. . . a tiny bit of progress on the potty training front.  We still have a long way to go, but even a little progress gives me hope that we will actually get through this.

. . . Phillip coming home from his conference in San Diego.  It's so nice to have him home.

. . . going to a Relief Society activity.  Primary is a lot of fun, but I miss Relief Society.  It was refreshing to socialize with grownups this evening.  I picked up a good salsa recipe, too.

And another thing . . .

. . . this post's title could be repurposed as the name of a really interesting book.  Of course, I'm not sure it would necessarily be a good sort of interesting . . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Back and Cranky, But Dinner Was Good

So, I've been potty-training Daniel for the past week.  Yeah, it's been awesome in a totally-not-awesome sort of way.  And coincidentally, I started that process the same day Phillip and I decided our family should take a week-long break from recreational computer/iPad use.  It was great for the kids, but not so great for me.

As I cleaned up lots of puddles and dutifully steered clear of the computer, I was often reminded of a line from the film Seabiscuit, in which the narrator ironically notes that the Depression began during America's Prohibition years: "At a time when the world really needed a drink, you couldn't get one in the United States of America."  Yeah--there were many times last week when I needed to decompress and really missed Pinterest.

The potty training continues, but at least the gizmo fast is over.

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

. . . potty training Daniel.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling Anna, and feeding her one of my new favorite dinners: BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad.  She loved the quinoa, corn, beans, and avocado.  Mmmm.

. . . Joy gleefully running over to give a classmate a hug when I dropped her off at kindergarten.  I'm glad she's happy and making friends.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Swim and Shout

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

. . .  most of today.  Dragon Mom yelled a lot because deep down she's really stressed about potty training Daniel.  It won't be that terrible once we get started, but it's hard to work up the nerve (and figure out) how to get the ball rolling.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . swimming with my kids and lots of our neighbors.  It was fun to see all three of my kids becoming more comfortable and capable in the water, and just plain having a good time.

. . . Phillip being really enthusiastic when I announced that we were having chili and cornbread for dinner.  Joy then informed me that she didn't like chili any more.  At least she enjoyed the cornbread.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pancakes and a Sweet App

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . going to the chapel this morning to help clean it and finding three other families there to help, too.  We were done in no time.  The fellow in charge even found tasks for Joy and Daniel to help with.

. . . Phillip finding a recipe organizer app called Paprika that could import all my Word document recipes via something called Dropbox.  That would be much more convenient than reprinting my cookbook every year or two.

. . . swimming with my girls.

. . . Phillip making pancakes for dinner.  Yum.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friends and Monsters

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . kissing Anna's little feet.  Why are baby feet so cute?

. . . sharing a Green Monster with Daniel.

. . . Joy making another new friend at the park. I’m glad she is learning to make friends so easily, especially since she’ll be starting kindergarten soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chinese Souvenirs and Leather Pants

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

. . . Daniel getting stung by a bee.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting Red Grandma.  It was fun to play with her in the backyard.

. . . reading a quote from Brigham Young about motherhood.  It really applied to some struggles I've had lately.

. . . admiring Anna's cute toes.

. . . a sweet neighbor boy bringing us some souvenirs from his recent trip to China.

. . . watching a fun movie clip from What A Girl Wants.  The film as a whole was cute but very predictable, yet I still smile every time I think of Colin Firth getting in touch with his inner hooligan after spending the afternoon with his teenage daughter.  Search YouTube for "Colin Firth leather pants," and this is one of the first videos that comes up.

Also, you know you're not a kid anymore when you care more about who 40-year-old Mr. Firth hooks up with than whether things work out between the teenage star and her love interest.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Poppy and Melon

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting Pink Grandma.

. . . petting Grandma's dog Poppy.

. . . Daniel helping Anna play with one of Grandma's toys.

. . . Joy making a new friend at the park.

. . . Anna happily feeling the grass with her toes.

. . . eating watermelon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eskimo Kiss and Feeling Loveable

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

. . . serving hamburgers for dinner, and realizing we were out of chips.  In this family, that's akin to being out of hamburger buns.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . rubbing noses with Anna.

And another thing . . .

. . . this evening I was reflecting on a new song we're learning in Primary called "Gethsemane."  I was really moved by the simple line "Jesus loves me." I often emphasize that "Jesus loves us," and "Jesus loves you," but it was touching to utter the phrase "Jesus loves me." Sometimes I don't feel very loveable. I'm so imperfect, serious, even harsh sometimes, and I struggle so to love others. It is sweet to remember that He sees good in me anyway and loves me dearly.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reading, Narrating, and Motating

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing some excellent talks at church, and meeting a friendly new sister.  I hear we have about a dozen new families that have moved in, and the school year hasn't even started yet.

. . . narrating a story from the Friend for the Primary kids, while a couple other leaders acted it out.  The story was a great example of how kids can respond if they encounter porn on the internet, and how the Holy Ghost warns us when something is wrong and affirms when we make a good choice.  I felt the story would stick with the kids better if we acted it out than if I just read it, and they really seemed engaged.  I hope the story's principles will stick with them if they need them in the future.

. . . Joy choosing to share and be kind to her brother.  It isn't always easy, and I'm proud of her for choosing to do what she knows is right, even though he often doesn't reciprocate.

. . . seeing Anna make some tentative efforts at crawling.  Like most 21st Century babies, she is most motivated by the prospect of reaching my cell phone a foot away from her.  Huzzah for Airplane Mode.

. . . reading more of Little House on the Prairie with Joy.  I enjoy the book for its own sake, but I especially like seeing Joy get into it.  She immediately heads to the bookshelf when it's reading time at night, and she often asks me to read a few extra pages in the afternoons.  I even noticed her reading ahead on her own this morning.  That's my girl.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Water and Stars

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . swimming with my family.

. . . a neighbor offering to loan us a little raft for Anna to float in.  She loved it.

. . . watching the Perseid meteor shower with Phillip tonight.  OK, so we didn't actually see any meteors this time, but it was nice to just stare up at the stars and talk with my sweetheart.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bone To Pick

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

. . . getting ready to cube a roast for dinner, only to discover that it had a big, gnarly bone in it (I had thought it was boneless).  Cutting it up took ten times longer than I had expected.  Better read the label next time.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . daydreaming with Phillip about places we'd like to travel someday.

. . . watching an amusing video about how not to use an iPad.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Two Sisters, a Fan, and Solar Muffins

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

. . . feeling really hammered all afternoon.  I stayed up way too late last night.  Ironically, I was doing fine today until I took a short nap.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daddy arriving home.

. . . watching my girls play.  Joy introduced Anna to the delights of sitting in front of a fan on a hot day.  As Baby Girl's hair blew straight back from her face, her expression clearly said "This is weird, but I like it."

. . . making my new favorite blueberry muffin recipe in the solar oven.  I cut it in half, which usually makes six muffins, but I think they cook best spread among twelve muffin cups, since my solar oven doesn't get much hotter than 300 degrees.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hypno Game

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

. . . having my day completely hijacked by a video game.  I made the colossal mistake of trying a new game Phillip put on his iPad, and I got stuck on one level.  I spent the rest of the day trying to figure it out (when I wasn't throwing together meals or hastily changing diapers), and now that I've finally beaten it I am heartily sick of the game and I look forward to having my brain back tomorrow.  Bleh.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . stepping into the air-conditioned haven of Trader Joe's on a hundred-degree day.

. . . randomly happening upon a play group when we were out for a walk, and being invited to join in.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Uno Fail and Draw 20

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

. . . initiating my master plan of Uno domination, then forgetting to say "Uno!" when I got down to one card.  Curses!!

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna kicking her feet when she's happy.  I know I write that a lot, but it's just so cute that it makes my day every time.

. . . playing Imaginary Uno with the big kids when we were out for a walk.  All we really did was slam each other with Draw 2s and Draw 4s over and over.  I think I drew 20 imaginary cards at one point.

. . . reading with Joy at bedtime.  Reading a good book together draws us closer and ends our day on such a happy note.  We were also relieved to learn that Jack the dog came through the creek safely.

And another thing . . .

. . . I loved the original Fantasia when I was young and watched it countless times.  Now I never hear Beethoven's 6th Symphony without having centaurs and fauns dance through my head.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cousins and a Concert

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . gathering with about twenty relatives for my grandparents' birthday party, and hearing the boisterous crowd sing our family birthday song in several different keys.

. . . Joy and Daniel playing happily with her second cousins.

. . . sitting in the car together for a few minutes after we arrived home, listening to the end of Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 54.  It was a lovely performance, and it's fun to see how much Phillip gets into good music.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sprinkles and Drawing Two

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

. . . making the colossal mistake of trying to do something on the computer while the kids were all awake.  It always takes longer than I expect, especially since I'm being interrupted every twenty seconds or so.  Unless the task is urgent, it usually isn't worth the stress and frustration.  You'd think I'd learn to just wait until naptime.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . decorating sugar cookies with Joy.  Eating them was fun, too.

. . . playing Uno with Daniel.  Inexplicably, our favorite part is when he slaps a Draw 2 on me, and I assume an attitude of hyperbolic shock and dismay.

. . . cuddling Anna.

. . . reading more of Little House on the Prairie with Joy.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bubbles and a Book

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . blowing bubbles for my kids at the park.

. . . having the missionaries over to dinner.  One of the elders was really excited to hear we'd be having pancakes, partly because they're tasty, but also because they are very easy to chew.  The poor guy had two root canals earlier this week.

. . . Phillip showing me photos from his recent Half Dome hike.  For some reason, I really want to climb that rock.

. . . reading the first pages of Little House on the Prairie with Joy at bedtime.  I think she's old enough to enjoy chapter books, so we'll give this one a try.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Like Like Muffins

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally finding a great blueberry muffin recipe.  They all got eaten this afternoon so I had to make more.  Now the second batch is gone, too.

. . . playing cards with Phillip tonight.  It was a close game, which is my favorite kind, regardless of who wins.

And another thing . . .

. . . this evening, Joy related the following conversation she had with my mom:

"I was like, 'We should play Monopoly,' and Grandma was like, 'There isn't enough time,'. . . "

"Like"?!?  Seriously?  Are you like 5 or 15, child?  Sigh, they grow up so fast.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hearts and Curtains

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . chatting with my mom for a while as she helped me sew curtains.

. . . watching Anna happily kick her feet.  You never have to guess whether she's excited about something.

. . . seeing a heart picture Joy and Pink Grandma made then hung in our front window.

. . . meeting a friend's new little baby.  Awwwwww.

. . . getting stuff done.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Check, Check, Chopsticks

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally tackling two nagging tasks.

. . . visit teaching Linda (and George).

And another thing . . .

. . . if you want to exercise your brain, try spoonfeeding a hungry baby while trying to eat your own dinner with chopsticks.