Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Hero

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip getting up with the kids so I could rest, then taking charge of Anna while I took my turn teaching Daniel's preschool class.  Honey, you're my hero.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Good Night

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

. . . straining my back again.  It's just a little ache, but it sure seems to happen a lot these days, probably from strapping kids into car seats.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting my parents and the clan for dinner, and talking late into the night.  I hope we won't reap the whirlwind with the kids tomorrow, since they were up so late.

And another thing . . .

. . . it's been a busy, busy weekend.  I'm glad it's done.  I need sleep.  Good night.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hanging Donuts and Fixing the Falcon

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip taking the kids to the park this morning so I could sleep in and then tackle a couple nagging tasks.  It felt so good to finally get them taken care of.

. . . seeing everyone's costumes at the Trunk-or-Treat.

. . . Phillip saying "Hit it, Chewie!" when he was about to fire up a computer he's been trying to fix.  It worked.  Nice work, Captain Solo. :)

And another thing . . .

. . . I volunteered to help with a game at the activity tonight.  I erected a rickety PVC frame, hung mini donuts from the top with string, and let the kids try to eat them without using their hands.  It was pretty hectic trying to keep enough donuts on the frame, especially since some of the bigger kids later returned for a second or third one, but it was fun to see the looks on some of their faces when I assured them that they really could walk right up and eat a donut if they wanted to.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fed and Rested

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip letting me sleep in this morning.  It felt so good.

. . . going to a community Halloween party.  The big kids had a blast on the inflatable slides.

. . . Anna gobbling up chicken curry and rice at dinner time.  I know her enthusiasm for nearly everything I cook will probably fade soon (as it did with her siblings), but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Friday, October 26, 2012

An Adjustment and a Drumstick

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

. . . feeling really tired, despite an afternoon nap (two, if you count the time I fell asleep studying scriptures).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . walking out of the chiropractor's office with a happier neck.

. . . seeing Daniel smile.

. . . Joy achieving a goal she's been working hard on.

. . . cuddling Anna.

. . . reading with Joy.

. . . sharing an ice cream cone with Phillip.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maypole and Mixed Up Holidays

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

. . . feeling a little overwhelmed by all the things I need to do in the next week.

. . . seeing tons of Christmas decor and gifts in a department store already.  It's simultaneously beguiling and annoying.  I love Christmas, and it's tempting to get a head start on gift purchases, but for crying out loud, let me enjoy Halloween and Thanksgiving first! 

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . feeling like my body is finally back to normal.  I took it easy on my stomach yesterday, which probably helped.  Joy's glad I'm feeling better, too.  Yesterday she drew a picture of me with a frowny face because I've been sick this week.

And another thing . . .

. . . on the way home from school we passed lots of houses with Halloween decorations, then came upon a few homes with Christmas decorations instead of the usual spiderwebs and gravestones.  Apparently  a crew was filming something Christmasy on that block.  They're probably the same crew that sprayed snow around the library yesterday and built a snowman.

. . . before Daddy got home, Joy asked if she, Daniel, and I could play Duck, Duck, Goose.  Playing with just three people is a little challenging, especially when the kindergartener decides to bend the rules.  At one point she tagged Daniel, ran around the "circle," and kept right on going past the spot where she was supposed to sit down.  She and Daniel ran around me so many times that I lost count.  I felt like a mildly amused maypole.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Orange Nails and a Model Student

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . painting my fingernails orange, then painting a black pumpkin face on one of them.  I don't usually bother painting my fingernails, but it's fun to do something a little different now and then.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy says kindergarten is much better than preschool because she gets to choose her snack and eat it outside.  Still, she's been struggling to sit quietly in class and the teacher keeps having to reprimand her.  We've tried reminding, encouraging, setting goals, moving her to a different spot in class, but nothing seemed to help.  Then, last night, it occurred to me that we ought to pray for help.  I suggested that to Joy this morning, and she agreed it was worth a try.  We prayed together for God to help her sit quietly, and lo, for the first time in a week she was able to finish the day without a reprimand.  God truly answers prayers, even about little things (that seem big to us).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Clean Dishes and Bad Apples

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

. . . lots of little things, like a contrary toddler, a slightly strained back, and a caramel apple experiment that was disappointing on multiple levels.  Bleh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . enjoying the cool, cloudy, autumn weather.

. . . cuddling Anna.

. . . helping the big kids clean up the front room.  We were all pretty cranky until we started working together, and somehow that put us in much happier, friendlier moods.

. . . Phillip washing the last 20% of the dishes when I took a break and just couldn't bear to come back and finish them.  Thank you, sweetheart.

. . . hugging Daniel good night.  We had lots of rough moments this evening, but at the end of the day we're still family and I still love him.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Better is Good

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

. . . waking up feeling very sick to my stomach.  Many thanks to Pink Grandma for watching the kids while I recuperated (by the end of the day I felt much better).

. . . forgetting to let the bread rise a second time before sticking it in the oven this evening.  The resulting pale bread bricks taste fine but are a bit too dense for sandwiches and they look a little confused, if that's possible for a loaf.  They rose kind of unevenly, so they look like the bread equivalent of a photograph where the person was blinking and in the middle of saying "burger."

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . feeling well enough to actually eat something this afternoon.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ines and Basil

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Anna laugh with delight when Daddy got her out of bed this morning.

. . . finally managing to get some basil out of my garden and into my kitchen.  It was very tasty in a grilled turkey sandwich.

. . . talking with Phillip about our family, music, and random silliness.

And another thing . . .

. . . this afternoon I found myself thinking over and over about the Fair Ines number from last night's concert.  It's based on a poem by Thomas Hood (1799-1845) about a maiden traveling across the sea to marry her sweetheart.  The loved ones she leaves behind rejoice for her, but are also brokenhearted to think they will never see her again.

As I reflected on the poem's story, my initial thought was "What's the big deal?  She's just leaving to get married and start a family in a distant place--people do that all the time."  Then I remembered that separation from loved ones was very different 200 years ago.

Nowadays when someone moves away they can still hop in a car or a plane to come back for holidays, weddings, funerals, etc., and in the meantime you have email, Facebook, blogs, and (heaven help us) Twitter and Instagram to keep you apprised of the minute, ongoing details of their lives.  Two centuries ago, if someone sailed away to a different land they might as well have dropped off the face of the earth because you would probably never see or hear from them again.  If that relative or friend happened to be the light of your life, I can see how it would be devastating to have them leave.

On the one hand, I've very grateful to live in an age when we can visit distant loved ones and stay connected so easily.  On the other hand, I feel like we're losing the art of connecting face-to-face with people in our own communities.  I'm not sure whether that is an unintended side effect of the internet age, or if it's just my own experience as an introverted mom of young children.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Choir Boy

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending Phillip's choir concert tonight.  The music was beautiful (the Fair Ines piece took my breath away), I was proud of my husband's contribution to it (another singer later commented that Phillip was the only one who hit the lowest note in the Tennyson piece tonight), but most of all I was happy that my sweetheart was doing something he enjoys so very much.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Borrowed Snuggles and Mr. Wonka

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

. . . Anna waking up early.  Blah.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting stuff done.

. . . watching the old "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" with Joy for the first time.  I love Wonka's eclectic mix of culture and quirkiness.

. . . holding a friend's baby at a party.  Ten years ago, I never would have imagined that I would one day love cuddling babies, and volunteer to do so.  Back then I saw them as noisy, unpredictable little creatures I had no clue what to do with.  I guess, now that I know what to expect from them, I'm better able to savor their sweet, snuggly innocence.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bats and Landscaping

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

. . . Anna waking up early this morning.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching the paper bats flutter as our fan blew the mobile around.

. . . playing catch with Anna.

. . . looking at homes on our way home from school, and daydreaming about what I might plant in our future yard.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Candy, Kelp, and Kisses

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna making happy sounds.

. . . browsing a health food store.  The smell of goldenseal and kelp reminded me of some friends in college who were big fans of herbal medicine.

. . . going to See's candy with Joy.  She chose a vanilla lollipop, and I got some bridge mix.  Yum. :)

. . . Phillip coming home from an out-of-state conference.  Joy and Daniel made him some welcome-home cards, and I bought him some taffy, but he gave the best gifts of all: hugs and kisses for everyone.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wish You Were Here

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

. . . spending an hour working on one of those tied fleece blankets or my kids, then realizing I was tying Joy's blanket backing onto Anna's top. Nooooooo! Hey Doc, may I please borrow your DeLorean?

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . fixing the bat mobile (the bill is in the mail, Mr. Wayne).

. . . having dinner at In-N-Out with the kids. Anna even tried a few bites of my burger.

. . . talking with Phillip on the phone and learning that a lot of people at the conference are very interested in his research.

. . . hearing him say that he really just wishes he was back home with me. Amen, Sweetheart.
And another thing . . .

. . . you know you're living in the 21st Century when:

1) This afternoon you saw a girl riding her bike with no hands because she was busy texting.

2) You tried to include your husband in home evening via video chat because he's out of town, but alas, the computer bluescreened multiple times and you ultimately gave up.

3) You know tons more about the lives of bloggers in other states than you know about your next-door neighbors. Kind of sad, really.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tambourines and a Bat Mobile

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

. . . trying to watch a two-hour session of stake conference while singlehandedly (Phillip's away at a conference) keeping three small children content and quiet.  By the end of the first hour they were antsy and tired of all the snacks and activities I'd brought.  I still managed to glean some good insights from the meeting, and I'm glad we went, but by the end I felt like I was trying to listen to a symphony while three people beat me with tambourines.  After the meeting, a friend assured me that I'm doing the most important job in the world, and doing it better than I realize.  That helped a little.

. . . discovering that making a mobile out of sticks and paper bats is not nearly as easy as I had expected.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . pondering my conference notes while Anna napped and the big kids had some screen time.

. . . talking a walk with the kids.

. . . looking through old photos.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Hug and a Sandwich

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . inspiration at stake conference.

. . . my husband saying I made a great sandwich.

. . . Daniel giving me a big hug.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Smirks and Soup

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

. . . listening to the vice presidential debate.  I came away feeling negative about both candidates, for different reasons.  Ryan seemed long on ideology but short on concrete details.  Biden seemed capable but I hated watching him smirk every time his opponent spoke.  Both highlighted things that really frustrate me about the other's party.  Neither inspired me with great confidence that they can and will change things for the better.  Blah.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching the rain fall outside, and hearing the thunder rumble.  Daniel thought that sound was pretty cool.

. . . making butternut squash soup and the best bread I've ever baked.

. . . talking about books with my visiting teachers.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cookies and Mushrooms

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . going for a walk with the kids.

. . . seeing some new mushrooms on the way to kindergarten.

. . . chatting with Phillip while I washed dishes and he made cookies.

. . . eating said cookies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Lights and a Pedicure

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . savoring cool autumn breezes this afternoon.

. . . playing a memory game with Daniel.

. . . seeing Anna kick her little feet.

. . . working with Joy to get our pumpkin lights working.  Yay!

. . . watching a Conference talk with Phillip.

. . . painting Joy's toenails.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Soul Searching and Guacamac

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting the bathtub drain unclogged.

. . . trying a yummy new recipe: Avocado Mac & Cheese.  It was an intriguing hybrid of guacamole and mac & cheese.

. . . playing musical chairs to Coldplay for our home evening activity.

. . . talking with Phillip about Conference and the things that impacted us the most.  I feel impressed that I need to work on something that is really hard and intimidating to me, yet I feel peace about it.  God works that way.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Peace and Cabbage

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching the Sunday sessions of Conference.  Some years I'm a little burnt out by the last session, but today I prayed for help being receptive and the Lord poured peace and inspiration into my heart.  I am so grateful.

. . . when one talk finally gave me the push I needed to tackle something I've been meaning to do for months.

. . . helping Aunt Connie plant seeds for her winter garden.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Inspiration and Chili

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching General Conference.  It's interesting that I can feel such happiness and peace despite getting distinct impressions that I need to do some things that will be really challenging for me.

. . . seeing Anna snuggle with Pink Grandma.

. . . cooking our favorite chili recipe for dinner.  Sometimes it's nice to eat something hearty and familiar.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Upside-Down Cake and Sweetheart Road

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

. . . utter nastiness.  Don't ask.

. . . Anna pulling a cake off the shelf in the grocery store.  It landed upside down, so I felt obligated to buy it.  I'm not a huge fan of cake--couldn't she have overturned a nice apple pie?

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip giving me a hug when I was having a rough evening.  I needed that.

. . . Phillip arranging my road game pieces into a heart shape when we were getting ready to play Settlers of Catan.  It was a little thing, but it made me smile the whole game.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Heathcliff, Spiderman, and a Ninja

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

. . . entering the bathroom to find a room-sized puddle, courtesy of my son who enjoys splashing in the sink.  I knew it had been quiet for too long.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . savoring cool breezes this morning.  It's finally starting to feel like fall.

. . . Phillip rolling up on his Ninja motorcycle just as I was dropping Joy off at school.  She had asked him to drop her off, but we didn't think he'd be back from an errand in time.  He made it after all, just in time to walk her to her classroom door.  She was pretty thrilled, and I thought it was sweet that he had made the effort to get there.

. . . having a spirited discussion of Wuthering Heights at the book group, then laughing until I cried during our rambling conversation afterward.

. . . a friend giving Phillip a priesthood blessing this evening because his cough and minor fever have long outstayed their welcome.  The blessing was very comforting.  I am so grateful for the priesthood.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy has a few female friends, but she spends most of her recesses playing superhero games with some of the boys (we must have talked for at least twenty minutes today about Spiderman, where his power came from, etc.). 

Have you ever noticed that superheros tend to solve most problems by fighting with and/or killing the bad guy?  In superheroland, the bad guy is clearly identifiable and rotten to the core, so we don't tend to feel too bad if he gets clobbered or goes to the big, high-security prison in the sky.  I guess that's been driven home to me more today, as I've listened to Joy make up a dozen different scenarios where the "bad guys" are swiftly and summarily killed (in one case by a giant pancake landing on their town).  No hesitation, no remorse.  Good riddance to 'em.

I can't resist pointing out to her occasionally that there may be a better way to resolve conflicts than killing people.  I'm sure that must sound so tediously boring, not to mention the fact that a penetrating discussion requires a lot more mental effort than dispatching and dismissing the one-dimensional bad guys, but if we tell ourselves the same oversimplified story over and over we may start to believe that that's how life really works.  Especially when we're kids.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Talking A Lot

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting to know a new family in our ward.

. . . talking with Phillip's sister, who's attending school in another state.  Hooray for Skype!

. . . Anna saying, "Mom."  At least, I think that's what she's saying.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spirited Recycling and Dancing Cheerios

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting out the Halloween decorations and books, including the one with the vampire ladybug.  Joy is getting into the holiday spirit, too--she chose Away In a Manger as our home evening hymn.

. . . Anna kicking her high chair tray to make the Cheerios dance.

. . . making a family of ghost jug-o-lanterns to haunt our front porch this month.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Testimony and a Feast

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

. . . Anna dribbling purple baby food all over her blue dress.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy asking to bear her testimony in church for the first time.  I was so proud of her for going up in front of hundreds of people and sharing what she believes.

. . . having dinner with Uncle Mark and Aunt Connie, and various first and second cousins.  As usual, it was a noisy, happy affair with lots of good food. 

. . . realizing that October starts tomorrow.  I love holiday season.