Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Cool Tree and a Walker

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . making waffles with Joy this morning.

. . . taking a walk with my two sons.

. . . hearing Joy play a song at her piano teacher's monthly playparty.  Joy did a good job, and I was very proud of her.

. . . Joy and the other piano students playing in the host family's backyard after the recitals were over.  The family has an enormous tree with all sorts of fun things hanging from it: two swings, a trapeze, a rope with knots in it for climbing, and even a teardrop-shaped hammock.  I imagine it would be a delight to grow up with a tree like that in your yard.

. . . baking gingerbread for the party, and hearing several people say how much they enjoyed it.

. . . holding Todd and watching the three older kids play happily together.

And another thing . . .

. . . someday when my husband needs a walker, I'm going to buy him this one.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tired = Grouchy

And another thing . . .

. . . let us just say that I am a better, happier, more nurturing mom when I've had sufficient sleep, and I didn't get much of it last night.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reins and the Dog Pile

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

. . .  Joy spending her first morning of fall break telling me she'd rather be at school because there's nothing to do at home.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip tending Todd this morning so I could sleep a couple extra hours.  It felt so good to hand the reins to someone else for a little while.

And another thing . . .

. . . overheard in our front room tonight:

Phillip:  All right.  The rules for dog-piling Daddy are 1) No hitting, and 2) No kicking.  OK?
Joy and Daniel: OK!
Phillip: [Grunt] And no jumping on my head!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkey, Trees, and Tinkerbell

Over the past few days . . .

. . . my not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  Todd waking up every 90 minutes or so in the night.  I felt like I would just get back to sleep, then he'd wake me up again.

. . . running an errand to Rite Aid, and discovering that they're already selling Christmas trees.  For goodness' sake, we're not even past Thanksgiving!  As I strolled past candy canes, nutcrackers, and random Christmasy flubbdubbery, I heard Bing Crosby croon "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" over their sound system and thought, "Bing, you are not kidding."

. . . my favorite moments included . . .

. . . the big kids staging a light saber duel between Lego Star Wars Darth Maul (Daniel) and Finn McMissile.  It was the weirdest mashup I'd ever heard of until ten minutes later, when Joy proposed a duel between Darth Vader and Tinkerbell.  Daniel refused to go along with that one.

. . . cuddling Todd while tickling Anna.  It doesn't get much better than that.

And another thing . . .

. . . for a few years now, I've wanted to try cooking a Thanksgiving feast for our little family.  Maybe I'm crazy, since relatives on both sides are perfectly willing to do the task for me, but for some reason I really wanted to try cooking turkey and some sides, just to see how it would all turn out.  This past weekend I prepped a bunch of things beforehand and my husband agreed to watch the kids while I prepared a turkey breast in the pressure cooker, mashed potatoes on the stove, sweet potato casserole in the oven, broccoli in the microwave and grapes . . . in the fridge.

The turkey was a little tough and stringy (preparing turkey is an art, and I think I'm still at the fingerpainting stage), but it was edible and the other things turned out well.  It was satisfying to have pulled the whole thing off, and our family enjoyed taking turns talking about what we're grateful for (e.g. the Gospel, good music, and eyeballs).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Charles and a Book

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . recalling a photo of Prince Charles I saw recently.  He was seated in a lawn chair, and the accompanying caption said simply, "Reigning Outside."

. . . attending a book group meeting.  Food for thought, and a few good laughs.  Both did me good.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rain, Broccoli, and a Playful Trio

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

. . . waking up from a nap and yearning for more sleep.  I really need to get to bed earlier.  Fortunately, this evening Phillip rigged the computer to lock down at 11pm every night.  Hopefully that will help. 

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the three oldest kids playing together.  Daniel and Anna would wait in the kitchen while Joy hid some toys in the back rooms, then at her signal they would hurry back to find the toys she had hidden.  It's the first time I can recall the three of them together.  Perhaps it's because  little Anna has progressed verbally and socially to the point that she can join in the big kids' games.

. . . hearing rain fall outside on a cool, autumn evening.

And another thing . . .

. . . a friend brought us dinner tonight, and the menu included steamed broccoli.  Joy exclaimed that she liked broccoli, and put a heaping scoop of it on her plate.  Who knew???  I'll have to start making broccoli more often.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Botany Lesson and a Dance Party

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

. . .  Anna being a two-year-old in the sense that she is determined to get what she wants, and doesn't comprehend that she can't have it.  She thinks if she asks a dozen times then screams at the top of her lungs, it will somehow change the answer.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending the annual boy scout pancake breakfast fundraiser.  The food was better than usual, but the real fun was chatting with friends there.

. . . taking a little nap with Todd.  To sleep, perchance to dream.

. . . Anna clapping her hands and shouting, "Yay!" as we played with a board game.  I'm still not sure what she was so excited about, but it was cute to see her so animated.

. . . explaining the difference between annuals and perennials to Joy as we ate ice cream at Rite Aid.

. . . having an impromptu Hendrickson dance party.  Todd got a bit fussy this evening so I stood up and danced to some music while he nestled in the sling.  Phillip got up and danced with me, then Joy asked him to twirl her like he had twirled me, and soon Daniel and Anna wanted to be twirled, too.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Toddler Smiles and Baby Feet

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

. . . noticing that my local Trader Joe's had finally gotten chocolate star cookies for the holidays, but they're currently sold out of them.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the kids getting excited whenever little Todd woke up.

. . . seeing Anna smile.

. . . going to dinner with some friends.  Todd's naps are still unpredictable, but he consistently goes down for the night at 7pm (waking to nurse and then sleep again every three hours or so), for which I'm very grateful.

. . . snuggling my baby boy's soft, fuzzy hair, and admiring his tiny little toes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Words and a Pain in the Neck

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

. . . my neck muscles aching like crazy because I keep nodding off while feeding Todd in the middle of the night. 

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing with the three big kids this evening.  They came home from Red Grandma's house today, and it was nice to have them home and see them be excited about their little brother.  We played some games, ate grilled cheese sandwiches, and generally enjoyed a low-key evening together.

And another thing . . .

. . . Todd is a week old today, and I still occasionally call him "Daniel" because for nearly five years "Daniel" has been my word for "son."  My brain is still getting used to the fact that it has to specify which son I'm talking about.

. . . I am absolutely amazed at how much Anna's vocabulary is growing.  She is learning and using dozens of new words, and pronouncing old ones better.  She really isn't a baby anymore, but she still loves to snuggle, for which I am very grateful.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Fox Pup in Autumn

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

. . .  my upper back muscles getting worn out as they re-adapt to normal posture postpartum.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . relaxing on the lawn with Todd while autumn leaves fluttered down around us.

. . . calling Todd little nicknames like Milk Man, Toddaroo, and Fox Pup (Todd means "fox" in Middle English).

And another thing . . .

. . . caring for a new baby totally overwhelmed me when I first attempted it seven years ago.  Today, as I cared for my fourth newborn while the other three kids are away at Red Grandma's, I kept marveling at how easy it actually is to care for a little baby when you know what you're doing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rest, Errands, and General Cuteness

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

. . . going to the grocery store specifically for a certain thing, then getting home to find that it somehow didn't make it from the cash register to my car.  Todd was already down for a nap by the time I made this discovery, so I guess the store just gets to keep it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sleeping in until 10:30am (thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking the big kids for the weekend).  I felt normal for the first time in days, and it was nice to look in the mirror and see a woman instead of a zombie.

. . . going to the store with Todd.  He was content in the sling, and I found that successfully running a few errands made my life feel more normal.  I'm still a bit nervous about how things will go when the other three kids come home, but I know I'll figure it out, just like I did the other three times a new baby joined our family.

. . . imbibing the sweetness of tiny baby feet, soft baby hair, a little baby nose (which looks a lot like his brother's), and kissable baby cheeks.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hello, Baby

As we've welcomed Baby Todd into our family this week . . .

. . . my not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . major sleep deprivation.

. . .  being reminded at multiple diaper changes that baby boys come equipped with a hydrocannon.

. . . my favorite moments included . . .

. . . snuggling with Todd as he made little baby sounds.  They kind of reminded of Abu from Disney's Aladdin.

. . . getting so much help from our friends and family.  Bless them.

. . . praying for divine help and receiving it when I needed it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Spirit and the Deconstructed Bug

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy's first grade teacher singing along with "Flying Purple People Eater" during the school's Halloween parade.

. . . accompanying my big kids as they went trick-or-treating tonight.  I love seeing the creativity and generosity as neighbors and strangers celebrate Halloween together.  I'm so glad Baby Boy waited this long so I could join the big kids in their holiday activities. 

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy's pill bug costume evolved a lot as she got ready for school this morning.  She initially envisioned black clothes, black antennae, a black painted face, and pipe cleaner legs attached to her sides.  As the morning progressed she decided that she didn't want to deal with face paint, and the legs were too much of a hassle (she took them off on the drive to school), so she arrived at her class with just black clothes and antennae.  No one would guess that she was a pill bug, but she was very happy with the way things turned out and that's what matters most.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Program and a Pill Bug

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

. . . searching the internet for Halloween dinner ideas.  I love the fun side of Halloween, but I don't love the grisly spin many people like to give it.  I'll take the pumpkins and whimsical ghosts, but pass on the gore and horror, thank you very much.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending Daniel's preschool Halloween program.  Actually, "program" is probably too grand a word for it--the kids filed onto a stage in their costumes, sang a song, posed for pictures, then filed back off.  Daniel sang nary a word of the song, but he was still glad I came, and I was, too.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy ultimately decided against being a green piggy for Halloween, but she still doesn't want to go to school tomorrow as Darth Maul sans light saber.  So she has opted to be . . . a pill bug (she's kind of obsessed with those little guys lately).  Basically, she's going to dress in black, I'll paint her face black, and she'll wear black antennae.  I think Darth Maul would have been a lot cooler (and more easily identifiable) even without the light saber, but there's no denying that it will be much easier to paint her face one color tomorrow than to render DM's intricate facial markings before school starts in the morning.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Short Walk and a Big Baby

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking Daniel and Anna for a walk.  The actual walking portion was pretty uncomfortable for me, but it was worth it to see my kids have fun chasing each other around, clambering over tree roots, and doing puzzles at the library.

And another thing . . .

. . . Anna has finally learned to say her own name, but she still defaults to calling herself "Baby."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Clean Grill and the Clutter Battle

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

. . .  fighting the clutter battle for months, only to look around tonight and realize that our house seems to have gotten messier in the past week than it was when I started.  Baby prep and a major holiday will do that to you, I guess.  Sigh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . running errands with Anna this morning.  One-on-one time with her always means lots of cuddles, and I love Anna cuddles.

. . . Phillip doing a great job on a presentation he's worked hard on.

. . . asking Daniel to stop crashing into me, and having him actually stop doing it.

. . . Phillip agreeing to clean our electric grill if I washed the rest of the dishes.  I wanted to make burgers tonight, but I really, really did not want to scrub that grill.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Taffy and the Tummy Sling

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

. . .  Anna scoring a piece of taffy at the Trunk Or Treat, then somehow managing to chew it up and get it in her hair.

. . . arriving at the activity and realizing that the bags of candy I had bought weeks before to hand out were still at home.  Sigh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . going to the temple and receiving needed inspiration.

. . . feeling grateful that a friend loaned me her maternity support belt (I call it the tummy sling), which has eased a lot of my aches.

. . . painting Joy's face to look like Darth Maul, and having it turn out really well (for a first-time, amateur job).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beds, Clothes, and a Visit

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip getting the bunk beds set up for the big kids.

. . . hearing a profound insight from a neighbor I visit taught today.

. . . finally figuring out where the heck we stored Daniel's baby clothes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Summer Triangle and Buried Treasure

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally auditing and organizing our pantry.  It was kind of like being on an archaeological expedition, discovering buried treasures ("Cool!  I didn't realize we had some of that!") and a few fossils ("Ick!  That expired in 2010.").

. . . spotting the Summer Triangle up in the sky tonight.  It's been a welcome, familiar sight to me ever since my dad showed me how to recognize it years ago when I was a child.  He also said that blue Vega, one of the stars in the triangle, is the most beautiful star in the heavens.

And another thing . . .

. . . have you ever finished a task, then written it on your to-do list just so you could cross it off?  Yeah--me, too.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shouting and Chaos

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

. . .  sitting on a pew and reflecting, as Daniel bonked me with his head and Anna climbed on me so she could suck on my hair, that church is going to get exponentially crazier next month when we add a newborn to the mix.  I guess that's one way to tell that something's important to you: you do it even when it's really hard.

And another thing . . .

. . . at one point during sacrament meeting Phillip left our pew for a minute, probably to talk to a fellow choir member about the number they were going to perform later in the meeting.  When he returned, Daniel excitedly shouted, "DADDYYYYYY!!!!!" at the top of his lungs, just like he does every evening when Phillip gets home from work.  Now, you and I both know that it is wildly inappropriate to yell in the middle of church, but I couldn't help being touched that our son loves his daddy so much.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Moving In, a Garland, and a New Treat

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . reading bedtime stories to the big kids.  It's hard to say who gets into the story more--me or them.

. . . making a fall leaf garland for our front room (kind of like this, but with silk leaves).  Garlands in general make me happy (and this Halloween one made me laugh).

. . . finally finding a use for the Cocoa Almond Spread I bought at Trader Joe's a while back.  I originally thought it might be a tasty alternative to Nutella (which we like a lot), but while many people apparently like CAS better than Nutella, I'm just not one of them.  I prefer Nutella's flavor and texture on bread, in smoothies, eaten straight, you name it.  I decided to give CAS one more shot tonight, though, and I'm happy to report that it tastes pretty good on apple slices and it is absolutely awesome on graham crackers.  So awesome that we may need to buy more graham crackers after this weekend.  I think it would make good frosting, too, if I ever made cupcakes.

And another thing . . .

. . . I moved all our car stuff into the van today--umbrella stroller, first aid kit, tote bags, sunglasses, tire pressure gauge, etc.  It was kind of like moving into a small apartment.  It was tough to find a place for everything, and I'll probably forget where I put half of it, but the van really feels like it's ours now.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sherbet Sharing and a Big Van

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . going out for ice cream as a family.  Mmm, rainbow sherbet.

. . . watching a movie with my sweetie.

And another thing . . .

. . . Anna is learning lots of new words lately.  One of her new favorites is "share."   While she does love to give things to others (toys, food she isn't hungry for, etc.), I think the main appeal of the word is that when she says it, people will often give her something she wants. She said "share" multiple times tonight when she wanted a taste of someone's ice cream.

. . . we finalized the purchase of a used Honda minivan today.  It handles very nimbly, the kids love it, and I'm relieved to have a bigger vehicle before we become a family of six, but as I drove it this evening I just kept thinking, "Man, this thing is huge."

Friday, October 18, 2013

In Which Darth Maul is Upstaged by a Green Pig

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

. . .  doing dishes.  It's not my favorite job anyway, but on top of that it's starting to wear me out.  But then, everything is starting to wear me out.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . making paper strip pumpkin art with Daniel.  We attached his to his preschool calendar, and I think I'll give mine to one of the women I visit teach.

. . . cooking and eating stove-top kettle corn with the kids.  They like it so much that they even nibbled the tiny bits that were left at the bottom of the bowl.  It always makes me happy to cook something other people enjoy.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy has been telling me for weeks that she wants to be Darth Maul for Halloween.  Today she announced that she wants to be one of the green pigs from Angry Birds instead.  I think the pig would be a lot easier (I wasn't looking forward to doing DM's complex face paint for the Trunk-or-Treat, Joy's school parade, and any other activity she goes to), but before I make any definite plans I think I'll wait a few days to see if the new idea sticks.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Taylor and Michael

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . our whole family saying, "Ow!" (Michael Jackson style) along with one of the Piano Guys as we listened to "Michael Meets Mozart" tonight.  The first time I heard the pianist do that I thought it was kind of a cheesy touch, but it has become one of our family's favorite parts of the Piano Guys' repertoire.  Even little Anna loves saying, "Ow!" when that song is on, though she usually does it a couple seconds late.

And another thing . . .

. . . I've lost count of the number of times I've turned suddenly and gently bopped Daniel in the head with my tummy.  I forget that it sticks out so far in front of me.

. . . Taylor Swift's song "Love Story" has been stuck in my head for the last couple days.  It has a catchy tune, but every time it cycles through my brain I think at least one of two things:

1) OK, so some guy doesn't call me for weeks, then he busts out a ring and I'm supposed to swoon?  What's so romantic about that?

2) What's the appeal of being like Romeo and Juliet?  Do you know how that story ends?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dway and the Semiannual Gauntlet

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Phillip sing in two lovely, powerful  choir numbers.

. . . Anna finally learning to say Joy's name.  OK, technically she says "Dway" not "Joy," but that's much closer than "Deh," which she's been saying up to this point. It was fun to hear her happily call her big sister's name as the kids played "Hide and Seek" this evening.

. . . finally getting around to making the Bat Mobile--a mobile with black paper bats that I hung in our front room.  I made a similar one last year, but it needed a few tweaks.  I may keep this year's version so I don't have to make another one next year.

And another thing . . .

. . . you might be a Mormon parent of young children if you view the Saturday night adult-only session of stake conference* as a soul-feeding revelatory opportunity, and the Sunday morning general session (where the whole family attends a meeting nearly twice as long as our usual Sunday service) as a two-hour gauntlet to be run with a big bag of books, activities, and snacks (and a prayer that your kids won't be tired of every single one of them before the closing prayer).  When my toddler had a meltdown during the closing song, I just handed her my purse and let her rifle through it.  Wanna play with my iPhone? Sure!  Just don't delete anything, OK?

At this stage of life we get very little out of the morning session, and frankly our kids don't, either.  I go mainly to teach my kids (and remind myself) that church is important, and I trust that in future years we'll all get much more out of it if we establish the habit of attending now.

*Stake conference is a semiannual gathering of several congregations in the area to hear talks by local leaders and members, and occasionally visiting authorities.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mobility, Taffy, and the Waddling Duo

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

. . .  vacuuming Daniel's preschool classroom.  It's fun to help out in his class and see what the kids are doing, but I was so tired by the end of the day.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . renting a little compact car for the weekend.  It is so, so nice to be mobile again, and not have to rely on friends to pick up my kids or drive me to the store.  I've been very grateful for their help, but I'm even more grateful to be self-reliant again.  Hopefully we'll wrap up the minivan search soon.  Who knew it could be so complicated to find a used van we can afford and trust not to break down on us?

. . . going out to dinner with my husband.  Blessings upon the friends who swap babysitting with us each week.

. . . walking into a candy store to get change for our parking meter, and discovering that they had a bulk taffy section.  I like taffy, and Phillip loves the stuff.  I think you can guess what we brought home for dessert.

And another thing . . .

. . . there are always two parent helpers in Daniel's preschool class, and today the second one was another pregnant mom, due about the same time I am.  I'm sure we made a comical pair, both doing the pregnant lady waddle around the room.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Apostles and a Long Walk

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

. . .  walking to the store for some milk, eggs, and orange juice this afternoon.  I do a lot of walking these days since we're still in the market for a new vehicle.  I'm sure the exercise is good for me, but the going is tough when you're nearly eight months prego.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . a General Conference speaker saying exactly what I needed to hear.

. . . listening to President Uchtdorf's talk.  He has a talent for always being entertaining yet profound, in a way that anyone can relate to.

. . . Daniel sitting at the piano, picking out the tune (more or less) of a song he's heard Joy play.  I'm glad my children occasionally play the piano just because they want to.

. . . seeing one of the kids in the choir yawn in the middle of a song during the afternoon Conference session.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Smoke, Roly Polies, and Peter

Over the past few days . . .

. . . my not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  our car shuddering, then emitting lots of smoke as we drove down the freeway on Sunday.

. . . the mechanic informing us that our transmission had blown holes in its casing, and replacing it would cost twice what our old car is worth.  We decided it was finally time to bid our sedan goodbye and look into buying a minivan.

. . . exploring multiple methods of affording said minivan, and having one after the other turn into a dead end.  We think we've finally figured something out, though.  Cross your fingers.

. . . my favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy teaching a family home evening lesson about Peter walking toward Christ on the water, then starting to sink as he became distracted and afraid of the storm around him (Matthew 14:22-33).  Joy concluded her lesson by reminding us that we should always trust that Jesus can help us.  Phillip commented that her lesson was very timely as we try to figure out how to resolve our vehicular dilemma.

. . . accompanying Anna as she walked laps around our apartment building after the sibs left for school.  She thinks it's fun to explore our little world, over and over.  One time she was sidling past a crawl space when she lost her balance and toppled headfirst into the pile of leaves at the bottom of it.  She looked so funny there, upside down with her little, sandalled feet sticking up in the air.  I laughed as I hauled her out, then said, "Whoa!" to reassure her that it had all been a funny surprise, and nothing to fret about.

. . . carefully holding Joy's roly poly while she put on her back pack at school.  Joy recently discovered that it's fairly easy to spot roly polies in a certain planter, so every day when we pick her up she finds one and carries it along as we leave school.

And another thing . . .

. . . since we have had no car this week, Phillip has been giving the big kids rides to school on his motorcycle.  Joy had ridden before, but four-year-old Daniel never had.  I prayed about it and felt it would be safe to let him ride.  Still, my big boy looked so very small as he rode away holding on to his daddy that first morning.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Tree House and Inspiration

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . starting the first Magic Tree House book with four-year-old Daniel this evening.  It's his first chapter book, and when I showed it to him he wasn't initially keen to try it, but I persuaded him to let me read a chapter and we ended up reading two.  He would have gladly listened to more, but it was bedtime.  I'm sure we'll be reading the rest in the days to come, though.  Big Sister Joy's already a fan of the series--we checked out three at the library today, and she had read all of them within an hour.  They're obviously a bit below her reading level, but she enjoys them so much that she reads her favorites several times.

. . . hearing uplifting talks at the worldwide Relief Society broadcast this evening.  I prayed for the Lord to teach me what I needed to learn, and during the talks I had several ideas about how to help one of my kids who seems to need extra TLC these days.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Appleseed Day and Better than Fine

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . praying about something that troubled me, and receiving an assurance that things would be fine.  Better than fine, in fact.  I'm always touched that the God of this vast universe cares enough not just to help but to comfort me.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy's class observed Johnny Appleseed Day today, and her teacher requested that some parents help out with the activities.  I figured this would be a good chance for me to help in Joy's class before Baby Boy's arrival makes that difficult, so I signed right up.

We helped the kids cut up apples to make crockpot applesauce, then we helped them weave paper strips through big, paper apples to decorate their room for fall.  It was fun to watch the teacher talk with the class about where apples come from, then slice an apple side to side to show them the "star" and little "pips" in the middle.

Seven helpers were there from start to finish, and I noticed some interesting overlaps among us.  There were:

1) Four moms
2) One dad
3) Two grandmas (technically they're moms as well, but I mean they are grandmas to students in the class)
4) Three fluent Spanish speakers
5) Two mothers with sons in the class named Aidan
6) Two parents who have studied Aikido
7) Two Asians
8) Three parents who studied to be college professors (one is currently teaching and the others decided to be stay-home parents - see #10)
9) Two women from Great Britain
10) Two women in their third trimester
11) Two women who live on my block

In case you're wondering, I fit  categories 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 11.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Stroll, A Visit, and Pineapple Slaw

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

. . .  looking at my to-do list and realizing I have a whole heaping ton to do tomorrow.  At least today was pretty low key.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visit teaching a sweet woman who lives down the street from me.

. . . borrowing a stroller from a neighbor for a few months, so I don't have to keep carrying Anna around when we pick Joy up from school.

. . . watching my kids play together.

. . . going to dinner with a few friends at a Hawaiianish restaurant.  It was great to catch up, share some good laughs, and eat the delicious side dishes (which, oddly, were much better than the passable main course).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Eight Years and No Spoon

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

. . .  realizing that I had sent steel cut oats in Joy's lunch, but no spoon.

. . . wrestling with a very stubborn padlock.  I'm still not sure how I got it open.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sampling pupusas a little hole-in-the-wall joint.  They were just OK, but at least I had fun trying something new.

. . . a friend offering to loan me her stroller, since Anna wants to be carried everywhere, and that's getting tough now that I'm seven months pregnant.

. . . celebrating eight years of marriage with my dear companion.  He planned a lovely, fun evening, but the best part was that I got to spend it with him.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pumpkins, Puzzles, and Peponi

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching the Piano Guys' Peponi video with the kids.  Alex Boye performs with such power and energy; I never get tired of watching him.  His performance is all the more impressive when I remember that he's dancing on the edge of a huge cliff, and he's scared of heights.

. . . doing puzzles with Daniel this afternoon.  We played checkers, too, and he triple-jumped me at least once.

And another thing . . .

. . . our local Trader Joe's was selling pumpkins and watermelons from the same crate this morning.  It seemed consistent with the weather, which can't quite decide whether it wants to be summer or fall. 

. . . today I got to thinking about people I knew as a missionary.  There were some who didn't make time to read scriptures or pray unless we were visiting.  They loved having us come, but I got the sense that we were a glass of water in the desert, and they were thirsty the rest of the time.  On the other hand, there were some people who made a consistent effort to really study the scriptures and pray, to develop a relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Their experience reminded me of the Savior's promise that if we take His teachings to heart, they will be a continual fountain of living water to us.  The people who embraced Him and His words were the ones who found the peace, clarity, and happiness He promised.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Leaf Veins and Human Arteries

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . family home evening, when Phillip used a cool, kid-oriented app about the body to help our children appreciate the amazing bodies God created for us.

. . . making autumn art for our home evening activity.  We used crayons to make rubbings of leaves that I collected throughout the day, then hung them on the inside of our front door.  Everyone over the age of three created his or her own artwork, and I was surprised at the variation in style.  Funny how you can approach a project thinking there is only one way to do it, and someone else will approach it in a very different but equally valid way.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Breathless in Autumn

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

. . .  my internal organs being smooshed by a growing baby.  I got out of breath just doing dishes tonight.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . celebrating the first day of autumn by making pumpkin cookies with Joy and Daniel.

. . . eating a few of said cookies together (you know, to make sure they turned out all right).

. . . Phillip laughing as he played with the kids tonight.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Saturday and Siblings

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sleeping in.  Hooray for Saturday!

. . . Daniel and Anna going down the slides together at the park.  Joy was at Pink Grandma's house for a sleepover, and it was interesting to see how the two youngest kids interacted in her absence.  Usually Daniel plays with Joy because she has a strong, take-charge personality, and because until recently Anna was too young to do much that Daniel was interested in.  They're starting to play (and fight) more, though, especially when Joy is off at school or on a visit.  I'm curious to see how our family dynamic evolves in the coming months and years.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Granola, Grocery Store Laps, and Almost-Autumn

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . helping out at Daniel's preschool, and seeing what he likes to do there--how he spends play time, who he's formed a budding friendship with, etc.

. . . Daniel and Anna laughing as they ran up and down the grocery store aisles together.

. . . taking the kids for a stroll in the cool, almost-autumn twilight.

. . . baking granola.  It's yummy stuff, and it makes our home smell good.

. . . reading Josh Weed's birthday post for his wife Lolly.