Thursday, February 28, 2013

Halloween in February

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

. . .  having a productive day, then realizing there are still a hundred nagging I tasks I haven't gotten to yet.  Blah.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the kids having fun with Pink Grandma this afternoon.

. . . hugging Joy.

. . . looking through family pictures.

. . . finally making family blog posts using said pictures.  I had just gotten back on a roll with that last month when I hurt my back.  It's fun to relive and share our fun memories, and I'm sure the grandparents will be glad to see them (even if they are a few months old).

And another thing . . .

. . . I did some yoga for my back this evening.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Back to Narnia

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing lots of ornamental cherry trees in bloom.

. . . Joy reading the entire fourth Boxcar Children book on her own this morning because she couldn't wait to see how it turned out.  Awesome.  We only have four Boxcar books, though, so we're done with that series until we can find more at the library.  In the meantime, Joy asked what other series we had on hand, and I told her the only other (unfinished) series we have is the Chronicles of Narnia.  She wasn't willing to revisit The Silver Chair, but we agreed that The Horse and His Boy sounded interesting so we spent the evening getting to know Shasta and Bree.  It's nice to be back in Narnia.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Pleasant Walk, A Quirky Talk

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

. . .  feeling unusually tired.  I think I may have caught the same bug my kids have had lately.  Hopefully the battle will be small and brief.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing a unique missionary farewell talk at church.  The young man has one of the quirkiest personalities I have ever encountered, but his enthusiasm for the Gospel is unmistakable.  I'm sure there are people he will reach that no one else could.

. . . going for a pleasant walk with my family this afternoon.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Gripping Novel and Folded Socks

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a nap.

. . . reading an extra chapter with Joy because we both couldn't wait to see what happened next.

. . . finally getting all the laundry folded.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Yams and Sic

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

. . . minor health insurance hassles.

. . . having my back still get sore when I'm up and around for too long.

. . . having way too much to do.

. . . discovering that one of my recent posts published with tiny print again.  It was a bear to fix, too.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . planning cheap, fun dates with my sweetie.

. . . cooking a deeelicious (sic) sweet potato casserole.

. . . using "(sic)."  I guess that qualifies me as uber-hip or uber-geeky, depending on who you ask.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pizza and a Baby Bug

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

. . .  poor little Anna feeling under the weather.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hanging out with Daniel while Daddy took Joy on a date tonight.

. . . signing up for a cooking class at a local restaurant.  Pizza mastery, here I come (I hope).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Preschoolers and Mitt (Sort Of)

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . surviving my stint teaching preschool.  I don't know why I let it stress me out so much--it always turns out fine.

. . . watching leaves dance in the wind.  Anna loves feeling the breeze on her face, and it is fun to watch her take so much delight in the natural world.  She's discovered the Moon, too, and thinks it's pretty cool.

And another thing . . .

. . . as we passed a park on the way to Joy's school today, I was surprised to see a bus with the Romney campaign's logo emblazoned upon its side.  I imagined Mitt emerging from its door and saying "Hey Kimberly, what do you think I should have done differently last year?"  I would take a deep breath and relate all the concerns that weighed on me in the last election, while Mitt listened carefully, nodding at appropriate intervals.

Right.  Like he hasn't already had hundreds of people tell him what they think he should have done differently.

Anyway, later in the day I noticed a film crew with lots of Romney signs and flags.  The bus was there, too, and I saw that it only had the logo on one side.  I learned it was just a prop for the HBO series Newsroom.  Life is full of surprises when you live near Hollywood. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mama's Helper

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna helping me clean up as I cooked dinner.  She watched me throw a plastic bag in the trash can, then she reached for another and put it in there herself.  I then handed her a plastic lid and asked if she'd like to throw that away, too.  She immediately did, then I snuggled her and thanked her for helping me out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cookies and the Moon

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . baking Breakfast Cookies for Daniel's birthday party tonight.  I recalled that they tend to be better the next day, and I envisioned myself calmly refraining from sampling them, a paragon of sage self-discipline. Then the first batch came out of the oven, and I ate one as soon as they were cool enough to handle.  And it was good, so I ate three more.  Self-discipline, indeed.

. . . having family here to visit to celebrate Daniel's birthday.  It was fun to visit, and the kids had a blast.

. . . reading "Little Bear Goes To The Moon" for Daniel's bedtime story.  It was a clever little tale, and it made me laugh.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pibil Feast

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

. . .  my back aching in church.  Sitting for long periods is still hard on it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy and Daniel playing happily together.

. . . the pibil dinner turning out very well.  The meat was just a tad dry (I used pork chops instead of pork shoulder because I had them on hand) and I ran out of sunlight and had to finish some things with the conventional oven and stove, but the meal as a whole was very good.  Even the kids each found a few things on the table to enjoy (rice, beans, mango).  I look forward to making this again, especially in the summer when there will be more hours of sunlight.

. . . talking with Phillip as he did the dishes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


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

. . .  starting to make the pibil marinade, and discovering that the bitter oranges I'd bought yield half the juice I thought they would.  I'd been planning to run errands this afternoon anyway, so the kids and I took a long detour back to Chicken Itza for more oranges.

. . . tasting a few drops of bitter orange juice.  News flash: it's really bitter.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing a live rooster casually wandering the restaurant's parking lot.

. . . buying a few little things for our Yucatecan dinner tomorrow: mango, a red onion, habaneros.  It's fun to plan and prepare a special dinner now and then.  And I'm letting the solar oven do most of the work this time.

. . . bending, running, lifting, and sitting with minimal pain or fear of re-injury.  I know I've touched on this several times lately, but I truly am grateful for every bit of progress with my back.  You appreciate your health so much more after you've lost it for a time. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bread, Baby, and Six Books

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

. . .  trying a French bread recipe that didn't turn out very well.  I was really excited about it, too.  Oh well--you can't win 'em all.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing with Anna.  A friend at church once said that it wasn't until she had her third child that she learned to truly cherish and enjoy their baby phase.  Perhaps that's not true of everyone, but it's certainly been the case for me.   I savor play time and cuddles with Anna, knowing this phase will end all too soon.  Part of me can't wait for my kids to all go off to school so I have more time to Get Things Done, but another part of me wishes I could have a little baby to snuggle forever.

And another thing . . .

. . . this evening I read a short bio on a successful fantasy author named Brandon Sanderson, who has published numerous novels and used Robert Jordan's notes to finish the last three Wheel of Time books after Jordan's death in 2007.  Sanderson began his writing career as a BYU student while manning a hotel desk for five years in the early hours of the morning.  He spent most of his graveyard shift writing, and he had heard that your first five books are usually bad so he determined to write at least six novels.  Sure enough, the first five were rejected, but  the sixth (Elantris) was ultimately accepted after sitting for 18 months on an editor's desk.

As I read this I thought of STM, who has repeatedly sent her books to publishers and kept on writing despite the bitter pain of rejection.  I wonder how many books she's written, and which one will finally be accepted.  The fourth?  The sixth?  The tenth?

We each seem to have at least one thing that we feel driven to do.  My cousin-in-law has to sew to feel normal, some women from my spinning guild feel driven to spin and weave, STM simply must keep writing, and I don't feel like myself if I'm not cooking something new and interesting to me.  At least my husband (and sometimes one or more of my children) eats and likes what I cook, though.  It would be truly dispiriting if my whole family refused to eat anything I cooked, especially if it took me a year to make it.  My hat is off to you, STM.

“At the end of the day if you told me, ‘You will never get published,’ I would have still written the books.” (Brandon Sanderson)

Sour Oranges and Mortality

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting our car back from the mechanic after a simple fix that cost a fraction of what we were bracing ourselves for.

. . . taking a Valentine's Day motorcycle ride with my sweetie.  I'm so, so grateful that my back was well enough for it.  It's my second ride with him, and as we cruised between lanes of traffic on the freeway I reflected that a motorcycle ride is a great Valentine's Day activity because it invites me to exercise faith in the two most important men in my life - faith that Phillip is a skilled driver, and faith that God won't let me die before my time.  Don't get me wrong, the ride was my idea, but the first few minutes of our rides always make me acutely conscious of my own mortality.

. . . eating  dinner with Phillip at the Yucatecan restaurant Chichen Itza, where he bought my cookbook.  The food was plentiful and delicious, and when I worked up the nerve to nibble a habanero pepper Phillip showed me where to bite it so it wouldn't be spicy at all.  To think that I've been living in fear of those fiery little things for years, and they're absolutely harmless if you just bite the ridges.

. . . discovering that the restaurant sells sour oranges (naranjas agrias), which are a traditional ingredients for making cochinita pibil (citrusy shredded pork, one of the signature dishes of the Yucatan peninsula).  Phillip and I both love the dish, but sour oranges are tough to find in the U.S. and I've had no luck until now.  We bought some and I stuffed them inside my riding jacket for the ride home.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thanksgiving in February

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel having a great time at preschool.  I'm glad he's enjoying school and getting to know other kids his age.  I think it's good to have fun with your sibs, but it's also important to connect with your peers.

. . . finally making some really good chicken tacos.  The recipe came from the Yucatecan cookbook Phillip gave me for Christmas, and it actually required that I make three other recipes (roasted garlic, a spice rub, chicken broth) before marinating and grilling the chicken.  The recipes were all simple, but they required a lot of planning.  By the time I finally served up the chicken, I felt like I had cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  It tasted great, though, and I felt like all the effort was worth it when Phillip's eyes lit up as he took a bite, and he exclaimed, "Now THAT is authentic Mexican food!"

I definitely want to make the chicken again, but I'm going to see if I can simplify the prep somehow.  Maybe I'll enlist my solar oven - while I was working in the kitchen for three hours, it was out on the patio merrily cooking three pounds of chicken (which I later shredded and froze for other recipes) with no attention from me whatsoever.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentines and Quinoa

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sharing a lazy morning at home with my family.

. . . cooking a tasty stir fry for dinner.  The big kids just ate rice.  Good thing it was part quinoa, so it offered at least some nourishment.  I substitute dry quinoa for about a quarter of the dry rice, since quinoa has little flavor and cooks in the same amount of time. I'd go half rice and half quinoa if the latter were cheaper.

. . . playing with Anna and hearing her giggle.

. . . making valentines with Joy while Phillip and Daniel baked cookies.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Magnolias and the Forgetful Squirrel

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

. . .  the Squirrel hiding my heating pad this morning, then forgetting where she put it.  We still haven't found it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my first truly normal day since I strained my back ten days ago.  I drove Joy to and from school, did laundry, and even went grocery shopping (while Phillip watched the kids at home).  It's good to be back in the saddle.

. . . taking a walk with Anna and Daniel, and seeing a Chinese magnolia tree in glorious bloom.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Dream and a Scary Light Bulb

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

. . .  being startled by the sound of a light-bulb shattering in our bedroom ceiling fan.  Shards of glass landed all over our floor.  I've never even heard of that happening.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel reminding me to read with him before bedtime.  I'm glad he's taken to reading so much.  Joy isn't loving The Silver Chair, though.  I convinced her to stick with it as far as Puddleglum, but she's decided to throw in the Narnian towel and try a Boxcar Children book instead.  Can't say I blame her--The Silver Chair was never my favorite among the Narnian Chronicles.

. . . waking up from a dream with a great sense of relief.  I dreamed that I had died, and I fervently wished I'd spent more time and energy nurturing my kids.  I haven't been a rotten, neglectful mother, but I wished I had done more to help them lay the foundation they'll need for the challenges they'll face in life.  I then woke up and was grateful to find my wish granted.  I've tried to spend more time encouraging and playing with my children today.  There's nothing like a near-death experience (even in a dream) to put life in perspective.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Long Drive and an Unexpected Answer

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

. . .  dropping Phillip off somewhere, then making a long, agonizing drive home.  My back has been a lot better today so I thought I'd be fine, and I was once I got home and lay down on my heating pad, but the ride itself was miserable.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . God's hand in my life.  As I drove home, I worried that it wouldn't be safe for me to carry Anna in, and wondered if I should call someone for help.  I prayed about it, and had a clear feeling that I didn't need to call anyone, that I should just park in my usual spot and everything would be fine.  I considered asking God if He was sure, but that seemed a rather faithless thing to say to an omniscient Deity.  So I pep-talked my way home ("You'll be OK . . . you can do it . . . you're almost there . . ."), parked my car, unbuckled Daniel, eased my way out of my door, and wondered how to get Anna up the stairs without injuring my miserably sore back.  Just then, a neighbor came into our parking lot on his way to work.  All of a sudden it became clear to me why God didn't need me to call anyone--He was going to send help at the very moment I needed it.  I was so very, very grateful.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shop But Don't Kick

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

. . . my back protesting when I lightly kicked something.  Note to self: don't do that again for a few days.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting another step closer to normality.  I rarely feel sharp pain and actually made a short trip to the store today (without kids).  Still spending a plenty of time heating or icing my back when it gets achy, though.

. . . doing a stretch my friend's physical therapist taught her.  It's surprising how much it helps.

. . . hearing the happiness in Joy's voice when she and Daddy got home from a date (she chose to browse Target and buy some Cars fruit snacks).

. . . Anna hugs.