Friday, May 31, 2013

Gas and Brakes

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting a decent night's sleep, and being able to talk without coughing (much).  Today actually felt kind of normal.

. . . going to dinner with some friends.  It's lovely every now and then to set my cares aside and just have fun chatting (and eating).

And another thing . . .

. . . getting kids ready for bed feels like driving with one foot flooring the gas pedal, and the other foot pressed hard on the brakes.  I'm desperate to move the process along so I can take a deep breath and recharge my batteries.  Meanwhile, the kids are stalling like crazy because they think anything is more fun than going to bed.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Visit, Insomnia, and Olfactory Functionality

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

. . .  my cough getting exponentially worse every time I recline, no matter what time it is.  Simple, sound sleep, how do I miss thee!

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . discovering that my nose can smell once more.  They're not all good smells, mind you, but it's still nice to have that sense operational again.

. . . visiting teachers coming over this afternoon.  I could only "talk" to them by typing on the computer, but it was still very nice to have them visit.

. . . Joy writing me two sweet notes and hanging them in my room.

And another thing . . .

. . . I know some people think we're crazy to be having any children (let alone four) while my husband is still in grad school, and I won't deny that funds and floor space are kind of limited at times, but I am very grateful for Phillip's flexible student schedule when illness or first-trimester weariness hits me like a bus.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Mime Cure

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

. . .  having to cancel a Mother's Day dinner with my mom for the second time because of this illness.  I hoped I could make things work if I just kept quiet and let her do the talking so I wouldn't cough, but then I realized: what is the point of going to dinner with your mom if you can't gab with her?!?  Sigh--at this rate, we may celebrate Father's Day before Mother's Day.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sharing leftover Iranian chicken soup with Anna.  I think I need to request that recipe. 

And another thing . . .

. . . I've discovered that the best thing for my cough (in addition to Robitussin and lots of water) is not talking.  I spent most of the morning using gestures and facial expressions to communicate with my kids, with a one- or two-word sentence thrown in here and there.  It helped a lot.  My airways hurt less and I rarely coughed.

Of course, things got more complicated once I drove Joy to school.  The kids couldn't see me as well from the back seat so I had to talk more, and when we got home Daniel (who'd had Joy to chat with all morning) wasn't a huge fan of having no one to interact with but his mother the mime.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Iranian Chicken Soup

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking up around 6am feeling refreshed and rested for the first time in a while.  Then I switched positions and began coughing my lungs out for the next half hour.  Siiiiiigh (coughcoughcough!).

. . . Phillip taking the kids outside to play this evening so I could rest.

And another thing . . .

. . . my Iranian neighbor heard I was sick and offered to make me some chicken soup with turnips.  I accepted with gratitude, and a little trepidation.  Sometimes I find food from other cultures to be a welcome revelation, and other times I come away thinking, "Wow--I guess that's an acquired taste."  In this case the soup was tasty and comforting.  In fact, it was better than the chicken soup I made over the weekend.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pineapple Memories

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

. . .  coughing a whole, whole lot.  Other than that, I seem to be improving.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a walk after dinner.  It was pleasant to stroll along with my family in the cool, spring twilight.

And another thing . . .

. . . whenever I stir pineapple tidbits into my cottage cheese, I think of a silly British sci-fi comedy I once saw in college.  One character commented to another that she kept looking at his friend like he was "a pot of cottage cheese with pineapple chunks in."  She immediately protested: "How could you say that?  I have *never* looked at him like he's a pot of cottage cheese with pineapple chunks in!  Maybe, once or twice, plain cottage cheese, but never, *ever*, with pineapple chunks in!  Never.  Never! . . . Have I?"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ryan Gosling, Some Guy Named Matt, and a Comfy Couch

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . talking with an acquaintance from church as we walked to Trader Joe's (Phillip used our car to take our kids up to my parents' cabin for the weekend; bless him).

. . . lying on our couch hugging a pillow.  In fact, most of my day went something like this: take cough medicine, lie on couch, read blog, lie on couch, conduct domestic science experiment (see below), lie on couch, paint toe nails, lie on couch (with painted toes properly aligned so as not to stain said couch), start chicken soup in pressure cooker, lie on couch.  You get the idea.  Occasionally I attempted to just spend the whole rest of the day lying on the couch, but sooner or later I started to go crazy.  You really can have too much of a good thing.

. . . the aforementioned domestic science experiment.  I wanted to see if blue Dawn dish soap really would remove the ghastly ring-around-the-collar from Phillip's white church shirts.  I researched proper procedure on ye Internet, used a retired toothbrush to rub Dawn into the stains, then washed as usual.  Whaddaya know?  It worked!  Funny thing is, my MTC companion passed that tip on to me over a decade ago, and it's taken me this long to try it.  Thanks, Hermana.

. . . watching the 2012 video compilation of Matt dancing with people all over the world.  I hadn't seen this one before, and like its 2008 predecessor, it delighted me in a way that brought tears to my eyes.  I love what he's trying to say with it: that whether he's with American cheerleaders, kids in Rwanda, or ballet dancers in Syria with their faces digitally obscured (presumably for their safety), we all have a lot more in common than we tend to think.

And another thing . . .

. . . when the Apostle Peter shows up in a tux and inquires about your laundry detergent, you know you're dreaming.

. . . my cold symptoms are getting better in some ways, but I'm still coughing a ton, which wipes me out, and I still have no desire to eat anything.  At lunch time I heated up the only thing in our house that sounded palatable, then sat at the computer to read Voice of Reason.  I don't read it regularly because I don't need any encouragement to be snarky, thankyouverymuch, but I pop in every now and then for a laugh or a wry grin.

The blog did, indeed, pick me up, but not in the way I expected.  I happened upon this post, which included a fabulous Ryan Gosling sympathy card that made me laugh, but which also contained the sad news that Nem miscarried last fall.  I know that she is currently expecting her second child, but I didn't know about the miscarriage in between.  She wrote about it with grace and gratitude for the blessings that came with the trial, but you could tell it was still really hard on her.  And on the countless commenters who expressed empathy because they'd gone through the same thing.

Nem's post really put my morning in perspective.  Yes, cold symptoms are miserable, but my baby is fine, and in a week or so I'll be fine, too, and all the coughing and sinus pain and bizarre hours-long dreams about laundry detergent will be largely forgotten.  I'm not exactly grateful for this cold, but I'm grateful that it's the worst I have to deal with, and that it will be over soon enough.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Daddy Day

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

. . .  my stomach sending me this message around lunch time: "No food on the planet sounds appealing right now, but I'm empty so I guess you should put something in me.  Let's get this over with."  I'm actually feeling better than I was when this  wicked cold slammed into me a few days ago, but I'm not out of the woods yet.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip staying home to help with the kids today.  Thank you so much, sweetheart.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pinwheels and the Reluctant Diner

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

. . .  trying to eat meals.  My body is working so hard to grow a baby and fight off an infection that it has little energy left for digesting food.  We won't even speak about tidying the house.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing some of Joy's handiwork at her school's open house.

. . . Anna being captivated by the pinwheels outside the first grade classroom. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Goodbye Rolling Stones, Hello Robitussin

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

. . .  waking up feeling like I'd been hit by a bus because I was so achy and congested.  If moms could call in sick, I totally would have done it today.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . my sweet visiting teacher hearing I was sick and bringing over dinner.  She also took Joy to and from school.  Bless her.

. . . Anna feeling much better today.  She's her usual cheerful self again, and it was the first day she didn't wake from her nap with a fever.

. . . discovering that Robitussin DM is safe for pregnant ladies to take.  Yessss.

. . . sitting in the shade watching my kids play outside.

. . . seeing a few birds fluttering around in the courtyard.  I think they're looking for a place to build a nest.

. . . listening to good music.

. . . Phillip being home for dinner tonight.  He's been gone a lot lately because he's been singing back-up for the Rolling Stones.  No, seriously.  They use a choir for one of the numbers in their concerts, and when they were preparing to come to our area they contacted the university Phillip attends and asked if they could recruit a good choir for three concerts.  The experience was kinda cool, but it was also a big time commitment (Phillip had to arrive several hours early for sound checks, then attend the whole concert three times to sing in a number near the end).  We're glad to be getting our lives back to normal.

Joy Meets Jabba

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . getting lots done.

. . . Phillip coming home. :)

And another thing . . .

. . . the big kids watched Star Wars (Episode IV, the original one*) for the first time today.  Daniel got a little bored, but Joy thoroughly enjoyed it and asked about 200 questions during the course of the film.  She says she can't wait to watch another one.  She actually wanted to watch Return of the Jedi next because it sounded cooler to her (and I confess it is my favorite), but I insisted that it will make a lot more sense if she watches The Empire Strikes Back first.  Annnnnd I suppose she will eventually want to watch the new trilogy, and she will probably like them, and I will sigh heavily.

*If you can call it "original" after all the ways George Lucas has tinkered with it over the last couple decades.  Han shot first--just accept it, George.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Prayer and the Good Old Couch

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

. . .  lots of little stuff I won't remember tomorrow.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing the Primary kids laugh.

. . . praying and feeling the God was truly listening and would answer.  I know He always does, but it's lovely to feel the truth of in the moment.

. . . talking with Phillip on the couch.  He's been crazy busy this week, and it's nice to just share some quiet time together.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cough, Cough, Cough and Angry Birds Enculturation

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

. . .  lots of coughing in our home today.  I hope Phillip doesn't catch this bug before his last choir performance next week.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking to the sound of beautiful instrumental music Phillip had turned on.

. . . playing Uno with the big kids.  Daniel laughed out loud every time something exciting happened (even when he got double Draw 4'ed and had to pick up eight cards).

And another thing . . .

. . . we watched Cello Wars for about the 25th time today.  When the Jedi and Sith start playing the main title song from Star Wars halfway through the video, Daniel shouts, "That's the music from Star Wars!"  He does this every single time.  And why does he associate that tune with Star Wars?  Not because he's seen any of the movies yet, but because he likes to play the Star Wars version of Angry Birds.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fellowship and a Fever

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

. . .  poor Anna being under the weather.  It's nothing serious (a fever and runny nose), but she looks so forlorn and tired.  We put her to bed early, and she didn't mind in the slightest.

. . . being abruptly reminded that our aged circuit breaker can't handle both the microwave and the electric grill at the same time.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Cello Wars again.  The song is now quite firmly stuck in my head.  There are worse fates.

And another thing . . .

. . . I proposed that Phillip and I watch Fellowship of the Ring for our date night tonight.  I've been wanting to watch it for a while, but shortly after it began I realized that was because I remembered all the parts I love, and forgot that the other 85% of the film is sad or gives me the willies.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cello Wars

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching Cello Wars with the kids.  Pink Grandma introduced us to that fun musical tribute to a galaxy far, far away when we visited for Mother's Day a few days ago, and the big kids asked to watch it about fifteen times throughout the day.  I'm such a geek that I enjoyed it for the first fourteen times or so, but around fifteen I decided it was really time to turn the computer off and take a walk or something.

Most of the groups' other videos (Lord of the Rings, a cool African Coldplay adaptation, Nearer My God To Thee, etc.) are typical music videos of performers doing their thang with a scenic backdrop, but their Mission Impossible video is fun and I love Happy Together.  In case you're curious, the funky black and white instruments in Cello Wars and some of the other videos are electric cellos.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fancy Twinkles and a Bump

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy playing Variations on a Theme by Mozart (translation: she likes to tweak Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, playing each note two or three times and adding frills here and there).

And another thing . . .

. . . I'm just entering my second trimester, and my tummy is starting to look noticeably bumpish.  It's cute now, but I can only imagine how stretched I'll feel in six months.  You're worth it, Baby!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Seeing Baby

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching my little baby move on the ultrasound screen this morning.  The doctor thought she could guess the gender, but then she changed her mind.  It's to early to really tell for sure, so I guess we'll just remain in suspense until July.

. . . friends coming to dinner with their four children.  Our home was a madhouse after dinner, but we had fun.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sing Along, Grasshopper

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy and Daniel both singing along with a musical slideshow their grandma made.

. . . startling a grasshopper inside Bed Bath & Beyond.  It was a fun surprise (at least for me; I can't speak for the grasshopper).

. . . Daniel holding my hand while we walked out back to get the laundry.

. . . Anna splashing happily as we dangled our feet in the pool.

. . . hugging my sweetheart.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dun, Monarch, and Opinions

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching a Monarch butterfly float by me on the breeze.

. . . kicking and tossing a ball around with Daniel and Anna while Joy was at baseball practice.  Sometimes Daniel would stand three inches away from me when I "tossed" the ball, so he was virtually guaranteed to catch it.

. . . helping the little kids safely get to know a horse that was being ridden through the park and stopped to snack on the lawn.  We learned that the horse was a buckskin dun, which is why it had a dark stripe down its back.

And another thing . . .

. . . Anna is starting to develop Opinions.  Instead of eating virtually anything I put on a spoon for her, she zeros in on one thing she likes and rejects everything else.  When I motion for her to walk a certain direction, she just stands there and waits to see what will happen if she refuses.  I understand that forming opinions and testing boundaries are part of normal human development, but I kinda miss the good old days when Anna did whatever I told her because she didn't realize there was an alternative.  Ah well--at least she still lets me nuzzle her hair and smooch her chubby toddler cheeks.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sea Lavender and No More Queens

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

. . .  putting $25 worth of effort into mending a $12 pair of toddler shoes.  Frugality is a virtue, but in this case I may have taken it a little too far.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finding out the name of a unique, purple flower I see here and there in the neighborhood.  It's called sea lavender.

. . . seeing butterfly iris blooms hovering beneath shady trees.  They look like dainty, white fairies.

. . . playing Simon Says with Daniel.  I think he likes getting to boss me around for once.  My favorite Simonic mandate was "Simon says hide from Simon!"

. . . finding a promising recipe for quinoa patties.  Dang, Pinterest makes me hungry.

. . . Daddy taking the kids to the park for a few hours so I could take care of some nagging tasks.

. . . turning on my favorite tunes while I cooked dinner.  Sing to me, Keith.  Your guitarist is awesome.

. . . making rice in my pressure cooker for the first time.  It's super easy, and it comes out a little sticky so it's easy to eat with chopsticks.

. . . tickling Anna.

. . . hearing Phillip give Joy lots of pointers as they played chess tonight.  In the end the program informed them that their game was a "draw by insufficient mating material."  My first thought was that it meant all the queens had been eliminated (which they had), but Phillip clarified that the only pieces left on the board were incapable of checkmating each other.  Oh, duh.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Popcorn and Soup

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . bringing my current favorite soup to a friend in need.

. . . sharing popcorn with my sweetheart tonight.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ode to a Tree

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . a friend visiting from out of town.

. . . finally getting meals planned for the rest of the week.

. . . composing a little poem about our Christmas tree for a long-overdue family blog post.  While the poem waxes sentimental at the end, I confess my favorite part is the phrase "synthetic spruce" in the second couplet.  I'll publish the post in a few days, in case you're inclined to read the rest.  If not, at least my mom will enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fragrant Rosemary and Grocery Store Hoodlums

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

. . .  taking my three energetic children to the grocery store.  You'd think I'd know better by now.  I do fine with Anna and either of the big kids, but when all of them are along for the trip it is always a stressful, draining experience because Joy and Daniel get each other worked up and I spend a solid hour nagging and scolding whilst simultaneously trying to discern which cheese, apples, etc., are the most prudent purchases on a student budget. The kicker is that during the school year this maddening chaos is totally avoidable if I plan my days sensibly.  I think during summer vacation I will just shop at night.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing raindrops fall outside as I lay in my warm bed this morning.

. . . thrilling the kids by driving through some big puddles on the way to school.

. . . seeing some friends who've been out of town for a week.  We missed them while they were away.

. . . smelling a hedge of damp rosemary as we were out for a walk after the rain.

. . . chatting with an old friend.  Old in the sense that I've known her more than half my life, and that she's only two months younger than I am. ;)

. . . eating sorbet at Menchie's (Joy's pick for our family home evening activity).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Doodles and Squishy Ham

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

. . .  dicing a whole bunch of leftover ham to freeze.  My tummy, which has mixed feelings about food under even the best conditions, was not happy that I spent nearly an hour cutting up squishy, smelly ham.  It may be a month or more before I can bear the thought of cooking with it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . doodling on the chalkboard with my temporary primary class while we waited for their parents to pick them up.  I thought it interesting that most were picked up by their dad or a sibling, not by their mom.  Maybe the moms prefer to chat while the dads are more eager to get home.

. . . taking a nap.

. . . having a tickle fest with my kids.