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.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Frog, Toad, and Juliet

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling Anna.

. . . reading a "Frog and Toad" story with Daniel.

. . . enjoying the cool weather, and contemplating the approach of autumn.  And Halloween.  And Thanksgiving.  Ahhh, pumpkin cookie season.

. . . picking a ripe tomato from my container garden.  I had never heard of little Juliet grape tomato plants before this year, but this one is doing well and providing just enough tomatoes to meet my sporadic needs.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sacred Things

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . enjoying a cool evening with my family and Pink Grandma on her patio.

. . . talking with my husband about the deep things of his soul.

. . . an answer to a prayer.  It is sweet to be reminded that my Heavenly Father knows and cares about me, even in the little things.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

School Blessings and the Popcorn Dance

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking up to a delightfully cool, overcast morning for the first time in weeks.

. . . someone writing me a kind note.

. . . my husband giving the big kids priesthood blessings as they begin their new school year.

And another thing . . .

. . . it's an interesting challenge to adapt family home evening.  It was my turn to teach, so I used a picture to teach a simple principle, asking Joy and Daniel appropriate questions for their ages while Phillip occasionally chimed in when he wasn't busy tossing Anna a ball to keep her occupied.

For our activity we made microwave caramel corn (Phillip's favorite activity).  Daniel listened for the popcorn to start popping while Joy helped Phillip measure the caramel ingredients, then we all (even Anna, with toddler gusto) took turns shaking the paper bags we cooked it all in.  And of course, we all helped eat the end result.  Yum.

You never know what you're going to get with our family home evenings.  Joy's lessons tend to involve acting things out.  The kids often choose a walk to Menchie's when it's their turn to plan the activity.  Some home evenings go smoothly, but others seem to derail before they get out of the station.  Like Elder Bednar's family, our home evenings may not always be edifying but at the very least we're consistent, and I think our family will be better and closer for it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Waffles and Muppets

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking up to find a note from Phillip celebrating our 8th anniversary.  I sure love that man.

. . . making heart-shaped waffles for our anniversary dinner.  I wanted to celebrate in a way the whole family would enjoy, since our anniversary is really the birthday of our family.  The romantic dinner will come later in the week.

. . . watching a short, vintage Muppet video on YouTube with Phillip tonight.  The kooky Muppets aren't exactly Phillip's cup of tea, but as an avid motorcyclist he appreciated how the sketch ended.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Twilight Trains and Cooking Perks

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sitting on a bench with Daniel and Anna (Joy was on a date with Daddy), watching the trains go by in the cool evening air.

And another thing . . .

. . . being the family cook is a lot of work, but it has at least three major benefits: 1) You get to cook the food you feel like eating, within reason, 2) If a recipe turns out well, you have the dual satisfaction of eating good food and knowing you created it, and 3) If you don't like how a recipe turns out, you never have to worry about it being cooked in your home again.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Picnic, Preschool, and Popsicles

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending an orientation meeting at Daniel's preschool, and learning about all the exciting things he'll be doing this school year.

. . . sharing homemade popsicles with the kids on a summer afternoon.

 . . . taking the kids to a back-to-school picnic at Joy's school, then walking home in the cool twilight.

. . . smooching my sweetie when he got home.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hot Spots and Milkproof

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

. . .  accidentally dropping my battery-powered instant read thermometer into some milk I'd heated.  I had always kind of wondered if the thing was waterproof.  Apparently it is not.  It certainly isn't milkproof, at any rate.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . eating fruit salad.  It was refreshing on a hot day.

. . . snuggling Anna, and hearing her use the new words she's learning.

And another thing . . .

. . . you know your child has geeky parents when she asks you, "Which is hotter: Death Valley or Tatooine?"

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Simon Says Jump and Sleep

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

. . . waking up feeling really, really tired.  I need to get to sleep earlier tonight.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sharing some chocolate zucchini bread with Joy.  We both agree it's one of our favorite treats.

. . . Anna gleefully jumping and spinning with us as we played Simon Says.

. . . chatting with other women at a Relief Society tonight.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Simple Gifts on a Holiday

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . enjoying a lazy holiday morning at home.

. . . dinner working out to everyone's satisfaction.  That sounds so simple, but when I think about it that seems like a small miracle.

. . . feeling a cool, evening breeze after a hot day.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hot Weather and Ham Sandwiches

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

. . . waking up to a very warm bedroom.  Even when you've had a full night's sleep, it's hard to feel really rested when you wake up hot.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Phillip bear his testimony in church that the Savior knows him personally, and knows how to help him overcome his individual challenges.

. . . a young boy in Primary giving a very thoughtful talk about how God comforted him when a favorite uncle died.

. . . having friends over to dinner.  The dinner was good, the dessert was great, but above all it was a pleasure to just spend hours talking with friends.

. . . another friend learning that Phillip loves ham sandwiches, and commenting "I hope you know you're worth every ham sandwich I can make."  It was both amusing and touching.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cleaning and Talking

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy helping me stack chairs as we cleaned the church this morning.  I really appreciate her willingness to help out.

. . . talking for hours with Phillip tonight.  I sure love him.