Monday, December 22, 2014

Gumdrop Trees

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . meeting Aunt Lara's boyfriend, Justin.  He seems like a friendly guy, and I look forward to getting to know him better.

. . . decorating gumdrop trees at Pink Grandma's home this evening.  As always, it was interesting to see how each child approached the activity.  Joy started decorating hers, then pulled everything off and started over after brainstorming a unique plan with me (she didn't want her tree to look like someone else's).  Daniel randomly stuck on as much candy as he felt like eating at the time, then ate it all and took off to play a video game.  Anna covered her tree with candy in no particular pattern, then admired how nicely it turned out (while all the adults were amazed that a three-year-old exhibited that much dexterity).  The adults all got really into the activity, too, and Aunt Lara observed that we were all really kids at heart.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Angels, Siblings, and Groceries

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

. . . going to the grocery store three times today because I kept forgetting things I needed.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy and Daniel playing happily together (except when they didn't--you know how it is).

. . . Anna smiles and Todd giggles.

. . . watching this Christmas music video by The Piano Guys.  The music is lovely, and the video is one of the most moving things I've ever seen. #sharethegift

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

String and Good Spiders

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

. . . feeling really tired.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . recalling this conversation with two of my kids (Daniel, age 5; Anna, age 3) yesterday:

K: Hey, Daniel.  Christmas is a time for doing nice things for other people, but it's also a time when we get a few fun presents.  What kinds of things would you like for Christmas?

D: My very own iPad!

K: Um, Santa doesn't give iPads to anyone under 18 years old.

D: [a little put out] Oh.  Then I'd like some good spiders, that don't bite people.

K: Uh, OK.  Anna, what would you like for Christmas?

A: String.  So I can eat it.

K: You mean string cheese?

A: No, string.

K: ??? [makes a mental note to just plan kid gift lists with Phillip tonight]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beef Stew and the Grinch

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

. . .  putting the finishing touches on some delicious, nutritious beef stew, and realizing that my three oldest offspring would refuse to eat it.  They all complained, the oldest ate just enough so I would let her fill up on wheat bread, and the other two decided they would rather leave the table without dinner than ingest a cooked potato in savory broth.  Sigh.  At least Phillip eagerly ate two helpings.  They say food is the way to a man's heart, but to some degree it's the way to mine, too.  I'm so grateful that he eats (and usually likes) what I cook.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finding the missing piece of one of our favorite ornaments.

. . . having a thoughtful family discussion about the Holy Ghost at home evening.

. . . reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas as our home evening activity.  Phillip commented that my narration was "very dramatic."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lights, Cookies, and the Christmas Spirit

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing Christmas lights on some of the homes in our area.  I love how they impart colorful whimsy to any home they adorn, and my kids get pretty excited about them, too.

. . . decorating holiday cookies with Joy.

. . . making dinner for a friend who recently had a baby.

. . . wearing my red scarf.  Every girl likes to pretty now and then.

. . . watching the annual Christmas Devotional broadcast from Salt Lake.  The music and messages always warm my heart, and remind me of the true meaning and generous spirit of Christmas.  I especially loved Elder Christofferson's talk about a town who learned that a young boy  would die of leukemia before his favorite holidays, so they joined together to host Halloween, the boy's birthday, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day all in one week of October.  The details of their impromptu holiday festivities for the boy and his family made me grin and cry at the same time.  The Devotional is one of my favorite Christmas traditions, and I love sharing it with my family.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Flowers and Fried Chicken

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . giving a friend some flowers for her birthday.

. . . my kids having fun decorating the Christmas tree.

And another thing . . .

. . . I discovered over the weekend that making fried chicken can be ridiculously easy, delicious, and cheap (if you buy chicken breasts on sale and cut them into several strips).  This could be dangerous knowledge.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jogging and a New Family Book

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

. . .  Daniel deciding that bathroom humor is utterly hilarious.  Sigh.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finally completing a new family photo book (our old one only covers 2005-2009).  It took me more than ten hours (thank you, Phillip, for watching the kids this weekend!), but it will be great to have a photo book that includes Anna and Todd, not just their older sibs.  Anna didn't mind for the first year or two, but she's starting to ask why she isn't in the first book.

. . . a short conversation with a health-conscious neighbor as I jogged down our street:

Neighbor: I didn't know you jogged!

Me: I don't.  I'm running exactly one block to a friend's home.

Neighbor: You go, girl!

And another thing . . .

"The first time I see a jogger smiling, I'll consider it." (Joan Rivers)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Anna Hands and Nephi's Relevance

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . holding little Anna's hand as we walked to and from the car picking up the big sibs.  All my kids reach a stage as toddlers when they no longer want to hold my hand, even when crossing a busy street.  Anna has suddenly decided that that stage is over, and she wants to hold my hand all the time.  I find I don't mind.

And another thing . . .

. . . I've read the Book of Mormon so many times I've lost count, and I recently felt prompted to start reading it again.  I started last week, and as I've read the first few chapters I've been struck by how relevant this ancient book feels to the daily challenges of my life.

Nephi’s multiple attempts to get the brass plates remind me that we should enlist the Lord’s help and keep trying to figure out how to kepp working on worthy goals, even though earlier attempts have run aground in one way or another.  The fact that Nephi’s brothers followed him (however reluctantly) back to Jerusalem after the angel  left reminds me that I can be a force for good in my family if I am committed to doing what is right. Lehi’s soft answer to Sariah’s complaints reminded me that it’s best to give my husband and children a gentle response, even if I think an impatient one is justified.  This morning, as I read Sariah’s testimony  after her sons’ safe return, I felt that we will one day look back on this time and see that God had a plan for us and a guiding hand in our lives, even amidst our trials.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Stain, Be Gone

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finding an easy method to remove a fresh grape juice stain.  Huzzah for the internet!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Leaves, Art, and a Virtual Pet

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . coloring with Anna this morning.  When I finished drawing a tree, she asked me to draw one on her picture, too.  Then she asked me to draw twenty clouds--ten blue ones, and ten red ones.

. . . savoring the cool autumn weather.  Daniel, Anna, and I collected some colorful fallen leaves to decorate our dinner table.

And another thing . . .

. . . this afternoon, Joy's Minecraft character got killed by the giant spider she invited into her home as a pet.  She had sworn it wouldn't be hostile if she didn't attack it.  Sounds like something Hagrid would say.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cute Costumes and Scary Lemonade

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

. . .  shopping with all four kids at the grocery store.  No matter how much we need an item, and no matter how convenient it seems to just swing by the store a pick a few things up, it is never, ever worth the nagging, scolding stress of shepherding four energetic children through the checkout line.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . watching the Halloween parade at my kids' school this morning.  I love the whimsical creativity the kids and teachers (and even some parents) put into their costumes.

And another thing . . .

. . . sometimes making something at home kills my enjoyment of it, because I find out how unhealthy the recipe is.  Lemonade (it takes how much refined sugar to make this palatable?) and ice cream (so basically I'm stirring refined sugar into heavy cream and eating it by the spoonful?) are two such things.  Don't get me wrong, I still love eating ice cream, but I don't enjoy making it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dancing in Autumn

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting with a friend this morning.

. . . savoring the cool autumn weather.

. . . dancing with my husband to one of my favorite songs.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Laughter and Nasturtiums

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . serving in the temple.  I feel so peaceful and happy there.

. . . seeing pea and nasturtium sprouts appearing in my container garden.

. . . playing with Todd and Anna on the big bed, and hearing them laugh together.

. . . husband hugs.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Embracing the Orange Chaos

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . carving pumpkins with the kids.  Yes, we embraced the chaos, and we had such a good time that we'll probably do it again next year.

. . . getting a high five from Sam Gamgee at the ward Trunk or Treat activity, because I knew his wife's name without having to ask.  Yes, I am a geek.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy's pumpkin rind was apparently made of organic steel.  We bent a kitchen knife trying to puncture it, then Phillip brought out a power tool to get the job done.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Joy School and Pumpkin Angst

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . little Anna going to her first day of Joy School.  She had a great time.

. . . planting seeds in my container garden.  I put in pink nasturtiums, Swiss chard, peas, and colorful carrots.  Joy has requested that I leave a pot free so she can plant peas and lettuce.

. . . snuggling Baby Todd when he was in a cuddly mood.

And another thing . . .

. . . I have oddly mixed feelings about carving pumpkins now that I'm a parent.  I loved carving them with my family when I was a kid, especially because my dad always created such cool faces.  When my own kids broach the subject, though, all I can think about is what a colossal, messy undertaking it is.

Last year we carved one family pumpkin, each of us deciding on a feature's shape (someone chose the nose shape, someone else chose the mouth, etc.).  That seems like a bit of a cop out, though, now that the big kids are old enough to carve their own pumpkins.  I think I need to just take a deep breath and let everyone over age 4 carve their own this year.  Maybe it won't be so bad.

Or maybe it will.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Song Practice and Shark Attacks

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing games with the Primary kids after we practiced their program for Sunday.  If I have a single fun bone in my body it's probably a pretty small one, but Tricia, who serves in the Primary presidency with me, did a great job of getting the kids singing, dancing, or running around like mad during her shark attack game.  They had a blast, and it was fun to be a part of it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fallen Leaves and a Sand Castle

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

. . . burning part of dinner.  Twice.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . the blessed return of cool weather after several triple-digit days.

. . . my kids crunching happily through the fallen leaves out front.

. . . a fun family trip to the park.  Phillip helped the big kids make a "replica" of Hogwarts in the sandbox.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peas and a Haircut, Two Bits

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

. . . making a few snips to "improve" Anna's haircut, then standing back and realizing I had utterly butchered it.  I managed to salvage things, but it was a humbling reminder that, despite a few successes with Joy and Daniel's styles, I am by no means an expert when it comes to cutting hair.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . one of my children offering to help set the table.  It warms my heart when they volunteer to help out.

. . . serving a stir fry, and having my kids actually show interest in a few of the vegetables.  It helped that there were a lot to choose from, and that they had to choose at least two if they wanted dessert.  To my surprise, the fresh pea pods were the most popular item.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Girl, Unhappy Photographer

The past few days . . .

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

. . . spending a bunch of time cleaning, then looking around and realizing my home still looks messy.  Sigh.

. . .  accidentally erasing a bunch of photos off my camera.  My anguished cries scared poor Baby Todd, but the camera was unmoved.  My tech savvy husband even tried to recover them, but alas, to no avail.

. . . my favorite moments included . . .

. . . my techie husband recovering my lost photos tonight

. . . playing Sink or Swim with Daniel. He trounced me, and I didn't mind a bit.

. . . Aunt Lara coming to visit, and telling us about her college experience in England.

. . . relaxing on a blanket out front with Todd.

. . . Anna grinning wide as we sang happy birthday to her.

. . . Phillip making a vanilla malt and sharing half with me.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Recital and an Unexpected Dunk

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

. . .  Daniel pushing his two-year-old sister into the pool at Papa's house.  No harm done, but on the way home she must have said at least a dozen times, "I don't WANT to be pushed in the water!"

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sharing dinner and fun time with extended family.

. . . hearing Joy play her adaptation of a Suzuki song for her grandparents and anyone else who wanted to listen (don't worry, Pink Grandma, she plans to perform it for you, too :).

. . . taking a nap.

. . . listening to an uplifting talk on hope from the recent General Conference.  I love President Eyring--he's so intellectual (he used to teach at Stanford and is very well-spoken) yet so tenderhearted.  I want to be like him when I grow up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Daddy and the Dinner Dud

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

. . .  tasting the dinner I'd prepared, then ruefully telling Phillip that I would not be a single bit offended if he decided not to eat it.  He took one bite, then started laughing because it really was so awful.  At least the side dish was good.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . celebrating with Daniel when he achieved a goal that took a lot of effort for him.

. . . Baby Todd grinning and squealing with delight when Daddy arrived home.

. . . reading Harry Potter with Joy.  She's currently on #5, which is hands-down my least favorite, but I still love venturing into Harry's fascinating world. I feel the same way about Star Wars.

And another thing . . .

. . . Friday is Daniel's last day of school, and Joy wraps up next week.  I have mixed feelings about that.  It will be nice to have more freedom to play and do things together, but when you throw baby naps and feedings into the equation we are in serious danger of contracting cabin fever.  Todd may end up eating a lot of lunches on the go.  Thank goodness for those newfangled baby food pouches.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Waffles and Young Master Potter

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . stacking blocks then knocking them down with Anna.  Over and over.  Simple pleasures.

. . . serving wheat waffles for dinner, with about seven different toppings.  I love it when creativity and food go together.

. . . Todd grins.

. . . Daniel hugs.

. . . Joy getting halfway through the first Harry Potter book in a single day.  It delights me that she is taking an interest in a series of books I love so much.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Ivory, Snow, Let It Go

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing yet another duet with Joy, and doing pretty well (I think I focus better when I have an audience).  It's the third month in a row that Joy has asked me to play a duet with her at her teacher's monthly recital.  Think she'll go for a fourth one?

And another thing . . .

. . . we watched Frozen for the first time this morning.  It was an enjoyable film, but I can't stop thinking about how it should have ended.  That would have been awesome, and everyone involved would have been a lot happier.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Pot Luck and a Celebrity, Of Sorts

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . worshiping at the temple while Phillip held down the fort at home.  The temple always lifts my sights and my spirit, and reminded me that I need to go more often.

. . . glancing across the temple lobby and seeing Paul Anderson, the producer of The Piano Guys videos (he's the guy who squishes the cricket in this video).  I walked over, verified that he was who I thought he was, then said, "I just wanted to tell you that I love your music."  If that is the only famous person I ever meet while living near LA, I'll be perfectly content.

. . . attending a pot luck at the park with many friends from church, to celebrate the ones who are graduating and moving on to new adventures.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Eggs and Dog Piles

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sleeping in while Phillip held down the fort.  Ah, sleep.

. . . taking the kids to an Easter egg hunt with friends from church

. . . Joy and Daddy having a blast dog piling each other.

. . . making homemade kettle corn.  So easy, and so yummy.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pajamas and Fajitas

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel giving me a hug after I apologized about something.

. . . Anna laughing as she jumped into my arms.

. . . chatting with some friends over good Mexican food.  It's so nice to get out and relax every now and then.

. . . finding out that Joy made the school relay team.

. . . nuzzling Todd's fuzzy hair.

And another thing . . .

. . . its been that kind of day.  You know, the kind where I'm still wearing my pajamas (with baby spit-up down the front) at lunch time, and I keep right on wearing them when I walk my kids to the store because by golly we've got to get out of the house.  Not all days are like that, but some are.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Letter to Grace Elizabeth

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . little Anna laughing as she hugged me.

. . . Baby Todd letting me put a spoon in his mouth the very first time I tried.  In fact, I had to keep mixing up more baby cereal because he ate everything I fed him.  Considering how big he is (20 pounds at 5 months), it shouldn't surprise me that he has a hearty appetite.

. . . eating Easter M&Ms.  For some reason, I like them better than the regular ones.  Maybe the shells are crunchier.

And another thing . . .

. . . yesterday, I randomly happened upon a post by someone I'd never even heard of before.  Her name is Grace Elizabeth, and she wrote

I'd like to know how you're supposed to believe in something you can't see. Hear. or feel. I mean, I've been through some [junk] no one should have to go through.
But everytime I prayed for the pain to stop it didn't. So please, explain this to me.
If he's "All mighty" then how come he allows so much hatred to come into the world when he said he was making it "Perfect".
And if he forgives, then why would there be a need for Hell if "God forgives all". I'd really like to know how you are supposed to believe in this.
Especially when it's all based on a book written HUNDREDS of years ago~
Don't hate. I really want to know~

I decided to share my two cents, hoping it would help her.  I ended up writing a lot more than two cents' worth, though:

Been thinking about your post and comments a lot since I saw them yesterday.  No one deserves to go through what you and your sister have gone through, and it can be hard to believe in a God who allows misery like that.

It reminds me of when I took my two sons to get vaccines a few weeks ago.  I can just imagine the baby thinking, “OWWWW!! Why is this happening to me?  Make it stop!”  My older boy kind of understood why he had to go through that pain, but at five years old he still didn’t grasp that one minute of pain was better than possibly getting paralyzed by polio or dying from measles.  He bravely sat on my lap and let the nurse give him five shots, but he cried and hated every moment of it.  I did, too, but while I could have told the nurse to stop any time, I knew a lifetime of immunity was worth a minute of pain.

God feels the same way.  He’s thrilled when we’re happy, and really sad when we suffer, but He knows that suffering has to happen for us to grow the way we need to.  Here on Earth it’s hard to see the big picture, especially when the pain seems to last FOR.EV.ER!!!, but even the longest life is just a moment compared to eternity.  Would you endure a moment of misery if it earned you thousands of years of Totally Awesome?

God doesn’t stop the pain because He loves us and knows we need it, but He will help us through it if we ask Him to.  He won’t force us to accept His help, though.  He’s fair and doesn’t force people to make good choices – that’s why there’s so much hatred in the world (and so much good, too).  God lets us spend this short life deciding whether we’re going to play fair and care about other people, or whether we want to be jerks who only care about ourselves.  Some people choose to be kind; others choose to be jerks.

And in the next life God will give us what we each deserve.  He forgives us, in the sense that He loves us all and isn’t mad at us, but He’ll give us each what we choose to earn.  The people who try to be kind and care about others will go to Heaven where everyone else cares about and loves them back. Notice I didn’t say Heaven is for perfect people; if you’re honestly trying to be good to other people that’s what God really cares about, even if you mess up a lot.

The jerks, on the other hand, will spend eternity with every other jerk who ever lived.  Frankly, that’s hell.  It ain’t flames and a guy with red tights and a pitchfork.  It’s living forever with a bunch of mean people who only care about themselves and treat each other like dirt.

Life isn’t fair, but eternity is.  And life is short, but eternity is very long.  God knows and loves you, Grace, even if you can’t feel it right now.  If you do your best to do what you feel is right—whatever that is—your eternity will be worth everything you’ve gone through.  You’ll look back on your pain and think, “I hated every second of that . . . but it was so worth it.”  Hard to imagine now, but it’s true.  I promise.


Grace Elizabeth wrote back a few hours later, saying that she respects my choices but she just can't believe that God would let someone go through everything she has experienced.  I was saddened by her response, but not surprised.  I was sure I couldn't convince her, but I wanted to write one more comment so she'd know that I heard her and cared about her:

I respect where you’re coming from, too.  Life can be so, so rough, and it’s hard to believe that Someone who loves you would let you go through all that.  As I’ve tried to know and understand God through the years, I’ve come to know that He truly exists and cares about us.  I’ve experienced too much to doubt it.  I’m not asking you to believe me, but I hope someday you’ll feel how much He really does care about you.


I don't know what impact my words will have on her, if any, but I hope they will help her at some point on her journey.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter and Ice Cream

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . snuggling Todd, and hearing him laugh while I tickled him.

. . . visiting some friends, and eating lots of ice cream.

. . . watching an inspiring little Easter video on YouTube.  The brief shot where a man holds up a newspaper clipping about someone he loved who has passed on reminds me of my friend Vonnie, who lost her grandfather a few years ago.  I'm so grateful to know that because of our Savior, death is not the end.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Short Duet and Alphabet

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finishing NieNie's book, partly because I enjoyed it, but also because now that it's done it will stop luring me over to the couch every time I have a free moment.

. . . lining up alphabet letters with Anna.  Her enthusiasm for the task was contagious.

. . . practicing a little duet with Joy for her recital next weekend.  We're getting pretty good at it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chicken, Jello, and Brothers

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . kissing baby cheeks.

. . . watching Anna run up to Daddy and give him a hug when he got home.

. . . all three of my spoon-wielding children eating chicken of their own free will tonight.  Either that is a very kid-friendly recipe, or their tastes are maturing.  Regardless, it warms my heart to see my whole family enjoying the meal I created.

. . . watching Daniel make his little brother Todd smile.  Back when I was expecting, I lamented that Little Brother wouldn't be big enough to really play with Big Brother for another two or three years.  The boys proved me wrong.

. . . reading Stephanie Nielson's memoir Heaven is Here.  It makes me feel grateful for some many things, especially a body that can do everything I need it to (without pain).

And another thing . . .

. . . Phillip loved having Jello served as a side dish when he was a kid, and lately he's been urging me to serve some with dinner sometime.  The idea struck me as odd (it seems more dessertish to me, and my mom only made Jello for us when we were sick), but I love my husband so I served a bowl of strawberry Jello with our chicken, orzo, and carrots tonight.  My family (myself included) polished off every bite of it, so I foresee more Jello in our future.  It's yummy, and I suppose I should be grateful that I can thrill my family with something so simple and easy, but I just can't shake the feeling that Jello isn't real food.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pi Day and a Loud Lark

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

. . .  feeling really, really tired.

. . . Daniel stepping out of our van and sinking up to his ankles in a mud puddle.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing The Lark Ascending on the radio.  Unfortunately, five seconds after I turned it on my toddler demanded that I turn the music off.  Being the accommodating mother that I am . . . I turned the music up super loud until she shouted for me to turn it down.  After that, we were both happy - I got to listen to beautiful, soothing music, and my toddler got the satisfaction of having one of her requests granted.

. . . celebrating Pi Day with some geeky friends, a couple of pies, and vanilla ice cream.  I am totally on board with any holiday tradition that involves yummy food.

. . . watching our kids and our friends' kids have an absolute blast tossing a balloon around the front room.

. . . husband hugs.

And another thing . . .

. . . I found this quote in an book review recently, and I rather like it: "I am often told, "It is cheaper to buy fruits and vegetables than to raise them." I have nothing to say in reply. There are many cheap things we can have. Experience has proved that one of the best things we can have is a garden, either to work in or to visit daily when the season permits. We have but one life to live here, and to get the cheapest things out of it is rather poor ambition." (E.P. Roe)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Free Pie and Chess with Lando

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

. . .  my two-year-old having a meltdown in the car because she wanted me to drive the opposite direction I was going.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . winning an apple pie.  We had a pie-making class at tonight's Relief Society activity, and at the end of the activity they raffled off the unbaked pies.  It was a timely acquisition since tomorrow (3/14) is Pi Day.  Ironically, on the way to the activity I had already bought three baskets of strawberries to make a fresh strawberry pie for tomorrow.  Guess we'll just have to invite some geeky friends over to observe Pi Day with us.

. . . working through my storyteller's block to make up a new story for Joy.  Every week when I drive her to her piano lesson, she asks me to tell her a Star Wars story.  Lately she keeps asking me to make up a tale (usually about one of the bad guys), or repeat one I made up previously. It's been an interesting mental exercise to fill in some of the gaps in the Star Wars films (e.g. how did Darth Maul find his way through that huge palace to the Naboo aircraft hanger, and how did the Rebels catch all those tauntauns on Hoth?).  This time I pondered what Darth Vader did in Cloud City while he was waiting to capture Han and Leia.  I had him play a quick game of chess with Lando Calrissian, and learn something interesting about Lando's character.  It wasn't one of my more humorous or action-packed stories, so we'll see if Joy asks me to repeat it.  She asked me to recount Darth Vader's foiled efforts to obtain a strawberry smoothie at least four times (changing the fruit every time).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fame and Gum Drops

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . daydreaming with Joy about what to plant in our future yard.  Joy wants a raised bed of her own, and a dwarf apple tree to tend (so she can have first dibs on the apples).

. . . building structures out of toothpicks and gumdrops for our home evening activity tonight.  Phillip the engineer made some cool geometric shapes.  Anna and I collaborated--she chose what colors to use and where to stick them, and I added extra toothpicks so the building didn't fall down.  Daniel and Joy built big, rambling structures that eventually collapsed under their own weight.  Joy then recruited Daddy as her architectural consultant on a second project, while Daniel just decided the collapse was a good excuse to start eating gum drops.

And another thing . . .

. . . about a year ago, I bought a vinyl jump rope and couldn't figure out how to get the kinks out of it.  I asked my friend Google for advice, but had trouble finding any clear instructions about what to do.  After a lot of searching and a few failed experiments, I finally found an obscure comment on some blog that suggested boiling the rope.  It worked!  I was thrilled, and when I wrote about my success that night I tried to make the post search engine friendly so that anyone else with that problem wouldn't have to do all the searching that I did to find a solution.

Apparently I was successful, because when I glanced at my blog stats this evening, I noticed that the rope straightening post is far and away my most popular.  If I read the stats right, it has gotten 33 views in the last week--as many views as the next four posts combined.  One random stranger even left a grateful comment back in October.

Just for kicks and giggles this evening, I Googled "how to straighten a vinyl jump rope," and my little ol' blog post is the first result.  If you just Google "how to straighten a jump rope," my post comes up fifth on the list.

I know, I know--it's not like I won a Nobel prize or anything, but it's still kinda nifty, and I'm glad the post has (presumably) been helpful for many people.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Nicknames and Spillage

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

. . . struggling to adjust to Daylight Savings Time.  Grrr. 

. . . spilling something everywhere while I tried to cook wearing my baby in a sling.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . baby smiles and husband hugs.

. . . taking a really long nap this afternoon.

And another thing . . .

. . . some bloggers use cute nicknames when they write about their kids.  I don't, but if I did, the names would probably be Bean Pole, Bam Bam, Pixie, and Snuggles.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Stormtroopers, a Duet, and Glue

Lately . . .

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

. . .  uttering the words, "Please never use glue on the couch again."

. . . calling 8 or 9 people to ask for help with something at church tomorrow, and having no one answer their phones.  Perhaps a satellite is out???

. . . always feeling really, really tired.  Ask me how I feel about losing yet another hour of sleep to Daylight Savings Time tonight.  Or what I think about Daylight Savings Time in general. On second thought, don't.

. . . my favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing lots of cherry tomatoes on my plant outside.  What can I say?  It's been a warm winter here.

. . . Anna saying, "Good job!" every time I correctly identified a letter of the alphabet.

. . . playing a little piano duet with my daughter Joy today.  We messed up a bunch, but it was still fun.

. . . snuggling my sweet baby.

. . . finally finding an answer to that burning question: "Why were the stormtroopers on the Death Star so miserably incompetent?"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chocolate Muffins and Slow Miracles

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Baby Todd laugh for the first time when I tickled him today.

. . . getting through this afternoon.  I felt so stressed and angry at the big kids over trivial things, and nothing I did seemed to help relieve the tension.  I prayed earnestly for help, and at first nothing seemed change, but minute by minute and hour by hour the pressure slowly eased.  Sometimes God's miracles are instantaneous, and other times they happen so gradually that you almost don't notice them, and it is easy to forget how desperately you begged for them in your dark hour.

. . . eating chocolate zucchini bread muffins.  They are seriously one of my favorite foods ever.  My picky oldest daughter likes them, too--she ate three this evening.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Music Appreciation and Pill Bug Eviction

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

. . .  Joy's rolly polly collection taking a dive off our piano.  She had the lid off at the time, so soil and rolly pollies spilled all over our carpet.  We scooped every thing back into the jar as best we could, then I told Joy it was time to return the rolly pollies to their natural habitat (i.e. outside).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . talking with Pink Grandma about the music classes she's taking.  She says they're challenging but fun, and it was obvious that singing really speaks to her soul.