Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fun With My Boys

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . snuggling Todd on my lap.  He recently turned two, so he's not quite a baby, but he's not quite a big boy, either.  I'm enjoying the cuddly phase as long as I can.

. . . sharing a joke with Daniel.  I don't even remember what it was about; I just remember that it was fun to laugh with him.

Monday, December 14, 2015

An Apple Gadget and Inspiration

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip showing our son Daniel the manly arts of carving turkey and using our apple slicer/corer to prepare apple crisp.  That slicer is a nifty gadget, and my engineer husband loves to use it.

. . . discovering a slow cooker turkey recipe that is easy and produces juicy, flavorful turkey.  Awesome.

. . . thinking about how grateful I am to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.  He puts life in perspective, gives me hope and guidance on rough days, and keeps inspiring me to be a little better and kinder every day.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cocoa and a Predictable Dreidel

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a walk with my family.

. . . playing the dreidel game with my kids.  We need a new dreidel, though; ours lands on the "take it all" symbol more than half the time.  It's better than getting the "take nothing" symbol over and over, but the predictability still takes a bit of the fun out of the game.

. . . attending a Christmas breakfast at a friend's house.  It was fun to sit with a bunch of gals I know just relaxing, talking, laughing, and sipping cocoa in our pajamas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Rocket and a Ramp

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

. . .  Anna having a meltdown for half the drive home because we were running late and I asked her to walk down the stairs instead of a long ramp.  She seemed mildly bummed about it at the time, but over the next fifteen minutes she got herself really worked up, to the point that she was tearfully asking that we turn around and drive back so we could go back and walk down the ramp.  She thought I was unreasonable and downright not nice for refusing to turn around on the freeway.

Todd's tantrums, though explosive, tend to last about a minute or two, and then he moves right on with life.  Anna tantrums are long, drawn-out affairs, often sparked by something I didn't realize was a big deal at the time.  The worst ones are when she gets upset with me for doing something she wanted to do (like open a certain door) without telling me beforehand that she wanted to do it.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . visiting the California Science Center as a family.  My favorite parts were the big aquarium (we all thought the sharks and eels were particularly cool) and the Space Shuttle Endeavor.  I could have spent an hour in the Endeavor hanger, but alas, the kids got bored of it long before Phillip and I did.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fall Sing 2015

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending the annual, all-school choir performance at Joy and Daniel's school this morning.  The directors always choose great songs, and the kids get really into it.  This year's theme was "Be the Change," and the songs ranged from Civil Rights era songs to Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror."  My favorite number was "We Are the World," a single recorded in 1985 to benefit the starving people of Africa.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Little Boy Pink

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

. . .  my kids having a day off school on a morning when I didn't get enough sleep.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing with our wooden train tracks with Anna and Todd.

. . . cooking a new recipe that turned out really well.  I love when that happens.

And another thing . . .

. . . Anna adores the color pink.  She colors every picture pink, including a preschool picture of Little Boy Blue.

Music and Alternative Basketball

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . practicing a Christmas song with a small choir.  I'm the weakest alto in the bunch, but it's still a pleasure to be part of a group making lovely music.

. . . trying to shoot a basket with a big purple ball that weighs about a tenth what a basketball does.  Joy wanted to see if it would get stuck in the net.  It did, so I heaved a soccer ball at it and successfully dislodged it on the first try.  Then Joy asked me to sink another purple ball basket so she could heave the soccer ball.  Each time it took me about eight tries to make a basket, but we were having so much fun that it didn't mind.  I reflected that I couldn't remember trying to get anything in a basketball hoop since PE class in junior high, when Mr. Frick taught us to shoot layups.  I liked Mr. Frick.  He was cool in a friendly sort of way.  It's weird to realize that he was probably younger then than I am now.

Monday, November 9, 2015

October Memories

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . looking through pictures and remembering some of the fun times our family shared last month like carving pumpkins, or scooting around the neighborhood with Anna wearing her Minnie Mouse costume after her preschool Halloween party.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Popscicles and an Unfortunate Lamp

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

. . .  Todd locking my iPhone for an hour.

. . . hearing Joy say, "Mama, the lamp broke!"

. . . debating whether to say, "Savor the zany delights of childhood, kids!" or, "Stop that right now before someone ends up in the hospital!"

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . buying popsicles with the kids after school to celebrate Todd's birthday this week.  They're already counting the days until we can do it for Joy's birthday next month.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

One-on-One Time

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

. . . explaining to Anna that if a one-year-old hits you, it's not OK to hit them back.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . baking some gingerbread with Anna this morning.  It was fun to cut out shapes with her, and it made our home smell lovely.

. . . playing with Todd while his sibs were at school.

. . . spending time with my sweetheart after the kidlets were all in bed.

And another thing . . .

. . . I'm noticing a pattern: I like one-on-one time with people.  My favorite moments rarely involve lots of people at once.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Salt and Skipping

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

. . .  not putting enough salt in a recipe that didn't specify how much to add.  Left to my own devices, I perpetually underseason.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . teaching my kids to skip.

. . . doodling with Todd.

. . . praying for guidance and getting answers.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gingerbread Heart and Gift Challenged

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . baking gingerbread.  The smell is wonderful, and the cookies are tasty, but my favorite part is combining the dough scraps left over after the cookies are all cut out, and shaping them into a little heart cookie for Phillip.

And another thing . . .

. . . I am gift challenged.  Some people (like my mom, and a high school friend who recently gave me a cool dragon cake pan for my birthday) love giving gifts.  I hate doing it, partly because I'm a cheapskate, but mostly because I want to give people something that they will like and use, and I have a really hard time guessing what that might be.  I realized how truly gift challenged I am today when it occurred to me that I would rather compose an essay on race and gender relations in PBS kid shows (or American politics, or Star Wars films) and present it to a hundred strangers than try to buy a gift for one of my son's classmates who I've never met.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Shut-eye, Mario, and Donut Friend

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Phillip offering to hold down the fort this morning while I got some extra sleep.  Bless him.

. . . Aunt Lara coming over to visit.  The kids were happy to give her a tutorial on playing Super Mario 3D, and she was happy to hand the controller back to them after the first level and watch them play the rest of the time.  The 3D aspect of the game takes a little getting used to.

. . . eating a Mint Town donut from Donut Friend.  It was delicious, but so rich that I couldn't eat more than half of it.  I'll enjoy the rest tomorrow. Lara got one of their bacon donuts; to each their own.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Songs, Checkers, and Bullfrogs

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

. . . Todd copying the fake burping sound I keep trying to discourage Anna from making.  The boy doesn't say a single word yet, but his replication of Anna's fake burp is spot on (it sounds like the noise I imagine a young bullfrog would make if you stepped on its toe).  

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing Joy and Daniel sing the songs they'll be performing in the Fall Sing at school next month.  I love that they enjoy the tunes so much that they burst in to song together on the way home from school.

And another thing . . .

. . . one of the benefits of having a checkers app installed on our iPad is that none of the pieces get lost when Todd decides to upend it, like he did with the old-school set this morning.  You know you have multiple small children when you see checkers rolling in every direction and don't even ask if some will be missing after you gather them all up.  We already have one milk cap stand-in checker in the set; why not add a few more?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Turnip Seeds and Friendship

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . gardening with Joy.  She planted a cheerful pot of mums (which make me smile every time I walk by them), and some carrot and turnip seeds.  She loves carrots, but I don't think she's ever even eaten a turnip.  Ours is not to question why . . .

. . . attending stake conference this evening.  There were several talks that inspired me or got me thinking, but my favorite part was one speaker's memory of a modern apostle declaring that God lives, "and He is a friend of mine."  I love that simple, clear, joyful statement that God is both real and caring, and that we can become His friend.  To me, that implies warm and open communication, and mutual service born of love.  May I cultivate that kind of relationship with God.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Friendly Kitties and Ponderizing

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

. . .  Anna deciding it would be fun to hide from me as we were leaving to pick up the big kids from school.  It took me forever to find her, and we had a little chat afterward about not playing hide-and-seek with Mama without asking her first.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Todd giggling happily while I tickled him.

. . . "ponderizing."  During General Conference a couple weeks ago, one of the speakers described his goal to "ponderize" (memorize and ponder) a different scripture each week.  I loved the idea, and I've started taping a different scripture to the inside of our front door every Sunday.  This week it's a quote from President Hinckley: "Exemplify in all of your activities the great virtues which [Jesus Christ] taught."  Reflecting on these scriptures throughout the week has been really uplifting.  It eases the stress of my busy life, yet also inspires me to be a better, kinder person who is more at peace with life. 

. . . the kids and me eating the roof off the gingerbread haunted shack we decorated for family home evening a few days ago.

And another thing . . .

. . . the kids are into Super Mario 3D lately.  The game has a power-up that turns you into a cat which can climb walls to get bonus items, and suddenly Kitty Cat is the new favorite make-believe game in our home.  Sometimes it gets a little rowdy, though, and I have to remind certain parties to be friendly kitties instead of fighting kitties.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Few Favorite Things

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a walk with Todd after we dropped Anna off at preschool.

. . . Anna eagerly running to meet me when I arrived to pick her up.

. . . Daniel sitting on my lap and telling me about his day while we waited for Joy's class to get out.

. . . sharing dreams and questions about the future with Joy.

. . . trading texts with Phillip; some serious, some less so.

. . . talking with another mom who's dealing with the same parenting challenges I do.  It's nice to know I'm not alone.

. . . feeling God's love as I pray.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Essays and Okra

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

. . . going to a store in search of a specific item of clothing, and not finding anything I liked.  You'd think I'd be used to that by now.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cooking with my two oldest kids.  I've made a goal to start doing that once a week, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed teaching them about cooking techniques and turning them loose with a spoon or even a knife.  They actually took the initiative to sample some of the raw okra* we were preparing to cook, and they each liked it enough that they asked to eat more.  I tried some, too, and it wasn't that bad.

And another thing . . .

. . . this afternoon, I somehow ended up reading a few essays I wrote in grad school.  It was a little surreal to read my writing about topics I barely remember, using turns of phrase that I haven’t employed in years.  I found the essays enjoyable, but I almost felt like someone else had written them.  I feel like my brain has since been rewired by years of parenting, that my focus, approach, and word choices would be very different if I attempted to research and write about those same topics again a decade later.

*I told the kids to choose something new for us to try at the Farmer's Market, and they voted for okra.  I had never purchased or prepared it before in my life.  I'm not even sure I had eaten it before today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stew Pandas

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . recalling this recent conversation with my kids:

Kimberly: You're awesome, Joy.

Anna: Mama, say something about me.

Kimberly: Anna, you're stupendous.

Anna: Mama! I'm not stupid pandas!!

Daniel: I think Joy's stewpandas.

Joy: I'm not stupid pandas!!

Daniel: I said STEW-PANDAS.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Advil and M&Ms

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

. . .  reliving a TV commercial from my childhood.  A young girl, probably age 7, was lying in bed with a worried look on her face.  The viewer hears her thoughts: "It will hurt if I swallow.  It will hurt if I swallow. It will hurt if I--" She winces, puts her hand to her throat, and cries, "Mommy!"

This week I had my first truly sore throat in decades, and it was a mild form of torture.  I woke around 4:30 this morning because swallowing hurt so much that I couldn't get back to sleep.  I took some Advil, then worked on the computer until the pain dulled and I could go back to sleep (twenty minutes before Todd woke up).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Advil kicking in.  Blessed relief.

. . . a nice old man entertaining Todd while we waited at the doctor's office.  Todd is leery of strangers these days, so I'm not sure he was actually having fun watching the man's antics, but he at least captured Todd's attention enough to distract him from how bored he was of waiting in the lobby.

. . . getting a prescription for antibiotics.  Huzzah for modern medicine!

And another thing . . .

. . . the doctor said to take Advil with food, so I ate a few handfuls of M&Ms before taking my painkillers.  'Cuz chocolate is food, and it's just been that kind of day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . making Joy laugh with an impression of Roz from Monsters, Inc.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Trained Preschooler, a Cuddly Toddler, and a Nerf Herder

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . snuggling with sweet Baby Todd.  At 16 months of age, he won't be a baby much longer (siiiiigh).  I look forward to seeing his personality blossom in the coming years, but I will miss this sweet, simple age when children tend to be all snuggles and no issues.

. . . reading my reflections on Star Wars in a post I wrote while Anna was potty training the first time in 2013.  Is reading my own posts as tacky as laughing at my own jokes?  On second thought, don't answer that.

And another thing . . .

. . . in case you're wondering about Anna's potty training, I am grateful to report that it's going really well.  My last attempt over a year ago was an utter disaster, and I think it was because she wasn't developmentally ready to grasp the process.  This time she had a few accidents the first morning, but after that it just seemed to click.  She still has an accident every day or two, but for the most part she stays dry (even at night, most of the time) and takes the initiative to use the bathroom when she needs to.  In fact, she's so self-reliant  that I almost forget that I still ought to remind her now and then (which is probably a big reason she has occasional accidents).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bracing for Puddles

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

. . .  planning another attempt at potty training Anna.  It's been well over a year since my last effort, and I'm still kind of scarred by that dismal, dismal failure.  Hopefully she's matured enough that this time will go much more smoothly, but I tell you, if there's one part of parenting I could outsource this would be it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . taking a little stroll with Todd, and seeing a squirrel with a stubby tail.  That always makes me think of the Beatrix Potter tale of Squirrel Nutkin, which my mom used to read to me when I was a child.  When I recently reread it for the first time in decades I didn't find the story itself that captivating, but I still smile and think, "There goes Nutkin!" when I see a squirrel with a stub of a tail.

Incidentally, when I was a kid I thought Nutkin was just singing nonsense to the owl, but when I reread the story as an adult I noticed that the silly poems were riddles.  I guessed a few, then when I went online to look up the other answers I learned that they are italicized and embedded in the text around the riddle.  Clever.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Food for the Soul

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . attending adult classes in church for the first time in about three years.  I've been serving in Primary, and though it's fun, I've enjoyed getting to know the kids, and it's been a privilege to serve with the dynamic women in the Primary presidency, I've missed Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society.  It was so lovely to socialize with friends my age, to share my thoughts and feelings on spiritual subjects, and to hear what others had share.  I know the Lord may call me away from those classes to Young Women or even back to Primary in the coming weeks, and I'll faithfully go wherever He needs me, but I was very grateful for this sweet, uplifting day.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

May the Ferb Be With You, Valentine

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . celebrating Valentine's Day with my sweetheart.  We sipped Martinelli's, sampled a bizarre Trader Joe's candy bar laced with cayenne pepper and something like Pop Rocks (it was kinda weird and I don't plan to ever buy one again, but it was fun to try it once and I love that my indulgent husband joined me for the experiment), then watched the Star Wars episode of Phineas and Ferb together.  If you have any love for Star Wars, I highly recommend watching it.

We had a more traditional Valentine's date last night (dinner at a favorite restaurant, reminiscing about fond memories from our decade together), but I dunno--I think I liked tonight's quirky stay-home date better. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cellos are Cool

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . putting on a colorful sweater I bought from a friend at her garage sale before she moved out of state.  I love it, and it makes me think of her.

. . . studying a passage of the Bible I've read and heard about countless times in my life, and having an insight that had never occurred to me before.

And another thing . . .

Anna: Why are you turning on Jon and Steve?

Me: Because cellos are awesome.  [Real answer: Because Todd loves watching their videos, and I wanted to distract him from demolishing Anna's toy arrangement.]

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vaccines and a Single Blueberry

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel getting excited that his baby brother walked all the way across the room. 

. . . Anna sampling a blueberry.  I don't know what flavor she was anticipating from it, but the stunned  and dismayed expression on her face clearly showed that she didn't expect what she got.  I laughed out loud, then offered her something else instead, which she gladly accepted.

And another thing . . .

. . . I recently read an article entitled "Immunization Misconceptions" in BYU Magazine.  It used solid, scientific data to address three common concerns about child vaccination.

1) Vaccines do not cause autism.  Only one study has ever linked a single vaccine (the MMR) to autism, and that study was later found to be fraudulent.

2) Multiple vaccines won't overwhelm a baby's immune system.  Babies encounter far more germs in their surroundings than they do through vaccines, and one study found that it would take about 100,000 vaccines administered at once to overtax a child's immune system.

3) Vaccines don't contain toxic mercury.  Many vaccines used to contain a preservative called thimerosal that broke down into ethylmercury, which quickly clears out of the body (as opposed to the more well-known methylmercury, which can build up and become toxic).  The article noted that "because of public concern, thimerosal has been eliminated or reduced to trace amounts in vaccines.  Today, no vaccine for children age 6 and under contains thimerosal except the flu vaccine."

I include all this partly for your information, but also for my own reference.  I've chosen to immunize all of my children because I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks (real or perceived), but occasionally I find someone who has sincere concerns about vaccines.  It's nice to have clear explanations based on solid science to address their concerns.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dinner Plans and the Desk Resolution

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

. . . having two brilliant dinner plans founder upon the shoals of reality on the very same night.  Things worked out in the end, though.  They always do.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . hearing that Daniel and a few other classmates had encouraged and comforted a boy who was really struggling with a new concept in class.  I don't know whether Daniel initiated the effort or joined in after others started it, but I'm proud of him for trying to help someone who needed it.

. . . hugging my husband.

. . . clearing a little clutter off my desk.  My resolution is to have the whole dang thing tidied and organized by the end of this month.  It's too massive a job to finish in a single day (some of the things in those piles have been there for months or even years), but I find it much easier to tackle if I just commit to working at it 20 minutes a day.  Instead of feeling daunted by the whole task, I feel a sense of accomplishment that I kept my commitment today, and confidence that those 20 minute sessions will add up to a clean desk in a few weeks.  Miracles do happen, and sometimes the miracle is just finding a way to achieve what you thought was impossible (or at least highly improbable).