Tuesday, September 30, 2008

poem of the month--"The Drum"

I had to squeeze it in since this is the last day of the month. Lucky for you, this poem is short and sweet. It's one I've always liked because, alas, I tend to be more of the sit-nicely-and-don't-make-waves kind of people. Don't get me wrong, there are definite benefits to being a pleaser instead of a drum-beater. But I always secretly wished I had a little more of the latter to me. Also, this poem is in honor of my littlest sister Laura, whose birthday was this month and who has always beat out her own rhythm in a way that, for a long while, drove my poor mother crazy. But now all those drum beats together have made her into the fun, crazy, and smart girl/woman/sister that we all love. Happy belated birthday, Lou!

"The Drum"
by Nikki Giovanni

daddy says the world is
a drum tight and hard
and i told him
i'm gonna beat
out my own rhythm

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dance Party

I highly recommend the after-dinner dance party for the following reasons:
1. Your kids will be amazed at your dancing prowess and will think the running man, the Egyptian, and the sprinkler are the best moves they've ever seen.
2. You can play "jukebox": another tune requires another few dishes cleared or unloaded.
3. They get nice and worn out before bedtime.
4. It's actually a great stress reliever.
5. Dancing with kids . . . it really doesn't get much better.

Thankful three:
1. Dancing kids.
2. Utah peaches.
3. Breakfast for dinner.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Day in the Life of Dissertation-Writing with Children

5:20am--Up to go running because I won't fit it in at any other time.

8am--Mister off to school. Retire to the office with Sweetie to "work" on our respective computers, side by side. Set Sweetie up on nickjr.com and begin to review what I wrote last night when I was working late. Spend 30 min to figure out what in the world I was talking about. Begin to type. 

Loud Diego music fills the room. "Al rescate, mi amigo, to the rescue, my friend. Go Diego . . . " 

Try to ignore it and keep typing.

Sweetie: "Mom, I don't like this game! I can't figure out how to rescue the dinosaur. Can you help?"

No answer.

Shrieks. "Pleeeeeease?!!!!!"

8:30am--Give up trying to block out the Diego music and child frustration. Color and read books with Sweetie instead. Run some errands.

11:10--Mister home. School debriefing, Lunch made, eaten, cleaned up.

1:30pm--Lunch over, Sweetie napping, Mister in a quiet time. Return to computer to see: "With their sweetiemistersweetiemister religious background sweetiesweetie of sisterhood sweetie and the new possibilities [kjasdnfj;kak;lsdjfl;kjl;kj;alsjdf ] afforded by the nature of sweetie sweetie mister sweeitie online writing, both of which I [sdfjiojoijwelrjl; discussed in the previous sweetiesweetie chapter," 

I guess Sweetie wasn't as done with the computer as I thought she was. After 10 min of deleting, I get to work. 

2:00pm: Mister pokes his head in. "Mom, is my quiet time over? Will you come see the Lego ships I built."
Me: "Not over yet, bud. You've still got 30 min. I'll see the ships after the timer goes off. You need to stay in your room now."

2:10pm. Mister again. "Now is it over? Can you get down some markers for me? Can I eat that last cookie? Will you pour me some milk to go with it? Can you come see the Lego ships I built?" 

2:15pm. Markers down--check; Oooed and Awwed at the Legos--check; Milk and cookie--check. Threaten to lock in room should quiet time be breached again--check. Back to work.

2:20pm. Mister, looking so sad and forlorn: "Mom, Benjamin says his best friend at school is Draque and not me. I'm only his third best friend. I want to be his first best friend. Why don't you think I'm his first best friend?" Big eyes. Sad face.

2:40pm. After consolation and discussion about the virtues of best friends verses lots of good friends, back to work. 

2:50pm. Sweetie's awake.

3pm. Two tv shows allow me to actually write a solid page.

4-9pm. Piano, soccer practice, dinner, dishes, showers, bedtime. 

9pm. Eating ice cream and blogging instead of dissertation writing. Ugh. Off to work!

My thankful three:
1. That one page! You gotta start somewhere (and hopefully, you get to END somewhere too)
2.  Rocking my baby, who is no longer a baby, to sleep--a very rare occurrence.
3.  Watching my boy play soccer--a completely joyous face is another rare occurrence. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Par-tay Like It's Your Birthday

Well, yesterday was my birthday. The big 3-3. Since J was out of town, the kids and I had quite the shin-dig on our own. They brought up the Happy Birthday banner and hats, we made a cake and each licked our own spatula of batter (plus the beaters, of course). We played a rousing game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, donkey artwork courtesy of Sweetie, and a nail-biting game of bean bag toss, with Mister coming off the big winner o' starbursts.
Mister, unfortunately, was a little disappointed in the party attendance. "Mom," he said, "Don't you have any lady friends you can invite? Remember my party? I had, like, 6 friends." I tried to tell him that 2 of my 3 best friends were already there. That's all I needed. "Okay, he said, unconvinced. "I just think it would be more fun if you had more friends."

I managed to take a couple of pics, the one above on timer. Sweetie was the designated party photographer (of the cake and the blowing-out-the-candles action), but she mainly managed to capture some fabulous close-ups of body parts that you don't really want close-ups of when you're 33.

In honor of my birthday, I have to quote some from Sandra Cisneros's short story "Eleven" in her book Woman Hollering Creek. I love this story and its narrator, who sums up birthdays and age for me so perfectly:

"What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don't. You open your eyes and everything's just like yesterday, only it's today. And you are--underneath the year that makes you eleven.

Like some days you might say something stupid, and that's the part of you that's still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama's lap because you're scared, and that's the part of you that's five. And maybe one day when you're all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you're three, and that's okay. That's what I tell Mama when she's sad and needs to cry. Maybe she's feeling three.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree truck or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That's how being eleven years old is.

You don't feel eleven. Not right away. It takes a few days, weeks even, sometimes even months before you say Eleven when they ask you. And you don't even feel smart eleven, not until you're almost twelve. That's the way it is."

So, happy birthday to me. Maybe I will feel smart 33 when I'm almost 34. That's the way it is :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

You Know You're Married to a RABID BYU Football Fan When . . .

1. You say a yearly "thank-you" prayer that the blue afro wig and the brown corduroy pants from his "Super Fan" days did not make the pre-wedding packing cut.

2. Your children automatically lay out their BYU garb the night before a game.
3. He thinks about buying the Dell laptop instead of the HP laptop because you can get the Dell one in "BYU blue."
4. Your screen savers mysteriously all change to pictures of this year's team with the label "The Quest."
5. If there's not a new BYU game tonight, then that's no problem. We can watch one of the ones saved permanently on Tivo from last year--preferably the U of U vs. BYU game. Over and over and over.
6. While watching said U of U vs BYU game live in the local sports bar and grill, he jumps on the table to do a victory celebration at the last-minute, game-winning touchdown pass.
7. While you are on a day hike with the Young Women from your ward and he is in charge of the children (ages 4 and 2), he is shocked to discover he cannot get the day's BYU game on his Dish package. So, he hops on CougarBoard, finds a stranger in Tuscan who does get the game, and drives 3 hrs roundtrip, to crash the tailgating party of a fellow fan, no longer a stranger (who I'm sure did not bargain on the lovely addition of 2 very young fans to his football game).
8. Out of your 9 birthdays you've had since you've been married, he has spent 4 of them away at BYU games. (It's really okay. He just owes me BIG time, right, J?!)
Good thing I kinda like football and good thing I kinda like him, right?! Go Cougs!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm pretty sure I just won

that chocolate-chip-cookie-eating contest we just had. 

You didn't get the memo? No problem. I'm sure I can manage to fit another one into my busy schedule. Maybe even as soon as tomorrow. You never know. You should know, though, that I have had a LOT of practice.

Today's thankful 3:
1.  chocolate chip cookies!
2.  the Ensign
3.  vacuum lines in the playroom (that's as far as I got with the vacuum, but, hey, it looks great!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Channeling Mrs. Rogers--Big Breath, Eyes In

I signed the kids up for swimming lessons this summer with Mrs. Rogers. Unlike the high school students at the community pool and unlike me, Mrs. Rogers is undeterred by sobbing, screaming, flailing, and dramatic claims about a sick stomach or a hurt toe.  In short, Mrs. Rogers is no pushover. Mrs. Rogers is just what we needed. 

"Big breath, eyes in," she told Sweetie. 
"I can't do it!!" Sweetie sobbed. 
"But you can! and I'm right here to help," she said, and propelled Sweetie under the water to the wall. 
After 3 days, Sweetie was begging me to stay for her lessons to watch her swim, and oh, don't forget the camera.  [note: the above pic is with Mrs. Rogers's teenage assistant.] Mrs. Rogers told Sweetie she could swim and made her realize, by doing it, that she really could swim. It was a reminder to me about the process of self-confidence.  Oftentimes the best way to get over feeling unsure and scared is just to do it, big breath, eyes in. A lot of times actually doing it is the only thing that makes me realize that I really CAN do it.

Easier said than done, though, right? I've been working for the past 2 months on 2 different chapters of my dissertation, one of which is a draft of the introduction. My dissertation advisor told me, "Just start by writing what literacy scholars have said about literacy, religion, and sponsorship and then articulate what and why your project contributes to this scholarship." Oh, okay. It requires great self-confidence to say what I think the entire field of literacy scholars have said on these 3 things and what they're missing--what I'm adding to them. It's been easy to doubt myself and my ability to do this dissertation. I'll take a breath, put my eyes in, and then, whoops, raise them right back out again. I guess I need a Mrs. Rogers, or someone to channel her.  Tell me I can do it! (too bad you can't also tell me you'll be right there to help!) 

Today's thankful 3:
1.  fake laughing with my kids
2.  my new laptop, which is guaranteed to unblock all writers' blocks (one can always hope, right?)
3.  talking with an old friend