Monday, December 20, 2010

Mother/daughter date

Last Saturday, Sweetie and I went on our long-anticipated mother/daughter date to the Nutcracker. We had such a good time. We were sitting really close, close enough that Sweetie got scared by Herr Drosselmeyer's magic (which came in the form of fireworks) and by the battle with the mice, who used canons (again, the fireworks). She sat on my lap for half of the performance and kept whispering that one day, she wants to be Clara, and that, didn't I think she was good enough of a dancer to be a flower bud or a fairy, but she just needed to get older?

oh, and I cut my hair. Some days I love it, some days I hate it. Here's another pic:

All I Want for Christmas . . .

The tree

Picking out the tree

The decorating

Thanksgiving with the Matthews' cousin

We had such a good Thanksgiving--a great dinner with the Rock cousins and P grandparents, and a fun weekend with guests from Utah.

Bass Pro Shop Fun--while the guys golfed, we went to see Santa and play in the winter village (and the boats, apparently).
We went to the temple to see the lights.

And we went north to the Polar Express. We swam in the hotel's indoor pool and had a great time eating cookies, drinking cocoa, and singing on the train (all except for H who was a crazy man and wanted to run the isles, much to the disapproval of the "elves").

Here they are as we approach the North Pole.
And, of course, Santa!
Mailing presents and meeting Mrs. Claus (who Sweetie believes has birthed all of Santa's elves--don't know how she came up with that one).

Catching up: Mormon Media Studies Symposium

In November, I had the opportunity to fly to Utah to moderate a panel discussion, titled "I Am a Mormon Woman: Female Latter-day Saint Identity on the Internet" at the first Mormon Media Studies Symposium at BYU. The panel members included Lisa Butterworth of Feminist Mormon Housewives, Neylan McBaine of The Mormon Woman Project, and Kathryn Soper of Segullah. It was such a great opportunity to meet and talk with these fabulous women and to be in a scholarly LDS environment. I wanted to recap some of the interesting presentations I went to, other than the one in which I participated.

I went to a panel where I discovered all kinds of resources available on different LDS blogs. For example, LDS Media Talk summarizes resources for the whole family that can help us live the gospel. talks about projects being developed by the church. And Life on Gold Plates is an interesting blend of philosophical and historical thoughts about the church. At this panel, one of the more interesting comments was from Blair Hodges, author of Life on Gold Plates, who talked about the tension in digital media right now because of its potential to bring together and its potential to divide. There's the possibility for both right now for church members as well. It'll be interesting to see in which direction we go. Kathy Soper also talked in this panel about the direct relationship between the level of candor among church members and the level of caring: before we can help carry burdens, we need to share them. Many do so using digital media right now.

The most interesting presentation I attended was from Teryl Givens, who is LDS and a professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond. He talked about 3 public perceptions of Mormons: fraud, philandery, and football. In the first phase, fraud, people mocked the messanger and in so doing, evaded the message. In the second, once again people reduced Mormonism to humor in order to easily dismiss and not engage the message of Mormonism. Givens says we're currently still in phase 3, which began at the end of 1893 when the Tabernacle Choir became popular at the World Fair. People love the choir, people love our humanitarian work, people love our football players. But people still believe as Dickens did when he said, "What Mormons do is mostly excellent. What they say is mostly nonsense." Givens says that the church has achieved accommodations by making cultural considerations, but we still aren't taken seriously as a belief system. Givens believes that for Mormons to move into the next phase, we need to frame the discussion ourselves rather than wait for others to question us. He used Parley P. Pratt as an example of what to do: rather than wait for someone to question him about polygamy, Pratt said, I'm going to give you something equally challenging to discuss but infinitely more productive--the concept of deification. Givens said, let's talk about our powerful message, the differences in our doctrines, rather than focus on how we are the same as other people and how what we do is excellent. Let's talk about how what we believe is excellent as well.

I also went to Daniel A. Stout's session on research trends in media and religion. He talked a great deal about cultural religion, how people have "numinous" experiences in pop culture online. These numinous experiences offer people a ritual, a community, a deep feeling. It's not a religion, but it's a religious mindset. Stout said that it will be interesting to see in which situations these numinous experiences will replace versus enhance religious commitments. He also said isolation is not a strategy for protecting the family anymore. Instead, media literacy will aid us in relation to our youth.

Interesting stuff! I also had a great time getting together with my brothers, minus Tom, for lunch at BYU, and with my mom and sisters for dinner/shopping one night.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Catching up: Mister, manic football player

Mister played flag football this year for the first time. It was a good experience. I survived the 3-days a week practice schedule, thanks to 2 good friends who each took a day. On my day, I spent a very long hour and a half chasing H around, feeding him fruit snacks by the dozens, and keeping him from drinking everybody's waters, emptying everybody's duffel bags, and from falling into the monster grates covering the storm drains. Sweetie made best friends with the 3 girls from another family and spent the blissful time bossing them around and eating their ranch goldfish crackers. Mister was one of the smallest on the team, but he practiced hard and by the end of the season, he was getting a few passes and carries per game on offense and he rushed the quarterback on defense. Their team--the Falcons--got to the semi-finals of the tournament at the end of the season. (I, personally, would have been fine with an earlier loss because that would have meant a shorter season, but I was glad for him!)

More catching up: Halloween

Halloween seems so long ago. But I need to post about the festivities because I'm printing my blog into a family book. (That's the idea, anyway. The way I move these days, we'll hope it happens.)

The actual Halloween--our neighbors barbequed tri-tip and chicken, we all brought sides and sat out and ate together. It was so nice to get to know our fun neighbors better. Here's the collection of kids and grandkids:
The ward trunk-or-treat and fall festival. This was so fun this year. We had Navajo tacos, caramel apples, lots of fun games and bounce houses for the kids, costume and trunk competitions, trunk-or-treating, and J even participated in the pie-eating contest (out of force, given his strong anti-pie sentiments). J also manned one of the rick-shaws. Needless to say, I spent a good portion of the night chasing H and trying to find the other kids.

Our trunk and our kids and our ostrich-rider:

I was a porcupine. H a turtle.

Dorothy and the sick turtle and the mad scientist

The jack 0' lanterns

Friday, December 3, 2010

Join me

over here today.

And maybe now that it's Christmas time I should post some pics of our Halloween? I'm not making any promises, though. Anything extra sends me over the edge of this delicate balance I've got going here!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Break

Fall break seems like such a long time ago, even though it's only been a month. If I hadn't have taken pictures of it, I wouldn't have remembered anything but staying in our pjs half of the day and a blessed lack of "Come do ____ right now!! You're going to be late for ____! I've already asked you ___ times!" on my part.

Thankfully, I did take some pics to remind me what else we did besides laze around. We went hiking to the Tonto Natural Bridge. I loved it. Hiking relaxes me and reinvigorates me. I need to do it more often. What you can't see in these pics, though, is that I forgot my hiking boots and was left to navigate the wet, slippery rocks with flip flops. But I've never been one to let a little problem like lack-of-appropriate-footwear slow me down. I did feel the need, however, to explain to everyone we encountered that, no, I was not an idiot who planned on hiking in flip flops, just a frazzled mom who remembered to pack the lunch, the snacks, the water, the camera, the toys for the drive, the jackets, the baby backpack, but forgot her own shoes.

The kids broke out the video games. With football, soccer, piano, and homework in our "regular life," they don't usually play much. We also made caramel and chocolate apples with LOTS of sprinkles. I want to know how it is that I'm the only one in my family who likes caramel apples. Seriously? What's not to like? We added the chocolate layer in an attempt to appeal to Mister, lover of all things sweet, but not even that did the trick. See all of those on the tray? I ate all but 2. Oh well, a thing of the past, a celebration of fall, right?
I took the kids to the new aquarium. It was overpriced, even with my coupon, but H had the time of his life, so that was worth it. He kept running to new tanks, shouting, "WHOA!" It was a good thing that I snapped some pics before I let him out of the stroller since after that, all I did was run after him.
Remembering this is getting me excited for Christmas break . . .