Thursday, March 31, 2011

Poem of the month: March

I still haven't blogged about the rest of spring break and our other going-ons. It might have something to do with a certain little destructive person in our home pulling off half of the keys on my laptop. . . .

Regardless, I did want to quickly post a poem of the month. This poem by Mormon writer Joanna Brooks is timely for me right now, as last Tuesday we had the birthday celebration for the Relief Society, the women's organization in our church. I wrote a reader's theater for our celebration, and it gave me the chance to remember and to reverence the great women who make up my history as a member of the Relief Society. This poem is also timely because of general conference this weekend, a time when we Latter-day Saints listen to council from the general leaders of our church. I look forward to this time and have such great memories associated with this time of year. These 2 events this week have reminded me, as Joanna Brooks says in this poem, "How wonderful it is to have a people to love." While Mormon culture has its negatives, there is still much to love in the history and traditions of my people. Like Brooks, I hope for "a quilt with no edges" and the courage, vision, and strength it will take to realize that.

by Joanna Brooks, published in Exponent II 30.3 (2010): 19.

Father, Mother, help me piece together the contradictions of my life:
White cotton, red satin, brown polka dot; torn Sunday dress, Navajo rug, frayed baby blanket.
Make me insistent on every lonely shred, willing to sacrifice no one.
Where there is no pattern, God, give me courage to organize a fearsome beauty.
Where there is unraveling, let me draw broad blanket stitches of sturdy blue yarn.

Mother, Father, give me vision.
Give me strength to work hours past my daughters' bedtime.
Give me an incandescent all-night garage with a quorum of thimble-thumbed
grandmothers sitting on borrowed folding chairs.
We will gather all the lost scraps and stitch
them together;
A quilt big enough to warm all our generations: all the lost, found, rich, poor, good, bad,
in, out, old, new, country, city, dusty, shiny ones;
A quilt big enough to cover all the alfalfa fields in the Great Basin.
Bigger. We are piecing together a quilt with no edges.
God, make me brave enough to love my people.
How wonderful it is to have a people to love.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring break, days 1-2

Monday, day 1 of spring break, found us mostly vegging. The kids watched TV and played the Wii most of the day, which we don't normally do, but, hey, spring break. I played Mario Kart with them until H stole my wheel, but I'm not very good. I only managed to break out of last place once.

Then we went mini-golfing. It was a perfect evening for it, weather-wise, and it felt so nice to be outside. H loved just carrying around his club (and other people's balls, which was a little bit of a problem, but we worked with it). Sweetie insisted that she got "2" on every hole, but we weren't keeping score, so we went with it. Mini-golfing was fun until about hole 12, when H apparently thought he was going to die of thirst and began crying and trying to sample all of the discarded 64 oz cups around the course (and there were plenty--come on, people! Find a trash can!) And when Sweetie broke down because J made her sit out a hole for always trying to be first and starting each hole while the people in front of us were still finishing it. We left with J saying, "See, that's why I didn't want to go" (in reference to H's crying and wandering and to Sweetie's pouting). But if we don't do things just because there will probably be behavior difficulties from 1 or more children, then we wouldn't do anything at all. What we should have done is 10 holes and skipped to the end. Gone out on a high (Seinfeld reference, anyone?)

Day 2 the kids played with their friends from school, who are also brother/sister. We picked them up and joined them at one of the local farms to feed the animals, ride the horses, and play on the tractors.

Keeping the Sabbath Day holy is hard

as H is learning. When we came home from church, he wanted to stay in the front yard and ride his bike. When I dragged him in, he decided to "protest" for almost 30 minutes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Speaking of basketball

Mister finished up his season just before March madness began. He had a solid first year. He really loves the game and practices all the time. He's gotten very, very good at shooting the ball. He's not very aggressive, though, on the court. (Maybe all of the aggression genes went to his little brother, who just bit the neighbor girl this morning. On my watch, of all things. Sigh.) Anyway, official play is over, but Mister hasn't stopped the just-for-fun play. In fact, when I woke up this morning, I could hear him dribbling the ball downstairs.

Let the games begin

er, or let the games continue, anyway. Here's the fam, filling out brackets for family home evening last Monday. Yes, they look serious because it was almost 10pm (spring break) and the kids--and the parents--were ready to drop.
There have been a few tears shed so far over the number of games predicted wrongly by certain younger members of our family, but no tears so far about the Cougars' performance. We celebrated tonight's win by going out for Mexican food and "jimmering" the chips and salsa.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A catch-all post

Tonight was a perfect spring evening. J returned from a fun (and expensive!) weekend at the Mountain West Basketball tournament in Vegas. We grilled tenderloin and picked romaine from the garden for dinner. Then we went for a walk around the block. The sky was streaked with pink and H kept pointing at the half-moon and saying, "Moo! Moo!" Then we played girls against boys, kicking the soccer ball. H was bored and checked out the neighbors' open garages for better options.

Life has been busy. And hard. And fun. I haven't mustered up the energy to blog about any of it, obviously. Along with blogging, here are a few things I also have not been doing:
  • Taking care of the broccoli in the garden--it died
  • Returning my library books on time (and actually reading them! Out of the last stack I only managed to read Wednesday Wars--thumbs way up--and The Red Pyramid--pretty good. And I had to keep each a week past due in order to finish them)
  • Visiting teaching (oops. And I'm in the Relief Society presidency. I should get on that.)
  • Losing those last inches around my stomach from when I was last pregnant
  • Planning something for spring break this week (yikes! I should get on that--need to be proactive or kids will fight the whole week)
  • Sleeping--H has been sick. AGAIN. coughing all night, up all night. and at 5:30am.
But let's not focus on what I haven't been doing. Let's talk about what I have been doing:
  • I blogged at Segullah earlier about sustaining the prophet. I feel like an expert on the topic (not on actually doing it) since I have now given 2 talks and 1 lesson about it in the last few months. And I love the photo of President Monson that I used in my Segullah post. Go here if you want to download it and print it at Costco.
  • I've been spending hours outside with H--pushing him on the swing, threatening to take away his bike if he rides it into the street again, and watching him write with sidewalk chalk while I try to read those library books.
  • Working on an article for Computers and Composition. Almost done! It's on online literacy sponsorship ("sponsors" meaning those who have something to lose or gain by promoting or encouraging another's literacy learning). I was hoping to get it off before spring break, but I'm not exactly running on time right now (let's face it, by "right now" I mean "in this lifetime").
  • Going to the gym--I bought a $25-for-3-month trial pass to a new gym and I'm loving going to the classes again. I got burned out of running and lifting hand weights.
  • I took part in a podcast at The Round Table: Inquiry and Insight into Mormon Womanhood last week. It should be posted on their blog sometime soon. They asked me to be a special guest and participate in the discussion on Mormon women and identity. Emily Jensen, the moderator, asked us questions about pressures Mormon women feel to be "an ideal Mormon woman" and how we can work towards getting rid of these false notions that Mormon women have to be a certain way, look a certain way, do things a certain way, or make certain choices in their lives in order to be "good." One of the most thought-provoking comments in the discussion to me was from Chelsea Shields Strayer, who said that, in her experiences living overseas, Americans seem, more than any other nationality, to rely on their communities to give them their identities more than on their individual ability to fashion their own identities separate from community norms and expectations (she said it much better, but I can't remember). I've been thinking about that because I'd love to raise my children, but particularly my daughter, with the ability to conscientiously construct a self-concept, to separate their beliefs about the self from others' beliefs. But I don't have the slightest idea about how to go about giving my children the tools to do this. Any ideas?
  • Speaking of Mormon women, I've also been writing a short reader's theater program for our Relief Society birthday celebration in a couple of weeks. I love the history of the Relief Society--the early Relief Society women did amazing things. I think one of the many factors that led to the amazing things they did was that they built on individual women's diverse talents, personalities, life situations, etc. I'll step off my soap box now.
  • I've been giving my kids piano lessons (while H jumps on my back, screaming, "Nay!" or tries to pound on the piano keys, or writes on random things with a crayon some other child left down while I wasn't looking); and I've been cleaning (the majority of the house--don't look in the guest room! Actually, you probably couldn't open the door to look in there. That situation will be rectified before my in-laws visit this Thursday); and I've been making dinners.
  • Lastly (because I'm getting tired--see list of things I haven't been doing lately), I've been painting. While J was away, I painted my bathroom cabinets and I worked on a new aspen painting for my living room. I'll take pics when I'm not so tired. . . . (maybe next month?!)
Wish me luck on spring break! Hopefully I'll actually blog about it.