Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August Poem of the Month

Sheesh, how long has it been since I've done a poem of the month? MAY?! Way too long ago. This month, I'm choosing "Rain," by Raymond Williams, an interesting and fantastic poet who I studied in a grad school class at BYU. Here's the poem (and the pic is of Sweetie out with her umbrella during one of our early August monsoons):


Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

I remember doing this. You know, prekids, postmarriage when I had a drudgery job and called in sick just to read all day in bed. I like Williams's move from the small (big?) decision to live how he wants on this morning to a reflection of his life decisions and seemingly "unforgiveable" mistakes.

It might seem a little strange that I would choose a poem about rain when this August we've experienced record heat here in the desert. But I thought about this poem for 2 reasons: first, last weekend J and I took turns getting up in the night with the fevered H, and so I spent some quality time in his room. Also spending quality time in his room is the noise machine, which is sometimes set for "waterfall" and sometimes for "rain." When it's set for rain, I can picture in my mind and feel throughout my body how it was to sit in a rocking chair for hours with Mister when he was a baby and when we lived in Massachusetts. I remember that rain. I remember that little baby boy who is now 8. I remember that peace. And I want to hold onto it.

Second, this poem is also about reading. And I have spent a relaxing summer with a nightstand full of books. Having been in a doctoral program for 8 years, followed 6 weeks later by the birth of a challenging baby, I haven't done a lot of consecutive, just-for-fun reading. This summer I indulged myself. My summer books read include the following:
  • Here If You Need Me: A True Story
  • Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother
  • The Lost Hero
  • The Chosen One
  • Love Walked In
  • Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me
  • A Discovery of Witches
  • Back When You Were Easier To Love
  • Entwined
  • Hex Hall
  • Demonglass
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring
  • A Hopeless Romantic
  • Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less
  • edited to add one that I forgot and that I really liked: The Hourglass. Darn those books that are the first of a series though . . .
and I'm sure some others that I can't remember right now. Of this list, I think my favorites were Here if You Need Me and the Hex Hall/Demonglass series, maybe because both surprised me. I don't usually read nonfiction since I read plenty of nonfiction in the form of scholarly books on composition or literacy or feminism, but I loved this book. It made me think, feel, and laugh. The Hex Hall books surprised me because the premise for the book (witches, vampires, blah blah blah) made me think, been there, done that. But I really liked the main character. The plot was thoroughly decent too, but the main character brought it home for me. (Added note: For anyone--like my sisters!--who wants to read something from my list, A Hopeless Romantic has sex and swearing in it--a little too much of both for my taste, and Love Walked In is beautifully written but also has a lot of swearing in it. Just to forewarn you . . . )

Alas, my summer of relaxing reading has come to an end. The last 2 weeks, I've buckled down and finally finished revising the article I sent off for submission last March to Computers and Composition. They sent it back in May for revisions but I let the lure of fun reading draw me off track. That and I can't stand revising. Very painful. I finished up my revisions this afternoon and sent off the article. Yay! But I have another waiting for me. If the kids are working, I need to get working too. Hopefully, I can find a better balance between the all-or-nothing approach of the past.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sounds of the Day

The worst sounds of the day:
  • The alarm clock. Usually I'm a morning person, but after a few nights of no sleep thanks to fevers following H's MMR and Hep shots, I was/am b.e.a.t.
  • The Cootie game being dumped out by H. Again.
  • The Barney "Fun on Wheels" DVD that H insists on watching when I shower. I believe I have made clear my opinion of Barney before.
  • Sweetie's fake sobs at losing TV privileges for tomorrow after refusing to turn the TV off today.
  • J's "gotcha's" and turkey gobble noises during FHE treats. Now, he does a mighty fine turkey gobble. But 50 times? There's a reason why we don't have turkeys (many reasons, actually, but that is one of them).
  • The sound of H's milk cup falling and bouncing around the kitchen as it distributed its contents freely after FHE.
  • The noise coming right now from H's bedroom. Last night it was 9:45 before he fell asleep. The kid can last.
The best sounds of the day:
  • An old friend's voice--ran into her at the gym this morning.
  • A silent monitor for 2 hrs and 45 minutes while H took a monster nap so I could almost finish making changes on my 5th draft of my article. Can't wait to finish it. Can't stand looking at it anymore.
  • The phone ringing and it's not a telemarketer.
  • The garage door going up--J's home from work!
  • H's smacking lips when he gives goodnight kisses.
  • Kids laughing together while brushing their teeth.

Monday, August 15, 2011

3 Reasons Why I'm Glad I Got to Eat Lunch with H Today

1. He ate his cheese sandwich, strawberries, and Cheetos without a word of complaint.
2. He noticed that I did not put Cheetos on my plate (self-denial is easier for me the earlier it is in the day--by 8pm, I have lost all constraint). He did not like my lack of Cheetos and kept insisting I eat some. "Mommy have Cheetos. Mommy have Cheetos." What's a mom to do but cave to the child's demands?
3. He kept leaning over to give me kisses on my knee or my arm, both of which are acceptable places, even for cheese-covered little lips.

Speaking of lips, while I was in the shower today, H found Sweetie's play dress-up lipstick, which she had assured me was carefully hidden and out of H's reach. I should not have taken her at her word, seeing as how last week the pack of gum that she thought was carefully hidden and out of H's reach turned out not to be. Sweetie climbed the ladder to her top bunk to go to bed, only to be greeted by a small mound of chewed up gum on her sheet--all of the gum in the pack. It was mint-flavored and H is not partial to mint. But he had to be sure that ALL of the pieces were minty. Poor H. He must have been so disappointed. And poor Sweetie. She spent her allowance on that gum and wailed like it was a year's worth of allowance instead of 1/4 of a month's worth (after savings and tithing). And poor Mom, who had to clean up the mound of gum.

But anyway, today's shower trade-off made for a cute pic, and the lipstick didn't get on much else besides his lips (er, I mean his face). He also smeared a generous helping of shampoo and gel on his hair. He wasn't so happy with the gel after it dried in spikes that felt like they were cement. "Mom, hair hurt," he said to me, very puzzledly. Despite his escapades, we are loving the stage of life that H is in. He says the funniest things and is the most loving little boy. What would we do without H?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First day of school!

Sweetie, the first grader
Mister, the third grader
H, the tag-along
The first-day-of-school cake and cupcakes. (The cupcakes have chocolate-dipped pretzel crayons with printables from here and airhead books, idea from here.)
H, with rashes from (I'm guessing) the egg-full batter of the first-day-of-school cake and cupcakes.

We walked the kids to their classrooms this morning, with sweat rolling down our backs and with arms full of a load of school supplies. Mister is usually the one who is nervous about any change, the one who has trouble sleeping days before a new event. But this morning he was very nonchalant about the whole first-day-of-school thing. No second hugs (in fact, he probably barely tolerated the first hug), no smiling for the camera. He went into his classroom and got to business unloading his stuff. No big deal.

Sweetie, on the other hand, has been up at night, scared for the first day. This morning she barely touched her pancake and eggs and would hardly crack a smile for the camera. Last year she could hardly wait for her turn to start school, for eating in the lunchroom, and riding the bus. Maybe this year she knows it's not all fun and games?

After school, though, she was bubbling with details about her class nickles and the music performance this year. Her only complaint about first grade is that there's only 2 recesses instead of the 4 that they have in kindergarten. Mister had plenty of complaints about third grade, though, some of them related to his teacher and others related to schedule (no lunch until 1:05?! That's a long time for my skinny boy to wait to eat!). He told me tonight that he wants to go back to second grade.

As for me, there are times that I wouldn't mind going back in time too. I really can't believe that Mister is already in third grade. It seems like just a blink of an eye ago that he started school. Milestones like today are good for shaking me up a bit and helping me realize how blessed I am to be able to love these people for eternity.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The last week of summer

The kids start school this Wednesday, so we've been trying to finish off the things from our Spectacular Summer 2011 list. Of course, we managed to finish everything in the "Play" category, but we did pretty well with the other categories too. This past week we had our annual readathon in a pile of pillows and blankets and with caramel corn. We also went swimming a couple of times. My favorite was at the local clubhouse and beach with the church group. And we visited 2 museums: The Natural History museum and the Children's Museum. We went to the latter on Free Friday and it was cah-ray-zy. We still had fun with the "car wash" and the noodle forest and the climber, among other things.

At the Natural History museum, we looked at the dinosaurs (H loved them), put together wooley mammoth puzzles (and then pretending to be speared by it), broke out of jail, and panned for gold, which we should have done last because H did not grasp the pan-for-gold concept and simply poured water over his head and clothes.
We also used our Groupon to go to BounceU on family bounce night, which was really fun! The kids loved it and J even got into the action with the inflatable basketball game, inflatable t-ball, and the bouncer with the balls that you shoot at each other. I took H on the slides again and again and again and again until I made him figure out how to climb up by himself. I didn't bring my camera but attempted a few pics with my phone, which, sadly, does not cut it with the sliding action.
Tonight is Meet the Teacher, so school will seem more "real" then. Tomorrow we'll try to celebrate our last day of summer and then I'll be posting back-to-school pics!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Segullah is slow today!

But I'm over there talking about God's works. Come join me!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Today I was ready for school to start. Last night Mister had a late night at a friend's and Sweetie was not to be outdone, so she also stayed up until 10pm, and, of course, Mister's body has never known how to sleep past the crack of dawn. Both were grouchy, fighting and arguing. Doors were slammed, trains were thrown, etc. etc. I had planned on going to the pool this afternoon, but it seems that last time we were there, I left my pass and my driver's license. So, no swimming for us, and hopefully, no tickets for me until I get that little beauty replaced. Instead, we set up the Little People and resurrected the trains from the garage and the old games (Cootie, High Ho Cherry-O, Mr. Mouth) from the closet (I left Candyland, Lucky Ducks, and Hungry Hungry Hippos up there--I am not that desperate yet).
Tonight Mister and Sweetie had late nights here at our house with friends. The boys played board games and video games and ate cookies and ice cream sundaes. The girls turned their ice cream sundaes into soup-like mixtures, they painted, played Cootie, got out the paper dolls, and watched a little bit of Tinkerbell. H thought he was a big kid until we made him go to bed at 8:30. He giggled at the paper dolls, pounded the extra Cootie into the table until he broke it, slurped his ice cream, and stuffed Reeses into his mouth as fast as he could, barely chewing one up before asking for another one with his little teeth smeared with chocolate.

So now it is 10:37 and the kids have been in bed for only 24 minutes and I am soaking up this little bit of quiet before I crash and before we start all over again in the morning, hopefully without the fighting and with the missing driver's license found.