Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Poem of the Month

In January, the mailbox is sad and lonely. And the trips to get the mail are depressing--no brightly colored cards, no faces of old friends peering out at me from the envelopes, and no packages. Oh, how I love the constant packages delivered to my door in December. So, this month's poem, which I meant to post early in the month and then forgot, is meant to reflect the loss of packages I endure every January. :) I also think this poem is funny because it reminds me of how as a teenager and even a college student, I would spin big daydreams of how I would meet fabulous men (as randomly as the UPS Man) who would recognize my brilliance and beauty and fall madly in love with me.

"Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man"
by Alice N. Persons

you bring me all the things I order
are never in a bad mood
always have a jaunty wave as you drive away
look good in your brown shorts
we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship
you're like a cute boyfriend with great legs
who always brings the perfect present
(why, it's just what I've always wanted!)
and then is considerate enough to go away
oh, UPS Man, let's hop in your clean brown truck and elope!
ditch your job, I'll ditch mine
let's hit the road for Brownsville
and tempt each other
with all the luscious brown foods--
roast beef, dark chocolate,
brownies, Guinness, homemade pumpernickel, molasses cookies
I'll make you my mama's bourbon pecan pie
we'll give all the packages to kind looking strangers
live in a cozy wood cabin
with a brown dog or two
and a black and brown tabby
I'm serious, UPS Man. Let's do it.
Where do I sign?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A successful Sunday

Tonight as I read H "Froggy" books in his room (I can't stand Froggy books, by the way), Sweetie came in, sat beside me, and whispered an apology for throwing a slam-the-door fit after I made her have a princess toothbrush instead of an adult toothbrush (mean, mean mom!). I put my spare arm around her and pressed her head against my shoulder. My frustrated, angry attitude toward her changed instantly as I remembered what a sweet, kind girl she is. I think being a good mom--and being a good person, really--is all about that. Trying to hold onto the good in people and life. Trying to remember Sweetie's apology, her laughter, her offer to grate the cheese for dinner instead of her fits. I wish I knew the secret for always super-imposing the image of the contrite little girl, warm against my side, on top of the image of the lip-curling little girl with the angry eyes. I imagine the trick to doing so has everything to do with me and not much to do with her.

Today was a good Sunday (they aren't all good, especially with 1:00 church and no naps for H!).  Good, despite my being called as Primary president and experiencing again that new-calling, thrown-into-the-pool feeling. Sure, there were some glitches in our Sabbath--the toilets needing to be plunged thanks to H's fascination with the toilet (a fascination, remember, that has not extended to his actually going in the toilet). But dinner was an easy grilled pork tenderloin, green salad, twice-baked potatoes, and jello, so instead of standing in the kitchen for an hour, I played hide-and-go-seek with the kids, which is one of the games I actually enjoy. You'd think we'd run out of places to hide, but never underestimate my ability to fit into a tight spot :) We ate chocolate chip cookies and played kids' Yahtzee for family game night, which we followed with a "Tik Tok" dance off, due to H's insistence, and when Keene's "Somewhere Only We Know" started playing on the I-Tunes playlist after "Tik Tok," J and I showed the older kids how to slow dance. It reminded me of Sunday evenings when I was growing up, when we'd all dance around the kitchen.

I also started this practice this morning, hoping to get the older 2 kids more excited about reading the scriptures on their own:
We made a "scripture-reading nest" with the couches and pillows. I gave each of them 2 plastic eggs filled with candy to eat while they read on their own in the nest. They're following the reading outline from "The Book of Mormon Feast" in January's Friend. It worked fine today. H's attention span in the illustrated scriptures left much to be desired, but, fortunately, he has this odd fascination with Jesus Christ being baptized, so when I got out the illustrated New Testament, he calmed down a bit. So, all in all, a good Sabbath. I end it feeling very blessed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Looby

Sweetie and a friend played "hotel" today. Apparently, my bathroom doubled as the elevator because as I visited it this evening, I noticed this sign.  It might have been more fitting for the bathroom to be the "looby." Maybe this is just funny to me because it's late and I'm tired.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Picture of the Day

Family home evening, playing "I can be a missionary now!" in the Friend. H keeps rolling a 1, aka "a 17," to H. He comes in last and is overjoyed.

Is it too late to talk about New Year's?

I haven't been very good at New Year's resolutions in the past few years. Not because I don't believe in goal-setting. In fact, I tend to cling to my goals a little too tightly. I love my to-do lists. I love the feeling of determining that I'm going to do something, writing it down, and then crossing it off as accomplished. But I think I need to focus less on the doing this year and more on the being. They're connected, I realize, but when I focus too much on my list, I think I tend to get caught up in the daily busyness that doesn't truly reflect the 2 things that matter the most to me in my life: (1) my relationship with my Father in Heaven and (2) my relationship with my family members. Things get cleaned and decorated (eventually!) but my relationships don't always get nurtured.

I love this quote by Neil Gaiman that Kelli shared on Segullah at the beginning of the year:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
 I love that Gaiman doesn't focus on doing what needs to be done or has to be done in life. I love that his wish for us in the coming year is not that we'll do something great or accomplished. Instead, he talks of magic and madness, reading and loving and creating and living. Reading his quote makes me excited about the possibilities of this new year.
And here are a couple of links that I liked for the New Year:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A massage or a psychoanalysis?

This week will be better than last week. How do I know this? Because I spent the beginning of last week losing  5 pounds the hard way--via a horrendous stomach flu. (Although to be truthful, any way of losing 5 pounds is hard.) And that stomach flu activated my ulcer, which I discovered I had before Christmas but for which I was too busy to fill the prescription. So, as a result of that and one other medical issue, I also did not sleep much last week. On the bright side, in my sleepless, nauseous state, I discovered Downtown Abby and started delving into the first season episodes, which I watched free on Amazon.

After such a rough week, I finally scheduled the massage J gave me for my birthday waaaaayyy back in September. After working on the knots in my back for a while, the massage therapist told me, "I can tell you don't know how to relax. In fact, you probably go to the gym for your stress relief instead of sitting down and really relaxing." Hmmmmm. He also told me he could tell I'd had back pain issues in the past because of the way my back was responding "defensively" to pressure, he could tell I had a child that I sometimes toted around on my left arm, and he guessed that, because the right side of the back is the "masculine" side (this sounds kind of fishy to me, but I went with it), the tenseness/pain in my right side could indicate that I am not feeling enough support in some aspect of my life right now. Hmmmm. So, I got a massage and a psychoanalysis. What a value for my money. Maybe it was a good thing the massage was only for 60 minutes or my massage therapist might have unearthed all my secrets. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm waving my white flag

throwing my towel in, bailing out, and whatever other expressions for quitting that you can think of. I've always been proud of my stick-to-it-iveness but this boy has me beat. After  5 days of doing almost nothing but potty-training (and reading countless books, singing every song in our repertoire, etc, etc), I'm retiring the undies, the treat box, the toy box, and the sticker chart for another day, even if he does look pretty darn cute in his undies.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Christmas and New Year's in Utah

Are you tired of Christmas posts yet?! This should be the last. I got too far behind. The morning after Christmas, we headed out for Utah. About 4 hours into the drive, the kids started asking if we were out of the state yet. Nope. And not even half-way there. Such is the seemingly never-ended drudgery of the drive. But it was oh-so-worth it. We relaxed and went to the movies as a family and as a couple, we had our family party, and we snowmobiled with almost the entire extended family up to my parents' cabin to celebrate New Year's with plenty of food, great company, beautiful scenery, great snow, and a huge bonfire! Unfortunately, we also ended up with colds, bloody noses, the stomach flu (after the vacation, thankfully), and not one uninterrupted night on the entire trip. I guess that's the story of traveling with kids.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Promise of Orange

I planted both of these trees about 3 years ago because of the promised yield of orange. Both are currently fulfilling my expectations.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Eve wrapping presents, frosting sugar cookies, and making Christmas Eve and Christmas Day food--rolls, layered jello, make-ahead french toast and breakfast casserole, etc. Our Christmas Eve is always magical for me: we eat dinner (usually steak, but this year tri-tip, rolls, twice-baked potatoes, green beans, layered jello, Martinellis, chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream) by candelight, we act out the Nativity (do you like that Superman made an appearance this year? H was not convinced that a wiseman or a shepherd trumped Superman, so he would not give up his cape), we watch the church's Nativity video, and this year, we lit the candles on my Weihnachts Pyramids from Germany and talked about how all of the figurines rotated around the Christchild and what each of the people did before and after seeing Jesus. I love the Spirit of Christmas Eve. Then we set out our stockings, tracked Santa on the computer, and sprinkled reindeer food on the front lawn.
 Christmas Morning: We looked at our gifts from Santa, opened our stockings, ate our breakfast yummies, and went to church.  After church, we opened our many presents. After we put out our 6 presents for each of the kids, our presents for each other, the kids' presents they bought each other, presents from the grandparents, and presents from Grandpa and Grandma to each other, we had quite the pile. It's kind of embarrassing. But oh so fun to unwrap.
H got gum in his stocking. It was almost all he needed. He ate 12 pieces on Christmas day.

Mister with his I-Touch from Santa

Sweetie got a bike from Santa

H got a scooter from Santa

Home from church

We were so glad Grandma and Grandpa could come stay with us! We love having them. 

 Some of the favorite gifts:

 Trying out our presents:

 The kids with all of their loot on display.

Mister wasted no time putting his legos together.
 In the evening, we headed to Vickie and Ron's for a delicious dinner and for minute-to-win-it games. The first was how-many-candy-canes-can-you-hook-in-a-minute.

 This one was pretty funny--how many bells can you shake, jump, or dance out of the box in a minute.