Showing posts from May, 2015

Overly Organized?

I'm working on what summer was going to look like for my family, and I am starting to worry about myself.

Seriously.  Who makes their kids' summer chore lists in Excel?  What a nerd I am.

But don't they look all nice and orderly?  It makes me happy to see the patterns - but mostly to know that I don't have to do all the work this summer.  THAT makes me happy.

And a little bit OCD.

Today I...

Today I washed a load of towels.  The second time, after I had forgotten about it and let it sit in the washing machine overnight.  Then, I actually dried those towels, and got another load of towels all the way through.  I think I'll let those ones sit in the dryer overnight though, because that's ok.

Today I made four loaves of banana bread.  Trent brought a big box full of over-ripe bananas home from the store.  They sell a whole box of them for only $4 - if you get there quite early in the morning.  So now we have enough to freeze for shakes and we can make banana bread.  I would be more excited about the fruit if it wasn't the second box he's brought home in a week.  We're plum full of bananas.  So the twins and I made sweet banana bread with the yellow fruit that looked most disgustingblack  ready for banana bread.

I was planning to make banana muffins too, but I ran out of flour.  I went into the laundry room/pantry/craft space/furnace room/storage area wher…

How I (Don't) Watch Movies

The kids are watching Forever Strong right now, one of our family favorites.

We all like it.  It has a strong sports background going on, and a nice redemption theme.  It's a good one we can watch with the family (after the first few drug/party/DUI crash scenes where it likely got its PG13 rating).

So why am I not in there watching it?  I was, sitting on the couch, snuggled up to three of four of my kids the best I can while we are eating pizza and watermelon.  But a minute ago, I had to leave.  I can't deal with the suspense.  I know what is going to happen - or at least generally, because its been a while since I saw the movie - but as soon as the background music gets all dark and dramatic, I'm outta there.  I get all shaky and anxious and decide that NOW would be a great time to take out the garbage!  Move the laundry along!  Do the dishes!  Anything but stay in front of the TV with all that drama going on.

And it isn't so much the action (although violence is p…

Bids for Attention

Trent showed me this article the other day, and wanted to discuss it with me.  My first reaction, since I was in the middle of something else (probably something of great urgency and importance, like reading the news), went like this, "Yeah, honey, I read that one several weeks ago."  But then as I paused and re-thought my initial comment, and remembered what the article was about, I had to stop and turn toward him and listen.

The article, "Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits," talked about the two things that all successful relationships have in common.  I boil the paragraphs and paragraphs of research and testing and analysis down to this: relaxing with each other, and responding in a loving way.

The relaxing part seems pretty straightforward, except that you have to be relaxed and feel loving on a physiological level, not just acting chill or being lazy.  You have to be, deep down, at peace with your relationship.

And the loving respon…

Mission Monday

There is a tradition in Madagascar of cracking eggs over a person's head and then dousing them with flour to celebrate their birthday.  It sounds like an awful mess to me, but traditions don't always have to make sense, do they?

I did a quick researching of the birthday eggs and flour, and I mostly came up with missionary stories, so I'm guessing that it might be more of a missionary-in-Madagascar tradition rather than a true Malagasy thing.  No, now I'm finding a few videos of Malagasies making a mess of each other, and a report that it comes from a French tradition.  Also, it's big in Indonesia, where they tie up the person before doing the eggs and flour thing.  Nice.  Hope he doesn't bring this tradition back home with him!

From South Africa:

Oh, and in other news, pianos are really heavy! I think that President Ucthdorf said it best when he said, "Lift where you stand". When you follow that council, everything works, and on top of that, it is rea…

Dance Festival

This is how I can tell that the end of the school year is upon us.  It's time for the annual elementary dance festival.  This year, Eddie is in 6th grade and Angel is in kindergarten, so we got to watch both of them - and a whole bunch more of cute kid antics.
At the last minute, my dad decided to come with us, so we got lawnchairs out instead of sitting on the lawn.  The weather was perfect - nearly threatening to rain without actually wetting on us.  Usually it is blisteringly hot at this time of year, so the cool was a welcome change.  Georgie and Freddie loved watching the kids dance, and sat remarkably still for most of the performance.  

This is the traditional dance of the 6th graders, and they have been doing it for as long as I can remember.  They were doing it when Alec was here in 6th grade, and Ben, Chris, and David have all done the same dance... and I did a form of it when I was there, too.  Only we used stretchy bungee cord things - like giant elastics - and they u…

Sick Again

I've been sick again.  I just can't seem to hold on to my health these days.  This time, it was some sort of stomach flu that hit me right in the guts.  Let's just say that the things I ate gave me stomach aches and always wanted to leave in a hurry, and leave it at that, shall we?

In a last-ditch effort to regain my health (and become a less-frequent bathroom visitor), I made a drastic change in my diet.  I decided to only eat fruits and vegetables, since those were the only things that didn't hurt.  I've stayed mostly good about this for three weeks, and my guts are feeling much better.

Trent and I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead during this time, and he was converted to eating a cleaner diet.  He has joined me for the last week or so, and it has been interesting to see the results.

The good parts:

Together, we have lost nearly 10 pounds.  I know most of that is water, and much of it will come back, but for a few minutes, it is a nice feeling!

My mouth does …

Mission Monday

Wow, I've been slow this week.  I've written a lot - in my head, but it's harder to get it posted.  I wonder what summer is going to shake out like?  Maybe I don't want to know...

From South Africa:

Well, this past week has been a really crappy week. Throughout the week, about two thirds of our appointments dropped. And it was really frustrating to see... It was bad... As we were looking back at our week, we realized what had happened. Elder Castro's talk was on Understanding Adversity and Trials. Trial, yes. Adversity, yes. I think it is safe to say that we now have a better understanding of adversities and trials.

The Mormon message "Civility Experiment" is really different when you watch it with people here.

From Madagascar:

So thanks for the birthday wishes. They were very nice. It was also way nice to get my birthday package... wait for it... on my birthday! How nice! So thanks everybody! Now I'm just waiting to have an egg cracked on my head and…

Growing a Garden

Well, the garden is mostly planted.  We got some logs from a tree up the street that was getting a trim and hauled them here.  I like the rough, uneven border they give to our garden - our gardens are usually a little rough and uneven.  But not this year, I proclaim!  This year we will have a lush, productive garden that abundantly produces delicious and healthy food!

Are you listening, dirt?

We have peas and beans, beets and radishes, spinach and swiss chard seeds in the ground.  They are just itching to pop up and grow like gangbusters.  Yes, I know it is technically too late for these, but they are in a partly shady spot so I hope they will grow anyway.  (fingers crossed)  We've transplanted the broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings close to the shady area, and the tomato and pepper plants in the full sun.  They will love it.  Because I said so.

And I even cleverly labelled all the rows with plastic knife markers so I wouldn't forget what I had planted where.  Note …

Toothpaste Power

I have toothpaste power, because that's what my twins tell me.  At the end of the day, they get in their pajamas and brush their teeth. I love that they can take care of these chores by themselves!  They are good toothbrushers, even if there are a few glitches.

After a while (like two days or less), the cap of the new toothpaste tube gets lost.  Never fails.  So the threads get a little sticky, and gummy, and finally crusty.  It's hard for the twins to squeeze toothpaste through the crust, and they run to me for help.  "Mom!  Can you do Toothpaste Power?"  And I summon my super mother powers and help the poor children with dirty teeth.
Toothpaste Power is especially needed when they reach the end of the tube. Getting that last bit out is a challenge for my little people.  Getting the last week's worth of toothpaste out of the tube is a challenge.  So why don't we use a toothpaste pump or something easier?  For the sake of the mess, I don't mind it being …

Growing Seeds

For a few months now, we have been nourishing and watering and watching over a little table full of seed pots.  We waited in the hopes that these little seeds would grow into plants that would feed our family.  And garden-fresh produce is the best!  But our little plants sprouted slowly.  In spite of the fact that we kept them next to a south-facing window, they grew slowly.  
Finally, they had two sets of real leaves.  We brought them outside in a partially shady spot for a few days to get used to direct sunshine, and we remembered to water them.  Mostly.  The weather is nice this week - cool and rainy - perfect for transplanting!

We took our precious tiny seedlings into the garden that we had tilled and raked and weeded.  Carefully, we dug little holes to plant them in, and mulched about them to hold in the moisture and keep out the weeds.  So much work for little bitty plants!
As I was going back into the house, I glanced at our compost pile, and saw these seedlings.

We had cantal…

Happy Happy Birthday Birthday

My twins are 5!  Holy time warp, Batman!
Georgie on the left, and Freddie on the right.  They look so different to me, but they are identical.
I asked them what they wanted for their birthday cake - it's the tradition that they get to pick.  Georgie has been eyeing the cakes in the bakery for some time now, and he wanted the cake with the carrot on it.  Didn't care about the cake; he just wanted the frosting carrot on top.  Freddy wanted strawberry cake because right now he loves pink.  Now blue. Now pink.  There were pink cake mixes at the store and no blue ones, so we went with strawberry.

So far I've had one cake for the two of them, but I don't mind each of them having their own cake.  I thought that was only fair.  It was funny that when they noticed they had picked different kinds of cake, they kept trying to change their choice to match what the other had chosen.  They love being together!

Georgie's frosting was a no-brainer: carrot cake needs cream cheese f…

Just Sit For a Moment

I got a phone call from a friend recently.  She just had a baby but needed to go to a class with her kindergartner - where babies are not allowed.  Could I babysit?

Watch a two-week old baby?  Yes.  And yes.

I am not an "Awww!  Sweet widdow baby!  Can I hold your precious bundle please?" kind of person.  I do not have baby envy or need baby fixes.  I like your baby - but I love mine.  You take care of your babies and I'll take care of mine.

But a new tiny baby?  That's slightly different. I babysat for my friend, because that's what friends do.  And I sat for an hour, holding a fresh little slice of Heaven. It was wonderful.

When my babies were this little, I was still healing.  My body was beginning to come to grips with the fact that it needed to shunt resources from growing a baby to feeding a baby.  I was sleep-deprived.  I was fumbly-bumbly anxious to not drop anyone on their head.  I was a crazy mother, trying to take care of a newborn and my other childr…

Mission Monday

My boys called home yesterday for Mother's Day.  Well, actually they called home on Mother's Day, because that is one of the two days every year that they are allowed to call home.  I do not think they called home for Mother's Day because neither of them wished me a happy Mother's Day.  I do believe they still love me, though.  :-)

Due to the time differences, we had to set up the call for 6 AM Sunday morning.  I might have wondered about the sanity of that schedule a few times during the week.  They are worth it, missed beauty sleep and all.  Loved seeing these happy faces!  It was nice to have my family together for a little while.  And I loved listening to the two of them tease each other.  Happy day!

From South Africa:

Also, church on Sunday was amazing! It was really full. We had over 130 people there and it was amazing to see all the people that decided to come for mothers day. Also this week, we had another crazy week and it was busy as could be. I love being a …

Happy Mother's Day

This Mother's Day weekend, I am so thankful that there ARE such wonderful things as mothers.

I'm lucky to have had the best mom ever.  She was just what I needed to make me grow how I needed to.  I wish I could give her a big hug today, and tell her how much I love her.  I'll have to settle for asking the Lord to relay my message of love, and putting soggy flowers on her grave in the rain.

I'm lucky to be a mother.  I never would have guessed that having all these little ones and big ones and medium ones would fill my heart up with so much love and joy.  Sometimes when I've been wiping too many noses and bottoms, I just want to hear a little bit of thanks.  When I've had too many late nights with my teens, with middle of the night bad dream comforting, and early morning emergency homework, I want to have a break.  I worry.  I plan.  I cry.  I ache.  And at the same time, I love like I never knew was possible.  My heart is so full.

This Mother's Day, I'…

When Mom is Sick

When I am sick, my house is sick, too.  I always hope that everyone will stop and notice how much I normally do, gush over me in appreciation while they step up and clean up the house, do the laundry, make dinner, and rub my feet.  Um, I get a little delirious when I am sick.

I was laying on the couch, listening to my heart pound in my sinuses and my ears ring without a hint of harmony, when the twins thundered up to me.  "Can we watcha movie, Mom, canwe, huh?"  Yes, please, if you will do it very quietly!

But in order to maintain my mean mother reputation, I had to weakly insist that they cleaned their room first.   They crashed down their stairs and I was left to moan in peace for a while.  A short time later, they tumbled back in and sheepishly claimed the work was done.  

I didn't believe them, so I sent Freddy down with my tablet to take pictures of what their room looked like.

Nerf gun wars, stroller accidents, dirty pans on the stove... man, I love those little …

Choir Concerts

It's the end of the school year, and that means we get all the last concerts.  Chris and David both had choir concerts this week - of course I went!  Oh yeah, I was sicker than a dog and spent the day trying to merge with the couch.  Being horizontal was lovely.  The only thing that would ever get me out of my comfy little nest is needing to support my kids.  They mean the world to me.  I'm so glad I went.

David is on the third row down, left side, in the left picture.   Chris is on the top row, second head-dot from the right.  What?  You can't see them?
Don't you love these in-the-dark pictures?  You really can't see anything in them, and yet I always see dozens of parents holding up their phones, straining to get a blurry, washed-out shot of their kid.  It's because we love them and are so dang proud of them!
As I was looking at my bad choir concert shots, it occurred to me that life is like this sometimes.  We go to an event mechanically, out of duty, and in …

Running, Running

I went to Chris's track meet today.  It was a regionals finals, so I was pretty excited to see how he did.  The weather was dark and blustery, and it had been raining earlier in the day, so I  wasn't quite sure what to expect from the sky.  I pulled on a jacket and a large, warm scarf, and brought a thermos full of hot Gatorade.  
Evidently, the weather was even a bit more sketchy at the track meet, as it has been raining hard and eve hailing before I got there.  The stands were dripping, but fortunately the benches were dry.

I love watching my kids perform.  I love seeing the determination on their faces and the fierceness with which they do their best.  I do have to admit, however, that the competition makes me crazy!  If our team is behind a few points, my blood pressure starts going wild.  As my kids line up on the starting line, my hands get shaky.  I love to watch them, but I'm glad when it's over and I can hug them and tell them what a good job they did.
Good j…

Mission Monday

Yeah, I know.  I went offline for a week.  I haven't been feeling well, and something has to go.  But now it is only one week from when I get to skype with my missionary boys!  I'm pretty excited about it.  Gotta take care of myself and get all better this week, and get lots of sleep so I don't conk out during their call.  Oh yeah, due to the time differences, they will have to call at 6:00 IN THE MORNING.  I love these boys so much that it is worth it to talk to them at any hour.

<going back to bed now>

From South Africa:

Well, this week has been a HUGE transition for me. I'm not used to teaching with three missionaries. I'm only used to having two in a companionship. But it has been good. And the amazing thing is that even though we had to go to Cape Town to pick up Elder Castro, (and that ate a bunch of our Wednesday) we still had a really good week. And the mountain is still on fire, so that is cool, but scary at the same time.

Picture from a news story a…