Saturday, February 28, 2009

book of the month

I was able to finish my February book just in the nick of time... It's a Newbery Medal winner by the author of 'Coraline.' I enjoyed it--here are some of my favorite passages:

"I called you boy, didn't I? But time passes in the blink of an eye, and it's a young man you are now, isn't it? How old are you?"
"About fifteen, I think. Though I still feel the same as I always did," Bod said, but Mother Slaughter interrupted, "And I still feels like I done when I was a tiny slip of a thing, making daisy chains in the old pasture. You're always you, and that don't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it."

"I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people. I want," he said, and then he paused and he thought. "I want everything."

"Face your life
Its pain, its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken"
"Leave no path untaken," repeated Bod. "A difficult challenge, but I can try my best."

It was entertaining, sweet and full of adventure. I happen to have a fondness for graveyards, so having epitaths and stories of people from other centuries wound into a modern-day murder mystery kept me wanting to turn the pages. I recommend it with gusto.

Friday, February 27, 2009

just when you think you're sunk

My ship was boarded--I was sidled up to by a PIRATE.
The kind that takes no prisoners--leaves a wake of trouble in his path. The Captain was a full four years of determination and spunk.
And he was on a mission.
Arghh! He said, when he spotted me curled up in the corner and mumbling nonsensical things under my breath and looking glassy-eyed. What be your intent? I asked, in the gruffiest rumbly pirate voice I could find.
Ahoy matey, I want fluff, said he.
Aye, yeh scurvy dog. I be hungry. (is it lunchtime yet?)
Arghh yerself, I said. Fluff is not a healthy choice.
Okay, but how about fluff with hot chocolate? he bargained.
One of my gifts is to understand the need for sugar when it presents itself. And chocolate.
And I'm happy this little pirate ransacked my family room, and basement, and pretty much whatever fell into his path today, and busied himself (while I was not watching him or paying attention to what he was doing) with making his face look mustachioed and pirate-y while I was watching my own ship go down.
Because actually, he popped the stuffing back into my deflated will simply by showing up. Mess and mustache and all. And dang if he didn't get his fluff. And hot chocolate. Because that's what pirates like best for lunch.

May Day

my ship is sinking... I'm following counsel and 'staying IN the boat.'
But we're taking on water:
(ie fevers, coughs, mountains of laundry, dirty dishes, sleep deprivation, sticky floors, RS lesson to prepare for Sunday, school projects, no husband until late Saturday, no motivation.)
Cranky reigns.
Stability level: dangerous
Where's the Calgon when you need it most?

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Someone just sent me this video from a group called BORN AGAIN AMERICA. Seems to not have any political or religious affiliation, but rather just standing as one as Americans to make a change......not to mention some really talented musicians.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. R's trip to Belize; abridged by mom
he loved the tropical climate and the school kids...
Placencia, Belize, 2nd grade
a hop, skip and a jump from the coolest vegetation EVER;
a chance to work with Jose, the coolest worker ever,
and no complaints about the 85 degree working conditions...
or the view from where he slept.
Recess, Belize.
hauled LOTS of cinder block to top of school, where they worked on the second story addition to a very small and crowded building.
with a sea breeze and a view of the Caribbean, it was a pleasure to serve.
10 days went by too quickly, and the work is not done.
But the lives of those who participated and those who benefitted were affected deeply.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

it's a double word bonus

It's also the topic of my sacrament meeting talk next Sunday.
Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

just so you know

Valentine's Day was especially full of love this year. I know, old news, we've talked about the smackdown, the lovefest and I've posted and more. BUT. I have to report that when Mr. W. walked into the house with one dozen of those long stemmed red-the-price-doubles-at-Valentine's-Day beauties, I almost wilted at the knees. He would do that for me?! It was a dreamy moment. I really do love them. I gaze at them lovingly *sigh* and think about how much he must love me to drop that kind of cash on something that lasts about a week. It's a gallant and noble act to dash in with roses-in-hand; I feel like Lady Catherine...Only now I have to keep moving those lovelies to the kitchen sink where the tops of the flowers peek at me from over the non-romantic location with stainless steel sides. Because devil cats one and two think that red roses are cat delicacies. And whenever I'm not looking, they sneak to where ever I've placed my symbols of swoon, and start nibbling at their apparently velvety goodness. And several times, the vase has been tipped over so that those hairy beasts can show their apparent dominance over all things floral and arbor-like. I have re-named them The Lone Ranger and Tonto, however. Because devil cat one is stealthy and full of prowess, and devil cat two just shows up for the food. So when my brother called me one day and said 'hey Tonto, what's up?' I was immediately offended and told him NEVER to call me Tonto again. And he should look that word up in the spanish dictionary, anyway, before he goes throwing around labels like that at his sister. SO. Just so you know, I don't hate our cats. I'm at high level dislike for them currently, not unlike the Christmas time post on a similar topic. But I still pet them and feed them and shut them in the basement every night. Because I sleep better knowing that my roses will live until morning. And the symbol of love that super spouseman has for his lady will still make me want to croon and sigh at breakfast. And the fact that he would sacrifice his hardware superstore money for those babies is flattery in the highest form. Love that guy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

an interruption in winter

to remind you:
take the time to be happy." The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How do you summarize love?...

A house with hearts 'exploded' on every surface...
(I searched the word 'love' in the scriptures, and printed out every scripture containing the word love on laminated paper hearts, and taped them all over the house.) Some of my favorites:
Song of Solomon 1:9
I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. (how romantic!)
Doctrine & Covenants 42:45
Thou shalt live together in love
Amos 5:15
Hate the evil and love the good...
trust me, there are a LOT. Find your favorite!
A son serving his new friends in Belize.
(...and he comes HOME in two days!)
An evening of FRESH seafood with my own Mr. W.
on Fish Pier in Boston;
(anything remotely connected to the ocean gets me all swooney)
preceded by a trip to the temple together. A big THANK YOU to A-man, who watched Mr. M for almost SEVEN hours! It was a great gift to your parents.
children who make their own lunch so mom doesn't have to,
home-made cinnamon toast, strawberries
and hot cocoa with whipped cream, spa treatment for toes big and little,
children who encouraged other children to be QUIET while mom napped;more berry-licious smoothies for breakfast,
new reading material for everyone:
(of which I plan to fully partake)
Savvy by Ingrid Law
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, and
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gailman
Looking back, I think that one of my favorite parts of this past two weeks of love was reflecting on the reasons why I love each member of our family so much. And telling them. By actually saying so, or writing it in notes, or showing them through simple or creative ways.
Oh... and lest I forget, spouseman's favorite Valentine tradition: he takes me to the drug store, where we peruse the Valentine Card aisle together. We each pick out our top three cards to each other, read them together, and then put them back. Then we treat ourselves to our favorite kind of ice cream instead. It's what we like to call Provident Valentine-ing.
To sum it up?

this is it

This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now.
The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone.
I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not.
I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do.
Instead, find joy in the journey—now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day !

For God so loVed the world,
~~That He gAve~~
~~~~His onLy~~~~
~~~~~~~~~That whosoever~~~
~~Believeth In Him~~~~~~
~~~Should Not perish,~~~~~
~~But have Everlasting life.~~

-John 3:16

Thursday, February 12, 2009

hit the ground...

That's what we do everyday around here.
So today, we're gonna show some LOVE to the feet.
Mom's all-day foot spa, including foot soaks, foot rubs and
beauty treatments for everyone.
Be good to your feet!
The price? Hugs and Kisses, of course.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love to Hate them

Tonight I was asking the kids to please help clean up the kitchen after dinner.
A: Could you please vacuum the floor?
E: Please empty the dishwasher.
S: Would you please clear off the table?
and so on...
I was busy directing traffic, and the youngest of us all asked "Mom, what's MY chore?"
Truth be told, our chore chart needs updating. It's been the same since he was born.
I hurried to make one up, since I knew that it was important to make him feel needed. AND, that he ought to be having a regular chore at dinner time, as well.
I said "Your job is to empty the silverware out of the dishwasher."
His reply: "But mo-om; that's my hate-y-est chore."
Not to digress from the season of love; we've been enjoying homemade cinnamon toast, more fruit-y-licious smoothies and chocolates for tidy beds... we have a food thing going on to be sure.
But what's YOUR hate-y-est chore?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

For the love of culture.

I can't get enough. It was an entire weekend of cultural LOVE!

Thursday night past, I wrangled the hubster and four of the six cubs and we took on the Art Museum. A fabulous night. Upon entering the foyer, M became entranced by a painting on the side wall. I was busy chatting with the docier, and the rest were deciding whether or not to shed their outer layers, as it was a v-v-v-ery chilly eve. He tried a few times in vain to get my attention quietly, as we had spent a few days discussing museum manners and soft-speak. Finally, he tugged on my coat in an excitedly violent way and whispered to the border of loud, "Mom! (pointing to painting) That's ME!" And he was right. A beautiful painting by Eleanor Norcross, titled 'portrait of boy' painted sometime between the late 1800's and the early 1900's was like a mirror image of that boy of ours. I'm going to have to sneak my camera back in there and take a shot, because I've searched in vain on the internet to find this painting. It was a great jump-start to a wonderful evening of sculpture, paintings, photographs and an amazing Egyptian gallery. LOVEd it.

Friday night, we treated ourselves to Chinese Food. With chopsticks. In honor of son #1 going off to experience another culture. In our house, we're giddy with excitement when that kind of cultural love comes knocking.

Saturday after a memorial service (isn't that a form of culture, too?) I escaped my world for a couple of hours and immersed myself in the American culture of shopping. With my mom. Mmmmm.
Sunday morning is a cultural ritual we're all comfortable with.
Off to church, and refilling the spiritual lamps.
This afternoon, I rushed everyone out the door from church, so that I could fly to the local library's free cultural offering of 'Sharq' music.
It was an amazing musical and educational performance about ancient Arabic and Egyptian music. I could only convince one child to accompany me, but it was a perfect cultural date. LOVE the cultural experiences. In all forms. And I LOVE to share them with others.

Thoughts on LOVE

Two talks worth perusing:
We manifest our love for Heavenly Father by keeping His commandments and serving His children. The love that results from this realization has the power to transcend all boundaries of nation, creed, and color.

Finding Joy in the Journey
Thomas S. Monson
Often we assume that they must know how much we love them.
Wrote William Shakespeare,
“They do not love that do not show their love.”

P.S. R LOVES Belize. He had fantastic first-day experiences.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Departure Tax


The only thing being taxed here is the mother's sense of well-being as she sends her firstborn son off to a foreign country to help build a school for 10 days... (actually, I wish it could be ME!)
Thanks, Smartmama, for donating a generous box of school supplies. We had fun packing it in between all of his clothing and personal items last night.
Enjoy your experience big R! Happy Trails. And Email your mother (details!) every night.
Weather forecast for Belize City, Belize: (He'll be working east of Placencia)
SaturdayFeb 7
Scattered Showers
High: 80°F (26°C) Low: 68°F (20°C)
SundayFeb 8
Scattered Showers
High: 81°F (27°C) Low: 70°F (21°C)
MondayFeb 9
Scattered Showers
High: 81°F (27°C) Low: 71°F (21°C)
TuesdayFeb 10
Scattered Showers
High: 83°F (28°C) Low: 72°F (22°C)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Love is...

...the thing that makes you smile, even when you're tired.

Yesterday morning, the last three to get-up-and-go were TIRED!
It's tough to go to youth activities until after 9pm the night before, and then jump out of bed and attack the day.
So for breakfast, LOVE was in the form of a berry delicious fruit'n'love smoothie.

And they all SMILED!

(me too.)

Now you fill in the blank:

Love is...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

make some conversation

Because who doesn't LOVE these things?
Tonight we're playing the tell someone how you feel in candy hearts game. Who would you compose your loving message to, and what would you say?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

HOT FLASH: er, i mean NEWSflash.

warning to the readers of this blog:
this post gets wordy. and lengthy.
this post may contain explicit language.
or language deemed inappropriate by someone's dad.
there are no cute pictures or snazzy links in this one.
if you are male, or under the age of 35, you might rather spend your blog-perusing-time at a more youthful, snarky spot. and I will tend to ramble. a lot.
There. I want you to know that I've had three separate conversations about internal age this week. What, you may ask, the h$#% is internal age? Let me begin by telling you that when I was 14, anyone over 35 was O.L.D. I mean feet-rotting-in-the-shoes old. Then I matured to 18-ish and 21-ish, 22 and so on, and the bar creeped up a bit, and 36 became the new standard for EWww... How can you even feel pride at that age?

I don't have a very detailed memory. It's a gift I thank my cool dad for. It comes in handy sometimes, too. But I think it took me until I was about 36 myself [EWww!...] to realize that old really had nothing to do with age. My self-centered and somewhat vain outlook on life was a phase. A somewhat long phase, but let's look at it as developmental. Because isn't that what we do? Or at least isn't that what we're supposed to do? Develop, I mean. And I'm not even thinking about growing extra parts and bigger hips. Because that's not EVEN my favorite subject. I'm talking about the big picture, guys. I'm not admitting to being a shallow person, because I think there was substance right along. It's just that I look back at those ages and think man. why would anyone EVER want to go THERE again? Kind of like the teenage years. Except for the 20s. And some of the 30s. Cool while you're in them, but looking back, {shudder} it's just scary. Except I could put a whuppin' on spouseman in a wrestling match in my 20s. Don't you even doubt that.

But I digress. Back to the early 30's. It was sometime in that big window of time that I realized when people were occasionally asking my age, I had to stop and think about how old I really was?! Because my mouth would want to say 28 or 31 or something, and I'd become shockingly aware that the truth was, that I was 36. [GASP!] Already. But my core was screaming 33! I'm really just 33! Thief! because someone stole the last three years away. And then I'd take off my shoes and socks, and look at my feet, and wonder if it was happening to me. And not to veer off the path of this enlightening subject, but WHY, my friends, WHY. is there not something billboard-ish in life with the word m.e.n.o.p.a.u.s.e on it? Because I know for certain there have been way more than a few billboards with PLASTIC SURGERY and VIAGRA written on them. Let's just be dyslexic for a minute, and rearrange the letters in this oft-avoided menopause word: ~O men: PAUSE~. Would not that be something we'd then want to talk about? And I've been wanting to SHOUT! that word menopause! menopause! menopause! for about 10 years now! Only because nobody else does. And I'm kind of stubborn, or rebellious, or annoying like that. Because I'm not 29, people. Although my youthful looks and uber cool personality may have thrown a few of you off. I won't apologize for that. I WILL tell you, that my internal age does not match the real thing. I will also tell you, that the bar has flown way the heck away. I used to think the new 35 or 36 was like 65. Then it got to be way up in the 80's. And then I started to have really good friends who were 65-ish or in their 80's, and I decided to throw the bar out the window.

Let's just face it. I recognize that: we are who we are. The outside gets wrinkly and on the inside we're doing ads for the cosmetic and sunscreen giants. And I'm jumping on the bouncy HUGE trampoline of life in there. On the outside, my bladder protests, so I can't. But I am a trapeze artist mega-wonder inside. How old do you think Eleanor Roosevelt felt inside, anyway? I read this story today, about a darling old married couple, who passed away within 29 hours of each other, one was 89, the other 90. And I decided that (this is the news part) I want to live to be 89. And spouseman, (think majestic, rippling cape) if you don't mind, I'd like for you to shoot for 90. And let's plan an exit strategy. Whoever goes first must come back VERY quickly and retrieve the lingering partner. Okay? So that's my news. I've made the plan, and now I'm going to do my darndest to live it. Besides, I like the number 89. Even though I don't think I'll ever make it much past 34 on the inside. And if you must know, one of my secretive things that I like to do, is guess how old people feel on the inside. So how old are YOU in there, anyway?

Nothin' says Lovin'

Like BUNS from the oven!
mmmmm...... warm gooey goodness for breakfast.
(Thanks, Dar...)
Happy Love Month~Day 4!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

pillow talk

Made seven beds.
Put on clean pillow cases,
added one homemade poem of love on bright PINK paper;

When you say your prayers tonight,
Think of something sweet.
Something someone did for you,
Or something good to eat.
Then before you say ‘amen,’
Give thanks to God above.
‘Cuz even when things aren’t so good,
There’s always, ALWAYS

with a personal note about why I loved each one SO much,
and dropped a chocolate on for good measure.
Sweet Dreams!
...and happy loving, day 3.

P.S. And a VERY Happy Birthday wish to my brother. I LOVE you!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

keeping love REAL (minty)

Let me be honest with you.
My least favorite part of yesterday was the part when I actually yelled. At my kids. More than once. On a SUNDAY! And on the kick-off day of the month of love. And when I set a goal to be professing love.
I did NOT feel good. The 'why' isn't the issue.
But I'm better. I'm SO so so not perfect. But I recognize that we get back up, wipe ourselves off, and try again. So here's my [well, one of them] favorite part of the day:
But let me preface it by saying that I am no longer in control of how and when our children show up to church. I'm on the early morning meeting circuit, and spouseman is in charge on the homefront. Which has actually been really good in so many ways. Because they all arrive BEFORE the opening song and prayer and announcements. Unlike when I was doing the Sunday morning homefront thing, and spouseman was smiling very friendly-like down at us from the stand. But my only real complaint has been the fact that the teeth brushing police have been on vacation on most Sunday mornings. And when the kids squeeze in next to me and say good morning, I'm wanting to de-fog the area with anti-morning-breath crest-in-a-can. So in the back of my mind, I've been thinking for a few months that there are a few things we could try to do about this problem. Except I usually don't think about it until someone says 'hhhhhhheeeeeelllllllloooooooo mom,' in a turtle-y breath sort of way on Sunday morning. Except this once. And I realize that was a VERY long preface, but here comes the favorite part I was leading up to:
Sitting on the pew in the chapel, eight people in a row, listening to some amazing testimonies. (And they really were incredible. There is never a shortage of people who stand up. Never an awkward pause of ANY kind in our ward on testimony Sunday... more like a run on the mike. And yesterday it was good spiritual feasting.) Usually right after the sacrament, my kids start foraging through my bag, looking for gum, mints, goodies like that. So yesterday I was ready. I emptied my bag. Of ALL minty goodness. Right after sacrament, when the urge to freshen the mouths began, I waited until almost everyone was looking, quietly poking me, silenty mouthing "GUM?" and pointing to my purse. Then I reached into my other bag, the RS full-of-important papers-and-hand-outs-and-manuals-bag and started handing out new packs of assorted gums all pre-pasted with pink sticky notes on them that said 'I (heart) your minty fresh breath!' Gum for everyone. (Except for the child who is VERY much anti-gum at all... He'll get something later.) It was quietly cute. I liked the surprise in their expressions.
(And I really DID enjoy their fresh breath!)
LOVE, me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Let the LOVE-FEST begin!


January has blown a shivery kiss good-bye, and moved into the past.

...and the month of LOVE has begun.

Let me start by giving a shout-out to SmartMama, the inspiration behind the theme of the next two weeks. And as a tribute to that fat, naked baby who shoots arrows of love all around,
let me profess my love for YOU.
I love that you visit my blog (even if you don't comment).
I love knowing that I have friends in cyber space.
I also love a challenge.
So I will be professing my love for those closest to me in clever ways for the next two weeks...
and YOU can help!
Just leave me a comment.
Tell me: What is your favorite way to say 'I Love You?'