Sunday, May 31, 2009

fruits of our labor

It's not much when you consider the size of our household, but we're happy! And since it's Sunday, we're hoping maybe the miracle of the loaves and fishes might apply.

tucked in for the night

Heard there was a frost advisory in effect tonight. Everything's covered. Now it won't frost.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

a story. (WITH pictures!)

Once upon a time there was a mean mom.

She told her youngest son he could NOT come along on the ride to bring his friend back home just before dinner time. She put her foot down and insisted. Not only was she mean, but she was inconsistent and soft. So when that little son ranted and raved, she relented, and he came. "Under one condition, my little ranting and raving son," she said "You must NOT fall asleep on the ride home!"

"I promise" he said.

Of course the mean mom is also Fairly Intelligent, and, as she watched his head in her rear view mirror and noticed that it started to bobble, she pointed out that he was in danger of breaking his promise.

"Stop it!" he yelled. "You're annoying me!" he continued, after a lengthy, drunken pause.

Because it was kind of funny, the fairly intelligent and yes, sometimes annoying mom continued playing the game. "Hey, you can't fall asleep" she said "we're on our street, which means we're getting close to our driveway."

"STOP IT!" he yelled, quite a bit louder this time.

The mother chatted incessantly until the vehicle was parked. At that point, groggy toddler boy started to throw a full-on temper tantrum as he unbuckled his seatbelt, and stomped his way into the house. The mother, feeling all-knowing and powerful, heard him flick the handle of the foos ball table as he stomped into the front room, and she felt satisfied that he was angrily playing as she strategically stirred the pot of wonder beans simmering on the stove.


Wonder beans: 13-bean soup that now had the consistency of VERY thick split pea soup, and was the color of unhealthy mud. Fairly Intelligent Mom started to worry that her somewhat intelligent children might not be excited about eating dinner. On to the next decision for Fairly Intelligent Mom: How to make the impending protein-packed dinner seem like a somewhat attractive option for consumption.


Like a light in the darkness, *SMART MAMA!* and her (truly) WONDER ROLLS! came to Fairly Intelligent Mom's mind. Quicker than the evening news, these delectible delights can be on the table and begging to be eaten, warm with melting butter. They'd make any main dish seem palatable. I promise you.


As the oven was preheating and the rolls were rapidly rising (I mean it; they're QUICK), FIM (Fairly Intelligent Mom) remembered that she hadn't heard angry toddler boy for quite a while. Panic set in.

-Oh dear. What if he really DID go to sleep?-

She checked the front room and went quickly through every room in the house. He was mad. Mad enough to use his mad FHE hide-and-go-seek hiding skillz. The last few times we've played this game, he had won. Because, to his delight, he had discovered that he is small enough to be able to hide under any random pile of clothing (dirty or clean), rumpled bedding (ditto) or piles of fabric without being spotted.

-Ah-hah,- (she thought) he's hiding AND sleeping.

And she was right. (He really IS in there!)
She pulled back the rumpled bedding to discover he outsmarted the FIM.

FIM had his siblings make enough noise to annoy him awake, and she knew she was going to need the big guns to get him through dinner.

"Everyone who CLEANS THEIR BOWL gets a smoothie for dessert" She said with a syrup-y smile.

It was nothing but speed, determination and enthusiasm.



And just a touch of this: (ignore the background noise. Turn off the volume, and focus on the facial expression and obvious delight for the task at hand)


video

THE END.

discovering

your savvy--

I finished my book choice for the month of May.

You can learn more about it HERE.

It was a delightful romp through Kansas and Nebraska, fondly referred to by the author as Kansaska and Nebransas. I met a lively cast of characters, and enjoyed this extraordinary adventure. I recommend it. Heartily.


...and discovering your voice:
May I also recommend this blog. It is created and managed by a brilliant woman who took a sabbatical from Wall Street to encourage and help others discover and pursue their dreams.

A quote from her latest post:

"One of the best ways for us to 'find our voice' is to listen to those who have found theirs."


Take a minute to hop on over and check it out.
She's also sponsoring a Spa Give-Away that you might find enticing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I did NOT go to the park to realize

Let me tell you right up front that when I announced to my younger children that we could go to the park tonight, it was with mainly selfish motives. We made the soccer practice drop-off, and headed over to the playground with almost 90 minutes of "wait time" ahead of us. I brought my reading material for May along, and even some apples and a water bottle. That's right; kids play, mom reads. My days of trailing toddlers through the equipment are OVER. After almost 18 years of following, I'm feeling more than ready to take up my new position: on the bench. And this is how it went down.

I settled myself in a very central location, knowing that even though I was about to completely lose myself in a novel, I could still be available, should something need watching or should someone require a little cheering on. I even refused to get up to help my own flesh across the monkey bars. No way. I was letting my guard down. Indulgence in the form of fresh air reading. With happy-children-playing noises in the background.

I should have known better. Once you commit to this thing called motherhood, is there really a moment when you can totally let the guard completely fall? I know I read at least a few paragraphs. I have no idea what they said. My radar was honing in on a major distraction: adolescent pubescent tweens. They were using most of the swings and camping out on one of the slides. At first I thought I could deal with it. My radar became the glare of a hawk. I was taken aback by some of the posturing, physical inuendo and general behavior of two of the people on the slide. I felt my glare intensifying, and I wanted to burn a message into their 12 or 13 year old brains: Someone's mother is watching you. They weren't receiving it. I found myself becoming irritated at their seeming indifference. Preschool age children were having to avoid the slide, because the tweens were oblivious to the fact that they were in the way. Not only were they in the way, they were on display. I tried to look the other way. I tried not to care. I couldn't do it. I wanted to know if they would be doing the same things or saying the same things if it wasn't me there at the park; if it were one of their parents instead. I wanted to follow them home and ask their parents if they were alright with what was going on while they weren't watching. Actually, I became so torqued-up about it, I couldn't sleep after getting into bed tonight. My thoughts spilled-over from the playground to the school bus. To recess. To environments that I cannot control, or in many cases, even see. It was intimidating. The tiny forces of a parent, versus the enormous influence of the world. I had to get out of bed and seek something comforting. I opened this month's Ensign magazine to an article called "Gifts to Help Us Navigate Our Life." It was a good beginning.

Back at the park? In a voice that was as controlled as I could make it, I asked them to move so the kids could use the slide. They weren't quick and they weren't even polite about it. Female tween gave me a crusty stare. Honestly? I didn't care. I wanted to say SO much more, but knew that it would have fallen on deaf ears. What I DID say (later to my husband) was that I now know that I will NEVER be able to let my guard down at the playground. And I'm okay with that.

Why I loved yesterday

We spent the day thinking about those who have given their lives in the service of our country. We participated in a moving Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony with them:
We were touched by Patriotism
We enjoyed seeing our Nation's flag displayed so prominently and beautifully in so many places
We visited several cemeteries, including this one, where we remembered a school friend who passed away three years ago...
We enjoyed the serenity of a beautiful resting place
I loved watching my husband teach the kids about fallen heroes
We had our neighbors over to share a BBQ and ended the day with s'mores
I loved being able to relax and just enjoy each other.

P.S. This one's for YOU:

Monday, May 25, 2009

remember



"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it--In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children--and he fastened it upon the end of a pole."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

oh bliss!

The WATER is BACK!
I CAN SHOWER!!
This makes me SO happy, I must give something away.
Stay tuned!

It's like holding a "get in free!" pass

Looking for fun ways to spend the upcoming summer vacation?

If you happen to be a Bank of America cardholder, you can get in FREE! to many zoos, botanical gardens and museums across the country.

The first full weekend of every month, just present your card and you're IN! for free. To locate a museum near you or get more information, just click on the Bank of America Museums on Us website. Enjoy some culture and live providently~all at the same time.


You're welcome.

P.S. I do not endorse owning a credit card just for the sole purpose of getting into museums for free. Especially if the plan backfires, and enables you to live any which way but providently. I don't happen to own one of those, but I might find a friend who does!

;)

Friday, May 22, 2009

dirty water

I'm running today~
Let's call it "classic conditioning."
Not because I'm turning into a fitness nut.
Not because I'm looking ahead to swimsuit season.
I'm running because the timer *BEEP*s every 15 minutes.
And when the timer beeps, I must run.
I'm starting to feel a bit like Pavlov's Dog.
Especially since I haven't been able to shower for a couple of days.
And with the heat topping out in the 90's, the timing's Oh, so ripe. I mean right. Yesterday, in the middle of hosting a slip-n-slide party for four and five year olds, the hose stopped working. It was abrupt. And a little disappointing.

The worst was yet to come:
The $3,500 price tag for a new pump, with all the latest accessories, at the bottom of our 580 foot well.

The mood on the homefront was not pleasant last night. But I was able to therapeutically bring the tension down a few notches by spending an hour at the sink washing the dishes in water that I heated on the stove. Especially after the ice storm that is still fresh in our minds, I believe VERY strongly in having an adequate water supply. And in storing water for emergencies. We do. So in that, and some time spent soaking my hands in the sudsy water, I have taken comfort.
Back to the timer. The well guys/pump guys instructed us that we must now flush any sediment out of our well before we can pump the water through the interior pipes. All water has been shut off to the house, and is now operating from a single house, snaked through the basement window from the shut-off valve in the basement. Fifteen minutes on, fifteen minutes off. Run to basement, turn valve on. Run to lawn to collect water sample. Run to basement, turn valve off. Run to lawn, check for sediment. We have to check the water for color and sediment each time. As you can see, the water looks more like a pitcher of lager. When there is no sediment and no color, we're good to go. He said it could take anywhere from three hours to three weeks. So far we know that it didn't take three hours. I love that dirty water. (Boston you're my home!)

And there goes the timer.

I'm running!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

(s)LOW RIDER

Teenage boy drove two miles yesterday, from our driveway to the home of a friend. I had my trusty sidekick Toddler boy with me as we accompanied the fledgling driver on his quick trip. The route between point A and point B was probably THE most winding and narrow road in all of New England. It was gorgeous outside, so my passenger-side window was open. As we rounded one particularly treacherous corner, the school bus suddenly appeared, on the errand of delivering two of our girls from school. The piece of road between bus and van suddenly disappeared. In a split second, tree branches were reaching INSIDE my window and being stripped of their leaves as we maneuvered past the mammoth bus at what felt like Mach 10.



"AAAAAGHHHHHHH!!!!!!" I said.

From the rear I heard "Cool! There are leaves in the van!"

Then I managed "I'm scared! SLOW DOWN!"

To which Toddler boy said "Woah! ... THAT.WAS.AWESOME!"



If it weren't for the stinging on my face from the branch-whipping I took, I might have thought I was dreaming that I was in a cartoon sequence of Mario-Cart. With bonus points. Sheesh.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May I recommend:


Paper Heart
Charlyne Yi does not believe in love. Or so she says. Well, at the very least, she doesnt believe in fairy-tale love or the Hollywood mythology of love, and her own experiences have turned her into yet another modern-day skeptic.

Shipping thanks over to my friend Yankee Girl for discovering this movie.

I will be clearing some time in my calendar to watch it on the big screen when it debuts in August.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I passed this tire swing while rushing to an appointment.
I wanted to park the car and take a flying leap; swing back into my youth, let the breeze move my hair and feel the weightless sensation in my stomach as it carried me up and down, back and forth.
I should have, but I didn't. I pulled out my camera instead and just imagined it.
I need a strong "push" to stop living in the rush of a schedule and step into the joy of the moment. Have you felt this way?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Irena Sendler

On May 12, 2008 a 98 year-old lady named Irena Sendler passed away.
Irena Sendler was born in 1910 in Otwock, Poland, a town some 15 miles southeast of Warsaw. She was greatly influenced by her father who was one of the first Polish Socialists. As a doctor his patients were mostly poor Jews.
During WWII, Irena received permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto. She knew what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews. To be able to enter the Ghetto legally, Irena managed to be issued a pass from Warsaws Epidemic Control Department and she visited the Ghetto daily, reestablished contacts and brought food, medicines and clothing. But 5,000 people were dying a month from starvation and disease in the Ghetto, and she decided to help the Jewish children to get out. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in many ways; some children were taken out in gunnysacks or body bags. Some were buried inside loads of goods. A mechanic took a baby out in his toolbox. Some kids were carried out in potato sacks, others were placed in coffins, some entered a church in the Ghetto which had two entrances. One entrance opened into the Ghetto, the other opened into the Aryan side of Warsaw. They entered the church as Jews and exited as Christians. "Can you guarantee they will live?" Irena later recalled the distraught parents asking. But she could only guarantee they would die if they stayed. "In my dreams," she said, "I still hear the cries when they left their parents."
She managed to smuggle out and save almost 2,500 children and gave them temporary new identities. Irena kept a record of the names of all she smuggled out. She put them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.
The Nazis became aware of Irena's activities, and on October 20, 1943 she was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo, who broke her feet and legs. She ended up in the Pawiak Prison, but no one could break her spirit. Though she was the only one who knew the names and addresses of the families sheltering the Jewish children, she withstood the torture, refusing to betray either her associates or any of the Jewish children in hiding.
Sentenced to death, Irena was saved at the last minute when Zegota members bribed one of the Germans to halt the execution. She escaped from prison but for the rest of the war she was pursued by the Gestapo.
After the war she dug up the jars and used the notes to track down the 2,500 children she placed with adoptive families and to reunite them with relatives scattered across Europe. But most lost their families during the Holocaust in Nazi death camps.
The children had known her only by her code name Jolanta. But years later, after she was honored for her wartime work, her picture appeared in a newspaper. "A man, a painter, telephoned me," said Sendler, "`I remember your face,' he said. `It was you who took me out of the ghetto.' I had many calls like that!"
Irena Sendler did not think of herself as a hero. She claimed no credit for her actions. "I could have done more," she said. "This regret will follow me to my death."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

are you searching?


Where to find answers to some of Life's Greatest Questions.

Does God Really Know Me?
What Happens When I Die?

Is God Happy With Me?
What is The Purpose of My Life?

It's like finding a treasure when you find the answers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

simple saturday


*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

Today will be date day.
Two lawn chairs and Soccer in the morning.
Then stake conference broadcast in the afternoon,
pew for two,
followed by dinner out.

Friday, May 15, 2009

waiting for the mail

Sally's Boutique

My favorite day to go clothes shopping is Wednesday. Because Wednesday at the Salvation Army is "Family Day," and everything is 50% off. Usually I end up going alone or with a young child held hostage, but this week, I had a willing volunteer! Shopping is so much more fun with a buddy. The only reason he didn't end up walking out with this PRIZE jacket, is because I told him the brown stain on the cuff offended me. I couldn't guarantee that oxyclean would get rid of that foul reminder that somebody else wiped their gravy-stained mouth on their sleeve. (phew!) He was totally going to wear it to church on Sunday.


mailboxes

Thursday, May 14, 2009

...four days gone by

and I'm still happy.
Every time I look out my back window.
Not only are the lilacs in bloom,
but my lawn is talking to me!

Can you see it?



It says "HAPPY MOM's DAY."
It was hard to see at first, but the sun helped out and burned the grass where the words were mowed in. One of my favorite Mother's Day gifts. It keeps on giving.

Oh.

P.S.
Last
night
in
the
middle
of making


Belgian Waffles
for dinner, (I know! Indulgent.) The power went out. And then we had to leave for youth night at the church. So off we went, and nobody thought to unplug the waffle iron in case the power might come back on while we were gone... Let the picture speak for itself. We came home to a lov-er-ly charcoal aroma, the house still standing, and this.
We are
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
feeling grateful for thick batter,
a quick trip home
and
no fire-y repercussions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

undone

Last week I swore off sweets. No hidden candy stashes, no oreos for breakfast, no dessert. It lasted five days.
(But I've been SO tired! Sugar=ENERGY)
Monday night we had a chocolate fountain for a family treat. I also had several handsful of m&m's for my bedtime snack; I would have dipped those in the chocolate fountain as well, but I didn't want to share. Tuesday morning I ate Pepperidge Farm Raspberrry Milano distinctive cookies for breakfast.
For lunch I had a PB&J, but chased that down with the free sugar cookie at the grocery store (for kids 12 and under) and a grape (truly) popsicle for afterschool snack. I climbed in bed at 6:30 with my book and the rest of the m&m's, (telling my oldest son to listen for the kitchen timer to beep and come tell me, because that was when I needed to make the jazz band and ballet drop-off and pick-up runs) and only got through half a page before I was comatose. I only left the bed at 8:30 to brush my teeth and say goodnight to the four youngest.
Thank goodness for driving children, because they recognized that I was in no shape to drive. (I was not intoxicated with sugar) I was then plagued with wierd dreams about terrorism and men with hollow heads and mounted fans in the back to keep the dust out of their cavities (I looked for brains, but didn't see any).

Hmmm...

I love my sidekick.
Yesterday on the way home from grocery shopping, he was parched like a nomad in the desert so I promised him a drink of water AND a popsicle upon re-entry. He gladly accepted both. He pulled out a purple twin pop, and asked me if I wanted to split it with him. "Absolutely," I said "Purple is my favorite!" After taking a lick I found myself thinking out loud: "Hmmm... this isn't what I thought it would be." His curiosity was peaked, so he asked "What did you think it would be?" I said "Grape."
He said "Maybe its from a different world. Maybe it comes from the one next to our world."
I never thought of that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Meet Armand


video
Please, humor me while I share the talents of our thespian child (wink).

video

video

The High School Musical played for three nights last weekend. Fun! But a big enough deal that it's a relief to have it be done. On to the next big event...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't throw her under the bus.

Take a few minutes this Mother's Day to click on the following link and read a profound, enlightening post on motherhood:
by soon-to-be Professor Zee.
a VERY brief summation in his words:
I love Eve, and I am eternally grateful for the part she played in the garden. On this Mother’s Day I honor her and all of her daughters, who have inherited her place of honor and the generous spiritual endowments that made it hers. Blessed be the name of Eve, "first of all women" and the "mother of all living" (Moses 4:26).
~Happy Mother's Day~

Friday, May 8, 2009

of crocs, floss and duct tape

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."
-Cynthia Ozik

I got my red crocs for Mother's Day last year. Secretly: I didn't like them, and didn't really want them. But because I didn't want to hurt my childrens' feelings, I put on my best smile and embraced the wearing of plastic shoes with enough sweetness to make your teeth hurt. Now? I'm finding that I've worn them so much over the past year that I'm mourning my future without them. They have holes in the bottoms and have worn very thin in other places.

I am also grateful for floss. (Mom? Are you reading this?) I used to hate it enough to wrap and wrap and wrap the little box around a very heavy rock and toss it into the nearest stream (or toilet). I had to spend an entire summer walking a mile each way to the dentist every morning after breakfast just to brush and floss my teeth because I lied about using it, when 13 cavities between my teeth told the real story.

Duct Tape. Need I say more? When you're out of duct tape, it's like not having milk in the house. I used to think about doing the following, but never acted on it:

But mostly what I'm grateful for, that I take for granted on a daily basis, is the time I get to spend being a mother. Every single minute is a gift. Even the rotten ones. I am at peace with my chaotic, cluttered, unorganized home when I look around and see evidence of the children that live here. I know that this is what's right for me.

I'm humbled by and grateful for my badge of motherhood.