Thursday, April 30, 2009

The April List

Oops! It's the last day of the month and somewhere between the stress of selling one house and preparing to move to another, The List slipped away.

The Quickie List for April (that would be the list of things I'm especially grateful for this month, for new blog readers):
  • Healthy kids & healthy Momma. Knock on wood!
  • Emily! Emily! EMILY! I think she's been on my grateful list a few times. Here is just one teensy reason why: Last week she asked if I needed any help packing. I thanked her for asking. She persisted. Did I need help packing THIS WEEK, because she has a one week break from school and could help? I told her I'd call her if I needed help. Eyes twinkling, she said, "No, I'LL call YOU, because I know you won't call me, so I'll just come do it!" Sure enough, she texted me Monday night and announced that she'd be at my house first thing in the morning, so I'd better have a list ready. I love that girl! When Grace says she wants to be just like Emily when she grows up, I nod and say, "Yes, you do, baby girl. Yes, you do."
  • Betsy, because I had no idea that solving car repair issues could be so silly. Probably because we don't actually SOLVE the issues, which leads to the next item on the list (and thank you, Steve, for the expert banging)...
  • Jake & Lacey! You guys rock, and Lace--you married yourself quite The Man! Freezing cold, pouring rain, getting dark, down on the ground (ew--dirt!), acting like there is nothing else he'd rather be doing...wow. You can't see me, but I'm genuflecting. Really.
  • Boxes, boxes, and more boxes. All the nice people who bring me boxes.
  • Sandals! Weather in which one can actually wear sandals!
  • Toe rings :)
  • A garage. Yes, it's grand being able to park my car in one. It's also a nice place for kids to ride bikes and go crazy when it's pouring rain outside three days straight. Who knew?
  • Marina, my lovely stylist who does such a good job. I'm NOT grateful that she decided to move to Texas next month. Crying buckets of tears and searching for a new stylist, sniff, sniff.
  • The park.
  • Tofu & veggie stir-fry. Mmm. Now I'm hungry...

And one more huge, huge, gigantic thing that is so massively important my gratitude could never be big enough or good enough, but I'll throw it out there anyway--

Ten days away from Mother's Day, I am so grateful for my kiddos' birthmoms. Without them I wouldn't have these four gorgeous, hilarious, brilliant little people in my life. I wouldn't be a Mommy. Wouldn't have nearly so much to celebrate this Mother's Day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving Grace and Mia and Mercie and Eric life, when you could have chosen to end it. Thank you for carefully and prayerfully thinking through what that baby needed, and making an unbelievably tough choice because you were thinking more of that child than anything else. Thank you for carrying that baby and loving that baby and blessing that baby for nine months. Thank you--from my purely selfish heart--for saying goodbye to that baby so I could say hello to every wonder of mothering.

I know it doesn't make the hard parts easier, but please know that every time I hold one of my children close I think of you. I pray for you. I hope good things for you. I love to see you peeking through their eyes, their faces, their mannerisms and expressions. I feel inseperably connected to you, bound together forever by the love we share for this perfect child.

I don't know how things work out in God's grand, eternal plan, but I know that somewhere there is a perfect place where we are together, and terms like "birth mother" and "adoptive mother" fall away, and love is enough to seal us--you, me, and the child we share--together in something stronger than any label or definition.

Adoption has blessed my life, not only because it brought my babies, but because it brought you.

It's All Relative: Observations on the Fourth Dimension

Grace: Wow, I am only eleven things away from being 17. That is SOOOO old.

Mom: How old is Mom? Do you remember?

Grace: Umm....about one-hundred, I think?

Mom: What about Dad?

Grace: oh! Oh! I know this one! He's like, a hundred-bajillion million!!!

No, that is not a stifled snickery-sounding laugh you hear wafting through the computer. Not at all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pills, Princesses, and Lessons Learned

Last night the girls told me that they went for a litter walk at daycare. They solemnly informed me that they found some of "those bad smoking things." This opened an entire discussion about cigarettes, smoking, and just saying no to harmful practices. As usual, their favorite part of the discussion was role-playing different situations where someone might ask them to do the Bad Thing, and practice different ways of refusing.

Being the astute Mommy that I am, I saw an opportunity to throw in other potential peer pressure situations, involving other potentially harmful things/practices (or things that aren't kosher within our religion or just within our family). What if your friend wanted to show you her underwear? What if she wanted you to drink coffee? What if someone told you to take a toy from the store without paying? You get the idea.

I tried to bring up drugs in a way that a barely 5- and almost 6-year old could understand.

"What if your friend said, 'Hey Mia, want to try some of these cool pills I got? They're like medicine and they make you feel all weird and good.'"

Mia looked confused.

I tried again.

"Hey Mia, my older sister said they're really great. You just pretend they are medicine and swallow them. It will be fun--wanna do it?"

Mia still looked confused.

I stepped out of my role-play to be Mommy.

"Remember how we talked about not pretending anything is medicine, Mia? And only taking medicine when Mom or Dad gives it to you?"

Mia nodded.

I tried one more time.

"So, Mia, do you wanna take these pills? They're super fun."

Mia still looked confused. I decided to terminate this particular role-play for a round of more didactic teaching. Just as I opened my mouth Mia spoke up.

"I just have one question about the pills..."

I nodded encouragingly.

In total barely-5 year old earnestness she whispered in a scarcely-daring-to-hope-voice,

"Will they turn me into a princess?"

Ah, innocence is such a sweet and fleeting thing. Is there a way to wrap a little bubble around my wee ones, and keep them in this place where the only reason anyone could offer a *magic* pill would be setting their inner royalty free? Where a friend asking to see your underwear, or, heaven forbid--offering a sip of coffee--, is the worst temptation you might encounter?

Maybe that's why we guard childhood so fiercely, and enact such harsh penalties against those who destroy youthful innocence. We know how brief--and how very, very precious--these short bits of eternity are.

"Let them be little,
'Cause they're only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give 'em praise,
Give them love every day.
Let 'em cry, let 'em giggle,
Let them sleep in the middle,
Lord, let them be little."

Monday, April 27, 2009

You Know You Live in Happy Valley...

Over the weekend we rented a movie that featured a scene where the lead character performed an operatic song and was greeted with applause and cries of "bravissimo!"

Sunday afternoon the kiddles were playing together relatively happily, when my attention was caught by Grace's "Provo, missy! Provo, missy!"

Puzzled, I asked what she was doing. "I'm cheering for Mia, just like they did for Eden in the movie."

As I turned to hide the laughter I could feel bubbling up, Grace said, "But I think when it is Eric's turn I will say, 'Provo, mister! Provo, mister,' because he is a boy."

Of course. Adulations must be both gender-specific and geographically correct.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Junior Princess Turns Four








Mercie's birthday party was last week.
Things I learned:
  • When a group of four-year old girls get together, they are completely unintelligible. They sound something like a room full of poodles and parakeets.
  • Four year old girls have complex and discriminating tastes. One girl would not eat her cake because the frosting was pink and she doesn't like pink frosting. A short time later I noticed her bringing a chunk of something gummy & squishy to her mouth, and I wondered where she got the fruit snack, since we weren't serving fruit snacks. Then she repeated the motion and I remembered that four year old girls are still firmly in the "booger eating" phase. That ended my appetite for pink frosting. Or cake. Or anything else.
  • Four year old girls are much smarter than older girls. I told the girls the story of the Princess who kissed a frog. I put bright red lipstick on the girls and pointed to a computer-generated picture of a frog taped to the wall at four-year old height, and told them they could try kissing the frog. S. and C. were terrified that a prince would pop out and scare them. E. was afraid she would get slimy on her lips. Mercie just wanted somebody else to go first. I finally coaxed them all into doing it, and there were neat rows of little lip prints all over the white edge of the paper around the frog. I asked the girls what they thought of that story and E. said, "It's kind of dumb." Excellent observation! We girls must get stupider as we get older, to believe that the slim possibility of getting a prince is worth kissing a blechy frog.
  • A big bag of M&Ms is more than enough to decorate four birthday cakes, with plenty left over. Mia had a rainbow cake, Mercie got the tastefully simple crown and trim you see above (yes, I know pink and brown is so *last year* but four year old girls are not yet that style conscious), Eric is getting a car that will test my M&M artistic abilities, and Grace wants some kind of rockstar image--she's voting for a portrait of Hannah Montana in the medium of candy-covered chocolate--with the last birthday of the bunch she'll be lucky to get a cupcake with sprinkles.
  • Four year old girls like to giggle. A lot.
  • Four year old girls like to hug and kiss each other. A LOT.
  • Four year old girls are just the cutest thing out there. Except Adi, because she's my favorite cutest thing. And Adam, who doesn't want to be my favorite cutest thing anymore. Still, totally adorable.

I'm not sure what Mercie thought, but Mommy had a blast :).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Little Women & Other Tasty Tidbits

Reminder:

This Friday, 8:30 pm, my house, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Don't worry if you've only nibbled--I've barely started it myself, and may be relying on Wikipedia to fill in the gaps. Or rent the movie with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon, because I remember rather liking it. Of course, I also remember liking the book, and so far (okay, page 17), it's a bit of a snoozer.

This will be the last salon in my current home, we'll skip May, and in June we're doing a book share, swapping lists of favorite must-reads. I'm so excited! More detail to come...

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Think They Have a Future In Politics...

Dinner last night at our house:

Children: Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday, STINKY-DIAPERHEAD, Happy Birthday to you!

Mom: That doesn't sound very nice.

Silence.

Children: Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, BOOGER BRAIN! Happy Birthday to you!

Mom (every child knows this mother-warning tone): C-h-i-i-i-l-d-r-r-r-e-e-e-e-n.....

Children: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, LITTLE POOPY BUTT, Happy Birthday to you!

Mom: Okay, the next person who sings something ugly is going to try the new purple soap to clean those ugly words right out of her mouth.

Silence. Whispered consultation.

Children: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, SKINNY MOMMY! Happy Birthday to you!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sharktooth

If you can see past this embarrassingly bad picture, taken with my embarrassingly old camera, because the much better picture I took with my cell phone can't be uploaded, as I'm embarrassingly technologically illiterate,

You will note that my daughter Mia has a double row of teeth.

Two of her adult bottom teeth have grown in behind her baby teeth.

The dentist assures me that this is normal, and since her baby teeth are a weensy bit loose, we're just going to wait for them to fall out. In a few years we'll know if she needs braces or not. Hoping for not.

Personally, I think it's extremely cool that Mia is a five-year old sharktooth. She's rather sensitive about it, and has been keeping her lips together ever since the first tooth broke the gums. I had to threaten and bribe to get the picture.

With one row of teeth or two, she's still the prettiest little newly-minted five year old around.

Monday, April 06, 2009

General Conference: The Tot Time Version

I am a total General Conference junkie. I live for the first weekends of April & October. This is my parents' fault. Along with Nephi, I can say the whole "been born of goodly parents, yadda, yadda, yadda..." who also instilled in me a deep love of our church leaders and a serious addiction to Conference time.

I'm making every effort to pass the craving along to the kiddos.

The rest of this post is all Megan's fault, because I borrowed her Prophet & Apostles flashcard idea, which had all sorts of interesting consequences.

On Friday I signed a contract listing our house for sale. Yikes! Scary and exhilarating and very peacefully right. I told the kids that we would start looking for a new house. Mia asked if we could please move next to President Monson.

Seeing a teaching opportunity, I told her that we didn't need to live next to the prophet, because we have a bishop who has been called by God to help us and lead us. I explained who he was in terms she could understand (Lucy's dad), and since we seemed to be on a roll I also tossed in the term 'stake president.'

Mia: I don't want Lucy's dad to be our bishop! I only want him to play with me at his house.

Grace: (frantically flipping through the flashcards) MOM! MOM! But where is Erynn's uncle in these? You forgot him! [yes, we had to go through the discussion of general authorities and stake presidents one more time].

Conference itself was the best.

Eric (re: President Uchtdorf): Hey, what the heck--where's his airplane??

Mia (upon hearing Elder Cook refer to his grandpa): WHAT??!! He has a grampa?! That's impossible. Grampas can't HAVE grampas.

Mia (re: President Eyring): Hey--he likes to paint, like me. I think that means he is a little girl.

Mercie (upon being told that Elder Bednar likes football): Oh. Did he ever kick a ball up to the ceiling and break his mom's light? [Can you tell what ELSE happened at our house Saturday morning? Sigh.]

Another awesome Conference, made even better (more fun, anyway) with the insights of the four sweet beasties (or is that 'beastly sweeties'?).

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Win JA Books or the Twilight Movie!

A new JA Challenge is up at

http://janeaustenexperiment.blogspot.com

Pass this along to anyone who might be interested!