Thursday, December 30, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
- Life. It's a fragile thing, and not everyone gets a full, long one. I'm blessed to be alive to mother my children, torment my friends, harass my siblings, and enjoy the daily trials and wonders this world offers.
- Health. Few of us have the fully perfect health we'd like, all of the time, but I certainly don't have room to complain. I can move and see and hear and sing and play, and I couldn't ask for anything more than that.
- Family. Definitely one of my most extraordinary blessings. In fact, let's break this one up:
- Parents. I have great parents. They each bless my life in a million little ways, on a pretty much daily basis. And I consider myself doubly blessed to also have a very kind stepdad and a generous, caring stepmom.
- Siblings. All bajillion of them. My mom always told me that my brothers and sisters would be my best friends. I didn't believe her. I tell my kids the same thing. They look at me like I'm smoking dope (or would, if they knew what dope was. Which they don't). Apparently moms are right about this. I have amazing brothers and sisters. I'm proud of them, love them to pieces, wish for good things in their lives, pray for them & sometimes worry for them, and owe them more than I could ever repay for the endless love they give me.
- Children. Often the source of most of my annoyances and petty frustrations, they are also the source of 90% of my gut-busting laughter and 99.9% of my daily hugs. Quick to forgive my numerous flaws, they are each delightful, bright, interesting people who I enjoy having in my life. So glad we have eternity!
- Friends-who-become-family. This list could probably go on for miles and miles, as I am surrounded by incredible friends, soaked & saturated in good friendship from loving people. Girlfriends to giggle and party with, old friends & new friends, guy friends to hang with, work friends to make the days more interesting, church friends to serve and worship with, neighbors to chat with...I count my friends as some of the best evidence of how much God must love me.
- Home. It's been a mixed blessing, being a homeowner again (can we say, endless and ongoing repair work?), but I adore my house. It's a good one. It's pretty much perfect for us right now.
- Work. Everyone needs a way to pay the bills and indulge in some of life's little luxuries. I am richly blessed in having employment that is intellectually stimulating, emotionally satisfying, socially rewarding, and worth getting up in the morning.
- Books. One of life's chief pleasures since I was five years old. I can't imagine my life without books. Thanks to Alicia, I had two stay-up-until-4am nights this past week, but it was worth it. I polished off my second-to-last Jane Austen and am now working my way through David's contribution to my literary development, before tackling the most recent bequests from Holly. Life is good.
- Art. I don't make nearly enough time in my life to indulge this gift. However, I did recently take the kids to an exhibit at a nearby museum, and while I can't speak for their experience, I was reminded once again how powerful beautiful art can be.
- Music. If anything, this has been part of my life even longer than books--just ask my parents. I used to get in trouble because I wouldn't ever stop singing. 30+ years later I still haven't stopped. I finally have a piano again, after going the longest stretch of my life EVER without one (two whole years!!!), and Santa brought me a guitar (with some help from Luc, who restrung and tuned it the night before, only to have the kids do their own "restringing" and "tuning" the next day....sigh). Beethoven, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Johnny Cash, Mozart, Andrea Bocelli, Frank Sinatra, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Natalie Cole--oh, oh, oh, that's another thing to celebrate--thanks (also) to Luc, I have new Natalie Cole!!!
- Hot showers. I don't think that one needs any explanation.
- Good food. It's a blessing to live during a time when we have the ability to preserve and store food in a range of ways, when an overwhelming variety of food is available at the grocery store, when all kinds of time and labor-saving devices allow us to enjoy good food without any real investment of time. I'm claiming even more specific blessings than that--I'm grateful for neighbors who bring boxes of fresh apples over, for lunch dates at Guru's (the-very-best-food-EVER) and La Jolla Groves (my new favorite thing), for affordable family dinners from Little Caesar's Pizza, for the fun of teaching my kids how to cook (hey, jello and cheese sandwiches still count as food!), and for Krispy Kreme just down the street.
- Warm socks. I must be getting old, because this never would have made the grateful-list in my younger days.
- Church. This could refer to many different things, and I'm grateful for each meaning of the word, but I'm feeling especially thankful for church as a community of believers, for the opportunity of communal worship, for the fellowship of the saints. It's a very good thing.
- Pretty clothes. I may not have the greatest fashion sense, but I do like pretty clothes. And shoes. Proof that I am indeed a girl, there's just nothing quite like feeling fabulous.
- IKEA. Enough said.
- Testimony. Somewhat related to church, but focused much more on my personal relationship with God, I am blessed to have that relationship, to claim that personal and intimate knowledge that He is real, that I'm His child, that He has a plan for me and for every other person. There are many things I don't know, and many more that I don't really understand, but I do know God loves us. Know it deep down to my toes and woven tightly into my soul. This is the core that binds everything else together. My testimony carries me through the rough spots and makes the good parts even brighter and happier.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I was just reviewing my 2010 goals and I realized that I'd better hurry if I'm going to claim success on the TMI front.
So, without further ado, here is the possibly-last-of-2010-random-dose-of-Wendy-trivia:
- I adore stinky-breath foods like garlicky hummus and onion-glazed salmon. Mmm...
- I took a weightlifting class this past semester. Shut up--I can hear your shocked gasps all the way through the computer screen. So maybe I audited it--I still went sometimes. And I'm a little bit more trimmed and toned than I was before...really.
- Recently I tried a new hairstylist. When I explained to her what type of style I was going for she said, "Oh, I get it! You want Victoria's Secret hair! That's what we call it in this business, anyway." Um, yeah. You can call it that, and in my head I'll call it something else.
- I'm trying to get up my nerve to try waxing my armpits. Not brave enough yet, though.
- One of the more boring--albeit safe and predictable--aspects of single parenthood is always knowing exactly what Santa is bringing me for Christmas. I can't exactly complain--I always get what I want, or at least, what I wanted the family to get.
- A luxury that I don't indulge in nearly as often as I'd like is wandering around art museums. Not that I know anything about art; I just like looking.
- A couple of months ago the Divine Ms. B and I had pedicures and decided to try glitter toes. Holy heck!!! I STILL cannot get that stuff off my big toes!!!! I've chipped and pried and chiseled, I've softened and cleansed, oiled and sanitized....nothing. Well, little bits have come off, leaving ugly splotchy glittery blue patches on my toes, but those patches have taken up permanent residence. It's like sparkly blue mold. Good thing it's December, not June.
- When no one is around and I'm home alone I like putting my hair up in braids. It looks exactly how you'd think a 3-year old little girl hairstyle looks on a closer-to-40 year old woman. Why do you think I only do it when I'm home alone?
- Sometimes I let my girls do my hair. Sadly, it often looks better than when I do.
- One of my favorite possessions is a fabulous headboard that I found at a yard sale for $8. Yes, that's EIGHT whole dollars! I sanded it down and painted it black, and it makes me smile every time I see it.
Now you know a bit more than you wanted to know about my wonderful life. Feel better?
Saturday, December 11, 2010
And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
John 11:33- 36
If you've ever meandered around my blog and clicked on any of the links to blogs I read, you probably stumbled across my friend Krista, a.k.a Wonder Woman. My name for her; she'd never claim it for herself. But I don't know a better way to describe Krista: Krista with a generous heart, infectious enthusiasm for life, passion for her family, rock-solid faith, and a brilliant, shining testimony shared freely with everyone remotely within her orbit.
Years of infertility and heartbreaking losses didn't dim Krista. A diagnosis of terminal brain cancer five years ago didn't dim Krista. She took hits that would knock most of us out of the game and came back grinning, raring to play again. I think I started to believe that she was invincible, that her huge smile really was as magical as it seemed in cultivating immortality.
Which made it all the harder to see this note from her husband Jared yesterday morning:
Krista was rushed to the ER late last night with breathing difficulties. Tests revealed she had blood clots in both lungs and her body couldn't get the oxygen it needed. Despite the doctors' best efforts Krista passed away early this morning. I will dearly miss her until we are together again. Please keep us in your prayers.
I started crying yesterday morning and haven't stopped. If anyone is worth the tears, she is. I'm not crying so much for Krista--as much as she hoped and prayed and wanted to stay here and raise her children, as much as she wanted to keep them from the pain of losing a mother--knowing Krista and her bright, amazing faith, she's lighting up heaven with that smile and loving her babies in a more perfect, more "real" way than any of us know. I'm crying for her husband and crying for her kiddos, for the hundreds and thousands of people who she touched, and I'm selfishly crying for myself because I'd rather have her here than up in heaven.
Last night I played the organ at the temple. This morning I met some friends to do a session together at the temple. The temple is a good place to bring sadness.
During this poignant time of year as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and say goodbye to our precious friend, I am grateful for the comforting knowledge that, as Elder Wirthlin expressed, "Sunday will come." Grateful to know that temporary partings are just that--temporary. Grateful for sacred ordinances that allow families to be together forever. Grateful that Christ didn't shrink from the bitter cup, but worked out the full, complete Atonement so that our suffering could be swallowed up in His love. I'm grateful for the blessing and privilege of friends like Wonder Woman, who bring me closer to Him.
I'm also grateful that, in spite of His perfect knowledge of all eternity and His perfect power over death, when I'm crying tears of loss for my friend, He understands. He cries, too.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
30 nov 2010 Pleas can i hav a cids jeep and pleas can I have a barbees and a suffed anmol and socks and a doll and blankits and orbaments.
I want 10 skateboards. And a Ipod. And I want a pretend gun. But I'm not going to shoot anybody; I'm just going to shoot the wall. And I want a bunny. And a candy.
I wot a camera. I wot a computer. I wot a Ipod. I wot a camera.
Please give me a brbie. Bells balloons. Santy Clus. I wont a glass of Jesis and Merey. And a Ipod.
Disregard all above Ipod requests. You know how my kids are with small electronics. Big ones, too, for that matter. My Christmas list? Well, I must say, last year you did pretty well. Two out of three ain't too shabby. However, I believe we both know what that leaves for this year's Christmas wish. I'll keep it simple and singleminded. I'll even give you all of 2011, just so we're clear on what I'd like by this time next year. If you need help with any of the details I'm sure you'll find lots of pointers here .
Thanks ever so much,
Friday, November 26, 2010
Grace: I think Mercie has a problem with worrying more about other people and not worrying about her own self.
Mom: Ahem. I don't think Mercie is the only one with that problem.
Grace: What? I don't have a problem worrying about other people's business. I just tattle. That's all.
Nice to have that clarified.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Mia: I'm thankful for God and Jesus and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Grace: I'm thankful for Christmas and holidays and everybody.... except bad guys.
Mia: She was going to say everyone except Mercie, but she didn't want to get in trouble.
Grace: I WAS NOT!!!! Mia's tattling on me for something I didn't even do!
Mom: OKAY, Eric's turn.
Eric: I'm thankful for all movies, except bad ones, like Toy Story 1, and Toy Story 2, and Toy Story 3, and Monster House.
Mercie: I'm thankful for everything. Except olives and Satan.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
From what I hear, most children, when given the choice, choose the sparkling, brand-spanking new clothes Mommy just bought them, but my children thrive on marching to the beat of their own insane drummer, and they bypass the new, attractive clothing in favor of things that would be a better fit for the rag heap than a child's dresser.
Case 1: At the beginning of the school year I spent one of the most frustrating afternoons of my life buying new shoes for every single child. In Mercie's case, she ended up with three brand new pairs of shoes and a couple of hand-me-downs from her older sisters that were still in good condition. School started and day after day Mercie insisted on heading out the door in dingy white sandals that were too small, too broken, and too cold for wear. Since I believe in choosing my battles, and I also believe in natural consequences (really, how warm or comfortable could those sandals be???), yes, I was a bad mother and I let her do it.
When stopping by Mercie's class to drop something off, her teacher took me to a private corner and informed me that the school had a special fund available to help families buy shoes for their children, and if providing Mercie with shoes was a problem it would really be so very easy for them to help me out.
Yes, I was totally and completely chagrined. She was nice as could be about it, which is more than I can say for myself when we got home that night and I had a little chat with Mercie about the importance of wearing the new shoes Mommy bought for her.
Case 2: fast forward a few days. In spite of the fact that it is November, all four of my kids insist on leaving their jackets home when they go to school. Apparently keeping track of a backpack is the absolute maximum effort their brains are capable of and a coat would short circuit neurons from which they'd never recover. Grace and Mia annnounced that they weren't bringing coats. Not to be outdone, Mercie followed suit. When we got to school Grace changed her mind. Her coat was home in her room, so she asked Mercie if she could borrow Mercie's coat that was lovingly tossed on the floor of the minivan. Mercie agreed.
In the afternoon I got an email from Mercie's teacher. She told me that she was worried about Mercie being too cold at recess, and when she asked Mercie where her coat was Mercie responded that she couldn't wear it today because "today is Grace's turn to wear the coat."
Yes. She really said that.
Mercie's very nice teacher immediately went on to tell me that the school has a special fund available to help families get warm coats for their children and it really would be so easy to get Mercie a coat of her very own so she doesn't have to share.
Recently I went shopping for pants, socks, tights, and some other winter clothing items the kids needed. $300+ later I was bemoaning the money I'd never get back and predicting how many days we'd go before each child had completely ruined his or her new clothes.
"That's the worst part," I whined to a friend. "It's like throwing my money in the garbage, or setting it on fire. We'll be lucky to get one good day out of $300 worth of new clothes. It drives me crazy to part with hard-earned cash for this!"
"Well, you don't HAVE to do it, " he responded. "You know, the school has a special fund to help people like you..."
Monday, November 01, 2010
As always, no need to RSVP; just come. Send a message if you need the address.
Togas are optional.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I listed off all the hits my wallet had taken recently--repairing a dryer door because Eric sat on it, buying Mia new shoes because she took scissors to the old ones, new pants for Mercie when she proudly showed me how big of a hole she could make in them with her fingers, a new lunch bag to replace a lost one, an excessive amount of school lunches for Grace because she keeps "forgetting" her home-packed lunch...
Then I told the kiddos that it looked like we probably wouldn't have enough money for Christmas presents this year.
However, my efforts to turn this into a discussion about how we could better practice frugality were derailed when Grace took the floor.
"You should have said yes to that man, Mom."
"The man when you went to get your contacts. You should have told him yes."
" Not sure what you mean, Gracie."
"Well, he asked you if you wanted cash back. You should have said yes. Then we'd be rich."
Monday, October 18, 2010
Mom: "Hmm...like, a mean person who only thinks about himself and doesn't care about other people."
Grace: "Is it a bad word?"
Mom: "Yeah, it's not really a nice thing to call someone a selfish jerk."
Mia: "What if it's true?"
Mom: "Well, you can think it in your head but you probably shouldn't say it out loud."
Grace: "Yeah, Mia, it's okay to think ANYTHING you want in your head. Even bad words like 'idiot' or 'stupid.'"
Mia: "Well, my head is thinking that I don't like Eric."
Mom: "You can think it in your head, Mia, but you can't say it with your mouth."
Eric: "Well, my head is thinking that Mia is a something that means a mean person who only cares about herself and doesn't care about other people."
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I could say it started when we went out to the car this morning, rushing because I really, REALLY needed to get to my morning class on time, only to discover that, once again, the kids left a car door partially open and drained the battery overnight.
Getting to class at all, let alone on time, didn't happen, which sucked because I completely bombed the previous night's homework (and I mean, BOMBED), when I followed the idiotic train of thought that taking a timed quiz with small children in the home could actually work. HAH!
I could say that the icing on the cake was settling down to work late tonight, in a vain attempt to catch up from life in general and from being out sick yesterday, only to get a phone call that child number 2 was at the emergency room with children nos 1, 3, 4, prepping for stitches from a playground accident and none of them had eaten dinner yet.
But then I'd have to back up and explain that I'd caught some kind of bug and haven't eaten anything besides fruit juice and chicken broth since Saturday, and spent Sunday & Monday feeling a shade off from death itself, hence the need to work late and catch up.
And the reason I (probably) got sick is because I never, ever get enough sleep. Ever. Partly my own insanity of trying to go to school while working fulltime; partly my insanity of having four kids. Partly the kids' insanity because they have this wild belief that waking up all night is a normal and fun thing to do, and if it's so much fun, bringing Mommy into the action is even better.
I actually wouldn't mind if child no. X woke me up, if that meant we'd finally get past this bedtime potty training thing. As it is, she wears pullups, and even with those, her bed still reeks of pee. The entire room reeks of pee. I think you can smell it the minute you turn down the hall in that general direction, and I'm not sure, but I think sometimes you can even smell it from the front door. Since daily morning baths are not an option (see above about children getting up all freaking night long), she often just gets rinsed off and wiped down and sent off to school where other children tell her that she smells like pee. I'm pretty sure that I am A.) sealing my win for Worst Mother of the Year, and B.) ensuring that she'll spend hours in therapy as an adult. And now I just blogged this to the universe. The poor girl doesn't stand a chance.
However, the smell wafting down the hall from her bedroom has to compete with the many, many unpleasant odors filling my house. Kids' bathroom? Check. Overflowing garbage can with too many days worth of anonymous child's bedtime diapers. Downstairs bathroom? Check. Apparently if Mom never goes into that bathroom flushing is not only optional, it's undesirable. Laundry room? Check. You'd think a room dedicated to cleaning clothes would be safe from stink, but a 7-year old who thought it was funny to throw her wet swimsuit behind the dryer three months ago ensured that even that shrine of cleanliness smells like a locker room. The kitchen? Don't even go there. Really. Don't. I haven't cleared away dinner from two nights ago, the drain on one side of the sink isn't working, and the kids stuck something down the disposal that I can't get to and the smell coming from the sink is somewhere between retch and death.
In spite of numerous discussions and punishments, a massive chalkboard in the kitchen, and an obscene quantity of scratch paper & pens, the children persist in using the walls as canvas for their deepest thoughts. I'm not sure I'd mind if I saw Holy Writ scribbled next to the light switches, or loving sentiments inscribed next to the towel bar, but for some strange reason, seeing "I hat Mia," or "Mercieisbad," permanent-markered into the new paint job just sets me off.
So, we've established that the past couple of days have been a bit challenging.
All the more reason I had to shake my head in disbelief when a (deranged) student caught me today and said, "Hey! I know you! You're that smiley-lady who always makes people laugh over in the LA building! You're so cheerful!" Honey, lunatics are ALWAYS cheerful. It's a natural side effect of disconnecting from reality.
But it reminded me of a message that an old friend, recently reconnected with on facebook, sent a week or so ago, asking how I stay so upbeat and happy as a single mom. It wasn't the first, and I'm sure it won't be the last, time I've heard that question. For the record, here's my answer:
1.) I don't. You see the status updates on fb; you don't see me bawling on the closet floor after the kids go to bed. I don't post those on facebook.
2.) Life is hard. That's true for everyone, not just for single moms. I'd rather laugh about it. Laughing is waaaaaaay better than crying. Unless it's that therapeutic cry on the closet floor every few months.
3.) Sure, a divorced life isn't a cake walk, but if the choice is miserably married or happily divorced....well, I think it's pretty obvious which one I chose.
4.) So one little thing (or many, depending on the day) in my life didn't go as planned--it doesn't negate all the freaking awesome things in my life! If you line them up side by side, the good faaaaaaaaaaaar outweighs the bad. Even on crappy days.
Still, those conversations make me pause and wonder if I'm sometimes being a little bit too Pollyanna-ish and maybe giving the world a skewed perception of My Life With Ducks.
I just don't like negativity. Life's too short. My kids drive me crazy, but that melts away and all their cuteness and smartness and incredibleness is still there. Life is rough sometimes but I'll take it any day over the alternative. It might set your teeth on edge, but I truly, genuinely, deep-down-in-my-boots believe that happiness is a choice, and I choose it.
So, enjoy this one and only look at the dark side, because it's already fading, due largely to the unfailing kindness of Brain-Pain & the Divine Ms. B, who certainly count as one of the best evidences that God hasn't given up on me yet by sending friends like them. Throw in kids who sang me to sleep because my throat hurt too much to sing for them, and neighbors who sent over food for the kids, and Erynn, who stayed Sunday night when I.thought.I.was.going.to.die, and a few billion friends and family who called, texted, emailed, or sent up smoke signals to make sure that all was (relatively) well, and you can see just how high the good stacks up against the temporarily-bad.
Life might be crazy in the trenches, but it's the good kinda crazy.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Around 3am the daughter who was wedged tightly against me woke up to use the restroom. When she came back to bed she didn't go to sleep right away, but just lay awake, snuggled up to me, staring at the ceiling, eyes closing periodically, then opening again.
I lay next to her and just looked at her. It was one of those perfect 3am moments when you are just filled with love for this perfect little person, reveling in all the joy that she has brought into your life. Those of you who are parents know exactly what I'm talking about.
I held her close and looked at her and smiled at her and loved her. She'd open her big brown eyes and look back at me, and then her glance would slide away. I don't think it was just fatigue or the wee hours. I've noticed that as children get older, their eyes tend to slide away from the unabashed force of parental love.
When they were babies my kids ate it up. Watch a mother and a baby interact. Notice all the eye-to-eye contact, the huge smiles, the wonder on both faces. Parent and child are both totally, completely in love. They look into each others' eyes and faces and drink it all in.
Somehow that gets lost as they get older.
Those thoughts were going through my head last night at 3am. I was thinking how, even if she looks away, I'll still be looking at my baby girl with all that love. I was thinking how much I loved her when she was a brand new tiny baby on my lap, and how much I love her now that she's a big second grader, and how much I'll love her a year from now and a few decades from now, and that, just like I tell her all the time, even when she's a big grown up lady with babies of her own, she'll always be my baby. And I'll always look at her with love pouring out my eyes.
Then I thought of Someone Else who always looks at us that way, even when we slide our eyes away, or turn our head, or run away as fast as we can. I thought of Someone who understands a lot more about parenting than I do, and a lot more about the constancy of love and power of forgiveness and joy of mercy. I thought of Someone whose entire being and purpose is wrapped up in His children--our welfare and happiness His "work and glory."
I hugged my girl and loved my girl and let the 'light of my countenance shine upon her,' and I understood a little better just how much God loves me.
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Just in case I missed it she reminded me a few hundred times before dinner and bedtime, always ending with a stern, "but I CANNOT tell you what I wished for, or it won't come true."
Right before I went to tuck the twins into bed Grace whispered in my ear.
"Can me & Mia sleep in your bed with you tonight?"
She asks this almost every night, and as adorable as they are, I rarely say yes because, frankly, my bed is not exactly big enough for a slightly oversize mommy (me), a very close snuggler (Grace), and a thrashing-all-over-the-bed tornado (Mia). I told her I'd think about it.
When I came out of the twins' room Grace looked at me with a hopeful expression.
I sighed. "Sorry, sweetie. I really need a good sleep tonight, so we're all going to sleep in our own beds."
Grace's face fell. "Aw, dangit," she griped. "I guess I just wasted one whole wish from my magic wishing rock."
Feeling a wee bit of mommy guilt for denying her such a simple pleasure--and feeling oddly touched that, when given the option to wish for anything, what she wanted most of all was just to sleep in my bed for one night, I asked if that had been her wish.
"Not exactly," she muttered disgustedly. "I wished that you would always do what I want you to do. Forever. And I wished we could go to Disneyland. But since you're in charge of going to Disneyland I guess that wish is wasted, too."
The next few minutes were filled with Mommy trying to catch her breath between fits of laughter, and Grace's murmered complaints--"I KNEW that magic wouldn't work on you. Stupid wishing rock. Next time I am NOT wasting a wish on Mom."
When I finally caught my breath Grace said, "You can go ahead and put this on the internet. Because I know you're going to, anyway."
My smart, smart, magical little girl :).
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Tomorrow I'm scheduled for a root canal and I realized for the umpteenth time that I really don't mind going to the dentist. Kind of look forward it, actually. Even for root canals.
My dentist claims that mothers of young children are the only patients who enjoy spending time in his office. I think he's on to something.
From the time I wake up to the time my head hits the pillow, I run the world. I keep four little beasties fed, clothed, bathed, behaved (sort of), alive, and relatively uninjured. I keep a house from falling apart or being condemned by the health department. I keep my car maintained and repaired and running. I keep myself maintained, repaired, and running. I go to work and keep my department running. I plan and strategize and oversee and delegate and follow up. At home, at work, at church; I cajole and entreat and sometimes nag. I keep track of all the details--what size shoe each child wears, what level of certification each employee is at, which child needs what shots before school starts, which keys are checked out to which employee, who is due for vision exams or training sessions or playdates or promotions.
There are very, very few places in my life where I can let the burdens slide off and let somebody else take over. The dentist's office is one of those places.
When I get in that chair I'm not in charge anymore. All I have to do is lay there with my mouth open and do nothing. I've been known to fall asleep while he's drilling. No happy gas; it's just the unadulterated bliss of surrendering control.
Zen at the dental office.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
For the past couple of years we periodically practice this at home, with the idea of both ensuring that the kids are clear on what Mommy believes, spiritually speaking, and giving them the opportunity to practice for a future time when they might want to try a more public forum.
Monday for Family Home Evening we held another family testimony share.
Grace's went something like this:
"I want to bear my testimony. I know Jesus lives. I know God lives. What else do I say? Oh yeah--I love my mom. I love my family. The end. Um, wait, I mean...what do I say? Oh wait, I know--um, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Mia polished hers up.
"I want to bear my testimony. I know that Heavenly Father answers my prayers and everyone's prayers in the whole world. I know that Jesus loves me. And everyone else in the whole world. I have a testimony that Jesus is the Savior. The Redeemer. What are other names we call Him? I don't remember. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Mercie played the diplomat.
"I want to bear my testimony. I know that things are true. And other things are true, too. And things that other people believe are true, too. And the things that we all believe are true. And that's all."
Eric went straight from the heart.
"I wanna bear my testimony. Um, what's a testimony again? (It's things you know are true). Oh yeah. Um, I know Heavenly Father is true. I know Jesus is real. I know Santa is real. And Bob the Builder. And the reindeer. And Lady Gaga. The end."
I think Eric is overdue for a Mother-Son chat.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Mom: "Um, something besides that. It's when you receive the gift of...."
Grace: "A blessing! A priesthood blessing!"
Mom: "Well, it IS a blessing, but it's a special one that we call a c--"
Mom: "Noooo.... it's called 'con--'"
Grace: "Conscience? Consider? Consonant?"
Mom: "Would you rather eat a bowl full of boogers or a pile of poop?"
Eric: "A bowl full of boogers, a bowl full of boogers!!"
Mom: "Eeeewwww! Are you sure about that?"
Eric: "Yeah. 'Cuz I already eat boogers all the time. Like this."
(I'll spare you the description of what followed).
Grace: "What if my new teacher at my new school doesn't speak English?"
Mom: "She speaks English."
Grace: "But what if she doesn't??? And what if I can't understand her, because she only speaks Spanish?"
Mom: "If she speaks Spanish, she'll be able to speak English, too, so you'll get to learn Spanish AND speak English." (this is sooooo a moot point, as her new teacher is a perky little blond born & bred in Happy Valley, but whatever...)
Grace: "But what if she speaks CALIFORNIA Spanish???"
Mom: "Eh...What the heck is California Spanish?"
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Grace's first grade teacher helped the kids write coupons for their moms. The theme seemed to be jobs you could do for your mom. Grace chose the two things that she is only allowed to do under supervision--unloading the dishwasher and washing dishes--and for good measure she generously offered to "bake some cookies" for me.
Mia filled out a pre-written sheet about her mom. Bold is Mia.
My mommy is so CUTE. Her name is WINDY and she is only 44 years old (yeah, in another decade or so...). I am pretty sure she weighs 10 pounds and is 9 feet tall. They grow up so fast! Her eyes are GREN and her hair is BROWN. Some people say she looks like me (if they're drunk or blind, maybe). There are a few things you need to know about my mom. Her favorite thing to do is GET CANDEE FOR ME (Hah!). She is really good at RIDNG BOOKS (aww, nice to know that somebody has that much faith in me). Her favorite color is GREN. Her favorite song to sing is MARE HAD A LITTL LAM ("Mia, when have you ever heard me sing that song?" "Never. I was just kidding.") Her favorite TV show is MAMAMIA (ahem). If I could get my mom something special just from me it would be DIAMONDS. I love her so much because SHE IS SO NIS. She loves me so much because SHE GITS ME PIZZA. Happy Mother's Day, Love, MIA. I LOVE YOU MOMMY.
Mercie drew a beautiful picture for me.
Eric's teacher was on the same page as Mia's. He brought home the following:
My special person. My special person's name is MOM. Her favorite color is GREEN. She likes to wear SKIRTS. She likes to go TO BY STUFF. I like it when she BE'S NICE. I would like to buy her LIPSTICK (since Mommy never, ever wears lipstick, what Eric really means is that he would buy me more Lightning McQueen cherry-flavored lip gloss, because I would share it with him, just like I do the other Disney chapsticks in my makeup bag that are "mommy's" because that's the only way to keep them from being smeared into the carpet).
All in all, a perfect Mother's Day.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
1.)A major pet peeve of mine is when I can't tell if someone is male or female. I'm not talking about those who intentionally try to dress like the opposite gender. I'm not talking about someone who is clearly male or female, but happens to have one physical trait that is rather more like the other. I'm talking about rather ordinary folks who don't appear to make any effort to look like their own gender. I know it's hopelessly petty and politically incorrect, but it just BUGS ME! Not a fan of androgyny.
2.) I love frozen grapes.
3.) Watermelon is my favorite fruit. And blackberries. And strawberries. And fresh peaches. Mmmmm...
4.) I adore carrying my almost-7-year old into daycare like a baby. In her words,"You like this because it reminds you that I will always be your baby. I like it because it gives me more mommy snuggle time with you." Love that girl, I do.
5.) Homophobia really gets on my nerves. Yes, I realize the irony, given no. 1, but still. It just seems so completely irrelevant. And yes, I generally can't resist the urge to use the "methinks the man protesteth too much...do you have a 'closet' reason for being so insecure w/your own sexuality...??" card when confronted with idiots.
6.) Idiots in general annoy me.
7.) Idiocy is different from absent-mindedness, or being scatterbrained (which I frequently am), both of which can result in temporary stupidity (myself being the prime example). Idiots are usually recognizable by their rabid narrow-mindedness.
8.) I'm a mediocre cook, but I can do a mean pulled pork, divine chocolate brownies, and seafood chowder to die for.
9.) I really should NOT be left in charge of college students on April first. Talk about leaving the monkey in charge of the zoo...
10.) I got a D in Biology 101. I think I went to class exactly twice, but I managed to pass every test and maxed out extra credit. Next week I'm running workshops on how to help students succeed in freshman-level Biology. Ah, the irony.
11.) I frequently end up in texting or email conversations that are so long and convoluted, we could have saved ourselves hours of time just by dialing the phone. The record was a couple of weeks ago when I racked up 51 emails back and forth in less than 30 minutes. I think I spent more time hitting "send" than I did writing the emails themselves. Ah, technopidity.
12.) I loathe public swimming pools.
13.) I'm running a 5K in June. Hating most every minute, but doing it.
14.) I really, really like tulips. This time of year makes me very happy.
15.) We currently don't own a DVD player because my kids broke three of them in less than six months and I took it as a sign.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Friday, April 02, 2010
I spent Good Friday evening worshipping through music in the temple. Sometimes music expresses thoughts & feelings that can't be shared any other way.
There's so much I want to say about how much I love this Man I call Savior, Redeemer, and Lord, so much to praise Him for every good thing in my life that He makes possible, so much to honor His Life, His Atonement, and His Perfect Love.
My words aren't big enough or anything close to beautiful enough to do Him justice.
So, turning to music again, here is one my favorite songs--the one my kids call "Mommy's Song"--to say what I can't phrase (another early American hymn, attributed to Robert Wadsworth Lowry.
My life goes on,
In endless song
Above earth's lamentation.
I hear a real,
tho' far-off hymn,
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult
And the strife
I hear the music ringing--
It sounds an echo
In my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
What if my joys
And comforts die?
The Lord, my Savior liveth.
What tho' the darkness
Songs in the night He giveth.
No storm can shake
My inmost calm,
While to that refuge clinging--
If Christ is Lord
Of Heav'n & earth,
How can I keep from singing?
I lift my eyes,
The clouds grow dim;
I see the blue above it.
And day by day
This pathway smoothes,
Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ
Makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing
All things are mine
Since I am His--
How can I keep from singing?
All things are mine, since I am His--how can I keep from singing?
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This is SUCH a friendly street! Like Pavlov's dog, my kids are now conditioned. Each time the doorbell rings--"Quick! Mia, get the door! It's probably someone bringing us cookies again!" And more often than not, they've been right.
Not only are the neighbors nice, they are also fun. A sense of humor is very important in coping with our family, mostly because I have four insane children, and also because I have insane friends. Like Michelle. One of the first cookie-bringers was my delightful neighbor-across-the-street Heidi. Michelle came running to the door, gushing, "Oh, are you the new neighbor? I'm Wendy's life-partner, and these are our children. We used a surrogate, in case you were wondering. Is this neighborhood very open to alternative lifestyles?" Heidi didn't even bat an eyelash. This bodes well for her endurance as my neighbor.
The house itself is delightful, but I gotta say, having great neighbors is a dealbreaker. I may never move...
Monday, March 29, 2010
At bedtime last night I got in some good snuggle time, and threw in a '3 Things I Love About Eric' for good measure. He immediately responded with 5 things he loves about Mommy.
“I love you because you are so happy and smiling and you laugh, and I love you because you are so reverent at prayer time, and I love you because you get me stuff and I like you because I am your boy and, and, and—how many is this? Oh yeah, um, four. And I love you that you made me this pillowcase even though it’s ripped on this one edge but it’s still working and you don’t have to throw it away because it’s just a little hole.”
Did you get that, Mom? Apparently I have finally learned to be reverent at prayer time--and it actually garnered me some mommy brownie points in Ericland.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Another lifetime ago, I forever gave up all hope of having a garage when I married a car guy. The garage was packed floor to rafters with Very Important Stuff that did not include actual cars, and I was fine with that. Who needs a garage when you've got love?
Post-divorce, the day finally came when the MFKAMH finally had all that stuff out of the garage and I inherited a very big, very empty garage. The first time I saw my empty garage I sat down on the cement steps and cried.
But only for a minute or two. Then I smiled, wiped my eyes, and even sort of laughed a little bit. And I grabbed my car keys and put the car in the garage.
Do you have any idea how much easier it is to load four wiggly little bodies in and out of the car early in the morning during a snowstorm when you HAVE A GARAGE??? Do you know how nice it is to have a clear work area for refinishing furniture or hiding large Christmas presents or
stacking empty boxes? Yep, it's awesome.
I sold that house last year & wasn't sure what the next step was, so we rented a place down the street. The only real drawback was that instead of a garage it had a carport. A very skinny carport that didn't leave room on either side to exit the car without stepping in the mud or slipping on the ice.
And now... We have a garage. It's a beautiful thing :).
Friday, March 26, 2010
When the kids are gone, there's an outdoor track at the jr. high two blocks away.
When it's cold outside the indoor track is 8 blocks away, and right next door to the gym are TWO outdoor tracks, nicely measured out so I can mark my huffing, puffing progress.
Rumor has it there are two other little city parks tucked within a four-block radius of our new house, but we haven't explored that far yet.
I took this proximity as a sign & registered for my first 5k in, oh, probably 20 years. Dreading it, hating every minute of dragging my out-of-shape body around these abundant tracks...but also glad through the gritted teeth.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
You cannot see my daughters. They are on the other side of the table, gagging.
You cannot see me. I am holding the camera, and I am laughing uncontrollably.
This is Eric's award-winning recipe:
Breaded tilapia fillet
Dipped in Apple Juice
Arrange artfully. Serve. Enjoy.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Mom: Eric, what are you going to be when you grow up?
Eric: A princess!!!
Mom: Who are you going to marry when you grow up?
Eric: A handsome prince!
Mom: What's your favorite color?
(yes, Eric always speaks in exclamation marks. The quotes are punctually correct).
However, recently I'm detecting a shift of sorts.
Last weekend was Hair Time at our house. It's a rather unpleasant time of combing out three little afros, washing, re-combing, and "styling" (I use the term loosely) those same curly heads. The children come through it alive and I come through it semi-sane thanks to a stack of movies. Last week I broke down and let them watch Spongebob (I am SO not a Spongebob fan).
Apparently the musical artist Pink did a guest appearance on Spongebob.
As I was trying not to retch I heard a sound coming from the little boy curled up next to me on the couch. Looking down, I saw the glazed-over look of a man in love. With his tongue practically hanging out in a pant, Eric said, "I like her A LOT."
Silly mommy had to ask.
"Because she's so CUTE!"
A short silence followed.
Then, in a tone of reverential awe previously reserved for the large Megatron left in his Christmas stocking, or the time he got to choose three whole pieces of candy from the prize box, he added:
"AND....she's got BOOBS!"
I think he has set the record 'straight.'
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
I think I love Jesus. I think I'm going to follow His commandments. I think I'm going to listen to Him. I think I'm done.
There you have it.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Monday, February 01, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Is it Amy Grant?
Hey! Mia just walked in, saw the pictures, and asked if that was me. Wahoo! Two out of four--Eric just asked where those pictures of Mommy came from. Guess we know who Mommy's current favorite children are...
I think she's beautiful, mind-blowingly smart, and unbelievably strong, but you couldn't pay me to trade lives with her.
I briefly dated a guy who swore I was a deadringer for Home Improvement's savvy momma. Personally, I think he was more in love with her than me.
Rachel Dratch of SNL fame?
Last week a student informed me that he always thinks of RD when he sees me. Um, thanks? Maybe he meant snarky sense of humor... yeah, that was it.
Reba McEntire? Yep, you know I'd have to include her. And not just because I had her hair--BIG, red, BIG, fluffy, and RED through high school.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
- Since it's just me & the kids at home, sometimes I drink straight out of the jug. My babysitters probably didn't want to know that.
- I love to bake bread. I usually eat a half loaf when the first batch comes out of the oven.
- I like cooking for people. My kids are an especially under-appreciative audience ("Eww--this has green stuff in it! Why can't we have chicken nuggets? I HATE brown bread!") It starts to grind on me, wearing my self-esteem to tatters. So I occasionally beg people to let me make food for them so that I can feel appreciated. I know--it's SO pathetic.
- I stay up too late at night, even when I'm trying really hard to do better. That's the curse of having too many awesome girlfriends & sisters to chat, text, email, and talk with.
- My sisters--and Betsy--are my only friends who I talk to via phone even when I'm in the bathroom. Just gotta put the phone down to flush. Aren't you so glad I shared that?
- Once, last week, I was so tired that I wanted to skip the gym at 6:00am, but I didn't want to admit it, so I got dressed, and when the babysitter came, I drove to the gym, went inside for 10 minutes, then went out to the car and napped for the next 40.
- I'm totally okay with scaring the bejeebies out of my kids if it's for a greater good.
- One of my secret (not anymore) dreams is to have my own preschool. Another is to own a health food store with my sister.
- I worked for six months to take the GRE, did well on it, then pulled all my applications and decided to bag the grad school idea for now. No regrets.
- I whine about it sometimes, but I secretly kind of like shoveling snow.
There you go. More than you ever wanted to know.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Grace ran in her room and returned a minute later to proudly show me the first page in her diary, where she had written, "I lik jonivin."
Apparently she has been putting this diary to good use. With her proud permission, here is a transcript of Grace's "secrets."
page 1: "I lik jonivin."
page 2: "I hat eric."
page 3: "I lik mom."
page 4: "I lik mercie."
page 5: "I lik eric win hees nis. I hat eric win hees bad."
page 6: "I luv mom betar thin eric."
page 7: "I doo not lik eric."
page 8: "I hat you eric to."
page 9: "I hat you eric."
page 10: "I luv you mercie."
page 11: "mercie is funee."
page 12: "mia is mi bes fren."
page 13: "mia is wird."
page 14: "I dont lik eric."
page 15: "it is so fun win we play."
page 16: "isnt mia funee"
page 17: "i love you mom."
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Today in Primary I was teaching a sweet little lesson--with help from puppets named Ella & Bessie--about the importance of using good words. Giving the children different real-life scenarios, I asked what they should do.
"What if I drop something heavy & it falls on my foot & it hurts really bad? Is it okay to say a bad word, like such a bad word that I don't even want to say it in church?"
Big-eyed Primary children around the room solemnly shook their heads 'no.'
My darling Mia pipes up from the back row.
" I know what bad word you would say! It's ---"
Red-faced Mommy rushed to shoosh her while every other grown-up in the room lost it.
Life becomes so much more transparent when you become a parent.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
1.) Keep Little Caesar's (for the kids) and Rumbi Island Grill (for me) financially solvent by patronizing both frequently enough to make up 1/4 of their annual sales.
2.) Stay single.
3.) Flirt with failing no. 2 by having at least one (more would be fine by me) good makeout session in 2010. Since I don't believe in NCMO sessions, this implies some level of commitment and involvement. Scary!!!
4.) Remain the Queen of Denial by setting a never-ending series of fitness goals and failing to reach them.
5.) Enshrine my status as the Queen of TMI by blabbing even more intimate details of my life to total strangers and posting things you never wanted to know on my blog--like details of resolution #3, when it happens.