But this younger group has all kinds of not-normal pictures posted. They make every face that we used to call silly-face posted for the world!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
But this younger group has all kinds of not-normal pictures posted. They make every face that we used to call silly-face posted for the world!
Monday, December 29, 2008
The New Year comes at a good time.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I am not clean.
I have a very dear friend (Her husband is a talented photographer and this is one of his photos. I couldn't find one with her face, but this is the woman) whom I sincerely admire. She is a Saint--that's with a capital S. There are many of her qualities that I would like to develop. Her hobby is cleaning. I know, I don't quite understand it either.
The other day, she mentioned that she had an all-day purge and scour of the house planned to prepare for Christmas. I usually go through my pod's toys to make room for Christmas gifts, but this was more. Ohh, I was inspired. A completely clean house and big bags to donate waiting at the door sounded so nice! I was going to do it, too.
Then, something happened. It snowed--a lot. And, there's this thing about snow; it melts. You kind of have to take snow when it happens because it may not be there tomorrow. If it doesn't melt, it may be too cold to play tomorrow.
Now I was in for it. Do I make my children stick with me during this Purge and Scour Event of the Year or do I let them play in the snow?
No. No options. We are cleaning today. Do not look out the window. We are cleaning. Try not to notice the fun the children across the street are having. We are cleaning. Ignore the voice telling you that childhood goes quickly and snowfall is unpredictable. WE ARE CLEANING!!!Oh, forget it. I can't be someone I'm not.
Of course, I'll keep trying to improve.
For now, however, I have to do what my gut tells me. We'll get the house clean sometime.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Since my children were able to stand, they have helped in the kitchen. I have a stool and a ladder on which they stand and help unwrap butter, dump in pre-measured ingredients and stir the pot. When they get a little older, they measure the ingredients, crack the eggs and scrape the sides of the bowls. Once they learn to read, they learn to read and follow a recipe and double (or more) a batch. In those years of standing by my side, they learn what golden brown looks like on the top of a cookie, what simmer means and why higher temperatures do not mean done faster. My oldest is just beginning to discover the nuances of seasonings and the fact that once you learn the do, ra, me's of cooking you can create all kinds of songs in the kitchen.
Doesn't this sound lovely? It's not.
I always have a stool and a ladder in the middle of my kitchen floor. I must have someone in front of me helping roll out dough or whisk the batter. Do you know how difficult it is for a four year old to get the whole cup of sugar in the bowl without dumping some on the floor? Learning to stir means splashes on the stove and drippings down the front of the cabinets. There are moments in cooking when one must work very fast. That is hard to do when you must go around people in a maze like pattern; repeatedly. Some things get burned, some things are spilled, sometimes I want to pull my hair out. Sometimes I have a tantrum and kick everyone out.
But then, one morning, I wake up to this:
My seven year old daughter can make pancakes--from scratch. She knows the recipe by heart. She know how to be careful of the heat of a griddle. She has the dexterity to flip.
My older pods can make a dozen meals and that does not just include sandwiches (though spreading peanut butter is much more difficult than you would expect). They are comfortable working with the stove.
There is still a lot of work to do: cleaning up after cooking is more than they can handle, their arms are not quite long enough to reach in the oven, and chopping with a knife is restricted unless I am there to supervise.
But, hey! I don't have to cook every meal anymore. I am earning my promotion.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
My seven year old had gotten a hold of my camera.
She took 99 pictures.
The last picture, taken with the timer, was worth all the other 98.
I've never done a video before and it took me 38 hours to make this one download onto my screaming fast, 2002 bottom-of-the-line laptop. I made some mistakes that were not evident until I loaded it onto my blog, but I'm not changing them now.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The conversation went on to speculate about which group of people was targeted and why.
I just sat shriveling in a corner.
Then, one brother started, Yesterday I went out to the Palouse (an area with large tracks of farmland). There were these huge tanks placed strategically all over the area. I think they are tankers full of fuel. The Air Force is up to something, I'm sure of it. (We lived near an Air Force base). The other brothers joined in with full passion about why the United States Air Force would strategically place fuel tankers all around our city. There was a general insistence that we all get into the vans (there are a lot of us) to go see the mystery tanks.
I had never heard this kind of talk, so, I, convinced something was going terribly wrong, hurried into the car.
They were water tankers used for irrigation.
This was my first introduction to conspiracy theories and theorists. Now, after eleven years with the brothers, I don't believe anything they say concerning the end of the world. I ask one brother, who always has a new certainty of the identity of the Anti-Christ spoken of in the scriptures, Who is the Anti-Christ today? He usually has an answer for me. Once it was Prince Charles.
I have become very sceptical of any conversations that lean in a conspiratorial direction. There is no way the government is hiding alien cadavers in New Mexico. Despite this convincing footage, there are no haunted houses. I've never believed that the government has a system that traces key words in telephone conversations or e-mails. My husband's brothers are kooks.
Enter my son's blog. His first entry was some crazy I'm-a-nine-year-old-boy-and-I-have-a-blog diatribe. He had an image of a nuclear blast. He used words like bomb, blowing up, and the disturbing phrase: well at least it wasn't America. that time.
His site meter registered a visit from the United States Armed Forces.
No, I am not kidding.
I wonder who the shackles in the boxcar are for.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
My (humble, lucky-if-I-get-any-comments) blog is nearly 100 posts old and my son has just started his own blog. Every nine year old should have a blog--it would entertain the masses. Already, his desire for better punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure is thrilling this don't-force-it Mothership.
I love seeing all of the steps of our children's educational journey.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
This, by the way, is the DO NOT TOUCH nativity. It is fraa-jee-lay. (Name that movie!)
This is the way my children arrange it. Jesus is in the middle, but every person, angel and animal are focused on Him. One of my pods does this every year. Each time I see it, I put the pieces back, yet the next time I look at it, the nativity is back, focused on Baby Jesus.
Yes, please notice the donkey's missing ear. The donkey ear is missing from every nativity scene in America. It is followed by the angel's wings. Like I said, this is the DO NOT TOUCH nativity.
We also have a PLEASE PLAY WITH ME nativity. It is a Little People's version with sweet faces and indestructible donkey ears. Here we see the children have placed all of the characters in their places. Even the sheep dog looks reverently on.My children teach me things every day. Do I do what looks good or do I do what is right? And in what direction am I looking?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I have always read picture books to my children and love story time. We will gather a pile of books, sit together in a heap on the couch and read for as long as an hour. It gives us the chance to decompress, to quiet our thoughts, to still our bodies. The required closeness answers our need for physical touch, for intimacy with family. It is the definition of unity, all of us laughing at the same picture, counting kittens for the benefit of the one learning to count, kissing the illustration of the hurt child as we learn compassion, and smelling the flowers on the page to help our imaginations grow. Traditions have evolved such as the singing of the ABC's after each reading of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and certain accents have to be used for certain characters. My oldest pods have been reading independently for three years, but if they hear me reading aloud, they hurry in to take their assumed place in the pile-up. We practice patience as we read I'll Love You Forever, again. The boy kindly listens to Fancy Nancy because he knows that the next book is Nate the Great.
Nearly five years ago, I expanded our reading time. One night, as I tucked in my 5 and 3 year old, I cracked the spine of a treasure: Charlotte's Web. Ever since that night, I have been reading "chapter books" aloud at bedtime. We have read dozens of books together including The Little House on the Prairie, The Lion, he Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Island of the Blue Dolphin, and Where the Red Fern Grows. In Inkheart, author Cornelia Funke reminds us that books have great memories. Whenever we read one, we are taken back to the first time we read those pages.
My children are going to remember bits and pieces of even their earliest years of childhood. As a mother, I make a lot of mistakes. I hope that they'll remember the best parts of growing up. I don't know that there could be a better reminder of happy times than when they curl up with a book that we read together all those years before.
By the way, my younger set of pods are now 5 and 3 years old and we've just started Charlotte's Web.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Last year I decided to make my own calendar. It is one sheet of plain white copy paper. It is not pretty or cute or creative. I do hope it is, however, something that is handed down from generation to generation.
I am a big fan of Santa Claus. My tree is lit with plenty of sparkly lights. We shop and make gifts and candy and chocolate. We go caroling. Wassail simmers on the stove the whole season through and eggnog does not even make it to the fridge before it is emptied by my fleet. Still, I want my family to know about the birth of our Savior. I want them to feel the voice of the Spirit whisper the value the gift of His life. I want to make sure that we don't only think of him on Christmas Eve during the always smooth (*cough*) nativity reenactment.
My advent calendar is that part of Christmas. It is also a little bit of me. I searched the scriptures and found those most valuable bits of the celebration to share with my family. Time is taken to explain terms and nouns (swaddling clothes, myrrh). The moving words of the prophets are read aloud. We explore ideas (Does it matter that Jesus was born in Bethlehem?) and apply the scriptures to ourselves (What gift can you bring to Jesus?) And after a few minutes of discussion (my children are young, remember), we listen to or sing a Christmas carol that binds together that evening's message. It takes less than ten minutes and we have re-focused our reason for celebration.
Then, we remove the next magnetic number and eat the chocolate Santa head.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday Night Live ended and The Greatest Hits of the Seventies on Four CDs or Cassettes danced on the screen. The over-lip glossed hostess tried in vain to sell the compilation to the young couple. His sisters had gone to bed and they were left alone.
There they sat, absorbed in the feeling of together. They were in a new world. An hour before they were friends, now they were something more. She didn't want to move--didn't want to end this perfect feeling, but it was getting late and he still had to drive her home. She looked up at him and saw that he had already been looking down at her. And then, there it was; the first kiss.
She had a history of first kisses that were decidedly not this kiss. When she was 16, she played the lead role in a musical production. Despite pleas and panicking, her first kiss of all was on opening night, on the stage, in front of everyone. Having no romantic feelings for her co-star, all she could think was that it was slimy and awkward. As the cast cheered back-stage (everyone having known her misgivings about this being her first kiss), she wondered what attraction there was in kissing.
Her real first kiss was on her parents front porch with her brothers' eyes peering out the window. She was giggly; he was shaky. When he finally worked up the nerve to kiss her, the connecting of their lips was more like a slam or a collision than a soft-lens, symphony playing, gracefully executed show of passion.
But this kiss. Well. Now she understood why The Kiss was always right before the Happily, Ever After.
On Tuesday morning, she was dancing around the house as she helped her mother clean. Nothing could get her down; she was always singing. Her mother stopped everything and looked at her, You love him.
What? She cried, nonplussed. Nooo. I've only known him for a little over two weeks. He . . . he . . . I . . . I . . . you, don't . . .
Her mom raised her eyebrows and grinned. I've told you before: Mom's know everything.
This comment from her mother got her to thinking. Did she love him? Like, yes. Lust, obviously. But Love? All day she analysed love. Could she love someone she had barely met? Didn't people have to go through all kinds of experiences together before they could claim Love? Her parents loved each other. They had been married for 25 years. She thought about their relationship. No way. She couldn't love him. But, then, again, were there different levels of love? Her parents loved each other when they were married 25 years earlier. Could that constant longing for his companionship be love?
That night he came to her house and they wandered around her parent's park-like backyard. They held hands and visited quietly in the cooling September air. She found herself thinking, I could do this for the rest of my life.
They sat in a hammock and ceased talking. He had his arm around her, her head rested in her place. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the comfortable, warm feeling that filled her. Quietly, he said, Is it too early to say I love you?
Do you? she whispered back
Friday, November 28, 2008
I'll be getting those Christmas cards out soon and I'll still be serving cranberry sauce. . .with the imprint of the can forever in it's sides.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
When telling a friend of a current child-rearing difficulty, he said, This, too, shall pass.
But, I don't want it to just pass. I want to be here--in the now.
If I do not share every bite, then that means I do not have the reward of joy.
So, Pestering Wants, back off. I'm busy. You can wait because right now I am enjoying this: