Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Donuts

I love donuts.  They are one of my favorite treats, but I began noticing that my body hadn't been enjoying donuts as much as my taste buds!  The biggest problem was the major sugar crash where I would feel absolutely drained and a little shaky after eating them.  (I'm not diabetic.  We checked.)  I decided I needed to cut them from my life--at least my pregnant life.


As I gazed lovingly, longingly at the box of donuts at Walmart today, I realized it has been over one month since I've delighted in the deliciousness.  (Seems silly, to see it typed like that.  One month? That's a long time to not have donuts?! What a baby.)

I'm not going to lie; that picture looks awfully tempting.  I look at the donuts just about every time I'm in the grocery store.  But I don't buy them!!  Haven't for a month!

Don't clap too loudly, though.  I haven't given up all treats, just this one.  One step at a time, man.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter

Five and a half hours after my head hit the pillow, it was time to get up.  I didn't really need to get up, but certain functions every body requires demanded that I get up.  I tried to fall back to sleep, but my mind started whirring and that was that.

After taking care of my own personal hygiene (when did that become a luxury?!), I launched into my super-mom mode.  Green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, and ham in the oven on a low temp so they could cook all through church.  Asparagus snapped and rinsed, ready to be cooked as soon as we got home.  Lay out clothes for the toddler, fix hair, watch kids excitedly discover their Easter goodies ("No chocolate before church!!") and otherwise command this carefully run ship.  Justin snapped some pictures of the kids, but there was some drama, possibly caused by me, but I am actually uncertain.  I for sure find myself at the middle of a maelstrom with my eyes wide and my hands in surrender.  I'm pretty sure I will look like this periodically until all of my children are well into their twenties.


We rushed out the door and got to church at 8:50.  Phew.  Time to sit and breathe.

Wait, I volunteered to sing in Sacrament Meeting!  I was to sing The Lord's Prayer. It isn't a difficult song for me, but I hadn't warmed up at all; I really hadn't thought much about it until that moment.  I tried to push the nerves aside and enjoy the ordinance and first two speakers.

When it was my time to sing, I walked briskly to the stand, because that's how you learn to walk when you are the shortest member of your family.  When I got to the stand, I was a bit breathless.  The baby is getting big and she's pushing on my diaphragm.  I was singing a capella, so I didn't have a piano introduction to give me a minute to catch my breath.  I wasn't very happy with how I sang because the whole time I just wanted to stop, ask everyone to wait until I could breathe, then try again.  Alas, I did not.  Oh, well.  It did quiet the children in the congregation for a minute.

After the first meeting, I hurried to the car to get supplies.  I am serving in Young Women's organization.  During the whole month of March, we were teaching about the Atonement.  I kept thinking that I needed to teach the girls about the Passover/Last Supper.  Our leader loved the idea, but also wanted to make the little Easter eggs with a bit about Easter in each one (three dimes represents Christ being sold for 30 pieces of silver, a small nail reminding us of Christ being nailed to the cross, etc.).  We divided up the responsibility, but I did make and label 48 eggs for the event.  We handed those out to the girls, then put on the modified Passover.  I think the girls enjoyed it; I hope they learned something.

Clean up and rush home.  Finish meal prep, sit and try to not hurry through our dinner.

It was nice,

the food all turned out,

everyone was happy

and we enjoyed the holding still.

Until we had to rush again to get the big kids on their road trip.  It helps that I didn't have to do much.  They packed themselves, with only reminders from me!  Lectures were given.  (Actually, I said, "Lecture time.  What am I going to say?" and they accurately filled in the blanks.)  Prayers were said.  Hugs were offered all around. All were blowing kisses and waving at the door.

Then I took a nap.

A long nap.

Not on the couch,
but in my bed,
under the covers,
with the shades drawn
and the door closed.

We hid (and re-hid, and re-hid, ad nauseam) eggs in the evening, then watched the first half of Ben Hur.  I stayed up late enough to know the kids reached their destination and went to bed.

I made it. Barely.

I slept in this morning.


**Aren't you glad I'm writing, again?  So much lame information in one post.  I may as well have written blah, blah, blah.  Sorry!  I am out of practice.  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Eve

I have been running a hundred miles per hour for the last few days.
Part of my busyness was self-induced, but most was circumstantial.
Holidays tend to be like that, which is fine, but I'm always ready for a long winter's nap when they are over!

Saturday saw me making breakfast, doing my basic housekeeping for the day, cutting hair, boiling five dozen eggs, keeping up on laundry,
and sewing.


I wasn't going to make Easter dresses this year.  My mom had picked up dresses for three of the girls at random sales recently.  They are pretty and spring-y, so I thought we'd just go with those.  As the day approached, however, I still needed to grab a dress for one of my daughters.  Shopping wasn't going smoothly.  She described what she wanted, we looked online for inspiration, and before you know it, THREE of the girls wanted what I had planned on making for just the one.
I was sewing the day before Easter.
Again.

But, you know what, I've done it this way for so many years, I'd hardly know how to handle Easter without frantic last-minute dress making!


After my sewing was complete, it was time to dye eggs.  You can see my little boy LOVED this project.  He dyed about a dozen eggs pale orange before we switched the cup closest to him.
He then started in on the blue eggs.


He kept going and going!  I thought five dozen eggs would have been plenty, but he was awfully mad when I informed him that there were no more eggs to color.


I'm sure it wasn't the healthiest solution, but I soaked his hands in a bowl of diluted bleach because he'd so thoroughly dyed them along with the eggs!

The girls were much more careful.


In the evening, my three older girls and I went to the General Women's Broadcast of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes those meetings consist of lovely talks in which the leadership of the church tells us we're doing great, keep on, stay the course, etc.  
(I get impatient with that message because I like direction and challenge and doctrinally rich directives.)
This was not the case last night.
The case was made pretty clear that though the women of the church are doing good, we are not doing enough good.  I actually feel like I need to watch it again to get all that we were challenged to do.

One thing I did catch was a phrase that has struck me before.
I want my epitaph to say,
That Christ would say of me,
"She hath done what she could."
--Mark 14:8

We ran to the mall where I found ties for my boys to go with our navy, white and blush Easter outfits.
Found coordinating, but not matching, ties on clearance!  Yes!

Off to dinner with some of the women from church, a last minute stop at Walmart, a pre-Sabbath gas tank fill-up, then home, where I wanted to collapse.  Alas, I could not. 

I got all pinteresty and made these cute edible Easter baskets.  Justin was ready to go to bed, but I made him get up and help me.  I had to solve puzzles (which person gets which candies based on both favorites and disliked candies) and my brain was done for the day.


Isaac's old studio in Pocatello hired him to dance in their spring show.  He is going down this week to learn the choreography, then will go back in May the week before the show.  Isaac's friend, Riley, and Eliza decided to go with him for a last minute Spring Break road trip.  They needed to leave as soon as possible on Sunday, so I had to have dinner ready when we walked in from church.  I prepped as much as my old, maternal body would allow, then fell into bed, exhausted.

Easter was promising to be another busy, busy day!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Passover 2016

We celebrated Passover last night.  That is to say, we celebrated the Last Supper, which was a Passover meal, from a Christian perspective.  We don't do it all exactly like Jews and we certainly are not kosher in our preparations.  For us, though, that is not the purpose of the meal.  Our purpose is to find symbols and types of Christ in this important event and to understand the history behind Christ's last meal.

I only snapped this one picture, right before we started because I always forget to take pictures.  

We invited my parents, since this tradition was started by my mother when I was younger.  You know, every once in a while, I am reminded of what an incredible gift it was to be raised in their home!  They were active participants in our spiritual growth (still are, really).  While, of course, I am always learning new things, my parents did such an excellent job of providing an environment where a sure foundation could be built.  Anyway, Dad couldn't come (4th grade recorder concert, bless his long suffering heart, and he's the music teacher), but Mom represented.

Instead of me teaching the whole lesson this time, I put some of the burden on the others at the table.  As I briefly explained each part of the Seder Plate and elements of the Passover story and traditional meal, I asked the children to explain how each pointed to Christ.  You guys, I was amazed by my people.  After so many years of teaching, cleaning up spilled grape juice, fielding complaints about the "yucky" Greek olives or goat cheese, and dealing with endless young-child interruptions, we are here; we are in a place where my children are understanding and explaining doctrine.  My heart soured as they explained how Christ frees us from the bondage of sin, addiction, sorrow, bitterness and even death itself.  They uncovered divine meaning in phrases like I will bring you out and I will take you as my people.  They found understanding in symbols that can enrich testimony and faith when understood and given "good soil."

I know my time with them is precious.  My oldest is practically gone, dancing all over the world now and serving a mission in less than a year, and because they came quickly, they will leave quickly.  Mothering is difficult and there are days when I just don't know what the heck I am doing, but it is my favorite and my best.  I am thankful that there is another coming, so I don't have to move on to the next phase of life just yet.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Buttercups

After another discouraging day of car shopping,
my husband took me to one of our favorite spots.
It is a local waterfall, but more than the waterfall, it can always be counted upon for early spring wildflowers.
Namely, buttercups.

These tiny but brilliant yellow flowers never disappoint!
They are cheery and hopeful.


Sometimes I do get a bit down in the mouth
and when I do, I'm grateful to have my good husband
and flowers.

Car Shopping

Justin drives a stripped down 2001 Chevy Metro.
When we first came back to our home turf during the last year of Pharmacy school, a friend of a friend sold us the car for $500.  Knowing he'd need a car and thinking this would be rather temporary, we bought it.
To be fair, the thing starts every day
and it gets a.m.a.z.i.n.g. gas mileage (42 mpg).
Other than that, it has problems . . . pretty much every problem.
Sometimes when I hear someone drive up and I'm in bed reading,
I'll hold my phone up and snap a picture
so I don't actually move if I don't have to.  Ha!
Here, the mailman is bringing a package.
Justin's car is the little red guy.
The biggest reason Justin needs a new car is for safety.  We have to take highways frequently out here and there is a lot of semi truck traffic.  I constantly worry that one of those giant tractor trailers will bump into the little red car and kill my husband (or me or one of the kids).

Plus, Justin works very hard for this family!  It isn't fair that the man who earns the paycheck has to get into a frozen or boiling, depending on the season, falling apart car after work every day!

We've been trying to get him a car for 6 months, but just haven't been able to make it work.
We are finally able to manage a small car payment, so we're looking.
Neither of us enjoy cars or car shopping.
This is work.

We've been test driving, we've been report checking, we've been negotiating, we've been scouring ads, car lots and Craigslist.  It has been three weeks and we haven't yet found the car.
The other day, I found a car that looked pretty good, other than the fact that it was $3000 over book at $13,000.  It had been on Craigslist for two weeks, so I texted the guy.  I told him his numbers were high and asked if he would consider offers.
No, he was firm, he said.
A few days later, I get a follow up text:
Hey, I lowered my asking price to $12,900, if you're still interested!
WOW! A $100 discount.  We'd better pounce on that deal.

Two more test drives tomorrow.
We'll see.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Getting Over It

I taught a lesson about forgiveness on Sunday.  It is something else how teaching can bring answers to the teacher far more effectively than it does to the student!

Case in point: my irritation at our contractor for not finishing this house and leaving my yard a shambles (not just a mess, but huge piles of dirt and rocks that cannot reasonably be moved with a shovel and wheelbarrow (I've tried).  Every time I think of the field of wildflowers that isn't sown or the fruit trees that should be being planted right now or the grass seeds that can't be spread or a summer--another summer--of endless dirt and dust because I can't take erosion-proofing methods, I get frustrated, sad, or downright angry.  Not only is the job undone, but we have to find the money to hire someone or rent equipment to do a job we've already paid to have done.

One of the mounds of dirt--this one top soil--with a couple of cute t-ball players.
I asked my husband a couple of weeks ago, "Why can't I forgive this guy?!"  My holding on to the grudge isn't hurting him in the slightest, but it is hurting me.  I am sure it was no coincidence that my lesson yesterday was about forgiveness.  Heavenly Father knew that would be an effective way of getting His point across.  
Emily.  Get Over It!

Today I went to Home Depot and bought some materials to finish trimming out the basement bedrooms as well as some shelving materials to begin finishing the kids' closets.  We called around a bit getting bids and rental pricing to try to figure out how to grade the land.  It isn't the whole kit and caboodle, but it is a start.  I'm going to sit around with my jar of pickle juice at the ready no longer!  I have work to do and work is an excellent antidote to self-pity!

 And that's that.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Symphony with Number 3

Two years ago, Eliza's main Christmas gift was a date a month for a year.  It was one of the best things we ever did--considered so by both the young lady and her parents!  As Christmas got closer and closer this year, we were struggling with what to get my Camilla.  We finally remembered the dates idea and decided to give it another go.
It is a tricky present to give because it is anti-climactic.  Both times the gifts were given to 12 year old girls, so they were mature enough to be patient in letting the gift come bit by bit.  It is exciting to look forward to the one-on-one time with Camilla. Since each date we've picked is something she would enjoy, the anticipation is part of the fun.

Cool, old building.  Symphony!
For the month of March, we went to the symphony.  Camilla has always loved the violin.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find an affordable teacher for a beginner near us.  She is learning music on the piano until we can transition to violin, which is fine for now, but her first love is violin.
Last night's guest artist was a violinist. 
(If you live near me, the Spokane Symphony has a very affordable family ticket deal.  
You have to call to get it.)

Don't worry, I snapped this before the concert started.

The evening's music was really marvelous, but the best comment I received was as follows:
"You know, Mom.  We listen to classical music all the time at home.  You just turn on the radio and there it is.  You don't really realize that they are real people playing the instruments.  Coming here, though, you can see their fingers moving, and watch their faces and expressions. You can feel the music with your whole body, so even though we're listening to the same music that's on the radio, it isn't like we're just listening; 
it is more like we are participating in the music."


Ta-da! Just like that, she expressed the reason for concerts.

It is a fairly long drive to get from downtown to our woodland cottage, but the drive is part of the date.  It is so nice to be able to take the time with just the one, to make a memory and to get to know her as she is today.  I have to do that, you know, because she continues to change every day.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Feeling Uninspired

I've been writing this blog for nearly 8 years.  Recently, I've felt like I have nothing to say and that my blog has turned into a semi-boring scrapbook of random family events.  I haven't been excited to record anything because I either (a) have blogged about it before or (b) think no one wants to read what I have to write.

In talking this out with my daughter the other day, my author daughter, we recognized that consistency is sometimes the key to working through writer's block.  It may not be amazing stuff we're writing during that time, but simply practicing the skill will help dig us out of a funk.

So here I am.  I am writing.

Hail in my hair on a recent hike.

You don't want to hear my political rants.  (A socialist, a prick, a criminal and a Canadian are our top four presidential candidates?? What a circus!)

I'd get tired of reading about some other woman's pregnancy. (My mother-in-law, mother of nine, reassured me last night when she said that the anxiety and fear of delivery gets worse with each pregnancy.  I don't know why that reassured me, but maybe it reminded me that even though I've done this a lot and I clearly remember the pain of each one, I have survived them all!)

Other people do recipes, cleaning, and organization much better than I do. (I have taught each of my children to cook for themselves at a very young age because I don't want to be a slave to their stomachs.  I make the more complex dishes and prepare breakfast and dinner most days, but lunch?  Make a sandwich, eggs, canned soup, boxed noodles or something else that doesn't require me!  Recently, I've been fending off complaints that there aren't three squares a day, sitting on the table at a prescribed time.  Talk about getting my dander up!)

I have no projects to present.  (Building the house took it all out of me, followed by a difficult first trimester and being out of money.  This is a problem because our contractor didn't finish the house and there are a lot of projects of varying necessity just waiting for me to get my rear in gear. I'd rather sit here and be grumpy about it than get 'er done. L.A.Z.Y.)

My camera stinks.  (Without a picture to inspire me or THE picture I need to explain something, I get stuck.)

So, that's that.  I'm sorry I am lame, but I've made a commitment to be lame no more.  Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and I'm looking forward to a week of inspiration with my family.  I'm writing, no matter what, and I hope I will find something to say!


Friday, March 4, 2016

I Fixed It!

Our family desktop computer is eight years old. That means you can find it under "dinosaur" in a geek dictionary.  But, it has worked for us, though limped along at times, and I've been able to keep it going.

Until last week.  Last week, it pulled a shenanigan that I couldn't repair.  I tried everything I know.  I searched tutorials and did everything they recommended.

Still nothing.

In expressing frustration to my 17 year old son, who tend to be smug when he can do something his mother cannot, responded,  "I'll fix it when I get home." (He is in Russia right now.)

Oh, heck no!  I will fix it before you return!
There will be no condescending, "It was just __________, Mom."

Guess what.  I fixed it!  I have to admit, I feel like this:



And a bit smug myself.