Friday, January 30, 2009

What kind of diet?

For years we have been trying to have regular family scripture reading. We do not have lofty ideas of how the time should be spent -- it often includes flared tempers and hurt feelings, inattention and pointed stares -- we merely want to go through the motions on a consistent basis. Last year we finally had a good rhythm with reading in the mornings, but this year with early morning seminary that went out the window and with crazy schedules, the evening has been difficult as well. Starting in January we decided that every time we read for five days in a row we will take the kids out for a treat. There really is nothing like a little bribery because everyone has been on board for this one. Steak n' Shake has been having 1/2 price shakes in the afternoon from 2-4 so I took the kids over there to get some shakes. We all came home and Matthew asked me if I got one, too. Well, yeah! I got a banana split shake -- hand-dipped banana ice cream with fudge sauce, whipped cream, peanuts, strawberries, and a cherry on top. It really hit the spot. Then he asked, "Exactly what kind of diet are you on?" Ummm, I don't know. I was at Steak n' Shake. They have really good shakes. What on earth was I supposed to do, not get one? But I suppose I need to try to remember what my ultimate goals are. I have been having a hard time so I joined Weight Watchers this morning. The leader was really a hoot and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Wish me luck.

After we go for our second round of shakes this afternoon, that is. Aren't we doing great with our reading? We will be saintly and stout. And this time I will bring one home for Matthew so he won't be asking the impudent questions.

Monday, January 26, 2009

my favorite Monday

I decided to do a favorites today, but we will see if I do it every week. Keep you on your toes. My favorite thing lately is this: Sometimes I wear dangly earrings which makes me a little nervous around the baby, but when he is leaning on my shoulder he will gently put my earring in his mouth to check it out. He doesn't pull hard and I love to hear him breathing in my ear. An odd favorite, but I know it won't last.

Of course, to balance the favorite with the not so favorite, I just got back from picking Ella up at the high school. She was a little late coming out so I had the opportunity to observe some of the students as they left the school. The boys waddled by spitting as their pants slid way past what I consider appropriate and girls were throwing their gum down on the sidewalk. What are they all thinking? Sometimes I feel like I am still fourteen, but when I am wondering what their mothers would think if they saw them, I realize that I have become an old fuddy-duddy

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for WATER. I love water. It is the essence of life, the only thing that we absolutely cannot live without. One reason I like living in Illinois is the amount of precipitation that it gets every year (I have a fear of being thirsty! But I will save my irrational fears for another post). God sends the water and my garden grows. We have food, we have flowers -- It is amazing.

Another wondrous thing about water is how it softens things. Last night as I was setting the table for dinner I realized that I had never wiped the table after breakfast. Someone's oatmeal was cemented to the surface. I scrubbed and picked at it, but finally just drizzled a few drops of water, let it sit, and voila! The oatmeal wiped right off. My husband loves to use this principle with big, giant pots as well. They need to soak.

Like most powerful things, water can also be scary. The summer deluges can be quite alarming and I think, "Enough, that is enough! The ground is so sodden it cannot possibly absorb anymore!" As the roof starts leaking and the basement starts seeping I wait for our house to simply float away. There is also the sea. I love the ocean. The kids leap in the waves with delight. The breeze skims across the surface, picking up moisture as it goes to cool us with its spray. I love to go for a swim and float up and down and when I boogie board I always question my life choices. Why aren't I a surfer? So I wait for the perfect wave and feel like I am flying! But the next whoosh of water is too strong and I am being pushed down, scraping the ocean floor, tumbling like a rag doll, and when I finally come up for air I think, "That would be a really dumb way to die." So water does frighten me.

Water also cleans. My baby smells so fresh after his bath this morning, the bathroom counters are gleaming from a wipe with water and a cloth, and we love to pull the car out of the garage when it is raining really hard since we're lazy.

God uses water for all different things. As babies we develop in it, our bodies are made up of it, and He uses it in His ordinances. In baptism it is a symbol of life, cleansing, and purity. In the sacrament it is used as a symbol of Christ and renewal.

Let's hear it for water -- yea!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who's That Guy?

Two out of five children surveyed are taller than me now! When did that happen? It is a very strange feeling to be telling them off by looking up at them. They might even wise up and realize that they're bigger than me -- oh no! Just a few years ago when I still had two at home and two in elementary school I thought this day would never come, I would always be a young mom, but what a difference five years makes. The strangest thing of all is Charles. He has changed so much just in a few months and I can hardly keep up with it. We were having piano lessons a few days ago and I looked down at his hands and they have changed so much. He used to have little chubby baby hands, and now they are big with long fingers. The most disconcerting thing is his voice. One day all the kids sounded the same with their little kids voices and now I am always wondering who is in my house! It happens almost every day! I will be upstairs and hear some MAN talking downstairs and think, "Who in the world could that be?" And he also has a deep hearty laugh. It will just take some time for me to adjust. Or I could just jump a foot every time he talks. Whichever.

The kids are back to school again. We had such a nice, unexpected January break last week with three snow days and then MLK day yesterday. Since it was so cold we really did just stay inside and enjoy each other's company. We played games, watched movies, and talked a lot. I had just gone to the library so we had "Into the Woods." My friend had just mentioned it in her blog so I saw it there and thought my kids would like it. I saw it originally at the Sundance outdoor theater with Neil Hughes of all people, but I didn't really remember it. It is so well done and when it was through I asked them what they thought the moral was -- "Be careful what you wish for" they all chorused! We are having a little of that as we go through a basement overhaul. Our life was fine and now it is in complete upheaval. Everything costs more and is far more disruptive than you ever think it will be. I suppose with computers now I think that if I want a change in the house all it will take is a click of the mouse, but no, no, no. It will be nice someday. I hope.

Yesterday driving to the store we were listening to the "Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor and he quoted an author saying, "The key to happiness is being happy already." I thought to myself that that was quite nice, but Charles went off on a tangent about how people try to sound so deep and said with his favorite British accent, "The key to being hungry is to be hungry already and I am so smart." So there you go. A philosophy which you can apply to anything at all. The key to sleeping..., the key to love..., the key to organization..., the key to beauty... I hope that you all use this gift wisely.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Just Blew in From the Windy City

Here is the photo of their lunch that wouldn't upload earlier. I didn't mean for Julia to be fuzzy (oh, that girl isn't part of our family so we will leave her unfocussed). And can you see the storm in the background? Chicago was experiencing horrible weather and I made my daughter with pneumonia trudge around endlessly for hours through puddles, up and down stairs, nowhere to sit -- because that is just the kind of person that I am. And baby was looking quite poorly this afternoon so we took him over to visit the doctor and he has two ear infections and a respiratory virus that is being treated with a nebulizer every four hours. He really is quite stoic because I had no idea there was anything wrong with his ears. He also has one little tooth that won't come through. Poor little guy.
It is VERY cold here. They have cancelled school for the last three days because of it. Right now it is a balmy -13˚ with wind chill of about -36˚. It did snow, but it is a little too chilly to go play in it. Everyone has been sick anyway, so we are just chillin' inside. Ella missed school last Friday, Charles this past Tuesday, Ibby has only been twice since Christmas break ended, and the baby has a hoarse little voice. So cute for da-da, but also a little bit sad. Since everyone has been ill, I wasn't being overly concerned about any particular person, but Ibby seemed the most tired, most pale, most pathetic overall so she won the honor of being the main guest for a rare doctor visit. Well, it turns out that she has pneumonia! No fever or other obvious symptom to give me a clue. That sneaky bug! A little Zithromax and she seems to be on the mend, whew!

Last Saturday we ran up to Chicago for a little lunch at American Girl Place. That was part of the little girls Christmas present. I wanted Ella to come with us as well, but she really didn't want to. Oh! I bemoan the fact that I never took her when she would have liked it. She does still like her doll, but a little too sophisticated to enjoy tiny food apparently. We had a really good time and I had to pack our day with a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry and a short stop at Ikea. I wouldn't want to waste the gas for only one event, but it always makes the day very long.

Matthew found out last week that he was given a Sabbatical for next year! Actually they put the letter in his box on Dec. 12, but he hadn't been to campus for a month. So we have been busily plotting what we will do with his time -- exciting adventures and world travels whilst also accomplishing all that he told the school he would. One thing I have always considered doing is going to Spain for the year and from there trotting to other scintillating spots. M was looking at a University there that has invented an interactive coffee table that has blocks on it with which many people can create music at once. Well, we walked into an exhibit at the Museum in Chicago and there was the table! A definite sign, wouldn't you say?

Here are some pics from our outing. Lucy is wearing the skirt she made in her sewing class. Isn't it cute? It is the twirl skirt I saw on Amy's blog.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cri de Coeur

I try to be the kind of person who doesn't get all giddy about fictional characters, however I recently viewed the best movie ever! And I think I am indeed slightly giddy about the leading man. The film is "North and South" -- BBC version, not about the civil war, totally, completely, could not be more, different thing entirely. Anyway. It was very well done and it contains the absolutely most romantic scene I have ever seen in a movie. I cried, it was so, so utterly perfect. I read the book last fall and thoroughly enjoyed it and, as with many books, I assumed the movie would not do it justice. I was wrong and even though they changed it, it was -- dare I say it? -- even better. So with your next spare four hours, you just might want to check it out.

Speaking of crying during movies, Ibby does. It is quite endearing. Twice during the Christmas break she was watching movies and bawling. I, of course, immediately conjecture that one of the other children are misbehaving. I storm in, "What is going on here?" Huffing, puffing, etc. Ibby, who can hardly talk, says haltingly, "Her dad had to go away." (That was "Kit Kitteridge"). Ahhh, there, there, dis doodness (as my mom would say). How cute. The other tear-jerker was "Spirit." Like mother like daughter, and I am like my father. Just passing down the lacrimal glands. I know a new word there for all of you to enjoy.

Today is the beginning of a new diet -- oh, I mean lifestyle -- and I mean to really stick with it this time. This morning as I looked down at the bulk around my middle I started to think disdainful thoughts about it, but then I stopped myself and thought how immensely grateful I am for my body. It has brought five children into the world, it does lots of work every day, it hardly ever gets sick, it hugs and holds and loves -- so I need to love it back and not be so negative . I hope that by changing my tune in this way I can take better care of myself and stay motivated for all the right reasons.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! We ate our requisite black-eyed peas and cabbage to usher in prosperity, but what I really wanted was some mochi! I will just have to imagine that for now. I am really excited for the new year. I look around my house and feel like we have never had quite so much chaos. My husband said this morning that he doesn't know if we are spiraling out of control or if we are on the cusp of something wonderful. I will choose the latter. We are redoing our basement so everything that belongs there is now somewhere else. One of the things that belonged there was Matthew so he is now working upstairs in the little t.v. room and the t.v. is in the living room, and the... Bert says, "Ernie, why did you put a pot on my head?" "Because I broke the cookie jar." "Where are the cookies?" "In the sugar bowl ..." (I mentioned this famous dialogue to someone the other day and they had no idea what I was talking about. If you, too, have never had the privilege of witnessing this great drama played out firsthand, you can find the full transcript here, but only if you're really bored and don't have to go vacuum or something). That is my house at the moment, but I am trying not to get worked up about it since it is leading to a better tomorrow (well, the basement won't be done tomorrow, we'll say summer).

I saw on a blog (Tip Junkie) an idea to have a word of the year, and she is giving away one necklace with someone's word on it. I started thinking about it and decided on "More." Now there are more beautiful words out there, it certainly isn't my favorite word, but I kept coming back to it. More could go both ways, but I don't mean more stuff or that I lack anything, because I don't. I have felt overwhelmed by our material blessings, especially as I have become more (there is that word) aware of some of the circumstances in our town. No, I just need more Me. My theme song will be "More Holiness Give Me" (the lyrics) and I will try to base my goals around that. I also need to be more calm, more patient, more persevering, more intuitive, more organized, more generous, more tolerant, more satisfied, etc. etc. So there it is. The beauty is that next year I can pick another word. I can hardly wait. Maybe it will be Enough

What I need less of is some poundage so I am participating in the Biggest Loser contest again. It starts on January 9th so if you or someone you know want to join you can see more here.

I reconvened our family motto discussion and the latest incarnation is "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Back to basics with the Law of Moses. I am thinking that will look really nice in some vinyl lettering over the front door. Wouldn't that be welcoming?
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