Friday, October 30, 2009

no more poo

No baby is not potty-trained -- no SHAM-poo. I have decided to try something different because I have long been bothered by the chemicals used in shampoo, but also, with so many people in the house, cannot really afford to buy the crazy expensive organic varieties. What to do? Then a friend mentioned that she was using baking soda and I thought that sounded splendid. You mix 1 T. baking soda with 1 c. of water then pour a little, rub, rub, rub, pour more, rub, rub, rub, rub some more, then rinse and voila! Your hair is super clean! To offset the baking soda, you then do a vinegar rinse which I very unscientifically mixed in a spray bottle. My hair feels so soft, clean, and not dry at all. I have seen that you can add oils to your hair to make it smell good, add moisture, etc. It is sad that I don't have amazing hair to begin with because I am sure that if I tell people to just look at me to be convinced of this practical method they would think, "Hmmm. I guess I could try that if I wanted straight, flat, thin, insubstantial locks with no volume." Someone completely unbiased in any way told me that my hair did look very shiny. You all should try it for yourselves.

Ibby stayed home from school today. Her teacher had announced yesterday that there would be a substitute and Ibby decided that she just could not handle that kind of stress and could she please not go. Matthew asked her if she would be willing to rake all day if she stayed home and she opened her eyes very wide and nodded her head earnestly. Well, that did it. We are pushovers and she is having a free day. I thought it would be nice for her to entertain baby all day, but there is something wrong with him so he is camped on my lap. I hate it when you have no idea what the problem is. He just keeps crying and fussing, not sleeping or eating well. He doesn't have a fever. I am bewildered and baffled. Perhaps it is simply that he is taking the no poo thing seriously.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

bento flashback

Do you ever feel like you aren't doing as much as you should be doing? My (lovely, adorable) friend posted this photo on facebook:(It is from this blog) and I thought it was so cute and wished once again that I possessed the wherewithal to do things like this for my kids. These same feelings surface every time I open up Family Fun magazine (for which, much to my chagrin and dismay, I have a four year subscription ~~ I had just woken from a nap, was pregnant, and didn't have the strength to refuse the completely annoying salesman, long story!) and see all of the endearing things they have created that would be found utterly delightful by any child and never be forgotten as they think back on their childhood and remember their dear, hardworking, fun-loving, sweet little mother. This photo also brings up traumatic memories of making bento lunches for my kids in Japan, but that is also another long story. The bottom line is that sometimes I feel bad about myself.

But then! I go somewhere like... well, almost anywhere in my town -- the grocery store, the post office, the bank, the library -- and my tune changes. For example, I went to the high school the other day for a parent/teacher conference and overheard a mother talking to her freshman daughter. She was being so mean, and just wouldn't stop talking, and her daughter just kept looking down, and I thought to myself that someday that daughter is going to hate her mother, leave home, and never look back and that mom is going to wonder why. And I hear people talking meanly and belittling their children in public ALL the time. It makes me so mad! And I want to pull them aside and have them take a step back and look, really look at their kids. "Can you see them? They are sweet, and trying to do their best, and are looking to you for help, not abuse and the chip, chip, chipping away I can see right before my eyes." So I try to remind myself to do the same. And I am sorry that it is at the expense of the poor children, but it does make me feel a little better about myself. My kids will probably survive without all of the bells and whistles as long as I remember what the priorities are: build up, let them know all the things that are right about them, feed them healthy food, provide a haven, encourage their faith, and give them lots of hugs. (And don't forget all of that laundry I have been doing, doing, doing).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

emergency 911

For years and years I have admired sumptuous window treatments in magazines and at people's homes, but I never wanted to spend the money in a rental (because who knew what size windows you'd have later and lasting 20+ years is a must) and then when we bought this house I was faced with a "design dilemma" as they say.

You see how the one window is directly above a radiator, which I have now concluded is sufficiently far away and not hot enough to be a fire hazard, and the other window is pushed up to the corner so I still can't decide if I should put one or two panels on that one or not. You can see in the picture below that we have had lace panels that came with the house that fit inside the windows, but 1. they are not lavish and flowy, and 2. they are cream. I don't like cream. My whole house is cream. I don't look good in that color and it makes me uneasy.

I finally took them down because I had had enough, and didn't mind the spare look, but now with winter that seems cold and also it gets dark too early and I don't want peepers peeping in my window (one of my personal favorite pastimes on late winter afternoons before people draw their drapes). About two years ago I had bought some long, inexpensive, lace panels at Ikea intending to chop them up for the basement (I also bought these blue velvet drapes to put over closets in the basement, which I realize now would be mortifying for them being so fancy and all), but then last week on a whim decided to try them in my windows upstairs and I loved how it looked!

Isn't that white light filtering through the window dreamy? It improves the whole room. The problem was that I had already chopped up some of the panels so I only had two left. I quickly went to the Ikea website and much to my chagrin I saw that they no long carried that curtain! My heart sank. I then checked ebay where people were already inconsiderately gouging prices. I looked around some more and saw that other stores were selling similar items for $70 a panel. I googled the name of the curtain and through some back door discovered that they still had some in stock at the Ikea in Bolingbrook. This called for action! I very spontaneously decided I had to drive the two hours, worrying the whole time that they wouldn't really be there, but they were and aren't you all glad? I think they look splendid and I have 12 panels to spare. Whew.

I also had a sugar-free candy emergency and discovered that if you spend enough at the Russell Stover website, you can get free shipping. It was a trying week to be sure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

keep trying

A few weeks ago during scripture study, we came upon this wonderful advice: Do four things every day and you will be happy: pray, read scriptures, do service for someone, and try to pick one thing to improve in yourself. I haven't incorporated this into my daily routine yet, but I want to and that is a start.
If you are a mother and want to cry go here.

This morning in the wee wee hours I couldn't sleep and my back hurt. I wandered around my house for a bit, but it was a little chilly so I stacked up some pillows and kind of reclined in my bed. After a couple of hours I had fallen back to sleep. I was wakened by the sweet, funny, hyper
sounds of my girls picking out their clothes for the day. Baby heard it, too so I asked Lulu to get him for me because my back hurt. She came in my room and said that maybe my back hurt because it wasn't used to all those pillows. I tried to explain they were the remedy not the cause, oh never mind.

Friday, October 9, 2009

rainy days and thursdays

Yesterday it rained and rained. From sunup until sundown it just kept coming, and do you want to know why? Because Ibby had a field trip planned and boy oh boy was she excited. She had been talking about for weeks. "The field trip is on Thursday. Is that tomorrow?" No, not this Thursday, it is in like four Thursdays. Ach! Can we wait that long? They were going to go on a hay ride and pick pumpkins, feed baby cows from a bottle and see how cheese is made. A six year old girls dream... She woke up this morning and put on about fifty layers of clothes so that she wouldn't get too cold, but it was cancelled. She came home and I thought she would be all depressed, but instead she enthusiastically explained that they would go to the farm on the 23rd and would I please tell her when it was the night before that day so that she could put on her very most special undershirt again for that? Okay! That girl exudes exuberance. I need a little bit to rub off on me.

It was also raining because there was a funeral. Maybe it wasn't raining in Utah, but raining all day here seemed appropriate for my mood. My best friend's mother died. Long ago Kristin and I figured out that we were born 1 month, 6 days, 1 hour, and 3 minutes apart. We don't remember meeting each other for the first time we were just always friends. And her mom was like a mom to me. I was always at their house across the street and not once was I made to feel not welcome.

She always sang "Hel-lo Ma-ry" to me when I walked in the door.
And she let us do science experiments in her kitchen.
And she cared about the environment before it was trendy.
And she would take me along to the health food store and buy us honey candy.
And she never used chemicals in her shampoo, detergent, etc.
And she made crazy healthy dinners that always tasted good (and was happy to set an extra place).
And they drank real milk.
And she slept in on the weekends.
And they had a tulip table and chairs that we loved to spin in with a Nelson lamp above. Cool.
And they didn't mind us staying up until all hours at that table working on homework and other time consuming projects.
And she had a lovely garden (it's the one I picture whenever someone asks me how my garden is growing...)
And every Christmas we made stained glass cookies and gingerbread houses.
And her tree always looked perfect with nesting birds and a village around the base.
And we would sing along to Amahl and the Night Visitors.
And her dad was Lorin Wheelwright and we would go to his and Ila's house to gather around the piano singing Star Bright.
And she made amazing Christmas cards with photos and poems.
And she taught me piano for over 10 years.
And she always had Smarties.
And they had two pianos so we could play four person duets.
And she had us compose music every year and I even one a prize!
And she helped me love to sing always pulling things out for Kristin and I to work on together.
And she hosted doll tea parties with little boxes of chocolates.
And they always invited us to SLC to attend the symphony and concerts at Temple Square.
And they gave out Bit o' Honey every Halloween.
And she bought Kristin a make-up set that kept us quite occupied for years.
And she cheerfully took care of her mother-in-law.
And she was always learning new things.
And she couldn't wait to read us some interesting article out of the newspaper.
And they took us camping to Lake Powell and Capitol Reef.
And on a lot of other trips.
And she would tell us shocking things like how they had once slept naked on the rocks
And she knew the names of all the plants.
And she knew the sounds of all the birds.
And she loved sunsets.
And she never said a mean thing about anybody ~~ or was even negative about anything.
And she had the most amazing vibrant laugh. Ever.
And she shared it liberally.
And she was named Sylvia.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


About five years ago I met a woman at the neighborhood park. She had a daughter between the ages of my two girls and was pregnant with another one. I asked her her name and found out that she taught Art where my husband teaches. A few months later I saw her at our street 4th of July party with her new baby. I oohed and aahed, asked the baby's name, etc. Later I found out that someone in our ward was her student and did some work at her house so the next time I saw her at a University gallery opening I chatted with her about that. I took Music Together classes with her two daughters, romping around the room with them, singing their names every week, meeting her mother, and chatting frequently. As our kids have started school I see her at school carnivals and family reading nights. I noticed while I was pregnant that she was, too and lo and behold about a week before I had my baby (already a week late), while I was spending a lot of time hitting the pavement, I ran into another neighbor who said that she had had her baby ~~ a boy, named Finn. What? I had never actually known someone named that and here we are with Phin being the only boy name we like and someone who lives a block away naming her baby that. I ran home and told Matthew that we had to scour the baby name books again. Now why would I be so upset? Well, I guess that sort of thing bothers me anyway, but it was especially irksome because this woman NEVER knows who I am! I know almost everything about her that a casual acquaintance could know about a person ~~ her kids names and ages, where she grew up, what kind of car she drives, where she lived before she moved here ~~ and all I ever get is a blank stare. I find this slightly intimidating and I just didn't want to seem like I was copying her, but then again I didn't think she needed to have so much influence on my life so obviously we went with the name we liked in the first place. Anyhow, I decided that I was going to stop humiliating myself and pretend that I didn't know her either. When the babies were about three months old we all sat at the same table eating dinner at a gallery opening. She didn't even bat an eye. A few weeks after that I saw her at the elementary school, then a few different times at Target ~~ I don't even run into my close friends that often! Well, finally I had had enough denying my true self ~~ I LIKE to say hello to people I know ~~ and I started talking to her again when I saw her. I would comment on how big her baby was and what a cutie. I saw her at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago and asked the girls by name what they were buying. And yesterday I saw her as we were dropping off clothes at the local children's consignment store. It is very popular so you have to go before it opens to get in. So there we were standing in line for about 15 minutes. I couldn't not say something, could I? First I said a cheery hello and asked her what she was knitting. Then I asked where her baby was (with a sitter). I moved on to whether she has tenure (she does) and what teachers her kids have at school. Finally I could tell that she had no idea who I am. Doesn't it bother her a little that an apparent stranger knows her kids names and everything about her? I guess not. I told her that I live on the next street over. "Oh, you do? Do you know so and so? They just moved in two weeks ago." You know someone who moved here two weeks ago and you can't remember someone with whom you have had 50,000 encounters? Who are these people? I am going to have to go over and get lessons on how to be more remarkable. Next I inserted that our kids go to same school, ride the same the bus, we took music classes together, and that my husband teaches at the same university. In her department. "Oh, he does? What is his name?" Finally she notices my baby and asks how old he is. She doesn't ask his name because she really isn't that interested. As we are leaving I tell her good luck with the sweater she's knitting and I can already see the familiar glaze forming over her eyes. Hello! It's me. We were talking outside two minutes ago?

It would be kind of funny if this was isolated, but there are actually other people in my neighborhood who require unlimited introductions. What I want to know is, why can't people remember meeting me? Is it because I stay home with my kids? Do I have too many kids? Do I weigh too much? Have the wrong color hair? Dress the wrong way? Is it my name? {Random tangent: The other day I was returning something to the store. "What is your last name?" "Smith." "First name?" "Mary." He makes some wisecrack and I suddenly thought, I hate my name. I have had it! Perhaps hating my name has made me hate myself and that is why I never accomplish anything. When I hear about someone named Mary Smith I think of someone boring, mousy, pale, and nondescript. Mary Smith is an anonymous nobody. Okay, back to my other rant.} So it is all kind of funny. I guess I could start playing around and tell her something different every time like she has Alzheimer's or amnesia.

(Take us out Nat!) That's why darling it's incredible how someone so completely forgettable...
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