Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Fun!

We had a very nice Christmas, and as usual I am thoroughly enjoying having everyone home.  Archie hasn't bothered me once today at all!  Ibby and Phin are keeping him completely occupied.  We've been casually working on a puzzle for the past week and then people run off and play with new toys, or sneak to a quiet corner to read a book. 

 Matthew and I are starting a diet today, instead of waiting for the requisite New Year's Day resolution kickoff, since we feel disgusting after being gluttonous for too long.  I bought all kinds of appetizers that looked appealing at Sam's Club so we're feeling a little bit post-cruisy if you know what I mean.  We've been invited to a party on New Year's Eve so we're going to take that evening off, but otherwise we are going to do a full 30 day detox and see how we feel.  With eating too much junk and I've also finally weaned that big baby (sad), I've gained almost 15 pounds in the last couple of months!  I wish I didn't have to worry so much about my weight, or that I naturally didn't enjoy eating quite so much, but it is my trial in life -- and there are much worse ones, right?

We couldn't decide what to get for Charles for Christmas so we decided to take a little jaunt up to Chicago and let him choose the itinerary.  We kept checking on to see when it wouldn't be ridiculously freezing and horrible up there and we decided on last Friday and Saturday.  Initially it had said that it would be in the upper 20's and lower 30's, but that would still be better than any day the rest of Winter break so we went for it and it ended up being absolutely gorgeous!  Friday was around 40˚ and Saturday the sun was shining and it got up to 45˚ I think!  Charles decided to look up offbeat places to visit and we had a great time -- by far our favorite trip to Chicago yet!  On Friday we left a little late, but got up there around lunchtime.  We stopped at a little Polish diner and had borscht, goulash, and lots of other things that included sausage, potatoes, and cabbage.  Our next stop was the Vietnam Vets Art Museum and it was really great!  Oh my, the emotion, though!  Young boys sent off to a foreign jungle and deposited in what was basically hell.  War is so horrible!  Anyway, both of those places were tiny hole in the wall type locations that you would totally just pass by if you didn't know about them.  The museum especially!  We stopped because the GPS told us we had arrived, but we couldn't see anything anywhere!  So we got out and started walking around, but it turned out we were parked right in front of it!  Charles had a church on the list next, but I suggested that we go to the Sears Tower since we had never been up it before.  So we drove over there, parked, walked into the building, but the line was so long and tickets were so expensive we passed on that and drove over to H&M.  Dad stayed in the car with the little boys and soon texted me that he couldn't find his wallet!  We looked everywhere, but it never showed up so we've had to cancel our credit cards, etc.  He also had quite a bit of cash and some gift cards that we had bought ourselves to go out to eat.  Total bummer!  And I blame myself for bringing on bad karma once we veered from Charles' prescribed plan.  We had dinner at Giordano's and then went to a hotel.  It took them two hours to get our keys to work and bedding for the hide-a-beds so I was quite frustrated with the little boys not being able to go to bed.  The girls went swimming.  Saturday morning, Matthew and I woke up early and went to the temple.  He had called the bishop the night before to ask if we could call him early to talk to the temple president (since he had also lost his temple recommend with the wallet).  The session started at 7 -- we had arrived around 6:25 -- but Matthew didn't get in until 6:58.  They were a little grumpy in the dressing room, but I made sure they didn't close the doors and he made it!  It was very nice to spend time there and we chatted in the Celestial room for a while.  We had thought there would be breakfast at the hotel.  It did say hot breakfast, but we missed the not complimentary part.  So we stopped at McDonald's and then went to the next spot on Charles' to do list which was a thrift store called the Brown Elephant.  He didn't find anything, but I found the most amazing painting!  It is just a floral still life, but I swear I've been looking for one like it for years!  I always see great art from thrift stores in magazines, but I never see anything I like at Goodwill or even Estate Sales, so that was very exciting for me. 

His next choice was a book store called "Bookman's Corner" and he hoped, hoped, hoped that it would have a ladder!  He wanted to climb up it and find the perfect old book, but alas!  It was closed!  I should've taken a picture of it because it was so amazing!  It had front windows that were full of toppling piles of books -- like they were mountains of garbage!  I was a little relieved that it wasn't open because I wouldn't have been surprised to see rats in there!  Next we drove over to a street that is famous for being a mecca for Indians.  Charles was really hoping there would be elephants wandering the streets and mosques calling people to prayer, but I'm sure that you can guess that once again he was in for disappointment.  There were tons of interesting shops -- hundreds of stores selling gorgeously beaded sari among them.  We wandered around a bit then had a spicy curry lunch.  Last, we drove over to Chinatown, bought some food at a very Japanese-y bakery, found some fun souvenirs, and learned more about k-pop!  

We drove home and arrived around 7 p.m. so that was nice to not have a late night. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Love only requires one skill

This week has been better than last week, I suppose.  We whizzed through the stomach flu, but everyone has colds so no one feels very good.  Archie has some strange illness that I can't figure out.  He gets a fever in the afternoon and evening, but then it goes away without any medicine.  He just wants to sit in my lap so I watched an entire series, 16 hour long episodes, of another Korean drama.  It was so good!!!  But I felt very guilty about watching t.v. during the day.  I don't normally do that.

I'm teaching Charles' Sunday School class now and so I've taught two times so far.  They are a rough crowd!  They're either talking loudly and hitting each other or when I finally get their attention and ask a question they're all staring at me blankly.  Hello???  And there is a new curriculum that is very vague and strange because you're supposed to teach by the spirit.  I think the concept of teaching by the spirit is a good one, but a little direction would be so helpful for me -- especially because I have a hard time thinking on my feet.  I can have a conversation with someone for hours, but if I'm just standing up in front of people my mind goes blank and I'm barely coherent.  It's sad.  So there is a list of topics to choose from and the one I chose for yesterday was "Serving in the Church."  There are some great conference talks about that and a story from the Ensign this month so I was reading them things and asking questions.  At the end I gave them a plastic spoon with this story:

One day a man said to God, “God, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.

God showed the man two doors. Inside the first one, in the middle of the room, was a large round table with a large pot of stew. It smelled delicious and made the man’s mouth water, but the people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles and each found it possible to {mosimage}reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. God said, "You have seen Hell."

Behind the second door, the room appeared exactly the same. There was the large round table with the large pot of wonderful stew that made the man's mouth water. The people had the same long-handled spoons, but they were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

The man said, "I don't understand."

God smiled. “It is simple,” He said, “Love only requires one skill. These people learned early to feed one another. Those who are hungry are greedy people, and they think only of themselves.

But then the girls were flipping each other with the spoons!  I swear they are worse than the Sunbeams who at least are a little cowed by authority, sheesh!  But I just smiled, it really wasn't bothering me that much, and I loved that concept of just loving other people.  I've been thinking a lot about the scripture Moroni 7: 47-48 -- Charity doesn't come naturally to everyone so like other gifts, we have to pray for it.  I'm going to try to pray for it every day. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanks a lot!

We had an absolutely memorable Thanksgiving.  It started with Phin throwing up on Wednesday afternoon around 5 p.m.  I had just gotten back from seeing the second Hunger Games movie with Lucy and was trying to get everyone to clean up the house a little bit.  Phin wasn't doing anything and was just laying on the floor.  I thought he was just being lazy, but then he said "I feel like I'm going to throw up and I'm serious!"  So I told him to go throw up then and he did -- halfway to the bathroom, grrr.  So I cancelled our plans with the Thayn's.  He was sick until halfway through the next day, but then we were all feeling pretty good for our actual Thanksgiving dinner.  By that night Dad wasn't feeling well and at 1 in the morning Archie started puking.  He was every 30 minutes or so with us having to change all of his clothes and bedding every time then Ibby started at 3 with not quite making it down the attic stairs... that carpet did not look pretty.  By the next day Charles wasn't feeling very well either.  Around noon Phin comes upstairs and asks why water is coming down through the dining room light.  I run down there and the chandelier looks like a fountain!  Quite pretty, I suppose, but worrisome!  We call a plumber, but no one can come for a while since it is a holiday.  When he comes he says that something broke in the tub above (and they were over here fixing that all morning -- $700 we weren't planning on spending).  Then Lucy got sick Friday night and I was throwing up all day on Saturday so Dad's birthday was kind of a bust.  We celebrated yesterday, but everyone's tummies were still a little sensitive.  We have tons of leftovers since I still made everything and we didn't share nor did we eat very much.  How do you like that appetizing tale?

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