Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Break to D.C.

We just went to Washington D.C. this past week for Spring Break.  We had been tentatively planning it for a while, but it still felt spontaneous when it finally happened.  We were worried about the weather driving out because it was snowing on the way there -- we could barely see as we drove through the Appalachians in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, but then everything warmed up and I thought that winter just might be finally over -- wrong!  When we left Rebecca's house early yesterday morning it was raining super hard and by the time we made it to the same mountains again it was snowing pretty hard and the roads were terrible!  I stopped breathing a couple of times and was clutching the sides of the car -- because holding onto the door would totally keep the semi from ramming into us, right?  I was so happy to see the sun again and relieved to get out of those hills -- I am now a flatlander through and through.

We did some fun things in D.C.  We drove out on Tuesday and got there late so Wednesday morning we had a little bit of a late start.  We went to the Library of Congress and the Botanic Garden.

 This is a pic of the boys running wild through the hallways from which we were subsequently shushed out.

Charles was being crazy at the Garden and saying that he had to archive each plant so he kept pulling off leaves and flowers!  When we got back to the car he had quite a collection, brat!  We tried to explain to him how bad it would be if everyone who visited acted the same way, but he thinks he is above the law.  It was pretty funny!  He had an orchid blossom, a leaf from a "cabbage on a stick", and he had consumed a kumquat.  Before driving back we drove past the White House.

Thursday, Rebecca let her kids skip school so went into town and toured the U.S. Mint and the Holocaust Museum.  The boys enjoyed seeing where money came from and the museum was really well done!  I didn't really want to go because I knew that it would, of course, be completely depressing, but it is such a great museum!  They did a wonderful job presenting how horrific it all was.  On the way home we stopped at the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon.  It is really amazing!

Friday was Phin's birthday!!! We went to the Hirshhorn gallery, had lunch at the Native American museum and then headed over to the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.  It was really awesome!  I heard someone say that it is one of only four memorials in D.C. that isn't dedicated to a president or a war.  As usual, the kids got right down to business of running all over the place.  They conquered it.

I actually left everyone at the gallery and had lunch with two friends from high school so that was fun.  I met them at the Natl. Gallery so I quickly ran around to see some of my faves... Vermeer, Van Gogh, Whistler, etc.  I have so many memories of that museum.  I wonder how many times we went?  50?  It is all very very familiar, thanks to my mom!

Isn't that a great selfie with Twila, Amy, and Maggie?  Love it!

We then went to Arlington Cemetery, which they know longer let you drive around, so we walked a lot!  Later, Charles made all the kids some dinner while the adults tried an amazing Korean place.  We finished the day with some candles on brownies for Phin.  Saturday we went to the temple and shopping for Ella's birthday.  Sunday we drove home!  Through the snow!  Ack!

Monday, March 24, 2014

my first pilgrimage

I just went to a three day women's retreat that was amazing!!!!  Oh my goodness!  It is called Midwest Pilgrims and a lot of them are feminists, but it isn't the main thing -- mostly they are women who think about things.  And the talks and the activities and the spirit!  Ack!  It was really incredible.  I kept thinking about how I would love to take Ella and Lucy with me next Spring.  I would love to share all that I learned, but I'm still processing some of the information.  We talked about gifts of the spirit, the divine feminine, how Christ is the ultimate healer, and how women were ordained to be healers by Joseph Smith, but it was eventually taken away (but it was part of our church for over 100 years!  It's our heritage!).  We also talked about meditation as a path toward higher spiritual learning.

We are leaving for Virginia in the morning since it is Spring Break.  Matthew had to teach this afternoon and I am teaching my class tonight so we haven't gone yet.  We haven't seen Rebecca since our reunion last summer so it will be fun.   It is supposed to snow so hopefully we will make it there without any issues.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!  Are you wearing green?  I was lame and didn't make anything special for breakfast, but when I came down I saw that Charles had dyed the entire gallon of milk green!!! So that made everyone's lame cold cereal breakfast super festive -- thanks Charles!  And I'm making corned beef and cabbage for dinner so hopefully that will turn out well.  I've never made it in the crock pot before so hopefully it will be done cooking in time for dinner.  Raw corned beef = yuck!

 We held our little service club again this past Saturday and Rachelle came with her daughters, Aubrey and Anne.  The other people who came were Joy with Miranda, Clare and her girls, and Cherrie and her four kids.   We made birthday bags for the women's shelter -- where women and children go if they're being abused.  Its location is a secret so that their husbands/dads can't chase them down so I have to take the bags to another place.  The bags each have a cake mix, can of frosting, balloons, silly string, a birthday banner, candles, and tissue paper.  We thought it would be nice for them to have in case someone was staying there on their birthday.  At the activity, the kids decorated the bags and then assembled them.  It turned out so well!  Next month we're making May day baskets to take to the nursing home and in May we're going to finally take all of those old towels to the animal shelter !!   I wanted Ella to do that for a personal progress project and then I wanted Charles to do it for an eagle project --  Haha!  I had to just do my own project.

Ella's phone just rang.  Her phone is now the home phone, but Lucy lost her phone so she has it.  I had given her a special ring tone so whenever I hear it I think of my Ella :)  Lucy has spent the day shadowing someone at U-High since she applied there.  I am supposed to pick her up right now, but I didn't realize how late in the day it is (surprise, surprise) and Archie is asleep.  She just texted me and said she found a ride with her friend -- yea!  Then I can keep writing this, whoop!

 On Saturday we also went to the St. Patrick's Day parade in uptown Normal.   I think last year was the first time that I ever went.  It is a bit lame as far as parades go, but it was a pretty nice day -- only about 40˚ but very sunny and nice.  Charles has started volunteering at the Children's Museum.  He gets out of school at 12:00 every day and then comes home and is a complete bum so I called the museum to ask them if they could keep him occupied, haha!  He goes two days a week for two hours and on Saturday while he was there a little 4 year old boy became lost and had been missing already for 1.5 hours when Charles had to leave.  The police were there and everything.  As we walked up it was like a scene out of the "Fugitive" with bagpipes playing in the parade and tons of people everywhere -- the absolute worst day to lose a child in Normal -- usually it is completely dead!  We don't know what happened, but we never saw anything in the news so I assume it was a good outcome.

Monday, March 10, 2014


 So it is in the 50's today!  Woot!  But it is supposed to snow tomorrow again!  It has been on heck of a winter, by golly!  But we're enjoying the sunshine today.  I would go outside except that it is super muddy!  We still have about a foot of snow on the lawn and the gutters are completely overrun with the run off of melting dripping gray slush.  The parts of the yard that are showing look like absolute mud traps.

 Archie pooped in the potty today!  It was very exciting!  He got some chocolate.

 We all got messed up from daylight savings.  Everyone was so grumpy and horrible yesterday, but it seems like today is a better day.

 We're looking into buying a new piano.  Our old one just isn't cutting it.  Since they're so expensive, it is hard to decide whether to just buy the cheapest several thousand one or buy the better more several thousand one.  Hmmm.  What a luxury that we can even consider.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

my daddy!

Happy 82nd Birthday, to my papa!  I called him this morning and he was very cheerful.  He said my mom had made him a nice breakfast and given him a nice hug.  I asked him if he needed anything and he said that he needed a belt so I hurried and ordered him one off of Amazon.  Hopefully it will work for him -- he is persnickety in his old age.  His sister, Jean, died yesterday.  He said that the last time he visited her she wasn't really aware of him and she was kind of moaning the whole time.  So he thinks she was in a lot of pain.  I can imagine her cheerful reunion in heaven -- her husband, her parents, her siblings, some of her children, and to feel good again.  Oh -- it must be a happy day for her!  He told me that when one of them (my parents) die, they'd rather live with one of their kids than in a nursing home or alone.  I would love to live with them!

Funny quotes from the boys, Phin: "Mom, the tenchapur in the bath is just right!"  Archie: As he doesn't quite make it to the toilet, "Mom!  I'm spilling!"

Monday, March 3, 2014


This week was busy, but not very exciting.  Lucy turned 14.  A lot of us are getting colds so we're all snotty and head-achy.  Archie is still learning how to go to the potty.  At first, he was having pee accidents, but making it for #2.  Now it is the opposite.  Gross.  But he's doing well.  Saturday, Lucy had a birthday party and there were about 15 of her friends here.  There was a nice mix of church and school friends and almost half of the guests were boys.  She has a really nice group of friends.  They played Charades and even started singing around the piano while Lucy played, since a lot of them are in choir and she has accompanied them.  I was upstairs kind of laughing because it seemed like such a blast from the past -- from the 50's or something.  It made me happy.  We got that all cleaned up and then went to the Clay's house for a Mardi Gras party.  There were tons of people there and we had Gumbo, Shrimp Etoufee, and King's cake.  Whoop!  It was fun chatting with different people.  I have a new friend, Laura Gough.  I met her at Twin Cities Dance on the night Ella was set apart for her mission.   She overheard me talking about Ella and introduced herself.  She lives in the Normal ward and served her mission in Anaheim.  She is really nice.  So we talked about Ella and her son just got his mission call to Louisville, KY.  He is going to school in UT so she wonders if they realize how close his mission is to where his parents live.  Yesterday we went to church in the morning, but it had been snowing all night so there was hardly anyone there.  I looked around and could only see a couple of my sunday school students there so I was plotting to watch a video and not waste my amazingly prepared lesson on such a small number.  It would be to their benefit if I saved it for next week, right?  But the bishop took away my worries by announcing that the rest of church was cancelled at the end of sacrament meeting.  It was a little strange since it wasn't snowing anymore and we had all already risked our lives to be there, but I think it was because half of the teachers were missing anyway, that it would've been too crazy to figure out classes.  So we came home and the McLaughlin's came over for dinner and to play Settlers.  It was really fun -- except for the time that Matthew and Charles argued about a certain rule for about 10 minutes.  Enough already!  Right now I'm watching Charlie Clark while Syndy is at a doctor's appointment.  Archie is singing and playing, but Charlie is just staring at him.

I've told you I'm doing the Artist's Way, right?  Well, I had a little tantrum this past week because she is talking about how God wants to bless us with tons of things, but we're holding ourselves back.  I have a soft bed, loving people around me, a closet full of clothes, a pantry and refrigerator bursting with delicious and healthy foods... but there are people on this planet, now and throughout history, who from dawn to dusk, from birth until death, live in abject poverty and misery. So I "need" to go take tango lessons or go skydiving while some woman who was sold into prostitution as a child is simply not sending out the right affirmations? My whole life has been haunted by the "why." Why am I a Caucasian born into a wonderful family, free to get an education and do whatever I want with my life? Why do I have six healthy children and a loving husband? Why are there people who are hungry, hurt, scared, and lonely? Why should I be dissatisfied and want more?  But I've thought about it some more and realize that by not accepting God's abundance, I'm not able to share the love.  I need to be more open.  I was reading Mosiah 4 this morning -- I just love that chapter!  It has so much in there!  I like how it points out that we don't really know anything and that we're just supposed to love other people.  Love is the answer.  Always.

I got a new Book of Mormon for Valentines, haha!  It is pretty cool.  It is written in paragraph form, no verses, and it doesn't have footnotes.   Also, it is put in a different order -- the order in which it was abridged by Mormon, so it starts at the end.  Anyway, it is shaking things up a little bit for me and is easier to read for now.
Related Posts with Thumbnails