Friday, August 9, 2013

Clothesline Timeline

Ender posing by one of our first loads of line-dried laundry.

After moving into our beautiful home, we found out our dryer is a gas dryer and will therefore not work in this house. Oh! Well that is just one of those things that slipped under the radar this summer. It was funny to me in a tired way. I laughed and shrugged.

My father-in-law installed some clotheslines before flying back to Rexburg. My first time hanging laundry to dry was a little bit discouraging. It was all so time consuming, handling every item of clothing, arranging it with clothespins to the line, making room for a typical, large load. Wasn't laundry already time consuming?

I sighed a lot, and I sweated a lot (Arizona is ideal for drying clothes and wetting people). But since I figured this would be the new way of things, I decided I would do my best to like it. I purposefully looked for the love in my work, in my slow motion of touching each item of clothing. Once the clothes were hung, a quiet little smile crept up as I surveyed my work. It was pretty, a little display of a finished task. I went to bed tired but satisfied and grateful.

When morning came, I rushed outside while it was relatively cool. In the still air, in the partial shade, I sweated and smiled while I pulled the clothes off the line, one at a time, folding them and placing them in my basket. Birds sang, and somehow the work went quickly. I felt that my attitude had made a complete turn; I really did like it, I couldn't help but like it.

This morning, I shuffled outside to pull down and fold some stiff towels. The lines had slackened under the weight of the towels and lifted as I pulled them away. A weak breeze kept the worst of the heat off as my apron pockets filled up with clothespins. It all took me back in time, and looking at Scarlett, it seemed she was also a scene from a different time. She sat in the dirt by the fence, in her little white dress, chattering about the leaves she shuffled in her fingers. I imagined a mother of years ago tsk-tsking at her gently, shaking her head at the dirty white dress. Maybe she would draw a bath for Scarlett and set to work cleaning the little dress, sighing at yet more laundry to be done. Or maybe, like me, she would just smile.

Laundry now feels like a little window of time travel. The clotheslines extend their fibers down the line of time, and I connect with women who years ago worked their fingers deftly over clothespins, perhaps sighing at the size of their laundry load and perhaps smiling at the lovely linens lifting in the breeze, clean and drying.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hello, Home!

Remember when I said we were moving somewhere hot? I was so ready to spill the beans, but we hadn't really announced it to anyone yet. But now pretty much everyone knows! Arizona. It's definitely hot. And you know, I don't mind.
How could I mind? We are so blessed-- this is a sweet little neighborhood, quiet and safe. The houses have been described by a couple people as birdhouses or dollhouses, which is quite true! They're cute and unimposing. Perhaps small, but with vaulted ceilings it feels very spacious.
It's not quite real for me yet...this is my house now? Really? :)
We move in this weekend. Things have been crazy all summer, but in the midst of certain stressful craziness there has been exciting, good craziness. This is one of those times. I LOVE moving into a new place, and I'm especially excited to move into THIS new place.
You'll be hearing from me more, but possibly not for a while yet still. I haven't really been able to pull my brain together for any blog posts, even though I so desperately wanted to share my Russian adventures (I still will!). 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Happy Marriage

My husband Michael and I have been married six years now. Happy Anniversary to us! Michael and I have a beautiful marriage, and we love each other more and more as time passes. We've been students our entire married life-- and we're still far from being done with student life! I guess we're poor, but it doesn't feel like it. In fact, it seems like we're really prosperous! We are so happy! Heavenly Father certainly takes care of us! 

That is one reason we are happy; another reason we are so happy is that Michael and I take care of each other. In all the time that Michael and I have known each other, we have never argued. Perhaps we're lucky to rarely disagree, but we're also very purposeful in this. It might seem weird to say this, but sometimes it takes bravery to make the effort to communicate with your spouse when your feelings have been hurt or there is some conflict about something. You have to swallow your pride. I learned early on in our marriage that I tend to swallow my feelings instead! When my feelings were hurt, I didn't want to hurt Michael in turn by confessing that something he'd said was a little insensitive. I didn't want to tell him because I knew he didn't mean to be that way. So I would stew on my feelings for a while, trying to sort it out on my own in my head. I thought that was the solution. 
But I realized that actually made things worse. Michael would wonder why I was in such a quiet mood, why I seemed a little melancholy (or maybe even irritable, to be honest). When I didn't come up front with how I felt, he worried and thought he had done something wrong. I learned that I needed to tell him what was distressing me, and then when we talked about it, we got to know each other better. He learned that I am very sensitive. I learned that he is even more gentle than I knew before. People say communication is important---that's because it really is!

We also learned to be ever forgiving. Let me tell you a little story from the first months of our marriage. It makes me laugh now, but at the time...well, I wasn't lying when I said I was sensitive (especially being new to marriage). The kitchen dishtowels always seemed mildewy. It was disgusting, and I didn't really know why that happened to even the freshest towels. It seemed like maybe I was doing something wrong with the washing, which is why I felt testy about them to begin with (because the problem seemed to be my fault). One day, I wiped a buttery knife on the washcloth. Michael said in surprise "No wonder they're always smelly!" 
I said almost with a laugh, "That's the only time I've ever done that." 
I told Michael I was sorry the dishtowels were so nasty, and I was trying to figure out the problem, but I didn't know what it was. Michael was sorry for "blaming" me. And we let it go. I obviously remember it, but that's because it was a learning point for me. I had to forgive him-- though it was really nothing, I had felt blamed, and I had to just forget it and realize that Michael wasn't being unkind in the least. I was very new to the wife thing, which includes lots of housekeeping chores that I had thought I knew enough about. So I was kind of sensitive while I dealt with the learning curve. And Michael was new to the husband thing, so I could replace my hurt feelings with sympathy. We're doing this together.
Forgiveness is very powerful and freeing in a marriage. When you're willing to forgive, you become more able to see problems clearly. Sometimes, you can see so clearly that the problem isn't even a problem anymore! Like mildewy dishtowels... hahaha! Stupid. 
Gotta love damp basement apartments.

It is of utmost importance to Michael and me that we are never hurtful towards each other. Even if we're not in each other's company; we never speak ill of each other to anyone, not even our best friends. Instead we praise each other. We put each other in the best light possible. I love it when people begin to see what I see in my husband! I love to share how wonderful he is! Because he really is wonderful, and I appreciate everything about him. I am grateful for my husband. When I talk about him that way, it lifts our marriage up (and Michael does the same for me-- he treats me like a's humbling that he loves me so much, and it makes me want to be as good to him as he says I am). 

Marriage is incredible! It is such a gift from Heavenly Father! In marriage, you have access to the highest happiness and the greatest blessings. We find so much joy in being together. We are each other's priority. When that is in place, children benefit from knowing their parents love each other. There will be more peace in the family. A happy husband and wife make the best parents.

If I were to give advice to engaged or married couples, I would say: remember why you fell in love. And then find new reasons to fall in love with each other again and again. Forever is a long time, and being human, we have a tendency to get used to things. Don't get so used to your spouse that you forget why they're so special to you. Cherish each other. You are important to each other. Sometimes, love is work. I mean, if you want to use that old analogy of saying love is a fire, you do have to stoke the fire to keep it going (duh). Even a wildfire will go out eventually when left on its own. If you want that heat to keep up, make it happen. 
The best way I can think of to maintain love for your spouse is to be service-minded and continue in your efforts to be Christ-like. Everything else will follow. 

My husband and I enjoy a really beautiful life together. There are difficulties here and there, but they seem minimal when we keep an eternal perspective. I married my best friend. We were completely in love when we married, and we are completely in love now-- but our capability to love has grown. Love works like that. So we are very excited for the future. Our love will continue to grow! 

Happy Anniversary, my sweetheart Michael. Thank you for being my husband. Thank you for always treating me so kindly. Thank you for being so willing to serve me all the time. Thank you for being such a wonderful father to our children. Thank you for playing with them, listening to them, teaching them. Thank you for being the best example they could have for a caring, loving father who is good to their mother. 

I really love you.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Voting Poll

It is well past time to change the header for my blog! This has been the header for 3 years now:

Ender is obviously no longer a baby, and our family has grown. What should the new theme be?
On the right sidebar, I have created a poll so you can voice your opinion; you have all summer (because I won't get to it until the end of the summer). The poll will close August 31st at midnight. You can vote on more than one option. Please share this with friends and family!
It's not urgent or serious, just fun. :)

Here are the choices and some examples of what I have in mind. Please remember these are all drafts:




something rafty or shipwrecked

something wild and sporty

something crazy




If you have more ideas, I would love to hear them! 

These are "themes" I've been thinking about for a couple years. The final picture will probably be hand-drawn (or a combination with computer stuff). 

And now I should probably take a little break from drawing...Scarlett pulled out all the stops while my attention was art-directed. 

She ripped labels off toy food.
She destroyed Ender's LEGO spaceship.
She got into the spices and dumped out all the chili powder.
She unwound toilet paper all over the bathroom and used the toilet brush to paint the floor (while I was cleaning up her spice mess).
She doodled with my Bamboo Splash pen (while I was cleaning up her toilet mess).

There were other mischievous doings inbetween all of that-- Scarlett was on a nonstop mission of destruction and mayhem. I have to admit I shouted in dismay when I discovered each calamity. But I tried mightily to not direct my shouts at her...phew...I could see the humor of it all in some tiny hidden space in my brain, but I sure felt frustrated. She is now taking a nap. It is a relief. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Closed For Maintenance

Sometimes I wonder how I can be so upbeat one day and cranky/emotional the next day. 

Then I look at my calendar. 

Oh yeah. Now I remember.

Someone make that T-shirt for me. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Cheery Kitchen

This is not the most impressive sight for many people, I'm sure. But looking at my kitchen today, just as it is, I felt so full of cheer! I love my kitchen. It is a happy place.

I love the flowers on my table. The photo doesn't do the tulips justice; they're a lovely, vibrant red, and I think I breathe more deeply every time I pause to look at them. 

I love seeing the lovely cupcakes on the table; they're from Shauna, who ran them downstairs to us on her way out. That makes me happy. 

I love the fruit on the counters. Pineapple, bananas, peaches I canned with my mom. Fresh and yummy! 

I even love my dishsoap. It's such a bright blue. And I even love my rug at the sink; it's a little squishy, and it's soft and easy to clean.

I love my owl cookie jar. It's cute. And it houses my chocolate stash.

I love my knives, my blendtec, my bamboo cutting counters are more cluttered than I prefer, but I am so happy to have those things! 

Even the glass dishes drying on the sink edge make me smile. They're so clean they sparkle. 

And the paper pinwheels on the windowsill that Ender and I made together on Valentine's Day-- I love those, too. 

The kitchen is one of my favorite places to be, and I think that's because it's somewhere that I find it very easy to see my blessings and serve others. We are blessed with an abundance of food, tools and beautiful things. And the kitchen is where so many happy things take place.

New Year Goals Revisited

I like to do this once in a while during the year. Otherwise, I think the whole New Year New Me idea is pointless.

For the year's goals, I wrote: 

I know making art restores my emotional health incredibly well.
I know exercising gives me really important time to myself. 
I know I feel really good about myself when I cook and bake for the family. 
I know I stress less when I'm organized with my budget and home. 
I know I am happier when I take care of myself. 
I know waking up early makes everything easier. 
I know I love my church calling more when I prepare for each Sunday.

And guess how things are going? I'm definitely not perfect. I'm not ALWAYS keeping up with EVERYTHING. But when I start to get moody or lazy or something, I am more likely to remember that I have ideas to keep myself out of the tangly web of it all. 

I have been drawing VERY regularly! I love my new Bamboo Splash pen, and I've worn it down considerably. I have so much fun drawing, even if I'm making really stupid pictures that I end up deleting. Stupid pictures like this: 

I have been exercising. I have missed a few days here and there when the kids had runny noses or I stayed up atrociously late. But going to the gym is a habit. It's a regular part of our lives. When we fell off the radar during Christmas break (which extended through january, in gym-terms), we missed the gym and really wanted to go back. We weren't avoiding it so much as waiting out the sickies and trying to get our act together.

During my period, which happens all too often in my opinion, I am a horrible housekeeper. I don't make meals, I don't do laundry, I sometimes don't keep up with dishes, and my showers are irregular (ew). BUT! Outside that miserable window of time, I have been making meals and enjoying my time in the kitchen. It does indeed give me great pleasure. 

We have been watching our budget steadily for some time now, and it feels so good. Even when there's not much left to spend (like this month, bleh). At least I know just how much there is to work with, and even though most of it will be gone after I buy diapers and toilet paper today, we will be just fine. Especially if I finally file those tax returns...

Laundry...yeah...well, for about three weeks, my house looked like a dump. Because of the laundry, mostly. But I caught up (and I'll have to do some more very soon, since that's how laundry goes), and I have been trying harder not just to take care of the home but not imagine it's some huge chore. I just do it.

I have been taking care of myself. I pamper my skin, I pamper my hair. I shave my legs a little more often. :) And I try to eat more nutritious foods. I still enjoy cookies and the occasional ice cream or dessert, but I have at least been "better" about how much I enjoy (so...still a lot, but not nearly as much as before). 

I wake up "early." Hahaha...yeah, like 7:30 or 8:00. That's not really qualified as early in my book, but I'm not sleeping in. It's hard. It's torturous some mornings. But I want to be up in the mornings, so I make it happen. It does still take a while for me to peel myself off the bed, but it does still make everything easier to be up and get the day started on time.

Last: I have been preparing more diligently for Sundays. It has taken a lot of stress away. I have learned to love my calling so much that I honestly wouldn't mind if I got the same calling again after we move. I have learned how to keep going with fresh ideas even after 3 years. 

Help yourself; this is an old twister-wheel board, and if you don't happen to have a spare, wrapping some paper around it won't damage the board. Just pop the spinner off. "Hot Potato" is a game where the kids pass an item around quickly while singing, but when the music randomly stops, the kid holding the item has to say the next word. "Word Swap" is a game where you divide the primary into two groups which take turns singing every other word. The other stuff on here is pretty self-explanatory. My primary kids LOVE "Opera," so we go all out for that one. :)
You may have noticed that there haven't been any "Monthly Creations" yet this year...well, there won't be any. Not as a regularly documented event. I realized last month that this is not a good year for that! We are moving out soon, putting our things in storage, and we'll be in Russia for part of the summer. Then I'll be focusing my efforts on moving into our new place. 
I create stuff regularly, and I might decide to backtrack and post 12 creations for the year. It just won't be a monthly thing this time. :) 
Even with everything pretty busy this summer, I feel like I can keep up with my goals for the year! So far, pretty good. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

So...I Lied

Do you all remember this? Specifically, do you remember what I said at the end? To quote myself:

Just so you know, this was my first and LAST marathon. I am not interested in doing it again. I feel no need. This not a new hobby. 

Um. Guess what.

I seriously miss running. I couldn't run outdoors this winter because the cold air always gives me a hacking cough that takes ages to ever go away (even if I just make a quick jog through a parking lot).
As the winter wore on after my September marathon, I found myself really missing the daily running. At the gym, the thing that made me really dig into the elliptical or treadmill was daydreaming about a marathon (or running in the Olympics...hahaha!).
It began slowly. First I just missed running outside. Then I missed my "little" 3-mile runs. That simple little window of time in the morning that I got away and ran...
Then I missed the schedule of training, following goals. Then I missed the achievement.
I started thinking quite seriously about how my sisters have entertained the idea of all 5 of us running a marathon together.
Oh yeah, and I miss how in shape I was.

It happened:

I miss my marathon.

And...I want to do it again.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What Happened to Spring?

I have many reasons to be excited about announcing where we're moving. One of the reasons:

Yesterday morning, I put the kids in their winter coats since it was chilly. But I figured it would get warmer, and since I was headed to the gym, I didn't bother with anything more than my thin Champion-material workout jacket. I stuffed the kids into the double stroller and gave them each warm food to help the cold seem less miserable.

The wind was sharp and bitter as I shoved the stroller along. I wanted to run with it, but that would make the wind cut even worse, and the front stroller wheels go berserk if I try anything fancy. I really thought the weather would just get warmer like it did the last several days.

As it turned out, I noticed a few snowflakes falling when I left the gym to pick up the kids. And it was horribly cold. I hoped it was some odd fluke that would be over in minutes. It was all making me flashback to the time the kids and I were stuck in the rain, and even though we were prepared with a couple umbrellas, the wind drove the rain all over us and soaked my poor kids to the bone. I felt like an awful mother that day, especially when the kids got colds from it and were sick for nearly a week.

The snow did not go away; when Ender saw the blizzard forming outside, he said with horror and dismay "what happened to spring?!?!" We were stuck with tunneling home through a furious flurry of fat snowflakes and wind that made the kids cry. I even whined to myself, pouting and complaining all the way to our front door.

Finally home, I settled us with some hot cocoa. It seemed to take half the day to get warm again.

That's why I'm REALLY excited that we are moving to our top choice school.... 

Somewhere HOT. 

You KNOW it's not snowing there. Bring on the sweaty summers and palm-tree-Christmases! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Map of Trees

It's 3am, and my eyes are kind of crossing.
I've been drawing! I even wore sunglasses now and then to give my eyes a rest from the BLARING computer screen.
Michael has this incredible album underway called Map of Trees, and one of the finishing touches he needed was some artwork. Tonight, I helped him by drawing 108 trees that work as a pictorial musical score with special instructions in paying attention to details for inspiration with performance.
I had to take breaks many times to let myself fall asleep a bit before I kept going. Trees are hard! Trees are exhausting! And I'm already kind of scared of how sleepy I'll be tomorrow. Naps for everyone, please?
But I'm happy to have done this for Michael-- I want him to be successful, so of course I'm happy to support him! And I'm pretty proud of how it all turned out. Because even though trees are hard and exhausting, trees are awesome.
Behold, my six-and-a-half-hour labor of love:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Kitchen: the Mess Hall

We have had many adventures with Scarlett and her high chair.
It's kind of pointless by now...she can unbuckle her straps. She can wriggle out of ties and elastics and all the other traps we've devised. Either we're really crummy at fastening her to the chair or she's super brilliant.

I think she's super brilliant.

Like any other baby, Scarlett loves to drop her food on the floor. Very purposefully. It's almost like she imagines she's a Food Whisperer, studying the food, deciding it really wants to be on the floor. The floor is its home. She plucks the food up, dangles it just a second over the precipice of her tray, and with a solemn face drops it. A mercy killing? Then she peeks at it on the floor. Maybe to survey the damage. Did it survive the fall? How does bread splat compared to the way grape tomatoes splat? How big can I get that juice spill to spread?

I often wonder how she has the energy to be crazy every day when most of her food meets its end on the floor instead of in her belly. And sometimes it is just a little bit sad to see a praiseworthy piece of dinner that is more like art for all the work I slaved into it get swiped off her tray without ever making a detour to her mouth.

But it's okay. She has fun. She's cute about it. Like "Now Mom, these activities are for educational purposes. This survey will only take a few minutes." And apparently she gets the food she needs somehow.

With all the adventures she puts her food through though, she makes a huge mess for me at every meal. If I don't keep up with her and sweep/vacuum/mop every time, the area under her chair resembles a little city ants would call Paradise.

Honestly, I want Scarlett's high chair experiences to be positive. They're mealtimes, after all. And food shouldn't be mixed up with other issues, if it can be helped. So with all the stuff she and I put each other through while trying to secure her to the chair for safety's sake, it's probably a good thing she's having so much fun sending her food lemmings off the cliff of doom.

That's what I'll tell myself every time I have to hunker down and clean up yet another food mass-catastrophe.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Blast From the Past: Making Mom Laugh

My mom read to me a lot when I was a kid. In fact, she read to me when I was older, too-- if I asked her to. She was sensitive to my need to feel mature, so she never pushed. But I could tell when I asked her to read to me that she was so flattered. She loved reading to us. I think that's really a big part of why I loved it.

When I was about 7 or so, my mom read "Mr. Popper's Penguins" to Maddie and me. It is one of the first chapter books I remember her reading to us. We laughed at the silliness of it, and I enjoyed the story largely because penguins were one of my most favorite animals ever in the world. :)

One evening, when my mom seemed to be in an especially laughy mood, I sensed that I might get away with a little "naughtiness." So I confided to her that nearly every time I read the title of the book, I misread it as:


And my mom laughed and laughed. She would stop laughing for a moment, but then as soon as she was about to read again, she'd laugh and say to herself "Mr. Pooper" and we'd have to wait while she gathered her wits. I loved it. I felt so happy that I had made her laugh. I personally thought it was hilarious, so I was really flattered to discover that she thought so too.

I remember enjoying the book. But all the delightful parts of how Mrs. Popper wore gloves to play the piano and Mr. Popper turned his basement into a fridge-land pale in comparison to my memory of making my mom laugh.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What the Kids Do While I Draw

I drew this because I really wanted to remember the way Scarlett was hanging onto Michael in church on Sunday. She was so cute...she actually behaved well for the entire meeting! That was awesome and completely unexpected. She seemed to be enjoying herself, raising Michael's hand for the sustainings in ward business (if you're not Mormon, I'm sorry-- that probably sounds like a jumble of nonsense). She was quiet and sweet. 
Now I will take you backstage! While I drew that picture, I wore Michael's headphones. They make this soundworld bubble that drowns out all other sounds. 
>:) Yes, even children-sounds. It was like a vacation. 
So I completely zoned out of the world and zoned into drawing. I drew that picture up there, but I also drew some really dumb pictures with the "sticker" feature in another, I pretty much scribbled a ton. It was super fun, and I figured out a few new tricks in the art program. Makes me feel smart. 
But of course, when I zone out, the world keeps going even though I could swear it doesn't. 
After my little vacation, I learned just what the kids had done when I was deaf to their mischief. 

Over all, it was worth it. I mean, here I am again with the headphones and drawing! (Avoiding my laundry...I swear my laundry doesn't intimidate me, but it just fails to persuade me that it's the priority).
I think the kids enjoyed their own vacation from me, too.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Art and Valentines

 My eyes are gloriously tired.

Yesterday ended well; I felt especially aware of how my son is full of good intentions, and Michael was just plain awesome in helping me with the kids. When I left the house for some time alone, my mood had improved drastically! I ended up buying birthday presents for Ender. In fact, everything I bought was for him (except for some Grasshopper cookies). 
(Those are definitely for me). 

We had a truly wonderful Valentine's Day. 
Our cousin babysat the kids while we went to the temple in the morning (THANK YOU!). Even though I forgot my bag (miscommunication-- totally thought Michael had it) and didn't realize until we were AT the temple and had to go all the way back for it, it was reallyreallyreallyREALLY wonderful. 
I think being in the temple is romantic. 

After our lovely temple visit, Michael took me to brunch. That food was delicious! And then guess what he did? Oh besides kissing me, of course. He bought me a present... a present that is perhaps one of the COOLEST presents ever. A Bamboo Splash pen. 
It's a sort of pen for drawing in a program on your computer instead of using your mouse, so you get your beloved hand-drawn effect (plus some wicked awesome special effects) right at the computer. 
I have been playing with it for a long time! :) 
THAT is why my eyes are so tired. 
Computer screens can be so bright. 
Aaah! Dismembered legs!
Something happened to the skin color in saving...woops!

Those are a couple from one of the art programs; there's another program I played with, but I haven't yet figured out how to convert the files so I can share them. I did a couple sketch-looking ones that are fun.
So you know what this means for me? It means I will be drawing so much more! And sharing my drawings! And learning more and more, too! These doodles are what I've figured out so far with some of the tools, but I think I'll be getting better all the time.

Today was a peaceful day in other ways, too. After picking up the kids, I put Scarlett down for a nap and did some crafts with Ender. I very rarely do that! I usually just show him how to do something and let him go at it. But for Valentine's Day, I wanted to give him a little more attention. When it wasn't windy enough for his kite, I sat with him to make some paper pinwheels. That was fun, and it progressed to making hearts and Valentines and paper circle fan things and making a mess with glitter. We both really enjoyed it!
Ender and Scarlett made Valentines for us while we were at the temple, too. That was just SO sweet. I'd scan them, but my scanner's being funky lately. For Michael, Ender wrote "Dear Dad" and then drew a perfect little rocket. Scarlett had her hands traced (and then gave her drawn handprint a high-five).

Oh, goodness-- she's growing up! We took the kids to the bookstore on campus, and Ender asked me what the sprinklers were in the ceiling. When I explained that they make fires go away, Scarlett said "Where's it go?"
I practically shrieked in her face, I was so excited. She asked me a question that related to the conversation in a FULL SENTENCE! And several more times today, I felt like I knew exactly what she was saying, like when she asked me to sing a specific song to her, or when she was explaining that my phone wasn't working for her. Oh man. Kind of makes my heart burst in both baby's growing up! It's crazy that she's definitely not such a baby anymore, but I'm also really enjoying the way she's growing up. She is very fun. I kept staring at her tiny face today with absolute adoration while sharing my dinner with her. I guess I have a Mom Crush on her. :)

Our day was so nice. When we were packing the kids in the car to go home (after having a leisurely stroll around campus and the bookstore), Ender asked Michael "was this sort of a date?" Yep! A date with the kids! And it was really, really fun.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In Which My Kids Test the Limit Every Minute

When I talked to my mom briefly, she asked if I was having a good day.
I sort of laughed and answered honestly, "I'm having a hard day. But we're doing okay right now."
Want a peek at how my day went?

There's a peek for you. If you can read my handwriting. Things have mostly improved...I told Michael that I need to get out of the house. He's such a wonderful husband. He often asks me if I would like to get away from the kids, and I'm usually so tired with everything (and wearing pajamas and not wearing makeup) that I don't feel up to getting out of the house and would rather send the kids away with Michael or just wait until the kids are in bed so I can have some Me/Us time. But today, I need to get OUT. 
Hey, I'm even wearing makeup. And real-people clothes. And my hair looks normal (instead of like a heap of dung on my head). 

Scarlett seems to be doing better since Monday; we think she had a 24-hour bug (from nursery???). But she hasn't been sleeping well. Today, she didn't really sleep at all with her nap even though I kept her in her crib for the length of time her nap should have been. She just kind of played and fussed and babbled. Without that much needed sleep, she is one cranky child. She is crying about everything. EVERYTHING. Scarlett is normally a bit of a diva when it comes to Ender bothering her, but add crankiness to the mix, and she's a nonstop show of L'Enfant Miserable. 
(Okay, maybe that was only funny to me, but at least I appreciated my own joke...I needed it). 

Ender is doing fine. He's performing gymnastics on every surface in the house, which does bother me, but I happen to have my headphones in. Ah, the Sound of Music. Much more appealing than the Sound of Crazy Kids. (Why another movie joke?! I must stop that). 

I have felt very encouraged and helped today. Abby said just the right things to help me gain some perspective and simmer down enough to get back on the battlefield. Thanks for letting me lie down on the telephonic couch for some sound conversation, Abby! 
And my mom told me that she thinks I'm a wonderful mother. :) I said I'm trying! And she said that's why I'm a good mom. It's always good to hear that, especially from my own wonderful mother. 
Michael reassured me that I can indeed get out of the house when he gets home. He is on my side. 

And guess what? Now he really is-- like, he's HOME. 
So this woman: SHE GONE! 

*signing really OUT*

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stay at Home

Well, Scarlett is sick. And please don't remind me that we seem to get sick a lot. I am aware of that.
It kind of hurts my feelings when people say that, to be quite honest. It leaves me feeling like they're hinting that something is lacking in the care of our family. I feed my children well (with the occasional exception on my very tired days, haha!), we avoid mingling with sickish people--though not to the point of paranoia--and my children get as much sleep as they'll have. Far be it from me to steal any sleep from them!
So it just happens sometimes.

Scarlett was cranky today, just a little more than her usual complaints against Ender's big-brother-teasings. Judging her needs, I had her take two naps today. Still, in the evening, she wanted to snuggle with me. When she rested her head on me, I kissed the bridge of her nose (a favorite spot on her cute face) and noticed she was burning with a fever (it was 100.2 last I checked). Poor thing. I gave her some apple juice, which she gulped down with a crazy fervor, and she sat in my lap resting for a very long time.
Even though I feel sorry for my kids when they're sick, I love to take advantage of the pause it gives them and cuddle them and encourage them to rest. When they're sick, they finally hold still! I can gaze at them longer, hold them longer and even get more rest for myself once in a while if they can manage to be quiet and still. The home feels somewhat peaceful despite the worry and concern.

After an evening of flopping around on us, Scarlett seemed to get a burst of energy during FHE and squirmed off Michael's lap to toddle over to Ender and me. Suddenly, she threw up. It was a surprise for all of us, especially her. She seemed frightened by the experience. I'm glad we were able to clean everything up quickly, and she actually really enjoyed her bath.

I don't know why I write about things like that sometimes. I just feel like writing, and I feel like writing about something that is a very ordinary home-life thing. My life is wonderful, but that doesn't mean every day would be fascinating for anyone. Is this what people call Mommy Blogging? A kind of daily drivel that serves mainly as an outlet for a mom who's at home so much of the time?

That's what it often is for me. I need it. As lame as it might seem, on the face of it all, this is often my biggest connection with the world outside my house. My world is little. I have very good friends, but we don't hang out that often. I go to church (across the street). I go to the grocery store (up the street). I go to the library (a little farther up the street). The gym is just around the corner. Every now and then, we go out to eat or make a trip to campus all together. Sometimes we even go to the mall (a little farther up the street than the library).
It's not depressing, but it's not a wild life by any means.

Today, I made quiche for dinner. Throughout the day, I grated cheese, chopped spinach, crumbled bacon and made pie crusts. Dinner happened all day. I also folded and put away some laundry. I helped the kids with's always hard to recall just how that took as much time as it did, but they kept me busy. Making messes, bothering each other, doing their chores, wanting food.
I checked my email here and there, a bit bored with everything Internet since it didn't seem to have anything to offer. Pinterest looked the same as always, my inbox was droolingly empty, and Blogger had nothing going on. Aaaaand...that's actually all I really get into online!
My phone got stupid and wouldn't text but ate up its battery anyway, and since I had no texting fanciness going on, I didn't feel motivated to charge it.
The day wasn't a bad one, but it was an oddly paced one.

I wonder how long Scarlett will be sick. :(
Maybe it's a good thing we have nothing planned this week.
Not even for Thursday...the 14th...of February...

It almost feels like this is the kind of thing "Mommy Bloggers" avoid writing about. Who wants to!
...besides me, that is. :)
I just really like writing. Not so much to "hear my own voice," if you know what I mean, but to write. To think past the confines of my skull (sorry, I'm not pretending that's poetic, it just kind of came out cheesy like that).

I guess I'm sort of apologizing for making a "report" of nothing very eventful while at the same time not feeling very sorry because it just feels good to talk about things.
To make sure you realize this is not me complaining about being a stay-at-home-mom, here's a happy picture:

We are indeed in our jammies. In the daytime.  It's one of the perks of my "job." :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dealing With Souls

Our Stake Primary President visited the week before last, and when I mentioned my kids, she asked how many I have.
"Just two," I said, smiling maybe a bit bashfully for having made it sound like I had an army of them in describing getting out the door that morning. But remembering what I had once overheard my mother tell another woman, I added "but it takes all you've got no matter how many you've got!"
And she said "Yes, because you're dealing with souls."
That was thought provoking. And I still might not know exactly what she meant. But it's because I'm "dealing with souls" that makes what I do so important. They need me, and children need mothers in a way that is perhaps unequaled in the rest of the world.
Might I add that this is why mothering children is not the same as caring for dogs? You know some people who say their dogs are their children? If they are unable to have/adopt children, I get it. Otherwise, I don't.
It's a big deal to have kids. It's a big deal to be a mom. Today, as I think about all of that, I feel really grateful and blessed and even lucky that I get to be a stay at home mom. I get to care for my children in my home. I love what I do. I don't have to keep a job somewhere.
I usually focus on the other side of the matter, that there are women who would criticize what I do. Today I'm realizing that there are a lot of women who probably wish they could have what I have. I would, too...because even if it's the hardest thing in the world, it's the best thing in the world.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Saturday Morning of Awesomeness

Do this:
Get a thick duvet cover and a fan. 
Voila! A tent! Or should I say...DuTent?

It is so cool. 

I love how Ender's eyes go scrunchy when he's smiling for a camera.

:D Hehehe!

I'm not sure why this was so funny, but Ender was outside the DuTent and sticking his hand into the corner. It just looked weird and alien-y. And funny. Especially when he quickly popped his hand away from it.

Lynnae's pants are floating towards us. In apologizing for using a picture of Lynnae that is deceptively unflattering, let me divert your attention by pointing out that Ender and I have the same stubby toes. 

I felt like we were in a space pod or something. 
I also felt like a kid again. :) 

The uber complicated magic behind the making of a DuTent.

Our documentation of this kidly adventure together...
Obviously, part of a Saturday Morning of Awesomeness is not being all glammed up. 
And that part doesn't need to be documented.
So we sent in our handy substitutes to take over.

Are you jealous? Make your weekend awesome too! 
Guys, you have to try this. It's too fun to pass up.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Day in Doodles

I started my day crunched into a tight ball. 
It is that time of month. 
That time of month makes me want to curl up and not move.

Then an awesome friend of mine wanted to hang out with me (aww! Me? Thanks!). 
That helped me perk up! 
We talked birthing and stuff. 

And then I crashed again. 
I devoured lots of dark chocolate while watching documentaries.

As the day moved on, I got droopier.

Poor Michael.

Still, even as I flop around the house, 
I would call this a very happy day. 
I feel cheerful and taken care of.

Even while I look gross and insist on wearing Michael pajamas.
(Maybe I'm still recovering from the withdrawal of having him gone all weekend).

Brought to you by: My Art Supplies.
Oh yeah, and me.