Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two Weeks of Everything

*Warning* This post is ridiculously long. It started out as just an anniversary post, but grew to cover all the major events in my household over the past two weeks. Really, it's like six different posts. Read it all at once or just one mini-post at a time. I suspect only the most devoted readers will make it to the end.

December 20, 2007
A Blissful Decade

Today is the tenth anniversary of my wedding to my Michael. Wow! Have I really been a married woman for an entire decade? How did this happen to someone as young and spry as myself?

I have never felt more beautiful than I did on my wedding day. My mom did my hair in like 15 minutes and I slapped on my 45 seconds worth of make-up but I felt like a princess. Even if my thigh cannot fit into the waist of my wedding dress anymore, I am so glad for the past ten years and the life I've shared with my Michael. He and I are so different but I think we compliment each other very well. I mean, thank goodness not everyone is as high-strung as I, you know? My Michael is a great example of desiring to do good, being honest, and serving the Lord. Plus, he adores me. And he's funny. I love him.

To celebrate, we went to The Melting Pot. The way I figure it, if you can't go out to a ridiculously expensive meal for your tenth anniversary, when can you? And so we did. Our favorite couple "to date," Tracy and Chris, had their fifteenth anniversary just last week, so we doubled. It was a great night after Chris received CPR for his reaction to the menu prices. My thoughtful mother-in-law and her husband even came to town for a quick visit to babysit for us!

Happy Anniversary, my Michael! Here's to many more decades together...


Christmas 2007

For Christmas this year we went to Uncle Josiah's house. Boy, did we have fun! We arrived on the afternoon of Christmas Eve in time to enjoy some heavy hors d'oeuvre and Christmas cookie consumption. After the binging, we bundled up in coats for a hay ride! Josiah hitched a big hay-filled wagon to the back of his pick-up and drove us (at a frightening speed) down the street and into a nearby neighborhood to admire the Christmas lights. It was a chilly night and the scent of the exhaust of the truck was more than a little stifling, but it was still a grand time. Oh, how we laughed to keep from freezing!
Once we got back to the house, it was gingerbread house time. There were little graham cracker houses for everyone to decorate. Uncle Chris and Aunt Meredith contributed all the candy, which was in no short supply.

Next, it was time for the Nativity. We used the standard towel costumes and all willing children participated. It's always nice to stop everything else for a quick activity sponsored by the True Meaning of Christmas, you know?

After wrestling kids into pajamas and issuing the standard Christmas Eve Santa-can't-come-until-all-kids-are-asleep threat, we got all 11 cousins to sleep.

Christmas morning was as magical as ever. My kids were thrilled by their 3 gifts from Santa each (Maia: guitar, MP3 player, walkie/talkie thingies; Mason: pogo stick, frog terrarium, walkie/talkie thingies; Marlee: princess bath robe, Hannah Montana Barbie, bike; Mackenna: Aquadoodle mat, Dora bubble machine, FurReal pig). The big surprise was the combined gift for the whole family: a Wii. It's been quite a multi-generational hit, let me tell you!

Allow me a moment to brag about what a thoughtful and wonderful gift I got from my husband. Basically, he made me a little membership into "The Date of the Month" club, if there were such a thing. He went all over buying gift cards to my favorite restaurants and got gift cards to the movie theater, mini golf, batting cages, etc. Then he bought me a little planner and also wrote out the plan for a date a month for the whole year. Some months I have a choice, like go-karting or movie, but other times it is set, like on Valentine's Day he has tickets for us to go to a dinner theater. I am so excited about it! He even said that he is going to arrange all the babysitting for all the dates he pre-bought! Yeah! I can't wait! There is such a variety of activities--from museums in D.C. to horseback riding. It's going to be quite a fun year of dating for us! Isn't that just the cutest gift? I'm rather thrilled, in case you couldn't tell.

Anyway, back to Christmas. The rest of the morning passed in a frenzy of clean-up, new toys, Wii competitions and a trip to the barn to visit the animals. Teensy was chomping at the bit to go feed a bottle to one of the baby goats. Even Maia was up for the excursion...or so she thought. When we got near the orchard and the donkey's pasture Maia made a U-turn and headed back to the house. Teensy and Kenna loved petting the donkey before hitting the barn to see the baby goats. Kenna got knocked around a bit by some goats but still had a grand time. Teensy was a little afraid at first but then braved up and fulfilled her dream of bottle-feeding the goats.
FInally, after a delicious roast beast worthy of any Who down in Who-ville, we all loaded up our goods and our cars and went home. It was lovely.

December 29, 2008

Today is my Michael's birthday (in case you didn't get that from my little subtitle above). Usually, Michael likes his birthday to be all about him but this year that just didn't happen and he was a great sport. I think it helps that he got a good gift: an iPod. He is very excited to have that new little toy, let me tell you. He spent all morning on the computer with me walking past intermittently asking, "Have you spent all your gift card yet?"

In honor of his big day, I thought I'd list 37 things I love about my Michael:
1. He will always weigh more than I do (let's just start with what's most important, shall we?)
2. He has a great sense of humor
3. He can laugh at himself
4. He does a mean impersonation of a Monchichhi--seriously, you gotta see it
5. He's tall, dark, and handsome--how dreamy!
6. He loves to read
7. He works hard at his job
8. He takes Judo with Mason
9. He plays a funny "wild monkey" game with Mason
10. He wears whatever Halloween costume the kids and I come up with for him
11. He has perfect teeth and eyesight (I mean, his genes are important to my progeny, right?)
12. He takes the day off work and takes the kids sledding whenever it snows
13. He calls my chocolate chip cookies "crackies" because they're addictive
14. He doesn't think I'm chubby, even though I am (that BMI chart doesn't lie, my friends)
15. He tries really hard to get me good presents
16. He reads his scriptures daily
17. He lets me pluck and trim his eyebrows when the fancy strikes me
18. He has worked hard to overcome his tendency to have road rage
19. He prays daily
20. He takes the garbage to the curb
21. He mows the lawn
22. He likes to hear me sing
23. He has committed to take a dance class with me
24. He has slumber parties with our children without me
25. He camps with our children without me
26. He only grumbles about me leaving to go somewhere if he feels like he hasn't seen me lately
27. He really tries to magnify his church calling
28. He can build a fire out of nothing
29. He brings me flowers for no good reason
30. He brings me Snickers for no good reason
31. He eats anything
32. He thinks going out to dinner means getting a drink other than water, an appetizer and an entree.
33. He likes to splurge on movie popcorn for the kids when we take them to the theater (I'd rather smuggle in some fruit snacks in my purse and call it good)
34. He is devoted to exercise
35. He is a hypochondriac--but it's part of his charm
36. He is ridiculously honest
He loves me

So, there you have 37 reasons to celebrate my Michael on his big day!


It's a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day. It's supposed to bring good luck in the new year. Of course, my family does this each year. But we have another little tradition for New Year's Eve. It's not German, but Japanese and we call it Karaoke!!!!

Ultra corny, I know, but we do have a grand time. The girls all do each other's make-up and hair (I'm usually the hair gal, but this year we didn't do hair so much). We even put a nice mole somewhere on each girl's face. Not only do my sisters, sisters-in-law and mother get involved, but my grandmother and her friends do it right along with us as well. Yes, my grandmother and her ninety year-old friends let me curl their hair with curling irons and let my sister do their make-up like...ladies of the night. There are lots of laughs, let me tell you! Sadly, Grandma couldn't come this year, but her friend Grace still joined us. How cute is that?

Anyway, we sing for hours. My sister, Amber, is quite a master at the art of karaoke and choreographs each number she performs. This year she added a sequined dress as her costume; I'm sure it's not the last we've seen of that little clearance rack number. We had another new addition this year--my soon-to-be brother-in-law, Shawn, made his karaoke debut. When he took his first turn with the microphone, my previous thoughts were confirmed: he fits right in!

Just before midnight, we turn on the T.V. to watch various things drop simultaneously--the ball in Times Square, the white rose in York, the strawberry in Harrisburg, and my Michael's favorite, the 150 pound bologna in Lebanon. At the stroke of midnight, we clink glasses and drink countless bottles of sparkling cider. I think my favorite flavor this year was the Apple-Pomegranate. Quite yummy!

So, those are our New Year's celebrations! I just know that we'll have a wonderful 2008!

January 3, 2008
Happy Birthday to me!

It's my birthday and the end of everything. Okay, it's not the end of everything, but it is the end of the two weeks in which we, in our family, celebrate our anniversary, Christmas, my Michael's birthday, New Year's, and my birthday. It's also the end of this ridiculously long post. At this point, I have to assume I have lost all my dear readers and this is now strictly for journaling purposes. I'm okay with that.

So, it's my birthday. Michael and the kids gave me a gift certificate for an hour-long massage (yipee!), a magazine and socks. I taught Teensy's preschool and then Tracy brought me a great lunch and a cute new shirt. I did not feel guilty for not cleaning the kitchen or doing the laundry during nap time. I read a little and then fell asleep. Tonight we went out to dinner at Red, Hot & Blue (or "The Rock-n-Roll Pigs," as my kids call it). After coming home from that, my cute friend Cynthia brought me yummy birthday treats. It's been a nice day. And it's only going to get nicer when my Michael and I snuggle on the couch watching DVD's of The Office.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas--toddler style!

Today was Mackenna's play group's Christmas party. Basically, that means that we got together to play as usual, but snacked on Christmas cookies and had a gift exchange. I wasn't sure how the exchange would go over because before we left the house Mackenna was insisting that the present she was taking to the party was her present. She had no interest in the whole exchange idea.

Then she saw Teensy open her gift: a metal Dora lunch box. Suddenly, Kenna was willing to trade her wrapped gift from home for something else. Teensy was only too happy to hand the lunch box over to her sister and experience the thrill of opening another present (Kenna had refused to open the one that had been handed to her). Teensy was giddy to receive a Hello Kitty notepad, stamp pad, and rubber stamps.

A Christmas convert! You'd never know that moments before this photo was taken, Mackenna was refusing to participate in the gift exchange. Oh, what magic a Dora lunch box can perform.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

One for the Naughty List

My Teensy, whom my friend Laurrel refers to as "Malibu Barbie," was a naughty naughty girl yesterday. She cut her hair. By herself. She truly has the wrong mother for this to be any kind of acceptable act.

Upon discovering the crime, I promptly sent the child to her room for her own safety. I tried to count to ten. That didn't work. I ended somewhere around 1700 and went upstairs to interrogate the perp. Here's the low-down: she went into the kitchen and snagged a pair of scissors, took them up to her room where she gave herself a private make-over and then discarded the ten-inch corn silk tresses in the bathroom trash.

Here's the real kicker. This isn't the first offense of this little perpetrator with scissors and hair. Almost a year ago she and her best friend, Selena, played "beauty shop" once and cut each other's hair. Selena, being laid-back and rather docile, barely got a few snips out of Marlee's hair while Teensy chopped off all but an inch of length off the entire back of Selena's head. That day I cried for an hour and forty minutes straight. My daughter had massacred my friend's kid's hair! I thought that the memory of my shock/horror/anger/disappointment/rage/despair that day was enough to live in her memory forever and that she would never even look at a pair of scissors again. Boy, did I think wrong!

In her little four year-old brain she didn't think I would notice. That she gave herself a mullet. On ninety-percent of the left side of her head. Again, wrong mother. I am a hair-doer. I just am. My favorite time in all of my harried single-parent Sundays is the half-hour in the morning when I coiffe my girls. And that stinker has ruined it!

Okay, she hasn't totally ruined it. In fact, if you've seen her, you probably didn't notice. That, dear friends and devoted readers, is not a testament to the damage being minor, but rather to my skills with hair being major. But I am going to be somewhat limited in my stylings for the next...five years. I'll cope.

There are worse problems in the world. I know this. That said, I would be lying if I said I'd hadn't reacted badly, spoken harshly (including a vow that Santa would be pulling a stocking stuffer from her sock post haste!), and shed tears over Teensy's ugly new 'do.

I repented of yesterday's severe reaction to her hair. I really did. Tonight, no lie, when I was in the kitchen making dinner, I overheard Teensy talking to Kenna and she said the phrase, "when I cut my hair again." Can you believe this child? Happily, I report that I didn't raise my voice when I reminded her that she will never, ever cut her own hair again. Let's all hope that she got it...that time.

*I'm sure that you would like to see pictures of the striking new style my Teense is sporting, but I simply cannot "reward" her action with a photo shoot. Tracy does have pictures of Selena's make-over from last winter though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

My Michael and I are what you might call "Real Tree" people. Yes, I vacuum needles through August. Yes, we have to check the water and keep the level up. But to us, that's just part of Christmas. We love the smell of pine and we love choosing a new tree each year. It's a whole family affair when we take the kids and pick out a tree. (In all actuality, I am very hands-off during the choosing process. Michael cares more than I about the proper height/shape/width proportion, so I just let him at it.) Some years, we go to a tree farm to cut our own fresh tree. This was one of those years. We were up in PA over Thanksgiving, so we stopped at a tree farm in my hometown and grabbed a tree before coming home to MD.

The kids were thrilled when the farmer handed Michael a saw and gave each of them a candy cane to munch on while we strolled through the trees, looking for the perfect one. With the cold air biting us, we made quick work of choosing a tree worthy of our Christmas celebrations. Michael had it sawed down in no time and carried it back to the car like a real He-Man!

Mason was very willing to help his dad tie the tree to the roof of the car. He was dashing around throwing and pulling ropes with a smile on his face until the job was done. What a big boy he is becoming!

I have to say, it's hard to get a perspective on how tall a tree is without the benefit of a ceiling as a reference point. After we got home, Michael actually had to cut two feet off the length of our tree so it would fit in our living room!

Of course, decorating it is our favorite part. We have a hodge-podge tree. I think it's perfect for our family. It would never pass in a department store but I think it's beautiful. While we are trimming, I love to hear the "I remember making this when I was three!" and the "Mom, who gave this to me?" I love to put my little Romanian people on it, one of my favorite mission souvenirs. I think of my aunt who made me an ornament every year growing up while we hang them on the tree. I love to see the lights twinkle in the window as I drive up the street. It's part of the magic of Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Santa at the Library

This morning my little girls and I went on a grand adventure to Story Time at the local library. In addition to listening to fun Santa stories, singing great holiday tunes, and making an adorable reindeer tree ornament, we had a visitor from The North Pole: one Kris Kringle!

Mackenna was thrilled to see him. "Hi, Santa! Hi, Santa! Hi!" (with vigorous waving). Marlee, in true form, squeezed my hand until it was bloodless and buried her face in my armpit. When it came time to get a snapshot with The Jolly Elf, Mackenna got afraid. So, we have this photo of all three of us with Santa Claus:

To be fair, by the time we left, Mackenna had conquered her short-lived fear of Santa. "Bye, Santa! Bye, Santa! Bye!" she called to him and even gave him a high-five on her way out the door.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Searching for a Worthy Subject

So, Maia has a project in school where she has to research any famous person, past or present, and "become" that person for a living wax museum. She needs two sources: one book and one internet source. Well, she has had to change her person several times now because she can't find books about the people she chooses.

Maia wants to be an author some day. She is fascinated by authors and wanted to do this project on various authors. She just couldn't find a book source for any of the authors. Biographies on current authors are impossible to find in the juvenile literature section. I know this because out of desperation today, I took her to the library and went through the entire juvenile biography section with her. Instead of thinking of a person and then looking for a book about that person, I thought we should just go look at the available books and choose a person from there. That's when I saw the problem. Of course, there were biographies on the likes of Clara Barton and Helen Keller, but as far as modern biographies, her choices were Christina Aguillera and Lindsey Lohan. Are you kidding me? Even she, as she was scanning through the books, said, "Well, I don't want to dress us as a person who does drugs, so I won't pick that one!" What's a nine year-old to do when she has such an assignment?

We grabbed six books and I told her to skim through them to see who seems the most interesting to her. Then we'll do more in depth research on the chosen woman. Wish us luck!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Merry Christmas

Imagine all four of my children huddled around the computer giggling endlessly, completely elated. Here's the cause: they've been elfed. They've watched it countess times already and I'm guessing we've only just begun.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks

Yesterday, I took the day off and took off for the day. I went to New York City with my sister, Amber, and our dear friend, Quita (short for "Jessiquita," her Peruvian mother's nickname for her).

Amber and I hit the road at 7:00 a.m. Highlights from the first leg of our road trip include me curling her hair while she was driving (trust me, this was perfectly safe--nothing can make her a worse driver--hee hee). Amber and I met up with Quita just off I-95 in New Jersey. The three of us laughed most of our way into the city, with me pretending to be carsick from reading Us Weekly in the car and Quita freaking out with fear that I would vomit all over her precious auto. It was good fun.

When we got into the city, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then did a little shopping. We went to Macy's to enjoy the holiday decorations, but apparently 1.3 million other people had had the same idea. That place was packed! Actually, the whole city was (hence, the title of my post), but we still elbowed our way into a good day.

I "needed" to go to Chinatown to get a wallet for myself and a birthday gift for a friend. My trip was even more successful than I had anticipated and I walked away with a wallet and two purses. What a blessing! Gotta love Canal Street.

Amber and Quita wanted to grab a treat in "Rice to Riches" (of course, with my emotional allergy to rice, I had no business there) so we dodged in there to warm up a bit. This is also where I had one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, but I don't have the energy to type that story right now.

After more shopping and sightseeing (including seeing the Christmas tree in Rockerfeller Center) we warmed up in Dean & Deluca with some yummy hot cocoa. Before too long, it was time to go to dinner. Amber knew a great Italian place on the upper west side. I forget the name now, sorry. Anyway, the food was great!

After dinner, we grabbed a cab and headed for our show. We saw The Drowsy Chaperone. Frankly, I did not love it. Yes, there was cleverness. Yes, there was humor. Yes, there was talent on stage. But five Tony's worth? Hardly.

Our show ended at 10:00 p.m. so we were pretty tired on the drive back. After Quita dropped Amber and I back at our car, we plugged in the DVD player and watched the LDS Pride and Prejudice to help keep us awake. After that, not even an episode of The Office was enough to keep Amber from feeling drowsy at the wheel, so we had to pull out the big guns: camp songs! We started belting out songs that we grew up singing on road trips and ended with some favorites from our girls' camp days. We were laughing riotously at the silliness of it all while cruising back to my house.

I did quite enjoy my day off to the big city, even if I did miss my little ones. It was nice to get away and just play for the day with two of my favorite sisters (you try to tell Quita she is not a sister in my family).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Flashback Friday!

My friend Dawn and I flew from PA to UT twice to attend EFY together at BYU. What grand adventures those summer trips were! This is a photo of us the first year we attended Especially For Youth together; we were just sixteen years old. This is my choice of flashback photo because today Dawn is 34! How did she get so old? Hee hee.

Dawn and I have been friends since we were like 5 years old. We were in the same classes for much of elementary school so we share many memories of those early years. We became more or less inseparable around seventh grade and were each other's constant companions until I went off to BYU and she to Hood College. Of course, we've always kept in touch and even now love to get together with our little ones and spouses for some fun visits.

Together, Dawn and I participated in all kinds of extra-curricular activities in high school--from field hockey to vocal ensemble to student council to musical productions. We loved taking classes together--anything from chemistry to yearbook to P.E. --we were there together making it fun! We were a team. Our senior year we were on the Homecoming Court together and I heard a rumor that we had each received the exact same number of votes. I still believe that rumor to be true. We were "Dawn and Mendy." I don't think people thought of one of us without the other (except boys--they only thought of her).

We would make others (and each other) laugh with our characterized sketches of various teachers and our own set of overused words, like "hideous" and "heinous."

Dawn was good for me because she'd make me study (something I rarely would have done if left to my own devices). Of course, to study for big tests we would convince our parents that we had to have sleepovers and we were both lucky enough to have parents who allowed such things--even on school nights. If I had Seminary in the morning, Dawn would come along if she'd slept at my house. If there was not Seminary, I'd sleep at hers. We were for fortunate to have each other all through adolescence and we knew that.

Now, I know I am still lucky to have such a friend in my life. After enjoying our teens together we went in different directions and found our own lives but always keep in touch. For a couple of years, we both lived in the same town in MD. At our 10 year reunion, classmates would ask where I lived and then where she lived and when we said we lived just miles apart, they'd say, "Of course!"

Even though Dawn still lives under an hour away from me, I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. Life is like that sometimes, you know, just busy busy busy. Although I don't see her everyday, I think of her often and smile remembering all of our teen-aged girl silliness. I know she'll be my friend forever.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judo Masters

Tuesday nights 'round these here parts is Boys Night Out/Girls Night In. I give the girls good baths complete with hair scrubbing (we are too lazy to rinse Maia's hair more than twice a week) and then we have girl time. Usually, we watch something ridiculously girlie like a Barbie movie and paint fingernails. It's quite nice.

Michael and Mason put on their gis and head out the door to their Judo class. They've been taking Judo for a couple of months now and both quite enjoy it. They come home sweaty, bruised, and smiling. Recently, they tested out of their beginning class and are now in the advanced class. That means that they know the names of the throws, know how to fall correctly, and get more bruises.

I think this is the cutest thing on earth. Michael has long been a martial arts junkie, already having studied Tai Chi and Tae Kwon Do (in his youth, he earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do--but don't tell him I told you; he'll be embarrassed). He'd been wanting to study Judo and asked Mason if he'd like to join him. Mason seems to have his father's love of martial arts. He takes his Judo very seriously and never uses his moves at home (a promise his instructors made him make).

I can't say that Michael is as good at keeping that rule. Routinely, he interrupts me to practice throwing me in an effort to perfect his technique. He's taught both Teensy and Mackenna how to roll out of being thrown and Kenna has been known to include in her prayers such phrases as "and I can get big and go to Judo with Daddy and Buddy."

So, if you wonder why I can't go out on Tuesday nights, this is why. And if you have a problem with that, I've got a couple of Judo Masters who can teach you a lesson! Hee hee.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great Wolf Lodge

On Monday and Tuesday of this week Maia and Mason played hooky from school and Michael took off from work so we could go with Michael's brother and his family to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA. Man, did we have a blast! It is an indoor water park and resort--very family friendly. Our kids had the best time playing with their four cousins and Michael and I had a great time enjoying our little ones.

This is Maia and Mason peeking out from their bunk bed in our Kid Suite. They loved having the bunk beds and, of course, fought over who would get the top. Maia's mind is like a steel trap, I tell you, because she remembered that Mason had gotten the top bunk in our similar hotel room in Orlando when we went to Disney World four years ago.

Marlee loved her little bed in the kids' alcove. She "made her bed" by spreading her beloved Strawberry Shortcake blanket on it and stared at the above mural endlessly (it was above her bed).

Mason and Ethan enjoyed a quick game of checkers before breakfast.

Mackenna loved the little fountains and kept trying to step on them to let the water tickle her feet. She did some of the little slides, but preferred splashing and crawling around in the water best of all.

There was a giant bucket that filled with water and then tipped its 1000 gallons every five minutes. The above photo shows Mason and Ethan as they await the downpour.

Mason loved the wave pool. Since there were hardly any people at the resort, we had it to ourselves many times. He and I rode the waves repeatedly. It was so easy simply to enjoy my children when I didn't have to worry about cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc. In the above photo, Mason and Maia are riding the waves in a raft with their cousin, Nina.

Michael got pretty good at balancing on the boogie board while riding the waves. Then, he forced me to have a go. I was worried I'd lose my suit (it had happened to others--men and women), but I gave in to his pleadings and had a go:

These are the eight cousins after two days of water play. They were tired but deliriously happy at all the wet fun they'd had. I was so proud of all my kids for being brave and trying new things. Maia actually tried everything--all the slides, including the tornado one (although she vowed never to go on that one again) and the surfing thing. Mason, too, did it all. Marlee tried the big slide with her dad and is still bragging to anyone who will listen about how she went down the big slide. Of course, she refused a repeat trip, but at least she did it. She preferred the little slides. Mackenna was happy just to splash and frolic in the water or to sit on my lap as we floated down the lazy river. Michael and I always like hanging out with our brother and sister-in-law. It was just a great time and I am so glad my brother-in-law gave us the chance to go!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Out of Context

So, a couple of days ago Mason was reading in the morning before school. I was doing dishes when he came to me and asked, "Mom, what does L-U-S-T mean?" I almost dropped a plate in the sink. I stammered, "Um, well, it's...yeah, I's like when you want something really badly--like a man wants to kiss a woman." He thanked me for my help and then continued reading. I was thinking about how I might have handled that differently if I hadn't been so caught off-guard by it when his next question broke through my musings. Mason was looking up at me again, "Mom, what does 'thrust' mean?" I had to laugh. "Lust" and "thrust"--where was Michael when I needed him? I could barely get my "short, violent push" definition out between chuckles.

You might be wondering what I was letting my seven year-old son read that contained such words. Well, my cute boy recently started reading The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ in preparation for his baptism next spring. He was actually reading a part where an evil man did "lust" after another family's riches and then "thrusts" said family members out of his house. See how innocent it truly was? With "lust" and "thrust" it really is a matter of context.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Crazy Napper

Mackenna is my worst child at going to bed (at nap and bed times). I blame myself for getting soft in my old age. Anyway, the other day I put her down for her nap and then proceeded to listen to her wreak havoc in her room before quieting down. When I went to check on her this is the sight I found:

I ask you, how is it possible to fall and stay asleep for a sustained period of time in such a position? I'm at a loss.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ward Halloween Party

After a week with an excess of tears and heartache, it was nice to enjoy one of my favorite nights of the year: the Ward Halloween Party. I do so love this event. I love to talk with my kiddies and my husband and come up with a theme that is pleasing to all. I love to wrap my brain around all the little intricacies of each costume and think of the best, easiest, and cheapest way to fashion them up. I know that there is nothing wrong with buying a pre-made costume; many mothers with better qualities than mine do just that thing. But, for some reason, I just can't. To me, making our Halloween fashions is up there with buying skim milk and whole wheat bread. It's one of the few things I feel really good about how I do as a mother. Weird, I know.

I also love the creative aspect of it all. I like to figure out how I am going to do it. I don't have to actually sew everything myself (this year, I only sewed Glinda from scratch). I like to find basics at the Salvation Army and then build from there--it's cheaper that way, I've found.

And, okay, I like the whole family theme/mom made our costumes thing because my kids say things like, "You're the best Mommy in the whole wide world!" when they see their costumes. I like to look at my family and see us as a team. Of course, each year I feel more pressure to come up with something even better for the next year. I get a little stressed and frazzled the week before the party, but it's all worth it, I think.

So, here are the kids before we left for the Trunk-or-Treat:

Maia as The Wicked Witch of the West, Mackenna as "Dor-fee" (AKA Dorothy), Marlee as Glinda, The Good Witch of the North, Mason as the Scarecrow

The whole fam-damily: the kids plus me as the Cowardly Lion and Michael as the Tin Man

Dorothy's friends: Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill