Days 2015

Days 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two Current Proofs of Nerdhood...


I just thought I would let you all know two things that really got me excited today, and I'll leave it to you to decide how nerdy I truly am.
1. I have an upstairs book and a downstairs book so that I can read whenever I have a spare moment without having to run up and down stairs hunting for my current novel. This actually makes sense because the two places I read the most are in bed while feeding the baby and at the table while feeding myself. Food and books are easy to love together, I guess. Anyway, today I noticed an unusual circumstance. Both my upstairs AND my downstairs books are both about 800 pages long (Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell, and The Undaunted). I'm so pumped for both of them, too. We'll have to see how long it takes me to get through them.
2. I've had a recent curse of appliance burnout. As I mentioned in my last post, we just replaced our washer, then on Monday I replaced an iron that was spraying rusty water all over everything and, of course, as soon as I got back from the store I stripped the beater sockets on my mixer. Anyway, today is ironing day and I took my shiny new iron out of the box. Wow. I took it for a test drive and it runs like a sports car. I never knew how much I hated my old clunky iron! Plus, this one has a stainless steel plate. I was fairly drooling as I polished off Mark's white shirt. I love ironing. It's when I do my best thinking. When else do you think I have time to compose all these clever blog entries?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our Cup Runs Over...Christmas of '09










You know, when Mark and I were trying to decide where to live, we prayed that we would be able to be somewhere where we could do the most good--where the Lord could really use us. We felt very clearly that the neighborhood we chose was the right one, and so I assumed that this was why. Now I am realizing that although we had righteous desires to do good, our philosophy was a little arrogant. As time goes by, I'm realizing that we are where we are because there are so many wonderful people around us who help us and who teach us. Hopefully the Lord can use some deeply humbled Days.
I was looking forward to a really good Christmas. Leslie was getting a new backpack to replace her extremely tattered old one. Mark was getting new shoes because his other ones have holes in the bottom and he can't wear them in the snow. The boys were very confident that Santa was bringing Buzz Lightyear and Woody, and of course, he did. Macy wasn't getting much at all but didn't really care because everyone knows that babies only like the wrapping paper anyway. I was feeling great about the whole thing because I knew that I had found what everyone wanted and, even though we had to replace our washing machine a couple weeks earlier, I still had a Christmas budget. Of course, we were down to our last pound of hamburger, but even that was okay because my deep freeze needed to be defrosted in a bad way (a bag of corn had exploded all over the bottom of it.) And Mark's work has picked up a lot and we are planning on a good January.
Once in a while, though, when the Lord knows that you've had a bit of a hard time, He decides that it's time for a little extra spoiling. This Christmas, our cup really overflowed, clear over onto our porch when our Secret Santas rang our doorbell and peeled out of our street into the night. I don't feel worthy of the generosity, but on behalf of our family, we accepted with joyful hearts and hope to pay it forward someday. I don't think we've EVER had so much for Christmas! Here are some fun pictures of us enjoying our surprising Christmas morning, along with our memorable Christmas eve dinner with Mark's folks. We had a meal of our "favorite things" at a sort-of picnic by the tree. It was great!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Deck the Kids when They are Brawling





Just kidding...I haven't really decked anyone...yet...but I'm tellin' ya. Santa better bring two of everything because it seems like the last few months, whatever one has, the other one wants, no matter how dumb it is or how many other toys there are. We've had a healthy dose of Christmas music played already this year because every time they are having issues with sharing, (like, every two minutes) we take turns for the duration of one song on the CD, then they know to wave the white flat and switch on their own, without me having to do it.
But it would be sad if there were only one lonely little boy, so I'll be happy with two rowdy ones. They do have their fun moments of cooperative play. Mark and I peeked in on one the other night. They were in the tub and Mark went to get them out. He tiptoed back out and came to get me and the camera. They had swiped Macy's tub and were playing boat,back to back, bailing bath water into the boat.
We've had a wild week "enjoying" the curse of the ward Christmas party. Every December we get the stomach flu. This year we managed to stretch it out a full week starting with Cooper up in the night and ending with Mark a few days ago, so I'm feeling a little behind with my Christmas stuff. At least we finally got the tree up. Mark was careful to turn his head toward the camera this year in the shot of Cooper putting the angel on the tree because last year's picture was the first time he realized he was getting a duck pond back there. We do get a real tree but every year when I'm suffering from sticker shock I get a little homesick. My family always hunts down their own way up in the mountains (and it's dirt cheap...).
Then again, maybe that's one of those rose-colored glasses things. Now that I think about it, we did an awful lot of brawling ourselves squished into the Suburban with all of our snowpants and bulky gear on. And I think every year Mom or Dad or both ended up swearing during the setting up the tree portion of the evening. We kids should have sat on the couch and watched because I know, as an adult, I would love to go back and be a fly on the wall and watch the hilarity of trying to get the tree to point straight up and not lean. We always had a huge tree and they usually came to some kind of truce by involving nails on the wall and a ball of fishing line. Ours is little, (and expensive), but it looks great and I think it took us two minutes to get right. Here's to Christmas peace!
Oh, and here is the final finished quilt project of the year--a baby quilt for my new nephew Bridger Haynes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Cheap Collection

I realized yesterday that my cheap decorating habits have created quite the collection of Christmas cards over the years. I always keep the pretty ones and hang them up all over the house--with clothespins on a string over the fireplace, by size and color collections over the dining room windows, by matched pairs on the cabinets, my favorite ones in the kitchen where I can see them the best. The kids all have their favorites and I wonder if that is what their memories of decorating for Christmas will be. Leslie begged and begged me to have the first crack at sorting and hanging them. What are some of my favorites? I love one from the Price family with a little boy sticking his tongue to a flagpole. I love the ones that have strings of mittens on them. I love any with great big words. I love the Leaning Tree one with the cowboy overlooking an imaginary town of Bethlehem and an extra large star in the sky. I love the stained glass nativity scene from one of my Catholic friends. I love the picture of the scruffy farm boy who built a snowman for the cows (he reminds of my little brother Duke in moonboots, red cheeks and a runny nose.) I even have one that I never hang up but I keep because I received it in the mail from my Grandma Haynes after I got back from her funeral.
Anyway, it's been fun decking the halls. Another fun Christmas thing has been enjoying my new "church job" of Primary Chorister. Last Sunday I started teaching the kids "Angels We Have Heard on High". It was SO fun to hear all those little voices trying to sing "Glooooria" in one breath. We are going to sing it during the Sunday sacrament meeting. I found a really extravagant arrangement with an organ and four hands on the piano that, as a kid, I would have thought was THE coolest to get to sing to, but in the end, my grown-up self said no, the parents just want to hear their kids sing. Let's not distract from the message, sigh. I think I will sneak in a recording of the fancy arrangement to practice to, once, just for fun, though.
Grandma and Grandpa Heagy came to visit on Sunday. I still am amazed at how lucky I am to have had such a close relationship with all four of my grandparents, and that my children can know their great-grandparents. It just made me laugh to see Boston and Grandpa with their heads together at the far end of the table, silently playing memory cards and sharing goodies. I wonder if Boston realizes that most kids don't get to pop a giant marshmallow into their great-grandfather's willing mouth?They were just two kids playing, one young, one old. Grandma brought me a huge set of dishes that she was "retiring" because she got a new set for her anniversary. (Don't be jealous Brooke and Darcy--I only got them because she knew I have the same pattern.) Anyway, I admire her more and more with each child I have. She had six, and Grandpa was very gone to work at the base all day every day from Breakfast to Dinner...not like my Dad who was just out in the field or checking the cows with the boys or irrigating somewhere on the motorbike. It made me feel so good to be able to complain about Macy's horrible eating habits and have Grandma laugh and say, "Oh, yes, been there, done that" and then pantomine trying to feed a picky baby "Looky up here...now take bite. Looky up here...now take a bite." She can do it, I can do it, and I think that is the point and the blessing of learning from your elders.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Macy Face


We had quite an adventure last week getting our family picture taken. We were at the studio for an hour and got ONE family picture because Macy was terrified, plus some good ones of Macy when we were playing peekaboo with her and distracting her away from the camera. I won't post our family's here yet so that I won't ruin the suspense of getting our Christmas cards in the mail. (I love Christmas cards, but I've noticed that you've got to send some to get some a lot of the time...) Here is one of her silly, sassy faces that I just love. It'll be even cuter once she gets some teeth!
I'm starting to get excited for Christmas. Last year I don't think Mark liked a single one of his presents and I felt so bad I cried, so this year I've been saving up ideas and am pretty sure I've got a couple of winners. I went out and got them FIRST before the Christmas budget runs out. The kids would be happy with a sack of candy if it came to that, but Mark is a little harder to please. So anyway, I'm excited.
As we were driving around on our Christmas errands yesterday, I caved in to the media pushing the Christmas songs on us before Thanksgiving and sang along with the boys in the car. Boston loves this a capella version of "Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel" and I explained that Immanuel is another name for Jesus. He said, "I like to sing Jesus' name." I pointed out that he felt good inside when he sings about Jesus because the Holy Ghost is telling him that those words are true. He thought about this for a second and then asked, "Mom, is the Holy Ghost in my tummy?"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gawain's Word, Gawain's Word

Cooper has been finally making friends with the "D" sound. It takes him considerable effort and forethought, though, and is pretty funny to watch the face he makes as he is prepping for that tongue twister. It's nice that he is noticing that there is a difference with what he says and what he hears from everyone else. The word he is most proud of, however, is not "Dad", probably because the D's on the end are tricky and it still comes out "Dag", but "Duke". (My brother.) He lies in bed after waking up and I hear him practicing, "Duke. Duke. Duke." and before we have him start practicing new words, every time, he beams, says "Duke!" proudly to show he knows what we want him to do, then he tries the new word.
He is such a smart little guy and has been picking up much of the alphabet/early reading skills that we have been working on with Boston. Lately their favorite show has been "Between the Lions"--it's similar to Sesame Street but with muppet lions who live at the library and teach the kids to read. It used to be Leslie's favorite show, too, and I think it taught her a lot of reading skills, so I'm glad they like it. They have a segment on that show called, "Gawain's Word, Gawain's Word" (it's like a parody of "Wayne's World, Wayne's World, party-time, excel-lent",etc.) where two jousting knights charge together "at high speed" to spell a word. The first knight says "D", the second knight says, "Ance" then they ram together and dance, for one example.
So yesterday the boys were making an awful racket after dinner, yelling and ramming the beep beep and Macy's walker together (she wasn't in it at the time...). I was getting bugged until I realized what they were doing. They were making words! Oooo. Aaaaay. OOOOoo. AAAaay. Crash!!! OOooAAAY! Then they'd laugh hysterically. Who cares if the words weren't really words. They'll catch on eventually.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mustache Trumps Hat








We've had a busy couple of weeks taking care of my brother Duke after his tonsillectomy and septum repair. Mom and Dad came down to spend a few days with us, too, and since they were here, Brooke and Jared thought, what the heck, we'll toss our air mattress in the trunk and join the party! Sorry Jake and Rach, Darcy and Perry. You missed out on some pumpkin gut slinging. Mom helped me get Leslie's costume ready to go. She insisted that she wanted to be a "Smarty Pants" (since she is one...). So they stuck smarty candies all over her jeans. We were worried that those wouldn't show up very well, so we also made her a "thinking" cap. I was so relieved that Boston stuck with the ghost idea--he'd been pretty hard to pin down and I had so much fun putting together his costume. Macy was a bright-eyed ladybug and Cooper was a cowboy, pony and all. (This is for our neighborhood party--we'll still trick or treat tomorrow.) We were laughing at Cooper because he has been insistent for atleast the last two months that for Halloween, he was going to be a "Cowboy hack!" Translation: cowboy hat. We have a couple of battered hats in our dress up box and his favorite thing is to put one on and beg for me to turn on the Cowboy Song (Translation: Garth Brooks' "Ain't Goin' Down til the Sun Comes Up") so he can dance like crazy. I know, I'm a bad mom. I let my two year old listen to a song ad nauseum about sneaking out of the house and making out in someone's truck. It doesn't help that the next track on that CD is "Rodeo", so he almost always hears that one, too, to help with his cowboy vocabulary.
Anyway, these dress up hats were not really cowboy hats, so we went to the dollar store to pick him up the real thing, kid sized. He was so excited.
When it was time to get ready for the big party, we had him all dressed. I was adding spots to my face for my "sick" costume" (Mark was "tired" with a tire around his neck). I said, "Cooper, would you like me to draw you a mustache? Oooh. Yes he would. So he got a handsome droopy stache, ala brown wet'n'wild eyeliner. He admired himself in the mirror and slowly reached up for his hat. And lifted it off. And threw it on the ground. "I don't need this anymore!"
Cooper has also made a big leap in his speech skills. Macy started saying "Dadadada", and so we've been having him "help" her say it. This was exciting enough for him to try and do it properly, so this week we've been coaxing him to say all kinds of "d" words.
Macy also said her first word that she knew was really a word. She waves and twists her fingers very slowly and deliberately and says, "Iiii." (Hi.) Sometimes it's hi. So stinking cute.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Moabites











We actually went on a family vacation to a vacation destination! Yay, us! Thanks to our friends the Sorensons for giving us all the insider tips for families with small children, and a huge thanks to Brooke and Jared for keeping all of my children from falling off the cliff, etc.
I've decided I like camping in the desert. I miss the lovely smell of the pines, but really liked how quiet it was at night, and also that I didn't have to take off my shoes every time I entered the tent. (No pine needles and/or mud to track in.)
We went on two family hikes, one that was about a mile around the windows arches at sunset, SO fun. We also hiked up to Delicate Arch, about three miles. Cooper struggled a bit with that one since it was uphill and he walked clear to the top, but we took lots of rests and he zonked out on Mark's or Jared's shoulders the whole way down. Boston, although only a couple inches taller than Cooper, was surprisingly good at hiking, actually causing some safety problems for us because he always wanted to be in front, running. We made Jared be his hiking buddy. He kept saying to us emphatically, "I WON'T quit, Mom!"
Besides Cooper, I was actually the biggest wuss on that hike. I did carry Macy the whole way and felt like superwoman because of it, but I hadn't realized, even after seeing pictures of Delicate Arch like, every day on the Utah license plate and everywhere else you can think of, that it is on the top of a mountain and that to see it, you have to perch on a skinny little cliff with the wind whistling around you and great big black birds of prey hopping greedily around you and your children. Yes it was gorgeous and fresh and surprising, but it took my breath away in more ways than one. I wanted to be a lead-footed octopus and wrap two arms around each of my babies and slowly inch my way back down the trail. The backs of my legs were twitching with freaked-out adrenaline and Mark was a little frustrated that I didn't want to get closer to the arch. I wouldn't even let him take a picture because I couldn't handle seeing him let go of Cooper, who was likely to go chasing the birds right over the edge. So Brooke had to do it. (She was Leslie's hiking buddy.) Leslie was mad at me because I wouldn't even let her stand up. She's a clumsy little girly like her mama and likely to trip. I gritted my teeth for the camera and then proclaimed "I'm SO outta here." I'm sure the little old ladies that I crossed on my way back down didn't mind that I took the right of way so I could have one hand on the rock wall, away from the edge. I was carrying a baby, after all.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Big Apple




Here are some fun fall pictures. September was such a beautiful month. We got permission to pick from a neighboring abandoned orchard and Mark found this whopper. I'm holding it in my hand in this top picture, and then it is next to a smallish apple with Macy. Leslie took to to school for show and tell. After that, Mark peeled it with a potato peeler because it was so bruised up from Leslie's backpack and took a few bites, just to say he ate it. He said it was good!
Brooke and I canned some of the apples on Saturday to apple pie filling. I'm excited to have some since we didn't do apples last year.
I also love these pictures I took of my homebound children while Leslie was at school. I think Boston and Macy look so very alike in that picture of just the two of them. Macy and I have been battling it out lately with the sleep thing. She's been waking up a lot and also not wanting to nap, mostly because she doesn't like falling asleep on her own. She just wishes she could be a tattoo on my arm I think. So, she's had to cry it out a few times this week and teach herself how to go to sleep. I think we are making progress. Last night she skipped the midnight waking completely and went until 4:00. Now if I can just get her past the wanting to sleep in my bed at 6:00 A.M. thing. Anyway, I've been a little out of it, but I think I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We also just started the extremely fun and even more messy I-can-feed-myself-a-cracker stage.
Everyone else is doing fine. We enjoyed General Conference (so cute...Boston called it "Gentlemen's Conference...and indeed it was) and are trying to teach a little more about service, in line with Pres. Monson's message. So, the kids are memorizing Mosiah 2:17 this month. I actually have a recording of this one from someone else because the teenagers learn it for seminary.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eeny, Meeny, Miney.

Really quick, two things.
Mark has been solving the battle about who gets to say the prayer at bedtime lately with the age-old "Eeny, Meeny, Miney Mo." The boys love it but Cooper keeps getting it a little mixed up, possibly with "Okee Dokee Dad." The other day we caught him pointing at each of us and counting off, "Eeeko, eeeko, pokey!"
I've given up (for now) of my big project idea of someday assembling a whole bunch of family history stories into a book or something and decided to take this month's Ensign message to heart to be more missionary minded online and also using my talents, etc., to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, etc. So I combined those ideas and started a new blog called Story Apples, Collecting, Preserving, Sharing the Stories from our Family Tree, one bite at a time. I would really love to become more connected and supportive as a member of a varied (and Mormon and nonMormon), extended family, so anyone who would be interested, please pass this on to cousins, aunts and uncles, etc. Also, please contribute any stories or pictures you would like me to discuss. It's been super fun so far and I am excited to get to do this in small, manageable chunks. Come and visit!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beautiful Birthday

I turned thirty-one last week and for our fun birthday date Mark took me out to dinner and then to the 8th International Art Competition Exhibit at the Conference Center. It was huge, beautiful and inspiring and I've enjoyed remembering which paintings we liked the best and pondering them. This was also extra nice to do as a date to see which ones the other liked the best and why. Then, I found out that the entire exhibit is online. What a fun stay-at-home, late-at-night date idea for everyone else! Here is the link. http://www.lds.org/ch/remembering/exhibit_2009.html
If for some reason this doesn't work, you can go to the site at lds.org/museum and go to the international exhibit link. One thing I will regret for those of you who don't get to go in person is that many of these paintings were very large and it feels different and more reverent somehow to stand in front of it. Here is a short list of my very favorite ones, you can find them by the artist's name. Unfortunately I can't just copy and paste them here. Be sure to magnify and look close at the faces, etc.
My very favorite was "The Mother of All Living" by Al Young. It was huge and gorgeous.
Mark and my collective favorite was "Flight" by Rose Dall.
The one I've been thinking about the most is "A Conversation with the Master" by Nathan Florence.
One that gave me chills was "The Gathering" by Joshua Jensen.
One that made me laugh out loud was "A Peculiar People" by Glen Edwards.
One that still makes me cry is "Modern Day Mother in Zion" by Anita Hart-Carroll. Be sure and close up the wounds on that one.
One that totally reminded me of Mark was "Even When No one Wants to Hear" by Eileen McAllister. He went to France on his mission and has just that same sense of humor. One time on P-Day he and his comp rode their bikes around the Arc-de-Triumph 7 times to see if it would fall down. What a cute nerd.
Three others that I really liked were "There Indeed" by Clark Price, "The Greatest in the Kingdom" by J. Kirk Richards, and "The Three Gardens" by Tracy Holmes.
Check these out and give me your thoughts!
Oh, and in case you've been wondering if we have dropped the scripture song thing, we haven't. I just haven't had hardly any time to be on the computer to transcribe, but here are the songs from August and September. Boston particularly likes this month because it rhymes and has lots of his favorite letter, (B).
August was 2 Nephi 32:3, one that I had already learned from seminary. It went to "Reverently, Quietly" in the Children's Songbook.
Angels speak
by the power
of the Holy Ghost wherefore
The-ey speak
the wordsofChrist
wherefore I said unto you
Feast upon
the-e words
of Christ for behold
the wordsof Christ will tell you
all things what youshould do.

And this month is easy to remember because the numbers are sequential. It goes to the tune of "Stars were Gleaming", also from the Children's Songbook.
Therefore ye must
always pray un-
to the Father in my name.
And whatsoe-
ver ye shall ask
The-e Father in my name
Which is right be-
lieving that ye
shall receive be
-hold it shall be
given u-unto-o you.
3rdNephi eighteen, nineteen twenty.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yodeling for Four




Boston had a great birthday. We were brave enough to have eight little boys over for Boston's first official party. Thanks to Brooke for holding the baby so I could orchestrate the games (jumping the river, diving under the "snake", crab races, etc.). I think the highlight, though, was having the boys fish with a real pole over the edge of the deck for their Hot Wheels prizes. They were pretty excited to reel those babies up! So here are four Bostonisms to celebrate turning 4.
1. Boston loves being four. He was wrestling with Mark right around his birthday when he got this quizzical look. "Dad, how strong are you?" Mark growled, "TOO STRONG!" Boston smirks a little, catching Mark off guard. "I'M 4 strong!!!"
2. He might be strong, but he's not quite as tricky as he thinks he is. A few days later, Mark was working at home and watching the boys while I took Macy to her checkup. I was in a rush and as he arrived to take over, I told him that the boys were playing in the basement. Much to Mark's consternation, Boston rang the front doorbell as soon as I was gone. "Hi Dad. Can Corbin and Jace play?" Mark figured out that Boston must have gone outside through the basement door, through our sometimes-left-open gate and up to the front yard where he is not supposed to play alone. He explained to Boss that I was gone and he can't have friends over when Mom is gone. Boston whined a little and then headed back down the basement stairs to join Cooper. He got about halfway down and yelled softly, "Too late!"
Mark thought about that for a second. Yep. Boston had snuck his friends into the basement through the backyard and then went back around to ask permission! He was smart enough to do that, but not smart enough to keep his yap shut.
3. Boss loves to use the cool phrases that the kids say on TV shows, but he doesn't really know what they mean and he frequently only gets them partly right. His current favorite cracks us up. "Not for longer!"
4. Boston loves Fiddler on the Roof. I think this is a little weird, even though I love musicals myself, because this one doesn't really have any kid stuff in it ( I need to get Mary Poppins or One Man Family Band or something, I guess.) Mostly he just loves the "If I Were a Rich Man" song. He thinks it's hilarious. So, yesterday, when I realized I needed to run some errands and the kids were particularly cranky, I decided to mix it up a little and introduce something new. I grabbed my The Sound of Music soundtrack.
A little sidenote here. I am a mother of four. I have been a mother for more than 8 years now. I have long lost any shred of coolness or dignity, for that matter. I embrace my unique uncoolness. I also happen to be an enthusiastic soprano.
You know that one song where they do the puppet show? Yeah, you do. "High on the hill was a lonely goatherd..." Well, when you are in the car with three cranky children, a little yodeling does wonders. And I'm always rather proud of that high A on the end. The children sat and listened in shocked glee. When the song was over, my sweet little four year old demanded, "Do it again, Mom! Do it again!!!" I love four. I'll cry when he's fourteen. But then again, I'll have some serious ammunition. I picture it going something like this:
"Boston, E-Dawg can't come over until your room is clean."
"Mom, you're so lame!"
"Watch your mouth or the next time I'm giving rides to baseball practice I'll start yodeling in the car again!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Chicken or the Egg?

I don't write that much about Leslie because she is kind of like the third grown up in our home. She is so much like me that it makes me laugh, and I hope she doesn't resent this someday. (Maybe I only think I understand her). Sometimes, though, she helps me understand what my mom must have gone through when I was a third grader. Here is an example of what topics one day of conversation with her have covered. I was tired, as usual, and most of these topics were posed in the form of a question, and when I try to give my pat answer, she argues with me and finds all the loopholes to my logic until she is content with what she has learned. It's kind of the 3rd grader version of catching me in that, "oops, skipped a page" trick you do when you don't want to read all 54 pages of Harold and the Purple Crayon any more.
Why don't people just wear pajamas all day? Or at least just one set of clothes?
Why do we grow? Why can't we just all be short?
Why does hamburger have rocks in it? No, really, my teacher said they put rocks in it because it's too expensive to just have plain meat. (Dad's gonna love that one...)
How do we know that we aren't drinking dinosaur spit?
How are germs created? (She didn't like my, "From Mommy and Daddy germs.")
Why do we have Labor Day? (My answer was, uh....)
Is anything alive besides plants and animals?
She loves chicken or egg type questions. That day was, What came first, water or ice?
All this brain power and today, in a sincerely worried voice, she confided to me, "Mom, I'm scared to learn cursive. It's really hard!"
Cooper has been doing a little learning of his own. We got him signed up with Utah County's Kids on the Move program that helps with any developmental stuff before the age of three. His surgical team at Primary Children's recommended that we start him on some speech lessons, and Kids on the Move comes to your house. Awesome. He gets his own private speech session with a super fun gal twice a month, and she also gives me suggestions for what to work on with him. For those of you who don't know Cooper, he has the most adorable articulation resulting from his cleft palate. He doesn't say his D's, T's, or Th's. The N's are a little nasally. Instead he substitutes with back-of-the-throat sounds (called "backing"). So, our goal we set was for him to say "Dad", instead of "Gag", before Macy can say Dad. I'm actually going to miss this as well as some of our other favorite Cooper phrases that we take for granted, now. Can you decipher these?
In a minick.
I gon'k wank coo go coo beg.
I KNOCK go coo beg.
Goggie. As in, "Gair's a goggie ryk gair!"
Alligagor
Crocogile
icks hock ouksyge
kamango (this is potato. He gets it mixed up with tomato and mango, and then with the backing...)
I goo ick myself!
Knock coogay.
Wha's gack soun?
ho' gog (hot dog)
teyyee bear
gump ick ouk! or the politically correct, spic ick ouk!
complooger (this is my favorite. Computer.)
Of course, some of his phrases are just plain cute, like any other toddler. When I asked him what kind of "complooger" game he wanted to play, he pointed at "Cat in the Hat" and said, "Appleseuss!"
Macy is crying, so I will have to share some Bostonisms later, along with some fun birthday pics.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kiss-a-lish





We've been soaking up as much of what's left of summer as we can, lately. Leslie started school last week but the weather is still beautiful. My friend Michelle clued me in about this free splash park in Highland and so we took a Friday evening picnic there. My favorite part of the whole day was seeing the boys' faces when they realized that they were going to be allowed to actually play in the fountains. It was great!! We've missed out on a lot of waterplay just with having three little ones so close together where there aren't enough adults to go around. This park was extra nice because they didn't need any help and we could just laze around on the grass with the baby and occasionally tell Boston not to run. That little river Cooper is sitting in was about two inches deep and some of the boulders had fountains coming out of them. Why doesn't every town have a place like this??
I've been awfully busy. This is the third Sunday in a row that one of my kids has been sick with a fever. The baby was last week and she is finally getting back on a schedule where she can nap comfortably and only wake up once in the night. My other big project has been the annual canning of the peaches. For the last two or three years I have done this with friends and we each do one box (1/2 a bushel), usually making about 14 qts apiece. This year, however, I figured I would be the deadweight of the group with having to stop working to feed the baby, etc., and decided it would be better if I just went slow and did it myself. Plus, I also learned earlier this year that I'm actually not supposed to do any canning on my flattop stove because they are likely to crack from the heat and the pot that overlaps the burner so much. So I just did one batch at a time and took the pot off as quickly as possible to let everything cool down. The Lord blesses the righteous and sometimes me too, I guess. No cracked stove and every 28 quarts sealed without incident. I did double the usual amount because my kids eat home-canned peaches like candy. I love them too, maybe because they don't grow in Montana so I never had "the real thing" growing up.
Oh, so to explain the picture of Cooper and the peaches... I did the canning over two days. The first day I did 14 qts and a batch of freezer jam because I ran out of jars. So I had this luscious second box of peaches sitting in the panty that night, waiting to be canned. That night I got to escape from my hard day's work by going to the Springville Art Museum quilt show with some friends. Mark watched kids and spent two hours cleaning up my sticky peachy canning mess without being asked. Being a Dad, he's not quite as used to multi-tasking. Cooper kept disappearing on him, but he thought nothing of it. Finally he discovered this pile of one-bite peaches. Hmmm. We thought it was pretty funny and I made Mark his favorite peach pie out of the "good halves" to thank him for all his hard work.
Boston's birthday is coming up and he is so excited. He keeps pulling his long pants from this spring out of the closet and putting them on because he's not fond of wearing shorts, and they are so high-waters on him! I try to explain that they don't fit if I can see his ankles, but then he leans down to inspect things himself and it looks great from his angle! The other day when he got down from the table I told him to wash his face because he had ketchup on it. He looked skeptical. "Mom, I'm a man. Mans don't have ketchup on their face!"
This morning Mark, Macy and I were laying in bed, celebrating the fact that only one child was up once in the night. Boston climbed in,too, then Cooper, both of them romping around like the pups they are. (I escaped to safety with Macy). Mark was tickling them both and I hear this conversation. "Are you ticklish??" "NO! Hahahaha." Mark starts kissing them under their chins with his scratchy morning face. Boston screams, "I'M NOT KISS-A-LISH EITHER. HAHAHHAHA!"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

God Bless America and the Public Schools, too! (buckle your seatbelt for this one...)

I decided to spend my 100th blog entry ranting and raving. Haven't done that for awhile! I will probably offend half of my ward. (My Dad would be so proud!)
Last night we hosted a barbecue for Mark's business breakfast group and their families, mostly strangers to me. I left the party for a minute and came back to eavesdrop on a very interesting conversation. The gal who held the floor was an extremely impassioned businesswoman who started her own charter school last year. For those of you who don't know, charter schools are kind of a cross between a public and private school. They get some public funding but make their own rules, etc. It was just plain fun to hear the stuff she was spewing while no one was stopping her. I guess none of us knew her well enough. The part I walked in on went something like this, "Well, you know, public schools are really the most socialist part of our government." (She looks around to see how far over the line she can step.) "They are communist, really. Parents just send their kids there to school for babysitting services." We all kind of sat there in shock, and I was privately wondering why these communist schools I must support are the ones that DON'T require a uniform...). Someone asked her how she started up her own school. "Well, I got together with this friend of mine, who really cares about education, and..." (Picture right here a great big slow motion slap-in-the-face to all the teachers and other educators who have worn out their lives in service to the children of America...you know, the ones who must be in it for the money!)
The conversation ebbed and flowed. Her school is named after one of the founding fathers and when asked about curriculum she waved the verbal flag and said, "Oh, the basics, and the Constitution of course!" I wonder why there seems to be this theme (read between the lines the word SOAPBOX) among so many private and charter schools about the Constitution, like it's the Holy Grail of all learning or something. Really, folks. I went to college on scholarship, was a political science minor, and still managed to get by without having that hallowed document memorized. In fact, I probably prefer it that my third grader isn't waving a gun over her head like some Charleston Heston NRA wannabe shouting gun rights slogans "From my Cold Dead Hands!" And I'm a true blue (I mean red) card carrying Republican! Don't you think it's a little more practical for her to be learning things like multiplication, photosynthesis, cursive, and Internet safety?
Oh, here's another beauty. She goes on about public school teachers (of which, I may add, I have several in my family including my fabulous mother-in-law who taught 2nd grade for decades.) "Teachers HATE private schools and charter schools because they make them feel threatened. If people are sending their kids to alternative schools it means the teachers are failing, and they don't want everyone to figure that out." I'm pretty confident that most teachers want the best for their students, might even love them a little. I'm sure they would agree that if a student just isn't thriving in a traditional school environment that the parents should do everything within their power to fix that problem, even if it means putting them in a different school. So let's not belittle those of us who are lucky enough to be perfectly happy with the norm.
It might even be better than normal. I'll stop with the negative now and highlight some of the really great positive I've noticed about public school.
Here's an easy one. Can anyone think of a better invention than that great yellow striped thing on wheels? I can't hardly think of anything that supports my mom-at-home-with-three-other-kids lifestyle better except maybe disposable diapers and the microwave. When I see the bus coming, practically to my doorstep, to safely pick up and deliver my daughter I just want to cheer! Thank you taxpayers, thank you! And can you imagine how my parents felt? We lived a half an hour out of town!
As for all the people who send their kids elsewhere because they think their kids will turn out unAmerican (or even communist) unless they go to a school that has George Washington in its name , I beg to differ. When I walk in to our school, the walls are completely PLASTERED with American good stuff. All the important founding documents. The flag. Huge walls of honor for parents who are serving in the military. Yes, they still say the Pledge of Allegiance there. They also learn about the founding fathers, patriotism and all the patriotic holidays. They have an entire freedom week including a program with lots of singing and essays, etc.
As for the rights declared in the first amendment, (I'm suspecting the freedom of religion is the one most people think they are somehow promoting when they yank their children from public schools) those are very strongly upheld and even cherished. For example, in first grade Leslie's class was supposed to draw pictures about the theme, "America is a Work in Progress". She wanted to draw a picture of an LDS temple under construction. Not only did her teacher think this was a great idea but she took personal time with Leslie to look it up on the internet so she could have a decent photo to go off of.
My experience with religion and public school was also extremely positive. My little country grade school had a prayer for the food (yeah, this was extreme and you couldn't get away with it now, but nobody seemed to care and I think that every single student was a different religion). In high school I once wrote an English paper on Ayn Rand's Anthem that quoted the Book of Mormon and got an A. My school even hosted Holy Week every Easter where different pastors and preachers from religions around town would come in and talk about their religions or their understanding of Easter for a class period. Students could attend that or just spend time in study hall instead if they wanted to.
I think one of the best, most interesting classes I took in high school was my government class. What made it so great were the wonderful, passionate, TWO SIDED debates that took place. I think I learned so much more about my conservative political reasoning and feelings from my flamboyant, nose-ringed, foot-tattooed hippy BRILLIANT teacher than I ever could from someone who thought the same as I did. She was great about making us think for ourselves by understanding our opponent's point of view. In this way we would have to realize exactly WHY we disagreed with them. That class ranged from full-on red-neck, cowboy boot wearing militant types to peasant skirt, abortion supporting feminists, and it was so fun.
Anyway, hats off to the great educators I have learned from and to those who will be teaching my children. I know they DO care and will help my children become better, more well-rounded, and flat out smarter than I could have made them on my own.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lazy Crazy Daze of Summer
















Okay, I guess I have tons of catching up to do. Macy has been napping less and I seem to have a lot less time to goof off. I wouldn't trade it, though, since I get a full night's sleep most nights. Part of my business has been playing catch-up from our week in Montana with my family. As usual, I think I took, like, six pictures the whole week and my mom took over one hundred. (Maybe that's why I was lazy with my camera because I knew I could bum off of hers...?) It was very good to get to see my sister Darcy and her little family. We had not seen them for over 2 1/2 years because they've been at chiropractic school in Texas and then moved to the Oregon coast. The best part was finally seeing the cousins get to play together. There were five little boys age 3 to 1, so we mostly just were entertained by them and tried to keep them contained. (Poor Mom and Dad have a burning barrel--no garbage man on the prairie, you know, and just think of the mountain of diapers we left behind!) Every night came Dad's favorite part of the whole party. He gathered everyone in the living room to sing silly songs together and watch the antics just in time for prayers and bedtime. Grandpas are for winding kids up, I guess. Duke, in his cool, calm bachelorhood thought he would die a slow death from hearing the slippery fish song every night (and all day long) or "I am like a Star shining brightly" on Kyler's go-to-sleep CD. He slept in the Suburban so he wouldn't have to hear the crying babies all night.
There are also some random pictures from this summer including our family at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Open House and my enormous crop of cucumbers that we thought were watermelon plants when we planted them. Whoops! Aw, pickles. Leslie counted 55 at one point. Any recipe suggestions? I think I should follow Leslie's example and lay around with some over my eyes.