Days 2015

Days 2015

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Position of Strength

I was busy baking something the other day and I thought, you know, I really feel at home here in the kitchen.  When I have extra energy and ambition, this is where I go to make some happy treats, a fabulous meal, or the fancy dishes for a party.  This is where I go to gain control of my life--by washing the dishes--because I don't feel like I can have it all together if my house is a mess, but by golly if at least my kitchen is clean, I'm off the hook, at peace, and free to pursue whatever I want to (and to put off other, less connected-to-me chores).  The kitchen is where I feel the most appreciated, the most skilled, the most feminine and motherly.  Some help in the kitchen is always the best kind of service to me.  The kitchen is my command center, my source of physical power (as in, I can give or I can take.  No dinner until your homework is done!  Oh, your room is clean?  Of  course you can have a cupcake.)  The kitchen is where I am most likely to sing and dance.  And best of all, as a disgusted Cooper pointed out today when Mark and I were kissing when he came home from meetings, "That's the WORST thing that happens in the kitchen!"

Cooper was not in a particularly generous mood tonight, though.  After dinner he was singing the song from Aladdin to himself.  "Prince Ali, mighty is he...strong as 10 regular men..."  Pause.  "I think Daddy is one of the regular men."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Creature was Stirring...

One thing I've noticed about keeping a regular blog for so long is that I start to look for little "stories" in my everyday life that I might be able to write about--ironies, patterns, beginning-middle-ending, lots of drama, etc.  Sometimes this is a bad thing because I start keeping lists of all the things that went wrong and it puts me in a negative mood.  I admit, sometimes as I write the story, I emphasize parts to spin it the way I want it to go, but sometimes, my life really is that crazy.  No spin needed. 

Last night could have been a sitcom.

A little background:

The night Cooper got home from the hospital, we were pretty tired as we vegged in front of the TV after the kids were in bed.  Luke woke up about 10 and started howling.  This was nothing new, he has pretty much always been a TERRIBLE sleeper.  He sleeps through the night maybe once every two weeks or so.  The rest of the time he wakes up 2-6 times a night, and I have gotten so used to walking into his room, laying him back down, covering him back up, and then falling back into bed myself that it's almost like rolling over in my sleep.  And he goes right back to sleep, so it's hard not to respond.  Yes, I'm a mother of five and yes, I've made all of my kids "cry it out", multiple times (because for my kids it never works after just one time except maybe short term).  Luke was about due for another sleep training session, and I was too exhausted to get off the couch, so I let him cry it out for 45 minutes.  (Boston came downstairs to complain a couple of times.)

Wonder of wonder, it worked!  Luke has slept ALL night long for the past six days in a row.  Now for the negative part, where I collect and compile the Murphy's Law details that make this a story.  (Filled with drama and irony, I assure you.)

The first night, Cooper was up with surgery pain.  Totally fine and expected.  But then hard for me to get
Cooper shows off his post-op look with his Grizzlies souvenir.
back to sleep.
The second night, Macy was up for some reason, Leslie woke me up too early in the morning.
The third night, Cooper walked in his sleep and had an accident before we were home from our date.  Macy also wet the bed (only the second time in her whole life).  Leslie got scolded for not making sure they both used the bathroom when she put them to bed.
The fourth night, Macy woke me up, worried that she had had too much water to drink that day and might wet the bed again.  Then she woke me up a few hours later because she needed another blanket.
The fifth night, I didn't get to sleep until about 2 because my brain was busy decorating my new house under contract.  Macy had a horrible screaming dream around 5:30.  (Probably got too hot under all those blankets.) 

(Just noticed, Boston is looking like an angel in this story for a change.)


So then we come to yesterday, as I was starting to rant and rave about never getting a good night's sleep for the rest of my life and wondering if that would be the night I would finally break the pattern.  I tried to be grateful that Luke was sleeping all night, but I also have much experience dueling with the  "conspiracy of waking up mom" that my kids seem to have entered into. 

After we said our family prayers and sang "Silent Night"  (just now laughing at THAT coinkydink), I gave the kids a little pep talk.  It went something like this.

"Kids, I have a really great plan for tonight.  Mom has had a really hard time getting to sleep ALL night long.  Lukey has been super good at sleeping the last few nights, so let's all work together to see if mom can sleep all night, too.  So, if anybody has a bad dream, when they wake up, they can just say, "Phew, I'm glad that was just a dream" and go back to sleep.  Everyone is going to use the bathroom right now.  If anyone gets cold, they can just look around and see where their blankets fell off onto the floor and put them back on again, or they can get an extra one out of the linen closet, or they can put on some warmer pajamas, and , poof, go right back to sleep.   See?  We don't need to wake up mom and dad.  We can do all that stuff ourselves."  (Notice how I didn't name names?  It was tricky.)

And to all a goodnight.

Bah bah BAAAH!

About three o'clock Cooper comes wandering in, howling at the top of his lungs.  I try to instantly assess the situation since he is pretty much non-communicative.

1.  Is he in pain from his surgery?  No, don't think so, he's felt fine for a few days now.
2.  Is he sleepwalking?  Possibly.  He sleepwalks about twice a month, but it's usually because he has to use the potty, and I KNOW he already did that.  However, he's not making much sense and is kind of dancing around weird, so...
3.  Did he have a bad dream?  I asked him.  He violently shook his head no.
4.  Some Other problem.   I ask him, "What's the matter?"   Howl howl, lips trying to form words but not quite closing around the howl.  Finally I make out, "I burned Tao!" 

Ah, so it WAS a bad dream.  Tao is his buddy from China he sits by at school.  I hugged Cooper and say, "Shhhh.  You burned Tao?  It was just a dream honey."
"No!  It's NOT a dream!  I burned Tao for REAL!" 
Hmmm.  Weird.  "You burned him at recess or something?"
"NOOO!  Not TAO!  I burned a towel!  Right now!  In the microwave!  And my leg HURTS!"

I smell smoke.

My chest seriously hurt for at least an hour because I think my heart stopped or something with the adrenaline.  I gave Mark a swift kick because he sleeps like the grateful dead, and calmly told the both of them that Daddy would go downstairs and help Cooper get a heatpack on his leg (dratted growing pains--forgot to role play that scenario at bedtime) and that Cooper had just burned a towel in the microwave, and that I wasn't mad about a hole in my towel, I loved him and it didn't matter.   Treat the person, then the problem.  A+ for this cursed mama.
The remains of my dishtowel, tossed onto the snow last night.


I pulled the covers over my head (and nose) and tried to decide whether to laugh or cry or pray, or all three.
Mark had a hard time going back to sleep--he was the one who had pulled the wet dishtowel stunt for the leg pains when we couldn't find the rice bag in the middle of the night. Cooper's repeat experiment just forgot about the part where you add water.  In all honestly, I think Cooper was mostly super upset that he ruined something, and frightened, too.  I also am not a hundred percent sure that he tried to do it all himself because of my little speech--he might have done that anyway.  Right?  But then, of course, it wouldn't be much of a story.

Luke slept all night long.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cheetah chasing

Cooper's surgeon had a last minute opening available and so early on Wednesday morning I took him in to Primary Children's for his "cleft rhinoplasty with rib graft".  The waiting room was especially enjoyable because when Cooper is a little bit nervous or shy or excited, he goes into what I am starting to recognize as his Jim Carrey mode.  (Talking too fast, random subjects and comments, one liners from TV shows, goofy voices and faces, no inhibitions...) And once he gets going, there's no turning it off.  (To be avoided on Sundays AT ALL COSTS!!!)  I always swing between amused, annoyed, amazed and acutely aware that everyone in the room is probably assuming that I have a special needs child when I don't.  We managed to keep things sort of under control while visiting with the doc (who assumes that Cooper is "What a funny kid!") but pretty much lost it when we were walking past the surgical desk on the way to the OR and Cooper decided to test out his nonskid (ha!) hospital socks by sliding into first base.  (Perfectly executed slide, by the way).  Propped up on one elbow in his gown on the hospital floor, big hammy smile to the waiting crowd, "Uh, I meant to do that."

The anesthesiologist pretended like he thought it was hilarious.  So much for those antibacterial wipes we had just scrubbed his entire body with.  Sigh.  To sleep with you, crazy child!

Jim Carrey was gone when Cooper woke up a few hours later.  They told me to expect that he'd be out four hours but they were able to do everything pretty quickly so really it was only about 2 and a half.  He seemed pretty comfortable and wanted slurpies, oreos and donuts (you can tell he's a regular at the hospital since he already knows what's good.)  Mostly what bothered him was some slow seepage out of his nose, dripping blood every few minutes.  The doctor said we could go home instead of staying the night like we'd planned, so after a visit from some Grizz hockey players who gave him a teddy bear and a dizzy trip to the bathroom after a few more hours, we were on our way.  I think he liked riding in the wheelchair.

He gets to wear the stents in his nose for FOUR WEEKS.  That was kind of a surprise but I think he is getting used to them, kind of like you get used to a retainer.  I'm sure he will thank us that we are doing this now instead of when he is a teenager.  His nose looks great, even though his face is kind of swollen, and Mark and I have been cracking up at how much he looks like his cousin Spencer who is on a mission in the Kiribati islands right now.  (They already looked quite alot a like, but Spencer has a wider bridged nose--probably not a flattering thing to say that your kid looks like someone when his face is all swollen--but there you go.)

So, he has missed three days of school since he is still on pain meds off and on.  To entertain himself, when I insist on a break from the TV, he likes to write.  Yes.  Pretty awesome for a first grade boy to have as a hobby.  We go through tons of paper at our house...I've given up on trying to conserve.  So, Cooper has been bellied up to the piano bench (right by the south window--it's the warmest place in the house) with his pencil caddy and several sheets of legal sized paper, folded in half, for hours on end this week.  I thought his latest book was rather charming and a pretty good representation of his body of work, so I scanned it and share it here for future posterity.  (We don't actually KEEP the papers at our house or we'd be buried as soon as the kids empty their backpacks.)

This story is a new volume of his favorite series, The Magic Tree House.  When he is done he staples the books on the center fold, so that is why some of the letters are chopped off in the crease.  I'll provide a transcription for you, but the backwards letters were too cute not to have scanned in.

Chapter 1  Flying.  Annie and Jack Got off of the plane.  They fond some cheetahs.  the Cheetahs wer still togather.  the cheetahs wer rasting they semed tierd they wer growling and moning and groning Annie felt bad for the cheetahs.  She tryed to help the ceetahs  Jack Just didn't laet her.  
Annie didn't care that Jack holled her.  She shoved and poshed.   Chapter 2.  No!   Jack tryed to worn Annie But she did not hold bak she was so anoying to Jack [laughing out loud here...it even rhymes].

Annie Got anlysht [unleashed:)] she ran as fast as she cold but a lion jamped out of the boshis Annie shoted Jack He tried to worn Annie But She did-nt Listen But Annie ran Back the lion ran to but Annie ran to [too] fast so the lion was worin out Annie was sorry

the lion want away Annie still thot she cold make it to the cheetahs.  Chapter 3.  AAAA!  Annie ran Back wen the lion was Gone.  She ran into a codra!  [he gets his d's and b's backwards].

the codra was vary Big!  it shots venom AAAAAAAA! run! Annie ran as fast as the wind!  Jack Got his Afraka Book  He red:  lions and cobras are praders [predators] Be War Jack adid in his Book  Codras Shot Venam

Chapter 4.  Finaly.  Annie saw The codra slither Away She thot:  This is my  chans She ran one of the cheetahs stod it ran too Annie chasing the Cheetah the cheetah was 14 times faster then Annie


Cooper's other talents include sleepwalking when his bladder is full and also charming the ladies.  He even uses the written word for that one...
Just tonight, he and Mark decided they wanted to take some cookies over to Cooper's friend Gracie who was home sick from church today.  Cooper made her a get well letter.  When Mark looked it over, he noticed a "Merry" just kind of hanging at the end. 

"Did you want to finish that sentence, Cooper?" 
"Oh yeah."  He added a little bit and handed it back to Mark.

It read, "Merry Me."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When Hot Chocolate was Romantic.

When hot chocolate was romantic
I didn't have five children who all wanted some
(Especially if only one of them had wanted it to begin with...)
and who joyously offered a cup to the neighbor kids
(what can I say, they are my kids and also must proffer goodies)
or I wasn't concerned about running out of milk for breakfast
(because then I'd have to take my Dodge Yak back to WalMart)
I also wouldn't have to point out the cons to using a drinking straw
(consequently causing tears and desperate pleas for just this once)
or mop up puddles of the brew from my tabletop
(because of course, they must stir their own)
There wouldn't be five varieties displayed on the counter
(I would never drink the chocolate mint kind or that hard marshmallow kind)
I wouldn't be putting away again those five varieties, six cups, six spoons, one jug missing a lid
(at least this time I held strong about the drinking straws!)
I wouldn't be smirking about the calcium intake of said children
(at least four of them--still trying to identify the culprits who only had a sip)
and I would have had a cup myself.

A cup myself.  MMMMMmmyself.
(probably something soup-sized with painted pink flowers on the side)
White chocolate or spiced chocolate or milk chocolate.
(look ma, no straw.  I wouldn't even slurp from the spoon)
I'd fit my face over the mug and feel my skin breathe.
(although if my skin was breathing, that probably means I'd burn my tongue)
My chilly fingers would finally get warm and I'd sip
(did I mention I was also watching TV?  at a reasonable volume?  not needing closed captioning?)
Don't forget the fuzzy socks, the candle on the table
(Maybe lots of little short unpractical candles.)
Husband can be there, too,
(as long as he brings a soft blanket and doesn't change the channel.)
Drink it to the dregs.

Some people need their chocolate to beat them over the head.
(Not me.  I'm now versed in subtlety.)
I don't need a cup to warm my hands
(Who knew dishsoap could be so luxurious in December).
A candle on the table doesn't hold a candle (ha) to a gleaming pan of monkey bread
(Surrounded by cheering monkeys)
Bing Crosby can get a little, well, boring
(Which is why "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" gets played over and over)
The house never looks so clean and shiny and I sing
(I think it's the extra light coming in the windows from the snow)
Seven pairs of boots matched in the closet
(Or drying on the mat from a great day's play)
Sons AND neighbor kids shoveling the driveway
(won't husband be surprised?)
Yes, frozen feet and socks that don't stay dry indoors
(is nowhere dry?)
But cold feet on husband shins is a test of true love.
(and mine always passes.)

Would you know?  They kept their promise.
(The cups put away, spoons too)
The garage door opening rivals the Christmas carols
(Home in time for dinner)
Now five heads are counting sugar plums and I'm by myself
(but I think I've had my cup today.)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Good News

Every Monday we do our best to hold a "Family Home Evening" with our children where we pray, learn about the gospel, sing, play games, eat treats, etc.  Family Home Evenings have been a really great tool to remind us to do what is really important as parents--do right by our kids!

Unfortunately, often our efforts do not even come close to our ideals.  I just hope that they are so many rough and ragged brushstrokes making up what will one day be a masterpiece?  (Thanks for the encouragement, Elder Bednar.)

This week was Mark's turn.  Sometimes I think that teaching the in's and out's of home financing to adults all day long somewhat skews his perception of what the kids will absorb.  To alleviate this tendency, sometimes I will give him suggestions about what we could use a little help with.  This week I handed him a lesson manual, pointed at what we discussed last week (quite successfully, I might add) and also what topics were up next on the list that we still needed to cover.  Then I went upstairs, knowing our evening was well in hand, especially since usually his lessons are quite engaging..

He is the dad, and sometimes I get a little bossy, but it was pretty funny to watch the implosion of our well-ordered night of enlightenment when he rewrote all of my well-laid plans.

He sat down in the teaching chair.  "Alright kids.  Tonight we are going to have a little discussion about what it means to be a missionary.  Who knows what a missionary does?"

Some ideas were thrown out, amidst the wiggling and posturing on the couch.  Finally we decided that "teaching the gospel" was a pretty good answer.

"And what is "the gospel""?  There were some answers that had nothing to do with the question, the gospel, or our evening.  Mark helped us out.  "I'll give you a clue.  The word 'gospel' means 'the good news'".  Then he allowed me to answer. 

"Well, the gospel is Heavenly Father's plan for us to follow Jesus and come back to live with Him and our families forever!"

Silence.  Surreptitious wrestling on the couch.  Whining.  Kicking.  Mark threatening the hooligans.  Cooper sat still and looked a little confused.  "And that's the good news???..."

At that sideways observation of our not-so-successful evening, Mark and I tried to keep our amusement under wraps.  My control didn't last long...

 Mark, somewhat frazzled, proceeded to completely ignore World War III on the couch, the baby screaming, etc., and skip ahead in our discussion by loudly (but expectantly!) reading from the manual and talking right over the heads of the anarchy. 

"How does one teach with power and authority?!!"

My eruption of choking giggles and laughing-on-the-floor-until-I-cried calmed everyone else down in a big hurry.

We decided to ditch the lesson, sing a few songs, and skip right to dessert and were much better for it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

One of these things is not like the other...

We had a bit of a runaround this week.  Cooper was scheduled to have a "cleft rhinoplasty with rib graft" yesterday.   Of course, the night before surgery his mild, just-when-I-wake-up cough turned into a moderate-to-severe I'm catching a cold cough.  We still took him to pre-op on the off chance that they'd give us the green light, but it was a no go.  I guess that it's kind of a long surgery, and with a tube down your throat for your airway when you're under, it makes your sore throat, etc., a lot worse, not to mention greatly increasing the risk of pneumonia.  Oh, fine.  We are trying really hard to get it done this calendar year so it can be a freebie.  Otherwise we will just wait until (or if) I ever have another baby or we have some other medical expense that fills our deductible, because this surgery is completely elective.  He could wait until he's an adult, even.  We should have scheduled it sooner but
a. We were waiting for his bone graft in his front jaw to "take".
b. We didn't think about basketball starting in January.  He's supposed to wait six weeks before sports and now probably won't make it.  He's going to be crushed because he loves basketball and he gets to be on Boston's team (who will be playing regardless).  Oh well.  He's only in first grade.  That's a lot of money to save on a nose job!  Hopefully the doc still has a slot for him this year; we should find out next week.

So, when they do the surgery they are going to take a bit of his rib cartilage and prop up his left nostril.  They also might mess with his top lip so there is more of an even look (instead of a mountain on one side, flat on the other).  The doctor mentioned to Cooper, another benefit is that he'll be able to breathe a lot better playing all that basketball.  Cooper told me the doctor looked like Johnny Appleseed.  ?  ( I guess from the cap on his head looking like a backwards pot?)  He wasn't at all sad to get his surgery cancelled because they gave him a big slurpy to break his fast and he also had been begging for a doughnut all morning.  Of course I bought him one from the cafeteria on our way out.

I was a little disappointed not to have my overnighter with Cooper, being wakened by stats-taking-nurses instead of a teething baby, but oh well.

The morning of the nonsurgery I asked casually at the breakfast table whose Cooper's nose was going to soon resemble.  Macy's maybe?  No one had much of an opinion but apparently Cooper thought that was an interesting idea because today our neighbor Ryan told us something funny.

Ryan said that yesterday when Cooper came home from not having surgery, he told Ryan that he was going to have surgery on his nose soon.
Not knowing about the surgery in the first place, Ryan was surprised and asked why.
Cooper gave him a little attitude, pointed at his own face and said, "Does this LOOK like anyone else's nose?"

Speaking of crazy noses, here are some shots from Halloween.

Luke's pumpkin is supposed to look like it has a binky in.



OOh.  Didn't realize these Halloween shots were so out of focus.  Dang autosmart.  (Still learning new camera, I guess.)  Cooper wanted to be Frankenstein--pretty ironic in our surgery year.

The four of us were the Red Ridinghood story.  Luke made a pretty cute big bad wolf.  We did this same getup when Boston was a baby.  Leslie also got to wear her costume for her Halloween Band concert--very cute when Little Red plays the flute.



Saturday, November 2, 2013

the New Portraits are done...

 Pretty happy with these.  I think we are going to get big canvas black and whites.  Mom, do you want the color ones or black and white?  I may go back for another round with Luke who didn't want to look at the camera...


  







Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unveiling the New Armor

I saw an interesting headline on the LDS church website yesterday.

"Scripture Mastery Updates  Learn why seminary students are now memorizing scripture verses that better align with basic doctrines. “We looked for scriptures that could change lives.

 I attended four years of seminary, every day before high school.  In addition to our comprehensive study of the Old and New Testament, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, we were required to intensely study, memorize, and basically internalize one hundred verses of scripture, twenty five each year, specifically chosen to help us in our lives and our understanding of the gospel.  How would you even begin to narrow down the scriptures into 25 "most meaningful to the entire world" verses a year?  Actually, I don't think it's humanly possible so it's a good thing our church is governed by revelation.

The continuing revelation aspect is what caught my interest in this headline about the changing lineup of scriptures.  We all know how much the world has changed in the last 20 years.  (Yikes!  I started as a freshman in high school twenty years ago!  The World Wide Web was born.  People still wore hypercolor T- shirts and big tall bangs!  And Bill Clinton was president.)  I was curious to see how the leaders of the church have been inspired to change the curriculum to prepare the upcoming generation for the rest of their lives.  What new challenges are they going to face?  What are they going to understand better than we understood?  Who are they going to be?  I know that sounds kind of sappy, but I have daughter in this generation who will be in seminary in a mere two years, affected by these changes.  I also fully believe that the President of our church is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as are his apostles, who directly oversaw these changes.  What does "Seer" mean?  Very simple.  One who can see the past, present, and especially critical in this case, the future.  

I had some extra time today while I guarded a napping baby on my bed to compare and contrast the new list with the scriptures I memorized twenty years ago.  Granted, some of these might have been changed the year after I learned them and not recently--I have no way of knowing--but that doesn't concern me.  What I wanted to know is, what does my daughter need more than I did at her age?   

At my reckoning after going through them all and remembering or not remembering them, I think there are about 36 new scriptures, which also means that many old ones were replaced, making about 72 changes.  There were also a few where a verse or two was added to a scripture on the existing list.  Wow.  Here are a few things I noticed.


Some of the "new" scriptures highlight the great destiny of this generation.  For example:

"And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said:  These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me:  Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.(Abr. 3:23--This one may be from the old list, I  may have actually learned this one, I can't remember for sure...)

"... ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people... And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exodus 19:5-6)  I think this also underscores how those that follow Christian values are becoming more and more peculiar to the rest of the world!

 The "ye are the light of the world" scripture (Matt 5:14-16) is still on the list, but added to it is a scripture particularly exciting this year, seeing how the Lord is hastening his work and greatly increasing the missionary force.  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost...."  (Matt. 28:19-20)

Other new scriptures seem to perfectly answer to current issues and events, questions and misconceptions, such as:

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do....And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."  (2 Nephi 25:23, 26)  Mormons are Christian.  End of Story! Incidentally, my family already memorized v. 26.  It is very easy to sing to "Oh Come All ye Faithful!"  (For the lyrics match-up, visit my previous post here.)

Or what about the declining marriage rate?  "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife..." (Gen. 2:24)  Or the average number of children per family on the decline?  "Lo, children are an heritage of the lord...Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed..."

One addition even highlights our belief in a pre-earth life and the sanctity of life for the unborn "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee..." (Jeremiah 1:5).  If that's not always a hot topic for political contention I don't know what is.

There also seems to be an increased emphasis on virtue and purity--much needed in today's Babylonian existence with instant pornography a huge problem!  This will be taught with new scriptures like:

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully."  (Psalms 24:3-4)

"...go no more after the lusts of your eyes..." (Alma 39:9)

"ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually..." (D&C46:33)

"...know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you...and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body..." (1 Cor 6:19-20)

Of course, the 10 commandments are still and force and definitely still made the list.

I also noticed several scriptures about hope, courage, gladness, comfort, and relying on Christ and strength through our covenants.  Whatever comes, I'm sure they are going to need those!  Do these scripture hint at a tough future along with that great destiny?  Perhaps. If so, I can't think of a better way to arm them for the battle of life.

Read the list for yourself.  Any favorites?  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Good to be Alive

As Mark reminded the kids one day this week, he won a trip at work last year, and could choose between a romantic come-fly-with-me weeklong all-inclusive resort somewhere south of the border with only me, OR drive the whole fam damily to a smaller, less expensive vacation.  He said, "You all need to be grateful to Mom because SHE's the one who said that we probably should go to Disneyland."

That's right, little old selfless me.  I'm better in theory than in practice.  Actually, I think he was trying to soften the blow of my last words: "Just...go pretend you are orphans for five minutes!!"  It had been raining cats and dogs and we had chosen to play our "snack day" card that we'd been holding off the kids with, so that we could take a break in a slow, somewhat wind protected area of Disneyland.

Boston and Cooper, of course, chose two-foot long weaponlike lollipops and Macy chose a handful of Mickey lollipops.  Mark, Leslie and I chose Ghiradelli Ice Cream.  Snack Day was a great plan, I thought, because it kept the "Mom, I want THAT!" to a minimum (I just told them to remember what they thought looked good and they could choose one snack on snack day).  However, when we finally huddled into our boardwalk nook to eat our scrumptious sundaes, the hot caramel melting the brand name ice cream into a puddle, I was confronted with,

"Mom.  Can you get the wrapper off this?"
"Sure".  (Easier said than done.  Only took me two or three minutes.  Dang shrink wrap.)  I lifted my spoon.
"MOM.  I can't get my wrapper off!"
"Oh.  Okay."  This one proved to be only slightly more challenging.  I finally tore it and handed it back.  Luke started to complain.  I got up and rummaged through the bottom of the stroller until I found his baby granola bars, unwrapped that, and gave it to him.  Mark opened his arm and I clambered back onto the dry spot on the bench, cupping my bowl, lifting my spoon...

"MOOOOOm!  I can't get my sucker out!"  This from Macy.  Her suckers were tied into a bouquet.  Looked nice.  Double taped with invisible gorilla scotch tape at the top...and at the bottom.  I finally jimmied one out, bending the stick horribly and hoped she wouldn't freak out about it.  She took it, not caring.
Leslie commented, "Mom, you better eat your ice cream.  It's totally melting!"  The first bite was divine.

"Mom!  I need this wrapper off!"  Mickey's sucker head was also shrink wrapped.  We finally cleaved it open with Mark's keys.  I think that is when I made my orphan remark.  I started shoveling my carmel ice cream swamp.

Boston just laughed at me and commented over his shoulder as he began sword fighting with Cooper in the middle of the pedestrian street.  "Mom, if we were orphans, we wouldn't be HERE!"  Darn tootin. I lifted my spoon.

"So Mom, what's been your favorite ride so far?"  Leslie does not think she is one of the kids and not therefore, an orphan for five minutes.  Mark pulled me in closer and not so gently reminded her.  I licked my spoon and watched some totally spoiled-rotten soaking wet grubby orphans rudely block and then salute passersby with their Pirates of the Caribbean swords and swirly lollipops.  It was pretty entertaining.  Parents these days. Sheesh.

Somehow two days later these same orphans figured out where I parked my van, even though we tried to sneak out of the hotel in the dark at the utterly INSANE hour of 5:30 AM so hubby and I could be in downtown SLC for a wedding that evening. Once they had firmly buckled themselves in and were not to be gotten rid of, I instructed said urchins of the travel plan.

"Everyone, we'll have breakfast in a couple of hours.  Just, be quiet, close your eyes and go BACK TO SLEEP!".  Aaaah.  There was silence from the back row.  Then came Leslie's battery operated "Bop It" toy with it's preprogrammed but timely comment.  "I'm goin' ta sleep."

Sigh.  That gave everyone the giggles, including me.  The giggling and wiggling soon turned to whining.  (The kids were whining too.)  It's not really their fault.  They were pretty exhausted, and having already packed jackets, kind of chilly, unpadded and uncomfortable to be sleeping.  Macy had the "good" bucket seat across from Luke in the middle because it was her turn.  That meant that Leslie had to be pegged into the back seat with zero foot room (and she needs a lot--she gets it from her Auntie Brooke), so she would sit in the center and stretch her long legs out over the folded up stroller that was crammed into the aisle.  Well, if she got to have her feet up, that meant that Boston should be able to put his feet up too--on Macy's arm rests or head rest.  Of course, World War III erupted shortly thereafter.  I have sketchy memories of this event, mostly of some elbows in the backseat to the breadbasket, Macy in full battle cry brandishing "Pink Blank" over her head like a spear, and Leslie and I bludgeoning everyone with the first verse of  "Love at Home" through a chorus of screaming and mayhem.  (Sound familiar, Mom?)  Of course, when that didn't work we did what any other modern parents would do and rewarded their bad behavior by turning on cartoons, plying them with candy, and moving the main offender to the cushiest seat, where, incidentally, he could also be isolated from the other orphans.  At this point I questioned the sanity of our Season Pass friends, put some peppermint oil on my headache, and disappeared into my memory foam pillow.

"But I don't like to just sing it in my head!"
"Mom, Boston's kicking me again!"
"I'm hungry!"
I mumbled loudly from my pillow between the headrest and the window,  "Hush up, and I don't care."
Pause.
"Did she say I could have more grapes?"

Which of course gave me the giggles again.  It was a very fun trip for our little family of seven, and we are very glad to have survived it.

We all had our nip-and-tuck moments, though.  I have a pretty healthy fear of heights and would like the rest of you to know that free-falling is NOT a fun sensation.  I just build up with dread, kind of clench up my stomach and teeth and pray for it to be over.

Cooper (my most sensitive) backed out of the Indiana Jones line after about 10 steps in, but claimed to like the roller-coaster-in-the-dark Space Mountain. He wanted to try it a second time with me to prove it.  Yes, he liked it all right.  He demonstrated that if he just puts his hands over his ears and closes his eyes tight, it only feels like he's driving in a fast car.  He demonstrated that little hint the entire ride.

Boston thought the free-fall stuff was just awesome, but thought he was going to die in our private family cage on the Ferris wheel.  It started to swing about 10 feet off the ground and totally rocked his world.  He later insisted that HE wasn't SCARED!  Huh-uh!  Just NERVOUS.  Luke hated it, too, until I tried Cooper's trick on him, plus the binky.

Macy proved to be pretty sensible about what was real and what was pretend.  She didn't go on the "worst" rides anyway, and when she went on Pirates of the Caribbean with me, she was surprised and declared, "Mom, I'm not even scared!  Evil cackle, evil cackle.  Somewhat unhinged cackle."

Leslie seemed to be pretty happy the whole time except when the boys were trying to yank her arms off to escape her third-responsible-adult handholding.  As for Mark's Disneyland Demise, I think I heard him mumble something about a death march at the close of day three while we explored the totally tame but fun Tom Sawyer Island.  (We left the park trailing Mark about ten minutes later.  My feet weren't even tired.  Ha.)

There were plenty of "good to be alive" moments, too, some pictured here, some not.  Having one on one fun time with my children, for instance, as we took turns on the rides.  Watching Luke's wide-eyed yet exhausted reaction to the World of Color lights/water/flame show.  Savoring our picnic lunch in the quiet shade on a deck overlooking the riverboat.  Macy in full princess regalia being excited to see her fantasy characters come to life.  Luke laughing at being pushed through the rain in his stroller.  Both of my boys in their matching shirts being selected to train as Jedi's.  Beautiful music wherever we go.  Seeing all the BYU fans, including some messages on the back of our van (highly visible with its seven vinyl Y's.)  Parading my family of seven in our bright matchy shirts.  No housework!  And realizing that my kids are not, in fact, spoiled, as they were just as excited to get back to the hotel, watch TV and eat popcorn.  (Except for Cooper who hates popcorn, Leslie who can't have it because of her braces, and Luke who would choke on it.  Oh well, it smelled festive.)
Luke is ready to go.  But will he wear a hat??
 First was yellow shirt day.  We sunscreened everyone up and then wrote our cell phones on their arms.  Oops, should have done the writing before the sunscreen...

We wait in line for the Ferris wheel/gondola

We wait for the Aladdin show to begin.  Boston was a little impatient, thinking he wouldn't enjoy it at all, and claimed, "They are totally wasting my time!"





Macy was very excited to watch the parade and totally thought she was singled out to be waved at by every notable princess.  Maybe she was!  Good work, ladies.  This video shows some of her reaction.  LOVE the gooey face she makes.
video
The kids had fun exploring Tarzan's treehouse.  Except for Cooper who got startled by the jaguar.










the next day was kind of cold.  And wet.
Sleeping Beauty in front of her castle.

Sleeping Beauty's sleepy face?  We need to work on that one.


Dang brothers trying to steal the show.








It's okay to mix your fairy tales when you are this cute.


This picture makes me laugh.  It looks like the guy is yelling at Leslie's driving.

Orphans with swords.



Poor wet baby.  He loved it and was extremely good the whole vacation.  The ride home, not so much.



Boston conquered the Indiana Jones ride.


Check out Cooper's eyes bugging on on Space Mountain.  Guess that's why he decided to keep them closed from now on.



We waited in line quite early for quite a long time to meet Tinkerbell.  Well, Tinkerbell was late, so Macy met Irridessa, one of Tink's friends.  The sad thing was, she didn't mind missing Tink, she was just expecting ALL of the fairies to be there.  (At least a dozen) and couldn't understand why they weren't.  I guess she likes the variety, with all the different colors and dresses.  My emergency sugar fund came in handy at this point.

We loved the grizzly rapids and went on it twice in a row.  It was one of the few rides where I was with all the big kids and I thought it was super fun.  They laughed and screamed the whole time.  Good thing Mark didn't want to be wet again after our wet day, so he could hang out with Luke.



I spent alot of time with Macy and Luke in line to meet some celebrities while the others went on scarier rides.  That's why there are so many pictures with just Macy.


That also left Macy and I to brave Splash Mountain together when it was our turn.  I say brave because this is one of the rides I was dreading, having a very steep, long drop.  As you can see, my eyes are shut tight and I'm holding on for dear life.  Macy's face is priceless here.  Does this count as child abuse?  Good thing she liked it.

Boston was singled out as a Rebel Spy on Star Tours.  I don't know, he doesn't look that shifty to me.

Luke and I sat and saved spots for the Jedi Training Session for a long time.  The others made it just in time.  I like this shot because Luke kept trying to get up front with his brothers.  Pick me!

"I can't hear you!  Who wants to be a Jedi!"  Apparently they were loud enough.  They would have been devastated to not get picked, or for one to get picked and not the other.  ( I told them they had to say, "I can come if I can bring my brother.")  Luckily, Disney seems to get this concept and chose several obvious sibling pairs.






Boston's battle with Darth Maul.
video

Cooper's battle with Darth Maul.
video


LOVE this picture of Macy on Tom Sawyer's Island.
 So long, Disneyland.  Although you showed us a good time, you are not the happiest place on earth.  That place came home with me, Mark, and our grubby, sleepy orphans in our Seven Y Dodge Yak.