Friday, May 30, 2008

In A Word

I liked this one, so here you go. Feel free to share your own answers.

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Significant other? Yes
3. Worst bad habit? Procrastinating
4. Hair? Yup.
5. Favorite food? Italian
6. Your Favorite thing? Rain
7. Your dream last night? Forgot
8. Favorite drink? Agua
9. Dream/Goal? Graduate
10. Room you are in? Hall
11. Your ex? Pathetic
12. Your fear? Inability
13. Where do you want to be in six years? School
14. Where were you last night? Rejuvenating
15. What you're not? Pushover
16. Muffins? Yum
17. Wish list item? Alice
18. Where did you grow up? Northwest
19. Last thing you do? Sigh
20. What are you wearing? Red
21. Your TV? Off
22. Your pets? None
23. Your computer? Messy
24. Your life? Busy
25. Your mood? Relieved
26. Missing someone? Yes
27. Your car? Minivan
28. Something you are not wearing? Ring
29. Favorite store? Bookstore
30. Your summer? Starting
31. Love someone? Many
32. Last time you laughed? Yesterday
33. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Family: Isn't It About... MINE?

Ever heard of the Toddler Rules of Acquisition? It's a paraody on (I cringe as I type this-) the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. (Deep Space Nine. A moment of silence for my dignity.) Anyway, the Toddler Rules of Acquistion are as follows:

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.

I've always liked that and found quite a lot of truth in it. I was reminded of The Rules recently when MonsterTruck(3) had his birthday. Husband asked him what he would like for a present and without hesitation he anwered, "A lightsaber that is MINE." Poor kid. In early childhood development they will tell you that the reason toddlers are so possessive is because their identity is tied to their belongings. Well, lucky for us he seems pretty well-adjusted because the boy has got nothin'. We have EVERY SINGLE TOY in that famous toy chain worth having at this house. This last Christmas there was nothing in that ENTIRE store that my kids wanted. We did three laps. I'm not kidding. But the problem is, the toys at our house all have owners. The children all share, of course, but when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, those toys belong to individuals. Of which MonsterTruck(3) is apparently not one.

We were more than happy to accomodate his wish for his own light saber. We threw in a Thomas train as well since those all belong to Bubba(7) and Mr.Yuke(4). MonsterTruck(3) was ECSTATIC. He has walked around with a light saber strapped to his underwear every day since then. (Don't ask me where his pants are. All I know is that I put them on him and then they are gone.) Incidentally, underwear doesn't really hold the weight of a light saber very efficiently....

So we got him presents. He was happy. Mr.Yuke(4) was not. Because trains are HIS, see? And so us giving one to MonsterTruck(3) is really quite unacceptable. And why doesn't MR.YUKE(3) have that particular engine? And it's not fair.

There are a lot of things in family life that belong to us. I have realized that although the idea that everything is mine starts in toddlerhood, it really stays with us our whole lives. There is the ever-so-trying period of life from 7-ish to I-don't-know-when that girls think everything in the house is part of their domain and therefore fair game. Like scissors and masking tape and lip gloss. (THOSE ARE MINE.) And computer paper. (HUSBAND'S) And brownie mixes. And....

It's not all possessiveness though. My children are sometimes very generous with their things. Like when I say clean up your room and they all say that those clothes on the floor belong to their beloved sister/brother who they share a room with. It is just really so kind they way they give up their stuff like that. Warms a mother's heart. Or temper- one of those. : )

They are also very generous with fault. Blame is something that is never anyone's "MINE". It is ALWAYS someone else's. The floor must truly bleed jelly. It is the only logical explanation.

We continue the compulsion to claim what is ours even into adulthood. Show me one woman in this country who has given birth who has not at some point or other felt compelled to tell all about their labor and delivery- in detail. I am telling you, she doesn't exist. We all want credit for what is OURS. Even if it's blood, sweat, and tears. Especially if.

We judge comments we hear from others based on our experience. "Yes, that's true with MINE." or "Not with MINE." I recently went to a class on holding effective Family Home Evenings where the teacher (whose lesson was great, by the way) made a comment to the effect of "Your kids idolize you. They want to be you. There is no one they admire more." Forgetting temporarily that her children are 2 and 7 months or something like that, all I could think was, "Are you INSANE? Not MINE." But she does not have a pre-pubescent daughter at the moment. She was teaching from HER perspective. And I was hearing from MINE.

Everywhere I go people are always asking me, "Are these all YOURS?" I have yet to come up with the perfect snarky comeback to that but really? If you had three or four kids, would you round up three MORE to do a little grocery shopping with? Yes. They are all mine- which brings me back to MonsterTruck(3).

A few days after his birthday, he was laying on my bed, looking up at the wall where all the family pictures are. He said, "There's Gwanny, and Gwamma, and Gwampa, and Daddy, and Mommy, and LittleMommy(9), and Bubba(7), and Mr. Yuke(4), and Kryptonite(1), and ThePinkiest(5), and MoneyBags, and Sumping.... Those is MY PEOPLE." Looks like he had something to identify himself with before the light saber after all.

Yeah. Those IS my people. That's who I am. And I'm so glad they're MINE.

This 'n That: Movie Edition

Okay, first- Twilight. For those of you who went to Indiana Jones in the last couple of days, you've probably already seen this. For those of you who haven't, all I can say is my faith is restored in Cedric Diggory. A little.

Now, if that was too short a bite and you had to watch it a minimum of six times in a row, try this one on for size. It's a behind-the-scenes look at filming and it changed my almost-made-up-mind about skipping the movie. It looks pretty action-packed.

Getting excited? Maybe just a teence? (Yup. Just made that word up. Actually no, I didn't. Someone really annoying one of my pseudo-brothers used to date used that word. A lot. She was a psycho cleptomaniac. Okay, I take it back. I'm sorry. I take it back. What was I thinking?) I digress.

Where was I? Oh, right. Excited. Well, this- in a round about way- brings me to the aforementioned movie recommendation. If you have not seen Penelope, I highly recommend it. It is a sweet, poignant, beautifully/artistically rendered fairy tale starring Christina Ricci and James McEvoy. James McEvoy has as much... I don't even know what to call it- appeal?- as ever. (Which I don't get, by the way. How can he be so simultaneously unappealingly scrawny and to-die-for desireable at the same time? It makes no sense.) Yes, in this movie you just love him. Again. If you haven't seen it, you can rent it when it comes out on July 15th. What, you ask, does this have to do with Twilight? I will tell you. The video of Penelope is going to have never-before-seen footage of the Twilight movie on it. So, for all you diehard Stephenie Meyer fans, the good news seems to be that they will spare you a Twilight famine by periodically releasing tidbits until the movie comes out. All the way in December.

For the two of you who've not read the Twilight books yet, you have time to read the three in print approximately ten times at average reading speed before the next book comes out in August. : ) HA HA HA! They're all right. Brain candy. But yummy delicious goodness.

I went to Indiana Jones. Husband is a true fan. The kind that has all the stuff. Stuff like a real, honest-to-goodness fedora purchased from the same Brazilian millinery company that made Indy's actual hat in Raiders. And a whip. And a hand-made leather jacket. And a sucker purchased in Disneyland when Husband was like eleven years old with Indy's picture on the wrapper. And other stuff. Needless to say, he's been checking on the progress of Indy 4 periodically ever since the Holy Grail (3) came out. It is the thing he loves. He has read the books. He owns all the Young Indiana Jones chronicles (special edition with the extra documentaries) on DVD. (Those are really cool actually.) So, naturally when they announced the premiere of the fourth movie, I knew I was taking Husband to see it.

Have you ever tried to get a sitter for 6 kids? You know that sequence in Cheaper By the Dozen when Steve Martin is trying to get some domestic help for his 12 kids and everyone in the phone book hangs up on him? Let's just say that I did NOT find that funny. At all. I was worried how we were going to swing the babysitting thing. Well, Husband did a shocking and wonderful thing. He actually took the day off to do something for himself. Granted, taking time for oneself may not sound like a milestone to you- it certainly isn't for me, I'm a regular. (It keeps me sane.) But Husband on the other hand, does not do things for himself. He is a very self-sacrificing person. Almost to a fault. So I was flabbergasted/overjoyed when he announced that he would be staying home on Thursday. My next thought was that I would have to secretly arrange the babysitting and purchase the tickets and then just shanghai the man to the movie theater because otherwise he would spend Thursday cleaning up the basement or something. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, he decided Wednesday night that he would like to see the movie on his day off. I jumped up Thursday morning and sat down with Fandango before I even went to the bathroom and purchased tickets before he could back out. Even as the receipt was printing I sensed he was balking as he asked doubtfully about the wisdom in purchasing tickets before we had sitters. But he was GOING, darn it! so I would make the babysitting thing work. I managed to farm out the kids to two friends and one entrepreneur (Thank you, StairstepMom and RanchWife!) and there we had it. A real-live date with no children, planned and paid for all before 9:00 am.

I knew that Husband probably wasn't going to indulge himself like this for another decade (or until the next Indy comes out- whichever happens first) once the guilt set in for doing something for himself this time, so I knew I had to make this one good. There is a new authentic "Virginia bbq" place in the town nearby where they have really good bbq pork that's not all saucy. After dropping Mr. Yuke off for his last day of preschool before summer, I headed right on down to the bbq and bought a pint of that delicious pig. Then I went to the local overpriced grocery store and got salt-and-vinegar Kettle Chips (I don't recommend this particular brand by the way. The original flavor is great, but those things are like the Altoids of salt-and-vinegar chips. Don't buy them! At least not if you value certain things like taste buds and intestines), because nothing goes better with bbq than salt and vinegar potato chips in my opinion. I also got Henry Weinhard's cream soda (Husband's favorite beverage, if not his favorite brand), and a medium bag of the Indiana Jones plain m&m's (Husband's favorite treat of all time. And the fact that they had pictures of hats and whips and relics on them, just made them near divinity). I took all that stuff back to the house and left it in the FREEZING COLD car (because TheWeatherPeople decided that summer vacation should start off in the mid-40's apparently) and sauntered casually into the house in order to ascertain if Husband was in the shower yet so I could pull off the suprise of the century. I walked in just in time to see MonsterTruck(2) jump back from a box of Cocoa Pebbles that he was about to swipe from the food storage with a look on his face of, "OH MAN!!!! DID YOU SEE THAT BOX OF CEREAL JUST ATTACK ME LIKE THAT?! RIGHT OUT OF NOWHERE! BOY I'M GLAD YOU GOT HERE JUST NOW! RIGHT IN THE KNICK OF TIME LIKE THAT!!!!!" Heh heh. Nervous laugh. "Mommy! You skeer me!" Heh-heh heh-heh.
Me: What were you doing?
MonsterTruck(2) drops the cereal box behind him with a thud: Nuffing.
Me: Is Daddy in the shower?
MonsterTruck(2): No, he's out.
Me: Did he already take one?
MonsterTruck(2): No. He not inna show'r. He out it.
Me: Ooookayyyyy....
I gave him the stinkeye just for good measure and went upstairs to check on the hygiene status of Husband. He was just getting into the shower. Yay! Now for phase 2!

I have this bag. Well mine is black with hot pink polka dots, but it's the same bag. They come in a million colors. It is awesome. It is the greatest bag of all time. It's good for many things but my favorite use for it is sneaking food into movie theaters. It looks small, holds a ton of stuff, yet is stylish and not cumbersome. For Indiana Jones I packed into my bag:

  • 2 bottles of cream soda
  • one full-size bag of potato chips (Okay, that barely fit- but it did.)
  • one pint of bbq meat
  • four whole wheat hamburger buns which did NOT get squished
  • two paper plates
  • two plastic forks
  • four napkins
  • 4 little cups of special sauce and
  • a medium bag of m&ms
Buy the bag. You won't be sorry. I did all this, stowed the bag in the freezer-car, packed two diaper bags for different destinations, got MonsterTruck(2) ready to go, and hid all the evidence before Husband got out of the shower. He fixed sandwiches for The Pinkiest(5), Mr. Yuke(4) and MonsterTruck(2) to take to the sitters' and we were off. We dropped all the kids everywhere, and we headed for a during-school-hours matinee at the movie theater. Without children. Sorry, I just gotta type that one more time. Without children. Look! I've got goosebumps! : )

We got there, sat down, and like Mary Poppins I started pulling things out of my bag. Stuff just kept on coming. It was great. Husband was shocked. In a good way. The old lady sitting next to me did not seem too impressed however, but whatever. I'm pretty sure she thought the cream soda was beer. Oh well. It was a perfect date and thanks to my bag, a pretty good lunch too. The movie was all right, not the best one and not the worst either. I liked Shia LeBeouf, I don't care what all the diehard Indyfans online have to say about him.

It was a good day. I can't help lovin' that man of mine. Thank you Husband for doing something you enjoy!

Power: of Christ, of Women, of Music, of Faith

More Highlights from BYU Women's Conference

Elder and Sister Merrill J. Bateman

[The Batemans spoke on the temple, but I think a lot of the things they said can apply to those who do not attend the temple as well.]

  • -Desire is the first step of learning about spiritual things.
  • -Spiritual things are not revealed to doubters.
  • -Ponder: The Holy Ghost speaks to the heart.

  • "If one wishes to find the Savior, the temple will be the most likely place."
  • -Baptism has the power to cleanse
  • -The Holy Ghost has the power to teach and purify
  • -The Priesthood has the power to bless and to serve
"I can think of no better way for children to come unto Christ than [for parents] to model their home after the House of the Lord."

In the temple:

  • -People speak in soft voices.
  • -Everyone is trained in their responsibilities. It is a house of order. First you teach the importance of a task, then you demonstrate the task; you have the child perform the task with assistance, and eventually you have them do it on their own.
  • -Begin and end with prayer.
  • -Everyone is treated with kindness. Kindness is the order of things.
  • -Begin the day early in the morning.

Also, for those of you who are LDS (and the curious among the rest of you), Elder Bateman shared the following scripture: Revelations 1:6.

Julie B. Beck
[Sister Beck spoke about the divinely apponted roles of men and women. Men are given the responsibilities of the Priesthood. Women are given the responsibilities of influence. As daughters of God, we all have this gift. Both parts are equally important and necessary in the Plan of Salvation. Whether we, as women, influence for good or for evil is the choice we have to make every day. I loved this talk so much.]

Each of us has a divinely appointed role to play. If we don't do our part, no one can do it for us.

"Influencing is ever so much more lasting than managing."

YOU have control over your mind- where you go and what you think about.
Home is a small fort. There you are safe.

Put the most effort in the area where you are weakest. [I have tested this principle this year. I truly know that the Lord will make weak things strong unto us if we put our trust in Him. I have always struggled reading my scriptures on a regular basis but this year I have put the most effort into that. The reward has been an outpouring of both the Spirit and personal revelation like I have never known before.]
Fortify and strengthen your child's school so they are safe. We always hear "They" will fix it. There is no "They", there is only You. YOU are "They".
Serve WITH your family.
Our Heavenly Father gave us half the responsibility [our brothers have the other half]. We cannot delegate it.

Dianne Bytheway: Fear Not: For They That Be with Us Are More Than They That Be with Them
[It is a dark time in the history of the world. The end is upon us. The signs of the times are all around us. We need not fear.]
Dearest children, God is near you,
Watching o’er you day and night,
And delights to own and bless you,
If you strive to do what’s right.
He will bless you, He will bless you,
If you put your trust in him."
~Hymns #96

Though deep’ning trials throng your way,
Press on, press on, ye Saints of God!
Ere long the resurrection day
Will spread its life and truth abroad,
Will spread its life and truth abroad.
~Hymns #122

Be thou humble in thy weakness,
and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and
give thee answer to thy prayers.
Be thou humble in thy pleading,
and the Lord thy God shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and
calm assurance that he cares.
~ Hymns 130

"Faith and fear cannot coexist."
Quoting Elder James E. Faust from this excellent talk on hope, she said,
"Everybody in this life has their challenges and difficulties. That is part of our mortal test. The reason for some of these trials cannot be readily understood except on the basis of faith and hope because there is often a larger purpose which we do not always understand. Peace comes through hope."
2 Kings 6:15-17
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

"The Lord has confidence in us. We need to have trust in him."

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
~ Hymns #85 (How Firm a Foundation)

John Bytheway: Fear Not: For They That Be With Us Are More Than They That Be With Them
"It's hard to have a negative attitude about things if your life is focused on the Prince of Peace."

"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a power to be reckoned with."~ M. Russell Ballard

"The only thing to fear is sin- and that is no matter for our Savior."
"Religion is not a crutch, it is a sword."

Saying, "Lord, Thy will be done."- that's where we get peace.
[He quoted Elder Boyd K. Packer, who, speaking about the 9/11 tradgedy said,] "This is a great time to live." (Things of the Soul, p. 195)

[He quoted President Gordon B. Hinckley who often said,] "Things will work out."

36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

President Thomas S. Monson

"I plead with you not to let the important things in life pass you by. Find joy in the journey."
"Every day in your life is a special occasion."
"Try not to delay anything that will bring joy and laughter into our lives."
"There will be regrets. Try to keep the list as short as possible."
"Always express your thanks."
"Never let a problem to be solved seem more important than a person you love." [That one stung me a little. : )]
"Our mortal life was never meant to be easy."
"We become better, polished, and more beautiful with the things we overcome."
"No pain that we suffer is wasted."
"All that we endure, especially what we endure patiently builds up our character, purifies our hearts,..."
Remember, it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

Awake, Arise and Come Unto Christ

Noteworthy Thoughts from BYU Women's Conference

Shari Dew

"Rally to the cause of Jesus Christ."

"We rarely understand how the Lord uses us."

"We are here to influence the world."

"If we would unleash the full influence of covenant-keeping women, the kingdom of God and the world would change overnight."

“The place of woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel, which is the only concern of the Church, was devised by the Lord for men and women alike” (Improvement Era, Mar. 1942, p. 161). "Much of the major growth... in the last days will... happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. " ~ quoting President Spencer W. Kimball (Ensign, Nov. 1979, pp.103-104)

We should ask "Are we the women God needs us to be in the latter part of the latter days?" "Why has the Lord brought me here today?"

"Seek to have influence in as many ways as possible."- [One of her suggestions was to start a blog to share your testimony and thoughts about spiritual things. I was surprised by this. I have read an awful lot of blogs that are negative and contain all kinds of inappropriate content, comments, inuendo, and flirtation. I think we have to be just as careful to beware of the negative influence we have without even meaning to, as we are to spread our positive influence in the world.]

The time to awake, arise, and come unto Christ is NOW.

Romans 13:11-12

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Pray about who the Lord needs us to be rather than living to impress one another.

"The Holy Ghost shows us all things what we should do."

"The power to influence comes when the Atonement changes our hearts."

Sue Egan- Cherish That Role That Is So Uniquely Yours: Parenting for Young Mothers

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Ask, "How do my children feel when they are around me?" Ask the Lord, "What should I do to invite the Spirit?"

[One of her suggestions I liked for those of us constantly battling our way through Mount Maytag: As you fold laundry, think of a blessing that the child whose article of clothing you're folding brings to your home/family. For each article of clothing think of another one.]

"We mustn't wallow in our imperfections."

"What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else."~quoting Elder M. Russell Ballard

Nona L. Maxwell: Cherish That Role That Is So Uniquely Yours: Parenting for Young Mothers

"The essential things often take a backseat to nonessential things."

"Stop what I was doing, look at their face, listen to what they were saying. Make them feel like they are one of my priorities."

"Is what we're spending time on consistent with what we want?"

  1. Remember children are a gift from God and our role is a sacred privilage.
  2. Look to Christ "No career approaches in importance of that of a mother."

Jesus fed 5000; We feed our families.

He washed the disciples' feet; We wash hands and faces.

He healed the sick; We take care of the sick.

He taught the Beattitudes; We teach them too.

He gave His life; We give our lives.

He gave His time and talents; His Father's will was His priority. So should ours be also.

3. Be obedient.- Obedient mothers raise obedient children. [Hmmm....?]

"I'll be a Heavenly Mother in training."

More later....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Coming Soon to a Website Near You!

Updates are on the horizon, I promise! I've got kid stories piling up like you wouldn't believe, conference highlights to share, new links for Twilight fans, a movie recommendation, and I'm behind 4 book reviews on the other site. Stay tuned!