Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Good moments

Jason just left yesterday to go back to BYU, but he’s been here for the last week and a half.  It was such fun having him here and also so nice to have him cleaning the kitchen all of the time!  We had been waiting for him to come back to ordain Josh an elder and it worked out that that day Jared was also ordained a teacher.  As we were walking out to the car afterwards my heart was just full with love for my awesome kids, and happiness at having 5/6 of them here with us.  I made them wait and not change out of their clothes immediately so that I could take a few pictures documenting the moment.  And then, just for good measure, made them have a few more pictures this Sunday.  Parenting in this moment sure makes me happy!

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(the girls’ dresses both weeks recently purchased at goodwill.  so awesome!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gratitude

Things I am thankful for today:

A clean kitchen (even though it will last only milliseconds.)

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19 bottles of canned pears

Boxes of peaches waiting to ripen

And a world with flowers in it

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Things I do not miss

I remember when our septic system in NC had a problem and we got to spend the day watching bits of our backyard get dug up so that the septic line could be fixed.  I remember when the inspector from the city turned to me and asked, straight faced (and this after having watched my little kids watch the tractor all day…) “now you don’t do a load of laundry every day, do you?”  And I said, “Every day.  At least one.  But hopefully not more than two.” 

On a day like today when the washer seems to run from morning till night, I don’t miss the subtle-but-constant worry about the state of the septic system.  I don’t miss worrying about the drought and the well.  I don’t miss the rust tinged water making our whites dingy.

I don’t miss the 30 minute drive to Walmart, or the 15 minute drive to the closest store.  I don’t miss the 20 minute drive to church or the 45 minute drive to the stake center.  I don’t miss feeling like any errand required the commitment (and the energy expenditure) of half of a day. 

I don’t miss cockroaches, big spiders, mosquitos, or copperheads on the road.  I don’t miss feeling not-quite-safe in some parts of downtown or the lack of sidewalks for safe walking.  I don’t miss the days of all or nothing homeschooling or driving an hour for an art class.  I don’t miss Russ’s 45 minute commute to and from work every day.


There are still so very many things about North Carolina that I *do* miss.  It is embarrassing to me that I am still easily brought to tears about it.  But I thought it was a good moment in time to record the fact that there are also a lot I don’t miss; things that I love about living in Oregon.  You know, it’s a good reminder for me.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Controversial FHE topics

For over a year now I’ve had a strong feeling that we needed to teach our children about these controversial church issues that so often leave people feeling like the church must be false.  “Vaccinate” them so that when they encounter these ideas on their own they won’t be shocked/frightened/repulsed/surprised.  They will still get to make their own decisions about how they feel, obviously.  But they’ll be able to do it on their own time and having both sides of information. 

Here are some of the topics on our agenda & resources I plan on using or have already used.  I’m really grateful that in the intervening months the church has published a lot of information on some of these things!

 

Topics (no particular order)

Different versions of the first vision
https://www.lds.org/topics/first-vision-accounts?lang=eng

Blacks & the priesthood
https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

women & the priesthood

the book of Abraham
https://www.lds.org/topics/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng#2

polygamy
https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-and-families-in-early-utah?lang=eng

mysticism in Joseph Smith's time (seer stone, etc)

"I know the church is true"
Chapter from “No Weapon Shall Prosper: New Light on Sensitive Issues” by Robert Millet

Book of Abraham
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865608559/BYU-professor-speaks-on-unnoticed-assumptions-about-the-Book-of-Abraham.html
http://www.ldsmag.com/author/12095

imperfect prophets/leaders

mountain meadows massacre

gay marriage

anachronisms in the book of mormon

This might be interesting:  the new D&C church history manual--
https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history-seminary-teacher-manual-2014?lang=eng

Other resources:

http://www.ldsmag.com/author/michael-r-ash

“Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt” by Michael Ash

http://www.fairmormon.org/

Other possible topics:

Being offended

Abortion

Politics

US Constitution

Temple

Peer Pressure

Laziness (service in the church)

Balance between family/church

Trials (not more than you can bear, but sometimes you can't bear them)

Mental health vs. simply relying on the scriptures

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The problem with Harry Potter stamps

When I heard that there were Harry Potter stamps I thought it was a great idea.  And one day when I was at the post office and remembered to ask I bought some.  Two books, even.

But.

There is a problem with Harry Potter stamps.

[Now apparently there is more than one problem with Harry Potter stamps.  More problems than my problem.  I learned this when I was looking for images of the stamps online because I am quite frankly too lazy to scan them.  It turns out that a member of the Citizens Advisory Stamp Committee (yes, there is such a group) resigned in protest over the Harry Potter stamps.  This committee has met quarterly for over 50 years to decide which things will get to be on stamps.  And apparently the committee is concerned that the USPS is sacrificing ‘gravitas’ in favor of more commercially viable stamp images.  In fact in his resignation letter this man suggested that the USPS was prostituting the stamp program.  Who knew!]

On to *my* problem with the Harry Potter stamps.

I got them.  I looked at them.  I oohed and ahhed at them.

Harry reading his Hogwarts letter!  How cute!

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Little Hermione who always knew all of the answers!

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And a fun shot of young Ron, Harry, and Hermione.  I loved them.

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I would use any of them on mail to you, you know.

But.

But what about some of the other stamps?  Can I really use them on anything other than an impersonal bill?

Maybe I can put this one on a letter to you.  Harry fighting for the right and all that.

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But Malfoy?   Some of Cindy Lynn’s friends liked Malfoy in the beginning, thought he was cute.  I never did, though.  And by the end I thought he was pretty awful, even when I also felt sorry for him. 

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And this?  Bellatrix?  Could I really use her stamp on any friendly mail?  How would it be interpreted??  (Though it might remind you of that fantastic scene with Molly Weasley.)

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Lastly… Seriously, could this be interpreted any way but badly?  “When I think of you I also think of He Who Shall Not Be Named!”  “Nose job, anyone?”  “Avada Kedavra!

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I think not.

And that is why, as cool as I still think they are, I doubt I’ll be buying another book of Harry Potter stamps.  Because honestly they’re just a little too much work to use.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Part 3: Operation Survive the Portland Winter

Girl’s Night Cruise

At some point during the winter flight prices went down quite a bit and I told my sisters that I could afford to come to Utah another time for a sister’s weekend.  Andra and Laila decided very quickly that we should go on a short cruise from Los Angeles to Ensenada instead.  We went the last weekend in April.

Russ & I took a weekend cruise when the triplets were about 2 and I really needed a break.  We weren’t too thrilled with it (other than the snorkeling) and some of those original feelings surfaced again on this cruise.  The weather wasn’t great (we really were only warm in Ensenada and once we were back in Los Angeles), the food wasn’t great, and the ocean was rough enough that I had dizziness for about a month after we got back.  (You know, 2 days of cruising, 31 days of dizziness.)

But the truth is, wherever I am with my sisters we have a great time.  We had fun from the moment we met in the airport and Margaret and I had fun in the airport for hours after we sent Andra and Laila home on their flight.

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We laughed and laughed that we had the most fun sitting beside a wall.  On the first night we were all so tired and just wanted to go to bed.  (Well other than Margaret who just wanted to go exercise, which she did.)  But our cabin didn’t have the bunks lowered yet and the beds made up so we had to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  We ended up going out into the area with the elevators and sitting down by the stairs.  We sat there for long enough that we had several people come through and make comments about it.  One group even called us their landmark.  After that we made a point of coming back and sitting by our wall regularly.

(I should point out that here we are wearing our “isleepy: there’s a nap for that” shirts, except that I totally had a mental lapse and forgot mine so I’m wearing Margaret’s.)

Cindys 4-27-14 059Here we are in our formal night clothes.  We walked around and had our picture taken at several of the picture places but we really thought their poses for 4 women together were ridiculous.  Cindys 4-27-14 043

This picture is after we went into Ensenada where we skipped the higher priced vanilla and went to a regular grocery store and bought all that they had.  Mostly Margaret who took some back for everyone she knew in New York.  Ensenada was one of the most stressful parts of the cruise experience for me—walking down that main street with all of the vendors calling to us to look at their thing was my definition of a nightmare.  In retrospect I would have been happier to buy the more expensive vanilla by the ship and spend the day sitting in the sun.  On the other hand I did buy a really terrific pair of earrings in Ensenada.
Cindys 4-27-14 069After we disembarked we found ourselves a new wall and basked happily in the sun while we waited for our airport shuttle to arrive.
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Here are some other random pictures and happenings from our trip.

The first thing I had to do on the ship was get some protein.  I was desperate by this point.  (And no, I didn’t even get a plate.  Just a fork!)
10172819_10202874787343590_9016156068079450597_nWe did put on our swimsuits, find a semi-sheltered place, and buy a (non-alcoholic) drink.  Brrrrr.  We were all happy to wrap up again after the picture was taken!Cindys 4-27-14 041We had an interesting experience on formal night.  There was a group of 20-something guys who always stopped to talk to us when the saw us anywhere on the ship.  We were perplexed by it, because although Laila (who is much younger than the rest of us) is young and cute, the rest of us look like what we are—middle aged moms.  Nevertheless these guys always stopped to talk.  On the formal night when we were sitting by our wall they came through that area.  When they saw us they came over and one of them said, “We don’t know what it is, but we love your vibe.”  Now we didn’t always want their attention (especially when they had been drinking a lot), but it was interesting to see that there was something about us that they found appealing.  We, of course, would say it is the light of Christ.
Cindys 4-27-14 047Here is a shot of our room with the bunks out.  They were very comfortable and we all slept great!
IMG_9659You know this water slide looks so awesome but it’s just not that great when it’s so cold and windy up there that you would need a wetsuit to go on it.  And we did see several wetsuit clad children who still looked like they were freezing.
Cindys 4-27-14 062This is our “we survived Ensenada” picture. 
Cindys 4-27-14 067We ate breakfast every day out on the deck.  One morning we saw dolphins and it was magical.  (As dolphins almost always are.)  We decided that our mom had sent them for us to see and be delighted by.  Other mornings we tried to keep the seagulls from taking off with our breakfasts.
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Home again—I don’t think I’ve flown in before where I had a view like this down the Wilamette River.  So pretty.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Birthday Girls

Jenna decided that she wanted a strawberry cake made from a recipe she’d seen on pinterest.  We decided that we would make it on Sunday after church to eat as part of our fast Sunday dinner.  We ate it with cool whip and strawberries on top and it was quite delish, though not necessarily strawberry tasting.

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I must confess that we completely forgot to put candles on it, though we did sing happy birthday to Jenna. 

The next day the girls had a birthday party and invited 8 friends.  They went to the pool first and had a fun hour in the sun.  We didn’t have enough seatbelts going back to our house so for the 2 blocks home I let the girls trunk ride.  IMG_20140804_183928 Back at the house we had pizza, cake, and watched Batman Begins.  Rachel had chosen an ice cream sandwich cake and as always it was yummy.  They ended up not watching all of the movie because some of the girls were more interested in talking, so they all went out on the trampoline to laugh & giggle like a bunch of young teenagers.  Which they are.

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The girls also celebrated their birthday by going to their first stake dance the day they turned 14.  Jared wasn’t at all interested since none of his friends are 14 yet.

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