Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hotpads Gone Wild!

Just in case you were wondering what happens when you give triplets weaving kits....
(And they've given a lot away!)

PS...why on earth can't they make the looms bigger so that the hotpads are actually big enough to hold something hot???

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Parent's Prayer

This morning someone on my triplet e-mail list posted this parent's prayer.  What a lot to think about!

Oh heavenly Father, make me a better parent.  Teach me to understand my children, listen patiently to what they have to say and answer all their questions kindly.  Keep me from interrupting them or contradicting them.  Make me as courteous to them as I would have them be to me.  Forbid that I should ever laugh at their mistakes, or resort to shame or ridicule when they displease me.  May I never punish them for my own selfish satisfaction or to show my power. Let me not tempt my child to lie or steal.  And guide me hour by hour that I may demonstrate by all I say and do that honesty produces happiness.  Reduce, I pray, the meanness in me.  And when I am out of sorts help me, O Lord, to hold my tongue.  May I be ever mindful that my children ARE children and I should not expect of them the judgment of adults.  Let me not rob them of the opportunity to wait on themselves and to make decisions.  Bless me with the bigness to grant them all their reasonable requests and the courage to deny them the privileges I know will do them harm.  Make me fair and just and kind.  And fit me, O Lord, to be loved and respected and imitated by my children.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why I'm Loving Not Loving My Floors

Before we moved into this house we built a different house.  There were many things about the house we built that were not as nice as this house; size, location, and size of rooms being three that come to mind right away.  But there were also things that were so much nicer about the house that we built; some just by virtue of it being new.  It had lovely newly painted walls, it had nice wood floors, and it was close to church. 

Years have passed, and I love my home now.  The walls (as you can see in the picture) are no longer strange shades of turquoise and the brown floral wallpaper is a distant memory.  The carpet (which deteriorated remarkably fast once 6 kids moved in!) has been replaced.  We love our neighborhood and it's pool and are mostly reconciled to the distance from church.

From time to time, though, when I visit a home with beautiful wood floors, I mourn again that loss.

My home has wood parquet floors.  They are made of alternating squares, each made of 7 strips of wood.  Parquet must have been trendy 30 years ago; our other house in Durham had parquet in the entry.  I'm sure the original builders of this house thought that they were so upscale with their parquet in the entry, kitchen, and breakfast area.  They would probably have been shocked (and perhaps a little offended) to know how much I would not love their floors many years later.

But there are benefits to not loving my floors.  If I had beautiful floors like my friends, I would need to be careful with them.  I would want to protect them...from the wild creatures that are my children.  If I had beautiful floors I would be upset when my husband dropped the bread maker, creating a triangular crater.  I would freak out when my toddlers played spaceship with tipped over bar chairs, leaving long scratches under the chairs.  And I most certainly would not have let anyone learn to ride a ripstick on a beautiful floor, much less 5 children.

Jared decided a month or so ago that he wanted to buy himself a ripstick.  After doing some research on Amazon and persuading me that I should pay 1/3 plus half of the shipping, he started doing jobs around the house for me to earn extra money.  Last week he had finally accumulated his 2/3 of the purchase price and we ordered the ripstick.  It arrived on Tuesday and he has been on it for hours every day.  After the first day Rachel decided that she wanted to learn too and she brought Josh's ripstick in.  Since then there has usually been a child or two rolling from the front door into the kitchen, around the island, and back out to the front door.  I'm always amazed at how quickly they pick it up and how excited they are about it.  Except for the times when someone runs into me, it's great fun.

Just think of what I'd be missing out on if I had beautiful floors!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


 (this certainly brings me happiness!)

The topic of happiness fascinates me.  A couple of years ago I read a number of books on the science of happiness, sometimes called positive psychology. I was fascinated to see how the things that the Lord asks us to do actually scientifically contribute to an increase of happiness in our lives.  (And then I persuaded Ken to let me give a talk about that in church, which of course was awesome!)  

Last week I was reading through the new Reader's Digest and came upon this paragraph from a book description.  
Happiness is a tricky word because it is not a destination you arrive at or a sustainable state of being.  It's a feeling that you experience, just like any other, and it comes and goes.  You can generate it, but you can't keep it; you can make it, but not necessarily hold on to it...
and then the part that really stood out to me,  
The unhappy woman believes she should be happy all the time.  The happy woman believes that there will be times when she is unhappy.
I've just started a new happiness book; it's called The Happiness Hypothesis.  It has some fascinating things to say already about new understandings of the way the brain works and what that means about happiness.  Maybe I'll blog about that more later.  For now, though, I'm going to be thinking about this..,
The unhappy woman believes she should be happy all the time.  The happy woman believes that there will be times when she is unhappy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dental Inaccuracy


 All I'm saying is that if it's called a crown, and it costs $1000, surely it should sit on your head and involve some diamonds?!?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thoughts on Adam and Eve

Yesterday's excellent Sunday School lesson was on Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden. The teacher, as always, did an excellent job. There were several humerous moments.

The first came as the teacher asked people to list out things that described what the Garden of Eden was like. The answers came quickly:
  • paradise
  • no death
  • no weeds
  • lots of fruit
  • no children
And without even missing a beat, the teacher (the mother of three young sons) commented,
"And that was why it was paradise! There was no noise!!

Later she was talking about what it meant to be the first parents, as Adam and Eve were. I had never considered some of the implications of this.

What on earth do you think Adam & Eve thought when the first toddler threw the first temper tantrum???

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Your Mileage May Vary

This morning I sat at the island, looking at the lovely (though unarranged) bouquet of flowers that Russ brought me for Valentine's day. I thought the petals of the daisies looked particularly lovely with the light of the window behind them.

Later, I sat in the school room trying to ignore the pain in my foot. I noticed the sun streaming in through the windows and decided that I wanted to do some experimenting with the flowers--to put into practice some of the things I've learned in my photography class.

I experimented with different angles (sun shining on the flowers, sun shining behind the flowers), different backgrounds (white, carpet, bulletin board, blanket, anything lying around that I could get my hands on...) and different settings.

Align Center

I took pictures off and on for several hours as the light changed and moved across the sky. In the end I took 972MB worth of pictures, which was about 480. (Good thing I have that new hard drive!) I went through and deleted a bunch, but I still have 330 pictures left. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself; I didn't expect to enjoy photographing other flowers as much as I enjoy roses.

As I was snapping away I found myself thinking about the process of taking pictures. I've been taking pictures for as long as I remember. When I was a teenager my dad let me use his precious 35 mm camera that he'd purchased in Finland on his mission. I dressed my little sister up in her cutest dresses and took pictures of her all over our yard. I took pictures of clouds and trips and friends.

As an adult I take pictures of my children, my surroundings, my travels, and every now and then a flower or two. I see the world around me in pictures. I feel almost a compulsion to record what is happening and what I see. I cannot explain what would motivate me to take almost 500 pictures of a few flowers, except that as I composed the pictures they were so beautiful that it was like watching a ballet.

I still don't understand it, but I sure did enjoy it!

And I can't imagine Russ ever expected his flowers to get this kind of mileage.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reason 481,967 why I Love This Man

This is what he bought with his birthday money.

For me.

You don't have to tell me...

I already knew that I am
One. Lucky. Woman!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Day Suggestion

Run, do not walk, to your nearest Kroger.
Buy a deeply discounted box of chocolates in a lovely heart shaped box.
Eat the chocolates.
Save the box.
(Put it in a safe place, a place that you will be able to remember 360 days from now.)
Use the top next year as a cookie cutter for your own super-sized valentines cookies.
Save the bottom for the year after next.
(Do not do what I did, and throw away the box halfway through the year in a cleaning frenzy.)

If you do throw away the box, send your hubby to the store on the day after valentines, and make your cookies then. Your kids will just think it's great that they get more valentines treats!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Super-sized Valentine Fun

Russ spent the day yesterday baking valentines cookies for our Valentine's Family Home Evening. All of the kids were excited for our activity.

Can you blame them? Cookies + frosting + candies = kid heaven!

My favorite new conversation heart message?

"Text Me"

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Bowl is Too Small

I've been doing quite a bit of cooking and baking lately, and I've noticed a trend.

I noticed it Saturday night when I was mashing potatoes to feed the missionaries. As I ran the mixer around the bowl I tried to avoid the little bits of potato that were being spit out by the beaters. When I made a second batch I used a different bowl, but it was still messy.

I noticed it again this afternoon as I was making a treat for family night dessert. I put my crushed oreos into a bowl and started mixing some caramel sauce into the crumbs. but I could see quickly that, once again, I had picked a bowl that was too small for the amount of mixing that needed to happen. After a moment I gave up and poured everything into a bigger bowl.

I realized as I was looking for a bigger bowl that this is really an apt metaphor for my life. I am constantly putting more in the bowl than will fit, and the results are often messy. Unfortunately in my life I don't have the option of switching to a bigger bowl. I guess I've either got to stop putting so much in the bowl, or deal better with the resulting mess....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Beautiful Snow

We were so excited to hear that we were going to have snow again Friday night. Here is the sight we woke up to. Not as much snow as we had a few weeks ago, but a much prettier snow. This snow stuck to all of the bushes and trees and everything was lovely.

The backyard was like a winter wonderland...

Down the street I found a pretty bush to practice my photography skills on.

Here is a shot of my favorite view. Not as white as I would have liked, but always lovely.

Some of the stuff that I've been learning in my photography class is still confusing to me. But other things I've learned have been helpful. I've always liked taking close-up pictures using my zoom, but now I know that it's because when you're all the way zoomed in your depth of field is shallower, and that makes the background blurry.

We talked about backgrounds last week, and that was a good reminder that just a slight shift can make a big difference in the background.

After seeing Lindsay's amazing icicle pictures a few weeks ago I was on the lookout for drops of water.

The best ones I found were under my van! That meant I couldn't get a beautiful sky in the background like she did, but I did succeed in getting a picture of the water drop!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Score 1 — Green Bags

It will be another week or so before I can say whether or not I think the green bags work for salad and spinach. But I do think I have a successful result to report tonight.

Last week I bought clementines the same day I bought the green bags. I usually have a problem getting through a box of clementines without a few going bad. My kids seem to forget to keep eating them, and if I put them in the fridge no one remembers them until they've turned hard like little orange rocks.

Last week I took clementines to photography class for Lindsay and I to eat during the break. They were quite tart. Tonight I took clementines that had been in the green bag since last week. They were amazing!!! Juicy and sweet and delicious!

Now I'm curious to try the bags with grapes...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Grocery Issues

I ran into Martha last week while shopping at Kroger. (Not literally, thank you very much!) She persuaded me that I really needed to buy some green bags so that my produce would stay fresh longer.

I was not very moved by her pointing out how much longer my bananas would stay fresh; there are so many monkeys living in my house that the bananas rarely get ripe enough for banana bread. Every now and then I'll spy a banana that seems to be about ready to die of old age and I'll start planning a baking session, but invariably the next time I walk through the kitchen the banana is gone.

I did think that perhaps the bags would help keep our salad and spinach fresh a little longer and so I bought them. I'll let you know what I think.

In the meantime, I bought these bananas at Costco that same day last week, thinking that they would ripen in a few days. Here are my Costco bananas, 7.5 days later.

Do they have a bag for that??

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Family Night Magic

Before General Conference in November I read a big blog post about ideas for making conference more meaningful. One that caught my attention was the mother who said that she purchased a copy of the conference Ensign and a highlighter for each of her children. She said that every week for Family Home Evening they read and discussed one talk from conference. She said that even her little kids got to have a copy, and that they colored in it with their highlighters and that was ok with her because she wanted them to be involved in the activity.

I thought this sounded like a great idea, and went online to the distribution center website and ordered 6 more copies of the conference Ensign.

Conference came and went, and it was weeks before my extra issues arrived. By then we were in the midst of Christmas madness and I had no time to think about Family Home Evenings involving anything other than Christmas.

This morning I started thinking about what to do for family night tonight. I wasn't in the mood to prepare a lesson, and as I walked through my bedroom I saw the stack of magazines sitting on the floor. "Sure," I thought, "Why not."

I wondered, though, how this idea would be received.

I should have realized that any idea accompanied by highlighters for everyone had a high probability of success. What I was not expecting was the response from the little kids.

I decided that we would start with Elder Holland's impassioned talk about the Book of Mormon. We each took turns reading a paragraph, and after each paragraph I explained what it meant to the little kids. When he mentioned the allegory at the beginning of the Book of Mormon and said that Sister Dibb had talked about it in the morning session of conference, we turned back a few pages and read several paragraphs from her talk. (And talked about how cool it was that Sister Dibb was in one of the other Durham wards this weekend, visiting her son & his wife.)

We ended up reading the first page of Elder Holland's talk, and then deciding it was time for bed. The girls were sitting close to me and I could seem them highlighting a line or two of text from time to time. As we finished and knelt down for prayer, Jared was still marking rather vigorously with his highlighter. When he finished and set his copy of the magazine down, he said in a serious voice, "Mom, I just loved this talk." He had highlighted the entire page.

I am blown away. Why has it never occurred to me before to go through the conference talks (later) and explain what they mean to my little kids? I have no idea. But I am grateful tonight to whoever's idea that was, and excited for family nights to come...

dessert was ginormous chocolate chip cookies...yum!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Alarming Trends

I'm starting to work on making a blurb book out of my blog. I think it's going to be a long and somewhat tedious project, but I'm excited to have all of my thoughts, adventures, and family moments in one book.

I just pulled out some picture cd's from January of 2007 to find additional pictures for one page. I laughed out loud when I got to this picture.

You may wonder why that picture caused me to laugh. Well, it's because just 3 weeks ago I took this picture.

So I am wondering now....

Exactly what does this mean about my children?

And should I be worried???

Sunday, February 7, 2010

All Tied Up

Quite often when I finish another cute sewing project for the girls I feel some guilt that I so infrequently make something for Jared. (Russ points out that he doesn't look good in dresses, which is so true!) For the last few weeks I've been thinking that it might be fun to try to make Jared coordinating ties to go with the girls Christmas dresses.

I made ties when Cindy Lynn got married, but Russ said they were more like disposable ties than real ties. I wanted these ties to be functional for quite a while. I decided that the main difference was that I didn't have the stiff stuff on the inside of my ties that real ties have. I bought a couple of ties from Goodwill and took them apart so that I could re-use the stiff fabric. Friday I finally had a chance to work on them, and I was so excited about how they turned out. I think Jared was too!