Sunday, November 16, 2014

almond art

Second Girl came up with all of this herself, a few days ago. The last part of her lunch was some almonds. I did not even think of making them into something, but she sure did. And I was in the kitchen, not with her in the dining room, when she announced, "Look, Mommy! I made a cross, like the cross Jesus died on. It's a good thing almonds are brown."

Then she told me that she had made a tree, "because Jesus made the world, and it's part of the world."

Our kids make me so happy!

And here's a picture of her from a couple weeks ago, having fun with her great-grandma's bracelets!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

new blogs

I have some projects I want to work on. Yep, even though we will be done moving in about 10 days, I started one of those projects. I will have a nutritarian food blog, but it doesn't have anything published yet. Here's the one I did begin (be sure to read the About page):

Monday, August 11, 2014

"I'm just vehwee busy"

I walked toward the living room tonight and saw C sitting in this box. I absolutely HAD to take a picture and write down what she said.

"I'm just vehwee busy."

"You're very busy?"

"Yeah. I'm vehwee tired."

(I can sometimes relate. Not only was my husband gone with the Army for 2.5 weeks, but the temp job I was able to do forced me to stay up past 2 a.m. Saturday when he was at drill. And we are moving this month! We found an amazing deal on a condo to rent. It's exciting, but thinking about the packing we will do makes me tired. There are some other really good things and changes happening in our family and our families, too (no, I am not pregnant). I'm happy. "Come what may, and love it.")

Friday, July 25, 2014

my friend Andrea

Last week I found something in my old Bible -- the one I got when I was ten and that I want to get the inserts from to transfer to my new one. What I found was the program for my friend Andrea's funeral. I saw that she passed away July 22nd, three years ago. Her husband had checked on her when she was asleep, but her spirit was gone. . . . I have memories of her in Young Women with me on Sundays and on Tuesday nights -- a rock climbing activity stands out to me -- and at camps. I think "service" when I think of her; we served each other. She needed a lot of service from her family because she was born with spina bifida and had to use a wheelchair. One way she served was with her great smile.
See? Great smile.

I love the way she kept in touch with everybody after high school. I mean everybody, because it seems that she was friends with all types of people. She called me regularly to chat from about 2004 on. I learned at her funeral that she had about 200 friends that she called probably at least once a month, but I felt special to her. I didn't always know what to talk about when she called, and she sometimes asked me questions that were hard to answer and explain, like about what it was like being pregnant and being a mom (I don't remember specifics). She said that she wanted to know because she wouldn't be able to be a mom. I remember telling her one evening that I was making bean burgers, and she had never heard of bean burgers but didn't say anything negative. She wanted to understand people, I think, and she is an example of how to listen and "love thy neighbor as thyself." She was a sweetheart and so is the man she married.

I also think about the fact that three years before Andrea passed away, her brother did. I attended his funeral to show support to her. I felt the Spirit and love very strongly at both funerals. Her parents are sure going to have a wonderful reunion after many years apart from their kids. (They lost another son, too, and I actually don't know that story but I think he might have been stillborn.)

It was neat that on July 22nd a familiar song came and played in my mind -- a song that Kenneth Cope wrote about a different girl named Andrea. My think my friend Andrea saw beyond the stars, too. I'm looking forward to seeing her run or do cartwheels or whatever she wants when she is resurrected, with a laugh and a smile on her face!

You can hear part of the song here:
(written by Kenneth Cope)

—for Andrea Goodman and family—

Andrea—you wear the smile of paradise
Andrea—you see beyond the stars
Ever reminding me that angels aren’t that far
My Andrea
Andrea—you wear the wings of innocence
It’s like you don’t belong here on the ground
But then there might be some of us who’d never reach the clouds
Without Andrea

And if day turns into gray
If hope hides far away
I know an angel I can go to for a smile
And that haze that has me blind
Will fade from my mind
Just from the thought of you
My Andrea

Andrea—you’re hoping for a better world
You long to be with Jesus in the sky
And I believe you’re going to see what you desire
My Andrea
Andrea—we feared that we had lost you
Gone without a chance to say “Good-bye”
But thanks to God you’ve come back to stay a while
My Andrea

And if day turns into gray
If hope hides far away
I know an angel I can go to for a smile
And that haze that has me blind
Will fade from my mind
Just from the thought of you
My Andrea

When day turns into gray
When hope hides far away
Then I remember how I feel when you are near
And my heart starts to rise
And light fills these eyes
All from the thought of you
From the love of you
My Andrea

Andrea—teach me the smile of paradise

© 1998 Mohrg├╝d Music (BMI)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

a Throwback Thursday collage

I have been doing some pondering today, and I have felt joy. I have been thinking about new friendships, friendship in general, and ways to serve. Those thoughts and those things make me happy. I overheard two smiling mothers as they passed each other outside of First Girl's school: "How are you?" "I don't even know." "Yeah, seriously." For some reason hearing that made me happy, too. I ate garlicky brussels sprouts before eating the rest of my breakfast. I did some laundry (the kitchen still needs some work). I ran two miles in twenty one minutes while our younger daughters played near me in the fitness center. I've been praying more lately and feeling more hope. And the book I'm reading, The Gift of Giving Life, has given me a better "big picture" perspective about life. When I was looking at twitter, where I don't have a photo across the top (I dislike their new look), I thought maybe I would make a collage for that. I love how it turned out but actually decided on something simpler for my twitter page. It was really fun to look at some of our older photos and to be grateful for those memories. So this is a #tbt -- Throwback Thursday. The sheet music in the background is for the song we danced to at our wedding reception in 2004, but I started to learn how to play the piano when I was seven. (I love Jerome Kern and the sweet lyrics, and loved having Roger play the piano!) I still treasure the feeling of being in the Los Angeles temple with my husband in 2006 when I was pregnant; that was a wonderful night. The top middle photo of the collage is from 2008 when I ran a 10k. The bottom left was taken in 2011, and the others are a little more recent. C is here twice simply because the newborn picture reminds me of when each of our children were newborns, and the beauty of each new life. I always wanted to be a mom. The collage represents some of me, my life, and what is special to me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

a tender conversation between First Girl and Second Girl

Our kids had kind of a hard day today.

In the morning I could tell First Girl needed to keep sleeping and go to school late, if at all. I wasn't sure if she was getting a bit of a cold from her sisters. I think she slept until about 9 a.m. She's usually up by 8, which I know is not very early, but I have gotten in a habit of finishing their bedtime routine after 9 p.m. We didn't rush to eat breakfast. I saw that she didn't have a runny nose, and I didn't hear her cough (but Third Girl definitely did) . . . Anyway, she wanted to go to school, and we dropped her off at 11:30.

An hour later Second Girl was hurrying to the van so I could drive her to preschool, and she fell onto the sidewalk and scraped her elbow. That was after I'd already held her and calmed her down because she didn't really want to go for some reason. I know she enjoys her friends there and explained that she only has two weeks left in that class. Well, then she got another owie before dinner. It was strange how it happened. In the public restroom in D.I. she was raising and lowering the diaper changing table for fun. It wouldn't stay up (closed) and she ended up getting hit with it right between her eye and her temple.

First Girl, being the sweet sister and daughter that she is, helped me by trying to make Second girl happy while I tried on clothes. Oh, and we were all crammed into the little dressing room with the shopping cart, which I should have left out of the room, and they were hungry, and Second Girl wanted to watch Strawberry Shortcake (this one). In spite of the unpleasant things, they had this tender conversation afterward. It warmed my heart and I am grateful that it wasn't the only time they've talked about the gospel. I am so proud of them.

First Girl: Aren't you glad we chose Heavenly Father's plan?

Second Girl: [Yeah.] I'm glad we didn't get real tattoos [at the international fair last night] because Heavenly Father doesn't want us to get real tattoos.*
. . .

First Girl: Imagine how it would be not to be able to run and --

Second Girl: My favorite exercise is running.

First Girl: Yeah, and imagine how it would be if you couldn't. . . .
Second Girl: And we wouldn't be able to be with our mommy.

. . .

First Girl: If we had followed Satan we wouldn't have a family . . . Let's not talk about that.

Second Girl: It's okay to talk about Jesus.

First Girl: You're adorable.



Friday, May 9, 2014

C at 15-23 months old

I shared a video of her last summer, but it's been longer since I wrote an update on C, also known online as Third Girl. Even then it wasn't current. This post has been a draft for a long time. I kept changing the title of it because another month had passed so her age was different. :-) I've kind of missed blogging about our children and sharing some of our many pictures and videos.

This affectionate little girl is . . . 

Walking! This is a major accomplishment so I'm putting it first. C spent months cruising or walking as she held someone's hands (and still bum-scooting to go where she wanted). Then she was walking around -- not just cruising -- since a Sunday in July about a week before turning 19 months. Before that she would do maybe seven steps toward a chair or something, but since that Sunday she was great at walking and almost never fell down. She was so cute when she and I looked at each other while she walked, and she grinned because I was so proud of her. 
I cancelled her eye appointment that was for that week. (Our family doctor had thought maybe her weird right eye -- not quite a "lazy eye" -- was making walking hard. We did see the eye doctor first in May 2013, then again in November. He said it's getting better and we should just see him again a year later.)
walking away from Mommy

Growing. At her 18-month appointment she weighed 18 pounds and a few ounces, which put her in the 3rd percentile, and was 28 inches tall. At 23 months she weighed 20.5 pounds.
Her sixth tooth came in on June 8th (17.5 months) and her tenth tooth came in around 21 months old.

Talking. When it was general conference weekend in October I wrote down some words I knew she could say. She was just over 21 months old. It was about 70 words.

Here are the photos of her on her 15-month day in March 2013:


16 months:

18 months: 

19 months:

20 months (I liked so many of these!):

I will add the 17- and 21- to 23-month-day pictures later. We got a new desktop computer with our tax return money. We haven't sorted and organized our many photos properly yet. I just want this published now. Darn laundry and dishes need me again . . . We are thankful for this sweet soul every day!

Monday, May 5, 2014

"You're such a tool"

Here's a post I've had as a draft for a while. . . . Along with "I can't wrap my head around that" and probably others, "You're such a tool" is a saying I don't like. I've wondered why people started saying this. How did it come to be an insult?

When I looked it up online, I saw that someone on Yahoo! Answers said, "A 'tool' is someone who does not make decisions or statements for themselves. Rather, they parrot a party line and act more on what others may think of them than on what is right." Hmm. What do you think, or what would be your definition of someone who is a tool?

I feel like "you're a tool" should be the complete opposite of an insult. I think we can be tools for good, for our Heavenly Father. It looks like in all of the verses in the Bible and other scriptures the word "tool" simply means a tool that you make something with. But I love the writing that uses the word "instrument".
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. [prayer of Saint Francis]
we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work [source]

Sunday, March 30, 2014

rainbow jeans from Nana

A few weeks ago, I had to take photos of C in the cute jeans that her Nana gave to her (for either her birthday or Christmas; I don't remember). They have a warm, purple layer inside the denim, and rainbows on the back pockets. I also really like this striped hoodie sweater that we had kept after First Girl wore it. I don't know if Second Girl ever wore it. Since she was born during summer instead of winter it might not have fit at the right time.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

winter "denotes there is a God"

I took this photo at home in December 2010.

Winter will technically be over in less than a week, but it's still cold here -- at least when it's the beginning of the day, the end of the day, or the wind is blowing. I want to make the effort to enjoy and live in the present more. Part of being in the present is appreciating the current season rather than wanting to be in the next one already. Winter actually felt shorter to me this time around. . . .

Here is what inspired me to write about the symbolism I see in winter: One morning in December, I think the week before Christmas, I drove our minivan out of the parking spot to leave our apartment complex. It was time for First Girl to go to school. I went almost to the first turn, and then pulled over to the side and stopped. Since I had not parked in our covered spot, there was frost, and I had to scrape more of it off the van's windows. I told the girls that I needed to see the road and everything well so that I could be a safe driver, and that the sunshine might help warm the car and melt the frost a tiny bit faster. I thought, "The sun melts frost, and the Son melts spiritual frost." My heart often feels like it should be warmer. I don't want to be hard-hearted or prideful, but sometimes I am. I know that when we repent, partaking of the sacrament each week cleanses us and removes the darkness. I want more light and I want to be more like Him, the Creator and the light of the world.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said in a BYU devotional:

Ultimate wisdom enables us to see Jesus as the Light of the World, but, further, we also come to realize that it is by his light that we are to see everything else! The gospel’s bright and illuminating light thereby helps us see God, ourselves, others, the world, and the universe more correctly and more deeply.
That day in December was before I knew much about the movie Frozen, which we still haven't seen but plan to, and the various interpretations adults have had about it. So, the Spirit was teaching me. I didn't get the idea from anyone else, they just know, too, what the Savior can do. "There is a redeemer who can melt our frozen hearts," Stephen Sizer wrote in his article about Frozen. The pure love of Christ can do a lot.

Then on March 1st something else touched me. We were at our eight-year-old neighbor boy's baptism. It had been a difficult morning getting the kids ready without my husband, and when we arrived the priesthood holder was baptizing the boy. We barely missed seeing it. But even though my kids weren't behaving during the talks, I am glad I was there. Sister Christensen gave a great talk (I'd like to read the whole thing) about the gift of the Holy Ghost. She mentioned that when we feel darkness and coldness in our lives we can pray for the Holy Ghost to comfort us. "Darkness and coldness" stood out to me. Sometimes I don't look to the light (by earnestly praying to my Heavenly Father), or I have negative, even unkind "icy" thoughts that I shouldn't let stay for as long as I do. I hope my little family sees warmth and light in me, like I see in them when I look at their faces.

I believe winter denotes there is a God, because all of nature does. In the Book of Mormon, Alma 30:43-44 says:
And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.
But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
(I'm sorry if I'm not connecting these thoughts well. I'm publishing the post anyway.)

When it was the middle of winter, we had snow that stayed on the ground. Don't you love the snow when it's new, pure white, and slightly sparkly? It reminded me that because of Jesus Christ, "though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow." Each winter I get to see how white that really is.

I also absolutely love the song Every Season by Nichole Nordeman. I first heard it on this Kenneth Cope album. Nichole wrote:
Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice you in children's games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice you when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come
You are autumn

And everything in time and under Heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you when branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, you open doors for life to enter
You are winter

And everything that's new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
And what was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with you and how you make me new
With every season's change
And so it will be as you are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring