Wednesday, December 17, 2008
4 States Inhabited
39 States traveled to together (airports do NOT count!)
5 trips to Florida
*16 trips to DC
Approx. $18 K spent visiting family alone!
5 foreign countries visited
2 graduations (mine from BYU, Mark's from HBS)
About 2735 nights of interrupted sleep (rough estimate)
*212 trips to the laundromat
*32 parking tickets
8 birthday parties
About 4080 pancakes made on our pancake griddle, not counting moonlighting at ward breakfasts
4 trips sans enfants
countless hugs, kisses, smiles
Sunday, December 14, 2008
My favorite Christmas in Alabama was Christmas 2000. I was pregnant with Felicity, so it was just Mark and I and his immediate family: his mom, dad, and sister. Rewa had not yet remarried, so she was there with lots of free time. Christmas Eve was on a Sunday, which I love, because it forces us to enjoy that day too, since Mark won't shop on a Christmas Eve Sunday. I also like going to church on Christmas Eve. Mark's aunts and cousins were there, and we all had Sunday dinner at MaDeah's house. The next morning Rewa got up and opened her presents by herself and then Mark and I opened our gifts with Mama Arcola. Everyone came over for the traditional pork shoulder with biscuits, rice, and hot sauce breakfast they have every Christmas morning. Then we watched X Men on video with Terrance, who has actually read the comix so he was chock full of info. That night we went to Arcola's old family house where she grew up and had the turkey and dressing, ham, greens and sweet potato pie. I couldn't remember anybody's name or keep up with the conversations but we still had a great time. I think I picked up a lot of southern expressions that trip.
Alabama Christmas 2005 was also pretty good. We instigated a Christmas Pageant that year, and Kel, Rewa's son, participated. Mark and I did stockings for everyone, which was really fun to plan. The next day, we asked the family if we could open presents together and we were so busy watching the kids get into their Santa gifts and setting up the 4 video cameras that we didn't finish opening presents until 4 pm! Mark's parents got new carpet 2 days later, which was a lot of work, and then we all went to Panama City, Florida for a few days and stayed in a nice condo on the beach. It was a great break from the Boston winter we were about to return to.
My favorite Christmas in UT was probably last year... or Christmas 2004. Both Christmases I was expecting a new baby boy in the next month, so I was huge and uncomfortable, but it was good to see so many members of my family. We did a lot of family get-togethers last year, which was so nice because we got to be with everybody so much of the time. The children always have a great time with their cousins. The only lament is that Craig & Holly and Kurt & Alice were gone last year. The girls' reaction over their gifts in 2004 was awesome and Matthew's over his tools was great last year.
On Christmas Eve, the Hansens have their traditional turkey dinner, followed by the kids' production of the Nativity. It's not terribly reverent, but always entertaining and rather a huge production with so many kids. Then we sing Christmas songs for hours, hang up stockings, and the water game ensues. Water UNO is a tradition from Craig's mission- it starts out a huge game with a monster deck. We play "SuperUNO," meaning that you pile on Draw 4's, pass your cards to your neighbor when a zero is played, etc etc. Losers drink a huge -huge!- cupful of water. You're out of the game when you excuse yourself to the bathroom. (Yes, this sounds like a game from elders... ) Mom and Dad play the Messiah into the night and the Santas get a few precious hours of sleep before we dress up and line up to go see stockings and then presents under the tree. Dad hands out the gifts one by one in an agonizingly slow fashion until the room resembles a packing peanuts factory (one year I gave Tyler an incredibly fragile electric blanket) and we laze around and read comic books from the stockings for the rest of the day. Lunch is leftovers from the night before and it's a nice lazy day playing with toys, games, and the movies. And eating candy.
So there you have it, almost like it was straight from the Ghost of Christmases Past. We are going to Alabama this year, but since we're driving, we get to leave when we want and hopefully it will ease the stress somewhat on packing gifts. Better than last year, when the suitcase of presents got left at home and I called my heroic neighbor in a panic. She sped it to the airport and then the nice guys at Security did not throw a fit about the large bottles of cologne going through the belt. I think they were afraid to mess with a stressed pregnant lady. Very wise.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
It also makes me question certain Christmas requests. Why is it that the actual toys, lusted after for months on end, become less fun than the wrapping paper or the box it came in? What's more, Mom and Dad's regular things are even more exciting. I guess that's why they invent things like E-Z bake ovens (which turn out to be more of a hassle for parents. Just a piece of unsolicited advice for any of you contemplating buying one)!
The 6 "Kansan Kids," as Felicity and Katrina have dubbed them, came down for a quick visit for Thanksgiving, escorted by their parents of course. It was great- the children all play very well together and the older girls are super helpful with the younger kids. Plus it's always nice to see Neil and Kristie.
Felicity and Maria on the swingset. These girls have been buddies since birth- Maria was there to welcome Felicity home from the hospital.
We loved having them, and it's always hard for Felicity to say goodbye. Even though we are about a 7 and 1/2 hours' drive away, it feels like they're not so far since we usually get up there and they down here every few months. Either that or we meet up in UT.
Then my dad came for a conference in Dallas the next week. He stayed over and we got to see him the morning of his 65th birthday. This was Dad's first visit to our house, and we were happy to have him. I put him to work helping with homework and babysitting, reading to/feeding children, before Mark returned from a week in DC. Matthew has prayed for his return, I think he likes Grandpa's laid-back style of babysitting... lots of freedom and tv.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
We went and bought a Christmas tree and decorated it a couple weekends back. Matthew wanted to know on Monday morning, "Why didn't Santa come?"
One of my friends from the neighborhood stopped by and recommended I buy decorations after Christmas. We've always had smallish artificial trees in apartment living, so now that we have a bigger space, our decorations to tend to get lost on the bigger tree. However, I sort of like the "less is more" approach with decorating- simpler. I would, however, like to find the rest of the ribbon and lights.
The children drew names out of a hat to see which sibling to whom they would be giving a Christmas present. Katrina drew Felicity. She promptly went to the tree, retrieved the present Grandma sent for Felicity, and handed it to her sister. She's so generous.
Funny how we automatically assume children are going to get all the traditions, customs, and procedures around Christmas, since it's a holiday they enjoy so much. Max seems to be enjoying himself, though.What, you don't eat your presents? What's wrong with you?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The story goes that Uncle Lowell was trying to remove a stump and gave it a go with an axe, but that wasn't working, so he went for a rope and truck while leaving Holly, aged 6, with Darren, aged 4, warned them not to touch. Darren was playing at Paul Bunyan while Holly was making homes for grubs out of wood chips, and as Holly put it, "We sort of collided in those separate plans, and voila! When Dad says don't touch, he means it." (Thankfully, her big sister Joy had the presence of mind to hold the remains and it was successfully sewn back on.)
I've always been a sucker for a good story, and it seems to help my children remember why they're not supposed to do that naughty whatever. Besides, although this sounds strange, my kids seem to like them- even the stories told with the intention of scaring them into obedience. One time, (ONE TIME!) I told the girls a story about a little boy named Lincoln (whom our family didn't even know personally- my sister told it), who was scalded by hot bathwater, and suddenly they wanted to hear it at bedtime for weeks.
Serious backfire, folks. I actually hate these kinds of stories, but I also want safety and immediate compliance to safety rules. I'm the type of girl who HATES watching the ten o'clock news because I start worrying about the people on Highway 114 who got hit-n-run by the guy going 90 in a 55 and will they get their deductible back??? (So you can imagine how it felt to watch the NYC news every night and hear about the crazy murders happening in that hood, Jersey City. Which is, in fact, where we were living.)
Some scare-ya-into-obedience stories are not so bad. There are a few components of a good story:
- Obviously, it needs to be applicable to the situation (Holly's story isn't going to help motivate them put on their helmets.)
- Needs to have an unhappy/painful outcome, but not so unhappy that it causes other phobias or nightmares.
- Needs to not scare me- I loathe those times when moms sit around and tell freakish horrible stories about that child molester or this car accident that happened in the 2 seconds when they took off a seat belt.
- Stories like this should be rarely told, or they run the risk of making your child paranoid or to ignore all parent tales.
But I'm curious. Do you or your parents have a good story? Bad one? Did it work?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Matthew very kindly stopped his couch house construction for the filming, but wanted to make sure his leg appeared in it. Did you see it?
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I read in the Washington Post that Mark brought home this Thursday, that Christmas has been creeping up earlier and earlier every year. The article reviewed papers over the past 100 years and preparing "early" for Christmas back in the day was considered 2 weeks before Christmas. I think we have a lot more activities associated with the holiday now, so you really need more time to celebrate it. Similarly, Halloween has become almost a month long holiday.
In TX, everyone is so excited for fall's arrival and summer's departure that pumpkin patches, Halloween and autumn decor, fall festivals and the like blow into action before the weather's really even cooled off. It was better for temperature this year, but it always amazes me the extent my neighborhood gets into their Halloween decorations- both spooky and cutesy. There are a lot of things you can do, so it makes it a fun month and these pictures reflect some of the things we did. Just be glad I didn't include them all.
Then is the famed Halloween night for trick or treating!
Max was wiped out and fell asleep before the evening was over. We had another party to go to, what a champ he was to attend. Because of Blogger, I couldn't include pictures from Matthew's preschool party, my pumpkin dinner, the work party (Max was a dragon for that one), or from the costume party that Mark and I attended. We were a s'more. He wanted to be the chocolate, but we just went with our natural colors and I was the marshmallow. We used cabinet doors for the graham crackers.
So November 1, we were Halloweened out. No wonder it took me so long to post.
Friday, November 21, 2008
A couple of Saturdays ago, I took the older 3 kids shoe shopping. The girls needed some new Sunday shoes and Matthew needed some shoes that he could put on without any assistance from me (We are exiting sandal season). Felicity knows that cost is a key component for shopping and found some shoes she liked that were dressy, classic, and on sale!!! She was all set. Matthew was looking at all of the different character shoes and likewise found something that worked in our price range. Meanwhile, Katrina was trying on all of the shoes, especially the fancy ones with all kinds of things going on.
Miss Independence Riding a 2 Wheeler!! (in soccer uniform, minus the shin guards & cleats)
She liked the glittery shoes, the animal prints, the heels, the jewels, the spray gold/silver/metallic looks, and tried them all on. A good fit was not enough, however. After trying them on, she'd run over to the tiled section of the store "to see how they sound." What! You don't buy shoes based on how they sound! Well, maybe I don't, but she was ready to. In fact, some that she really liked had a "boring" sound, which disqualified them. Of course none of her pairs were on sale, or at least on sale enough to tempt me if I were a size 12 1/2. But it was her birthday in a few days and I was trying to give her the freedom to choose. We put a pair she loved on hold and also tried another store, with similar results. Thankfully her favorite out of the group was reasonably priced and we bought them in time to wear for the Primary (kids) Program the next day in church.
Her birthday was the following Tuesday, and of course she wanted to wear the new shoes to school with a dress to celebrate the day. Thankfully, I had sneaked some cute, clearanced, school shoes into the purchases on Saturday night that made a good gift for Katrina. They went well with the dress, lucky for me and for those fancy shoes that would have gotten pretty scuffed on the playground.
No longer in the Disney Princess stage, but still a princess in that she knows she is beautiful, loved, unique, intelligent, and wants to reflect that in her appearance. I recognize that "Princess" has become somewhat of a negative word with connotations of spoiled, picky, lazy, etc. However, there are good aspects of the title, which part I hope she chooses. I love my feminine little girl and her original personality. And I am grateful for her affectionate personality, who tells me several times a day that she loves me, gives hugs and kisses, and says "I'm so glad you're my mommy."
To which I respond, "I'm so glad you're my Bean."
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My earlier post about what makes me feel good about myself as a wife made me start thinking about other illogical connections to my job performance as a friend or mother. This whole thought process was started years ago by my sister-in-law Kristie, when she was living on Long Island in Bayville, NY, 38 miles away from us in Jersey City, NJ. Baby Felicity and I were visiting her and their 3 (at the time) girls one fine day. We drove into Oyster Bay in the afternoon and the sun was shining. Kristie said, "Oh no, it's a beautiful day and we haven't been outside. I always feel like a bad mom when that happens." I thought, "?!?!?"
But now I completely understand.
If I'm a good mom, then...
My children play outside and/or go on a walk
I make cookies or they help me cook something
I read to them for great lengths of time
We eat well-balanced meals that involve lots & lots of fruits and veggies
My children watch no or very little TV/movies
And do lots of jobs, in and outside
We have a good scripture study/song/prayer with NO FIGHTING
My children do not have cereal for breakfast
Use their imaginations while playing
I clean something besides the kitchen for the 842nd time that week
We have a learning activity that actually gets cleaned up afterwards
Their rooms are clean
Lots of hugs and kisses
I feel I am a good friend when:
I watch their children
They come for dinner
I have the ingredient they're missing for their dinner
We talk on the phone and it is neither too long nor too short (so they know I care, but I'm not taking up their whole day, either)
I attend their event (baby shower, softball game, dance performance, whatever)
My Christmas/birthday card actually arrives on time (or I remember it at all)
They let me serve them in some way (do their dishes/organize pantry/teach their Primary class while they're on vacation)
They laugh while we're together
They tell me about their problems
I have a recipe they want, and actually remember to give it to them
I read their blogs/email forwards (some of these are more fun than others)
These lists are not all-inclusive, and obviously there are some things that are beyond my control. (Like having the capers my neighbor needs for her lemon chicken? or my children actually putting their undies in the hamper without my prompting? ) For some silly reason, those things are like little gold stars on my report card. However, knowing that I cannot determine the outcomes, I'm trying not to get hung up on these things.... since I never accomplish everything on the list anyway, and some days are better than others. But it's still interesting to reflect on what validates.
Friday, November 7, 2008
So the solution is.... Swirl Bakery. Kind of pricey, but he just doesn't eat on Thursdays, and then when he gets off the plane at DFW airport, he takes a taxi directly to the bakery and then home. And he expenses the whole bill, because he hasn't used any of his daily allotment for traveling meals. However, he's on a new case which has complicated matters. The client has dictated that No Consultant Shall Board a Flight Prior to 6 pm. And since he's flying from DC, that means the bakery is closed before he can get there. Yesterday he phoned the bakery and gave them the permission and credit card number so that I could come pick up the goods.
In the middle of making corn chowder, I loaded the children into the minivan and we trucked into Swirl Bakery. We waited our turn (Max & I did anyway- the others were dancing around and climbing on things) and when I got to the front of the line, I said, "My husband called..." That's it. That's all I said.
"Oh, YOU'RE his wife?" the girl behind the counter said, looking surprised.
"Do you know who I am talking about? Do you know which person my husband is?" -I was a little taken aback.
"Do I know who he is??? Of COURSE I know who he is! He comes every week, just as I'm trying to close. Sometimes we've locked the door and he makes me come unlock it and let him to buy stuff."
She explained their conversation and told me that there was a $35 limit. I tried pretty hard not to laugh as we made our selections and she gave us feedback like, "he really likes the Italian cream cake, but we don't have any today. Get this instead, he likes this..." She was astonished at how little we bought. I guess we disappointed her with the low sales, not even getting halfway to the budget limit. The children sure enjoyed picking out their own treats and bugging the poor elderly couple eating dinner in the cafe. Each child has inherited their parents' sugar addiction. In fact, they were very motivated to get their jobs done when we got home in anticipation of the dessert. Funny how little time it actually takes to clean the toyroom and bedrooms when a sweet reward is in store. Matthew didn't even need help picking up the trains, tools, or laundry!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
See, my mother is a sports widow. She hates television and would prefer to unplug it forever, except that she loves my father and he enjoys a few shows. Growing up, we were allowed to watch tv only:
- On Saturday mornings before 9 am (which I have only recently discovered is a way of sleeping in when you have small children)
- General Conference (worldwide church mtg held twice a year)
- Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, maybe Today's Special if you're lucky
But Saturday afternoons, Monday night football after FHE, Friday night basketball games, World Series, March Madness, the tv could get turned on without fear of raising the ire of our mother because Dad liked sports. I'm sure there were times that spectator sports drove her crazy (New Year's Day comes to mind), but hour after hour of time outs in the fourth quarter persisted on a fall afternoon. Many of my brothers used this to their advantage. Craig watched all sports, from golf and bowling to tennis and baseball. You have to really love the game to keep your brain from turning to mush after a marathon day of staring at the tv. I watch the US Open every year, but after an hour or two I am DONE. At least with the Olympics, you get some variety in sport. And that is not all! You still have two papers to read and the stats to go through and compare and contrast, not to mention BYU sportsline emails and internet crunching and munching. They are experts and can recall stats and games and athletes. They even named stuffed animals after key figures of the day.
So when I got married, I expected that Mark, my former football/basketball/volleyball playin man would be devoting hours to it. After all, that is what his dad does- every day after work, he retires to his room and watches a game or two or five. But Mark largely gave it up, since our weekends are busy or we're trying to spend time together. I wouldn't even think about it until fall was half over and he'd flip on a game for a few minutes. He does love tv, but usually he goes for shows I want to watch too, or action movies.
This year, he got scolded by a truly devoted fellow Bama-fan at church and I realized that it's mostly because of me... and my "to do" list and date night and Daddy Alone Time w/ each child every Saturday.
So, wanting to give him a little leisure time, I went and found a few games and turned them on, hoping to lure him into the room. And he actually spent a few minutes in front of the tv. In fact, we spent last Saturday night putting together our newest Ikea find while watching the Cougs make a comeback and then Texas Tech coming back for an amazing finish against #1 ranked Texas. Not that I cared who won, but it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. (Especially since Mark did NOT want to put together that dresser and did NOT want me to buy anything from Ikea in the first place. But hey, it's for the boys, it'll be trashed in 2 years, why spend $400 on it?)
I know this could come back to haunt me, and it still might. Yet, I am grateful that my husband has watched a little football this season because it means that I am a good wife.
It makes me wonder, what other illogical things make people feel validated as a good wife/husband/sister/brother/mother/father/aunt/nephew/ whatever?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
3 different friends tagged me: Cheryl, Meredith, and Kim. I always forget about doing what I'm supposed to do while on the computer, which is one reason why it's such a black hole of time waste for me. I don't know how to put links on blog entries, and the rules varied (slightly) from each other, so this one will have to be my version of the game. Think of it as playing dodgeball with your friend who can't catch or throw (also me).
The task of this tag is to list 6/7 Random Facts:
1- Although I think of myself as somewhat of a conformist, I always have to change something. I can't even follow my own recipes perfectly, much less others. That includes making a recipe that I have never before tried or tasted. And hence (the kidlets watched Mary Poppins this weekend, what a great phrase), there's always a lot of variety in the food around here.
2- I enjoy whistling, but it annoys me no end when anyone else does it. Very unfair, I know. Just last week, Felicity asked in frustration, "Why did you teach me how to whistle and then you do not let me do it?"
3- I have always wanted long hair... but it looks awful on me, and doesn't grow beyond my collarbone anyway. So it has to be short. Probably better anyway since I don't have the patience to take care of long hair.
4- I hate eggs. And processed cheese. Eggs and Cheetos are my dinner of doom.
5- I'm a night owl. Last Wednesday while I was out, Felicity told the bishop to call back at 11:30 or 12 because I don't go to bed until 4 or 5 in the morning. No, not that late. Pretty consistently around midnight though. Why go to bed at 11 when I'm feeling better than I have all day?
6- I was named for my paternal grandmother, Ellen. My parents added the "Jo" for variety. If I'd been born 1 child earlier (I'm #5), they would have named me Elena. Many people cannot remember or pronounce my name and call me things like Jolynn, Jailynn, Mary Beth (they remember it was some compound name). Some assume my father's name is Joe and mother's name is Ellen, or that I'm from the south. I always tell people to ask me my name as many times as needed; I know it's unusual.
7- Although I am at best a sloppy housekeeper, my spices and cans are always extremely organized. That is due to laziness- when I'm cooking, I don't want to hunt something down while burning something else.
So now I'm supposed to tag 7 people who haven't already done this, and they're supposed to copy/paste the graphic below and start the process over. Trying to think of who even reads this regularly! Uhhhh Liesl, Dawn, Melody, Jaime, Kent/Mel, Halls, Kim Christensen.
Friday, October 17, 2008
We had checked a book out from the library about Fire Safety, called "Stop, Drop, and Roll." The kids loved to read it together, so one morning when I was in the bathroom and heard them chanting that phrase, I didn't think much of it. But seconds later, when the house was filled with smoke, I extinguished the small fire on the kitchen table and it was time for questioning. Seems that my little pyros decided to take the candle burning down from up high and ignite some paper with the flame, to see how good their fire safety response would be. Matthew was 18 months at the time and they ran away into the corners, leaving their younger brother with the fire. No lasting damage, but I was pretty mad.
They were definitely P for Punished. So we are a little extra cautious during Fire Safety Month.
Wednesday morning found me looking oh-so-lovely in my holey pajamas, rumpled hair and glasses as Matthew and I were dragging out the recycling bins. I looked up when a young man called out "Good morning," as he walked directly toward my back gate. I gave him the hairy eyeball, saying in body language, "You've got some nerve!" He stopped and pointed to his shirt- "Atmos Energy!"
Whoops. Too full of humble pie to respond. Well, he'll get over it- that's happened to me so many times, when others have thought me much younger than I am. Like my sister visiting us from AZ, who was ID'd when buying spray paint (with Felicity, Katrina and Matthew in tow) because they weren't sure she was 18 (she's 24).
Thursday, October 9, 2008
We counted 17 peppers growing on this thing today! Compared to a measly 1 on the other plant, this one is clearly on steroids. The garden this year has been very odd. The cucumbers and peppers are pretty much the only producers, although we had 2 rather measly bean harvests and more than enough basil. No survivors from squash or watermelon, and a pathetic showing from the tomatoes. There is a small green one on the Last of the Tomato Plants, but we'll see if the birds don't get it first. Today I found a half-eaten cucumber and I don't think it was the ants who were consuming. Wish we'd planted some lettuce to have farther into the winter months, but it's already October, so we'll just wait until February.
I wanted to remember the things I've been making so here's a picture of this weeks' dessert fare.
My notes... These were some of my better rolls. I didn't give in to the temptation to keep adding flour, so they were not dense like they usually are. The maple frosting was a last-minute improvisation because I didn't have any more cream cheese, having used it up in the day before's cheesecake. We were all surprised that just a few drops of maple flavoring into butter/pwd. sugar frosting would make it that good.
The cheesecake was nice, but a lot of work. (Part of it was that Katrina was helping.) Tasted kind of like a blend of pumpkin pie and cheesecake. Not too light and not too heavy. I had to substitute since it called for 1/2 cup brandy and we did not have that. Not knowing what to substitute, I put in 1/4 cup brown sugar and some almond flavoring. It was probably totally off.
The apple crisp was okay. We make this one all the time, because it's brainless and doesn't even require a recipe anymore. So it should be perfected, but the oven got turned off somewhere in the middle, so we had no clue how done it was and played the oven roulette game. Consequently, the "crisp" had mushy apples. Also not enough apples. Mark likes a lot of crisp though so he was satisfied.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
That's background for the conversation Katrina and I had last night. We were reading the book Meet My Grandmother, She's a Supreme Court Justice, and Katrina started talking about her dad (Mark), who has "an insulting job for Deloitte."
"A...a Deloitte job."
"What does Daddy do at his job?"
"He goes to people's houses and tells them how to be better."
So Katrina's concept of Mark's job is that by insulting people, he inspires them to change. Well at least she got the -sulting job for Deloitte part right. And "con" does seem like it would worsen the meaning as a prefix.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Here she is again at Sunday dinner, with Tehrea, Aunt Reta, Arcola (Nana), Rewa, and Mark with Max in the background.
Mark's sister, Rewa, aka Tee Tee Rewa, lives in Atlanta. She's pretty busy as an assistant district attorney and mother of 2, but she came out to visit for the weekend, and brought Kel and Kayla to meet their new cousin Max. We were all astonished at how much Kayla and Max resemble each other. Here are the "mock twins"sitting on their Nana's lap:
On Sundays, they all gather together after their various churches they go to and have a southern meal. They don't call it southern food though, they call it regular food. We had macaroni & cheese, turkey & dressing, collard greens, fried corn, sweet potato souffle, banana pudding, 7up cake, and lots of other low-cal items. It's good but we usually can't move for several hours afterwards. I was so happy that we actually got nearly everyone out on the front steps for a group picture. Mark's dad didn't make it.
And one last shot of Nikea holding Max. He proved to be a popular baby, since he's pretty happy most of the time and shares smiles so readily. I don't mind having such a sociable child, especially since the other 3 are pretty time-consuming...unless "Family Feud" is on, hosted by none other than Mr. Peterman.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
with the lovely Miss Lawson:
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
For those not in the know, some Barbie dolls are equipped with a radio inside, because a baby doll's "Mama" was not good enough for the rocker girls of today. No, this doll can belt out Hannah Montana songs and the backup instruments to boot. It's surprising how loud they can be. There I was, minding my own business by sleeping in bed at the ungodly hour of 2 am, when I was jolted awake by,
If you could see the other side of me!
I'm just like anybody else
Can't you tell can't you tell
I hold the key
to both realities
blah blah blah
After the initial shock and wipe off of drool, I soon figured out that there was no burglar in the house playing in the toyroom and went back to sleep. But five or ten minutes later, she was singing again! Admittedly, I am a light sleeper, but this hummer was LOUD. So loud that I woke up again. I am embarrassed to acknowledge that my sleep-induced stupidity put up with this routine 3 or 4 times before I decided to Take Action. I charged into the toyroom with both fists going and turned on the light, looking for the culprit. Sure enough, she burst into song again. I couldn't figure out how to stop the noise so I went downstairs, opened the door, and chucked it outside. At this point, I was wide awake and Mark's gentle snoring was not going to lull me back to la la land, so I went back to the toyroom. It must have haunted by her presence because what little sleep I got was plagued with visions of Miley Cyrus.
But I got my revenge: today was trash day.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Although I lived in the
Still, in some ways, I felt disconnected from the tragedy. We lost tv reception, because all receivers for our area (but CBS') were on top of the towers. There was a stench in the air that reminded everyone that this was more than a bad dream. It wasn’t until we went to the Laundromat a few days later and saw the Missing signs posted that I realized people in my own little neighborhood were so effected. That Friday night, people lit candles and tried to summon up whatever peace they could that our country could recover, that we would be okay, and that those directly impacted would be taken care of.
After 9/11, people took down their Cuban, Puerto Rican, Japanese, or whatever other flags they had and everyone displayed their American pride. It was a way of saying, we are individuals with a past to celebrate. But right now, we’re remembering that we are all Americans. We are brothers and sisters of the same mother country and we are standing together. I really felt this one day at the park.
There was a Catholic church in my neighborhood that had a bell tower. They played hymns or familiar religious songs throughout the day, typically around lunchtime or in the early afternoon. The church was built in the early 1900s and was across the street from a park where I often took my little girl. This park was strangely silent at times, since many of the children were from varied nationalities with different languages spoken at home. Some of the children came with their day care groups, and as children (and adults) who spend lots of time together often do, they fought sometimes. One day, the children were playing somewhat peacefully and quietly as the carillon tower bonged out various hymns. Then the musician played one that was familiar to everyone there. Suddenly, all of the children, completely voluntarily, started to sing, in their own voices, musical or not, native English speakers or not:
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam-
Felicity and I at Liberty State Park (where survivors from Ground Zero were taken), on August 31, 2001.
I don’t know if any of those children were directly impacted by the man-made disaster which had rocked our nation shortly before. There was a chill in the air and undoubtedly many in the area were afraid for what the future held. As I quietly sang with the children in the park, I felt comforted and assured as we sang that there is a God, and he is mindful of us, from one end of the country to the next. This song was written in 1938. I don’t know if Irving Berlin ever had the vision that in the next century, children would be comforted by his words and music. I am thankful that many of the rising generation has trust that the Lord will continue to bless this great nation, that we have been so blessed to call home.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
My job at church is to come up with the music for sacrament meeting, the meeting that everyone attends together. Basically, it's just picking the hymns and signing people up to share their talents for special musical numbers. I am definitely not the most qualified, but I do appreciate music, want to learn more about it, and I love this calling. So on Sunday, I was feeling a little more righteous than usual and decided to call & remind people of their commitments to sing/play/whatever. Somehow, I mixed up in my head some random people in the congregation and made the following phone call to someone who justifiably could qualify for a senior moment:
"Hi, this is JoEllen M from church. How are you?"
"Fine." (probably had no clue who was calling)
"I'm just calling to remind you that the RS choir is singing next Sunday?"
"Oh, I don't sing in the choir."
"No, not the ward choir," I explained very patiently, "the Relief Society choir. Remember? Is it okay with you if we sing this coming Sunday?"
"Sure! Go right ahead!"
"But won't you be singing too?" gently reminding her that this is actually her responsibility, I'm just being nice and helping her remember.
"Oh, I haven't sung in years!"
At this point, I was feeling slightly disoriented. I thanked her for talking and hung up. I then looked at the list and realized what an idiot I was to have confused the names of this sister and the one who actually was in charge. Not even close. In fact, there's no reason whatsoever I should have mixed up the two ladies. Just my slice of humble pie for the week! And something to laugh about whenever I sing in RS.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
About a month ago, Matthew came home from an outing with Daddy and his sisters and started calling me Ooku Mama. I assumed it was from something Mark had done with him or maybe a Star Wars Obscure Character. But no, this was just an Original Matthew Title. Mark is Ooku Daddy and yesterday I heard the baby called Ooku Maxwell. So I call him Ooku Matthew in return.
I used to think the anti-girl sentiment of boys was learned, but Matthew is out to prove me wrong. He has now gone 4 weeks absolutely refusing to go to nursery because he "doesn't want to see the girls there." It is driving us crazy. When I point out to him that I am a girl, he tells me, "That's why I'm sitting by Daddy." Since when does Mommy have cooties?
And the latest little "gem" from Mr. Contrary is this: yesterday, Max was wearing a onesie that read, "Am I cute or what?" Matthew told me, "He's what."
Friday, August 15, 2008
4 letter word: joke
TV show: judging amy
Body part: jugular vein
Girl name: Jerusha
Boy name: Jorge
Something you wear: Jersey jumper
Food: Jello jigglers
Something found in a bathroom: Jergens lotion
Excuse for being late: Just woke up
Something you shout: Jerk!
Movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth
Musical Group: Jackson 5
Summertime activity: Jumping off the high dive
School subject: Japanese
Friday, August 8, 2008
We have been in Alabama and Kansas but are almost done with our Summer of 5,000 miles. We return home on Saturday night to our own house and will be done messing up other people's homes. I must admit, the prospect of no longer living out of a suitcase is starting to really seem like a good idea. We sure have enjoyed seeing our family though, and it's been fun to have some distractions while Mark does his Deloitte thing.
On another note, I wanted to comment on the show, "Family Feud". Mark's family loves this game show and one of our jokes is that someday we'll appear on it ourselves, to duel against some other family. For whatever reason, there seems to be a lot of diversity on this game show. We were watching it one day last week and Felicity came back in the room wanting to know who won. We told her which family did and she was relieved: "Oh good, because the black people won last time." Just so ya know, she really likes things to be equitable, because she identifies with both groups. Although fake cheese appeals only to black people, as she told my brother Kent some time ago.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
We recently returned from a trip to
This was the Nomad Vacation, and our minivan sighed with relief to be back in the garage. (But not for long) After staying the night along historic route 66 in
Celebrating Heidi's birthday at the Homestead while Brian cheeses it up:
Mark flew to DC on Monday and my friend Cheryl graciously invited the remaining 5 of us to her home in Cedar Hills for Bill’s pizza and to play. We then moved back to the Hansen Homestead to eat cherries, play with cousins, hang w/ my siblings, and take it easy. We visited our Wilcox relatives as Mark flew home. We celebrated the 4th by going to the parade:
Felic & Matthew with some random kid and Kilton BBQ, and then up to Lehi to the Fergusons’ for the going away party for Heidi and Aaron. (celeb name: AirHide) The next day Liesl and I went shopping and we saw Wall-E with lots of Bergesons, Tyler, Brian, and Fergs. Unfortunately, our little niece Camille had to be hospitalized so the Bergesons had to postpone her baby blessing. However, she came home Sunday night and came to the rest of the reunion.
Saturday night started our family reunion, with a slideshow by Bruce in the Bergeson Basement. Neil & Kristie & co had joined us, Kent, Kurt and
Jan winning the potato sack race. Go plaid! (we lost. too many little kids) Paula, Alice, Lizzie, and Kristie @ Mtn Meadows Monument
We departed via the
Us at the Grand Canyon. Looks like Katrina's getting rubbed out by the camera.
Our house gave us a very warm welcome, (broken a/c) but we’re happy to have gone and happy to be home. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually unpack. Actually no, just repack for the trip to Sweet Home Alabama.