Saturday, January 30, 2010

See Mom Clean

See the mom. See the tired mom. See the tired mom with the big tummy. See the dirty kitchen. Mom is cleaning and cleaning the dirty kitchen.

See the two girls. Little energetic girls. Mom sees the two girls. Mom sees the dirty floor. "Two girls can clean the dirty floor," thinks Mom.

"Here, girls. See the dirty floor. See the sponges. Clean the floor," says Mom.

"Okay Mom!" say the girls. Girls get the sponges. Girls get some water. Girls clean the floor. Mom is clever. Mom is happy! Mom keeps cleaning the kitchen.

Girls see the ultra concentrated dish soap. "Soap will make the floor more clean! Soap and bubbles will make cleaning the floor more fun!" Girls put lots of ultra concentrated dish soap in the water.

"See Mom! Cleaning is fun!"

"Yes, girls, yes. Cleaning is fun!" Mom is so clever. Mom is happy.

Girls keep scrubbing. Cleaning is fun with lots of bubbles!

"Help Mom! Lots of bubbles are hard to clean up!"

"Oh girls! Look! Look! Too much soap! Much too much soap!"

See the mom. See the mom on the floor. See the mom cleaning much too much soap and bubbles off the floor. See the mom rinsing the sponges. See the mom rinsing rags. Over and over and over again. Much too much soap!

See the girls. See the happy girls. We helped! Off to play! See the mom, rinsing and rinsing lots of soap off the floor. Silly Mommy! Mommy LOVES to clean! The same spots over and over. Lots more floor to clean. Another day.

Will mom ever learn?

Friday, January 29, 2010


Feels like it's longer than it really has been since I said hello here. My excuse? Let's see, I could pull this one again and say I'm too focused creating elsewhere. That is actually very true, and not even in the preggo sense (though that too!).

The homeschool group Adam is involved with on Thursdays reads then discusses one book a month. I was asked to lead the discussion in November on the book "Little Britches," which I highly recommend and would be happy to lend out to anyone that gets in line (the two copies we own are checked out right now). Leading the discussion means putting together questions for them to think about as they read so they come ready to talk about the book. Everyone up to that point had passed out a list of questions on a sheet of paper. But when I got handed this I went into ultra over-achiever mode and made this great tri-fold bookmark, complete with questions and lines to answer the questions. Handy because it was always with the book! I've done two more since then ("Boy in the Striped Pajamas" and "The Whipping Boy"), and it looks like I will probably be making those whether I'm in charge of the discussion or not.

I was also asked to help publish the assignments (termed "inspirements" since they can pick and choose from a list rather than a set requirement) for the kids each month. Again, over-achiever mode kicked in, and rather than just creating your basic list, I turned it into a whole newsletter, complete with dates they need to remember, the selections they are memorizing, and a couple of articles, all jazzed up and perdy. Just passed out the second newsletter Thursday.

So that's kept me busy "creating."

Reading "The Element" helped me see that creativity and imagination are used everywhere. I started a whole post on that that I never finished, but it's fun to notice now the kinds of things my creativity kicks in for.

On top of all that:
* I'm also the scout committee chair now. I'm so excited about that, but I've been working on getting myself organized and trained.
* I'm helping coach Adam's mock trial team, which thankfully will have both their competitions done in just over a month.
* I'm gearing up to teach a writing class for Adam's Thursday group, which I'm expecting to be a blast for them and me.
* And all the regulars - wife, mother, teacher, etc. etc. (you know what I mean)

Why be bored when there are so many great things to be doing?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jolly Old Me

Every time I've been pregnant I've noticed that I laugh a lot more heartily. I feel a lot more "jolly" all around.

While pregnant with my first, my brother told me he'd decided that to ensure I would have a happy baby, I need to laugh for one whole minute straight. With his antics I easily complied (I think he laughed just so I would laugh).

I think about that when I get a great laugh in while I'm pregnant--just working on making a happy baby. It's got to be good for the stomach muscles too, right?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dissonance and Harmony

I bought a book at the DI a few months ago called "I Didn't Plan to be a Witch: A Guide for Frustrated Mothers Everywhere" by Linda Eyre. It's been in my car ever since for those stuck-waiting-with-nothing-to-do moments, but it's only been opened a couple of times because either I don't wait enough or I always have something to do while I wait.

I got to wait for a bit today, for Jamie and my dad to meet me for a lunch date. Since each chapter is a shortish essay on some aspect of parenting, I glanced through the table of contents, saw one on sibling rivalry, and decided that was the chapter to read. The lesson is good enough to share.

Bach was a genius at putting together chords and establishing new rules to create complex, rich music. Bach used many methods to make his compositions moving and creative, one of which as dissonance. Over and over again, through passing tons and intentional "wrong" notes, he created a brief, uneasy feeling. Most interesting of all was the relief he could make the listener feel through the resolution of the dissonance.

Bach was a master at resolving the dissonance in his music in wonderful ways--sometimes in predictable ways; other times in creative, new ways. A man known for his "well-tempered clavichord," Bach spent a lifetime establishing music as "well-tempered."

So should be our own households. I hope you have a sigh of relief as you realize that dissonance is necessary to contrast with and resolve into harmony. Dissonance actually makes life more interesting. It helps us grow and progress. The important thing is how we resolve the dissonance. If we do it right, a feeling of even more harmony results, whereas the wrong resolution can cause even greater feelings of anxiety.

Think of a recent example of dissonance in your home and decide whether the dissonance was resolved to create harmony or more dissonance.

She shares an example from her home when a daughter wanted to have a friend sleepover, and because of the previous sleepover her answer was a quick "NO." Of course her daughter was upset and complained. Though her answer was final, she had created more dissonance and decided to put herself in her daughter's shoes. Before the daughter left for school, Mrs. Eyre offered a different solution that they were both happy with, which resulted in greater "harmony" between the two of them. She continues:

Dissonance is a part of life. Whether it's only a passing note or a big, out-of-shape chord, we need to expect it, even anticipate it, and sometimes think about resolutions in advance. Other times, we just need to keep working at it until it feels right. Remember: interesting dissonance makes a greater harmony!

I'm sure it's unbelievable (cough cough) to most of you out there, but we do have our fair share of dissonance in our home. It was refreshing that she didn't give some magic trick, saying that it's possible to entirely get rid of dissonance, but instead called it a "part of life." It's even better to know that through dissonance, the harmony can be even more refreshing and beautiful.

Something to think about! It's got my mind back on those great conductors, evaluating again how I can be a better conductor.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wonderful When They Play Nice

Just have to document a few recent wonderful kid moments. With everyone going stir crazy (spring - come soon!!), patience can be harder to find around here these days.

Here's Adam working on indoctrinating Erin into hunting.

The other three had been assigned to one of Adam's animal calls, and when they heard their call, they were supposed to come in to be hunted.

I'm not sure what got this going, but I walked into the frontroom to Sammy's giggling. Carolyn was hugging all of him to make him happy. She hugged his feet, then his legs, then his tummy, his hands, and arms, and neck, and nose (with her hand wrapped around it), and his head.

Tonight at bedtime Sammy told her, "Make me happy again tomorrow, okay?"

"I promise, you guys. Your friends won't always be around, but your brothers and sisters will always be your brothers and sisters!"

Project 1

With church starting at 1:00pm now, it already feels like there's a lot more hanging around time in the morning. I'm not much of a "hanging around" kind of person, and got itching to do something different. I mentioned a handbag I started sewing a couple of posts ago and was thinking about continuing that, but I got looking through a sewing projects book I've got, found a different handbag that was also a really cute style and looked to be pretty easy, and decided to just be crazy and go for it.

I didn't finish it in time for church, but it was done by that night.

Aren't I amazing? :) I didn't pay too much attention to how big it was going to turn out, and was pleased that it was perfect scripture size.

Maybe the book title, "Bend the Rules Sewing," helped me live a bit on the edge. I created the pocket all by myself, and even made a pencil pocket on each side.

All in all, a fun and easy project to start out that New Year's resolution with. Now my little girls are asking when I'm going to make a bag for them.

* Yes Kathryn, I copied the title from you. :)
* Lara - I sewed straight!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

There's a Difference, Eh?

I've said two things in the past that came together in my mind today.

1. "This book is so great I read it in a day!"
2. "This book is so great I'm only halfway through!" (This said after working on it for a couple of weeks or longer.)

There's a difference, eh?

On the flip side, the same thing could be said for books you're not enjoying, just maybe a little different.

1. "This book is so terrible I'm just going to race through it."
2. "This book is so terrible it's taking me forever to read."


Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking at 2010

I guess it's that time of year again! Well first, I must say how great it feels that I accomplished my "learn to make bread" goal last year. Exciting when I start a goal like that at the beginning of the year and by September, be teaching a class to others about it. I love the feel of the dough, and enjoy trying new bread recipes.

This year I'm going to stick with the homemakey theme. I really want to learn more about sewing, try some different projects, and see how that goes. I have a great machine that really should be put to better use, and sewing is in my heritage, so in a way I feel like it's something I should do to honor that. To report, I already started something new and already messed it up in the cutting process. It was a really basic pattern to draw out, and I read part of it as 6" long while it was supposed to be 9" long (sideways pattern piece, easy mistake). So looks like I'll be making a smaller cute handbag for one of the little girls. Too bad I cut a bunch of extra 6" long pieces trying to be on top of things.

Reading-wise, I'm not going to plan the same way I did last year. I thought it would be nice to have a list to check off from, but after making the list I learned about many books I either didn't know about then, or it was just the right time to read them. Things like "Do Hard Things," "Circle of Quiet," "Here, There Be Dragons," "Hunger Games," and "Catching Fire." So I think I'll be smarter this year and just throw out a number. I'm going to say 40 knowing I've got a baby on the way, but that will actually probably help the cause since babies make me sit more and I usually have a book in hand while feeding.

I also want to do more Book of Mormon study. Not read-straight-through kind of stuff, but jumping around, studying to know it better.

And one more - lose weight. Most people think I'm kidding when I say that, but I'm to the I'm-going-to-be-pregnant-till-the-end-of-forever point. Sick of maternity clothes, sick of feeling like I can't move. And I still have 2 1/2 months left. I think it hit earlier this time than it has in the past. I saw a pair of my pre-preggo jeans the other day and was thinking how nice it will be to wear them again, when I realized I still had more time to wear maternity clothes than I've already been wearing them. It was a depressing thought. But, I expect we'll be jumping back into the full swing of life soon and *hopefully* the time will go back to flying. Or I should just enjoy this time to slow down and take it easy. But that is so not me.

This morning I told the kids our baby will be born THIS YEAR, and February 1st I can say the baby will be born NEXT MONTH, so bit by bit we'll get there.

And there we go for 2010!

Christmas in Review

Parent/In-Law Gifts - Always hard, right? Which is one of the reasons I'm passing on these ideas. See, I'm nice like that. I went to a class in September(?) on good inexpensive Christmas gifts taught by the lovely and talented Heidi (currently the mother with the most children in our ward, soon to be tied by me). One of the things she talked about is making a Memory Lane game, an idea she found in Family Fun magazine. I knew I had to do it, and had all kinds of great plans for getting it done right away. But since this is me we're talking about, I didn't start until 3 days before Christmas. It made it more difficult since while the article has lots of great putting-it-together tips, the pictures aren't that great of the actual board, and there aren't many suggested questions. I changed up the game a little bit and created three question categories, and am more than happy to share those. This is how our game turned out:

We played this Christmas Day with some of the family and had a great time.

For my in-laws, I stole an idea my sis-in-law has done for my parents the past two years and made a grandkids book through I put it together with a page of pictures and a page of questions/answers for each of their grandkids. It wasn't finished in time to be delivered before Christmas, but it arrived a couple days ago, we gave it to them today, and it was a hit.

For the Kids - This year my focus was all about not buying crap. Things that the kids would be bored of playing with three days after Christmas, or that would just be more "stuff" hanging around to deal with and store. I did a lot of online shopping (yay amazon) and found things that I feel fit each of them and would help strengthen their creativity and talents. They were all happy with their gifts, so I guess it worked.

Family Games - We got some great new family games for Christmas this year. By far the favorite is Blokus. We've also played Banangrams several times, tried out Baffle Gab last night during our New Year's Eve fun, and still have a couple others to try out (Hyper Dash and Perquackey).

My late New Year's Eve is quickly catching up with me so I'm going to end this and try to finish up my next post.