Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Thirdborn

My Thirdborn is 9 today. This kid caused me great pain when he was born (my epidural didn't work so I gave birth to him with no drugs).
Good thing I love him.

This is my child who always shows his love and appreciation over my cooking.

He has been looking forward to this day for weeks.

I just hope he survives it without torching his eyebrows off.

Happy birthday, my dear, sweet child. Heavenly Father blessed me the day he loaned you to me. He knew I would need you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love Magnet Moments

I asked The Love Magnet to tuck herself in bed tonight. I had to start a birthday cake and blow up balloons. She said okay and trotted off. Just not far enough to her bedroom.

"Bed" must be a relative term meaning anywhere you choose to flop down with a quilt.

Obviously she felt left out that Firstborn and Secondborn were allowed to stay up and help. She didn't want to miss anything.

She is so darn cute!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hosting the Missionaries

We hosted the missionaries for dinner tonight. Sign ups to feed the missionaries go fast in our stake so I felt very blessed that we were able to get a spot.
Elder N (left) and Elder S (right) are both from Florida. It was fun to hear their accents and it made me homesick for my Grandma B in southern Georgia.

When I asked the kids what we should feed the missionaries for dinner, Firstborn insisted on Pastrami Swiss Burgers and that he would grill them himself. I made Tomatoes Teruel, deviled eggs, roasted red potatoes, and a fruit salad. Banana splits for dessert. Totally different than traditional holiday food. I think the elders liked it. I brought out a dish of pecans., I pronounce it "pea-cans" (or /pikaenz/ which is as phonetic as I can get without pepper font on Blogger). Elder S was cracking up as apparently I am the only person in Idaho who pronounces 'pecans' the proper way.

My boys loved listening to the elders' stories. Thirdborn was enamored with them

Elder S talked about tracting, hating the cold, missing paint-balling, hating the cold, practical jokes the missionaries played on each other, hating the cold.........
His favorite dish is Chicken Spaghetti, a concoction of chicken, cheese whiz, and mushroom soup. I'd love to find the recipe and make it for him, but he is being transferred next week.

Elder N was incredibly patient with The Love Magnet, especially when she tried to finger paint his white shirt with her stick fingers. He was pretty quiet for the most part until he started to talk about home and family. He likes chicken (I never did understand if he meant fried, rotisserie, baked. I'll have to find out if I get the chance to host him again.)

These sweet guys are welcome at our house anytime. God bless the missionaries and their families who willingly support them while they serve.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Hope They Call Me On a Mission

My parents opened their 2nd mission call last night:

Uganda Kampala Mission.

It isn't clear what they will be doing there. They will leave in March and head back to Africa. I can't wait to read their blog posts.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Gratitudes

1. My family.

2. My parents going on another mission (to Uganda!)

3. Going back to school.

4. Good grades.

5. Fran's Dark Chocolate Covered Salted Caramels (and Zuzu the Pirate who sends them to me).

6. Grandma S.'s cookbook (especially her recipe for Date Pinwheels which I am going to try for the first time this year.)

7. St. Lucia traditions (and Miss Morgan who introduced them).

8. Decorating Christmas Cookies the day after Thanksgiving (and my mom who started that one).

9. Kindred Spirits.

10. Every single one of my Cookies.

11. Every single one of my T-21 buddies.

13. Black Licorice and the memories of Grandpa S.

14. I'm healthy.

15. A ward choir that rocks!

16. A youth ward choir that rocks!

17. A sweetheart who loves me even after 18 years.

18. Teachers and aides who influence me kids for the better.

19. Great Scout leaders.

20. Asparagus in the spring, strawberries and raspberries in early summer, fresh corn and watermelon midsummer, peaches and pears late summer, pumpkin flavors in the fall, and all other good-for-me foods.

21. Reliable electricity, clean running water, and decent roads.

22. Mr. Wonderful's job and his willingness to work.

23. Mr. Wonderful's parents who raised boys (6 of them!) right.

24. Temples.

25. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the Bible.

26. Creativity. My own and others who bless me with theirs.

27. The Love Magnet who teaches me to slow down and really enjoy the little things.

28. Singing I Am A Child Of God. I love that song.

29. Jane Austen's books.

30. Caring people.

31. Finding a jar of my Grandma's S's raspberry freezer jam just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. (Way to go, auntie M!)

32. Listening to the sounds of my children getting along with each other.

33. Spending a week alone with my sweetheart.

34. Date night.

35. Date night with one of my kids.

36. All those years of piano lessons.

37. An entire year where none of my children had to go to the emergency room. (YES!!!!)

38. The United States flag and everything it stands for.

39. Memories of Grandpa B, especially his gentle voice when he gave me my patriarchal blessing.

40. Food storage.

41. Stocked grocery stores with decent prices.

42. My sons' opportunities to play basketball, soccer, and swim leagues.

43. Living close enough to see my family for a weekend whenever I want.

44. Email

45. Really good neighbors.

46. Mr. Wonderful, especially when ignores my annoying quirks and praises my attempts at being a good wife and mother.

47. Mr. Wonderful for never failing to thank me for a meal I prepared in all of our 18 years of marriage.

48. Good, intelligent, clean movies. They are so very rare.

49. My son's willingness to help out.

50. That we aren't wanting for a single thing. We have everything we need.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

Tonight I am so very grateful for a big Stake Choir working on Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. I absolutely adore directing big choirs, especially when singing one of my all-time favorite songs. Especially ones who put up with me. Those poor altos are overwhelmed right now. I dearly wish I had my sister singing with them. As it is, I have a section practice planned that will set things to rights. The choir sounds marvelous for the most part. And I get to see some dear faces from my old ward.

Yet another gratitude for my Young Men/Young Women's Choir. I had 18 teens who showed up at my house today. We worked on three songs, talked a bit about the difference between criticizing and critiquing, and inhaled a double batch of brown sugar cookies. I am so grateful for these kids and their willingness to learn something outside of their comfort zone.

I am grateful that The Love Magnet is finally feeling better. As soon as I got home from my 4th (!) choir practice of the day, she ran up to me and told me to feel her forehead. No fever! And look, Mom, no stuffy nose! No chappy lips! She is so excited to go to school tomorrow. Now if I could just get Thirdborn and Mr. Wonderful feeling better. I hope Firstborn and Secondborn do not get sick just in time for Thanksgiving.

A sweet gratitude for Zuzu The Pirate for sending me a box of Fran's Salted Dark Chocolate Caramels to get me through my crazy week. You, my dear pirate, are an absolute darling. I shall repay you in kind.

A pen-pal from my elementary years, who became one of my best friends and kindred spirit, suggested that her firstborn and my Thirdborn become pen-pals. I'm so grateful for this opportunity. My son will find the joys of getting snail mail, have the benefit writing about his life, and hopefully it will stick around and long and strong and my friendship with Gingersnap. Much love to you my dear, sweet friend.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh what a beautiful morning (you know you want to sing it!)

This morning while I chauffeured the kids to school.

Home Teacher Heroes

I was making a comment to Dandelion Mama about how I relied on HT's when I realized that I never told those stories here.

Home Teachers are assigned to each family in the ward. You can find out more about the role of home teachers here.

I've had to rely on my home teachers many times throughout the years, especially when Mr. Wonderful was out of town, usually in the form of giving blessings to my sick children. One night is was for something much more.....well, more Hollywood stuntman worthy.

It was midnight when I heard calls for help. Secondborn (who was 10 at the time) was in the bathroom. Some how the doorknob on the bathroom broke and he couldn't open the door. I was unclear if he had locked the door before it broke.

I called Mr. Wonderful, who was out of town. He tried to walk us through taking the doorknob off the door. It wasn't rocket science, I know, but that doorknob would not come off. We tried sliding tools under the door for Secondborn. Nope. Firstborn joked that Secondborn would have to live in the bathroom. At least there was running water and we could slide sandwiches and crackers under the door. He could sleep in the bathtub. Secondborn began to panic with thoughts of eternal porcelain detention.

I broke down and called my Home Teacher around 1 a.m. I didn't want to call so late. But this is what Home Teachers are for - they help whenever it's needed. One of my home teachers arrived with his wife. I know she was there there to preserve the propriety of his coming over so early in the morning without my husband there. But Home Teacher also claimed that his wife had mad skills of opening doors with credit cards. She tried to demonstrate on our bathroom door. Mad skills obviously weren't going to help. Home Teacher's wife then locked the bedroom door to prove her mad skills and repair her reputation of being able to break in anywhere.

Home teacher took up the tools and worked on door knob. He tried to talk Secondborn through removing the door hinges. After an hour of futility, he asked permission to do the only thing he had left in his talent arsenal. He told Secondborn to climb in the tub and cover his head.

Mr. Blackbelt kicked down the door.

Applause and cheering all around. My boys were swooning with hero worship. Thirdborn yelled "This is better than ninjas!" I was floored. Somehow the door was still intact (although on the floor) and only minor damage to the door frame. Secondborn was so relieved to be released from the bathroom.

We thanked our home teacher and his wife profusely as they left. I finally tucked the kids in bed. The next day we made fresh orange rolls to take to our home teacher. Their house was quiet, we assumed they were still sleeping and left the basket on the porch with a thank you note.

Ever since, home teachers have retained a hero status in our home. God bless the home teachers.

PS: Go to Dandelion Mama's site. She sells the cutest quilting patterns on Etsy. And she draws and paints. She is one of those creative artsy people I wish I could be. One of these days I would love to meet her in person and give her a hug.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth!

This just happened 10 minutes ago!

Sunday Gratitudes

I know I've been a neglectful blogger. My days have been loaded up with projects and study that my professors want done next week so they can enjoy Thanksgiving without a lot of grading to do. While I can't blame them, it sure does make my November hectic. At least I can say that I am grateful that my Child Language Sample project is halfway done and I did finish my Describing Errors exam (SODA, phonological processes, and feature tables - just because I knew you were curious).

Last night, Mr. Wonderful took me to see 2012 at the movie theaters. Okay movie, but they did rip on religion and tried to convince their audience that the power of prayer was futile. I was keenly aware of little things about Mr. Wonderful during the evening: He puts one hand on my back and his other hand hold mine while escorting me through the parking lot. He tucks his coat around my legs (without being asked) because he knows I get cold in movie theaters. He buys candy he thinks I will like. I am grateful that my husband shows me, in so many little ways, that he loves me. Oh yes, I felt very loved.

One of my Cookies in Denver had a food dryer that she didn't use. She sent it to me. I'm grateful for unexpected blessings like a free food dryer. My kids are excited to attempt to make jerky and fruit leather. I'm excited to add one more item to my food storage. First up will be dried apples, bananas, and pineapple. Many thanks and much love to Cookie B.

The Love Magnet is just about over her cold. It looks like the boys have avoided getting it. I'm grateful that The Love Magnet is getting over being just sick enough to be onery. I'll bet her teacher and aides are grateful for that, too. It was a rough week.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

It happened! Again! (actually the fourth time...)

But this time it was a top tooth. A front and center tooth. "A BIG TOOTH, Mom!" The tooth that she fiddled with all through our Primary Program practice this morning. The tooth she tried to get strangers to wiggle while we were at the grocery store. The tooth that was her obsession.

Thank you, Secondborn for helping her pull it out.

Now she can obsess about her other top tooth. It is also loose.

Friday, November 06, 2009


Today I took the kids to get haircuts. The Love Magnet climbed up onto the chair, smiled sweetly at the stylist, and announced "I want a mohawk."

(no, of course I didn't let her get one.)


Yesterday was parent teacher conference.

The Love Magnet: At grade level in reading, thankyouverymuch. As I was talking with her teacher and the head of Extended Resource about it, I got teary. What an incredible blessing. My daughter can sound out new words. She can take spelling tests with her class. She gets more confused in writing paragraphs (because she wants to write as fast as her classmates and thoughts get jumbled before they get on paper) and math is difficult (hands on blocks are great, writing math with just numbers is hard).

Thirdborn: Still struggling in reading, writing and math (darn that dyslexia and dysgraphia!) But he got great grades for effort and attitude. Best of all he got a great grade in science. And, his teacher noted, that he does great in language when the books are read to him. He participates in class. And he is a very sensitive, sweetly endearing kid. (I already knew that but it was still great to hear him praised by others).

Secondborn: This kid does A work. But he suddenly became a teen.......every single one of his teachers said he talks too much. Really? My kid? My kid? Wait, didn't my mom hear the same thing about me? Yeah, I guess he is my kid. Darn it all. That was a trait I did not want passed down the gene pool.

Firstborn: He started out rocky but caught up and is doing much better. His teachers are please with his efforts and how respectful he is. We went to the seminary and met his seminary teacher. He participates, knows his scriptures, and is really loved over there. I got a bit teary. God bless the seminary teachers. God bless ALL the teachers. Every single one of them want to see my children succeed.

Halloween was a riot. The Love Magnet lasted for about ten houses. She hates anything remotely scary or evil looking. All the blood makes her very concerned that somebody needs to go to the hospital. She'd rather have chicken noodle soup and hand out candy to the cute kids and pet the dogs wearing costumes.

That being said, it was funny to watch: when the neighbors saw her coming, suddenly everyone who could remove scary parts of their costume, did. Weapons were hidden. Masks were taken off. One kid who couldn't take off his exposed ribcage costume was so sweet and made sure that my daughter understood it wasn't real. She told him "You look gross" and wouldn't have anything to do with him. It made him feel bad.


Last night was cub scout pack meeting and I took Thirdborn by myself. The theme was heroes. A lieutenant from the Sheriff’s department let the boys ask him questions. There were the usual “Do you get to shoot your gun?” and “Are you ever scared?” Then Thirdborn raised his hand and asked “How do you deploy your spike strips to catch a criminal in a police chase?” Everyone did a double take (including me).

The latest Rachael Ray mag had a blurb about a website you could use. This website would let you send emails that would self destruct after being read or if they weren't opened for awhile. The mag said it would be great for sending gossip without getting caught. This really bugged me. Gossip is malicious. Why are people promoting it? Obviously, if you want it to self destruct, you know you are doing something hurtful and wrong.

Is it just me? My mom taught me not to gossip.

Another Rachael Ray moment: Julie Andrews was on the show. She is one of my all time favorite actresses. Julie and Rachael talked about an magazine interview Julie did where she was asked "Which virtue is overrated?"

Julie answered, "Chastity".

My heart was sad. As they joked about it I kept telling myself that not everyone believes as I do. Everyone has their own moral agency.

I believe in chastity. I teach my kids that it is not overrated, but highly valued. Enough said.