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Escape from Shalott





Updated: 2014-10-01T22:17:57.896-07:00

 



Kid update

2013-01-27T10:57:46.301-08:00

Wow, so it’s been a while.  My schedule changed over the summer, and I got out of the habit it writing.  Now that we have church at 1:00, we’re trying to do a little “quiet time” in the morningfor journals writing and such.  Some mornings it works great, and the kids play together without asking.  This morning, both of them are kind of needy and argumentative, even though we spent the whole day with them yesterday…I just sent CN upstairs to find something to do on her own, and I’m worried that she’s getting into something. Today, I wanted to do an update on both of them—what they like, how they act, etc.  It’s probably not the best day to do it though, as I’m a little frustrated with them both and might focus more on their weaknesses at this stage.  I’ll try not to.As I write this, I can hear CN moving chairs around in the room above my head.  That means she is getting into something in the kitchen.  Hopefully, she’s just trying to find a snack, but she is a little raccoon still, and there is a chance that she’s burrowing into the chocolate chips, or trying to use a whole roll of tape to put something on the wall, or “washing” the dishes.  By now, I can usually depend on her not to try anything too dangerous, but you still never know.  She is pretty independent, as she always has been.  She was annoyed to be banished upstairs to play on her own, but generally after a few minutes, she will be deeply involved in a complex pretend world, and it will be hard to pull her out of it again.  We’ve finally figured out that she doesn’t like dolls, or, really, any toy that is human-shaped.  She thinks they’re creepy, and prefers animals.  She loves animals with a passion, still.  For Christmas, Grandma  got her a small stuffed animal for each of the letters of the alphabet (to help her learn them…it’s worked), and they are favorite present.  She loves people, though she gets pretty mad if they don’t want to play her games.  She is learning how to compromise, but it’s a struggle.She was better at going to sleep for a while, but she’s backsliding again.  Last night I had to close her door because she kept getting up, and she simply used to opportunity to look at books by the light of her window until who-knows-when.  Oh well!  One thing we’ve known about CN since she was little is that, if she’s silent, she’s either looking at books or doing something naughty.  She hasn’t been super eager to learn to read, but I think when she does, she’ll be a voracious reader.As I write this, DB is in the room next to me building something out of dominoes.  I feel like he’s grown up a lot; he’s going to be eight in a few short months.  We switched him to a charter school this year, which was a hard change, but I’ve really liked the school.  His teacher has lots of fun ideas, and the school gives him opportunities to work more at his own speed, which I like.  He struggles with handwriting and spelling still, but he is reading more.  On days when I go to the library and get new books, he’ll sit for over an hour at a time reading.  He listened to two Ramona books in the car and ate them up; it’s harder to get him interested in longer books these days, like The Hobbit or Harry Potter, but I guess we take what we can get. His favorite Christmas present was a kids’ digital camera, which he likes because it can take video, alter pictures to make them silly, and play simple video games on.  He thinks video games are the coolest, and would play all day on them if I let him, which I don’t!  He’s gotten a little better at entertaining himself, now that he can read and play Legos.  I’m teaching piano now, and he and DB both have been good at taking care of themselves while I teach, as long as I leave snacks out for them, new library books, a list of “chores” to do, (like homework and taking a shower), and let them wa[...]



I'm gonna buy me a...

2012-05-21T20:48:44.188-07:00

Something major is about to happen in our family.  We’re adopting a dog!  His name is Freddie, and he is a Bichon Frise mix PDaniel found online.  He is currently in a shelter in Park City.  We went to visit him on Friday, knowing he was one of the breeds we were considering; his description on the website was glowing, and well-behaved, young dogs like him don’t show up in shelters every day.  So we went up to visit him.  He seemed like a very sweet dog, good-natured and loving, so we snapped him up.  He was still on medication for a cold, and had to be neutered, but he should be ready by Wednesday or Thursday for PDan to go and get him.  He is thrilled, and spent much of today rounding up dog supplies.  I'm glad, because the dog is his sole responsibility; I have enough people to take care of!Dangerboy's birthday was last Saturday, and he wanted a Harry Potter party, just like last year.  Ended up inviting the entire neighborhood (almost) of children, as we have been known to do.  I think it was mostly a successful party…several kids asked to stay and play when it was over (roundly denied, we were so tired).  I dressed like McGonagall.  We played the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean game as an icebreaker, always a hit.  DB had requested we do a “Harry Potter IV party”, so we had a tri-wizard tournament: diet-soda-and-Mentos fountains to kick it off, then Quidditch, and obstacle course, and a dragon piñata for the three events.  PDan spent lots of time making the piñata, since I couldn’t find one to purchase.  Quidditch was played without brooms, with a soccer ball and a kid running around in one of my yellow t-shirts pretending to be the Snitch.  It would have been more of a success had the grass not been so wet because of sprinklers; several of the kids slipped spectacularly and got soaked.  The obstacle course was lame and last-minute, but the pinata was a hit (ha)!The cake was another PDan creation: DB wanted the Monster Book of Monsters, so that’s what we made.  I did most of the prep work, and PDan did the creative parts.  Then all the kids went home, we opened DB’s family presents, he started acting weepy, we took his temperature, and realized it was 102.5.  Yikes!  He took a nap and some meds and felt well enough by evening that we all went to Brick Oven for dinner, but after a weekend of high fevers, barfing, and terrible sore throats, he is now on amoxicillin for strep throat.  Poor kid, that has got to be my least favorite illness.Cookie-Nut funnies: CN wants a chihuahua and a cat for a pet (not getting them, but oh well).  She wants to name the cat Popcorn; the dog, she wants to name Meat.  She has a stuffed cat she has christened Eyeballs.CN was using a laundry basket, tied behind her neck with string, as a drum.  She was pretending to be marching in a parade (DB had one too).  Her string broke on one side, and she cried, “My drum is not working!”  She started dragging it along the floor by the remaining string.  “Now it’s a wagon!”  she despaired.  Then she giggled.  “I want it to be a wagon!!” she bounced away.  I thought it was a good example of CN’s flexibility and resilience.  (She can be stubborn too, though).Last night, at dinner, she said she knows a girl named Guisie (“guy-zie”).  She said that she does not like Guisie.  When asked various questions about this girl,  it turns out the girl lives at Trafalga (local mini-golf place).  She has blue hair, is four years old, and eats bugs.  I asked her if she’d ever talked to Guisie.  CN:  “Guisie said, ‘Come here, come on and eat some bugs with me.’  I said, ‘No!’ and ran home.”  Guisie’s parents, friends, and brothers and sisters are of the same description, age, and disposition as Guisie herself.  This was all told very matter-of-factly, and rather offhand.&[...]



2 Comments

2012-05-21T20:45:31.614-07:00


I forgot to mention that I threw a brunch party last week for a few of the women in my ward who are having babies this summer.  It was fun.  One of the women is a big Anne fan, so I made strawberry scones and raspberry cordial (straight from the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook), and a friend brought a yummy lemon cake, and I dug out an old Anne soundtrack CD.  It made me want to thrown an honest-to-goodness Anne party someday, maybe for Cookie-Nut, when she's interested.  

TMI time:  I went to the temple yesterday and thought more about the to-have-more-kids-or-not question.  It’s sure a difficult one, fraught with guilt and second-guessing.  I feel these days as though my life is more balanced than it has been in a long time, and I really value that:  I’m exercising a little, working a little, spending time with my kids, writing a little, cleaning my house a little, spending time with my husband a little.  I feel great.  I know that having another baby will throw that off, and if I have one, don’t I need to have at least two more?  So they’ll have playmates?  And then it will be at least six more years before I attain my present levels of balance, and that’s hard for me to fathom.

Then the guilt sets in.  I’m being selfish.  And of course I’d love a baby when it came.  But would I resent it too?  And then feel guilty about resenting it, because I loved the baby so much?  And then ignore it too much?  And don’t I have more time to serve and help others now (like all the babysitting I did today and will do tomorrow), because I’m freed up a little more than women with more kids?  And then there are PDaniel and Dangerboy, neither of whom handles stress particularly well.  DB needs more time with me as it is, and what would happen to that?  I need to consider them too. 

And then I think, well, if I finish my book, I will have accomplished a major goal.  Maybe then I can have one more baby, one to be cuddled and spoiled by the whole family? 

I grew up with only one other sibling.  And we were fine.  But it was what God wanted, right, because Mom just never got pregnant again naturally, and Dad didn’t really want any more kids. 

I think I came away with the feeling that it’s up to me.  And PDan (who is inscrutable when it comes to this question).  That either way, it’s OK.  But that’s hard for me to wrap my head around, with all my Mormon conditioning.  To be honest, I think I’d be happier stopping with the two kids we have now.  If it weren’t for the guilt.

Which is where the surrogacy thing comes in.  I think it would help assuage the guilt.  Don’t know if I’m right about that.

Cookie-Nut:  Mom, can you balance books on your head?  (Yes).  Like the ladies in New York?  (I had images of beautiful models practicing runway walking.)  With food on their head?  (Turns out she was getting New York mixed up with Africa…we talk a lot about travel in our family!  It’s easy to get places mixed up.)





Heads!!!

2012-04-25T21:10:38.437-07:00

Journal highlights:On St. Patrick’s Day Dangerboy made a leprechaun trap.  It was a cup baited with dried garbanzo beans and lentils(?!?) with a ladder made of straws and pencils leaning against it.  After they went to sleep, I tipped the cup over and left a trail of St. Patrick’s Day confetti around the house ending in a pile of gold chocolate coins behind a bookcase.  DB was thrilled (though a little disappointed it wasn’t real gold)!  He was so excited, he drew a really cute picture of a leprechaun and taped it up on the wall, hoping the leprechaun would leave more gold.  Unfortunately, I was fresh out, and he was disappointed again.  But it was fun.PDaniel and I made it to New York!  (Many thanks to my parents, who watched our kids for us!)  PDan's conference went great.  I wrote about the trip lots in my journal, but here are some things we did:  The NY Public Library, the Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, MOMA, Central Park (two gorgeous walks), saw Memphis and Freud's Last Session (about the hypothetical meeting of CS Lewis and Freud), saw The Daily Show taped, walked up Lexington avenue for, like, 60 blocks, visited 30 Rock and St. Patrick's Cathedral, had pizza in the Village, had amazing Greek food, had tea and scones in a shop called Alice's Tea Cup Chapter Two, walked through Times Square (once was enough).  Had my first creme brulee doughnut.  Had mediocre barbecue (felt sick, went to see The Hunger Games afterward.  Made PDaniel more sick.) Hung out in The Strand Bookstore on a rainy afternoon for, like, three hours.  Ate pie for breakfast.Loved it, had so much fun.  I can't wait to go back!  PDan may go to this conference every two years, so I've already planned some of it...the Cloisters, more of the Village, I can see it all now... We went to a live Radiolab performance in Salt Lake a couple of weeks ago.  Radiolab is a podcast I listen to on NPR…it’s science-tainment.  Amazing stories, and Dmitri Martin was HI-larious. It was great, but just as great because my brother Shaun and his friend Mandy went with us, and PDan’s friend Matt from BYU.  We drove to SLC together and went out for delicious pizza afterwards.  It was just fun to spend a night with friends, laughing lots.Now all my music stuff is over.  Last week was spring break, and PDan had a conference in Dallas.  He had a blast there, ate some really good BBQ (WAY better than what we had in NYC, apparently).  He also found a painting he thought I’d love, and I do.  It’s beautiful…of two birds, with collage pieces of music notation and other pages, but it’s non-cheesy.  I really like it.I’ve been trying to work on flower and veggie gardening.  I’m determined to get something to grow.   Cutenesses:  Cookie-Nut:  Mom, can you balance books on your head?  (Yes).  Like the ladies in New York?  (I had images of beautiful models practicing runway walking.)  With food on their head?  (Turns out she was getting New York mixed up with Africa…we talk a lot about travel in our family!  It’s easy to get places mixed up.)  In a very (eerily) quiet Primary in my mom’s ward:  Teacher:  (holds up a bicycle helmet for an object lesson)  Now, what’s this for, boys and girls? (I think she was looking for "protection" or something.)Clara:  (at the top of her lungs) HEADS!!  [...]



More than real life

2012-03-19T20:47:17.066-07:00

So last weekend I either had stomach flu or ate something weird. It took a few days to recover, and I still haven’t felt like myself on the elliptical machine. I’m down to my lowest weight in a while, even before the flu. I’d be happier if it didn’t mean have to give up an hour every night of staying up with PDaniel so I can go to bed early (10:00) and wake up to go to the gym. If Cookie-Nut would go to bed before 9:00, it would be better, but usually she doesn’t. She sure isn’t tonight. One of us has to keep an eye on her until she goes to sleep or she’ll get up and wander around.I had a performance at BYU last week that didn’t go well. I don’t really want to remember it, but here goes, for future laughs: I had to perform with two other pianists onstage looking over my shoulder (long story), which made me nervous; I put up my music upside-down; I did NOT play as well as I practiced (nerves); I lost my balance as I was bowing and had to lean on the pianist next to me; I (without meaning to) probably made said pianist feel bad backstage after the concert. Which was sad, because she is a very nice person, and an excellent pianist. Argh. Other rehearsals and performances have been fine, I think, but one bad night can damage a reputation. :(Everything else is going OK, more or less. The kids have been talking about death a lot. At a St. Patrick’s day party at CN’s school, Dangerboy decorated his wind sock craft with a picture of a skeleton and a broken heart being pierced by an arrow. Oh, and the word “DETH.” Cookie-Nut told me (again) today that she likes me, and doesn’t want me to die, in this case, to be eaten by lions. ARE MY KIDS OK?? Cutenesses: Dangerboy (after CN threw a fit because I wouldn’t let her have another piece of gum): “Cookie-Nut, you know, gum doesn’t matter more than real life.” (He gave this as a piece of brotherly advice, as we’d said similar things to him many times). CN (resigned): “Yeah, I know.” And another: (DB was throwing a fit in the tub because he didn’t want to be there.)DB: But Dad, I can’t remember how to do this! (i.e., wash himself) PDan: What? Why? DB: Because I haven’t done it in a long time! PDan: (belly laugh) That’s why you’re taking a bath, kid!![...]



Of love and teeth

2012-03-04T20:51:58.167-08:00

Journal highlights: --Yesterday Dangerboy decided he wanted to make milkshakes after school, so I let him do it himself, with minimal help from me. He had a recipe he’d found in a book. Cookie-Nut, who was in the bathtub, could hear the blender whirring and asked me what the sound was. I said DB was making milkshakes. She said, “By himself?!?” I nodded. “That’s great! He’s learning!” she said maternally. I felt the same way. I love it when my kids are independent. I need to be better about teaching them how to be.--DB doesn’t say cute little-kid stuff quite as much as he used to, but he’s still as cute as can be. His big blue eyes still make my heart skip a beat, and his dimples just make me happy. But, we found out he needs to have his two front teeth removed because the permanent teeth underneath aren’t growing right (they’re growing straight out!), and I’m so sad about it. He doesn’t ever get to have wiggly teeth, and no prep for PDaniel and I either…just, suddenly we have a toothless first grader. No more baby-teeth smiles. It really breaks my heart. And I feel so bad for him that he has to go through it. Having teeth pulled is traumatic.He did amazingly well at the extraction, considering how scared he was. He was very brave, didn’t struggle much, panicked only a little, and cried not at all. It was better than last time in that he didn’t feel much pain—none at all when the teeth were pulled out, actually. Before the appointment, PDan gave him a blessing, which he wasn’t sure he wanted at first, but I think maybe it helped. (The kid has an aversion to praying which I’m not really sure what to do about.) I took a really cute last picture of him with his baby teeth, too…then CN and I promptly dropped the camera on the kitchen floor (those tiles break anything they touch, they’re so unforgiving) and broke it. There goes another $300…sigh. I think I can salvage the picture though. DB got to pick the ice cream and movie that night. He chose Superbowl Swirl (whatever that is) and Cars 2. And he got $10 from the tooth fairy (she splurges for extractions). --Today was Valentine’s Day. We basically ate junk food all day. I got donuts for breakfast, then was brunch. I put a brownie (heart-shaped) in DB’s lunch, and the kids ate lots of valentine’s candy from friends. We had heart-shaped Papa Murphy’s pizza for dinner, with fruit and Martinelli’s, and each of the kids got a little stuffed animal and a little box of candy from us. PDaniel and I aren’t doing much…trying to save money for New York. Hope we can scrape some together so we don’t have to starve while we’re there.One night, at bedtime (I love those times!), we were talking about how PDan and I met and dated, and I told him that I hoped someday he’d find a nice girl to marry. (He’s considered it…he gave Tiger Lily a ring when he was four, expressed desire to marry a sweetheart named Riley in preschool, and his latest crush is a little freckle-nosed blonde in kindergarten—he saved the valentine she gave him in a place of honor). Anyway, his comment this time was, “What happens is my birthday and my wedding are on the same day? Then I’ll have two cakes!” He’s thinking ahead. Cookie-Nut has crushes of her own. Hers is a little guy named C. in her preschool class. The other day we were eating snacks, and she said, “I love C. He’s my boyfriend. I love to kiss him. I’m missing him so much” (pout). Where does she get this stuff? She doesn’t even really watch princess movies. More cutenesses:CN is getting good at rhyming. I tried to kiss her cheek, and missed, so I sang “Air-kiss!” And she sang back, “Pear-piss!” CN’s word of the day was “Moab.” It was in a scripture story I read to her last night, and she just kept repeating the word at random times throughout the day. She[...]



Don't spice me up!

2012-02-06T09:11:41.040-08:00

Well, it's that time of year: the sick time. We don't get sick often, but this time of year it seems like it's always one thing after another. I was sick last week with a bad-cold-turned-infection, and PDaniel has it this week. Meanwhile, Dangerboy woke up with croup Wednesday night and we had to take him the the ER for a steroid treatment. It wasn't too bad; we'd have taken him to urgent care, but nowhere else is open at midnight. The doctor said he should stay home from school for a couple of days, but he was feeling fine, so I was stuck with bored kids for a few days. Now Cookie-Nut has a bad cough and I'm keeping her home. And getting a little stir-crazy and tired of entertaining children!I must admit, though, they both stayed home from church yesterday and played well together all day long. That was a treat. I love it when that happens, especially because CN worships DB so much, and he doesn't often, at this point in his life, give her the time of day. I hope it changes.Cutenesses:Cookie-Nut at dinner, telling what she did outside in the snow. She’s been saying her “L’s” correctly more and more lately, which makes me treasure sentences like this all the more: “We made a swide. Then we got on our sweds and swid down!!” One night I made bok choy/eggplant/tofu stir fry with hoisin sauce and a little red pepper. It wasn’t much of a success; neither the eggplant nor the tofu sucked up much flavor, though the bok choy was OK. I was trying to shovel one last bite into Cookie-Nut’s mouth; she’d tried it and liked it, but she was done by this point and was avoiding the fork, begging for raisin bran instead. Finally she ducked under the counter. “No!!” She yelled frantically. “It might spice me up!!” CN is so funny. She can create worlds and stories with whatever objects are at hand. In the last 24 hours, she’s created elaborate scenarios using, each on a separate occasion, the following: a hymnbook, a couple of shoelaces, spoons, a puzzle, half an orange and a paint set, a zipper, the pull string on the blinds, a partially-eaten banana. In every case, if her attention needs to be redirected (to brushing her teeth or eating her dinner, for instance), it’s very difficult to pull her out of her world, but I love that her imagination is so vibrant.[...]



"Life is Hard."

2012-01-22T19:12:52.823-08:00

Oh, yes, it snowed the other day and the kids finally got to use their sleds, which Grandma got them, and which they didn’t know they owned. DB said, “I’m so happy, I don’t know what to say!” And promptly wrote a thank-you note. They spent much of the morning sliding down the hill in our yard with their friends.CN had a hard time in Primary today. It’s a hard transition for a three-year-old. For some it’s harder than for others! She kept rolling around on the floor and yelling with the music director didn’t pick her to help lead the music. Or when she WAS chosen, yelling because she didn’t want to do what the director wanted her to. DangerBoy’s parent-teacher conference was this week. He is doing well, at least well enough for his teacher. She says he is reading above grade level, that he is a peacemaker and a good friend, and that his handwriting needs work. That’s our boy! We took poor DB to the dentist Tuesday to get his tooth inspected. He'd been running a fever over the long weekend and complaining about a tooth. I wanted to make sure they weren't related. But it turns out it was infected and he had to have it pulled right then and there! Poor kid. It was a molar too, and a new one won’t grow in for a few years. Not only that, but everyone in the office was shaking their heads at his x-rays. Apparently, he’s going to need plenty of orthodontic work. The nurse actually said it looks like his two front teeth are going to come in growing straight out! Heaven forbid. My beautiful little boy. He was pretty brave, though he had to have some laughing gas after the last shot. He didn’t cry until then. And then he didn’t get completely numb (the nurse said it’s hard when there’s an infection, though I’m not sure I believe her), so he felt it coming out, at least somewhat. He didn’t know what they were doing, only that it hurt, so I think he was shocked when they showed it to him at the end. Traumatic thing for a kid. He wept most of the way home, though he mostly stopped in Walmart, where we stopped to buy him a toy. Yesterday was my first student recital here at BYU, I played for Briana, a grad student in oboe. The music was hard, so I was proud of my/our efforts and invited family. Mom and Dad came down, Shaun and John Bonner showed up, and we got a sitter so Peter could go. I was nervous about how my arm would do, since it’s been giving me some nerve trouble. I was also worried about Performance anxiety, which has reared its ugly head in the past. But neither was problematic, and while the performance wasn’t perfect, I was honestly pleased with it. Cutenesses:On Friday this week, DB and CN was sitting at the breakfast table. CN was eating a leftover cheeseburger for breakfast, and DB had his forehead on the table and was moaning tiredly that he didn’t know what he wanted for breakfast. CN looked up from her hamburger at him and said sagely, “Life is hard.” Last night when I was putting her to bed, she said, “I like your earrings. I like your hair. You’re so cute! And I love my room, and I love my whole world! Jesus gave me all these things!” Cookie-Nut (putting on a not-new pink shirt): “It’s a new shirt! The shirt fairy brought be a new shirt!” (What’s the shirt fairy’s name?) “Her name is Porch. Sometimes I don’t like her. But, she has yellow hair.”[...]



First of 2012!

2012-01-08T19:28:35.792-08:00

We went to AZ for Christmas. It was mostly low-key…watched a lot of movies and Dangerboy played lots of video games. Slept in, etc. PDaniel's family is sweet and laid-back. And generous. We went on a couple of family outings…one to an art museum in Tempe and a gingerbread Whoville, and one to an ostrich farm and Picacho State Park, then out for Mexican food. The kids (especially Cookie-Nut) loved the farm. CN was scared of the ostriches, but she loved feeding the greedy goats and deer. One little donkey became her special friend. There was also a lorikeet aviary where the birds slurped up nectar from little cups we held for them and they perched all over us. DB’s favorite part was a hand-cranked conveyer belt he used to ship food pellets to a pen of goats in a big cherry-picker-type thing. He stayed there for a long time.The other day we went with the cousins to see the Muppet movie again, which we saw over Thankgiving. It’s pretty funny, and the kids enjoyed seeing it again. The songs are my favorite part…they’re by Brett from Flight of the Conchords, the one and awesomely only parody musical sitcom. Both Muppet movie and Flight of the Conchords (disclaimer--the latter is a solid PG-13) I highly recommend.It snowed this morning. I went to go pick up our Bountiful Basket (-o-produce) and what should I see but K shoveling the snow off our front stairs. It warmed my heart. (K’s our neighbor kid…one of DB’s older friends. Has a reputation for mischief, but really a good kid.)Kid quotables:DB (refusing to get a haircut): “I want to have a beard and be hairy like Uncle L.” (Uncle L has long Jesus-like hair and a beard).CN, after watching the movie preview for “Tintin”: “That’s a great boy because he has to do a really brave job!” CN: “But Jesus doesn’t love Santa Claus.” Why not? “Because Christmas is Jesus’s birthday, and he wanted presents.” But did Santa bring Jesus presents? “Yes!” So I’m confused, but somehow the whole birthday/present/Christmas/Santa relationship has her confused too, I think. We were in the car, talking about a trip to the zoo that she doesn’t remember: CN: “So you lift me up and I see the elephants?” Me: “Yes.” CN: “But I can’t see my eyes.” Me: “That’s right, we can’t see our eyes, except in the mirror.” CN: “But I can see your eyes! And I can see all the things that I can see! Anyways, I don’t like the sun.” Me: “Why don’t you like the sun?” Clara: “’Cause it’s sunning in my eyes!”[...]



Us, Part One

2011-04-05T22:35:05.427-07:00

I met Peter at band camp in August of 1994. We had just moved to Rexburg…we’d come early so I could be there in time to go; it was a requirement of the marching band. The first time I saw him, he and Ryan N. were walking to the practice field, and Ryan was holding drumsticks. They looked approachable, so I asked if they were drummers. Nope! Trumpet players, unfortunately for me (I was in the percussion section, playing mallets on the sideline). I ate lunch with a group of kids that included PDaniel and Wendy A. that day, and PDan told this joke: “What did one blade of grass say to the other blade of grass? Hey, we’re not the only ones—there are lots of us!” And Wendy thought it was hilarious and I didn’t get it at all. It was just part of “Rexburg humor,” which didn’t make any sense, and which I didn’t really understand until later. What would I have thought if someone had whispered in my ear, “there’s the boy you’ll marry”?

PDan remembers that he saw me for the first time standing on the curb being dropped off for band camp. He remembers what I was wearing: white shorts (too short for Rexburg, a fact I was oblivious to), and the James Madison T-shirt Mat Dragoo had sent me from college before his accident. PDan remembers what I was wearing on almost every occasion. I sure picked a good guy, though he puts me to shame—I don’t remember what he was wearing even this morning! Wait, no, I do. But I don't always!




Journal Entries

2011-04-05T22:30:32.997-07:00

A couple of months ago we lost C-Nut’s “Baby.” It’s a little pink plush doll with a rattle inside that Grandma W. gave her, and which she’s loved and slept with since she was an infant. I was surprised how much I missed Baby; PDaniel too. I had a distinct feeling of loss those days, almost as if we’d lost CN’s twin, or at least as if some part of CN had been lost forever. A cloud descended over the household, and we were all a little depressed. I’ve never mourned another inanimate object more than I mourned baby for those few days, as we searched the house and the car (the only places Baby is allowed to go) over and over. CN’s face shone like a light when we found Baby. I was talking to PDan in the kids’ room when I noticed the underwear-and-sock hanging bag in DB’s closet had fallen down. I reached down to pick it up and reattach it to the pole, when I heard something rattle. Could it be?? It was! Stuffed in with DB’s socks was Baby! I vaguely remembered putting socks away a couple of days ago—I must have accidentally put Baby away too. Hallelujah! A weight lifted from all of us and all was right with the world again.... Last night I had a dream that I was riding to a music recital. On the back of a cow. Down a road choked with humongously overgrown tree roots. ... PDan and I have been reading the first Harry Potter book to DB and he LOVES it. So much more than I thought he would. He knows all the characters, keeps track of their names. It’s so fun to share this with him--PDan and I are having a great time doing all the accents and voices as we read, or trying to—and I’m proud of the fact that he has an attention span long enough to sit through whole chapters at a time. I’m glad his imagination is in such good working order. I see kids in his class that are excellent readers, have great handwriting, play the cello…but I am so proud that my child has a love for stories. Those other things are good too, but I’d rather this, if I had to choose. ... Saturday afternoon, I lost C-Nut. DB and C-Nut had both had a boring day and were begging to go outside, so we finally tried to go on a walk. But they were being so awful—complaining about the direction we were going, the lack of food, everything. At first I was trying to be accommodating but finally gave up and said we were going home. We’d barely made it around the corner of our apartment! DB planted himself on the sidewalk and said he wasn’t going anywhere, while C-Nut was dying to go home. So I looked CN in the eye (she was sitting in her stroller) and told her not to move, while I went to get DB, who was maybe 10 yards away. CN nodded seriously. But when I turned around, the stroller was empty. I wasn’t too worried initially, because I figured she’d just gone home. But I looked there, and she hadn’t. Then I looked around some more…no CN. I’d thought Peter had gone to priesthood, but he’d felt like he should stay home and help me with the kids, so he came out when he heard me calling for her and started looking. Esther came out of her apartment too. I wasn’t sure if I should start running somewhere to look, or if I should just look behind bushes and stuff; maybe she was hiding. I felt kind of paralyzed, so I just stayed where I was and kept calling her name. Minutes passed…no CN. Peter said later that at that point he said a desperate prayer, and felt that it would be all right, but started running down the hill. On the way down, he met our friend Madelyn, coming up to the playground with her kids. She was holding CN’s hand. CN had run all the way down the sidewalk, across the parking lot, down the “bunny hill,” and across the street, when Madelyn had found her and brought her back up. [...]



Conversations with Cookie-Nut

2011-03-27T17:21:21.214-07:00

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PDan to C-Nut: You are beautiful.

C-Nut to PDan: YOU are beautiful! And cwazy.

...

(while walking outside—she looks up.) “The birds don’t like me.”

me: “The birds don’t like me?”

her: “ME.”

me: “Oh, the birds don’t like you? Why not?”

her: “Because I don’t like them too.” (pout)

...

(in the car—she looks out the window)

her: “They look like giant broccoli!”

me: “What do?”

her: “The trees! With cheese on them!”

me: “You have a poet’s mind, Cookie-Nut.”

her: “Yeah!”

...

(getting out of the car)

her (angry and annoyed): “They’re waving at me.” (pout)

me: “Who?”

her (still mad): “The trees!” (she sticks out her tongue and raspberries in their direction.) (yells defiantly at them) “I’m going home!” (pout)




Journal Excerpts

2011-03-27T22:20:57.393-07:00

The other night I went to a RS conference at which Claudia Bushman spoke. She really motivated me to keep some sort of journal! Someday I may not remember anything, and it would be nice to be reminded what happened in my life. She focused on recording the truth, no matter how un-pretty. But I want to record plenty of the pretty things too. So, here are some excerpts from the journal I've kept over the last week or two....One thing Claudia Bushman said in her talk last week was something like, “Journaling is a zero-level activity. No matter what you do, it’s better than nothing.” I got to thinking, I worry about not being good enough at music, or writing, or mothering…but maybe all those things are zero-level activities too. Anything I do, any effort I make, is better than nothing; it puts something positive and creative into the world that wasn’t there before. So why not make the effort? Even mothering, which is the hardest…I may not decide to have tons of children, because I don’t think I’d be good at it, but I can do my best with the two I’ve got, right? Of course right.... Today we went to a Faded Paper Figures concert at a club called The Mint in LA. We took the kids…it was a short afternoon concert, very family-friendly. The music was a little loud for the kids (Cookie-Nut wouldn’t wear her earplugs), but we all had a blast! The kids danced with their friends the Romney boys and PDaniel and I sang along. It helped that we all knew the music from listening to both albums in the car. The band members (whom I can take credit for introducing to each other) are our friends John Williams and Kael and Heather Alden, who used to be our ward. And now I can actually say that we went to a smoky little club in LA. I admit the whole atmosphere appeals to me. Much better than the overcrowded Dave Matthews Band concert Pete and I went to in AZ. Much more “atmosphere.”...PDaniel and I tried for a while to stop watching TV at night so we could do more productive things, but apparently it’s how we reconnect. When we stopped we got kind of depressed. ... I had a much-needed “day off” yesterday. Now that C-Nut doesn’t take naps any more (and hasn’t for months and months) I really have no alone time. I really need it—it definitely helps me be more sociable when I AM around people. It’s funny—I didn’t want to be an English major because I missed people too much and hated being alone all the time, reading and writing. Piano accompanying was a nice balance, because I had alone time to practice, but the rest of the work was with other people. And music departments can be really nice, supportive communities (like ASU was) so that was great too. Now I am constantly around people—mostly my family, mostly kids—and ache for time alone. And my poor husband is alone all day and aches for together time! So in order for me to be happier together…I need to get away sometimes.... So, while PDan took Dangerboy and C-Nut to a primary activity and (when they got home), played with non-Newtonian fluids, I worked on my stories; exercised; tried a new Ramen restaurant for lunch and finished the book Michael K; hit a sale at JCPenney and got a new Easter Dress for Clara (black with white flowers and green trim) and some new sneakers for Caleb. Then we had a nice family evening, ate biscuits and gravy and smoothies, watched some Scooby-Doo; and after the kids went to bed, we watched the Firefly movie Serenity. A good day.[...]



Pictures

2011-02-16T17:31:05.802-08:00

This is Peter--I'm just adding a bunch of pictures for grandmas and pakas. Christi will probably update this with more details later, but one note: the few pictures of dangerboy in the suit are from when he was asked to be ring bearer at our friend's wedding. It was a long day, but he loved it and was very proud of his role in the ceremony. [...]



Cookie-Nut speaks

2011-02-08T22:45:37.750-08:00

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Here's my sticky-note collection from the last month or two of wacky quips from our two-and-a-half-year-old:

CN: I need prentzels.
PDan: What are prentzels?
CN: Prentzels means crackers.
PDAN: Oh. What are crackers?
CN: Crackers means prentzels.

Me: Hey, what do you have?
CN (holding the ladybug Pillow Pet she got for Christmas): It's a pillow pet dot com.

Me (changing her diaper): How's your bum?
CN: It's a little Fred.
Me: Huh? A little what?
CN: It's a little Fred.
Me: Oh, you mean it's a little red?
CN: Yeah, it's a little red.

(We're in church. The speaker says something about the Holy Ghost. CN's ears perk up.)
CN (loudly): The Holy Ghost in the pumpkin patch!!

(We're potty training. I'm trying to get CN to tell me if her Pull-Up is wet or dry; she keeps contradicting herself.)
Me: Well, are you wet, or are you dry? Which are you?
CN (smiling at her own joke): Strawberry!

(CN is sucking on a tasting spoon for babies she found in the silverware drawer.)
PDan: Is that a paci?
CN (pulling it out): No.
PDan: Then what is it?
CN: A Space Ranger?

CN (picking up a toy fork someone left on the computer desk): Lookit Mom. I found a clue.
(too much Scooby Doo, maybe?)

(CN is eating an apple. She recently has gone to the doctor for a checkup, and the doctor looked inside her ear "to see if Mickey Mouse or a princess was hiding in there.")
PDan: What's in your ear?
CN: A princess. (Holds apple to ear.) You want some? (Makes slurping noise). The princess lick my apple!

CN to PDan: I wub good night kisses because I wub you!

Cookie-Nut is old enough now to tell us about her dreams. She's come into our room scared of a nightmare mouse. Once she came in crying, asking if Daddy was going to the candy canes. When we asked her in the morning what she dreamed about, she said, "Wotsa wotsa kids go to the candy canes. They so happy!" I wondered why she was so sad in the moment, though....maybe she was being left behind? She said the candy canes were "like trees" and that they were lots of different colors. Sounds fun.

She also talks in her sleep a lot. More accurately, she yells: "Give me that dress! Give me that dress RIGHT NOW!" On another night: "Nooooooo! I don't want to!" Or: "I'm scared of snakes! I'm scared of snakes!" (Shhhhh, I say.) Then she whispers: "I'm scared of snakes." All without waking up.



little question

2010-12-31T19:59:07.278-08:00

Dangerboy: "Argh! Cookie-Nut hit me in the nuts!"
Me: "Don't say nuts."
DB: "OK, she hit me in the balls!"
Me: "Don't say balls either."
DB (exasperated) "Then what I'm supposed to say when I'm talking about my balls or my nuts?!?"



Huh?

2010-12-10T14:17:35.472-08:00

I haven't looked at my blog in so long I almost don't recognize it. Well, I'm throwing it a bone. I've had this on a post-it note for months. I'll type it now (maybe again) and then I can throw it away. It's from Dangerboy:

"Mom, what's an ear-cumber?"

(I don't know...I know cucumbers, but not ear-cumbers. What do you think it is?"

"I think it's shaped like an ear, and looks like an ear, but when you open it up it's green and has seeds."

(That's interesting. Where do they come from?)

"I think they come from rabbit barf."



What I did last summer.

2010-09-19T22:14:21.300-07:00

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In conclusion, here's what I learned in my somewhat blind foray into home school. I still don't think I can do it full-time. At least, not the way I'd want to. I had a lot of fun, but I still don't understand when everything gets done. When do I have time to do the background learning it takes to teach someone else, especially about science, math, etc.? And then teach them? And then do all the other things that need doing in life? And then actually have a life, or at least my own hobbies and pursuits?

I know people do it, but I think it maybe becomes a hobby in itself--even a sacrament, and/or a sacrifice. I'm just not that good, I think. Too selfish, I sadly admit.

But, we had fun, and I think I'm going to do it again, this way anyhow. I think it's a fun and educational way to spend our breaks, at least, without getting bored. Hopefully I can convey some love-of-learning that I see so much in my awesome friend Amanda and her kids, who home school with gusto. If I could, I'd send my kids to her school!

For now, stay tuned for our next time. I'll give you a clue...it's be an awfully big adventure!



Who's your mummy?

2010-09-19T21:56:06.798-07:00

Our last "home school" week was almost a flop, but we got one cool field trip out of it, at least! I had rather half-baked intentions of doing cool projects and such that just never got done. Oh, well.Dangerboy wanted to study mummies. After looking at the picture books l=the library had to offer, I was a bit trepidations...mummies are basically dead people. And pictures of them can be pretty harrowing. But DB was fascinated by them, and not too scared at all (at first, mwahahaha). So we read lots of books on mummies around the world, cat mummies, pyramids, and the terra cotta Chinese warriors (totally different, I know, but I needed another topic).And we watched movies: the Tutenstein cartoon, not my favorite, but kinda cute; Night at the Museum; Prince of Egypt; and Scooby Doo episodes with mummies in them (this stuff is strictly for fun).I got a cool book from the library with fun ancient Egypt-themed projects in them, none of which we did. They involved making play-dough mummies, moving heavy books the way ancient Egyptians moved bricks for the pyramids, writing in heiroglyphics, and making a decorated mummy collar. Sounds fun, right? We totally missed out.I was at a loss about snacks...the book suggested cucumber salad with yogurt sauce, a Middle-Eastern dish. My kids would never have eaten it, but I almost gave it a try. And cheese-block pyramids. Wait, I think we actually did that, come to think of it!Our field trip was cool though--we went to the California Science Center's exhibition "Mummies of the World." Actually, it was a bit pricey, so PDaniel and DB went while CN and I explored the Ecosystems exhibit, and the boys joined us there later. PDaniel said DB didn't love the mummy exhibit, actually; seeing dead stuff in pictures is less threatening than seeing it in real life. So, it was a bit scary. Understandably. But DB used to be a little scared of mummies, and he no longer is, so there you go. Knowledge is power.The Center is enormous and technically free, though there is a place where you could (and should, what you can) donate at the entrance. We only had time for the Ecosystems exhibit, which I loved! It is huge, and a really cool blend of fun interactive exhibits and a dose of art/design. I'm too tired to describe it all, but all ages, from toddlers on up, could enjoy it. There's an aquarium area with a touching pool, a "rot" room with all sorts of bugs, an awesome tree room with a tree house and lots of pretending opportunities, an ice room where you can take pictures on a snowmobile and touch a wall made of ice, a huge sculpture made out of fast-food trash...there's a lot to see and do! And we were only in a fraction of the museum. I highly recommend![...]



Bungle in the Jungle

2010-09-19T21:28:42.718-07:00

Well, I want to chronicle the last two weeks of home school that turned into, basically, themed summer-camp (very little school-type work actually getting done). But it's so long ago that I don't remember everything. Here's my best reconstruction.Week three was rain forest week. We broke it up into several different categories, and every day we studied books from the library about that particular topic: Fruits of the rainforest: the kids were blindfolded and asked to guess what rainforest fruits and spices they were tasting--there were obvious ones, like mangoes and bananas, and ones you wouldn't immediately think of, like chocolate and cinnamon. Then we ate rainforest fruit salad for a snack. Amphibians of the rainforest: I got a Beanie Baby shaped like a tropical frog and we played "poison frog hot potato" with it. We shaped fruit roll-ups like snakes for a snack (yeah, I know they're reptiles, but they're close, right?)Rainforest trees and plants: we went around our apartment complex and collected various leaves to see how their shape affects the way water rolls off of them. We actually nener got to this part, but we did collect the leaves! We talked about how many decorative plants we have actually come from the rainforest, and how many trees there have large leaves to collect as much sun as possible, and yet how they're shaped so that they direct water right to the forest floor. We also painted pictures of the rainforest using a leaf stamp I got at JoAnn's. We were going to collage with real leaves, but alas, we didn't.Oh, and we had "Venus fly traps" for a snack, made as shown with cream cheese (colored green) and raisins. DB was obsessed with carnivorous plants for a while, mostly because he thought they were people-sized. They actually grow in swamps, but the rainforest has other carnivorous plants, so we lumped them in. (Shown with our real Venus flytrap, mentioned below). Mammals of the rainforest, including people. I broke out a pan flute and a recorder (South American instruments) and we tooted around on them for a while. We may have created a band. For snacks we had frozen chocolate-covered bananas. Yum!We went on two awesome field trips. One was to the Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar (free on Mondays--inexpensive any other day). They are lovely--great for a date, you can even eat lunch there--and they have a greenhouse full of tropical plants! We saw some cool ones and asked if they had any carnivorous plants, as I had remembered them having. They didn't on display, but they did in their shop! So we took one home, and DB was thrilled. It perished not long after, but it was good while it lasted.We also managed to get free-day tickets (available once a month online) to the Huntington Library and Gardens, which have a jungle section outside AND an awesome greenhouse full of rainforest/cloud forest/bog exhibits (including carnivorous plants! Yay!). Those are right next to their children's garden, which is so fun to explore. I have more pictures, but my computer is not cooperating right now. This was a fun week, now that I remember it!Oh, and for movies, we watched Ferngully, clips from Planet Earth (the birds of paradise are soooo cool!), and Diego. And we could have watched Jungle Book and the Curious George movie, but (curiously) we didn't. :)[...]



Dangerboy at five

2010-09-09T22:34:15.033-07:00

(image) Since I didn't get around to writing about Dangerboy's achievements on his birthday, I'll write some of them now. This is as of 5 years, four months. He:
  • has graduated from preschool and started kindergarten! He likes it, likes his teacher, and loves being surrounded by kids every day. He is making lots of friends, and indeed considers everyone his friend. He's learning lots and doesn't seem to find it boring at all. Hooray! He doesn't even complain (much) when I have to wake him up in the morning!(image)
  • can count to 100.
  • can read "Bob" words pretty well and write all his letters (both cases) and numbers.
  • can build cool things with his Construx.
  • can make all sorts of creations using scissors and lots of tape, and loves to wrap them up in wrapping paper.
  • often makes said creations for people he likes.
  • does his homework without complaining (usually).
  • has a job which he must do, along with his homework, before watching TV. He washes the dining room table and is paid for it (50 cents--but only if it's super clean).
  • loves Scooby Doo! Possibly even more than Transformers, but would never admit it.
  • is an awesome sleeper.
  • is learning how to play with his sister, who loves him madly.
  • loves his friends so much, and is kind to the people he meets--boys and girls.
  • is a little in love with the new girl that moved in to Tiger Lily's apartment!! (She is also five, and quite a catch).
  • is just so handsome. Those dimples still make my heart skip a beat (just like his dad, but in a different way, of course).
  • loves knock-knock jokes and the comics in the newspaper, especially Lio and Baby Blues, both of which he can relate to. He also likes Bizarro.
  • goes to time-out when told.
  • puts his heart into everything he does--is known to become too fond of fragile things like towers of blocks and helium balloons.
  • loves to be told stories.
When I think of more I'll try to write them. We just love him so much. His teachers love him...he is sweet, imaginative, well-behaved (at school and church--we're working on home), exuberant, very loving, kind, and funny. He is so cool. As I write this, I want to go give him a big hug, but he's asleep...maybe I will anyway.



Blast to the past

2010-09-09T22:03:16.114-07:00

So, I have been extremely remiss in chronicling the happenings of our family lately, and am now going to attempt to catch up a bit. Keep in mind, the same thing happened last fall, and I never wrote about out whole summer then either. But I do need to write about my kids, so here's what I remember about Dangerboy's fifth birthday, which was back in May...I brought treats to preschool--I used my mom's cupcake tree and some awesomely disgusting gummie bugs as toppers. they were a hit. I was told to bring something more healthy too, so I brought strawberries and cheese sticks...completely untouched by those punk kids. Oh well, can you blame them? But would it have killed them to eat cupcakes AND the other stuff?For our home party, we had some neighborhood friends over. I think I told him he could invite five kids (a couple of them came late and aren't in the picture), as opposed to last year, which was a crazy all-the-kids-we-know-and-their-families extravaganza. We love you, friends, but we wanted something a little more low-key this year. And we got it--the kids had fun playing inside and outside, we had cake (which was awesomely awesome), and there were Transformer decorations. And he got lots of Transformers (which he doesn't play with much because they're too hard to transform--darn you, deceptively simple Bumblebee, the first one we owned!)--so he was happy. A good time had by all.And here are some old Dangerboy pictures, just for fun. He was two-ish and three-ish in these ones.[...]



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2010-08-09T22:21:25.639-07:00

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I am the walrus?

2010-07-08T23:25:56.421-07:00

Well, I'm getting behind on my blogging, as usual. But I do want to report on what we've been doing! I've been worse and worse at making time for "school" as our vacation and DB's actual school gets closer and we are so busy. But our large-ocean-animal week was fairly successful, so I'll report on that.This week (which was a couple of weeks ago) we focused on sharks, dolphins, walruses, penguins, and manatees--basically all the stuff I planned on seeing at Sea World on our field trip (we have passes--thanks Mom and Dad!). As usual, we checked out a bunch of nonfiction books from the library and had a few fiction-y ones on loan from my mom ("Tooth Trouble" was cute, and a good one for preparing to go to the dentist). We did some reading and rhyming, and a little bit of writing (I've been bad about practicing writing :(--he's going to forget all his lower case by the time kindergarten rolls around! Oh well).And we did some projects: We made penguin costumes. OK: I did. (It was a hard morning to begin with, and the costumes were a bit under-appreciated. But I got a cute picture out of it.) We made a sand/shell collage with sea critter drawings. And I bought some diving toys shaped like some of our animals for a day the kids went swimming (DB's learning to dive for stuff).A couple of our activities were also our snacks. We tasted nori (dried seaweed--"this is what manatees eat!")--but I knew they wouldn't like it. So we made fruit makizushi--that's a sushi roll. Only we used fruit roll-ups, rice prepared with coconut milk and sugar (I think--I can't find the recipe now), and fruit in the middle. They failed because my rice was too soupy--I forgot to refrigerate it--and the fruit roll-ups were super sticky--I should have used wax paper between the rolling mat and the roll. But they tasted really yummy!We also made peanut butter balls (no-bake) and rolled them in coconut to make "snowballs." We ate "boats" for lunch one day--peppers with tuna inside. And had shark-shaped fruit snacks for bribes, of course.For movies we watched parts of March of the Penguins (it was a bit long), A Shark's Tale, and Atlantis. Free Willy was another one we could have watched (I'm saving some of the other fishy ones like Nemo for when we study fish, maybe in the fall).Then we had our field trip! I really like Sea World--the vast majority of the population won't ever get this close to these animals in the world--aquariums are not rich enough to house them--and I really think it helps a species to have publicity and interaction. I never realized how obviously intelligent dolphins are, for instance, until I saw them interacting with people from inside their tank.You could do a whole unit just on their Arctic area, which is really a transporting experience all on its own. I love the beluga whales--they look like moving, floating marble sculptures. So beautiful. We got a really good looks at a GIANT walrus this time too. And found out from our books that it isn't unusual--they just look like that~! The thing was at least 15-20 feet long, body the girth of a redwood, with a little pinhead. Weird creature.No more manatees, though. They got shipped back to Florida. Pity. CN got a great pic with her idol, Elmo, though. She couldn't WAIT to see him, and when she did, she couldn't stop hugging him! Or rather, she stood there solemnly, all snuggled into him, until it was time to go. And she went happily, satisfi[...]



Surfer Girl

2010-06-22T22:45:43.063-07:00

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Cookie-Nut is learning how to put on her own clothes. She loves to put on Dangerboy's clothes in particular. Here's CN after getting up from a recent nap. My mom, especially, will appreciate the hair.