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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lovely Busy Day

Woke up much earlier than my as-of-late-norm.
Showered.
Ate while Jess planned meals (consulted) with the Quarter Master for the next Scout campout.
Washed some dishes.
Decided where to put one of the 8 foot boxes and the kiddos' 2x2.
Welcomed Kristina, visiting for the morning.
Spent time with Kristina and her daughters.
Said goodbye.
Worked with Ria on some piano theory.
Ate lunch.
Did some dishes.
Sent Jess off to work.
Did more piano theory with Ria.
Made calls to invite sisters to the playground on Thursday to fellowship Kristina (my visitor today).
Computer for about 30 minutes.
Off to Ria's Piano class.
Walked for my 30 minute long lame walk (but all that's working with baby Tea thus far).
Picked Ria up from piano class and went home.
Put raspberry plants in water to soak.
Prepared dirt for raspberry plants.
Planted said plants.
Let the girls watch a movie (first and only one today).
Made dinner.
Talked to my Mom on the phone when she called. LOVELY!
Started 2 pizza crusts for lunch with Jess tomorrow (hopefully with Jess).
Nite nite reading with the girls, brushed teeth, prayers, tucked them into bed...
And now... a few minutes to read, write, and... watch Heroes? Hopefully!!
Or is Tea going to continue being a fuss budget?
Still have to finish the crusts.

Good day. Busy day.

Tomorrow begins Poetry Month. I'm thinking about participating in a thing, but not officially... just here on my blog. Not sure yet....

Monday, March 30, 2009

But You Won't Get a Break

I had a brief conversation with my neighbor and during the course of it she asked if Ria would be starting preschool next year. (I guess that goes to show how petite Princess Ria is. ^_^) When I told her NO, that I was homeschooling and that Ria had already started, my neighbor just looked horrified. I couldn't quite figure out why she looked so upset until she spoke those words, "But you won't get a break! When will you get a break??!" I responded with something like, "Well, I'm a home-stay Mom anyway...."

My real reaction: WOW!

You see, I know many women feel this way and would never consider homeschooling because they look forward to the idea of decreasing their responsibility for a few hours a day when the older child(ren) goes(go) off to school. But no one has ever SAID this to ME. I was rather disappointed that someone did.... I know it's a very clear window into her feelings about being a home-stay Mama, but still.

To be completely honest, I have felt very poignantly the endlessness of being with my children. Actually, up until about a year ago (maybe a little more than that) I was a pretty miserable home-stay Mom. By miserable I'm referring to the feeling I had that I didn't EVER get enough time alone... blah, blah, blah. I don't know exactly what changed, bu I'm going to guess it has a tremendous amount to do with something my dear friend Sage said to me. Her words (as many of them do) made a DEEP impact and I've been changing bit by bit ever since, I think. And, the best part, the biggest part of the change has been without much effort.

How? A weight has been slowly lifting.

Would you like to read her profound words? (Profound to me, at least.) And, please, keep in mind these words are uttered by a woman who is an easy and NATURAL Mother who loves to BE with her children and cuddle and hold them. I was expressing frustrations over a number of different home-stay-Mom issues (like not having time to myself and being over-touched). I said something like, "I feel like a bad Mom. I don't feel like I like being a Mom at all, but I WANT to like it. This is the only job I want at all, EVER... WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!!!???" I probably didn't exactly yell that last bit, but I'm sure I said it with some hysteria and probably tears, too.

What did Sage say? She said after a brief pause in which I was sure she was agreeing in her mind that I was a horrible Mother, "I think that it takes time, sometimes, to grow to love being a Mom." We discussed this idea. She confessed that she'd not had to grow to love it, but that it wasn't a horrible thing if someone did. Sage words from a most loving Mama, to me (at the time I felt like the antithesis of her!).

I'm not sure if I felt it in that moment, but I certainly have felt this pressure of self-depreciation and personal haranguing lift bit by bit ever since she said that to me! The effort on my part; perhaps I'm forgiving myself more daily and allowing myself to change in due time. Maybe I accept my bad moments with a little more grace and try to visualize myself as the Mama (Sage-like) that I want to be.... especially after a bad moment. I've been trying to re-run the scene with me behaving differently immediately following Mama acting baddly - not always successful, but trying.

Currently, most days I love being a Mama even though I still fuss too much and threaten various forms of punishment too often and send my kiddos to their rooms too often. Now-a-days, I actually spend moments of just sitting with Tea and Kat (sometimes Ria, but she's often busy with something on her own) and cuddling. This is something I didn't allow myself time for and could barely tolerate a little over a year ago. I still have a lame touch limit (too low for a good Mama), but it's getting better.

I know Father gave me this HUMONGO blessing when he put me in the way to know the sage my friend Sage!!!

So, even though my neighbor said something that would have hurt because of it's truth speaking a year or so ago, it doesn't hurt now. It just surprised me. There are moments, for sure, that I still want more time alone or something. But I do have time to myself (mostly at night and not quite completely by myself because I have Tea), but it's enough most of the time.

Isn't it wonderful, to be able to see self-improvement?

In what ways have you changed in the last year that you feel really good about? Of course, there may be something (like this one for me) that you won't even realize until there's a magnifying glass of someone's words placed over it... but still. I'm sure you've progressed in some wonderful ways and I would love to learn of those that you are aware of! ^_^

SE Regional Day of Service

April 25th, 2009. I've seen it on the Stake calendar for a while, but we just heard the word today.

There is the huge possibility that this sort of thing occurs regularly. However, I've not been a participant before. I'm REALLY excited about it, though, because I know how powerful good works on a grand scale can be. There are some studies that show that group meditation in a city for just a few hours can actually reduce the crime rate in that city. Can you imagine what good/improvements can occur when a whole REGION is working together to perform good works?!!! And please remember that when someone is served, someone sees service, someone hears about service performed, AND/or someone DOES service, the same chemical is released that creates good feelings. It's the bonding chemical of breastfeeding: oxytocin! Isn't that awesome? So there's gunna be LOTS of chemicals flowin' in brains on April 25th!! ^_^

Wish me luck in stepping WAY out of my comfort zone and asking AT LEAST ten families (in my neighborhood?) to participate with me. I definitely need it. :)

Another New Family

I'm so excited!!! It's always exciting for me to meet a new family in our Ward. Perhaps that's because it's happened so infrequently. But two times pretty recently, which is just totally cool!!

Would you believe it if I told you that this new family has three little girls? Would you believe it if I told you that each of the new family's daughters are right around the same age as mine? Well, you should believe it, because it's true!!! They have a 5 year old, a 2 year old, and a 6 month old (only 1 month older than Tea, in case you couldn't remember)!!! I KNOW, isn't that flippin' awesome!?? I'm SO excited!

I actually, like a total dork, told the Mama that when I heard about her family I decided that we just had to be best friends! One of the reasons (and I told her) that I'm so excited about her and becoming friends with her is that she has a little friend for Kat!!! You see, Kat is regularly left out of the play with Ria and _____ because Ria gets super focused on the friend and not as interested in Kat. And Kat feels pretty sad and frustrated, which is difficult for me to see. So, in addition to getting to know a new Mama with 3 daughters, I get to provide Kat with a play mate. How wonderful, right? :)

to my MOM
I'm sorry I missed your call Mom. I was either putting the girls to bed or falling asleep myself. I wasn't really watching the clock very well, so I'm not sure what EXACTLY was going on. I'm sorry connecting has been difficult. I love you!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

We did it. I think we were a couple minutes late, but still. We did an hour. I took a few pictures of our little family reading (Jess reading to the girls). Next year I'm going to try to get the word out more. I'd wanted to do a reminder post all day, but things kept getting in the way. ahwell It felt good to hear Jess tell and remind the girls that we were doing without lights to try to do our part to save Mother Earth. He wasn't totally on board when I told him about it, but he totally supported the activity when it came right down to it. Amazing that he was home, huh!?? :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

6 x 6 TAG

TAGGED by my sis.

Rules:
1. Go to your pictures on your computer

2. Go to your sixth folder
3. Go to your sixth picture
4. Post it

5. Blog about it:

"Oddly enough" this is a picture of Jessie's guitar amp. Well, the knobs part of it, anyway. He put it on Craigslist at the end of last year. He sold it so he would have money to smoke. I figured it was better for him to burn the things he values than keep wasting our food money - especially since we weren't buying our own food at the time. He wanted to buy scooters with some of the money. We did buy one for Ria and one for Kat, but he smoked his amp over about 3 months worth of cigarettes. What a waste.

I'm tagging:
Anni
Felicia
Jenny
Joesfine and Keefe
Heidi
and
if you read here: The Happy Housewife because she's just SO cool!!!

Hope In Spite of It All

I'm feeling so UP lately! I've been feeling more hope, in general, for a while. I think, actually, the turning point was after this talk by one of our Stake High Council speakers. He's a neat Doctor dude and I REALLY admired his wife. I wanted to become friends with her, but I didn't know how to get to know her. (Funny thing about that, I'm becoming friends with one of her best friends now. Strange how life works!)

You see, he was talking about how he was feeling so much hope lately, in spite of the difficulties in the economy and so forth. In my head I thought something like, "MAN, is he a NUT!??!!! I'm just feeling plain ol' scared and paranoid and like the end of things is NOW! How can he feel HOPE?!"

I didn't really REALLY think about his words and my reaction to them in the way I think about many/most things. But somehow I ended up taking on the idea of increased hope as a challenge for self-improvement. Like when the newly married sister (Lynn Sokoloff) talked about going to the temple every month when she was a teacher in my Relief Society. In my mind I said, "Oh, she can do that because she doesn't have ____ to worry about." But then, I got to thinking, "I'm only ever going to have more ____ to stop me. I should just try to do what she's doing. I'm sure it can only improve and benefit my life!" (I'm SO grateful for those around me who do so much and try so hard because I'm SO inspired and my life is improved because of efforts to be like them!!!)

And so I started including hope in my prayers. Thanking Father for things I felt hope about and in, asking for hope, and even praying like I had hope about things I wanted to hope in or about. All around I was (am) talking with Father about Hope. And ya know what? It's totally working! I know, go figure. Father actually giving us something we need? Naaahhh. ;)

Ya know that job? Jess got the paperwork today. He's starting on April 8th. I KNOW! Look at the times. And here we are getting a lift up? All praise be to the All Mighty I Am! Father is making this miracle, as with so many other miracles in our lives. I KNOW it. And I feel that part of it is so that I can never feel pride in the "doing it ourselves" bit. Has Jess put forth effort. Sure. Could he have done it on his own? Nope. Hasn't worked before.

I'm not going to drive the car, praying for an empty parking spot close enough to the entrance so I'm not late to my appointment, find one that someone is vacating just as I approach it, and then conclude my prayer saying, "Oh, never mind. I just found one!" Glory to God. I'm so VERY grateful for Hope from Him!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Walking and Ballet

Ria walked more than 2 miles today! Dance class is 1 mile each way and we did Story Time with playground time afterward this morning. She fell asleep before I could read tonight! That hasn't happened since she was itty bitty! I was shocked to find her asleep.

Today we went to a new ballet class. Ria's original class is scheduled for the Sunday performance and Ria decided she didn't want to do that (and she wouldn't have been able to anyway). Thankfully, there are two classes of the same level and they are both doing the same dance with the SAME costume! We totally lucked out. The only problem is that we have to attend an hour later than before. Since the sun isn't setting as early, this is possible. Still, sad to leave the ladies I've been hanging out with. But I see them before they leave.

I think it is meant to be. You see, I felt drawn to a lady who's daughter was in Ria's class. When the class was split, she chose to go to the later one. I couldn't because I don't feel safe walking in the dark and the 5:15pm start time would definitely have put me walking homein the DARK. Come to find out, she has cancer. With the change to her class I'm can spend time with her. Hopefully she will want to spend time with me, too and we can get together more. The even funnier (more awesome) part is that I'd heard she was not able to come to class with her daughter because her white blood count was super low. This last week her face came to my mind and a yearning to get to know her better. And then, there she was in the waiting room today! She's amazing! I'm so looking forward to hanging out with her next week!!!! ^_^

Oh, tomorrow we have our Quarterly Primary Activity Day. It should be fun. I know Ria (and Kat) will have a blast. Thankfully my Ward's Primary Leadership are super loving and accepting of Kat tagging along with Ria everywhere!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Think of Us

If you think of us when you pray and would like to offer some words on our behalf, it would be nice if you would include something along the lines that we will be assured of choosing the best way as we proceed through some forks in our path. It's good change. Exciting. Just a bit... scary. As most change is, for me.

Jess has been offered a job. The pay is better than either current job. He'll be training for a leadership position (read HUGE increase in ONE job pay and probably sufficient for our needs, so he wouldn't have to work TWO jobs after that promotion happens, which will occur after training!). And the new place is fine with paying overtime. YIPPEE!!! If that's not change enough, we have to decide which of his current jobs to let go. I suppose it could work out that he keeps all 3 (with the two current ones being worked as very part-time), but that seems unlikely.

So, if you would, please... think of us.

Tea's Five Months Old Today

Can you believe it? It feels like her life is just flying right by me! I guess this is what happens as a fam grows.

I've been trying to share how awesome she is, bit by bit. But I figure since it's her birthday anniversary it'd be a good time to update you once more on her progress.

Tea has been reaching for my food and AVIDLY watching her sisters and parents eat since she was AT LEAST 2 months old. I'm sure there are some who would say I'm cruel for not letting her have what she wanted, but I didn't. I have, for a couple of weeks, given her teeny tiny tastes of things. She LOVES it!! I've been increasing tastings (heehee) and she has actually started to vocally fuss for food when she sees me eating ANYthing.

So, what has she tried? LOTS! I'll give you a list that doesn't include everything simply because I can't remember everything:
rice (like 2 or 3 grains at a time) with flavorings (like oyster sauce, YUM!)
pumpkin pudding (less than a whole teaspoon when it's all said and done)
broccoli (a couple of the tiny little flower bits in oyster sauce)
ice cream (see amount of pumpkin)
squash (very squishy and about the size of a run down eraser with the total being about a teaspoon)
potato (see squash)
chocolate frosting (same amount as pudding)
tomato (about the same amount as squash)
tomato sauce (spaghetti topping, about as much as pudding)
carrot (see amount of squash)

And all that food has been spread over the last month with about half of it tried and tasted in the last week or so. She LOVES it. You can just see her little brain thinking, "Oh! I'm SUCH a big girl! I'm doing something just like Ria!" Tea has EYES for her Ria (and Daddy)! Just like Kat. Have I told you about how Kat will run to greet Ria when she and Daddy have been out somewhere? Yep. She'll run right PAST Jess and run to hug Ria yelling, "Ria, Ria's home!" the whole way!!! ^_^ What a sweet scene for this Mama to witness.

Tea is sitting up strong and tall. I'll put her in the stroller I use in the house and then move it without warning her and she'll still sit up straight! I sit her on the floor, though she does NOT like it when she falls on the cold tile (I think it bruises her pride cause it doesn't leave a mark).

She's balancing well on all fours! Her best time has been about 3 minutes! Okay, so that may not sound terribly impressive, but she weighs SEVENTEEN POUNDS! So, cut the chunker a break, will ya! ^_^

Did I mention she weighs 17 pounds? For some perspective, Ria weighed 18 pounds at 1 year old. Kat currently weighs 27 pounds and Ria is a "whopping" 37 pounds (my petite princess)!! Amazing, right?

This little one LOVES paper! She'll sit and play and suck on paper indefinitely. I think the longest has been about 45 minutes so far. This is SO much like Ria, it's uncanny! But Ria was in love with paper at about 6 months. Tea started with her love affair at about 3 months!!!!!! Seriously. She hasn't successfully ripped paper on her own, but she loves to watch as we rip it. (Have you seen to YouTube of the baby laughing over papering ripping? What a riot!)

Tea continues to be a sweet and happy baby. She does let me know if I've not attended her for too long, but she entertains herself delightfully for quite long groupings of minutes. She's a doll! Both yesterday and today she laughed! And what a JOY to hear!!!! Yesterday Ria was doing something to entertain her and Tea just started giggling! Today I did something to distract her from fussing at me and she started giggling. What a PLEASURE!

I think it was Monday that I finally tried out my plan for future exercise walking (without my planned, hoped, and wished for triple jogger! *sigh*). Kat is happy to assist as the BIG sister and give Tea toys to play with in the trailer (my babyjogger double convertible stroller). Ria is walk/running next to me as I walk. It's working quite well thus far except that Ria has been complaining about her legs and feet being sore. *sigh* We really are out of shape! Tonight when I complimented her on her walk (she didn't run much today), she was glowing and said, "We really are getting stronger, Mom!"

Prior to this nite nite exchange, as we were getting ready to go on our third walk for the week today, Ria said to me, quite out of nowhere, "You know, Jesus is very happy about the choices you're making. It's really good that you're trying to get strong so you can have lots more babies!" I smiled and said, "Oh, is that right? And how many more babies do you think we'll have?" She thought and then replied, "Just lots more." Me, "Well, what kind of number is lots?" Ria, "I think you need to have 8 babies." Funny. This is a REALLY common number from her. hmmm....

I think I've mentioned this before, but since it's a Tea post, it's worth restating. This baby is a focused one! She'll sit and work with the same thing for ages! It's not play with her. I mean, I think there are babies that play with things, but Tea will FOCUS and specifically TRY to do something and not stop until it happens or she gets just too darn frustrated. Frustration usually sets in quickly when she's tired. As long as she's well rested, though, it'll take a good 15-20 minutes of working on something for her to get frustrated. Amazing, right? This is very similar to Ria. Kat was much more willing to sit back and watch (and still is). Tea does observe more than Ria did... probably partially because she has more TO observe! ^_^

Tea is not walking and she's not talking yet. That's a big joke with my Ward Family. "So, is she walking yet?" After she was born and her weight was announced (10 pounds 4 ounces), someone in Sunday school asked Jessie if the baby came out walking and talking - since she was already a toddler. ! ? (ahwell) They love her.

But I'm sure she will officially crawl soon (more than the scooting thing she does already) and walking will not take long tafterward. I'm sure this is partially because I look forward to her walking days! She'll become playmate, not just watcher, at that point! And, OH, how I can see that she WANTS to be in the midst of things!

A blessing and a joy
our Theresa Diane!

Anniversary and a Good Chance

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!

I'm a day late in the blog world, but I did call yesterday! I hope you heard the message ON the day.

You've been married for 34 years. How does that feel? Good, I hope. Hope the day was good and there was some time to just be and think about the years stacked together. I can only imagine.

And now

since this is MY blog

I'm going to make it about ME! It's my party, after-all.


There's a very good chance that, at the time I'm writing this, 34 years ago, I existed as a glob of cells in my Mama's uterus. Yes, people, conception on wedding night, by George! Dad said it couldn't happen. Doc said it was like missing the broad side of the barn (couldn't miss if they tried!). And I say... "MAN, I sure was ready, eh? I'm glad they were willing!" ^_^


And that

is how

Tori

came to be.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Confession

I'm not perfect. I know, WHAT a surprise, right!?? I mean, come on! I homeschool... I should be perfect at everything, right? Obviously and definitely NOT!

I was writing a comment that turned into a blog post in itself and I realized I wanted to share the basic message of my comment turned blog here. Perhaps "wanted" is a bit much. I felt, since I'm trying to be more bald - not naked, just bald - that I should share it.

So, I've got this thing. It's a bad thing. And here is my thing: I judge people harshly when I learn they are trying to NOT have children. It's not an angry kind of judgement. It's a 'sad for you' kind. Not that one is better than another. I just want to explain in case you think you might have been on the end of it... not that either feels good. Oh crud. Can I dig any deeper? I AM trying to change this thing.

Okay, so "thing" is being really easy on myself. It's a sin. I'm sinning. I'm a sinner. Okay. Are you happy now? I realize this shortcoming and I am and HAVE BEEN trying to change myself and my thoughts about this issue. It's slow coming, but I think I'm making some progress.

Our experiences and circumstances create the atmosphere necessary to teach us the things we need to know. Right now they are teaching me a bit of compassion for those who want to prevent pregnancy or limit their family size... though only the first is true for me thus far. You see, I feel VERY strongly (theoretically AND in practice previously) that I/we/they should accept Father's Will and bring as many children into our Families as He would lend to us. I feel this. I believe it. I KNOW that Father will provide as long as we will submit our will to His. So, really, I KNOW I need to be submissive and allow Father's Will to work in my life.

But I'm struggling.

I'm afraid to get preggie again. Can you imagine? To be more correct in statement: I don't want to get preggie again right now. So, what's the problem? I feel that the next baby is more ready than the previous 2 (interpretation: the next baby will arrive in less than 2 yeas from the birth of my Tea baby). As I consider it, it's not that I don't want to get preggie... it's more than I don't want to go into labor. Since one leads to inevitable conclusion: the other, I'm SCARED! I'm afraid of having another THREE DAY LONG LABOR! I mean, come ON! Labors are supposed to DEcrease in duration, not INcrease!

You hear that BODY, my body!!!

And so I'm trying to not get preggie yet. And this goes completely against what I believe! And, but the way, I KNOW through my own judgement that I'm prideful, selfish, and totally sinning in so being. I'm trying to change my mind. I'm trying to change my heart. But I feel stuck.

Tea's midwife said, basically, that I just have to trust that when the time comes His strength will suffice and it'll all work out the way it's supposed to work. And I totally believe that. It's just this one piece that won't slip into place in my head right now. :(

And so. I confess: I'm not perfect. I'm a sinner (in way more ways than just this, but I'll not confess them all now). And the worst part is that I'm not allowing the Atonement to work in my life, cause if I was this fear wouldn't exist AND I KNOW IT!!!!

Stake Conference - General Session

I couldn't write this yesterday. It was still working into my... hmmm... psyche? Trying to more fully understand my feelings about the wonderful experiences.

The most amazing and unique opening prayer was offered. I've never been in a meeting where one of this sort was offered. Honestly, I couldn't hear a lot of it, but I heard enough. I heard what I needed to hear. It was offered by our Stake's Patriarch. He began with something about praying for us as if he was laying his hands upon each of us to bestow a blessing. I was taken aback by that, but tried to listen even harder, perhaps, than normal.

Much of what was said isn't terribly unique. One of the things is oft repeated in the Book of Mormon. That is: if ye keep Father's Commandments, ye shall prosper in the land. Patriarch didn't say those words, but the message was similar... more along the line of being protected rather than prospered, I think.

The one thing that rang loudly in my mind - I heard most clearly above all else - was that I would (each of us) be a blessing to others at the meeting. I felt sad about this because I'd tried to find a young woman I met only briefly at the Sports' Invitational Activity. She was one of only a few people I met and because of a few things, I felt like Heavenly Father had wanted me there specifically for her. I told her before I left that I was going to look for her at Stake Conference.

I did. I wasn't as early as I meant to be, but I did look for her. I didn't find her. So, during the opening prayer I felt sad. How could I do what I felt I was supposed to do (befriend her further), if I couldn't even find her.

And what do you know... I had to leave to nurse Tea. (Of course, no meeting would be complete without some booby juice for baby!) ^_^

I forgot where the Mother's Lounge was, so I wandered the whole building before I found it. Finally I sat and had her latched on, eating, and almost done. And in walks... have you guessed? YES! Her!! And I felt a wash of peace. I also felt this slight sadness over missing the talks, but then I couldn't because THOSE words from the blessing/opening prayer rang through my mind!

We exchanged numbers this time and she's planning to come to visit this week. I helped her meet a lady in her Ward boundaries (she's been attending her Mother's Ward) and that lady introduced her to someone she knows already.... Miracles all, really. Especially with the time available (little).

Sharing all this WHY??? Because I feel SO blessed. I feel such a strengthening of this burning testimony I have that Heavenly Father knows us each as individuals and is mindful of us. He has used others as instruments in His Masterful hands to work miracles in my life. I would never have guess that being a minor instrument, as I hope I was today, could feel like an even bigger blessing than the things I feel I've received from others I KNEW as instruments in bringing miracles to life in my little world.

One bit of a talk I heard while I was spending time with this sweet Sister in the Mother's Lounge (you always hear what you need - even when taking care of a little one and/or talking with someone who needs you) was about Service. Basically it went something like: We shouldn't serve for ____ reason, or for ____, or to receive blessings, or for ______... we should Serve because of Charity. We should serve because we Love the Lord and we Love our Brothers and Sisters. There have been times I've served for the wrong reasons. I'm sure I will continue to serve for the wrong reasons too much of the time (like my temple trips... they are, at this point a selfish trip for me - even though they benefit others, too). I hope I'm changing. Does Father still work through our weaknesses - FOR SURE, but I still want to be a more righteous servant - always trying to be more.

Tea

This may be TMI for the baby-pooh uninitiated. Heck, it may be just TMI... but cute. To me.

So, Jess took Tea to the bathroom when he needed to sit after he came home from work so she could have some time with him. He sat her in her car seat, kept in there for that purpose (it's older than 5 years and didn't you know they aren't any good after that! I KNOW, I didn't know!). Anyway...

He sat there doing his thing and she sat there doing hers. Seriously! I only wish it was a little kiddy potty she'd been sitting on! I walked by the bathroom and heard her gruntin' somethin' fierce. "No, she isn't!?" And Jessie said, "Oh, yes she is. And MAN has she filled it." And then continuing in his slighty higher more lilting baby talk voice he says, "Did you fill it up so much you're leaking? I hope you're not leaking all over the place!" ^_^ I did say it was cute, didn't I? Well, THAT is CUTE to ME!! ((*_*))

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wanna Watch a GREAT Movie?

I've been keeping a secret. I don't know why. But I've decided to share the secret with you. You could probably find it pretty easily on your own, but I'm going to share it anyway.

The secret? A great site to find online movies. LOTS of them! It's awesome. Jess and I have found a few, but this one is THE best. Sometimes not the best quality of uploads, but the best for variety and number of both old and new movies. It's called Watch Movies dot net, but if you just click the link you'll pop on over. The specific link is for the movie I'm feeling compelled to tell you about.

Do you like thought provoking movies? Do you like Nick Cage? Do you like Sci-Fi? Do you like movies that suggest interpretations of prophecy concerning the End of Days? I, personally, would have to answer yes to all of those. So, this was a particularly enjoyable movie for me. But, even if I answered no to any of them, I think it would be interesting to the answerer.

Knowing (title of the movie). WOW.





DO tell me if you've seen or do see this movie and what YOU think of it!

How The Affair Began

You know, my love affair with books, silly. Okay, so I found this cool blog about books. And I wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings about them (books).

What’s your favorite book?

Honestly, my favorite book is The Book of Mormon because it has brought more peace and power to my life than any other single thing.

I think, however, this is not the sort of book the questioner was thinking about. So, I'd have to say my favorite "ppular book" would have to be... huh... I really don't have one. I could say Twilight, but not because it's particularly well written - more because of what it represents to me. (See favorite author for more.)

Favorite author?

Stephanie Myer because the fact that she wrote Twilight in 3 months after having a dream (read chapter 13, I think) and then was signed and everything within 6 months of the dream... Uh, can I say, AWESOME!?? Additionally, the fact that she did all that AND has 3 kiddos... can I say, "I'm inspired!" Well, I am. A writer wanna be (okay, so I write, but I'm not widely published), her success whispers, "You can do it,too!" And so, I keep hoping and the hope is a little bit bigger. ^_^

First book you can remember reading?

Maybe FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC by VC Andrews. My "early" reading was pretty Romance genre specific. ugh

Book that changed (or challenged) your life?

#1 Book of Mormon and Bible (tie)

The Five People You Meet in Heaven, various Chicken Soup books, The Sixth Sense, Hands of Light, and Square Foot Gardening

Worst book ever read?

I think even the worst have contributed the person I am now. I don't always make the best choices and I'm certainly not perfect, but I like me... so they couldn't have been too bad. :) I can't remember them... either because I couldn't finish them (so don't count it as a book read) or have forgotten them on purpose (most likely).

What you’re reading now?

Whipping through my magazines now. I'll get another library book on Thursday. The last one I read was quite good, but I can't even remember what the title was! :(

Book you’d recommend?

The Book of Mormon!! No, seriously. It's good for any and everyone!!! Even if you read it as "just" a history or like a novel, even, it's inspiring and helpful - assuming you're on the side of "light" (versus dark and the evil one).

I also really like: Gone With The Wind, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Sixth Sense (NOT a book about the movie), and The Ship Who Sang.


Now, you answer the questions! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm SO Excited!

Today has been an at-home-BUSY-day! I'm so excited with what has been accomplished and I just wanted to share!! ^_^

So, I've been "in talks" with our landlord to re-think the whole NO GARDEN in the lease bit for a while (around TWO months!). He finally consented to allow us to have a garden as long as we will #1 remove the dirt and wood (Square Foot Gardening) when we move AND #2 will take care of any problems the city may present (read: pay any fines). I sent a note in with the rent check declaring that we would, indeed, do those things. So, I'm pushing ahead full-steam since we have our tax return money back.

Today I purchased a good sized order of long-term Food Storage. I'm sacrificing the triple jogger I had my heart set on and firmly determined to purchase, in favor of additional FS. I'm sad about that, but I feel it's WAY more important to build up our FS at this point. If we can save enough for the stroller AFTER our FS is up where I want it (at least 1 year supply of LTFS long term food storage for each person), THEN I'll get it... or, maybe, with next Tax Return (if we've been able to add sufficient food to our stores AND we're not preggie). Both Kat and Tea were, in large part, paid for by tax return moneys... so that could suck up the whole lot (assuming there IS such a thing as a tax return next year!).

In addition to the FS purchase, I searched and hunted and chose heirloom seeds to plant in our garden. Since the garden isn't even built and set up yet, I'm obviously VERY far behind schedule. But I've been greatly blessed in our gardens before (up in VA), so I'm hoping Father will favor us here even though I'm not timely... it's mostly my fault, but not completely. I'm SO excited about the seeds I found and chose. We're going to have some great variety and tastey foods!!! I've put in the banner of one of the stores I purchased from at the top of this section. The other is Amishland Heirloom Seeds. The former is less expensive, but the latter has TONS of info on each varietal and is obviously run by someone who is passionate about what she does! They both have a wide variety. The seeds are not certified organic, but many are (or are very close to being). Heirloom seeds are more valuable to me than a seed that is simply certified organic (hybrids could be organic!). Heirlooms will reproduce what you're hoping to get, organic hybrids won't! I'd rather get what I want and reliably grow what I think I am from what I've grown before (I'm a seed saver!). Also, since they are heirloom, they are NOT genetically modified, so there aren't any chromosome changing chemicals in them... AND any strength against pests is inherent, not PUT there by man (well, unless you count selection and hand fertilization of some, but I don't).

Jess will probably have a VERY busy week coming up... He's already got one appointment set up for a job interview on one morning (before he goes to work at the Cafe). He's trying to set up another one. AND I need to use the van (so he'll be along since he's more comfy doing this stuff anyway) to pick up the untreated lumber, posts, lattice, screws (if we don't have the size we need), dirt, manure, pearlite (may not use this time), and peat moss.... I'm SO excited! Then, of course, we (read: Jessie) will have to put the boxes together (thankfully we can get the wood cut at Lowes or Home Depot (wherever we go for the purchase). Then the remainder will be: lay out the newspaper, fill in with dirt, and plant. I'm pretty sure I can get that last section of 3 steps done well on my own... but the last time I tried to get a screw through a hole (predrilled for me by Jess) I almost split the wood! That drill/driver is very powerful! I had to wedge the wood in place and then hold it with my legs... I'm sorely lacking upper body strength and always have been. ahwell... that's what hubbies are for, right? :)

I'm sure he'll be happy to do that one step of the process (even if it is pretty big with the whole trip to the store and all) so that we can have the end results we would like. I'm REALLY hoping for enough produce to put some up in store! If successful, this will will be my FIRST time doing any HOME canning... I REALLY hope I get to because that's an ability I REALLY want to develop. I'll tell ya how that goes - whether you want me to or not. :)

Oh, I'm still waiting for my raspberry bushes to arrive. Do you remember that deal I told you about? The $20 free, all you pay is shipping, deal from a nursery... Spring Hill, me thinks. I'm not sure if it's still on, but they have quite a few items to choose from that are $20 and under! Have you checked it out? Did you get anything? I'd love to compare notes on the plants, if you have!!! ^_^

A Nice Guy

Jess has been SO nice the last few days! I can really tell he's trying to control his frustrations and interact and react kindly. It's made SUCH a difference in my feelings about our home, life, and family! I know the saying goes that "If Mama aint happy, aint nobody happy" and I do believe that's sort of true. But I have to say, from my own experience, at least, that if Jess isn't happy, I don't feel as able to put on a happy face!

Generally, it's pretty difficult for me to "fake it until I make it" in my daily like where happiness is concerned. Why is this? I've been wondering about this a lot lately. I can fake it when there are other people around, but alone (well, alone with kiddos) it's not nearly so easy. I'm lame, maybe?

What helps you to just BE happy each day (especially the ones that don't go so well)? And I'm asking about specific thoughts or activities that help you BE happy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Party ova HEEEaaaa!!!!


Ultimate Blog Party 2009

It's the Ultimate Blog Party! March 20-27. You want in? Click on over and join the fun. Seriously. Everyone is welcome. They've even got a section for dudes! You could be the first (I just checked a couple minutes ago and no one had entered a Mr. Linky in the section.

Oh, did I mention there are prizes? There are! And you don't have to blog to be eligible to win!!! Pretty flippin' great, huh!?

So, I'm supposed to introduce myself to visitors from the party. If you REALLY want to get to know me, look at the top of my blog and click on the About Me page. Otherwise:

I'm Mom to 3 lovely little ladies ranging in age from 5 years to 4 months old. I'm quiverful and have no idea what our family's magic number will be, but I know we have at least one someone still missing.

I'm married to a Chef, which does not make losing the chunks (as my eldest put it) from my bod easy. Not that it would be easy to begin with since I've been mostly full of chunks (with a few breaks) for the better part of my life. :( Still trying to change it back to one of those breaks during which I was a lovely slender size 10, the smallest I've ever been.

We homeschool! This is made significantly easier by the support of my hard working (as in TWO jobs) hubby who also takes part in working with our girls as a teacher - when he has some time.

My hobbies and interests are diverse. I'd say I'm a "Jackie-of-many-trades-master-of-few"! I love to spend time with my fam, hang out with friends, read, write, sing (though I'm REALLY not good at that one!), learn to play the piano with my 5 year old, draw, paint, sculpt, crochet, hook (as in make rugs with those cool kits, but I don't even know the proper name for!), bake, study/research VARIOUS topics, learn, walk, watch movies, garden (hoping to have one for the first time in two YEARS!!), and blogging!

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Currently I'm serving as Activity's Chairperson. However, my main function in my calling has been more of a gatherer... almost a secretary for events and "enforcer". I'll have to share some on that for my regular readers at some point in the near future. Remind me, if you want to hear about it and I seem to have forgotten!

I'm really big on preparedness, even though we don't have a year's supply for each member of our family yet. We also don't have adequate outdoor gear (which I feel is definitely part of the whole preparedness thing!). But we're striving, my "dry Mormon" hubby and me. ^_^

And, as the title of my blog says, We Keep Choosing US! We're staying together through all the troubles and we keep on keepin on!

My Prize Picks:
#7 Ergo Baby Carrier by A Giveaway Addicted Mommy

#25 (1) The Dot Girl’s First Period Kit, (1) Before She Gets Her Period by Jessica Gillooly, PhD and (2) Scensibles Disposal bag 50 pack boxes by Dot Girl First Period Products

USC 52 Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate by Natalie Wickham/Pajama School Blog

#10, USC 11, USC 54, USC 54, #19, & #21 are some of my other choices. :)


I just found this awesome Comments game over at Mrs. Marine. I hope you'll play! Here are the directions:

Just leave a comment and answer my question! Then, you ask a question that the next commenter answers. If someone forgets to ask a new question, just answer my question!

My Question:
What's in your Wallet/purse/or diaper bag (the one you carry EVERYwhere)?

It's a Cruel Cruel Joke

Seriously. It has to be!

12:35am I turn off the light to go to sleep. Tea has been sleeping soundly for the last 1.5 hours + some, maybe. (I've been finishing some cakes I started making before we left for Ward Council.) I'm feeling really wiped out after the meeting and really pretty excited about getting to sleep AN HOUR earlier than my earliest "usual" (since before Tea was born)! My brain is even racing through some possibilities for the morning... like going out for a good hard walk. I haven't been out in the morning (except for Story Time) in ages simply because I'm so flippin' tired!

I rest back on my pillow and Tea stirs. I hold my breath. "No, it can't be!" I think. "She's been sleeping SO hard. She has to stay asleep!"

She starts wiggling to scoot over near to Jess, like she's looking for him, which she does regularly. (He fell asleep in the girls room and hasn't moved to ours even though I woke him up a few minutes before.)

Tea starts talking. It's her loud, "I wanna DO something!" sort of call. :( And after a few more, I resign myself to NOT getting to sleep early, to NOT having the energy to walk in the morning... and to NOT moving any closer to having a "normal" sleep schedule.

*sigh*

Maybe tomorrow I'll be tired enough at midnight to try again. I just hope Tea's tired enough to actually sleep AND stay asleep!

We'll see. Be thinkin of me! (please)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Miss Sunday = Sick by Tuesday?

This is only a minor exaggeration. Not ALL of us were sick by Tuesday. Kat was, though. And then Ria got it Wednesday. Jess had a tummy ache Wednesday night. (While Jess has been sick a bit more than usual since Tea was born, he normally doesn't even GET a tummy ache!) I woke up SUPER early today (Thursday) with some sort of run-to-the-bathroom-think-I'm-gunna-puke stuff. So, while it may not, in reality, be a one to one sort of thing, it sure feels like it!

Although I didn't say it specifically, it is true that we did miss church this past Sunday. The reason? My sleep issues and Jess just not wanting toget up and go. I actually could NOT sleep at ALL until it was time to get up and get ready for church! :( Now, I'm sort of used to "sleeping" for 1-3 hours before church because of mysort of standard sleep issues, "new" baby in our house, being on a cruddy schedule for the 3 months before Tea was born (working from 9pm until 3-5am), and hormones. All of which have been making a "normal" sleep schedule unlikely, if not impossible for the last 4+ months.

In my opinion, the worst Sundays to miss in the year = the Sunday right before Stake Conference, the one before General Conference, and any Sunday on which you've specifically been asked to DO something (like give a talk). And what do I do? Two out of three. Usually when I say that I'm thinking, "two outta three ain't bad," but in this case it IS and I STILL feel bad. This coming Sunday is Stake Conference (lovely 1 hour drive each way) AND last Sunday I was supposed to give a 2-3 minute talk for a baptism.

So, why didn't I just go to church on no sleep? Well, I almost did. But, you see, I have problems enough with "seeing" things. You know, like you see a face in the different colors on some tile. Please tell me you know what I mean! Well, I regularly "see" things inthat way like in the popcorn on the ceiling (you know the sticky-outty stuff made by the way they finished the ceiling), our floor tiles, the concrete outside, spilled milk or other foods, and elsewhere. It's MUCH worse when I'm tired. There was this one day I'd only slept a couple of hours before driving to AND from the temple (Jess was too tired). We had to stop at a gas station for something or other. When Jess came back to the van I asked him if he saw ____ talking to each other. I don't remember what was in the blank, faces maybe? Jess looked at me like I'd lost a few marbles between his departure and arrival and then told me he would drive. I clarified that I was referring to faces(?) in the concrete and he made me give up my seat. So, trying to function on less than 2 hours of sleep is not a wise move for me at this "late" stage in my life. I'm ONLY 33!!!

It's hard for me to imagine that I used to stay up for 3 days in a row and still feel IN my head!!! I think, though, that the hormones constantly coursing through my system (extra, I mean) since I got preggie with Ria almost 6 years ago could play a part! What do YOU think? Am I just a bit nuttier than most or effected by sleep deprivation in a rather normal way? I'm sure you can guess which I think (the latter NOT the former), but I'd like to know what YOU think (of me). ^_^

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why I Post So Much Lately

I like to write. If you know me, you already know that.

What you may not know is that another big reason for my numerous posts as of late is... well, part of it is that I have more to share. But the not so positive part (and I'm trying to be more "bald") is that I'm hoping to be heard. I don't feel heard in my life. Perhaps most homestay Mamas do? Mostly, for me, it's because I end up listening much of the time... (I know! Can you imagine??) or talking just to help others feel at ease. I'm not really expressing much of anything really pertinent to my own feelings at the time, much of the time. Pretty sad, huh?

The worst part is yet to be said.

I felt this sort of kinship to a woman I don't know (sometimes so easy, right!) who was sharing her experience of being a newly married wife of an Army man (I think that's the correct branch) in Panama. What for, the kinship, you might wonder. Because she felt lonely and was totally looking forward to the arrival of her hubby at home. She mentioned that she didn't like him that much, not terribly kinshippy feeling on that bit for me. But still.... I look forward to Jess coming home, but then I keep on feeling lonely because he doesn't much actually listen. It's sad and depressing, but that's, at least, how it feels.

Okay, so I know I have lots to say. But I like to listen to him (almost all the time). I just wish he would reciprocate... you know! DO you know??

Living Under a Rock

I must be. I don't feel like I am. But then I watch a little musical number by two awesome and comedic musicians (you can find two of their YouTubes if you scroll down just a bit), and I think I must... live under a rock, I mean. I did not know what the ShamWow was. Do YOU?

Additionally, I didn't know a thing about the whole HBO polygamist show until I heard people discussing it at Ria's dance class, I think. And I only learned about the temple episode of that show from Blogs. One was a sort of explanation of the episode (for any who hadn't seen it) and the other was an AWESOME explanation of temples, at least, of how temples are for most believers.

Let me direct your attention to the amazing and wonderful blog, in general. It contains the blog post I referred to as being an awesome explanation (above). It's a part of a blog site I find uplifting and inspiring on a VERY regular basis. It's probably, after family blogs, my favorite place to read (out of all the blogs I enjoy). Please read Ruth Mitchell's post.

It's lovely, don't you think?!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Had Tears

I laughed so hard I actually had tears. Do tell me if it tickles your funny bone.






These guys are just too cool!!!

My Ward's Most Recent Activity

Friday the 13th (another one!) at 6:30pm we had our second Ward Activity since I've had my new calling. (Happy birthday -again- H and C!!!)

Thus far it seems that my biggest job is the night of the event. I run around making sure things are proceeding on schedule, meeting visitors (which I would do anyway), taking pictures, and helping where there is any need of help. I do have to do some arranging before and probably after because of our outreach program, but mostly it's THE night of. It's good, though.

You know what my biggest challenge is? Not being able (read: allowed) to do everything myself! I have SUCH awesome ideas for the activities for my Ward, but because of the way it's working (as per my leadership) I don't get much say when it boils right down to it. Overall, I'm okay with that, but I feel some sorrow over having to let go of some of my hopes for service projects once a quarter and such. *sigh* The other part of that huge difficulty is turning over responsibilities and then just trusting that they will be fulfilled! Can you imagine me having a hard time with that? Well, the Lord knew. And He put me in a work that will test my limits, let me tell you!

Friday's activity was a wonderful and joyful success. The Young Women's Auxiliary of the Ward were responsible for the activity, overall, and especially the program for the night. They put on a wonderful play (for New Beginnings - a way for upcoming YW to be introduced and perhaps easier for any less active families to attend) about Lucky (female) the Leprauchan taking a journey along the rainbow TO her pot of gold. If you know the YW's program, you'll probably guess that it had to do with the YW's virtues since they are all the colors of the rainbow. The part that touched me most deeply when our YW's Pres was telling me about it AND in the skit was the pot of gold at the end. You see, the new virtue, Virtue, is Gold! So, Lucky collected all the colors of the rainbow (rainbow colored clovers) on her journey and then ended with her pot of gold, which also held a gold clover. It was lovely!

We also had a chili dinner. Almost every single person who signed up to bring something was also physically present! Another way to say that is, we had a wonderful turnout. I think everyone in attendance had a good time. We had a visiting family, a less active family, and a Sister who will be baptised tomorrow in attendance. It was really nice. I was running around most of the time, but I think it was really nice! I was just really happy to see so many from my Ward in attendance. It certainly warmed my heart.

And we started almost on time! I think we were only 5 minutes late in our start time, which was close to my goal of starting right on time. Still working on that part. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What Kind of Homeschooler are YOU?

I am an eclectic homeschool/un-schooler!

I'm currently working on un-schooling myself and have been so doing for a good while. I have come to feel, more and more, that the "sit down and study" way of doing things doesn't work nearly as well as "hey, look at this and let's learn more!" way of doing things. The former would be what most people think of when they think of schooling or any sort. The latter is more the way Un-schoolers' way to "do school". I'm not there yet, but I'm moving in that direction.

The traditional homeschooler will have their children in a desk or at a table completing workbooks and reading textbooks. Not unlike the schooling children receive (?) in the system for teaching large groups of kiddos. Unschoolers DO things. They'll take trips (obviously I haven't been doing this much as I haven't had a vehicle), make things, watching things, etc and then talk about their experiences. The conversations are the "tests" and the doing is the "classroom". I seek to emulate this practice more. Yet I do feel there are subjects and types of information (like Math!) that I do not feel confident in teaching adequately by following an un-schooling philosophy. Thus the eclictic homeschooler part of who I am as a homeschoolin Mama.

My move toward more un-schooling may have more to do with a shift in perception and understanding than actually un-schooling myself. But I DO think I have to get rid of many (even most!) of my teacher-education and expectations resulting from that "higher" education because it all often leads to frustration and lack of acknowledgment of the REAL learning that is and has taken place in our homeschool environs. Most of those real learning times that I can see more clearly now really had nothing to do with sitting at a table or in a desk.

Thus far in my homeschooling journey, we have used two "formal" curricula. I've mentioned them before (How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Math-U-See). I also ascribe to some Charlotte Mason principles. Outsourcing parts of my kiddos education via classes (like Dance) and/or tutors (like Piano) is awesome and I do and will apply them as necessary and possible.

Additionally, I have grown to see the value and wonder of unstructured time and play for my children! I didn't see or understand this idea nearly so clearly when Ria was itty bitty. As a result I was constantly working with her on some-schooly-thing or other. Kat has a much more active imaginary world than Ria did. I'm sure this is partially because she has an older sister, but I'm equally sure it has to do with the time I have purposefully left her to her imaginary play, which has been regular and often. She is quick and bright when I "do school" with her, if she's interested, of course. When she's not interested, she's just like a regular two-year-old. And that's certainly okay... since that's what she IS! She's also a different learner. She doesn't prefer to sit the way Ria pretty easily tolerated at the same age. It will be interesting to figure out what works for Kat... and HOW to make it work!

I plan to continue to use those curricula (mentioned above) and possibly add others as I feel a need and/or desire. I've heard a few awesome comments and read more about Apologia Sciences and I'm really interested in that cirriculum. However, I do NOT expect that I will ever WANT to purchase a full on one-source-curriculum for any age/grade of a child or children of mine. I'm totally happy, content, and confident with the practice of remaining on our current course as an eclectic homeschooler with un-schooling tendencies! It totally works thus far. If it seems to NOT work at some point, I will re-evaluate and make changes so that it continues TO work!

Why, in the world!, would I try to fix something that is NOT broken!?? Well, I'm not going to. And (in response to many who make a comment (those near and far), even accusation, on the same subject of my reply): if I'm a mean Mama because I'm doing what I believe and, yes, even KNOW is best for MY children, then so be it. I would rather be "mean" as these individualS perceive me, then feel less confident in the presence of my Father when I stand before Him to be judged on my stewardship. This is NO judgment from ME against any one else's choices. But I stand firm and steadfast in my own.

I know that almost every parent out there is simply doing the hardest job possible: the best they can in general, but specifically the best they can by their kids. So why is it that others give ME a hard time when I'm doing the VERY same thing? *sigh* We're traveling in the same direction, we're just taking different roads. Mine is better for me, but may not be better for them. I'm all right with parents who really are doing their best. Can they be all right with me? I don't try to "convert" them to homeschooling. I simply talk about my own experiences. They, parents who send their kids to school, often do try to convert or guilt me onto their road. :( This is not Father's way. We ALL have agency. Not just the mainstream!!

So... I'll stick to my eclectic homeschooling with un-schooling ways, thank you.

If you homeschool, what kind of homescooler are you??

Want to read what others homeschoolers say about various and diverse subjects? Click on over to The Homeschool Cafe for the Carnival of Homeschooling. It's Blarney in celebration of St. Patty's Day. I'm participating. If you homeschool, why don't you do it, too!?? The more the merrier, I hear. :)

I Think...

I might participate in the Carnival of Homeschooling. It's sort of like a linkup, but much more labor intensive... and, of course, the main subject is Homeschooling! :)

As I was looking around to determine if I would participate, I found this great YouTube. The creator is the next host of the carnival I'm going to do, I think. It's really neat.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Working, and Love It

I loved the last(?) talk by Elder Wurthlin. I think it's one of the finer things. The title was: Come What May, and Love It. My title is a bit of a spin, but I think his talk and the information in it pertain here.

This week has been unusually busy. I'm absolutely amazed that it's late Thursday night. I really shouldn't be after today. This was an especially busy day, admittedly, but I'm having more and more of these. This is not bad, but I'm also not used to it. I'm not quite to the point I want to be: Working, and Love It.

I've been pondering so much in the last month or so that I really need to be good with working almost constantly. Being worn out isn't bad, at least, I feel I need to have this attitude. I honestly can't remember what cause the initial flip of the switch (to ON), but somehow I realized in the recent past that death is not a time to rest from all our work... we'll get to rest from all our cares. HUGE difference there. For whatever reason, I'd somehow amalgamated the two (work and cares) to be one and the same, but they SO aren't.

Perhaps this wimpy epiphany came as a result of the hard work I put in (and I observed Jess put in) when our kiddos were sick with the pukey stuff AND we were (at least, I was!) SO worried. I just felt the burden of CARING so heavily. And not that I think I should NOT care about them, but that there's something to be so concerned about... I think that's the burden that we will be free from. No fear. No worry. Such a heavy burden to be set free from, eh? *sigh*

What a day to rejoice in... yet, I do fear Death. Of course, I'm a big boob when it comes to change - even when I know they are good changes. It's difficult for me, okay!?

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Enjoying the "wild" world of Tori's brain? Leave me a lovely comment!

Also, click on over to Finer Things Friday and check out some other bloggers' finer things!

Experiments in HTML

Do you see the difference? Hopefully sooner than later it will be even more different than now. I have to say, HTML is no joke. A practice in perfect order and exactness if ever there was one!

There were 2 sites that helped me do what I've done. There may be more in the near future. The GREATEST help was Cash Quests (at least, I think that's the name). That site will help you get the 3 columns most easily, but is missing the margin information I found in Lawny Designz. I tried this a few times. Unfortunately, most of the tutors don't specify that you need to make sure the formatting matches that which already exists.

For instance, there was this one that told you to copy and paste some info, but it wasn't in the correct format. I didn't know that. (Real HTML novice here! I know.) Even the site that was most helpful didn't have the formatting just right, so I had to add that in. I guess it was pretty easy for me by that time (cause I'd figured that much out by then). Somehow the other help sites for making 3 columns created the ROOM for the third column, but no formatting information on my Layout page. The site that was most helpful to me HAD that. The only thing it lacked was correct formatting of the HTML and the margin between the left column and the center. So, the whole process turned out to be really time consuming. A learning "on the fly" as it were. It is really interesting to me, though!

I am planning to try some more HTML stuff for backgrounds and such. I'd love to have a cute blog (like some I visit). It sure is time consuming. I guess hobbies often are, and this is certainly a hobby of mine.

I've found that the few people I've asked about HTMLing for a nicer blog, weren't terribly helpful. If you would like some help (read: you're as clueless as I was when I started this sometime in the afternoon yesterday!), I would be happy to help you! Try to ask any questions as specific as you can... that'll help me help you a lot.

Oh, and I LOVE comments. If you have anything to say about my blog, do share.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A New Linkup... They're so FUN!

This is Works For Me Wednesdays. From what I could tell, there's no specific topic this week (or ever?), which makes it super easy to participate. Are you interested? Well, I am. Check it out at We Are THAT Family.

So, what works for me? HOMESCHOOLING! Specifically, I'll stick with two of the most helpful bits (thus far). How To Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is going to be #1 on my WORKS FOR ME list. And the other? Math-U-See!

This next bit, about Ria's reading level, is oft repeated. Now repeated for any visiting readers. My eldest daughter and I completed the book (100 Easy Lessons) before she was 4. She just turned 5 yesterday and she reads between a 2nd and 4th grade level with full comprehension!

Math-U-See is just wonderful! It has enabled Ria to comprehend numbers in a way that I wasn't succeeding in teaching as well (especially to the depth she has now) AND Kat is counting as a result of the program - even though I haven't specifically started it with her!!! Kat counts to 12 (understandably to the average listener and only skipping #3, she doesn't like that # because that's when she gets in trouble if she's not listening!) and to twenty (with little distinction between the sounds of the teen numbers - but that's just because her enunciation is poor in general... just like Ria's was). And Kat is TRYING to count to 100, which Ria got (on her own) soon after starting the program! I love it. AND it has a Stewardship level. That is very important to me and I've even considered buying it REALLY soon so I could study it. I do feel this is a difficult thing to teach - I certainly didn't learn it well! And I want my kiddos to achieve far more than me, so I feel I need to teach this particular subject better than I understand it (even now) and the only way to do that is to learn more about it!

Loving Giveaways

This giveaway is for a humidifier. They are specifically designed for children... less scary, I would think. Interested? If you are, click on over to Mommies with Cents to check out the giveaway!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Making Tigger and How It Tells on My Parenting

Perhaps this sort of thing is true for most parents. Unfortunately, most people wear "church face" all too often. So, I really don't know. Most people won't confess the things they do wrong. They focus on the good and only admit the difficulties and atrocities* of their daily lives to a chosen few. Unfortunately I'm not one of the chosen few with many, so I don't think I have a real understanding of most others' families or the parents' feelings about their parenting.

Eyeore is a representation of me as a Mama because even though I may have had some "instructions" available, I didn't understand how what I was doing would effect the end product much of the time. So, I did what I could understand. That's the thing about crochet directions and wise counsel from parents and/or The Lord. Just because I can't visualize the result of something in crochet (but ESPECIALLY when Father directs it), doesn't negate the necessity or usefulness of it! I just didn't understand that then as I do now. As with Eyeore, I feel as if I see my mistakes in Ria. And I feel a depth of sorrow and heart acheyness that I don't have the ability to describe... even with my love of Words!

Ria is wonderful and amazing. She is far better than my parenting accounts for. I'm not saying she's a bad result at all. Rather, I'm taking responsibilty for some negatives that seem to originate from times when I didn't follow the "instructions" as I could and definitely should have.

Pooh is "better". Now, that doesn't mean Kat is better than Ria. Admittedly I have an easier time dealing with Kat, but I REALLY believe that has more to do with the fact that she's SO MUCH a mini-Jessie in SO MANY ways. Jess is difficult, but at least I know how to deal with him. Thus, in learning strategies that word in dealing with him, I understand more how to deal with her. Also, I think it could have a LOT to do with the fact that I never had to leave Kat every day during her first year of life, so I have a MUCH greater understanding of her than Ria. Even if Ria was just like Jess, I think my difficulties with her would still exist for the latter reason mentioned.

But Pooh IS better because I was more knowledgeable. I was more trusting of and in the instructions. I was more willing to do things that I didn't understand because I figured they were in there for some good reason or another. And THAT is definitely appropraitely broadened as a symbol of ME as a Mama! Will Kat be generally better than Ria? I have not a clue in the world. She's her OWN person... only time will answer that question. But I have to admit that when I see her, the mistakes that are MINE are less obviously apparent both to the naked eye AND any other observer. My pain over mistakes I know in her is not as heart achey.

Tigger is still in pieces. I'm confident, though, that when I finish this doll he will be almost perfect BECAUSE I follow the directions as closely as I can. I know that they are there for a reason and that they will result in a good end product. I don't try to figure out why the instructions are important along the way and then detmine if they should be followed. I follow them with little questioning in my mind. I have experience with the whole process and feel confident in my ability (almost totally lacking when I made Eyeore and not as firm when I made Pooh as it is now).

Does that mean that I'm confident that there will be even less for me to feel heart-achey over when I look at Tea when she's 5. No. Unfortunately my confidence as a crocheter is MUCH greater than that which I feel as a Mama. But, I do have a great hope that when I look at her I will see fewer mistakes made by me in my parenting of her! I have hope that my ability to understand and discern Father's Will AND my humility in application of it is making me into the Mama HE knows I can be. And THAT is all I want to do and be: what He knows is a possibility! He remembers me from time immemorial! He's the organizer and Father of my Spirit, but my intelligence existed with Him. So, He knows far better than I can even begin to comprehend or consider what my potential is and how to utilize my specialities. So, if I can continue on this path and realize His plan for me, I will have done something about which to feel great pleasure!

*Remember the (*) in the first paragraph? This is a comment about that word:
I am an English language person. I don't always use high diction, but I love adjectives and words in general. Please keep in mind that I love to write and am not, in actuality, referring to any real atrocity. The nature of the word means something beyond extreme. While I admit to some extremes, I don't actually think "atrocities" are or have been experienced in my life or family. Extreme difficulties and trials, perhaps. But no atrocities. It's hyperbole! It's a writing thing to keep or pique a reader's interest (if you weren't sure what hyperbole is).

This is the second part of a two part tale started HERE. So, if you'd like the rest of the story, click on over.

Ria is FIVE!

CAUTION: extreme doting on the birthday girl in this post!


Victoria Dawn Marie Gollihugh was born right around the time of this posting FIVE YEARS ago!

Ria with me while we were still in hospital.
My tiniest baby yet at 8.4 pounds!!

Newborn Ria with her Daddy (on the left).
My brother and his first child (on the right).

Just a couple days or weeks old and already sporting her signature mohawk!



3 months old. Smiling at her Mimi!



6 months old in her Metallica onsie.
Actually purchased more for Daddy than baby!

6 months old.



Doesn't it look like she's touchin' up her hair here!
Such a prima - even since way back then. :)
She's only 8 months old.

8 months old.
Practicing her stage walk.
No, just being sweet Ria!



15-16 months old.
Wearing her baby!
This is before she saw a sib in my sling.
I think she remembered being IN it herself!

15-16 months old.
She's nursing her baby.
Once again, no observation of another sibling.
Of course, she was still nursing at this time.

Wearin' Daddy's fishin' hat.
And a cheesy grin!

15-16 months old.
Her hair was pulled back into one of her first pony tails.



19 months old here.
Her first costume for her first "aware" Halloween.
She did NOT like it. We didn't torment her beyond these pictures.
I just wanted to have proof that we did try to help her enjoy that
holiday (in case she might have some issues with us a teenager)!



2 years + 1 month old here (Mama was preggie with Kat).
Ria is checking her baby's heart beat.



3 years old.
Ria and Kat. (Kat about 8 months old.)

Ria at 3!



Ria feelin' shy after being surprised at her surprise 4th birthday party.

Ria at 4 at her surprise tea party!

There will be another post with more pictures of Ria 'a la now'! ^_^ Check back for the update. Hopefully soon, but today I have Enrichment at 6:30pm and we have to drive Daddy to work, get to Enrichment, and then pick him up when he's done. Busy, busy, busy! I'll try, though.

Vampires

Ria reads. If you don't know that, you don't read often enough or completely enough (or you haven't been around her long enough). She's 5 today and she reads at a second to fourth grade level and has been doing so for at least the last 6 months. She has read almost the complete Magic Treehouse series. (Only almost complete because the library doesn't have ALL of them. She's also read the few field companions available.) She's currently making her way through the A to Z Mysteries and the Little House on the Prairie books. As of today and for the next day or two she's also reading a New York Times best seller (I can't remember the title right now). It's a blue cover with a cartoony looking drawing on the front. Have I mentioned that she reads with super high comprehension, if not complete comprehension? Well, she does.

About a week ago Ria showed me a boo-boo that had two small red dots relatively close together. I think children simply point out a boo-boo and want some attention for the pain (imagined or real) that such a boo-boo would cause. Not Ria with this one. She told me (and anyone who'd hear her!) that she had a vampire bite!!!!! Yes, she knows about vampires. At first I was a little alarmed, thinking she's snuck reading the Twilight series I borrowed from the library and read. I'm not opposed to her reading them eventually, but I DO think 4 years, almost 5 years old is a little young. I do! Don't you? She DID ask to read them, but I said she would have to wait. Unfortunately, saying no in any way is not always followed by obedience. (I know, amazing, right!? A disobedient child!) I asked her, with some trepadition, how she knew about vampires. When she told me she'd read about it in a Magic Treehouse book, I felt a wash of relief roll over me. And, once again, amazement and pleasure in my child who understands SO much and applies it in real life (even if the things she applies aren't ACTUALLY real!).

Awesome. Right?

Our Temple

This is Ria's birthday. Not all of the posts will be cpmplete and utter Ria dotage, but I figured it was appropriate to have at least a couple of them devoted to her and all about her. So, here's the first one!

Sunday was Ward Conference. I mentioned that before, I think. ? Anyway.... I'm not in Primary anymore, so I missed seeing and hearing this first-hand. But, thankfully, two sweet Sisters were so kind as to share it with me. As part of Ward Conference, President Robers (I believe the second coucelor) visits Primary. In Primary he does a talk. They are wonderful. I know since I was present for at least 2 prior to this one.

This time he talked about Temples. Our Stake Relief Society President (I forget her name every time!) and Mary Kay both told me basically the same story, which goes something like this: Ria raised her hand and called out answers the whole time. You know, just like she does. And when Pres. Roberts held up a picture of the Orlando temple she just about jumped out of her seat and said, "That's OUR Temple!" President Roberts was a little surprised and said, "You're right. Do you know what temples are for?" Ria promptly responded, "Families are sealed together for all eternity." Pres was a little surprised again. Ria continued, "My Mommy is already sealed, but my Daddy isn't." I'm going to take a moment and feel totally happy that she has such an understanding as she does of the temple! And that she loves it the way she obviously does in her "ownership" of it! Both Sisters were so soft eyed and obviously felt lovingly toward my Ria as they told their tales.

Lessons to learn from stories shared: Obviously, I haven't covered the difference between sealing and endowments clearly enough as yet, but now I know I need to do more in that area. I should also learn from this that I need to work more on Ria's understanding of raising of hands TO talk, not talking as she raises her hands.

Even so, it's clear that one of my major goals with our temple trips (making the temple REAL to my children) is coming to pass in Ria. What a BLESSING! I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father (through angels and circumstances) has made it possible for us to make it every month since we've lived here - even through our most difficult times. We are SO blessed!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Want a Deal on Plants?

I read about this, checked it out, and even made a "purchase". Only $7. 95 for 3 raspberry plants. Why? Because I only had to pay for shipping! Isn't that fabulous!?? I figure even if my landlord doesn't allow us to have our Square Foot garden, I can still container garden these plant. And maybe, if I'm lucky and blessed, we'll make jam or jelly later!!! ^_^ Wouldn't that be awesome?

Okay, so the name of the company is Spring Hill Nursery. And right now is a perfect time to order because shipping times are either now or coming up for Spring shipments (depending upon your hardiness zone). Not sure about that last term. Google it and you can find out what yours is. No prob. Fast and easy!

Check it out. And if you make a purchase, let me know in my comments. I'd love to hear about what you decide to get! ^_^ Also, since I haven't yet received mine, let me know how yours arrives. I'm really interested to see if I'll actually use them again as they feel so sure.

Making Tigger

Man, this bugger's tail took SO long to make! Seriously, had I been able to finish it in one go, I would have the whole darn doll made by now. But, alas, it took me at LEAST three tries to get it correct.

The thing about Tigger is that he's going to be the best doll yet. And I think the silly doll is a perfect analogy for my life as a parent. I say this with chagrin. Awareness of my mistakes. And sorrow over them. Hope that I might, somehow not perpetuate the wrongness with my daughters, but fear that what has been done cannot be undone.

I made an Eyeore for Ria. A Pooh Bear for Kat. And now, Tea gets Tigger.

Eyeore. For the most part, people who see him know what the doll is meant to be. I think. But there are a few problems - very obvious to me. What's wrong with Eyeore: His legs don't fit on his body just right. He is still lacking eyes because I didn't finish them 5 years ago. His mouth looks wrong because I'm still not sure about how to get it on his face! There's no bow on his tail (I think I just forgot that part). And he's all the wrong colors. Oh, and his mane is SUPER thick, but I'm pretty sure it descends down his back only part of the way it was supposed to. To the everyday observer he looks like a good Eyeore doll. At least, that's what they tell me. I don't contradict, but I see the mistakes every time I look at it. And I feel sad that my skill was not, then, what it is now.

Pooh is a lot better. My stiches were more consistent. They were tighter, so there's less stuffing visible. Okay, so he's better. Except that I didn't understand marking the RIGHT side versus the inside. So somehow because I didn't seem the wrongness of the pattern Pooh's ears are inside. Also, because I use yarn instead of the thread the pattern calls for (this is something I do on purpose now, but wasn't initially - with Eyeore!) I didn't have a way to know how much of the yellow/tan color to buy for Pooh's body! So, his body is made of two different dye lots. Also his ears and muzzle are of the first. Thankfully his red shirt mostly covers up the change from one to another, but you can still see the difference in his face. Oh, and his shirt is another story! See, I still don't quite understand the whole process of gauge in crocheting. I know what it enables you to do, but I'm not exactly sure HOW to do it. So, the first shirt I made for Pooh was a bit small. Jess thought it looked funny, so I made another one. It was significantly larger because I relaxed my stiches (as anyone really familiar with crochet would know without me saying so - so sorry if you already knew that). I put that one on Pooh and Jess thought it looked worse than the other one. So I put the original back on and Jess said it looked just right. *sigh*

Tigger isn't completely put together yet, but so far his bits are just right. The outsides are facing OUT. The stiches are marked according to instructions (with Eyeore I didn't know the import of that step... thus the misfitting legs to body!). The tail curles appropriately. The stripes are almost all according to instructions. I did mess one up, but it didn't mess up the overall pattern. That is, thus far, my main mistake with this Tigger... Oh, except for the mismatched yarns. The yellow of the face, belly, and ears is a thicker yarn than the orange and black of the rest of the bugger. I already had it at home when I made the purchase of the orange and black. So, it kinda puts the whole thing off just a little. That mistake was unavoidable under the circumstances. You see, I couldn't run out and get the correct yellow because #1 the van is not at my daily disposal AND #2 we didn't have the money for it. *sigh* Oh, and the black stripes are supposed to be brown. When I bought black I was thining of the Tigger in my head, not the one that is in the cartoon, apparently.

Can you see how this relates to parenting? My parenting, in particular? If not, stay tuned! heeheehee ^_^

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