Saturday, May 30, 2009

Can you say big?!

Banana girl celebrated her 11th birthday this week. The only thing she really asked for was a big Hershey bar. She meant the 5 oz. size, but her dad, being all about making memories for the kids, found a slightly larger one. The look on her face was priceless!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Some Things You Just Know

Girlie-whirl had two friends over to play the other day. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head to our favorite park. The day was warm, the sky blue and the park crowded with families enjoying each other.

After playing for a while, we headed over to the picnic tables for lunch. We hadn't been eating long, when a woman at a nearby table screamed out an expletive. Everyone, of course, looked to see what the problem was. She had just noticed a seemingly dead baby bird under her table. Her family quickly moved to another table.

The whole area had now been alerted to the baby birds presence. It was interesting to watch the reactions. Birds had been flying continually in and out and no one seemed to pay any attention. But one dead baby bird and everyone was riveted. The children, especially were drawn to it. Time and again, moms had to remind children not to touch, not to get too close. Parent's faces showed pity and concern. One look wasn't sufficient for anyone, all eyes continually strayed back to the bird.

Then, the once thought dead bird started to flop and flail. The children cried out, "It's moving, it's moving!" Before, everyone felt sad, but now we were stricken. It was obviously not going to survive, was quickly on it's way out, and watching it struggle just hurt. As we stood around wondering what to do. One woman stood up and with her napkin, gently rolled the bird over, he flailed and was immediately on his back again. She tried again and eventually got the little thing to stay on it's stomach. It now looked more comfortable, and flailed less, but we all knew that it was just a matter of time.

Eventually I went back to the playground with the girls, but I kept going back to check on the bird. The last time, the bird was gone. I think it had breathed it's last and someone removed the body. A nice sign of respect.

Life is all around us, so much so that I think we take it for granted, don't even notice it--I know I do. Death, on the other hand, tends to be hidden from society. Old people move to rest homes where we don't see their physical descent. People dying of natural causes or accidents frequently do so in hospitals, hidden from view. Even the death of animals, something that 50 years ago was a common occurance is now a rarity for most of us. We don't kill the chicken and eat it, we buy a package of meat from the store.

Although our society hides death as much as possible, although we diliberately try to be ignorant of death and everything surrounding it, everyone at the park knew instinctively that the death struggles of that bird were not insignificant, that they mattered. Young or old, educated or otherwise, rich or poor, everyone there recognized that life is sacred, you could see it in their faces. It's a universal truth, and a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Embrace the Differences

We are not experienced travelers, but the little travel we have done has been an adventure. We've tried to embrace the differences in other cultures and not expect things to be like they are at home. This has generally been easy, but there was the one time when it took some real effort.

Years ago, my husband and I took a 21 day trip that included a three day Aegean Sea cruise. I'd never been on a cruise before and was excited to experience one for myself. I'd been told that the food on a cruise is to die for, and I was eagerly anticipating the food, the islands, the sights and any other delights that were in store.

We happened to board right before lunch, so we hit the smorgasbord and loaded up our plates. Sitting at a table with two friends and our Greek tour guide, Magda, three of us realized that we had big, black, curly hairs in our pasta salad. Can you say, YUCK!!? Magda asked us what was wrong. When we told her, she shrugged, and in her beautiful Greek accent asked, "What can you do?" Because we had come to enjoy our experience in Greece to the full, we determined not to let a few hairs ruin our meal. Leaving the pasta salad on our plates, we thoroughly checked our remaining food to ensure hairlessness and finished off our meals with only slightly dampened enthusiasm.

The cruise proceeded and we visited the islands of Patmos, Mykanos, and Rhodes. The sites were beautiful and enlightening. Our meals on board were good and, although we ate somewhat cautiously, we, thankfully, saw no repeat of the hair incident.

The last morning on board, we breakfasted as usual, eating leisurely while we chatted with friends. As we finished up, a couple at a nearby table asked the waiter for more orange juice. In full view of us all, he walked over to a nearby table, picked up two glasses, one half empty and one seemingly untouched, filled the half empty glass to the brim, placed both on a serving tray, and gave the juice to the couple! We were more than mildly disturbed, slightly queasy, and grateful that our meals on board were behind us!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Sweetie is away at college. Far, far away. I miss her like crazy, but she calls almost every day--a beautiful thing for a mom's heart. I confess that I stalk her on facebook occasionally to see what else I can learn about her life. It's always virtuous, lovely, of good report and praisworthy stuff. One of my favorite things about the whole facebook thing is that every time a friend of hers posts a picture with her in it, I can download it. So I have a bunch of pictures of her college experiences all taken and posted by people I don't generally know. Below is a smattering of my favs.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Taking time and feeling guilt

I've had some thoughts wandering around in my brain for a few weeks that I hadn't found time to write down. Blogging yesterday, I read Mommy Snark's latest on writing and that was the catalyst to get me started. I love that she's actually written a book. What a beautiful thing! And I believe it's wonderful in God's eyes whether or not anyone else ever enjoys reading it. (It should be noted that comments on her blog from those who HAVE read the manuscript are very positive and I hope to have the opportunity to read it for myself someday.) You can read her post here

My thoughts have been on creating and writing and learning and growing, and the smiles I feel from above as I make the attempt to do these things. Every time I purposefully embark on a new learning/growing experience, I palpably feel my Heavenly Father's approval, and this is true whether or not anything actually comes of the attempt. I first noticed this years ago when my husband, observing that I had an interest, bought for me the equipment needed to tune a piano. He suggested that I hire a tuner that would be willing to show me the ropes as they worked on ours. I found one and jumped in. As I proceeded, I felt a great sense of well-being about the process; a sense that my Heavenly Father was tickled pink that I was actively growing and learning something new just because I wanted to. Other things came up, and it mostly fizzled (please do NOT ask me to tune your piano!), but I was intrigued by the message from above.

That feeling has been repeated recently as I've signed up for and started training for a half triathlon, joined and then taken over responsibility for a book club, actively pursued increasing my sign language skills, and now I feel it about blogging of all things! Although I've thought about and wanted to write a book since high school, I have been loathe to start. The actual writing process was always drudgery to me in high school and I've avoided writing as much as possible in the intervening years. But blogging now has this hold on me that I need to explore. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much I'm enjoying this writing thing, and once again, I feel God nudging me forward to, literally, heaven knows where.

I , of course, feel God's approval as I try to be a better wife and mother, serve more diligently in my church, or help out the sick and needy, but for some reason, the immediate inner blessings of peace and approval, for taking "me time" to grow and learn just for the joy of it, were a real surprise to me. A sweet, happy surprise. I know it shouldn't have been. He is, after all, our Father. And being a father with all good attributes in full, he obviously wants me to learn and grow and find joy. I think I got caught up in all the selfless things that we're called on to do and had learned, rightly, to find joy in them most of the time. Doing things just for me seemed to be somewhat of a guilty pleasure, a necessary evil; something that I should minimize as much as possible. (Don't get me wrong I do it all the time, but I feel a bit selfish for it.) To learn that actively pursuing things just for me is heartily approved of by the Lord is a sweet and beautiful thing. (and a bit of a "duh" moment!)

So I'm pressing forward with writing, fitting it in between loads of laundry, doing dishes, and reading to my preschooler. I don't know where it will lead, probably not to a finished manuscript, but, at minimum to some improved writing skills, to more knowledge, and definitely to more joy. And that's a beautiful thing!

SiteMeter problems

A couple of weeks ago, (after reading Inkmom's post on the subject) I set up a SiteMeter account and deleted my old counter. I had been getting 20-30 hits a day but Sitemeter says that I am now getting one or less hits per week. I know that I haven't set things up correcty since I haven't even got the SiteMeter thing to appear on my blog. But try as I might, I can't seem to fix it. Any suggestions? I'd love some help!

I've wanted to learn how do a hot link on my blog. My little sis, Paily, explained it to me and I've just successfully done it for the first time! I've now made too big of a deal over it, but, being fairly new to blogging, it feels good to, bit by bit, learn these things!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Motherhood and Red Faces

I've always loved the mispronunciations that inevitably come as my babes have worked to wrap their tongue around all the sounds needed for coherent speech. The whole family loved it when we heard Banana Girl calling the sacrament "the snackerment", or when she'd say, "It's thoggy outside!" (foggy). We were all very sad when Girlie Whirl quit saying naybe (maybe), and Book of Mornin'. She's still says "that really ignores me." (She means annoys). We've watched them, as they grow, self correct the cute idiosyncrasies in their speech with a wistful sigh, knowing that they're growing up and we'll never again hear those adorable misspeaks come out of their mouths.

I almost never correct my children's mispronunciations. I know that they'll figure it out eventually and in the mean time, it brings a smile to all of our faces every time they speak. The big exception: Tough Guy, our oldest, couldn't pronounce ketchup. His version started with kep and the second syllable started with and sh and ended with a t. Trips to McDonald's could very quickly turn into quite the embarrassing moment as my son's innocent attempts at getting the proper sauce to dip his fries in resulted in dirty looks from other mothers. (I'm exaggerating, it never actually happened like that, but there were times when I was embarrassed by it). I always did all that I could to anticipate his ketchup needs before he asked, and we worked diligently on his ketchup pronunciation.

I think that having our children do things in public that we wish others hadn't seen is a character building moment that our Father in Heaven built into parenthood on purpose. Surely, if God has all virtues in perfection (and I believe that he does), his perfect sense of humor has to enjoy it as he watches us deal with the public embarrassment that occasionally comes with child rearing. To say nothing of the nudge toward greater maturity that these experiences tend to give us. There's nothing that helps us to be less judgemental toward other parents actions, or lack thereof, than watching an unexpected, public misbehavior of our own child.

I confess, I don't have anyplace else that this post is going. Just some random thoughts brought on today by my sister's most recent post. If you're in the mood to laugh at an embarrassing mom moment, take a look at her latest.

Do you have an embarrassing mom moment to share?

BTW, I wish I knew how to do that thing where you write something like: "You can read about it here" with the "here" being a different color that is a link to the post. Anyone know where I can go to learn to do that?