Tuesday, April 30, 2013

because I don't do facebook

But I do read P's facebook on occasion.  He even told me the other day that I'm allowed to, since I told him that I sometimes do but feel like maybe that just shows I am addicted... and have no boundaries...  P is great like that.  Pretty much anything I want to do, is cool.  Even when it is feeding the family rice pudding for dinner because he came out at 5:30 and said we could go to the beach but needed to go like...then.  We are so blessed.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The laundry

I like my children a lot.  The more I teach them to help out, the more I like them.  : )  I used to let their laundry pile up until I had to fold 2 baskets at a time and they had run out of clothes.  Sad.  But one day when I had 3 baskets to wash and fold, it was too much and I just separated their clothes, asking them to help me fold.  Since then I just wash it as soon as 1 basket is full.  So it's every couple of days and they only have to put away a few outfits at once.  They are getting so good at it.  I can go and make their piles in the middle of the day and they'll just come and take care of it without being asked.  How cool is that?

G is getting the spirit of doing what is routine without being asked.  Sometimes it's setting the table.  Tonight he turned on the night lights without being asked.  He does like to point out that he did it without being asked.  And I thank him, and tell him I'm proud of him.

Tonight the kids were all clamoring to help make dinner. M peeled the carrots.  G mixed the batter for our pancake balls.  P stood on a stool and didn't get her fingers cut off or burned.  They were all so eager to help. 

I've been getting better at giving them specific tasks; clean up the legos, clean up the blocks etc...  And they are getting good at doing that task.  And less often, are things so bad that I'm like "clean up" and they stare at me because they don't know where to start.

I'm so grateful to be blessed with such nice children.  I'm grateful for a husband who is willing to support us and values my contributions tremendously.  I'm grateful that we don't have any addictions. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

friends and benefits...

M has a friend who tries to give her things.  This friend is 10, M is 5.  Apparently this friend made her first friends in life (and this I find strange) when she bought them ice cream at school.  What was up the first 5 years of her life.  Why did she have money to buy them things at school.  Weird.

I had a friend once who was often given candy and gifts by another girl.  I wasn't willing to compete for her friendship and always felt sort of annoyed that her friendship was perhaps for sale.  Or that she accepted the gifts and reciprocated with attention.  Or maybe I just wished she'd like me better.  Bummer.

One time in HS a girl that at best I would have described as antagonistic to me, handed me a JCrew catalog and invited me to get her something from that catalog for Christmas.  Weird.  We were in a lot of classes together, and even did a project together for Spanish once.  But she also told me I wasn't a Christian because I'm a Mormon.

But I think it's really toxic for kids to exchange favors.  The cycle of "I gave you this... what are you going to give me..." is so bad.  It leads to people feeling owed.  It leads to people feeling like they have do do things, that they don't have to do.

I think it's ok to give people things.  I hope I can raise my kids with a healthy sense of boundaries.  They can give and receive gifts, but they don't have to.

I even told M that mom and dad don't have to be nice to each other.  We like to be nice to each other, but nobody is making us be nice to each other.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Movie Trailer

G's school has an awesome theater group.  This year they are making "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".  It looks like it will be awesome.  How cool that we get to be a part of it.  Making the animals, woodsmen, and old lady costumes was really hard, but how cool.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

doughnuts for teeth

I've probably mentioned this, but in our family we don't get money for teeth. We get doughnuts.  When G's bottom teeth were coming in behind his baby teeth, doughnuts were the only thing we could imagine to bribe him with.  Then a month ago M got over her fear of having a tooth that was hanging by a thread/sinew, with the hope of doughnuts (I don't make promises).  Last week I pulled her other bottom incisor which had a little more cling to it, but again, doughnuts, Win!

I believe in God.  And any other magical being, I am not interested in promoting.  We don't do santa, leprechauns, witches, etc...  We do believe in ghosts, but call them spirits.

Another tradition that is finding its way into our heart is the "washing machine" massage.  You have to spray the clothes, agitate them, drain the dirty water, spin cycle, and take out the clean clothes.  These actions are all done communally on someone's back, who spends the whole time giggling.

I just finished reading "The Pushcart War" by Jean Merrill.  I really liked it and since I have a really high threshold for disbelief, I thought it was real.  I even said to P, "I can't believe this really happened" at one point.  Then later that night he said "It's just made up."  I was pretty bummed.  I hate it when books begin by saying "This is a true story".  I absolutely hate that.

Perhaps that is why I am such a scrooge about all the childhood magic.

Still, it was a good book.

Wiki says this about it:

The opening sentence says,"The Pushcart War started on the afternoon of March 15, 1976 when a truck ran down a pushcart belonging to a flower peddler." Later editions changed 1976 to 1986 then to 1998 so that the date would still be set in the future.[4] Post-millennium editions of the book have been published with the date 2029.

I unfortunately had an old copy and didn't get the joke....

And on the subject of jokes, I hate them too.  Sheesh, I'm so hateful.  The other night P was reading some jokes and I had to ask him to stop, it was too painful to me.   In a class setting, the teacher asks a question and I love that.  It gets me thinking.  In a joke situation, a question is always setting you up.  Why did the x y the z?  To get a drink of l.  No, to put an m on the n!!!

So I'm the 9th of 10 children and my little brother was precocious.  So I'm what you might call a sore looser.  Or just a looser.

We worked out a compromise.  P will now ask me "Hey E, do you want to know why the x y the z?" To which I can without anxiety respond, "Sure."

The P family plays group solitaire and I really like that.  Some members are more emotionally involved than me.  Ok, they all are.  Somehow this game has my mind per-occupied enough with just trying to play anything, that I don't have time to feel like anyone is "ganging up on me".  It helps that play is constant.  So unless you are P, you don't have time for malicious strategy.  And P married me so when he wins, I feel like it was a team effort. 

Anyway, I hope my kids have a great childhood.  We don't do things very often that cost money, so I hope they remember what we do.  2 years ago, we took them bowling 1 time in the summer.  Then in the winter we went to Legoland.  Then in the summer we went mini-golfing once.  This past winter we went on a road trip and the highlight was a day at Monkey Joes (think Chucky Cheese with bounce houses).  This summer I think P will take the kids to the giant waterslide at the beach.  They see it from the splash park and wonder....  


So, what I don't get about this picture/idea, is why this person feels that their art should not be taxed.  Because it is something that feeds their soul?  Should we only tax those soulless/useful services like telemarketing?  If doing something makes you money, win!  If paying taxes on that thing means you are not making money on it anymore, sorry.   I guess you'll have to keep doing it to feed your soul, and or go out and do some soulless work.  I love to create.  I also like money.  For me, the best way to have both, is to not try to make money through my creations.   For those who can manage to combine their love to crate, and their need to have money, Way to go!  Photo: The Internet Sales Tax hurts small businesses -- and it hurts you.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

around and about

 On April 1st we tried to go to the beach and had to sit around waiting for the thunder to go away.  Then once we ventured out, after about 10 minutes we saw lightning.  So there I am 7.5 months pregnant, trying to keep the girls on the sand.  Not wanting to leave them, yet hoping G will turn around so I can tell him not to go further into the ocean where we saw the lighting!
 G and lP were laying on the table reading.  But by the time I got back with the camera G had moved.  We love it when the kids read.  It fills our hearts with gluttonous joy.

 We grew wheat grass in baskets and it was a lovely feature for weeks.  M had a great time giving them a hair cut.  Then they got dumped out of their baskets so we could take the baskets to the egg hunt.  Poor wheat grass. 
The splash park was open last week and it is new and improved!  New bathrooms.  Yay!  Expanded splash area with huge (10 ft) umbrella like thing that makes a big curtain of water.  The playground is now just a bit removed from the water, and has mulch instead of sand.  The good thing about that mulch is that kids won't be as likely to bring buckets of it and dump it onto the water feature, clogging it up.  The bad thing is that kids running barefoot on mulch is a bad idea, as M found out.  lP always takes a long time to warm up to the idea of the water spraying out at her.  She had just barely begun having fun when M cut her foot on the a-fore mentioned mulch, and we went home.

I love my kids.  They are so good.  Or I'm so crazy.  Anyway, when I say it's time to go home, they jump to it.  Occasionally I have to pick up lP.  But the kids know that if they freak out, I'll threaten, and follow through.

Months ago M and her various friends were obsessed with talking birthdays.  The cakes would be as big as tables.  They would invite everyone in every social group they belonged to.  I asked M to stop.  I told M to stop.  Finally I threatened that if she didn't stop, she would not get a birthday party.  Our family has a standardized birthday equation.  Pizza, cake, pinata at the park with every kid from church and school invited and their families.  So M knew the routine.  And she kept talking about birthdays.  So I told her she wouldn't have one.  And she accepted that.

Eventually I realized that it would actually be really convenient to not have to do the usual circus approximately 2 weeks after having given birth.  So I was really glad it fell out this way.  Now M is going to go to Burger King with Dad, G and lP for her birthday.  She's fine with that.

She's a miracle.  They all are.  Well... lP screams a lot, but she calms down and says "I'm happy" really fast when I tell her to.

domestic things

 We have a window going from the kitchen to the screened porch.  The kids love to go out and knock on the window.  We play restaurant and they "pay me" for food. 
 My mother in law gave us a piano bench that I was excited to use as a lego chest.  G didn't catch the vision.  But now it has become a piano bench.  Rather now we have 5 feet of piano bench. 
I picked up a book from the library last week that had terrible cover art.  I really wanted to read the book but didn't want to be seen reading it.  So I dug deep and brought forth my High School book covering skills.  Hurray!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

G always pulls his socks up.  I've previously thought that was sort of funny.   But I just was looking at this picture of me at age 8 (second from left) and behold, there are my socks pulled up tight as can be.
I love pictures.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Details of a youth temple trip showed that the group planned to take the kids to lunch, asking each kid to bring between $5 an $10. The leaders proudly told of how they were going to make sure to identify families that might have a hard time with that and offer to pay for their meal. I piped up in defense of poor kids saying that I was that kid, and I would have rather gone hungry than let an adult know there was a problem.

The adults involved didn't seem to grasp the idea that they would humiliate the kids. I didn't even bring up how irresponsible it was to take kids out for fast food at all. Oh man. I feel sorry for the leaders when my kids are in youth programs. I suggested that they could take the kids to a Little Cesar's so the kids could get and even share, cheap "Hot and Ready" pizzas. Their "frugal" plan is to take the kids to Chick-Fila. There are so many aspects of this that bother me. The price of 2 chick-fila meal a week could fund 4 years of tuition at BYU. Add a part time job to pay rent and food and you can graduate debt free!

Year Balance
1 $742.91
2 $1,534.51
3 $2,379.12
4 $3,280.29
5 $4,241.82
6 $5,267.75
7 $6,362.38
8 $7,530.32
9 $8,776.48
10 $10,106.10
11 $11,524.77
12 $13,038.44
Final Savings Balance: $13,038.44

So many people are in massive debt, but still eating out all the time, and chatting on their phones as they drive their fancy cars. Heaven forbid we ever do something like pack a lunch. Also, do you really want the "poor kids" getting comfortable with the idea that they can just ask the adults to buy their food? Just weeks before these same adults were complaining of a girl that came to mutual activities asking everyone for food, and if she could have it all, and if she could take it home... I wonder where she learned that? Probably from well meaning people who taught her from an early age, to ask for food! And sure kids shouldn't go hungry. But you can't teach a kid to have no pride, and then wonder at their shocking lack of manners.

As a mom on a budget, whenever G goes on a field trip, that comes out of our grocery budget. If we were on food stamps, that cash would come out of our gas, rent, utilities budget. My kids wear thrift store clothes, or hand me downs. Dressing in fancy clothes is not worth going in debt for. Eating out is not worth going into debt for. Ballet lessons are not worth a mom going to work for. Our ward is very blue collar. Most families seem to have nice cars, iphones, and 2 income (blue collar) jobs. To me that is really, really sad. I won't even get started on the idea of food storage, because, you know, nobody can afford that.

We make choices every day that have long term consequences.  When people eat out they are in fact choosing chick-fila over financial stability.

small town

This town is really small. It keeps surprising me. I like it though. Today I was at the library and had forgotten any means of identification that would allow me to check out a book. But I figured I'd ask about the books I had on hold. They let me have them, and even let me update my phone number that they'd used as a means of confirming my identity. It's nice living in a town that is small enough that you see the same people around town. You see the same librarians from week to week.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

People we could know

Today the girls and I stopped at the park on the way home. When we got there there was a family with 2 deaf adults and 2 hearing kids. I signed to them a bit, thinking how there was a time when I would have chatted a lot more with them. Now a days, having ASL in common, isn't so rare, and they were involved in their conversation. A short time later a family came with a 5 year old 3 year old, 1 year old and very pregnant mom. Not just a family with 3 young kids, a family with a modestly dressed mom on a hot Florida morning. A little while later she was meeting up with another modestly dressed mom with 2 young kids. So I figured they were Mormon. This isn't Utah where you can assume everyone is Mormon. But it is Florida and most women wear short shirts or sleeveless shirts around here. I didn't approach the suspected Mormons, not feeling a need to push myself onto their meet up. But I did give my soap to one who was taking her kids to the bathroom. There are never soap and towels at this playground.

Monday, April 8, 2013


LDS Humor  "We believe in being honest, true, chased by an elephant..."

lP is at an awesome stage.  She plays well with others.  Doesn't give quite so many scowls.   She also prays and it is so beautiful.  In the middle of her prayers, she'll pause and look up, hands waiting for inspiration.  Sometimes we urge her to the end, whispering "through the name...".  Then one day she answered our prompt with "Wait!  I need to bless the childrens".  And she went on to ask a blessing on each of us by name.

Tonight as we drove in the car, talking about maybe singing as a family for sacrament meeting, the kids started to sing and sign their favorites.  lP started to sing and sign "I am a child of God".  It was so sweet, and then it was so funny.  Instead of "Parents kind and dear", we learned that lP has been sent "Pears" kind and dear.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Your gifts are special

It's interesting growing up in the church.  And by growing up, I don't mean the larval stage through Primary and Youth Programs.  I mean this active serving and learning phase we're in now.  This time when we're choosing to be there.  Paying a significant portion of our income and time because we know it's true. 

I just watched this nice video from the Tattooed Mormon.  She's a young woman who converted to the church when she was 20, and then felt the pull to Utah.  Living in Utah is sort of a strange crucible that some new members feel called to do.  Maybe it's the Lord's loving way of bringing a bit of the world to the Saints of Utah.  Maybe it keeps the blood stock strong. 

I enjoyed my time in Utah, but mostly because I had family and school to keep me from being bothered by a lot of the social things that are so contradictory to the gospel. 

A message I appreciated from the video is that we each have something to give.  There are people who need us, as we are.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Money Games

The kids want to play Life.   We actually made it through a game the other day.  Because of the money and small parts, we had to play it over 2 sessions while lP was asleep.  But we did it and it brought up a lot of good questions.  Like pay disparities.  And taxes.  And insurance.  And mandatory marriage at square 24....  Also there is the phenomenon of having babies and collecting presents for them when the smallest denomination of money is $1000!  Wow.

But since we're not the "Go on a cruise, pay $20,000" kind of family, I'm going to buy the kids "Act Your Wage".  The lessons of a game like Life, or Monopoly, etc... are good for kids to be familiar with.  But the priorities are not healthy.