Saturday, August 31, 2013

so scary I didn't have time to be scared

Today we went to see P play in the community band.  Things were going well.  We were on time.  We had a stroller and umbrella just in case.

There was a menacing cloud that seemed to be passing over.  Then suddenly the heavens opened and it was pelting rain hard.  We took cover under an aluminum tent as the rain started to come at us sideways.  The children and I were drenched and huddling together in our soaked blanket.  M and lP were screaming and whimpering "I want to go home!"  G took off his hearing aid (that is not waterproof) and gave it to me as if I had any dry place to put it. 

It just got worse and worse.  The wind knocked down all the folding pavilions.  It even threw around the metal folding chairs.  P was with the band under the aluminum pavilion 30 feet from us.  The band had taken shelter there with their instruments, stands, and music.  It wasn't anchored down, so people were physically holding it down.  And it was right next to the lake!

Various strangers were trying to shield us.  One with a broken umbrella tried to shield my children as well as her own.  Seemingly out of nowhere a lady came up to me and said there was room in the bathroom for the children.  So she scooped up lP and we left our safe place to try and go into the brick and mortar structure. 

As we were going out into the rain, P came to tell us he was going to get the car.  I said that someone had taken lP and I was going to go with her.  So we sidled up to the overflowing restrooms and people tried to get us in.  B was shivering and strangers gave me towels to wrap his head in. Kind people gave us their spots in the bathroom.  As we got in I saw ginormous cages with cats that had been brought for adoption on this ill fated day.

It was intense.   People would come by occasionally looking for their family members.  Eventually P came for us and got us to the car.  Then he made trips to retrieve our blown over stroller, the tuba, stand, and back-bench.

I got B warmed up.  I gave the kids each a whole pack of fruit snacks.  P came and we left as the clouds moved on.

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Stuff...

 This is P's new toy.  He's joined the community band and wanted a folding bench for him and the beast (our tuba).  We ordered one that could accommodate them both and it is "robust!" and not easy to carry with the tuba.  So we devised this set up using a back pack from the thrift store.  It is really great! 

On that subject of New Stuff and New to Us Stuff...

Tonight M told me that some of the kids in her class at church got new clothes for church.  Then she asked me "Why didn't I get any?" 

Oh break my heart!

I was the most materialistic in my family growing up.  I cared about those annual spending rituals once upon a time.  But over the last 20 years they matter less.

I asked G if some of the kids got new things for school and he named all the kids.  Yeah, G was aware of it too.

So we had a talk about how our family tries to avoid debt and waste.  We talked about how we just got a baby, a van and a piano.  Those things were more important to mom and dad than new clothes.  I brought up President Hinckley's "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without." [gratuitous capitalization because it is free]. 

I warned them that people like to brag about their nice things to make themselves feel good about themselves.  I told them that they are children of God and don't need things to make themselves feel worthy. 

M cheered me with her understanding that we do buy things we have the money for.  "If you don't have the money, don't buy it!"

G cheered me with his new found understanding of avoiding debt (Thank you "Act Your Wage").

I hope they can grow up knowing they have everything they need.  Sheesh, living in this house, could they still think they are growing up poor?  And there is my hypocrisy.  I eschew worldly things like buying new clothes and shoes for the school year, but I live in this house and use words like eschew.
I couldn't even spell hypocrisy and had to look it up, but eschew I got the first try.  Nice.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

cuter than...

 lP is just hilarious when she's not insane.  She comes into the office and tells me it's time for her birthday.  It's time to go to the store and buy her birthday cake.  I need to paint her back pack orange so it will become a rescue pack and she can go get her blue star balloon.  She is so focused.
 M's hair is finally growing out long enough to hold a braid for 5 minutes.  The bathing is helping it not be too crazy.  Whenever her bangs are out of her hair, that forehead is so beautiful, I'm worried she'll get kidnapped!  Long live the awkwardly cut bangs!
 Oh little B.  He's growing up so fast!  I don't remember feeling such a grasp of how fast a year will fly with the older children.  He's so delicious and soft.  His giggles are so precious.  He reminds me so much of G.  Sadly I don't remember M and lP as infants very much.  Everything was so stressful during those seasons.  But here we are with 4 children, a peaceful home, dad has a job, and life is busy, but not so stressful.
Our useless room is getting more use.  Ever since M started piano in February we go into the room daily for piano practice.  Then last week I set up these organ benches as desks.  So now it is the schooling and music room.  So lovely.  I love that the organ benches open up so they can keep their things inside.  Little house and all...

Friday, August 23, 2013

For anyone who knows a boy or man

I'm reading "Raising Cain" which has an unfortunate title for a book everyone should read.
The premise is that boys have emotions, even more emotions than girls, from a young age.  They are taught to be a hammer and treat every emotion as a nail.  Their response to disappointment, success, sadness, jealousy, the whole spectrum of emotions(!) is aggression. 

It's written in a popular science style that is an enjoyable read.

Examples from the book that hit me were:
When a 4 year old boy asks his mom why someone is crying, the mom says "I don't know.  Don't stare, it's not polite to stare."  When a 4 year old girl asks the same, she is given an answer like "He does look sad.  Maybe he's hurt.  Sometimes you cry..."  The boy is taught to ignore the emotions of others.  The girl is taught to think of emotions and develop empathy.

On average, boys develop reading skills later than girls.  So the first 2 years, and now with pre-K, it becomes the first 3-5 years of their schooling,  are frustrating because they are too early.  It's crazy!  Imagine if people eating meat found it to be raw so they decided they should try cooking it less time and eating it more aggressively next time.

My experience is the opposite of the norm.  My younger brother read better and younger than I did.  P was also a young reader.  G is a young reader.  M and I are "slow" normal readers.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ears to hear and hair to wash

We've been trying to catch up after some busy weeks, some sickness, and going back to school.  Cousin A was visiting and the grandparents took the kids to disney.  So cool! 

We had a family policy to only take one child to any amusement park so it wouldn't be a waste of money.  Then back in 2010 we got $5 tickets to Legoland.  lP was free, so our whole family went for $20!  We figured we'd done that and were no longer obligated to take G to a park when he turned 7 as we had planned.  Why 7?  Because we didn't want his baptism at 8 to be overshadowed, and didn't want to wait until 9.

So this was very cool that the kids got to go and be spoiled with their grandparents.

This past week a young man spoke in church.  He's preparing to go on a mission.  He's been called to Peru.  He took it upon himself to quote from Elder Uchtdorf, and also to invent a pronunciation for the name.  It's not like we're talking about Amlici.  This is a member of the first presidency who speaks at every general conference this young man has probably ever paid attention to.  Or not.  Ears to hear people...

And on the subject of amazingly oblivious people, don't call DCF on me!  I just realized that my daughters need shampoo and conditioner.  M is 6.  She never had any hair for the first 2 years, then for the next year it was amazing and never even needed combing (I thought.  Please don't tell me otherwise).
Then we cut it and it was never tangled.  Then she cut it and I had to cut it even shorter to make it look sane.  So finally in the last 4 months it's been getting long enough to get tangled.  LP's hair has also been going through this strange phase (as I thought of it). 

I felt so happy when I realized that I could use this fabulous cream on their hair to make it not get so tangled. 

Then G went back to school and I realized that my kids hair is dry and tangled because I was still using baby shampoo on them. 

Having 4 kids was pretty easy until this past week.  I had a minor mastitis infection and a few things that were eking by were let go.  Then all of a sudden I realized I couldn't just play it by ear.  These kids needed things that I could only give them if I planned ahead! 

So I'm trying to have a weekly calendar.  I will look at the monthly calendar and write down what needs to be done.  Things like, wash the laundry on Tuesday.  Eat lunch every day.  Pick up G on Wednesday. 

Having P work from home is wonderful and he is so helpful.  On the first day of school I had meant to take G to school.  It would be so fuel efficient to drop him off on our way north for a planning meeting.  But after 2 nights staying up too late working on Primary stuff, and another staying up trying to deal with the mastitis, I was dragging.  We were trying to get up and go, but it was not pretty.  In swept P from subbing for seminary.  He is very handsome in a white shirt.  He took G to school and bough me another hour to get everything/everyone ready for our trip.

Today I was so with it.  Breakfast for everybody!  Snack/lunch at 11.   Then I prepared pb candy so G would have a snack when we picked him up.  We even went to the thrift store before we went to the park.  Then we even went to Publix!  It was like epic how planning the day meant we had more time.  I also didn't let the kids do media until after 3:30 when we go home. 

I'm trying to be present with them more.  I have a bad habit of nursing B as I browse the internet.  Since the kids aren't allowed in the kitchen or office without permission, they are very effectively cut off from me.  So I'm limiting myself to 1 morning and 1 evening computer time.  And otherwise I need to be out with them.  If I'm nursing B I can read a book on the couch, or lay down in G's room.  "I want to be, where the people are..."

So, it was a great day.  I'll have to post on the awesome finds from the thrift store.  We haven't been for months.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I'm not willing to give companies my facebook page permissions for a $5 coupon.  I haven't signed up for a Target or Amazon card, not even to save $50.  But I'm excited about this drawing.  I bought choroi flutes from this company and I love, love, love them.  I've blogged before about how they make solfege so intuitive.  So cool.  M is starting form drawing this year with the bees wax crayons and they are delicious.  The drag against the paper is such a pleasant tactile experience.  It's tricky though to embrace the expensive materials.  I'm such a miser.  But it's wonderful to be able to get such nice soothing things.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thunder at the beach

This is my beautiful friend K who recently moved south.  We had a chance to meet up at the beach and eat a lot of watermelon.  Who knew watermelon could be such a great beach treat.  You just have to eat a ton of it when you're totally thirsty. 

Last night we had a cooking challenge and had 8 entries!  It was awesome. 

The company P works for fell victim to a legislation change that resulted in a 30% decrease in enrollment.  800 people were laid off.  Thankfully P still has his job and everything is going well.

M is doing really well at the piano and we're hoping to have choir practice at our house.  We got this sweet digital piano.  It is weighted, but I think it's not quite full weighted.  It doesn't feel quite full weight.  M is just starting her first song "Cuckoo" that has the hands doing different things.  It's so awesome being able to teach her life skills through piano.  "Sometimes it's hard, but we keep trying."