Sunday, January 29, 2017

Do what you can do

Today we were late getting to church because of a series of unfortunate events.  G wouldn't wake up.  Then the car wouldn't start.  So I called P to come home and jump the car, he was at church already because of meetings.  While we waited I got out the jump cables and popped the hood.  I'd left my keys in the ignition because, hey, the car wasn't starting, also, they would be there when P arrived.  Then when I put the cable onto one of the battery terminals I heard the beeping that happens when the keys are left in the ignition and the door is open.  Oh, so not a dead battery after all, just a loose cable assembly.  So I got a wrench and tightened the bolt.

P is always telling the kids "Don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you can do."  I couldn't jump the battery but  I could get things ready.  And sometimes it is the preparations that solve your problem anyway.

There is a story of 2 farmers during a drought.  Both were praying for rain.  1 went out and started to plow the ground.  The other asked him what he was doing.  "I'm preparing for rain".

Friday, January 27, 2017

self knowledge provide by Super Mario Bros.

P and I have some nintendo controllers and an adapter to let us play a SNES simulator on the computer.  We had gotten one earlier but it broke rather quickly.  So we just got things up and running again.  Last night we had a little "date" with the kids all around as we played.  Since it was a date, none of the kids got a turn.  It was fun to play the old game with the old controllers.  We remember random things like where to find a coin box or a mushroom.  P remembered the warp tunnels, and took them to higher levels.  He also kept track of points and timing the end to get fireworks.  I just tried to survive each level.  I don't want to skip to higher levels, it just gets harder there!

Today M and G played the game during their computer time.  It was really fun to watch their excitement.  It's just like we were as kids, having the thrill of avoiding enemies and falling into pits. 

We also watch MacGuyver which they really love.  I showed them "Singing in the Rain" last week.  They laughed so much at the dance scenes.  They loved the drama with Lina Lamonte.  I'm glad we have some happy things to share with them.  There is so much good media to share with the children.  I'm glad we don't have cable or broadcast TV.  There is plenty to watch and create a shared cultural experience with your children. 

Someone told me that they felt very oppressed by their parents because they weren't able to watch SpongeBob and that literally every conversation involves reference to that show.  And they feel left out.  Sheesh.  I'm pretty sure none of my conversations have a reference to SpongeBob and if they do, I'd rather not know.  Oh well.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

giving them the money

The children have job to help with the house and manage their things.  They earn about $1 a week.  Apparently I forgot to pay them since halloween.  So they all have a lot of money now.  The best thing is when they find some cool item they are interested in, and beg me to get it, I say "Hey, you're the ones with all the money!"  For some strange reason they are not so keen on spending their money on these things.  Our plan to raise a gaggle of misers is working excellently.

And yet they are so generous.  LP bought an 8 pack of pez.  She let 2 of her siblings fill their dispensers with a new pack of candy when she was getting her pack today.  So kind!


Today I painted my nails.  P asked me "Is that what happens when you get called to YW?" 

boots and sex

I have a health goal that I've been pursuing since April.  Mostly I've done well, though in the holidays I did worse, though still better than I had done before April.  With the new year I wanted to do better so I made a little flip chart that could count up to 99.  After it was done and a few days into the count I decided to reward myself with a pair of boots when I got to 99. 

Over the last few years I got rid of all the closed toe shoes except for my hiking shoes and my mud boots.  So I don't have anything nice to wear on the 4 Sundays a year when I'd like to not wear sandals to church.  But I'm not one to just go out and buy new shoes.  These are the shoes I own:
Black sandals bought 6 years ago after lP's birth
Saltwater sandals left by my sister 3 years ago
Sketcher slide sandals bought after L's birth
Tevas bought off craigslist 5 years ago and still going strong
Hiking shoes bought 3 years ago for our big trip west
Gardening boots bought 5 years ago

I could go out and get any pair of closed toe shoes to keep around for those cold Sundays.  But I don't really like pantyhose either.  I'd like some really nice leather, up to the knee, boots.

When I'm tired and bored or stressed out, and tempted to give up my health goal, I think, "Do I really want to loose all these days?" on the counter.  So I don't eat the one treat that would have led to more treats and then feeling like I may as well just eat all the treats... It goes downhill fast.

These boots I plan to get, I'm undecided on whether to get brown or black.  I know there are really good sales on them right now.  So thinking of buying them now and saving them for later is tempting.  But if I have them, I'd probably wear them, I'd find an excuse, or it'd be cold!  Then having worn them, I'd probably wear them again before April, when I should hit 99 days.  February is cold here. 

I've decided to wait until April to begin shopping.  I'll go to the outlets and try on really nice boots, like $100-$200.  I've never paid so much for shoes in my life.  And these are shoes I know I'll only wear a few times a year.  I also hope they last me for about 40 years.  And I hope that they will be special to me because I paid a price in time money and sacrifice to "earn" them.  And because of the price I pay for them, I hope I don't start hankering after another pair of boots. 

So this is not a perfect parallel for sex.  But the casual attitude some people have toward sex is a lot like the usual attitude toward boots, try them all out, get them just because you can, use them for a while then get rid of them, or have many pairs at the same time. 

In the grand scheme of my marriage, sex is like a seasonal item of apparel.  There is so much more to our relationship, our work together as parents, and daily sharing a home and life.  Sex is a fun and useful part of our eternal purpose here.  And it is made more special by the sacrifice we made to save it for marriage.  A lot of good people live together before they are married.  They live together for years deciding if this is the right person, and ironically, saving up for a big wedding.  But what does a wedding mean?  Imagine cruise passengers living on the ship all year and then throwing a party for the day it leaves the dock to float in the harbor.  Marriage doesn't take you to exotic places.  But it can be an exiting journey if you save sacred things for sacred purposes.  But when you make sex a casual thing, that's what you've got.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

In honor of Martin Luther Kind Jr. day I took G and M to see "Hidden Figures".  What a great movie!  I've seen 5 movies in theaters in the last 7 years and never take the kids to movies but I felt like if there was ever a movie worth paying to see, this was it. 

After FHE we watched the "I have a dream speech".  I had never seen it.  MLK day was just a holiday when I grew up, we did whatever we wanted, mostly just watched TV. 

Especially after this election, my kids need to see movies of heroic and smart black people.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

stake talk

I got to speak in Stake conference today.  It was an interesting process, writing a talk for that setting.  But in the end I felt good about the preparation I put into the talk and felt like the message was good.  I was asked to talk about keeping the Sabbath Holy.  I focused on how we can plan to get our work done so on Sunday we don't have to do it.  We can plan to enjoy our recreation on other days instead of trying to take our leisure on the Lords day.   Now we just need to endure to the end!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

voice from the dust

I got a message in my email and I didn't know what it was.  "Pinewood derby notes"?  What on earth could that be?  So I opened it and found that it was in fact notes to myself for 1 year later!


Pinewood derby notes

Today was great. Notes for next year:
Me: remember the scale!
General: Set up chairs close to the track so there isn't room for kids to run
by the track. Babies walking on the track shouldn't hurt it, but... sorry my
pet peeve.
-put the track very close to the wall so there is less room at that end and more room at the finish line. Set up kid chairs 4 feet from the track and adult chairs behind that.
-Next year let's have an activity to go before the race for a good 20 minutes.
That way kids have something to do while we wait for late comers.
-And we could also do a weigh in on Friday before the race so nobody has a last minute crisis. Anyone is welcome to drop by the Porters before the event.-Make the round robin in advance and cross out races of boys that don't come
Make it like a bracket?
-Put the table with the cars at the top of the track so the boys bring their cars to the table and the starter just has to put them on the track.

Friday, January 6, 2017

lucky day

Our house is covered in books.  I wanted to get the kids involved in organizing the books and get certain collections together.  Now it's crazy...

I told them I'd let them have chicken tenders for dinner if they did the job, then they pooped out.  And I really wanted fajitas for dinner, but that left us with double dinner.  So P texted the missionaries and they were here within 10 minutes!

P was even able to get back to work by 6:10.  Nice!

Back to the book project.  I wanted to get collections together and similar books in the same area.  I put all of the story collections (other than school book readers of which we have many) in the same area.  Now they are in the front room with all the non-fiction. 

All the chapter books were auctioned off to the fastest dibs-er.  Books that nobody claimed went into a pile for the library/office or donation box.  We go to the library so often, what is the point of keeping books that the kids aren't interested in and are not ones I want to keep.  So we have already gotten 18 inches of books into the donation pile.  Now we'll go through the story books and hopefully thin that out too. 

G-town holds a book sale in the spring and fall.  I love taking the kids to this.  The books are so cheap and they can get everything they are interested in.  I'm glad we're making the effort now to clear some space for the kids to get more books they will enjoy.

Paw Patrol

My kids have been watching this show paw patrol that features different breeds of dogs getting gadgets so they can perform the functions of firefighter, police, park ranger etc..  How could a show about puppies as rescue personnel be bad?  I know it just seems like the most awesome thing ever.  But for reasons unknown to me, the creators decided to cast the show as a satyre of local politics.  The villain of the show is the mayor of the neighboring city with his band of gadget equipped cats.  He lies and steals, backtracks, and lies some more, constantly.  The mayor of the dogs own town is often caught up in bragging and accepting stupid challenges from the other mayor.  Then to maintain the pride of the city, the dogs have to learn to play basketball in 1 day, and similar feats that downplay the time it takes to acquire a skill. 

Sorry kids, another show that models really stupid behavior.  We don't need that.