Wednesday, February 27, 2008

clean teeth, one way or another

Her: Mom, do the germs run away from your teeth because the toothpaste is so spicy?

Me: Well, that's a good theory, but it doesn't quite work that way.

(a little incredulous) Then how does it work?


I think of times I made stupid decisions. Or mistakes. Sometimes knowing, mostly I think, unwittingly. Growing up is a never ending process, and agonizing at times. A process that is characterized by sometimes getting stuck in the metaphorical mud for what ever reason, or finding ourselves hanging from a precipice, feeling that there is no way we can pull ourselves up. We may even take a deep breath and prepare for free fall.

And yet, all of the sudden, we find that actually we are on solid ground and what we simply need to do is gather strength to stand up and walk, one step at a time. Most likely, there is someone standing over us, with a hand stretched out to pull us up.

My daughter, age four, is sitting at the table drawing. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see her body flailing awkwardly and when I move to see if she's alright I find her clinging to the table, setting herself aright on her chair. "Mom!" she says animatedly, "I just saved myself my life!"

This reminds me of two things: First, the forces of the universe are watching out for us. And second, we're stronger and more adept than we realize.

Monday, February 25, 2008

a little celebration

Today I plan to mail an important letter,
pay some bills, do some writing, wipe a few noses, make an experimental birthday cake, referee children who have a tendancy to sit on each other, work some on a blog re-design, read a little bit, and take at least one bath.

Today is my birthday. I am thirty three years old.

every minute, on the minute

My daughter received a watch for her birthday. If you need, would like, or have an inkling to know what time it is, come on over. She will be more than happy to oblige.

Friday, February 22, 2008

six years ago...

...on a Friday night, like tonight, at about this time, Ben and I headed to the hospital. I was in labor. I'd been in labor all day long. I was tired. And in some pain.

We got to the hospital. The nurses checked me. I was dilated to about a four. They kept me for an hour, but when I hadn't progressed at all, those blessed women gave me a shot of morphine and sent me home to sleep.

Granted, labor woke me up about three and a half hours later. But still. That's three + hours of labor that I have no recollection of. Ben, the ever attendant husband and almost first-time father stayed up, timing my contractions, because even though I was passed out, I guess it was still pretty clear I was having them.

My daughter was born Saturday morning in the eight o'clock hour. There is no way she'll wait until eight to wake up tomorrow. It will be her sixth birthday and the celebration must begin as early as possible. Sweet girl. I love her so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

letters to a parent

Annie, from Basic Joy, came up with a really great idea: to have parents write letters about their experiences and things they've learned, to other parents who may find themselves in the same or similar boat while floating on the ocean of parenthood.

I love this idea, and so I was quite flattered to be nominated to write a letter. (thanks, Gabby!) Since it's only been about six years since I embarked on this journey of motherhood, I wasn't sure to whom I should address my letter. Finding myself in the thick of small-child parenting I am very aware that I don't know a whole lot. And so, I wrote the letter to myself, six years ago, right before my oldest was born. I think I came up with some decent stuff that I will find helpful now and in the years to come. Hopefully some one else will, too!

My letter is up today, so go on over and visit Letters to a Parent. Take a look around. There is some good stuff over there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a birthday

This is my mom. (I stole this picture off my sister's blog- it's from when they went hiking together, I think.) It's her birthday. She's amazing. She's one of my heros. She has eleven kids. (Several others claim her as an adopted mom.) She really is a woman of many, many talents. Ask me what she doesn't do well and I'd have to think. Maybe she has a hard time standing still. She likes to go, go, go. But if standing still is what's needed, she'll do it. I have to say, I have inherited some good genes from her. Thanks, Mom. Happy Birthday!

Friday, February 15, 2008

star wars

For my 300th post, I bring you some news about our national security. From the New York Times, this headline:

Apparently there is a satellite in free-fall, and we're going to shoot it out of the sky! If you've seen all of the West Wing episodes, you will know that satellites occasionally falling to the earth are not totally uncommon. But this one apparently still has a lot of rocket fuel attached to it, and so posses more of a threat to our lives, etc.

As stated in the NY Times:
The effort will be a real-world test of the nation’s antiballistic missile systems and its antisatellite abilities, even though the Pentagon said it was not using the effort to test its most exotic weapons or send a message to any adversaries.
Pretty exciting, if you ask me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

B. Mine

Last year I posted on love poems. It's not a bad read, if I do say so myself.

This year I simply say, Happy Valentine's Day, blogosphere! I'd ask you to be my valentine, but I have one already.

(Ben, skeptical about getting his picture taken...)

And as you can see, he's a keeper.

(Ben, less skeptical this time...)

Hey. We can still be good friends.

Monday, February 11, 2008

nothing time

I've always found this a trying time of the year. The leaves not yet out, mud everywhere you go. Frosty mornings gone, sunny mornings not yet come. Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this nothing time. Not this this waiting room of the world.

So says the C.S. Lewis character in Shadowlands. I say the character because there are a few quotes floating around from that movie that get attributed to the man himself, when actually they are simply from a movie script about the man. And some days that drives me a little batty. Today would be one of those days because my house is experiencing a case of the grumpies. I have enough self-control to avoid going on an internet rampage posting little messages saying "C.S. Lewis didn't really say that!" And so, that's hopeful.

I have to somewhat disagree with Lewis-the-movie-character here, because I don't want blizzards and frozen pipes. I've had enough of those this year. I am ready for Spring. Spring! Hear it leaping off my lips and bouncing madly around my house looking for some place to settle. But the sentiments are understood. Enough of the blah. And February is famously known for a month that can hold a lot of blah.

C.S. Lewis, perhaps feeling exasperated about February

I think most people get a case of the winter blues around this time of year. You feel a little dull, and anxious about your job, your relationship with your cat seems to be suffering, and you wish those HD tv commercials were real so that you could hop into the tv screen and go surfing or something.

In an effort to remedy some of my own grumpiness I have cleaned my bathroom and made my bed. We'll see what we can do about everybody else's mood. Chocolate chips all round! Cheap chocolate! Also, there is no snow in the forecast this week. That's exciting.

Friday, February 8, 2008

the long and the short of it

I've always wanted to have really long, semi-curly hair. I need the curl to help with volume around my face. Alas, my dark hair is not naturally curly and I don't have the 2+ hours every day to use a curling iron and various hair products to achieve that 'natural' look. My hair is hitting a longish stage- the stage where I pull it back into a ponytail and am done with it. I like having long hair. But sometimes it looks pretty boring and conservative.

Another thing I've always wanted to do with my hair is cut it very short. I've had short hair before, and it looks good on me with the right cut. But never very short. There is something very appealing about being able to shower in the morning and stick in some gel, muss it up, and go. But. If I cut it very short, I have to maintain it more or less. And I've had medium-short hair so much that I've been sick of it- and I'm not sure I want the pain of growing my hair out again if I don't like the short cut.

My sisters have suggested, and I've thought of this myself, that I should grow it a little longer, get a perm for the curls, and when I'm tired of it, chop it all off. Very short. I don't know. I'm not sure I want to get a perm- it seems awfully eighties. But I'm not quite ready to chop my hair to bits. But I'm getting a little tired of what I have.

In looking at hairstyles on the internet this morning I have come to one conclusion: what I probably need is a good make-up artist and a photographer to tell me how to hold my head in just the most flattering way to accentuate the positives and down-play the negatives. But, sigh. I can't afford those, yet.

Of course I could really shake things up.

I could go blond...

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Which means, literally, well come. Or welcome. For the past two years my brother, Nathanael, has been serving a mission for our church in France and Switzerland. He gets in this evening and my whole family will crowd at the bottom of the escalator in the airport waiting for him.

I was a missionary myself, in France. I didn't love every minute of it. But I loved most of it: I loved France, loved what I learned and loved what I was able to teach others. I got to walk down little cobbled streets like this one, speaking French and eating pastries! And it will be funny to have Nith (as we call him) to come home speaking French.

It's an odd thing to come home to your family after two years away with minimal contact. One experiences a bit of culture shock. It's kind of a bummer that American streets don't look like that, isn't it.

When I came home, back before September 11th, those coming to pick up a missionary at the airport could wait right outside that nice tunnel one walks through after getting off the plane. I was so nervous to be home (maybe weird, but true) that I waited to get off the plane until almost everyone else had gone. Now regular people without plane tickets have to wait outside the security checkpoints, of course.

Nathanael won't have the pressure of a million people waiting to pounce the minute he gets off the plane. But he may have it worse. Now he has to come down the escalator to the baggage claim, where we will watch him descend in all his sleep deprived glory.

I can't wait.

Monday, February 4, 2008

what do you know

I know that tomorrow is Super-de-duper Tuesday. If I'd thought about it earlier I would have planned a Primary Party, with red, yellow & blue decorations and treats. So, no party. But you can bring over some chips and dip and listen with me to the returns come in on NPR, if you like.

I know that if the FBI needs to find you, they will. Once I worked as a manager for a time-share resort thing. One of the guys who worked with me was a smart soon-to-be law student named Sam, who had a theory that all food could some how be classified as pizza (spaghetti: noodles/ crust, sauce/sauce or, PB Sandwich: bread/crust, PB/sauce ... and so on). A few years later I was married (hence, new last name), not working at that job and living in a different place
when, indeed, the FBI called me about Sam. He had applied for some special government job or something and the FBI needed me to confirm a few things about him. Funny, huh. They actually called me twice. Let me tell you, your heart skips a beat when the man on the other end of the line tells you he's with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

I know that I have millions of words in my head waiting, just waiting to be written down, if I could only get them out. At which point, hopefully they would arrange themselves into a national best seller and rid me of my student loans.

I know that Alan Greenspan is one smart cookie. Seriously, the man is impressive. I've been reading his book, The Age of Turbulence. I'm learning a lot about economics. More than I actually learned in the economics class I took in college. But that was mostly because there was a cute boy who sat in front of me, and my best friend and I spent our time staring at him instead of listening to the professor. Actually, I just wasn't that invested (get it? hee). English was a much better major for me. (But the guy was pretty cute..)

I know that I should go to bed now. Otherwise, I will be tired and grumpy tomorrow and really, my lovely family deserves better than that. But I'll probably stay up just a little bit longer, anyway.

What do you know? I want to know.