Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

It's 6:15 in the morning & a ghost & a pumpkin are preparing to watch the Great Pumpkin on YouTube. Do you think they are excited about the date?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The First Day of Mid-Term

The kids get this week off school. It's called the Mid-Term Holiday, but I think it should be renamed the Recovering From Colds & British Summer Time Holiday.

It seems like everybody has been ill & the clocks fell back for fall yesterday. We are back on Greenwich Mean Time. It means that it's 9:41 in the morning & it feels like 2 in the afternoon. We've had more than one fight, a broken photo glass, & the four hours of tidiness I experience every day when Cami & Graham are at school will resume next Monday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Not For Camping

Graham loves numbers. LOVES them. So, yesterday he decided to count to 100 for a bunch of educational professionals. He got to 40 before they told him that he'd done well, but that the meeting needed to end. (I just snickered the entire time.)

This morning Jason invited Graham to count up to 100 for him. Everything was going exactly the way you would expect, until:

"Ninety-eight, ninety-nine, tenty."

"Tenty? You mean one hundred."

"No, tenty. It comes next."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Views of Pemberley

I had promised more pictures of Chatsworth House last week. So, here's some of the house and grounds.

This is one of the State Rooms, not usually open to the public. When the house was constructed, this room was built specifically so that if Mary & William ever came to visit, they would have a throne room available. It would have been the seat of power whenever they were there. The room never had its moment of greatness.

I wish these indoor photos weren't blurry. I was trying to be good & not use a flash.

Once upon a time I thought I'd never see a library to covet more than one at Princeton. I was wrong.

Alright, movie lovers, recognize this?

I love the countryside. Sarah noted that I spent the most time standing at the windows instead of gawking at the lavish interiors.

Sarah & I were both in awe of this indoor vineyard. The grapes hang from vines planted in the 1920s. Just amazing.

Scripture Power Usurped

This morning Graham started flipping a coin to see if it would land "heads" or "knees." When it came up heads, he said, "It's the power to win."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crying Right Now

When you find yourself, you will be beautiful. -- Ruth Reichl's mother.

I'm listening to a Fresh Air interview with Ruth Reichl right now. I've read her first three memoirs & she is currently promoting her fourth. The book is entitled, Not Becoming My Mother.

Who doesn't feel that? (Mom, are you surprised?)

I've been struggling with all the voices in my head. I've heard lots of negative things throughout my life & unfortunately, I've absorbed them to the point that my thoughts are now the self-destroying voice. Just in this week, I've been trying to interrupt the negative words & replace them with kindness.

So, this quote is something I'm going to write up on my wall. I keep trying to find out who I am. And then I will see that I am beautiful.

Friday, October 16, 2009

How Many Eyes Have You Got?

Triops has Three Eyes is an especially popular song with our numerically gifted four year old. Graham likes to cuddle in bed with me before the sun is up and talk about what creatures are called that have one eye, two eyes, three eyes, etc. We go up to ten & then my knowledge of Roman/Latin numerical prefixes comes to an end.

This morning Graham asked to see a bi-op. "Honey, look at me," I said. "I'm a bi-op."

"No, you are not. You are not scary. Bi-ops are scary."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken with Apples

This recipe was a lifesaver tonight. I had NO brilliant ideas & then I found this. I had everything -- having bought the chicken breasts & Braeburns yesterday -- except the juice. Homemade chicken stock replaced that. And I reduced the Dijon to about 1/2 tsp. Little mouths can't handle the HOT English mustard.

Motherhood Memories

Rose turned 18 months old on Monday. She can now officially be left to cry her heart out for two hours in the church nursery!

With Graham & Cami at school six hours a day, I'm getting to play with her more. For whatever reason, while she was in the bath this morning, I was remembering one of my favorite people. Aaron was three when I met him -- I was fifteen. I loved spinning him in circles or playing "airplane" with him. I thought that's what being a mom was all about. . .making a happy child giggle & scream with happiness.

Motherhood has taught me otherwise. But I took some time to play airplane and chase and peek-a-boo with little Rose today. And she screamed with happiness.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Toddler Talk

Jason sent me the following text at 1:24 this afternoon:

Rose is up, and saying "done nap"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rudolph the Green Nose...

Graham wanted to look at an I Spy book for story time last night. One of the items on the list was antlers, which was a new word for him. To help him understand what he was looking for, I prompted, "Look for the deer."

He questioned, "A reindeer or a John Deere?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Day with Darcy

Today is the 10 year anniversary of when I left Temple Square & became a different version of me. If I had thought, "Where will I be 10 years from now?" on that day, my guess wouldn't have been here.

My photos aren't turning out very good. So, if you want to see better shots, watch this.

My friend Sarah & I took a day off. She grew up in Derbyshire & wanted to show me Chatsworth House, or as many people know it, "Pemberley." It's an amazing house with an incredible art collection. I saw the white bust of Darcy. It was on display next to the Veiled Vestal Virgin. "Darcy" is made of resin, the Virgin marble. Both beautiful, but sitting side-by-side, the resin just looked fake & the marble magical.

I'll post more photos later. It's late, I need sleep. But one last shot. This warning stood outside the estate farm. I told Sarah I'm going to print this photo & stick it on my front door. It made us laugh.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Parenting Pondering

We had the missionaries over for lunch today. One is from Utah, the other from Bristol. Cami was so excited to show them the pumpkin we found at the fruit & veg shop & which she was already drawing a face on. The British missionary had never heard of carving a pumpkin. When I asked, he said pumpkins were used in soup & to "chuck at people."

This same missionary was very amused watching Rose explore the kitchen tools drawer. It's mostly filled with wooden spoons, the whisk, lemon juicer, etc. But, tucked in the back was the meat tenderizer. He thought it was hilarious when she started wandering around the house with what is essentially a fancy hammer.

It made me realize that Jason and I are pretty relaxed in what we let the kids do at home. And hyper-vigilant in making sure they don't wreak havoc when they are in public. I wonder if that confuses them.


A couple of months ago, Jason came to me & said he felt we needed to dedicate some of our time to a cause.

My niece Rebekah, spent a chunk of last summer volunteering at a foster home in China. Orphaned children, all of them in need of medical attention, are taken out orphanages by a lovely woman named Amanda DeLange. She then arranges for their treatment & pays for them to live in Starfish Foster Home. Many of them are then adopted by families outside of China.

I phoned my sister Dawn a few days ago & she mentioned she'd been wanting to talk to me about a project she & Rebekah are trying to get off the ground. Amanda is being honored with a
Distinguished Service Award at BYU Homecoming in a couple weeks and Dawn & Rebekah are trying to figure out how to capitalize on Homecoming to raise funds for Starfish. I suggested a couple of things, which I'll mention later if they look like they will happen.

Anyway, Dawn just posted this link about Amanda on her Facebook account. I still don't know how Jason and I can help, beyond letting people know about the wonderful place that Amanda has created far, far away.

An Act of Faith

Cami has made a friend at school, a girl who just relocated to our area. They have plans to go bowling next week. But Cami isn't the only one making friends -- I ran into Heather's mom as I ran an errand, so I invited her over.

She's a laboratory scientist who has a background in materials. She got excited about something & started to explain how neat it was that girders work in a special way. Then she cut herself off, uncomfortable because it wasn't something I had any background in.

I reassured her, "It's ok. I'm married to an academic. And I come from a family of academics. Don't be embarrassed about what you know."

She asked if I'd been an academic too. Nine years ago (how can it have been that long ago?) I was. But now isn't the time to think about the life I left.

I keep thinking about how profound that last line of reassurance is: don't be embarrassed about what you know. So, so much easier for me to say to another than to apply to myself. I spend so much emotional energy shielding myself from sharing the things I know. Trying to avoid the isolation that comes from knowing the things I know. This sounds so cryptic and I don't mean to be. Simply, being LDS isn't comfortable for me. I haven't been comfortable in my faith since I was a small child. Even writing those last two sentences, knowing that somebody else will read them, is anxiety-creating. But I'll hit "publish" anyway.