Sunday, January 31, 2010

Church Genes

When I was a little girl, my favorite thing to do on the bottom stairs was to play church. I used to bend over into the corner of the hall and bear my testimony into a tiny little pipe attached to the wall. (Why I didn't ever ask for a toy microphone I'll never know.)

Equipped with the (old) hymn book, baby dolls and even bread... I played church.

It was one of my favorite past times.

Recently I was telling my friend that one of my children's favorite things to do together is 'play church.' My friend's question was, "Did you teach/tell them to play?"

No. I NEVER DID. In fact, when I told my children I used to do the same thing, they were surprised.

My kids sit on the stairs, use Megan's music stand, and give talks, say prayers and sing songs.

With the exception of them playing Primary, whereas I always played Sacrament Meeting, it is eerily similar. (Although I played alone with a couple of dolls instead of siblings.)

They are amusing to listen to.
(Even if I do feel mildly resentful that I never had a music stand, microphone and/or real people to play with.)

They imitate their primary teachers, leaders and choristers.
I don't think I've ever listened without laughing and smiling from another room.

Are these type of behaviors hereditary? Are my kids doomed to turn out like me?

Friday, January 29, 2010


Does anyone else find it odd (besides Drew's pediatrician) that I didn't know my baby had two bottom teeth until he bit my toes one night?

(I make sure I am wearing slippers now!)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In preparation and studying for my Gospel Doctrine (Sunday School) lesson on Sunday, I had spent the previous couple of weeks studying Adam and Eve and the events that took place in the Garden of Eden. So Saturday evening, while alone with just five year old Ellie, I thought I'd test her knowledge.

"Ellie, why don't you tell me what you know about Adam and Eve," I began.

Ellie got a slightly perplexed look on her face and replied,

"I don't think I know him. Is he in Kindergarten or first grade?"

So my plan for Monday's Family Home Evening was to have the lesson on Adam and Eve. Only thing was, it was Luke's turn for the lesson and rather than me give him the lesson idea, I wanted Luke to decide what he wanted to 'teach us.'

Perhaps it was all meant to be... because as Luke began his Family Home Evening preparations he whispered to me,

"In Primary we learned about the creation, so I'm going to teach about Adam and Eve and we'll act it out."

Per Luke's instructions, everyone dressed their designated part.
Megan was Eve.
Joshua-a cow, and
Drew-a sheep.
(Joshua quickly tired of being the cow and wanted to be "this" as he draped a piece of blue cloth in front of Mike.) Drew kept tripping over his sheep costume and as soon as he was freed from it, he was quickly transformed into a cow.)

The creation was ready to begin. Daddy was requested to stand up, and quickly given instructions by director, Luke.

Daddy with grand hand gestures and the instructed, "Pppgghhhuuu" magical sound, created the earth. Followed by further instructions and repeated sound and hand movements, Adam and Eve appeared in the Garden of Eden. (The cows and the sheep, I guess were just part of the territory.)

The downside? Ellie had a major temper tantrum and was excused from 'the lesson,' so her earlier perplexed state questioning Adam and Eve's existence may still be in question.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Before Luke would settle down for the family activity Saturday night, he insisted he had 'something to work on' in the office. While everyone else was keeping themselves occupied, Mike and I sat on the couch talking. When suddenly we hear and see Luke running to us with his arms in the air,

"SURPRISE, I grew a mustache and armpit hair in the office."

Who wouldn't burst out laughing at that!?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Week's End

In less than 3 minutes, Ellie learned how "to tie." Only thing is, her only pair of "tie shoes" are her tap shoes. She wears them constantly. Untying them, tying them again, untying them, tying them again, untying. . .
Mommy found Drew, three stairs from the top!
We are now working on coming down them the correct way.
Joshua insists, "He can come down them. He did at Melanie's house once."
(I tried to explain it doesn't count if the coming
down involves, bump, crash, cry, bump, crash, cry.)

Megan is now determined to never mis-spell
'L-A-T-I-T-U-D-I-N-A-R-I-A-N' ever again.
And those are the highlights of a week in the life of our (happy) family!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Something For Nothing

(The innocent (or guilty) brands/relatives/owners/givers shall all remain nameless.)

It all started when I happened to tell Mike that the doorbusters for Black Friday at my 'sister-in-laws family tie to a business' were dishwashers. Could he get one? How much were they? Anything will work better than ours? They didn't have stainless steel, end of story.

But, unfortunately, the story doesn't end there.

Black Friday came and went. Our dishwasher broke a few more spokes. Another wheel came off the bottom rack, and Mike's drinking glasses continued to come out of the dishwasher with undrinkable particles in them.

In a passing conversation, Mike happened to mention to our sister-in-law that a dishwasher was still on his mind.

In an unexpected turn of events, we were given a 'dishwasher that is in good condition.' We were thrilled. A good brand, not used very much dishwasher. And the most grateful part, no money would be accepted.

Wow. A new to us dishwasher.

Saturday mid-day, Mike began the dishwasher project. Mid-day passed, a trip to the store for parts was made. Afternoon; a couple more parts were purchased, a few phone-calls were made. Evening was upon us, and Mike was just about finished working on the dishwasher. A few, (ok, kind of a lot) of adjustments had been made.

"Get it loaded, Tiffany, turn it on and call me if there's a problem,"
directed my dear husband who was leaving to purchase one last part to make the dishwasher secure and firmly put in place.

I load the new dishwasher. I put in the soap. I turn it on. A noise indicates to me that it has started. The noise stops. I view this as 'a problem." I call Mike.

"Oh no," insists Mike, "One of the features of this dishwasher is the silence."
"Wow. it must be a good one." I excitedly reply, "You wouldn't even know it's running?"
Mike returns.
The dishwasher is still in it's 'silence mode.'

A phone call to the brother whose wife is the sister-in-law who's identity is being protected, further supports Mike's viewpoint, "Oh yeah" insists the brother, "They are quiet. I never even know when her parents is on."

By this point, ever the skeptic, yours truly, disagrees that the dishwasher isn't 'a silent one' but rather 'a not working one.'

I begin to wonder aloud. I firmly state my original position. I am sensing a problem.

Mike gets on his knees.

Not to pray. But to listen.

"I don't hear it" he timidly admits.

"Told you" I firmly respond.

"Just give it time," Mike, always the right one, declares.

And that was Saturday afternoon.

It is Tuesday night. The soap has not emptied from the dispenser. The dirty dishes have been removed.

I am looking for the positive whilst living without a dishwasher and having to do dishes by hand for the last three days.

#1 I WAS RIGHT. Mike was wrong. The dishwasher is not "a silent one" but rather, "a not working one."
#2 Paper products
#3 Ellie's attitude: "My very favorite thing to do is dry the dishes, but I think I will really like washing them too. That will be the most fun."

As for the dishwasher solution.
Don't ask.
We don't know.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lullabies and Grins

Two year-old Joshua misses Ellie terribly while she is gone for 3 hours to Kindergarten. He asks numerous times throughout the morning,

"When Elrie be home?"

Joshua was a little misplaced this morning, more so than usual. Joshua was unsettled with every activity. The Legos didn't hold his interest long, the train track he requested be set up, and I patiently obliged (in a very creative track formation I might add), was destructed within minutes. The requests were never ending.

"Want watch home videos",
"Want some pretzels",
"Can I have a drink in my Buzz cup?"
"Will you read me this book?"
"Can I have piece of candy?"
"When Dewie wake up?"

This morning, tears were near when the answer to his never ending"When Elrie be home?" question was,
"Not for a long time, she's going to her friend's house after school and then to dance."

To make matters worse, I was on and off of the phone for most of the morning. After a frustrating morning, Joshua appeared by my side, fingers in his mouth and whined, "Want holdies." Who can say no to that?

To the couch we went. I picked up my Sunday School manual to begin multi-tasking, whilst holding him, but I could tell his eyes were getting heavy, and in a selfish moment, I realized if I got him to sleep, I would have a little time

So, I began to sing songs to Joshua.

While singing his ever favorite "kittens" song (Favorite Things from The Sound of Music), I was struck with the realization that I couldn't remember the last time Joshua let me hold him and sing to him.

In that moment I recalled my favorite newspaper column, written by my favorite columnist, Ann Cannon. It is a must-read, 'Precious moments slip by.'

I savored the moment.

As I laid my sleeping toddler on the couch, I heard an awakened baby in the crib and immediately felt a twinge of disappointment, knowing I wouldn't have any quiet time to myself. Yet, as I climbed the stairs to retrieve the fussing baby, I paused outside the bedroom door. I reflected on what I was moments away from seeing; the fussing sound would soon turn into a wide smile from ear to ear to greet me...

And that won't happen forever. One day, there will be a last time for that too.

After all, five, eight and eleven year olds aren't that anxious to be held. Nor do they have a big grin for me when they get out of bed!

Again I am reminded:
"Enjoy the little things in life. For one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shattered Dreams

When I was about 14 years old, I visited a family on a Sunday afternoon. They weren't wearing their 'church clothes' but they declared the outfits they had on to be their 'Sunday clothes.' What a fabulous idea! I loved it. I committed right then and there that "When 'I grow up' my family will have nice 'Sunday clothes' to wear after church."

On an-early-in-our-marriage-Sunday, I declared to my husband,

"We really shouldn't wear jeans on the Sabbath."

I'm not sure I recall his reaction. I think I have probably mentally blocked out the disagreeable comments I'm sure I received.

Fast forward a few years. I abided by my own rule and when Megan came along, she too was agreeable to my rule. We would come home from church and she would change into a "Sunday dress." I would change into anything that wasn't jeans.

Then came some cold, wintry Sundays. Sweats were my desired clothing of choice. Warm, comfortable, cozy.

Then along came Luke. Though he was quick to remove his church clothes after church, nothing went back on. Diapers and then underwear became his Sunday attire.

Mike kept being Mike. Most times shorts were put on (the approved cotton/khaki kind.) But othertimes, out came the ever forbidden denim.

Then came more kids. And then came sister-in-laws and brothers and suddenly... I (usually in my sweats if it was winter/skirt if it was summer) became the brunt of the jokes every Sunday we were together.

My dreams of my put-together-Sunday-clothed-family shattered into a thousand laughs at my expense.

This past Sunday we came home from church, and everyone scattered to their various rooms to shed their church clothes. Mike returned an hour later than the rest of us. As Mike walked into the kitchen to greet me, he smirked,

"What are you wearing?"

He wasn't smirking at the over-sized t-shirt and sweats he was politely looking past. Instead, a big two-three inch square of smeared snot across my shoulder had caught his attention.

And once again, I felt that old familiar pang of my long ago fantasy of, "When 'I grow up' my family will have nice 'Sunday clothes' to wear after church."

I try to forget my old fantasy. I try to let go of the less than perfect persona we portray alone, in our house, on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday evening rolled around. I was still wearing the over-sized t-shirt and sweats and by this time, the smeared snot across my shoulder had dried. My three boys playing together next to the couch caught my attention and I looked over at them:

All I saw was a sea of camouflage. And that old familiar lost fantasy pang returned.

I know this is not what I envisioned twenty years ago when I fantasized about, "When 'I grow up' my family will have nice 'Sunday clothes' to wear after church."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Beauty Is. . .

When Megan was in First grade, we were introduced to the 'PTA Reflections Program.' I strongly urged Megan to enter. Mike agreed with me. After all, as his story goes, as a child he had to enter each year.

Then came second grade, and third grade and more kids in school, fourth grade and fifth grade and more kids in school... With homework, spelling tests, reading minutes and AR programs, and reports and spelling bees and science fair projects... really, who cares about an OPTIONAL project?
Not me.

One more deadline. One more reminder on the calendar. One more project for mom to keep track of due dates, guidelines, etc. etc.

Until this year, Luke mentioned,
"I want to draw something for that art thing?"

My words were encouraging, gentle and kind,
"Fine. Go for it. You're on your own though."

Luke drew it. I signed the entry paper. I reminded him to take it to school.

What do you know?

A few weeks later sitting in my PTA board meeting, I turned the time over to our Reflections Chairperson. She began to list the winners that we would need to reward. As she said each winner's names, she showed us their projects.

"Over achiever kids and mothers" were my skeptical thoughts.

And then Luke's name was mentioned. I think I gasped. Maybe even laughed.
We've always thought Luke was a good artist.

But a Reflection's winner?
This is a first.
(The piece was just returned to him this week and his request, "I want it framed and hung on my bedroom wall.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hot and Cold

Having spent the last week in sunny 65+ degree weather in December/January, I thought a lot about a principle I don't really love, yet am told is vitally important:


I loved the 65 degree weather even more than I usually love 65 degree weather, because back home I knew the temperature was barely even half that.

As I walked to the front desk of our classy Scottsdale resort to check out, I basked in the smell of some potted petunias and geraniums...(the ONLY annuals I will ever purchase/like), I mentioned to Megan,

"I wish we were going home to Spring, but instead it is the dead of winter. We have at least two months until we feel this temperature again."

Even longer than that until I can smell the flowers in my garden and pots while I sit on my front porch.

I have always loved the variety of seasons and weather. I LOVE rainy days, I LOVE sunshiny warm days, I like snowy, wintery days when I have nowhere to go, I tolerate hot days in July and cold days in January. I even enjoy smoggy days for a time. I LOVE the Spring, I LOVE the fall.

But, I do not love the principle of OPPOSITION.

I love happy, pleasant children.
I can barely tolerate whining, ornery children.

I love a clean, organized house.
More often than not, my house is dusty and cluttery.

I love obedience.
Too frequently I see disobedience.

To quote a song from a favorite album of mine, (My Turn on Earth)

You would never know the good if you never knew the bad.
You could never be happy if you've never been sad.
You've got to taste the bitter so you can know the sweet.
You've got to be hungry to be glad that you can eat.
It's called opposition my friend, opposition
A necessary condition in this world of ours.

Really though, I'd much rather just have everything be pleasant, easy and good.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Happy New Year!

Last year at this time, I resolved to work on the things I didn't quite accomplish on my previous year's list. And though I did get more than half of the things done on my 2009 list, I didn't get to all of them!
(Isn't that refreshing to know I'm not perfect...)

Or I might just forget all the silly list stuff and just make a conscious effort to laugh more.
I LOVE to laugh, and I don't feel like I do it as much as I should anymore.

(Who knows, it might make me more pleasant to be around!)

Happy 2010!


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