Wednesday, July 30
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867. She wrote her first published book when she was 65, and lived until 1957, after witnessing the success of her writing.
Over Christmas vacation I read one of her books- I think "Little House in the Big Woods"- and fell in love with them all over again. (I actually cried while reading Laura's thoughts on the founding of the United States.) Stuffed with Christmas food and chocolate, I felt so grateful and aware of what I take for granted, reading how, after missing it all winter, fresh fruit and meat were practically treated as delicacies. But what really draws me to her beautiful writing is between the experiences- the picture she illustrates of the love she and her family had for all good things and for each other. It's wholesomeness really resonates with me.
I just started re-reading "Prairie," and just can't believe that this woman is writing from actual experiences. They leave forever their extended family on the East coast simply because "Pa" likes it better where there aren't as many people. Sell their property, pack everything they own "except the beds and table and chairs... because Pa could always make new ones," into their wagon and head out. Just like that.
It sticks in my head all day as I'm sweeping the linoleum on my kitchen floor. Loading dishes into a dishwasher and walking away. Turning the TV off and cringing at how loudly Mia objects. Trying to keep up with piles and piles of laundry that I didn't have to sew or wash myself. But mostly, I just feel kind of grateful. I squish my babies and smooch their chubby cheeks and agree with Laura.
"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." -Laura Ingalls Wilder
Monday, July 28
1. Getting Anya to walk, by hanging fruit snacks from the ceiling where there's no furniture to cheat with.
2. Combining whatever I find in the fridge, mashing it, and watching the babies gleefully eat it.
3. Making them laugh so hard the food falls out of their mouths.
1. One day I will make them laugh so hard they will choke on one of my concoctions.
2. Child protection services will see my fruit snack torture device, messy living room, and irreverent blog and come cart my kids away.
3. You will see my fruit snack torture device, messy living room, and irreverent blog and call child protection services who will then come cart my kids away.
1. Clean my living room before I post it online again.
2. Kill the *&%$#@! fly that was attracted to my living room and keeps buzzing in the blinds next to the computer.
3. Learn how to spin a basketball on one finger.
1. If I see a peeling sunburn, and it's on someone even remotely related to me, I have to take a stab at it. And I have to keep trying until I get a satisfactorily large piece.
2. My kids can have crumbs attached to their faces for an hour and I won't blink an eye, but if I see a booger in their nose, I can't stop wiping, picking and smooshing until it's out.
3. I collect gay friends. I can't help it. Before I was married, and twice after, if there was a guy (friend only- except for one) I really got along with, he always decided to go rainbow. They don't give a hoot that I think it's a despicable decision. Maybe that's why it took me three months to start dating Zach.
RANDOM SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT ME:
1. I've conditioned three babies to think that when "That's How You Know" from Enchanted starts playing, they are going to be danced around the room. The second they hear those steel drums, they start crawling toward me with a look of anticipation on their faces. All of them.
2. I am conditioned to turn off "That's How You Know" from Enchanted as soon as those steel drums start playing.
3. My favorite color is clear. And you can't convince me it isn't. The first flatware I bought was clear. My cups, glasses, dining room table- clear. The diamond in my ring is clear. If you still don't believe me, come over to my house, I'll offer you some water, and you can tell me what color you would like it.
Tag: Not Maury because she'll just laugh at me and won't do it, Rachelle, Steph, Ally, Wa, Ashley
My daughter the crab-walker who swallows fruit snacks whole.
We were curious about the outcome for this family and found out, thanks to the beloved Wikipedia, that Lorenzo died less than two months ago; one day after he turned thirty- (five days after I turned thirty.)
During the movie Zach was particularly disturbed by the irresponsibility of Hollywood's portrayal of the situation. The Wikipedia article expounded on his thoughts:
"Hollywood found the idea of intuitive leaps of faith more appealing -- and the movie strongly suggests that the only thing keeping brilliant cures from the public is the stubbornness of scientists who insist on their plodding ways. In the movie, the Odones accuse Moser's character of being more interested in scientific accolades than in helping their son. In one climactic scene, Lorenzo's mother, played by Susan Sarandon, accuses the neurologist Nikolais, played by Peter Ustinov, of being a callous coward.
"The life of one boy," Michaela Odone venomously tells Nikolais, "is not enough reward for you to risk the reputation of the institution and the esteem of your peers."
Parents and scientists do have conflicting motivations, but the movie's narrative failed to see two things. Moser's methodical steps masked a passion and determination that would far outlast those of families focused on a single patient. Hollywood also failed to see how the separate motivations of parents and scientists could work well together, and it was left to real life to provide that happier ending."
Zach mentioned that the reason gene therapy has come to such a crawling pace is because human testing caused unfavorable results: leukemia and an actual death. I thought it was interesting that the relative stand-still occurred not because the research itself can't go forward, but because scientists are working with a society that is very tentative to affiliate with or fund anything related to medical mishaps. Researchers must defend and worry about their reputations, or they can't get anything done.
Atul Gawande put it bluntly in his book Complications.
"To much of the public- and certainly to lawyers and the media- medical error is fundamentally a problem of bad doctors. The way that things go wrong in medicine is normally unseen and, consequently, often misunderstood. Mistakes do happen. We tend to think of them as aberrant. They are, however, anything but."
I wonder if doctors like Gawande and someday, Zach, who aren't just "in it for the money" could somehow dispel the stereotype, the community could work together with those who have entered the scientific field to produce results unhindered by the tip-toeing we cause as a society. Which moves haven't been taken in the field of research because "bold" is commonly and ignorantly mistaken for "reckless?"
Sunday, July 27
We had no idea this band and this song were actually for real. We thought they were a new band making songs like this trying to be funny. But no.
Friday, July 25
"You go to where Sunbury road ends, turn left on Maryland-"
"Oh- You mean 5th. Past the Wendy's."
"No, there's no Wendy's there."
Five minutes later we realize we have different opinions of "where Sunbury road ends," and despite the fact that I just drove it twice the last two days, Zach is positive it comes to a "T" about five blocks before it really does. I'm laughing because he almost has me convinced that the road I took doesn't really exist, and realizing that, given my track record with remembering directions, it's no wonder he doesn't believe me. So before he has me completely convinced that I mysteriously transported to the park via road that isn't there, I demand that we get out of bed, go downstairs and Google it.
Five minutes even later we're back in bed. The tension of masculinity affronted is thick in the air.
"That I was right."
Sigh. "That's okaaaaay. I'm sorry I was...
You know this post wouldn't be here if Sunbury ended on 5th.
Wednesday, July 23
Tuesday, July 22
I thought we were over the whole bushy-eyebrowed, football shoulder-padded, wear a teal blazer, anti-feminism era two decades ago. I guess it's like makeup. I've heard we women tend to wear our hair and makeup the same way we did when we were at our "prime." This lady obviously wore blue eyehadow in her high school graduation photo, which is... cool. But, sadly, it seems the appeal of the "I don't cook" phrase is sticking around for some people, too.
I understand busy. But I also understand priorities. And I agree with the idea that cooking for, and eating with, loved ones is one of the highest.
Two days later:
Don't tell me you can't cook. If you can read this, you can cook. I'm not talking lasagna here. I'm talking... not.. Cheerios. C'mon- seriously. It's not an "ability," it's a decision.
Tell me you don't cook- fine. That's your decision. And this is my blog. "Come back soon!" ;-)
Monday, July 21
Here are the directions:
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory of you and I. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.
My first kit! If you want to download it, you can here. (I think you have to register if you aren't already a member. My username is summergale. Just click on the check-mark "Save hi-res" for each thing you want to download. The swirly frame looks weird there, because the transparent background turns black in the preview. But I tried downloading it, and the background stayed clear.)
Can't say I designed it, because I used brushes from Obsidian Dawn, but it was fun! If you ever use it, send me a copy! I'd love to see what happens!
Thursday, July 17
I think the time comes, for many women, right around the first pregnancy. You find out that your little chicken-bean is the size of a quarter, and suddenly you have absolutely no recollection what 7 X 9 equals. You learn how many ounces per feeding and how many feedings per day, and then next time you go for a drive you need to label the gas and brake pedals. And once the most economic and absorbent diaper is determined, your husband catches you reading the instruction manual for the toaster.
Before my time came, I used to run to the store without a grocery list. My pre-baby brain could hold a list of ten to fifteen items- no problem. So I felt extremely confident when I went on a spontaneous shopping trip this morning to pick up three (that's 3, for any of you who have had that long "t-h" word elbowed out) things. Yet by the time I step in the store, I have already packed the babies into the car, navigated the closest spot to the entrance that will still leave room next to the car for the ginormous "truck cart" which despite it's size and difficulty to weild, is only designed for two kids and a smallish amount of groceries. After negotiating the bumpiest tiles on the planet, (whose idea was that anyway?) we finally get inside, check to see if the kids still have all their teeth, and my mind immediately starts replacing the mental grocery list with the produce I just realized we need, until the last item inevitably gets knocked clean out.
I can't imagine trying to do this with a list longer than two. Even six things: knock an item out for every time someone stops to say they thought they had their hands full, one more for every "are they twins?" and two more for every "what cute girls!" That last one is a little more effective at distracting me- never gets old, does it? Maybe I should just leave them in their oatmeal-covered pj's, neglect their messy faces and hair flyaways, and actually get some shopping done instead. But, no. I dress them up and they can't help but be crowd-stoppingly adorable. And even with a list only six items long, I'd get everything but what I came for.
I guess I can't feel too stupid, it's not like I forgot the milk
Tuesday, July 15
I liked this.
I'm so grateful to all the people in my life who have taken the time and effort to build me up instead of tear me down.
And I'm grateful for all the people who have put up with my complete lack of self-esteem, have taken the crap I've dished out (and, if history repeats itself, will probably dish again) and stuck around long enough for an apology. (More apologies will also be dished- hopefully someday, I'll match the number of apologies with the number of hurts I've been responsible for.)
What a blessing humble examples have been in my life. I want you to know I'm trying to be like you. Because you truly make a difference.
Monday, July 14
"Oh dear, you have a zit! Do you want me to kiss it better?"
Wiping up after she didn't make it to the bathroom. "It's okay, sweetie, accidents happen." "What's 'happen?'" "It's when things- uh-... it's what hap- uh.."
"Mia- what is this wet spot on the floor? Did you have an accident?" "No..." An hour later- watching one of the twins crawling away from me... bare-bottom peeking out from beneath the little sundress. "Aaaahh!" You change three disproportionately smelly diapers in succession, miss one teeny step...
"Lullabyyyyyye and good niiiiight.... uh- nuh na naaah naaaah na na naaaah..."
About ten minutes after holding her arm while she tried to squirm away: "My mommy pulled my awm and she huwt me!" to our preschool friends. Yeah- come again soon!
A half hour of frenzied packing and prepping to leave, and finally: "Okay, Mia, let's go- we're late! Get your shoes on, let's go!" "But Moooommy! I don't have any pants! Ha ha! I can't show my buuuum! Silly Mommy!"
"That'll be $165.75" Search search search. "Uh- my wallet seems to have escaped my purse. Heh. Heh. See, I have three little kids at home that like to..." "Uh huh." "I guess I'll just be back for this later...um, should I go put the frozen stuff back?" Eye rolling abounds.
"That'll be $7.23" Search search search. Uncrumple uncrumple uncrumple. "Sorry these are so..." "Uh huh." "See, I have three little kids at home that like to go through my..." Eye rolling abounds again.
Walking into sacrament meeting just as things are starting to quiet down for announcements. "AAAABBBBYYYYYY!!!!!" Yes, we're here.
Sunday, July 13
Zach and I were discussing our girls vs. the world- specifically it's disillusions about sex. Why do doctors and artists have the corner on an apathetic view of the naked body? And what is it that they have to un-learn when they embark in the field?
I got out of the shower unaware that Mia was on the other side of the door. It's been awhile since I was nursing, let alone completely naked in front of the kid, and so of course she thought this was an interesting show. My knee-jerk reaction was to rudely call her on it. She turned away obviously embarrassed or ashamed- or a little of both. The enormity of how wrong I had reacted to such an innocent situation got me thinking. It brings tears to my eyes just recalling it, actually.
We know the body isn't evil. It's a gift! We came here naked- and I don't mean the birth of every human. I'm talking Adam and Eve- the ones that got sent here naked with no idea that they should be wearing clothes around each other. It was perfectly fine with Heavenly Father as long as they were innocent.
From President Benson's point of view, it would seem that the destroyer's greatest goal is to infuse every good with pride. Of course Satan started with our very bodies. What was the only thing certain to affect every human being for better or for worse? The way we view our bodies, and what we think of the act that creates new bodies.
This is by no means an attempt at being impertinent, but how many religions actively send the message that sex, even within the bonds of marriage, is a carnal act- which only purpose is reproduction? To be truly holy, they believe you must be abstinent. And to top it all off, you must emulate a being which is defined for you as "undefineable." Denying the spiritual nature of sexual relations and rejecting the physical (yet perfected) nature of our Maker. What are people going to do with that? Unfortunately, we've all seen it first-hand. It opens the door wide to a "pick and choose your doctrine" mentality. Which opens the door wider to a cavalier attitude toward... well... everything.
Our perception of intimacy affects our our interactions as we search for our companions, whether or not we're looking for an eternal companionship. And once married, not the act itself- but the way we perceive it, impacts every facet of our lives. Our relationship with our spouse, however long it lasts, changes the way our children view themselves and interact with the world. And we all grow up to either add credence to, or chip away at, the distorted view that has been so prevalently, imperceptibly poisoning the minds of God's children.
How disturbing to realize the extent the media had a hold on my mind growing up. And I'm sure for many of us, the view won't be completely free of distortion until after this life. Myths are acting as black-out curtains in a society that has been squinting so long in the dark, we actually believe we're enlightened.
I've decided to be as open and honest as I can with my girls about our bodies and how our Heavenly Father wants us to use them. I don't want them to grow up ashamed, not even embarrassed, of the most beautiful gifts He has given them. I won't have it. Not in the name of propriety, discretion, whatever. I believe that a person who grows up looking at their body the way God does will cover it because they revere and respect it's sacredness- not because they fear that others might see it.
So our new address is now: The Columbus Ohio Nudist Colony, Columbus Ohio. Okay, not really. But it does make you realize the extremes some of us are driven to trying to make sense of it all. The lesson I taught in Relief Society today was entitled "Proclaim Glad Tidings to All the World." This singular knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we have to give people who don't know about the true nature of God. About the true plan He has for us to become like Him. How clear the picture becomes with just these view simple precepts. I can imagine this knowledge being very gladly received. What a relief, to know that one of the greatest joys a husband and wife can share with each other has absolutely nothing to do with the selfishness of those still in the dark.
Saturday, July 12
Friday, July 11
You Are Pocahantas!
Free-spirited and wise. You have a strong passionate spirit that touches and changes all who know you. The wisdom and common sense that you have is really what guides you through life. Even so, you also have a very playful side that loves adventure and excitement.
Which Disney Princess Are You?
Sigh. Isn't it wonderful? I am Pocahontas. I had no idea I was so free-spirited and wise. And for those of you who have been touched and changed by my strong and passionate spirit, (which apparently is all of you!)... you are most solomnly welcome.
Somehow the quiz creator knew enough to leave out the part about having an incredible body and wearing next to nothing. The off-the-shoulder buffalo skin doesn't really gel with G-s and twin-tummy leftovers.
When Zach read this, I told him to do it, too. And because he is surrounded every day by four females, he caved and did it. Lo- and behold. He discovered he is Mulan! "Strong and spirited. You're no one's girly girl; actually you are very determined person with a strong sense of self. Never let go of that! (even when you are surrounded by actual girly-girls.) The only thing that equals your sense of self is your family, but the traditions of society can always be bent to protect something or someone you love."
I really want to see the results of everyone I know. So if you read this... tag, you're "it". ("It" meaning: a Disney Princess. Whether you like it or not. We're all princesses in our own special way!)
Monday, July 7
Saturday, July 5
She is two months shy of three. I haven't tried teaching her anything yet. She's always one step ahead of my expectations, so I end up just always being surprised by what she already knows. I think we all have similar feelings about one or more of our kids. (Yeah- so far the twins are hitting milestones on a nice, relatively slow schedule.)
We call her to dinner. "Just a minute, mommy. Let me get to the point. Okay, now I'm coming!" Hee hee (okay that's the opposite of what I'm trying to illustrate here, but it makes me laugh when she uses phrases without having a clue as to what they mean.)
After showing her a few pointers on buttoning a shirt: (imagine a suck-uppy sappy voice) "Thank you. Thank you for teaching me, mommy." *blink blink* *waiting-for-you to-gush-over-what-a-cute-thing-I-just-said face*
We stopped at each place once, and the next time we drove by: "Look- Dairy Queen!"
"It's Bob Evans!"
Every week: "Meijer! We're at the store! We like Meijer."
"Walmart? We don't like Walmart! I want to go to Meijer." She closes her eyes, purses her lips, and nods thoughtfully. "Don't you want to go to Meijer, Mommy?" (that was the day we got the stickers.)
My favorite: You know how you're trying to make dinner, and your kid is pulling on your pant-leg and whining to come do a puzzle with them? I'll try and show her how fun it could be to play "duck, duck, goose" with the babies, we both get frustrated, and she usually ends up in time-out for playing "whack, whack, yell" at the babies. I showed her one morning how to go from the desktop to PBSkids.org. She has done it every day since. Now I'm like- "Why don't you go play on PBSkids?" And once on there, she navigates the site and succesfully plays every game she comes across. (Including Rosita's Spanish recognition game, we discovered the other day, "Look! I found the sol!") And I am completely liberated to stir my macaroni and cheese in guilt-free peace.
Not my favorite: she knows how to plug in her CD player, start the music, and skip forward to her favorite songs. She does know to keep the babies away from the plug if they head for it, but again- not my favorite.
She finished learning her upper ABC's around 20 months, lower-case around 2 and a half. Now she's teaching herself to sign the alphabet- by asking me. She loves to sign her name. She loves to write her name. She loves to read her name. (She loved it when Pizza Hut advertised "Pizza Mia," for that matter ;-)
What's even more amazing is that she's not even that amazing these days.
Is it just me or does each generation trump the next just a little bit? I'm just amazed by the things I hear kids accomplishing so young. Either kids are getting smarter, or our expectations have just gotten lower- but I can't help but be surprised by every new thing she comes up with. I don't know which is stronger- the joy I feel witnessing her desire to improve herself and accomplish things, or the worry I feel that I might ever do (or not do) something to hold her back. I know it's early. But it's like an origin point, you know? Just because she hasn't traveled far down a path doesn't mean she's not on one. Until she turned two, it was more like dealing with the responsibilities of an animal trainer. Feed her, keep her healthy, keep her feeling happy and secure. But now I think I'm feeling the weight of true parenthood for the first time.
What a long row to hoe- off we go!
Friday, July 4
Maybe there's some history behind her reasoning for doing this. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whatever- I am still a fan of both their incredible voices.
Tuesday, July 1
E- While he was studying from home he let me sleep in so many times, I think I made up for the sleep deprivation from all three babies. He just got up with all three of them, gave the babies their bottles, changed them, and waited til I woke up around 7 or 7:30. Sometimes 8. Okaaay, a couple times 8:30. He never woke me up unless he was going to be late for something.
X- In the rush to get ready Sunday, I missed breakfast. So when we got home from church and put everyone down, I zonked out, too. I came downstairs after thinking in the mirror "Hmm- good eyelash day." He had cleaned the whole downstairs while we were asleep. And then he looked at me closely and asked me if I had started using my new mascara.
C- If I don't know what to make for dinner, he does. And sometimes he makes it, too. And it always tastes good.
E- He can give all three girls a bath. And wash their hair.
L- He's never told me a baby had a stinky diaper. If he notices, it gets changed.
E- While putting Mia to bed, he sings Disney songs per request.
N- He doesn't waste time.
T- We know, without a doubt, that we are the most important part of his life.