Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guest Blogger

Hallie really wanted to write a post for you all.  I thought, lots of people have guest posters. Why not me?  So, without further ado, please welcome HALLIE!!!

 mn  vmmn  gmngh cnbbbbbbbmmmmgb     gf nmmgt gm n fvfr n btn tn bbbbbbbbbbbbbbmfjkfjnfjjkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk/.j/j/j/jm//

Well, I don't know about you but I think that was really profound.  Thanks Hallie, for lifting our spirits and brightening our day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Unsolved Mysteries

The Case of the Missing Soap

Devin and I bought a nice little soap dispenser to put in our downstairs bathroom.  It sat there, day after day, sweetly dispensing soap into dirty hands.  One day it was gone.  It has never since been seen.  There are no clues as to its current whereabouts, or the identity of the soap thief.


The Case of the Missing Scriptures

One Sunday as I was getting ready to go out the door for church I realized that my scriptures weren't in my bag.  They are always in my bag, ready for church.  I only use them at church.  (I have another set for at home, people.)  I looked.  For three weeks I looked.  I looked in the laundry room three times.  All in vain.  I was at the point of despair, Devin and I had agreed we would buy me a new set.  I did not want a new set.  One lovely afternoon I was standing in the laundry room, trying to make sure I had not forgotten anything for an outing we were going on, when my gaze drifted to the counter top.  There, in a beam of light (probably) they sat.  Who put them there?  When?  Devin was out of town.  I had not done it.  But they were not there the day before.  Hallie is not tall enough to reach the top of that counter.  There are no clear suspects.


The Case of the Dirty Laundry

I dumped out a basket of clean laundry to begin folding.  Devin needed some pajamas for Hanna.  He picked up the nearest pair, and asked me if they were clean.  I said all of the clothes in that pile were clean, they had just come out of that basket, which had just come out of the dryer.  He pointed to a spot.  He asked me if I was sure they were clean, citing that the spot felt sort of crusty.  I sniffed. They were decidedly not clean.  How did one pair of pajamas remain stinky and crusty through a wash and dry cycle?  None of the other clothes were similarly still gross.

The Case of the Laundry Addition

I put clothes in the washer to wash.  I sorted them, turned them inside out or right side in, depending on their individual care instructions.  I did not put my lady clothing in their special bag for washing.  I transferred the clothes to the dryer when the washer sang to me. (My washer sings when it is done. So does the dryer. It's very nice.)  They spun and spun in the dryer.  I took the clothes out when the dryer sang to me.  On top of the heap fell my lady clothing in their special bag.  Who had put that in the wash?  Devin was out of town, and yet they had been very carefully inserted, zipped up, and joined with the rest of the clothes.  There are no clues as to how they got there.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have long decided we have a friendly ghost in our midst.  Except, I'd like my soap back. And for all the clothes to get clean.  But thanks for the scriptures. And for putting my lady clothes in the wash.

I do appreciate that.

Do you have any unsolved mysteries at your house?

Post-Edit: We found the missing soap this morning.  I have three remaining unsolved mysteries.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Did Not Get

any monetary compensation for writing this post.  I say that now, at the beginning, because by the time you are done reading this post you wouldn't believe me if I said it.

I was never a fan of BYU (Brigham Young University).  There were a lot of reasons, some of them valid, some of them distinctly petty.  My dad wanted me to apply to ten schools to make sure I had "plenty of options".  I did not apply to BYU.

Then I met and married a man who had gotten his undergraduate and master's degrees at BYU, a man whose dream in life was to someday be a professor at his alma mater.  I crossed my fingers, and married him anyway.

We get the BYU magazine in the mail quarterly, and when you factor in that I am addicted to reading and Devin decidedly is not, you can probably figure out which one of us reads every page of it.

And, in an ironic twist of fate I find myself beginning to respect BYU as an institution.  And we all know where respect leads: love.  Yes, it's true. I'm starting to think BYU is one cool place.

So Awesome: BYU has a student run ad-lab developed by one of the professors in that field, because he felt that his students could learn better from real life experience than from running simulations. The lab is completely self-sustaining.  His students have won awards nationally and internationally, and are regularly hired by top advertising agencies.  (They have done ads for Butterfinger, UNICEF, Apple, Nike, Volkswagon, Burger King, to name a few you might recognize.)  Watch their Dorito ad.

Then watch it again because it's just that funny.

So Awesome: I hope this isn't a confusing transition, because I just talked about the ad- lab, but here is a promo that a BYU student made for the school's library. It was not made by the ad-lab, a student comedian made it.  Can you tell which famous commercial he is spoofing?  Watch it:



Then watch it again because it's just so funny.

So Awesome: And, last but not least, the students are just good, hardworking, service-oriented kids.  They know how to have solid clean fun, too.  Here you can see them winning the record for the world's largest water balloon fight.  They stole the title from the University of Kentucky.**



Good job, guys.  I guess I have to apologize for any less than glowingly loving statements I might have made in the past to or about BYU.  I'm sorry.  Can we be friends?


**The University of Kentucky stole the title back a month after that video was shot.  Apparently they really wanted that one.

I would like to repeat that I did not get any monetary compensation for writing this post.  The ideas and opinions expressed in them are my own.  If you have trouble viewing the videos, click here to come to my actual blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Social

Some people are social butterflies.  Some are social smokers, and some are social drinkers.  Some people are just plain socialites.  Whatever that really means.

Turns out I am a social cleaner.  I guess it probably all started in my childhood, same as everything.  I can only imagine it's because I used to share a room with my sister, and so either we were in there cleaning up the room together, or I would be in there alone grumbling "why doesn't Mimi have to clean? This is her mess too. Life is so unfair. My parents hate me. I wonder if I could crawl out the window and run away."  You know, that sort of thing.  Then as I got older and we didn't share a room anymore I probably felt lonely and disconnected, after all those years of having someone, so instead of putting the laundry away I would just put it on the bed, to do later, so I could go back out and be with my family, or my friends. Or, let's be honest, read a book.  But quite often to be with people.

In college it just got worse.  My roommates were really good about keeping our place clean, and we liked to do it together on Saturday mornings.  Total social cleaning.  I had two good friends, and I am pretty sure that one of their main job descriptions as my friend included "sitting on Amy's bed while she cleans and organizes"  (You know who you are.)

And I really think that this whole social cleaning thing has merits, especially with children around.  You know, one to sweep, and one to stop the baby from crawling through the dust pile.  One to fold the laundry, and one to stop the toddler from unfolding the laundry.  One to scrub the toilet, one to stop the baby from falling into the toilet.  You get the picture, I think.

I found out yesterday that the husband of a friend of mine is out of town all week. Serendipity! Devin is out of town until Thursday!!  Of course I invited her over, sort of like a married with children version of "Single Women Alone Together."  I was looking forward to having her and her two kids come over and spending the day with us, and was thinking about what we could do.  We could go to the park, if it's nice. Or we could play in the backyard.  But as I looked around my house I knew. I just knew that I was going to have to warn her that if we stayed here, inside, with my kitchen table unwiped and the laundry sitting unfolded in front of the couch that I would start cleaning in front of her without even realizing it.  That's how hardwired I've become.  So I plan on warning her that if we stay here, that is what will happen.

Would it be weird if I offered to go to her house in return, just in case she's a social cleaner too?

Post-Edit: She came over yesterday. Before she got here I managed to get the dishes done, sweep the floor, put clothes on both girls, get dressed myself, tidy up the toys, and put all the shoes away.  So, that did leave the kitchen table unwiped and the clothes unfolded.  Clothes that I did start folding as we talked.  Ah, well.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Game Face... It's On

So Halloween is in a week.  We are entering the free candy zone.  We've been practicing around here, in preparation for it.  I mean, I have to ensure that we get maximum candy intake from the handers-outers, and that means Hallie has to have her game face on.  This is important to me, because, come on, let's keep it real here - you know I'm going to be eating 75% of that candy. (Don't judge me.) 

But, so, really, this is for her. The more we practice, the more she gets.  The more she gets, the more she gets.  (I don't let myself think about this for too long. I don't want to let myself consider that the math goes both ways. Er, ah, hehe.)

So, how much candy would you give this face?

 She calls this her funny face.


And she calls this the scary face.

I know, I know. But that's what she calls them.  And so, seriously.  How much candy would you give this face? 

Just ignore the pajamas...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Mystery Plant

Are you dying to know what the mystery plant is?

It is a sweet potato.

That's right. A sweet potato from my grandparents garden. They gave it to my mom, she never got around to eating it, so she stuck it in some dirt and well, it began to grow. Then she gave it to me.  And now I have a sweet potato growing in my kitchen. Like I said, edible.  Food storage.  Why not?

So I realize that this game probably wasn't entirely fair. I mean, how many other people do you suppose have sweet potatoes growing in their kitchen?  I'm gonna go out on a limb and say probably not many.  Thanks to those who played, you made some good guesses, and you gave me some good ideas for house plants if I'm ever in the market.

But probably I won't be, what with my mom giving me spider plants and sweet potatoes all the time.

I'm thinking about starting  a group called "People for the Putting of Sweet Potatoes in Dirt and Growing them in Pots in their Kitchen".  What do you think?  I bet there would be supporters out there.

Anyway, these guys are my constant reminder as we head into the less than sunny days ahead that springtime always comes back again.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Would You Like to Meet

my plants?  AND play a game too?  Come on, let's play!
I call this one the spider plant.
This one has been with me the longest, since 2006.  He is my favorite. Would you like to hear the story? (Here it is, as I know it.) When my mom went away to college her dad gave her an offshoot of one of his plants.  She has had it ever since.  When I was at college my mom gave me an offshoot of that plant, and I have had it ever since.  So this is the grandbaby plant of my grandpa's original plant. I have high hopes of keeping it alive until Hallie and/or Hanna go off to college.  Wouldn't that be sweet?  He's been with me these four years except for a brief stint with my friend Nicole, and I've learned a few things.
1. Plants are pretty resilient, determined creatures with a fierce will to live.
2. Even so, they still need to be watered every so often.
I call this one the "cactusy kind of one with the pretty flower"
This little guy is a fairly recent addition.  I brought him home with me from my mom's house back in 2008.  He may not look like much right now, but I finally got him to bloom (just once) and it was amazing. I smiled for days.  It's no easy task getting the conditions right for this one to be willing to make a flower.  It was so worth it.

Mystery friend.
And this is my mystery friend.  Of course I know what he is, but do you?  Let's play a game. Whoever can tell me what this plant is first (go ahead, google it!) will get something very special from me, somehow.  So, first person to leave a comment with the correct identification of this plant will WIN.  Something.  Like a birthday card mailed to YOU from ME on your BIRTHDAY. Or something really special like that. (Mom and other family members who may already know: you are not eligible for play.  Sorry.) And if no one has the right answer by say, Saturday before I go to bed, I'll just tell you. (so boring.)

Clue: Both Hallie and Hanna have been caught eating his leaves.  They never showed any ill side effects.  I am now thoroughly convinced that this plant is entirely edible, and am saving him as a last resort food storage.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Me Recipe

I wrote this for a homework assignment in sixth grade.  My sister found it for me.  It was supposed to be a Christmas present, but she couldn't wait.  I think it says something about our personalities that she had a copy of it, and I didn't.  I am also left wondering if this is still an accurate "recipe" of me:


If there were a recipe of me
It most certainly would be:
One half cup of eccentric,
One third cup of cinematic,
Four teaspoons of thoughtful,
Two dashes of bashful,
Half a teaspoon of curiosity, and
One cup of gentle ferocity.
A bit of careful teasing,
Mix in with loud wheezing
(Hey, it's not my fault; I have allergies!).
A tablespoon of golden strands
to be braided by my hands.
Stir in stretchy bands,
A drop of childlike happiness, and
Three thirds cup of silliness.
Put it in a pan for a cake—
Careful! There is a lot at stake!



I mean, seriously, I don't really have allergies anymore. (Strange. I know, but true - except to cats and dogs, and Devin refuses to let us get those.  Do you suppose that's all I ever was actually allergic to?)

Do you want some pictures? I'm still trying to be more diligent about pictures. (I don't know why you can't see them sometimes, Grandma.  You should always be able to come to the actual blog to see them though. Click here to do that, and you can scroll through and see the pictures you missed too!)
 I am the one on the left, missing about six teeth.  They took like two years to grow back in, too.
 I am the tall one on the right.  Just check out my hair.
And because I found it while I was looking for old pictures, and because it screams "I am the coolest picture ever taken" I had to put this one on too.  Wow.  See, the object here was to look "sultry".  Do we all agree that I FAILED?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Whiskers on Kittens

My friend Heather recently wrote the following on her blog:

You know that song from The Sound of Music. The famous one that has somehow become associated with Christmas, even though the only mention of anything remotely related to that holiday is the mention of brown paper packages tied up with strings. I was thinking about that song today and it got me to thinking about my own favorite things. Those things in the song are all nice, very well and good. But mostly not my favorite things, if I were to have to name them. So let’s go. Let’s name our favorite things. I’ll name mine, you name yours.

And then she followed with her list of favorite things. I tried over and over to leave a comment on her blog with my list of favorite things but you know  how sometimes the universe and blogger conspire against you and won't let you leave comments?  So, Heather, this list is my favorite things.  Thanks for sharing yours.

Amy's TOP TEN (which means I really get 12, just like in football.)
 
sunshine on snow
hot cocoa
baby smiles in the morning
the sound of the garage opening when Devin comes home from work
sincerity
pajamas with footies
flowers that keep blooming all summer long - my marigolds. They just won't quit.
good neighbors
good smells coming from the kitchen
chocolate chip cookie dough/bacon
good books
people who are kind

So next time when the dog bites, or the bee stings, or I'm feeling sad, I'll try to remember  my favorite things, and then I won't feel so bad! (Are you singing yet? Come on, you know you know it.)
For the people who like the pictures. This one's a little crazy.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All Grown Up

Today my friend Alison asked me, "What do you think Hallie will be like when she's all grown up?"


I said, "I have no idea."




But whoever she becomes, I wonder if the world is ready for her.

Are you ready, world?

This I do know: I love watching it happen, even when it breaks my heart a little bit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Third Place

I was somehow registered to run the race.  It was a track meet, and the event was hurdles.  There were only two people registered for that event, and so it looked like I was in a good position to get second place.

We started off.  I ran with everything I had, jumping those hurdles like I was determined to prove to the world that I was not a rotten egg.  Alas, the girl I was competing against was no rotten egg either.  We were neck and neck, except she must have been a giraffe because she was ten feet in front of me.  My strength was sapped, my energy leaking away.  I had nothing left in me.  But wait! Apparently neither did the either girl, for she suddenly collapsed, her body completely spent she had nothing left to give.  I thought that looked like a pretty good deal, so I collapsed as well. We'll lay here for a while, I thought to myself, then maybe get up and finish the race when we're feeling better.  That was my plan.  Until, unbidden, some completely foreign emotion began to creep over me: competitiveness.  I could win this I realized.  There were only three or four hurdles left to go, and she was laying there, unmoving!  It was my time to shine! Since I didn't actually have any energy left to complete the race in style, I got up on all four and half crawled, half dragged myself up, over the hurdles, and across the finish line.

I had won.  First place!   And yes, that was the dream I had last night. Is it sad that I am so tired, even in my sleep?  Hmm...

On Friday we found ourselves driving to Omaha to drop Devin off for the Market to Market Relay Race. He and five teammates would embark the following morning on an 86 mile run from Omaha to Lincoln, following back roads, country roads, corn fields, etc.  They managed to come in 33 place out of 233 other teams overall, and they came in THIRD place in their own category.

Because I am still feeling that competitive spirit from my dream last night, let's compare:

1. Devin came in THIRD place, whereas I clearly came in FIRST

2. Devin had a team to run with, meaning he got breaks every few hours before he had to run again. I was running solo, there was no one to back me up!

3. Devin was just running up and down hills, where the slope is very gradual and easy to maneuver. I had to actually jump over a couple hurdles, three feet tall!

4. He was running in the middle of the day, with the bright sunshine and warm (ok, extremely hot) weather to keep him energized and focused.  He had access to power bars and bagels to replenish his energy levels.  I was running in the middle of the night, with no access to brownies or cupcakes or anything to keep my energy up (apparently my dream self didn't think of providing it).

I think, all in all, you should be really impressed with my first place win.  I know I am.

Devin and his team.  And ok, seriously, we are really proud of him.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Forever

I have a family here on earth
Hallie did not like sitting up there.
We loved having you visit, Andrew and fam!

 They are so good to me
I love those faces.

I want to share my life with them
Yes, I am blinking. But Hallie looks good.
Through all eternity
Hallie loves her new buddy Owen.
Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's plan
Olivia was a trooper all weekend.
I always want to be with

my own family

And the Lord has shown me

how I can.  The Lord has shown me how I can.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fun Fun Fun

Learning with friends is fun to do, fun to do, fun to do




A few clarifications: This is my "dining room".  So, that's my paint you like, Charity... but it was like that when we moved in. 

This is Hallie with her "fun school" "play school" "pre-pre-school" call it what you want, they are sitting on that bench singing the "ABC's".

It's a pretty good group of kids. We have one more now, Lindsey.

And can't you just see how much Hanna wants in on the action?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Optimism

Sometimes when people look at a glass of milk, they see the container as being half full.  Other people look at that same container and see it as being half empty.  And sometimes the same person, at a different time of day may change his status from half full to half empty.
Are you happy?
I sat at my breakfast table, eating my delicious Crixpix yesterday morning and I thought about glasses, and milk, and people.  I am teaching a lesson in church in a few weeks, the topic being Optimism.  I thought about that old cliche, the one to which I keep referring.  I wondered, "How cheesy exactly would it be if I really brought in a glass, with some beverage not milk  in it, and asked the class if they saw it as half empty or half full?" And it took me two full seconds to decide it would be too cheesy.  I watched my Crispix float around and I kept thinking about that ambiguously filled glass.

I wonder if people would be more happy if they tried to focus less on the milk in the glass.  Would they be happier if they shifted their gaze to the glass itself, and realized how grateful they were to have a nice container with which to hold their milk, however much of it they may feel themselves to have?  Would they be happier if they could be grateful for having two strong arms and hands that allow them to pour the milk?  Or, in the case of not having two arms, two hands, or the strength to pour their milk themselves, having gratitude that someone had carefully done it for them?  And what about, after reviewing these other blessings, to finally at last return their focus to the milk, and find it within themselves to be grateful that they have something to drink, whether in their opinion it is a little, or a lot?

Well, of course, today I was put to the test.  There's nothing like making sure you're willing to stand behind your own words.  We were not having a good day.  I was tired, I had a headache, Hallie after weeks of dryness had two big accidents, Hanna just wanted to eat and eat and eat again, and there was crying and screaming and I was frustrated, irritated, agitated, and every other tated you've ever heard of.

I was literally curled up on the bathroom floor while Hallie sat on the potty "trying again" when I realized my attitude needed to change.  So I had a headache.  Well, couldn't I be grateful to have a head? And to live in this modern day where they've invented the fantastic Tylenol?  And couldn't I be grateful that my daughter gets enough to drink that she has such nice clear "accidents"?  And couldn't I be grateful that she has healthy lungs and a strong heart that allow her to bellow at such levels for so long?  And couldn't I be grateful that my body is willing to supply enough milk for this hungry baby?

I can.  Am I feeling better after reviewing all that?  Well, I have yet to actually go get the Tylenol, so my head still hurts, but yes.  I gave Hallie a big hug, we had a little talk about accidents, and I told Hanna that there was plenty more where that came from if she started feeling hungry again.  So, yes, I think this day is shaping up.

Hanna says, "Don't worry. Be happy."
Will I actually talk about milk and cups and attitudes of gratitude when the day comes to teach this lesson? I don't know yet. But I have yet again confirmed my theory that we make our own happiness.  It's out there, waiting for us to find it. 

And so is my Tylenol.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I Just Fell in Love...

...with this little guy.  I couldn't help myself.


But, I know I can't have him because apparently, he belongs to this family:


So, I'll let those kind looking folks have him while he's little. Because I have a plan. When he's big and tall and strong and handsome, I will introduce him to:

Blurry Hanna. She never sits still.


Yeah, this is going to work.  They will fall madly, deeply, truly in love and I will reign forever more as MOTHER IN LAW.  And he will love me too, then, because everyone loves their mother in law.  


Right?  (Congrats, pal. You are my hero.)