Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hey Diddle Diddle!

A few mornings ago Heather wanted me to read the nursery rhyme, "Hey Diddle Diddle."  You know, the cat and the fiddle? The cow, jumping over the moon?  And as I read it, I thought, where in the world did this silly thing come from? I mean, who sat down with a pen and paper and thought to themselves, I am now going to write something that will be read and beloved by children for centuries to come. It will be about a dish that runs away with a spoon, among other things." And then they did, and it happened, and is their mother so proud of them?

I thought, how hard can it be to string nonsense words together, anyway?  So I tried to write my own version of "Hey Diddle Diddle."  It started out like this:

Three little girls all filled with twirls
and spins and kicks and leaps
had no place to go
and nowhere to sleep.
Come home with me
I said to those three
Come with me my dears
I'll kiss your hurts and quiet your fears,
sing you songs and dry your tears.
Yes, oh yes, cried they
and that's how we live
still happy today.

But, come on. That's no good. I mean, it makes sense.

Then I got scientific with it, and I broke the original down like a mad lib, just a series of "noun" "verb" "noun" blanks to fill in like a formula.  And I came up with:

 Hey lentil lentil
the cheese and the pencil
the rose kicked at the hair
the heavy book sang some sweet melody
and the carpet winked at the chair.

Yes! I've done it!! I've made history!  Now children will love me for centuries to come*!

Also, this little ditty popped into my head when I was trying to come up with something, and clearly it's no good for trying to be like hey diddle diddle, but my girls loved it.

Three little girls
called by names
Hallie, Hanna, and Heather
like to wander
in all kinds of weather.

Three little girls
called by names
Heather, Hanna, and Hallie
liked to play games
but never kept tally.

Three little girls
called by names
Hallie, Heather, and Hanna
were the nicest of girls
and very polite. 

*Sadly, as far as I know, no one knows who wrote hey diddle diddle, so while my words may live on, my name will drift into obscurity. As is probably best.  The wikipedia entry for it, here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Birthdays: Video Fixed

Alright, listen.  Well, first of all, let's do this right.  Happy Birthday Michelle!  I hope it was a magical day full of cake and laughs.

Ok, now back to me.  As some of you know, it is my birthday in a few weeks.  I've been thinking a lot about this whole thirty thing.

Also, I've been listening to Taylor Swift, in particular her song, "22".  AND for some reason, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" has been in that rotation, as well.  All this leads me to asking for a favor from you.

Yes, from you.  If you're sitting there right now, looking over your shoulder, and thinking that surely I mean someone else, you're wrong. I mean you.

And it isn't much, what I'm asking. Not really.  Just put on T-Swift, "22", or really any other song that makes you feel like dancing, and dance.  And record it on video.  And email it to me.  Or, upload it to google drive and share it.  Or, put it on a disc and mail it.

I don't care how you do it, just do it!  Come on! Let's dance!  I'll do one too, I promise.

To start us off, please enjoy this little thing I pulled together tonight.

Come on, for my birthday?  Please?  I'll do the same thing for you, on your birthday, if you'd like me to.

A few things to note:
Your video clip does not have to be for the full duration of the song. I'm just crazy about dancing, is all.  Send me what you can!
You do not have to dress up like a wild person with red lipstick. If you want to, go for it. Otherwise, just shake your stuff however you are dressed.
It's for my birthday!!




Sunday, June 23, 2013

To Be Like Devin

This morning as I poured the girls their cereal, they all clamored, "Oats, mommy. I want oats on mine."

What they meant was they wanted me to pour a handful of dried oatmeal on their Cheerios, because that is the way Devin eats his cereal every morning and they sometimes like to have it that way, too.

Sometimes I laugh when I imagine in a few years when they are having breakfast at a friend's house, and they are offered cereal, and they look around wondering where the dried oats are to put on top?

Wait, other people don't do that?  Or, do you?  (Do you?)

That led me to thinking about other things that Devin does, that my girls have copied, that I wonder if other little children, or adults like to do.  I'll share some of the things that I came up with, on the off chance that you, like my girls, want to be more like Devin.

He makes his own yogurt, and then we stir in jam, preferably the homemade strawberry, because that stuff is the best.  Obviously the girls don't quite make their own yogurt yet, but they love to help.

He cleans the bathrooms once a week, and the girls just dance and sing when he lets them help.  And really, they are actually quite helpful.  (Heather, not so much.  Yet.)

He drinks his juice watered down by half.  And when I say juice, I mean sugar free crystal light.  So, half flavored water, half water.  The girls think this is delicious.

They don't think any meal is complete unless as a treat afterward there is a bowl of uncooked oats, wettened with milk and some random item from the cupboard .  I've seen Devin add anything from graham crackers to peanuts, from raisins to chocolate syrup.  The girls think this is the most delicious treat, and have been known to choose it over ice cream.

To recap this quick list, if you want to be more like Devin, you should make yogurt, clean the bathroom, put dry oats on your cereal, and drink your "juice" watered down, and then after dinner eat a bowl of wet oats.

As a side note, I've also thought of a few things that show my girls are like me.  If you're interested, here's how you, too, can be more like me.

They don't always think it's terribly important to wear pants around the house.  I mean, I usually wear pants, but their laid back attitude about the whole thing definitely comes from me, not Devin.

Their world revolves around Reese's Peanut Butter cups.  Now, those aren't my favorite candy bars per se, but they do owe their allegiance to chocolate and peanut to me. For sure.

They think that after a meal, the normal thing to do is to lay on the couch with a blanket.  Even in the heat of summer.

And to recap, if you want to be more like me, go without pants around your house for a while, have some chocolate, and lay on the couch with a blanket.

It's such a good life.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

More From Hallie

 Hallie got ahold of the camera again, and I just find it hilarious to see what she chooses to take pictures of.  If you wanted to know what Hallie's life looks like, please, let her show you:

 Folded Laundry waiting to be put away.

 Strawberry Shortcake coloring book, and a bubble wand.

 The Backyard.

 Down to the basement.

 Roads and Cars, a sippy cup, and an ice cream scoop.

 Heather.

 The Kitchen.

 Stairs.

 Baby Doll's Stroller

Daddy's Shoes. 

Mommy, eating a milkshake Daddy made for her.

Counter, empty pudding container.

One of Mommy's plants.

Hanna in the toy room.

More from the toy room.

More from the toy room.

You have a nice weekend, you hear?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Braids and Stuff

A few weeks ago Devin took all his girls out to dinner at Applebees.  This was fun for many reasons.

1. The girls thought the name was hilarious.  Every time we told them where we were going, which was every two seconds when they asked, they would laugh and laugh when I answered, "Applebees."

2. Yummy food someone else made, no dishes to clean up, and leftovers.

3. We had a gift card, so it was free.

4. Since we were going out to eat on a big date with our best man, I wanted us girls to look nice.  Right?  So all the girls got little side braids, which is normal for Hallie and Hanna, but it was Heather's first time. (Bonus, the side braid helps keep hair out of their face. Bonus, that keeps food out of their hair.)

She really can't be my baby anymore if I'm braiding her hair, can she?



It was a pretty good date.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Because I Think It Is Funny

This is what family home evening looks like at our house.




We were memorizing the song "There Is A Green Hill Far Away", and the girls took turns illustrating each line of the song on the white board.

You should hear Hanna sing it, it's her new favorite song and while we need to work on the reverence part of it, she really sings it quite well.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Falling Asleep With Aliens

Last night as I lay in bed, something awful started happening.  I could feel it in the top right quadrant of my right knee.  It was some kind of involuntary twitch.

Have you ever felt that?  It's like being pregnant, when those tiny baby limbs are pushing and poking you from the inside and nothing you do will stop it from happening.  You have no control.

But this was worse.  Much, much worse.  I lay in bed next to Devin, who had fallen asleep as always 3 seconds after we laid down.  From the outside, my face was a sea of calm and tranquility.  But on the inside I was a roiling, raging riot of anarchy and chaos.

"Abort!  Abort!  This is command central and I repeat, abort unauthorized movement in kneecap!"  Nothing.

"Cease and desist all unsanctioned motion in quadrant A, sector B of kneecap R!  Cease and desist now!"  Nothing.

"The kneecap is not responding, ma'am.  Permission to take extreme action?"

Even deeper beneath this war between my mind and my knee, there was another level where I was a whimpering, blubbering little baby, whining in the dark corners of my mind.

"What if... what if it's like you hear about on the news, and I've eaten something, and somehow got something inside me, and any second now 200 tiny spiders are going to erupt out of my skin and go crawling all over my bed?"

"Mommy..."

"What if... what if it isn't spiders.  It feels more like one big thing that two hundred tiny things... what if it's an alien baby in my knee?"

"Alien baby..."

"MOMMY!!!"

At this point I had freaked myself out so much I was really almost crying, convinced there was a foreign, and living, thing in my knee.

But then it stopped.

And I fell asleep.

And my knee seems fine this morning.

Phew.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Drop of Honey

Well, another round of Three Minute Fiction has passed us by.  I do enjoy submitting entries for it, and then reading all of the other entries, those that are shared, that is.  Yet again, the actual winner of the contest was not my favorite, you can read it here if you'd like.  (Just scroll down a little, the top is an interview with the judge, or someone else probably important or something.)

The ones I did like from this round: here, here, and here.  Warning: the first one is a tad... creepy.  The first and third one in that list were both finalists.

The theme for this round was "a character finds something he or she has no intention of returning".  And so, here is my submission.

Drop of Honey

We sit at our old table, by the same window overlooking the same stunted trees still struggling to grow in the shadow of tall buildings.  She looks out.  Her fingers tap absentmindedly on the table.  Neither of us needs the menu.  I study her, noting changes.  The lines in her forehead.  The way she sits now, shoulders back, spine straight.  She manages to look both older and younger than before.

“Well,” she says, and I am grateful that she has spoken first.  She bites her lip and says no more.  I fight the urge to fidget.  She hasn’t looked at me.

I nod as if by this one word she has said something wise.  “I hadn’t thought this would be so awkward.”  The words in my head echo in my ears and I realize I have said this out loud.  She looks at me.  The silence of years condenses into these few minutes.  It becomes heavy and presses on my lungs.  It is hard to breathe.

“It’s good to see you again.  I’ve been...” she is interrupted by the approach of the waiter.  I don’t recognize him.
 “Grits with brown sugar and raisins.” She tells him.  He turns to me and I toy with the idea of pretending to order something different.  Would she notice?  Does she remember?  I hesitate.  I am afraid and surprised at how important this simple task feels.  “Whole wheat pancakes with strawberries and honey, please.”  He takes my order and retreats.

We smile at each other and I feel it, everything is going to be perfect.  I have never seen her look so beautiful. We string meaningless words together into sentences, all sound and no substance.  I feel an excitement growing, an awareness that everything will go back to the way it was before she left.

I watch her mouth move as she speaks.  The flash of her tongue against her teeth mesmerizes me.  I breathe in the sound of her voice, inhaling it and storing it in my soul.  I smile to see her hands are still butterflies touching here and landing there and never still, always in motion.
“... and then I went to Guatemala, lived with an elderly couple.  They taught me...” I try to stay focused on what she is saying, but her hands and her mouth are distracting.  I lose the thread again.  “... and then I thought, ‘what am I doing here?’  That wasn’t where I needed to be, y’know?”  

Before I answer our food arrives.  The steam wafts up creating a hazy curtain between us.  I cut my pancakes, wondering if she expects me to answer her question.  What was it?  I stab a bite with my fork.  I raise it to my lips but it is hot.  I hold it awkwardly and surreptitiously blow on it.
She begins talking.  “The thing is, I had adventures and met people and did new things.  I think I finally am who I always wanted to be.”  She reaches out and grabs my arm.   “I’m saying I found... what I was looking for.  I mean, myself.  I found myself, and I think... I want to keep myself for me, for a little while.”  

She holds my arm, her eyes searching mine for a response.  I look down at my pancake, the honey slowly pooling, forming a drip on the edge of my fork.  What is she saying?  “Maybe someday, I’ll be ready.  But right now I’m afraid to give myself away, so soon... after finding myself.”  The honey has collected enough mass and slowly drops onto my plate.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Closure

Just in case you felt like you needed closure on this whole novel topic, I present you with, my book.


I finally managed to read it all the way through, which pretty much proves my theory that I like books better in actual print than reading them on a screen.  Sorry, no kindle for me today thanks.  It was not, by any means, the best book I've ever read - I mean, it wouldn't even dare flirt with the best book.  But it was also not the worst, worst book I've ever read, probably not even in the lowest ten.  There were definitely times when I had to sort of laugh, and think, "Oh man, I completely forgot about this part that I wrote at 1 am."  You know, as a sort of word bulking agent, just trying to get my word count up there. Probably in edition 2 that I have to have finished before my father is eighty (per his request) those parts will be cut out...

What I hadn't really thought all the way through was that when I signed up on the website to get my five free copies I was also giving Amazon.com permission to sell my book on their website.  It was one of those things that I knew, but didn't really process.  I mean, even through the whole part where they asked me how much I wanted to charge for it I didn't really get it.  This from the girl who didn't realize that Rice Krispies were made from puffed rice until college.  Yes, that was a startling discovery for a young and innocent co-ed.  They have a little calculator and as you put in how much to charge they calculate how much your royalties would be, so I played with that for a bit until I found the cheapest amount that I could get a couple cents for.
You can get yourself your very own copy, should you so desire to have one on your bookshelf, at Amazon.com for 4.99.  BUY MY BOOK HERE SO I CAN BE RICH.  (You totally don't have to buy one, obviously. Free country and all.)

And soon I'll be rich.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Evening

Tonight, while the chocolate chip cookies cooled on the counter, and Hallie and Hanna played with their baby dolls together in sweet harmony, Heather and I went outside to enjoy the evening.  It was so much fun, just me and my not-so-baby-anymore-baby, and I thought I want to write a blog post about this. 

Walking barefoot with her in the grass, her finger grasped tightly around mine because backyards are tricky, uneven walking surfaces. 

Enjoying the last bit of the sun's warmth of the day, the light softened and gentle.  If you ask me, that's the best way for the sun to be.

Introducing her for the first time to the perfect delights of swinging, my legs cramping and my stomach starting to swirl but she never wanted to stop.  And so we didn't.  (For a long, long time.)

I thought I would write about all these things, this nice evening we had, and then I realized that if I did, you would think that was what my entire evening was like.  I mean, it was like that.  But it was also like -

One sister pushing another off the chair because she wants to help make the cookies.

Refusing to eat dinner until it was cold and yucky and I wouldn't have wanted to eat it, either.

A poopy diaper.

 Crying and yelling and fighting and hitting and falling and crying and shouting and biting.

I wasn't planning on mentioning those parts of the evening not because I want to pretend my life is perfect, or that the girls never do those things, but because I don't particularly like to dwell on those moments.  I'd rather write about the things that I want to remember someday, the parts that make me happy. 

So please know, my house is usually more on the cluttered side than the perfectly clean side, my dinners are sometimes burnt, there are a lot of tears and sometimes they are mine, and things aren't always perfect around here but I like to focus on the moments that are perfect.  The moments when I can see eternity with this little family of mine stretching out before me and my spirit sings with the joy of it.

Speaking of joy, I read this talk yesterday and I've been thinking about it all day since.

"Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better....everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of “good things to come.”  My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the “light that is endless, that can never be darkened.”  To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve...

"Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed. ... No one’s eyes were more penetrating than [Christ's], and much of what He saw pierced His heart. Surely His ears heard every cry of distress, every sound of want and despair. To a degree far more than we will ever understand, He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”  ... Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come."

Excuse me for a moment while I get a tissue and dry my eyes.  Sometimes my heart gets so heavy with all the pain and suffering in the world, all the tragedies and trials that people have to go through, and I start to wonder how anyone can carry on through all of it.  I get renewed hope though, each Sunday in church when I get to go sing with the small children.  Every song we sing pretty much covers one of three topics, and often it touches more than one:

1. Life is beautiful.
2. We can make good choices.
3. Jesus loves me.

And every week when I look into those faces, those eyes still filled with perfect innocence, largely untouched by the troubles of the world, I think that if I can just get them to really really know that life is so good, and that they can always make good choices, and that Jesus always loves them, then there really is hope for the world.  Because when they grow up and life gets hard and things seem bleak, maybe those songs from their childhood will come back and give them hope and strength, just as they give me hope and strength right now.  Elder Holland gives me hope and strength, too.

Listen to and read his entire talk, here.