Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I love my sister.  Dearly.  She is wonderful, creative, thoughtful and fun.  She has a knack for making things beautiful.  She also has a weakness for Webkinz.

For any of you who might not know what a "Webkinz" is... a Webkinz is simply a stuffed animal.  Upon purchasing said animal you open a little thing attached to their ear, neck, leg, waist... (I don't really know what part it's attached to because, unlike my sister, I avoid Webkinz at all costs)... that has a code on it.  This code gets you into a "virtual world" for your new pet.  My sister's darling children have owned a Webkinz, or perhaps several Webkinz pets for a few years now.  My sister thinks it's great fun and loves to help her children take care of their "pet" in the "virtual world". 

For several years (probably since she bought her first "pets") my sister has told me that I should get these for my kids and I've resisted in every manner possible.  I have even told her that I don't need any other reason for my children to want to get onto some think-for-you, creativity-sapping electronic device (in this case, the computer) and exisit, even for a little bit, in some non-physical plane that is NOT reality (ie., the Webkinz world).  They get enough of that with our Wii that I don't let them play very often.

So, mid-December, my sister called me several times while I was in a movie theater.  I had my phone on vibrate, so I didn't hear the calls and my phone was in my purse so I didn't see the calls either.  When I got out of the theater, I noticed her missed calls and called her back.  She told me that she had been in a store and they had Webkinz for only $5 and she was wondering if she could get one for a gift for each my children.  She remembered that I didn't really want them for my kids, hence the calling, but since she couldn't get a hold of me, she made an executive decision and bought them anyway.  I'm not gonna lie, this announcement made my blood boil a little bit.  I suppose I could've told her she needed to take them back to the store, but that's not my style.  It's a gift, after all, and she loves them but doesn't understand why I don't want them in my life.  So, I conceded.  The gifts were given this last weekend. 

My children flipped out.  They were so excited.  I was not.

Their cousins helped them log on and set up their world.  They played on it some while they were at my mom's house over the weekend.  Whatever. 

This year I have suffered a severe post-Christmas crash.  I pushed myself beyond my limits for several weeks, trying to do too much and not getting enough sleep in the process, not to mention the fact that I'm growing another human being in my body, which tends to sap energy.  I have felt groggy every morning (including Christmas morning) and felt as though I could sleep until noon each day.  (I haven't, but waking daily has been a serious challenge) 

With that preface: Ella, upon waking this morning, came and climbed in my bed.  This is normally a sweet thing.  I love to converse with her in the mornings.  But I was downright grumpy today as she tried to talk to me.  And one of the first thing out of her mouth was something about how she needed to get online and feed "Marci" (her Webkinz) or Marci would die.  Seriously?  Your stuffed animal's electronic persona will die?  I had no tolerance for it.  I told her she better wait until I was a little more awake (like in a non-horizontal position) to talk to me about that. 


I guess this is where I get to assert my position as "Mother" and just tell them too bad.  Your little pet will have to live on whatever they get with a "once every couple weeks" visit online. 

And, just for the record, I'm not mad at my sister.  She made her choice to give them to my kids and I made my choice to NOT tell her to take them back.  I now get to choose to be a "mean mom" who let's virtual pets go skeletal with malnutrition and neglect. 

I just feel better for the telling of the story, so thanks for listening, Blog. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And One More Time has been kind enough to publish this post that I did last year about my church Christmas program. 

Rereading that post makes my eyes smart with tears with the remembrance of that overwhelming day.  I am grateful for my calling in my church as choir director.  I've been known to whine a bit because I've been doing the same thing for close to five years, but I really love it.  I should just keep my mouth shut about it because it fulfills me in ways I forget to remember until I'm actually doing the job of leading those willing and stalwart members of the choir. 

We had our Christmas program just two days ago and, while it was not as thought-out as last year's program, I was very pleased with the way it turned out.  Last year I arranged to have choir pieces, a vocal soloist with a violin, an INCREDIBLE piano solo, organ/piano duets with choir and congregation singing, a vocal trio and some children singing.  It was quite the array and quite the program.  This year I have just been too busy with homeschooling, pretzel-dipping, pregnancy-exhaustion and general Christmas mania and I didn't get the chance to find performers for some of the music that I wanted performed in smaller groups or solos.  Nonetheless, the songs that were performed were BEAUTIFUL and my stress level was much lower this year, an element for which I am grateful.  That may have something to do with the fact that I did last year's program as well as our Stake Fine Arts Night in May... I'm getting some experience under my belt, which allows for lower stress during such an event.

To any who participated in the program who might be reading this, THANK YOU!  Emily, thank you for augmenting Away in a Manger with your violin and thank your husband for playing the piano.  Diane... I don't think you read this blog, but I'll say it on here anyway... my gratitude for you knows no bounds.  You did the very most in the whole program, as you played in every song and with nary a word of complaint!  I realized the other day, that you've been playing for the choir far longer than I've been choir director!  I have no room for complaint!  THANK YOU!!!

The end. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where Did We Go Wrong?

Dear Peanut Butter-

It's not you, it's me.

I'm not sure what happened to us.  We used to enjoy eachother's company.  I've never been a "I can't get enough peanut butter" kind of person, but we've always gotten along just fine. 

Something happened.  Over the years, you've just lost something.  Slowly, you and I have just drifted apart.  Remember when I used to put a normal amount of you on my PBJ's?  And then that amount got thinner and thinner as the years passed, when finally the bread would just show right through you as I spread you on with my favorite freezer jam.  I would almost gag if I watched my husband make a PBJ.  He lays you on so thick, I'm amazed he coul speak the rest of the day after he ate those sandwiches.  

At first it was just the thinning of the "PB" in my PBJ.  Next was the Reese's Peanut Butter cups.  And somewhere between the Reese's and last night's Peanut Butter Bar order that I had to fill, we've become nothing short of enemies.  You assault all my senses... smell, sight, taste... even touch.  So far, you've stayed away from hearing, but I know you'll find a way to ruin that too. 

I want to be friends with you!  Can't we still be friends?  It would be so much easier to be around you! 

Can't you just make yourself smell good to me again?  Or, make it so that when I find little remnants of you in the jelly or the butter (because my kids don't understand the strength of my aversion toward you!) I don't go ballistic? 

I'm so sorry that it's come to this.  Perhaps, when my hormones level off in a few months, we can find some sort of happy medium.  Perhaps. 

No longer yours,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Check It Out

I got published again!  Some of you have already read this, but check it out if you wish... it was supposed to have a blurb about the poem that went something like this:

There are times in life where I've felt like I'm floundering... bobbing along with no direction and accomplishing very little. It was during one of those times, a January in my life, that I realized, as I walked past my flower garden wherein lay the frozen roots of perennial flowers and shrubs, that something happens to those roots in those cold, dark times that cycle through every year. I don't understand the physics or biological processes that occur, but the results, when the weather warms, is the beautiful conclusion of that process that I don't fully understand. From that life-metaphor came this poem which helped me have the faith to get through my own dark, cold cycle in life.

Somehow that got left out, but that's ok... you get the idea, I think, through the poem.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Listy List

Do you ever just have a need to make a list?  Today's the day for me!

1- I'm so grateful for cars and how they, once warmed up, can be a little bubble of warmth against the bitter Idaho weather. (or your state of residence... but only if it's a cold state.  I don't want to hear about anything above 32 degrees.  This morning, where I live it was -12 degrees.  That sucks.) 

2- I'm so grateful that my husband goes out and starts my car every morning as he's leaving for work. 

3- I love the hood of my coat.  It's so lovely and snuggly.  A coat without a hood is not a coat worth having.  That's simply my opinion and if you have a coat with no hood, no disrespect is intended.  But you really should think about getting a coat with a hood.  I'm just sayin'...

4- The "helm" where I sit and do all my computery things gives me a limited view of my driveway.  I can see part of my husband's beat up, old truck and a little bit of the nose of my van from my not-so-lofty perch.  The relevance of that random comment is this:  I was just sitting here thinking how interesting the human mind is.  The front bumper of my van is parked about 8 inches from the front bumper of Dustin's truck.  I don't really even remember parking my van after I dropped Ella off at school, but I, obviously... in my miraculous and amazing brain... calculated the distance from the nose of my van to Dustin's truck very well because I am close to it, but didn't hit it.  That got me thinking how a car can become almost an extension of our bodies.  We are mostly aware of them as we are aware of our own arm or foot and we do things while driving with an awareness of the limits of the car.  But this all happens without alot of concious thought on our part.  

I've had a similar train of thought about when I'm in a room and I need to turn off the light and then navigate in the dark.  If I take a quick scan of the room, I can turn off the light and negotiate the room blindly and yet fairly quickly with almost no mishaps because I've already "mapped out" in my mind, the distances my feet need to walk or where they need to skirt an obstacle.

Or, when I'm running, I look far ahead of where my feet are actually hitting the ground.  I know where my feet are going to land because I already mapped it out as I took in the terrain as a whole.  (I'm thinking, particularly, of trail-running which has many rocks, roots and various obstacles...)  It's simply amazing to me how our brain will just take care of these little details without a lot of conscious awareness on our analytical brain's part. 

We are some cool creatures, human beings!

5- I think something got stolen out of our garage.  This, alone, sucks alot.  But it extra-sucks because said item was not ours, but my dad's and Dustin had borrowed it.  Our lock on our garage is missing.  I don't know when, why or how that happened, but I went out there on Sunday night and the garage door was wide open (this is an old, detached garage with double swinging doors) and had been for who knows how long.  My dad is awesome though and was so understanding and nice about the whole thing.

6- Did you know Laundry has a butt?  I found that out yesterday when I kicked some Laundry-BUTT!!

7- I've been so busy this week... had so many little things to do.  I've actually been doing them, but I should probably make a list because I keep forgetting all the little things that need doing.  But, mostly I've remembered and I've gotten much accomplished.  Good feelings abound.

That feels better.  List made.

Nerd Alert

I've spent the last two hours of my evening studying HTML code.  I'm obsessed!  I can't tell you how insane I get looking at those codes and not knowing what they mean!!!  I'm taking an HTML "class" that I found on the internet.  I basically have to read through it and figure it out, and I love it.  

LOVE IT, I tell you.

I wish I could stay up all night and study.  But, understanding all those tags does take some brain power and my brain, apparently, shuts down at midnight because at 12:02 I realized I could no longer focus on what I was reading. :-(  

As my brother, Zandy, used to always say to me when we were young, "Nerds die twice."

I guess I'm gonna die twice then, because I am a nerd for sure.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Life

This morning, as sleep was walking that precarious line of hanging on and sloughing off of my shrouded mind, I realized I had hands on my belly. I was laying on my back and must have been for some time because, as I was slowly waking up, I realized that my back was hurting me and I needed to move. I didn't want to though. While I was sleeping, my husband was laying there, hands on my tummy, feeling our baby move under my skin. I didn't want to disturb the moment.

Realizing after a few minutes that there seemed to be no movement in utero to disturb, I rolled onto my side. Dustin's hands remained on my belly waiting for more fetal acrobatics. I continued drifting in and out of sleep and, after an unknown quantity of time, Dustin got up to get ready for work. After he showered, he came back in our room and found me a little more coherent.

"I was playing with the baby while you were asleep," he informed me.

I responded, "I noticed your hands on my belly as I was waking up, but I didn't feel the baby moving at all. Was it actually moving?"

"Oh yeah! Totally!" he replied enthusiastically. "It would kick and I'd give a little push back. I'd feel a little limb and bounce it off my hand. It moved a lot and for a long time. The baby and I were having fun!"

Weird how I could be so asleep to not even notice any of that going on. But as I lay there thinking after he walked away, I was very grateful that I stayed asleep through it all. He got his own time "with the baby" as I was lost to the waking world.

A few minutes later, Ella walked in the room. She had a bad dream for the second morning in a row. Comforting words were said and she climbed in bed next to me filling Dustin's vacated spot. We lay there a few minutes and suddenly the baby got very tiny hiccups. I took Ella's hands and, placing them over the rhythmic hiccup-zone, told her of the baby's condition.

She got very excited as she felt the little repetitive jolts. "I can FEEL it, Mom!" she whispered enthusiastically. Suddenly, the baby decided it was awake and ready to roll around. The big sister thrilled at the various kicks and motions she felt. Swells of miniature body parts protruded and she informed me of every action. She laughed out loud several times. She asked what she was feeling... "Was that it's head? Is that it's leg? How does it make that bump stick out? What was that little bump?"

"I don't know Ella," I replied. "I wonder the same things all the time and I can never quite imagine the little person that can make all that movement simultaneously!"

As we lay there, I told her that her daddy was "playing" with the baby this morning while I was sleeping. She laughed. I suddenly realized that she, being my only daughter thus far, (March will tell if she is my only daughter ever) would one day, in all probability, get to experience this very thing, but from her own body, not just feeling it through her mother. I told her this, that one day she could feel this too but feel it all the time, every day as a new life develops into a whole, and very tiny human being.

I marveled, as I have time and time before, at the wonder of being a woman. This is a precious time, a wonderful gift that my body can give. I love feeling those jolts of a new life inside of me. Dustin can feel it from the outside as he lays there in dark, but OH!, the joy I experience with each little tap or roll from within! It is a wonder, a marvel and a miracle.

And with that thought, I say again... I love being a woman.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking?

Not this time.

Just now Rohan came downstairs and asked in a very loud voice, "Mom, do you know Santa's phone number? Cuz I've been waiting a WEALLY LONG TIME!"

We only put our tree up last night.

It's going to be a long month for that four year-old boy....