Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Dragon Scrolls

"There is no charge for awesomeness...or attractiveness."

My girls love Kungfu Panda - and my husband and I can't help but love the lines from the movie.

Lately my oldest - AGG has been wearing a tail she made from a headband and a ribbon. She demands to be called just "tigress". Naturally, my little one DD is running around with a headband around her waist and a ribbon tied to it as well.

My lovely Avant Garde Gal - with her scroll, her teal headband around her waist and a pink and brown ribbon tied to it - for her tail.

My little Dauntless Daughter - who is fighting a stomach flu bug...and cheered up by her own dragon scroll.

AGG had been making a makeshift dragon scroll with the back of her princess folding chair that she naturally destroyed (sorry sis). She used two glow sticks to provide the scroll effect, but it wasn't working that well.

Pooh may be a casualty of Kungfu Panda

The girls like to place the dragon scroll right below the dog's mouth... they come up with this on their own - even the tails... I am not this creative.

So... my crafty husband (who is creative, resourceful and fabulous) came up with truly awesome and attractive dragon scrolls.

What my hubby used to make these scrolls the girls LOVE -- Cardboard from those wire hangers the dry cleaners use, cardboard roll from wrapping paper and paper towels, fabric from a child's canvas chair (princess print), an old thin, baby blanket, wrapping paper (one shiny and one just to wrap the scrolls), aluminum foil, hot glue gun.

He made AGG's first. And then spent a long time last night creating another for DD. Which was so sweet because she was sick with some stomach flu bug and couldn't contain her excitement that she'd have one too. In fact, this morning she woke up before all of us, just to run into her big sister's room to show her the dragon scroll.

They are currently watching Kungfu Panda as I blog this.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Guy - Happy Daddy's Day!

My husband Phantom, who loves nothing better than to have a nice, soft back scratch, and my daughter Avant Garde Gal (4.5 yrs) had this conversation recently:

P: Will you scratch my back like I scratch yours?

AGG: No.

P: Why?

AGG: Daddy, your back is humongous, like a giant!

AGG was feeling goofy today and this is how she responded to "What do you like about Daddy?"

I like his USA Shirt (hockey jersey from the SLC Olympics US v. Belarus - we won!)
He kisses me

He loves Kalea

Kalea's the best girl

I like the hair that he shaves it (they like it when he has a smooth face)

He flosses his teeth

When he crosses his eyes

These are Dauntless Daughter's responses to the same question. She's 2.5 years.

I like it when he gives me fruit snacks
I like playing games, sleeping
When Daddy separates me (from her sister when they are too rambunctious to sleep together)
I like kissing Daddy
Going to the pool

My guy is a guy who if I'm doing the dishes, comes over to help rinse and have me load. He'll also scrub the sink clean if I'm doing laundry.

My guy willingly cleans toilets.

My guy also takes care of our yard, fixes things around the house and deals with negotiating when I don't like it.

My guy loves to create luscious desserts, and enjoys good food.

My guy loves to cuddle with his girls.

My guy tells great stories to our daughters - who listen with rapt attention.

My guy forgives quickly and easily.

My guy works hard.

My guy is a good teacher.

My guy loves to have us all go out and admire the cars he's just finished washing.

My guy knows just how to comfort a daughter who's hurt herself.

My guy indulges the girls when we need to go out.

My guy still, easily turns me on.

My guy still, gets easily turned on by me.

My guy knows how to make us all laugh.

My guy thinks his girls are adorable - and we make him laugh.

My guy gets up and does Karaoke so that I'll do it - checking off something from my life list. (He sang Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" the whole kitchen came out to watch)

My guy is a good Father.

My guy isn't perfect, but neither are we.

My guy is a man.

My guy is sleeping in today - because we love our Daddy.

Happy Father's Day honey... I love you my sweetie weetie, cutie wootie, sexy wexy. You make my heart happy.

Post Update: My guy wanted me to add "CUDDLY WUDDLY" ... because that's his favorite one...and I forgot.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Layers of Insulation

There are certain "hot topics" for me that make my stomach churn. Topics, and attitudes that make my brain go into overdrive, faster than my mouth can form words. Unfortunately when that happens, what I hear in my head never sounds the same way when it comes out of my mouth.

Last year a friend of mine did a play group over the summer with a small group of us. It was fantastic. She planned us to switch homes each week. Each mother was in charge of reading a book to the kids (which I loved), an activity, snack and then play time. She also planned "field trips" too.

Turns out someone in the Relief Society found out - so my friend, who has a difficult time saying no, opened up the field trips to the ward. Which was fine.

This year I thought I'd go ahead and do a play group. My idea was to include friends that I knew from school, neighborhood and even Church. Well, like anything - the RS found out and asked if they could join in. I honestly felt and do feel ambivalent.

I guess I wondered - is it the RS responsibility to organize play dates for mothers? Aren't we supposed to be anxiously engaged in a good cause on our own? Has initiative lost it's savor? I also wondered why other Moms didn't just invite their friends from school etc... and not just friends from Church. I think as a whole - I know it's a generalization - but most are too insular. I think if we want to be a light - we ought to shine it in places where there aren't a multitude of candles already. Just a thought. I know the LDS are fond of missionary work - so why not look at this as an opportunity to share who we are, build bridges of understanding by truly being friends with folks that don't see us every Sunday?

I think it didn't help that on Sunday, during Sunday School I couldn't contain the churning in my stomach. The lesson was about the revelation about the three kingdoms in Heaven. There was a question about... "well, why would the adversary want us to think there's just Heaven or Hell"? (or... in my opinion...he wants us to think there isn't a hell) One of the commenters suggested that the pass/fail option would quickly discourage people. I suggested that perhaps that metric allowed those of us that have the ability to exceed expectations to slack off...and get by - knowing that well... "at least I'm not as bad as....so I don't have to change... I can just stay stagnant".

Then the conversation started veering towards my no-man's land. Where the attitude started feeling like... well I go to the temple all the time - that makes me really, really good. Or because of this metric we are so safe and protected. Or the other people have to deal with this consequence...

That kind of talk just makes my skin crawl. I'm sorry, but just because you serve in the temple - doesn't mean you don't beat your children or rule with unrighteous dominion. I've known plenty who do. It frustrates me because if anything - knowing the gospel shouldn't make us puff up our chests in self-satisfaction. If anything we should be incredibly grateful and feel lucky to know what we know... and then have a dose of warning - because let's face it - the more you know, the more responsiilty and greater consequences we're responsible for. (perdition - probably going to be someone who knows the gospel...and truly seen/known God - probably not someone who doesn't know the gospel... just a thought)

So it's time to wipe the smug smile off our collective faces. I think many LDS folks become too insulated in the culture that they really, truly believe that if you are LDS you are good. If you're not, well - you need to change. And that is sad. With that attitude we are fooling ourselves. We are NO different than anyone else. We might know different things, but that doesn't mean we're better. It doesn't mean there aren't great people who could offer us lessons we would otherwise not have learned. It doesn't mean that the people you see each Sunday aren't ruling their homes in a abhorrent manner.

I guess it seems that some forget that change is not a mere affectation of outward appearances, checking off all the metrics we have - or even, speaking softly like they do in General Conference - change is in our hearts... a place nobody else can see. It's a place you can't flaunt. It's a place that only God knows and understands. Any amount of dressing we want to use to hide what's really going on inside - doesn't matter - because the only one who does matter - God - sees through all that crap.

Then it brings me to the fact that I am a new Beehive advisor in Young Women (please don't say Young Womens - with that 's' it's so grammatically wrong to me). I feel like I have a responsibilty to let those young girls know that being righteous isn't a matter of trying to align ourselves with the thoughts, acts of a prescribed view of piety. That they can be faithful, but still have a personality. That it's okay to be happy, and demonstrate that joy. That it's okay for me to say - I like being intimate with my husband... in fact I like it a lot - and not have people freak out about it. Listen - our kids get enough of one-side of intimacy - we have a greater responsiblity to share the joys and beauty of intimacy in a loving, eternal marriage relationship. If we don't teach them - they will never know.

Now - I compare this to the temple. The temple is sacred. It's also beautiful and peaceful. Am I not going to share the fact that I love it because it's sacred? Of course not. Naturally I don't go into detail about it. But I share how it makes me feel. How grateful I am that I have met the requirements to enter the temple.

Likewise with intimacy - it is a sacred bond. It's beautiful and wonderful. Am I going to share the details? (Well, not unless you're a really good friend(har har).) But of course I'm not going to share the nitty gritty details. However, it's important to let our youth know the truth - that intimacy is always good - in the bounds the Lord has prescribed.

We need to let our youth grow up knowing that being a good LDS member isn't about mincing around acting a certain way. We need to let them know that being LDS allows you to soar the way you want, soar higher. We need to let them know that there are GREAT people within and without the LDS religion. We need to let them know that they don't need to hide in layers of insulation - that they need to, and have a responsibilty to reach out, and let their light of influence radiate with warmth.

The only way our youth can learn that - is if we, as a group start peeling off the insulation, layer-by-layer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Forgetting the Audience

Tonight my husband Phantom, was trying to reason with my oldest, Avant Garde Gal who is 4.5 years.

She always uses the "I don't think you love me" cry whenever we tell her not to push her sister, stop tearing paper into bits and sprinkling it all over the place, or some other such shenanigan.

P: You will eat your food, all of it. 

AGG: I don't think you love me!

QS: *sigh*

AGG: You don't think I'm beautiful. You don't love me!

P: What you're saying is irrelevant.

AGG: What's irrelevant?

P: Irrelevant means not pertinent.

Speechless...but plenty to write

I love authors. I love authors of great books. I love wondering what goes on in those fascinating minds. I usually email an author before a book group - if I'm in charge of that particular discussion that month.

I have never, ever gotten a response. That is... until yesterday.

I couldn't contain my excitement all day. Not only did the author write back - she was so personable and asked me if I had any questions. I was so thrilled, I spent the rest of the day agonizing over what I should ask.

I should also mention - I sent the email on Wed of this week - the response came the very next day, Thursday. I just sent off 10 questions to await answers.

I have officially turned into a total fangirl. Is that a word? I think most of us that blog have a deep-rooted desire to become real, published authors. I am no different. So when an author I adore acknowledges my existence, it's almost like being blessed by deity...almost.

Needless to say, not only am I fan because I love the book The Last Chinese Chef, and that she writes for Gourmet magazine and knows food...(and I love food) I am a huge fan because she also responded to my simple email plea.

Thank you Nicole Mones. YOU ROCK!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Family Lives Here

Several weeks ago when I taught a Morningside for Seminary I was lucky to have my friend Brooke watch my girls while they continued to sleep blissfully.

I came home from the Morningside and immediately apologized to her for the state of my home, it wasn't as spic and span as I would've liked, but Brooke stopped me.

A little about my friend Brooke. She is incredibly smart. She is artistic, quirky, funny and she always makes me laugh. She married much later than typical BYU-UT Mormon women do. Her husband is a bit older and so they do not have any children of their own. She is however, a mother to all her nieces, nephews and the people she meets.

When she stopped me from my apologies - she said that she used my bathroom while I was way. As she passed by our laundry room to the bathroom she saw all the big people and little people shoes mixed in a massive, messy, pile. I just about started to apologize again, but she said, "I love it!"

Brooke told me she loved seeing that a family lived in our home. She talked about how when she and her twin sister used to watch kids for their friends, one of her girlfriends said "I am not going to apologize for being a family" in reference to the state of her home (toys, shoes, odds and ends, constant battle with school papers and wrappers, etc.).

I was so touched I could feel the tear ducts start up. I took Brooke's message to heart. After she left, I went and took a picture of our mountainous pile of shoes. I had never, ever looked at my home the way Brooke had. I am so grateful for her perspective - it demonstrates how I need to remember to be grateful, even for the never-ending messes, because - a family lives here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Buzz, Buzz...

We're back from a quickie trip to the Beehive State.

20 some hours of driving
1 stormy sierra stretch
1 husband who did all the driving
1 UT plates truck carrying a butt-load of bumpers tossing one right into our path
2 girls who were fantastically good on the drive, both ways
1 adorable little nephew - my first nephew and my girls' cousin!
1 fantastic sister
2 mosquito bites requiring benadryl
1 momma who was the grumpy one on the road trip
4 homemade California pizzas for dinner
A bunch of great friends past and present
Lots of pumpkin white chocolate cookies and tea sandwiches
1 delish dinner at Bombay House
1 visit to Veteran's Memorial Pool
1 visit to Thanksgiving Point's Farm Life
1 visit to SLC Temple and Church History Museum
1 visit to SubZero - my sister treated us
1 visit to Artic Circle on the trip home - I had never had Artic Circle my entire BYU experience...not bad (I realized I had never really done the fast-food thing during college - maybe that's why I didn't gain the freshman 15)
1 visit to Sonic - my first ever
2 trips to Macey's... which still cracks me up... the name... Macy's vs Macey's.

...adds up to missing family and friends... but oh, so grateful to fall asleep in our own beds this morning around 5am.

More about our trip when I finish the 4 loads of laundry.