Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I used to live there and I don't really understand how I ever survived because when I went outside today here it was 27°F above zero (-3°C) and I was freezing. I bundled up my girls (and myself) with sweaters under their winter coats, snow boots, hats, and mittens. And we were only walking around the corner.
Today the coldest place on earth is Chandlar Lake, Alaska, where it's -42°F (-41°C). I'm very glad I don't live there today, though I have been in the negative forties. It's just no fun.
I really dislike winter.
In Egypt we would pass off everything and anything awful that happened with a little sigh, exclaiming, "Oh...Egypt." Today I'm feeling out of sorts with America. So many things have happened recently that are absolutely nettling and about which I don't share a common opinion with my "neighbours" and so I'm feeling glum. "Oh...America."
Sometimes I wonder why I'm here.
But then I remember that the only other "home" I have is akin to living on Antarctica—a place I swore I'd never go but now that I know that sometimes it's on par with places I've lived like (Russia and Canada) I may as well go. Hear that, Andrew, you win: we can go to Antarctica.
During Antarctica's summer, naturally.
Because I'm not setting foot anywhere near Antarctica during the winter.
I don't think I could sigh, "Oh...Antarctica," effectively enough to communicate my feelings about Antarctic winters. Not that I know anything about Antarctic winters. But I can imagine.
Rachel has been sick since Friday. She woke up coughing in the middle of the night and begged for some medicine because her "cough is stuck and can't come out."
"Does your throat hurt?" I asked her.
"Yeah. Because my cough is stuck," she said, and then coughed some more.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Karen: What did you do—lean up on something?
Reid: I dunno...but you can lean on me.
Andrew: When you're not strong.
Me: I'll be your friend.
Karen: I'll just spray it and see if it comes out.
Reid, Andrew and I burst out laughing. We had all been expecting her to say "I'll help you carry on" but she hadn't even realized that we were all singing. She was just concerned about getting that white shirt clean. Maybe that doesn't sound too funny when you read it, but if you were there you would know that she said "I'll..." right on pitch so we were sure she was going to sing the next line of the song.
Today Grandpa came home from church and told us that when he had typed up the bulletin he typed the name of one of the hymns wrong. Instead of typing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" he had typed "Hark, the Herald Angels Sin."
I'm just jealous that their ward sang Christmas carols because ours didn't. And I feel a little gypped because there are only a few weeks left until Christmas. I love Christmas carols but since so many people feel they can't be sung until after Thanksgiving it leaves very little time to get them sung.
It's after Thanksgiving now—we've just lost a whole week of valid Christmas caroling.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Sometimes I feel like I'm writing it more for us (me) than for you (because I love doing it so much) but I hope you also enjoy the annual synopsis of our lives.
Here's this year's letter, bright and early...before December, even. That kind of makes up for how late we sent it out last year, right?
Friday, November 26, 2010
Who would ever have dreamed this up in high school?
We've been as far as Nebraska/North Carolina, Korea, and Cairo but we still keep in touch and when we manage to be on the same continent, in the same country, state, and town...well, we like to get together.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
In truth, she is always putting her feet up at the dinner table and will chew on them if you mention anything about it. We had to help her a bit for the video because she had stopped doing it by the time we grabbed the camera...but the second time, when she's kicking herself in the face and gets her foot into her mouth without using her hands? That's just classic.
The "doo-doo-doo" is in the movie because she was snacking on Bugles and that's the noise that we make when we eat Bugles. What other noise could you make?
We only recently started giving them to her whole but Grandpa didn't know that so he broke them up into little pieces for her. She was not impressed and held up a crumb to him and ask, "Doo-doo-doo?"
Roughly translated that means, "Why'd you break my Bugles, Grandpa?"
She looked so crest-fallen that he gave her a handful of whole Bugles so that she could hold them up to her lips one at a time and sing out "Doo-doo-doo-doo!" before eating them.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Andrew was recently accepted for a field study trip to Ghana this spring. We're both really excited about it because it will be a wonderful opportunity for him to apply what he's learned, make some great contacts, and be of service to the people of Ghana. There are a few drawbacks, though, which include two weeks of separation since he'll be going alone and the fact that after we pay for next semester's tuition we will be morally, ethically...positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably broke. And I mean not only merely broke, but really most sincerely broke. It's really actually a miracle that we managed to earn enough money this semester to cover next semester's tuition.
So we're currently brainstorming fundraiser ideas—both large and small scale. We mostly need ideas that take very little capital since we have very little of that (and the 16 other people planning on going to Ghana are in the same boat). I suppose I'll just list what we've come up with and then beg you all for suggestions.
And I totally know how she feels. At least, I think I do.
It's kind of like how I feel when I'm planning on Andrew coming home at 5:30 but he doesn't end up coming home until 6:00 and ends up walking through the door just as I'm screaming, "Wait until your father gets home!" because staying
I think that's probably how she felt when the weatherman said "Do not go outside or you will die!" (or something along those lines—it really was a severe blizzard warning; they closed the highways and everything; we ended up getting very little snow here but it did get windy and really cold).
Anyway, we ended the evening by playing Hand and Foot. Naturally, Idaho, Morgan's homestate, figured into the conversation and we started wondering about how it got the nickname of Gem State.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Now, I don't want to say that she can read or anything, but...
When she got to the page that says, "Smoooooth!" she said, "Moooooooooo!"
So she can basically read.
Just thought you might want to know.
Basically, the game runs like this:
One person is selected to be "it" and stands in the middle of the room. All other participants sit in a circle. The person who is "it" has to try to make someone laugh by saying, "Darling, if you love me, won't you please, please smile," in the silliest manner possible. Anyone in the circle can laugh except for the person being addressed. That person must answer, "Darling, you know I love you, but I just can't smile," in the most solemn manner possible, without smiling or laughing. If the victim laughs, they become "it." If they don't, then the person being "it" will choose another person to approach.
The game gets quite silly, as illustrated in this video of school children in Victoria, BC, playing the game in class.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I am grateful...
...that Andrew is home.
...that I got to spend the day with my mom.
...that my in-law took such good care of me while Andrew was gone.
...for the clothing exchange I went to today.
...for my bed.
And that's where I'm going right now.
Friday, November 19, 2010
"But Toto wants a turn," she insisted.
"But it isn't very respectful to Heavenly Father to have a stuffed dog praying to him at the dinner table. Will you please do it? Just you?"
Somehow I finally convinced her to say the prayer solo—she's a tricky person to convince to do anything so I'm pretty proud of myself for succeeding without having her morph into a superhuman fit-throwing machine. Once she started, though, she wouldn't stop. She just kept praying and praying and praying.
My favourite part was when she said, and I quote, "...and I'm thankful for Toto and for my Dorothy dress. And please bless that my mom will do the laundry so I can wear it again..."
I took that as a hint and am doing laundry right now.
"Where's my Dorothy dress?" she asked.
"It's dirty, sweetie."
"I'll just get it out of the laundry basket," she said and took off down the hall.
"Uh...veto!" I called out after her, "You've worn it two days in a row already. It needs to be washed."
"Then wash it!"
"Even if I put it in the wash right now it wouldn't be clean and dry in time for you to make it to school. You have to be there in twenty minutes."
"But I want to wear it!"
"You need to choose something different."
"Okay, fine. My other Dorothy dress."
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I'm not sure which one of us is more exhausted. Last night I got four hours of sleep—the girls (yes, both of them) have been on a bit of a sleep strike—but tonight I'm aiming for more like eight. Or six. Or even five. The first few nights that Andrew was gone I think I got like two hours of sleep. I feel like a zombie of sorts.
Right now I'm definitely glad we live around family. They sure are taking good care of me!
Rachel didn't want to go to bed on Sunday night because it snowed. While we were getting ready for bed. And she wanted to get ready to go play in the snow instead. So I said no. And she acted like I had grounded her for life.
Today was incredible! One of my main reasons for coming on this trip was to visit and become acquainted with some of the major federal agencies. Two of our four visits on Monday were to federal locations, but both CRS and the Department of Labor are relatively small compared to the heavy hitters like the State Department. On Tuesday morning we went to the biggest hitter: the Department of Defense.
We started the day relatively early—our first visit was scheduled for 8:30 at the Library of Congress, and since our hotel is over by the White House at McPherson Square, we figured we would have to leave at 8 to get there on time. The hotel breakfast was amazing and included a waffle bar, bacon, sausage, potatoes, cereal, fruit, English muffins, cereal, and everything else your breakfast-loving mind could imagine. Glorious stuff.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The first is from my fourth birthday when we lived in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Finally, right? It’s only a month late…what fun, warm memories, though. Even in the morning when we got up it was warm, or at least warmer than it had been the day before. It was less windy and I think that helped.
When we walked past the camping area I couldn’t help but snap a picture of the matching tents. There were a bunch of Germans staying in the campground—they rented equipment so all of it matched. It was just so quaint.
Monday, November 15, 2010
This afternoon we headed out to the Gingerbread Festival with Grandma to do some more strictly non-Christmas things. Like looking at gingerbread houses while being surrounded by Christmas trees and listening to Christmas music. This year’s festival was at the Boy Scouts of America/Utah National Parks Council building.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
"Look, Daddy! Watch my fwick! Ready, okay?"
She did a trick of sorts and apparently messed up because she. I can never tell when she messes up her tricks because, truthfully, they look the same as when she doesn't mess up.
"That wasn't a really trick. I'm having issues doing my tricks."
And today Miriam took six steps to get at a duck that was sitting on Rachel's desk. Usually she only does three steps: R-L-R. If she does more it's usually because she goes R-L-R-R-R-R-R until she falls over. For some reason she just can't get that left left moving. Today, though, she took six fairly steady steps before she reached the desk. And the duck.
Miriam also took a few steps in the kitchen. I had just put her into some flannel pyjamas without those little tread stickies on the bottom (Rachel thinks they are derived from peanut butter fish; this may or may not be because she asked about it one day and so I told her that, yes, indeed, peanut butter fish are harvested and then stuck to the bottom of our socks for traction). It was like watching someone get on an ice rink for the first time. She was slipping and sliding all over the place but was determined to get her six steps in again.
Right, left, slip, right.
Right, left, right...right...
I’m in American history nerd heaven right now. For the next week I’m going to be gallivanting around Washington, D.C., visiting over a dozen different government agencies, lobbying firms, and international organizations (and maybe even NPR!) with a group of 11 other MPA students. It’s going to be an awesome week!
Because Andrew left this morning for Washington, DC, and will be gone all week.
So we reverently rocked out to Christmas music during breakfast. Reverently because, you know, it's MoTab, which doesn't actually lend itself well to rocking out. But there was a bit of ballet.
We were still working on breakfast when people started showing up for choir practice—we're a little sluggish in the morning—so it was a good thing that someone finished arranging the basement for me (thank you, Someone) because I'm pretty sure all I did last night was move the couch. Choir went well, although I was singing solo as the lone, and rather distracted, soprano. My kids were crawling all over the place, pulling on sheet music, and fighting over toys. Choir ended a little late so we had to rush to get through all the finishing touches of getting ready for church (hair, potty, socks and shoes, diaper bag, etc). Mirim chose to scream her head off during the whole pre-church rush. She was ready for a nap but it was too late for that. It was too late for a lot of things. Take lunch for example: the girls shared baggie full of a variety of cracker-type-things.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
"Duh....k!" she said. "Qak, qak, qak, qak, qak, qak!"
But now that "qak-ing" has taken over and she won't say "duh...k" until she forgets about how fun quaking is. It's her new word so, trust me, she thinks it is a lot of fun.
Last night Andrew and I went out on a date and Grandpa was playing with the girls. Meme started quacking her little "qak-qak," which sent Rachel into a proud sort of tizzy. She just had to bring Grandpa's attention to Meme's new skill.
"Listen, everybody, listen! Meme can say 'fwack' just like a big girl! 'Fwack-fwack,' Meme, say, 'fwack, fwack!' She can talk! She can say 'fwack, fwack, fwack' just like a big girl!"
Oh, the irony...
Everybody wants this job.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get an interview. It kind of made up for being rejected so quickly the first time I applied—and I was also excited to actually have a shot at getting the job. After the interview, though, I wasn't so sure I wanted the job so when they called last night and said, "We made up the list for second interviews and you aren't on it, but thanks for coming in to interview," I answered rather enthusiastically, "No, no, thank you."
Andrew was like, "What's up?"
And I was like, "I didn't get the job, isn't that awesome?"
The interview was, to put it politely, the most peculiar interview I have ever had. Ever. And I've had several.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
"Ooops...okay, ummm...that's, like, really short."
Andrew felt his head with his hands.
"Just make it all that length," he suggested.
"Are you sure? It's like really, really short."
"What other options do we have?"
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Or at least a decent cleaning.
My whole theory of housekeeping can be summed up by one of two phrases: "It's better than it was," or "Good enough." If you look around my house it will be plain just how low my standard of "good enough" is and your mind will be sure to run rampant with terrible imaginations of what my house looked like before it became "better than it was."
Monday, November 08, 2010
Thirteen Days is about the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis and it was a fascinating watch. I don't want to give anything away or anything but in the end everything works out fine and the USSR doesn't use Cuba as a missile launch to blast the United States. Still, it was a rather intense movie. Our world leaders are under so much pressure. I've heard a lot of griping in the news about the president "taking a vacation" here and there. After watching this film all I have to say about that is "more power to him." I wanted to tell all those men to take their families and relax somewhere for a long time.
I was stressed out just watching the movie. Politics is hard.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
I don't know. I've circled some of the bumps on her tummy with a pen so we will see how they look in the coming days.
When she got roseola she had a lacy rash; this time it's just bumps and it definitely started on her torso.
Poor baby hasn't been sleeping well and has been so, so miserable. Usually when we lie her down she takes, at the most, fifteen minutes to fall asleep. Lately she's been taking hours. She stayed up until nearly midnight a couple of days in a row, just fussing. It's clear she's uncomfortable.
Tonight she was asleep within half an hour of going down so hopefully this means she is on the mend.
I could sure use a full eight hours, if you know what I mean.
But, I suppose I should still be grateful today. Today I'm thankful that Karen came home from church and made apple crisp. Our block of church gets out at 4:00 and it was fast Sunday and daylight savings reversal and the rehearsal for the primary presentation and my baby is sick so it was a pretty much the perfect storm. I was sitting in the back of the primary room with Reenie, juggling Miriam and watching the kids struggle through the last twenty minutes of primary.
"What is this—the full moon?" she asked, "No, wait! It's 5:00 for them. They're tired and ready to be home with yummy food in their tummies! Poor things!"
Not that many of them were fasting, anyway, since children don't usually fast until they're older. But still. Being at church until 4:00 is hard enough without your biological clock thinking it's 5:00.
Thank goodness for mother-in-laws and their apple crisp! It was hot and ready right when we walked in the door!
Today we packed up the kids, camera, and tripod and drove out to Dry Canyon to take some family pictures. I’ve never been to Dry Canyon before which is really kind of a shame since it is right up the street. Literally.
One of these days—when the days are getting warmer instead of cooler—we need to head back up there and hike to Mt. Baldy. We meant to do that this summer/fall but somehow we never got around to it.
This fall has been so long and lovely. It’s November and the girls (mainly Rachel) refused to put sweaters on—the high today was over 70°F. That’s amazing for November. The best part, though, is that the trees are still sporting their autumn leaves in dazzling hues of red, orange, yellow, and brown.
It’s so beautiful I can hardly stand it.
Saturday, November 06, 2010
"What about the AFO?" I asked Andrew.
He answered me with a blank stare.
"Or whatever it is. I don't know—I'm just throwing out acronyms here."
Friday, November 05, 2010
"What apartment are you in?" she asked.
"Actually, I live here. I'm the bishop's daughter-in-law."
"Oh," she said, and finally moved over.
I don't know if she was just looking for an appropriate moment or if I intimidated her so much she felt like I had to give back my personal space. Either way it was kind of awkward.
Anyway, there's this kid in their ward who is really cool—he speaks Russian and everything. We once considered setting him up with Emily but then she returned home from her mission practically engaged and now is engaged so that didn't ever happen. Still, he's cool, and his name is Paul.
The funny thing about Paul is that I see him nearly every time I am on BYU campus. It's bizarre, really. I mean, I'm not on campus very often and the times I go are very sporadic yet every time I go, I run into Paul.
Break to take baby potty, shower with girls, feed and clothe self and children, sweep kitchen floor, scrub a pan, make some phone calls, dress Oldest in ballet clothes, turn on music and dance in living room.
10:10-10:22 AM Work while nursing Baby
Break to put Baby down for a nap, dance in living room with oldest, fix paper crown.
10:27-11:07 AM Work while Baby is sleeping, spend last two minutes of work trying to work while repeatedly explaining to Oldest that I really, seriously only have two minutes left to work so if they could just wait for two minutes I'd be all done for the day and completely at her disposal.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
We had been warned that the MPA and MBA students at the Marriott School were a bit like the Sharks and the Jets--today I got my first taste of that. We didn't seem to fit in well at all.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
"No, it won't!" he said, slightly offended.
"Sure it will. Have you ever seen a picture of a young apostle and compared it to an older picture? Their noses always grow to be huge. It's just what happens."
"What? No way!" Andrew said, incredulously, "Noses are like eyes, aren't they? They stay the same size your whole life...Wait, that's obviously not the case because I don't have a baby nose. Never mind."
We laughed and laughed about that one. And I just learned that at birth babies' eyes are usually about 75% of the size of an adults' eye, so they actually do grow, just not much. Noses, on the other hand, grow a whole lot. Obviously.
Today I'm grateful for my nose since it helps hold up my glasses. My new glasses just came in today and I can see so much better now! My prescription hadn't actually changed that much in the past two years (which means I can still read the top letter, and only the top letter, on the chart...go me!) but my glasses were so scratched up (thanks, Egyptian sand) that a new pair was duly warranted. I suppose I'm also thankful for my eyes today, as well as for corrective lenses.
Also, in case you're wondering, today's title comes from the chorus of a traditional British and American song that popped into my head while I was wondering what to title this post. I suppose thinking of "growing noses" made me think of "know" and "grow" and then this song just flooded into my mind.
Andrew and I are going to go chillax now by watching our noses grow while eating some odd dessert he's concocted using cake mix, cherry pie filling, canned pineapple, and a can of cherry 7-Up. Wish us luck!
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
When I told her that we wouldn't be going straight home but that we'd be going to vote first she clapped her hands together and declared, "That's perfect, Mom, because we didn't go on a field trip today and so going to vote can be our field trip."
Monday, November 01, 2010
Miriam took her first steps today! We were dancing in the living room and she scooted her right foot forward a couple of times and got such a rise out of everybody that now if she’s standing up you can get her to move her right foot forward pretty consistently. But only the right foot.
I guess we’ll work on the left foot later.
It’s a step in the right direction, though. She’s almost walking…
Today Grandma starting taking down the Halloween decorations and putting up the Thanksgiving decorations--from here on out it's holiday, holiday, holiday until 2011. And I'm kind of glad about that because winter can get so depressing. I am still trying to gear myself up to survive the winter. I'm almost positive I will never go outside unless pressured.
Andrew applied for an internship with the State Department. We have an itch to head back to the Middle East so we're hoping it pulls through. And that it comes with funding. Otherwise it will probably be a no-go. Or an Andrew-go while the girls stay here all summer but that option doesn't sound like as much fun as all of us going. We'll find out about that in December. If it doesn't pan out we have several other opportunities we're looking into. I'm sure something exciting will happen this summer one way or another.
I thought it would be a good idea to end each post this month with something I'm grateful for--and maybe that will give me motivation to write on the days I think I haven't anything to say because surely I can at least think of one thing to be thankful for everyday and write about that.
So today I'm thankful for...my sweet, little family: Andrew, Rachel, and Miriam. I don't know what I'd do without them.