Monday, August 31, 2009
In our family, we’ve tried hard to follow the commandment to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
For us, that means first and foremost going to church, to worship God and to learn His gospel. But beyond that, we try to spend the day doing only things that we feel will bring us closer to Him and closer together as a family. We read scriptures, play games, go for walks or bike rides, we read books and listen to uplifting music, and we (meaning the girls) watch pre-approved (by Mom & Dad) “Sunday shows”. Veggie Tales, Signing Time, and those free-if-you-listen-to-the-5-minute-shpiel Living Scripture videos are the norm, but we’ve enjoyed some good family time watching Planet Earth and The Muppet Show as well.
We’re somewhat flexible about what we do and don’t do on Sundays. We try to avoid working, but how you define “work” is pretty broad. We don’t shop, eat out, or buy gas, we don't build furniture or paint the house, and we try not to do anything that would cause other people to work, either. But we sometimes go to the garden and harvest the fruits of our labors, and if we pull a few weeds while we're there, well, we're just beautifying the land, right? And we did spend the last two Sunday afternoons making salsa, so make of that what you will. As a general rule, we don’t do playdates or go to birthday parties on Sundays, although we have made a couple of exceptions when circumstances call for it (the Orthodox Jewish friend, for example, who wasn’t going to have a party on a Saturday, ever.)
However, one type of work that seems to be a given to avoid on Sunday is cleaning the house.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s part of the general idea of that 4th Commandment. I know my thoughts are certainly not centered on Christ while I’m cleaning the bathroom or shouting at the kids to pick up their stuff. But I’m starting to think there’s a fine line between keeping the Sabbath day holy and keeping the mother’s sanity whole.
See, when we don’t clean up on Sunday, I end up hating life on Monday. The house is an overwhelming disaster and I have no motivation to do anything about it. None whatsoever. And when the house is messy, it makes me grumpy. And we all know, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
So now I’ve started dreading Sundays. Because they’re no longer really a day of rest. Because I know we’ll make a big breakfast in the morning (church doesn't start until 1:00; we can do this), which we will then not clean up because we’ll be too busy hurrying to get everyone and the lessons they're supposed to be teaching ready for church. I know I’ll sit though church with three restless children who really do love the Lord but would rather worship Him in their own way, a way as yet undefined, but which clearly doesn’t involve sitting on a bench listening to grown-ups talk (I’m willing to bet it sounds to them like all the adults in the Peanuts shows.) I know we’ll come home to a house that was torn half apart while they waited for church time, only to tear the rest of it apart while they wait for bedtime. I know Chris and I will inevitably sit around reading or working on the computer, on the surface simply enjoying our day of rest, but really surreptitiously avoiding the kitchen clean-up, each hoping the other will decide to tackle it. And then we’ll wrestle the kids into bed, and while Chris is reading stories I’ll do a half-hearted pick-up, loading up and starting the dishwasher at least, knowing full well that Monday will be painful, but feeling powerless to stop it. It’s a vicious cycle.
It seems to me this whole “day of rest” business is just being taken too far around here. I’m all for following the Lord’s example and laboring for six days while resting on the seventh. But I’m pretty sure He didn’t do two days’ worth on the first day. I know in a few hours, when I make my daily “Jobs time!” shout-out, there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, and not just from me. How do other people with kids make it though Sundays, into Monday, with their sanity still intact? I’d really like to know.
And now, as I have written all I have to say on the matter, I have no more excuses. Time to tackle me some mess.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Of particular note on aforementioned website: LOL Cats (but not for the faint of heart - don't say I didn't warn you!)
Why is it that 36 lbs of pears is suddenly not enough?
Our ants seem to have given up hope. This is encouraging, although I'm not putting away the Raid yet.
Right now Ellie is quizzing me on my ABCs. I think I'm doing pretty well, although it appears that I keep confusing little "r" and little "j". Huh.
Chris told me last night about a meeting he has in CA on a day that he's not usually down there. And I realized that this meeting takes place two days before our family vacation, also in CA, is scheduled to begin. Since he's sort of running the show at this meeting, and it really makes no sense for him to fly home one day only to fly back down the next, it looks like we girls will be meeting him there. And I get to take all three kids on a plane, by myself. Good times.
But we get to go to Disneyland, so I think I can handle it. Disneyland is totally worth it!
My garage smells like rotting potatoes. But I checked the potatoes and they all seem fine. This is slightly unnerving.
When you think about it, America's Funniest Home Videos was really the precursor to a lot of today's reality TV. Which begs the question, why do you think about it?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
*whispers* I’ve started reading Pride and Prejudice.
Wait, wait, calm down!
I'm reading the one with the zombies. So it's not the same thing. No, it's NOT!
We’re all aware by now of how I feel about Jane Austen. So when my sis-in-law Emily told me about this new development, I was still hesitant. And, I'll confess, a little worried. Could this be the book that finally cracked my rock-solid defense wall against the world of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy? So I held off. Other people told me about it. Even Chris expressed interest (because, really, zombies in 19th-century English literature? What's better entertainment than that?) But I didn’t want to read it. I’ll admit it: deep down, I was afraid that if I read this version and liked it, I’d have to read the original. And if I liked that, then I’d be sucked into this thing I’d so proudly stayed far away from for so long.
Finally, though, I picked up a copy at Powell’s. I needed to validate my parking stub, because of course paying $12.99 for a book is better than paying $1.60 for parking. I was with all three girls and without Chris, so therefore not at liberty to browse around for any of the books on my ever-increasing list, but then I turned a corner and there were the cold, dead eyes of Elizabeth Bennett staring out at me from a shelf of best-sellers. Who could resist?
Even then, it took me over a week to start it. Of course, I had to finish re-reading Twilight again (*stamps foot* no, I am NOT obsessed!) But what better segue into zombies than vampires? So a few days ago I started reading. Granted, I haven’t had more than 5 minutes of uninterrupted reading time since then, but...
Here’s what I have to say: it’s awesome for what it is. I love how the “new” story flows nicely in and out of the original. For example:
“She retrieved her dagger and beheaded the last of her opponents, lifting its head by the hair and letting her battle cry be known for a mile in every direction.Or how about this:
Elizabeth found herself at last within view of the house, with weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise.”
“Poor Jane! I am sorry for her, because, with her disposition, she may not get over it immediately. It had better have happened to you, Lizzy; you would have opened this Bingley’s stomach and strangled him with his own bowels, I suspect.”See what I mean? It’s awesome!
My favorite line so far, I think (there are a lot of good ones) is this:
“She watched as Darcy drew his blade and cut down the two zombies with savage yet dignified movements. He then made quick work of beheading the slaughtered staff, upon which Mr. Bingley politely vomited into his hands. There was no denying Darcy’s talents as a warrior.However, don’t you Austen groupies go getting too excited now, because I honestly don’t think this is opening any doors for me. I like it for what it is, but I’m not terribly involved in the actual Pride & Prejudice part of the story. I may read the real version when I’m finished with this one, but then again I may not. And I may watch some version or another of the films (although if they ever made the Zombie one into a film I'd be all over it!), but, again, I may not.
‘If only,’ she thought, ‘his talents as a gentleman were their equal.’”
But you're right, it’s true; I can never again say I’ve never read a book by Jane Austen.
Monday, August 24, 2009
This last week, not only was he in CA for two nights, but then he had to go to camp with the youth at church for a night. So we missed him an extra lot. Ellie in particular, apparently.
From the time he arrived home Saturday morning, she was all over him. “Hey, Dad!” “Play with me!” “Read me a story!” “Let’s play Mr. Potato Head!” “Can I make you lunch?” “More stories!” “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!!!” I do have to say, she kinda has the poor guy wrapped around her little finger.
Vicki, Lexi, and I went to get our hair cut, and Ellie, while disappointed that she wasn’t getting a haircut at the fancy salon, too, quickly realized that this meant that she would have Daddy all to herself. And this, my friends, is waaaay better than a hair salon any day.
They played Mr. Potato Head, checkers, and Go, they read stories, and then Chris, feeling the effects of travel and camp, suggested that they watch a movie. I think he was hoping she’d zone out and he could get some shut eye. Instead, she got all big-eyed and said, “Really, Daddy? Just like how you and Mommy watch movies?” and before he could respond she went on, “And me and you can stay up late and watch the movie on the LoveSac, and you can send Mommy upstairs to bed, and when she comes down to get a drink you can tell her to go back to bed RIGHT NOW!”
And when the movie was over and she heard us pull up in the driveway, she ran to the front door and stood in front of it with her arms spread wide. To keep us from coming inside.
Do not get in the way of a girl and her daddy time.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
On Tuesday Chris reminded me that he'd be taking the car to work on Friday, leaving me wheel-less all day.
Leaving me in sort of a quandary. Should I cancel our plans and risk the wrath of three little girls who had their hearts set on a zoo trip? Or should I figure out how to still make it happen?
Of course I did what any self-respecting Portlander would do: made a fun adventure of the whole day and used public transportation to get us there.
Here's my munchkins, waiting at the bus stop. Lexi's slightly blurry, but I promise she was completely there. (Ellie's almost 4 and doesn't really need the stroller, but I needed somewhere to stash our lunches and water bottles.)
And waiting at the MAX stop. The number of times I had to say, "Please don't stand on that"...
I'm sure we're not the only people who take this picture every time we go to the zoo.
Here's the girls and our friend Violet sitting in the eagle's nest.
Petting the goats was a highlight of the trip (never mind the giraffes and penguins...noooo, let's pet the goats!) Check out the look on Ellie's face as she notices what the goat is starting to do to Vicki.
Apparently his name is Amos and he does this to everyone. Vicki thought it was hysterical. Ellie was hysterical.
The polar bears weren't out, but we had fun pretending to be them anyway.
And of course no visit to the zoo is complete without a sighting of Baby Sam, who turns one on Sunday. Look how cute he is.
And Ellie can't go home without seeing Gloria the hippo. I don't know what the hippo's real name is, but to Ellie she (assuming it's a she) will always be Gloria, thanks to Madagascar. She doesn't call them "hippobapotamuses" anymore, so I'm hanging on to whatever cuteness I can still get out of it.
The sea lions are always fun to watch. I love how pictures turn out in that exhibit.
Lunch was eaten somewhere in there, and other animals were visited. Awkward things were explained (my story to my friend of the time Chris and I witnessed the bats taking part in some...exciting...activities necessitated a later conversation with Vicki about the meaning of the word "mating". Sigh...) and elephant ears were consumed.
Then it was time to head on home. Here we are waiting for MAX to arrive.
And at the bus stop. The girls were a little worn out at this point.
But the fun wasn't over yet! We had to stop by the garden to water. Luckily the bus runs right past it.
We also enjoyed some of the fruits of our labors (that's a really funky shaped tomato. It looks like it cross bred with a pepper, but it tastes fabulous)
Then we walked 10 blocks, stopping to chat with Miss B., who subs at the girls' school and has a gorgeous house and yard which I have coveted since we moved here, and to pick up some flowers from the (dumpster diving) Flower Lady's yard.
And finally, home!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Since I’ve caved in and joined facebook, I figure I ought to at least get something out of it in return. Besides everyone’s smug satisfaction, that is :) So I’ve put my blog on my profile in the hopes that I can get myself some more readers. But I have a lot of people’s blogs over there on the right, and it’s possible that not all of you will like the idea of who knows who being able to click on your blog from mine.
So if you aren't comfortable with that, please let me know and I will remove your blog from the list and just bookmark it so I can still find you but none of my crazy facebook friends can.
Maybe it's a newbie thing and will wear off, but I feel funny asking people to be my friend. It's probably kind of like how I used to not admit to stalking other people's blogs. But if I didn't send you a friend request, it doesn't mean I don't want to be friends. It just means I feel like an awkward seventh-grader doing it, and would much rather someone else be the awkward one. Not that it feels awkward to me when someone send me a friend request. Not yet, anyway. I suppose it could depend on who sent it...
But my point is, if you're on Facebook, feel free to look me up!
Enough about Facebook...
I hate taking drugs. I realize that my new wonder-meds (as I lovingly refer to them) made the unbearable itching go away, and that it's only temporary (8 more days! But who's counting?), but for crying out loud, it would be nice to not feel so wound up all the time. And to sleep. Sleep is good.
But at least the laundry's getting done. And the kitchen is reeeeeally clean.
Why is it that I can think of all kinds of things to write before Thursday, but as soon as I sit at the computer, my mind goes completely blank?
Some days I feel like this is my life:
Okay, most days. Three little girls, remember?
Anyone remember that Kenny Loggins song, "Return to Pooh Corner"? Vicki and her friend she went to camp with have been singing it for the last two days. And it makes me cry, which is embarrassing. Kenny Loggins singing it never made me cry until I heard my daughter sing it. Blah. No more growing up.
It was my dad's birthday on Tuesday. When I told Ellie, she said, "When are we going to his house?" When I told her we couldn't, she said, "But how will we have the cake?"
Ooh, I think I'll go clean the bathrooms. Chris will have a heart attack when he gets home tonight. The house is never so clean all at once. Maybe the wonder-meds aren't such a bad thing after all...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It looks much better now. Chris took out all his work-related stress on the three-foot-high weeds, and I think he feels much better now, too. The girls "helped" for a little bit, but the call of the playground is just too strong, so their tools were abandoned early on.
Thanks to my new wonder-meds (which really did work wonders for the itching and hives but unfortunately leave me feeling like I've been drinking coffee all day long) I'm in much better shape, and no one else seems to have developed any garden-related allergies, although Chris did have a run-in with a nest of angry ants.
As a result of our weed-friendly neglect, we didn't get to enjoy much (any, really) of the lettuce or spinach that we planted, we only picked a few bags full of peas rather than the gallons we envisioned, and the broccoli and cauliflower all went to seed, but the tomatoes are thriving (all 20 plants, whew!) and the zucchini and other squash don't seem to be too traumatized by the near-smothering they suffered. We also got a bumper crop of turnips, which all rotted in the fridge while we were in Alaska and during the 100+ degree weather right after, when it was too hot to do anything with them (what do you do with a bumper crop of turnips, anyway?) Our 20'x20' plot wasn't a complete waste this year, but we do hope to be able to pay more attention to it next year.
I love this time of year at the garden, though. Our plot is one of about 20 at the local community garden, and it's fun to wander through and be inspired by the more accomplished gardeners around us. So while Chris tackled the weeds, I walked around with the camera, and here's what I brought home with me:
This bee is on the garlic we didn't plant, which grew in our plot anyway.
I don't know what these vines are, but I like how they look.
This is called a walking onion. They're slightly scary and completely awesome at the same time.
Can't wait for this year's salsa and tomato soup!
Blackberries grow wild on the back fence of the garden, so we've enjoyed a plentiful bounty for free. They go great with Tillamook Vanilla Bean ice cream, just FYI.
These cool-looking flowers belong to the vines above. Some kind of bean, maybe?
In fact, apart from produce, people have planted a lot of awesome looking flowers.
I have no idea what this thing is, but it looks really Dr. Seuss-ish. I kind of want to give it a hug.
We bought sunflower seeds this year, but to my knowledge never planted any. However, about 8 sunflowers, ranging in size from ginormous to only as tall as me, have grown in our plot, undeterred by that fact.
Ah, yes, this allergy has been a blessing in disguise. Just think of the beauties I could share with you if I were allergic to housework, too.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
We love to show off the beauty and uniqueness of our adopted hometown, so visitors make us really excited (hint, hint.) When people come to see us, there are a few places that we always try to take them. The Portland Saturday Market is one. I forgot my camera that day, so I missed out on the opportunity to get a shot of the person in the bunny suit holding a sign that said, "Need money for carrots". They were standing next to a guy in a gorilla suit who, apparently, needed money for bananas. Ah, I love Portland.
We also went to Powell's Books, which is the definitely the coolest, if not the biggest bookstore in the world. While Chris and John wandered among the gardening, religion, history, and political books, we girls set up camp in the children's book section. Pam and I read to each other's kids and wimped out on the opportunity to take a picture of Tiny Edward in front of the Twilight books. There are some things that you can get away with when you're over 30, but we didn't feel like that was one of them.
On Monday we headed up to Mt. St. Helen's, which I'm slightly ashamed to admit we hadn't visited before. When you can practically see it from your house, though, it just isn't a priority, I guess.
On the way we noticed a sign for the town of Kalama, Washington, and decided to make a slight detour, because Tiny E. was eager to relive some high school memories.
Recognize it? If you've seen the movie, you should. At least if you've seen it more than once.
We were spotted by a friendly volleyball player who offered to take us on a brief tour, which, apparently, she and her friends have been doing all summer long for people like us. So we saw the breezeway where Bella and Eric have a conversation on Bella's first day at Forks High, the grassy area where the picnic tables are set up, and the mural (painted specifically for the movie) past which Bella marches, followed closely by Edward, on their way into the green forest which does not actually exist behind the school, where Bella first says the word "vampire" out loud.
Yes, we are pathetic. But we weren't the oldest women stopping by for a tour, either.
On to the volcano.
Unfortunately, it was cloudy, so we didn't get a great view of the famous crater, but we did get some cute pictures anyway.
The middle of the whiter space near the top left in this next one is where the mountain was slightly visible. We thought at first that only the top was covered by clouds, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Pam and John didn't seem all that bothered by it, but, again, it's something I see at least once a week, so I was kind of hoping for more. Oh, well. An hour and a half isn't all that far to drive, so we'll go again soon and hopefully see it all. And they'll just have to come again. Oh, darn.
On Tuesday we celebrated Lexi's birthday by making the drive to one of our favorite places in Oregon: Multnomah Falls. We love the fact that we live within two hours of all this amazing stuff. You should all come see us.
Of course Tiny E came along, brooding as usual.
We enjoyed some ice cream and then drove to my personal favorite waterfall here in the Gorge (we love Multnomah, but you'll see in a minute why this one is better): Latourelle Falls.
The path here takes you alongside the stream flowing out of the falls and down to a bridge that crosses it, with a fabulous view of the entire waterfall. You're near enough to feel the spray.
But if you don't mind a small hike down some slippery rocks, you can get right up to the base of the falls. I mean right. up. This may very well be my favorite picture from the week, and possibly even the year. When they got back to me after this, Lexi said, "Mom, this is the best birthday ever!"
No trip to the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls is complete without a visit to the Vista House at Crown Point. From there you get breathtaking views of the Columbia River in both directions
And Vicki, who didn't want her picture taken.
We also went swimming, ate more ice cream, celebrated a birthday, went to The Grotto, and just hung out, visiting and catching up. Oh, and she gave me a guided tour of Facebook, so I managed to sneakily catch up on a few people from high school (shocking, some of it, when you haven't seen them for nearly 15 years.)
And, of course, we had to watch Twilight together, since I hadn't seen it with the commentary (I swear I am not this bad normally. Get two grown women in love with Edward Cullen together, though, and it's a sad, sad sight.)
It was great to be together again. Pam knew me and loved me back when I thought it looked good to tuck my t-shirt into my jeans and then pull it halfway back out again, and when I tried out for all those high school plays because I thought I could act, and when I wore big, black Doc Marten boots (although they did make me cooler) and listened to Garth Brooks for hours on end. We got each other through our senior year of high school, we were in each other's weddings (picture me as a bridesmaid 7 months pregnant - yes, she loves me that much) and have managed to stay in touch all this time, despite the thousands of miles between us. BFFs indeed.
Do you think this trip highlighted enough virtues of the Pacific Northwest that they'd consider moving out here? :)
Friday, August 14, 2009
In honor of her 7th birthday on Tuesday, here are 7 things about Lexi that you may or may not have known:
1. She once earned $5 by sitting still for 5 minutes. It has not happened since.
2. When she was 3 she told Chris, "Dad, you don't even know my life!"
3. She wants to be a rock star.
4. She loves anything purple.
5. She can go from grumpy to cheerful in less than 10 seconds.
6. She can almost do a back handspring.
7. She gives the tightest hugs in the world and really knows how to make people feel loved.
Happy birthday, Lexi!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I have decided that the best way to get out of weeding the garden is to develop a mystery allergy. My chicken pox-like rash went away after several itchy days, only to be replaced by a monster case of hives. The only likely cause is something growing in our garden that shouldn't be, so therefore - Doctor's orders - I'm not allowed to work in the garden until it clears up.
Seeing some obscure place where a few movie scenes were filmed is a lot more fun than it should be.
Lexi turned 7 on Tuesday. I'm starting to feel really old. (Don't worry Grandmas, I'll post pictures later!)
I love Portland. One day I'll do a post about all the reasons why. But I do love it here.
I learned recently that a week at sleep-away camp, followed by a week of guests, with a slumber party thrown in for good measure make for a really cranky eight-year-old. I love Vicki, but she needs more sleep.
I need more sleep.
Twilight is definitely more fun to watch with someone who shares my somewhat embarrassing adoration for Edward Cullen and appreciates the appalling badness of the movie. It's a bonus when they bring along their Pocket Edward, or "Tiny E."
Five years is waaaaaay too long to go between visits with Pam.
And we finally got to meet each other's children! Look how cute they are together:
But now I have to go back to being responsible. Laundry shmaundry.