I love my babies. The best time is when they start smiling and talking. Meaning, not real talking, but that sort of soft, cooing sound where they look at you all seriously as if they expect you to be listening and understanding. And you know what? I think I do understand. The thoughts are sort of fuzzy and half formed... more a general feeling expressed. Of contentment. Of pleasure. Of love and affection. Of curiousity, excitement about new things found.
It really takes me back. I feel jealous sometimes, remembering what it was like to be a child when a piece of chocolate or an outing at the playground made me as happy as I ever could possibly be. Maybe it's time to start letting those feelings take over again.
3 medium sized potatoes a small butternut squash (or half a large one). Steam the squash and potatoes for 20 minutes. Open up the squash, cut away the rind and seeds, chunk it. Chunk the potatoes. steam for an additional 10 minutes. Mash up with 2 tb butter, 1 tsp salt, and 1/3 cup of milk.
In another pan, take fresh, chopped sage leaves and two more tablespoons of butter and put them on medium heat. The butter will brown and foam; turn the stove off immediately. Serve the potatoes with the sage/butter drizzled on top. Yummmmm. the sage tastes so nice and beautiful and mild and crispy, and the flavors are so delicious together.
What I don't mind is people passing me on the road when they want to drive over the speed limit. What I do mind is people honking at me at the intersection to go while I'm waiting for a pedestrian to cross.
What I don't mind is someone telling a blond joke that is relatively tasteful. What I do mind is people teasing me by telling me I must be dumb because I am blond.
What I don't mind is a baby who is sick and needs my constant attention. What I do mind is all of the laundry that follows-- clothes, sheets, bedding, and scrubbing spots out of the carpet with club soda.
What I don't mind is someone who doesn't agree with me about politics and is willing to discuss it because they are curious. What I do mind is someone who tells me I am stupid, unrighteous or unpatriotic to believe as I do.
What I don't mind is toothpaste in the sink after bedtime. What I do mind is toothpaste sprayed across the counter, flecking the mirror, and dripped across the floor after bedtime.
What I don't mind is a child on each knee and/or sharing my lap and needing comfort at the same time. What I do mind is a child pushing another out of my lap while I am trying to nurse and my husband is watching the Simpsons. *
What I don't mind is someone telling me that I look young for my age. What I do mind is someone treating me like I know nothing because I look young for my age.
What I don't mind is a car full of carseats and childcare-related emergency supplies. What I do mind is a car full of carseats, childcare-related emergency supplies, and trash from all the various childcare emergencies (ie, hunger, thirst, kleenex, toys, etcetera).
What I don't mind is washing and folding a huge mountain of laundry.
What I do mind is washing, folding, and carting a huge mountain of laundry in several trips up the stairs because I know if I give them to my six year old she'll just throw them on the floor. **
What I don't mind is sloppy chocolate kisses, a runny nosed child rubbing her face all over my shirt, or ice cream spilled on the floor. What I do mind are the names etched and/or written on the walls of the house we don't own.
What I don't mind is bringing my child to and from school everyday. What I do mind is having to call the office every time I can't bring her to school and explain why.
What I don't mind is the eye rolling that occurs when I explain to a child why she needs to be obedient. What I do mind is eye rolling followed by disobedience.
*normally a very awesome and attentive husband. ** normally a very conscientious and obedient daughter.
Whew. Felt good to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening.
Here's the result my second mannequin practice session. Just a reminder, here's what we started with.
And here's what I ended up with this time:
hanging twists. I'm actually pleased, despite the slight roughness of some of the ends and a few of the parts. This is party because of the gel I used; I'm not buying the expensive stuff until it's a real head I'm working on. These took me a combined total of about 6 hours over two different evenings. These are tiny twists, they're supposed to last a couple of weeks at least when you do them well, and can be put into pigtails and even cornrows and stuff if the hair is long enough. I'm thinking I'll try a much simpler style next time and see how that goes; these long long styling sessions are a little intimidating for me. I think I started with the hardest first. At least I got the whole head done this time, though. Right? :)
I absolutely love it when the checker at the grocery store holds up one of the items in my cart and says, "what is this?" It gives me such a feeling of wise vegetarianism. "That is Bok Choy," I say. Or, "That is a belgian endive." This good feeling is carried further when the checker then asks me what to do with said vegetable. Take tonight for instance.
Checker: (holding up a bag of leeks) "What are these?"
Me:(Buisily making out a check) Leeks.
Checker: (Stares at them in confusion, then looks at me curiously) "How do you cook them?"
Me: (brightening perceptibly) They're like onions, only milder. You can put them in soups, in rice dishes, in stir frys, in casseroles—
Checker: (Glancing nervously at impatient customer who is next in line.) Oh. OK. Thanks. Maybe... I'll try them some time.
YOU SHOULD try them. They are DELICIOUS. And so are Belgian Endives. And so are Jicama roots. And Dang It All, so are Shitake mushrooms! Geez, people. Get a little vegetable culture, why don't ya. :)
This is my favorite piece by the MOTAB. I love it for the words, which hold such a message of hope. They were written by Bruce R McConkie, who bore an amazing testimony of Christ right before his death... this famous quotable:
"And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."
The words to the hymn:
I Believe in Christ by Elder Bruce R. McConkie
1. I believe in Christ; he is my King! With all my heart to him I’ll sing; I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy, In grand amens my tongue employ. I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son. On earth to dwell his soul did come. He healed the sick; the dead he raised. Good works were his; his name be praised.
2. I believe in Christ; oh blessed name! As Mary’s Son he came to reign ’Mid mortal men, his earthly kin, To save them from the woes of sin. I believe in Christ, who marked the path, Who did gain all his Father hath, Who said to men: “Come, follow me, That ye, my friends, with God may be.”
3. I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God! My feet he plants on gospel sod. I’ll worship him with all my might; He is the source of truth and light. I believe in Christ; he ransoms me. From Satan’s grasp he sets me free, And I shall live with joy and love In his eternal courts above.
4. I believe in Christ; he stands supreme! From him I’ll gain my fondest dream; And while I strive through grief and pain, His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.” I believe in Christ; so come what may, With him I’ll stand in that great day When on this earth he comes again To rule among the sons of men.
I went on a Mission today. I planned to get my clothes down to three drawers: essentials (socks, etc); nice clothes and grungy clothes/pajamas. I have WAYYYY too many clothes, I think mostly because I have a tendency to hang on to them. So today I decided, I can keep ten shirts, five pairs of pants, three pairs of shorts, and a few T shirts and pajamas.
I did OK. Except when it came time to cull the T shirts. I realized, when going through these, that I cannot throw away any single one of them. Every single one of the T shirts in my pajama drawer signifies some significant event or era of my life, and having them provides me with a sense of security and continuity in the universe. So I thought, in order to justify their significance to myself, I would document their significance here on this blog. So here they are, in all their faded, chronological glory.
The hiking boot T shirt. It is actually 15 years old. This one reminds me of my favorite Young Womens' president; her loud, spiky-haired, glitzy-earringed, presence in my life at the age of thirteen and fourteen. She convinced my mom to buy me designer jeans and gave me lots of babysitting experience. She and her husband were on the rocks, financially, at this time, and so I let her pay me in candy and half T-shirts. (she and her friend started a T shirt business and promised me one for every two babysitting jobs. This was the result of my earnings.) Eventually I told her I wouldn't charge her anymore, especially for temple trips, and so the one T shirt is all I got out of it. Thank goodness, because my drawers are already straining.
My first high adventure hike. A 50 mile-er, ridgewalking the sierras. In the middle of the logo is a spoon with the word "nobikes" printed horizontally; the spoon is because of a grody story our hike leader's husband told us about his creative childhood idea in how to get more eggs from the chickens that his siblings, nobikes because we all stood in a puzzled group around a sign posted along the trail, reading it aloud ("Noh-bi-kus? Nah-bee-kes?") And then an older girl walked by and said, "oh! look, you can't ride bikes here." It was of course, a hilarious event that required documentation. I was 15.
Picked this one up at Salvation Army in my hometown, a place I frequented often for my style needs. This was my ski-team-training shirt. I was ripped in this shirt. I was in better shape that I ever have been in my life in this shirt. My heart beat 54 times per minute in this shirt. I had beautiful, beautiful legs in this shirt. I was fifteen in this shirt.
this was the shirt for our choir's trip to Italy. This T shirt brings to mind Ubi Caritas, Jeremy Freakin' Blanchard, Jahna, Aya, and Caroline, Serrento, Italian couples screaming at me for correct change, and a glittering, mosaic-covered cathedral, outside of which we ran into beatiful, utah-bred, english speaking Mormon missionaries. AFter two weeks, it was like a Miracle to me.
Another high adventure hike. I actually have five of these; I strongly suspect that the missing two have been comandeered by my little sisters. This one is the one where we circled the rest stop several times because our hike-leader's husband was confused. And yet we enjoyed the circling. And the blisters. And the backpack belt sores.
The last of my high adventure hikes. It reads; Give Blood: Hike the sierras. The mosquitoes in the Sierra Nevadas still probably carry my DNA around with them to this day; perhaps scientist in a million years will find my strands and create a blonde-haired, fake glasses-wearing, Obama supporting clone army.
My parents picked this up in Israel when they went with my Dad's family. It wore out fast, but I still love it, and thinking about all the experiences my Mom and Dad related, particularly their visit to the Garden Tomb.
From my lovely community college. I found myself that year, in a hot cup of cocoa and a biscotti every morning. And in my favorite colors. And in a new job and driver's lisence, and in my first serious dating experience, eventually culminating in marriage and my beautiful 6-year-old.
This is from the summer job I had right after my year at Ricks, the same summer I was married for the first time. This is a less happy T-shirt... I wasn't very good at this job. Or at least, not as good as I could have been. Because I was too shy, and too afraid to do what I knew was right. I was hired to be a therapeutic assistant of sorts for a boy with Cerebral Palsy in his school's summer camp. I was a very nice assistant, but I didn't make him do the stuff he needed to do. I took a lesson from this and did better in my later jobs in the helping professions at enforcing boundaries and rules, and calling people on stuff when they could do better. Not the most fun job, but an important one... and very helpful in preparing for parenthood, too.
My Coworker at the BYU bindery and I were strapped for cash, and suddenly we got the brilliant idea to join the ROTC so they could pay for our education. We immediately went down to the building on campus, (during our lunch break) and got the whole spiel. The Man who talked to us was named (no joke) 'Captain War'. And I found out I couldn't join because I was a single parent. I am now very glad I didn't join. Oh, and another ROTC funny experience: The ROTC building and the Building that my Psychology lab held meetings in was separated only by a small backyard. Well, one time we were meeting in the main room, which has windows that look out onto the field, and we saw all these ROTC kids there, huddled behind trees and such, wearing Camo. They all held rifles and other weapons, one with this little miniature rocket-launcher at his shoulder. The weapons were all pointed at us, through the windows. They were practicing their drills on us, as if we were a hostile enemy. They wanted to take over our psych lab! My professor had us all surrender. Fun times, fun times. They all giggled and ran off after we noticed them.
This is from an event that Skywalker used to attend every year. He has one exactly like mine. We are twins a lot in them. I wore this when I was pregnant with both of my last two kids, even during the most pregnant of times. It's a perfect shirt for this because the collar and neck are nice and snug and the belly is still roomy. And I love it because it's Skywalkers' and my T shirt.
This was from the family reunion two summers ago. We're a musical family and quite proud of our band. Plus, we all quite enjoy the classic thriller, "return of the crawling hand," and so it's a play on words. Hah! We're so clever.
Anyway, so now you know everything about me, just from a few dusty T shirts.
Julie Beck gave an excellent talk at the CES fireside tonight. (If you're interested in listening to it, it can be found here, scroll to 6:00 pm on March 2nd, 2008). She said a lot of things that needed to be said, that many people are afraid to say nowadays because of political correctness and the possible "Stir" certain ideas might create among churchmembers. IT seems that, any time "housekeeping" tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of children, are mentioned in conjunction with the role of Motherhood and woman's role of "nurturing" (as outlined in the Proclamation to the family) the feminist sector (a sector in which I include myself) explodes. "Shame on you, Julie Beck," they say, "for further undermining the self-confidence and autonomy of the LDS woman." Or, conversely, "Shame on you for saying that LDS people are better (or ought to be better) Homemakers, because it's disrespectful to those not of our faith."
OK. My thoughts:
Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurturing of their children. STraight from the proclamation. What does that mean? It means that, in any way she can, a Mom's focus should be mostly concentrated on things related to nurturing their children. Things such as.... what?
You fill in the blanks. But I, myself, include stuff like cleaning, feeding, bathing, taking care of sick children, grocery shopping, managing finances, preparing family home evening lessons and family activities, arranging playdates, and many other typically "Housekeeper-y" tasks in this category. Is there something wrong with that? I don't think so. Furthermore, someone in the family has to do all these things. ANd I can say from personal experience that it is nearly impossible to accomplish them while also trying to sustain a full-time job, unless you hire someone, or you have enough older kids that you can divvy up chores. So, IMO, unless a house needs two incomes, it's really most efficient for someone to stay home, whether that be the Mother or the Father. And, let me redirect you to the proclamation: Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
I actually feel really good about that.
Of course, that doesn't mean that mothers shouldn't pursue redeeming tasks for personal enrichment. It doesn't mean that, if it makes more sense, financially, for the mother to work, that she shouldn't be the breadwinner. It doesn't mean that putting your child in childcare is tantamount to neglecting your calling. Julie Beck said none of those things in either of her talks.
What she did was to focus the spotlight back on something that we have all been sidestepping because we're so worried about stirring up the hornets' nest: Mothers take care of kids when they can, and they do the best job usually. And this means spending most of the day as a housekeeper. And yes, you can find redemption in that; in creating an atmosphere of nurturing. That's your calling as Mom. If you can't stay home, then don't beat yourself up. But if you can... it's actually a blessing, and something you can find fullfillment in doing.