Monday, January 28, 2008

"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"

Gordon B. Hinckley, b. 1910 d. 2008

I remember when I was a little girl and Spencer W. Kimball died. He had been prophet for my entire childhood, so his death was a little bewildering to 11 year old me. However, with inspiration and organization the church goes on.

I have that same sort of bewildered feeling today, though. President Hinckley was called to be prophet when I was a freshman in college. Essentially, this man has been the prophet for my entire "grown-up" life.

I miss him.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


So, last night I was watching an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" which I must confess makes me laugh and is perfect for when I'm too tired to form sentences but unable to drag myself up the stairs to bed. 20 minutes of that, and my laughter has sufficiently reinvigorated me to climb the stairs.

Anyway, the episode talked about all the STUFF we accrue from past relationships and how it can be offensive to the person we are currently with. This made me think about all the stuff I still have. My dad always referred to the random pieces of clothing, jewelry, CDs, etc. as my trophy collection.

The jewelry stays in my jewelry box because I don't wear jewelry except for my wedding ring, ever. There are times when I look in the mirror and think, "I'm sure that this outfit would be totally accentuated by the right necklace, but I have no idea which one or how to pick it." Seriously. I'm helpless without my gaggle of gay boys on the east coast or my completely en vogue sisters in the Rocky Mountains. It's tragic.

All of our CDs got stolen when we first moved to Ohio. I almost cry when I think about how many thousands of dollars went into that, but whatever. It's just stuff.

The mix tapes live on, of course. And I will keep them until they cease to work...or everyone forgets what a tape player is.

That leaves the clothing. I have always preferred boys' clothes to girls', so I had quite a collection of baggy jeans and flannels (ah, the 90s!) and t-shirts from past relationships. I have been married for so long, however, that most of them have disintegrated with age. (Except for the ones I put in my quilts. I made a quilt out of old jeans and one out of old T-shirts. My trophies live on!) The one exception is a sweatshirt.

I love this sweatshirt. It is gray and was from a certain young man's winning tennis championship. AND it has his name embroidered on the front in small letters above the left breast. When Todd and I first got married, I was feeling particularly generous and told him that if it truly bothered him, I would get rid of my favorite sweatshirt. He, no doubt eager to prove his valor, assured me that he was confident in my love for him, and no such gesture would be necessary. And we left it at that.

All was well while we lived in NJ. We lived in the same town that Todd grew up in, and attended the same church that he'd attended all through his childhood. In other words, everyone already knew me as "Todd's wife". So, if I happened to wear a shirt that had another man's name on it, which also happens to be one syllable starting with "T", people were not at all confused by it.

The trouble came when we moved to Ohio. Nobody knew Todd, and due to our respective natures, I was the person who got to know all the neighbors and people at church first. It has been three years and people are just now able to confidently remember his name. They always got that it was one syllable and started with "T", but...

About a year after we moved here, I mentioned to him this phenomena and that I thought it was related to the sweatshirt. He was quiet for a minute and then confessed, with the familiarity of many years together, that the shirt did bother him a little bit. No longer the magnanimous newlywed, I laughed and informed him that the statute of limitations for complaining about trophies was five years, and long since passed.

So, I still wear the sweatshirt. And people are still confused. But just often enough I steal one of Todd's sweatshirts, too, and he gets that absurd look of ownership when I wear it that boys get when they see a girl in their clothes. As if to say, "See! That's MINE."

Then again, he might just be thinking that about his sweatshirt.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ice Castles

Tonight at dinner, Todd and I were discussing movies that we watched as children that we can't believe our parents let us watch. We were trying to decide which of the movies of our youth our kids would enjoy.

I mentioned that one of my favorites was "Ice Castles". Seriously. Pretty blond ice skater is blinded, learns to skate again despite her disability all with the help of her dreamy boyfriend played by Robbie Benson. In my defense I would like to say that I was 4, okay?

As I was telling this all to Todd, Nathaniel heard me and said, "Ice Castles? Did you get to see Whipped Cream Castles, too?"

Funny kid.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The "Hippie-Commie" Pre-school

Those of you who know me have often heard me refer to Nathaniel and Caleb's preschool as "The Hippie-Commie Preschool". I do it with nothing but love and affection in my heart. The school is actually called SYC, and that's what my children know it as. And it certainly has a unique flavor that I haven't seen at any other preschools.

First of all, the teachers are amazing! They teach me more about parenting just by the way they interact with my children than any book or class could ever hope to. I love and appreciate each of them.

That said, the school certainly attracts a lot of people who are all about peace, love and getting along with one another. I've never met such a large group of people who believed in their own ideas so fiercely and yet respected the ideas of those around them. It's inspirational to me. My boy's long hair is fairly common place and there at SYC they are never mistaken for girls. Clothing is also reasonably optional, which makes Caleb happy.

Snack time is likely to include hummus and carrots or veggie sticks or homemade vegan muffins. Have I mentioned yet how much I love this school?!

Anyway, I hadn't realized until today quite how thoroughly my boys had come to associate certain aspects of the "hippie" culture with their school. I unearthed from the bottom of my PJ drawer my wonderful pair of rainbow tie-dyed long johns. Love them! Nathaniel saw me come down the stairs and said, "Hey, Mom! When did you get SYC pajamas?!"

Peace, y'all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pinewood Derby 2008

Ah, the Pinewood Derby. Is it even possible to be a boy or a Dad without the yearly fight about making a little wooden car that can't weigh more than 5 oz.? And to then spend hours on end watching little boys in their blue shirts cheering and crying as their cars race down the track in a gym? Good times.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Urban Archeology (or All the stuff I found on top of my dresser)

In 1996 I went to Goodwill and bought a dresser for $30. My boyfriend at the time helped me lug the thing home and up the stairs to my second floor apartment. It was functional. 5 drawers, tall, made of actual wood, etc. This is the dresser that my husband and I still use. One of the problems with having children while you are young and poor is that you end up spending all furniture money on things like cribs and bunk beds. Although, now that the rest of our house is furnished, there are no more excuses. I see something akin to a bedroom set in my future...

Anyway, the top of this dresser is probably a little less than six square feet, but for some reason (possibly the lack of any other furniture in the room save a huge bed) it has become the place to dump things. So, it was with some trepidation that I tackled cleaning off the top of the dresser over Christmas break. I can only do projects like that when I have off from teaching seminary. Apparently I am completely incapable of waking up early and organizing in the same day. We all have our own personal kryptonite, I suppose. Here is the list...and it is truly terrifying:


2 pairs of Todd's socks, black and folded
nail clippers
1 bottle of women's multivitamins that make me gag so I never take them
1 chapstick
1 container of safety pins
1 empty bottle of unscented herbal lotion
1 full water bottle
1 necktie
1 package sticky back velcro
1 road map of CO and WY
1 container 20 lb. picture hangers with a chrome plated finish
1 hairbrush
1 pair of pink capris pants (I don't want to talk about it.)
1 hanger
1 wrist brace
1 stud finder (I have never been able to say "Stud Finder" without laughing, apparently typing elicits the same response.)
1 pair of fabric scissors
1 red cup
1 travel toiletries kit left over from Todd's last business trip
1 Chase I.D.
1 First Security Bank card (in my maiden name...oh and the bank doesn't even exist anymore!)
1 "toothy bag" containing what else? teeth removed from my mouth 16 years ago. (My mother sent me a box of stuff from my bedroom last year, they haven't been sitting there all these years or anything. Still, it's a fairly gross find. My son was excited, though. He wants to use them for the upcoming science fair.)
1 rainbow tie-dye shirt from the hippie-commie preschool in my size (which Todd gave me for Christmas)
1 bag of Burt's Bees lip balms (which I got for Todd to put in my Christmas stocking.)
1 travel container of baby wipes-completely dry
1 tube First Aid antibiotic and pain relieving ointment
2 sticks of Old Spice Deodorant
1 clam shell necklace
1 lint brush
1 expired glow stick
1 top half of a wooden recorder
2 pairs of garments that need to be made into rags
1 Worthington Ward Calendar for 2007
2 heart rate monitors, one mine, one Todd's
1 pair of glasses that I've been meaning to donate for the last 3 years
1 Snoopy toy from Wendy's
1 D battery
1 VHSc tape
1 white sock-Todd's
1 chess piece
1 Alleve cold and sinus tablet
1 zipper pull
1 bag from Barnes and Nobel containing a brand new (waiting to be returned) copy of Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Uranium Unicorns from Uranus- a fabulous book for the 3-5 year old boy in your life
2 screwdrivers
1 school ID for volunteers that has such an awful picture the woman even asked me if I wanted to get a new one *sigh* Some of us were just not meant to be photogenic...still, it's better than my passport picture to which my dear friend, Mark, said, "You're not actually going to use that picture, are you?"
1 boarding pass stub from Chicago to Columbus dated September of 2006
1 program from Benjamin's dance recital, June 2007
1 package of tub tints
2 dryer sheets
1 movie ticket stub for Spiderman 3, July 2007
2 emery boards (freebies, I don't do my nails.)
1 orange bouncy ball
1 Chase Key fob
3 chain pulls from lights and fans-all broken
1 paint chip (ICI Black Tulip)
1 pair Todd's old glasses which he keeps around for painting purposes only
1 spiderman valentine
1 Bank Card from Bank 1, again, not only expired, but Bank 1 no longer exists
1 pair baby nail clippers
1 pair Harry Potter costume glasses
2 shoe shine mits
3 sets of Scripture Mastery cards, 2 D&C, 1 OT
4 band-aids, unused
1 travel size purell
1 set of instructions for the card game "BeeAttitudes"
1 pocket sized hymnal
1 CD-R marked "D&C People and Places" (We studied D&C in seminary LAST year.)
1 pony tail holder
1 claritan pill

Office Supplies:

16 pens
1 sharpie
1 click pencil
1 package of refills for the click pencil
2 whiteboard markers
1 roll of scotch tape
2 Rubber bands
1 pair of safety scissors
-The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
-Draw with Jonah and Friends by Cindy Kenney
-Scripture Study Tools and Suggestions by James E. Faulconer
-One Small Step Can Change Your Life-The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, PhD (Todd incidentally declared this book "rubbish")
-Scooby Doo and the GhastlyGiant by Jesse Leon McCann
-Aporia: A Student Journal of Philosophy BYU vol. 17 number 1 Spring 2007
-A Liahona (Church magazine in Portuguese)
-Ensign, December 2006
-All is Safely Gathered In
-Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts
Choral Music:
-2 copies of "Were You There On That Christmas Night" by Natalie Sleeth, SATB and 2 part
Casino Royale-Widescreen Edition
-$2 bill
-6 pennies
-2 dimes
-2 Chuck E. Cheese tokens

Ta-Da! There were also dozens of receipts, all Todd's, but I didn't feel like itemizing them. Since cleaning off the dresser, every time Todd leaves anything on it that is not going immediately back in his pockets the next morning I fix on him a certain gaze that makes him move nervously around me and to the dresser to remove the offending item. We'll see how long this lasts.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vulture Boy goes Vegetarian!

I should start off by mentioning that Benjamin earned the nickname "Vulture Boy" because of what he does to meat. The bones could not be any cleaner, post Benjamin, than if they were boiled. It's both repulsive and strangely fascinating.

Anyway, so today on the way to church Nathaniel asked why we ate animals. I replied, "Because our parents ate animals." It seemed as good an answer as any. Benjamin and Nathaniel decided there in the car that they were going to stop eating meat. I, personally, was pretty excited about this and all up for the challenge, until I realized I'd still have to cook for Todd. I got away with not cooking meat the first several years of marriage because we lived so close to his parents, so he could pop over to Mom's house for a Sunday roast. Since moving away, though, I've had to learn. I cook beef twice a year for him. The rest is chicken or fish and not every day.

Nathaniel is firmly in my camp. He's all about beans, and the occasional pepperoni pizza, but doesn't like meat plain. Benjamin, on the other hand, refuses to eat beans (unless it's a soy bean cleverly disguised as a buffalo wing). So, you can see why Benjamin's vegetarianism caught me a little off guard. He's been exposed to all the various soy products for his whole life, but generally eschewed them in favor of meat.

By the end of dinner (during which each of the boys and I had a boca burger and stared rather accusingly at Todd for eating an animal burger), though, the boys had decided that they would be vegetarians only every other day. I think it was when Todd mentioned that there were no Wendy's kids meals for vegetarians, so we could stop going there.

So, tomorrow is a non-vegetarian day at our house. But on Tuesday, we'll be calling Benjamin by his new name, "Tofu Boy"!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


After three years in this house, we are finally getting around to painting the dining room. So, here are some ideas. I prefer community input. Vote, please.

This is what it currently looks like. I will be getting new curtains, so ignore them. The furniture is what needs to match here.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Nice picture, right?

Caleb likes scary things.

Should I be concerned that my three year old when asked about his choice of vacation spots, only wants to go to scary places? I suggested seeing some of the ice caves in Hocking Hills and he said, "No. Let's go to Mexico to find El Chupacabra." (That's what the picture is, btw.)

I suggested we go up to Lake Erie and see the enormous ice formations. He asked if we could go to Zombie Island instead. (An imaginary place, if you must know. But something he heard about on Scooby-Doo. We had to show him that Google Earth could find no such place, so we couldn't go there.)

I countered with a suggestion that we go see some spooky tunnels leftover from an old Coke factory. He said, "Um, actually, let's go to Kokomo." Sadly, the muppets covered that particular Beach Boys song. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it's an imaginary island. And the actual Kokomo is a town in Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado, Texas, and...wait....there's one in Hawaii?!! Ooooo!

Caleb. Brilliant with the vacation planning.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vows of Silence

Todd is currently reading this Daniel Pinkwater chapter book to our boys before bed each night. If you haven't read Daniel Pinkwater, you MUST. He is delightfully wacky. It is a dream of mine to have him and his wife, Jill, over for dinner sometime. Sadly, I don't know them and as of yet have found nobody who does.

In the book they are currently reading, one of the characters decides to take a vow of silence, but can't quite manage it.

Benjamin realized that he could do way better than the character and said, "I'm going to take a vow of silence, too."

To which my husband sighed and responded, "Oh, all right. As long as you can be quiet about it!"