Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Newest Boy Scout!

On Saturday Nathaniel crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. The Blue and Gold Ceremony was very nice, and happily I was far less emotional this time around. Perhaps by the time Caleb crosses over, I won't cry at all. ;)
Last time with these boys as a pack.

Nathaniel receiving the "Super 20 emblem".  He's the first of the Webelos in  the pack's memory  to achieve this award for completing all 20 of the activity badges.

Because he received this award, he had rock star like status with the  Webelos 1 boys. They kept following him around mentioning that they were going to try to do just what Nathaniel had done. It was very cute.

The Webelos 2 boys received the Arrow of Light award before crossing over.

Caleb was the one taking pictures for a while. Some of them were a little "artsy" for my taste

Nathaniel was reluctant to cross over the bridge.

Benjamin accepted Nathaniel into Troop 19 when he finally reached the other side.

And then Lilyanna ran over the bridge.

And here are the boys who made it through to the end. With arrows. Arrows make everything cooler.

See? Arrows are the answer.

Todd and me with our newest Boy Scout. I manage to look awful at these things. It's a gift, people.
 We are very proud of Nathaniel for all of the work he did to get to this point. We are very grateful to all of the leaders who helped him get here, too. We certainly could not have done it without them.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Thoughts

The Washington DC Temple where Todd and I were married.

Sundays at church are not always as uplifting as I would like them to be. Once upon a time, I sat in the pew with my journal and listened to speakers while taking notes.  Since having children there is little peace that comes along with attending our weekly Sacrament Meeting.  There is a whole mess of "Don't touch your brother! No, I don't have any snacks. Don't crawl under the pew! Here's a stick of gum, please be quiet. No laying down on the pew and putting your feet up in the air! Please don't kick the bench in front of you. It's time to fold your arms for the prayer.  Can you find that page in the hymnal? Why don't you read scriptures or draw a picture if you are bored listening? I said DON'T touch your brother!"

All of this in a whisper and not to mention the years of taking crying babies in and out for diaper changes, feeding, and just general restlessness.  We're starting to turn the corner, though. Lilyanna only needed to leave once today (after I grabbed her ankle in the nick of time and pulled her back out from under the pew in front of us as she was trying to make a break for the front of the chapel and she began crying because I had thwarted her escape) and the other boys were being good enough that I was actually able to both listen AND take notes.

The speaker today was talking about strengthening families by strengthening our homes. I've always felt very strongly that home needs to feel safe. For awhile our home didn't feel safe and none of us wanted to be here.  Following that period of our family's history, I worked very hard at maintaining a feeling of peace in our home and so as the speaker listed the ways to strengthen our homes, I was pleased that we're doing pretty well.  But then he said something new.  Well, maybe everyone else knew it, but I finally heard it today. He said that we should visualize the places in our homes where we pray together, study scriptures together, and counsel together. (He said if we couldn't visualize those places, then we knew what we needed to work on.) He then went on to say that we needed to work on keeping those places in our home holy and treat them with reverence as we would any other sacred place.

This clicked in my head in a way he probably didn't expect. We all know how much I hate to clean and how I will do almost anything to avoid it, but thinking about treating the rooms in my house the same way I would treat a room in a temple made me realize that I'm not currently doing that.

This will sound silly to some, but for the first time I could see a point behind cleaning.  I'm sure it won't make me like it any more, but perhaps thinking about it with a different perspective will help me loathe it a little less.  I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to really hear something today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Zombies are Not Sexy Monsters

I have a confession to make. I do not understand the current fascination with zombies. They're gross. There aren't any cool secret powers that come with being a zombie. You become mindless. And you look and smell bad.


I did enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but mostly because I enjoy Pride and Prejudice and can appreciate a well written spoof.  I also like the iconic Jonathon Coulton song "Re: Your Brains", but again that's more because of the wink and the nod at corporate culture than anything else.

Every other zombie themed book I've tried to read, I've hated. I mention it because last week many of my friends were expressing excitement via facebook about the return of Walking Dead and I wondered if I should give it a try. I often agree with these people on other entertainment choices, so I thought perhaps I should give it a try.

That very night I had a long and awful nightmare featuring zombies. I woke up at 3am, drenched in sweat and with my heart racing.  This was just from thinking about watching a show about zombies.

This is one of many passing fads and fancies which I will happily skip.  The rest of you should carry on with your enjoyment of zombies. I'll sit this one out, thanks. 

Sparkly vampires are apparently much more my speed.

Monday, February 4, 2013

After my own heart

When Caleb came downstairs this morning and found me reading a book while eating oatmeal, he got an excited look on his face and ran back upstairs to get his book, too! Because of his visual processing issues, reading hasn't come as easily to Caleb as the rest of us. Watching him read at the table this morning made all the time and money spent on evaluations and therapy feel worth it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Month of Winnowing

Jan 4- Gave away several boxes of Potatoes au Gratin and Instant Garlic Mashed Potatoes that I discovered hiding in our food storage. They have wheat in them, so are verboten in our house these days.

Jan 5- Gave away outlet covers and a size 6 boy's blazer.

Jan 6- Gave away gutter clips for hanging Christmas lights. Because we are never going to hang outdoor Christmas lights. Ever. I bought them on clearance in a fit of optimism years ago. Time to let go.

Jan 7- Verbally gave away a baby item for a friend who is having another little girl!  Will deliver to church next week when I see her.

Jan 8, 9, 10- Added more items to the sell/donate piles happening in the dining room right now which will be dealt with on Monday the 13th. (Going to Half Price Books, Once Upon a Child and then onto Goodwill if those places don't buy and Worthington Food Pantry)

Jan 11-Cleaned out the millions of toiletries from travel and offered them up on the neighborhood freecycle group.  Will donate to the Worthington Food Pantry whatever is leftover.

Jan 12- Gave away a diet help book that had been given to me. It's clear I'm not using it (I've used an entire quart of heavy cream in various recipes in the last 3 weeks).

Jan 23- Took 2 full boxes of clothes, shoes, and sundries to Goodwill.

Jan 24- Gave away a Thomas the Train VHS tape to the other person under 40 who still owns a VCR!

Jan 25- Gave away a few 18mos/2T girls clothes and shoes to a neighbor.

Jan 26- Gave away Cream of ------ Soup cans from food storage. Cream of ----- Soups have wheat in them. Blah.

Jan 27- Cleaned out some kitchen cabinets. Giving away a #3 cakepan since we're all done with three year olds and 33 in this house. Also some pastry thing with a name I don't know which is supposed to be great for whatever I bought it for that I haven't made in years and now don't even remember about. And a pot that is specifically for the microwave and saw many a package of ramen and mac & cheese back in the day.  Probably leaching all manner of chemicals into those already chemical filled college staples. Mmmm Ramen....

Jan 30- Gave away coupons and coupon holder

It feels really good to get rid of things that we are no longer using! I am definitely going to keep going for the month of February!

Keeping Myself Honest 3

Spiritual: I am completely up to date on my scripture reading. I did get a bit behind when I was away helping to care for my sister, but it wasn't too difficult to catch up. I brought my scriptures in my carry on bag for my flights, but I apparently lack the attention span on an airplane. Incidentally, there is nothing like horrific turbulence on a flight to remind me of how incredibly powerless I really am. I found myself humming the Indigo Girls song "Up on the Airplane". Specifically the line "Up on airplane/nearer my God to thee/I start making a deal/inspired by gravity."

Physical: I got all 4 runs in for the week and went to belly dancing. Didn't make it to boot camp. Lilyanna had a high fever the night before and little did I know it but was kicking off the rash of strep and head colds to beset our family for the rest of the week.  I will confess on the running thing, I didn't get all my miles in.  On Monday, I tried, but discovered that the treadmill I was on was broken, so while I was feeling AWESOME at how fast I was running my requisite miles, I finally looked over at the woman next to  me to compare her mph and discovered that while our footfalls were exactly the same, her setting was way lower than mine. I finally got off and asked the gym trainer what was up, and he confirmed that indeed they have problems with that treadmill.  Still, for a couple of miles I was the BEST runner! ;)

Financial:  We did okay at this for the month of January. My unexpected travel was in there, but all told, we did okay. We kept things simple for the birthdays we had this month, and definitely spent less.  While we have a few things to stock up on this month, we are going to be more mindful of our spending and do another financial fast in March.

Organizing: The challenge is going okay. I'm sort of picking and choosing the tasks I do for the month rather than going in the assigned order. In reorganizing drawers and cabinets in the kitchen I discovered that somehow we have accumulated FIVE potato peelers. Five! I don't even have an explanation for how that might have happened.

Books I Read in January:
Born to Run
Eat and Run
The Raven Boys
The Scorpio Races