Friday, December 31, 2010

Goals. El Fin.

1. Complete Henry's 1 year memory book
Did it.

2. Make 72 hour kits for the family

I have a car kit with water, first aid kit, ponchos, emergency lantern, bags etc but most of that came from my mother-in-law.
So I didn't really ever do much on this one. Talking with other people about emergency preparedness I have also realized my idea of what we would need was grossly simplistic. I have to reassess and make a more feasible long term plan to start working on emergency preparedness for our family.

3. Hold weekly family home evenings and plan them a month in advance
We have done a lot of traveling with Thanksgiving and Christmas but I think we managed to still have family home evening all but one night while we were gone. I think I can give myself the thumbs up on this one.

4. Get second blog up and running
It is up, but not really running. So, half completed. I can't decided whether I want to just post on this blog or if I really need a separate one. I am thinking of just switching to a wordpress blog because I think there are tabs? Anyone?

5. Forget all my stupid and embarrassing moments in the past; sans the ones that make me laugh rather than cringe
Considering this is probably a lifelong process, I think I've made a good start.

6. Attend the Temple as a couple monthly
Every month except February and then this month. We planned to go with my mom for her birthday and Henry was going to stay with Johann's parents but Henry got some bug. Driving him to Riverside and back with diarrhea just didn't seem like the best idea so Johann was kind and stayed home with him so I could go with my mom and brothers. I guess the moral of the story is don't plan your temple day on the second to last day of the month. Especially when that month is December.

7. Go to ward activities
Ice cream social, all the relief society activities that I knew about and we went to the ward Christmas party. We started out not so great this year but we ended on the mark. yay.

8. Learn the new family search
Yup, yup, yup. It has been fun taking family names. Now I just need to learn how to do research so I can find missing ancestors not on familysearch. For now, I am pretty content though with cleaning up the line by doing all the work I can while we're so close to a temple. It has been great.

9. Read through the standard works
I did it! OORAH.

10. Accept help
I think I've done a pretty good job. I have had to ask for a couple substitutes to teach while I've been out of town as well as the babysitting we asked for earlier in the year.

11. Take a family portrait
Yup. Considering there is no picture posted here you can gather that I failed on this one. Weather thwarted us twice and my will power to make it happen just didn't come through. Spring, spring, I swear we'll finally do one by spring!

12. Read 15 novels from master book list and 5 scholarly texts
I feel pretty lame about not being able to complete this one. I thought I set my bar pretty low considering all the reading I did while in school. I think I forgot to factor in November and December as months where I wouldn't be able to do much reading since we were traveling, staying in the same room as Henry and spending time up late at night talking with family rather than reading. Also I realize I stipulated novels but I probably should have just said, "books" considering I broke my own rule. Annnnnyhow. Here are the books I read this year:

Jane Eyre --love, love

Wuthering Heights--meh. I'm glad I read it but I don't think I will ever feel the need to do so again.

History in Practice--scholarly text. Her writing was very accessible.

The Stories of Anton Chekhov--I think by far my favorite.I still go back just to "graze" frequently.

Pride and Prejudice--Charming.

Believing History--by far my favorite "scholarly text" from the year. Not like that's hard considering there were only three competitors, but you know. I think this is some of the best LDS history I have every read and I love the genuine effort to be as honest as possible to methods as well as faith.

Dead Souls--took me a while to get into but I really enjoyed it and was sad to finish. I miss that Dapple Grey.

Religion and the Rise of Modern--Scholarly text. Good read. A little pedantic in some places but I think I'll read it again.

What our Mothers Didn't Tell Us-- Scholarly text. Probably my least favorite of the "texts." It was interesting to read but I doubt I'll pick it up again.

Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy--I really enjoyed all of it. I think I should read this every winter curled up by the fire with a cup of tea.

The Princess de Cleves-- Eh. I wasn't in pain while reading it and I understand its significance but I doubt that will spur me to ever pick it up again. Sorry, Dr. Call.

The Pearl--Yup. Still as depressing as in middles school. Actually, even more so after having a child and being able to better relate to Kino and Juana.

Three Cups of Tea--I listened to a forum presented by Greg Mortenson at BYU a few years back and really enjoyed it. So its no surprise to me how much I enjoyed reading this book. I also can't help but highlight the comparison I saw as I read Three Cups of Tea with the movie Freedom Writers in the background. Greg Mortenson, I feel, is the real deal. Erin Gruwell. eh. Don't get me wrong, what she did with her students is great and good. But honestly, I feel like she bought her students and then harnessing the PR she got from that, managed to stay with those same kids for four years, ditched out and wrote a book and now goes around telling other teachers how to be like her. Self-aggrandize much?
I'm not saying everyone needs to fly to a foreign country, sleep under putrid goat skins, eat food we'd find less than appetizing, survive kidnapping, and somehow have the wits to survive people constantly trying to cheat you (which he did) but throughout his book it is evident the work he does isn't about himself, not one bit. It seems everything he does, even if it is publicizing himself or the foundation, is all about benefiting the children, women and communities he works with. I was just incredibly impressed by his humility and willingness to learn from others who had been doing what he was hoping to do and admitting his reliance on others and his love and gratitude for them. Gah, way more description that I ever wanted to give for any of these books but I really enjoyed reading Three Cups of Tea.

A Christmas Carol--Thumbs up.

So, I completed 4/5 scholarly texts and 13/15 books.

13. Clean up no more than twice a day (minus the kitchen, my OCD just won't allow that to stay dirty for very long quite yet).
Don't misunderstand me, I would still love to keep the house spotless 24/7 but I would say I am a recovering OCD house cleaning freak. I think I am finding a healthy balance.

Wow. It is a little depressing to see how few of my goals I fully completed but considering it's the first year I wrote goals down and pursued them, I am okay with it. Not to mention I now have to wrap this post up so I can go get ready to head to LA to see West Side Story. =)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quantity ≥ Quality

Lets put a few statics out there from this week:

-Number of times Henry and I have left the house combined: 3 (twice, quick trips to the store for necessities like milk and I went to a relief society week day meeting)

-Days I have showered before noon: 2

-Days Henry has stayed in his pj's all day: 2

-Hours of time spent doing the items on my to-do list: maybe 3

-Hours of time spent doing really creative crafts/activities with Henry: maybe 1, maybe.

Despite the very sad week those statistics might imply, it has been one of the nicest, sweetest weeks Henry and I have had together in a long time. We've done playdough, hid from the monster by running and getting under the covers, read books, danced and cuddled up for naps.

It reminded me of something my mom use to say. I think it was during the mid-to-late 90's that the big thing in parenting was that it wasn't so important to spend lots of time with your kids as long as you made sure to have a few hours of quality time every once and a while. I guess I can still see people championing this opinion today, but for some reason I remember it being a really big deal then. I remember examples like, 'if you can't see your child all week, then on the weekend, take them to a theme park to make up for it,' or 'take them to dinner and have a good talk.'

Honestly, I think a lot of these people must have had robot children or none at all because it's rare you can get your kids (or at least I can get my kid) to act and do what you want the way you want. So I wonder how effective it is to try and get your kids, especially really young ones to understand 'quality' time.

Back to my mom. I remember a certain friend or relative mentioning this to my mom and my mom would always basically say, "They don't care so much what you do with them as long as you are there with them."

I'm not trying to say that planning and doing prepared fun things isn't important but I am beginning to rethink my ideas on quantity of time and quality. I spend so much time with Henry that sometimes I think I have to do something spectacular with him, or I am not being a good mother and he'll never develop how he needs to, what will I blog about (yeah, lets be honest we don't tend to post pictures of us sitting in our pj's with our kids watching tv and eating cereal for lunch-again).

I guess what I'm trying to get to here is that I don't have any awesome pictures from this week showing what fun, creative things Henry and I did. Hopefully its not that way every single week but for this week, I'm happy to remember just the sheer amount of time we had enjoying each other as we are, pj's, bed heads and all. I would have missed out on his little hand in mine and that little head on my shoulder in the middle of the day without even knowing it.

*Note, I am in no way saying that women who have to work or be away from their children more than they are with them are somehow wrong or making a bad choice: every family, every mother has to do what is best for their specific child/children and sometimes that will mean a tipping of the scale in favor of trying for quality time over quantity. Age of children plays a huge role in it too.
This merely comes from reflecting on my need to be a better mother and wife and in some ways missing the mark when I assume that time with Henry needs to always somehow be blog worthy or parents magazine approved (ok I don't read that, but you get the idea) or I am failing or shirking and the time in between that I need to be crafting or contributing something fantastic and Martha Stewartesque to the home. So I hope it is seen in that light.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The week we left to California for Thanksgiving was a little crazy.

Johann had tons of assignments, there was visiting teaching to do, family coming to visit the day before we left so I was cooking for 8, church assignments and activities.

I am a little scattered but usually if something in the norm is out of sorts, I notice and try to rectify it. Like a 'dry clean only' sweater in the laundry bin, for instance.

Not this time.

Finally had a very, I Love Lucy moment and shrunk Johann's favorite sweater.

Really shrunk. As in, I-thought-this-only-happened-on-tv-shrunk.

Sorry, Johann. Maybe it will fit Henry in another year or two. And hopefully he likes argyle as much as you.

Johann being a good sport and trying it on
(over his other beloved sweater)
so we can see how much it shrunk.
We had to stretch it quite a bit to even get it to this point of fitting. Sad day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Monday, November 15, 2010

Activities and Crafts

It is getting COLD in Provo. Winter is here. *tear*

The good part about this is I am reminded before we have already bought all of Henry's Christmas gifts that a good portion of them need to be something that will help he and I stay sane during the long winter.

I have been looking at the little overhanging pockets on our laundry door that I intended to fill with fun activities for Henry and it looks pretty pathetic. His crayons were already second-hand from my mom's kindergartners and aside from the crayons there is a couple things of play dough and some finger paint. So what kinds of things do YOU think would be good to add? I want to get a bunch of activity/craft supplies for him for Christmas so we can stay busy during this winter. Tell me what supplies and crafts works for you and your kids! Thanks!

*And please, nothing that is much more messy than finger painting. I am still having to make an effort not to freak out about just that! =)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some days

Some days, I feel like I'm actually close to "getting it right" with this parenting business.

Some days, Henry decides to let me feel like I'm close to "getting it right" with this parenting business.

The intersection of those two things...

these days are few and far between.

So allow me this little indulgence:

Yup. Doing laundry and baking bread. Dear Henry's future wife, you're welcome. =)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

On the seashore

Most of you are probably familiar with this book. If you didn't get it for preschool/kindergarten/middle school/high school or college graduation, you have probably read it to your kids, or it was read to you when you were a kid.
This is probably one of Henry's favorite books-the quirky pictures and bright colors along with the fun sounds and silly words seem to do it for him.
At one point as I read this book over and over again I would get frustrated as I read his lines about "a most useless place:"

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!

"YES!" I would shout in my head, "You're right, I want to DO something! I want to be progressing, I want to be on my way!" I was feeling sick of every conversation I had about life involving the word, 'waiting' for internships, for jobs, other school options and other life evolving events. So I got on it. I started thinking, planing, trying to get going on whats next, at all costs, trying to find some backdoor out of this proverbial waiting place only to find myself more frustrated and more demoralized at every turn.
Sidenote: I realize that Dr. Seuss should not necessarily be my go to for life advice. Yet, when you are in state contrary to perfect placidity, many things can speak to you even if you do not intend it-probably why we are counseled to surround ourselves with the best of books, films, music etc.
Fast forward to this past week.
I was reading in Ether 2. Everyone is familiar with all the brother of Jared went through in Ether 3 preparing first a way to breath and then a way to receive light in the boats on the journey to the promised land. What I became struck with however was what is aptly about in 'the middle' of chapter 2. I finally realized the Jaredites spent 4 years-FOUR YEARS-doing what? camping at the seashore. No explanation of what they were doing there except camping in tents. Then what follows that recorded chunk of waiting time?
"And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord." (Ether 2:14)
I found it significant that not only did it seem like for four years the divine visits to the brother of Jared had ceased but in that time he was shown a weakness perhaps none of us who have ever read the miraculous accounts of the brother of Jared would have ever guessed at.
It brings to mind a quote attributed to Chekhov, "Any idiot can face a crisis-its the day to day living that wears you out."
In the day to day living, the brother of Jared had ceased to access the same divine assistance he had previously received during a crisis-he had been shown a fault that perhaps the microscope of adversity could not even have magnified quite so well. For whatever reason, in the tedious, day to day seashore living, the brother of Jared either thought the Lord's help was not necessary or should not be asked for in such banal day to day circumstances. Yet it is exactly that lack of daily access to divinity that can bring about a crisis of faith and belief in God and his Son.

So what have I realized about Seuss' useless waiting place? While he describes mostly silly things that people ought not to wait for but act on or in spite of, I believe there can be true growth and merit in learning how to wait well. Sometimes seeking the Lord requires stillness, waiting and allowing a halt in our journey with no idea where it will further lead, sometimes we need a seashore to show us the weaknesses we would not have guessed at during all the action of adversity or enjoyment of prosperity. So I try now to remember,

on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." (Ps. 27:14)

Again, in my long winded way, what have I realized about Seuss' waiting place? That it really can be a most useful place.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Big Boy Bed

I think the pictures say it all. Henry is so happy to finally be out of the crib and have a big boy bed!
Sorry it took your parents forever to decide, Henry! =)

*The bed we finally picked is an extend-able one from Ikea. It starts out this length then has one other length and then all the way out to a twin. The mattress comes in three pieces to work with the lengths. So hopefully this will last Henry for quite a while.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mothers Without Borders

Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to Kathy Headlee speak to our ward relief society and speak with her after wards.
She is the founder of Women Without Borders, an international organization that offers hope and help in a holistic way to orphaned children throughout the world. Her work has taken her to Romania, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other places throughout the world.
Now, I have always wanted to be able to help "make a difference" as we commonly say about going out into society and trying to make it a better place. I sat through the presentation and was touched but at the same time I thought to myself, "But I can't really do anything. I have a husband in school and a two year old to take care of. I can't up and go over to Zambia and I'm no Daddy Warbucks either."
I have gotten to a place where I generally refuse to let myself feel too much emotional about these presentations that talk about all the hard, horrible things going on in developing countries because it rends my heart to think I do not have a solution in the least degree and I know if I dwell on it, no good seems to come from it. This however was to be a bit of a different experience. Two things she said during the presentation that I want to mention:
-Seek to be aware of the defining moments in your life.
-Pay attention to what gets your attention. What do find yourself drawn to in the news and in life."The Worth of s Soul" by Liz Lemon Swindle. Kathy's husband was actually the model for the painting and Liz Lemon Swindle went out to Zambia to do this painting.

Well after the presentation I got up and just stood and stretched a minute, said hello to a few people and then suddenly she was at my left side and apparently right where I was turned into the meet and greet. So I listened quietly as people came up to talk to her and tell her thank you, ask about the program and about her. She stood closely next to me the entire time and I thought, "well, don't you have anything intelligent to say to her, Deborah?" Nope. So as silence fell from the last person who had engaged her in conversation I fumbled asked about the educating they're doing over there in the schools. I was asked a bit about the main challenges of education in the remote villages, who the teachers were etc.
More disarming than anything else was just how incredibly sincerely simple she was about the whole thing and about conversing with me. Once I stopped freaking out about trying to talk on her level so to speak, I had a very sweet conversation with her and she said some things I definitely needed to hear.
One of the things she said that I am grateful for is that she realizes that the Lord loves and cares about a little child in Provo just as much as one in Zambia and the reverse is true. There are things we can do here and now. She talked about how she use to take her children to shelters for battered women and children and throw the children there birthday parties. She said she was always just looking for service she and her children could provide.
When she first decided to do an international project people thought she was crazy. As she continues to do work people will ask her about her qualifications and she just raises her shoulders, half smiles and says, "I was a mom."
I just love her and hope anyone that has any time or means to volunteer will look into it and remember also the changes you can make here. She told me, "Its all about your relationship with Him and learning yours talents and skills. I was 'just a mom' with no college degree, my life didn't go that way and I needed to learn from him what my talents were and what I could do. I also had to learn, and its taken years, to really trust Him. Some people thought I was crazy. But I knew, even though I would fight some things for months, that I had to do it. I still get into situations where I have no previous knowledge of what to do and I just have to trust. Keep an open heart, keep pouring out your desires and you will learn." Let me just say it again-I just love her. Wonderful, wonderful woman.
I came home and Johann and I talked about what we can do to start serving more in the community. We have an idea and hopefully I'll be able to post about that soon t00. =)

Paci update

The paci is gone! Weehoo. The first week or so after we took it away he would ask every time he laid down, "Wheres the blue paci?" and we would tell him we gave it to a baby since he is a big boy and didn't need it. That seemed to do it most of the time, "Oh yeah, a baby." haha. For a while I was afraid he'd accost any little baby he saw with a blue paci, but he didn't. Phew.
In the past few weeks he has mentioned it only a few times, if even that. Mostly his comfort now is the tag on his "soft blanket". Its nice to be done with the paci. Good job Henry! =)

"Oh Boy!"

Earlier this month, Johann and I came across program called, "Oh Boy! Raising Boys." Considering we had just had two weeks of Henry having nursery issues we were tuned in immediately. Here is a snippet of what the show was about:

Boys' imaginations can take them from a backyard to a battlefield where they will pretend to be heroes or villains as they rescue and conquer - and all before lunch. And yet many parents worry, wondering if their sons are simply normal, active boys, or turning into potentially violent men. Chuck and Deborah Hart of Littleton, Colorado, have four active boys. From breakfast to bedtime, these parents are on their feet, running after lively children. In this episode, we'll look at this family's well-studied approach to raising boys and talk to educators and experts who believe that society needs to have a new heart for boys.

Every single day for the past, oh I dunno, 18 months I have asked myself about Henry and his level of activity. Even when he was 6 months old we would hear from babysitters, "Wow, he is,uh, you know-active!"
Sometimes it is hard for me to accept this stage (apparently a very long stage since he is a boy) of needing to express and experience things physically. I am trying really hard to be as kind about his mistakes as I am about other kid's but for some reason we always expect our kids to not react when their toy is stolen and to not hit when their upset even if other kids do. I guess I need to realize that is a lot of pressure for a 2 year old; not that it negates him needing to be taught and given consequences, but it also doesn't mean he is some mutant demon child. =)
Anywho. Some of the interesting things the program said that I have been wondering about, though I am not convinced in all areas:
-Boys inherently want to compete. If you don't provide it, they'll find it. Who can eat their cereal the fastest, who can throw this rock the furthest, who can burp the loudest, etc.
-There is an all boys' high school where they use teaching techniques that make it easier for boys to learn like, more tactile teaching (shooting hoops to answer a question), brighter lighting (apparently their sight isn't as good?) louder speaking while teaching (hearing issues apparently?) and classroom arrangements are more organic and less structured. Supposedly all the teaching techniques that cater to boys' way of learning in no way negatively affects female students learning.
-The way the education system is structured puts boys at a great risk for failure, not because of lack of ability but because of the way it forces them to learn against their natural inclinations.
-Boys energy and physicality used to be of great value in society but now our society is dominated by more domestic concerns, duties and physical prowess and work outside of a sport is valued much less. Hence boys are seen as having attributes too far outside what society wants and are seen as unruly and too physical.

One of the things the mom of the four boys said was that has stopped questioning what her boys think is fun and just learning to go with it, ie-throwing sticks into the ground, rocks into the pond etc. I think that is something I need to work on and allow Henry to just be the little boy he is and not try to reign in things are aren't harmful but just nonsensical to me. Here's to raising a little boy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goals check part 3

Well, the end of the year rapidly approaches. I thought it would be a good time to do a final goals check. So here goes:

1. Complete Henry's 1 year memory book
Still a check. yay.

2. Make 72 hour kits for the family
Wow, I completely forgot I even had this goal. Whoops. Alright, better get on this, pronto.

3. Hold weekly family home evenings and plan them a month in advance
Checkedy check. I have had to do some adjusting so that everyone can benefit, which mostly means making lessons no more than five minuets and doing more activities with the lesson, but I think overall it is going pretty well. I haven't planned the exact lessons a month in advance each, but we have a schedule, like First Presidency message the first Monday, from the Friend the second, etc and it works out pretty well.

4. Get second blog up and running As for last post was in July. Whoops. I really should make more of an effort to write on there about whatever I am reading, studying, watching.

5. Forget all my stupid and embarrassing moments in the past; sans the ones that make me laugh rather than cringe
For the most part. Still working on it.

6. Attend the Temple as a couple monthly
Except for February, yes. And I have been able to go by myself a bit AND take some family names which has been wonderful. One of the times I was able to go, the worker who ended up being there for me was one of my long time friends from Apple Valley with whom I lose touch on and off. Hearing blessings pronounced by someone you love is definitely a tender mercy of the Lord and I am still so grateful for that and all the other experiences I have been able to have as I continue to make an effort to go to the temple.
I think if I had more time I could really get caught up in family history, but for now, the little I can do will have to suffice. It was great getting to take a couple I got off of newfamilysearch for the first time to be sealed. Nettie and Melvin Frederick. The workers were so kind and had me stamp the card myself too. =)

7. Go to ward activities
We went to an ice cream social one Sunday (but mostly because the couple we had dinner with was going and coaxed us along-THANKS!) and I went to a relief society week day meeting. Does that count? 1/4 check.

8. Learn the new family search
YAY! I am no pro but I can get names, find name, print ordinance requests etc. So thanks to my mom's friend, Karen, I can say check to this goal now. Woot!

9. Read through the standard works
Still working through the Old Testament, as you can imagine. Book of Mormon and New Testament finished. I just finished Proverbs so I am getting closer and if I keep reading at the same pace I'll finish around the beginning of November so I'll have time to start and finish the Doctrine and Covenants.
One thing I didn't expect to happen while reading the Old Testament is the fullness of feeling I have when reading books like Ruth and Hosea. Those books just envelope my soul with the messages and especially in Hosea, the language. "Calves of our lips" has become a phrase I can't help but think about when I am in the temple or partaking of the sacrament. Its so beautiful. And Ruth-with the imagery and allusion to everything that plays out in the rest of the Old Testament and prophesying what will come after, Ruth and her incredible faith, the sureness of the promises of the Lord-Ruth ties together the Old Testament for me.
There is so much power in the Old Testament and I am so happy to be discovering at least a portion of it. Next my goal will be to somehow obtain a great commentary for the Old Testament like Keil and Delitzsch and go through the Old Testament that way. Man, that would take a looooong time but I think it would be well worth it.

10. Accept help
I think this one is going well. I hate asking for people to watch Henry but I am happy to report we have had help from three different couples who aren't technically family with this since we've gotten back to Provo and I am very, very grateful to them.

11. Take a family portrait
We were planning on mid October but now we'll have to see about the weather. I know we will be doing family pictures on my side during Thanksgiving since my brother will be back from his mission-wee-so maybe I can have a shot or two of just our family and count that if mid-October doesn't work out due to rain or scheduling. Both would be best, but either way, right?

12. Read 15 novels from master book list and 5 scholarly texts
One scholarly text and five novels to go. I am kind of cheating here because I am counting a book my mom had me read as a scholarly text because I could see someone having it read in a womens history class. What our mothers didn't tell us: Why happiness elude the modern woman by Danielle Crittenden. I have a post about it here. I wouldn't call the book in and of itself scholarly but the study of it maybe I could, so I'm counting it. ha. I am also counting Flora Thompson's trilogy Lark Rise to Candleford as three though all together it only boasts about 550 pages. So am I cheating a bit at the end here-yes. Yes I am.
Lark Rise is a beautiful read, very informal. It is like listening to a relative talking about their upbringing. It isn't overly sentimental and really presents what appears to be a candid but still kind recollection of Thompson's upbringing. I would certainly recommend it. And if you haven't seen the PBS series based on the book, by the same name, you really, really should. The characters are incredible and the show is the cleanest thing I've seen on tv in forever!
Lastly I read The Princess de Cleves mostly because we were suppose to read it for one of my classes and I was only able to skim it and it is short. I appreciate it for all the different reasons we talked about in class but man, I am glad I didn't live as a french noblewoman in Henri II's court.
So now I am going to read Steinbeck's The Pearl, again, length considerations. After that I am thinking one other novel, not sure which and then I'll read Dicken's A Christmas Carol, The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth to be in the Christmas spirit. And that should do it my friends. Oh and one more scholarly text...hmm, any recommendations? Remember length is a big consideration at this point too.

13. Clean up no more than twice a day (minus the kitchen, my OCD just won't allow that to stay dirty for very long quite yet).
I think I'm getting better, especially with cleaning up toys. I try really hard not to touch Henry's toy messes until just before nap and bed and he has to help. Now I am trying to teach him that when one thing comes out, it has to be put away before he starts in with another toy. It is a slow process but he isn't too messy on his own so hopefully we'll get it all together soon.

PHEW. That was a lot. I think I might reach most of my goals this year. yay!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy First Day of Fall!

Bring on the orange, red and yellow leaves; the sweaters; crisp mornings and evenings; the warm soup and excitement and anticipation of the holiday season...


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Farewell Paci

This is Henry the in hospital, the day after being born. Boy did that child love his paci. It was great considering he was colicky and the paci sometimes helped to sooth him.

Around a 18 months though we noticed that his little friend was making star appearances in ever picture we took of him. That is when we went down to only allowing the paci at nap time and bed time.

And now we're trying to say farewell to the paci for good. It has become his number one comfort and since he only gets it at nap and bedtime, whenever he is upset or hurt he asks to go "night night." Now, if he actually took a nap every time, well that might be a different story, but usually he gets in the crib grabs the paci and then wants to come out, then go back in, then cries, then climbs, and falls and cries, and wants back in, "PACI! PACI!" you get the idea...

So last night we went cold turkey. "We had to give the paci away for another little baby because you're a big boy now." I have heard people do lots of different things like have the kid give it away themselves but we really couldn't see Henry parting with his beloved blue paci for anyone, willingly.

We laid him down to little cries of, "paci? paci?" and then we closed the door and...silence.

I think he was just too pooped from the mother of all tantrums he threw yesterday, prefaced and followed by some little tantrums. So he slept all night and morning with no problem.

Now its nap time. I hear bouncing, crib rattling and "MOMMY! PACI! MOMMY! MOMMY!"
Good luck to me. =)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Seriously, SO BLESSED!"

I love reading the blog Seriously, so blessed! It usually gives me a good chuckle, after all, "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?"
Perhaps more importantly, reading SSB does something that every good satire should do: puts an unabashed mirror in my face that asks, "Are you like this? Do you do this?"
There is a post on another blog interviewing the anonymous author of SSB that you can find the link for on the post from today. One of my favorite portions of the interview quotes the author responding to the question, "How much of TAMN do you see in yourself?"

"TAMN says that things are perfect, but she’s also really whiny. When really, how could her life be easier? I catch some of that in myself as well. It’s like TAMN wants a trophy for existing. I’ll catch myself being whiny and think, “Wait, why I am being such a baby? I deserve a trophy for what? For living, for doing things that everyone does all the time? Pull it together, quit being a TAMN.” There was one post where her husband had to work a lot and so she said she was basically “pulling an Emma,” with the implication of huge sacrifice. What’s Emma Smith about having to clean up a diaper or getting to spend all day playing with your kids while JJWT is in law/biz/medical/dental school? What a blessing to have a family, to have a spouse that has a great job or is getting such good training or whatever it might be. We often lament our pretty high-class problems."

So if you haven't read Seriously, so blessed! check it out- have a good laugh, and sometimes (hopefully not too often) have a good squirm at seeing yourself through the stark and all too truthful satire of mormon mommyhood. I know I do. =)

Friday, September 3, 2010

"Henry go to school!"

This morning I went to get Henry out of his crib. I opened the door, said good morning and opened the blinds in his room. Since we are in an end apartment on a busy street, usually he spends five or so minutes looking out his window at the cars, bikes and people going up and down the street. Usually he just talks about the cars or bikes but today he informed me of a decision:

"Mommy look! People packpacks."
"Right Henry, because they're going to school like Papa."
"Henry wear packpack, Mommy. Henry go school, Mommy. I go school. I go school packpack."

At least he tried to break it to me gently, right? =)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Swimming lessons

Henry had eight days of swimming lessons these past two weeks (well, five since he missed 2 days due to roseola and 1 due to an excessively sleepy household). He absolutely loved it.

Since Johann is the swimmer in the family, he volunteered to be the parent for the parent and tot swimming class. I must admit it was fun to watch that section of the pool full of women and babies and...Johann. haha.

Henry's "certificate." They accidentally put Johann's name instead. =)
I'm so glad he finally likes swimming. Such a change from last summer when he couldn't touch the water in a big pool without bursting into tears and screams. Good thing too because he was able to go with his aunt and uncle to Seven Peaks this past week. He loved that even more than swimming lessons. Every day since he went with them he has woken up and the first words out of his mouth are, "Nani, Bryan. Big slide. water. FUN!" Hopefully he'll be able to go with them again soon. *wink, wink. nudge, nudge*

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Anyone who wants to buy this for me, I will accept.

That is all.

Friday, July 16, 2010

4th of July

We have been trying to be better about living in Provo as opposed to just being here for school. We decided this year to go to Provo's Freedom Festival instead of hiding inside all weekend to avoid the crowds. Luckily Johann's sister and her husband planned on going as well so Friday night we headed out to Center St.

I am SO glad we chose to go on Friday. Crowds were about half what they were on Saturday and Monday. They had a lot of activities for little kids and so we spent the majority of time watching Henry play and just checking out what they had. Aside from Henry's "whale meltdown" ie, wanting to ride the whale ride, we had a lot of fun.

His favorites were by far the big slides and the snake. He also did a painting craft but my camera battery died so I'll have to get those from Natalie.

Saturday we went to the park with Bryan and Natalie, went to dinner and then to their apartment to watch the fireworks from their balcony which was a fantastic spot.

If you look to the top left you can see the fireworks from the stadium of fire were right within out view.
Henry loved the fireworks and the next day at church decided to regale everyone with, "fire, hot, pretty, hot, hot, fire."

On Monday we went with Bryan and Natlie to take Henry to see Toy Story 3. He did alright, he mostly wanted to stand in the aisle though because it was so crowded we couldn't find him his own seat, we even had to sit in separate rows for just the couples. At the end of the movie during the "tender moment" he spilled his bag of M&Ms...oops! At least people laughed instead of mobbing us. His best move though was taking a bad step and falling head first into the couple in front of us. Luckily the fellow was very quick and kind, caught him and returned him with a "no problem." ha.
We liked the film and Henry loves to yell out, "NEW TOYS" anytime he's playing with Buzz or Woody or sees new toys now. Next time though, we're making sure to get to the theater early enough to get him his own seat.

It was a fun 4th weekend. Maybe next year we'll try to do something more traditional and patriotic, but we enjoyed just being able to spend time together as a family this year.


I decided to do a post on Henry getting roseola because it was through one of my friend's posts on her son getting roseola that I knew what Henry had. It helped me freak out a little less (fevers and rashes are scary), so maybe this will be helpful to someone else.
Last Wednesday we came home from the grocery store and Henry had a bad fever. He'd been feverish on and off earlier but I figured it was because of some teeth coming through. Yeah, he is still working on getting all his teeth. ha.
He begged to go night night (which, I'm sure you can imagine, is not a usual scene in our house) and after a quick call to the nurse, a bath and some tylenol we got him into bed.
The next morning he woke up with his fever still high so we kept him on tylenol and motrin to keep it down. The worst part was trying to keep him happy in a hot little apartment with a broken air conditioner. I think the picture below sums up how Wednesday night through Friday night went for Henry:

Bored. Sad. Tired. Hot. Poor little turtle. I don't know why he wanted to wear that hot costume in addition to the fever and hot apartment, but I let him because he was just so sad.
Then, Friday afternoon he woke up from his nap and the tired, sad, feverish boy turned into the VERY GRUMPY boy with a yucky rash that started on his tummy and spread to his back, face and thighs. Textbook roseola, a 2-3 day fever that then breaks and is followed by a rash.

One second he was crying, screaming, throwing, kicking, hitting and the next, pleading for you to cuddle him. He'd ask for milk and then be completely upset when you handed it to him. "BLUE CUP!" Oh, I'm sorry Henry, how did I not foresee you would now want a blue cup when you have been using a green one all day. My bad. Oh. Friday afternoon until this Tuesday was NOT a fun time.
Since his rash took a little longer to go a way than usual and we wanted to make sure he was ok to go swimming, we saw the doctor on Tuesday and he verified it was roseola and that he was ok to go back to swimming. According to him he could have gone even when he had the rash since they are not really contagious and he said I would have done the parents a favor by giving it to their kids so they could get it over with. Yeah right. I'm sure they would have voted me favorite parent there for that. Silly doctor.
Now Henry is all better, thank goodness. So dear parents who have yet to have their child have this lovely little virus, good luck. At least it is nothing too serious. =)

Information on roseola here

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A domestic rite of passage

Yes, for the first time in my life, I baked bread.
Now, I've baked banana bread, cookies, pies etc before. But for some reason I had never baked bread. And again, for some reason, it was just a different experience.

Ah, isn't it a thing of beauty? Now those loaves aren't too well formed but I'll be darned if I didn't tell Johann that I wanted to throw down some eggs, cheese and butter next to those loaves a paint a still life.

It seems to me there is something so essentially domestic in baking bread. Its not something extra like pie and cookies, but its not something you can whip up over the camp fire either. Its the warm, versatile and still so very basic bit in the food pyramid, much like the home is in the pyramid of life.
Now if you think I'm getting carried away, well,you are probably right. Welcome to the life of my poor, poor husband. =)
Now, I think I'll go enjoy a piece of bread. With some butter. Maybe a tid bit of jam. mmmm.

Here is the recipe for this deliciousness:

(Yields 3-4 loaves)
2 C scalded milk
3/4 C honey
2 cubes butter
10 C WW flour
3/4 T. salt
6 eggs
1 C warm water
3 T. yeast
1 t. honey

First put yeast into warm water with honey to proof.

In mixing bowl mix scalded milk with honey and butter and 1/2 of flour with salt. Then mix in eggs one at a time. Add yeast mixture. Add remainder of flour one cup at a time. Knead for 10 minutes. Let rise until double. Put into loaves (3 to 4). Loaf pans should be greased. Let rise until about double. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Check bottom of loaf to make sure completely cooked.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Posting on

Just a heads up that I posted on Skim if you desire. I need to make it more succinct next time, but its late and its the first post, so better to begin than do my Hamlet brooding and wait, wait wait...
The post is on the book "What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy 2 years Henry!

On May 14th this year, we celebrated Henry's 2nd birthday. As I have looked back at so many of the pictures from the past two years, I am overwhelmed. My life has been blesses in large measure because of this little boy. My priorities, my commitment and my ability to love have all been changed by this one little life. I look forward to so many more years of joyful reflection and celebration over this little love's life.
Happy Birthday, Henry Dean!

New Blog

I have noticed my ability to communicate my thoughts through writing has taken quite a hit recently. Additionally I never give my thoughts on things that I am reading or thinking about a good amount of written attention anywhere. There are some schools of thought that say until you have spoken or written something down, you have not truly thought it. I don't know that I would go that far, but there is something about articulating thoughts through words orally or on paper that can help the thinking process more fully than I use to realize.
With that in mind, and the belief that most of the people who read this blog are mostly looking to see what Henry is up to or what we as a family are doing, I decided to have another blog. This blog I will keep for our family and Henry updates. This other blog will serve as a place to write some of those thoughts and polish up this inarticulate writing I have been practicing. Another benefit is if I blog on something perhaps a bit more controversial, I don't have to feel like I tricked anyone into reading it and offend someone who just wanted to know if Henry was going poo poo in the potty yet. =)
So if you are so inclined, please check it out. I will try to post on something weekly. Leave comments and help me refine my thinking process.
Thanks =)

Gerard Terborch, Woman Writing a Letter, 1655

"In romance and love the world will disagree, but all couples' concern is charity"**

Shortly after we returned from California where we celebrated Henry's birthday and got to celebrate a friend's marriage, we were able to celebrate our own three year anniversary.
Three years seems like an odd amount of time, maybe its just because three is an odd number. Not very long, but not necessarily 'new'.
Now I am not the world's most sentimental person, so you'll have to excuse my mode of "romantic declaration" in recounting my thoughts about celebrating three years of marriage to Johann.
One idea I have pondered a lot in relation to our marriage is something Enlightenment thinkers explained as the "bonds of charity." Two people who fall in love and become bound together in their love for another being. I think it goes without saying that the most perfect form of this would be love of God and his son. I think second to that is love of family, or children.
I find that there has come into our lives a deeply satisfying feeling of mutual love when we lay down at night and I hear these words frequently uttered, "I just love our little Henners."
I don't think marriage is an accidental "falling" in love. I think it is something that is made to refine our souls, to teach us to be selfless and ultimately to be more charitable than we would have been otherwise.
I think it is two very imperfect people who are equally willing to help the other become the best person possible. The person God wants them to be. It is also two people who are willing to sacrifice together for someone or something else beyond themselves. Two people acting as one in love and sacrifice, in charity.
I know neither of us are near perfection, but I am grateful to be married to someone who believes and hopes and lives like some day I can be. I am grateful for someone who extends our bonds of charity beyond just our son to any who might be in need; someone who when Christmas money is already scarce responds affirmatively to a prompting received that there is someone else in the ward who needs those few dollars more than our family needs big gifts.
Upon reflection of these past three years, I am grateful. I love my husband and I have every hope of that love growing and changing to become the kind of bonds that keep us and our family through eternity.

**adapted from quote by Alexander Pope which reads "In Faith and Hope the world will disagree, But all mankind's concern is charity." Essay on Man (ep. III, l. 307)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Goals Check Part 2

June. It is June? The halfway mark month. Yikes. Seems this would be a good point to do a little checking up on my goals for this year.

1. Complete Henry's 1 year memory book
CHECK. Woot.
(Note, this was a pre-made scrapbook so most of the cuteness is only due to Henry or whoever manufactured the book. I only added the pictures and some stickers etc.)

2. Make 72 hour kits for the family
Still haven't gotten it together here. I have been stocking up on water though...I know, need to get on this.

3. Hold weekly family home evenings and plan them a month in advance
So far, I would say, check. I think we've missed maybe two weeks, one of which was Memorial Day because we did a family BBQ. We were appreciating nature though, so that is a lesson in and of itself, right?

4. Get second blog up and running
No. But the normal stewing has elevated itself to little bouts of I don't know what, agitation? Alright, by the end of the month. End of story.

5. Forget all my stupid and embarrassing moments in the past; sans the ones that make me laugh rather than cringe
I actually forgot about this goal. Whoops.

6. Attend the Temple as a couple monthly
As I mentioned in my last check-up we missed February but we have been every month since then. I think I will also start trying to go once a month on my own as well to do ordinances.

7. Go to ward activities
We're failures. There is an ice cream social coming up though, so, maybe then.

8. Learn the new family search
Slowly. I did get some information from my uncles and a PAF file from one to add in. Also my Uncle Gary sent me this website: that has some pictures of my family. I was excited to see the one of my Great Grandpa Hamp whom my brother Hamp is named after. It was also fun to see the pictures of Great Great Grandma Mattie Jane is who is full Cherokee. I'm actually thinking of registering with the Cherokees. We'll see.

9. Read through the standard works
Still in progress. I finished both the Book of Mormon and New Testament. I'm working on the Old Testament, still doing Book of Mormon each day. Right now in the Old Testament I'm in Leviticus which is actually quite interesting. I was reading about the sin offerings and thinking about all the connections and references to blood in the scriptures and culture. It got me to wondering if there are any sort of historiographies on blood in religion and culture. I'll have to look into it.

10. Accept help
I think I am getting better at it. I still don't enjoy it though, especially outside of family.

11. Take a family portrait
It has been far too yucky outside. Hopefully we're turning a corner now and warm, sunny, beautiful days are ahead so we can do this!

12. Read 15 novels from master book list and 5 scholarly texts
Six novels down and two scholarly texts. I am, again, surprised at how slowly I am going with this one. I am learning to love sleep far too much and I fear with summer finally arriving I won't be spending much time with my books. I hope I'll find my assessment inaccurate.
The last text I read was a collection of essays by Richard Bushman (Rough Stone Rolling) which deserves a post in and of itself. Every LDS student should read it.
The last novels I read were Stories of Anton Chekov (enjoyed so very much); Tess of the D'Urbervilles (holy depressing, yet I liked it and may even read it again. Any Hardy fans out there? I think I might try Jude the Obscure next); Pride and Prejudice (Finally! I needed some levity after Tess and I got it. Very delightful); and lastly Dead Souls which took me a bit of time to adjust to but I really enjoy Gogol now.
I'm not sure what I will take up next since I just finished Dead Souls today. I might go with Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy or maybe Middlemarch. We'll see.

13. Clean up no more than twice a day (minus the kitchen, my OCD just won't allow that to stay dirty for very long quite yet).
Haven't done so great with this one except on days when we're gone and no mess is made. I'll start trying to remember to just wait and clean at the end of the day instead of a million times throughout. Can I still count that I used the dishwasher a few times too even if I ended up rewashing half the dishes?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

March Recap

In March...

Henry became a physicist.

But then decide to be a baby model instead.

Then he decided those babies only cared about fancy strollers, hanging at juice bars and wearing fancy diapers. So he became a gymnast.

He had lots of playdates with his buddy "Abba-girl" as he says.

Found a new dress-up hat.

Worked as a DJ for a couple dance parties.

Had a beautiful little space ranger, named him Buzz; diapered, dressed and rocked baby Buzz to sleep.

Got a sweet treat in the mail from family in Uruguay.

Had a visit from Grammy Goodwin, got spoiled and started a band with her.

The end.

February Recap

1. Natalie and I celebrated out birthdays with dinner at Tepanyaki. Yummm.

2. The boys learned that trying to light 23 cupcakes with little matches isn't their forte. There is a great video of this. Bwahaha.

3. We celebrated Valentines day.

4. Henry decided his doggy needed to start reading about repentance & baptism.

5. Our friends Lena and Lev came to visit from Arizona for a wedding. Some how we managed to not take any pictures. doh. Henry is wearing Lena's boots here though.

6. Henry built a sweet tower (with a little help) and then topped it with his choo choo (on his own). He was so proud of it he didn't knock it over for a whole two minutes.

7. Johann sat Henry and me down to finally watch all of The Three Amigos. Above was the result.