Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do You Ever Have Mornings Like This?

I got up at 4:40 to get to the gym by 5:00 which I've been doing everyday for several weeks now. I had a meeting with the trainer at 6:15 and ended up getting home at 7:10. The problem with this was that Vince left for the weekend shortly after I left and when I got home I found Eva still in bed. The problem with this is that Eva had orchestra at 7:30. So we hurried! She got dressed while I loaded the cello in the car (this is WAY more work than I anticipated and sometimes I have second thoughts about her playing the cello this year--like every time I have to load it!). Then she combed her hair while I put peanut butter on some bread for her to eat on the way. We were amazing! We totally got there in time and were so proud of ourselves. I pulled the cello out of the car only to discover that there was no orchestra today.

In other news our basement took water last week. I discovered it Saturday while Vince was out of town. We were blessed to have some friends come help move big stuff and help make sure we wouldn't get more water down there. We're not sure where the water came from but we are thinking the neighbor must have left their water on and filled up our window well. We lost all our flooring in the exercise room/Vince's office. We also lost some of Vince's stuff. I have mixed feelings about that. It will take me several weeks to get everything put back where it goes because kids in school keeps me so busy! I'm crossing my fingers that this week while Vince is at his scout stuff nothing will go wrong...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm From Venus He's From.... #2

I'm working on hemming pants for Vince for a Scout training that starts tomorrow. He had marked a pair and I started with those, planning to finish, measure the inseam, and then hem the next pair. I was a little concerned when I finished because the pants seemed shorter than the ones I hang each week so I pulled a pair of pants he wears most days and measured the inseam to compare. I had just finished a pair that measured 30" and the ones he normally wears are 31" so I called him to ask about how he marked them. I started by explaining:

Me: "Vince, I just finished a pair of your pants so I measured them and measured a pair you normally wear and these look an inch too short."

Vince: Nothing.

Me: "The ones I sewed have an inseam of 30" but the ones you normally wear measure 31". Does that sound right?"

Vince: "Yeah."

Me: "OK but why would these pants be shorter?"

Vince: "Because the others are longer."

President Obama's Education Speech

After listening to much debate about President Obama's speech to students the past week I was a little concerned. I didn't vote for the guy and a speech to students about education seems pretty harmless but I often think that where there's smoke there's bound to be some fire. So Monday I sat down and read it. I seriously found nothing inappropriate and/or disconcerting. In fact, it seemed to me that he was simply reinforcing all the things I try to teach my kids and this mom accepts reinforcement from anyone!! I was anxious to hear what they would remember from the speech and talk with them about it. I was very pleased with their answers to the question: "What do you remember from the speech?"

Ivy: "He said we had to do homework BEFORE we played the XBOX or Wii or Playstation." AMEN I say!!

Ethan: "He said if we don't work hard on our homework we are not just letting ourselves down but we're also letting down our family and our country." I like that.

Eva: "He said that you can't get a good job without a good education."

After more discussion they also remembered (I think Ethan remembered this) that everyone has a responsibility to discover what they're good at and then get really good at that thing and that you need to take advantage of your education in order to do that. We also talked about goal setting. They also talked about how he said that if you think you're going to make lots of money singing or playing sports you'd better think again because it probably won't happen and you're better off getting a good education.

After we talked about the speech I noticed that Ethan spent 30-45 minutes studying his math, Ivy practiced the piano without being asked (the other two did too but that's not a major achievement), and Ethan and Ivy let me help them practice for their spelling tests. I LOVE it when someone else teaches my kids stuff I try to teach them. I know Vince and I have the biggest influence in their life but when other people step in and reinforce what I'm teaching at home it makes my life SOOOO much easier. I've decided that just because I didn't vote for President Obama and disagree with most of what his administration is trying to do that there are perhaps some positive contributions he's making. I also wish our country wasn't so polarized and driven by fear so much that kids and parents have to feel like they can't participate in an opportunity like my kids had yesterday. Hopefully my kids will also be learning from my example and learn to keep an open mind and study and learn for themselves about each individual issue before forming hard and fast opinions.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Eva the Troublemaker

I've been debating about whether to blog this post or not because Eva hasn't been a troublemaker for 8 years or so. Truthfully, she has been a unique sort of child in that she basically causes little to no trouble for anyone. I even remember that her Sunbeam teacher commented on Eva's willingness to listen and learn in Primary and even said that she "seemed to get irritated when other kids were a bit disruptive." At the time I couldn't hardly believe it because she wasn't like that at home! But it didn't take long for that part of her personality to take center stage. And I'm certainly grateful because I wouldn't have been able to take several years like the first 4:

1. Fussy baby. She was my fussiest baby. So much screaming. I can remember putting her in a room where I knew she would be safe and then taking a shower using all the hot water because it was the only thing that would drown out the noise. She was definitely my loudest baby! The poor thing had lots of ear infections.

2. Climbing. Eva was a climber and into everything! Nothing was safe and often she took dangerous risks. I remember one friend commenting about her climbing out of her high chair and how I shouldn't let her do it and I just kind of laughed--like I was going to stop her and also it wasn't half so dangerous as tons of other stuff she climbed! She climbed out of her crib so early that we had to brace the frame and balance the mattress on a set of boxes so it would be low enough to keep her in. She climbed her dresser one day and had to have stitches on her upper lip--the first week we were in our house and I had to ask a neighbor to take us to the ER since I didn't know where the hospital was and didn't have a vehicle of my own. I remember she was 18 months old one morning and I went outside the apartment to take our trash to the dumpster and came back to find her sitting on the refrigerator!

3. Bedtime. She never wanted to go to bed. For the first two years of her life Eva had to cry/scream herself to sleep for at least 20 minutes. She could never fall or be rocked to sleep. When I had friends over to scrapbook it was serious torture for her because she loved to be around people. She used to stick her arms out under the door (up to her elbow) and say, "Hellooooo, Hiiiii, Can I come out?" Sometimes she would even stick her legs out under the door. She has always been a people person and that has never changed. She loves to make friends and make people happy.

4. Church. She was so much trouble in church. People that have known us for the last few years would be surprised to learn that Eva used to be so difficult. I remember her playing "firecracker" with cheerios, throwing them everywhere with sound effects and when I tried to help her pick them up she would smash them into the floor with her heels. Another Eva classic was the spitting. One Sunday she decided to spit--I don't know why but it was nice hawk a lugie spitting and the people all around us were moving to the edges of their seats. I had to drag her and her big baby brother (he really was heavy) around the church to the bathrooms where I put soap in her mouth and took her back where she proceeded to continue the spitting. Vince and I will never forget our first Sunday in the ward we currently live in. She threw a pen--like a missile. And hit the wife of a member of the Bishopric squarely in the back of the head. The poor woman was sitting 3 rows in front of us. I remember taking Eva out of Sacrament Meeting one day thoroughly exasperated and an older sister saying to me, "Heavenly Father sent her to you because He knew you would be able to handle her--you'll be fine." I'll never forget it!

5. Tantrums. All my kids have had tempers to varying degrees but when Eva was about 3 years old she had the worst! She would scream and kick, hit and bite me when I would tell her to come in from outside and/or ask her to clean her room. I used to worry about her temper so much! I remember having conversations with her about how if she was angry she could go to her room and draw pictures, or hit her pillow--she liked that, the idea that it was OK to hit something!

6. Law enforcement. It's true. Eva was about 4 years old when we bought this house and one day in our first few months a police officer knocked on the door and asked for Eva. I was really surprised and couldn't stop the thought, "Oh my, if the police are coming when she's four however are we going to get through teenage years!" He had pictures of some vandalism to the neighbor's yard (their rock wall had been partially disassembled) and wanted to know if Eva knew anything about it. At that point I was relieved because I thought "No way!" Imagine my shock and horror to hear her say she did know about it because she had helped do that. (One thing great about Eva--she's always been honest!) We went over there that evening and she had to work hard to help repair the damage! Another time I was frantic because I couldn't find her anywhere! I had been looking and every neighbor was looking and we were so concerned that I was on the phone with the 911 operator when one neighbor finally found her. She was in a house--a new neighbor that I hadn't met--making friends with a new little girl and had been watching us out the girl's living room window and giggling at us looking for her!

Thankfully, the real trouble seems to have been concentrated in the first few years of her life. She's grown into a beautiful young woman that I am so proud of! I love how she cares about and takes care of others! She's so helpful in any situation she's placed in. She's responsible for her age, mature beyond her years. She helps keep me in line and I'm a better person because she's a great leader and I can't help but learn from her each day. Her untiring love of the Lord and her willingness to serve him and do the right thing are exemplary. She reads her scriptures and prays each day (I know because the other day she was concerned that she had forgotten the night before). Our Bishop seemed impressed with her when he interviewed her for her Faith in God award. He said (when she wasn't looking) "If she was a boy I'd be certain she would be a prophet one day." I really think he's exaggerating a bit but she is exceptional by anyone's standard. She's living proof of the growth we are all capable of and I look forward to seeing her grow and mature even more over the next several years!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eva As a Big Sister

You'll have to forgive me but my oldest turns 12 on Tuesday and so I've been remembering cute, lovable, precious, and funny things about her the past 12 years. I'm thinking I'll share a few stories over the next several days. I remembered this story the other night when talking to a family of sisters who just got a new baby brother.

When Ethan was born Eva had questions about him. She was only two but very inquisitive, busy, and smart. She watched me changed him one day and said, pointing to you-know-what, "What is THAT?" I told her it was a penis. She said, "A pena what?" Instantly I regretted using real vocabulary and told her that boys were born with one and girls weren't. She was contemplative for a while and then very kindly said, "Mom, I think maybe we should cut it off for him."

When Ethan was a toddler I remember that Eva would jump up and fill his sippy cup with water for him and I was always so grateful. I wasn't sure how she did it but I had no doubts she could because she was a climber!! She filled his cup for weeks until one day I was doing my hair in the bathroom and Ethan wanted his sippy cup filled. Eva happily volunteered and I was grateful, proud, and more than happy to let her. I was shocked to see her take the lid from the sippy cup, lift the lid on the toilet and fill his cup from the toilet bowl! The poor boy had been drinking toilet bowl water for weeks!!

Thankfully, Eva has only improved as a big sister. She is still helpful, kind, and conscientious. I feel fortunate and grateful to have such a responsible daughter. Monday was Nathan's first carpool day and there was a misunderstanding in the family that was supposed to pick Nathan up from school so Nathan was waiting and thinking that he didn't have anyone coming to get him. For some reason Eva decided to go out front and check on Nathan, discovered there was a problem, and brought him home with her. I love that she listens to the Spirit and follows promptings!

From Ivy

"It's not fair! Eva always gets to choose the right because she's older!!!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

You know you have a great garden when...

1. Plenty of produce to eat!! Loving it!

2. The squash is taking over the backyard. Seriously. We can't even mow the lawn. And we put up a trellis. Our first squash is a GIANT butternut--about 3' long.

3. We're getting tired of zuchinni. Isn't that great?!

4. I gave some cantaloupe away. Really. I also gave away some kale, zuchinni, yellow squash, tomatoes, herbs, and beets. You know you've got a successful garden when you can give produce AWAY!

Drum roll for the next one...

4. Sunday afternoon the renter's friend from next door (we really don't know him or them) came over to say he was making a BLT and didn't have any tomatoes and could he have some from our garden. He wanted tomatoes from our garden because they taste so much better than the ones from the store. It was shocking, first of all because my garden is generally a major flop, and secondly because I've never heard of someone knocking on their neighbor's door to ask for produce for their dinner. Maybe I'm just prejudiced against people asking for garden produce. I mean if he had asked for a cup of flour, or a few eggs, or some milk, or baking powder, or baking soda, or oil, or some seasoning or herb I wouldn't blink an eye. But this was a first for me! I haven't felt this way about someone asking for something since a neighbor once called and asked if she could borrow Worcestire sauce and when I didn't have any asking me to go to the store and buy some for her. I did but I decided I wouldn't do that again. In hindsight I think I should have told the renter's friend (if I was feeling very bold) that I would be happy to exchange my garden tomatoes for the parking spot in front of my house to always be available. Or at least available when I am teaching and people are trying to drop kids off. But then I would remember what my mother always said: "Two wrongs don't make a right." So I just gave him some tomatoes.

My green beans are done and I saw some nice plants in someone's yard down the street. Maybe I should stop by... Just kidding!

Also as a side note I found the following link on a family member's blog and it is interesting: