Wednesday, December 29, 2010
We're way past the 1/2 way mark and it's all done but the readin' for now.
Recently we read a long explanation in the BOM regarding death and resurrection. For those who are unaware, Latter Day Saint doctrine teaches that the spirit and body separate at death and that resurrection (a reuniting of spirit and body) is a gift that will be given to everyone at some future point in time (after Christ comes again....but then it gets a bit tricky because there are multiple resurrections, blah, blah, blah). ANYWAY!
When we finished reading that part in the scriptures, I asked Elle if she understood what was said, and she said, all I could think of were the lyrics, "Reunited...and it feels so good..."
I laughed and laughed and laughed. All day long, we would just start singing "Reunited...." and laugh some more.
Who knew that this chorus from Peaches and Herb:
Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited, 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
'Cause we're reunited
had a secret, second meaning!!!!
I've loved this experience in reading with Dom and Elle. I don't know if they are getting anything out of it, but I sure am!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The 12 days of Christmas went something like this.....all neat and packaged...and painstakingly adorned with the pictures of the 12 days of Christmas on every.single.package. I printed out pages with the "clues" to the gifts on them. Mariah read each one then they opened the presents.
This one was kind of hokie. I got Easter eggs and filled them with various kinds of M&Ms. Unfortunately, I could only find 12 eggs...the ones Dean got for me last Easter and hid in my office...so I gave each of the kids 4 eggs. They LOVED the candy. In fact, the next day at church, Mariah pulled out her new make up bag from her purse and it was FILLED with M&Ms! I just laughed and laughed!
It was a very good Christmas. I was worried that the hokie gifts at the beginning were not going to be received well, but they loved their 12 Days of Christmas. They have told everyone about their presents, and Dominique told me, "It was the best Christmas ever." I'm so glad! I'm so, so glad!
Monday, December 27, 2010
2 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 stick butter or margarine
15 oz. can evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
1 Jar (7 1/2oz) Marshmallow Fluff
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 12-oz. package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 /2 c. chopped walnuts
At this point in time, I gave my brother a 2 dollar bill, and I promised to make the fudge next year so that we could re-establish this tradition.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Me and Dean
Mariah and Garrett
Bradley and Elise
We read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2) and sang a few Christmas carols...Opened a few gifts....
And just hung out....
It was a very good night.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
My conversations with the kids go something like this.
Me: What are you doing?
Kid: I *just* got here.
Me: I didn't ask the time frame of your arrival. I asked what you are doing.
See what I mean?
Me: Who ate the tortillas? (a serious crime in our house...usually because I got tortillas as an ingredient for something else).
Kid: So-and so opened them.
Me: I didn't ask who opened them, I asked who ate them.
Kid: You let me eat them last time.
Me: So, who at the tortillas?
And that is how it goes.
Me: Did you clean your room?
Kid: I put my clothes away.
Me: Yes, but did you clean your room.
Kid: [Slight pause] Uh-huh.
Me: Is it "Wendy Clean?"
Kid: Slinks upstairs to clean said room.
I swear....I could ask something like this.
Me: Where is your coat?
Kid: I have gloves and a hat on.
Me: Where is your coat?
Kid: I am wearing warm socks.
Me: WHERE IS THE DAMN COAT?
At this point in time I usually found that the coat is 1) "Lost," 2) in the possession of a friend (mortal sin at our house), 3) in a locker and of course it is the weekend or school break.
How ever did they learn this evasive tactic?
I think they have always used it. I just think that I used to fall for it. It was a "distract with a diversionary tactic" ploy that I used to buy hook, line and sinker. Bradley was much better at the diversions than the younger ones. I'm getting older and smarter, and the last kid will suffer because of it. I'm constantly telling her, "I've had three other teenagers; I know how this game ends." She has to sigh and come up with new tactics. I don't have gray hair yet, but check back in 5 more years.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
If you haven't read the book, you should. It's narrated by an elementary school girl and chronicles her interactions with an unruly gaggle of neighbor kids called "The Herdmans." Due to an unfortunate turn of events, the narrator's mother has been put in charge of the annual church Christmas pageant. I don't care who you are, this story is funny. We laugh and laugh every single year.
This year, it is only Dean, me, Dom and Elle reading the book. Bradley practically lives at his girlfriend's house and only shows up to sleep and eat some stuff once a day. Mariah is always busy with work when we want to read, so it's just the four of us this year. It's no less meaningful.
I hope you have meaningful traditions with your family. I fully anticipate that, one day, I will be reading this book to grandchildren.
And as Gladys Herdman would say, "Hey, Unto you a child is born!" Merry Christmas!!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
We actually tried to take family pictures with him in early October, but he was late by a few hours because of a previous commitment. Those pictures were kind of cruddy anyway. Then the opportunity came up for a photo shoot in later October...on a day that you would never have imagined would have been good for taking photos. We ran with it. Unfortunately, Bradley was out of town on that day.
We are *hoping* that before he goes we can get one more family picture with him in it. I just didn't want anyone to think that we intentionally left him out. We didn't. We still love him....most of the time ;-)
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Clearly, one of the best parts of the night is watching the meal preparation and all of the yummy food!
It all began when Elle wanted the seafood combo..then Dom followed suit. I normally would not spring for that expensive of a plate of food for the kids, but since we were (in part) celebrating Elle's birthday, I let them splurge.
We were also celebrating Carrie's birthday (which was a week ago).
They do birthdays up right at Benihana...."Happy Birthday to you...cha, cha, cha..." You get how it goes! We had a really fun night at one of our favorite places. In case you were wondering, Dean is out of town. Adam was there (just out of camera range), and Kevin was beside me. Fun times had by all...until we went down to coat check, and someone had stolen Carrie's coat. (Boo!)
Monday, November 29, 2010
My friend, Nathan, called it the "SS Wendy." It was a tank.
So, Cindy and I get in the car to go somewhere inconsequential, and I take a turn onto one of the side streets (which I'd been admonished NOT to do). The tank started sliding, and there was no stopping it. I pop the car in neutral, turn into the curve, pump the breaks and said, "Oh, Sh*%, Oh, Sh*%, Oh, Sh*%, Oh, Sh*%" about 50 times. We were careening right for...wait for it...a yellow VW bug.
I got the car "almost" stopped when we kind of "nudged" it in the bumper. We looked. There was no damage. How ever was I going to back the car off of the bug? Solution? It was so icy that we literally pushed the tank off of the car, spun the car enough to get it pointed in the right direction and drove promptly home.
We still talk about that story to this day. It is amazing that I didn't smash the crap out of that tiny car with the Mercury! Slip, slide and away! I miss the "SS Wendy." It didn't make it out to Utah with me in 1995. It had some unidentifiable electrical problem that caused it to just randomly stop running whilst I was driving down the street.
Be safe out there! If your neighbor warns to you, perhaps you should heed the warning! Peace out!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Some of the biggest battles we've had with our kids revolves around trying to teach them that you make a commitment and stick to it....no matter what it is...from the seemingly small promises to be somewhere at a certain time to the bigger commitments that involve others (like a team sport commitment). Can I tell you that we have had knock down, screaming matches over these kinds of issues?
It usually goes something like this.....
Random Davis Kid (RDK)...."But I don't want to do it anymore"
Wendy: But you committed.
RDK: But I don't like it.
Wendy: Life is hard. Sometimes we have to do things that we don't like because we said we would.
RDK: But you can't "make me."
(This one always is tricky...it is a true statement that I cannot "make" a child do anything. I can, however, make life uncomfortable....)
Wendy: That is true, but if you don't do X, you don't get Y.
RDK...typically motivated by whatever the Y is will begin a negotiation with me.
The things they begin and want to quit are big things....band, a sports team, a type of lesson that we pay for. Lately, I've had several fits with Elle who "doesn't want to do band anymore." This child is SUPER talented on her horn. She plays clarinet, and she's recently (within the last 6 months) picked up the Saxophone. She's diligent, talented and quite good. Stupid teenage distractions get in the way. She wants to drop band to take....wait for it....Teen Living....this class which is essentially a home-ec class all trumped up and modernized. She wants to take it because "all of her friends are taking it."
Yes, you've guessed it, I am guilty of using the cliche about the bridge, jumping off of it...and what all of your other friends may/may not be doing.
This is not the first time that she has wanted to quit band. There are always tears...and always a few months later a shameless declaration from her saying something like, "I love band." Me, trying to withhold any smug look provides reassuring words of pride in her accomplishment. This time, she's been more creative than normal. She's started to figure me out. That's a dangerous position for me to be in.
Tonight she said, "I know you will probably say, 'No,' but will you just listen."
Elle: So, you know how I want to drop band. What if I drop band and take Speech and Debate.
Me: I didn't fall for it.
I told her that she could take Speech and Debate next year as a sophomore but that she couldn't drop band.
Anyone else struggle with this? I want her to do what she wants to do, but I want her to finish out a commitment. I also worry that if they "quit" certain things that they will forever regret it. It's a tricky business this parenting game. A few of my kids have already quit activities, and I know that they will regret it someday. *Sigh* To quote and RDK, I can't "make" them.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
It is difficult to understand this video. She says, "I have a blank slate" (referencing the table). She says that her first tip is to not take a table from the church unless you have permission from the Bishop (which we did). That's why there was the close up of the "Property of" on the table."
Wasn't that fun!?! I'm so proud of her for all of her hard work and her willingness to do this project. It is not easy for anyone to demo in front of the camera as she did (trust me, I know! I'm a professional presenter!) I'm also proud of how much she learns about things around the house. All of the kids "know" how to clean, for example. (Not that they do it, but they do know how.) They know how to do their laundry. They know how to paint a room. They know how to fix small household appliances.
It sounds so cliche, but "they grow up so fast!" I worry that I haven't taught them enough! Moments like this make me proud that they do "know" how to do things...even if they don't act like it all the time.
Stay tuned for a video blog from Dominique. We taught her how to paint her room this summer....and let's just say that it took more gallons of BRIGHT YELLOW paint than anyone could have ever imagined! She is not nearly as thrilled to do video blogs, but she'll warm up to it!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
My faith in God
My belief in Christ
My US citizenship
My husband (yes, I know he is family, but he is special family, so I single him out)
(Now that I got the whole God, country, family thing out of the way, I can be more shallow.)
My ability to reason
The fact that I can read
Warm blankets and my own bed
Technology that allows me to work from home
Technology that allows me to stay connected to my kids, friends and family
Three bathrooms in one house
Our neighbors (at least most of them)
Our vehicles that are running well and are almost paid off
Enough food to eat
Enough food to share with those who don't have quite as much
A beautiful view of the mountains from my master bedroom
Pretty plates that we use only at Thanksgiving
Fresh flower arrangements
McDonald's (yes, I AM thankful for McDonald's...I've been there more than any other single restaurant in my whole life)
Pictures of our family, friends and the most important parts of our life
Pedicures and Massages
Dominique's sense of humor
Elle's annoying laugh (because it means she's happy)
Mariah's stubbornness....because it means she's standing her ground for what she believes/thinks
Dean's ability to forgive others, especially me
Bradley's faith (that is most of the time buried deep in him)
The sound of great music
The blessings of the spirit
That I'm unconditionally loved by many
That I know this earthly life is only temporal and that there is a much greater plan for me.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I don't know if you've ever tried to sit down and read the scriptures (any scriptures) from cover to cover, but it's not easy. In the course of my life time, I've read the Old and New Testament in their entirety, but only once have I read the NT from cover to cover.
We were challenged in Stake Conference so just READ the Book of Mormon...not necessarily finish it by February (when we have our next conference). So, since I have three solid weeks of vacation between now and the end of the year (as do the girls), I asked them if they would be up to the challenge. They were a bit hesitant at first, but I threw in a new snuggie for each of us and the promise of hot chocolate during marathon reading sessions. They agreed.
Today we read for TWO and a HALF HOURS....in two separate reading sessions. Do you know how hard that is for a 14 and a 12 year old? We read out loud and take turns. We hit our goal of 40 pages. I'm so proud of them. It won't be easy, but it will be a good goal to work on. I've organized it so that we don't read EVERY day during our vacation. I've broken it into 13 days. Only 12 more to go.
I'm confident that we can meet this goal, and I know that they'll be SO PROUD of themselves when they've done it.
What will you challenge yourself to do? Is there a project that you've been wanting to do? Got a book in you that you've been meaning to write? I'm a big believer that time-sensitive goals are great motivators! Please share if you have any ideas for your next "big thing."
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I realize that reading preferences are very personal, and what resonates with me will not necessarily resonate with you. So, I don't consider these recommendations necessarily....just books that I really enjoyed. They are in no particular order.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson (Fiction)
Under the Dome by Stephen King (Sci-Fi)
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Historical Fiction)
World without End by Ken Follett (Historical Fiction)
The Other Boelyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
Empire of Liberty by Gordon Wood (History, Non-fiction)
Hunger Games (the entire series)by Suzanne Collins (Teen Sci-Fi)
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (Historical Fiction)
Crisis of the House Divided by Harry Jaffa (History/Political Science, non-fiction)
She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes by Mary Kay Shanley (Children's book)
Remember "Reading is FUNdamental" ;o)
Please share a favorite title if you think I might enjoy; I'm always looking for my next great read!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We took our pictures on a rainy Saturday, and we just happened to find the two hours of the day when the rain had dissipated. The leaves at the location were simply gorgeous! They were gently falling off of the trees, and honestly, it was just idyllic. I had the brainiac idea that if we could get a picture with the leaves falling in the background that it would look really cool....so Dean indulged the request, and Daisy took a bunch of pictures.
For this first attempt, he wadded up some leaves and kind of threw them at us. This is how those pictures turned out...
Clearly Elle and I are amused. Having wet leaves thrown at us was not really the effect I was going for. Here's another one where we are still laughing about it...The look on Mariah's face is classic. Next, Dean got the idea to get in the tree and "shake the leaves on us" to create the effect that I was looking for. Here is a picture of Dean in the tree.
Remember....it had been raining...so as soon as he started shaking the tree, it was really obvious that this was a bad idea. Leaves fell...and so did the left over raindrops.
This is me telling everyone to power through it and smile for the camera. Elle with closed eyes was not helpful...Riah doesn't want to get wet, and Dom just thinks it's all funny.
This is a close as we got to a picture with falling leaves. Major fail for a picture taking moment...and it definitely looked like we were trying too hard. Oh well! It was probably the most fun we had on the shoot, and it is definitely the part we will remember.