Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Nice Mouth

Bluebird wouldn't listen to me at the playground this evening so we had to come home, her screaming at the top of her lungs the entire way. (Hi neighbors!) When I got her inside, she went into a full-on rage, complete with screaming, kicking and "spanking the floor." (Yeah, I don't know why she does that...) So I said that if she was going to not talk nice and act like she was doing, it must mean that she's very tired and that she should go to bed. I got her dressed in her pajamas and deposited my little princess amongst her blankets an hour before bedtime. And then, because I'm not a total barbarian, I gave her some books to read while in her slumber prison.

That was two hours ago and she's been sitting in there, reading and occasionally yelling that she's ready to be nice again. I tell her that she needs to go to sleep and that we'll try again tomorrow.

Mr. Brooke had a meeting and when he got home a few minutes ago, he went in to check on her. She gently grasped his hand and placed it on her mouth and said, "See Daddy, I have a really nice mouth. See my mouth? It's being sooo nice." Mr. Brooke waited for the inevitable "Can I come out of my room?" question; but, instead, she matter-of-factly went on...

"Daddy my mouth is being so nice. And nice mouths need cheese sticks."

Ha ha. (He let her have one. But she had to eat it in her room.) And then he gave one to Rabbit and got one for himself and sat down in the living room. Rabbit walked up to him, eyeing the cheese stick, and he told her that she couldn't have any of his because she already had one in her hand. But Rabbit is one smart cookie when it comes to getting more food--she crawled up in his lap and gave him a hug and just cuddled up to him...and he caved. He said they could share and then pulled off a thin string of cheese, at which point she snatched up the largely intact original cheese stick and scrambled down from his lap and ran away, both fists clutching a cheese stick.

Books Read in 2008

I thought it would be fun to keep track.
  1. Honey for a Child's Heart, by Gladys Hunt
  2. The Read-Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease
  3. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards
  4. The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
  5. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
  6. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
  7. New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer
  8. Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer
  9. The Host, by Stephenie Meyer
  10. A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver Van DeMille
  11. A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion, by Oliver Van DeMille et al
  12. The Well-Trained Mind, by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
  13. The Lonesome Gods, by Louis L'Amour
  14. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
  15. The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch
  16. The Bondwoman's Narrative, by Hannah Crafts & ed. by David Henry Jr.
  17. Education of a Wandering Man, by Louis L'Amour
  18. Laddie, by Gene Stratton-Porter
  19. The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare
  20. Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld
  21. Pretties, by Scott Westerfeld
  22. Specials, by Scott Westerfeld
  23. 1776, by David McCullough
  24. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin
  25. The Secret, by Rhonda Byrnes
  26. Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer
  27. The Slave Dancer, by Paula Fox
  28. Toxic Parents, by Susan Forward
  29. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  30. Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning, by Oliver and Rachel DeMille

Books Read Out Loud in 2008
(Besides the regular picture books)

  1. Stuart Little, by E.B. White
  2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
  3. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White

I'm going to keep updating this throughout the year.

Wrapping Up: International Scarf Exchange 6

The Aran Scarf has left for his new home. I was pretty sad to send him off to the South. He was a beautiful scarf, and he gave me much happiness during the creation of him. I will miss him. I might clone him someday.

But a new scarf arrived yesterday to fill the void left by Mr. Aran's departure. My new scarf is lovely. It's a beautiful shade of mottled turquoise blues and it's incredibly light and very airy. It's just plain cute. And my secret scarf pal also included some pink yarn to boot! In my questionaire about what kind of scarf I would like, I had mentioned that I would like an entrelac scarf because I was afraid to try the technique. Her original plan was to do an entrelac scarf, but the yarn didn't want to be entrelac so she switched to lacy. But in my package she included the pink yarn and a pattern for an entrelac dishcloth and directions on where to go online for entrelac tutorials. Isn't that just so sweet?!?! And funny, I had actually seen the pink yarn a few weeks ago and thought briefly about purchasing it, but curbed my gluttony...and now I have some anyways!

I know, pictures would make this post so much better, but Rabbit is sick and I'm completely worn out with the care of children at the moment. I hope to get to pictures in the next few days.

Thank you Criquette for my lovely scarf! (There's a picture of it on her blog!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Career Counselor

That's Bluebird's new obsession--deciding what people are going to be when they grow up. Thought I'd give you a look at what she's decided thus far:

Bluebird: Fireman
Rabbit: Fireman
Little Lamb: Policeman or a hair cutter person
Me: Teacher
Mr. Brooke: Fireman
Granny: Shoe buyer
Granpapa: Fireman
Grandma Kim: Swimming coach
Grandma Vickie: Doctor
Grandpa Jim: Policeman
Uncle Shaun: Co-pilot
Aunt Carly: Garbageman and Bluebird's friend
James & Denise: Grocery Shoppers
Mr. Will: Train Conductor

100% Commitment

The thought came to me today during my personal scripture study time. I should commit to things only if I can give all that is required to make it successful. If I cannot honestly do that, then perhaps it's not the time for that activity or I need to change something in order to accomodate it.

I've been praying and praying to know how to be a better mother. And I realized this morning that I already know. I need to spend time with my children and truly get to know them. I need to fully commit to them. Aside from my basic physical/spiritual/mental/emotional/social needs and my husband, my children are the most important thing in my life. They deserve all that I can give them. But so much gets in the way of being able to really commit to them. How in the world can I do preschool with Bluebird when I've mountains of laundry to conquer, three meals a day to prepare and a whole house to keep sanitary?

Some things need to change. Housework is second to children. So I've spent the morning looking at the way I currently do things, trying to see if I can improve anything in order to be able to focus on my little ones.

Here's what I came up with:
  • Simplify meals. Yes, I'm interested in furthering my skills in the culinary arena, but the time needed to prepare and clean up after such feats just drains me. We can subsist happily on various sandwiches, salads and soups. This chapter of life just really isn't conducive to spending hours in the kitchen every day.
  • Simplify my errands. I've now planned for single, monthly trips to Costco, Wal-Mart, regular medical appointments and personal appearance appointments.
  • Simplify the laundry. Laundry is the bane of my existence. Yesterday I washed all of our clothes. The problem is, I cannot find time to also fold them and put the away. This is a recurring theme. The idea that came to me is to put all of our laundry baskets downstairs, save one. Into the one upstairs laundry basket we will all put our clothes and I will take the basket downstairs each evening and sort them into the designated laundry baskets in the laundry room. When individual baskets get full, then I will wash that load.
  • Plan for dates. Mr. Brooke is someone I should fully commit to as well. I'm going to try to set up a permanent agreement with our babysitter that will have her come over each week without me having to phone her. I find that remembering to get a babysitter is the biggest hindrance to us going out.
  • Use rest time more wisely. It's two hours long. I can have the first hour to myself and then use the second to work with Bluebird on her reading. This will also serve to cut down on her media usage and give me a chance to focus on her without interruption from her younger sisters.
  • Fully commit to scripture study, prayer, Family Home Evening, temple attendance, etc. We receive blessings by doing these things and they are a big part of being fully committed to our children.
  • Possibly remove the television. Or at least set up certain hours or circumstances for viewing. There's nothing on television that enriches our lives more than if we spent that time with each other.
  • Ugh. Be responsible. Use the evening hours (after the girls have gone to bed) to tackle most of the chores. This will free up more time during the day to spend time with the girls. We work together throughout the day to keep things tidy as it is, so I'm not worried that they won't see my example of work by moving some of my work to their sleeping hours.

I think it's a good start and should really improve things around here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Precocious

Bluebird and I were having an altercation the other day in which I had to resolutely put my foot down about something she was not supposed to be doing. She got upset about it and stomped off, turning at her door and yelling, "What the heck!!!"

That phrase sounds pretty bad coming out of a four year old's mouth, so I made a mental note to stop saying it myself and then gently informed her that it wasn't a very nice thing to say, to which she responded, "But that's what you say when I'm driving you crazy, and you're driving me crazy right now!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Little Lamb's Blessing













Aren't they lovely photographs? So many, many thanks to James for serving as photographer for the event!

The blessing went wonderfully. We had a full house--our family, James, Denise and Mr. Will, Mr. Brooke's parents, grandmother and aunt. The food turned out amazingly well and the whole event was just downright enjoyable. Mr. Brooke gave Little Lamb a beautiful blessing with many wonderful promises. I really liked having it all at home.

And then...while Mr. Brooke's family was loading up into their car to leave, an unfamiliar van pulled up to our driveway and it took me a while to recognize that the figure inside was none other than my beloved Granny! She decided to surprise us with a visit! (I was informed later that I woke up one of my neighbors from her afternoon nap when I started screaming with excitement upon recognition of my granny.)

So the day was quite wonderful on many levels.

The Blessing Menu

I made a promise to myself that I would not be hovered over four boiling pots when people started arriving for Little Lamb's blessing. With that goal in mind, I chose the following to serve at her blessing luncheon:

Ham, Spinach and Cream Cheese Croissant Roll-ups

Crockpot Meatballs

Tart Salad Greens with Buttermilk Honey Dressing

Tzatziki Potato Salad

Veggie Tray with Ranch dressing

Roast Beef and Muenster sandwiches

Club Sandwiches

PB & J for the wee folk

Snickerdoodles

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Strawberry Guava Juice

Everything tasted great, which is a first for me when doing cooking on the large side. I normally have one complete failure, but not so this time...I must be maturing in my culinary and hostessing capabilities.

(Although, I would have been slaving over assembling sandwiches were it not for Denise arriving an hour early to help me with all the last minute preparations...what am I going to do without her?!?!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Boom De Yada


To keep you happy while I'm too busy to blog...

Bluebird loves the Discovery Channel commercial with this song. (Ignore her "bad habit," we're working to overcome it.) Mr. Brooke spent an hour online trying to find it so she could listen to it whenever she wanted.

Here's the original commercial if you're interested:

Flurry

Little Lamb's blessing is this Saturday. There will be a total of twelve adults present. I am also serving lunch to them. I have to start some of the lunch items today because they have chilling times and whatnot.

Today is cleaning day. And my house desperately needs it. Something about pregnancy and childbirth makes your house gather a lot of dust and fingerprints on everything! I've got Bluebird and Rabbit set up with some cartoons and hopefully they'll behave today as I attempt to morph into a cleaning tornado. (Would that make me a reverse tornado?) I have a meeting tonight here as well; I'm trying to start up a book club for the neighborhood preschool crowd.

And tomorrow will be shopping. Food, decor, flowers. A busy day, which also has some more make-ahead foods and I'm leaving at 5pm for the evening to attend the Stephenie Meyer book signing.

So I thought I'd give y'all a quick blog update because I've been rather silent for a bit and will probably be silent for the next while as well. It is absolutely crazy how three kids magically transforms your life into so much busyness. (Of course, the majority of it is self-inflicted...but things are better when they're nice.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy with Motherhood

It's quiet, one-on-one moments like these that cause me to reflect on the great blessing that is motherhood.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers--past, present and future.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Super Good Birthday

I awoke to a hill of presents on the kitchen table, lovingly wrapped by Mr. Brooke in the wee hours of the previous night. I convinced Mr. Brooke that I should open them immediately, instead of waiting until after cake in the evening.

Little Lamb gave me cranberry juice to make it up to me for her taking all my fluids, Rabbit gave me Twinkies because we love to gorge ourselves on sweets together and Bluebird gave me cereal because, when Mr. Brooke asked her, that's what she said I would like to have. And yes, Mr. Brooke gave me a Kitchen Aid mixer; which I was so not expecting at all and shrieked, "Oh my goodness, REALLY?!?!" when I opened it. Super good presents.

Then Mr. Brooke took the two girls out in order to give me some puttering time about the house and I met them for lunch. Then I went to the spa for some much-needed eyebrow grooming and a haircut. Only thing is, they lost my appointment for the haircut and could not squeeze me in for the rest of the day, so they gave me the eyebrow waxing for free and re-scheduled my haircut for Monday--also for free. Sweet.

So I went home and spent the afternoon lounging about on the lawn, laying on a blanket and reading a book. I got up to go make dinner, a little blue that Mr. Brooke hadn't planned anything for my birthday dinner, when James phoned and asked if he and Denise could come over in a hour to give me their present. Since we obviously had no plans, I said that that'd be fine with me. Mr. Brooke then asked if I wanted to go out after they left, and I said that'd be good too. Then I went back outside to read.

James and Denise showed up with some beautiful Flamenco Pansies for my garden, which I loved. And then they said they had another present for me, which was surprising because we generally do small gifts for each other and I was completely satisfied with the pansies. But who doesn't want more presents? So I awaited my extra gift eagerly as James went and picked up something in the driveway and brought it over to me: a plate of sliced beef. "We made you some beef satay." Denise picked up a bowl in the driveway and brought it over. Peanut sauce. I gave my confused thanks (no one has ever given me a plate of beef before as a present...) as Mr. Brooke came up from the driveway, carrying some more pots I recognized from the Stevenson household and he said, "Alright, let's get inside and EAT!"

James and Denise had prepared a complete Thai meal for me and brought it over. I was so completely blind-sided. It made me giddy. I ate until I hurt and then we had cake on top of it all. It was so much fun! Good food, good friends, super good birthday. (Mr. Brooke confided that the past few weeks have been the hardest because he had to keep not only my presents secret, but also the surprise dinner!)

Thank you to everyone who sent cards, e-cards and phoned. I felt super special. What a great way to soften the fact that I'm over a quarter century old. Getting old isn't bad if you've got good friends to show that your life thus far has been meaningful!

(And yes, Rabbit is helping me through the box of Twinkies.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cable-y Goodness


Indeedidly doo, el Aran Scarf es finito. I love this scarf. Hopefully my pal does as well. It won't be going out in the mail for a while yet, as this weekend is Birthday Weekend for me and I'm thinking that I'll have to wait for our next paycheck to pay for the regional goodies and shipping. Or not. And then I'll be completely done.

I'm going to take a break from knitting for a while.

And I have a hungry baby crying for her dinner. (Or eightsies after dinner.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's That Time of Year

Whenever the seasons change, I get a sinus infection. And it's definitely switching over to spring, so here I am with my stuffed-up face and sore throat. (Perhaps I should move to a place that doesn't really have seasons?)

I am thankful that it's just a slight hiccup, instead of full-blown allergies that would have my nose running all the time. Rabbit's got it too, and Bluebird gets one when it switches from summer to autumn. *sigh*

So I'm not up to much these past few days and don't see anything really getting done until Friday. I'm trying to rest, and quite amazed at how much quicker I am getting over this than when I push through it.

Thankfully, I have my copy of The Host to keep me company during my miserable time spent on the couch. And, the excitement of my birthday this Saturday. And the anticipation of seeing Stephenie Meyer in person next Friday and getting aforementioned copy of The Host signed by her. (Have you pre-ordered your copy of the fourth Twilight book?) I feel very bookish. Mr. Brooke doesn't understand what the deal is with getting a book signed, even though he understands why it's important for baseball cards. I just shrug my shoulders and tell him that books are one of my many gentle madnesses. But that's a topic for another post.

And I just found out (probably incredibly late in the game) that they're making Twilight into a movie.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Table Manners

While finishing up dinner this evening, Bluebird let loose with one of the loudest burps I've ever heard her make. Her eyes opened wide and she exclaimed, "Oh my goodness! I oinked!"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Reading Out Loud

It's always been a tradition, but things have gotten a whole lot more interesting around here because we've started reading chapter books out loud. We just finished Stuart Little, and tonight we started reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I never thought I'd be reading chapter books out loud to Bluebird when she was this young, but she's very much into it and is definitely following the story, so we're moving along.

Rabbit loves it too, although she gets up after a couple of pages and goes off to play. (Don't try to start without her though; she has to be included or it's a very ugly sight.)

I bought Stuart Little on a whim; I read or heard somewhere that it was a good read aloud for children as young as three, so I figured I'd give it a go. Bluebird sat next to me for the whole thing, completely caught up in the story. She loved Margalo and was sad when she flew away, her eyes opened wide when Stuart was dumped onto the garbage boat and when we read about Stuart's canoe getting roughed up, she whispered, "Oh no!" and raised her hands to her mouth. (She was actually a little upset about his canoe and felt really bad for Stuart.)

Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed reading board books and short little stories to them; but, at the same time, I was looking forward to the day when we could move onto books that were longer and more interesting. I am so excited that the day has arrived, and so much earlier than originally expected!

When it became obvious to me that reading Stuart Little out loud was a success, I bought four more books: Charlotte's Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach. I laid them out for her tonight and gave her a brief summary about what each was about and let her choose the next one to read. (I was hoping for The Trumpet of the Swan because it was my favorite as a young girl, but what can compete with a story about a chocolate factory?)

Bluebird already likes Charlie and feels bad that he's so hungry. But she's very excited about that chocolate factory that Charlie walks by each day on his way to school...

It is so fun for me to read through my childhood favorites again. Doubly so--it's wonderful to get re-acquainted with some of my favorite characters and it's so heart-warming to see Bluebird discovering these stories for the first time. She doesn't know what an Oompa Loompa is, or who Charlotte is, and she has yet to get caught up in imagining what life would have been like on the prairie...but by reading out loud to her, I get to watch her experience all those wonderful moments and remember the first time I learned about them too.

Reading out loud--now this is definitely one of the most enjoyable aspects about parenthood.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Esta Finito!

(I don't care if that's grammatically correct. Or if I spelled "grammatically" correctly. But, let's be honest, I obviously do care about both of those things or else I wouldn't be trying to cover myself by stating that I don't care...)

I just binded/bound off the Aran Scarf. Isn't that great? I know you're totally stoked.

Now I have to weave in ends. And probably block it. I really don't see the point of blocking it, but it is going to a total stranger, so I will probably go through all the formalities in order to give myself some street cred as a bonafide knitter. Are there soaking formulas that smell masculine? Because this scarf is going to a man. Yes, I knitted a scarf for a man who is not my husband and who(m) I am not related to. It felt like knitting infidelity for a while until I told Mr. Brooke. I felt better after that. (Seriously, it was really weird for a bit.)

Another part of ISE is that you include some treats and goodies in the box in addition to the scarf, so I have to figure out what that's all going to be. You also generally send something "local" to expose your recipient to your neck of the woods. Is there anything that says "Utah" to you? I don't think a Book of Mormon would go over so well...

I'll post Aran's official finished post sometime next week after he's completely and aesthetically finished. Maybe I'll put it in a box with some cedar blocks for a day or two, cedar is a manly smell. Or, if I want to truly give the recipient a true taste of my part of the world, I'll put it in a box with a burp cloth. Because the smell of spit-up is definitely a permanent aspect of my world.

(I think it's "Es Finito." Because it's permanent or something. I vaguely recall something about permanence having to do with your choice of word for "it is." Or would it be "El es(ta) finito"? I'm overthinking this now...stupid being monolingual.)

Because Today is the 2nd of May

While putting the "2" on the calendar this morning...

Bluebird: "Do you know what happens when we have two flowers?"

Me: "Nope, what happens?"

Bluebird: "You sound like a horsey."

Me: "...Thanks."