Friday, September 29, 2006

beep beep!

Auntie Lee has been sending me some old photos she scanned and her son Paris cleaned up and sharpened. I think this one is so cute! Behind the wheel is my great-grandmother Aletha Haseltine. The boy in back is her brother Tim and the girl a neighbor. The car was made by her father for the children to play in.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

soft-spoken links

I first learned of the aforementioned book when I read an excerpt from it on meridian. It is written for Latter-Day Saint audiences. There are references to the Book of Mormon and various statements by leaders of our church, but still I don't see why it wouldn't appeal to someone of a different faith. What I appreciate about this particular parenting book is the spiritual perspective. I think I am most motivated to improve my behavior when I am given a vision. Like that statement in the last post by Jeffrey Holland--that is a powerful image that I am unlikely to forget. For me, practical techniques always need to be accompanied by a larger understanding of truth. My mind set needs to change.

Here are the exerpts from the book that have been posted on meridian:

Strategies to Turn Away Wrath
Get Our Hearts Right
Choose Laughter Over Accusation
Look Into the Child's Heart
Look on Them with Compassion
Loving as God Loves
Put It Into Perspective

Here is a list of books for strengthening families that includes parenting books recommended by Dr. Goddard.


I'm reading The Soft-Spoken Parent: More Than 50 Strategies to Turn Away Wrath by H. Wallace Goddard. I am sometimes soft-spoken but certainly not always. Certainly not Sunday on the way home from church when my kids were fighting and being purposely obnoxious to annoy me. It had already been a long day.

Me: Children for sale! Children for sale! Hmm. I wonder what I could get for you guys, anyway? Or rather, I wonder how much I'd have to pay for someone to take you off my hands?

Lidia: You wouldn't do that.

Me: You think not?

Lidia: Or, if you did you'd regret it. Because...because you and dad make huge messes and we're the only ones who will clean it up!

This provoked so much laughter from everyone that I almost had to pull over. In the book, Goddard's third strategy is "Choose Laughter Over Accusation."

I really like this statement by Jeffery R. Holland, refering to the need to consider a child's lack of wisdom and experience when correcting:

When a battered, weary swimmer tries valiantly to get back to shore, after
having fought strong winds and rough waves which he should never have challenged
in the first place, those of us who might have had better judgment, or perhaps
just better luck, ought not to row out to his side, beat him with our oars, and
shove his head back underwater. That's not what boats were made for.
But some of us do that to each other.

Friday, September 22, 2006

leaves, etc.

Here are a few photos of the kids painting autumn leaf cookies. I am so uncrafty with them they thought they'd died and gone to heaven when I told them we'd make these cookies. I wanted to cheer them up while J was in NY.

Ave evidently has a problem with my former profile photo, so I changed it. I'm tired and I'd like to go to bed but I knew that would bug me. I probably would have dreamed about Ave disliking my profile photo.

Wish Lidia luck on the feis tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

from linguistics class the other day

The Washington Post’s Style Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the 2003 winners:

Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

Decafalon: The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

Glibido: All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


It's finally here! Lidia's Irish step dress was made in Ireland [EDIT: I was wrong! This dress was made in Wisconsin. Many solo dresses are made in Ireland.]. It is the "junior dress" for beginning dancers at corda mor, Lidia's dance school. It is a generous gift from Nana and Grampie. Does she look proud?

The wig is also required for both performances and competitions at Lidia's school. We bought it a couple months ago, and when Lidia first saw it she said, "That is the stupidest thing I've ever seen and there's no way I'm wearing it!" It does look a little stupid with street clothes, but it's not so bad accompanied by the dress, don't you think?

For her competition next Saturday, Lidia will need to stand in third position for a good long time before and after her time to dance for the judges. It's not easy to stand that way. I am very flexible, but I can barely keep my legs straight in this position. Try it!


Turn out, pointed toes, straight legs, and perfect posture are Irish step musts. Here Lidia demonstrates some pretty decent "diamonds."

This whole Irish dance thing has been interesting. We are some of the few non-Catholics at Lidia's dance school. In fact, one time I joked with J that I expected the ladies to be whipping out rosaries at any moment, and you'll never guess what happened the next week. During Lidia's class I was hanging out in the lobby with the other moms, and one of them did actually whip some rosaries out of her purse and said, "I have some extra rosaries. Does anyone need one?" I could not help myself and I started laughing, but then I felt bad because she looked embarrassed. I really like these dance moms. We seem to have a lot in common. At first I thought they were a little snooty. Many of them appear to be wealthy judging by their expensive cars and clothes, the fact that they are able to pay private school tuition for their many children, plus these dance lessons which are not cheap! However, as I've come to know them I realize how often first impressions are mistaken. They are not snooty.

Lidia told me that she had a friend in her dance class that used to be really nice to her, but now she is not. I asked her if she knew why. She said that the little girl asked her when she was having First Communion, and Lidia replied that she wasn't Catholic. Since then the girl has been a little mean to her. I told Lidia that some people are strange and it's best to ignore them. Lidia said, "Well I don't want to do that. I want to be extra nice to her and see if she will be my friend again." I am so often taught by my children.

Bernie can't WAIT for her dress

but for now she needs to practice. She may get her costume next year if she's able to learn the jig and reel. The steps are a little complicated for a 4 yr. old.

Friday, September 15, 2006

developing a forgiving nature

Here is what I have so far for my Sunday sermon. Except we don't call them sermons, thank heavens, in our church. We call them "talks," and we are all called to speak every so often.

The topic I was assigned is “developing a forgiving nature.” I wondered a little about the wording of this topic. Why not just “forgiveness” in general? I tried to think of people I know who have forgiving natures, and what it is about them that makes them different from the rest of us, for a forgiving nature requires a rare combination of virtues.

I immediately thought of two Old Testament heroes who demonstrated forgiving natures. The first is Joseph of Egypt. It is difficult to imagine what Joseph must have felt at the bottom of that pit, hungry and thirsty, stripped of his coat of many colors, the gift from his beloved father. Was it hard for him to believe that his own brothers had done this to him? He was probably comforting himself with the idea that things could not possibly get worse when the slave traders happened by. On the long road to Egypt, did he wonder if he would ever see his father again? Did he make plans of revenge on his brothers? He was certainly in a position to do so when they, begging for food, came to him, governor of all Egypt. Instead he said to them, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.” Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers of their appalling wickedness toward him, he honestly did not want them to even feel bad about what they’d done. He wanted them to forgive themselves.

The second is Moses, described as “the meekest of all men,” and “whom the Lord knew face to face.” It does not say anything overtly about Moses forgiving in the Old Testament account. It does not say, for example, “the Israelites foolishly and wickedly made a golden calf and worshipped it, so the tablets containing the Ten Commandments were broken and Moses had to go all the way up Mt. Sinai again to get some more commandments, but still he forgave them.” It does not say that, but that is what happened time and time again with the Israelites and Moses. Moses could have qualified to enter into the Promised Land himself, but instead he had to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years with a bunch of unworthy Israelite screw-ups. Not only were they not worthy, they didn’t even appreciate him. Even his own family complained and murmured against him. Instead of bitterly resenting these lovers of mischief, Moses loved them so much that he told the Lord, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”

Joseph and Moses demonstrate key virtues that contributed to their forgiving natures. Joseph was unfailingly positive. He made lemonade out of lemons. If he had chosen to focus on his many afflictions instead of seeking opportunities to overcome, he never would have been able to recognize the Lord’s plan for his family and his own pivotal role. Because he chose to be positive, it became a character trait. Because he had this character trait, he was able to forgive. Moses’ virtues were his meekness and his willingness to sacrifice. He was so humble that he could not be easily offended. Because Moses sacrificed so much for his people, he developed a Christ-like love for them that allowed him to constantly forgive.

How can we be like Joseph and Moses? How can we get to the place where we can forgive all men, as we are commanded?

If we really believe in the Savior, then we know that Christ’s Atonement covers all of our sins and all of everyone else’s sins. It covers the sins that we knowingly commit as well as those sins committed by people who don’t even know they are sinning. And the Atonement covers not only our sins, but also our gross inadequacies, our imperfect natures. The Atonement will somehow make it possible for our mortal souls, which are weak and puny even at best, to be transformed into perfect, powerful, celestial souls that are above temptation.

That will happen at a future time, but for now we must crawl around on this earth in all of our sin-prone mortality. We’ve been commanded to make the best of it, and developing a forgiving nature toward ourselves and our fellow mortals is a must.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

first day of school

was last Tuesday for Georgie, Lidia, and Marcus, and this past Monday for Bernie. All four are in Spanish immersion schools where only Spanish is spoken.

Georgie was very skeptical about starting this school year when she found out she'd be in a mixed 5th and 6th grade classroom. She's in 6th. However, after a couple days of school she announced, "This year is going to be awesome and my class is the best!" For any of you who know reserved Georgie, you can imagine our surprise at this effusiveness. Her homeroom teacher is extremely nice, and Georgie has a small group of 6th graders for most of her classes because they are only with the 5th graders for gym, art, and Artes de Lenguaje.

Lidia seems to be very pleased with her teacher, too. Both girls are thrilled to have their best friends in class with them this year. Georgie is relieved that a problem boy who always got the class in trouble last year is not in her class this year, and Lidia is happy that the problem boy from her class, though he is in her class again (you should have seen her face on the first day when she made that discovery), is not cut any slack. Lidia had an orthodontic expander put in a few days before school started. She was dismayed that she was unable to roll her "r's" with that device at the roof of her mouth. Her orthodontist told her he'd write her a note so she wouldn't get a "D" in r-rolling. It seems that will be unneccesary, as she is now accustomed to the device and can freely roll "r's."

Marcus is in love with school lunch. He is evidently eating all sorts of things I never thought he'd touch, so I will not try to get him to take a more economic lunch from home. His best friend is not in his class this year much to Marcus' disappointment, but he is quickly making new friends. Marcus' current obsession is reptiles. He carries a reptiles field book around and is anxious to share all kinds of information about western painted turtles, box turtles, etc. with whoever will listen. Amphibians are a close second.

Bernie is the one who started preschool last January but decided it was not to her liking. We decided it would be o.k. for her to wait until this fall to start, but we very firmly told her that go she would. She was hugely excited to start school. She talked about it constantly. She did not complain at all when I dropped her off for her first day. When I went to pick her up, she told me about all the fun things they had done. "My school is so, so great!" she exclaimed.

"Oh good!" I said. "So you liked it?"

"Not too much."

We got the same reaction to her second day of preschool. Lots of enthusiasm about what she did at school. But did she like it? "No, not really." She says she would like me to stay at school with her, or she would like to go to Marcus' class. She just misses her family.

For extra-curricular activites, Marcus is playing soccer again this fall and J is coaching the team. Lidia is putting in a lot of time practicing Irish dance because she has a feis, or competition, on the 23rd. She also continues with violin lessons. Georgie plays cello and helps J with coaching soccer. Bernie started violin lessons and Irish dance last week, and she feels very special.


Growing up, I was always the last one in the family to get the bug, if at all. I have a formidable immune system. Georgie turned out like me, and Marcus is rarely laid up long in the sick bed. Everything goes to poor Lidia's lungs, just like her personality twin, Aunt Ave. Bernie is painting that way, too.

I don't get sick. I get tired. Sometimes it will be just a day, but sometimes I drag around for a week or more while my leukocytes wage war on the intruders. I seldom get other symptoms besides the weariness. I know that good health is a great blessing and I shouldn't complain, but sometimes I long to get sick, get over it, and move on! No one has any sympathy for a tired mom dragged repeatedly out of her bed at unholy hours to administer medicine, clean up vomit, or just be near a sickie who can't sleep. They don't have sympathy because they're too busy coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and being feeverish, while mom is merely tired. (Bring out the violins!)

I don't know why I went into all of that, since it doesn't really apply today. I did get sick. The flu is going through our family and I'm the last to get it. There was no way my valiant white blood cells could manage this time, as this past week our home has been the site of a giant sneeze fest. A regular sneeze-a-rama. Sneezapalooza.

I'm assigned again to speak in church on Sunday and I should be working on that but my mind is sluggish. Any thoughts on my topic: "developing a forgiving attitude?"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

men folk comments

I'm so glad everyone seemed to understand that post. I nearly deleted it as soon as I'd written it because I thought it might be easily misinterpreted. Like people might think I'm about to slap a sign on my front door saying, "Men welcome!" However, it seems that I'm not the only man-lover around! :-)

Amity, it comes as no surprise that a butcher boy five years your junior would set his cap for you. Or that any guy would, for that matter.

Montse, I know what you're saying about trying to identify with girly-girl daughters. But you seem to be great at it, what with your from-scratch chapstick making and elaborate nail painting! You must have come a long way since your kickball days. :-)

Athena, I'm glad you haven't any regrets about your beautiful family. I'm still hoping I'll get a chance to meet Captain O some day.

Karen, that is so cool that you were an exchange student to the former Yugoslavia. We had an exchange student from there at our high school. I went to Ecuador in 1990 with American Field Service. I only stayed the summer because my parents wouldn't let me stay a full year. Whaa!

Monday, September 11, 2006

maine man in saipan

Here's another birthday I missed in the back-to-school rush. He, his wife, and his eight children moved to Saipan several years ago, but is that not a soulful, Maine man gaze? J's family doesn't have all the good lookers. Happy birthday, Unc Casey!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

men folks

I was going to post some more pics of our Labor Day visit to Como Zoo and Arboretum, but blogger won't let me.

The other day I went in to get my hair cut and of course that is my prime time for checking out fashion magazines. I was perusing Elle (I think it was) when I found a little blurb about some marriage therapist who is giving these lectures now on how men and women's brains differ chemically, explaining why a man can be whistling in the shower 10 minutes after having a marital spat while the wife is still steaming hours later. It's something to do with an anger-chemical that remains longer in women's brains than in men's. (I know, my grasp of the terminology is masterful. "Anger-chemical.") The chemical quickly leaves the man's brain, leaving him cheerful and refreshed. Not so for the angry woman.

Does this come as a big shock to anyone? I think I discovered that difference between the sexes before I started kindergarten. However, this marriage therapist who was interviewed for the article claims that many women exclaim ruefully after hearing this lecture, "If I had known that, I never would have gotten a divorce."

Puh-lease. Are these women still holding on to the ridiculous idea put forth by certain feminists that men and women are exactly the same in every way save a minor appendage? It makes me laugh imagining these women shaking their heads in wonder at the news that men's brains are chemically different than women's brains, and darn it all, that's why they act the way they do. Who would have thought?

I like men. I like them, for the most part, how they are. I've always liked men better than women. I've always gotten along better with men. It seems that some girls thought I was overly flirtatious or boy crazy when I was growing up, but I did not feel that way. I liked to hang out with the guys because I liked them. Not in a romantic way necessarily, I just liked them and they liked me. As a flat-chested, square-built tomboy I was in no way intimidating or alluring. I think they liked me because I laughed hard at their jokes and I was comfortable to talk to. When I was an exchange student in Ecuador, my host sisters often tried to hook me up with guys. I absolutely refused for many reasons. They especially liked the idea of me starting something with their cousin, who though a year younger than me was very mature. He frequently went out with women several years older than himself. I could see why. He was only moderately handsome, but had a wonderful sense of humor and loads of charm. One time we were riding in the back of a pickup truck, as usual, and my host sisters were talking up my light skin and green eyes to their cousin. "She is no beauty," he said, looking at me. "She is simpatica," meaning good-natured and pleasant, more or less.

After I was married it was a rude awakening to realize I couldn't pal around with the guys in the same way I had as a single girl. It was a difficult and lonely time in some ways, filled with awkwardness when I would occasionally forget that I had to maintain an appropriate distance with men. I had to have some friends, so I began the difficult yet eventually rewarding process of developing friendships with women. I'm still not very good at it after thirteen years, but I've improved.

I still like men and I'm glad they are different. I don't think I would like to be married to a woman.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

border crossing photos

J's mom has a lot of these little photos taken for their border crossing cards. J's dad is an older teenager here. His mom is about 12 in the photo on the left, and the second from the right was taken when she turned fifteen. The photo on the far right is with her best friend Thelma when they were sixteen.

J's parents started dating when she was fifteen and he was sixteen. Her sister didn't think she should go out with him because he was a "rebelde," evidenced by his tight pants and big bangs.

J's parents

This photo was taken of J's parents a few months after their wedding. They were eighteen and nineteen. This is the wedding of J's uncle.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

mother and daughter

J's mom brought some photos up from Mexico and I've been scanning them. I really like this one of J's grandmother and mother. I think J's grandmother looked so aristocratic when she was young. Does that look like the figure of a mother of nine? She was pregnant ten times, the last with twins who miscarried late term. The wedding portrait in the background is of J's grandparents. J's mother is eighteen in this picture, and the occasion is her bridal shower.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

the many faces of AVE

I did a bad thing today. I did remember Ave's birthday this morning, but I knew she was at church and decided to call later. Later I forgot! We have J's parents visiting and then four ravenous missionaries came over for dinner, and... and... O.k., it was a bad sister moment. By the time I remembered again it was past 10 pm Ave's time, and she's an early-to-bed girl.

Here is a little photo tribute to Ave, my favorite sister. I only have one, but you know what? Even if I had seven sisters, as does one of the missionaries who scarfed down poppyseed chicken and flan at my table tonight, Ave would still be my favorite. My mom has always said that I am Elinor of Sense and Sensibility and Ave is Marianne. I am for sure the boring one compared to Ave. She is so deadly funny. J said he liked how much and how hard I laughed while I was in Maine, and a lot of it was due to Ave. She has this look, caught in several of these photos, that just does me in every time. And usually she's saying some sly little thing when she has that look. But she's not just funny. She is a good example to me in her excellent mothering, and also in the way she draws people out who are normally quiet or reserved. She's a good example in many ways.

Happy belated birthday, Ave! Hey, I didn't exactly get you a tangible something for your birthday, but here's my gift: I severely cropped the goggles picture. I know, I'm too sweet. Almost as good as the time I cut your hair in a mullet.


A friend sent me this list and the pictures. Thanks, Dina!

Boys' Knowledge

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.
2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3.) A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spre ad paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.
5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6.) The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7.) When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.
8.) Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
9.) A six-year old Boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old Man says they can only do it in the movies.
10.) Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4- year old Boy.
11.) Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
12.) Super glue is forever.
13.) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.
14.) Pool filters do not like Je ll-O.
15.) VCR's do not eject "PB & J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
16.) Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17.) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18.) You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19.) Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20.) The fire department inAustin , TX has a 5-minute response time.
21.) The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
22.) It will, however, make cats dizzy.
23.) Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
24.) 80% of Women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.
25.) 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

why we're so glad we have boys

more boy behavior

a few more

that's enough!

Friday, September 01, 2006

various thoughts

I was just checking out Athena's blog and found there a family picture with the kids making faces. It reminded me of this one of us on a Sunday morning about 3-4 years ago. I thought everyone looked so nice I wanted a picture. And this is what I got. When J sees this picture he always says, "What's wrong with Georgie?" That's her "I'm being squished" face.

It's been a few days since I posted and I didn't even get to respond to the nice comments people had made on the previous post. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Sisters. It means a lot to me.

Things have been a little stressful around here. We're trying to get ready for school. Lidia and Bernie are quite sick and no one slept last night. J's parents have been here for a couple weeks, which is nice, but they are having car problems. This is an intense time for J's company. We're hoping things turn out o.k. (Possibly more on that in a month or so. There's not much I'm allowed to say now.) I started a linguistics class I hope to transfer from a local school here to BYU for graduation. Looks like it will be boring and tedious. Still trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to be. I'm not sleeping. I'm having bad dreams when I do.