Monday, January 30, 2017

Women's March

 All three of the girls beg to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings because they have tablets.  It is kind of fun because when we are there and they are all connected to a screen it is kind of like Brandon and I are on a date.

One of Ike's favorite toys is the bag of nail polish.  He loves to pour them out and chew on the tops.  The colors are so interesting.  The only problem is that he has a squirrel's desire to hide and hoard things.  We find nail polish all over the house in little hidey holes.
He does this all the time with all kinds of things.   We lost the remote control for a couple of days and then found it in a box of wipes.  The wipes that had been there never were found.
When we were in Utah one day my mom realized that the mouse to her computer was missing.  After an extensive search Brandon found it upstairs in the office in an empty cracker box.
I am sure there are things hidden in this house that will never be found.
 It took us 2 years but with the help of some neighbors we finished off the giant Nutella.  It will be missed.  Don't worry though because Daisy and Brandon came home with a brand new regular-sized jar that has already been opened.

Ike models how Nutella gets eaten at our house.  

No caption. It's just cute.

Ike has really been hitting the books lately.
 Okay, I promised the march, and here it comes.
Part of the reason that January was so hard is that I feel so upset about the election of Donald Trump. I disagree with almost all of his policies and am offended by many of the things he says and tweets.  I am frustrated with the way he is representing our country.

I have said so many times how much I love the Obamas and it was a sad day for me.

The next day Brandon and I took the kids to the Women's March in Eugene.

We must live together as brothers or perish as fools.
 For me, it was AMAZING!  It was upbeat and empowering and I felt united with all kinds of people.  There were like 7,000 people marching in Eugene. There were people chanting and banging drums and uplifting signs and I was with women that I admire and consider mentors.  I was also joined by an amazing and supportive husband and our kids.
I guess it was a similar feeling that got President Trump elected.  People just want to feel like their voices and opinions matter.  We all have different ideas on how to accomplish things and this election cycle has reminded me how important it is that we are informed and involved and that we take the time to think about and decide how we feel about specific issues. I personally am going to try to do a better job of listening.  At least that is my goal.  I am pretty sure it is going to be tough because I do love to open my mouth.  I have a suspicion that the more I listen, the better I will be able to make wise choices.  Whether my opinions are changed or not at least I will be sure what I am standing for.

 And now for something completely different.  Here is a picture of my son with the three Oreo cookies that he stole from his friend's plate while the Young Women leaders were having our meeting.  Oh Ike!
 He is really into computers, phones, iPods, alarm clocks, remote controls, calculators, or anything that looks like a personal tech device. And Oreo cookies too.

Just a couple of bums.
 Anne Geddes should hire me.  My kid just does this stuff without even being asked.

 He routinely dumps out all the socks so that he can sit in the plastic drawer.  It is a pretty tight fit.
 Daisy and Rosy think they are hilarious when they say they are "Chillaxin'' I don't know where they learned it, but the giggle that it gives them brings me more happiness than I have a right to have.

And this is the door of our upstairs neighbors.  They are the loveliest couple you could ever meet.  The day they moved in they introduced themselves.  I asked where they were moving from.
"We are from a country far away called, Iran," was his answer.  "Have you heard of it?"
I had a good laugh because I thought it was so endearing.  He had no idea the way that his home country is talked about regularly in the US. From the way he asked the question I could hear the pride in his voice.  He loves his home.
Arash and Atoosa have been nothing but delightful and we absolutely love them.  When we heard about the ban on immigration we immediately thought of our friends.  As a family we decided to heart attack their door.  We left a note telling them that we love them, that they are welcome and valued in our community, and how happy we are that they are here.  I just want to extend this same idea to all of the wonderful immigrants, refugees, and visitors that are peacefully adding diversity and joy to neighborhoods all over this country.


 Instead of going back to school the weather in Eugene made for the longest winter break in history.  Since there are no plows in the city we were all homebound for an entire week.  This happened to coincide with Brandon's trip to Philadelphia.  It also happened to be right when I got the voms and was puking my brains out.
 Rocky did a great job playing mom and we all survived that first day okay.  By the second day I was feeling better and I knew that if we were going to make it through we would need a plan.  So we made our winter weekend bucket list. It don't know if it can be read but there are a bunch of activities that we all brainstormed and then somebody added a few ideas, including "eat candy?!"
We took turns picking what to do next and I am ashamed to admit how many times I was the one who pulled out the candy.
Quesadillas, does this really count as a recipe?
 We did a lot more kid cooking.  I am amazed that they like their recipes better than mine.  I mean, who would rather eat a snowman pancake than bibimbap?  Answer: Everyone. At least the way I cook them.

Daisy and Rosy both claimed to have chosen the pancake recipe but we will never really know the truth.

Calico Critters - Fun for hours on end

 As I said earlier, it was freezing outside and inside.  Our heaters are all up by the ceiling and basically serve the purpose of warming the home of our upstairs neighbors.  Our only option was to make a bunch of brownies and heat with the oven.  I mean, I guess I could have made roasted brussels sprouts but this worked out good too.

Biscuits and Gravy
 The kids got so sick of being at home they turned our kitchen into a store.
 I didn't mind because I have been after them for days to clean up the shoes.

 And then, like a miracle, Brandon was home and we were as happy as can be.
Granola Chef

January - Abridged

 I have some issues with January.  I try to love it but it seems that I always get dragged down into seasonal depression.  The combination of letdown after the holidays and the rainy days push me over into a dark mood. This year I was bound and determined to somehow power my way through it with positive thinking.
Once again I have learned that it is easier said than done.
I won't even attempt to convince myself that I didn't hit some lows this year. We had crazy weather, school cancellations, sickness, nightmare politics, fear about an unsure future, cooped up kids, bickering, and so many cold nights.  But this is what is so lovely about having a blog.  I took photos of happy moments that happened in between the bummer ones.  I will go ahead and take out all the boring, monotonous drudgery and keep in the fun parts and as far as anyone will ever know, January will have been fantastic.  And since the only thing that will survive into the annals of history is what is recorded it will actually become true.
Also, I might have forgotten to tell you that January brings out the forlorn victim mentality that I generally keep buried underneath my cheery All is Well demeanor.  During the rest of the year she is chained in a secret place in my gut and only makes and appearance every few weeks for an hour or so while I pour out my stresses to my mom or my running partners. Some of you have never even met this side of me. Consider yourself lucky. She's kind of a jerk.
I only bring all of this up because sometimes I think it is easy on a blog or on any highly edited piece of social media to lie.  I mean, I guess it isn't really lying, but it isn't always all that honest.
It is just a whole lot easier to put up a photo of a cute little girl playing with Star Wars toys and think it is a moment I would like to remember.
I don't really want to remember the anxiety I feel about the so-far-unpromising job search that Brandon is going through for the second year in a row despite the fact that he is an expert in his field. I don't want to think about the catch I get in my throat any time I think about leaving Eugene.  I want to ignore the insecurities I feel as a mother who yells and makes all kinds of parenting mistakes and who deep down just thinks she really isn't that good at what she is doing.  I also want to turn off all the fears I have about the future of our country and our world.

I know, I told you, sometimes I am a big downer.
I am not saying any of this because I need a bunch of compliments. I just feel like I need to write it down because it is a real, honest part of my experience at this point in my life.  I want to read my blog in 20 years and feel so happy because of all the sweet moments but I don't want to forget that it was a little hard too.

It is also true that I have about 6 million reasons to be grateful.  Some of my friends have a tradition that they pick a word that they can focus on for the year, kind of like a resolution.  I tried in January but the only word that I could think of was barf. (Literally)
But now I am one day away from February and I am ready.  This year I am picking gratitude.  I have no idea where this year will take us.  I personally have very little control over many of the circumstances that will impact our family but I know wherever we go and whatever we end up doing that I will have many many things to be grateful for.  I am grateful for friends and family and health and I know that it is really not good for you but I am so so grateful for sugar.  I am thankful for the earth, for mountains and rivers and the ocean.  I am grateful for love and acceptance and all the kind acts that happen every day.
Wow. I feel better already.

 So welcome dear sweet February with your occasional sun and heart shaped chocolate.  I will banish my dark moods back to the basement where they belong and save my whining for my mom. (Thanks mom.)

Now let's get back to the cute pictures of my kids.

One way that I keep myself entertained is by experimenting in the kitchen.  I'm not really a make up your own recipe kind of a girl but I do like to try new things so I have been cooking my way through a book of recipes from around the world.  The kids have been adventurous and supportive but are starting to get tired of eating so many strange new things.  I have been trying to let them experiment by choosing their own recipes to try.  Sometimes they come up with surprising ideas.  They feel personally attached to the things they chose and made so there are a lot of food photos.  Nobody is surprised.
Homemade Pretzels
 The kids and I have a tradition that goes way back to when Rocky was a baby in the single jogging stroller.  We like to run to the Masonic Cemetery.  It is one of my favorite places in all of Eugene.  It has an incredible overgrown and natural beauty and is a peaceful spot to walk and ponder on life and death.  I have spent a lot of hours there and it is a place I go when I need some quiet.
And it is also the place where my kids and I turn into dorks.
Every time we run up the hill to the mausoleum we make it a point to knock on the door.  I don't even really believe in ghosts but something about the way the sound of the knock echoes in the chamber always gives me the creeps.  So we will knock and then turn and run as fast as we can down the hill. It is good for a little thrill and a burst of adrenaline, and also provides some comic relief for other people who happen to be passing at the moment.
 Daisy is a great little running buddy and she always asks if she can run with me.  We were out the other day and she was brave and knocked all by herself.
 Nobody has ever answered the door, but that doesn't mean that they never will.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Something Old and Something New

 I had to take a photo because people don't even believe that you can still get Netflix DVDs sent to your home.  Dad's are awesome because they are just addressed to Dick.

We participated in the annual climb into the crawl space to store the Christmas decorations.  Ike was feeling pretty proud that he got to go in this year.  The secret that we all know is that you are only really grown up when you realize that you never want to go in there again.
 And then with a lot of hugs and some really teary eyes we were headed back out.
 We made it home on New Year's Eve just in time to eat 12 grapes and welcome the new year Spanish style.  You are supposed to eat one for each month of the upcoming year, and you need to do it along with each of the strikes of the clock.  It is no easy feat, and we even had seedless grapes.
 Does it count if you get them all in your mouth or do they have to be swallowed?  If it is the latter then we are in for a pretty unlucky year.  Also, does it actually have to be midnight?  This was actually about 8:25.  We will close our eyes and take our chances with 2017.

Down for the Count

 Rogue 1.  I bawled from the first scene to the last and I LOVED it.
 After Christmas it was every man for himself and one by one almost everyone got sick.  That meant that instead of sledding and playing games like we had planned we mostly did a lot of lying around, or in my case, following Ike around with a barf bowl.

 He would puke and then stand up and do a little happy dance and then run around until he puked again.  The best part of those couple of days was when I got to leave and go with my mom to the church to help with the weekly dinner for the homeless.  I didn't take any photos but it was really fun, especially because I got to see how much everyone loves Elder and Sister Howard.
I don't know why this makes me so happy.
 And then it was another party!  ABC Mandarin and Rigbys, what could be better?  We had such a good time and even though Brandon wasn't feeling well he still got some pretty good laughs in with his brothers.

Mike's first selfie.