Sunday, November 29, 2009

577 Foundation

So, last year I discovered this cool place near my parents house called the 577 Foundation. It was owned by an heiress and her family as a country home. But she was a good person apparently. It's prime land on the river, and she didn't want to leave it to developers and their luxury condos, so she bequeathed it to the community as a place of education, especially for children. Here are some of the things we like best.

This is a room in the old dairy that they now use as a bee observatory. There are a lot of little things to learn about bees and beekeeping. And here are Ashlyn and Conner taking a turn as bees. Teancom was a cutie. He had a stuffed be and was buzzing around everyone with it in his hands.

This was taken in the bio-dome, which is very cool. It has a pond with big fish, rare and endangered plants, and interesting information everywhere. Here are the kids on the bridge over the pond. I could sit in there everyday of my life and be happy. Its perfectly warm, there's greenery and water. Its pretty much all I could ask for.

There are also some great outdoor spaces. This is a picture of the treehouse. We also went on a walk down a hill to the river, and enjoyed the sound garden (see other post) and the historic cabin.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sound Garden


Here is our moments in the sound garden!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rejectemento...or the Top 3

This is a little narrative I came up with in response to a discussion I had with my dad. Please understand these are my thoughts, and pretty straight forward and plain. They are not meant to point fingers or pass judgement, they are just observations and explanations.

I realize that although a majority of my blog is dedicated to cute kid stuff, today, I have something serious to say.

At the risk of opening a can of worms…ahh, heck, lets open this baby wide open. I don’t care.

So my parents are in a branch presidency for the single adult branch in our stake, and last week in the men’s class, I guess they ended up (accidentally) having a discussion about being rejected by women. Surprisingly enough, I have heard this same conversation from the other side, which means there is an equal amount of rejectemento going on. I also remember having a young friend, whose mother stated that all she really wanted was for her daughter to find a modern-day Nephi…which would be something like a modern day Paul or Peter for my non LDS friends.

I hear a chorus resounding from all of the singles in the world (myself included) :“I want someone to accept me for who I am, and love me despite all of my shortcomings and imperfections!” This, in and of itself, is not an incorrect thought. We are all imperfect, and we are daily judged and categorized by these imperfections. Some of them we can’t do anything about; A little too short, a little too chubby, not really pretty enough, already been married, too many kids, bad choices in the past, didn’t serve a mission…a small list of things that make some of us, in the eyes of others , unmarriable. So we go around proclaiming that our needs are simple, we want to be loved for our individuality. The problem with this is that we are not willing to grant the same benevolence to others. The very judgments we abhor are the same ones we hold others to as well. We make these lists of things we feel we want or deserve to have, and somewhere along the way, we started pushing people off the list of possibility because they didn’t have some of those things.

Let’s discuss this list. Let’s pretend for a minute, there was a machine you could put your list of requests into and out popped your perfect mate. Now write it down, every single quality you desire. Don’t hold back, this is after all, make-believe. We are talking absolute perfection, remember. Got it? Good. Mine would go something like this; tall, handsome, 6- pack, funny, charming, wealthy, sweet, kind, gospel centered, has a testimony, dark hair, skin and eyes, fix-it guy, good cook, does laundry without complaining, good father, temple recommend, mentally stable…oh I could go on and on and on. We are, after all, talking about my happiness for this lifetime and possibly the next, so it’s only fair I make this list extensive, right? Now take that list, and, being brutally honest, put that entire list in order from least important to most important. This might take a while depending on how long your list is. Is Taylor Lautner’ s body a nice-to-have or a necessity? Sadly, I put 6-pack abs and dark hair, skin and eyes on the bottom. Donald Trump holds no appeal for so I guess wealth goes next. The process continues until I have prioritized my list. Now for the tricky part. Look at your list. Put the thumb and pointer fingers of each hand in space below the quality marked as number 3…and tear it off. Keep the little piece of paper…and crumple up the rest of it and throw it away, or burn it. Get rid of all of it. Yes that’s right, every single quality is gone expect for the top 3.

My little piece of paper reads something like this: Mentally stable, Kind, Temple Recommend Worthy (which covers a lot of little things…tricky, huh?). And that’s it. So everything else, now in the trash bin or in ashes, is not as important as these 3 things…which means they should not matter, right?

Theoretically, yes, that’s right. I know, deep inside of me, what it takes to make a marriage work. And, so do the rest of you when you are honest with yourselves. And those three things would cover it. So why do we, and I mean this generally, keep dredging up the bottom of the list (you remember the part we took a flame to?), when we start making our decision regarding a spouse. I could meet someone who has the big three, but throw them out because they are lacking #10 or # 45, because even though it’s not part of my list, it’s still part of my mindset.

But methinks I heareth protest. “I should also be physically attracted to the person I marry!” and then to the side you cough and say “But I know looks aren’t everything”. And I know which of us is coughing to the side…the ones who have been told they aren’t pretty enough, or are too fat, or are too short or not enough of whatever. So we’re right back to the “love me for who I am but I want a greek god as my intimate partner” mode. Let me let you all in on a little secret. The stronger you feel about a person emotionally, the more attractive they become to you. Your soul becomes attached to theirs and you want to make that attachment it deeper, because of how it makes you feel and you want to feel more of it. I agree you should be attracted to that person…procreation after all, is a commandment…but many people keep making that “instant attraction” the first requirement of relationships instead of growing into the attraction. Anyone will tell you, whether its oatmeal, hot chocolate or relationships, instant is never as good as the kind that takes some time to prepare.

And yet, I hear another protest. “I should never settle for less then I deserve.” Ah, here we are. We are about to hit the nail on the head here. What you deserve. Well, let’s be honest. What do you deserve?

Let’s go back for a moment to my young friends who wanted a modern day Nephi as her eternal companion. I turn the question over; I think the question is not what kind of person was Nephi, so she knew what to look for, but the real question is ; What kind of person was Nephi’s wife that she deserved to have him? We know so little of her, but the few glimpses we catch through the narrative are impressive. She must have had an enormous amount of faith and patience to endure what she did. Love and compassion to be the companion of the leader of nation and to offer the support she did. We know Nephi himself, speaks of his marriage and says he felt greatly blessed. What a remarkable woman she must have been. So, did being married to Nephi make her remarkable because being his wife required her to be amazing? I suggest that this is not so. Marriage will only make us more of who we are. Out of all the daughters of Ishmael, Nephi chose her because of how he felt around her, because of who she was. And, I submit, she chose him for the same reasons. She had discovered (due to some nasty business on the way back to wilderness from Jerusalem) that his values and priorities were closely aligned with hers. Neither Nephi nor his lovely wife became who they were because they were married to each other. They were already who they were. They had groomed themselves from the time they were young to be the kind of person God wanted them to be, and when the time came, because of their faith and perseverance on that path, they got what they deserved.

So what if beauty and wealth are in your top 3? Well, I suggest you become those things if you want to have them. If you want it, you must be it. If you are not it, don’t expect to get it. Not if they aren’t in your top 3. You may still get a rich greek god like person, but it won’t be because it’s who you are, but because they happen to have those qualities in addition to your top 3.

There is however, one more important element here: choice. So you not only have to find it, you have to choose it which means you put your feelings into ACTION. And even after you have made the choice once, you have to choose it over and over again. If you choose that person, over and over again, every day of your life (and they return that choice), and then act on it…you will be happy. You will be beyond happy. You will be fulfilled.

True, you run the risk of having that other person stop making the choice, but that is beyond your control. We all have agency. It is one of the great eternal principles upon which the plan of happiness is based. Which means you may, at some point, be hurt by someone else’s choices. That doesn’t mean you made the wrong choice if your original choice was made on sound principles and priorities. And it doesn’t mean every person with these qualities will make the choice at the same time you do. It just means when you have a compatible top 3, it’s a possibility you can choose each other and be happy.

My concern is that there are way too many people who never give that compatibility a chance because they are so caught up in the stuff further down the list they wish they had but realize ,way deep down, have about the same purpose as a mittens in Tahiti. If you get to know each other and realize your top three don’t fit, then fine, move on. And don’t try and MAKE your top 3 fit because you really like #12 or # 62 they happen to have. I’ve made that mistake as well.

The summary; Become the type of person you want to end up with. Be faithful to your top 3 (this will be harder than you think), and then choose that person every day and act on that choice.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sugar and Spice...or not

So this morning I was attempting to get Maryn up and at em. She laid in bed, whining and complaining, complaining and moaning, moaning and whining. It was lovely.

I pulled of her covers...she whined and pulled them back up.
I shook her by the shoulder...she complained and moaned something incoherent.
I goaded her with words...she complained and rolled over.

So I laid down by her, and splayed my hand across the middle of her face so she could not ignore it.

And thus began another round of whining and complaining, complaining and moaning, moaning and whining.

To which I respond..."Where is that sweet and wonderful girl that usually sleeps in this bed?"

She stares blankly at the ceiling, and without moving replies "I have no idea."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So, in the course of trying to have quality time with my four wonderful chidlren amidst the chaos that is my life, I confess to sometimes contriving situations I think will be memorable. Sometimes they are, sometimes they disintegrate before my eyes as I try to return whatever has erupted back to relative calm. And then there was tonight. I had an abbreviated lesson schedule, and so I waited to make dinner until after I was done. We ended up making it together. Paul helped Ashlyn break and beat 12 eggs and then I helped her pour them slowly (so as to leave behind all the little accidental crunchies) into a preheated pan. She watched and starred them vigilantly and was SO proud of herself when they were done. "Theses are hard mom, aren't they? But I did it!" Conner wanted to learn pancakes. I put the ingredients in, and I allowed him to use the mixer to blend them together. Then he used a scoop and put them on the hot griddle. I showed him how to flip, and he did it. Maybe not so well at first (we ended up with some broken and two-headed pancakes), but he stayed until the last bit of batter was browning. Paul wiped the table and Maryn ,with her injured thumb, made juice and set the table...with place mats and everything! Then the kids decided they wanted to eat with just candles for the meal, and have on some music. I smiled and sent Paul and Maryn scurrying to get the right candles, which pyro Paul lit. Then I went and got my laptop and put on some nice background music. That's right. We ate scrambled eggs and pancakes by candlelight to Bach's Suite for Cello.

It was wonderful. And it was completely unexpected.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monster Repellent

So, ever since the winter after Dave died, my kids have been sleeping in my room. It was for a few reasons at first. One was to keep them close. They were small…very small…and I didn’t like having them so far away from me. The other reason was to conserve heat. If we were all in one room, in theory it would cost less to keep one room warm then a whole house.

But the time had indeed come for me to have my own space. So we made the big move and relocated everyone upstairs.

Again, another good theory.

Except that Ashlyn was afraid to be upstairs, and especially alone. So if Maryn wasn’t there with her, she would cry. So tonight, I went upstairs with her when she came down crying and asked her what she was afraid of. She told me was she afraid of the monsters. And she would not be convinced otherwise. So I had a brilliant idea.

I told her I had a candle that chased monsters away. See, monsters HATE the smell of peaches because they are allergic! All they have to do is smell it, and they run away screaming. So I lit an anti-monster candle, and then strategically placed some cans of peaches around the room…under the bed, in the closet and topped it off with a jar of peach jam placed in the middle of the room since monsters hate jam the most (because its extra sweet!)

She went to sleep.

The other side of him...

So my 7 year old son is a constant reminder to me of who the other half of his genetic make-up is. Tonight, I was talking to Aaron, Dave’s brother, and told him a story that made him laugh and laugh…apparently because it reminded him of something his little brother would have done. Whenever I wonder what compels my son to do some of these things, Aaron theorizes that it’s “just Dave making sure you don’t forget him.”

So what brought on this discussion? Last night when Ashlyn was in the shower, I hear her yell. I go in there to find her brother (Conner) peeing into the shower while she is still in it! Why? Why I ask you?