Saturday, January 27, 2007

Emma's First Solo Prayer

Tonight we were getting ready to pray and I asked if Emma wanted to say the prayer. She said "Yes," and without further hesitation, proceeded to do it all on her own, without any help! Here is what she said (because I want to remember this):

"Dear Hev'ly Fader, tank you our nice day, tank you Bridget, tank you Bridget sleeping, tank you our cats, tank you family. We love 'chother. Please help be nice 'chother, be nice cats. Please help be safe, go church 'morrow. Please help friends, Paige, Josh, Santa Plause, and family and Grandma and cats. We love you. Name Jesus Christ, Amen."

It was so sweet, and I was so proud. I guess she really does pay attention when we pray!

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Cuteness Just Doesn't Stop

I've been having awful cramps the last two days. Last night they were really bad. I was in bed and Ems asked me to do something, and I told her, "Mommy doesn't feel well, Mommy needs to lie down right now." So she leaned over me, said, "What's wrong?" and felt my forehead to see if I was hot! She is such a little nurturer.

Today Bridget was watching Emma sign "car" (like you're holding a steering wheel) and play with a toy car and make car noises. Then Ems went in to watch Sesame Street while I fed Bridey lunch. After she was done I was cleaning up while she played with her little ring teether. Usually she chews on it some and waves it with one hand while she watches it. Today she happened to get it out in front of her in both hands. I saw her stop and look at it, then she turned it like a steering wheel and said, clear as day, "Vroom, vroom!" I wasn't sure she'd done what I thought she had, so as she looked at me I just looked back and watched her without reacting. After a few seconds she again "steered" the toy and said, "Vroom, vroom!" I asked her, "Are you a car?" And she got the biggest smile ever on her face! I wish I'd had a video camera!

This is a bit precocious for a 9-month-old. Of course, at the same age, Emma was playing with her "baby" one day and accidentally smacked baby's head into the Exersaucer. She hugged the baby to herself, patted its head, positioned it against her chest like she was nursing it, and said, "Oh, oh, na-na, na-na." She continued to "nurse" the "baby" until it "felt better." Then she went back to her play. I guess we just have strong imaginations in this family! My mom says she thinks they will both be little actresses/drama queens-- like I was!

Today, Bridget also started nodding for "yes" when she wants something, as well as nodding when she wants us to soothe her (we nod while we say, "Oh, I know, I know it's hard", etc., which is why she apparently associates nodding with comforting words.)


I'm having quite an attack of saudade today. See, I've always had this recurring... ache. It's a longing to return to someplace I've never been, kind of, a nostalgia for a time in which I never lived, a homesickness for a home I've never known. A while back, I wrote my first "landmark" post over on the Hatrack River Forums. In it, I talked about these feelings I've always had, and one of the replies gave me, finally, a word for what I feel: saudade.

It's pronounced, apparently, "'sou-da-jee'. The 'ou' like in 'ouch'." My research indicates that it was coined by Portuguese sailors, explorers who felt it upon seeing new lands and again upon returning home.

Anyway, I'm feeling it strongly today, and that's why you're hearing "Goodnight, Irene." It's one of the songs that was sung at the close of every musical gathering when I was growing up; a few people (usually us included) would stay later and play, sing, and talk quietly in smaller groups, but when the bulk of people were ready to leave, we'd all gather first and sing this song, it usually took about ten minutes (we have more verses than Johnny sings and would repeat the chorus several times at the end and between each verse, with an instrumental here and there.) It's one of those songs that both triggers/aggravates the saudade feelings, and somehow, perversely, soothes it. If any of you have saudade sometimes too, I'd love to hear about it. For many years I thought I was the only one, and it was great to know I am not alone.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Things I Learned at Dinner Today

We had the missionaries over tonight, and it was a barrel of laughs! They love coming to our house 'cause apparently we always have good food (tonight it was onion soup, arabic bread and hummus [from a can, snazzed up with fresh lemon, garlic, and a little salt], corned beef and veggies [in the crockpot, bought last year at St. Patrick's when it was on sale for 29 cents/lb. and stored in the freezer, cooked the way I like it with carrots, potatoes, and a mixture of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and water for the liquid, and the meat removed to rest and the cabbage put on top to steam over very low heat for the last hour or so], and for dessert fresh mango eaten with American flag toothpicks and fresh and grilled pineapple spears. It was eclectic but all fun and they devoured it right along with Jeff, Ems, and me.) They are always fun to listen to and today made me laugh so hard I choked on my mango telling me about some of the slang terminology used in my mission among the elders.

Apparently, when you are about to become a "trainer", you are "pregnant." When your new companion arrives, you "get an hijo", a "little son", and become a "father." When you are on your last transfer you "die" and "your hijo is killing you." (That is the one that made me choke on my mango.) The first area you were in when you arrived is where you are "born." If a comp you trained trains someone else you are a "grandfather". "How old are you" means "how far into your mission are you." It was very entertaining. I doubt the sisters use all the same terminology, though! Can you imagine someone overhearing a sister missionary talking about "being pregnant?" :o It's one thing for elders, but I don't think the sisters would say that!

We also heard from our newer elder (one was here last time we fed the missionaries, one was not) about where he grew up (Shreveport, LA, and he chatted a little about places they had been with my husband, who grew up in Dallas) and things like that. I love having the missionaries over, they never turn down a dinner invitation and they love anything and everything I cook! I think I will look in the freezer to see what else I've got that they'd love to eat and have them over again soon.

Anyone else got funny missionary terminology (from your mission or the mission you live in now) that you want to share?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pictures of Morgan

Poor Mommy, she looks tired and sore! But happy, of course. :)

Awww. I love new baby/Daddy pictures.

There's the big sister!

That's Uncle Bryan holding Morgan; he is expecting his first baby in a month or so.

There's Uncle Kevin, who has gotten much better at the baby-holding since Emma, his first niece, was born. ;)

And finally, a picture with Grandma. (I think Grandpa was working the camera.)

I am so jealous that I can't hold her, or watch Jaden, or cook for Heather. Some folks get all the fun. In any case, we're glad there's another sweet baby girl safely in the world, with our whole family to love her.

She's Here!

Morgan Lynnea arrived sometime between 12:30 and 1 PM CST (we're not sure exactly on the time yet.) She weighed 6 lbs. 12 oz. (much smaller than her sister-- the smallest in the family to date-- but she's pretty early, too) and is 19 inches long. Both mother and baby are healthy.

Hooray! Pictures as soon as I have them!

Today's the Day!

My sister-in-law (my husband's sister, not his brother's wife-- they're both pregnant) is going in today to have her second baby. Her last was an unplanned c-section and because of the way the baby's lying and the way the scarring is from the last one, she is not a good candidate for VBAC, so it will be another c-section. They expect to have the baby between 3 and 4 Central time (that's between 1 and 2 Pacific time, right? Right.) So we are praying and thinking good healthy baby wishes for her. This will be their second girl (unless the doctor was wrong, of course) and her name will be Morgan. We are all very excited for Heather and LeCount, and especially for Jaden, who will be a big sister for the first time! We love Heather and her family very much and are anxiously awaiting the good news. :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Our Stake's Temple Jubilee Celebration...

...was completely awesome.

Some incredible things happened, which I am not going to write about, sorry, but I may or may not feel impressed to share with some of you in person someday. My husband and I had an incredible experience. I know I keep saying incredible, but it was. Oh, and the singing went pretty well, too (once the kinks of where to stand were worked out and we stopped murmuring.)

After we were done, we stopped by the Distribution Center. They did not have the dress I wanted in my size, either one, but I did get to see the two I liked in person and decide which one I really wanted and what size I really need. So I was able to choose what I really want while we were waiting and will order it online. My husband and I each got a pair of thermal garments (you know, the long underwear kind) and they are just almost the awesomest thing ever (we are wearing them right now.) I have a feeling that I am going to be washing them every day or so for the next few weeks, because they are going to be worn a lot until it warms up! They are actually cheaper than the kind of garments we usually wear, so since we both needed a couple of new pairs it wasn't too much of an investment. Yay, I am WARM! (The flannel nightie helps, too.)

Those of you in the Los Angeles Temple District, I hope you are all psyched up for your Jubilee Celebration. You are going to have an incredible experience (even if it's not quite like mine.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I am not ready to tell the whole saga of the reason I have not been online the last few days, the emergency room, etc. yet. (Everything is okay, nothing life-threatening, don't worry.)

So instead I will brag. My kids have a modeling job tomorrow. My aunt has a friend who has a costume company (like Halloween costumes.) They are branching out to infant and toddler costumes (they are wholesalers who sell to a lot of companies that you have probably heard of if you buy your kids' costumes instead of making them or if you have friends who do.) She mentioned to my aunt that they were doing a photo shoot and needed a baby and a two- to three-year-old, both girls. My aunt sent pictures and I got a call asking if we were interested. Apparently my kids are just the cutest little girls she's ever seen (she has boys.) :D

Jeff keeps saying that they need to start contributing to the family, seeing as they eat so much. So they're finally getting paid work. About time! ;)

I will be getting a catalog when they come out with the pictures in it, so I can see them and add it to their portfolio or whatever. ;) Seriously, I just think it's cool that someone thinks my kids are that cute.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Aural Memories

I am a very auditory person. I can hear a song a couple of times and know it entirely; I hear it, note for note, beat for beat, in my head. I can play whole CDs that way; I can hear the entire script and soundtrack of movies I've seen many times in my head, although conjuring up images is harder, and I only get them in little flashes here and there if I close my eyes and concentrate hard.

This is probably one reason I was always into Drama as a kid (besides me being a natural drama queen, I mean); I had no trouble with memorization and was able to put my whole attention into learning blocking and the nuances of expressive acting. It's probably also why I have always sung. I grew up in a musical family, and I dabble in a few instruments here and there, but what I really do is sing. I have no trouble remembering the words or notes (or chords or how fast we are going.) I have near-perfect pitch and can hear when I'm out of tune with what I should be singing. (Unfortunately, this does not mean I always hit the right note! ;) But it does mean that I know when I'm not. Or when someone's guitar is out of tune. Which can actually be kind of annoying; I have been known to be sitting out playing with my kid, hear some young person practicing, and not be able to stand it and have to go over and tell them, "Your "D" is a quarter-step flat." *winces* )

In any case, it also means that I know the words to so many songs, I can't number them, and have no trouble learning more. I love singing with a group. I've been singing in choirs since I was 3 years old, in church, at school, or in the community, there's never been a period of more than 7 months (usually pregnancy- or baby-related) when I have not been in a choir since I was 3, and often in more than one. I thrive on it; while I am a ham I enjoy being able to work hard to blend in, to be part of an awesome effort with a group, all of us working together for a joint end result. I imagine it's something like what team sports must be, if you like playing sports (especially when you're in HS and get to go to the competitions. My HS choir never got less than two "Excellents" out of three pieces, and if we had, we would have been very disappointed in ourselves.)

I also love singing at "jams", the informal music parties where everyone just sits around, snacks, and performs the music we all love together, helping each other out. I'm frequently asked to take the lead on one or more verses of the songs while everyone joins in on the chorus, simply because I know all the words, can sing loud enough to be heard, have good tone and pitch, and can keep in time. I've been going to these parties almost since I can remember; I remember joining in on the singing as early as four or five. Usually back then it was a duet with my daddy. But it always made me feel included, loved, supported; I had a whole community of people who never put me down but always praised me while gently guiding me in how I could improve. What a wonderful thing for a child to have! I was never told that my selection of song was not what they wanted to do; even if it wasn't quite where they were going with the music right then or they were a little bored that I always picked the same few songs, when the turn came around to my part of the circle they honored my choice and I always got it, same as everyone else. And so I developed a love for all the music they sang and played, from the Beatles to what I now know to call "old-timey" and "traditional American" music, to Stephen Foster, to the timeless songs that have been loved in every English-speaking country for centuries (like "Annie Laurie" and "Loch Lomond") and back to the Eagles, Kate Wolf, and modern-day folk.

My mother always sang around the house, too. She didn't have a guitar always around like my dad; she played the violin as a child and sometimes played piano marches for us to get us to "march" to the bath or bed or the dinner table, but mostly she was always singing. While we cleaned the house, while we drove on long car trips, while we waited in empty, boring doctors' offices, we would harmonize, mostly on old-time Gospel songs and hymns. She sang lullabies to us at night and when those ran out, quiet hymns, "Rock of Ages" being a favorite (which I still sing to my babies when they're fussy, as I imagine thousands of women have before me.) I developed a special love for those old hymns, and still love them today. I listen to "bluegrass Gospel", the old-timey hymns I love sung by people who love them as much as I do. And sometimes late at night when we run out of songs to sing at a party, those old hymns are the last ones that everyone knows, and we turn to them, raising our voices in the songs of faith and praise that mean a lot to me, even if they might just be music to many in the room. "Glory Land (This World Is Not My Home)", "Do, Lord", "What a Friend We Have In Jesus", "Just a Closer Walk With Thee", and most especially, "Amazing Grace."

"Amazing Grace." Just writing the name brings back a flood of memories attached to that music. The countless harmonies I've sung, the times I've taken the melody, the flute, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass, tinwhistle, even shakers, every instrument in the room playing along, that the one hymn that everyone there knows, without fail. The times I've sung it in joy and the time the words came to my lips with tears when I mourned the loss of a childhood friend. How I wrote of what those words meant to me and gave it, with our other drawings, letters, everything, to her family, and was touched when they took to heart part of what I had written and used it in the memorial service. Rooms full of people quieting and harmonizing the words, tears in my eyes or a calm in my soul as I am soothed by them. There's only one other hymn I can think of that is so well known, and that is "Silent Night."

I wonder sometimes at why my memory seems often to work so much differently from others'. It doesn't seem fair that I could read the chapter the night before the test and get an "A", while others (like my husband, I know) study with all their might and barely pass. Or that I can learn a difficult piece in about two or three practices while it takes others a full eight or ten to learn it. Or that despite all this, I have trouble with names and faces. But then I realize how much these memories mean to me; that I can close my eyes and hear the voices of those I love and miss, that I can comfort myself with music any time I want, that I can quote scriptures and hymns to remind myself of things I need to remember in stressful situations. And I'm glad for this memory, which could easily become a curse to some, and what a blessing it is to me, if I choose to make it so.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Ems and I are sick and it's no fun! It's not a "serious" illness, just severe congestion, sore throats, post-nasal drip (although that seems to be helping the congestion, at least), a little coughing, some intestinal grumblings. No fevers, just general misery. (And for some reason my teeth hurt, go figure.) Bridey coughed three times and that would seem to be the extent of her illness. I swear I get sick more when I'm breastfeeding; I think the childrens sap all my antibodies. *grumble* Luckily it seems to be worse in the throat but better in the nose today; I'm hoping by Saturday we'll both be better. No Enrichment activity for me tonight, though; the sisters are going to Bolton Hall for a private tour, which I would have highly enjoyed, but c'est la vie, eh? (I probably spelled that wrong. Sorry. Too icky to feel like looking stuff up right now.)

In other news, Bridget loooooves Cheerios. She will happily sit for about half an hour in the Exersaucer shoving fistfuls into her mouth (we have a hand-me-down older model from when they still made them without toys, just trays, and I love it; it can be wiped down easily, doesn't break, and the toys or snacks we put on it can be changed with no effort at all.) And it seems to be the food that will de-constipate her (finally!) I mean, I knew oats could do that, but she won't touch oatmeal (which her sister loved/loves.) Even when I make it the (disgusting) way I used to for Ems, with extra water and lots of stirring for smooth texture, mashed bananas, and blackstrap molasses. *shudders* In any case, the Cheerios seem to do the trick, and I'm glad (in a way.) She is still consuming about 3-4 jars of baby food per day, and nursing about every half hour to 45 minutes while she's awake, and eating table food when we have something out that she can have (most fruits and veggies, strawberries and mangoes the notable exceptions, often in her fresh food feeders, small pieces of meat, ditto, some breads, like French bread, without milk or eggs, and sometimes sips of juice or water.) And she still is not putting on much weight, just enough to keep up with her growing length. She has outgrown the baby seat now (this one had three more inches in it than Ems' did so she didn't outgrow it quite as fast, but she's still in the 75th to 90th percentile for height, like her sister) and we are going to have to shop for a new one. We will probably get the same kind Ems has.

Well, that's what's going on with us right now. How are you doing today?

Monday, January 08, 2007

You May Be a Parent to Young Children If...

Over the last few days I've been having a lot of "Wow, this only happens when you have little kids" moments. So here they are; see if you identify with any of these.

At Home

You look over your living room, and your eyes kind of glaze over, skimming over the mess that has miraculously appeared in the short time since it was picked up and vacuumed.

You have uttered the sentence, "Dirty diapers are not toys!" any time recently.

You understand what is meant by this sentence: "Bwiget wants in a applesaucer!"

You have recently had this conversation, as a child snuggles down into your bed:
"Mommy, I have someping in my nose, I fink."
"That's your snot, dear."
"DO NOT blow your nose on the bedspread!"

Every third conversation seems to be about how, when, and where someone is going "Number 1" or "Number 2."

Eating Out

It takes two waiters to seat you because you have, besides your food, two strollers, a diaper bag, and a fistful of extra napkins.

You sit down and get up a full five times before you actually get a bite of food into your mouth.

"Dressed up to go out" means that you all changed into clean shirts and put your shoes on and/or got out of your pajamas.

The best part of eating out, actually, is that you may have a chance to use the bathroom sans kids, with the door closed.

At Church

More people know your kids' names than yours (is that a good, or a bad thing?)

You bring more things in with you than the Sunday School teachers do. Even the ones that teach the teenagers and have to bring bribes, or the ones that teach the 5- and 6-year-olds and have to bring pictures 'cause they can't read. (And we subscribe to the "no toys or snacks in Sacrament Meeting" brand of child-training. I don't know how we still end up with our hands full-- well, yes I do. Diaper bag, books, blankets, sweaters, sippy cups and baby snacks for after Sacrament Meeting, Maya Wrap, booties that the baby keeps pulling off, lesson manual for the third hour, scriptures...)

You plan to leave fifteen minutes before church starts, meaning everyone is dressed by half an hour before church starts, and the church is five minutes away, and your rears still hit the pew right as the opening music stops.

You spend every other prayer reminding your family that "It's prayer time. We need to be quiet now."

You have recently had a conversation about Jesus loving Superman, Elmo, or other fictitious characters.

The best part of church is actually not being "spiritually fed", but the fact that Nursery exists and there's always a sister who wants to hold your baby.

If several of these ring true for you or you have similar stories in the past week, YOU are probably a parent of small children!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bridget has learned of...

...the joys of drumming.

I must regretfully admit that I taught her this in a momentary lapse of judgment the other night trying to keep her from screaming while her jammies were fetched after her bath. I drummed on a baby wipe container and showed her how fun it was to make a noise. Within thirty seconds she was over drumming on it, too, and she's been drumming ever since.

Oh, dear. What have I done?

P.S.-- Happy New Year to everyone, sorry that's a little late! I've been a bit under the weather.