Sunday, October 19, 2008

Primary Program

Today was the Primary Program. Emma behaved so well! She sang, she spoke when told to (though when her teacher whispered her part to her she said, "No, you have to say it louder!" LOL, guess we stressed that a little too much...) She needed me to sit with her so I sat with the Sunbeams in the first row. They were SO reverent during the Sacrament! I was impressed. They all sat and folded their arms and bowed their heads, took the Sacrament reverently and did not chatter or play, and even the counselor who was conducting noticed and thanked them for their example and reverence.

Toward the end of the program they got a little restless (they were up and down but didn't go up for some of the songs-- including Emma's favorites); the little boys were drawing and one of the girls was on the floor, and when they went up Emma kept leaning forward trying to monopolize the microphone (thanks for teaching her that, Dad! LOL!) But they got through without major misbehavior and the rest of the Primary (almost all of them were there-- about 22 kids in all) were great too. It was very sweet (and of course we made the bishop cry, I love our bishop.)

Anyway, it was Emma's first time in the Primary Program and I was very proud; she's getting better about things like when she's "moved" by the counselor who never seems to remember that she doesn't like to be touched, and speaking or singing on cue (instead of when SHE wants to.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's so hard being apart from each other!

That's what Maggie and I think.

Tonight we left the girls at my aunt's while we went to visit my uncle in the hospital. (After being told he probably was going to die, he is now on his third day off the ventilator and may make it home by Halloween!) The hospital does not allow ANY children under 12 through the doors, period (it's a respitory hospital with patients very susceptible to disease; hand-washing is also enforced. Maggie is eating real food now and will take a little water from a cup so I fed her before we left and hoped for the best.) I had a bit of a panic attack as we drove away without her. I'm still feeling the effects of those first few nights away from her. :( This was my first time away from her (well, I've been in the other room, but not much further than that) for more than half an hour, and that was when she was with Jeff.

I cut his hair for him, and cleaned his nails too. We called on our way out (after a little less than an hour away total) and heard that Maggie had been crying and had just stopped. My aunt had fed the girls but we had not eaten so we drove through In-N-Out. We had considered going someplace a bit nicer but I could not be away from the baby any longer, especially knowing she had been crying. :(

I think the crying was mostly gas. But now she is all fussy again. She doesn't seem to want anything but to be with me (which is hard on my stomach because she also wants to kick me in the gut.) But her crying is better than not being able to hear it.

I REALLY need to tell my doctor next time about all this and that I do NOT want to go through it again. :/

(The fires are mostly contained today, thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thoughts and prayers appreciated:nearby fire, ward members evac'd

So we went to church yesterday and the chapel looked really empty. In Relief Society I heard why: half the ward had been evacuating their homes because of a wildfire in the Angeles Crest National Forest and nearby Lakeview Terrace.

The fire is only 20% contained and we're having Santa Anas. (Santa Anas are a particular kind of strong, dry wind; they're usually warm but right now they're accompanying colder weather.) The wind is bad enough it's keeping me up tonight and my toddler keeps waking and crying because the winds are howling and rattling so hard.

Apparently yesterday smoke and ash was being blown all the way to Malibu (which, strangely, meant we got no smoke only a few miles away because it was all being blown the other direction.) But anyway, the forest is really beautiful, my friends (and their animals-- the area is zoned for horses as well as chickens, goats, and house pets) have been evacuated, and the Wildlife WayStation animals are caged and ready to be evac'd if necessary. It's scary to me to hear the winds howl, knowing they're fueling and spreading the fire and putting people's homes and firefighters' lives at risk (the lives, of course, being more important than the homes, but the homes not being negligable.)

If you've got a moment, please send good thoughts/vibes/prayers for the brave men and women who are battling this fire, and those who have been displaced, as well as the animals and the forest if you are so inclined. It would mean a lot to me to know that other folks are thinking of our area and our firefighters.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Emma's first dinner guest

Today we went to the store after Emma's dance class and she wanted to buy all kinds of veggies. So I asked if she wanted to make vegetable soup. She said yes so I let her choose what went in it (cannelini, potatoes, barley, carrots, celery, green beans, etc.) I chopped and she stood on a stool and sauted and stirred (she also helped wash the veggies.) She wanted someone to come eat it with us! So Grandpa came over and had some veggetable-barley soup and biscuits (she helped put them in the pan to bake them) with some green plums we'd got and I sliced and Dove Ice Cream Mini-Bars for dessert. We all liked it and she was very proud! (Of course she and Bridey spent as much time running around-- we ate outside 'cause it was hot in here and gorgeous outside-- and telling knock-knock jokes as eating...)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

She really loves her Abba.

Maggie was laughing and playing with me, nice full tummy, happy baby. We heard Jeff get home; she stopped playing and looked around. We heard him in the other room. She started to pout. He talked to Emma. She started screaming. Not pain or hunger screaming, upset screaming.

He walked in. She stopped screaming and smiled, went to him and laughed.

I guess she's gotten used to him coming in to say hi to her and hold her as soon as he gets home, and she was upset that she was not getting her attention and games and kisses from Abba!

I think this makes him feel wanted. I think it's awfully sweet.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Christmas Shopping Rules

Since TX Mommy asked, I thought I'd post them here.

I love Christmas, but we try very hard to not bust our anti-consumerism stance or our budget at Christmas. As such I've developed some rules.

Our Christmas shopping rules are that:

-I buy things dirt cheap on clearance throughout the year for the Gift Closet. These include things suitable for baby gifts, adult gifts, and kids' gifts. They're usually things that would cost $10 to $30 that I get for $1 to $5 on clearance/sale/couponing. Also may include things that we recieve and wish to "re-gift" (we put a post-it note on saying who we got it from so we don't re-gift inappropriately.) Occasionally something smaller than $10 like a nice candle that I get on clearance with a coupon. These are also used for baby showers, birthday gifts, etc., and mean I always have something on hand for an "emergency gift" too. After-Christmas sales and the Sears, JCP, and Gymboree clearance-on-clearance are heavy contributors!

-"Santa" brings one new toy or game or etc. per kid. One. Period. If it's really large, it's a joint gift. Budget is about $20 to $30 per kid for this gift and if we can we get it cheaper; that means we need to know who wants what from "Santa" well in advance, and Santa stops listening after about early November most years. ;)

-"Santa" also fills the stockings. Stockings are re-used from year to year and each person has their own, of course. Stockings will contain a tangerine each (it's not Christmas without the tangerine! Like I used to, Ems and Bridey will go for the tangerine before anything else! When we were in Richardson they were Clementines because nothing else could be found but out here they HAVE to be Satsumas!); some candy (including at least one piece of See's chocolate; another tradition), mostly bought on sale with coupons; one or two beauty or hygeine item each (examples from past stockings include dollar store hair bow sets, fuzzy socks, toothbrushes, Disney "magic towel" bath mitts, etc.), and occasionally some stickers or a small $1 toy. This is rooted in what was in stockings when I was young and is very tradition-oriented. Stockings are always opened before presents! Babies of course have special stocking stuffers-- they get a small toy or a paci, maybe a hat or some cute socks or a hair bow, possibly a bib or onesie (thrift store or $1 bin at Target), and a baby food dessert (like Gerber's Dutch Apple Dessert, for instance), which we usually do not buy. Budget is about $5-$7 per stocking per kid, less for adults.

-Kids' gifts from us will consist of some clothes, some books, and a few small toys or some videos. These are all purchased at the thrift store, used, with the occasional exception of a heavily clearanced outfit. We very much do not want to buy new for the bulk of these gifts.

-Kids' gifts to each other may be chosen from the thrift store once they are old enough to shop (Emma started at around 3) or may be picked out from the Gift Closet (with guidance from me) before then. Babies do not "give" gifts to their sibs, this is only for kids old enough to want to give a gift to the others.

-If a situation arises in which kids are giving gifts to friends, they need to earn the money and spend their own money toward it, if it's their own idea. They may choose one from the Gift Closet if it is a socially mandated gift (going to a church party and have a Secret Santa partner, or something like that, would be an example.)

-With the exception of children, all relatives (grandparents, aunts, etc.-- meaning our parents, my sisters, etc.) and close friends get a home-made (or home-assembled, at least) gift of some sort, often consumable. These are mass-assembled as a family project.

-Nieces, nephews, and second cousins' gifts are bought on clearance or chosen from the Gift Closet; on my husband's side the cousins each give to one randomly selected cousin so instead of each kid recieving 2 gifts (since there are 3 sibs with families) they each only get one from the cousins; cuts down on "stuff." We send cards to each other but do not give gifts to each other.

-My darling husband and I don't give formal gifts to each other. Instead, we discuss something we really want, often something the whole family will use, and buy it together, on sale or, preferably, used. Likewise, we don't conspire to have the kids buy gifts for each spouse in secret (unless we happen on something perfect at the thrift store.) We have too much stuff already. (If they wanted to do it in secret and made it or spent their own money we'd let them, of course, but we don't instigate it.) Some years we may choose to save our money and later put it toward a vacation or a date instead.

-As much shopping and planning as possible should be done early! If I can be done with all things that are to be bought and have the materials for our project by November, I'm happy. Usually at least something is done last-minute but it does at least cut down on the haste and stress, and makes for better deals!

We do participate in the Hatrack gift exchange each year, but the limit on that is $10 and make-it-yourself is strongly encouraged, so we never break the bank. Following our Christmas shopping rules for family and close friends of the family means that we have more time and money to spend on something fun like that! We usually go out and do all our Hatrack shopping in one day, box everything up, and mail it. I like to get it done well before the deadline. :)

So in re-reading some of the rules I think some of the wording is not as clear as it could be... If you need clarification just ask! Of course the rules get "bent" here and there-- but we try to stick to them when possible! I really like keeping things as simple as possible. We have found that we all really appreciate the thought behind gifts more than anything, so do our families, and that the kids could not care less if their stuff is used when they get it. In cutting back on the Christmas budget and stress, we are able to appreciate Christmas itself more.

Yep, she's four.

Emma's current favorite joke (which of course, we hear ALL THE TIME):

"Why was Tigger in the bathroom?"
"Because he was looking for POOH!"