Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The passing of a great man

Sometimes, we're lucky enough to find good examples. People who truly inspire us to do better, be better, and live better. Example is an amazing thing and President Hinkley was one of the best around. I always loved to hear President Hinkley speak. Not only because of the gospel he so proudly taught, but because of his words. He quoted classics, told wonderful stories, advocated education and acceptance of all. He spoke to the power of women - mothers, daughters, sisters, wives....helping us all to strive to be the best we can be, to be educated and strong.

Like many of the posts I've read the last few days, I echo the sentiments that President Hinkley was my prophet. I grew up with him as the leader of my faith more than any other. I was lucky enough to have spent many evenings in the conference center to hear him speak, as recently as a few months ago, and to be inspired by his words.

My great-grandfather, Stewart Eccles, was a strong member of the Church and spend a lot of time with apostles and prophets doing the Lord's work. He was good friends with President Hinkley, even sharing a hotel room with him once in the middle of nowhere, while doing work for the Lord. I feel like those stories from my grandpa helped me to know such an amazing man just a little bit better.

Like many others feel, the death of our beloved prophet is a sad, yet joyous time. He gets to be reunited with his dear wife and friends and family who have passed on and we are lucky enough to honor his memory, and rejoice that he was our leader for so many years.


Monday, January 28, 2008

oh croup!

fever
stuffy nose
barking cough
sore throat
ear infection

lots of medicine

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Happy Happy Birthday, Monkey Dear

The 1st birthday was a roaring success. We have been celebrating for days with the culmination at tonight's party. Ross and I weren't sure what to do for a party because Elliott is a great-grandchild so we decided to keep things small with 12 people instead of huge, with potentially 100. It was close family and Elliott is one lucky little boy to have 3 great-grandparents and 4 grandparents attend his 1st birthday party, in addition to one auntie and two uncles.

This kid is so loved and so spoiled and he had a great time celebrating. He is however my son, and is therefore very cautious and very afraid of getting dirty. He didn't make too big of a mess of his birthday cupcake and the only time he really got messy was when I wiped some frosting on his nose.

Happy Birthday kiddo.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Priorities

... a few things that were important then...
  • sleeping in on Saturday's
  • me, myself, and I
  • combing my hair
  • taking the time to be creative
  • work
  • concerts
  • dinner and a movie
  • clean cars, clean house, clean bathrooms
  • getting the mail
  • money
  • chatting with friends
  • traveling the world
  • companionship
  • reading history books
  • painted finger and toe nails
  • finding time
  • receiving
  • "garden state", "good will hunting", "grease", "dirty dancing", etc.

...a few things that are important now...
  • a shower in the morning (the only 15 minutes I've got to myself all day long)
  • putting on make-up (to hide the dark circles)
  • crawling up the stairs really fast and laughing at the balls that get thrown back down.
  • the sound of silence, calm, and peace
  • mopping the kitchen floor 3 times a day to clean up the milk spills
  • kisses and hugs from a 1 year old (and his dad, too)
  • partnership
  • Target
  • daily field trips
  • "itsy bitsy spider"
  • bright blue eyes
  • play dates with good friends and good babies
  • making time
  • french fries and chicken nuggets
  • background music
  • sleep, when you can get it
  • giving
  • patience
  • "the jungle book", "blues clues", "my gabba, gabba"
  • reflection
  • unconditional love

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Strictly Advertising

Ross now has his own blog. He's quite proud of it and wants page hits.

Please visit him at: www.morrisorpierre.com

He promises it will be worth your while.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

12 months: Happy Birthday baby boy!

First of all, you are officially no longer a baby. Yes, you still have a pacifier and drag a blanket around the house so much we have started calling you Linus for short, but you are not a baby. How do I know? You fed yourself breakfast this morning all by yourself, yogurt and toast, and wouldn't let me help one bit. It was a disastrous mess and made me a little sick cleaning it up, but you had a riot.

I can feed myself, it's my birthday.

I've been a little sad all day today because you aren't my baby anymore. One year olds can wander the house freely, not needing any supervision, and can play with whatever they want. They also decide that suddenly, they understand stuff. For example, "Do you want to help mom with the laundry" causes you to jump from whatever you are doing and race me to the laundry closet or, "don't play with dad's books, play with mom's" lets me see you to drop from one nightstand and move all the way around the bed to the other.

It's been a bit baffling to me today trying to figure out where the last year has gone. There aren't a lot of baby memories floating through my head, but I am so happy that we survived. You, my boy, are growing and thriving by the minute and I just love watching you play, learn, laugh, and hanging out with you in general. We are sidekicks, you and I, and wherever we go, it's good times.

hitchin' a ride


At this point in the game, you are close to walking, but aren't that interested because crawling and begging for a ride suits you just fine. You say mama, dada, uh ho, hi (sometimes), and babble nonsense to your hearts content. There is still a love affair brewing for the washer and dryer, but your passion for phones, remote controls, and computers is ever increasing. You are your father's clone, whether I like it or not.

I am so excited for you to get older and bigger and start talking. Just thinking about the crazy things you'll say and questions you'll ask me is exciting.

itsy bitsy spider

You are a dancing and singling machine and we just taught you to stick your finger out to meet ours when we say, ET phone home, and you laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Oh, the tricks we will teach you my boy...just wait. You thought the last year was interesting - you haven't seen anything yet.

video

Monday, January 21, 2008

So, this one time, when I was a teacher....

I think it was my last year teaching, right before I quit to move on to greener pastures and save my mental and emotional life, I had a brainstorm. It was around the holiday we are celebrating today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I remember that we had an assembly schedule day, which meant that all the class periods were short. On days like this, especially before a holiday, I always tried to do something different than the normal. No, I didn't always show a movie and make the kids just sit and be quiet. I tried to do something inspirational, that they would remember.

It was always important for me to help my students learn to be thinkers - to be original, independent, thoughtful, honest, caring, civically (sp?) minded, etc. A tall order, I know, but sometimes, sometimes I could strike a cord and it worked.

Anyway, I wanted to teach them about Dr. King - not so much about the person, because they knew all that, but about the ideas that he so poetically preached to a hateful nation - be kind to everyone! It doesn't matter what a person looks like, how they talk, where they are from, they are unique, you are unique, and everyone deserves a chance to shine!

I came up with this great mini lesson about independence, thinking clearly and freely, and being bold enough to do something with your life. We talked about what would have happened if generations of people just sat back and took it, and never stood up against hatred and bigotry, injustice and inequality - or anything else that they faced, whether it be big enough to draw the attention of the nation, or small enough to talk to their parents about.

To spur this discussion, we watched a clip from one of my all time favorite movies, Garden State. Lucky for me, as was standard, almost none of my students had ever seen the film so it helped to make more emphasis for my point. (Thank you Youtube - my clip is on the net.)


This line: This is your one opportunity to do something that no one has ever done before and that no one will every copy again throughout human existence. was and is profound for me.

So, what are you going to do with your opportunity to do something no one has ever done before?

What are you, shy?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

he is soooooo good!

In more ways than one, that brother of mine is a standout, class act of a kid. He didn't make the junior high team this week. He's okay with it now, but was a little bit sad the other day. I am so impressed with his gusto and attitude towards the whole thing and honestly - it's that dumb jr. high coaches fault. They'll never find a harder working, more dedicated kid than Sir William the Great.

You'd think that, combined with the fact that two of his buddies have so far, made it a cut beyond him AND that they were playing the killer 8th grade team today would have gotten him down. Nope! He's stellar through and through and put in a great performance in today's game.

They played a tough team and didn't give up. Only losing by 9 was quite an accomplishment considering almost all the guys on the other team were near Willie's height, were great ball handlers and shooters, pressed mots of the game and one of the members of the opposing team had a mustache and another had a receding hair line. Yes, I'm not kidding - all kinds of hair craziness going on. Maybe we should have checked their birth certificates.

Anyway, I'm proud of my brother. Hear that Willie, I AM PROUD OF YOU!
All you folks from home can enjoy a few pictures from the game. (Basketball is very hard to photograph, by the way.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Baby Friday: I'm asking nicely


I'm asking nicely, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

This kid turns 1on Wednesday. I can hardly believe that I will have a one year old. In the last week the monkey has turned into a beggar and a hoarder. He begs for everything with hand outstretched and he hoards his toys, his food...you name it, it's his.

Yesterday we had cub scouts and as soon as I released him from his high chair, Elliott crawled around the house like a blood hound, tracking all his toys and sniffing out what had been touched and moved and what had been left in it's place. It was rather amusing.

This morning, Ross and I were witness to a minor miracle, too. We have been working with Elliott to say, "uh-oh" for months and he gets the "uh", but struggles with the "oh" giving us all sorts of combinations of the latter as he is chucking his sippy cup across the kitchen floor. Well, this morning as all three of us were in the bathroom - me brushing my teeth, Ross combing his hair and Elliott standing on a little step stool throwing things into the sink, we got the most complete "uh-oh" we've ever heard.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The simplicity of service

A few weeks ago, Ross was telling me that our stake had filled less than 50% of it's church service responsibilities for the 2007 year. How pathetic is that? The two of us discussed a lot of the reasons why people don't volunteer to do service, wherever it is and whatever it is, but in the end, we kept coming back to the same idea - we as a society put a much greater value on our personal time than we probably should. We would rather get home from work and watch "family guy" than donate an hour or two to help out those in need.

In church a couple of weeks ago, a sign-up sheet was passed around. A sign up sheet to do some service in 2 hour shifts. On the paper, there were 5 or 6 shifts with 4 people needed per shift. I was one of the last three people to see the list and in a room of at least 100, the sign up sheet was nearly empty. So, out of guilt from our previous discussion, I signed up to be on the clean up crew.

I showed up yesterday 10 minutes before my shift was to start and at 3, out of 15 or so people who were supposed to be there with me, there were 3 others. Our crew of 4 was put to work sweeping and mopping floors and as others slowly trickled in, they were given squirt bottles and rags.

As I was cleaning in my smock, hairnet and plastic gloves, I guess I sort of had an epiphany about service. It's so funny that finding the time, and the people "with the time" is so hard all the time. Our crew of 4 managed to sweep and mop an entire warehouse in an hour. An hour! That was all. What would I have been doing instead? Sitting in the rocking chair watching TV while Elliott played. Yes, being with my monkey is important but so is being able to sneak away from him for a few hours here and there, especially when it is to do something nice and necessary for someone else.

The thing about service, that I think most of us never remember is that it is easy and enjoyable. Sometimes the task may suck, or the conditions might not be ideal, but stepping out of your life to do something for someone is so much better than dwelling on your self all the time. Service is about sacrifice and we all could use a little bit more of that in our lives these days, don't you think?

Anyway, the next time the sheet gets passed around to volunteer, I'll sign up. It's a pain to find a babysitter and pull the motivation I need to do it out of my big toe, but I need to remember how worthwhile it is in the end.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Baby Friday - you need to schedule an appointment

video

More and more each day, Elliott is moving away from baby-land into the toddler-hood. He refuses to be treated like a child and thinks that he needs his own computer, cell phone and remote control. He knows that the phones and remote controls we give him don't work and he tosses them aside, going for the real thing instead. He is so much like his dad that he too, carries a remote control around the house, up the stairs, and if he had pockets, he'd hid it from me - just like his dad.

He will no longer eat toast that I tear into pieces for him and he doesn't need his apples diced anymore either - he'll take giant, whole pieces please.

As you can see in the video, some of his new favorite things are pens and paper. He likes to draw and take notes as necessary. Yesterday afternoon, he carried his pen and yellow note card all over the house, with his cell phone. I suppose it was just in case he got an important call.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

the twitchy eye

There comes a time in everyday life when one hits the wall, or rather, the wall hits them. Like, this one time I walked into a plate glass door when I was teaching and smeared my greasy forehead across the entire top section while a hundred students watched me. Or the time when I said something stupid, or the time I went on a blind date with the creepy guy who wore driving gloves, had a mullet, and tried to woo me with crappy Josh Groban.

Okay, that has nothing to do with what I'm talking about but the wall has hit me. The new year has gotten of to a bumpy start. How do I know? Because my eye is twitching. You see, back when I was doing the whole high school teacher thing and I was always tired, stressed out, grumpy, stretched to thin, my left eye would twitch. It didn't happen very often but that's when I knew I needed to step back and regroup, refocus, refresh. My eye has now been twitching for 3 days...it hasn't twitched for almost three years!

Work is killing me I say, killing me. If I get one more e-mail from one more "special" teacher I might scream at them. I don't understand why it's always my fault. It will be better next week but right now, it's bad.

I've had a church commitment every night this week...if that isn't enough to make your eye twitch, I don't know what is. The cub scouts have had me 2 nights this week and I think they can do without me tonight. I'll do the watermelon cheer on my own so they know I'm thinking about them.

My blog is sucking! The new template is crap and I can't find anything that I like and all I want is my banner to go across the full screen, or at least be centered. Why won't it center!?(*#&(#@ Jared, can you help me get it centered? My fung shui (fung shway) is going to be off until I get it centered.

Elliott no longer thinks he has to sleep. He woke up Wednesday morning at 1 am and no one in this house has slept much since. I don't understand this whole, "I'm almost 1 year old and don't need no stinkin' sleep" phase that he's in, but it's definitely getting on mine and Ross' nerves. If that kid wasn't so darn cute, I might have to kick him to the curb.

Now that I've written some things down, it doesn't sound that bad, does it? Okay, I'll stop whining.

I did discover these today:
These delectable mini cupcakes are divine. I got 6 and ate one of the cherry chocolate ones. Absolutely fabulous. I've been waiting for the little shot to open for a few weeks and it finally did. Elliott and I couldn't resist the delightful temptation. You should really go and get some for yourself. They are small, so eating one isn't as guilty of a pleasure as if you ate a giant muffin from COSTCO or the equivalent.

Also, if you are interested, I love nutella. It is one of my most favorite things to eat as of late and it makes me happy. I think that it's chocolate hazelnut concoction might even calm my nerves. Today, when my blood sugar began plummeting into the low 70's some nutella on toast with a side of milk did the trick and hit the spot.

If only all things in life were as simple as cupcakes and chocolate.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Game On!


Basketball Game 2078, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

My brother is an excellent basketball player. I'm amazed at his sweet skills and am not quite sure where he got them from. I love to watch him play the basketball and am even more excited when I get a picture of him doing something his sister and I are not very good at - jumping.

Yes, if you look closely, the boy's feet are both off of the ground.

Willie had a great game against one of his b-ball nemeses (plural spelling?) who is an 8th grader no less. His Jr. Jazz team scored a whopping 50 points last Saturday and crushed the older boys. Way to go 7th graders!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Arg! I've totally screwed thngs up!

Yes, the blog looks like crap, I know. That's what I get for trying to tinker when I'm too tired to know what I'm doing.

I'll try and fix it later.

sorry

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

no more holidays

The three of us have been together every day since December 13, 2007. In that time, we accomplished nothing. Not a single, solitary task, goal, or objective.

Today was our first day back in the real world and I got more done by 1:00 in the afternoon than I got done in the previous, almost 3 weeks.

It's good to be back.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Welcome 2008



I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions or think too far into the future, though I do a great job of worrying about the present. As I finally got a minute on the computer this afternoon, I've had a chance to look over other people's blogs and experience their "year in review". 2007 was a great year for our little family but I'm ready to move on to bigger and better 2008. I don't know what's in store for us, but I'm sure it will be interesting.

We've survived our first year of parenthood (22 days and counting), our 4th year of marriage, changes in employment, and a slew of other responsibilities, aches and pains, arguments, and happy times. Ross and I each fell down the stairs in 2007 and got a cavity filled. We changed our sheets three times last week because the little baby that lives in our house kept puking on them. We finish each other's sentences most of the time, blurt out the same stupid remarks at the same time more than we should, and when the timing is right, manage to hit each other on the rear end, in passing, at the same time, too.

I didn't read as many books, or went on as many walks, or saw as many movies, or slept as many hours, or finished as many projects as I would have liked, but it's okay. There is always time for that another day. I had a great year spending time with my family, being a mom, taking pictures, and living every single day hopefully, as good as I could.

2008 brings with it Elliott's 1st birthday and my 30th. It brings our 5th wedding anniversary and 6 years of Ross and me arguing with each other about everything. It brings yard projects and house projects and maybe, just maybe, will get us to use the tile in the garage for the bathroom project we'd planned to finish months ago. 2008 hopefully brings fewer pounds, healthier lifestyles, and less TV watching and ipod listening. It brings new adventures, people, places and ideas.

Ross found his old digital camera last night and luckily, the crazy memory cards fit into one of the slots on our computer. As I downloaded the images, most of which were from 2002, I came across this picture of Ross and me.

It was taken in September of 2002 - before we were engaged, before we ever could have imaged the life we have today. I supposed it's a picture meant for an "anniversary post", but I thought it was pretty timely. Ross had made me go on a little hike with him and grossly underestimated the time and effort the hike would take. At the end, we arrived at a dried up lake sweaty and grumpy. He wanted to take our picture and as usual, I wasn't too cooperative but I obliged. Today, that day seems like a lifetime ago, but the years in between have been pretty good.

family portrait

Our family picture looks a little different now than it did then, but the little life we are making for ourselves gets better every day. I am excited for a new year and all it will bring.

Too bad I'm "too old" to last until midnight. At least when I went to bed last night it was midnight in New York.

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