Thursday, April 29, 2010


Last weekend, my dad took the family out to the Chinese Buffet. It was so nice because my sisters took care of the girls while Ross and I were shoved to the very end of the long table so I wouldn't have to deal with or worry about them. It was awesome. I love my sisters!

Something kind of unique about my family is that we all eat with chopsticks at Chinese restaurants. My dad taught me when I was young, and then I taught Heather, and I guess it just got passed on. Well, it seems that my sisters thought it was high time that my girls pick up on this skill. They had their own variation- but it seemed to do the job. Also, notice that plate full of orange peels. Caulene won Sara's heart for all eternity by bringing her such a heaping portion of her favorite fruit. This affection was proven when she actually SHARED one with her. It may have had a nibble or two out of it, but I am sure that was intended as further proof of her love.
Atta Girl!
I think it is hilarious that we took Emma to a chinese restaurant, and she ended up with a plate full of food from America. Chicken nuggets and ketchup, salad and ranch, cantaloup, corn on the cob, oranges, etc. We love America over here I guess. She ate it all, though, so I'm not complaining!
Heather has her own list of important things to teach my girls. Someone has to, I suppose. Peace out, y'all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Genesis 3:15

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

This has been one of my very favorite scriptures ever since August 17, 2004. That was the day I went through the temple for the first time. Of all the other things that I learned and experienced that day- that quoted scripture that I had read and heard a number of times before struck me with force.

At the time, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with my life. I was getting married in a week and was trying to get things together for that while staying within my parent's budget and my time limits, I was preparing for my first teaching job that was to start a few days after my wedding, and was trying to make money in any way possible since Ross and I literally had less than $200 to our name when we got married. We had both worked over that summer, but then we had to pay our rent, insurance payment, hotel fees for the worst honeymoon imaginable (more on that later. . .), and tuition. I had just finished my stint as an EFY counselor and was exhausted physically and mentally- even though I LOVED that experience. Things were just piling up and it was starting to get to me. I was worried and frustrated and my temper was connected to an unusually short fuse. Not the best way to be feeling when taking on sacred covenants- but I suppose that is when Satan works his hardest!

In other words- I was feeling that enmity spoken of in that scripture. I was face to face with the hostile environment that is talked about in that scripture, and it came to my realization that it was God who put that enmity there. The stress and anger and volatility I was feeling was facilitated by my loving Father in Heaven, and that, for some reason, was calming to me. I didn't yet comprehend (nor do I now- but I am closer) just why God would have wanted to place enmity among his children, but I was comforted in knowing it was just part of God's plan of happiness for us.

Then came the rest of the scripture, and I wept. "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Whatever stress, frustration, anger, bitterness, or other evil emotion I was feeling overcome with, I knew that Satan, the author of such sensations, was very limited in his power over me. Whatever I was feeling, the extent of his power ended at the bruising of my heel. I had the upper hand in this situation as I have the power to crush his head.

I used to be a dancer. I was on a ballroom team in college, and I loved it. One day, while waiting for a rehearsal to start, I was lying in the practice hall on my stomach reading something for one of my classes. Another girl on the team was practicing a difficult part of a new routine with her partner when she went careening away from him in an uncontrolled spin and stepped on my upturned bare heel with her downturned spiked high heeled latin sandal. She bruised my heel. It hurt. A lot. No blood was shed, but there was a tender black and blue square on my heel for weeks. I felt that bruise with every step I took. The injured spot was smaller than an inch, but was a constant reminder of that silly little accident.

As I heard that scripture in that holy place, I was reminded of that experience. The power Satan has is miniscule, but that doesn't mean it won't hurt. The injuries he causes may be smaller than an inch in diameter, but that doesn't mean we won't feel them with every step we take in our life. I also knew that in order to crush the head of the Serpent, I would have to use that sore and battered heel to do so. My power over him is great. God prepared things to be like that, but it will cause pain in the process.

This is something I have been clinging to in my life at this time. Lately I have found myself being quick to anger and judgment. I have been tired and sad and easily offended over little things. I have had to daily remind myself that as bad as things can feel at times- there is really a very limited effect being had on me. My heel is being bruised, and it is painful and annoying. However- that is all he can do. He can bruise a tiny little portion of me- and that is all. I can destroy him and his power over me.

As tired and overwhelmed as I feel at times, I am trying hard to focus on all the amazing things in my life right now. I am truly very blessed. I have found this change of perspective can be challenging, but it seems to be crushing the head of my tormentor faster than any other method I have yet found.

Just know, if you see me limping just a bit, that I am trying to heal from my recent bruising- but I am so happy. My heel is sore- but my soul is grateful, my body is fruitful, and my life is blessed!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Easter Weekend: Sunday Edition

I forgot to take pictures of the baskets before the girls found them. They both got some fruit snacks, a little pot with strawberry seeds, some bows, a book about a bunny, a dry erase board with princesses, and a little outfit of shorts and a shirt.
We also put out the card Grandma and Grandpa Goodman had sent. Emma loves getting mail and was excited to open it.

After the baskets were gone through, they had the egg hunt in our front room. We wanted to do it outside, but there was too much snow. Yeah- snow. So awesome!
After lounging around and watching Conference, we headed to my mom's house for some lamb and ham, and then watched the afternoon session.
After Conference, we went to my Grandma's house where we had a big extended family picture. The first one in 13 years. I will be excited for the change. The last one was not too flattering of me. . .
After pictures, we headed to Jim and Melissa's house for some ham, some cousin fun, and another egg hunt.
Their big haul! Not bad- especially considering this was their THIRD hunt.
It was a fun day, but far too busy for my taste. I love family, but all the driving and stopping and unloading and loading and small talk (oh, how I hate small talk) was a little much for me this year. Remember how my favorite Christmas thus far involved me not even leaving my house? Yeah. . . Anyway, the girls had a blast and I enjoyed all the good food that I did not have to prepare! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

From the Mouth of Babes

Kids say funny things. They say them all the time, and I am rarely one to miss an opportunity to appreciate the strange and humorous way children express their logic and individuality. The best of these moments, however, seem to happen at church. I am not sure why- but I think it has a little something to do with the setting that is supposed to be calm and reverent. Now that I have been working with the children in my church for almost two years in various capacities, I have been privvy to some incredibly cute, strange, and outright funny statements. Here are a few.

*Note: some of these are actually things Ross and other teachers have heard from their Sunday School classes.

Teacher: What are some things our fathers teach us?
Kid 1: To be nice.
Kid 2:To work hard.
Kid 3: To sew. (This was followed by a strange and bewildered look from her mother who was in the room. Apparently she wasn't aware of her police-man husband's agility with needle and thread!)
Kid 4:To kiss our moms. (best ever!)

During a lesson about missionary work:
"My mom didn't go on a mission because she married my dad, and she still holds that against him!"

Giving a closing prayer:
"Dear Heavenly Father, we want to thank you for this Sunday. I want to bear my testimony that the church is true. . ."
he then proceeded to bear a testimony rather than say a prayer. For the record- it was a very sweet and heartfelt testimony!

Another closing prayer:
"Dear Heavenly Father, please bless us. I know my sister has been naughty and please help her to be nice to me because being mean is not good!"

Teacher: Saying bad words is a thing that Heavenly Father doesn't want us to do because it shows disrespect.
Child: My dad says bad words a lot. Like, all the time.

Teacher: Getting sealed in the temple is important because it makes it so our family can be together forever and they love you so much they would never want that to end.
Child: I don't think my dad really wants that. He sure yells at me a lot.

Our music leader always has some pictures or fun handouts for reverent children to pick. On the back of them is the title of the next song to be sung. One time a boy who was 11 at the time picked a picture and then read the back of it to find out what song he had chosen. . .
"Ummm, it says 'I am a child of God'. YES!!!" (accompanied with a nice fist pump and the slightest little victory hop.)

Teacher: What are some things we can do to show our love for others?
Kid 1: Be nice to each other.
Kid 2: Play with others.
Kid 3: Pray for them.
Kid 4: We can ask them to sit by us when we are at lunch and then if they say no we can pretend that we aren't mad about it, and then we can not give them a bad look when they just don't want to sit there again and then we can just tell our mom that it made us sad and she will make us feel better and tell us other people will be our friends. (did anyone follow that?)

Child: They never pick me!
Teacher: Well, maybe if you sat still and tried to be quiet like all the other kids you might get picked.
Child: But my mom said I was special 'cause I was different from everyone else!

Teacher: What are some of God's most special creations?
Child: Mermaids and princesses and unicorns and pretty dresses!

Teacher: How do our mommys show us they love us?
Child: They give us hard spanks!
Teacher (admittedly confused): What?
Child: My mom says when she spanks me it is because she loves me too much to let me be naughty. She spanks me a lot so she loves me a lot!

Teacher: What are some things that make us happy?
(among other appropriate and boring answers)
-Killing things on my games.
-Telling people my name is Batman!
-Being the most beautiful princess ever.
-Telling my mom that she is pretty even when she isn't.
-Taking off my church shoes.
-Pretending to be asleep so Mommy wont make me clean my room.

The truth is, I could go on and on. Kids are funny, and their hearts are so pure. I love working with and being around them so often. They remind me just how innocent and sweet they are, but sometimes, they also remind me of just how much they are listening to and picking up on. Things we think are over their heads or beyond their capacity are being observed and analyzed on a constant basis. It is so important to make sure our conduct, language, and actions are all loving and positively stimulating at all times when children are in our presence. I love my girls so much, and I am incredibly grateful for the gift I have been given in my role as their mother and teacher.

Easter Weekend- Saturday Edition

On Saturday morning, we gathered the troops to paint eggs. We didn't do very many of them since Ross is the only one in the family who likes hard boiled eggs. I also didn't want to have my kitchen smelling like vinegar or my hands and carpet dyed pretty Eastery colors, so we just used some of my acryllic paints that I use mostly never. I think that is something we will do every year because my girls LOVED this. They had a fun time, and made some very pretty creations.

After enjoying a lovely morning of Conference (Julie B. Beck's talk was amazing!), we headed over to my Grandma's house where we thought the annual Easter egg hunt was to take place between sessions. We were wrong. It was actually re-scheduled for after the afternoon session because my grandparents, their visiting Canadian friends, and some of my cousins all went to the Conference Center for the morning session. Instead, we took the girls over to my mom's house and did some errands for the Easter Bunny. We enjoyed the afternoon session at my mom's house with cinnamon rolls and scotheroos. After that, we went back to my grandparent's house to enjoy the annual egg hunt in the orchard where all manner of cuteness ensued.

The little kids hunt in the back yard, the big kids hunt in the orchard, and everyone hunts for real eggs in the front yard.
Daddy helped Sara, Dana helped Emma, and I manned the camera and tried to convince Jack to leave my ribs alone to no avail.

Emma started out only wanting purple eggs until she realized that she couldn't stop everyone else from taking them.
Emma's basket got so full that the eggs kept falling out without her noticing. Sara would follow her and pick them up and deposit them in her basket. . .
. . . OR, Emma would turn around and see them and get all excited that she found another egg that she was sure had not been there before. As she would bend down to get the new discovered egg, another one would fall out of the back for her to discover. It was kind of like watching a puppy chase its tail, only much cuter!

It was a good day that ended with us showing the girls some pictures of the Resurection and singing some songs to remind them of what Easter is all about.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Fuller Explanation to a Certain Friend

I know, I know. I have Easter pictures, and they are delicious! Just you wait, and stop your nagging!

I wanted to quickly write this for a friend of mine who I recently had a conversation with that seemed to end on a wrong note. She was asking me if I thought it was appropriate for her husband to carpool alone with a girl to and from work. They have known each other a long time, and are good friends. They are both happily married, and the spouses all like and respect each other. They live close to each other, work in the same business complex, and this saves them both money.

Her sister, when hearing of this proposed arrangement, got upset and went into a long tirade of how inappropriate it was. My friend was telling me this to ask if I agreed with her sister or not.

I do. I very much do.

I wouldn't go so far as to pitch a big fight about it, but I don't find it appropriate and would not want my husband to even suggest such a thing, much less actually participate in it.

I think when I tried to explain my thoughts, this friend got a little offended thinking I was making a judgment on the status of their relationship. She got kind of cold in her tone, changed the subject, and shortly made an excuse to end the conversation entirely.

I was not. I was not making any suggestion about their relationship being weak or prone to infidelity. There is no part of me that thinks her sweet husband would ever be disloyal- but stranger things have happened and Satan is constantly looking for a way to wedge himself into happy and Eternal bonds. I, personally, would not appreciate or approve of this kind of arrangment no matter how much gas, money, or baby penguins are saved in the process.

Anyway, I know she checks this blog frequently, and I wanted to send her to my dear friend Brittany's blog who recently wrote a post about loyalty and fidelity that really touched me. She states what I was trying to convey to my friend in a much more eloquent and gentle manner. She is awesome like that.

I love my husband and I completely trust him- but never do I want him alone on a regular basis in an enclosed space with another woman. Even if he never got ideas, there is no way the other woman wouldn't. Ross is hot!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Starting Over

I had a rough night. I didn't sleep much. Between the bladder infection that is being defiant against anti-biotics, my sciatic pain, and switching between being way too hot and way too cold, many nights have found me just exhausted enough to be miserable, but not quite enough to fall asleep.

Last night, however, that was all complicated with worries of another sort. I laid awake most of the night fretting about some fears, frustrations, and inadequacies that would not leave me alone. I suppose some raging hormones could be thrown in there too- but I like to think the concerns are valid enough on their own to upset me without blaming something else on the pregnancy.

I tried to talk some of these things out with Ross before he left to work, but he didn't really have the time or lucidity that I needed at that moment.

When the girls got up a short time later and began their day with fighting and whining, I couldn't take it. It was too much today. I was not capable of properly handling the situation, so I handled it improperly. This resulted, not surprisingly, in tears, yelling, tears, screaming, tears, and hurt feelings on all sides. Nobody was happy- not even the cat who wisely hid himself under Emma's bed instead of begging for breakfast like he ususally does.

I left two little girls in sobbing heaps in the hallway while I locked myself in my bedroom and said a tearful prayer for help. I was told to start over. So I did. I got out my computer and put on my piano music/Mormon Tabernacle Choir station on Pandora. I opened my door, gave the girls both a hug, an apology, and a sincere, "I love you."

I then crawled back into my bed, and went to sleep. I was joined by the girls, one on each side snuggled in as close as they could get. We woke up about 45 minutes later, and that short time seemed to have been just enough to perform the miracle of saving our day. I was now happy to be there with my girls and excited to have a day full of playing, singing, and, as always, working, cooking and cleaning.

As I type this, the girls are giggling and playing some kind of silly and imaginative game in the tub (the bubbles are clouds, and they are making them rain- cute!), after which we will have breakfast where I will let Sara have some of my coveted yogurt and I will let Emma have an extra squirt of chocolate syrup in her milk.

Today will be a good day, all because I started over. I did not let that first rocky beginning set the tone of my day. Rather, I ignored it and made a new beginning for myself.

At some point I will have to call Ross at work to thank him for working so hard at a job that he has to travel an hour to get to and that can be monotonous and frustrating all so I can stay at home with our gorgeous children and have the chance on some days to start over.

I laid around in bed until well after 9:00 today. That is more than 3 hours after he gets up.

I would waste time feeling guilty about that except that today is going to be a good day, and I plan on making his favorite brownies and pizza dough recipe (not together, of course).

Today I am grateful for my sweet girls (who are actually sweet now rather than whiny and obnoxious, thank goodness!), my amazing husband, his steady job, prayer, and my Father in Heaven who is quick to respond to my pleas with meaningful counsel and direction.

Today will be a good day- even if at some point I have to climb back in bed and start it all over a third time!