Monday, September 30, 2013

it takes a village...

Our village has an annual "clean up the village day" that my kids look forward to each year. This year, they not only got to help pick up trash with one of those trash claws, they also got to plant flowers. I love that in our village, people from all over the world gather to do things together.

Some of these pictures aren't mine because I wasn't there for more than a minute (I went to the temple with the youth from church), but I stole them off Facebook.
Josh would only go pick up trash if I let him wear his superhero costume. And he only stayed out about 20 minutes.
 Ashley's sweet friend from Africa. They're in the same class at school. I'm glad I got to see this picture, since I wasn't there to see it in person.

 Ethan and Ashley stayed out about 2 1/2 hours, working hard. They were rewarded with a pizza at the end, and also a container of herbs they can grow (or kill, knowing us).

A friend from church, who also lives in the village, said she was impressed at how good Ethan and Ashley were. Chris came home (he was exhausted after finishing his big, hairy qualifying exams), so they didn't have any parents to supervise them, but they were being respectful and even talking easily about scouts and church stuff to their friends. It makes a mom proud to hear things like that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

just a few pictures I forgot about...

 Ashley loved the new dress Grandma got her. She felt lovely as a tulip, and the setting sun was at just the right angle to make her glow :)
Can you see the giant gator that's always lurking around our little city airport? Kind of creepy. Luckily he's made out of stone and hasn't been known to eat anyone.
And Josh finally lost a few more teeth! He doesn't like to loose teeth, and refuses to wiggle them. These two were hanging around for at least six months. The top one was sticking out like a snaggle tooth for the last month or more. But he didn't care how annoying it was when he ate, or how odd it looked when he smiled. He was not going to wiggle it.

Well, the other night, josh accidentally punched himself in the mouth while he was pulling up his blankets during the night. He came running out, shaking all over and crying, and he had to pull out his tooth the rest of the way because it was hanging by a thread. It looked like it was the most traumatic thing that had ever happened to him (even though loosing teeth had already happened three times before). Then a day or so later, he was brushing his teeth and the bottom tooth just fell right out with no pain or blood. That one made him happy. No shaking and tears, just relief that suffering with loose teeth was over for now.

He bought a plastic echoing microphone from Target's dollar isle with the money the tooth fairy left.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When life gives you Lemony...

 ...then read it!
I love when I find my kids like this, sitting quietly together, getting along, doing something besides playing video games. They are listening to a CD of the picture book The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket. It's odd and quirky, but the kids loved it.

We just might be Snicket's biggest fans. We especially enjoy listening to Lemony Snicket books on long road trips. I'm pretty sure he was thinking of our family when he wrote all of his books, because he totally gets our sense of humor. If you're like us, you can start with book 13, The End, and work your way in no particular order through all of the Series of Unfortunate Events. Then move on to his other books.

Off the Lemony Snicket topic, last night at dinner we were discussing something about how Ethan had given me five dollars for something. Then I owed him five dollars for something, so he went and took his money back, out of our spare change bag. In his serious thinking voice, in between bites of a somewhat bland rice and vegetable soup, he said, "That's my money-back guarantee."

I guess I should get one of those. Sounds useful.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"What is to be done?"

Every time I watch this video, I'm amazed at its beauty. Hearing Joseph Smith's words come from a modern girl's mouth, while the other voices of our world shout opinions all around her, is so powerful. The girl in this video could have been me.

At some point, almost everyone feels the way young Joseph Smith did, when he was trying to choose which religion to join. "In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?"

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of Jamesfirst chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
I felt this confusion in my late teens and early 20's. I was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a Mormon), but the world's shrill voices still called out their opinions, and it was sometimes hard to know what to believe. I prayed hard, sometimes through tears, and eventually learned, without a doubt that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and knows us. And that the fullness of Christ's gospel has been restored on the earth once more, including holy temples and living prophets (and apostles!) and families being together forever.

It's pretty cool stuff. Try it, you'll see :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

some raw fish and gator wrestling

When Ethan was a baby, Chris gave me a nice Fossil watch for Christmas. As the years went on, the battery seemed to die faster and faster. I'd go through three batteries, while Chris's watch went through one.

I eventually put the watch away and lived without it. The other day Chris decided to get a new battery in his watch, and he took mine in, too. It was weird wearing a watch again, it's been a few years since I've had one hanging around my arm. 

Well, the very next day, the watch stopped again. This time I knew it was the watch and not the battery. So we headed to the mall together as a family, and the watch guy said it would be fifty bucks to fix my watch. Not worth it. So we got our ten dollars back from the new battery and decided to go eat some mall Japanese food instead of fixing my watch.
While we were checking out the menu, Ethan decided he wanted the sushi platter. It had a variety of different kinds of sushi. As you can see in this picture, some of them included large pieced of raw fish. 

I crave california rolls, but I don't do raw fish. Daring Ethan chewed it up and even enjoyed it. He decided he liked raw tuna better than raw salmon. Weird. Raw anything makes me shiver.
The rest of us shared two meals, one teriyaki beef on rice, and one teriyaki chicken on noodles. Josh wasn't happy we ordered Japanese food at all. He ate it because it was lunch, but he made sure we knew he didn't like it. He did enjoy his ice cold water, though.

Ashley loved teriyaki chicken. It might be her new favorite. You can see how in love she is in this picture.
 When we were done dining in high style at the mall food court, Ethan decided to wrestle the mall alligator. Ashley pleaded with the gator to let her brother go. Josh wanted nothing to do with any of it, and stayed out of the way.
The gator was frozen with terror at Ethan's huge muscles (and at the knowledge that Ethan devours raw fish), so it was pretty easy for Ethan to win the match.

Monday, September 2, 2013

another beach day

We headed to the beach early on Friday morning, hoping to beat the Labor Day rush. It was perfect! Not many people were there yet, there wasn't much wind, and the waves weren't too crazy.
Ashley and Ethan went to read the sign, to make sure it was safe to go in the water.
All they really needed to do was look at the water. It looked pretty safe.

Ashley and Ethan jumped right in and rode the waves.
But Josh didn't want to get wet. He put up a fight about wearing his swim suit to the beach.
He was happy to sit and build sand castles for a while. 
I hung out with him and enjoyed the view.
And tried to not be jealous of all the beach bikers. It looked relaxing, riding on the sand like that. 
Chris makes using a boogie board snow sled in the ocean look not so weird. 
 Josh started to get brave and finally made his way into the water. He even boogie boarded for a while, until Chris accidentally pushed him under a wave and he came up coughing. Then he was done.
This guy flew right over us. It looked like fun!
 If you can't tell from all these pictures, Josh loves his blue bucket.
He used to love the red one, but it broke. So blue it is. 
 After I got too hot hanging out with josh on the sand, I decided to go swimming to cool off. I don't like going under water, especially in the salty ocean. But Chris dared encouraged me to try boogie boarding. Guess what? I still don't like going under.
 But Ashley and I did enjoy bobbing over the waves. Until we got too far out so that our feet didn't touch, and we had to swim back to shore. After that, we decided we were done for the day, and were heading back to dry land, when a big wave came along and pushed me under, and it grabbed Ashley and spun her in a few somersaults under water. Then she was really done with the ocean for the day. (Poor little Ashley is spitting and coughing and crying in the picture below. And I'm a good mom, smiling all the while...)
Then it was time to go home. The kids were slightly disappointed when we didn't stop at Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone. I guess it was supposed to be a new tradition. Maybe next time...