Friday, November 30, 2007

Remember this?

We got ourselves some Hubba Bubba at Target and on the way home I was telling the kids about this commercial. Ah, memories!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Today I have panicked, cried, yelled, run, driven like a bat out of hell, schmoozed, scurried, spammed (almost), stuffed, and finally ... downed a double chocolate blended creme, grande, with whipped cream.

After that last one I feel a lot better.

It's only 2 p.m. And it's Z's first birthday. Here's hoping I can get my act together and have a lot smoother rest of the day. It's just gonna be cake (grocery store cake - that's how busy I am feeling) at home with the fam, and Princess Pudge pulling her first babydoll out of a gift bag. No biggie. I can't believe it's been a whole year!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Time for a winter pedicure

From A:

"You're real pretty on top, but your feet are sure ugly."

Out of the kindness of my heart, no picture to accompany this one.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A holiday gripe

From S:

"I just hate it when people hang up mistletoe. I have to do everything secret-agent style."

You can just picture it, can't you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I must just look like I need help

We are getting a surprise food order from the Church. Unsolicited, unexpected and also un-planned-for. I'm grateful; it's very nice; I know it's not that anybody's trying to insult us or anything. They want to be supportive of the grad student family with foster kids. I get that.

I am just stressing out about where to put it all. Fortunately I found someone to keep the turkey in their deep-freeze for me, because I don't have one, and I already have two turkeys that I got for free from the grocery store promotion that's been running for the last few weeks.

Also, I'm wondering if there will be stuff in there that we just don't eat - cream of mushroom soup and brown-n-serve rolls and frozen pies and stuff. The food bank may be getting some of it.

This has happened to us once before, at Christmas, when S was two and A was a baby and I was all kinds of seasonal-affective crazy. Worst winter of my life. That time, it offended me a little. This time, I am trying hard to suppress my "we-are-not-poor" reaction and just be gracious for once in my life. Can I do it?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Making the grade

I'm just a blogging fool today. I can't shut up.

So sweet 6 year old A left his notebook in my purse.

I presume it was there for sacrament meeting entertainment. I finally buckled down and told my kids they can only have a notebook and a pen during church - no toys. Who needs 'em? They have a great time creating stick figure wars on their notebooks during the meeting.

The tricky part is turning down the volume on the sound effects. If you have a boy or if you have ever been or known a boy, you know what I mean. I hate to do gender stereotyping but it is my experience that girls do not have the sound effects gene. If you would like to contradict this, feel free.

Back to my point. A has some very cute drawings in his notebook. 6-year-old art is always fantastic. But there was a different part that I really liked.

He graded himself on every page. And every grade was 100%. Even on the personal essay that described how much he liked his cat, because it was warm. We have no cat. But fiction can still get a 100%.

My very favorite? The page that said "100% Mom did this." Like I gave the grade.

I think we have a politician on our hands, folks. Or maybe a PR genius.

What would you give yourself 100% for? That is a hard question for grownups. I like how little kids are not so hard on themselves.

Change is inevitable

I was released this weekend from the Young Women's organization in our ward. I knew this was coming and am relieved in many ways, but I am also surprised at how much of my identity I got tangled up in that calling. I was also really touched at the notes I got from "my" girls. I have always felt like I haven't done enough in this job - no, I've known it. But I think the little I do accomplish has touched some hearts, and that's very gratifying to hear. It has been emotional. I really did not want to walk out of the Young Women's room yesterday. It felt really strange. But I also know it really was time for a change.

When I was barely 15 and getting ready to move to Alaska with my family, a friend wrote in my yearbook, "change is inevitable and important." We get what we need at the times when we need it. I do believe this is true, even if it's sometimes hard to process.

Next up for me: Sunbeams. Or more accurately, the combined class of 3, 4 and 5 year olds. This should be fun. K will be in the class come January. They are all cute kiddies. And it doesn't require any Tuesday nights or Saturday jaunts to dances in Modesto. Just a little lesson every week, and play-doh and the hokey-pokey. I think it is going to be a much less flashy way to serve, so to speak. I can really just do it for the right reasons ... I hope! I really am excited!


Late, but in case you are even later than I am, here are some media-type things I've been enjoying. I am getting most of my book ideas lately from Lucy. You've probably already read her reviews, so I'll be brief.
  • Possession, a Romance by A.S. Byatt. This was the best crafted book I have read in years. It may not quite grab you at first, and it definitely doesn't qualify as a fast or easy read, but if you hang in there you will be rewarded! Plot teaser: Two nerdy lit types in the 1980s search for history on two nerdy lit types from the 1850s ...
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Funny and touching ... another nicely structured book where different stories come together in surprising ways. Plot teaser: Adorable old-man Holocaust survivor and angsty teenage girl seem to lead entirely separate lives ...
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I needed a fast read after Posession. This was a charming and meaningful one about how Danish people aided the Jews of their country during World War II. Can't wait to read it to the kids. Made me proud to be part Dane.
  • Amazing Grace (film). Just ... loved it. Period drama, heartfelt romance, social justice, Christian themes ... could there be a better combination? I kept hearing things and thinking, "Oh, that's a phrase I want to remember." Like, "Are you going to use your voice to praise God or to change the world?" Go, watch.
  • NumbThumb. I'm not a member yet. But before Christmas, I will be. There is going to be a big present at our house that starts with "W" and ends with "ii."And if you think I am shelling out $50 for every game you really don't know me at all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jiggity jig

As in, home again, home again ...

So, I almost forgot about this, but traveling for business is not really fun. Boring and lonely is more like what it is.

I had a nice dinner at the West Restaurant at the Hotel Angeleno. It used to be a Holiday Inn. When the crazy Ethiopian cab driver told me that, I almost thought he was taking me to the wrong place, because I knew it was supposed to be a nice place and I thought those could not both be true. But they were. It was very nice. I had yummy salad and roasted chicken and teeny tiny potatoes.

Crazy cab driver asked where I was from (Utah, basically) and had lots of questions about Mormonism. Here's hoping I disabused him of some false notions. He was a big fan of the Word of Wisdom. You will see why in a minute.

He also told me about a natural living guru, last name Noel. I can't remember the first name. He was sure that following this guy's prescriptions would cure our infertility. Yah, like I said, kinda crazy. I did want to look him up, though, just because I am curious about craziness. Anybody got a cue on that for me?

And he showed me his adorable 2 year old daughter on his cell phone. So cute! And proceeded to tell me he does not vaccinate and would not stop talking about being anti-vaccination. Now, I respect people's decisions about their kids. But I think a cab driver or other service professional probably should not harp on customers about such an issue. Would you agree?

It's kind of sad when you go to an exciting city like LA and the most interesting part of the trip is your taxi ride.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On the death of a friend

Some random thoughts provoked by the funeral I attended yesterday. Because I just can't get going on work stuff until I set them down.

Occasionally (like yesterday before I went to the funeral) I want to make myself sound like a real musician or even a music snob. I am not. I am more like my friend, who turned down a full ride to Juilliard (which I can never spell) to marry her wonderful husband, a mechanic.

She was only 3 years older than my mom. I want to be with my mom more.

She was a working-outside-the-home mom. I want to be with my kids more.

She visited with the Relief Society presidency 4 years ago when I was brand new here. Noticing the piano in my house and prying out of me that I sing ... calling the ward music chairperson to tell her she had to get me to sing in Sacrament Meeting ... telling me that she would play for me any time, like I was so special and talented ... she made my place here for me, almost singlehandedly.

As an adult she found her birthfamily and a whole new network of people to love and feed and play jokes on. It filled a gap in her life. She was generous enough to talk about it with me. I need to write to my kids' birthmoms.

She had the guts at age 45 to leave behind what she had previously known and embrace a new faith. I admire and respect that so deeply. I'm both heartbroken and furious that there are those who disdain such a brave and faithful choice.

She freely confessed to having a problem being too quick to anger. She was just one of those people with little patience for incompetence or stupidity. And yet she testified before she went that she was never angry about the illness that took her. Just sad that she wouldn't be there for her grandkids as they grew up. Oh, watching those grandkids yesterday ...

She was amazing with young people. Every week we came into the Young Women room to find the remains of her Sunday School treats ... and we are not talking about Dum Dum pops here. It was coffee cake and muffins and tarts and chocolate. I need to show my love more fully. I never cried all weekend until yesterday when I hugged one of my Mia Maids and she broke down in my arms.

I still think cancer is like a black widow spider.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

'Tis the season

Satsuma mandarins are in the store, fog shrouds us in the mornings, and the Christmas music has begun.

It's all Messiah so far -- I have to sing along and practice because of the stake choir project. My diaphragm is getting a good workout. Anyway, I like the new(ish - it's from last year) recording of Messiah by the Japan Bach Consortium. It sounds like a mandarin orange, light and sweet!

I did also break down this weekend and go searching on Rhapsody for a nice recording of Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ. I discovered this haphazardly when a music store in Salt Lake was shutting down and giving away all its single-copy choral music for free. I got a copy of "The Shepherds' Farewell to the Holy Family" in translation. I don't know when I've heard a lovelier melody, and I halfway want to direct a ward choir again so I can do it for Christmas. In my search for a recording, I am as yet unsatisfied. Anybody?

Is the Christmas music on at your house yet? Have you bought a box of satsumas?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Would you?

Would you go to LA overnight on a week's notice for a work-related meeting, leaving your long-suffering husband alone with four little wild things?

It doesn't seem altogether kind to him, but on the other hand, I've been the one left at home plenty of times. And a night in a hotel seems awfully appealing.

Plus, potentially a good chance to earn back brownie points lost earlier this year in the midst of crises and upheavals.

I haven't heard G's input yet. I'm sure that will make the difference. But on my own, I am kind of leaning toward yes, as crazy as that sounds.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I knew

For all my protesting that faith isn't about knowing the future - and I really believe it isn't - I do believe that sometimes God speaks to us about the future. Sometimes it's in a dream or a dramatic revelation. Sometimes it's just what we know if we really look into the depths of our hearts. Some people describe this as intuition or being in tune with the universe or whatever. To me, it's God saying, "I'm not ignoring you, hold onto this and see what I have in store."

Sometimes it's confusing - so far out of our realm of understanding, we don't know what to do with it, like when I mistakenly thought I was pregnant the same month Z was conceived. I was so devastated that that feeling was not about what I thought it was about. But if we wait, the understanding comes eventually.

From the beginning I felt that Z's story would be a rocky road, but a road with a happy ending. Up until she left, I always sort of knew she would go. After she came back, I have consistently felt that she will not be leaving again. It is looking more and more like that feeling is right.

Some people might wonder why God would care a whit about my little family-building woes. I'm obviously fine, not starving, not in danger, not abused or hurt in any way. Why does he allow the horrible for some, while my family enjoys good, even great blessings?

I might as well ask why he allows me to experience infertility and slog through the foster care system, while other people get to have homemade babies and spend their money and time on other things. My job is to find him in my life. For someone else, it might be a harder job, or it might be a better job, better tailored for them individually. I think God cares about us and guides us within our individual circumstances. I am not convinced that all those circumstances are his doing, but I think some might be. I think mine are.

I know that he loves his children. I know the good things in my life come from him.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Direct quote

From me:

"Fortunately I have a pretty good set of personal issues that occupy all my emotional space, so I don't really get all that upset about work."

Monday, November 05, 2007

My new favorite number

It's 36.

I'm still only 33. Only!

But 36 is the case code for adoptions. Also the new number on Z's file. S did not show at the last court date and the judge (finally!) said enough.

There has been stuff going on with S that I have not been comfortable posting about. Now that I know her, I speculate and share less about her. That's a good thing. But it also means you will have to trust me when I say there are some credible reasons to believe that she will not stay clean long term and is not equipped to parent Z.

Termination of S's parental rights is tentative for February, if I understand correctly. I know how sad this is. I do, I really do. I have said goodbye and never expected to see Z again. I know how much that sucks. I just can't feel it right now. I hope I can be forgiven for that.

Anybody got a WOOT!?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Your sweet voice

Do you have a sweet voice? I do. It is reserved for use with babies, old people (even Nobel Prize-winning scientists) and, oddly, I realized today, female business contacts whom I don't know well.

I noticed this just now when leaving a message for the grizzled city editor at the local paper. No sweet voice for him.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Party kids

I had a post typed this morning about how crappy I felt and how little I wanted to blog. Blogger wouldn't let me post it. Do you smell a rat?

OK, well now that I have uploaded and looked at these cuties, I feel better.*

Plus, cute kid pictures save me from having to think of a blog post.

These were all from the stake Trunk-or-Treat party last night.

As always, pics of the littlest two were up for a limited time only. Sorry if you missed them. Email me if you want, and if I know you are not a creep I will send them to you.

This one you have to be stealthy if you want to get his picture!

*Advil LiquiGels have done their part to improve my mood. I love those way more than candy. But that might just be because of the sheer overwhelming volume of candy I have had in the last 24 hours.