Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Modern Art?

Buttercup is a creative soul. I have no idea which direction her creativity will venture, but her creations have made me wonder. I've already introduced her dress-up skills to the world, and of course the kid has some interesting ideas for play-doe (other than the usual "snake" or "worm"), and she also spends much of her time building "towers" out of blocks, books, and the like. These are not the things that make me pause and wonder where her future is headed.
Today as I got out of the shower, Buttercup practically pounced on me to come see her newest creation. She was so insistent that I had to go dripping wet in my towel to the living room to see the masterpiece. Apparently she had gotten into the utensil do-dad drawer in the kitchen and built some sort of modern art structure. These designs have become common occurences, along with Ella's little stashes of "treasures" that she gathers from around the house, and stores in special places. Today I took a picture to record the ever-too-fleeting moment (Lou Lou was on her way, carving a path of destruction).

This first picture is Buttercup's "tower" of the day. It consists of some kind of butter container balanced on the squeezer-thingy from a medicine dropper, with a measuring spoon balanced a top of that. Standing as pillars to her genius are the remains of two other medicine droppers. Hope nobody gets sick anytime soon.......

The second picture is just silly. Buttercup had these two baskets (along with their plunder), hidden under a dish towel, which she lifted reverently for me to see. Her treasures range from things that are harmless toys (such as the shoes and refrigerator magnets pictured here), to my very own jewelry she has snuck from my room.

I wonder what these tinkerings mean. Charming tinkers a lot too--but he gets that out of his system with cars. Does this mean Buttercup is going to be a mechanic? Please say you think she's going to be a world renouned architect.... What do you think?
Disclaimer: Buttercup dresses herself when we are not leaving the house. Do not judge me for her fashion choices.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Jog Blog

This last year has been a changing one in several ways. I've adjusted to having two children rather than just the one. I've worried and celebrated and then worried again when we prayed Charming would get into a Physical Therapy School, and then when he was accepted, and then when we realized we were moving to North Dakota. I've dealt with some heavy emotional and minor medical issues. Right here I was about to trump this entire list by stating: "But the biggest thing of all...", but I don't think that either having a child or moving can be trumped that easily. Nevertheless, today I am feeling vain and would like to state that my favorite life-changing thing about this last year is my body.

Yes, that's right. My body. I don't say that to sound sensual--my body is anything but that. I say it because my body has become functional, and there's nothing more fabulous than a body that works for you.

I was never the athletic type and would rather have washed my mother's baseboards than play baseball--let alone run the "fun run" (a sick term the PE department from my school came up to enthuse the students into running their weekly mile in class). I wasn't chubby, nor was I slim--just your average girl who wanted to be skinnier. Still, I felt I had a handle on things and didn't think I was out of shape.

And then my shape changed. Two babies later and I had gained enough weight to equal the equivalent of both of their current bodyweights plus a sack of flour or two. Obviously I didn't like the way I looked, and even more hated the way I felt: in my clothes, sitting, standing, breathing etc. I was plain uncomfortable and I knew that had to change. My mother tells me this is where my strengths lie--in seeing a problem and using all I have to fix it. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and that I would want to quit several times over, but I was angry with myself for letting myself go that far.

I turned my frustration into determination. I signed up for Weight Watchers Online and made an exercise goal for each week. I got rid of my excuses and decided I wanted to be in shape more than anything else. I worked SO hard. I watched as the pounds slowly melted off as the weeks went by. I was shocked as the months passed and found myself buying workout equipment--an aerobic step, a stability ball, and small weights. I found my endurance level rising, my heavy breathing becoming calmer during my workouts, stairs were no longer a problem--and best of all, I could run around the yard with my children without exerting myself or pausing for breath. Yes, I lost a lot of weight. That's been wonderful and worth it for my self-esteem and my wardrobe. But even better is that I feel good. I have never been healthier in my life--never, not even in my teenage years.

So this morning I decided to do something I have never done before--something I never dreamed I would voluntarily do. I went jogging. Yup. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous. I knew I was in better shape than I've ever been, but that doesn't mean I'm in "great shape" by anybody's standards but my own. Even so, I began with a warmup and then headed out. It was exhilarating, moving under the speed of my own feet. It was overcast and there was a slight breeze, just right for a jog. I probably went for a 1/3 of a mile and then had to slow down to a walk. After a bit I bumped it back up again and went around the block a couple times. It was short, and kicked my trash, but it was a jog and I did it! Something I never thought I would or could do. For me this is the biggest milestone yet.

I intend to keep my new regimen up--short workouts five days a week and making small changes in my diet. That part is simple enough for me now, and worth the pain (yes, I still hate working out most days). Now, if I could only find a way to avoid future pregnancy weight gain. Surrogate, anyone?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Be Nice to the Knights

Often when reading other friend's blogs, I check their links to see if there are any other interesting blogs for my perusal. Sometimes I read blogs of people I knew from way-back-when, who have no idea that I am peering into their lives. Does this make me a creepy-stocker-person, or just a really bored housewife? Don't answer that.

Anywho, today when I was going over said blogs, I came across a blog of a girl I pretty much only knew through other friends in highschool. She was more of a friend-of-a-friend type of friend. Get it? Moving on. Surprisingly enough, this "friend" was thinking of writing a story based soley on her own highschool--mine as well--and then went on to critique all the cliques and social niches of the students.

Now I went to this highschool, and I understand the rolling-of-eyes when you think of some individuals or groups, but I was really shocked at the bitterness behind the groupings. There was not one "group" or "clique" or whatever that she had anything nice to say about, and instead turned all of the students into shallow-minded, self-centered, materialistic beings. Or, if they weren't on the high end of the social ladder, they were sent to the bottom because they were "smart".

This got my end up, mainly because I have been sick and tired of defending my school from those that would lump the school together in one big group of materialistic jerks. Forgive me for being forthright, but I do not remember it that way at all. (And no, I was never one of the "popular" crowd, so that doesn't make me biased). Instead, I remember the majority of the students in my school being friendly, hardworking, and smart.

Yes, there were always a few individuals who didn't fit the norm. There were some jerks who thought they were better because they drove a sports car to school, and there were a few snotty girls who wore too much makeup--but overall this was not the case. I saw people of all groups (drama, band, sports, dancing, debate, physics club, etc.), move pretty freely through crowds and intermingling with everyone around them. But alas, no matter how often I have expressed this view to the common skeptic, the rude-self-absorbed-rich-highschooler stereotype over shadows the relieving truth: Most of the kids at Lone Peak High School (class of 2001) were friendly. If you think otherwise, I wonder if you were not so friendly, or perhaps just insecure? I know that in highschool I oozed insecurity, but I didn't classify the masses as cliquey kids who were trying too hard.

Now, I am not so big-headed as to think that my blog will be graced by said friend-of-a-friend's presence. She will most likely never read this post, or see how I have defended my school's honor. Call me a coward if you will, but I thought it would be rude and in-your-face to post a comment on her blog. I don't want any enemies--I want us all to be friends.

I want us all to be a little more forgiving of the people who bugged us in highschool. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that teenagers in general suffer occasionally from insecurity and trying to find who they are. Probably a lot of the behavior we saw was an outward shell of the person underneath. I hope I will be granted the benefit of the doubt in my case. In all seriousness, I literally blush when I think of how awkward my teenage years were for me. The immediate outward appearance did not scratch the surface of who I was then, and is worlds away from who I am now.

Go Knights!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Snow, Girl's Night Out, and other such Nonsense

It has been awhile--at least awhile for me--since I have blogged. Five days have gone by and I have felt no strong revelation on any important subject to express my opinion on. Thus we encounter the daily life of a "stay-at-home-mom". I try to look for things to blog about that I would usually discuss with an adult friend, had they been standing next to me, eager and ready to listen throughout my day; but lately I haven't felt that pull of interest towards any specific topic. Although I must say my sister Sally's not-so-official-engagement (sorry if I spoiled something Sally--I have to find amusement somewhere), and the drama surrounding the topic of wedding planning and the hovering return of her ex-boyfriend from his mission in three weeks has been tempting me a bit. But that's not my story to tell--is it?

Anywho, I've come to the conclusion that my daily life with my children can also be amusing at times, and so it may be fun to share. Last Friday Charming went on a father's and son's outing. Yes I know, he is not the father to a son, or the son to a father that lives within the vicinity of 1,000 miles--but still he went for the male bonding and the inevitable delicious breakfast he would never have gotten at home. Buttercup was shocked to see him leave on a Friday night, and her eyes filled with tears as her lip trembled when he answered that she couldn't go with him. I saw the dilemma and immediately organized a girl's night out for me and......the girls!

In honor of Buttercup we watched Ella Enchanted, a movie she had never before viewed, but was impressed with all the same because their was a princess (named ELLA!) and a handsome prince who fell in love etc. etc. I broke out the nail polish, which interested Lou Lou to the utmost. I painted both pairs of toesies a soft pink which Buttercup chose immediately upon viewing the choices. The main trick was not just to paint the excited, wiggly little toes, but to get them to dry without being destroyed. In the end, neither set turned out perfectly, but well enough for the "under 4" set. Needless to say, the evening went well and the girls were happy. I tried to take pictures to document the occasion, but I must say they do not do the party justice.

The best joke of the whole thing was that I woke in the morning to snow on the ground--Charming was out there somewhere in a tent! And yet the snow continued. And it was May. Despite my frustration at Spring's slow approach, I put on my happy face and my Christmas music! Nothing like a little holiday cheer in May to help you enjoy the snow.

Another little tidbit I thought was funny enough for the world wide web: Tonight at dinner was frustrating because it was the same as all the other nights at dinner--which includes Charming and me eating our (delicious) meal, and Buttercup and Lou Lou doing all sorts of things but not eating theirs. When dinner is over, and Charming and I are clearing away the remains, Buttercup and Lou Lou begin to complain that they are hungry and want to eat this or that. (Well, Lou Lou more or less squaks about it, but I know what she means). When this happened tonight and we were trying to coax (real) food into the children, I complained to
Charming about the whole situation. I said they needed to eat when we eat and eat what we eat--and that I was tired of feeding them. Buttercup was listening closely to this exchange and exclaimed with worry in her brow, "But Mama! You have to feed us!" Much laughter followed. I reassured Charming not to worry, the only person starving her is herself.

Oh, and just for your viewing pleasure, here are some cute pictures of my darlings being Tinker Bell. We have a plethora of Tinker Bell costumes coming in steadily from a generous donor.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ode to a Friend

The first time we met I remember thinking how absolutely kind and beautiful she was. We connected instantly and bonded over teenage-girly things the way teenage girls do. There was never a moment of awkwardness or wondering if the other wanted to spend her time with you. She was there for me through all my highschool crushes and understood my up and downs of insecurity that came naturally with the territory. In return, she was always quick to share her heart with me and I loved her for showing me parts of her soul that were sensitive and sacred.

When the time came to go to college, she was the one who figuratively took me by the hand and introduced me to the world of adulthood and responsibility. My first roommate, we laughed and giggled into the night--and all day--and then into the night again. There was never another individual whom I could have lived with so well for so long. I remember one night I was sick in bed, moaning from pain. She cried too, and ran to help me like I can only picture a mother doing.

And then the time came when I had to leave her. Although I had found another best friend in my husband, she wasn't being replaced. She was gracious and understanding when I sold my housing contract to a stranger--who she had to live and share a room with for several months. Still she has continued to be apart of my life, although only a small part, from a distance. Phone calls, emails, quick visits when we are both in town are the story now-a-days.

Her life has not been easy. Everything she has, she has worked and paid a price for. She has the strength to face the world that I only wish I could muster. And yet she continues, not just surviving, but thriving in a world that would be harsh. Bearing her own burdens, she also carries some of the load for those around her. I think of her more than she knows. I miss hearing her laugh everyday, spending time with her. I hope she knows how amazing she is--how much I admire her wit and courage and perseverance.

Thank you so much for your friendship. I love you, happy birthday!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bedtime Ramblings

My children won't go to bed. To be a little more clear, they are in bed (although I think I hear jumping on the mattresses), but they won't sleep. I put them in their beds an hour ago. Did the whole routine--prayers, songs, brushed teeth, etc. But when the sun won't go down, children stay up. No amount of bursting threateningly into the bedroom and telling them to go to sleep works either. I figure as long as the sounds are somewhat quiet and happy, too much damage cannot happen. I'd rather have them there--in the bedroom separated by the bars of the crib, than here with me, screaming over who knocked over who's little castle and touched someone else's dolly. After 8:00 it is my time, and I think I'll use it to continue my perusal of the afore-mentioned Jeeves and Wooster.

On a more thoughtful note, the other day Charming left for school, and after he closed the door Buttercup stated, "What a nice boy!" I agree. Nice boys make good husbands and I've got me one of those.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Bet You Could Guess My Shameful Obsession

It has been almost exactly a year now since my Twilight passion began. My sisters Katherine and Sally wouldn't stop talking about the book at Sunday dinner and I could use a good read, so I borrowed the book. Six hours later I was obsessed. In an admittedly unhealthy way. I had a difficult time thinking about anything but Bella and Edward and their undying love for each other. I could barely crawl out of my thoughts long enough to make meals, clean my house, and make sure the children were still alive. It was terrible. To make matters worse, there were sequels, along with online forums to take up my time. I knew I had to stop and I did after a couple of crazy, delusional, and blissful weeks. I slowed it down enough that I can proudly say that I have only read Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse three times this year. Considering the craze, that shows an amazing amount of willpower.

This subject may be getting a little boring for my three blog readers, because the story of Twilight conversion is just about the same for everyone--and the hype doesn't end--in fact it is only getting bigger. Oh well; I was swept up in it this time just as much as I was with Harry Potter, but maybe even more so. A woman old enough to be my mother in my ward told me that she was curious and read all three books in a week. Then she admitted that she found herself thinking of Bella and Edward and Jacob during a temple session--not okay. Yes, we are getting a little borderline insane here, but I understand where she's coming from.

Throughout this year of Twilight chaos, I have found myself getting sick of the story and cutting myself off for a week or two--relieved that the craziness was over--only to find my passion coming back with a vengence. If it wasn't so sacrilegious, I would bare my testimony that I know Twilight is true. But I won't, at least not here.

And now there is a movie coming out with a million more things to think and care about like Robert Pattinson's hair color and anything else Robert Pattinson etc. etc. (I love you hunny). Oh, and not to mention Breaking Dawn coming out August 2nd--I will so be in line at Barnes and Noble at midnight! I admit I am a bit ashamed to be a part of the masses in such a huge phenomenon, but I cannot help it. I have been sucked in like quick sand and the more I struggle, the deeper I get. It is a little funny being the Twilight guru when I go to Young Women, but I love the discussions and the girlie pleasures. I love finding other moms who feel the same as I do--it makes me feel not quite so insane or wicked.

To sum up, imagine me at a TA meeting (Twi-hards annonymous) and standing up and saying, "My name is Megan and I am a Twi-hard." Don't plan on a cure anytime soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Almonzo was a Hottie

Recently I decided to reread the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I had read them a few times as a child and remember liking the stories. Currently I am on the 4th book, By the Shores of Silver Lake, and my interest in Laura herself is becoming more peeked. Since I am enthusiastic about all things history, today I had to google Laura and read all of her background information. The little tid-bits make reading the books more fun--especially knowing that the characters are (or were) real. This is a thrill I can't get from most of my favorite books--there ain't no photographs of Edward out there I can dig up.

Anywho, I discovered something interesting. Laura's husband, Almonzo, was HOTT. I had always hoped for this truth but was never quite sure, what with the ugly guy from the tv series always floating around in my head. (Yich! Cut your hair!)

On a more sober note, Laura, according to Charming, was "plain". Personally I think this analysis is a bit harsh--just a bad hair day on the one day a decade she got her picture taken. Dang. But kudos to you Laura for landing that Almonzo.......