Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

This post is ultimately to wish Kurt and Dad and Ken a Happy Father's Day. These men have influenced my life so profoundly, that it almost seems trite to try and celebrate it all in one day. My dad was a strong spiritual leader in my life. He helped me craft my testimony of the divine, taught me how to gain a connection with God, and together with my mom helped me learn how to drink deeply from the scriptures. Ken (Kurt's dad) has helped me appreciate all the simple things in life that I often overlook. He is frugal and smart, loves to talk with me about all things deep and philosophical (we are kindred spirits in that respect), and has taught me the importance of just appreciating life.

And then there's Kurt. I married him because I had never met anyone else quite as astounding. He is brilliant, practical, kind, loving, faithful, service-minded, efficient, and happy. I had never met anyone who can accomplish as much as he does in the amount of time he has. (Case in point: yesterday. Brief synopsis: got up, took Madi to beach to give me some down time while Max napped. Came home, filled kiddie pool in the yard and played with both kids while I got lunch ready. Helped get kids ready for naps. Went to the temple. Came home, mowed the lawn, cleaned the kitchen, crawled under the basement stairs to clean up some rice milk that burst open from food storage, did 2 loads of laundry, and was relaxing on the couch watching golf when the kids and I got home from the store.) And I do not underestimate when I say he is the most gifted organizer I have ever met. He is constant and unwavering in his devotion to me and the kids. I LOVE that we are almost total opposites in every respect because I find myself becoming more of the person I've always wanted to be because of his influence in my life. What a guy!

Ok, enough sap.

Now I wax philosophical for a moment. The speaker today in church said, "We can't talk about fathers without talking about mothers" then spoke briefly about mothers' importance. It got me thinking (again- this is a frequent topic of thought for me); why is it that on Father's Day, mother/father is the natural pairing, but on Mother's Day, her natural counterpart becomes "the Priesthood"? This just does not make sense to me. I really wish we could appreciate fatherhood the same way we appreciate motherhood in the Church. While it is connected to the Priesthood, it is not the Priesthood. We could really enrich our understanding of parenthood were we to give both equal attention. Likewise, imagine how lessons would change if we spoke of women's potential as Priestesses as a counterpart to the men's Priesthood instead of focusing so narrowly on motherhood, an opportunity that so few women experience right now. Imagine how many more women would feel valued and included in the Church!

And now I step down from my soap box and end by saying, "Happy Father's Day!"

Another Catch-up

Kurt tried to fix the camera yesterday. Apparently this problem (lens error) happens to a lot of people and there is currently a class action suit against Canon because of it. Kurt found directions online and decided to undertake the challenge. Well, from the looks of it (the camera pieces are all over the desk), I think he's still working on the repair.

And so I ensue with the catch-up pre-camera-breakage posts. We had a fun little zoo excursion about a month ago with some friends, and I never posted the pix. I also had another fun zoo excursion this last week at a different zoo (and Kurt took the kids last Saturday), but unfortunately, we have not a single picture to celebrate our zoo-mania except for this one trip. It shall represent all the zoo fun had over the course of the last month.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering how we can afford to go to all these museums and zoos, etc... it is because of the phenomenal library system in Cambridge/Boston. The library allows you to check out free or deeply discounted passes to virtually every museum in the area, some historical sites, and the zoo. So, I don't have to pay for any of this stuff!! I LOVE LIVING HERE!! We did end up buying an AMSE pass ($35/yr. for access to museums all over the country) b/c it gets us into the Children's Museum for free instead of the $4 it usually costs us with the library pass.

Peacock. Madi tried to scare it so the feathers would go up (a habit from childhood that I'm afraid I am encouraging in my kids. :), but it didn't work. Darn. It did work once when I was little, so I will not lose hope.

Madi, Madeleine, and Gretchen looking at the flamingos. A sign in the Stone Zoo (this is the Franklin Park Zoo) says that flamingos naturally love living really close to one another and that's why their cage smells so bad. They don't smell at the Franklin Park Zoo and my friend, Sarah, tells me that they don't smell at the Providence Zoo, either. I think our friends at Stone Zoo need to clean out the flamingo cage.

Not sure what they are looking at, but I just thought the picture was cute.

I have mixed feelings about visiting the zoo. On the one hand, it's really fun and educational to learn about all these animals that we would never normally see. On the other hand, I find it disconcerting to see lethargic and sad-looking animals hanging around their cages. I know they are animals, but wouldn't life seem so meaningless if you were raised in a cage? This picture: case in point (I'm talking about the gorillas, not Madi :))

For all the cool things we saw, I'm afraid the highlight of the day was the carousel. Laura, Meghan, sorry we went after you guys already left. The girls could not pry their eyes away from the "merry-g0-round" and were SO excited to ride it.

Max can't decide if this is fun or scary. He liked it, but I did have to hold him for a few rotations in the middle.

Madi was SOO excited. She talked about this ride for days afterwards. Kind of made the $2 seem worth it.

My friend, Lizzie, and her girls. We are both pregnant, due a day apart. She lives about a half mile down the street from us, and is such a calming influence on me. Madeleine and Madi are about a year apart, but they play really well together. Gretchen and Max are so funny together. Gretchen LOVES Max and says she's going to marry him. :)

I debated even putting this picture on here because it's such a bad picture of me, but I have so few pictures of me and the kids. Just pretend like I don't look like I'm a balding middle-aged man and it will be ok.

The last stop on the trip: the giraffes. The girls were all crying that they wanted to go on another ride on the merry-go-round. Oh, and it was naptime. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Broken Camera

So, the camera broke on Memorial Day weekend (have you noticed that all the pix are from that weekend?). It's under a year old, BUT I threw out the receipt a long time ago. Dumb, I know. So I can either spend who knows how much sending it in to get repaired (estimate at $100-$200) or I can just get a new one.

I'm leaning toward just getting a new one.

Can you guys send me recommendations? I'm looking to upgrade to nicer quality pictures... something I could use if I wanted to dabble in photography. Can anyone give suggestions of good cameras?

Thanks, all.

Don't worry, I still have catch-up posts from before "the accident," so there will be more coming soon. I'm sure that was the first concern that came to mind when you read this post. :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Day of Everyone

I noticed in my Go City Kids Newsletter that Arthur was coming to the Children's Museum on Saturday for his birthday party. I knew Madi would love it, especially since she had been begging to go everyday since the day of the Madi. Kurt was out of town (this was Memorial Day weekend), so he missed all the fun, but here are some highlights:

Madi and Max "posing" in the backhoe in the construction room. They loved this thing.

Madi LOVED this little climbing structure. There was a sign that said it was recommended for kids over 5, but Madi climbed all the way up, went across the bridge and came down before I really saw it. She was climbing it like a champ, so I figured it was fine (despite a mother next to me trying to communicate to me via her kid that it was supposed to be JUST for kids over 5- Come on, lady! What do you think "recommended" means?) She was SO excited that she could do it all by herself. I think she spent at least 30 minutes doing this, and it wasn't that big. Max loved watching Madi. She would poke her fingers through holes on the way down, then look at Max through a little space in the plastic. He laughed and thought it was pretty fun.

The "3 Little Pigs" Play, which the kids also loved.

Playing in the kids' room. Max was in heaven- a table that was his height!

The moment of fruition: meeting Arthur. Madi was kind of scared, I think b/c after she gave him a high five, she came running back and immediately got in the stroller.

They were pooped after we left; both kids fell asleep in the car. Yes, that's a popsicle stick sticking out of Madi's mouth. I caved and bought one at the museum to share.

The Day of the Max

What would an 11 month old appreciate the most?

A nice LONG morning nap to compensate for Mom and Madi's days and a nice long bath. So that's what we did. And I think we went to the playground in the afternoon. He was very happy.

Again, normal day, but still fun. Madi was quite disappointed about him not choosing to go to the Children's Museum. She tried several times to convince me that that would be his destination of choice by talking as if she were him. This is her new thing. If she's talking in a high-pitched voice (and sometimes waving Max's arm while he's "talking"), I know she is speaking as the Max. '

The Day of the Madi

After my somewhat disappointing day, we moved on to the Day of the Madi. This is how the day started out:

Madi really wanted to paint my fingernails. Since it was the day of the Madi, I put my reservations aside and let her have at it. She did a pretty good job, I must say. Although I removed most of the polish on my skin, I left the polish on my fingers as a memorial to Madi. :)
The original plan was to go to the Children's Museum, but when Madeleine and Gretchen wanted to go with us to the playground, Madi's original plan faded and she quickly decided to go with them instead. I was worried that she didn't quite understand that she was giving up the museum to go to the playground. So I drew pictures of the two activities on little index cards and told her she got to keep one of the cards and had to throw the other card away. The card she kept is what we would do. I knew she got it after she threw the card into the garbage then started suggesting that we go to the museum on Max's day. :)
We had lots of fun at the playground and lots of fun for the rest of the day. It wasn't so different from a normal day, but it was still fun. I don't really remember what we did b/c it's been too long and I didn't write anything down. I'll be quicker next time.

The Day of the Mama

So a few weeks ago, I was really just kind of tired of being immersed in kids' stuff day after day. I was tired of taking orders from a 2 1/2 year old, and I kind of felt like a non-person... like my whole existence was to satisfy the needs of those around me. I know that a day on my own or a day at the spa or a trip to the middle of nowhere with a private suite and some books and NO sounds of children would have done the trick. Unfortunately, none of those things were an option to me at this point in time.

So I declared "The Day of the Mama."

I told Madi (and Max, but he's just along for the ride right now anyway) that the day was MY day and that I got to decide what we did, where we went, what we listened to in the car, what we ate, etc... you get the point. It felt great, I must admit. Everything was going to be about ME! :) To assuage my guilt at taking a whole day to do what I wanted, I told Madi that the next day would be her day, and the day after would be Max's day. So although she was initially pretty put off by listening to talk radio, and having to do whatever Mommy wanted her to do when Mommy wanted her to do it (isn't she supposed to be doing this all the time anyway???), as soon as she realized that she would have the power the day after, she was all for it.

Unfortunately, my empowering moments in the beginning of the day quickly faded as the day wore on. I had great plans of going to a few stores to find a couple shirts to accomodate my expanding belly, since I was not ready to start wearing maternity clothes yet (I'm totally over that now :)). The first 30 minutes was great. Madi loved coming in the dressing room and telling me what looked good and what didn't. But... then after that, I was tired of dealing with two kids in retail stores, so I gave up. We went and played on the toys in the middle of the mall instead for the rest of the morning. I did end up buying shirts... for Madi, Max, and Kurt, but not me. And because of our long morning at the mall, both kids fell asleep on the car ride home and neither of them took naps. Sigh.

So much for the day of the mama.

Friday, June 6, 2008

So... Define 'short'

I just realized how complicated it must be to learn English. I just told Madi that Max was too short to break the lamp, that her dress was too short to wear without pants, and that it would be a short wait for something.

She kind of looked at me trying to process it all. Then repeated all the sentences I'd used 'short' in, but they were all mixed up. Oops. I guess that was confusing.

As I was thinking about how to clarify, she took the roll of toilet paper I'd brought in here as tissues (we're really high class here) and snuck out the door with a grin. I said, "what are you doing with that, Madi?" She said, "I'm making hallinks." Yeah, not sure what that is.

Several minutes later...

Madi singing: "Hush little baby, don't say a word. Mama's going to buy you a taxi driver brain."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kurt the Bull

So, it's kind of a long story, but bottom line is that Kurt's new nickname in my family is "The Bull." I'm not entirely sure of the origins, since it started during the annual Rockwood "guys' trip." My little brother, Dave, produced this little gem in PhotoShop, nabbing the picture from our blog. I laugh everytime I look at it, so I just had to post it for all to enjoy. What I love the most is that in this picture, The Bull is wearing a ponytail. Ah, Kurt is such a good sport. :)