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Showing posts from December, 2007

I'm officially an old biddy now

Thanks to Nemesis I am now watching Masterpiece Theateron Sunday nights. To accompany my TV viewing I either eat low-fat ice cream or air-popped popcorn. Sometimes I work on counted cross stitch. Then I make sure I take my fiber pills before going to bed.

Introspection

A few days ago I was going to post about stressed out I was feeling, but then I made some decisions and I don't feel so stressed anymore. First of all, I got an offer to teach at a second school. However, this school is about an hour away (more with traffic) and the class conflicted with one I had already agreed to teach. I thought my first class wasn't going to happen, because it only had two students when I left on vacation. Then I looked again and started to panic, because there were six students. I was feeling really freaked out about starting at a new school, driving that far two nights a week, and screwing over my first employer. So I told the second school that I couldn't do it. And I felt a lot better. I haven't even felt guilty about the fact that they start next Wednesday. Saying "no" appropriately is a great way to reduce stress.

I also finished and turned in my graduate school applications. I did three of them; for a while I was considering doing m…

Today's Christmas Memories

We had another good Christmas this year. Last night we got together with some friends and had a nice dinner and program. It was a lot of fun, although I'm continually amazed by how much angst and drama a group of preschool girls can create for themselves. Thankfully our kids were both really tired and went to sleep easily last night. And neither is apparently big enough to be too excited about Christmas because they slept in until nearly eight this morning. We got up and opened presents; the kids ate cookies from their stockings for breakfast and we watched Little Dude's new Signing Time video. We already opened some presents in Utah with family, and they got some more fun things today: several books, a puzzle and new clothes for Little Dude, Candy Land and some Play Doh for S-Boogie. Mr. Fob got me a year-long membership to Curves, which was exactly what I wanted. It was a very generous present, especially since I just got him an alarm clock and an iTunes gift card. We spent …

2 Days of Christmas Memories

Another of my family's most treasured Christmas traditions was making and delivering cookies on Christmas Eve. My mom said she started it because she needed some way to get through the day without the kids going crazy. We would bake and decorate cookies in the morning and then spend the evening delivering them to friends. I've done that every year since leaving home, either with roommates or with Mr. Fob and our little family. I love baking and it's so fun to visit with everyone. This year S-Boogie helped cut out and decorate gingerbread cookies, and then I also made some little popcorn "clusters" (they were supposed to be balls, but it didn't really work out so well). I also tried a recipe for jam thumbprint cookies, but that didn't work out at all. First of all, it only made two dozen instead of four. Then I tried putting lemon curd in the second batch and it melted all over the place. So a few people got jam cookies, but most didn't. Oh well. This …

3 Days of Christmas Memories

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Tonight we went to a live Nativity pageant at a nearby church. It's a lot of fun and the kids liked seeing the real donkey and sheep in the real stable. I was impressed by the amount of work that the members of this church had put into their play, and I also had the thought "well, of course, they want us to join their church." I know that missionary work was part of their goal, but I realized that behind that was a sincere joy in their belief. They really believe in Christ and want to share that with others. Of course I thought of my mission and of the joy I felt in sharing with others. Not just my testimony and not just with the expectation that they would join the church, but simple joy in our ability to get to know each other and learn more about life from that experience. It's hard to explain the kinds of relationships you have with people as a missionary because they are so different from anything else you experience later in life. Anyways, I thought I'd sha…

4 Days of Christmas Memories

I read another blog post today bemoaning those "cheesy Christmas letters that everyone sends to brag about how perfect their family is". I felt a little defensive because our annual Christmas letter has become a treasured family tradition for Mr. Fob and I. And, while we do tend to highlight the good things, we really don't send it out to brag. We've been having a little trouble with getting this year's letter written and sent out on time, partly because we don't have a decent picture and partly because we're trying to find the best way to talk about what's been happening with us this year. I like to be honest about ourselves, but I also feel like we don't have to tell everyone every gory detail of our lives. Christmas is a time of peace and optimism, so I think our letters should reflect that.

We started the tradition with our very first Christmas, even though we had only been married for a month. The idea was planted in a Sunday School lesson abo…

5 Days of Christmas Memories

The one hard and fast rule in my house for Christmas morning was that you could not wake up Mom and Dad. They didn't care how early we got up, but we had to wait for them to get themselves up and ready before we could open presents. The wait was always excruciating. "Santa" usually left out one of our bigger gifts all assembled and ready to play with. Plus we got a special treat in our stockings: mini boxes of sugar cereal. The only day of the year when Fruit Loops and chocolate coins were an acceptable breakfast. When it was time to open presents, we would go around in a circle and take turns. I like doing that because it prolongs the process and you can watch what everyone else got. How do you do presents in your house?

I just remembered that there was a year when I was in college that my parents managed to get up and dressed before any of the rest of us did. You know everyone is getting older when the parents actually have to drag the kids out of bed to open presents!

6 Days of Christmas Memories

I guess we could call this post "Christmas Music Part 2". Last night at the party we were discussing what the worst Christmas songs ever were. No one brought up this one. My sister actually once had to do a tap dance routine to this song, complete with a felt hippo face safety pinned to her shiny red leotard (I think she was about 5 or 6).

Speaking of dance, another family tradition we had was attending a performance of The Nutcracker each year. My mom also used to make new dresses for my sister and I each year for Christmas, so the performance was a good opportunity to show off our new clothes. When I was thirteen I got to wear pantyhose and high heels for the first time. That was exciting for a few months afterward, but then I figured out how uncomfortable true beauty is and gave up that habit. I wore white pumps with frilly ankle socks to my eighth grade graduation--I'm just a fashion rebel like that.

7 Days of Christmas Memories

I'm writing this post very late at night because we were up in Ogden at a Christmas party with friends. Growing up I mostly remember celebrating Christmas with my immediate family. We lived far away from my grandparents and other relatives, so we never celebrated holidays with them. Since Mr. Fob and I have gotten married we've discovered the world of entertaining. We love having parties and attending parties with friends. My mom's family has also started an annual Christmas party that's quite a lot of fun and I'm grateful we were able to be in Utah this year for it. I don't know how much longer this partying of ours can last though, because kids make things difficult. At least tonight there was an extra bedroom S-Boogie could crash in, but I think we're going to have to start getting a babysitter for parties. Or maybe we should just move into a bigger home next year and start inviting people over to our place. That's a tradition I can certainly support…

8 Days of Christmas Memories

Christmas music is a very important part of most people's feelings about the season. The interesting thing to me is how much the type of music varies from family to family. Growing up, I mainly remember two records that we listened to every year: Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper and another by some group of singers whose name I can't remember. That album had cool stuff on it like "What Are You Doin' New Year's Eve?", "Be a Santa", and "Do You Hear What I Hear?"; some day I want to dig out my parents' old record collection and figure out what it was. We also had (and still do have) the big Reader's Digest Christmas Songbook, and the rule was that you couldn't start playing that until after Thanksgiving.

I sometimes wonder what our children will remember as far as Christmas music goes, because we've started a tradition of buying a new CD each year. We have a varied collection that includes CDs from Elvis, Mariah Carey, Celine …

9 Days of Christmas Memories

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One of the fun things about visiting my parent's house was the opportunity to see all of my mom's nativity sets. She's a big fan of "Jesus is the reason for the season" and has collected sets for years.

This is a set I made for her when I was ten years old. I remember that for years during high school I was deeply embarrassed when she would show it off to people. All I could see were the imperfections (like the cardboard sheep with one leg). The funny thing is, seeing it for the first time in at least six or seven years, I was impressed with how well it was made. Heck, I was 10 and I came up with it all by myself. I guess I must be growing up after all.


This is the set I bought for my mom when I was in Spain. Truthfully I'm a little jealous, since I didn't buy one for myself. But I have a cool set from Hawaii and hopefully some day I'll get back to Spain and can buy myself a new one. I also need to buy some turron--I've never been able to find any h…

10 Days of Christmas Memories

The other day a friend and I were talking about Christmas and she remarked "I've always thought of Christmas as a women's holiday, since it's about birth." She does have a point; although I think parenting is and should be an equal-opportunity responsibility, pregnancy and childbirth are still exclusively women's work. Last Sunday in my sister-in-law's ward I had the opportunity to listen to a fascinating talk on the spiritual symbolism of birth. The woman giving the talk works as a doula and she drew many interesting parallels between birth and gospel principles. For example, she talks about Christ's statement in Gethsemane as being similar to the transition statement ("I can't go on") that many women make during labor when they are needing extra support for the final push. I also liked the fact that she mentioned that she always felt that we did Mary a disservice by viewing the birth of Christ as something clean and sanitized. Mary is …

11 Days of Christmas Memories

I already posted last year about my feelings about Santa. He just wasn't a big deal in my house growing up, and I don't remember ever thinking of him as an actual, real being. One year, however, my sister and I got a note from Santa. I'm pretty sure I was seven that year, so my sister would have been six. We had asked for My Little Ponies that year, but instead we got a nice note from Santa explaining that so many children had asked for Ponies that we would need to wait until January 25th to get ours. So we played with our other presents and waited patiently. Then, on January 25th, we got our Ponies. I remember now being puzzled by the note because I was pretty sure that Santa wasn't real, but I hadn't really figured out that my parents left the presents. And I'm pretty sure that at that point in my life I didn't recognize my mother's handwriting. I wish I had saved that note because I sure would like to look at it now.

12 Days of Christmas Memories

One tradition my family started at some point during my childhood was a tree decorating party. We didn't invite anyone else but ourselves, but always had fun food that my mom didn't normally buy. She'd even break out the punch bowl and we'd make some punch. We're not exactly a fancy cheese sort of family; our traditional foods lean towards chips and salsa and Lil' Smokies with barbecue sauce. Yum. Last night my parents had our party and the kids got to help decorate the tree. Actually, Little Dude worked on seeing if he could eat more Lil' Smokies than my dad, and S-Boogie helped decorate the tree. It was a lot of fun. I haven't had Christmas at my home for a while and it's fun to do some of the old traditions, even if none of my siblings were here.

Also, I love our Christmas tree. I like the fancier trees with matching ornaments and a theme, but I'll admit that I still think my family's is the best. We have ornaments that are over thirty yea…

Vacation of the Absurd

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This is Little Dude in his "cage". We're glad we didn't have to bring our playpen with us, but the free crib from the motel was quite interesting. I kept wanting to sing our favorite Stephen Marley song: "Let me out, let me out, I'm an angry lion".

On Sunday we were getting ready for church and I was trying to find my tights. S-Boogie had gotten herself ready earlier and was wearing a pair of tights that were too big. I assumed she had borrowed them from her older cousin so I thought I'd just let it go. Then I looked in the suitcase and realized that she had put on my tights. It was hard to convince her to switch because I couldn't wear hers.

We ran into a tumbleweed that blew across the road in southern Utah. It was as wide as the front of our car and stuck in the grill. We got it off by pulling off on an exit and braking quickly. Then we ran over it and got it stuck to the bottom of the car. It finally managed to get completely free when we wen…

T Minus 24

I think I write a post before every trip about how stressful it is to pack and get everyone ready to go. We're leaving tomorrow after S-Boogie gets home from school and will drive part of the way before stopping for the night.

The main thing I'm stressed about is that we finally got the movie Volver from the library and if we don't watch it tonight we'll have to wait another four months. Of course, we could also just rent it and watch it with my parents. They might like it.

I'm also a little nervous to take Little Dude on a trip because he's been acting very difficult this week. It's like he's got some kind of toddler PMS or something. Yesterday and the day before he cried hysterically every time I tried to put him in his bed for a nap. I'm scared to try again today, but neither of us can get through the day without a nap for him. Plus he's done the tantrum over the carseat, breakfast tantrum involving throwing bananas, the tantrum over mommy goin…

My Happy Place

About four years ago, when S-Boogie was a tiny baby, I typed some parenting concern into Google looking for advice. One of the search results was a thread on a message board that catered to other LDS moms. I was immediately hooked; I'd never used message boards before, but as a new mom I loved the interaction with other moms. However, after a year or so of spending time on the board I started to grow disillusioned. I never really felt like I fit in, and I often felt like my comments were ignored or dismissed. At the same time, several of my friends started blogs and I happened to stumble onto Dooce. This seemed like something even better than a message board--I could write whatever I want and people would actually listen to me. I hoped that blogging would help me improve my writing skills and emotional awareness and that it would be a way for me to preserve a bit of my life history somewhere.

Now, more than two years and five hundred posts later, I'm still happy with blogging. …

When It Rains, It Pours

Sorry, I couldn't resist using this title even if it's cheesy. I was going to post last night about how the more than twenty-four hours' worth of pouring rain was getting me down. Then we were awakened at 4 this morning by a kindly neighbor calling to tell us that the apartment next door was flooding. We checked our front door and there was a puddle of water making its way through our coat closet and our laundry room. We threw some towels on it and went back to bed, where I slept fitfully through dreams of water rushing through my home and ruining all my stuff. Thankfully we only had that small amount of seepage. Our carpet just beyond the linoleum in the entryway is a bit damp. Someone was supposed to bring us a dehumidifier this evening, but I think they were too busy cleaning up the two neighboring apartments that got totally flooded. Or maybe trying to sandbag the lake that has sprouted up beside the playground right outside our back windows. I'm glad we were spare…

Reading Roundup: November 2007

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

I'd always assumed this book was from the nineteenth century until I checked it out and realized that it was written in the 1970s. I also realized after reading it that I probably would have loved it when I was ten. Instead I read it in about an hour and wasn't all that impressed. It was an intriguing premise, but the book felt like it could have done so much more with the idea.

She Got Up Off the Couch (And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana) by Haven Kimmel

I really liked A Girl Named Zippy because it was so ordinary, not like so many recent "problem memoirs" that seem to try and outdo each other with how horrific the authors' lives were. Even though Kimmel here reveals more about her family than I expected based on the first book, I still found this to be a very positive book. I loved the fact that she can look back on her childhood and still see things with a child's eyes. She presents the world in the way she saw …

Thanksgiving Menu

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This is over a week late, but at least you can use these for next year. Or make some of them now for dinner; they're all great.

Turkey Breast: I bought a small turkey breast (5 pounds) and tried the Alton Brown method of brining and starting it at a high temperature. I cut the brine recipe in half and soaked it in a large tupperware container in the fridge for a few hours in the morning. It also didn't get very brown due to the fact that after 20 minutes the pan broke. But it still turned out very tasty and juicy. I think the best thing that helped was using a meat thermometer. The turkey was at the right temperature much earlier than I had expected.

Stuffing: This year I used Trader Joe's stuffing mix. It was pretty good, but a little dry for my taste. It also made a lot, which was fun for leftovers.

Rolls: I used this recipe and they were very buttery and tasty. I made one batch as crescents and another as cloverleaf pullaparts in muffin tins. They baked faster than I expec…