Sunday, September 26, 2010
Yesterday I spent the morning at a conference for adjunct instructors and I came away with a lot more confidence in my ability to teach as well as some great ideas for planning my courses. I almost didn't go to the general Relief Society meeting last night since I had been gone for much of the day, but I'm glad I did because I really felt enriched and uplifted by the talks.
Today was not a good start to this next week because both of the children have been vomiting at various times throughout the day. It has been weird, because they will throw up and then feel fine for a while. Then they will eat some thing and either throw up immediately or wait a few hours before throwing up. Not the usual pattern for how we experience stomach flu. We finally sent them to bed early with towels over their pillows and big bowls for late-night emergencies. I'm not planning on have either one go to school tomorrow, which makes me feel a little stressed about the day. I also really hate vomit; even baby spit-up can make me gag at the wrong time. Mr. Fob has been awesome about handling much of the vomit duty today. I just hope it goes away quickly.
I hate to end on such a negative note. Up until today, this week has been a lot of fun and things have gone well. We got a new washing machine a few weeks ago and it has been fabulous with all the yucky laundry we've had for the last few days. It is a high-efficiency top-loader that doesn't have the agitator in the middle. It works really well and can hold an entire comforter (very handy for late-night messes). I also recently received a free 'dryer bar' to try out and I really like it. You just stick it in your dryer and it works for a few months to keep the clothes soft and smelling nice. I love not having to remember to put in the dryer sheets.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Besides the fact that the kids love Primary, I also mainly went because I like my job playing the piano for Relief Society. This week the opening song was "The Lord is My Light", and as I started playing, something completely changed inside me. Somewhere between the upbeat music, the touching words, and the beautiful harmonies of the women in my ward I found my heart softening. I truly felt that the Lord is my light and that He does lead me, even when I lose track of Him. I've known this in the past and my experiences have been powerful enough that I can't deny them. Right now I just need to get myself back on track and do a better job of looking to Him for guidance. Life is hard sometimes, but I know that when I take His hand, I will truly be led along.
I know in His might, I'll conquer at length.
By day and by night, he leads
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I've been avoiding posting for a few days in order to get in a better mood. Thursday wasn't any better than Wednesday was. I still felt awful from my cold and spent most of the busy day with a sinus headache. On Friday things finally cleared up, and I celebrated the oncoming weekend by ignoring all my responsibilities that afternoon while reading Mockingjay (it was very, very good). The kids were crabby on Friday afternoon and I was tempted to just give up and let them watch a show. Instead, S-Boogie called a friend for a playdate and was able to be distracted for a few hours. We had a nice dinner together and got the kids off to bed at a pretty decent hour.
On Saturday we had a nice family day together. S-Boogie decided that she wanted her own room after all, so we spent most of the day getting things set up to move her down to our former guest room in the basement. We drove around to some yard sales and thrift stores hoping to find her a desk and a different bed (we want one with a trundle). We did not find either, but we did manage to find her some soccer shoes and a coat for Little Dude at excellent prices. Then we went to S-Boogie's soccer game and watched her team obliterate another team. They did a great job this week really listening to their coach and playing as a team. S-Boogie still seems a little more inexperienced and hesitant than the other girls, but she did make some good plays this time. We bought the kids Happy Meals on the way home because McDonalds was giving out Batman toys. Saturday afternoon we spent time rearranging rooms and doing some other cleaning, plus we played a round of Life, which we picked up for two bucks at D.I. Then we had some yummy French toast for dinner.
Today was a nice end to the weekend. This morning was a regional broadcast for stake conference. I had been somewhat dreading taking the two older children (the baby stayed home to nap), but it ended up being a rather pleasant experience. They had some new puzzle magazines to look at and spent most of the time sitting quietly in their seats with their magazines. In an ideal world I would have loved for them to actually listen to the messages more, but at least we came and were reverent. I got a lot out of the talks at the meeting and felt glad that I ignored my earlier temptation to just skip it. This afternoon we had some family members come over; one just to stop by to drop some stuff off for us, and then a little later we invited Mr. Fob's sister and our niece to come for dinner. It was great to visit with my sister-in-law and the kids had a fun time playing with their cousin. Next week is going to be crazy again, but hopefully I won't get sick and I will be able to stay a little more sane.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
First of all, I feel like a constant refrain for the last year or so is "Little Dude is driving me crazy". He is really clingy and I have a hard time getting him to entertain himself much. I'm discovering that the hardest part of having S-Boogie do so many activities is dealing with a four-year-old who won't get over having to do something he doesn't want to do. Last week he spent the entire hour of her soccer game whining "I want to go home" and pulling on my legs. He did the same thing tonight at her dance class, even though I brought stuff to entertain him. Unfortunately he's not quite old enough for classes of his own. We did recently buy him a CD player for his room and that seems to be helping with bedtime issues, since I know lack of sleep can contribute to behavior issues. I just worry because he doesn't seem to have anything he is interested in doing every day besides whining and moping and clinging to my legs (oh, he does spend some time running around the living room yelling and jumping on the couch even though he's not supposed to). Should four-year-olds have some kind of interests or hobbies?
S-Boogie is mostly doing all right with school but has been frustrating me by her sudden development of insomnia. We even bought her a CD player to listen to relaxing music (by the way, thrift stores are the best places for electronics) and yet she still lies awake way too late every night and is impossible to get up in the morning.
My main downer lately has been the news I received at the baby's checkup last Thursday. I posted the other day about how I thought it might be time to switch to formula. I knew my baby might not be getting enough milk but I didn't really feel like switching and I didn't think the problem was that bad. Then we had her checkup and it turns out that her weight has dropped from the sixtieth percentile to the first and she has not yet doubled her birth weight. She really hasn't been growing much for the last three or four months. I've just been feeling awful because I could have fixed this problem much sooner and now I worry that it will be hard for her to catch up with her growth. And now I have to spend every day counting ounces and trying to get her to eat more (she has a small appetite, probably from getting small feedings for so long). Not a good situation for someone already prone to obsessing over things.
There is a clinical term for those with depression when they obsess about things: ruminating. And the rational part of my mind knows that it is not healthy to keep going over and over my regrets. Yes I should have followed my gut with my baby and not my laziness or pride. But she's doing fine other than being small and she should catch up again. I need to focus on the positive things lately. We have a nice home, all of the essential things for life, our kids are generally happy, and we have much to look forward to. Life will get better, especially if I can get my brain to shut off this stupid obsessing!
Saturday, September 04, 2010
It was interesting to read this book so soon after finishing Middlemarch, since they both cover similar social issues during a similar time period. They are, however, very different from each other in many ways. I had never really heard of Gaskell or her work until a few years ago and my impression is that she is not studied nearly as much as other similar writers like George Eliot, the Brontes, or Jane Austen. I think that's a shame because this is an excellent book on many levels: romance, social commentary, political and feminist criticism, etc. I think I need to read more of Gaskell's work to see if it is all as good as this one.
One Small Boat by Kathy Harrison
This was a book that caught my eye at the library. It was a nicely-written memoir about one woman's experience as a foster parent; she writes so lovingly about the children she took care of that it almost convinced me to become a foster parent. At the same time, she is honest enough that I knew it is something I really could not do.
Private Life by Jane Smiley
This book is both a detailed historical novel about a particularly fascinating time period in American history and an intimate portrait of a very flawed marriage. I loved reading it even though I didn't particularly like the protagonist or her husband; I think it takes a skilled author to create a character that is still sympathetic while sometimes being completely incomprehensible. At the same time, the main character's behavior feels right for the setting, particularly in regards to the relationship between men and women and the social stigma against mental illness.
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon KrakauerThe main problem that I had with this book was the fact that I have little interest in football or in the military. It is heavy on description of both things. However, Krakauer really does have a gift for making specialized topics accessible to readers and so I managed to really enjoy the book all the same. While I think one of the major focuses of the book is a critique of current military policy, the main thing I came away with was an admiration for Tillman as a person. He seems like he was a truly good person and someone who would love to be like in my actions.
The Invention of Lying
This movie had a very funny premise and some good lines, but I felt like the screenwriters didn't really know where to go with it. I felt like the last half of the movie dragged and just didn't really feel 'right' to me.The Time Traveler's Wife
Mr. Fob and I agree that this felt like watching a condensed version of the book. It is actually better than I thought it would be, but it felt very light compared to the story that is told in the novel.Jesus Camp
I've been hearing about this from a lot of people and I thought it really was well done. It was more sympathetic to its subjects than I expected it to be and it made me think a lot about myself as a religious person and what my own views are.This is definitely a 'fluff' movie, but at least it's a very funny one. It probably helps that we're in the 'tired married couple with small children' group that is clearly the target audience. If you're looking for something fun I'd certainly check this out (we watched the extended version on the DVD and it did have a wee bit more naughty stuff than a normal PG-13 might, just FYI).
Look Around You
This actually isn't a movie; it's a British television series that parodies educational films from the seventies. We worried that we wouldn't really understand the British humor but we actually ended up laughing our heads off.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Mexico: We actually already know quite a lot about Mexico, but it was fun for the kids to learn even more. We read several books, including this one, this one, and this one. For dinner I made frijoles (in the crockpot) that we ate with fresh salsa, queso fresco, and corn tortillas that the kids helped me make. I also made some flan for a treat and we ended up watching the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua since it mostly takes place in Mexico. Not that anything in the movie is remotely accurate as far as Mexico goes, but the kids thought it was great.
Mongolia: The library only had one picture book about Mongolia, but at least it was a good one and S-Boogie wanted me to read it to her every day for a week. I made some steamed dumplings that were pretty tasty and we watched a movie from Mongolia. For some reason the English language track wasn't working and I was worried that the kids would be bored, but there actually wasn't much dialogue and it was simple enough that they watched the whole movie and really liked it.
Morocco: We read a few informational books and also found some nice picture books as well. I really loved the illustrations in this one and thought this one was great too. My sister lived in Morocco so she cooked us some food while we were camping with my family. She made some really yummy couscous similar to this recipe and then we followed our meal with fruit and mint tea. The kids especially liked the fact that she taught them how to bless the food in Arabic in the traditional Moroccan way.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
I am having mixed feelings about teaching so far. I'm teaching first-year writing for the English department and it is quite different from teaching Spanish. I generally feel pretty confident while lecturing but then I get done with class and start feeling insecure about whether all my students think I'm completely incompetent. I think that's normal. While I'm actually in class I really enjoy it, but the lesson prep and getting the syllabus and everything else set up has been draining. Transitioning from spending most of the last year with low demands on my time to suddenly having very little flexibility in my schedule has been hard. Not to mention the fact that I've been having a hard time going to bed early enough to deal with my earlier mornings. However, things are starting to feel like they are getting better and I hope the rest of the semester will go as smoothly as possible.
The older kids started school last Wednesday also. S-Boogie is a big second grader and so far seems to like her class. I've heard many good things about her teacher this year and she seems like a good fit for her. She's had a little stress adjusting to the fact that second graders share recess on the big playground with some of the bigger kids, but I'm sure she'll work it out. I signed her up for dance classes again, and then last week her friend talked her into signing up for soccer with her. Soccer is just for the month of September and hopefully we'll survive without going too crazy. Little Dude started preschool a few afternoons a week and loves his class. I was worried that he wouldn't want to go since he can be shy. The first day he eagerly went off to class and came home with tons of fun things to tell me about. I mostly love the two hours in the afternoon when the older kids are in school and the baby is taking a nap. Thankfully she is pretty mellow and is usually willing to go along with all the crazy adventures that the rest of us have.