Thursday, October 28, 2004

Give a Yell

Nathan's family has an elaborate cheer. I'm not sure why they have it, or when they use it, but it's fun! Every great team has a cheer or slogan to built pride and help everyone feel united. Tonight we were yelling in our huddle (in preparation for the after dinner clean-up,) when John came toddling over with his hand out - he wanted to be in the group, too. We did the cheer again with John's little hand on ours. He even bobbed his little body up and down with us. Oh man, he is great! Here is the cheer, in case your family needs one:

2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar.
All the (your family name here)'s
stand up and holler:
Give a yell, Give a yell,
Give a yell--I--L--I--L.
And when I yell I really yell
and this is what I yell:
L--M--N, L--M--N,
L-M-N-diego, San Diego
Hocus, Pocus,
try and choke us,
Ma, Pa, sisk-boom-bah
Gooooooo (family name)'s

(Did I forget anything, Nathan?)

A leaf from John

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Lunar Eclipse

Did you see the eclipse tonight? The sky was a tiny bit overcast, so we couldn't see any stars, but the moon was still visible, though blurry. Very cool. Hoping for clear skies at your house.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dressing Up

The Halloween Costume project has been a big success. Because of a squadron Halloween party on Saturday, I was forced to get the costumes finished an entire week before the big day. That is a first for me. Hannah will be a fancy elf with flowing sleeves (most important.) Sydney will be a witch, dearie. Emily is still a pumpkin, and John is a little stinker (skunk.)

This year's costumes required much sewing, though the pumpkin was Hannah's, then Sydney's in years past. John's skunk began as a black sweatsuit. I sewed on a white belly, a white stripe down the back, and a black and white tail. The costume project nearly came to an end when my sewing machine started cutting threads; sad, sad day. We were able to press on thanks to my neighbor's machine. (On a side note, I took my machine in to get worked on and had a chance to look at spendy new machines. I decided I don't need a computerized embroidery machine for just $4300, but I may buy a slightly used serger if it is still there when I go to pick up my humble, but faithful, Kenmore.)

Sewing costumes reminds me of all the costumes Mom made for us. I remember being a clown in 3rd grade. We walked home for lunch and Mom braided my hair and threaded wire through the braids, so when I pulled on a string, my hair stood up! Who can forget the Strawberry Shortcake year? I wonder which one I was. Remember the year Sarah broke her collarbone and was a football player? I wish I had mom's red riding hood. I would make one for myself if I could, maybe next year. So tell me what your favorie Halloween costume was. I hope I never dressed up as a baby. That costume (complete with pacifier and cloth diaper) makes me sick.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Fun on Sunday

The little red car has been in our family for a long time. Santa brought it to Sydney when she was just 1 year old. When Emily was 1, she discovered it. Our Florida home had a long strip of tile through the entry, hallway, and kitchen. Sydney would push Emily across the floor and the car would make a happy choo-choo train sound as it flew across the tile.

The car is not without danger. Emily recieved her first of many bloody lips when she slammed into the side of the couch while riding on the car. It has also caused the ruin of many pretty shoes. Its anti-lock brake system depends entirely on the toes of the rider's shoes. It has been an outdoor toy for a couple of years, but Emily's legs have gotten too long, thus reducing her speed and enjoyment.

Em and John on the little red car. July 4th, 2004.

We brought the car inside this week for John to enjoy. He loves it. Sydney and Emily had a great time today giving John rides on the car. Back and forth. Back and forth. Sometimes John as passenger, sometimes John pushing. It is quieter without the tile, and probably safer (slower, too) on carpet. Can you imagine the fun they would have in the Modesto house, with the island to run around and around like a race track?


This month in Primary we are learning how Prophets teach us to strengthen our families. I am enjoying Sundays much more this month, as I am not teaching. Today we focused on Book of Mormon prophets. Last summer Sydney and I read through the children's Book of Mormon reader, which has many of the stories along with drawings. Her favorite story was the story of Ammon.

Ammon went on a mission to teach the Lamanites, and instead of preaching he went to work serving the king. After saving the king's flock of sheep by wacking off the arms of some robbers, King Lamoni thought Ammon was the Great Spirit. Then Ammon was able to teach the king about the creation and Adam and Lehi bringing his people from Jerusamlem. The king believed him and "...he fell unto the earth, as if he were dead."(Alma 18:42)

His wife is, of course, worried, so she tells Ammon (and this is Sydney's very favorite part) "...the servants of my husband have made it known unto me that thou art a prophet of a holy God, and that thou hast power to do many works in his name; therefore, if that is the case I would that ye should go in and see my husband, for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days..and some say that he is dead and that he stinketh, but as for me he doth not stink." (Alma 19:4-5)

So, in Primary we sang the Book of Mormon Stories song again and again. I did not realize that there are 10 (or more) verses to the song, each about a different BofM prophet. I learn things every week.

John set an olympic record in Sacrament Meeting by actually staying quiet and happy through 3/4ths of the meeting. We snuck out as the second speaker began his talk. We have a rather young and energetic ward, so John is not the only loud disruptive kid. I think it is too loud, but I don't know how the reverence could be improved. The children are great in Primary, and I have a feeling it is the parents chatting before and after the meeting that sets the tone.

We start Primary in the chapel directly after Sacrament meeting. The kids go right to their class's pew and sit so quietly. It is embarrassing when we are ready to get started, but there are adults laughing and talking as they slowly leave the chapel. It has been taking so long to get them out of there that I asked to organist to play a couple primary songs (Reverently, Quietly; The Chapel Doors) after her postlude, as a reminder to the parents. I'm not sure if it is helping.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Just Say No

In honor of Red Ribbon Week, I am dedicating this entry to the small, but powerful word NO. I am tired. Once again, I have learned why "no" is the most important word in my vocabulary. I have had way too many commitments this week.

When we were in California and Dana was my guide and mentor, she gave me an article about saying no firmly and clearly. I forget that I don't have to have a real reason to say no. I can just say no. Such as, "I really wish I could, but no. Good luck with ______." or "Thanks so much for asking, but I just won't be able to..."

I have a difficult time balancing being kind and helpful, and over extending myself. I guess I still think that if I say yes, then someone will want to be my friend. Should go to counseling. Instead I will keep writing here.

I like lists, and since I didn't do a To Do list at the beginning of the week, I will do a shoulda never done list now:

Shoulda said no to the RS - instead I am teaching how to make the famous Ducky Towel. Don't mind teaching, but hate the 2 trips to Walmart, cutting out parts, sewing on eyeballs, calling to ask for sewing machines, finding (and paying for) a babysitter.....

Babysitting. I already have a friend to swap with. I don't need more.

School fundraiser. Yuck. Cookie Dough. We sold 4 buckets total, half to ourselves. Why I said I would help sort the buckets for the entire school is beyond me.

Babyshower. I want to go, but why am I involved in the planning? Have to order a cake.

Halloween Costumes. I will have to dedicate a separate blog to Halloween Costumes. I coulda said no, but really, I enjoy the costumes. Just want to complain while I can.

The one that really ticks me off is the furnace guy. There was a note stuck to my door earlier this week saying that a guy would come sometime between 8am and 12pm today, and that an adult had to be home to let him come check the furnace. We were home. No guy.

Well, my complaining has gotten out of hand. So here are some good things about this week:

Our neighbor invited us over, last minute, for dinner. Fun!

Hannah's eye was bothering her, and our neighbor the optometrist came over and looked at it and gave her eyedrops. Wasn't that kind?

Sister Missionaries came to dinner. Always a great time. It turns out that we are only going to have Elders after tomorrow, so I'm glad we had them over.

Piano recital. Short and sweet. They offer 5 different time choices so that each recital lasts about 30 minutes. A lovely surprise. I was imagining the Suzuki Violin recital events of our childhood. Hannah did great.

How is your week going?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Look Up

I stepped outside early this morning and saw the most beautiful sky. The horizon was growing light, but the stars were brilliant in the sky. Orion seemed to be standing above our porch. The stars seemed brighter this morning than they usually do in the evening.

I found a website that shows tonight's sky. If these clouds roll away. I hope to be able to find Saturn in the morning.

I wonder what the sky looks like in the Southern Hemisphere. Nathan?

Monday, October 18, 2004

I noticed

This morning I put on a bit of make-up and noticed that my eyebrows are getting bushy, but my eyelashes are thinning. Why?

Syd's brows are always looking good

I took a package to the base today and saw a couple of B-1 bombers take off. The sound they make is a sound you can feel.

B-1 Taking off

It is an awesome airplane. I can imagine our little box of Halloween goodies flying up, up, up in a B-1. Sydney thinks the packages will be dropped out of the plane like bombs.

B-1 Bomber

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A Bit of a Flop

It all started at 7:45am when a teacher called to say that she wasn't going to be able to make it to teach her class. That phone call set me back about five minutes, and the roast didn't make it into the crockpot. On the way to church I remembered that my friend was coming to dinner, so I decided to make stuffed shells, breadsticks, and favorite salad. Kind of a light dinner, but the breadsticks make any meal special.

I started the breadsticks at about 3:30pm. Emily is always ready to help with any baking project, so I did the measuring, she did the pouring. Shells boiled, stuffed, and into bake by 4:00pm. Breadsticks in to bake at 4:20pm. Shells bubbly and done at 4:30pm, breadsticks should have been finished shortly after, for a perfectly timed dinner.

But they were not finished and looking a bit flat. I set the timer, my friend arrived, and she helped finish the salad. By about 4:45pm I realized there was a problem with the bread. It did not rise. I gave up and took it out of the oven. It appeared to be spicey unleavened bread. Sydney said it was good and ate a few of the flat, cracker-like pieces.

Looking back I can see that I forgot the yeast. How did that happen? I have been making these breadsticks almost weekly for about 8 years. I don't think they have ever failed me before. I did have some French bread in the cupboard, so all was not lost, and it was fun to have company anyway. The kids did their best to entertain and amaze our guest.

Here's the recipe, if you want to try it sometime. (You McB sisters may have had these before.) They are yummy and quick and (usually) very easy. It takes about an hour from start to finish.

Quick and Easy Breadsticks (a.k.a. Spice Girl Bread)
1 pkg yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
-mix together and set aside to rise for 10 min. then add the following and knead well
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour (more or less)
-Roll out to 1/2" thickness (like pizza) Melt 1 cube butter, pour about half of the melted butter into an 11"x16" jelly roll pan. Set the dough in the pan on the butter, then spread the remaining butter on the dough. Sprinkle with garlic powder, parmesean cheese (the kind that comes in a can,) and Italian seasoning. Cut into strips, then into 3" pieces (a pizza cutter works the best.) Let rise 1/2 hour, and bake 400 F for about 15 minutes.

Good Luck!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Saturday is a Special Day...

You won't believe how much stuff we got done today. We started with a whole house clean up and vacuum. Then I sewed on the quilt a bit. Then Hannah and I put together her bedframe and set up her bed. Then I sewed some. Next, we packed a box of Halloween treats for Nathan. Then I went jogging with Emily and Sam. While we were outside we put away the hoses for the winter, pulled up the scraggly petunias, picked the last of the tomatoes, and planted bulbs. After my shower I sewed a bit more, then I gathered up pictures for Primary, and worked on the Primary Sacrament Presentation. I called all our teachers, and my friend Melissa who is coming over for dinner tomorrow. We considered going to a Halloween Carnival, but our neighbors came over so we played dress up and dolls and power rangers, and jumped on the trampoline. We also watched the extras to Monster's Inc. about 20 times. Hannah knit about 2 feet of her funky scarf, and got recruited to play dolls (which she just loved). I finished sewing the squares into strips, and cut out all the parts for the program and typed up a note to the parents. Church bag is packed, crock pot is out, potatoes are washed. I think we are ready for Sunday. whew. Time for bed.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Getting Closer

All the little squares have been cut and sewn and cut and sewn again, and almost like magic, we have stars. I think I have about 80 star-squares. They are ready to be linked together to make Hannah's quilt. I did a darn good job getting the corners and points to line up, if I do say so myself. Hopefully the rows will line up as easily. Anyone want to come to a quilting bee?

Star Light, Star Bright

Hannah at Mt. Rushmore

Thursday Already?

Wow, where has the week gone? It is Thursday, and I believe I have accomplished nothing on my To Do list. Dang.

Well, Thursday is volunteer at school day. It is always fun to see Hannah and Sydney in their classes. Technically I don't go to Hannah's class - I help with the TAG (tallented* and gifted) program. Right now they are learning about elections, and on Nov. 2nd the TAG kids will be running a Kid's Voting election.

They have gone into the other classes and "registered" all the students in the school. They went to a Kid's Voting rally at Mt. Rushmore. Next week they will be decorating the voting booths. And on election day, as adults come to school to vote, all of the students in the school will be able to "vote" also.

Today the TAG group had a chance to see the kids' ballots and discuss how people choose who to vote for. The kids ballot has pictures of the canditates. I think it will be a neat experience for them to feel like they have a little part of the election. Kids Voting is supposed to also inspire the parents to vote - a note went home with the "voter registration" cards, and when the kids come home from school they will hopefully say: "I voted today, have you?"

Are you registered to vote? Nathan already voted absentee. I feel like a scitzophrenic voter - I am registered to vote in SD, I have a drivers license from FL, and we still claim residentcy in OR. Crazy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

To Do This Week

Finish the Quilt Top (must still sew the strips together)
*Set up the bedframe
Curtains for Hannah's room (bought fabric, forgot to look at curtain rods)
*Exercise Daily (yeah for me! two weeks in a row)
*Stick to dinner menu (not even one trip to McyD's)
*Bathroom Cleaning
Package to Nathan (packed - deliver on Monday)
*Put together a Baptism info packet
10 min. of training daily with Sam (Emily gave him treats. Does that count?)
Read aloud at Dinner (once. dang)
Call 2 sisters (only talked to one)
*Call teachers about program seating
*Prepare program assignment handouts

Looks like a good list. Hannah's quilt is coming along. It would be great if I could get it ready to tie this weekend. It has been a month since Nathan left. The time is really moving. Next week's big project will be Halloween Costumes. We have a dress up party to go to next Saturday - that should take care of my usual Halloween Eve sewing frenzie. Hannah wants to be an elf (Lord of the Rings) so if you have any ideas for how to do that, I would love to hear 'em. Also, I don't know what to have John be. Any ideas?

*Thanks to a wizbang Saturday I was able to check off a couple of jobs. I think it was a good productive week, all in all. (does "all in all" actually mean anything? it reminds me of "six in one, half dozen the other." I remember mom saying that, and having absolutely no idea what it meant. I am proud to say I get it, and find myself considering saying it on occasion. Yikes!)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Stake Conference

This weekend was Conference for our Stake. On Saturday there was training for the different presidencies in the wards, so our Primary Presidency went at 3pm. They offered a nursery for the kids, but John is not quite old enough, so I went ahead and found a babysitter for the afternoon. That worked out really well - it was nice to not have to worry about John wandering around during the meeting banging on the chairs.

The main topic for our meeting was being prepared. The 3 areas to be prepared in were:
1. Personal Preparation - these little kids are always watching, and you just can't fake a testimony. So prepare by having personal prayer, scripture study, and being obedient to the commandments.
2. Program - Follow the program of the church. Get to know the handbook, meet weekly as a presidency to pray for the children - laugh about them, talk about them, get to know them. Use church approved resources - the Friend has many great ideas. Don't make things harder than they have to be. Plan in advance so that you are prepared for Sunday and not cutting out little things during Sacrament Meeting. and 3. Priesthood - invite the Priesthood to Primary at least monthly. Expect them to come, and then remind them. Welcome them any time. Counsel with the Bishopric, discuss the primary records with them monthly, don't just turn in the numbers to the ward clerk. The numbers are necessary, but they don't tell the whole story.

A music leader from Chadron Nebraska (I didn't even know our Stake goes into Nebraska, but it does. It also goes into Wyoming.) taught us the song We are Different. You can play that song if you click on the "music and voice" MP3 icon. It has a kinda fun calypso beat. She gave each of us shakers made out of plastic cups, dried beans, and duck tape. Primary Music is fun!

Then a man from the Chadron branch taught a Primary lesson about the sacrament. He brought in about 10 kids from their branch. He did a great job keeping their attention. He is a large Tongan guy, and you can tell those kids just love him. The main thing that I noticed about his lesson was that he used the names of the children. He knew all of their names, and called them by name as he asked questions and told stories. He teaches 11 five and six year olds each week. He said that the most important thing a teacher can do is get to know the children. Find out what they are like. Pray for them. Learn about their families. Get a feel for how long they can concentrate, then use other activities to keep their attention.

He bore a powerful testimony about teaching in Primary. He said that he was extended a call to teach in Primary three years ago, but he said no. He had good excuses for not being able to serve - he was working on his PhD, his wife just had a baby, etc. They moved, and when he was called to teach Primary a year ago he jumped at the chance and has loved it. He says that though the things he teaches the children are just simple, basic gospel principles, he feels that his Testimony and love of the Savior has grown tremendously. I was very impressed by him. Sometimes, I think, people feel like teaching primary is a punishment. It was great to see someone who could do anything in his ward, teaching the 5 year olds and loving his calling.

It was a great meeting. I am going to learn the names of the children in our Primary. For some reason when I am nervous and standing in the front, the names of the children (and adults) slip away from me. Even the kids that I know really well, I forget. It is mighty embarrassing. I thought it was a pregnancy thing, but it is still a problem for me. Maybe I should have them wear name tags.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Bed Nathan Built

During the last three weeks that Nathan was home, he worked like mad to finish the bed. I honestly didn't think he would be able to get it done before they left. But he is amazing, and the bed is lovely.

Isn't that a beautiful bed? I love it. I wish the pictures of it all made-up were better. Our little camera works best outside.

One Last Picture of The Bed

4 Little Monkeys

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Headboard with oil.

The Bed. unfinished.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

What Are You Reading?

This week,I have been reading books by Gary Paulsen. I am fascinated by the story he tells of his childhood during WWII, in the books Cook Camp, Alida's Song, The Quilt, and Harris and Me. These books are fictional, but I think also autobiographical. His grandmother was an immigrant from Norway, and she brought him into her life among other Norweigan Americans at the edge of the prairie. It is amazing in the books that many of the farmers are still using work horses, and the homes have no electricity or running water. He discusses the ways that the war tore apart his family - his father left to fight, his mother got bored and got involved with bad men, they drank too much, etc.

But his grandmother was a steadying influence, she took care of him on several occasions when his mother couldn't, and showed him a life away from the city where families worked long and hard to survive, but life was full of adventure and love.

I especially enjoyed The Quilt. It tells of a summer with his grandmother, when they go help a distand cousin who is having a baby while her husband is away fighting in the Pacific. Many women in the area come to help with the baby. It is a sweet story about family.

I wish I could walk a couple of miles to my sister's house, and help cook and wash laundry when her baby comes.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I Got Side Tracked Already

It was a beautiful day today. The leaves are turning yellow and red, the mornings are crisp, the sky is blue. What a beautiful day. So, I admit, not much got done on The List. But Emily and I spent the day outside. First we fixed some flat tires (after I dug all around the garage looking for a funny little black tool to remove the tire from the wheel) Next, Emily rode her freshly fixed bike for all of 2 seconds, trading it in for a scooter. The scooter was a little tricky, so I had to walk all bent over and sideways to help keep it on the sidewalk - while pushing the stroller with the other hand. We cut the walk short and took a break from the scooter to play on the swings at the park. We visited with some neighbors, blew bubbles, watered the flowers, checked on the tomatoes (no more red ones - are they done for the season?) then suddenly it was time to get the big girls and the afternoon zipped by in a daze. Maybe not as exotic as Nathan's tropical beach, but I don't think I'd trade.

Monday, October 04, 2004

To Do This Week

* = completed
*- exercise each morning
- finish all the stars and sew quilt top together (still working on it.)
*- get a bed frame for Hannah's bed (got it from a neighbor, but not assembled yet)
*- make a batch of breakfast burritos to freeze
*- find a babysitter for Saturday
*- set up meeting with Primary music ladies
*- fix dinner every day (yeah for me)
*- send package to Nathan
- read aloud - The Tale of Despereaux (the book got buried under a pile on the desk and I didn't read a single page. I will move it up to the kitchen and read while the kids take their sweet time eating dinner.)
*- 15 min/day cleaning the kitchen (a la Flylady. (I did a bit of kitchen cleaning - organized pantry, wiped down fronts of cabinets, decrusted microwave. Could have cleaned out under the sink, and lid drawer.)

I'm sure there is more I could do this week (I want to paint my room, make a little fall leaf wall hanging, paint Emily's dresser to match her bed, curtains in the kitchen, etc) but let's be realistic - only one big project each week. This week's project is Hannah's quilt. I will get it done this week. I will get it done this week. I will get it done this week... As the week goes on I will report back and check off items as I finish them.

Tuesday check in - so far so good - jogging 2 days in a row!, spagetti for dinner, burritos in freezer, babysitter hired.

Wednesday check in - not much to check off today. I did send off a package to Nathan, and a few items are half done. I am proud to say I resisted the Burger King urge and fixed dinner.

Sunday check in - not a bad week if I do say so myself. Having the list posted here on everyone's refridgerator made me feel like I actually had to get to the things on the list - like the bedframe - that has been on my list forever, and I finally got one! Also, it kept me from succubing to the BK/ Taco Bell temptation. I think I will make a new list tomorrow.

Saturday, October 02, 2004


We are really enjoying General Conference this weekend. It is like a little vacation for us - sleeping in, listening in our jammies, leftover pizza for lunch, and projects! President Hinkley said that when all the announced and in construction temples are built there will be over 130 worldwide. Wow! I especially enjoyed the talk during the Saturday morning session by Jeffery R Holland about the job of Apostles during the time of Christ and today. It was exciting to hear the announcement of the the two new members of the 12 Apostles. Here is a link for information about them. It would be really great if that link works like I hope. There should be no html code showing, and the word information should be the link. I am going to publish this and see if it works.

I am so proud! My first link. Did you try it? It takes you right to the Church News. I think I will try another. Now, I think maybe General Conference at the top of this blog will take you to the site for listening to conference.

Hannah started a latch hooking project this morning and is about 1/3 of the way done. Emily, and Sydney did puzzels and drew pictures. John kept himself entertained with stealing the ball out of Sam's mouth and sharing Teddy Grahams with him. I have been working on Hannah's cute quilt. I had hoped to be able to tie it during conference, but I am a major procrastinator. I did get all the rest of the pieces cut and marked on today, and I sewed a wee bit. Do you think it is illegal to sew during Sunday Conference? I think maybe. I will have to work on the cross stitch project I started when Hannah was 3 weeks old. I worked on it during the spring conference and now I have just one more color to do before the whole dang thing is done. I really should do that tomorrow. Any projects happening at your house?

Friday, October 01, 2004

Nope, Didn't Go

I didn't have to think about it very long. I enjoy being home in the evenings, so we stayed home from Bunko. And it was a good thing. It turns out the babysitting cost $3/hour/kid. So if I just stayed the minimum 2 hours I would have had to pay $24 plus th $5 to play. Yikes! Also, when we are out at night it makes the morning rush for school not so fun.

It feels like Saturday. Today (Friday, October 1) is no school, so the girls slept out in front of the TV and are now watching cartoons. Last night we went to see Princess Diaries 2. Our friends, the Lewis', met us there. John, suprise suprise, was rather loud. So he and I spent most of the movie standing in the back. It was a fun night, and also nearly free! I have movie passes to the base theater as part of the deployed spouse package. I was excited to be able to use the September tickets before they expired.