Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy May Day!

My friend told me that when I was growing up I used to take my neighbors dandelions to celebrate May Day!

Hyde Park, NY

Last Friday we went to the Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site (Val Kill) and to the Vanderbilt Mansion. We went for the education.

We learned how fun it was to be outside caterpillar hunting. It was fun to be at a historic spot. I learned that instead of focusing on the place I need to focus on the children.

At Vanderbilt I learned I need another adult to come with me because attempting to take 3 very uninterested 6-and-under-year-olds through an old antique-filled house is quite the juggle and test in patience--for all of us.

We endured a couple scathing remarks and a lot of "what on earth is that crazy woman doing?" looks from the people around us and I think we came out better because we chose to enjoy (even if inside the mansion it was more of enduring).

Mostly I tried to absorb the luscious beauty of the surroundings. We caught 2 caterpillars Fuzzy (S's) and Fuzzy Wuzzy (R's). T and I were on the cheer squad--away from the bugs.

That look you see on T's face is how I felt when we were done with the Vanderbilt Mansion.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Age to a 6-year-old

As R, S, T, a friend of R's, and I were walking to school the subject changed to ages. The boys happily bragged they were six years old. Because S was a whole year younger which made her smaller.

Then R proudly announced, "I have a grandpa that is 90 years old."

His friend said in a shocked but still matter-of-fact voice, "No one can live to be that old. That is nearly 100!"

R said something toward the effect of (quite proudly), "Yes they can because my Grandpa is 90."

Grandpa, we love you!!! You are super! And just for the record we do not think you are "old." We think you are mature, good natured, determined, supportive, loving, kind, and pretty amazing in every aspect!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Tonight S went to sleep an hour before bedtime. I did a lot of laundry (and still have to put it away) and went to put some sheets on her bed so I could put her in it. T ran to follow me and said, "Le' me hep, Mom."

I love the sweetness. I just hope it lasts until he is a teenager--at the very least. :D I hope he always loves my snuggles and kisses when he says heart-hugging things like that.

Later T and R were reading/coloring a Sesame Street coloring book. They got to a page that said, "I'm Oscar. Now scram!" They are in there with R mock-grouch saying, "Now scram!" T is repeating him with utter delight, "Scam! Scam!"

Now T is hopping around my bed in circles making the "T" sound. Now R is following him around making the light that is plugged in behind the bed flicker like crazy. Now it will soon be out if I do not stop typing and praying this moment will be forever in my memory.

Off to rescue a light bulb and hug some little boys. :D

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Professional Recyclers

This is a picture of one of the dear women in our neighborhood that laboriously sorts through people's recycling to find the greatest money-making bottles to put into her bags and to heist onto a strong stick (I think usually she has a grocery cart to help her along). Then she walks to the nearest recycle center (usually in front of Pathmark--which is over a mile away). I think she has 8 bags packed to the brim. She is probably around 70-80 years old.

Now that I see this picture I am shocked at myself for not thinking to ask her if she needed any help, (it probably was because I was preoccupied with getting my kid either to or from school--and she does not speak English). I know that she does it every day. She waves and me and is very friendly. Next time I see her with such a load I'll ask her if she needs help--as best as I can.

Highway Robbery--er--cough---Tipping

One of the things I don't understand about NYC and probably other large cities is that people are expected to tip just about everyone. Why do we tip really? Aren't we paying money to the company that is supposed to be paying the people we end up tipping? Why pay twice? It seems inefficient.

For example, at this gym I work out at (with my handy-dandy one week membership) I thought to myself cleverly, "M, you can just take your kids to the nursery there, work out, watch your kids on the big screen TV, and you'll be fine." Turns out people pay the monthly fee and leave about $3 per child per half hour (that's what the lady at the desk said). Needless to say I was shocked and appalled.

Isn't the gym paying those people?
Why do I need to add compensation? I thought this was supposed to be a perk of this place. . . LIARS. Probably have to tip the trainers and the people that come by and pick up the dirty towels. Or maybe I have to tip the teachers. . .why not slip some coins underneath the machines-- don't they work for a tip too?

Some people think you are supposed to tip the lady that works at the laundromat. Okay, some laundry people do work hard and if you have her clean your undies, maybe she deserves a tip. But if you do your own wash why would I tip her for watching me? The least she could do is clap when I'm done (I am, in my head).

Why do we tip the taxi people? Thanks for the ride. Here's your cost for your gas, car repairs, mortgage, etc. Here is your tip for not getting in an accident.

You may have figured out that I am from a place where a tip is an exceedingly rare thing! Even my hairdresser in ID considers it a huge plus when I give her a $2 tip for a great haircut. The pizza guy? He was getting a good 10% tip.

Waiters at restaurants are supposed to be tipped--they have a smaller pay grade in expectation for tips. What is that all about? Thank you for hopefully not poisoning me?!?

When we arrived in NYC we were counseled to tip well if we valued our safety (seriously--check your "Visit NYC" books--it's in there).

Maybe I would feel differently if mothers got tips. We do get tips--but usually those are from well-meaning (usually) people off the street about getting our children to stop whatever it is they are doing that could potentially annoy the person giving the "tip." Or occasionally Martha Stewart or Oprah throw in a few on television (if you're into watching it). Why can't I give tips like that and have it count as cash?

Or maybe if I grew up giving everyone cash for some odd job I would be okay with it all.

At this point, to me, it's just some social rule everyone follows--like lemmings follow their social rule. . . . off a . . .

It's not that I do not appreciate these people's hard work. I know they are doing their best to make a living. I am not complaining about paying them--just tipping them--as an expectation.

It is one thing if a person does an exceptional job to say, "You really went above and beyond the call of duty. Here is an extra dollar or two for your extraordinary work." Then they would be receiving kind words and money which would increase their desire to do excellent work rather than compare customers by their tips.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sleep Foibles

Tonight T would not go to sleep. It was not too eventful.

He lay by me on my bed. He was super sweet. He kept saying, "I love you."

I would answer back, "I love you."

Then he would repeat it again and again.

I shushed the kids in the next room gleefully laughing and jumping on the bed. A second later I heard, "Shhh" from T.

It made me laugh (but in order to help the kidlet next to go to sleep I attempted to stifle it).

It made feel so happy. :D

Of course, he is still not asleep. . . but what a dearie.

The chocolate fast is over.

Chocolate and I were meant to be together. Plus, I think I notice a distinct lack of headaches when I eat chocolate. . .

Moderation in all things, right? I've just moderated for today and yesterday.

But it doesn't go without conditions. I have joined the Harbor gym--for a week.

Anyone want to do it with me (my eyes are opened really wide in the pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top-would-you? look). You know you want to. :D

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chocolate Marshamllow-ee Goodness

I am starting to get over an addiction. It's an addiction to anything Russel Stovers marshmallow-stuffed. You laugh, but I am totally serious. The last few weeks since Easter I found them 50% off so of course I had to try one. . . they're amazing. The eggs especially were my personal favorite because they are so moist and a little marshmallow juice leaks out of the crack in the decadent chocolate coating. They are heavenly. I went up the street to the Hallmark store and they had them for 70% off. So I bought them. . . ALL of them. I couldn't imagine such sweet tidbits of goodness being wasted.

I truly believe I have the worst sweet teeth on the planet (yes plural--more than, well-- a lot). I have an innate gift for locating candy. I honed my ears growing up to the sound of a candy wrapper and 9 times out of 10 I was there immediately when candy or any other sweet goodness was being opened.

I knew the smell of butter usually meant we were fixing rice crispy treats--unless Mom happened to be cooking rice-a-roni (to which, at the time, I was vehemently against--it was NOT rice crispy treats).

Stay on target.

So I noticed that every time I began feeling the least bit stressed I would slyly head to the kitchen for a drink of water or something seemingly innocent and would somehow end up with a chocolate-covered marshmallow treat. . . it was ridiculous. I was relatively okay with it until I began to notice my face bulking up slightly (W will tell me I don't really--but I know my face pretty well and it seems like there is extra-- face I mean).

In utter frustration and a determination not to be ruled by a seasonal candy, I have decided to boycott this tasty treat. But I will admit even looking at the picture makes me want one. I will be strong! I can do this. I did not find the marshmallow & caramel egg--if I had I don't know that I would be writing this post because caramel, marshmallow, and chocolate... eek! I had better stop thinking about this.

The picture was borrowed from the very fitting candyaddict blog. There is a whole post on them there.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

R's Pictures in Newark

R spread himself out on the grass as close to the robin as he could get to snap this photo of the robin. Apparently I am going to need some digital cameras and mondo-memory cards for R's future portfolios.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Newark Cherry Festival

R took the picture above. Thanks R!

After having W study for the last few months we finally got to go on a family date. We had a wonderful time visiting the "largest cherry blossom festival in the nation." It was wonderful to be out as a whole family. It has been a very long time since we were able to go out all together. The picture below is when W was trying to save T from the puddles. T was delighted to jump in them and evaded W's efforts.

Is it just me or does T look like he is wearing a hair helmet?

My Monet-ish picture.

Everyone was asleep right then, except me.

In case you didn't know I am not a healthy-foods-only mom. Here is T showing off all four doughnuts which he called "cookie doughnuts."

Memories of powder doughnuts and fun trips with my family.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

This morning we were on the way to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

There was a conversation that went something went like this:

R: Mom is always in charge.
S: Mom is always in charge at the house.
R: Mom is in charge wherever we go.

That's right kids! Don't you forget that.

We went with our dear friend, Nelta Sannon from our Midwood ward. It is our tradition to go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She was amazing. I got to sit under the trees and she chased my kids for me (thank you, Nelta). It was very restful for me (a rarity when your children seem to run at the speed of light).

We met up with our dear friend that moved 2.5 years ago that was visiting from Pennsylvania, Sasha Goodman--totally unplanned. I forgot how amazing she is. She loves Brooklyn in all its eccentricities and she loves the subway. She has two kidlets that are absolutely adorable.

We went to lunch at the home of another dear Midwood friend, Paulette Asante. The food was soooo delicious and we were all slightly ravenous--especially the kidlets. She also had some delicious cheesecake from BJs (thank you Paulette).

The day made me feel so grateful for friendships. They are such amazing, kind women. I am so glad I know them.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

One of my favorite General Conference Talks

General Conference was last week. I was listening to the Saturday morning session and when it came to Sister Julie B. Beck's talk I felt like what she said was an answer to prayer. Like many women, I suffer from an acute case of compare-itus which may lead me to feelings of sadness and overwhelmed-ness.

My favorite parts (whole paragraphs):

A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.

Good women always have a desire to know if they are succeeding. In a world where the measures of success are often distorted, it is important to seek appreciation and affirmation from proper sources. To paraphrase a list found in Preach My Gospel, we are doing well when we develop attributes of Christ and strive to obey His gospel with exactness. We are doing well when we seek to improve ourselves and do our best. We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need. We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit. When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.9 Peace, joy, and hope are available to those who measure success properly.

A scripture she used as a reference note was: Doctrine and Covenants 11:13-14 which states:
13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall aenlighten your bmind, which shall fill your soul with cjoy;
14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of arighteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.

This is my challenge to myself--and to you, if you are interested. Let's measure our success properly and prioritize with the Spirit.

If you would like to read the talk it is available here. For all General Conference talks go here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Exercise Mom!

Our family has strep throat at the moment--but we're on the mend, thankfully. Strep throat is not a pleasant thing to have (of course). There have been really low moments like when T had a fever of 105 degrees and we did everything we could to cool him down. Tylenol and Ibuprofen are really miraculous if you think about it. The picture is kind of blurry--because that is how we all have been feeling the last few days. . . not picture perfect.

Much of the time T demands to be held--especially if W is around. He loves W and seldom lets him out of his sight when W is home.

Lately, T has been really excited about my pilates and balance ball workout dvds. When I went to my grandma's funeral T watched my pilates dvd a bunch of times. I think it helps him feel closer to me (or I like to dream).

Tonight he followed me around the house saying, "ehersize Mom, ehersize."

I told him, "I already exercised today T."

I ended up turning on the dvd. He does some of the stretches and again encourages me, "Ehersize Mom."

How many two-year-olds do you know that ask their moms to exercise--several times a day?

Blessed, blessed, blessed, blessed (one for each of my family dears).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happiness is . . .

I love this picture of my grandparents when they were newly wed-ish (alright, I am not exactly sure when it was taken--but I assume that the -ish is a give away of my unsureness).

Isn't it dear? Life isn't perfect--I think that is why I really like the lamp that is slightly skiwampus. When we stick together--life works better. :D

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Did the Easter Bunny visit your house? Can you spy the picture of the egg T threw right as I was taking the picture?

Well he did ours. We decided that we'd tell the kids about the Easter Bunny. . . so when he came we were all mentally winking at each other in a knowing way. The kids gleefully ran around the front room squealing with delight when they found an egg. They prompted T with happy exclamations of "Look, T." "Over here!" I love moments like that!
We watched conference and it really felt like a lot of talks were directed toward rearing children with Christ-centered lives. I loved it!
Afterward W was a little solemn and he said to me, "I love you, M."

R (my son) walked by me and bumped the wall, to which he quickly said, "Sorry." It was a loud bump (and I was kind of shocked that he thought the wall was me) and I said, "Are you okay?!?"

W, assuming I was talking to him said, "Yes, I was just feeling sentimental about you."
T sitting behind me on the bed woke up a moment before and replied, "I sehmenal" which means in the language of T, I believe, "I'm sentimental."

My kids are very anxious for another Easter egg hunt. I hear about it about every five minutes. I love holidays!!!