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Saturday, December 14, 2013


The title should say it all, but for those that have never met Noah, be prepared to have him to steal your heart from the get go, grubby face and all.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Blast From the Past

Since we are on the brink of a major snowstorm I thought I would bring back something from the good old days of summer.  I am not sure why after all the time I haven't posted I feel that a baby newt deserves top billing, but nonetheless here he is.  Sophie (and a friend I think, too much time has passed...) found him while walking the dog.  It is the smallest newt I have ever seen.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Self Esteem vs. Self Efficacy

Recently Aaron and I were having yet another discussion about my ability to make a laundry day turn into a five day long laundry marathon.  The best part of it is when it takes so long that when I am finished it is time to gather the laundry up and start all over again.  I know I am not alone in this. I hear people say things all the time about needing a "laundry fairy" or hoping laundry piles will disappear. 

Luckily for me, I married a laundry fairy (maybe I need a manlier name for him).  Aaron has a system for sorting, washing, drying, and folding the laundry that he has developed to maximize efficiency.  He is a laundry machine (ah there's the brawn), and I love him for it.

Being the well oiled machine that he is means that my laundry skills can be frustrating for Aaron. I think it might be how Lightning McQueen feels when he has to hang out in the Rust-eze sponsor tent; "I'm a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics." Next to, "You know, the Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment team ran a great race today. And remember: with a little Rust-eze - and an insane amount of luck - you too can look like me. Ka-chow." 

Where were we again.....? Oh yeah, laundry.  Our discussion became about how I react whenever I feel like I have been criticized.  Keep in mind that my definition of criticism is a little sensitive.  I get defensive very quickly and the longer the discussion goes on the less I talk and I shut whoever is criticizing me out, whether they know it or not.  That works out fine for outside criticism because I can sit here at home and grump and complain and move on, but when that criticism comes from your spouse who is your partner and who is affected by every decision, defensiveness and stonewalling are not effective forms of encouraging communication.

After a long conversation trying to figure out why I react the way I do, I came to the conclusion that I feel like I am working so hard and if you want to criticize either help me or leave me alone. Aaron fleshed it out even further suggesting that I have low self-esteem.  I didn't wholly agree with that statement because I know who I am and I know I have worth and that I have a purpose.  So Aaron did some research and found an article that helped me understand myself so much better.

 It hit the nail on the head.  I don't have low self-esteem; I have low self-efficacy.  My fear of failure or humiliation befuddles me and does exactly what the article suggests.  I can remember all the way back into elementary having a fear of "getting it wrong."  I see the same trait in Ben now.

My standards are set too high so when I don't achieve my goal for perfection all I can see are the imperfections.  I spend far too much time trying to perfect the imperfections.  I am afraid that others will see my failures and I will be embarrassed for thinking so highly of something so imperfect.  

Logical or not, this is how I think.  I am acutely aware of the flaws and faults in my work so when Aaron asks for something that needs to change because my actions are having negative effects on him (running out of undies and discovering it 20 minutes before he has to leave for work...etc) it just adds insult to my already self-inflicted wounds.

Knowledge is power.  I am not sure exactly how I will learn to be ok with mediocrity when I know the standard, but I am beginning to work on it.  I think I will go back and read Elder Dieter F. Uchtorf's talk about creation.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

All Creatures Of Our God and King

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Alleluia, Alleluia
Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia Oh praise him! Alleluia
Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in heav'n along
Alleluia, Alleluia
Thou rising morn in praise rejoice
Ye light of evening find a voice
Alleluia, Alleluia Oh praise him! Alleluia
Thou flowing water pure and clear
Make music for thy Lord to hear
 Alleluia, Alleluia
Thou fire so masterful and bright
That gives to man both warmth and light
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Oh praise Him, Alleluia
Dear Mother Earth who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way
Alleluia, Alleluia
     The flowers and fruit that in thee grow
Let them his glory also show
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia Oh praise Him, Alleluia

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Place for Everything

This is a real conversation that occurred in our household.

Sophie: "Mommy, I can't find my toothbrush."
Me: "Last I saw it, it was in the shower."
Sophie: (With false incredulity) "What!? In the shower!? I don't know what it would be doing in the shower."
Me: "Sophie, you know exactly why it is in the shower.  You bring it in there to brush your teeth to save time so you can read in the morning."
At this point Jacob peeks around the corner with a sheepish look on his face.
Jacob: "Uh...because it was in the shower, I thought it was for cleaning the shower floor, you know, because it is so dirty."
Sophie: (With a look of sheer panic as she tried to figure out if she had used it after Jacob used it to scrub the shower floor) What!?  Jacob, you can't......"
Me: "Sophie, this is why I say, "A place for everything and everything in its place."
Silly Goose!
Miss Lucy
Foos-foos-ma loosey-goose
La-La- Pa-Ta-Te-Ta
My dear sweet Sophie Anna.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Deep Thoughts:Politics

This morning I was reading in 1 John 4:5. Before you run away thinking this is a religious post, don't worry, it is a political post.

The end of the verse says, "and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

I got to thinking about the current political situation, the government shutdown, and I realized that part of the solution is in our faith and trust.  There is so much arguing and pointing of fingers, both from the government and all of us.  Maybe if we had faith in our leaders, regardless of their party, maybe if we had faith and trust in our political system instead of yelling and blaming, the world would be a better place.

When my kids get all bent out of shape over things, they start clinging to ideas or things and they attach so much emotion to those ideas or things.  Perhaps it is an effort to show just how important the subject is to them.  I tell them to tone it down a notch and they respond,  "but he/she...." and I say, "yeah that is really rotten, but you are applying too much emotion to the idea."

So back to politics. Yeah it stinks that he/she did this/that, said this/that, didn't do this /that..., but you are attaching too much emotion to the problem.  Tone it down a bit because no good decision is ever made when steeped with overly intense emotion.  Have a little faith and trust.  It's going to be ok, it isn't that big of a deal.  Let's work this out together.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


How does one gracefully re-enter the blogging world after an extended hiatus?  I feel like I have so much to say, but that would create a long, wordy, and somewhat boring post.  I know that if I try to catch up it will take me hours and then I will walk away with the post unfinished, into a messy house and then guilt will abound.  So......I will not try to catch up, but I will certainly have plenty to say in the next few months.

For today, a lesson I learned so you don't have to: Three year olds who appear to not be paying attention while you are watching T.V., really are so careful what you watch.

A few weeks ago I indulged in watching a spectacular show about midwives.  In my opinion it portrays the most realistic birth experience that I have ever seen on the screen.  I don't mean up close and personal, but you know those obnoxious scenes where a woman is all sweaty and squealing and then it is all over and you sit there thinking, "That is so NOT the way it happens," this show is so realistic.

The other show is your classic drama.  Someone is always in some dire situation and at the end of the show they leave you with a huge cliffhanger that obliges you to come and watch the next episode so you can figure out the conclusion, even though you are kind of embarrassed to admit you watch the show.In one episode someone had a heart attack and the it ends with another character doing chest compressions while counting.  

Now fast forward.  This guy:
was sitting on the potty, grunting away (I know TMI) and like every normal parent, I asked, "Are ya poopin'?"  To which Noah answered, "Yup, there's no baby coming out of my bum, just poop."

Then again a few days later I was sick and laying in bed with my eyes closed.  Noah climbed onto my bed and sweetly asked, "Are you ok Mommy?  Are you dead?" He then proceeded to place his hands between my breasts and began counting to 20 while doing chest compressions.

So beware, the pictures have ears and eyes.  Thank goodness I wasn't watching a show about plastic surgery or ax murderers!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Good Morning

A series of self portraits to welcome in the morning.  Don't worry, I am not 15 and I won't be making a habit of this.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


On Sunday at church we talked about whether or not it is possible to find peace in this tumultuous world. Some define peace as the absence of war, but I have met many people who find peace in the midst of war, whether it be a war against nations, family, self, disease or circumstance.  I have known people who are conflict free and yet fail to find peace within.  

It brings to mind the words of a song I sang in high school.  "Deep peace of the running wave to you." Waves are not static and still.  They are constantly moving and at time they are tumultuous, but in general they are steady, constant and calming.  

I personally find the greatest peace in knowing that God is real and that he loves me and regardless of how dire things may seem, in the end, however long that may be, all will be well.  

As part of the discussion we were asked what things bring us peace.  As I thought about it I realized that many of the things that bring me peace also bring turmoil.  Family, friends, serving others, nature, music; all of these can bring peace or conflict depending on the choices we make.

With all of that in mind...

The other night I took Bo the dog out one last time before we went to bed for the night.  I stood at the edge of the field as he snuffled around and I looked up at the stars.  The night was cool and clear and there was no moon to dim the brightness of the stars.  I was overcome with the beauty of the vast expanse of darkness that was penetrated by tiny pinpricks of brilliant light.  Those tiny specks illuminate the darkness rather than being consumed by it.  As I stood there absorbing all this a loon called in the distance.  I was so overcome with the peace and beauty of the scene that I could not contain it and a shudder of giddy joy escaped.

I am going to hold this tiny pinprick of peace, light, and joy, dear in my heart. When darkness feels like it is overcoming me, and I know it will at some point, I will remember this moment, and the peace, joy and assurance I felt from a loving Heavenly Father, and let it carry me through.
Another moment of peace

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Woes of a Dog Owner

The subjects....
Last night our lovely huskies made a break for it, and succeeded.  While they are out I always worry about two things; getting hit by a car and hurting someone or killing someone's animals.  I usually call for them and watch hoping I can guide them safely across the road when they finally appear.  There are some flaws with this process. 
  1. Who knows where the heck they go, and there certainly isn't anyone helping them cross the road wherever that is.
  2. They never come back from where they left.  They always run across the road into the field.  The last time I saw them come back they came on Route 14 headed north.  I think if it ever came to it I could hook them up to a sled or a wheeled cart and do without a vehicle.
I gave up calling for them and went back to laying the slate floor in the entry way.  The windows were open and I figured I would hear them when they came back.  As the time passed I got more and more worried.  I kept thinking I heard car doors closing and my stomach would wrench because I was certain it was someone coming to let me know they hit my dogs.

I finally heard their collars outside the window and breathed a huge sigh of relief at their safe return.  As I drew in my breath after the sigh I realized that their homecoming, although safe, was not worthy of a sigh of relief.

You know when you are driving and you pass a dead skunk and smell their distinctive odor and you crinkle your nose and say or think, "ewww skunk" then you swerve and give the roadkill a wide berth because you know that stink clings?  That is not actually what a skunk smells like.  True skunk smell is sharp and rubbery and shrivels your nose hairs.  Then as it enter your lungs the cells contract and become sheathed in armor (not a scientific description) in an effort to protect themselves from that noxious poison, and it becomes hard to breathe.

From the entryway I smelled the roadkill skunk smell.  When I went out to get the dogs, I hit a wall of "run away" and "batten the hatches soldier (that was from the lung cells) the enemy is upon us" smell.  Those fool animals found a skunk.  Then in an effort to clean themselves they swam in a mucky marsh.  They stunk and they were black with sludge.  I washed them with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and grease cutting soap, then rewashed them with yummy smelling shampoo.  

They will be spending a great deal of time outdoors, and I find myself wondering if it would really be so bad to hear a car door shut and have to apologize profusely and write a check for the loss of chickens.  I think it would be faster and easier, and less...skunky.
Why couldn't they have have gone after this kind of skunk!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Reckless Recreation: Southwick's Zoo

While visiting Aaron's grandparents we took the kids to Southwick's Zoo.  I took a ton of pictures, but I was foolish and thought about how awesome it would be to get pictures of all the animals we never see and I kind of forgot to take pictures of my animals with their great grandparents, who mean a WHOLE lot more to me than exotic animals.  Oh well, live and learn.  

So this installment of Reckless Recreation  will be your own personal virtual zoo tour.  Tomorrow's Family Friday will be the rest of our visit.  
I took A LOT of pictures of the peacocks.  They are just such stunning animals and if I could figure out an inexpensive way to have one, I am pretty sure we would be peacock owners.
The back side of the peacock gets ignored far too often.  I think it is as stunning as the front.
I loved seeing the different types of peacocks.  I had no idea they came in different colors.  Bob was especially friendly and we saw him all over the park.  I never did see him spread his tail feathers, though REALLY wished he would.
I feel as though I made friends with this guy.  We definitely connected.
Not to be ignored were the chipmunks.  They were EVERYWHERE!  The kids had a contest counting how many there were.  I am not sure what the end tally was.
Many think this guy is a kangaroo but it is actually a cavy.  They are rodents and their family include guinea pigs.
This guy was perched on top of some rocks like he was the king of the mountain. 
I think his eyes are cool, but these eyes are the reason Aaron does not want goats.  "They have creepy eyes."
I got a kick out of how his/her lips flayed out in an attempt to get at the tree safely protected behind wire.
As we watched this one I asked Aaron if he had ever been to the Granby zoo as a kid.  I started to say how the giraffes would lick the car windows and Aaron chimed in, "oh yes, I remember being scarred by the image of those big black tongues when I was a kid."
I read a book and the main character was a person who studied the hemodynamics of the giraffe.  They are kind of like the bee, who according to the laws of physics shouldn't be able to fly.  Can you imagine the amount of pressure the giraffe heart must have to exert in order to circulate blood all the way up that neck? It is incredible to think about.
Here is something you  may never have considered. How long do the toenails on a gigantic 100 year old turtle get?
Answer:  Pretty long
I tried singing the opening of Hakuna Matata thinking that these guys would come hang out with us, but they were not impressed.  Apparently not every warthog feels the same way as Pumbaa about their aroma lacking a certain appeal.
I was impressed by the amount of skin the rhinos have to carry around.  Can you imagine how heavy it must be?     I was also grateful that as dry and thick as my skin my seem at times, I definitely have not come even close to approaching rhino skin.
They were sleepy, but I thought they looked kind of sad.
 There was definitely one theme to the the things I found the most endearing while observing the animals at the zoo.  I think because we are done having kids (at least procreating, I have not eliminated adoption or foster children) I get extra sappy about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and infants.  I thought it was just people babies, but at the zoo I learned that my emotions are not bound to just my species.
This little one was nursing at one point, but I just captured it relaxing near its mama.
There were LOTS of babies.   I am so glad I never had to nurse a baby goat.  They are brutal getting latched on!  I was always surprised which babies went with which mama.  Color was not an indication as evidenced above.
At the petting zoo there were lots of pregnant mamas.  I asked if any were close to birth and the worker pointed out one who was due any minute.  I could have guessed which one she was.  She was huge, getting up to get grain from the kids was too much of an effort and she was panting in the hear.  I talked to her a lot and willed to go into labor right then and there, but no luck. 
It is difficult to see because of the bars and the scale is off.  These little tiny monkeys are the kind Aaron saw on his mission in Brazil.  They are about the size of an extra large squirrel or a kitten.  This mama had a teensy tiny little baby on her back.  If it held its head up you could see it, but when it put its head down it fit perfectly into the mama's neck and blended into her fur.  It was perfectly camouflaged.
This young chimp had a favorite blankie.  He/she dragged it all over, wrapped it around its shoulders, cuddled with it and when it got stuck on a branch and fell it would go back and get it.  
We were some of the last visitors out of the zoo.  When we passed the tiger enclosure on our way out the tigers were right up close and they were agitated.  It turns out the zookeepers were inside getting their food ready, and they knew it.  It was fascinating to look at these animals that earlier looked like big kitties:
no longer look cute a fuzzy.
The power in their features was frightening, or would have been if I had encountered them in the wild without the safety of a strong fence.
Just a smattering of some of the other animals.
Super long post about animals, I know.  Maybe someday when I have more time I will go into a philosophical discussion about zoos, but for now I had best feed my family and move on with the the present because remember the tigers waiting for their dinner?  My kids can be just as frightening during witching hour, and I don't have a fence to protect me....