Friday, January 30, 2009

Yet Another Clever Thora Money Saving Tip

A couple of weeks ago I went to the local Church cannery to increase our food storage. Except I saw the comparative price of canned oats and a 25 pound bag of oats. Of course the bag of oats was cheaper per pound, by quite a bit. Being myself, ever seduced by lower prices, I bought the 25 pound bag of Oats.

After all, I told myself, We eat oats almost every morning. These aren't long term storage. Putting them in cans will be almost useless.

I finally got around to divvying up the Oats from their bag.

I had to cannibalize every available (and some not so available) containers we own. Good thing I didn't get 25 lbs of dried milk as well. (I realize that I could get 50 lb buckets, and actually I think that would be a great solution - except unlike in Utah, out here I have no convenient local grocery stores to supplement my food storage from. I have no idea what kind of store out here would even sell 50 lb buckets.)

Of course then today I had to read how my sister has Mice. Gee, I sure hope I don't get mice. Because most of these packages? Are incredibly not mice-proof. Or moth proof. They're not even Lydia proof. But, I did save myself a couple of dollars.

I'm so clever. Really.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Paint in my Hair - Help!

I have paint in my hair. A lot of paint. (So I had a moment where I was painting the girls' bookcase with my hair down.) And I really need to get it out, but I know just washing it won't do it. So I check on the Internet - and alcohol (like hairspray and rubbing alcohol and vodka and hand sanitizer) will get out dried paint on things (like fabric). Which is good because Lydia got primer on her dress while I was painting. And hey, maybe I could try it on my hair. But....I don't have any of the above.

And I also read that paint thinner or Wd40 will work. I also don't have either of those.

And I have to go Visiting Teaching today, and my hair is a mess - it needs washing and brushing, because I haven't been able to brush it for two days because of the paint that's in it.

Did I mention that basically the entire city closed down yesterday because of our combined snow and freezing rain storm? Avram even had school cancelled at The Ohio State University. So....I don't really want to go out to the store, if I don't have to. And I don't have to go anywhere until I'm on my way to my appointment. Which would be a little late to try and start treating my hair.

Should I just wash my hair, leave it tangled in the paint, and pull it up into a bun until I can get something to treat my hair? Should I try putting olive oil on my hair? I don't actually want to go and buy products that I don't really need (well, except for my hair, obviously). And I hate running into the store for just one thing, and having to cart Lydia and Elisheva out of the car seats and into a cart and then reverse the whole process.

Whiny, whiny. I know.

Any ideas? Any magic answers using only household products I actually have?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Part II - of Saga of Sentimentality - Thora Gets Hit Upside the Head By a Crush

Over President's Day weekend in February I went with a bunch of friends to an SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) camping event, Estrella, outside of Phoenix, Arizona. My friend Travis borrowed his Great Grandmother's car to take us all, and I helped him return it the weekend after the event.

Travis' great grandmother lived in Bicknell, Utah, a small 300 resident town in Wayne County. Never heard of Wayne County? Neither had I. I drove down Herkie, my bright red car that went a Herc-a-minute (as my co-owner sister Mary lovingly said), and he drove down her white boat of a car. We spent the night (my bedroom had a full gunrack in it, which made me nervous all night long), and then planned to return together in my car, via Manti, Utah, where we were to do some of Travis's family file baptisms together.

I enjoyed my second small getaway from Provo. Travis and I visited his aunt, who gave me an entire cooler full of frozen lamb (my most favorite meat ever). Her daughter, Brittney, named a lamb born that night after me. We made lamb chops for his great grandma (hmm, I'm noticing a distinctly ovine cast to this getaway....). Travis and I also indulged in lots of great talking that night, first while we walked around the sleepy town, and then in a basement bedroom, sitting on a bed covered in a classic, white Chenille Bedspread.

You may be wondering why it sounds like Travis and I were dating in all of this (and indeed his grandma thought we were dating, I believe). Travis and I were just good friends, and Travis had the ability to have a good gab fest as much as any girl.

So Travis and I sat on that Chenille bedspread, having fun mentally pairing off everyone in club. When we came to Avram, I couldn't think of a single girl in club that he would go well with.

I once had a roommate who related the Analogy of Dating/Marriage and Chairs (via her parents). Some people are like Comfy Armchairs. Everyone loves to sit in them. Once you sit down, you recline back and are set for life. These La-Z-boy people will easily find someone to marry, because almost anyone could marry them and be happy. Then there are those like my roommate, who are a 19th century hard wooden chair. They are unique. Rare. Individual pre-Industrial Revolution Shaker. Most people think this chair is uncomfortable and move on. But eventually someone will see this find for the true antique it is.

Avram was a 19th century Shaker chair, and needed someone who could appreciate that, rather than just notice a narrow wooden seat. Someone who saw his reading Jeremiah, chapters at a time, not as an overly pious action, but rather as an internal pulling away from a situation he found difficult or uncomfortable. Jeremiah reminded Avram that others had it harder than he did. Someone who saw past his self imposed library pallor and esoteric front - self imposed because of his innate shyness - to his plebeian soul. Someone who realized that past his facade Avram used short words like the rest of us, and that he likes Michaelangelo - the Ninja Turtle. That growing up his hero was Michael Jackson. That he can eat sushi with the best of the yuppies. That he's a Batman person. Oh, and also someone who cares about Ancient Egyptian envy of the priesthood and likes those with Semitic Physiognomy.

As I mentally reviewed the twenty odd girls in club, none came to mind who would work with Avram, even in potentia. As I hesitated over the thorny question of Avram's theoretical romantic future in club, Travis just looked at me. "If Avram were to date anyone in Club, it would be you, Thora."

Now looking back this sounds like a shadow puppet play with the plot twists as transparent as the puppets themselves. At the time, however, I had never consciously considered Avram romantically. As I mulled over Travis' statement in my head, an internal switch flipped, and as easy as a moment lying on a Chenille white bedspread lost in thought I had a complete romantic crush on Avram.

Avram already interested me as a person; I always looked forward to seeing him, to talking with him about subjects both academic and mundane, I had felt a "connection" with him from the first night we met. I liked the ancient Near East, and could tell Avram was a unique Shaker chair - not just an old wooden seat. I had previously even half decided that the next person I dated would already need to know and love Cat Stevens. The infrastructure of a crush was complete, but it had all been channeled into friendship, since that was ostensibly all I had been looking for in life. I had but needed the catalyst Travis provided, and suddenly that connection was Chemistry, and I knew that I liked Avram.

Despite my revelation, life after I returned to Provo continued much the same as it had before. Avram and I continued only seeing each other at club sponsored activities. Over the past month I had been concerned that Avram might have had a small crush on me (really it was his offering to help me mop on hands and knees that concerned me. Most people wouldn't clean like that out of pure friendship alone), and my friend Mary Megan had even warned me that she thought Avram might have some feelings or interest and to be aware.

And yet now I was aware - and absolutely nothing was happening. Avram and I had our usual interesting conversations and dynamic encounters at club meetings, but he treated me the same as any other girl in club. Of course, I ostensibly still had my missionary, Dennis. And I wasn't looking for dating, as everyone around me knew. Sometimes I wished that I hadn't been so effective at giving off an "I'm taken" aura, that Avram would ask me on a date anyway, or even seem to notice me as a potential girl interest. And yet I also knew that I wasn't ready by any means to commit to a relationship. As much as I liked Avram, I also liked my independence and solitude, I liked knowing I had responsibility to no man, and had no commitment to keep on like anyone for any set amount of time. (Yes I had many commitment issues after my broken engagement. We'll see a lot more of them later.)

By the end of February I still wanted to remain friends with Avram, and not pursue any further relationship - while also wishing that he would do more than just casually talk with me.

Keep reading for soon to come Part III. This was actually longer, but I didn't have the heart to try and recapture all of my thoughts tonight, so this is a little short on actual events. I'll be better next time.

Read Part III - Thora Progresses Deeper into Denial About the Flexibility of Liking Your Friend.

The Perfect Title Escapes Me As Well

Aargh! I was putting the finishing touches on a second post for Saga of Sentimentality, and then I had to leave the computer, for something....probably one of my kids. Or I think my sister Mary called. And since I was going to be on the phone, I stayed in the kitchen and gave the first turquoise coat of paint to the bookcase in the girl's room that I'm painting. Thanks to two other sister's phone calls already today I managed to give the second coat of paint to the last of my chairs, and then primer (twice) the bookcase.

I was on a role. I was also still in my pajamas, which are my official paint/working clothes.

Anywho, so I'm talking to Mary, and 40 minutes just flew by, and then we got off, and I finished up the blue coat, but hey! Elisheva's crying. So I ran to her, stripping off my PJs as I went so I wouldn't get blue paint all over the house. After feeding, changing and cuddling, I got dressed, and then came finally came back downstairs.

Where the computer was off. Having run out of power (yet again) on its own, after having magically become disconnected to the power source (yet again!) although it's still plugged it, and so I had to restart it.

But when this page came back up, voila! Half the post, the part I had actually for once in my long blogging life edited and thought over and rewritten, wasn't there. Because the plug for our Internet, that runs from our living room to our kitchen, shares the same fought over spot in the outlet with our microwave (the phone gets the other spot), and when I heated up my lunch I had never replugged my Internet in, so I was taken back essentially three hours and several paint episodes in my blogging.

And now I'm depressed. I may have to commit Seppaku. Or at least wait to refinish the blog post when I don't still have my perfect previous sentances rolling around in my mind just out of reach of my typing fingers. Now that they are irreversably gone, those sentances were perfect.

Meditate for me.

(Did I mention my house is falling down around my ears? And I've used all the blogging time I get writing lost novels.)

25 inane Thora details

I did this over on Facebook, and then I thought to myself, 'Hey! Why should I let any writing go to waste?' So I put it on here, too.

1.I make all our own bread every week. It's yummy.
2.And it's healthy because I grind our own wheat (currently with a borrowed wheat grinder), and I use a blend of Half white wheat and half red wheat in a recipe that I have tweaked myself.
3.I also make all other desserts/food with half whole white wheat. You can't even tell (I'm not just saying that. We've had gu.ests, and they were very pleasantly surprised when I told them their pound cake was half whole wheat - after they had eaten it).
4.Having studied Near Eastern Studies in College, with a minor in Arabic, and then being married to someone of Jewish extraction who studies Near Eastern Cultures and languages (ie, Hebrew Bible, Jewish Studies, etc.), I have VERY, VERY strong opinions on the Middle East and America's political interactions there.
5. I never, ever share these opinions with anyone but my husband, because I don't like to be controversial in public.
6.I love large families; I come from a family of 10 kids, and want to have lots of my own.
7.I had Oatmeal for breakfast this morning.
8.I eat oatmeal almost every morning, often with a half grapefruit afterwards.
9.I got sick of always having cold cereal, and being hungry shortly after I eat (and buying lots of boxes) - so I switched to fresh made breakfasts - oatmeal, muffins, pancakes, etc.
10.We really like having "real" breakfasts.
11.Except Avram right now still eats cereal because he leaves the house every morning at 7:00 for school, and I don't get up with him. I'm a bad wife.
12.I don't like watching movies very much. I think they aren't a social activity.
13. I do however, talk during movies. Yes, I am THAT person that you love to hate. Good thing I try not to watch them in groups, huh?
14.I don't talk during movies to be annoying; it's how I synthesize the information that I'm assimilating.
15.I have a library day - usually every Thursday we go to the library, when they have toddler story time.
16. I usually check out lots of cookbooks and read them religiously.
17. Although if I try any recipes from them, I never make them again - we just go back to our same old food time and again.
18. I also read decorating books, and holiday celebration books.
19. I rarely check out fiction, because if I do, like my sisters, I can't put a book down until I've finished it.
20. This drives Avram crazy.
21. I roleplay. It's where a group of people get together and tell a communal story, usually of the fantasy variety. It's like being ten and playing, where you go, "And then I say this, and then you'll say that."
22. It's fun. Avram got me into it, because he loves roleplaying, and in our marriage we're obsessed with sharing all our hobbies.
23. Except Avram doesn't share some of my hobbies. For some reason he doesn't want to scrapbook or paint furniture. Go figure.
24. Really we never actually roleplay, because we don't have a group, so I guess I'm a meta-roleplayer.
25. The names I name my children have to have meaning. Some sort of meaning - I can't just use a name no matter how much I like the sound of it. Lydia Aurelia is named after my grandma (Lydia) and Lydia the seller of Purple in the New Testament, and Aurelia is a Roman name, and is related to the sun (and gold). Elisheva Anne was named a Hebrew name in honor of Avram's Jewish and Hebrew studies, and she was Aaron's wife in the Old Testament, plus it's Elisheva is the same name as Elizabeth, so it's Elizabeth's name in the New Testament. Anne is after Anne of Green Gables, my favorite fictional best friend of all time.
26. I also love unusual names. Yes, I know this is number 26, but you should know by now that I talk a lot. I have a lot of names built up, although we'll probably never use them; Arthur or Alistair Richard, and Gareth Tanner (Avram's mom's maiden name) are the two boy ones I have currently.
27. Okay, I'll shut up now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Part One Of the Saga of Sentimentality brought on by the January Snow - A Connection is Made

Five years ago this month I met Avram.

Wearing my soft, rose pink cote hardie (long sleeved dress), I arrived early for a Quill and the Sword meeting, the resident medieval History club at BYU, and there he was, along with three or four other early arrivals. All of them were members of the presidency, so I offered to take this new guy, that none of us knew and who had shown up on his own, into the actual room while they conducted their planned presidency meeting outside.

I was 21 years old, and a junior at BYU. Avram was 22 years old, and a freshman at BYU, having just transferred from Lord Fairfax Community College in Virginia, where he was from. Avram was a short young man, with dark, somewhat scruffy hair and pale skin. He was wearing a dark t-shirt and slightly faded, skinny black jeans that immediately marked him as dressing without the benefit of female influence (footnote one). Avram was also wearing a dark fedora and an overly large blue nylon coat that looked like a coat made for a much bigger man that he had co-opted. (footnote two). We talked for the half hour or so before the meeting. He had found the club (mostly) on his own, and having come out for the Winter Semester just weeks before had no social group yet of his own. He was majoring in Archealogy, and was taking a class in modern Hebrew, and cared about the ancient Near East. He was interesting to talk to, and I felt a connection with him almost immediately. Not a romantic connection - I wasn't attracted to him at first. Altogether, Avram looked overwhelmingly Jewish to me. As someone majoring in Near Eastern Studies, I had spent a lot of time learning about the Semitic peoples, and had already decided that I found them fascinating culturally and religiously, but I was not attracted to their physiognomy.

As essentially the first person to meet Avram, I took the role of introducing him to people, although he did a lot of that himself. He didn't seem too shy, and was quite interested in meeting people and becoming involved. Using the club slang, he "converted" to club from the very beginning (as apposed to just casually attending a few of the main meetings).

The next Tuesday in January, and also the second week of Club meeting that Semester, for our activity we wrote "dear John" letters to all the current missionaries gone out from club, just in time to send them off on international mails to arrive right around Valentine's Day. We dear Johned them for video game characters. We dear Johned them for inanimate objects. I wrote a dear John to "my" missionary, Dennis, who was in Germany, leaving him for my hunk a junk car Hercules, who was bright red and old and took five minutes to go from zero to thirty-five miles an hour (oh, if only this was an exaggeration. But it wasn't.) I realized that the previous week I had been quite chummy with Avram, and I worried that because of the immediate "connection" we felt (some might have even called it Chemistry, but at that point I certainly didn't.), and the friendly banter we upheld the second week might confuse Avram into thinking that I was looking for a relationship - which I most definitely was not.

I was just six months out of a broken engagement, and felt quite broken emotionally inside about it all still, even though I had been the one to instigate the break. And no, this wasn't my missionary either. Let's just say that this joking "Dear John" was not the first letter of this variety to go from my hands to his. At this snowy January juncture, I wanted nothing more than to stay single and carefree, at least for the next eight months, until when Dennis would return home for his mission and then I wanted most desperately to get married and live happily ever after. Boys as friends I sought after aplenty, but that was all I wanted.

So I pointedly mentioned my missionary several times that night to Avram, although I also remember feeling happy that I looked particularly nice that evening, with my ever lengthening hair and my green t-shirt that I had magically found in my clothes dryer (I think all the brownies of the world were saying sorry for always stealing my socks, and so gave this in apology), which looked smashing on me. I felt like a social butterfly, with that heightened awareness when I am showing off in front of someone of the opposite sex, as I flitted from this group to that, laughing merrily (almost too merrily) at one joke one moment, and the next moment making my own high-pitched humorous observations. I was more effective then I knew - from this point on Avram saw me as essentially engaged, and never tried even asking me on a date, let alone pursuing me as a romantic interest.

The next time I noted Avram was at the February CES fireside, given on fast Sunday at the Marriot Center at BYU. A bunch of us from Club; Carol and Kevin, Travis, Michele and I had met and gone up together to watch it. As we sat there, I noticed Avram entered our section at the top, alone, and as he began looking for an empty seat, I and the others called out to him, and invited him to sit with us. He sat down on the end, next to Michele, whom I am afraid felt rather stuck next to this young man that all of us hardly knew. She endured through, and after the CES fireside the whole lot of us, plus several other "clubbies" we met along the way, walked back to my house to make some chocolate chip cookies. Avram came too. I honestly can't remember whether the cookies were actually made that night, but we did have an impromptu devotional of our own, where several of us got up in front of the group and talked about a particular spiritual principle that was meaningful to us that that moment. (I love BYU.) It was all a very natural outgrowth of the evening, and was not at all a stilted moment as we bore testimony to each other.

I remember that Avram talked about Moses, and how he went before the Lord and offered to be punished for Israel's sins - to attempt to his limited understanding to put their blood on himself. Of course he could not take the Savior's place, but Avram talked about the love of Moses and willingness to sacrifice himself for his people. Avram had an engaging way before us all, and I was impressed with how naturally he preached to us. Yes, I used the word preached, because Avram is a natural born preacher. In any other religion he would have studied to be a member of the full time ministry, not out of an excess of personal righteousness, but because of his natural born talent to teach and preach. In the LDS faith he instead studies to become a professor of religion.

Up through this time the idea of romance never consciously entered my mind. Avram came to Cooking Guild meetings every Friday evening, (footnote three) and we had fun there. One early week he and I listened to a CD of Cat Stevens together, whom we both love, while cleaning my kitchen floor on our hands and knees with washcloths (footnote four). Avram also came to Mystic's Guild, which met on Sunday evenings and studied Medieval Religion, and I also enjoyed encountering him there as well.

For almost a month this was our interactions - group meetings that I enjoyed, but no personal activities, not personal contact beyond the casual conversation in the larger revolving socializing around us. In my journal I recorded that Avram was a nice young man whom I enjoyed talking with a lot, but I couldn't see our personalities working together in a relationship. (Avram is much the same I am personality wise. We're very dynamic, for good and ill, together). Avram right around the same time wrote in his journal that I was nice looking (he maintains the prettiest girl in club, but I believe he may have been biased), but that our personalities wouldn't mesh well in a relationship. Clearly we were on the same page as to our interactions....

Read Part II - Thora Gets Hit Upside the Head by a Crush

Footnote one: Avram had inherited five or seven black jeans from his older brother Joshua had married, and his wife Missy had nixed them. When Avram and I married, I nixed them in my turn, and they went on down to Samuel. Samuel married a couple years later, and I believe his wife Aleatha also got rid of them - but I don't know where to. Avram wasn't personally attached to black jeans, in fact, he doesn't like jeans at all really. They were more an accident of fashion.

Footnote two: I called that coat the "drowned rat" coat, and I never liked how it made him look so small and insignificant. Turns out the coat was actually the shell for a separatable down filling, and with it in he didn't look like a drowned rat - he just looked like a big blue marshmallow. Avram now wears either a tan trench coat ala Humphrey Bogart or a pea coat from the actual navy.

Footnote three: The Medieval Club had a main meeting every Tuesday in the Wilk, and then side meetings for various guilds with different medieval foci. The Cooking Guild made medieval food every Friday at my house, with my friend Mary Megan heading it. The Mystics Guild met at Travis', and was a brand new guild studying religion.

Footnote four: I never feel like a floor is really clean unless following this method. However, when I was heavily pregnant with Lydia I decided expediency trumped cleanliness, and have used a mop every since.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nitty Gritty

I find in parenting that the more more firm I am on an idea, the better it goes for me. On second thought this applies to life in general.

Take natural birthing. I was very firm on having a natural birth, but even more so I read books on it, practiced techniques, briefed Avram and made him help me practice techniques. And I had two natural births (although on the first one, when we first got to the hospital, I asked some random nurses aid for an epidural. She was a sweet young thing, and as I pleaded for some pain medication from her, I'm sure in her mind she was thinking, "and this is why I'll never have children." However, well-briefed Avram that he was reminded me I didn't really want pain medication, and after I calmed down and relaxed, and the nurse on duty, who happened to be like my second cousin once removed by marriage, but also more to the point happened to be a certified hypno-birthing instructor helped me to cope with labour and all was well.

Or nursing. Not that we haven't had hiccups in the whole matter (or thrush, or milk blisters, or bitings. Lots of bitings recently), but nursing was one thing that I was bound and determined to deliver on. And thus far, I have.

Co sleeping. Another parenting issue that I felt strongly about - in favor of. We co-slept with Lydia for the first fifteen months (until I weaned her), and with Elisheva for the first eight (I knew she could sleep through the night at that point; she's a much calmer baby, and I was right.)

Also, no corporal punishment. I'm sure every reader is thinking, "duh" to themselves at this point, but a generation ago, or two or three this would have been an obvious parenting technique to use. And although I personally don't believe in it, I think our parents, and great grandparents turned out into well balanced people (at least mine did - I can't really speak for yours), even with and perhaps because of their corporal punishment.

I don't believe in the cry-it-out method for little babies (the older they are the more I believe in, because then they understand why you're leaving them, and what they need to do - sleep, that is), but I also have known plenty of well-adjusted, stable families who use this method.

All of the above parenting techniques have never been hard for me to do - I believed strongly in them, and when the going got tough, even if I had small waverings, like the time I asked for an epidural, or when I read a parenting book when Lydia was two months old that said that co-sleeping with your kids was horrible, and cry it out method was the only way to produce happy children, and that listening to Instincts was wrong, because what basis did motherly instincts have next to science?, and Avram came home to find me bawling on our bed, holding Lydia and telling him what a horrible parent I was (he had told me not to read the book, that I wouldn't like it, but I'm not always good at hearkening to him). But the more strongly I've felt about a matter, the less I've ever wavered, despite what I read/talk about with other Moms.

Which finally brings me to my point. Conversely, the more confused I am about some parenting method, the more blown about I am by others. Same with everything (which I'll get to in a moment concerning buying houses).

Let's talk about cloth diapers. I got the idea of using them from my Mom, who used them all on us, and my sister, and the fact that they are more green to the environment. They also are supposed to be cheaper (my Mom says after using them on the first one, since you don't have to pay set up costs after the first time). And so while in England I determined to buy cloth diapers if we moved somewhere with a washer and dryer. Which we, finally as of three weeks ago, have. So I switched over. Over the summer, when we were living with Avram's parents I put Lydia in cloth diapers for the last couple weeks we were there. It was great! Of course, his mom was changing about half her diapers, and Elisheva was still in disposables (we couldn't find diaper covers in her size), and Lydia still wore disposables for bed, per Avram's mom's recommendation.

Using them this time around? Hasn't been so great. I don't have hardly any fancy diapers - just the basic prefolds. And having been used to using disposables I have a hard time remembering to change the cloth ones often enough. And I was sick enough of changing two cloth diapers to try (seriously try, with a naked toddler, and what we'll call the Great Poop Incident of 2009 that occurred in Lydia's bedroom, all over the floor) potty training Lydia. But Lydia, bless her, has had a slow, uphill battle in recognizing her body's signals. She's not willful, and it's not a power struggle for her. She loves underwear, she loves her toilet, and she's game for sitting on it. She thinks a simple sticker stuck on a chart for successes is the ultimate in rewards. But....after three days training, she went back to diapers (although we still have her sit on her little toilet every day. And she has more training vocabulary than ever before). [Potty training is another method I am blown about by the winds of friends, acquaintances, family members, and books I read. In the same day I may be heard to say, and believe, that Lydia will train when she's ready, and I shouldn't rush it for artificial deadlines, and also that it's time to train Lydia, that three year olds are old enough, that I need to just follow the method of sitting on the toilet every hour and it'll all fall into place.]

As well, Elisheva, who had been sleeping completely through the night, began waking up ever couple of hours. Not fun. Finally two nights ago we tried putting her in a disposable at five am, because we were out of other ideas as to why she was so upset. And she went immediately to sleep. And slept in her crib until 8:30 in the morning. And then last night, in a disposable, she slept through the night again.

But then I remember the landfills. And the cost of buying diapers for two children every month. And as the washer currently washes a load, I remember that it's really not all that hard to dump a load in every day or two, and that so what if that's a lot more body products I get up close and personal with - I'm already up to my eyeballs in poop as a mom enough as it is. But then I remember how I dreaded changing times. Not because they're that bad in the individual, or that much harder. But Lydia doesn't like her diaper covers, so will try and bargain for no cover. And cloth diapers need to be changed so much more often (which I'm really bad at remembering, so often their clothes will get wet, so we usually go through two outfits a day currently).

I find myself secretly hoping that our electrical bill will be phenomenal, and then I'll be able to secretly justify buying diapers. Because as of yesterday, I started putting the girls in disposables again. I know my fickle ways enough to not promise this is a permanent change, and that I'll never move back into cloth again. More that at this very moment, I lack the fortitude to be a cloth diaper woman. I am shamed. In talking to my sister Camilla about this on the phone yesterday, I told her that one of the reasons I hadn't switched back to disposables yet was that I didn't want to have to post it on my blog, after having been all pro green (I still use reusable grocery bags; does that help? And we only have one car, which according to the calculator that the Government puts out (which was really neat-o and you should all visit) almost half our emissions originate from our having a car, even driving it as few miles as we do a year. Sadly, recycling, while helping offset emissions, helped a lot less than I hoped it would. So lesson learned? If you're a two car family, and if you can, get rid of one car and you'll already be a lot more environmentally friendly).

Camilla didn't understand why I felt a need to put it on my blog at all, but I feel I have a responsibility to all of you to not only tell you about matters I feel strongly about and that go well, but also when things in my life don't go so well. Not that I need to be negative, but I do need to be honest. And things ain't going so well. Except that now they are, because my kids are back in disposables, and I feel a great peace of mind, or at least I would if I didn't worry that all of you would be secretly laughing up your sleeves at me, and thinking that you always thought I was a bust anyhow. So don't laugh up your sleeve at me, okay? Okay.

The other area of my life that I'm wishy-washy about (yes, I know you're thinking, "there's more? Haven't we had enough true confessional of Thora yet today? Well, my kids are asleep and Avram's gone, so you'll just have to bear the brunt of my over analyzing mind, so tough. Plus I once wrote a blog post for three hours straight, that equaled out to more than eight pages long single spaced (it was my birthing post for Elisheva), so this is nothing) is about house buying. Four days ago I decided that we most definitely should and would buy a house next year. I had been talking to women in the ward about how a house is a good investment, and we would be here for another five years, and renting wouldn't make sense for that long, and they completely supported me in buying a house, and pointed out all of the advantages of one (these same women also made me feel better for Lydia not potty training yet (which really, really helped me), so it's not their lack of judgment, it's my lack of backbone for any decision I make).

I came home and I looked up houses on the Internet, I began figuring out house payments on various mortgages, and Avram agreed if I left him alone until the end of January that he would come back with his professional opinion on house buying, after I had giving him some time to consult with others and to read about it all.

Fast forward a few days, when I read a "How to Escape the Bondage of Debt" book that my Dad and stepmom gave us for Christmas (it wasn't personal; they gave it to all their kids), and as I read the chapter on Mortgages, I became aghast at all the ways you can end up paying a lot of extra money, pointless money, for a really long time. What with points, and closing costs, and escrow accounts and 80/20 mortgages with interest only payments on the 20 and balloon payments, and then of course there are adjustable rate mortgages. Yesterday I had two different conversations with two of my sisters about their mortgages, and both of them had at least one of the money sucking mortgage problems. Then I got on the computer, and using amortization calculators, figured out how much equity we would build in a house (not taking into account any raises in a homes value, since you can't count on that either way) over five years, and it was a very small and depressing number that wouldn't even offset any closing costs.

Meanwhile, I also took the time to tabulate all of our debt, and figure out where we are with it. It's only student loan debt, and it's basically all not earning any interest, and meanwhile we're paying $250 a month on it (well to Avram's grandpa, who lent us our rent money in England, and over the next two years we're paying it back). We're $33,000 in debt (okay, so I know it's gauche to write out money amounts, but honestly, I think I may be a gauche sort of person.). It's all schooling debt, but if we continue to pay it off at $250 a month until Avram graduates, then we'll only have $15,000 left. At that point if we can pay $500 off a month, we'll be completely out of debt within three years. Three years. That sounds very nice and appealing to me. But if we buy a house, that extra money would have to go to mortgage payments, where we wouldn't even be making enough equity to break even at the end.

So now I am gung-ho let's pay off all our debts and everything will be lovely. Who needs a house? Me, not me. I love apartments. Plus....(I know, can there be any more? There can) Avram is currently applying for a fellowship for next year with no teaching responsibilities (otherwise he'll be teaching next year for his stipend, which isn't a bad thing either because then he'll get to probably teach a class on Egyptian and Sumerian mythology, and how cool is that?), and if he gets it, and if they allow it, etc, etc, we'd go to Israel next year and Avram would spend the year studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Which adds another whole aspect into the home buying/debt paying off/neither but we're having a world experience in Israel merry-go-round of my life.

See, and I've always wanted to go to Israel. My journals from college, besides always mentioning, at least five times a page, wanting to marry Dennis, my missionary, (whom, in case you're really slow on the uptake, I did not marry, as my husband's name is Avram), also incessantly talk about various plans I have to visit Israel. None of them worked out, but this was a major guiding influence in why I did a study abroad to Egypt, which in turn accounts for 8,400 of said previous debt, although I can't be all mad that I went, because it was in Egypt that I realized that I truly wanted to marry Avram, and I broke up with the then RM Dennis and got engaged long distance to Avram (someday I really should write this story down. If I get anyone to ask me nicely I just may. Hint, hint). But as I told Avram, one of the reasons I married his was that he would take me to Jerusalem someday. And I'm completely serious on this, too. And it would be a paid for trip, since he would still receive his stipend there. And more important than my deep yearning in my omphalos for the great omphalos of the world, Avram really needs to study lots of Biblical Hebrew, and Hebrew University is the best place in the world for that. And it would be great for him being more competitive when it comes time to apply for Jobs.

But....packing up all of our stuff, again? Moving a family of four across continents, with minimal luggage each, again? Jumping through the hoops of visas (at least we have our passports), and airfair (we're talking about $5,000 for the whole family) and trying to find a completely furnished apartment, not to mention we really like being settled here in Ohio, and although we'd come right back the next year, it would be a lot of bother. And I like my stuff. I really, really like it. I like having couches, instead of just two chairs, and I like having a queen size bed instead of two twins pushed together, and I like my wall hangings and my decorations and, and, (okay, I know I'm just whining now). Life in England often felt very, barren, because we had so little, and in England we were living mainly off of debt, and so we never went almost anywhere or did anything because then we'd have more debt, so I spent a lot of time sitting in our attic flat, staring out the window, on the Internets (hello to the birth of my now waning Internet blog addiction). Not to mention I was pregnant most of the time we were there.

I remind myself that I shouldn't be old and stuffy and materialistic, and who wouldn't pass up the opportunity to travel internationally and experience other cultures (my husband, that's who. He's not a fan of travel. Although he loves studying about other places, and thinks it's neat to actually partake of other places - it's all the associated travel and headache and being a stupid Yankee monkey that he hates), and that this time we wouldn't have to go into debt, and that I wouldn't be pregnant (because I wouldn't. Which would mean that our next kid would liably at least three years younger than Elisheva, which makes me sad, but that's life I guess.)

Of course, this is all preliminary, and probably today Avram will come home and say that this fellowship, even assuming he gets it, can only be used on the OSU campus, and that's why I haven't written about this before, although he began applying on Monday. But I'm nothing if not a preliminary person.

So in summary; potty training and sleeping through the night were the diapers that broke the cloth diaper's back, and we're back to using disposables. Also, I'm wishy washy person, because sometimes I want a house, and sometimes, especially currently, I want to pay off all our debt as soon as possible, and finally sometimes I want to do neither, but instead do a second international jaunt, this time to Israel, although secretly I'm a wimp and never want to move again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Last Picture

This one didn't post, so I'm including it here:

Our Family with Crowns.

FHE at the Shannon House

For Family Home Evening this week we decided to do our lesson from the Friend (which we are newly subscribed to at the turn of the year). We've had a hard time previously of involving Lydia with what we're doing without it turning into looking at pictures in the Ensign and repeating, "Jesus loves us" a lot. So instead, we did a lesson on how we're Children of God, and made crowns for us all (and read the corresponding story in the Friend). Lydia loved it.

Lydia then had to have a tutu, so she could have a princess dress as well.
Elisheva didn't get a crown, but she was okay with that.
All in all we managed to have an FHE with a small, but good lesson, an activity, and even a treat. Afterwards we had peanut butter custard pie with a fudge topping and talked about being Sons and Daughters of God.

Avram; "The only difference between sons and daughters of God is that the Sons can pee standing up."

Lydia; "I can pee standing up!"

We're so religious.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Post by Avram

Avram posted! It's been five months, so I thought I'd put a note up so people would actually see it. Go and read - it's about mythology and fantasy. You can read it here.

(For those who don't know, Avram's blog is called Essays and Enchantment, and he writes Essays on Fantasy.)

Lydia and Elisheva's Room Pictures

I finally took pictures of the Girls' room today. Yeah, I know we've only lived here for four months and all, but I never finished putting up pictures until a couple of days ago (and then spent half the afternoon cleaning and organizing their room - having a deadline is infinitely helpful in being productive).
First we have here Lydia's bed. You can't tell, but those three pictures are Flower Fairies, done by Mary Cecily Barker. I love her. Also, this quilt hanging is handmade, and someone once used it (along with another handmade quilt hanging and some other stuff I'm unaware of) to buy a house we lived in. It worked because the house didn't really "belong" to us, because we lived on Tolstoy Farm, a communal land community (that we fondly call an ex-hippie commune). Good times. (I actually only lived there for one year, when I was ten).

Lydia's bed is real hardwood, and it cost $54 at Walmart. I love Walmart. I am such not a Target person. Which works out well, because Avram and his family boycott Target because they don't support the military (ok, I know I'm getting this wrong somehow. Avram, you should correct me). I painted that dresser myself when I was pregnant with Lydia.
Elisheva's Crib. The rocking moose is from IKEA, and since it was in the scratch and dent section, it only cost $7.
I inherited the painting of the castle. My step grandfather Josh did it. I love heirlooms.
The part I skipped was the door (which you saw the edge of in the last photo), and the sliding wood doors on the closet, that bordor on the changing table. The Changing table is what took me the longest to organize. I think I hate open furniture, because rather than encouraging me to be neat and clean, it just makes whatever you are storing look messy, no matter what it is. I'm planning to paint the bookcase in a few weeks - it'll be the same color (turquoise) as the chairs in our kitchen.

And that's our girls' room. I like it - in our last apartment we only had one bedroom at all, and nothing was ours anyway, and before that Lydia's nursery was also our "library" (had bookshelves in there) and a car topper that was huge and ugly and I hated it, as well as tons of storage that had nowhere else to go. Here we actually have closets and the bookshelves are in our room, so it's been really fun to actually get to decorate, even if we still live in an apartment, and can't actually paint or anything.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Been Busy, Will Write Sometime, Maybe

I find it an operative axiom that the busier I am, and therefore the more I have to write about, that inevitably the less I will write. Whereas, in the weeks and months when I have very little, if indeed any demands at all on my time, I can write and write thoughts until my family wonders where their lovely wife has gone, and who this zombie, Internet/blog obsessed robot is who has taken her place.

December and January have been so filled with commitments, family happenings, celebrating of seasons, that I actually cannot find time to write about it all, or even basically any of it. Recently I've even gone days, days I tell you, without even getting near a computer. It's like my pre-blog days, where I would get on the Internet and check my email about once a week. Avram would check it daily for me, and if there was anything worth noting, he would tell me what it was (although this wasn't a perfect system, since what he thinks worth noting and what I do don't always match up...). I'm finally feeling our lives settle back down into some sort of routine, without any holidays in sight, and with everyone feeling well and the house even, sort of, almost clean (well, picked up. Now I need to get to organizing every room, which is always a monumental task. I read a book about clutter, that talked about clutter types, and I'm type "B," who keeps their clutter behind closed drawers and in nice and "neat" piles - that are all still filled with all sorts of junk. Like my TV cabinet, which has a drawer filled with random knitting supplies, DVDs, papers, etc, etc, until I can hardly close it, and sometimes a stray knitting needle gets caught in the crossfire and bends, and then I have to get all angry about it.

My goal this Monday is to get Lydia and Elisheva's room organized enough to take pictures of it, because I've hung all their pictures, and it's all cute in there now. Our room is clean, so I can take pictures of it as well, but honestly, it has no cuteness factor. It's just a random bunch of mismatched furniture and pictures that don't quite match anywhere else in the house. Our Relief Society this year is doing a Domestic Diva University, with goal, kind of like an advanced Personal Progress, that we can complete for a Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels (for all my friends who are actually in advanced programs, and feel that real Master's and Doctorate's would squish this all hollow, rest assured, it is not the purpose of this program to challenge the time level of commitment and studying that real programs have. It's just in similitude). I love goals, and unlike "resolutions" which tend to have a "I'll do this resolution until I inevitably fall off the wagon, sometime in mid February," goals, to me at least, are meant to be accomplished by the end of the year, so that I have all year to become good at whatever I've set out to do. And, I love them.

Just looking at the booklet has inspired all sorts of things I can accomplish this year, things like completing all my mending (which has been building up for years), or actually exercising (which goal I think I'll leave until the average temperature isn't in the single digits). I'm not sure how much blog writing I'll fit into all of my newfound determination to be amazing. I'd like to do at least a couple of times a week, maybe more. As I'm writing this post I realize basically I've been rambling, and I could have summed it up in: Been busy, will be busy, will try to write, because I like to have a record of my life and thoughts.

Oh, and Elisheva yesterday not only got into a sitting position herself (which Avram tells me she's done before, but this was the first time I saw it), but then proceeded to pull herself up to standing with the aid and support of the couch (she can't let go yet), and then cruised a couple of steps down the couch. Lydia didn't do this until she was over a year old, so although I don't think Elisheva is particularly advanced (she'll be nine month old in ten days), to us this is flabbergasting seeing her little chubby body do so much.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Alive

I'm home. Alive. It took me three hours to drive to the doctor's office (about 7 miles), drive Flor home (15 miles) and drive back here (7 miles). And I was on the freeway for most of this. It's not that there is actually that much snow - probably about six or seven inches. It's that absolutely zero of the roads I drove on were plowed, and the freeway moved at speeds on average of 15 miles an hour.

But, I'm home. And alive. There was a point in the middle when I started crying, I was so scared. I really thought I might die. (Can you die going only 15 miles an hour?) And we can see, clearly that was not the case, and Avram is home too. So I'm going to go spend some time with my family.

Out into the White World I Go

Whew! Today is crazy day. It's snowing snowing snowing outside all day long; big fat flakes that build up quickly on the ground and cars and roads. But my life waits for no snow, so out we went visiting teaching this morning.

On the way home, as I was turning into our parking lot, the car skidding on ice, and when I gently pressed the brake the car turned off (I have a manual), and the car neither turned nor stopped; it just gently, ever so gently, and ever so inexorably continued on its destined path - straight towards a telephone pole. I briefly wondered if I had time to get out of the car and hold it back myself, it was so gentle. And yet the last car accident I was in happened in a parking lot when I was going that slow and gentle-like, so I knew my car would still crumple when it hit the pole.

So there I was, on the slow coast to an accident, with my wheel locked and my brakes fulled pressed down (a lot of good that did). It was even perfectly silent all around me, with the soft winter wonderland of white around me. As my car hit the curb it went up, but then, ever so thankfully, it could not get over the curb. I said a quick prayer of thanks, and then restarted the car and slowly, even more carefully than before, parked and went in.

All afternoon I've had feelings of foreboding for the weather. I was supposed to pick Flor up again today, and then also take two girl's to activity days (my new calling as of last Sunday). As of five minutes ago the Activity Days activity (slightly redundant there; sorry) was cancelled, so I have only one errand left in the snow. I wish the whole city would shut down, including OSU, until the snow went away and I felt safe either leaving the house or having Avram leave the house. I know, I'm a wimp. I'm sure in Wisconsin everyone is laughing at me. But somehow I can't shake the feelings I have; today, after my almost accident, the snow is really scaring me.

Maybe I've read too many books with obvious, heavy foreshadowing. Maybe I just need to relax. Maybe tonight on the freeway I will get into a massive accident and these will be the last words I'll ever right. (Kind of freaky to think about, huh? Except if these are my last words, they really aught to be more profound, and less filled with slang).

Wish me luck. And even better, pray for me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ode to the Broken Synapses, which Cannot Fire! (that's what she said; kind of pathetic, really)

I had a very busy day planned for today; Dropping off the girl's at a ward member's house, then going to the Church Cannery (taking her order and mine). Then Visiting Teaching (which ended up not happening because she's sick), then picking up Flor from the doctor's again. Three big things, and although one didn't happen, I planned out my day to the minute, basically, because except for an hour and a half I was home in the middle (thanks to the cancelled appointment) I was gone from 8:45 in the morning until 5:30 at night. Not that working moms aren't always gone that long, but somehow it seems longer the more kids you tag along with you and the more stops there are in the middle.

Anyway, the point of the this post isn't to brag about my busy day, but rather to point out how although I managed to stay on top of the large details, the small ones about swamped me.

Example one. After going to the cannery (where I on impulse bought 60 dollars worth of food storage food, because I realized once I arrived that I actually hadn't planned what I would can, and so decided to get a can here and a can there until I got a whole case (six cans), and some hard white wheat (50 lbs), and hey, we eat oatmeal! And it's cheaper per pound to buy it in the bag (25 lb bag). Avram gave me this look when he saw it all. Although, it's food storage, right? Its supposed to be extra food. And it's all stuff we eat. It's not like I went crazy and bought the Tang drink or anything. Plus if I manage to only spend $35 dollars on groceries for the next two weeks, we won't go over the food budget (cue laughter here). Not that we don't have extra money to cover it....more that I hate messing up my beautiful budgets.

Whew. Back to example one. After going to the cannery, I bought some gas. Except when the meany card machine made me go into the store and buy it from the attendant, because it was a debit card. While paying for it, the attendant, a middle aged semitic looking man said, "You speak Hebrew, don't you."

"Um yes. A little (which I said in hebrew). How did you know?"

"I can just tell. I speak Hebrew too [said in Hebrew]. I am Arab [and for everyone who thought that when I said "semitic" I meant "Jewish" should know that Arabs are semite too.]"

I then told him I had learned Arabic as well, and bade him farewell in said language, and he said goodbye to me in Hebrew.

I was baffled. How did he know I spoke Hebrew? I'm a caucasion female wearing a big coat. And my name is Thora. Mmmm. Maybe there's a sign on my forehead. (The only other thing I thought of is maybe Avram's name somehow came up. The cashier's name was Abe, so maybe...

While pondering over all of this, I got in my car, and drove away. A half a block later, I looked at my tank, to see how full ten dollars had gotten me (I try and get as little gas as possible because I like to play the "let's see how much the gas cost will go down before I absolutely must buy gas because I am running on the memory of fumes.), and it hadn't increased at all! He didn't get me any gas! How rude! And then I realized that in my surprise at being an open language book, I had completely forgotten to pump the gas, but instead had just paid for it and driven off. I'm the opposite of people who get gas and then then drive off without paying. Look at all the good karma I am accruing in the world.

Actually, I took my good karma back, because I turned right around, and got my ten dollars worth from the station (luckily no one had come up to my pump).

Exampe Two. After picking Flor up from the dentist. (I forgot to bring something to do while waiting for her appointment to end. I believe there is nothing more pointless than sitting in a doctor's office with nothing to do. I tried passing the time by reading pamphlets on glaucoma and taking care of ones vision as one ages (it was a dual vision office - the same one we were in last week. Tomorrow It'll be the medical doctor's office downstairs. But tomorrow I'm bringing my knitting.) I put Elisheva in the car, and Flor put Lydia in, after first checking with me that she was doing it right, which I confirmed. Three blocks into driving, I realized that I had put them in the wrong car seats. Lydia was facing backwards, her feet scrunched up the seat back, and Elisheva was slumped over in Lydia's upright chair, already starting to cry from the uncomfortable position. Unfortunately, I couldn't really stop because we were getting on the freeway, and so I had to wait until Flor's house to switch them. Fun times.

In conclusion, I can only think that there's only so much of my brain to go around, and I must have used it all on the big ticket items today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This is not a Rant, it's a convoluted Thanks.

Ever feel like the life you're living surely must be a mistake? This week has felt a little like a borrowed week from someone else's life; anyone care to have it back?

Tuesday morning I babysat at six am (a half hour later than my normal time of five-thirty). We'd babysat on Mnday, and planned to babysit on Wednesday as well. Normal as normal gets. Well, at 8:30 am Lydia woke up at their house, throwing up. Repeatedly. All over their guest room bedding. At this moment you need to remember that the younger of the two children I watch has many health difficulties, among them a feeding tube and he gets sick very, very easily. Whenever he does get sick he inevitably ends up at the hospital. You also need to remember that there was no phone in the house. The family I watch has no home phone, and I am the last person on earth (besides Avram) with no cell phone. The dad had been leaving his phone at home, but he has been driving for his company and had to have his phone with him.

So as I frantically put down Breaking Dawn (Yes, I caved in and read the Twilight series. Yes I actually liked it - except I actually didn't like the last book really, for several reasons. Yes, I even thought about writing a blog post about it, but then realized I don't even write blog posts about books I incredibly love forever, so why would I write one about a book I merely enjoyed when I thought I wouldn't) and as I ran up the stairs to help Lydia my largest worry wasn't actually her sickness alone, but knowing that I had to get out of their house with her as fast as possible, and I had no phone to call anyone to come over and help.

After cleaning up after Lydia and helping her downstairs, where she proceeded to cry for the next hour straight, I tried to think of a solution. Finally I decided to try and get on their computer, which I had never managed to turn on, and put out a general plea to my ward via the Internet for help. I couldn't figure out how to turn the monitor on (yes, I know, I have the potential conflict for epic novels), but finally after a lot of prayer found invisible touch buttons hidden on the side, and accessed facebook (and a blog), and left pleas for help via babysitting or a cell phone to find help. I felt like Leia in Star Wars. "Help me, Obi One Kanobi (sp?), you're my only hope," except it was, "Help me Internet and my ward, you're my only hope."

Thankfully I belong to the best church ever, and within an hour someone in my ward had not only seen my plea, but called around and found two different babysitters who could cover for the rest of the day. Then she sent over her husband, who happened to be home from work that day, and he had a cell phone I used to call the parents with, plus he then went to the store for me and got generic pedialyte and crackers and stuff. Meanwhile I went home, where of course I was locked out. After getting two different keys from management (perks of living in an apartment), I got inside and we could finally relax and Lydia could be sick in peace.

For a few hours at least. Because the second babysitter, who I had specifically wanted because she had babysat the kids before, and knew how to take care of Elliot with his feeding tubes and stuff, had already agreed to take a Spanish sister from the ward, Flore, to the eye doctor that afternoon. So I agreed to take her instead, since I would rather take a sick kid around than risk getting Elliot sick. So at two thirty we were off to pick her up, and take her downtown. Not that big of a deal, right? Except Flore only speaks a little English, and my mastery of Spanish extends from one to ten, and that is it. (The second babysitter, Amanda, speaks fluent Spanish). Because doctors are like that, and the medicine she needed took an hour to compound while we sat in the parking lot of Kroger, I didn't get home until 7:15 at night. Fun times. Really, I was glad to help Flore, and she was kindness itself.

But all in all, it was a very, very long Tuesday. Plus after it came Wednesday, when Lydia was still sick with throwing up and a fever, and Elisheva got a a fever too, and I was so sleep deprived and lame that I couldn't force myself to do anything but be catatonic and in bed almost all day, and Avram did everything for everyone, although he had a Greek quiz to study for, which is a big deal since the last Greek class he had was three years ago. Although Elisheva nursed (literally, I kid you not) all night long, whether from teething or sickness we don't know, and Lydia joined our bed in the middle of the night, where she then threw up (luckily into a towel), I'm actually doing much better today than yesterday. And Lydia has only thrown up once today, when I gave her milk, which upon looking up on the trusty Internet is the exact thing you should never give a throwing up kid for days and days after they get better. So maybe she's almost better.

I'm very, very glad the church, in the form of helpful, giving members, came to our rescue this week. I love true religion as James defines it. It reminds me of when I was in England and had Elisheva, and our ward members there helped us so much that several people in Avram's program expressed surprise at how we had managed to find such a giving, helpful church. I told them we just looked them up, because the Church is world wide, and anywhere we go we just look up the local group and go to it. And then people help and help and help us. (Which was why I was glad to take Flore to the doctor. I so very rarely ever get to help anyone back. Mostly I'm the one who is always being helped. What can I say, I'm very needy).

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Old and New

We bought a washer and dryer. On New Year's day. Yay for us! They're going to deliver & set them up tomorrow, and then I'll finally, finally start doing cloth diapers again. See, some pipe dreams do come true!

Since we've been married, Avram and I every New Year's have taken time to list all of our accomplishments/memorable experiences from the previous year, and then our goals for the next year. This is (most of) this year's lists.

2008 in Review
Avram got into and received a University Fellowship for the OSU.
Don and Barbara (my mom and step dad) visited us in England, and we visited France together and saw Paris.
Lydia learned all the letters of the alphabet.
Elisheva Anne was born on April 28, 2008.
It was a natural birth.
Avram got distinctions in Biblical Hebrew and Ancient Israelite Religion.
Avram earned a Master in Jewish Studies degree from the University of Oxford.
We moved from England to Virginia to Ohio.
Avram lost weight (like 25 lbs).
Thora lost 10 lbs (not including losing post pregnancy weight, which she also did). Of course, I gained five of it back again during Christmas.....
Avram got his driver's license.
Thora knit Elisheva a stocking, and Lydia a scarf.
Elisheva first learned to scoot at seven months, and to officially crawl on Christmas Eve.
Elisheva has six teeth.
Lydia has an early (7:00 pm) bedtime, and goes to sleep easily.
Elisheva has moved from our bed to a crib in the girls' room, and sleeps through the night.
We finished reading the Book of Mormon together and read almost all of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Avram matriculated at the OSU.
Avram attended the SBL conference in Boston.
Avram got a 4.0 Autumn Quarter.
We had the Duck Incident of 2008 at the Columbus Zoo.
We visited Tennesse for Christmas.

2009 - Goals

Potty Train Lydia.

Use Cloth Diapers.

Thora begin babysitting from home (which I will starting in Mid February. Its a long story, but I'll be switching to babysitting for a six week old baby boy then).

Avram present a paper at a conference.

Read the Book of Mormon as a couple.

Incorporate more exercise and wholesome recreational activities into our family (once per week at least).

Pray kneeling as a couple every night.

(This is my personal one); brush my teeth twice a day and floss them daily.

Also, for a very incomplete list of books I've read this year:

1.Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.
2. Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson.
3. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
4. The Ladies of Grace Adieu, by Susanna Clarke.
5. Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens.
6. Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke.
7. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.
8. Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
9. Tea With Mr. Rochester, by Francis Towers.
10. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh.
11. North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell.

12. All eleven books of the Wheel of Time series, plus the prequel, by Robert Jordan.
13. Mistborn Trilogy; The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages
14. Mother Ocean, Daughter Sea; The Sea Lark's Song; Twilight Rising, Serpent's Dream by Diana Marcellas. These were pretty lame-o.
15. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winifred Watson
16. The Field Guide, First book in the Spiderwick Chronicles, by Holly Black and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
17. Twilight. (Yes, I actually read this, and more surprising to me, I actually quite enjoyed it.)
18. A Thousand Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Marquez.
19. Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson.
20. Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons.
21. A british book about active labour that I can't remember the title of for the life of me.
22. A novel that traces a fictional vermeer backwards through its owners. I can't remember the title, though.
23. These Happy Golden Years, Laura Ingalls Wilder.
24. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott.

I read a lot more young adult/kids books that I tend not to record, like re-readings of the little house books, or a bunch of books by Diana Wynne Jones, like the Chrestomanci Series. It's a little embarrassing to me that there is only one non-fiction on this entire list. I've never been very good at reading non-fiction; perhaps this is the year to begin being better. I do often check out cookbooks from the library and read them, but I don't read every single page, so I don't count them.

Although I didn't get the idea for writing this post from my sister in law, Aleatha, she did it before me, and inspired me to actually post it, instead of just always intending to post it.