Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sing it with me, now.... (to the tune of "There Was an Old Lady")

There was a young Mama who lay on the couch

She lay on the couch to settle her stomach

From eating the food that went with the water

She drank with the pill

The pill that she swallowed to nourish the baby

That wriggled and tickled and jiggled inside her.

Perhaps she'll cry.

P.S. We are thrilled. If thrilled means lying in bed composing bad parodies of songs while my stomach revolts.

P.P.S. Due June 17, 2010

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Haphazard Family Fun Day

This was going to be a funny post. But after having the pictures already uploaded (out of order) for over a week, I think I'll settle for just a finished post. We went pumpkin picking on Friday - with the whole family. It was going to be a perfect Autumnal Family Outing, with crisp air, and a hay ride pulled by a tractor, complete with cute pumpkins. We arrived later than we had planned because we received an email that the mom's group we were going with was having a flux of people at nine thirty, so to come later. It turns out that Ten thirty was a little too much later - we drove up to see the tractor driving off with the last Mom's group hay ride. No matter, I determined to wait until the next time around, when surely more moms would have arrived. Except none came. And we got out first, and Lydia walked through some wet grass/mud, since it had rained for most of the week. And then Lydia took off her shoes, because they were wet and muddy. So she's standing there in the cold wailing, and wanting to be carried. At this point we made a break back to the car, to wait there.You can see from Elisheva's expression how we were all feeling at that point.

Finally we determined to forego the hayride, and just walk over to the nearby pumpkin field, and pick what we could there. We carried Lydia to the field, but then let her go, muddy socks and all.
Lydia could not pick what pumpkin she wanted. She told us we was looking for the perfect pumpkin, and personally wandered over the entire field searching for it. Finally, after Elisheva had falled down in the mud, gotten stuck in some other mud, and I had fallen down as well, Avram picked Lydia's pumpkin for her.

We picked out a family pumpkin and an Elisheva pumpkin as well, and then hobbled back to the main area, where I tried to pretend we were a cute all-American family, and not cold and muddy. Speaking of not being cute, why did I think a garish pink flowered jacket was a good idea - where were our picturesque Autumnal sweaters? (That we don't own?)

Oh, I forgot to mention that Lydia had a runny nose, too. We had planned to go home after this, but it was such a let down of an experience (hey, last year, when I went with just the girls, was perfect) that we decided to go to Culver's, our favorite hamburger place, and pop over to the Zoo, which was by the Pumpkin Farm and Culver's.

Notice the stylish mud I'm sporting to the zoo.
We found some clean sock's in the car, and then bundled the girls up with whatever random things we could find in the car as well (hooray for never cleaning out the car), so they would stay warm, since it was really quite cold. The zoo was not what you would call busy.
Which we enjoyed just fine. We only went to the indoor exhibits, the highlight of which was the aquarium. This was the first time being there that Elisheva really got into the fish. She loved it, and kept exlaiming, "Wow! Wow!"

So the haphazard family fun day was turned around, into a truly fun day. Even though we did fill our mud quota for the year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

In Which I Revel in Medieval Intellectual Awakenings

Avram and I have maintained for years that we prefer experiences to accruing physical belongings or gifts. Having said that, we have also struggled to live up to this ideal. Countless times I have put off going to Kirtland, only a two and a half hour drive, because of timing, or money (we want to spend the night), or whatnot, but I've spent the amount of money again and again on random things at home, and I've definitely put in my fair share of Saturdays reading blogs and taking naps. Perhaps because we are a materialistic society, perhaps because collecting stuff is so much easier than doing activities, but I have noticed that as Americans we spend most of our lives building up belongings, and not necessarily memories.

A week ago Avram through his university was informed of an Early Music concert series here in Columbus; early music meaning medieval and renaissance. We had discussed getting an "experience" instead physical gifts for ourselves for Christmas, but had not found anything to tempt us both, until this appeared. When we found that the first of the six concerts was to by the Anonymous 4, a group I already knew and liked, in a fit of excitement we mailed out our subscription for all six concerts that very day. Avram getting student prices at half cost sweetened the deal a lot. On top of all this, we even worked out babysitting for all six concerts through trading with a family in our ward, so that is planned as well.

One of the major reasons I married Avram was I like how we connected intellectually. Five and a half years and two kids later, when I'm a stay at home Mom and he's a Ph.d. student, sometimes I feel like he kept the intellectuality, and I have de-evolved to where I can only talk about what current fantasy book I've read, or what my decorating plans are for our home. Signing up for these concerts made me feel intellectual, and stimulated mentally, and I hadn't even attended them yet! Another highlight was that this meant Avram and had an automatic date planned until April. Natural dating is not something we have developed in our relationship.

Despite this being a Christmas present, the Concerts began tonight, and run through April at one a month, skipping December. So this evening Avram and I put on our fancy, yet subdued academic intellectual clothing - Harris Tweed for Avram, and a brown skirt and pink sweater for me, and we actually spent some time alone together not in the confines of our own home.

We drove to Capital University here in greater Columbus, and were very pleased with the antiquity of the concert hall we met in. Ambiance is very important, and there is nothing like decorated finials and elaborate ceilings to help me appreciate music. The Anonymous 4, whom we saw this evening, is a group of four women who sing accapella. The concert was better than hoped for - the harmonies were sublime, the subject matter - a day's worth of music from a Spanish Nunnery containing the Los Huelgos Codex in the 13th century, from Metins to Mass to other Latin names I can't remember, to the ending Night songs - the subject matter was Medieval and wonderful. By the second song I was ready to become a Medieval Nun - I told Avram this, but for some reason he didn't want to join me. And, I felt my IQ rising by the Motet. If the concert had lasted any longer, I would have been able to discuss in relevant musical terms that historical importance of the Polyphonic manuscripts that were sung by women - apparently a shocking/somewhat unheard of matter in the Catholic Church. Since the concert did end, I can only quote in parrot-like manner what the 20 minute lecuturor proceeding the concert told us of this matter. If I could spend a whole day listening to this type of performance, I would almost have a master's degree by proxy, I am sure.

Afterwards to help us in our achievement of intellectual transcendence (plus perhaps to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Early Music concert series), there was a wine and cheese reception. Avram and I gathered smoked Gouda, smoked provolone, and Muenster, along with dried apricots and pistachios, and passing by the wine, filled our glasses with virginal punch. Then we sat and discussed the Greek loan words into the Latin texts, the supreme importance of Mary, and the Mary Cult in Medieval Christianity - seeing as almost every song spoke of and to Mary and her role as the star of the sea (stella maris) and her mediation with Christ.

I know that tomorrow morning I'll be back to talking about the Ward Halloween Party next week, and what this week's schedule looks like, and what so-and-so is doing in their life currently, but for now I revel in feeling alive and independent from my two loved, yet needy, daughters.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Tragicomedy (Plus some Abstinence in the Beginning)

Ok, so I haven't posted in forever - at least, long thoughtful (on my side at least - perhaps you can replace inane from your side) posts in forever. Anything with pictures in it is just for my mother. So I've been wanting to post when I have the creative fever on me, and I have a writing voice that will wow you, and perhaps garner me some sort of new, invented Nobel Prize in Literature for random bloggers that no one knows (hey, maybe I could get it for my intention in writing great things - whattd'ya say?). But I am remarkably fever free, and for the first time since Monday am even on the computer, so I'll have to just spew out whatever is on my mind. If James Joyce could pull off famous stream of consciousness, why can't I?

First off, I saw this link on Just Randi's blog - to Lloyds Pharmacy, which is trying to encourage safe sex. So I went and found out my "Sex Degrees of Separation," I admit, for the express purpose of mocking it. Sometimes when I encounter something like this, I am (dare I say it, and sound like a BYU editorial?) appalled that abstinence doesn't even come into question. That having one partner (my husband, just to be very clear here) who is in his late twenties, they assume I've had indirect sexual contact with 747,101 people. Or perhaps what they were really trying to say, was one person. I didn't find it a very potentially useful diagnostic tool when they didn't ask how many sexual partners your partner has had. But then, I'm sure that the people who invented this, and most people who are taking it, can't either imagine complete abstinence before marriage, nor complete, lifelong fidelity in marriage (let alone a complete, lifelong marriage, period.) Echoing something my friend Beth said recently on her blog, I do not feel that the LDS standards of morality, along with other commonly seen "restrictive" commandments like the Word of Wisdom (which I acknowledge is different from ancient times, but although they did drink alcoholic beverages, I would gladly give up wine to forego having to keep the rest of the Kashrut laws), and others are in fact limiting at all.

On the subject of religion, for the most part the happiest people I have known are deeply religious, from Muslims I knew in Egypt to Catholics I've known in America. Not to mention the Mormons I've met on three continents. Anyway.

Life has been rather a comedy of errors lately. Two days ago, in a very unusual day, I had five kids (including my own) for all day babysitting, plus for two hours in the afternoon two more kids, making SEVEN children five and under in my four room house (plus a bathroom). Luckily, the whole time the extra two were here there were also two others that were sleeping, so I only had five awake at a time. And we watched a movie, which I try to rarely if ever do while babysitting, but some days call for desperate, quiet inducing measures. Unluckily, one of the children napping was a two year old in a Pack 'n Play in my bedroom. Usually I only have babies in that pack 'n play, and it's pushed up against a bookshelf and dresser. This day the two year old reached up, and with the extra height provided by the portable bed spot grabbed ahold of my hair that was braided and waiting to be sent to Locks of Love. Why was it still hanging out on my bookcase? (ok, so that's a weird place for fragile things, but we have a certain bookcase we tend to pile things we don't want the girls get into too high for them to reach) Because a friend of mine is planning to cut her hair, and wanted to send her hair in with mine, so I'd been waiting for that.

So, to be brief, the two year old got the hair, and when I got to her, it was only a sad bundle of what looked like a dead hair animal. It was sad. Very, very sad. (These two sentences right here, with their brief yet heart rending description will be what I get that Nobel Prize for). Before my cut hair had felt so freeing - in a heartbeat I felt shorn, bereft of my beautiful hair. I put the two year old in timeout for five minutes, and talked to her about not touching things that aren't hers, but really one can only use the word Accountable with Two year Old so long before one sounds utterly ridiculous. It reminded me in small measure of the time when Lydia took the Weighing of the Heart scene, painted on real papyrus, that I had bought in Egypt, that had been the turning point for Avram and I, and ripped a large central strip out of it. She was also two at the time. I tell you, parenting is not for the weak of heart.

That evening, in a numb state, with tears lurking in my throat, I went through and rescued what hair I could, laying it out into a pile, and then putting it into a ponytail. Then came the hardest part - I carefully held the end of the ponytail, and brushed it all out - with huge globs of hair coming free. At last I was left with a reduced ponytail of brushed hair (Locks of Love hair cannot be loose, and it must be in a ponytail or braided), about one third to a half of what I'd started out with. I carefully put it into a plastic baggie, and put it somewhere much more childproof.

It amazed me how attached I was to hair that I had freely, happily chopped off. I had been glad to have it gone, and had never missed it. Until Tuesday. Now I find myself wanting to grow my hair long again. But when I cut my hair, I had decided to leave it short for a long time! Plus it took me four years to grow it out since the last short haircut I had. I think this life is designed to make us let go of our vanities, and longings for physical possessions. At least, children are definitely designed for the aforementioned.

This morning, Avram and I, in trading off, made Blueberry muffins. Unfortunately, somehow the flour got almost doubled. Once we realized that, we went back and added more of everything else - except an egg. So the resulting muffins taste very, very odd. And we made twice as many as normal. Lovely.

But in good news, I'm done babysitting for the week, Avram's program is having a beginning of the year social tonight where they have yummy Middle Eastern food (plus then I don't have to cook dinner), and tomorrow we're going as a family to a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins. And it's a real pumpkin patch, where the pumpkins are still attached to the vines! Plus last Saturday we went to the Zoo and rode the Antique 1914 carousel for the first time - Elisheva's first carousel ride ever. So, life is good. And sad. It's a tragicomedy - but somehow I think those are better than the Comedies where everyone has to have fun all the time, just because the Playwright said so.

Monday, October 5, 2009

If you've ever wondered where Heavenly Father lives....

Avram, singing Silent Night to Lydia at bedtime.

Avram: "...Infant mother and child -"

Lydia, "That's Jesus. When he was a baby. He was just little. And his Mama."

Avram, "...Sleep in heavenly peace -"

Lydia, "That's about Jesus' daddy. He lives in the sky, in the cloud temple. That's my favorite temple. You and Mama went to a temple - that's where you were married. It was a different temple. And had windows."