Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Motion of the Ocean

One night before falling asleep in our stateroom on our cruise, I began to think about how sailors get used to the slow rolling motion of being on a large ship. With my eyes closed I concentrated on the slow, gentle rocking motion. It was strangely soothing and very easy to fall asleep to. I think that was the moment I thought about why babies like to be rocked – because it’s similar to their pre-birth amniotic environment.

I actually spent quite a while developing an entire post-birth hypothesis on why human babies like to be rocked and swaddled in blankets. I imagine that for a baby, being inside a mother feels a lot like being aboard a ship. It’s probably a nice, warm, rocking and gentle rolling experience. After nine months of that watery motion, is it any wonder that an infant finds life in our stationary world so startling? No wonder they cry so much. And what do we do to calm them? We bounce them and rock them – kind of imitating the environment they so recently left.

Now that I’ve been home from our cruise to the Bahamas, I’m finding out why newborn babies sleep so much – it’s probably part of their coping mechanism to help acclimate themselves to a non-watery world. We disembarked the Majesty of the Seas on Friday morning at 7:30 AM (EDT). Even though I’ve been off the ship for over 66 hours, I still have moments when I feel like I’m still aboard a boat. I’m finding, however, that I feel most normal when sleeping or right after waking up. Too bad I can’t be like a newborn and sleep the next few days away until I rediscover my land legs.

(More photos and a more detailed report of our cruise coming soon . . . )

Friday, June 20, 2008

5 Things -- Tagged

5 things on my to-do list today:
1. Watch my two little nieces -- Sarah and Holly
2. Launday, laundry, and more laundry
3. Water outdoor flowers
4. Mow the lawn
5. Write up our travel itinerary for my parents

5 snacks that I enjoy:
1. Swedish fish
2. Cinnamon bears
3. Popcorn (buttery or carmel)
4. apples
5. grapes

5 things I would do if I were suddenly a billionaire:
1. Pay tithing.
2. Race in a stock car at Rocky Mountain Raceway
3. Buy a hot air balloon and learn to fly it -- hire a crew.
4. Donate $10,000 to my favorite local charities: CAPSA, The child and family support center, our city's library (or a county-wide library system if it flies), The Humane Society. (What are your favorite local charities?)
5. Fly with my hubby and kids to Tokyo, Japan and introduce them to my host family.

5 bad habits that I have:
1. I can burp on demand and I've taught the skill to each of my own children and a few neighborhood kids as well.
2. Having unrealistic expectations of people. When they don't meet them it leads to impatience on my part. (Will impatience always be my nemesis?)
3. I can be loud and obnoxious.
4. Sleeping in instead of getting up to exercise.
5. Interupting others and completing their sentences for them -- an impatience problem again.

5 places that I have lived:
1. Cache Valley, Utah
2. Tokyo, Japan (I was an exchange student for a summer in high school.)
3. Blackfoot, Idaho
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico
5. College Ward, UT (twice)

5 jobs that I have had:
1. Berry picker at the Blotter berry patch. (Also at Zollinger's fruit farm.)
2. SnowShak shaved ice maker.
3. Credit manager, accounts payable, head of the plumbing department -- Cantwell Lumber.
4. Bagger, checker, front-end-manager at Macey's grocery store.
5. Family Manager -- my current position.

5 things people don't know about me:
1. I burned my tongue on a curling iron -- checking to see if it was hot. It was. (age 14)
2. I speak fluent pig latin and even put that on a job application. I'm sure that's why they hired me at Macey's.
3. I was raised by very strict parents. I'm not as strict as they were.
4. I like my freckles.
5. I love being in front of an audience of almost any sort.

I'm tagging: Julie, Nan, Alison, Heidi and DeeAnn. (That means you get to post a 5 Things entry on your blog -- or e-mail it to me.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Travel: An Expensive Way to Appreciate Home

We returned from spending four and a half days in Las Vegas. Whew! Remind me that if I never visit Las Vegas again it will be too soon. The place that is touted as Sin City, really is just that.

Our first night there we walked from our hotel and down the Las Vegas Strip (L.V. Boulevard). It was hard to know where to look to avoid seeing boobs and butts. Newspaper vending stands contained unmentionable publications. Once we figured out what their front page touted we lever looked again. Billboards, trucks with mobile billboards, even the buildings had pictures of scantily clad women in provocative poses. Men stood along the sidewalks trying to hand out paper advertisements featuring hussies. Many of the women visiting Las Vegas wore immodest clothing as well. Las Vegas also seems to operate on the premise that people are attracted to lots of flashing lights and bling – kind of like moths to the bug zapper.

Yesterday while teaching my primary lesson on Reverence, I mentioned that I had visited a place that seemed to have no reverence for Heavenly Father. I said something like, “There was lots of gambling and a lot of the women there don’t wear very much clothing.” Little Jacob piped up, “Did they make you take off your clothes too?” He was serious, but it made me chuckle. I pointed out that Las Vegas has a temple and that many people outside of the casino areas lead good lives. (In trying to find the address for the Las Vegas LDS Temple I noted that there are some 17 LDS Stakes in the area. Oh, and we did find the temple. It’s beautiful!)

Although not everything in Vegas revolves around sin, it’s still hot, hot, hot! On one day of our visit the temperature got to 104 with winds of 25 to 30 mph. We went out to take a walk for a little exercise at 7 PM, and it felt like we were living in a blow dryer. Yuck!

Not everything about out trip was a bummer. I did enjoy having my husband all to myself when he wasn’t in classes at the safety conference during the day. We talked a lot about family, discussed his job and the people he knew who were also attending the conference. I pointed out that he sure seemed to be a lot like the other safety professionals. From my observations walking the corridors of the convention center I found the majority of them to be Caucasian, male and middle-aged. Many also wore blue shirts with khakis – again, very like my own safety man’s attire.

I also enjoyed not having to cook, clean or nagivate (nag + motivate = nagivate). Instead of the usual household chores and duties that normally occupy my time, I could read, write and enjoy afternoon naps. (Okay, so I do indulge in naps on some days at home.)

While we were enjoying each other, our kids got to stay with their grandparents. Lou, our 12-year-old, attended her first girl’s camp and then stayed with my parents here in Northern Utah. We dropped Bug (age 14) and Beans (age 9) off in St. George to stay with Hubby’s Mom and Bill. They all seemed to really enjoy themselves. But best of all, when we all got back together they were actually excited to see one another and hang out together. We all arrived home on Friday at around 7:30 PM, and they stayed up talking and playing until past 11 PM. (Now if they can just get along together for the six days we’ll be gone on our family cruise. I’m crossing my fingers.)

Lou (on the front row in a green jacket holding a polka-dot bag) woke up on the final morning of girl's camp to 6" of SNOW!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Summer Boredom Busters

Here is a list of summer activities that my kids can do when they’re bored – which seems to be every spare minute. (Beans is nine, Lou is twelve and Bug is fourteen.)

Play tennis at the park
Ride your bike to your grandparent’s house
Catch snakes along the canal
Play balloon volleyball
Fill water balloons and play games with friends
Organize a water fight
Make a smoothie
Walk the dog
Learn a magic trick
Ride your bike to the store with a friend or sibling
Borrow some Spanish language CDs from the library or a friend
Create a computer slide show with music, photos and captions
Teach the dog a new trick
Check out a book at the library
Play racquetball at the rec. center
Call Grandpa Hansen see if you can go for a boat ride
Plan a banana split party
Play board games
Go to a movie
Do a secret act of service
Go swimming
Take a nap
Call Grandpa A. and ask to use the archery equipment
Take a hike!
Research a topic just for fun
Re-write the lyrics to a familiar song
Set up the tent and sleep out in the backyard
Read up on basic first aid (Practice on your mom)
Write a letter to a friend or relative
Make pizza with what’s in the cupboard & fridge
Make paper airplanes (have a distance contest)
Learn to play Grandma Kofoed’s hand organ
Play catch
Sketch the outside of our house
Work on Faith in God, Personal Progress or Duty to God
Organize a neighborhood Olympics
Give each other rides in the wheel barrow (have races)
Play marbles
Play croquet
Create a masterpiece from sculpting clay
Play with Legos (recreate our house)
Create a treasure hunt for friends / family
Plan a BBQ for friends
Plan a game day with friends
Look through Mom and Dad’s old yearbooks (don’t die laughing)
Make breakfast for dinner
Have a squirt gun fight
Write in your journal
Play horseshoes at the park (Bug’s Eagle project)
Using toothpicks and mini-marshmallows, have a sculpting contest
Play a card game (Rook, Canadian Salad, Cribbage)
Pack a lunch and bike to the park with a friend
Play “day games” – hide and seek, freeze tag, etc.
Play the piano / recorder / penny whistle
Call Grandma A. and go make jewelry
Call and arrange a cousin get-together
Go to a noon concert at the Tabernacle
Make greeting cards
Select a pattern, choose fabric and learn to sew something
Plan a drama and video tape it (use dress-ups)
Catch butterflies and other insects
Weed in the garden
Play kickball
Color on the driveway with sidewalk chalk
Read a book at the library
Sing karaoke with the cousins
Go for a run with or without the dog
Color with crayons (make underwater scenes)
Clean the house (I wish!)
Paint your fingernails / toenails (don’t spill)
Play “spa treatment”
Make flannel Capri PJs
Practice jump roping / double dutch
Play hopscotch
Have a bubble gum blowing contest
Write a story or poem
Throw a Frisbee (to the dog)
Make and frost a cake
Tour a museum – USU art museum, DUP, etc.
Go to the ice arena
Call and offer to play with a young child in the neighborhood – read them a book or push them on the swings
Make and distribute babysitting fliers (Lou)
Play UNO Attack
Sew something
Weed the flowerbeds
Go canoeing
Explore a new place (tell Mom where you’re going)
Work on your scrapbook
Buy art supplies (acrylic paints) and learn to paint
Do math puzzles (Sudoku)
Do crossword puzzles or word searches
Blow bubbles
Do a science experiment
Press flowers
Play with Barbies / Littlest Pet Shops / Stuffed Webkinz
Make paper beads (then jewelry)
Play spy – use binoculars, a notebook, sunglasses; file a report
Make bread
Do an activity from one of our books
Do a cross-stitch project
Go bowling
Listen to music
Make origami
Play sand volleyball at the park
Create a sand village in the sand volleyball pits
Dig a hole and play in it (get permission for location first)
Play lightning with a basketball
Make mud pies
Identify shapes in the clouds
Water the flowers
Do shrink-e-dinks
Weave with yarn
Play a game at Grandma’s – see if hers are more fun than ours
Play ultimate Frisbee
Play pool
Swing on the equipment at the elementary school
Go to the Willow Park Zoo
Feed the ducks at first dam
Practice with a yo-yo
Play tetherball
Play a game from The Encyclopedia of Games
Play a game from The LDS Game Book

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My Kids' Summer Job Charts

I cut these sheets into strips of three and rotate -- Week #1, Week #2 and Week #3. Each week's strips hang on a large dry-erase board near the stairs and the back door. This system works out nicely as we have three kids and three bathrooms. By doing it this way and rotating assignments, no one can claim that their jobs aren't fair. (You can click on each job sheet to see it clearly.)

Each day has an allowance amount fixed to it. Once all their jobs are done for that day, they have me sign it off. If they choose not to complete all their jobs, they miss out on that day's amount come payday. We also have a rule that they can't play the computer, watch TV or play with friends until their jobs are done. They have pretty big incentives to complete their work which makes it so I don't have to nag so much.

Note: I leave Saturday blank for their dad to give them assignments. I find that if he has three people to boss around on Saturday, he doesn't feel the need to give me assignements too. :)

It Could Happen to You

Many things in life are a pain in the butt. Including toothpicks.

Sunday after church let out, Hubby finally arrived in the foyer and we headed to the car. I opened my door and sat down. And then screamed, “Aaaaah!”

My initial cry was followed by a series of wimpers, “Ow, ow, ow!” as I tried to remove whatever it was that was poking into my behind. (It felt like a darning needle.)

It was, in actuality, a toothpick. A round, pokey-ended toothpick. And as I sat down it went through my denim skirt, slip, and undergarments and into my derriere. (This is my first time typing that word, and I want you to know that I got it right!)

My hubby’s initial worried, “What’s wrong?” was soon followed by robust laughter. Lou, the only other occupant of the car, joined in too. And although still in pain, I saw the humor and chuckled a bit myself.

Upon arriving home Hubby and Lou were quick to share my mishap with Beans and Bug. Everyone thought it hilarious. But it was a nasty little poke and still stung. Just before retreating to my room and shutting the door I said, “I bet it drew blood.”

Sure enough, it did! I asked Hubby to come put a bandage on my behind. (That’s a first.) He thought that a little Neosporin would be a good idea too.

And that’s when I lost it. Hubby had to tell me to quit shaking (from laughter) so that he could put the bandage on. (It was difficult, but I finally held my breath and did it. It was Safety Man and Accident Girl at their finest.)

I soon got over the hilarity of the situation and was surprised at how long the pain lasted. I was still a little bit sore the next morning, but I’m happy to report that I’m doing fine now.

The incident did remind us of the time Bug had a diaper rash at age two. He was a firm believer in the kiss-it-better cure and went to his dad and said, “Daddy, my bottom hurts. Kiss my bottom.”

P.S. We have no idea how the toothpick got there. Our door were locked during services, and no one had any other leads.