Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick Funny from Preston

Taking a break from the alphabet theme to share a quick funny.

Preston was singing to himself and I wasn't really paying too much attention. I recognized the song he was singing, so in my head I heard the lyrics as they're sung on the radio.

"Party rock is in the house tonight
Everybody just have a good time
And we gonna make you lose your mind
Everybody just have a good time "

But when I stopped and listened a little closer, I realized he was actually singing:

"Potties rockin' in the house tonight
Everybody just have a good time
We're all gonna go at the same time
Everybody just have a good time"

Subtle differences, but it really becomes a very different song. He's convinced that his version is correct. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

N is for Number 2

Number 2. As in 2 years. 2 YEARS! How can it have been two years since my baby was born? I still think of him as my sweet baby in spite of the fact that he is walking, climbing, jumping, talking (a little), and getting into more than enough trouble for any official 2-year-old. He doesn't look like a baby anymore. He's a little boy.

2 years. It makes me sad to think that I won't get to experience those baby moments again. The newborn snuggles. The brand new baby fresh from heaven. All the little learning moments as the baby grows into a toddler.

I know there are many more happy moments ahead. I know there are many things to love about age 2, 3, 4, and beyond. But right now, I just feel a little bit sad that my baby is really not a baby anymore.

1 year
2 years

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

M is for Movie

Yesterday I had a brainstorm while at work (I may have been procrastinating my actual work). It suddenly occurred to me that it had been a long time since we took the kids to a movie (the last show they saw in the theater was The Princess and the Frog when Rylen was a few months old). Since they had been asking to see Wreck It Ralph and there was no school the next day, I thought we should have a family movie night.

Unfortunately, when I called Aaron to pitch the idea, he wasn't feeling well. He's not a huge fan of movies anyway, so going to a show with the kids when he didn't feel good did not sound fun to him. I didn't want to give up on the plan; so we decided that Aaron would stay home with Rylen (who would likely not sit still for a movie anyway) and go to bed early. And I would take the other three to the movie.

I got home from work to give the kids a quick dinner before heading out. And got a great surprise! In spite of not feeling well, Aaron had spent his day off with the kids cleaning the house! It looked so much better than when I left the house that morning. What a great husband I have.

The kids and I headed out for the movie and had a great time. They were well-behaved and got along and really enjoyed the movie. It was not my favorite kids' movie ever, but it was cute. More importantly, I loved snuggling with the kiddos on our "date night" while we watched the movie. It was really nice to just spend some time enjoying them for a change.

Monday, November 19, 2012

L is for La-La-La

I am currently the Primary chorister at church. I do about a half hour of music time for the 3 - 8-year-olds, 10 minutes for the 18 month - 3-year-olds, and then another half hour for the 9 - 11-year-olds. Every week.

I'll admit that when I first got this calling, I wasn't thrilled. You see, I used to be a Primary chorister. And I had that job for - literally - years. I can't remember exactly how long it was, but I went through two pregnancies and spent quite a bit of time leading music with my right hand while holding a baby on my left hip. In fact, I spent so MUCH time leading music this way that I still don't really know what to do with my left hand while leading. :)

By the time I was done with the job last time around, I was really DONE with the job. I was burned out. Because at first glance it doesn't seem like such a hard job. You go in, you sing some songs, you go home. But you also need to plan in advance. You have to make materials to help them learn the song. You have to keep their attention. You have to try and get them to sing. You have to sing the same songs, over and over and over again... even when they're songs you've never loved in the first place. You play games, you entertain, you perform... all to try to get them to participate long enough to learn a few songs for the annual program performance. By the end of each week, you can be exhausted. That's the part that I mostly remembered when they asked me to take on this job again. So I accepted, but I had reservations.

Happily for me, I had forgotten all the good parts of being the chorister. For what other job at church can I make a big cardboard turkey? Or stage a snowball fight? Or play games every week?

I get to watch the little faces light up when I announce that we're going to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes - the FAST version. I get to see someone beaming with excitement when they get to choose a favorite song to sing. I get to hear them improving week by week as they learn a new song. And since this is my second shot at this, I've learned a few things that help me enjoy it more.

  1. I don't take it so seriously. Sometimes, the kids aren't going to pay attention. Sometimes, they don't want to sing. Sometimes, I forget the words. And all of that is okay. I used to feel like I had to make sure every kid was involved and participating. And now I accept that not all of them will. I don't give up on them ever, but I don't take it as a personal failure, either.
  2. I choose songs I like. After so many years in Primary (when I wasn't the chorister, I've still been involved as a teacher or substitute for a lot of the time), I know most of the songs really well. And some of them I am really tired of hearing. So I go out of my way to find songs that aren't sung very often. And I teach the kids some of my favorite songs. And if it's one I don't like... I just kind of leave it off the list. (Unless one of the kids requests it.)
  3. I have fun. I goof around plenty. I make silly visuals. I joke with the kids. And sometimes I just go with the flow. When the kids have suggestions - like let's sing the words out of order - we go ahead and try it. It may not work out, but it's a good time.
The moment that it really sank in that I'm enjoying the job this time happened yesterday. I was finishing up singing time with the older kids and they had just learned a Thanksgiving song. One of the girls piped up and asked: "Can we do that in a round?" How exciting that they were participating and wanting to do more! We decided to not only do it in a round, but in the complicated 4-part round. We split the room into 4 groups, assigned out starting points, and went for it. And with no rehearsal, no stress, no trouble at all, they sang through this song flawlessly in a 4-part round. It was just a simple song, but it sounded so wonderful. And it made me so happy that they were so involved in it. Even the 11-year-old boys joined in - and believe me, most 11-year-old boys don't jump at the chance to sing!

It was a simple little song. A simple little moment. But it made me really happy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

K is for Karma?

I think I may have done something bad along the way and karmic payback is leading to several runs of bad luck.

The toilet failed and leaked copious amounts of water all over the bathroom. Had to replace it. So I went to the store and bought the one I wanted and arranged for someone to come install it. Unfortunately, I did not notice that the toilet that was loaded into my car was NOT the one I had pointed out to the sales associate. I realized a very short time before the installer was due to arrive on Saturday and raced to the store to get the right one. Of course, the toilet I brought home the first time is still sitting in our bathroom because it was too heavy for me to load back in the car by myself! Must remember to take that back... The bright side was that the kids thought it was incredibly interesting to watch the plumber install the new toilet. Haley was especially fascinated, given her ambitions to become a plumber herself someday.

As an amusing side-note, the plumber had an accent. At one point he brought in a shop vac and the kids asked what it was. Her told them it was a "vaw-cuum" - in his charming accent. Now Brekken cannot be convinced that it was actually just a vaccuum. He insists that it is a special plumbing tool known as a vaw-cuum. :)

Speaking of leaking water... the dishwasher has also been leaking water every time I wash a load of dishes. Even worse, it's not getting the dishes clean. For some reason, though, I kept trying. Even though eventually - after running a load through 2-3 times - I generally pulled most items out and washed them by hand. It does help keep the floor around the dishwasher cleaner, though, since I have to mop it every time I try to wash dishes. Having finally had enough - and also convinced Aaron that it was enough - I scoped out new dishwashers at Home Depot. I was simultaneously glad and slightly upset to learn that Home Depot was running a Black Friday sale the next day. Glad - for obvious reasons. Sad - because I had to postpone buying the dishwasher for a couple of days and I had been all psyched up to deal with the traumatic blow to the bank account! It was, in fact, worth going back later in the week. The dishwasher I had looked at earlier was now $75 cheaper - and even better, installation fees had dropped from $129 to only $39. $165 in savings is good in my book! I am ridiculously excited to do some dishes after it is installed tomorrow. It has powered silverware jets! A dedicated jet for the upper rack! A disposal! It works with the crappy new dishwashing detergents! Tomorrow's going to be a good day. And for tonight... we'll continue eating off paper plates.

I have a tooth that is giving me fits. It aches and sometimes throbs. It makes my whole face and head hurt. But if I brush it with enough Sensodyne, it goes away for a while. And yes, I know that's not a good solution. I know I should see a dentist. But I'm one of those people with an irrational fear of the dentist. And it's really not so much a fear of pain - I have that already. Frankly, it's a fear of criticism if the dentist thinks I have bad dental habits. Not to mention the fear of the bill that comes along with the dental visit. We have some very worthless dental insurance...

So there's the latest run of bad luck. In addition to the rest that we've had this year, I'm starting to think I should make an Earl-style list. (Anyone else remember that show?) On the other hand, plenty of good things happen around here, too. Sometimes it just feels a little harder to remember those things!

We did manage to pay off the van this month, though. Hallelujah! I've discovered a new affection for the car since paying it off. When it acted up before, it was always "I can't believe I'm still paying on this piece of junk!" Now it's more like "It may be crappy, but at least it's paid for!"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

J is for Jealous

It's hard to admit, but I am feeling pretty jealous of the Obama supporters right now. I've never really been invested in a presidential election until this year. I've always felt that the vote was basically a choice between the lesser of two evils. I still voted, because I feel it is not just a right but a responsibility to participate in the political process. But frankly, when my chosen candidate did not win, it was not upsetting. While I had a preference, I was okay with the other possibility as well. I consider myself an independent and I'm equally likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat. (I did vote for Obama in the last election.)

This time was different. I was intrigued at first by the idea of Mitt Romney as a candidate, but I didn't really think it would go anywhere. Then, as election season continued, I became more interested. I realized I liked his economic plans. I liked his stance on a lot of things. And I didn't like the incumbent. I wasn't happy with how things have gone over the last several years. And then the polling showed things growing closer and closer. I started to think maybe Romney had a chance.

I let myself get emotionally invested this year. I really thought maybe my candidate would pull it off. I read the articles on all the news sites. I watched all the debates. I had strong opinions. I was excited to watch the election night coverage and hoping so much that it would turn into a Romney win.

So it was rather crushing when the results didn't come out the way I was hoping. I watched the coverage until Obama was declared the winner and then I went to bed. I was actually depressed by it. And the next day when I saw the news coverage and posts on Facebook about how happy the Obama supporters were, I was jealous. Jealous of their excitement and joy. Wishing it was me!

But. Life moves on. I'm still disappointed. But there's nothing more to be done. We just need to keep moving and do our best. And not be depressed over an election result that can't be changed. I thank my friend Amanda for reminding me of this quote from Gordon B. Hinckley:

"It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. … If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers."

Monday, November 5, 2012

I is for Imaginative and Intelligent

My kiddos, that is. They constantly amaze me with the things they come up with.

As an example, a few days ago we were driving down the freeway and passed an accident with police on scene. Because we were crawling by very slowly, the kids had plenty of time to observe and comment on the scene. They started to wonder how the police officer would decide who was at fault for the accident. I explained that he would talk to both drivers and maybe a witness and examine the evidence.

"But what if someone lies to the police?" they wanted to know. Before I could add anymore, they started a whole side conversation about how they were sure criminals lied to the police all the time because they don't want to be caught - and discussed which types of criminals were most likely to be liars. The consensus was that killers and drug sellers were the worst liars.

Then Haley had a bright idea. "When I grow up I will invent a machine that will tell the police when people are lying!"

I told her that they do have a machine called a lie detector. They wanted to know how it worked, so I explained a little about how it measures heartbeat, breathing, and other things that change when someone is nervous, as they presumably are when they are lying.

My kids immediately saw the fault in this system.

PRESTON: "What if someone was telling the truth but they were just nervous because they were talking to the police? Then the machine wouldn't be able to tell if they were true or lying."

HALEY: "And if they were really good at lying maybe they wouldn't be nervous so the machine would think they were telling the truth."

BREKKEN: "I like bologna. If I was a police I would get to eat bologna sandwiches every day. And I would tell the bad guys - Just tell me the truth, you bad guy! Or no bologna for you!" (Note: He ALREADY eats bologna sandwiches almost every day.)

Haley and Preston decided to bypass the Bologna Blackmail system and proceeded to start brainstorming how to make a better lie detector. They had all sorts of ideas including monitoring brain waves, checking blood tests to see if there are chemicals changes when you lie, and using computers to watch people very closely and figure out when they're lying. I was pretty impressed with their thinking!

I have to say, I was also impressed by the fact that they are very practical about these plans. They have agreed that they will work on this project together in their spare time. After all, they plan to be quite busy in their chosen careers. As Haley put it - "We still have to make money for the bills, you know!" :)

Just in case you're wondering about those chosen careers? Also very practical. They have thought about things like their interests, how much schooling is required, and how much money they think they can make. So far the plans are:
  • Haley: Plumber. (Synopsis of her reasoning: Because everyone always needs plumbers and you can charge plenty of money. Plus there are more boy plumbers than girl plumbers so she can probably find a good plumber husband and they can have their own business.)
  • Preston: Boat Mechanic. (Because people need mechanics all the time - he may be influenced by our van's constant trips to the mechanic. But he has decided specifically on a boat mechanic because if they have enough money for a boat, they have enough money to pay a mechanic. He also has plans for a sliding fee scale where he will charge poor people a little bit and rich people a lot. :) )
  • Brekken: Police. (Not a policeman or a police officer. He insists he will be a police. Apparently because he can have bologna sandwiches every day.)