Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good-bye Dear Prophet

Being on the east coast I was already asleep when my dad called to tell us Pres. Hinckley had passed away. Joey got up to answer the phone and woke me up to tell me when he came back to bed. I was actually relieved for our dear Prophet when I heard the news, though sad for myself. I had recently felt that he would pass on soon, though I'm not sure why. I wasn't surprised then when Joey told me the news and immediately felt a sense of peace, for myself, and Pres. Hinckley. I'm sure he was joyously reunited with his wife Marjorie who passed away in 2004! I am grateful for his love for the members of the church and the many sacrifices I'm sure he made as leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He greatly impacted my life as a teenager and young adult, I will miss his great counsel and quick wit. Thank-you President Hinckley!

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's 3:24 AM, do you know where your children are?

It's 3:24 am and the monkey and I have been up for quite a while. Well, actually, I haven't been to bed yet (I've been trying to fold laundry, work on taxes, and watch the 5th Harry Potter DVD that I borrowed from our neighbor). The Monkey has a slight fever and has decided to make the most of it by not going back to sleep. He is currently in his highchair beside me, making all kinds of smacking, licking, gurgling noises, stuffing cheerios into his mouth, and trying to reach the computer in my lap. A few minutes ago he was choking on a sippy cup full of juice and before that he was pulling cereal boxes etc. out of the pantry. He's just now, as I type, gotten bored with eating the cheerios and has moved on to sweeping them off his tray onto the floor. I just let him down out of the chair, and he is "refolding" the piles of laundry all over the room.

There is laundry all over the living room because the two loads I just pulled out of the dryer at the complex coin laundry weren't dry all the way through, and I wasn't about to spend another 75 cents per load to finish the job so I folded what I could and draped the damp stuff over the furniture (It's our own fault though. Laundry is so expensive [2.50 per load to wash and dry] that we always overload the machines, which means the whole load rarely dries, and I'm sure the overloading causes the machines to break down more often, which is probably part of the reason for the high cost per load in the first place, but that is another story).

As for the QB and Mr. Baseball, they're in bed, though they've both been up recently--Mr. Baseball came out for a few seconds about 1:30am. I asked him what he needed and he said, "A daddy," so I carried him back to bed and laid next to him for a few minutes. the QB got up when the Monkey woke up. She came out holding him and they both had red cheeks and they were rubbing their eyes. QB went back to bed and me and the Monkey have been partying ever since.
Now he's trying to invert the pocket of a pair of pants that were nicely folded a half hour ago, but are now draped across his lap as he sits right o top of another pile of folded clothes. I've had to change his outfit once already because the juice choking incident made a mess, and he's wearing a pair of red footy pajamas with a fleece pair of pants over the top (extra layers because its about 5 degrees outside).

So that's where we're at tonight. Not frustrated, not even really tired, yet. QB is sleeping (I hope), so is Mr. Baseball. I'm avoiding working on the taxes with the help of this blog post, and the monkey is now trying to pull that pair of pants over the top of his head.

I hope your evening has been as entertaining.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Simple Red Lentil Soup

Last night for dinner we had a near perfect main dish. Perfect doesn't mean it's the best tasting dish ever. It means it fits well into my not-so-easy-to-define parameters of a good meal. These have been added slowly and not everything I make fits into them but when a dish does, it pleases me!
Quick & Simple
Low dairy (yogurt and cheese though are okay in small amounts)
Whole grain
Good fats: (olive oil, coconut oil)
Little meat or non at all
Family approves (not difficult!)
Low on preservatives, or anything from Whole Foods Market's list of unacceptable ingredients
Local and or organic if possible (see inexpensive, or always a paradox)

Here it is, then:

Red Lentil Soup

7 Cups water

2.5 Cups red lentils, rinsed (or Masoor Dal)

1 large onion, chopped

2 to 4 TBL lemon juice

ground cumin (lots)

salt and pepper

Saute onions, add water and then lentils. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to med-low, partially cover, and simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper.

I serve it with a little garlic powder mixed too.

Recipe from Raising Vegetarian Children.

It's pretty good for being so simple! I like the lemon juice, I haven't tried it with fresh lemons but I'm sure that would be so much better.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One more thing

I wanted to post this before I forgot all about it. It was just too good to not share. The other day Mr. Baseball was in bed, trying to decide whether or not it was really worth staying in bed instead of getting up. This happens a lot. He came out of his room and told me he was scared. I took him back into his room and he explained that the dark was too dark and that he was afraid that his doggy was going to come to life and bite him (this from a boy who watches virtually NO television and only the occasional, non-violent, movie). He was near tears and I was holding him, trying to comfort him and validate his very real concerns over not-so-very-real dangers and he said, "I want you to say a prayer to Heavenly Father and ask him to make the earth spin faster so it's morning sooner." I told him that I understood he was scared, and on a whim asked him if he would like me to put some chopsticks by the door. The suggestion surprised him enough that he stopped crying and looked at me funny, trying not to laugh.

"Why?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said. "I thought maybe they could protect you. I'll put them out there with your stuffed bear."

"Yeah," he said. "They could be like Swords and bear could protect me." He laid back down, content, and I put the bear and a pair of chopsticks outside his room and shut the door. That was the last we saw of Mr. Baseball for the rest of the night.

here, there, and everywhere (an apologetic update)

So we haven't fallen off the face of the planet, just into the throws of a busy quarter. But we're all here and we're all happy.
The Monkey absolutely loves bananas...
and the mop.(he gets it out at least three times a day and tries to mop the floor. He also sweeps, and occasionally vacuums, though the vacuum is a little scary, apparently, and he mostly just watches it from a distance).
He also loves this chair. He didn't, however, fall asleep here. This was after a morning car ride that proved too much for him. We didn't want him to sleep for ever, so we plopped him here and let him get in a 15 minute power nap.
Not the best composition I've ever seen, but an accurate depiction of storytime at our house. The monkey currently has no less than three different bumps on his head from falling down from various high places around the house. You'd think he'd learn. Just yesterday he did a half-gainer off a folding chair and crowned himself pretty good.

Mr. Baseball and the Monkey love their new diggers.

and their new Sunday outfits.
And the Monkey has become increasingly interested in pens and writing implements of all kinds.
and forts, of course, are always a big hit. In fact Mr. Baseball is sleeping in one right now, courtesy of a little creativity on the part of the Queen Bee, who set up a full blown safari tent complete with kitchen cabinets in Mr. Baseball's room.

The fact that I really shouldn't be writing this at the moment, but should be working on two assignments for class, I hope sheds a little light on why we haven't posted much in the past two weeks. Sundays have come and gone for the past few weeks and it has been all we could do to keep up with laundry, let alone this blog. Things are well here, if a little busy, and we're genuinely glad for life in general.

I've started School again.
One Theory of Nonfiction course(lots of discussion on the purpose and function of documentary, the fallibility of memory, the origin of consciousness),

one Renaissance Humor course (lots of talk about foolery, Shakespeare, Erasmus, and body humor),

one pedagogy course (lots of verbal "group hugs" about how hard it is to teach freshman, though my class is actually a lot of fun),

one course that I'm teaching (the fun Freshmen I was just talking about)

In fact, I'm having all my students keep blogs this quarter and we have a class blog at getrhetorical.blogspot.com. Its not terribly exciting for people not in the class, but its an experiment that I think will go well). I've got about 60-100 pages of reading per day, as well as writing assignments, lesson plans, and somewhere between it all, I'm supposed to be continuing to work on my own personal writing. Oh yeah, and I'm a dad, a husband, and a disciple. Thank heaven I'm not in med school.

The queen bee has been helping a new couple in our branch a lot with getting around town. The wife is eight months pregnant and they don't have a car yet because they just moved from Australia, so Mel has been taking her grocery shopping and to the doctor and to a few other places around town. We had them over for dinner with a few other couples from the complex (there are now four in our building who all go to church with us). It's fun to have new neighbors.

The QB has also been getting revved up for the new year in Primary. We've been singing "I am a child of God," every morning and evening, and memorizing scriptures and doing all we can to give her plenty of practice for leading the music for the kids at church. The organ calling has been a challenge for her as well. I think she sounds great, but she is pretty hard on herself and worries a bit about detracting from the spirituality of Sacrament meeting. This Sunday, the Organ Performance professor in our branch told her she sounded much more confident, which I know she appreciated hearing. And it means a lot more coming from him and his trained ear, than it does from me.

Mr. Baseball just started Karate (pictures coming soon) two Saturdays ago, and a music exploration class at the University on Thursday nights. He also has play group at the Church every Wednesday, and art time at the library on Thursdays. Some Fridays he gets together with a friend from church who is the same age and as talkative and energetic as he is, which means they play hard, and occasionally fight hard. At home he spends a lot of time playing with his cars, which have increased in number since Christmas (a man I home teach gave him a bunch he'd been collecting in a box over the years), and one of his new found loves is a red basketball goal that attachs to his closet door. We play in there with the Monkey, passing, steeling, blocking, and "playing defense." Sometimes I have to remind Mr. Baseball to let the monkey hold onto the ball, but for the most part they play well together. Mr. B has also been keeping up with regular chores, like making his bed (he actually made it on his own this morning without being reminded), and setting and clearing the table, and an old Franklin favorite--soft squishies (this was a chore I had as a child and it involves picking up all the food that is dropped under the table during dinner. As a child I didn't mind doing it, but it wasn't until I asked Mr. B to do it that realized why us kids always had the job growing up. We're the ones who drop food on the floor. Heis realizing this too, and hopefully it will make him a bit more careful
The Monkey, as the pictures above witness, is into everything. And he's been pretty serious about trying to feed himself lately, though that usually means a few attempts with the spoon and then a free-for-all that leaves large handfuls of food smashed into his face, hair, and clothing. He doesn't say much yet, but we swear he's begun to try to say "ball," "spoon," and maybe, "Give me that apple and I'll feed myself, thank you very much," though we're not sure about that last one.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Years at the Lubecks

New Year's eve we took a quick trip to Roanoke, VA to visit Queen Bee's friend from college, er high school, er middle school and elementary school and preschool! The Lubecks graciously hosted us for a few days of playing and eating good food (and way too much candy!) Their new baby is absolutely adorable and playing Puerto Rico was really fun!

The pictures are from our New Year's day hike, fun but also a good lesson in preparation. Inside Roanoke it was pretty warm winter day but and hour outside in the mountains it was not a warm winter day. It was a cold winter day and the coats, hats and gloves for the most part were left behind. We saw a few snow flakes on the way there but decided we would still go for it. The kids were warm enough and the parents were hardy enough to try it out. The hike was beautiful and Mr. Baseball dashed in and out of rock coverings and anywhere else he could 'hide' from us. Jon helped out with roaring and scaring at the appropriate times, much to Mr. Baseball's delight! We turned around before the waterfall grateful to be closer to the car when the snow really started falling and the temperature dropped even more. Brrr! The hot chocolate stop on the way back was a necessity. (And as a Way-off-topic note, I think that's the first time ever in the my life that I spelled necessity right on the first try! Twice in a row now, aren't you proud mom?)

We wound our way home (literally! West Virginia isn't kidding about their turnpike!) on Thursday with a cute bag of homemade apple treats (dried apples, apple cranberry sauce and fruit leather, YUM) and a few stow-a-way pieces of Lubeck laundry. A great way to start 2008!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

When Quiet Time Turns into Nap Time

For quiet time today Mr. Baseball listened to "Scripture Scouts" on his bed. Lately he hasn't fallen asleep during quiet time but today I think he couldn't help himself. And doesn't he look cute?!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

At the risk of Jinxing things tomorrow in Iowa...

In elementary school I cheered the Portland Trailblazers on to failure after failure in the NBA finals (thank you Michael Jordon and Magic Johnson)

I was a padres fan all growing up.

And a Charlotte Hornets fan.

In 1988 I waited with my dad for Michael Dukakis to show up at a rally in Portland Oregon. We waited and waited. He pulled up just after we left. We didn't see him, but we saw his limo. He never had a chance against Bush 1.

My junior year in high school I attended a high school football playoff game where our star player blew out his knee. We won the game but ultimately lost the state championship game (a game I attended, and at which I was, incidentally, but not entirely coincidentally, accosted and berated by an ex-girlfriend). My senior year I attended every game and, if my memory serves me correctly, we didn't even make it to the playoffs.

My first semester as a BYU student the football team was undefeated, until I sat down to watch my first game. That day they lost to Hawaii 45-72, and the next season--the season we bought allsport passes to every home game, the team went 5-7, then 4-8 the next year, and 5-6 the next year. It wasn't till 2005 that BYU went 6-6 (and it is worth noting that I was out of the country the entire season). In 2006 they did much better (though their win against Utah could arguably be contributed to my absence at the game, a game I could have attended), and in 2007, in a year that I have moved from Provo, they had an amazing year, and will likely be ranked in the top twenty at the beginning of next season.

I voted for Kerry in 2004.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, if my history says anything, it says I have a tendency to jinx the teams I root for (Don't laugh. I have several friends who are really in to sports who have heard these statistics and suggested in all earnestness that I stop rooting for BYU all together, in order to do my part for the team). However, I have found that often I root for teams, not because they are worth rooting for, but because I can cheer for them without being accused of band wagon jumping (Note that I live in Ohio, but am entirely ambivalent towards both the Buckeyes and the Caveliers, though OU's basketball strikes my fancy). So with a desire to avoid being thought of as a band wagon jumper, even at the risk of throwing my jinxing powers into the mix, on this, the eve of the Iowa caucus I wish to procliam my desire to see Barack Obama come out on top. Not only do I think he is extremely worth rooting for, but I also believe, and hope there will be a huge bandwagon upon which many people will jump. So I'm climbing on early.

There are several candidates that I like. Romney, McCain, Edwards, Kucinich, to name a few, and I hope they all do well, but there really is something about Obama. His message is fresh, personal, hopeful, honest. I feel like change is what is needed in Washington and he is our best hope for it. As a friend put it earlier tonight, you'd have to be crazy to want to be president, but I think the problem is too many of the candidates want to "be President" more than they want to lead the country. I'm not much in to arguing politics, so I won't. I will just say that if there is a voice that will send a new message to the world in 2008, a voice of reason, reconciliation, bipartisanship, hope, help, if there is a person who can stand up with the world instead of trying to stand up to it all the time, if there is a voice that can unite our country instead of dividing it, that voice is Mr. Obama's.

Now, the Franklinchronicle endorsement is not likely to cause the same commotion as the Oprah endorsement, but we'll have to see. And who knows what will happen tomorrow, but for what its worth, Good luck Barack.