Sunday, March 30, 2008

And we're back...

Oh vacation...ten days in Utah, and not a single post. Our visit home was fantastic (and yes, I am okay with considering Utah home, even though my love still lies with Oregon. And, if Oregon happens to be reading this, I apologize upfront. You've just been gone for so long, and well, I'm lonely, and Utah was there when I needed someone, so don't feel bad, just hold on to what we had together, and someday, perhaps, you and I will be together again). We saw parts of both sides of our diaspora family and spent a day kicking around BYU campus. It snowed on our first and last days in town but the middle of the trip was sunny enough for us to get a little sunburned. The kids traveled well and despite the Monkey being a little coy with his slightly unfamiliar relatives, both he and Mr. Baseball were visibly glad to be around so many bodies that love them so much.

Just a smidgen of what we did:

With the Franklins:

Afternoon at Ikea, including copious amounts of Frozen yogurt, and half a suitcase full of colorful plastic dinnerware.
A game of Beyond Balderdash
Easter Egg hunt with 58 eggs
Lots of Pushing children on a Rope Swing
A late night episode of BBC's "Planet Earth"
Triple Chocolate Brownies
amazing soup called "Pho" (pronounced "Fu" as in fudge) courtesy of my brother Jason
Belgian waffles
An unfinished game of chess with Grandpa Franklin
Lots of listening to Grandpa Franklin's endless supply of jokes
group hugs
raiding Jason's treat cupboard
racing home from Ikea in the Mustangs (okay, Jason wasn't really racing, but we still won)
A game of Life-Sponge Bob style, with Niece Olivia, who felt a bit left out when the two boy cousins spent all week playing cars.

With the Fitzgeralds:

A late night rendezvous at the SLC airport
Lots of girl bonding time for the sisters and Nana Fitz
A game of Uno Attack that turned into a game of Russian Roulette with the Uno attack card dispenser
Brownies and Vanilla ice cream
Lunch at the UVSC culinary school
In the house Easter egg hunt for kiddos both old and young
Easter Service that included piano duet by the QB and her youngest sister and an amazing talk on the atonement by sister Amy.
Easter Dinner with Family and Friends and strawberry shortcake
A trip to Smart Cookie for ice cream sandwiches
Yummy Pupusas compliments of Amy, recently returned Missionary
Shopping trip to buy cute matching shirts for family pictures
An afternoon Family photo shoot with the Fitzgeralds.
Feeding the Horses apples, carrots and, of course, Hay.
Mr. Baseball's first time watching the original Star Wars trilogy
Laughing, and sleeping, through Enchanted

And of course, there were a million more things we did, and we loved seeing everyone and were so grateful that everyone was so accommodating and we miss them already. There are pictures and more details we want to share, but that will have to wait. Tomorrow a new quarter begins and we must be off to bed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Leprechaun Watch

We were awakened this morning with a loud whack of the bathroom door opening and Mr. Baseball shouting "BOO, MONSTERS!" We chuckled and guessed he must have decided to scare them in return and/or chase them away. Where does he think of these things?!

And speaking of imaginary creatures ( was that a good segway? No, probably not, but I didn't want to post twice today) we offer Leprechaun Watch. Here you can,via webcam, keep an eye on those sly guys. According to the website they are "regarded at particularly active in the spring." I think they must know today is THE day to runaround in their cute green suits. You might just spot one!

As a child my family often ate corned beef and cabbage in honor of St. Patrick's day and I have been known to continue on the tradition myself. Not this year though. I recently learned corned beef and cabbage is an american Irish dish. And so tonight we are having Irish Beef Stew (minus the beer), soda bread and fried cabbage. I hope it's more authentic and I repent of my mistake!

Oh and I pulled the old trick of green food coloring the milk today, thanks for the idea and the good memories, Mom! I nearly convinced Mr. Baseball it was a Leprechaun that did it, but he's too quick and spotted the food coloring hiding on the counter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Bone to Pick

[Picture Here*]

I have been receiving newsletters from Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood for over a year now. I've been impressed with their goals of stopping corporations from marketing so aggressively to children and teenagers. They were recently successful in stopping a school district in Florida from allowing McDonalds to advertise on report cards and entice children into their store with the promise of a free happy meal for good grades.

Today I received an email from them announcing their campaign to stop Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus (a hospital my own children would likely be admitted to if they had serious health issues) from accepting money from Abercrombie and Fitch in exchange for renaming their emergency room
The Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center. I am upset that a Children's Hospital dedicated to improving children's health would even consider accepting money from a company that so blatantly markets sex to children, preteens and teenagers, undermining their health and well-being.

At the same time, I am proud of CCFC for actively announcing their disapproval and encouraging others to do the same. They supported a long list of doctors, organizations and professionals in submitting a
letter to the Children's Hospital administrators urging them not to sell naming rights to Abercrombie and Fitch.

If you'd like to read about the campaign and add your own letter to the hospital, you can do so

I'll step off the soapbox now.

*I thought about posting the pictures sent out by CCFC depicting the kind of marketing they're fighting, and then decided I just couldn't do it. I would be advertising for the company I'm trying to stop! I'm sure you don't need much creativity and imagination to remember the last Ambercrombie Ad you saw.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Will it Bend?

"What are joints mommy?"

"Uhhh" (this is the sound I make when I'm thinking about how to explain something to a 4yr old--it happens a lot) "They are the parts inside your body that bend, they connect your pieces of bones together." (???)

"Like my fingers?" he asks as he bends and unbends his fingers.

"How many joints are in your fingers?" I ask him.

He and dad count "1, 2, 3, 4...", as they bend their fingers, opening and closing their hands. "15!" they decide.

"What if you bend all your joints at the same time!?" Mr. Baseball thinks out loud.

"Try it!" I say.

Bet you've never tried to bend ALL your joints at the same time!

The Very Tasty Caterpillar

Mr. Baseball has been helping make dinners on Sunday nights. Last month we made pigs in a blanket and a few weeks ago we tried a caterpillar pizza!

We rolled 12 little pieces of dough and Mr. baseball smashed them flat onto the baking sheet.

Brushing on the sauce. Fun!

And the best part: eating if for dinner!

The Student and Mr. Baseball found a few more delicious uses for the extra dough!

Here is the recipe.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Welcome Back Amy!

My sister, Amy, has been serving in the New Jersey Morristown Mission for the last 18 months, waking at 6:30 every morning to study and going out to share a gospel message all day. She taught many many people, all in Spanish. I'm sure the work was grueling but oh so rewarding as she saw so many hearts change. On Tuesday she was finished and my parents and sister were there at the Mission Home to pick her up. She's currently showing them around New Jersey, places she lived and taught, and playing in New York City a little bit too! Here's just a little of her last email to us and her testimony:

I cannot believe I am writing you my last e-mail as a missionary. This moment at the library brings so many memories and such mixed emotions. An e-mail will never be adequate to express how I feel or what I have learned in these last 18 miraculous months of my life. I would like to share with you what I have come to know with certainty as I have served the Lord with all of my heart:

I know God lives. I know that He is the Father of us all. I know that we lived with Him and knew Him long before we knew reality as we know it now. I know that He loves us and is always watching over our individual plan of salvation.

I know Jesus is the Christ. I know that He was chosen before this earth life to do something no one else could ever do. I know that He came and did that when He lived a perfect life, suffered for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane, died upon the cross in Calvary, and rose again the third day. I know that He loves us. I know He is at the head of His church today.

I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite and eternal. I know that it reaches far beyond the limitations we would place upon it with our finite minds. I know that the Atonement is for the sinner, and that because of the perfect sacrifice that was made, there is no child that will not be wrapped up in the arms of His mercy when all is said and done.

I am humbled by the extraordinary privilege I have had of standing as a witness of these truths for the last 18 months and 12 days. I feel grateful for what I have learned and very small when I think about how much I have yet to learn. I know that the work will go forward with great power until the Savior comes again in glory, to rule and reign upon the earth. “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:17). It is my prayer that we may all move forward in the work of the Lord, led by the words of His prophets, doing His will cheerfully and with all our might. I bear witness of these sacred truths I have shared and most of all of the love of our Father in Heaven. May that love keep and bless you always.

Thanks for your great example Amy, you did it! Hooray and welcome home!

(Yes, that's an ice cream torch she's holding!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

An Apology to Facebook

Dear Facebook,

I must apologize for my hasty and harsh judgment of you. I thought I had no use for you; I did not wish to hook up with anyone or plan parties for sole purpose of consuming alcohol. I thought you were trendy, which is not really my style. I didn't need to make a list to know I have a lot of friends. I didn't want to poke anyone at all. I thought emails were sufficient for keeping in touch with friends. I laughed when my husband said he opened one of your accounts because he had to for a class. I thought I was too OLD for you.

I was wrong. Please forgive me.

My mom isn't too old for you and neither is my aunt, and I found so many friends I haven't sent emails to in ages. And I'm not feeling pushed into false trendiness, or even thinking about planning drinking parties. I only hook up with my husband who is one of my friends, the only one listed under my Relationship Status. I like to see what what lives my friends are leading now, what their kids look like and what kinds of people write on their walls.
I like you Facebook and I'm sorry I misjudged you. Just please don't poke me too much.

Your New Friend

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Another nice thing about Athens: Brick Streets

You don't need to be a good singer to sound like one in Athens, as long as you're driving down one of the brick-paved streets downtown.

Case in point: Last Friday night as we drove down court street, trying to fit in our nightly song before going to Grooover's for a party.

"I-I am a chi-i-i-ld of go-o-o-od, and he-e-e has se-e-e-nt me he-e-e-e-re,"

And, if you happen to have a four-year-old in the back of the car, then you get a lot of extra vibrato in your giggling too.