Monday, December 17, 2012

Funny stuff my kids say

I don't know why I usually only have things to post that Bruise has said.

Bucket is quite a cut-up, too.

It's hilarious to see their senses of humor developing ... especially as they understand more and more.
So, say, reading Amelia Bedelia books is a totally FUN experience with them.

Bucket was making Marvel Superhero Squad characters out of construction paper.
As she showed one to Bruise, he quoted, "Hulk not understand!!"

THEN he started snickering as I was laughing. His snicker is great.

Earlier this weekend, I was sitting by Bucket, trying to get a movie to play.

"Why is it taking so loooong?!?" She monologued. "I love waiting. Except when I hate it. Then I start whining!! ... Why are you laughing? Are you laughing at me?!??"
Amid giggling, I choked out, "I love you."
"Why do you love me??"
"What," I asked. "Do you want me to hate you?"
"Yes. Yes, don't love me. You're supposed to hate me."
"Tough luck on that, girl!"

And parenting can get harder as they get smarter.
"Mom?" Bucket asked. "Remember how last night you told me to count to 300 so I would fall asleep?? I did count to 300. I counted by fives and tens."

And, after a family member passed some gas, Bucket asked, "What was that? Did they make that sound WITH THEIR BUTT?"

As we were putting together the gingerbread house last week, watching The Charlie Brown Christmas Special (It's not Christmas until I've watched that. And I need to watch it again, sans distraction. Preferably with popcorn and hot cocoa. Because, dammit, I NEED a little Christmas spirit.), Bucket turns and looks at one of our decorations on the table.
"MOM!!! LOOK!!! IT'S THE SAME TREE!!!!"
Yes, yes it is. That's why I bought that one.
(A couple years ago, I went to Hallmark after Christmas ... got ornaments for the kids. And, since the Charlie Brown Christmas decor was 50% off, I picked up the tree and a figurine of Linus. He's dressed as a shepherd. On the base it says, "That's what Christmas is all about."
I have it next to one of my nativities.)

Kids do say the darndest things. And that's one of the best things about being a parent (or an aunt/uncle or older cousin or whatever).

Why does it ask for a title? I'm no good at titles.

Well ... where to start?

I'm still not full of humor and amazing witticisms today.
I'm close to seven steps from bursting into tears (unlike this weekend, where it was more like three steps away).

Howsabout we just start with a recap of the weekend...
  • The kids got home from school shortly after Michael got back from doing some visits for Elders Quorum. I made sure to give them hugs ... and not to burst into tears, which would probably freak them out.
  • We ran some errands with the kids ... picked up a hold at the library, turned in some books, took them to the bank to put the contents of their piggy banks into their accounts (Bruise and Bucket also made their first withdrawal from their accounts. Money to buy each other Christmas presents), and to the mall to pick up our portraits (I had to go back later to get our cards) and for Bruise and Bucket to get each other gifts.
  • Michael made dinner while I ran back to get the aforementioned cards. As I went, there were lots of sirens approaching the mall. Apparently, as I headed back home, a fire truck was stopping at a local restaurant. I have no idea what was going on ... but I hope it all went well.
  • Michael had me watch a couple episodes of Psych to help get me cheered up again. It was a good effort. I wasn't feeling like crawling into the shower, curling up into a ball, and weeping. ... But I wasn't about to break out into a Vaudeville-esque routine, either.
  • Saturday morning, our ward (congregation) had our Ward Christmas Party/Breakfast. We ate pancakes, scrambled eggs (well, not Michael. He's anti-egg.), sausages, orange juice, and hot cocoa. We sang hymns and the youth put on a little production. Bucket didn't want to get up and sing. We didn't force her to. She also complained that she had a headache and a stomachache. Then she was mad/sad when I, shockingly, wouldn't let her run around with the other kids (Hey, if she's not feeling well, running around screaming is NOT any cure for a headache. And I'm not taking a chance that she'd throw up the hearty breakfast she'd bolted down shortly before). So, after the breakfast was over, I took her and Bubbles, who was getting fussy, out to the car. They fussed and cried and I read a book and waited for the menfolk (Michael and Bruise) to finish helping clean up so we could go home.
  • I know that we cleaned the house. Bruise ate mashed potatoes! And we did talk to the kids about Sandy Hook (I'd much rather they hear about it from us than from kids at school. I learned that one quickly after last year ... a car got caught in some flooding [which they passed on their bus route]. A mother and little boy drowned. The other passengers were able to get out. I hadn't thought about telling my innocent Kinders about it. However, one of their fellow bus-mates did. So much for keeping them sheltered, right? ... Well, at least I always knew, even before they were born, to talk about the birds and the bees with them.)
  • Speaking of ... we finished reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" on Saturday evening. And, since one of the lines in it was about some kids being accused of always talking about sex and underwear, Bucket asked me, "What's sex?"
    "Sex is how babies are made. It's what mommies and daddies to to make a baby." And I told them that it should be between married people. And that they should wait until they're married, please.
    If they ask any more, I can give them more specifics ... They're aware that people make babies. And that, as we've stressed, they shouldn't be doing any of the things to make babies until they're married.
    (I strongly stress to them that if they respect a person, and that person respects them, they'll wait. I know that not everyone feels this way ... but, well, I figure that if someone genuinely loves you, they'll take your well-being with more concern than their being able to satisfy a biological impulse. ... That and I've seen so many wonderful girls [and boys] hurt when they're so intimate and things either don't work out ... or things go VERY badly. ... Again, I'm aware that you might not share that opinion. And I'm not going to judge.)
  • We went to church yesterday. I got to make it through MOST of Relief Society (the women's class) before Bubbles started squawking. Oh well. At least, after we left the room, we got to talk to a couple people in the hallway. That was nice.
  • Had to do ANOTHER factory reset on my phone. Looks like we'll be getting new phones soon. What with how this one is starting to freeze up or turn off when I plug it in to charge ... It's an old phone. At least, unlike Michael's phone (my older phone), it stays on when it's in my pocket ... so it could be worse, right?
  • Michael had more EQ visits. The kids watched more Schoolhouse Rock (yes, they are my kids. Now to get them started on Bill Nye, Science Guy. And Mr. Wizard).
Bubbles had a fever this morning. I gave her Tylenol and, as she was acting tired after playing for a half hour or so, laid her down for another nap.

The kids headed off to school, all bundled up, with their lunches and a gift for their teachers. (I'd rather get it to their teachers early than late.)

Washed some laundry. Emailed Michael. Made some phone calls for my calling (church responsibility) and reported back to my Relief Society president. Got a shower. Put a load of dishes into the dishwasher. Talked to my dad and his girlfriend on the phone.

I'm about halfway through A Christmas Carol. Then to read The Forgotten Carols

Before I put Bubbles down for another nap, I cuddled her on my chest/abdomen until she fell asleep. But her fever's gone ... so that's good.

And I'm battling the ants again. They're trying to take over the hall bathroom. And, well, anywhere else they can think of. I'm hoping that this is their last stand of the year/season. We'll see.
Regardless, I need to buy another container of the organic/child-and-pet-safe ant killer.

And ... I need to paint my toenails. I'll feel better. I just need to get round to doing it.
And I should paint Bucket's and Bubbles' toes, too. Why not, right?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Musings

I spent the majority of yesterday feeling sad ... like two steps from tears.

It's just so ... I just don't want to believe that anything like that COULD happen, let alone that it DID happen.

My Facebook feed is full of people expressing their sorrow and compassion for the children and school personnel who were killed, and their support of the families and community involved. There are pledges being made to hug our own children more ... as there are many families that aren't able to do so.

There are people making calls for stronger gun laws (however, where it happened, the state gun laws are stronger than most).
I maintain that it's important that we have our Second Amendment rights ... Now, do we need, as a civilian population, to have assault rifles? Probably not.
I also maintain that these last two shootings are proof of how our nation is failing at handling mental health issues. If we removed the stigma AND increased the availability of care (especially emergency care), events like these might be avoided.

But the posts on Facebook that hurt most are the ones that ask "How can people believe that there's a loving God if He lets things like this happen. And then people say it's God's will. If there was a God, wouldn't He stop these things before they even start?"

And ... well, that's where faith does help. Even during a trial of faith.

If you don't believe in God, an event like this is harder to handle.

  • Men and women who invested a lot of energy and emotion into their offspring have an empty return.
  • They'll never see each other again.
  • Chemical imbalances (or something) along with the existence of firearms results in the unpreventable loss of life.
  • Etc.
Now, I can see why people will ask how God could allow this to happen.
And, with my understanding of the gospel, I can start to make an explanation. However, since I don't know everything, it is a limited explanation.


  • We have a loving Heavenly Father. He is all-knowing and all-powerful.
  • We are His spirit children. He loves each and every one of us. He wants the best for us.
  • It is important to Him that we have a mortal experience, to be tested and tried, so that we can learn to be like Him. Eventually, we will have opportunity to be like Him, truly.
  • As part of this mortal experience, we must have the ability to discern between good and evil. We need to be able to make choices, to have free agency.
    Without the ability to choose for ourselves, we cannot learn.
  • Every one of His children who comes to earth has the same gift of free agency.
  • Our choices have the potential to affect others ... it's not only having an effect on ourselves.
  • The effect of others' choices often gives us important learning experiences ... and we should take the opportunities for learning and growth when offered (or else there will be other, tougher lessons ... since we do NEED to learn and grow).
  • Heavenly Father also knew that we all would make poor choices, at one point or another. We would sin. And that sin would separate us forever from Him, as a spiritual death. We also would, with our mortal bodies, be subject to physical death.
    He knew that to overcome spiritual and physical death, we needed a savior.
When, in the preexistence, before any of us came to earth, there was a council in Heaven. Heavenly Father presented this plan, where we could grow to become like Him.
When He told us that a redeemer was needed, two of His children volunteered.
Lucifer proclaimed that he would make everyone be good. No one would ever be hurt or sad. No one would ever sin. Everyone would return to Heavenly Father. ... And, in return, Lucifer would receive the glory for his part of the plan.
Jesus also volunteered. He would allow us the freedom to choose, knowing that there would be consequences for those choices. There would be pain and sadness. ... However, he would come to earth and take the effects of our sins upon himself. He would suffer and die for us so that we could repent and live with our Heavenly Father again.

As I said above, we needed to have the freedom to choose for ourselves. Without the ability to choose, how could we learn? How could we prove, to ourselves, that we can be like our Heavenly Father?

And (as you probably know. Or deduced), Jesus was chosen.
There were other spirit children who followed Lucifer as he rebelled. They were cast out ... they never received mortal bodies. They are unable to progress ... they are damned. They, however, do hae the power to influence those of us with mortal bodies. They, along with Lucifer (now Satan), have the power to tempt us, to lead us astray.
They are miserable with the knowledge of what they gave up ... Their goal is to prevent us from progressing, to prevent our return to Heavenly Father's presence.

Jesus came to earth as the Messiah. He came humbly, born to a virgin, in a stable. His bloodline was that of the king of the Jews. He lived a sinless life, with the power and ability to bless, to command nature. He taught, through his sinless example, how we should live. He withstood temptation. He was hated and mocked by some. Others followed him and his teachings.
And, in time, he prayed for us in the garden of Gethsemane. He took upon himself all the sins of all the worlds, creating an infinite Atonement.
He was beaten and mocked and crucified for no crime. He allowed himself to die.
After three days, he was resurrected. He appeared to those he loved ... he proved that he was alive be eating and by letting them touch him. He then appeared to his followers on the other side of the earth -- He blessed them and established his church in the Americas. Then He returned to His father's presence, having completed all the work He was sent to do.

And He will come again. And when He does, it will be good.
We know, from the writings of the prophets (ancient and modern), that the world is going to be a complete mess. And, well, it's pretty much there.
So ... we just need to keep the faith and stay strong. This will end and we have wonderful things to look forward to.

Because of the Atonement, everything will be made right in the end.
Justice demands a price ... and it will be met.
Mercy is made possible through Jesus's suffering. If we allow Him, through our faith in Him, and by repenting, He takes upon himself the effects of our sins. We pay a much lower price as he takes our stripes for us.
Through His death and resurrection, we are able to overcome death. We will be made perfect. We can be reunited with our loved ones.
We also have the blessings that come from the covenants that we make in the temple ... that our family bonds are not broken upon death. Heavenly Father's plan for us is not "til death do you part," but eternal. Families can be together forever.

These are huge and wonderful blessings that are offered to us.

And ... that is how I know that we have a loving God.
Yes, He allows us to choose for ourselves. Because He loves us.
Yes, bad things will happen to everyone. That does not mean that he does not love us.
(Think of it this way -- would you appreciate your parents putting you in a bubble and monitoring every move made around you, picking out all your friends, what you can read, what you can think? Even if you knew that it would prevent anything bad happening to you? Really? ... If so, then maybe you're better than I am. I have an independent streak.)
AND, because He knows that bad things happen ... and that we bring some of them upon ourselves ... and that our choices and actions do affect others, He has made it possible for everything to be made right.

And, when you think of the horrible, terrible choices that others make that affect so many others, you have to remember that Heavenly Father allows them to make choices and doesn't kill them off as soon as they have a bad thought BECAUSE He is giving them the opportunity to repent. To come back on their own. To try and  make things better/right.

There are awful things that happen. People are killed, tortured, raped, beaten ... and many, many other things  happen. Miscarriages. Sexual Abuse. Bullying. Natural disasters.

Heavenly Father doesn't allow these things to happen because He doesn't care.
He allows them to happen ... even though I know that it causes Him intense sorrow to see his children doing these things to each other.
It's not because he can't stop it ... He allows us to make our choices. Even when it's not what He wants us to do or when He knows that it's something we shouldn't do.

But ... there is always hope.
He sent His son to make things right.
Everything will be made right in the end. All justice will be fulfilled. Mercy will be extended.
All wrongs will be made right. All sorrows will cease. All will be well.

We just have to be patient and keep the faith.

If we follow the commandments of the Lord, if we keep the covenants we have made as perfectly as we can, we will be blessed. And we will bless others.
(If we don't murder people, aren't we preventing their pain? And the pain of their families and friends? And that's just one example.)

When I start to get discouraged, I find myself remembering these words:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
(From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis)

Which is especially fitting, since it is Christian allegory (spoiler!).

But ... Heavenly Father loves us. He has given us the ability to have everything made right. We can be assured that things will be better. Even though it can be hard right now. But things will be better.
We shall have spring again after this winter of suffering.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What. The. Hell.

Okay, I'll admit that the shooting in the Clackmas Town Center was unnerving.
Because, yes, as an Oregonian girl, I've been there.
And you don't ever think to fear for your life when you're Christmas shopping (now, maybe trying to get a parking spot ...).

But ... I cannot even fathom of what a person would think of to go into an elementary school to start a shooting spree.

I ... have no words, really. I feel awful, sick at heart, for these families who are so affected by one person's selfish, evil actions.
I also agree with many others that the media is just doing too, too much.
You do not interview an 8-year-old who just escaped from a situation like that.

I don't care how much it benefits your bottom line. You need to show respect for the grieving families.

... I still ... I can't imagine what could cause anyone to do anything like this.

The only explanation that starts to make sense is demonic possession. And I'm not using that lightly.

I don't think gun control is the answer. These are criminals doing evil things. They're not going to stop just because it's hard to get a gun.
The man who opened fire on the Clackmas Town Center food court stole that weapon.

I think that there are a couple things that will help ...

As Michael says, we need to get focus onto the family. We need to love each other more.

I also think that we need to remove the stigma from mental issues. Stop judging. If there's a chemical imbalance, we're not helping by making it seem like it's a choice that someone is making.
I highly doubt that anyone WANTS to be depressed or suffer like that.

Remove that stigma so people won't feel like failures for needing help.
And make it possible for them to get help.
THAT SAME DAY. IMMEDIATELY.


It's crap like this that makes me want to defund Congress IMMEDIATELY and put that money to work IMMEDIATELY.
If we could prevent horrible things like this happening ... wouldn't it be worth it?

I wish that I could have just prayed harder or something ... but how could I ever conceive of such a thing happening?

I feel blindsided.
And so, so sorry for the families and friends of those who shouldn't have died today.
Their poor community.

I snuggled Bubbles once she woke up from her nap.
I was tempted to go pick up Bruise and Bucket from school ... but I refrained.
I will snuggle them as soon as they're home. Within an inch of their lives.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'll come up with clever titles ... later.

So, I did a couple loads of dishes yesterday. And most of the laundry's gone through the washer.

My phone is still being weird ... It'll charge and shut itself off. Which, if I weren't waking up in the middle of the night, could be problematic, since I use my alarms to (1) wake up/know when I need to start getting out of bed, (2) know when to send the kids out to the bus ... in case I'm not watching the clocks, and (3) know when the kids are loading on the bus after school, so I can make sure to be home and have the door unlocked for them.

Also, it's nicest when my phone's turned on, so I can more accurately keep track of when Bubbles is waking during the night and when she's nursing. Just so I know.

Probably my best response last night, as Bucket smacked her brother ... since he, somehow, made her mad as we were JUST ABOUT to start delivering Christmas cookie plates to folks (well, we took them to almost everyone. One gal wasn't home. And one ... is gluten-intolerant. Whoops! But she appreciated the gesture. Even though I felt like a jerk. But, in my defense, I didn't know before. Now I do)...


"Start behaving so I can get in the dang spirit of Christmas!!"

Yes ... I am JUST that good.

Bruise was in fine form, asking, "Can we say 'Here are your free cookies??'"
"Um ... how's about we just say 'Merry Christmas!!'?"

Bubbles was getting a little cranky. At the next to last drop-off, as Michael and the kids went to take the cookies, I crawled over a seat to perch and nurse Bubbles. Who, apparently, was pretty upset ... and wouldn't keep a latch.
Michael got back to the van and, as I started to put myself away, questioned, "Are you feeding her??"

I think it had just been a long day for everyone. Normally, he takes it in stride when I pull nursing shenanigans like that. (Whoa ... I just spelled "shenanigans" correctly on the first try. Do I get brownie points for that? Or just brownies ... I'm not picky.)

Also, last night, as we were relaxing before bed (and trying to get Bubbles to settle down for sleep ... ended up just putting her in her bed and letting her fuss herself to sleep. For all of, what, five minutes? Then she was OUT. For about 6.25 hours. Nice!), we were watching a couple episodes of "That Mitchell and Webb Look."
It's a sketch comedy bit from Britain. Not always the safest for kiddos. But it's pretty entertaining.
One recurring (had to look the spelling of THAT up. Ugh.) sketch is the game show "Numberwang."
Seriously entertaining for me ... because you CANNOT figure out the rules. Just go watch a bit on YouTube. ... And, on an episode that I watched last night, it was "N├╝mberwang" ... YES, IN GERMAN.
Maybe even more nonsensical ... hard to tell. And they did a "Wordwang" ... just with words, instead of numbers. Very fun.

There were ants all over the cutlery drawer this morning. So, the cutlery tray AND all the cutlery are going through the dishwasher this morning.
In other news, almost all the dishes are clean now!

I'm about 3/4 through "The Mansion" (a short story that President Thomas S. Monson reads ever Christmas). If I get through it this morning, I can start "A Christmas Carol" and a few other things that will, hopefully, get me into the spirit of the season. (Though, honestly, I'm on pins and needles for payday. I want to buy someone a duck or bees or something from Heifer.org. ... I like to give something useful.)

As the kids left for the bus this morning, we found that another family at church had the same plans that we did yesterday evening. We received a plate of cookies, too! I'm sure that the kiddos will enjoy those this afternoon.

I pulled out some board books to read with Bubbles (I'll admit, I'm not as good at that as I should be) ... and, golly, did I feel guilty. As soon as she saw books!! for her!! She was all excited wiggles and smiles. Guess I know what to pack for her for Sacrament meeting at church, huh?
And, at the same time, it's good to know that she takes after me in that regard, right?
I wonder if she'll start reading before Bucket did?

Well, I should go move laundry (so I'll be sure to have clean underoos. Rather important, no?) and unload the dishwasher (so we'll have eating utensils again ... besides a plethora of baby spoons).

I think one thing that's bothering me is that, especially when I have a little to cart around at church, I start to feel like I'm just going through the motions. A big part is that I suck majorly at doing personal prayer and scripture study. Any advice on how to feel like I'm getting more than just a social boost when I go to church? (If nothing else, I know that in about nine more months, Bubbles will be in Nursery ... and I'll get to go to Sunday School. Especially since I'll have no excuse for missing it. Is there a good personal study guided-type site that you like? Just trying to get ideas. Thanks.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

A title might make this seem like a better blog post...

Sorry for not blogging ... like, ever.

I can't exactly say that I've been busy.
I just can't always think of anything to say. I don't feel interesting or witty or ... much of anything right yet.

I've got a start of Christmas shopping done. I have ideas for most of the nieces and nephews and my younger cousins. CRAP!!! I just thought of another present to buy. For the son of my cousin. I've only met him once ... but he's just a little younger than Bruise and Bucket. He'd like a present, I'm sure.

I think Bubbles is teething. Because she went from sleeping rather well to ... well, NOT. And she's pretty irritable. She tugs on her ears, but there's no fever. And she wants to be held CONSTANTLY. Except when she doesn't.
Giving her Tylenol or Ibuprofen seems to help ... and she has a well-child check-up in a couple days.
She won't let me look/feel at her bottom gum. But her top gum is puffy where her top teeth will come in.

Speaking of teeth, Bruise (BRUISE!!) lost his first (spontaneous) tooth Saturday night. He was very excited ... until it came out. Because there's pain and blood involved. But, still, he was very proud.
He put his Tooth Fairy money ($1) into Bubbles' piggy bank ... because SHE doesn't have as much money as he and Bucket do. And he's VERY CONCERNED.
Also, he and Bubbles had gotten some candy-type prizes at school on Friday. Since Bucket only got one and he got two, he gave her one. Because "I just want her to be happy. And this way, she can have two and I have one."
"Aww, [Bruise], you are such a sweet boy. Thank you for doing that." I told him.
"I just want for persons people to be happy."

I don't know how I raised such a sweet and charitable boy.
Must have gotten it from his father.
Because I can be plenty selfish.

Bucket is reading more and more. She and I read Shel Silverstein's Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook together.
(Michael was very impressed by how I read the spoonerisms. I felt that I was very halting and rather slow. But, no, he was impressed. Bless that man.) Bucket enjoyed it, though she made me read her some of the stories in it the correct way. However, most of them she'd figure out on her own.

And I found out that the kids DO understand most of the humor in Amelia Bedelia. Which makes reading those together much more fun.

So, since I last blogged, what's gone on? I had to check my calendar...
  • The Partylite party came and went. Mom and I were the only folks who were there. Besides Bri, who brought her daughter (a.k.a., "Bug"), who's three weeks younger than Bubbles. They're insta-BFF. We even got some pictures of the two of them in matching jackets. Good times.
  • Bruise got his fondest desire (besides owning the GINORM Lego Death Star) as I took him to a salon to have his hair cut. He got to watch a DVD and sit in a Big-Wheel-type truck as the gal snipped away at his hair. He no longer looks like Shaggy off of Scooby-Doo.
  • We got family photos taken. Bubbles has her tongue sticking out in nearly each and every one. Good times. And I looked at them ... at MY being in them, and I was pleasantly surprised that I don't think I look hugely fat in them. Which is not how I usually feel about my presence in photos (at my present state and size).
  • The kids (Bruise and Bucket) went to a friend's birthday party. He had a Nerf shooting party. Good times.
    This friend of theirs is from a GREAT, GREAT family. We adore them. Both he and his sister will coo over Bubbles (In fact, this SEVEN-YEAR-OLD BOY told his mom that he REALLY HOPED that Bubbles would be at the party. Yes, we adore their whole family, too). Michael and I enjoyed chatting with parents there (We know the birthday boy's parents. And I know another mom there from volunteering at the school. And there's the birthday boy's aunt ... who I've added, with permission, on Facebook. Since I loved chatting with her at her nephew's party last year).
  • Then, that night, I came down with the flu. (I knew it wasn't the plague. I checked WebMD.)
    Fever, chills, headache, swollen glands ... I was doing okay, just feeling "off" Saturday evening/night.
    I woke up Sunday morning, after Michael had left for his meetings before church ... and I was supposed to get the kids ready and to church ... Ugh.
    I shambled over to the couch and curled up there. Bruise and Bucket got dressed and, per my orders, ate some string cheese. I got Bubbles up and dressed. Nursed her a couple times (so, with the LACK of pain doing that, I knew it wasn't Mastitis ... which was my huge fear.) and fielded phone calls for Michael.
    Michael, bless him, called me back and agreed to take the kids to church so I could try to sleep off the pestilence. I did get a good two-hour nap ... where I felt better. Not so delirious  (I knew that I wasn't safe to drive. So, if Michael hadn't gotten the kids, I'd have set them up with a movie while I attempted to sleep. Having a nearly-silent house, though helps so, so, so much).
    I ran a fever for about two days, total. And the lymph nodes in my neck were so swollen and sore. So it hurt to swallow ... but not because of anything inside my throat. My glands are still a little tender, but nowhere near as bad.
    I was better in time to take Bubbles to a Children's Health Expo for a little. And to volunteer in one of the kids' classrooms for reading group (Got to be in Bucket's class this last week. I had missed her class before, since Bruise was sick one week).
  • Bruise and Bucket had their dentist appointments.
    Bruise has no cavities. Phew!
    Bucket, sadly, had one ... on a PERMANENT tooth. *sigh*
    We'll get it fixed in February (this place is really busy).
  • Bucket gave a talk at church. I missed it, since I was sick-like-unto-death. But I helped her write it and practice it. She got a blessing from Michael so that she could be brave and give her talk in front of all the kids in Junior Primary (the 3-7 year olds). She reported back that it went awesomely. Michael confirmed that she did a very good job. She could have been a little louder ... still, I'm REALLY proud that she was able to get up there and DO it. She's growing a lot.
  • We went to the local Christmas Storybook Land ... there are lots of dioramas set up of fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and even children's movies. At the end, Santa is there. Kids get to talk to him, sit on his lap, and get a candy cane.
    We got pictures of all the kids with Santa, all together. Bubbles was fine ... if a little confused. But she didn't scream or cry or anything.
  • The kids were excited to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. We "lit" a candle on a felt menorah wall hanging that I picked up. I would have made latkes, but the stupid potatoes all had sprouted. Ugh. We played the Dreidel game yesterday afternoon. And we talked about the history of Hanukkah.
    No, we're not Jewish. But I like Hanukkah. I like learning about other cultures.
    Learning about other cultures makes me happy. And gives me a chance to learn about other people and how they think. And, let's face it, we NEED a LOT more understanding and compassion in this world.
  • We celebrated our oldest niece's birthday. We got her art supplies and a book. We ate pizza and chatted with family (while Bruise and Bucket played with their cousins). 
  • We also went to our Stake's Christmas Fireside.
    Michael was standing in the back with Bubbles most of the time. And Bruise and Bucket were with him, mostly.
    I was very frustrated for the most part. There were SO, SO many kids who were walking around or talking or playing on iPods/iPads (which isn't terrible ... except when you're in a darkened room. Then  ALL I can do is be distracted by lights and movement in my peripheral vision).
    I just wanted to listen to the people sing ... and either I couldn't really hear them. Or I'd have kids trying to talk to each other over three aisles of chairs ...
    THEN Bubbles decided to throw a tantrum during the closing prayer.
    Michael gave me his keys so that I could escape to the car and cry in private. ... Well, with Bubbles, who I strapped into her car seat while I waited for the kids (with Michael) to get their cookies.
Today, I'm working at getting dishes and laundry done. VERY exciting.

Later, after Michael gets home, we'll all go deliver plates of cookies to our Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching families.

I really ... I hate to say this ... but I'm just not feeling in the Christmas spirit right yet. And I'm worried ... What if this is something that a viewing of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special won't fix??
It's always worked before ... but I'm scared to try it this year. Because, if it doesn't work, what CAN I do??

I've wrapped most of the kids' presents. I've gotten a start on presents for family and teachers ... I'd have finished by now if I had all of the month's paychecks at once (have to wait a week before we can finish).

I think that, no matter what Bubbles is up to, I need to just get out my December books and read through them. And the Christmas Story. And, as Michael suggested, pray. I've been distracted and flightly. I need to treat priorities LIKE priorities.

But, yeah ... I should get started on these (between loads of dishes, laundry, and making dinner):
  • The Christmas Story (Luke 2)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Mansion
  • The Forgotten Carols
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
And, of course, Christmas movies ... with lashings of hot cocoa, popcorn, and eggnog
  • The Charlie Brown Christmas Special
  • Mr. Kruger's Christmas
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Elf
  • The Muppet's Christmas Carol
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon. Not the Jim Carey one).
After payday, I'm going to buy someone something USEFUL at Heifer.org
And maybe help finance someone at Kiva.org
And maybe help the kids get a present for Toys for Tots.

And I'm going to paint my toenails. Because that NEEDS to be done.
And, while I'm at it, I can give Bucket and Bubbles pedis, too.

And write a Christmas-letter newsletter to email out.
And send out some Christmas cards.

Hopefully, once I get all that done, I'll be totally in the spirit of the season.
And I won't feel like such a horrible person.

Counting ...

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