Monday, January 28, 2008

president hinckley has passed away


For those of you who do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley died yesterday. (In our church, the prophet is the leader of the entire worldwide organization. We believe that he receives inspiration for the members of the Church everywhere just like the prophets in the Bible did. In fact, our church is set up exactly how it was in biblical times: a prophet, 12 apostles, etc.) I am really sad about his passing. President Hinckley was the prophet for almost 13 years--I have been a member of the LDS Church about 16 years, so for almost the whole time I have been a member, President Hinckley has been the prophet. I got really attached to him.

It all started while I was in Hong Kong when he was called as president. Pres. H. had served in Asia and had worked a lot in Hong Kong. There were members of the church who had worked alongside him building up the church there. The Chinese members were thrilled to have a prophet who had actually been to Asia many, many times. I knew that any man who loved Hong Kong as much as I did had great taste!

So, today I have been mulling over his life and all the sacrifices he has made for the Church. He had truly worn out his life in service for all of us. The man never stopped working, even though he was 97 years old. I wish I had his stamina! I know that he has now been reunited with his wife in Heaven and that is a good thing. But I sure will miss his great sense of humor and his love for others.

I am so grateful to have a prophet on the earth. To me, that is proof that God still loves us and has not abandoned us (as some people, and even I have occasionally felt). Thinking about all this makes me feel that much more determined to follow the prophet and try to be a better person.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Carrie Bradhshaw I'm not!

OK, at the risk of totally sounding like an old biddy, I just do not understand today's fashions. Last night, I went to Kohl's to see about buying a couple of tops. I have been cleaning out my closet only to find that I have very few clothes that fit or look good. Some things are too big and others have just gotten stretched out, stained, or faded. I am not really into shopping, so I don't often buy myself new clothes. More often than not, I find something used at a thrift store or garage sale or even my mother's closet. Let's just say I am not the most fashionable girl around. I have only about 7 pairs of shoes, which I have been told is unnatural for a woman (Should I even admit that one of the pairs is a pair of black Doc Martens that are at least 8 years old? Another pair happen to be some brown Doc Marten's, but they are far younger than 8 years old. Come to think of it, I also own a pair of Doc Marten sandals...Hmmm, I am noticing a theme here).

Sometimes I wish I could hire a personal shopper who would do all the work for me: deal with the stores and lines and pushy people; try on the clothes in the fitting rooms with the lighting that makes me look very gaunt; handle the subsequent depression when clothes don't fit or look right; and figure out what clothes would flatter my body, while being stain-proof and very comfortable and durable. I need these clothes to last more than one season and be reasonably priced. Is that too much to ask for? Don't let any of this leak to Oprah or some other such "self-help" show or I will surely be their next big makeover project. (Speaking of which, I once had a student submit my name to the Sally Jesse Raphael show so that they could do a "Sexy Makeover" on me. Thank goodness nothing came of that.)

So back to the story. I rifled through rack after rack of discounted clothing (did you know they already have bathing suits on sale??? It is like 3 degrees out here. Who in their right mind would be buying a bathing suit? Well, at least that means all the winter stuff is on sale). A couple of cute, casual tops were all I was looking for. And what did I find? Lots of cute casual tops. The problem? They all looked like maternity blouses: really long, empire-waisted blouses. What is going on here? Why would anyone want to look like they were pregnant? If I wore one of those tops, it would look like I was wearing a short dress over jeans. I am way too short to be wearing such long blouses. And as someone who has spent well over 18 months in maternity clothes (I am one of those lucky women who have to wear maternity clothes for months after the bambino is born), I don't want ANYTHING in my wardrobe that even remotely makes me look pregnant. If I wore one of those things, it would take approximately 35 minutes for word to get around church that I am pregnant, which I am not. Heck, when I got a migraine on Thanksgiving, the entire branch and half the city was convinced I was in a motherly way.

It just makes me wonder who is designing all these clothes, and better yet, who is buying it? Why don't we protest? Why no boycotts going on? Why do these designers refuse to make normal clothes for women who have normal bodies (read: NOT size zero, airbrushed supermodels who subsist on rice cakes and celery)?

I guess I am just not destined to be fashionable, but the fact that I wear myhusband's Gerbils t-shirt and think it looks nice, should have probably been a tip off.

Monday, January 21, 2008

i miss chicago

Today, I really miss living in a bigger city that offers more to do than just going to the movies and Wal-Mart (which my mother has dubbed Effingham's cultural center). I have been stuck in the house for what feels like weeks, but has actually only been 5 days, with sick, crabby video addicts. My kids refuse to do anything but watch videos. Oh wait, I take that back. They also fight each other over which video they want to watch next.

Now that Danny is feeling better, I have realized too late that I have enabled him to become addicted to TV. And really, I cannot think of anything else to entice him with. There is nowhere to go in this town that is fun for kids and inside. The weather has been bitterly cold (in the single digits at times and no higher than 20 degrees most days) so playing outside just doesn't seem like a viable option, especially since Danny still has his cold. I so wish we had a kids' museum or indoor play area. Heck, a McDonald's playland would even satisfy me at this point!

I was reading an article about cheap dating and keeping the magic in your marriage and almost all the ideas they had would only really work in a bigger, less culturally challenged town than good ole Effingham. They claim that most cities have museums. Not here. They suggest ice skating. We would have to drive 90 minutes to get to an ice skating rink. We don't even really have a book store in which to browse (another one of their cheap suggestions) unless you count Wal-Mart.

Ok, I will quit complaining. I mean after all, we do have a Corvette Museum and there are sometimes gun shows in town. What else could I ask for?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

poor kid

Danny is sick. I didn't even realize it until several hours after he had come home from school. His teacher told me yesterday that he hasn't been eating his lunch, so I figured he was fighting something off. Plus, friends of ours who were over Friday have all been coming down with sicknesses of one variety or another since their visit, so I guess it was inevitable.

When Danny got home from school, I let him watch a Charlie Brown Easter video he got out of the library yesterday. He has been begging to watch it since yesterday afternoon and I finally relented. Well, when I checked on him, I realized he had a fever. The thing with Danny is he rarely stops moving. Seriously, even when he was throwing up last spring, it didn't keep him down for more than 2 hours. Sometimes I think I would give anything for him to calm down and sit still for a bit.

Today I realized how untrue that is. It really scares me to see him so mopey. Halfway through dinner he laid across his chair and asked for a pillow so he could go to sleep. He NEVER wants to sleep. Then after dinner, he climbed into his cuddle swing (this really cool swing that molds to your body, almost like a hammock only you can't stretch out in it) and started to fall asleep. He could barely keep his eyes open as I gave him some Motrin. Then, I had to carry him to bed. Again, this is a kid that never just falls asleep watching TV or tells us he is tired. I'm sure he will recover quickly--he always does, but maybe when he does I will be more understanding and appreciative of his boundless energy--but probably not for long. I tend to forget little lessons like these, especially in the wake of kids bickering, making enormous messes, and the many other stressors of life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

so much horror out there

I have been slightly obsessed by the story of Lam Luong, the man who threw his four young children off a bridge. I just cannot understand how or why someone would ever do such a thing to any child, let alone his own flesh and blood. How could someone do something so evil? Everytime I hear a story about some atrocity committed against another person, I always want to know why it happened. What was the motive? What pushed that person over the edge? Was it drugs? Mental illness? As if there could ever be a satisfactory answer to that question.

Yesterday, I also read about a man who killed four people, including his girlfriend and her baby who was sitting in a car seat. Again, what would drive someone to shoot a baby? It makes me reel.

It also makes me wonder how God could allow such a thing to happen. I know we all have free choice. I understand that and know that it is necessary, but how can such evil exist? Where does it come from? Are the people who commit these crimes inherently evil or did they make enough bad choices that they ended up that way? I don't even know if this makes any sense, which I suppose is appropos considering the topic.

I think I will go and give my kids another goodnight kiss.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

hungry, hungry hippo


Do any of you remember this game? Well, apparently it is still a rather popular game. Danny received a tiny, one-player version of this game from his teacher for Christmas. It's a bit hard to use, but he loves it.

This afternoon after naps, Danny was ravenous and said to Bil, "I have a hungry, hungry hippo tummy, Daddy!" Cracked us up.

I think I also have a hungry, hungry hippo tummy. (Too bad it is not as cute with adults....) I have been having wild cravings for something really gooey and sweet today. Not sure why. Maybe hormone-related? Sure, why not. My poor hormones get blamed for all kinds of things.

Speaking of hormones, I had another thyroid check and it is normal now. Great news, right? Well, the doctor said I now have a very high chance of my thyroid stopping within the year. Apparently, I had subclinical thyroidism and the cycle often goes like this: it works too hard, then corrects itself and maybe works correctly for a while, and then eventually it stops working altogether. I guess it overcorrects itself. Hmmmm.....that seems like it could be a metaphor for my life....

Anyway, it isn't too serious. They will check back with me in 3 months and I will have to go on medicine if it stops working. Unfortunately, the symptoms are extreme fatigue and "feeling like a slug" according to my doc. Hmmmm.....I so often feel like a slug. Will I notice the difference?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

scarier than dating

OK, this might sound weird, but do any of you have a hard time making new friends? I mean, am I the only one who feels awkward and nervous, and frankly, scared to death to pick up the phone and ask some cool woman to go out for lunch? I have been thinking about this a lot lately, because I have realized that I am partly to blame for my lack of great friends here in Effingham. I have been too scared to reach out to new people, so have stuck with some already established friendships, some of which are really kind of toxic.

I know there are only like 2 people who even read this blog and I have discussed this issue with you guys before, but I am here to say that one of my goals this year is to get out of my comfort zone and make some new friends. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Brrrr......

I walked out the door this morning and said to the kids, "Hey, it isn't too bad out here today. It feels like it has really warmed up!" I got in the car and looked at the dashboard display that indicated that it was a whopping 26 degrees out. It HAD warmed up by nearly 20 degrees. It feels almost balmy.

I am already looking forward to summer and the worst of the midwest winter has probably not even hit yet.....

Thursday, January 3, 2008

school's back in session!

Can I just say how excited I am to send my oldest to school tomorrow? I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have been counting down the hours until the end of Christmas break. I wonder if this was how my mother felt. Though she would never admit it, she must have. I mean, she had FOUR kids, for Pete's sake. And I know we fought like cats and dogs. I have the scars to prove it.

Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed most of our Christmas break. It was a lot of fun to watch the kids open and play with their Christmas presents. It was even fun to hear Danny beg to open the presents before Christmas (though that did get a bit wearing after the 756th request). Every time he would say, "Hey mommy, I have a secret. (Pause) I want to open my birthday presents." I enjoyed taking the kids to see the Christmas lights and watching them play with their dad. I especially enjoyed witnessing the birth of a new family game, the Zoo Train, where Danny takes the nice white comforter off my bed, fills it with every stuffed animal in the house (of which there are many, believe me) jumps in and demands to be dragged around the house with his sister. Periodically we are to transform the train into a helicopter by picking up the very heavy load of kids and animals and swing them onto our bed while listening to the sweet sound of the kids' laughter. (Bil had a backache most of the week).

What I didn't love so much was the frequent squabbling between the kids over EVERYTHING from the Snoopy Sno-Cone machine (one of the more popular gifts this year) to a balloon with a hole in it. I also could have lived without Danny's temper tantrum one Saturday morning when I made a grave error. When Danny woke up, I told him I had a surprise. He got really excited until he realized the surprise was that Daddy was home and ready to play with him. Danny honestly flipped out and begged for a real surprise (read: toy) for about an hour. I think Bil finally distracted him with more Snoopy Sno-Cones.

I think things would have gone better for us had the weather not turned so ugly. I don't think it has reached 20 degrees in days. There are only so many times I can take the kids to the library in one week. So, I will be glad for a bit of peace and quiet and the opportunity to get more done with the house. I have felt like I was living in a war zone this week. I am also looking forward to watching little Charlotte realize that no one will steal her toys all morning. It is amazing how she knows this instinctively and always goes for Danny's favorite toys while he is at school.