Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A great Daniel-ism

As we ate some ice cream with the new ice cream spoons Daniel gave me for Christmas (you know, the long, skinny teaspoons), he said, "The best gifts are the kind that you get to benefit from too. Hey, I should be a philosopher!"

Something about that whole train of thought just made me laugh!

Monday, December 28, 2009

"Our New Hygiene Tool"

There are so many things that I used to just keep to myself rather than embarrassing myself, but somehow it's a little bit fun to show my real family on my blog. Maybe it's because I appreciate it when others let their guard down, and I realize we're all a little off. So, as you read this stuff, I hope you are enjoying it, empathizing with me, or at least smiling rather than just thinking we're totally weird!

So, recently, Dale bought a small black light flashlight. The intention was to use it to find the places where our cat had peed on the carpet. In case you didn't know, a black light will make urine glow. It's a little disturbing to see on your carpet, but at least it makes it easy to find so you can clean it up.

Well, you can imagine that our family couldn't stop there. Black lights are also used to find scorpions in the desert because they glow in the dark. We don't have any scorpions here in the below-freezing high desert, so we had to think a little harder. How 'bout our toilets? Maybe we could see how well the kids clean them. Arghh!!!! I've now threatened to use the light as a check up tool on chore day.

But wait, there's more! Daniel wrote on his hand with an invisible marker which caused us to use the light to read it. While it was out, we discovered that ear wax glows and that a black light makes your teeth look the same color as those fake vampire teeth you get at Halloween. However, if you have crowns, those glow a light purple!! Did you know that???

While we were in the bathroom looking at my crowns, Daniel remarked that the black light must be "our family's new hygiene tool." It made me laugh. We are, indeed, a nerd family!
(And whether or not you're willing to admit it, I bet there are a few readers out there who now want their own black light. Give me a secret phone call or email me, and I'll give you all the info on where to buy the great little flashlight for hours of family fun -- and hygiene!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Isn't he a doll???

Perhaps you remember a previous post I did about the very creepy doll that has been making the rounds among us and our friends for the past couple of years. In case you don't, let me give a brief overview.
When Daniel turned 13 on Friday the 13th, his friend gave him a doll that he'd gotten from the thrift store. It was a little creepy on its own, but then he embellished it with a little Friday the 13th makeup. Little did he know until after Daniel had opened it that it also could be plugged in causing the arms to move back and forth (more creepy) and that it played Silent Night. For the past year and a half, that doll has rotated among the three houses of Daniel and his friends. She's made an appearance on doorsteps for birthdays, holidays, etc. Often she brings treats in her moving arms, and she has begun to change clothes on different occasions. Most recently, she donned a cheerleader outfit to wish Ryan a good football game. Nothing will ever quite replace her original costume and makeup, however.

So, we come to this Christmas. We wanted to deliver some treats to our friends, and it seemed only fitting that we should have the doll do the delivering. Ah, but we do not currently have the doll, so what could we do????? Being the resourceful people we are, we decided we could make our own doll. And so it was decided that Daniel would be the doll.

How I wish a blog could capture the moment of joy when the door opened at the first house and they saw Daniel on the porch, complete with a cord coming out of the skirt while the rest of the family hummed Silent Night in the background.

Now, I know that some of you are saying we really need to get a life, but at least one of these families was in great need of a moment of nonsense and out loud laughter. I'm happy we could give it to them. And I'm equally happy that my son did not know how to put mascara on himself when it came time to add that feature. Isn't it great that Christmas can bring out such joys???

But just so you know that I haven't lost it completely, even I think it's a little creepy that I had the stuff that I could make a costume just like the doll's!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Week of Feeling

So, if last week was a week of learning, then it was followed by a big week of feeling. I could write a book about any one of the things I will highlight here, but I'll just mention a few thoughts -- at lease you'll all know I do think sometimes!

1. Some of you may recall an entry from a couple of years ago about my friend who has an inoperable brain tumor. He's endured a lot for the last 2 1/2 years. A few weeks ago, they discovered yet another tumor in his brain stem. It looks like this one, which is also inoperable, will take his life before long. I'm heartbroken. I want so badly to fix something that I have no power to fix. I feel sad, I feel confused about why these kinds of things happen, I feel unsure of what to do to help. At the same time, I feel so hopeful. I'm glad I know there is a God who loves this family. I may not understand the present state of affairs, but I know God loves them. I have to trust that it must be like my kids sometimes don't understand me and my intentions or the big picture, but I unquestionably love them. I've seen such kindnesses shown to this family. I've felt the love so many people have for all of them. I've been deeply touched by people's sincerity. I'm glad I associate with such great people.

2. For local readers, you may have heard the news stories of a retired BYU professor who was killed this week in a terrible auto-pedestrian accident. He was considered an expert on the LDS church's history in Africa. He had lived there for a long time, and visited there frequently. Well, one of his daughters is my neighbor. He's frequently been in our cul-de-sac and at our church meetings - last Sunday included. What a tragic accident this was. I tried going online to read a little more about it from the online news sources. While the stories themselves were simple factual descriptions of what happened, the comment boards were full. Some people simply offered their condolences, but others took the opportunity to say crass things about him and his religion. I had to stop reading. It makes me feel sad that people would take advantage of their anonymity to criticize a man they had not met and a religion they do not agree with. In contrast, I have watched the grace and dignity with which the family has handled the situation. His wife was with him in the crosswalk, along with another friend. All three were hit. His wife's main concern, after his passing, was for the young man who was driving. She and her children went to visit him to offer their forgiveness. I feel motivated to be a lot more like her. I feel like I want to cherish my knowledge of a Savior who loves us and comforts us. I want to use that knowledge to help me be kind.

3. I have felt the Christmas Spirit in a wonderful way. Last night we did a bunch of Christmas-ing. Before dinner, we participated in an AF tradition. We did the annual drive-through visit with Santa. For many years a lifelong resident of the city hosted a Santa visit at her home. After she died several years ago, I understand she left money and some instructions in her will to continue the tradition. Of course, her home was sold, so the event was moved, but it's been in the same place for a while. We drive down the street near our house where we first pass a live nativity scene in a front yard with Christmas music playing over loud speakers. Then we turn into a reception center parking lot where we get our turn to roll down the window and talk to Santa. I liked this particular Santa who reminded my kids to be nice to each other and to do what we ask. Cheyenne confidently asked for a stuffed camel, a Nintendo DS, and two horse movies - after which she told him the movies we already have. She was prepared. I love the sense of community. I love the kindness shown in the woman's wishes before her death. I love the man in the Santa suit who stands outside in the cold to talk to kids through a window!

4. I was moved by the Christmas Spirit. After dinner last night we decided to go see the live nativity in Alpine. We've heard of it before, but this was a first for us. I recommend it. It runs for one more day (through Monday, Dec. 7). You can find a link with information here. We rode a shuttle from a local church, then took a walk through a field to a couple of big barns. Along the way, we ran into Roman soldiers on horseback inquiring about our taxes. In the first barn we strolled through a town marketplace. Instead of just a stuffed camel for Cheyenne, we got to pet real camels. The two-humped varieties had fur that was inches thick. Daniel said you had to be careful not to fall in. We saw sheep, goats, carpenters, weavers, bread bakers, etc. We moved to another barn where we saw a portrayal of the holy family. Even the sweet baby was a live actor. It was a tender moment to watch Cheyenne stare in awe at that baby while a group was singing Silent Night in the loft. It was well done all around, and the spirit of the true meaning of Christmas hung strongly in the air.

As we were leaving, Daniel offered his observations. "It seems like at Halloween there are some pretty elaborate haunted houses. People pay a lot to attend these events. Then Thanksgiving kind of gets skipped and then there are tons of catalogs. It's all been boiled down to blood, gore, and catalogs. I wonder why there aren't more things like this that really show what Christmas is about."

I felt the spirit of love as I listened to my 14 year old son get it. Again I felt a sense of community and gratitude for those who were providing such an awesome experience in 20 degree weather!

5. I felt a whole lot of other things, but this post is already way too long and full of text. I'll have to save a few feelings for another day. Right now I feel gratitude for great friends who read my ramblings and share my journey in experiencing a world of feelings. Thanks!