We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are." ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley~





Loehrmann Family Favorite Recipes

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tribute to Nerdy Teacher Mommies






Some teachers put up daily routines because they think it helps somehow, (every grade I worked in)
Some put up options with pictures for when kiddos have a cow. (autism interventions)
They all put up some sorta game plan for rules/habits/mission statements. I am SO happy about this.
Some ask for big stove boxes so the kids can have a house (the renovations to the apartment place have SOME perks I guess!)
We demo-ed color mixing with play-doh & talk about metamorphic rocks (2nd grade student teaching right there)
And called it 'exploratory learning' when they try to make 'marble' using all the playdoh in the box.

I laughed so hard at some pictures from these last few days of cold rainy weather where we've been inside- because of the mix of survival techniques going on from many angles. Inspired by a friend whose kids LIVE for the costume box, I just pulled it out, and little did I know there was a budding Super-man living under our roof- ready to save us from attacking Hermit Crabs (thanks to the cute kids book Platypus) who can attack with velvet pirate head scarves. Then it was STOMP-man playing the drums, going in and out of "mein kleines Haus!!" which is "ein sicherer Ort" (a safe place), and it made the day all the more entertaining for me. Lukas loves to see himself, so we took a few quick video clips he could watch. Most of them end with him reaching for the camera saying "Ich moechte das SEhen!" (I want to SEE that!) The day ended with the wreckage you see, but it felt somehow fulfilling, and fun, and accomplished. Much better than the night before- since we sat in his little house waiting for dad to get home. It was a loooong wait- Really. We must have sat in that box for a long ol half hour, reading books, and gasping at any sounds of car doors closing. And when Lukas DID leave the box, to go potty (hallelujah!) he was antsy to get back in it as soon as possible, declaring at the end of pottying "Zurück zu der Höhle!!" ("Back to the cave!") followed by "Warum lachst du??" ("Why are you laughing?") Then, when I decided that sitting in an oven box was really not doing anything for my 5 foot 11 inch frame (not to mention the inklings of clausterphobia), I finally got ahold of dad on his cell and stayed OUT of that thing til I actually saw his car pull in. And hiding is hard when you've waited so long, so as soon as Jared was in the door, Lukas flung open the cardboard window shutters yelling "Finde mich! Ich bin in meinem kleinen Haus!" ("Find me! I am in my little house!")





video
The recap conversation about metamorphic rocks went like this:
Me: Share what's going on!
L: Look!
Me: What's happening here?
L: I want to explain something to you...When you mix playdoh, it makes purple! (we squished R+B)
Me: Can I see? Thank you Mr. Loehrmann! Was this activity fun to you?
L: Ja! My brother Jakob can do this really well. (I'm thinking that's reference to the song "Frere Jacques")
Me: Oh yeah?
L: Yeah
Me: And what kind of rocks do you get when you mix the chemicals? (recap of metamorphic- told you I was a teacher nerd)
Lukas: Mmm, I'll ask...I'll ask my Papa.

Creating Static

From all those Snuggle Bear commercials I always thought static was a bad thing. Now I'm starting to change my mind.

...stat·ic (st t k). adj. 1. a. Having no motion; being at rest; quiescent. b. Fixed; stationary. 2. Physics Of or relating to bodies at rest or forces that balance each other.


Rest and balance are becoming a more necessary part of my life. (I'm still working on my goal for 2012: Balance & consistency.)

Fewer Lukas vs. Mama moments. Just play. And boy can we make a great mess.
But when I am more balanced, "we" are more balanced.
The mess is great, but the stress is low.
The laughter is high, the tears are less. (we are talking about Lukas here, right?)
The thought of 'the next thing' is replaced by the moment I am in.
Hello new life. Let's go make some static!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to my oldest brother

Happy Birthday Jeremy! We're 68 this year! Almost the big 7-0!!
He went got his Eagle Scout award first, went to high school first, got everyone hooked on marching band first with that trumpet, got most of us jobs at the movie theater, bought a car first, got a real job first, and married an Amy first (before 3rd brother married another Amy). And now he's the first to turn the big ol' 3-6.  WOOT WOOT!! Thanks for being the first so that mom and dad could work out a lot of quirks before they got to me. Hope you've had a memorable day. Or that you at least got some cake and ice cream out of it!
Love you,
Sis












Friday, February 24, 2012

Date Night Playdate

This occupied 2 little boys with the speed of protons on caffeine for a whopping 25 mins. Thank you mom for letting us build forts and tent cities as kids. It is still a favorite- and now I get it. In fact, I don't really ever remember you being in one of those tent cities. We like to call that Independent play
It sounded much like the script from Dr. Seuss' Go, Dogs, Go!
Bring Bringggg! Wake up! GOOOOO!!!
Time to sleep. G'nite.
Bring Bringggg! Wake up! GOOOOO!!!
Time to sleep. G'nite.
Bring Bringggg! Wake up! GOOOOO!!!
Time to sleep. G'nite.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

CTRL-ALT-DEL

Start over.
Redo.
Yes. One of THOSE days.
CrAAAzy day. But happy to get Parenting magazine in the mail (change of pace. I can tell life has changed so much since the days of Seventeen Magazine! HA!) This month it has Earth-shattering news:  blocks help kids with language... and why you ask?? Because you talk to them while you play them. Weeeell, sillies, that means ANYthing helps with language, as long as you talk about it as you go! Let's compromise. Blocks + Bowling.  Harder than it looks, and laughing came as a real relief, believe you me!


Three C's that ruin everything. Really.

This woman has been a favorite author of mine since college. This continuation of thoughts from the last post have to do with her writing in Sheri Dew's book "If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard" pg. 39. It's been the thought stream most occupying my mind lately. (Funny isn't it? How even though a person can't get a lot 'done' while playing with a 2 yr old, one still gets the delicious pleasure of thinking about/mulling over whatever a person wants to! HA!)

"Our Father gifted His daughters in particular with the nature to nurture, encourage, and bear with one another, knowing that these gifts--this inclination toward charity--would be vital to all mankind. President Gordon B. Hinckley (former president and prophet of the LDS church) has referred to the women of the Church (and I want to add good Christian women everywhere) as the "one bright shining hope in a world...marching toward moral self-destruction". The women of the Church are the hope of the world precisely because it is not possible to limit the influence of a woman of God who is filled with the pure love of Christ. For that matter, the same is true of men. It is not possible to limit the influence of a man of God who bears the holy priesthood and who is filled with the pure love of Christ."

"Satan knows this and he hates followers of Christ for it. We are among his greatest nightmares because he knows he cannot limit our influence unless he can neutralize our respective natures. So, if he can get us to break the law of Chasity, or develop an addiction or become consumed with or blinded by the world, he laughs. When he seduces a man or a woman of God, he not only neutralizes those individuals but is poised to infiltrate their families."
 "If we don't fall for blatant tactics, however, he resorts to more subtle schemes, hoping to weigh us down with baggage that obscures our divine nature and causes us to buckle spiritually under the load. He tries to get us to judge, gossip, envy, resent and punish those we could otherwise be nurturing. He is particularly fond of what could be called the Three C's: competing, comparing and categorizing."

"Why do we compete with each other?" If we all had the capacity to work at our peak every day to build the kingdom, which none of us have, there would still be more to do, more to accomplish, more to get done, more people to influence. Why do we therefore not cheer for each other's gifts, contributions, and sincere efforts to make a difference in the world? Why do we make comparisons that are never fair? Why do we have an insatiable ego to label and categorize everyone when no one can be defined by a one-dimensional category?

"We're not supposed to be alike. We weren't given the same gifts. None of us were given all the gifts of God, but we were each given at least one spiritual gift. And the reason seems obvious. The Lord needs a full spectrum of talent dedicated to his work. He also wants us to work together, rejoicing in each other's strengths and together compensating for each other's weaknesses. That is why comparing, competing and categorizing--traps we seem to fall in naturally and repeatedly--are deadly..."

Examples that come to mind are so small that you may mistakenly think I walked away from these moments offended, miffed, slighted. Don't worry. I SO didn't. But it got me to thinking.
Ex: A man was helping watch children, and had helped soothe a screaming baby by holding him for over 45 minutes. As the child was finally asleep and set down to sleep, he said he was rushing off to the bathroom since this little kid had been sitting on his bladder. The next comments were quick and sarcastic, about how he had never had been pregnant, having a baby sit on a bladder, etc.  Dumb, right? But the thought came to me...
Do I ever dismiss other people's discomfort because of my own war-stories of grief? It's a passive aggressive form of competition- the one-uppers stories. "Oh yeah? That's nothing! I....."

You get the idea. It's about how we leave the other person feeling. Unvalidated. Unimportant. Un-succored according to their grief.pain, loss, discomfort.  Our ACTUAL goal is mourning with those who mourn, comforting those who stand in need of comfort. It's part of the covenant we make at baptism.  Isn't it interesting how easy it is to slip into natural-man mode and find snarky things to say/point out/think about what someone else is doing? And I find the worst part of competition is that nobody wins unless someone else loses. There's a German word "Shadenfreude" that means a person actually takes joy in the failure of others.

I had a few awkward moments where I know someone meant well (in all seriousness) to say something like "Wow, it was good to see that even the Loehrmann family isn't perfect" (Picture me picking up large, wriggling, screaming child from 3rd row pew passing everyone to make it out the back door. I was in a good mood that day, so it felt like teacher mechanics of 'okay- well, here's the consequence you chose then- out we go and onto my lap' --- luckily right? ) If quiet children all through church is the model of perfection then I am far from perfect, and slightly annoyed that I would ever be set up on a pedestal which feels so much more isolating than it does welcoming and helpful. And anyways, Jesus is the perfect one our family's trying to be like, and it is hard. Every day. I should literally bite my tongue off some days because of the things I wish I would just NOT say. And yes, during sacrament meeting, I choose not to yell at my child or argue with my spouse. And if Lukas chooses to whack me one during a meeting, I'd probably even resist the urge to reach over and smack a hand or throw fiery darts at him, because ultimately I'm wanting to hear what's being said and if I DO just react, I have to live with THOSE consequences.

So outward comparison is stupid.  Sister so-and-so is so good at ________- and it has nothing to do with you, so there's no need to comment on what you (in comparison) can't do. It's irrelevant in the moment. Either we choose to give it credit, glory, praise that it probably deserves, or say nothing if we feel 'bad' in that moment because 'we can't do that'. Who cares?? Life is super long. She can, so you have an instant resource to ask IF you really want to learn how. And if you don't, that's okay too!  The result is that sister-so-and-so who is good at it gets little praise from those nay-sayers around who knock her talent in some sort of self-defense of their own esteem, and it brings them and her lower, instead of higher. Jesus gave her that gift, and in praising the gift, we praise him, and that sister, and we show love to God by showing love to our neighbor.  Then, everyone really wins.

I guess the clinker is that each sister has to stop looking outward for acknowledgement of her own good, but rather inward, where we can each evaluate our doings, our talents, and be accountable for what we do with our time.
  • 3 Nephi 13:21

    21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
  • Luke 12:34

    34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
  • Matthew 6:21

    21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

If I really want to learn to ______, but choose to dottle my time away with ______, then I should probably not be openly complaining about why I can't do ______. It's my choice. There's time for the things we really want in life.

Compartmentalizing is also a really slippery slope area. If a person reads your facebook status that you just ____, then all of a sudden an entire story evolves in their mind about you and what kind of person you are, and you get thrown in a box. Maybe it was the first and only time you accomplished that thing. Maybe you're really just in need of attention and a friend. Maybe it's something you've worked really hard on for a long time, and it is a major deal.  I contemplated how to do better at thinking about this, and wondered if it wouldn't be wiser to perhaps ask myself if I really know that person... if I maybe could learn more about that thing/get to know them so that my hollow compliment back wouldn't seem so hollow- and so that I wouldn't just shove them in a box in my mind- Oh, she's one of those jocks/spiritual people/ foodies/ nutrition freak/domesticated women/stressed out moms/lazy moms/super moms/stressed out lady with no kids/lazy lady with no kids/super wife/ .... you get the idea. We throw compliment fodder at one another to pad self esteems that run out of gas faster than Lukas' tricycle.  Instead, I wonder if we can look for more depth in ourselves, our families, our friendships and give ourselves a real sense of self by beCOMing something, rather than just 'doing' lots of random things to get attention or to help land ourselves in a compartmentalized box that we've always wanted to belong to, not necessarily because we loved the learning or loved the newfound knowledge.
I guess in essence, it's taking the shallow and giving it depth. But that makes us vulnerable. It requires we acknowledge that there is much we don't know and requires that we go forth to learn it or remain satisfied and content with what we are and who we are: not a bunch of groups separated, but one grand group of children of God as believers in His Plan, and His Son.
  • Galatians 3:26

    26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
  • Romans 8:16

    16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
 Our goal is to help each other learn and learn and learn so we can be more like our Heavenly Father, and more like his Son, who are good, and loving, and perfect. It's better to focus on what's in common, rather than what another is lacking, or what you have SOOOO much of (and look at YOU! Whoo whee!).

The last is CRITICIZING-- which is kind of wrapped into the other two-- outwardly expressing discontent with what someone else is trying to achieve/be/create. We all know that nagging, and criticizing (especially when it's just to make ourselves somehow look better- which doesn't work by the way because we still come across as a criticizer-although perhaps right)  I do mean to say though that the world is still in need of suggestions, critiques, and it seems unwise to simply sit back and do nothing while chaos ensues, especially if your gifts and talents could help. We just have to be sensible in how we go about 'helping'. Some people can't handle suggestions without feeling that their self-perceived perfection lies in question, which can cause much contention. I couldn't stop thinking about another aspect to criticizing though, and that is the criticism I hear of those things which are good.
  • Isaiah 5:20

    20 ¶Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
 I know people who have chosen (for themselves) to give up certain TV shows only to be ridiculed as a goody-goody. I know others who have given up sugar, or made major health goals only to be offered sugar in return (Shadenfreude) or ridiculed because it's "too strict" and "not good". I know of people working on major physical goals involving lots of sweat and hard work which takes up a lot of time and means major sacrifice to themselves to carve out that kind of time and effort. They need good karma. I know people like myself who blog for family history reasons, only to be asked how I can 'waste so much time blogging' or spend so much time on that. ( I LOVE that I just got my second book printed!!) I know sisters who have limited TV in their homes for the kids, who try to focus their kids on other 'churchy' things, like singing Sunday school songs or visiting the temple only to be told how dorky or cheesy that seemed to someone else.  Wow. Those kinds of reactions don't build a sister up.  In all fairness, I'm SURE they were probably said in a manner as to jest at their own difference of opinion, or difference in commitment to that area of life.


Could it be great... wouldn't it be great, if we could cheer one another on? Or to hold back our criticism until we try it ourselves to see if it is worth doing, or wait to see how it affects that person? If it's not a bad goal, why offer criticism? It's unnecessary. I'm going to try to think of that during the next while whenever people make suggestions of things they're doing.

Goal for the year: Achieve balance and consistency in my life (that's another post that's been looooong coming) and I think focusing on building up myself from inside (anti-compare), focusing on common ground that creates unity (anti-compartmentalize), and offer encouragement and praise (anti-criticize) will bring me a lot closer to God and help my year be all the more growth-filled.

I look forward to being inspired by all of you again and again. Because you have GOT to know I've stolen an idea from ALL of you at some point or another. Not sure? Ask me. I'll tell you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Beg, Borrow, Steal" - Teacher Mantra I live by

Had this on my mind all day. Brain dump ensuing for posterity who hopefully reads this someday. Props to you if you make it through.

In my experience, no one person, religion, major study, or household size has a monopoly on great ideas for marriage, how to raise kids, how to be a good person, how to deal with family issues, etc.  Because of this, I think it is pretty cool how God plops us all here on the Earth with different talents- to this one 5, to this one 2, and to this one 1-  for each to discover and allow to flourish in his/her own way. 

  • Matthew 25:15

    Matthew 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
     
It's interesting that they're given according to ability. Ability to what? Do them? Make them more? Invest them? Actually use them? There are lots of inside talents that are very respected and there are ones that are more openly seen/performed/compared to, but they're not the ones talked about...I'm thinking of talents for listening, or validating people, or people's spiritual "gifts" (1 Corinthians 12:1–12; Moroni 10:8–18) .like having faith in Jesus Christ, or having faith to be healed, or to teach, or to speak, or to perform miracles, or defusing stressful situations, or showing charity towards a stranger, or exercise frugality and preparedness.

Not only does God give people those 'less seen' gifts but he sends us others who can clean house, cook,
sew, work HTML magic, find ancestors, make Family Home Evening lesson idea packets, can food, bake bread, raise children, teach, manage finances, and he puts em all around us to learn from. Thus the mantra: Beg, borrow, steal. I came across this super cool scripture today and it struck me as AWESOME!

Doctrine and Covenants 82:18

18 And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church—

And this led me to this quick definition of the Storehouse, which I also found super cool:

Storehouse — The Guide to the Scriptures

A place where a bishop receives, holds in trust, and dispenses to the poor consecrated offerings of Latter-day Saints. Each storehouse may be as large or as small as circumstances require. Faithful Saints donate talents, skills, materials, and financial means to the bishop to take care of the poor in time of need. Therefore, a storehouse may include a list of available services, money, food, or other commodities. The bishop is the agent of the storehouse and distributes goods and services according to need and as directed by the Spirit of the Lord (D&C 42:29–36; 82:14–19).


So this got me to thinking: We live in a literal storehouse (world) of awesomeness to glean from. The field is ready to harvest.  Sometime we are so busy checking out everybody's fields though, that we get down from the harvester for too long, and many people, most especially women, get caught up so quickly in The Three C's: Comparing, compartmentalizing, and criticizing.

I feel really blessed in my life with lots of mediocre talents and a few real humdingers that I like to hang up in the picture window of my life because they're the ones I'm passionate about, and have invested in the most. I've canned food. Oh yeah. ONCE.  But when a person sees those cans of pear sauce, they may come up with a few jillion assumptions that are pretty far from who I am. That makes me kinda sad. I'm feeling either put up on a pedestal where I don't belong, and then feel ostracized for it, or pushed asunder because 'how do I have time and energy for x,y,z??" and am then, also, ostracized from that person. 

Why is it that talents or gifts are sometimes a driving wedge between people instead of a glue stick??

This got me thinking of people who have let me glean from their storehouse of knowledge and talents- they gave freely of their wisdom and help. That's one of the most amazing epiphones that I have had! It's all out there for the begging, borrowing, and stealing of good ideas to implement in my own life!!

I have so much love in my heart for my friends who came over to help corral kiddos and teach me how to can pears, and then helped me can a ton of pears. I wasn't playing the piano at the same time, or trying to sew, or cooking a turkey, or doing laundry. I was just up to my elbows in sticky pear sauce. And it was glorious.

So, tomorrow, I'm going to go into those three C's more, because I think they're at the root of the whole problem, and I feel like there's an awesome writer, Sheri Dew, who puts it all in one amazing perspective.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Priceless-literally

The pyramid: priceless
The candles: priceless
The awestruck little boy: PRICELESS.
Some things in life really are free.
WWW.FREECYCLE.ORG

Sunday, February 19, 2012

When We're Helping We're Happy




...And to each their own. Milk for Aria, High School, and identifying poop on our car, and reading to Lukas during a cohort party (Thanks Joseph Applebaum!). When everybody's helping, everybody's happy.

Calling in Sick

This week Lukas and I got colds- the low grade fever kind accompanied by runny noses that are hard to catch. The park was our only solace- and if the wind died down enough we went. Otherwise, after exhausting our other options at home, I'd turn his energy loose in the bathtub and he'd play in the warm water for a long ol time, simultaneously letting all the snot come out.  And yet, he was in complete denial.

This was very apparent when he ran into the living room protesting:
"Ich bin nicht erkältet! Papa hat mich ein Küss gegebet!"  (I don't have a cold! Papa gave me a kiss!)

So there you have it. Guess he's not sick. It's just that the whining, coughing, and kleenex tell a different story.

The cool thing is that "sick Lukas" tends to use lots and lots of words when he's tired- he just gets rambling, and it is sometimes so hard to keep from laughing so that he'll keep going! Rummaging through Jared's lunchbox is a favorite and he'll see a granola bar in there (which I don't usually give him because it's got too much sugar, but Jared wants them for himself so he packs em) and Lukas will exclaim, as if in delight that SOMEone in this house GETS to eat that thing:
"Ich finde es schön dass du den mit in die Schule genommen hast!"  and when he's REALLY happy he'll just throw together  a few happy German adjectives and exclaim: TOLLERBAR!!!

And he's happy if I cook anything- since being sick this week led to many a sandwhich/premade meals. He'd ask , "Mama, hast du das selbst gemacht??" (Did you make this yourself?)
"Ja" (Yes, I boiled & mashed those leftover potatoes all by myself- gourmet around here ya know)
"Oooh! Gut gemacht Mama! Es schmeckt gut!" (Oooh, good Mama! It tastes good!)
And for a moment my miserable meter goes down a little. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

BYU Cougars!

It's one of those moments when you realize "you've arrived" when you find yourself going to an away game for your alma mater.

We drove an hour and a half through traffic to get to a BYU Mens Basketball Game in San Fransisco, knowing we'd have Lukas up waaay past his bedtime. It would be his first live cougars game, and was the closest we would get to one for awhile!  The briges along the way were a major point of interest, so I'm documenting the 'coolness' of that for Lukas' sake.

The other team's band was there, accompanied by a mascot that Lukas found super cool, but had absolutely no interest in getting near the thing. Haha! And how fun it was to get there, find our seats and be greeted by warm smiles of people who don't know us one little bit, yet welcome us heartily because our shirts all say BYU. And in comparison to BYU's 30,000 capacity gym, this 4,000 person sized gym was almost half full of BYU fans. I wondered if they ever expected that. I mean, for an away game and all.

But here's the thing. Wherever BYU goes, there are Mormons. And even members of our church who didn't go to the church-sponsored school personally take interest in em anyways, and wha-la! An audience is formed!  We felt like we were in the student section again as we yelled out B-Y-UUUUUU!, B-Y-UUUUU and Stood up and sang the fight songs like the nerdy BYU fans we are! Lukas was super thrilled, and had his dance hands a' movin' with the music as he bounced his little body up and down to the beat. SUCH a crack up.

It was like being in college again-- except for Lukas' little potty breaks here and there, and forking over Pirate Snacks to the littly matey. He was a great spectator, though, and BYU won by ONE POINT.
So typical BYU. Stress us out the whole time. AHH! What a scrappy & exciting game!!





You MIGHT be tempted to say he gets it from me, but...


video
video

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ja-Tag

Nine years ago I said yes. We'd spent the entire day together in Germany, riding the train into Hamburg, walking all over the city on a tour created by Marion Silligman, a close friend of Jared's family-- like an Auntie. We were at the top of the St.Petri's Kirche towers where on our ascent up the huge bell tower, the bells began to ring, and here we stood plugging our ears and screaming at the tops of our lungs without being able to hear ourselves at all as we watched the HUGE bells rock back and forth at the hour. We walked past the fish market place, and through the tunnel that runs under the Elbe River. We watched ships go by, watched freight get loaded onto massive boats, and enjoyed immensely the time together. That evening we made dinner together, and talked, and all at once Jared turned to me, and asked me "Jessica, will you be my wife?"
I said yes, not knowing when I'd even see him again, and came back to the US engaged.




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Claire, Will You be MY Valentine?

Roses are red,
My hands are blue.
If I could wish for a Valentine,
then it would be YOU!


Goodbye my Sweet!





Okay, really, he was bugged that I wanted to take a picture with "his" valentine, and he kind of didn't want to let go of it. And when he saw the little heart inside, he got all kinds of oooh-ing gooey and giddy, and I just had to take a picture (and it's in that moment that he flips the switch to "NOOOOOO!!!! Nicht ein FOTO!!") He put the valentine envelop into his mailbox he plays with, and gave it to me later too, and even copies the reactions, "Ooooh!! Wie schoen!" when it's his turn to open the box.  And he wanted the little koala to join his other little stuffed animals in bed when he went to sleep last night.

Such a cute doorbell ditch for Valentine's!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Knowing Who I am

Tonight Lukas said, "Mom, you're not a real giraffe. You're a momma"

Good. Glad that's cleared up.
 
Especially since yesterday he was telling me I was like a man. What? Luckily he clarified. I was strong like a man. (yesss!!) I was smart like a man (wait a second---). Good thing that being a man is NOTHING I aspire to. Here's why:
 
God created me as a woman for a reason. Enough said.
But here's more just for fun:
I would never want the pressure of having to provide for my family all on my shoulders.
I wouldn't like the expectation of helping with manual labor when I'm around. It's fun to just share in the workload as a woman and surprise people.
I would not like to be the ultimate can-opener (although not having to ask would be nice!)
I would not like being the ultimate child jungle gym after a long day (although it still happens now and again, but not like it does with Dad).
I would not like to compete with the machoism of society.
I would not like to be away from the kiddos all day to go to school or work (see, that's why I'm the mom, and he's the dad) and miss the funny --isms that come flying outta the mouths of babes that leave me laughing hyterically inside, while (depending on the circumstances) trying to save face on the outside.
 
And really, despite what one hears at baby showers and lessons at church on the weightiness of motherhood, the mom job is pretty bomb. When I was a teacher, I had to be on my feet longer, had less breaks for less time (hello naptime!!), didn't get to check my email as much, read books as much, explore with cooking as much as I can now as a mom. It's not that I couldn't do those things, -- I was just often exhausted from a full day of being paid to be nice to other people's kids with varying amounts of manners, motivation, and academic prowess. I got to be creative, but always for someone else's kid's sake.   It has been said that the only job where one has to think of so many things at one time - more than a teacher is... (NOT MOM!!)... an air traffic controller.

So yes, being mom is easier. To me. Being a mom means creating for your own designs/desires. I can choose to read books during nap time, or sleep, or blog, or get household managerial things done. Never on the same day of course, and everything in its own seasons. I can schedule as much or as little as I want. I can wear whatever I want. I don't have to be a slave to an alarm clock-- just a screaming one who I can show up to in jammies, and appease with cuddles for a few more winks of sleep.  I can turn on or leave off as much media as I want. I can even listen to the type of music I like and go on adventures without needing to worry about permission slips, liability, and the actual tie-in to the curriculum.  And bonus. I get to use the nerdy teacher things on little crazy man, and when it works, I can thank the State of Utah Teacher Licensing Board for helping raise my child.

Whitney Houston Died

I grew up listening to Whitney Houston, trying to imitate her in the shower, in the car, in microphones....
so when I heard that she died, I showed Lukas a video of her singing "I Will Always Love You" and he lay his little head on my chest and just watched- entranced. I asked "Magst du das Lied?" and he replied "Mhmm, HMMM!" with his head nodding quietly. It was sweet... a little piece of our generations mixing for a moment there.  Of course, then, maybe from the music, the videos, or that he was getting to watch "tv" at all, he wanted to see more and more, and after "Yes, Jesus Loves me" there wasn't much more to glean from a learning standpoint, so off we were to race cars through a cardboard box.
I will always love her voice!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Being your own BOSS...

...means you are also your own employee. So when I'd have loved to have called in for a substitute this week, I decided I'd better come up with a new game plan to get over my slump of a week: I'd pretend in my mind that I was running a preschool for one person, and kind of went from there.
Let's just say that everything revolved around the letter O for a few days. Since Lukas was 18 months old, we've finally made it to O. But now I have a game plan. I beg, borrow, and steal other people's ideas that work for us (the teacher mantra to live by) and found this really cool site called www.letteroftheweek.com that is so basic that anyone can do it as much or as little as they want, and in my opinion still feel like a rockstar of a mom for 'teaching your kid something'. Our O things off the list were:
  • Words Lukas thought of: Oval, Otilia, Orange, Omili, Ofen, and we added Ozean, Octopus, Ochse
  • Food we ate: Cheerios, Omlet, Orange-rolls
  • Music we listened to (and watched ballets on YouTube) Jaques Offenbach (and it's so cute to hear a two year old request "Jaques Offenbach" -- I gotta tell you!
  • Books we looked at: Opposites books, Open ___ books, Ocean books
  • On the freecycled chalkboard we made lots of o's and wrote lots of o's in different crayon colors.
  • Art we looked at: Oriental Poppies by Georgia O'Keefe
  • Art we made: The octopus below, which was hilarious to make

video
It's been a rough week. I've been in a blah-mode for a week now. The boys got sandwiches or raw foods for lunches and dinners, and poor Jared got no left-overs to take for lunches. He's had the patience of Job with my life-frustration, with difficult relationships eating at me, with my total lack of energy, with my lack of sleep from Jack-in-the-box child, and lack of motivation. I would sit at the playground with Lukas playing and just not have my heart in it. Thus the reason for preschool mode. At least I could have proof to myself that I was doing something- anything.

Today hit, and the boys were down to their last pairs of underoos, the house was a jumbled mess, and I decided to wake up, actually get dressed in non-pajama clothes, and get outta this funk. Dishwasher going, 6 loads of laundry (told you it's been awhile), vacuumed house, things put away, taking control of everything except the two year old who insisted on wearing only tshirt, underwear and rubber boots to the laundry room. Suuuuper classy. (SOO wished I had a picture of THAT!) Looking at life objectively, as much as one can do that to oneself, I realize that I HAVE to get sleep, eat real food, do SOMEthing of exercise to get myself in better shape physiologically to be able to function at rat-on-caffeine-pace...the norm over here. Today felt good. It helped to have my visiting teachers stop by for a mid-laundry mania boost. It's so nice to feel watched out for and validated, and served, and helped, and not judged. :) And another friend stopped by quickly later too, which is always a nice surprise. Felt like God's little way of pushing me along, up and out of the rut. That's what Relief Society sisters are for, right??

In the jack-in-the-box department, after 5 days we are finally winning. We went from over 30 times out of bed inside of an hour, to 5 times in less time, and we are all much happier, and more lovey dovey to each other. (Because once the kids are asleep, they're always "soooo cuuuuute!" and "such a good boy!")

I'm reminded that God says:
And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

And I know that, but man, sometimes I'm all or nothing, so my goals for this year revolve around being
CONSISTENT and BALANCED: Spiritually, Physically, in Learning, Financially, in Parenting, in Social obligations, in Relationships, in Church & community service, etc. 

So here goes!