Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blog Makeover, Stage 1: Renaming

New blog focus=new name. Here's your chance to get in on the naming action. What should I rename this blog?  I want to hear your most creative ideas. 

Ready?  Go!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mischief Managed

I think I have mentioned before that Hobbes is quietly mischievous.  He can get into trouble better than any other kid.  I'll put money on it.  He wanders away and silently goes about doing whatever he puts his mind to.  He helps himself to items in my bag.  He helps himself to food in the kitchen.  He wonders what those buttons will do, and figures it out for himself.  Here are some examples:

A while ago, I moved my gum stash to my bedroom because Hobbes had gotten into it.  (It was in one of the upper kitchen cabinets.)  The new hiding place, the top shelf of our closet shelving, hasn't deterred him.  See this picture?  I took it from the edge of the dining room.  If you look closely, you can see my open bedroom door, and beyond that, my open closet door.  He pushed that bar stool all they down the hall, into my bedroom, and then turned into my closet to try to get some gum.  I'm certain that he had to open both doors.  That's a long way for a small guy.  He sure is determined.  What a kid won't do for some gum!

I also think that was the night he turned off the heat.  (In the picture above, I positioned the stool right under the thermostat.  This would have been easy for him, since it's right on the way to the bedroom/gum.)  We had one night this week when it was something like -27 degrees F. outside.  Spiff and I woke up in the middle of the night and discovered that our house was freezing!  We keep our thermostat at a low temperature, but this seemed extreme.  After some investigation, Spiff realized that Hobbes had pushed some buttons and reset the thermostat from "heat" to "cool".  It was currently 50 degrees in our house!  And colder in the basement.  Spiff promptly turned the furnace back on (it ran constantly for 8 hours or so), and we went back to sleep grateful that we didn't have frozen pipes.

I had a rehearsal at my house yesterday.  The boys did a great job, but it was long, and Hobbes got bored.  He wandered away, and I while I rehearsed, I wondered what he was up to, knowing that I couldn't do anything about it right at that minute.  When the song was over, I excused myself and went in search of the small mischief maker.  I found him in Daddy's office doing this:
Pencil can up-ended.
Containers of pencil led dumped out...all. over. the. desk.  And the floor.
Later, I told Spiff about it, and he said, "He did it again?!"
I haven't cleaned this up yet.

Lately, I have found him standing on our washing machine.  I have found him sitting at Spiff's desk playing on the computer, which was closed and put away.  He started our dishwasher the other day after pushing some buttons.  His absolute favorite thing to do is to lean over the kitchen counter so that his body weight is supported, and then push his chair out from under him so that he is literally hanging from the countertop.  He then calls for help.  I usually don't hurry to his aid because I know he can hoist himself up onto the counter if he needs to.  I also know that he'll just push the chair away again as soon as I rescue him.  What a weird game.

I bet he's got a Marauder's Map hidden under his mattress.  I also bet that he is quietly and steadily crossing off items from his giant bucket list of Trouble to Get Into.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

Another point from our fabulous RS meeting the other night:  When the milk has already been spilled, there's no reason to get mad.  This was related to the subject I already talked about in the previous post, when the decision has already been made, the milk has been spilled.  No reason to get mad.  Etc.

This made me think of my grandmother who had eleven children.  Eleven!  Can you even imagine?  The thought of feeding eleven children breakfast, lunch and dinner is enough to make me dizzy.  It is incredibly difficult for me to get my two children to sit down and concentrate long enough to eat something, much less accept the food that I give them.  There is always food/liquid spilled on the table and floor.  I can't imagine what it would be like with eleven children eating and spilling food on a daily basis.  I bet she was constantly cleaning up spills.  What a saint.

Anywho, there is a famous story in my family about the time when my dad's family sat down to eat dinner.  They said the prayer, and then the shocked family watched as Grandma reached out and knocked over her glass of milk!  As they stared, she replied, "Now that we have gotten that over with, let's eat."

Wasn't she awesome?!

I think of that story every time my kids spill their cups.  It is frustrating at times, but I remember the lesson my Grandma taught that spilled milk isn't something worth getting mad about.  It's another good lesson to look for all of the other little things that happen every day that are "spilled milk" issues, within all of my relationships.  One more step towards being an accepting and approving person.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Acceptance and Approval

Our mid-week relief society meeting this week was so so so good.  They invited the bishop of another ward in our stake to speak to us about relationships (any type of relationship, couples, friends, family, children, etc.).  I can't remember his credentials, but he works as a therapist, doing mostly couples therapy.  He was such an interesting and dynamic speaker, I could have listened to him for hours!  It's not often that I find any soft of meeting that I don't want ever to end.

A few of the things he focused on were the skills or attributes we can have/gain that will help our relationships be successful.  He asked for our input: What is the one thing you can do to be successful in your relationships?  People suggested being honest, focusing on making someone happy, serving, etc.  But the things he said will always work are "Acceptance and Approval" because those are the things that people need and want.  We want to be accepted for who we are, for the decisions we make, for the things we say and do, for the way we look.  And we want to be approved of, especially by the people who love us.

The example he gave is of a time when his wife took their son to college in another state, and they had decided to furnish his new apartment with used furniture.  While his wife was out of town, she called and told him how happy she was that they had purchased all the furniture, and that it would be delivered within the hour, and what a blessing it was that they wouldn't have to carry anything up three flights of stairs.  He was shocked and was furious as it dawned on him that only new furniture could be delivered, and he had just bought his son an apartment full of brand new furniture.

However, he responded in a unique way.  He realized that the decision had already been made.  He told his wife that he was happy for her.  Then he signed off and moved on.

He approached the subject with her a week later, after having time to realize that the reason he was upset wasn't that she had purchased new furniture.  He was actually happy that she and their son hadn't had to carry heavy furniture up three flights of stairs.  What upset him was that he felt that he hadn't been listened to.  But by waiting a week to discuss it, he had had time to focus on the real reason he felt angry, they were able to have a rational and easy conversation about it, and they were able to skip a potential problem.

The moral here is that we should never get mad at people.  If the decision has been made, there's nothing for it but to accept, approve, and move on.  

What a great idea!

It's much harder in practice, and I'm not sure how to do this without feeling like a doormat when decisions are made that I don't agree with.  But I see his point of view about accepting and approving, especially as I realize that I crave this myself.  I can see how helpful this approach would be if I am focusing on trying to be a peacemaker in my home.  I can see how important it is to accept and approve of my husband, and how I hope he can do the same for me.  I can see how it would be helpful with my children as I learn who they are, and I absolutely must accept them for who they are. 

I don't believe that everyone always needs to agree on everything.  There is no way that could ever happen.  But I think that it is better to avoid contention within our relationships if we can, and to focus on living in a peaceful environment where the Spirit can dwell with us.  

And that, my friends, is your inspirationally-focused thought for the day.  Comments?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Fabulastic Playmobil 2nd Birthday!

Thank you, friends, for your input.  It's nice to know that you're out there, and that I'm wanted.  I shall continue blogging with renewed energy and inspiration!  I'll try to be more consistent, too.  I have some good stories cooking up in my little brain.  Stay tuned for blogging greatness.

But today, I'm doing the obligatory cake post.  I realize that the only person requiring this is me.  Not a one of you requested more cake posts.  I'm mildly sorry to throw all of your requests to the wind. However, it was Hobbes's birthday this week, and I made a cake, so now I'm telling you about it.  And it's my very own blog now (thanks, Spiff), so I'll do what I want!  Ha ha!

Spiff requested a Playmobil cake because Hobbesie does love his little "guys".  I think it turned out great, and definitely better than expected.  And it was actually fun, so I'm calling it a definite win.
Here's the finished product.  I'm sure you already saw it on FB.

I always always Always have hiccups when making cakes.  The first one was a problem with the ganache I used to frost the cake.  I used the upside-down frosting technique, which worked perfectly until I peeled the parchment paper off the top in the morning.  The ganache didn't harden like it should have, and the whole top layer of ganache peeled right off the cake with the parchment paper.  Bummer.  I had to redo the top.

Hiccup #2 was awesome.  I got Hobbes up from his nap, went to the kitchen where I had been working on the cake, and turned my back on him for 2 seconds.  
That, folks, is all it takes for a 2-year-old to do this:
That is a tiny handprint, where he grabbed and smashed his cake!
And that's when I might have cried a little, and felt ridiculous while I begged him to "Please, please please, don't touch your own birthday cake, Honey!"
Good thing the top wasn't perfect anyway because of the whole parchment paper/ganache thing.
And good thing that I can just cover all of that up with some decorations.

The third one involved circle cutters I ordered online that took a week too long to get shipped to my house.  They arrived in the mail at the nick of time so that I could create this.
Once again, the Wax Paper Transfer Technique worked like a dream.

I just love my little Hobbes.  I can't believe that he is two!  It's hard to believe that it was two years ago that he was a tiny baby, and Spiff was a 4th-year med student, and we still lived in St. Louis with our good friends there.  And now he has lived in his third house in his third city.  Time flies.  He is such a sweet, energetic little guy.  He is a momma's boy.  He is a skipper and a tromper.  He loves being outside more than anything else in the world.  He is a lefty.  He loves whatever his brother loves.  He is a free spirit; we have to approach interactions with him in a completely different way than with Gunner.  He is a master of being quietly curious and getting into trouble.  I have to watch him (or at least know where he is) at. all. times.  He is learning new words every day, and I love his little gibberish speech.  My friend said that he sounds like these guys from Despicable Me.  He totally does.  They are almost real words, and we can almost understand him.  But not quite.  :)  

And it's a good thing that we don't really post pictures of our kids on our blog because I couldn't get a good picture of him if I tried.

So, Happy Birthday, Hobbes!  We love you and look forward to another great year!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Request for Opinions

I'm a slacker blogger.  Spiff stopped writing on the blog over a year ago, and I have struggled with blogging motivation ever since, especially since the blog was his idea in the first place.  I liked it when it was our joint effort.  It like a nice little insight into our lives instead of the mommy blog it tends to be these days.  Now that it's my sole effort, I feel like I have already said what I have to say about my life, and I'm really struggling to find interesting topics.  It lacks direction.

So, my question to my dear (and faithful-through-all-of-this) readers is...What do you want to hear about from our corner of the world?  If I can share something from our lives, what do you want it to be?  Stories about my kids?  Updates on the non-kid-related things I do to keep myself busy (reading, running, cleaning, caking, church calling, etc.)?  A detailed discussion on what we eat and how I picked it?  My opinion on how to save the world?

Would you rather I pack it in and "just stop talking already?!" 

Please share. You can be honest.  Don't worry, I can take it.