17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On Suicide

I am a Tales contributor, but I will remain anonymous. I'll also try not to give details, out of respect to my sister (still living), but I desperately want advice.

My youngest sister now bears two large newly healing scars on her wrists. She claims she wasn't trying to kill herself. But trying or not, it is as serious as it gets.

I live far from her, she is in her teens, she is not involved in church, and most certainly dealing with depression. I don't know what to do. Another sister called and told me the news and I'm just kind of shaky.

What do you do when someone you love does this? You want to know you're doing all you can. Prayer is a given. Beyond that all I can think of is to write her a letter telling her I love her, and giving her thoughts of what is worth living for.

I know we have a good variety of readers and contributors and wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this important, albeit unpleasant subject.

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Making the Big Announcement

I haven't quite gotten over Alyson P's comment on this post regarding a most terrible and downright yucky way to announce a pregnancy (sliding a positive pee-stick pregnancy test into someone's drinking glass--to make matters worse the "someone" had been struggling with getting pregnant themselves). To try to bring balance back into the world, I have to share a really awesome way someone in my family made the announcement not too long ago.

Our family has a MyFamily website where we all share and try to keep track of each other. With 80 of us, it's about the best we can do. There have been numerous "announcements" (mine among them) made on the website, most including a scan of a recent ultrasound. Nothing "special", but it gets the word out. And with 3-4 babies born in our family each year, we're far beyond the "first grandchild excitement".

This all changed a couple months ago when a member of the family cleverly changed their username on the site to "Guess Who" and put up a poll called "Guess who's Pregnant". With almost 20 "eligible" women to pick from in our family (some of whom are already grandparents and some of whom are quite recently married), chaos ensued. People started making their sure guesses, phone calls were made, doubts came up. DH and I started to take this game very seriously. We needed to start weeding some people out. Who has had hysterectomies? Who's already gone through menopause? I know these are personal questions, but we had to know. More phone calls. More detective work on MyFamily sorting through fake accounts and a trail of "member invites". I finally made a phone call to my sister where I told her it had to be her son and daughter-in-law. We were sure of it. She said she thought the same thing and had already left them a serious phone message that they had better tell their mother first.

More detective work on the website was done by dh and he called to say it has to be your sister, Lea. He was sure of it. I worked up the guts to call her and make the accusation knowing full well that she had suffered a painful miscarriage a number of years back and to the best of my knowledge had come to terms with the fact that her family was complete (and with her youngest turning 8, I think most people thought the same thing).

She had no idea what I was talking about. She hadn't even been on MyFamily that day to take part in the family uproar over the mystery pregnancy.

I felt terrible. Nothing like a surprise call from your sister to open up an old wound and rub salt in it.

I told Dh he was wrong and need to keeping searching for clues. He responded that it had to be them, or a really smart computer hacker. Well, the problem is, we have a few smart computer hackers in our family. One person that actually makes her living from computer hacking. I immediately made the accusatory call which ended with "you'd better not be lying to me". No dice.

About a half hour later dh called back to say he found more evidence and the fake member accounts all pointed back to Lea's husband. It just had to be them.

So once again, I gathered all my guts together and decided to make the call. I can't believe I did. But this time, when my sister answered I immediately asked to talk to her husband. I knew I couldn't face her again. I laid out all the evidence and eventually he broke. It was them. They were pregnant.

They promised to make the announcement later that night on the website and I promised them my secrecy. Over the next few hours, the family was still going nuts. Phones were ringing off the hooks. At one point my jokester brother's family claimed the pregnancy (their youngest is 11). People actually believe them. And then a series of pictures of different women in the family (pregnant, nursing and non-pregnant alike) chugging from wine-looking bottles appeared on the website (don't ask what that was about, but you can be impressed that we all had such quick access to wine-looking bottles). Finally, my sister Lea posted her ultrasound and really claimed the pregnancy at the end of the night (which half my family missed because they actually believed my brother and went to bed).

Now that's a way to make an announcement! How did you make yours? Did it involve deception, computer hacking and making your sister feel terrible just to hide your secret?
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Passing of a Prophet...

In the middle of a dinner party we were hosting tonight I got a call from my dear mother in law, who was crying - the Prophet had passed away at age 97. Shock and tears...

I am so saddened by his passing. He was the first Prophet I connected with, the leader of my adulthood and motherhood. He was a trusted voice that I always made time to listen to. He was funny and wise and tender; each time I heard him speak I would think how much I would like to meet this wonderful man.

Although I am sad (as so many are right now) I am heartened that he has been reunited with his sweet wife whom he missed so very much. The church goes on, the gospel is true, there is a Plan of Salvation.

I am so grateful for this remarkable man who made such an impression not only on church members but on world leaders as well. He will be missed...
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How did you introduce No. 2?

Wow, I haven't posted in a long time. Life has been crazy and it seems hard to take a minute (or more) to sit down and blog. I have posts I'm working up in the back of my head, but can never quite get them on the screen. Anyway, here I am with a quick question. My little guy, T, is about to turn two and baby #2 is due in May. I'll call her baby girl. So those of you out there who have more than one child or have been around family & friends with more than one child, how exactly did you begin to introduce the idea that No. 2 was arriving soon?

T will be about two years and three months old when baby girl gets here. Needless to say he is kinda clueless right now as to how much his life is about to change. DH and I haven't done much to prepare him yet because he still seems so little to me and the idea that "there is a baby in mommy's tummy" is so abstract and obviously difficult for a toddler to wrap his brain around. I've mentioned it a few times but that's about it. I know, though, that T is smart and his brain definitely takes in more than I realize, especially as he nears 2 1/2. Down the road as the due date gets closer and we are buying clothes and setting up the baby swing or bassinet it will give me an opportunity to talk about baby girl in a way that is a little more visual. So what tactics did you use to introduce the next child when your little one was still, well, pretty little? Books about being a "big sibling" - any recommendations? Cold turkey? Chats during family home evening? At target while buying new baby clothes? Pointing out other babies at the park? What worked or what didn't? As usual I come to the blog for some expert parenting tips :)
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Scripture Study in 2008

I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and ponder about goal setting.

Well, let me rephrase that. I have had a lot of time, I just haven't disciplined myself to do it. Thankfully, our Relief Society President provided us with pen and paper on the first Sunday of 2008 and requested/forced us to write some goals. I was amazed at how much spilled out of my brain in that brief amount of time.

Every year, scriptures makes it on the list. I wish I could tell you that Scripture Study was on it, but it's basically just bare minimum, read it every day type goals. I have never really totally enjoyed the act of scripture reading, but I do believe it benefits my life, especially in the departments of higher tolerance, patience, compassion, love and spirit levels in my day to day life.

The biggest challenges for me both pre and post kids are:
1. My life is noisy. Noisiness makes it difficult to read the scriptures.
2. My head is noisy. I get easily distracted by the voices in my head while I am reading.
3. I get sleepy. When I sit down to read, no matter what it is, I am very likely to get drowsy. This is why I like to read on the train, I do better there, and I have been known to read the B O M on the train, quite a lot actually, but not lately.
4. Time. Kids....all the usual stuff.
5. I pretty much just like reading the Book of Mormon, I don't branch out a lot.

I did pretty well with the Book of Mormon Challenge a few years back. President Hinckley asked us to read it in a certain period of time, and I was able to do that. I just have a hard time finding the time and self motiviation.

All of this being written, I have set a goal in 2008. The goal is to read it every day on my own (except maybe Sunday since I read some at church etc.), if only just a little. I figure if I can get into the habit of reading, then I can make a secondary goal of reading longer or studying more or branching out into the other gospels.

I tried to think of something that I do every day on a regular basis and so the way I have been achieving this goal since setting it a few weeks ago is by reading my scriptures when I poop. It happens everyday (usually), around the same time, I can sit down and it's quiet. I lock the door, and voila! It is my latest multi-task.

Now, I admit. It's not ideal...but I have already gotten into the habit of grabbing my scriptures off my dresser on the way to the bathroom and I find myself thinking about what I read yesterday and what I will get to read today...if just for a few minutes.

So, how are you fitting in your scripture study? And, you can totally use my technique if you'd like.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Make Stuff: Kits for Kids

In this installment of "make stuff" you don't need to be artsy or crafty at all. You just need to be a creative compiler to make a fun kit for a child's gift.

Drawing Kit
If you know child who loves to draw, this kit will provide hours of entertainment (and learning)!

Container Idea: I put mine in a heavy box I found at The Container Store. It wasn't necessarily cheap, but it was the perfect size to fit all the contents.

Content Ideas:
-Large sketch book
-Tracing paper pad
-small scratch pad
-Colored pencils
-a nice marker set
-drawing pencil
-kneaded eraser
-pencil sharpener
-tiny wooden movable drawing manikin (or check out this dog drawing manikin)
-instructional drawing or lettering books
-letter and shape stencils
-french curve or other fun rulers.

Letter Writing Kit

Once a child starts to write on their own, this kit is a fun way to let them practice their skills and learn the art of this "ancient" way to correspond. I first heard of this idea from Kage in her "most creative gifts post" from a while back.

Container Idea: I found the photo storage boxes (around $3) at Michaels or JoAnn's were the perfect size and the right price too. They also come plain (ready to decorate) or in fun patterns.
Content Ideas:
-blank cards and envelopes (ready to decorate)
-cute stationary sets
-pre-printed "thank you' cards
-Design your own Postcards
-postage stamps
-set of writing pens
-personalized monogram stamp (self-inking) or personalized return address labels.
-an address book (and if you know the child well, include the book preloaded with the addresses of all their most favorite people).

Craft Kit
I know, it's not the newest idea in the world, but it is a kit any kid is sure to love.

Container Idea
: While many craft stores now carry their own "craft organizer cases", I love putting together craft kits in tackle boxes that can be found at any sporting goods store. Usually they are cheaper, have better compartments and they always have a carrying handle.
Content Ideas:
-pipe cleaners
-popsicle sticks
-glue (school glue, glue sticks, glitter glue)
-scissors (straight edge and fancy)
-beads (wooden ones are fun and seem to be more reusable)
-wiggly eyes
-paper (I like to include bits of colored and patterned paper scraps. colored tissue paper scraps are great too)
-fabric scraps
-wood shapes
Fun with Yarn Kit
This kit is a perfect introduction to the "yarn arts" for a child who might not be quite old enough to learn to knit or crochet.

Container idea: A cute tote or basket is perfect for this kit.
Content ideas:
-a selection of fun yarn (check the thrift store first!)
-circular knitting loom
-Knitting spool
-Fun with String book
-A coupon for a private "finger knitting" lesson. (that is, if you remember how to do it from your childhood.

Dress-up Kit
And I'm not talking about princess dresses and tiaras. This kit is made up of found items from around the house and at thrift stores.

Container Idea: look for an old suitcase at a second-hand store.
Content ideas:
-costume jewelry - necklace, bracelet, ring
-fancy shoes
-fun women's clothes - bright colors, patterns, sparkles - anything that would be appealing to a child.

Resources - Don't forget to check the local thrift stores for craft and stationary items. I always find the best stuff there for super cheap.

Discount School Supply
Oriental Trading Supply
Michaels - especially look in their in-store dollar bins
JoAnn's - especially look in their in-store dollar bins
Target - especially look in their in-store dollar bins

Past "Make Stuff" posts
Make Stuff: Pumpkin Carving
Make Stuff: Fabric Scrap Paper Doll
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Nice Mormon Family in the White House

Recently DH and I were discussing the upcoming election and the possibility of Brother Romney becoming our next president. Rather than get depressed about the political implications of this scenario, we started to joke about what it might be like for a traditional Mormon family to inhabit the White House. I have to admit it kind of excites me to think about it...and it definitely makes me laugh. Some of our questions....

-Will the Elders Quorum help with the big move?

-Where will the Romneys put their food storage? Maybe they could convert the Lincoln Bedroom....

-Will the Deacons come to the White House on Fast Sundays to collect fast offerings? How funny of picture is that....a bunch of prepubescent 12-year olds in clip-on ties and highwater polyester slacks trying to get through White House security....

-Will the Romney's home teachers and visiting teachers have to go through FBI background checks before they make their monthly visits?

-Will the White House chef have to learn how to make jello salad?

-What if President Romney is called to the Nursery in his new ward? Will he make his Secret Service agents chase toddlers and hand out cheez-its for two hours every Sunday? (I admit it...if I had SS agents, I would make them do it!) Really, how great of church are we in....although not likely...the leader of the free world could be called to serve in the Nursery.

And, more seriously, what would the effect of having an LDS president in office have on the Church (or more precisely, the public's perceptions of the Church?) My guess would be that it depends on how popular of president he is....but overall....it probably wouldn't have much of an effect.
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A Funeral at 5

My daughter is 5 years old and she has 5 great grandparents still living. When I was her age I think I had 4. I don't recall attending any of their funerals. My first funeral however WAS at her age, and it was that of my cousin who was around my age at the time of his death.

There are a few images from that funeral that will forever remain in my mind. Without going into detail, I was a bit freaked out inside, and ever since I have really struggled with open caskets. I cope well with funerals, but I have a most difficult time with viewings.

My mind is on my grandfather right now as his health is failing him. Our family has been praying for him, for his peace and comfort. I am starting to emotionally prepare myself for his passing, and through that process my mind turns to my daughters. My oldest has been to two funerals at an age where she would never remember. I remember when she saw her great grandmother in the casket she asked: "Is she taking a nap?"

So, here I am, possibly (probably) faced with this again. I want my family to be involved in this funeral. Funerals are a blessing for a family because it brings us all together to honor where we came from and where we are going. It is as much filled with joy as it is sorrow. It is a reunion and a time of unification and bonding. I want my children to be a part of that, but I don't know how I feel about them attending a viewing and a funeral now that they are at an age where they understand and will remember the event.

I know that at the last funeral we attended, there was a nursery for the little ones to go to during the funeral service, is my 5-year-old to old for that if it's an option? Both of my children attended a brief graveside ceremony about 18 months ago, and I thought that was appropriate and very literal for them. I could explain that when someone dies, we put them in a box and lower them in the ground. They never saw the body, so it remained abstract and symbolic for them.

Please help advise me on how you might handle this for your little ones. My 5-year-old is a mature 5 in that she will definitely sit still during a funeral and behave at a viewing. She knows who her Great Grandfather is and she listens to his singing on our ipod on Sundays. She has also been praying for him since he took a turn for the worse. I am just at a loss here....advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

It Really is Better to Give Than to Receive

I know so many of you out there give freely to help others in need whether it is through the church, community, or world organizations. And so often these gifts are given through great organizations that make sure donations make it to those who need them the most.

But, I have found as charity becomes more "organized" it often becomes less personal. I don't think it's a bad thing necessarily. I am sure far more people overall are being helped. But one of the effects is that not often does the giver actually get to realize the true impact their small (or large) gift. They might get some some broad idea through a generalized statement from the organization or a "sample success story" but rarely anything specific. Again this isn't bad. Isn't the anonymous gift with no expectations a truly selfless act? But once in a while, when you are able to catch a small glimpse of the effects of your giving on a personal level it sure helps you remember why it is truly better to give than to receive. And such was the case this Christmas for my whole neighborhood.

This year, my neighborhood (and remind me someday to tell you someday how amazing my neighbors are) decided to forgo all "neighbor gifts" and instead "adopt" a family for Christmas. A letter was sent around close to Christmas announcing that a family had been found (through a neighbor's church) that could really use some help this holiday season. The single mother of four boys had lost her job then their apartment. A collection was made throughout the neighborhood (and some neighborhood friends helped out too- chloe happened to be visiting when the letter describing the families plight came around and couldn't help but add to the funds). One of the neighbors changed the money into giftcards per the mother's request and then I think we all pretty much forgot about it. Until the letter came, written by one of the teenage sons.

Dear R_____ Drive families,

My family and I would like to thank you for being so kind to us. This year was a tough year for my family and I. We were kicked out of our apartment because we couldn't pay our rent a few weeks before Christmas. There were days when we couldn't afford to stay in a motel and we would sleep in our car, friend's houses and with relatives. It was a difficult time and we thought our holidays were going to be sad because my two younger brothers were not going to get anything for Christmas. When V_____ told us that there was a few good people that wanted to help us we were very excited. We had never met anyone as nice as J_____ (insert: that's my neighbor). I did not know that there was really nice people out there who cared for strangers and were willing to help without knowing us. It was strange, but good. Thank you for the Christmas tree it was beautiful and smelled good.

When we first went to ______Church, we were a little scared and felt out of place but when we met J_____ she was very polite and very nice. My mom really enjoyed the service and so did my brothers. When J____ gave us the gift cards we had no idea that is was so much money and we could not believe it. We used the Marie Callendars gift card first and we had such a good time. It was out first time eating at a restaurant where people serve you. It was a bit strange since everyone was so polite. The waitress kept asking us if we were ok and we did not know what she meant by that but we were thankful. We were finally able to east as a family, together, a strong united family. My moms prayers were answered because it was all she wanted for Christmas to spend time together. Thank you. We will never forget that day.

The gift card to Wal-Mart was very helpful too. My brothers were able to buy shoes, shirts, and boxers. The card also helped us out a lot because right after we went to church, we found a room for rent and were able to buy some of the stuff that we needed like shampoo. We still have money left in the card and we are using it to buy some groceries. Once again we are thankful and our Christmas could not have been any better. We are so glad there are lots of nice people left because a lot of people are mean and selfish. I guess there is a God after all. Thank you for everything.

The S____ family.

I don't think anyone on the entire block was prepared to receive this sweet letter. And I know there wasn't one person who had any idea that sacrificing something so small as some baked goods, homemade candies, tins of popcorn and children's trinkets could fill another family's holiday with hope, love and a closeness to God. Totally worth it, don't you think?

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Moments from the Classroom

Every once in a while, especially as my child is now in school, I get flashes of memories from school days gone by.

I decided to record them because they really are just fleeting moments and so brief:

stealing necklaces from the dress up box
showing the other kids in the class a barbie's naked boobs
trying to or perhaps succeeding in kissing a boy named Dominick
Octopus: a memory of my teacher showing us some Octopus, the tentacles, and for some reason kids eating it from a jar? I did not eat it. This one might be a dream I had...

1st Grade:
My teacher, Mrs. Discipio letting me touch her belly when the baby kicked. One time she let me be the first one to feel, and she made her way around the whole classroom.
I have a memory of my mom as the room mom and not liking that we had different last names

2nd Grade:
Being the first one done with my 100 problems math quick quiz..walking up to the teachers desk to prove I was first...getting them all right.
A teacher who in the halls always said shhhhhhhhT , instead of SHHHHHHHHH. I always thought she was swearing.
See my second grade teacher the summer after 2nd grade, smoking at a public pool. I made sure she didn't see me.
My second grade teacher giving me a ride home from school from one suburb to a few over...for some reason I do not believe this would happen/be allowed anymore...she didn't smoke in the car ; )

3rd Grade:
My most embarrassing moment in my class room when I asked my teacher: "What's a fad?" and she replied: "You don't know what a FAD is?" in a very high school you're an idiot tone.
Studying South Korea because it was our classes country in our school's Olympics. We were assigned this country because our teacher was adopting a baby from there.
My team winning Battle of the Books. I only read one of like 20 books, but I always knew the answers for that one when the questions came up.

4th Grade:
Election Year. Wearing a BUSH/QUAYLE XL t shirt to school, often.
Baby Chicks

5th Grade:
Saying Pledge of Allegiance in front of the whole school on the first day of school, feeling important.
Chewing on my knuckle-sized wart located on my middle fingers bottom knuckle....until I got it burned off. DISGUSTING
At a school assembly, our guest speaker asked for a brave girl volunteer. I was picked and he put a palm-sized tarantula in my hand. I had to hold onto it and show every kid in that gym, the whole school...one by one. I became unafraid of spiders for life on that day.
Getting picked to play a mini basketball game at the halftime of the High School basketball game. Our PE teacher was the coach...he picked girls that were good at basketball. And so began and ended my basketball career, all in one night.

6th Grade:
Creating Gulf War Journals
Not making the volleyball team: All my friends did....oh the devestation
Making the school musical. None of my friends did. It changed my life.
Singing a song instead of saying a speech for my Student Council Campaign. I won!

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Food Finds

Just a couple of cool food finds that I wanted to pass on.

1. Just a couple days after Jen's post about Mormon Chocoholics Anonymous, I found out my two awesome, adult nieces, brenbot and tamrobot (you may have seen their comments around these parts) were trying to incorporate the "Ocho Diet" into their lives. It's just the kind of diet I like to hear about - especially since I'm pregnant. It's less about "going on a diet" and more about trying to incorporate better foods into your diet to "cover all your nutritional bases". And I have to say, I love eating fresh oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts every morning. Yummm. Tamrobot even put together this cool form to keep track of your "ocho eating habits".

2. Last week I had the chance to visit a brand new grocery store, Fresh & Easy. If one ever pops up in your neighborhood, you have to go. My dh says it is the perfect store for us - a family where the mom wants to eat healthy and the dad does not :). Bottom line is that I can get organice produce, fresh preprepared meals with no additives or preservatives and dh's Diet Coke all in one place (and at a good price). Princess' favorite part is the self-checkout where she can pretend she is a paid employee while scanning all our food. "Mom," she says "I love this store". To my happy children, add the super nice employees, the parking spots reserved for parents with children and their commitment to the environment and to the community and there isn't much about this "neighborhood grocery store" I don't like. Look for one opening near you.

3. Did you make a New Year's resolution to do better at meal planning? I didn't. But I am always looking for ways to make my meal planning more efficient, more fun and more good lookin'. Alice at Future Girl (an awesome craft blog) designed this great meal planning sheet that fits the bill perfectly. You can download it here. This will be so much better than the crazy little scraps of paper that I have hanging around (which usually get lost before I actually make the meals). Happy meal planning.

4. I first got hooked on plain frozen yogurt at the 40 Carats cafe at Bloomingdales in NYC years ago. Then entered the wonderful world of Pinkberry which was the closest thing I could find to my Bloomies treat here in southern CA. Then I had to move away from my local Pinkberry and found nothing that could satisfy the plain frozen yogurt craving (aside from a one-time purchase from Red Mango during a Jazz game while visiting UT). But yesterday, my world changed. Our local frozen yogurt establishment, Golden Spoon, has introduced a new flavor, "Tasty Tangy" or something like that. And guess what - it's that plain/tangy/sour frozen yogurt flavor. YUMMY! Pile on some fresh strawberries, granola and carob chips and it's the dreamiest dessert in the world**.

** Actually you probably won't like it. None of my friends, family or children think that it is anything close to delicious. Good. More for me.

Feel free to share your own post-holiday food finds!
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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stress? Pressure? Macbeth?

As far as I know, I am not under any undue crazy pressure or stress. Just the usual stuff - try to be a good mom/wife/person, get laundry done, make sure I'm on top of stuff for work, errands - the usual.

But apparently, my body/mind thinks I am under incredible pressure...'cause I had some ROCKIN' weird dreams last night.

So, in my dream I was an actress playing Lady Macbeth in, obviously, Macbeth. Curtain was going up in a few hours and BOOM, I realized that I didn't know any of my lines. I've had this dream before (probably once a month), though never as detailed as Lady Macbeth. I BEGGED my understudy to go on. "Please, it'll be the opportunity of a lifetime! I can't fake Shakespeare!!!!" No dice. So for what felt like hours, my dream consisted of me walking around with a huge book, trying to memorize my lines. Of course it didn't work. Then I tried to work the big book/script into the blocking for the show - "Lady Macbeth can't be seen without her big book! It's a CHOICE!" No dice.

So anxiety is mounting and then all of the sudden, one of my teeth falls out. Then another! Two teeth! No lines!

BTW, in my dream after I lost two teeth, I totally looked like Amy Winehouse (girlfriend NEEDS to go to the dentist STAT).

Then there was a thunderstorm. So teeth falling out, curtain rising with lots of people waiting to see me play Lady Macbeth and a BIG thunderstorm.

What does it all mean?

And if you can't decipher the madness in my head, what are some strange doozies you've experienced while slumbering?
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Friday, January 11, 2008

From the Tales Inbox: Pregnant and My Friend is Not

Here's my dilemma:
My husband and I recently found out that I am pregnant for the first time. We are ecstatic over the news, even if it comes a bit earlier that we were anticipating. We have not shared this news with anyone out of our immediate family, as we are waiting the often-traditional 12 weeks before we share our news. My very best friend (other than my DH, of course) and her DH are having a VERY difficult time getting pregnant. They are approaching the IVF stage, havingtried many other therapies, first, and she is completely broken up about the difficulty they are having. My role in our friendship of late has been to listen, listen, and listen some more about her feelings on the subject--which I am more than happy to do.

The question is fairly obvious. HOW IN THE WORLD am I supposed to tell her that I'm pregnant (which she will immediately know came without hardly even trying)? After our many discussions I feel like she is going to be upset that we--the much younger couple--have "succeeded" in becoming pregnant before them. She is in her mid-30s and she's already very sensitive to the idea that she's the "last" of women we know to get pregnant. How can I share my exciting news while being sensitive to my best friend's feelings?

Trying to be a Good Friend
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Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Are we going to talk about it?

I'm pretty sure the tales girls here are about 50/50 Reps vs. Dems. And at least two of us have switched parties recently...

I am still researching which candidate I am going to support... just picked up Audacity of Hope to read, and I have been following the caucuses and primaries very closely. I have taken the quiz that marion sent me where you answer issues-based questions, and the candidate that you most closely match pops up. The candidates that I matched up with were not the ones that I think I want to vote for, so that was a bit confusing.

My parental figures and grandparental figures are all for Romney. I have encountered a lot of Mormon peops that are also on the Romney bandwagon. Has anyone read blink? (there is an anecdote about a president who got voted into office because he was tall, dark and handsome). Romney does seem quite dapper and handsome and white and male and American....and he does make good jokes....but I am not sure he is my guy. I suspect some Mormon folk are jumping on his bandwagon for a large part because he is a Mormon. I don't think that is the best reason to vote for someone.

So, what is the best reason to vote for someone? I would like to say that issues are important...but sometimes the issues get muddled through the debates and the pc-ness and the spin. Should gender matter? How about race? Religion? The very strong nonconformist in me LOVES the fact that a woman and a black man are in the running to be the President. Is speech-giving the main attraction? Obama makes me a little teary I have to say... "YES WE CAN!" Should we judged them based on their stylist? Hillary is doing really good right now with her 61-year-old self and her hair and makeup, and the New Mexico Gov needs a new hair-do....

Lately I have enjoyed John McCain, especially in this climate of war....but he is old and funny-looking and in New Hampshire he lost all charisma for me as he read his speech sentence for sentence.

Should we judge the candidates based on the music that they play at their rally's and speeches? Should we judge them on what color tie they are wearing?

And then there is the question that always haunts me....HOW should I vote? Should I use my vote to represent who I am? A young white Christian mother of a specific economic situation who enjoys choice but realistically will never have an abortion married to a tall white man who works for an American car company? Do I look all around me at the demographic of my neighborhood and at the people who I pass on the streets, work with, send my daughter to school with and vote based on what is best for ALL of us as a community? Voting from those two perspectives are vastly different to me.

So....are we gonna talk about it?
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From the Tales Inbox: A Taboo Topic

A post from Amelia Earhart (an obvious pseudonym).

I remember when a friend of mine had the assignment to teach about pornography in a relief society lesson. I didn’t have a chance to attend the lesson, but she told me that she looked into the eyes of the women in attendance and saw a lot of women who had been affected by the pain of pornography....and of course a lot of pain in their eyes.

It is my experience that many subjects among close friends, and especially close friends in the church are open to discussion...sex, circumcision, boobs, booze, drugs, the list goes on, but pornography seems to be so taboo. I am not suggesting that a woman with marital problems in the form of a pornagraphy addiction be completely out in the open about it...certainly it must be so personal and so painful....but when a friend does confide this particular struggle,
what is the best reaction?

After being a good listener, and there is that dead air where your response goes....how do you respond? I am sure it depends on the individual and her situation. I am sure if she is just finding out about it, and she is married with children, your response might be different from a woman dating a boy and thinking about marrying him. I am sure the easy answer is to say: Go talk to your Bishop or pray or keep it between you and your husband...but that doesn’t seem
empathetic or understanding enough.

Should we commiserate? Should we say make it work? Should we say: Jeez, why aren’t you going to counseling? or....how is counseling going? Should we encourage divorce or staying together? If it’s been months since your initial conversation, how do you bring it up again
to check in? Send a note? an email?

The devastating problem of pornography is becoming rampant everywhere and especially in the Church. It seems that every General Meeting now is covering this topic. What is a woman to do who is faced with this in her marriage? What is a friend to do who is faced with comforting her friend going through with this?
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Monday, January 07, 2008

Crib Notes: 52 Weeks of Fun Family Service

Following up on Jen's post yesterday about philanthropy for kids, I just have to share with you all this great new book called 52 Weeks of Fun Family Service.

It was written by Merilee Boyack, who is apparently a well-known BYU education week and Time Out for Women speaker. I "met" Merilee when I was looking to organize a service project for my ward last year. She so kindly passed on instructions on how to make t-shirt dresses which are then delivered to children in Africa by Mothers Without Borders (and organization in which she is heavily involved.

She contacted me a few months ago to ask if she could use my sketches on "how to make a t-shirt dress" I had done for my ward to accompany her written directions in a book she was writing about family service. I said yes, of course, but I wanted a copy of the book when it came out. Well two days ago, I got the book and it is awesome!

It has 52 ideas of service activities to do with your family. Some simple, some that take more planning, and all great ideas. My favorite part about the book is that she includes variations of each activity to cater to either younger children or teenage children. She also includes family discussion questions and additional ideas on how to plan a whole family home evening around each activity. I am telling you, this book is a jackpot when it comes to service ideas. It would be great for YW/YM leaders, primary leaders, and even RS presidencies who are looking to pump up their service activities for the year.

So if it is one of your New Year's resolutions to become a more service-orientated family, this book is an excellent place to get some fun and original ideas. You can get it here or here.
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Philanthropy for Kids

I had to share this article that appeared recently in the Washington Post.

It shows how the youngest generation is using new technologies and their own ingenuity to raise money for important causes. It's always nice to read a newspaper article and think, "Wow, I hope my kids are like these kids in a few more years."

I especially loved learning about "giving cards" (similar to gift cards but the recipient gets to choose the charity where the money will go) and the idea of birthday giving. TfCarrie originally gave me this idea here, and I plan to put it in place this coming year, now that my kids are old enough (hopefully) to willingly give away their new toys and books to other kids.

So...think about adding some of these ideas in with your ever expanding list of New Year's Resolutions, even if you write them in crayon rather than the accounting softward that your friend suggested you purchase.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Be Counted

It's time for me to start banging my drum again. Whether your candidate won in Iowa or not, here's something you can celebrate:

Voter turnout in Iowa was at an all-time high. According to CNN.com, for the Democratic caucus there were 227,000 attendees, up from 124,000 in 2004. For the Republicans, it is projected that 120,000 people attended this year, compared to 87,000 people in 2000. Even more impressive are the young voter numbers - for the Democratic caucus, 21,000 people under the age of 30 turned out to caucus, which is a FOURFOLD increase from 2000! Okay, so I no longer fit in this age bracket, but some of you do!

So for many of you who do NOT live in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, you have a little time. If you live in one of the "Super Tuesday" states (which includes California, Utah, New York, Illinois, and many others), your primary is on February 5th. If you don't know when your primary is, you can find out here Do some research. And if you aren't registered, make a point to register now. If you've missed the deadline for your primary, at least you'll be all set for November. This isn't written to start a debate over the candidates or the issues, but to motivate you to participate. Sure, I care about issues and candidates, but mostly I care about you exercising a precious and hard-won right, the right to vote.
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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Próspero Año Nuevo

I don't know about the rest of you, but we have had one heck of a crazy, busy, lovely, beautiful, fun and inspiring holiday season. We were able to spend time with all of our favorite people (even though we had to travel in the car a total of 32 hours over the span of 10 days - made possible by the car dvd player). There were family parties, ski lessons, karaoke, nativity reenactments, a Jazz game, food, freezing cold temperatures, family sledding, late night debates about hunting, health insurance and politics, more family parties, more food (but this time with "points" charts attached to remind everyone that the new year was just around the corner), pregnant lady double dutch, a talent show, then warmer weather (bye bye too-small puffa coat), Disneyland, fun with old friends, and the Rose Parade. With all this going on (and all the pregnant lady naps I had to take to keep up with all the activities) there was little time for blogging (not to mention that I never really had access to the internet during the whole trip - which was hard at first but really nice in the end).

But now here I sit, with bags still left to unpack in the bedroom, Christmas decorations to box up and lights to take down off the house. Dh is back at work, bills are due, and people are asking me what my New Year resolutions are. The holidays are officially over people. Boo.

Now about those resolutions. It was Kage, the queen of goal-setting, that asked me about them the other night as we sat at my kitchen table and pretended we did not actually live on opposite coasts.
Her: So, what are your New Year's resolutions.
Me: I don't have any. I don't set goals.
Her: Yes you do.
Me: Okay, maybe I do, but I don't write them down and I never check back in on them during the year.

So I don't really think I can call what I do goal setting. But it's not like I don't accomplish anything. Goal setting just inherently sounds so rigid, and corporate to me. I like my life to feel more fluid and organic (or some good excuse like that). I mean, come on, I ran the numbers for my new business last night in cerulean Crayola crayon. Would the Franklin Covey Corp. approve? Maybe "goal setting" just needs a different publicist or stylist or something.

But despite my aversion to goal setting, there is actually one thing I would really like to accomplish this next year. I want to learn Spanish. There. I said it. I think I just set a goal.

I have often wished I went a little farther than the "Como estas" I learned from one semester of high school spanish class I so could converse a little better with my extended family. But, my little Spanish wish has grown bigger now that we have chosen to send Princess to our local public elementary school which is over 70% Hispanic. The language barrier between the teachers and many of the parents is a huge hurdle the school works hard to overcome. The language barrier between us parents is also painfully apparent. Because I believe a strong and united parent group can work wonders at a struggling school, I really want to learn Spanish.

Anyone have any great ideas of how I might go about doing this? Dh thinks enrolling in a class would be the most effective way to learn, but I just don't see it happening, especially with a new baby waiting in the wings. I keep seeing those tv ads for Rosetta Stone. Anyone had any experience with that method?

P.S. I wrote the title of this post in Spanish thanks to freetranslation.com. I have no idea if it actually means Happy New Year.
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