Friday, December 31, 2010

You wonder "how do you do it?"

People ask me all the time, "How do you do it?" Homeschooling, raising 6 kids, writing, quilting, music career, etc.

Well, the answer is I have to. I can't help it.

And apparently that's part of being who I am (and what I am).

http://talentdevelop.com/articlelive/articles/1123/1/The-Special-Challenges-of-Highly-Intelligent-and-Talented-Women-Who-Are-Moms/Page1.html

So, like other gifted women who are also mothers, I find myself immersed--in creating homeschooling for my kids, in writing, in my husband's music career, in art (quilting).

Gifted adults often have messy desks and messy houses because, as they all say, "I have better things to do." Tim and I have said that to each other. Often. And have you seen our house? Yikes. Eight gifted people, complete with obsessions, hypersensitivities, and projects, living under one roof. Again--Yikes.

But that's how we do it.

We have to.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Did I just read that?

from boulder craigslist free section: " 5" Round folding table - (SW Longmont)"


For mice. Or very small dolls. Fits in a pocket when folded.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baby pictures

Elijah Jones


Did I just read that?

The top headline on Fox News.com today: "White House to Push Global Warming Policy as GOP Vows Fight"


Go for it, GOP! Anyone who makes Global Warming their POLICY deserves to be fought against. Even if it is something of a shifting of the expected roles.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Luke II

I watched this movie literally hundreds of times over the two Christmasses I spent at the Visitor's Center at the Arizona Temple on my mission.

And it's not Christmas for me unless I see it. I have a video copy of it, but no VCR this year, so I had to go online to find a copy. There are hundreds with modified audio, but I wanted the real thing. It's so much more intensely beautiful that way.

FINALLY found a copy.

And here you go.  Merry Christmas:

Funny kids

Benji just walked up to me and said, "My eyes can be on." Then he slowly and deliberately blinked. "Or off!"

A minute later, Nathanael yelled, "Mom! Help me! I'm too scary!" (He was stuck on a chair....and scared.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tim does Christmas--for me

This is what Tim makes for me and for family and friends for Christmas:

Once in Royal David's City


and

Silent Night


Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tim does Christmas--for various companies

For some reason, Tim has been asked to do Christmas videos more than once.

We have this one, which is Tim's voice and arrangement, but not his face:



And this one, which is Tim's original song and him on screen:



And there are a couple of holiday videos for JibJab.com:

http://sendables.jibjab.com/holidays/sendables/204445/kazoo_jingle_bells

and

http://sendables.jibjab.com/holidays/category/new_year

(I can't embed it until they release it to YouTube, but do click on the links. They're really fun.)

Tim has also just finished another project for McAfee--one that started before we moved to Vegas and is just finishing up after being tabled for a couple of years. I'll post links once it goes live.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Isaiah....

I love Isaiah. I found this very short 2-verse revelation tucked into a list with a bunch of others the other day, and it stuck with me.

Isaiah 21:11-12. Dumah comes to the prophet to ask when the trials (captivity) will end:


11¶The aburden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of bSeir, Watchman, cwhat of the night? Watchman, what of the night?
Isaiah responds:
 12The watchman said, aThe morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.

So I really liked his answer. The morning cometh, and also the night. (I realize the footnote explains that Isaiah was saying there is another captivity coming, but the verse is meaningful separate from that.).

I've felt that way before. When we moved to Las Vegas, I had just been asking God, "What of this night?" that we seemed endlessly stuck in, and then we ended up with sufficient work, in Las Vegas. Morning! But it was also the night for us--Vegas was an incredibly difficult place to live, and I was surprised when we were there that the trial I had complained of was over, and yet I wasn't any happier. It was just a different hard. Also night.

Lately, I've been asking God again, "What of this night?! How long?" And I find this verse.  The morning cometh, and also the night. Good will come, things will change, but life is not about all mornings. The morning comes, and also the night, and that's what life is about. So perhaps the answer is not to ask for relief, but for patience and the ability to enjoy whatever mornings and nights we have?

Tim had yet another view of the verse when I told him about it. He said that rarely does something exceptional happen. Most of our lives are spent with a literal morning, followed by a literal night, followed by another morning. The sun comes up, and it goes down, and it's very predictable. So what of the night? It's just part of life, and regardless of exceptional events, most days are just days and most nights are just nights, and we just work and pray and love our families, day in and day out, and THAT'S the POINT. That's what we're supposed to do--live the days and the nights and do our duty and enjoy our lives, but not expect or demand the exceptional, not seek for fame or fortune, not wait for life to happen, because even when "big" things happen, the sun will eventually go down, and then come up, and we still will have to eat and sleep and work and love our families. So what of the night? It will be followed by a day. And a night. And another day. So what of it?

Amazing the power and insight packed into the scriptures.

I love Isaiah! Some day, I would love to thank him.

Did I just read that?

From Foxnews.com home page, one of the four top articles:

"Look Out, WikiLeaks:
CIA Sending in WTF"

While I'm sure a few well-placed f-bombs have been thrown at WikiLeaks, I'm not sure that's the best approach for the CIA to solve the problem!


And then if you go to the article, the headline is even funnier: "Intel Community Responds to WikiLeaks With WTF"

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/22/intel-community-responds-wikileaks-wtf/

I'm pretty sure there were a lot of exclamations of wtf from the Intel Community when Wikileaks released the State Department Cables.  The reporter DID know what that all meant, of course....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Did I just read that?

From foxnews.com main page menu: "Researchers Study Woman Without Fear"

Good thing, since woman is such a fearsome beast!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Did I just read that?

Dear Fox News, Please hire a copy editor. Thanks, Becca


""Somebody chose to invade our lives and create a crime that was unjustified. It’s torn a big whole in our family.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/17/murdered-missing-unsolved-crime-stories/#ixzz18PoC1aFU"

Sure it wasn't a big half?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The baby

Even less than a week old, all babies are individuals.

Elijah:

Likes to be warm. Really warm. And is finally sleeping better (ie more than 10 minutes at a time) now that we know to keep him toasty warm.

Can hold his head up remarkably well.

Has already given us multiple smiles, including big open-mouthed toothless grins.

Skips the fussing and goes straight to the screaming if I'm not in the room. If I am in the room, he fusses around and smacks his lips when he wants to be picked up instead of outright crying.

Calms down immediately when he hears my voice and quietly waits to be picked up, even if he was screaming his head off a second before. If I walk out of the room, he starts up screaming again until he hears me coming back in.

Hates being poopy, but hates diaper changes even more. Screams through them but calms immediately when the diaper is on.

Loves to feel things with his fingertips (no fists on this baby!).

Starts rooting and trying to nurse when anyone says, "Are you hungry?" or "Do you want to nurse?", even if they don't give him any physical cues what they're saying.

Loves to look at the Christmas tree.



You'd think that 5 days old is too young to be expressing himself, responding to language, learning things, and being involved, but I guess it isn't!

Nathanael holds the baby

Did I just read that?

From FoxBusiness.com today:

"...hazardous working conditions, such as mining for precious metals or jewels in lakes filled with chemicals and nothing more."



Hard to find anything but chemicals if the lakes contain nothing more than chemicals. Seems sort of futile mining there, no?

Did I just read that?



From Fox News today: "Dr Hibbert, who is the secretary of the analytical division of IUPAC, said the periodic table was revised more often than people thought.'These things come periodically, every now and then.'"
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/16/periodic-table-receives-biggest-update-decades/#ixzz18JkNEtzd"



These things come periodically......ha! Wait--don't the elements always appear periodically? Else why call it the Periodic Table?

This is one of the more glib, funnier chemists I've read quoted.  More:

""When we met four years ago we changed the atomic weight of zinc and this caused a bit of furore at the time, because we changed it by a relatively large amount. I know it makes for good copy, but the world hasn't just suddenly decided, like Pluto, 'we've got fed up with a couple of elements so we're going to chuck them out'."

So the Plutonians got sick of a few elements and threw them out? I didn't know there were Plutonians. I wonder if the element they got sick of was Plutonium?

Also, does he realize what he just said about other chemists?

""For most calculations, people will just carry on as before," he said. "A lot of things you do don't require that kind of precision, so we're not going to change the first year chemistry text book and probably half my colleagues won't notice that this has happened at all. The world won't in fact grind to a halt as the result of it, but, for people at my end who do worry about these things, then yes, there will be some changes in the way we do calculations.""

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Did I just read that?

From Google News, a "teaser" taken from a picture caption for the article found here:

"A rash of food recalls, from peanuts to eggs, led to several deaths and new calls for a comprehensive food-safety bill, but it has become stalled in Congress."

So recalling food kills people...and what became stalled in Congress? The bill, or the recall?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baby CAME

A few weeks ago, I had the kids all write their guesses on the calendar of when Elijah would be born. Anda guessed Dec. 11, which she didn't know was her Grandpa Jones's birthday.

She was right.

So, I had been adamant about wanting to do this baby all natural--no medication. Back when I really believed I only had 5 hour labors (which I had, until then).

This time, for some reason, I started into labor on Thursday. I had strong, for-real contractions for all of Thursday, all Thursday night, all of Friday, and well into Friday night. That's well over 36 hours of little sleep. I don't do well on little sleep.  The trouble is, the contractions were only 10-20 minutes apart instead of the required 5 minutes apart. And they sometimes took an hour off, here and there. So I wasn't in "real labor," even though it was exhausting me.

So when the contractions finally got to 5 minutes apart at midnight on Friday night, I was BEAT. Already. And "real labor" hadn't even started. And I didn't have the energy or focus to use any of the natural childbirth techniques I had learned. I was too tired.

At 2:30 am, I decided I wasn't going to sleep it off again, and we called babysitters in (thank you, Heather and Kelly, for waking up when the phone rang!).

3:30, I was admitted to the hospital with contractions 2 minutes apart, strong, but only dilated to 3.5 (36 hours of labor hadn't done almost anything but make me tired). Too tired, I asked for an epidural, hoping I could sleep for a few hours and then have a baby.

5:00, the anesthesiologist came.

6:00, the epidural had numbed my legs but not my tummy. Am I now immune? Who knows, but I was VERY not happy. Doctor tried to re-do the epidural while the nurse, realizing that it wasn't working because the baby was coming "precipitously" fast, started calling in help to deliver a small child. I was so not numb, I felt my water break. And everything else except my left leg and right thigh. And I got to work throwing up, which I always do in labor.

6:19, baby popped out without me even feeling the need to push, and before the doctor arrived. What a relief! And, for the first time, no stitches.

I think the natural childbirth would have been easier if I hadn't been expecting an epidural to work. As it was, the expectation made me angry on top of everything else, and that didn't really help.

6:35 I told Tim if that's how it's going to be every time, I'm not having any more babies. I'm too much of a wimp. Every other child has come with me calm, smiling, and ready to hold him. This baby came to a mess of a mother who was angry, hurting from needle pricks everywhere AND childbirth, frustrated, and downright exhausted from 3 days of little sleep topped off by a miserable night of zero sleep and lots of stress and pain.

Within an hour, though, Elijah and I were contentedly nursing, talking to a very tired Tim, and feeling much much better. Then we all slept. Tim went home and put the kids back to bed (they had been up since about 4:00 am, Anda and Dan trying to help Nathanael, who had discovered I was gone and were doing as I asked them to do and help him feel happier--by playing Nintendo. Which worked.). Babysitter went home. Tim went to sleep.

I think he got more sleep than I did, but I also managed to get to sleep and slept for a long time. Thank goodness Elijah is a good sleeper and a good nurser. (I realize that usually changes after a few days, but today, I needed that!).

So, Elijah James Jones. Born today. 7 lb 10 oz. 20 1/2 inches long. Surprisingly, he has lots of black hair. We haven't had any kids born with lots of hair. A few with black hair, but not lots of it like this. Very cute.

And I am so glad that's over! And so glad he's here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Baby....not yet

When I decided I wanted to have this baby natural, with no epidural, I didn't anticipate spending 2 full days in early labor, having contractions every 10-60 minutes for 48 hours.

Now I'm just plain tired.

Not sure skipping the epidural is worth it to me anymore!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Good to know!

"Studies conducted in the 1990s revealed that homeschooled students were averaging scores in the 82nd percentile as compared to the 50th for public-school students on standardized tests."


http://nevadanewsandviews.com/2010/12/06/homeschoolers-reveal-the-path-to-greater-educational-achievement/

Just for the record, I don't know if I agree or disagree that deregulation is the answer. I'm not sure how much I trust localities to set the bar high enough. On the other hand, I don't think the federal government is close enough to the students to be able to either. So I'm still thinking on this issue.

Also, I don't believe that ALL parents are the best academic teachers for their children. While I do believe that one-on-one education provided to a child by someone who deeply cares about their future and happiness is absolutely, categorically the best way to educate every single child, I know parents who don't care enough, and I know parents who care enough but lack the ability (be in time-wise or educationally or for other reasons, like they have a special-needs child who needs special education they aren't qualified to give) to do this. Instead of saying all parents should public school then, though, I'd be more inclined to say that, ideally, all parents should be provided the resources they need in order to become good teachers for their children, but that's not too practical. Plus I know a lot of adults who were severely abused by their parents when they were young....and school was their freedom and also their chance to get help. Since we don't live in an ideal culture,  it's hard to try to implement ideal education--there is a great deal to be said for practicality and reality.

Finally, I DO believe that all states should copy Nevada's homeschool laws. I was free to truly educate my children there. Colorado's laws aren't bad, and there are better programs here for homeschooling families (like Options, which provides 1 day a week of school for ONLY homeschoolers PLUS all the books and supplies for the entire curriculum--giving us our tax dollars worth in a way that homeschoolers approve of), but Nevada's laws expressed trust in the parents, and opened the door for better methods of educating to be tried--nobody forced them to just public school at home (which is extremely difficult and doesn't work well.).

Nice article on publishing myths

http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/jefishman/2010/12/12-common-misperceptions-about-book-publishing/

And now I have to figure out what to do with it!

SmartCo, the new grocery store in town this summer, decided to close. This week, their final, they marked everything in the store down. A lot.

We figured this was a good use of our limited budget, so we went in to check it out.  And ended up, in three trips, getting a good amount of our food storage, which has been depleted to nearly nothing over the last 3 years, taken care of. With everything in the store marked down 50-70%, we ended up stocking up on canned goods, frozen foods, spices, vitamins, and all kinds of food.  We had to be careful--some of the prices were so high in the first place that even marked down 60%, they still weren't as cheap as elsewhere in town. But on the whole, we had a LOT of fun doing a food-shopping-spree.

And we let the kids each pick out a candybar from next to the cash register, something they have never been allowed to do and will likely never been allowed to do again. With all the candy 70% off, it was worth it to let them have a little fun. (We also stocked up on probably a 5-year-supply of other candy, since bags of Skittles, candybars, etc., cost less than a dollar!, but we explained to the kids that those are for birthdays and special times, not for eating right now.).

The only problem: Now we have to find a place to PUT all that stuff! What do you do with 10 boxes of cereal? We're going to have to reorganize in order to find shelves. Cupboards. Closets. Anything we can, I guess.

It was a fun adventure, actually,  being able to get food storage started again for cheap.

I think the receipt, at the end of the day, was as long as I am tall. Or longer.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Did I just read that?

No gaffe here. Just a jaw-drop that SOMEONE didn't know better. From ksl.com "They had just past a "slow skiing" sign." http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=13566770

Past? Really?


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Greek Yogurt

So, first of all, I noticed that yogurt used to come in an 8 oz size, and now, for the same price, nobody puts it in bigger than a 6 oz container. Nice.

Also noticed that a cup of yogurt has more sugar than a bowl of cold cereal. Yikes?

Today, I tried Greek Yogurt because everyone kept telling me it's so good. It was good. Three times the protein, too, with half the sugar of regular yogurt, plus real fruit instead of fruit flavor. Thicker and creamier, too. I liked it, although I still wish people would make yogurt from whole milk or cream instead of nonfat milk. The kids, being used to candy yogurt, didn't think much of it.

The thing I thought was most amusing was that the packaging said "Sweetened with stevia," but the ingredients indicated that it was primarily sweetened with just plain old sugar, with trace amounts of Stevia in the last couple of ingredients (I suppose to justify the claim). So if you're avoiding yogurt for the sugar, at least the brand of Greek Yogurt I tried wouldn't help you. They just keep it quiet that it still has sugar in the top three ingredients. To their credit, I suppose, there were more strawberries than sugar, and, since there weren't many strawberries, I guess that means there wasn't a lot of sugar.

So now I'm wondering: If I use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt as a start for home made yogurt, will it taste different?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Did I just read that?

From ABC news today: "EMT Delivers Baby Over the Phone"  http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=6610242

Wow. Wonder if it was Ma Bell's baby? Or perhaps an Android?  Or maybe the EMT was just holding the phone under the baby (um...yuck.)?

Did I just read that?

From ABCnews.com: " I'm even afraid that when I get married, my husband won't be attracted to me anymore after giving birth." http://abcnews.go.com/Health/fear-childbirth-tocophobia-plagues-women-babies/story?id=12297229

If her husband is giving birth, she might have more problems than she realizes!

Friday, December 03, 2010

More of the Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping trial

I've been reading reports on the trial of Brain David Mitchell, who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart, and I'm astonished at the things people are shocked at.

I won't list them. They ARE disturbing.

The sad thing is, I know people who believe similar things, have done almost exactly the same and WORSE to people I love, and who will never go to jail for it.

I realized today that perhaps I should be shocked at what Mr. Mitchell is and does. But I'm not--it all seems so sadly familiar.

There are a lot more wicked, crazy people out there than any of us would like to believe.

But here's the thing I've learned over all my years of interacting with people like him: mentally ill rarely means without agency. In my experience, mentally ill doesn't usually automatically mean wicked. Wicked is still a choice.

Just sayin'.

I get really frustrated when mentally ill people use their condition as a free pass to do anything they can imagine. That's just wrong.

Yogurt

I bought more yogurt. The kids like it. Tim likes it. I like it.

I can't figure out why people prefer low-fat yogurt, though. I mean, if you've ever tried whole milk yogurt, the low-fat version seems hollow. Also, there's so much sugar in it!

I think yogurt might be healthy food (instead of an ice-cream equivalent) in the same way that fruit snacks are "snacks" (instead of candy).

Still, it tastes good. Especially blended with cool whip. Yum.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More Dentist Updates

The dental visits never end....

Today Anda went in. She had one tooth filled, one more pulled. And she has at least two more visits. They're only half done.

She did really well, thanks to laughing gas.

Watching her get her teeth fixed gave me pause--I'm not sure Caleb can do it, even at 9 years old. He is so sensitive to touch and so easily overstimulated.....we'll have to see how it goes.

Benji is on tap, too, and I might just cancel his appointment for now and wait a year. He can't even comprehend why anyone would ask him to do something he doesn't feel like doing. He's not coax- or bribe-able, and any time we've forced anything on him, we've regretted it for months--or longer. Might not be worth it just yet when any work he needs done will have to be done under general anaesthesia anyway, and he's not hurting. Why not wait a year until he's old enough to open his mouth--and then do everything when he's sleeping anyway. There might be a little more work to be done then, and we might not have insurance, but it might be a better option. Anda didn't go to the dentist for 3 years, and she's much more able to handle the work now.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What Anda is Thankful For

One of the struggles I've had for years and years as a writer is convincing myself that something so fun isn't a waste of time. I look at my messy house and think I should be cleaning, not writing, despite the fact that I feel compelled to write and it makes me very very happy.

So Anda's thought at the Thanksgiving table was really meaningful to me. The kids were all naming things they were thankful for, and Anda said, "I'm thankful for the authors who write the books I love."

Whoa.

Straight to my heart.

Books enrich people's lives. And even my 7 year old sees immense value in that.

What I'm doing might just be more important than picking up toys. Perhaps picking up would truly be the waste of a life...nobody is going to ever be thankful for that. And nobody else can tell the stories I have to tell.