Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fresh Air and Fun




Outside time is a good thing.  On Monday (President's Day), I spent 5 hours outside sledding and playing with my kids in the sun and I felt like a whole new woman.  I've been inside far too much lately - sitting at my computer for many many hours every day working on our our new Power of Moms website plus getting stuff set up for our April Retreat (if you were thinking about signing up, you might want to do it soon because wow, the thing is filling right up).  I was getting down and frustrated and overworked and grumpy and I was just plowing on through, forgetting that what always makes me feel better is doing something outside.

I know I need outside time - that's part of how I'm wired.  For years, I got my weekly outside "fix" from hiking and biking as a family every Saturday.  But then we moved here and the cold and snow made me feel like I had to pretty much be indoors.  I shoveled snow a few times and that gave me a great outdoor fix and we've walked downtown a couple times which was great.  But I'd been mostly ignoring my fresh-air-and-outside-exercise need.

Thanks to a beautiful bright snowy day, a school holiday and an invitation from friends, I found myself finally getting what I needed - while giving my kids what they needed.  The mountains were so beautiful in the distance, the snow was so sparkly, the sun was so warm.  And the rush of speeding down a steep hill, not knowing really where you might end up, is sure a lot of fun - especially when you've got a couple of your favorite little people on the sled with you, squealing in glee and you all end up in a laughing pile at the bottom of the hill.  Priceless.
OK - picture a big smile on my face - I think I was trying to steer us back on course here.
And don't worry - I actually didn't choke Silas with that rope.  This is just the only photo I've got with me in it.  And want to remember I was there and I really did do quite a bit of sledding.

Play is important.  Getting out of the house is important.  Sun and fresh air are important.  Being with friends is important.  Even though it's a hassle to out of the house.  Even though there are always so many important things on your to-do list.  Get up.  Get out.  It's worth it.

I WILL spend some serious time outside every week and get out at least a little pretty much ever day - even if it's just a quick walk around the block.

And Emily, thanks for the photos!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eliza's Birthday

So turning eight is a really big deal in our family.  You get to have the birthday party of your dreams (within reason), you get your own set of scriptures with your name engraved in gold on them, if you're a girl, you get to have your ears pierced if you want, you get to go out to a fancy restaurant with your parents and learn about "the most beautiful thing in the world" (check out the whole story on this here), and most importantly, you get to be baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

For Eliza, my little planner who has visions of the perfect version of everything in her head (wonder where she gets that from???), turning eight was an especially big deal.  Her birthday traditions are to decorate sugar cookies and have a tea party.  She's done it since she was 2.  This year she wanted to keep with her tradition - but she wanted to go big with it and had precise ideas about how everything should play out.  Luckily, the stars were aligned and everything turned out remarkably well!

In previous years, she's just had a couple friends and her brothers for the cookie decorating and tea party.  But this year she got to invite 12 little girls to the party.  In St George, we found that if we invited 12 kids to a party, maybe 5 would show up.  So I warned Eliza that she might want to invite more girls if she was going to have the dozen she envisioned.  Luckily, she didn't listen to me because as it turns out, all 12 girls she invited came to the party. 

When I was a little girl, I lived in England.  I went to actual tea parties.  Kids dressed up in lovely dresses for little after-school tea parties hosted by their friends quite often and birthday parties always involved everyone dressing up.  I liked those parties.  I was disappointed when we moved back to America and parties were a much more casual affair.  I missed the tea parties with the manners and the dress-up clothes and the lovely little cookies and cucumber sandwiches.  So I was so glad when Eliza thoroughly embraced the whole proper English party idea.  We'll see how long she keeps wanting to do this.  But I'll enjoy it while it lasts!

You know, when little girls are dressed up, they act different.  In the case of these little girls who came to Eliza's birthday party, they took to speaking with British accents and calling each other "dahling" and that sort of thing.  It just sort of happened.  And they were really into saying "please" and "thank you" as they sat around a crisp embroidered table cloth and enjoyed their cucumber sandwiches and fancy treats.

Anyway, enough words - here's the birthday party (on Sat Feb 12th) and the actual birthday (on Sun Feb 13th) in photos.
The lovely ladies of Eliza's birthday party - notice an imposter?  When Isaac was told only girls were allowed at this year's tea party, he found himself a wig and lovely dress and tried to blend in.  Most of the girls didn't know him so it was pretty funny watching them eye him suspiciously until Eliza pulled off his wig and yelled "imposter!"  The girls all squealed with joy and surprise and Isaac ran away laughing his head off.  Pretty good gag.
Here they are "looking like proper tea party ladies"
Here's the dance.  All the girls insisted that they needed to have a dance.  So we cranked up the classical music and the girls did a lovely job dancing away.  They wanted me to teach them some proper dance steps.  I reached way back in my mind to my days in England and remembered some English Country Dancing steps we learned in school (a lot like square dancing) and we put together a nice little dance that they wanted the brothers and Jared to come watch.  They were so cute!
After dancing, it was present-opening time.  Eliza got so many wonderful gifts!  She's never really had a big party before so she's never really received a lot of gifts before.  It was all VERY exciting and she was cute about wishing each present-giver something - we played the old-school "Heavy Heavy Hangover" where the giver hangs her present over the receivers head and everyone chants "Heavy heavy hangoever thy poor head - what do you wish with a bump on the head" (then the giver gives the birthday kid a little bump on the head with the present).  Not sure where this little party game came from but it was a standard at birthday parties I went to growing up.  Sort of odd  -  I like how this little game gives kids a chance to focus on each giver individually and enjoy each present separately.
The final part of the party was cookie decorating.  Wow, those girls came up with some creatively decorated cookies!
For Eliza's actual birthday (on Sunday), we celebrated by all speaking in church (Eliza was actually thrilled when we were asked to speak on her birthday - she loves speaking and did the best job of anyone with her talk).  It was a little stressful getting all the birthday activities in while preparing talks, but somehow it all worked.  Anyway, Grammie and Grandfather came to hear us speak in church then came home with us for Liza's big birthday lunch - her favorite penne in cream sauce with broccoli .
After lunch, we opened presents - Grandma, as always, sent the perfect gifts of a book (which Eliza has already read - she's such a reader) and a cute teddy bear plus some candy.  Grammie and Grandfather gave her some fun international gifts from their travels.  Jared and I gave her the gift of dance classes - something she's been wanting for a long time.  And we found the perfect class for her at the Eccles Art Center right on our block - Virginia Tanner Dance.  I took and loved Virginia Tanner creative dance when I was a little girl and it's so fun to see that the classes are still much the same - totally took me back to see Liza leaping and twirling with a scarf to live piano music.  I love creative dance.   
We finished the day with Liza' favorite dinner - grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.  Can you tell she's smiled for too many pictures today???

We're still celebrating.  Eliza got her ears pierced a couple days ago and in spite of a little indecision after seeing the baby ahead of her in line have a pretty hard time with it, she emerged triumphant with newly sparkly ears.  We've got Eliza's baptism scheduled for March 5th and she's busily memorizing the Articles of Faith and we finally found her the perfect confirmation dress.   

Last night we took her out for her special dinner at a really wonderful restaurant and she reveled in the personal attention and the fancy food.  After explaining the miracle of how babies are made to her big brothers, Jared and I had our message down pretty well this time round and Eliza took it all in with beautiful innocence and wonder.  I really love the approach my parents teach that helps kids learn about everything step-by-step in a very positive light and we've added in our own methods of explaining things that makes everything feel so simple and logical and wonderful and not strange or "icky" at all.  We really had a wonderful evening and Eliza seemed to understand everything so well.  Of course, we'll need to have plenty of follow-up talks but I'm so glad we're getting to our kids with this very important information before anyone else gives them a tainted version of anything.  

Before the talk, I asked Ashton and Isaac for tips on what we should be sure to cover when we talked with Eliza.  They thoughtfully offered a few pointers and it was a great chance to reflect back on what they remembered about their special dinner when they turned eight.  They seemed to have really great memories.  I'm so glad it's worked out so well.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finding Ourselves

I just read a very interesting article in the New York Times called "Fear (Again) of Flying" by Judith Warner.  I was planning to be using this last hour before picking up the kids at school to transfer a bunch of stuff from the old Power of Moms website to the new one and reply to the 30 emails that came along while I took Isaac out to lunch for showing me 10 school assignments with 100% written on them (we had a great lunch date).  But then I saw this article and it really struck me and I just felt like writing about it and using my brain in a different way for a bit.

The article talks about how so many women in the 1970's wanted OUT of traditional roles that felt restrictive.  They wanted to reach higher and expand their horizons and create new possibilities for themselves and women in general.  And they did.  Sometimes it worked out for them.  Sometimes it didn't.  Many mothers and wives left their kids at home and sometimes even left their husbands as they set out to "find themselves."

Our generation, on the other hand, seems to be going a whole new direction in attempt to "find ourselves."

According to the article, this generation is "striving, through exquisite new adventures in internal fine-tuning, to feel more deeply, live more meaningfully, better inhabit each and every moment of each and every day."  There are a whole slew of books that have recently come out that chronicle this evolution of what it means to find ourselves — "Dani Shapiro’s yoga-infused “Devotion,” Melanie Gideon’s “Slippery Year,” Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project,” Katrina Kenison’s “Gift of an Ordinary Day” — in which the trope of female midlife rebellion, the go-out-and-find-yourself exhortation that has floated in the popular imagination ever since “Passages” put the phrase “midlife crisis” on the cultural map, is turned on its head."

In these new books, "there are no Isadora Wings (she was the heroine of Erica Jong’s 1973 liberationist novel “Fear of Flying”), no good little wives poised for naughty takeoff into the exciting wider world. There’s no chafing at the ties that bind to home and family. Instead, there is a deep desire for rules and regularity — a dream of order and contentment and beauty."

"Making a home is re-encoded as a privilege, an accomplishment, even a form of freedom from the burdens and demands of the larger world. Kenison, finding self-liberation in a midlife journey toward “my own quiet center,” finds freedom in fleeing the wider world, not entering it more fully: “to create . . . for all of us,” she wrote of her husband and adolescent sons, “a protected island, a quiet place from which we could hold the world and its busyness at bay for a while.”

Isn't that interesting?  I love the concept of finding ourselves inside ourselves and inside our homes.  Certainly, looking outward is vital to understanding the world and gathering all the good it has to offer.  But leaving all the good that home and family has to offer isn't the answer.

I'm proud to be part of a generation that is taking the best of what women have sought after all these years and creating identities that pull together domesticity and ambition as we strive to be the best we can be INSIDE the roles we've chosen to embrace as wives and mothers.  We can find self-liberation through deciding to tie ourselves firmly to the things and people we love - and deciding to explore and express our own unique talents and interests as PART of what we do for our families.   We can find great peace and joy as we strive to be the best we can be for ourselves, our families and the many who will be affected by who we are and what we do.

Maybe this resonated so much with me because the points it brought up totally confirmed what April and I have been striving to communicate through The Power of Moms.  Motherhood isn't just about getting the kids fed and where they need to be and giving them some love and encouragement along the way as the move towards adulthood.  It's also about US.  It's about us growing in patience and love and organization and acceptance and so many other areas as we grow through the experiences motherhood has to offer.  Joyful, deliberate motherhood is about us looking inward and finding who we and our families really are and who we really want to be - then figuring out how to continue and expand the process of becoming through the experiences of every ordinary day.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Life Doesn't Get Calm

The twins are happily writing names on their Valentine's Day cards that they'll pass out today at school.  Of course, they picked out valentines with puppies and kittens.  And they've got their stuffed dogs "watching" them do their Valentines.  It's pretty cute listening to them - "Oh, this cute little doggie will be SO PERFECT for Katerina - it's small and cute just like her!" "Oh, Diego will just LOVE this bulldog." "Oh my gosh, this one is a long name to write!" "What name is this one?  Oh, that's Noah - he'd like that one with the kitten."  "You've done five already!  I better get going!"  They sing and hum in between comments.  I sure love these boys of mine.  Oh - they're starting to complain a bit - oh, they're now asking for swedish fish to "give us energy so that we can do this hard work."  Better help them for a few minutes...

OK, they're going again.  I'm back.  Now the swedish fish are talking in high-pitched voices to each other and having exciting adventures amidst the piles of Valentines.  "Oliver, come on, we'd better keep on writing!" says Silas.  "OK, these fish can just go rest in our tummies now," says Oliver.

I already published this but had to come back in and add the end of the story - of course they didn't stay so sweet and enthusiastic about the task of writing all the names of all the kids in their class on the Valentines.  By the end, we were all a little frustrated.  But it's done.  And I'm glad I recorded the happy moments at teh beginning or I'd probably just remember the frustrating part at the end...

I'll share photos later, but here are a few of the many events and activities that crammed the past week:
  • A fun train ride to SLC to watch the Jazz/Bulls game on Wednesday night (SO fun) 
  • Lots of work on our new version of the Power of Moms website (that's what Jared and I do with most of our evenings) plus the launch of our new affiliate program and work on details of our April Retreat - oh, and the book - got all the chapters of the book we're writing turned in from our great authors and now we've got lots of editing ahead of us.
  • Two new Joy School groups starting up and needing some help.
  • Getting Eliza started in a new dance class as the big birthday present she requested (and finding that I needed to be there checking her in for her new class at the same time that I had to take Isaac to scouts, teach scouts and be at the school for a PTO meeting - Tuesday afternoon was just plain crazy)
  • A fun new playgroup on Friday.
  • A trip to SLC to record our next set of podcasts for The Roundtable (great conversations, such wonderful women to work with)
  • Liza's big b-day party on Saturday (a tea party with 12 very cute little girls)
  • Basketball games for the boys on Saturday (they're starting to win some games and are getting their hands on the ball a lot more - good stuff)
  • Jared and I got to hang out with a bunch of Jazz players at a great fundraiser for Rising Star (the school for leperosy-affected children in India where much of my family has visited and served)
  • our whole family spoke in church yesterday (quite an ordeal getting not only a decent talk put together for ourselves but also for 5 kids - but they all did great and I think my talk was OK.  Jared did a beautiful job)
  • a birthday dinner and family party for Liza after church with my parents here
  • helping the kids get all their Valentines put together to pass out at school today
  • having a big talk with my mom about what to do about my sweet grandma who's really struggling and looking up resources to find a home caregiver for her
  • getting the table all decorated for a Valentine's breakfast this morning
Now today I've got to get the registration open for the big April Retreat, reorganize all the categories on Power of Moms for the new version of the website we're working away on launching, help the twins do their Valentines, go rock climbing as a family (we promised this to Liza for her birthday and to the twins for when they get their casts off - which finally happened - and it'll hopefully make a fun FHE/Valentine's activity).  We finally got Eliza's baptism scheduled for a couple weeks from now (after lots of stress around difficult schedules) but we still have to schedule when we're going to take Liza out for dinner for her special talk about how babies get made.  We've been talking it up and she's excited - but with so many special events going on, it's hard to create the perfect space for this important event (to read about this tradition, click here:  How to Talk to your Child About Sex).

Life doesn't get calm.  I've stopped hoping or expecting it to.  Why keep setting myself up for disappointment?

I have five kids.  I run two businesses.  My husband works a lot at a start-up with no guarantees.  I'm blessed to be involved in many things I love but that means for lots of juggling.  We spend lots of time at physical therapy appointments as we try to get the twins' heel cords stretched and as they re-learn how to walk using the right muscles (and we count our blessings that this is the first period of our lives that we've ever had to spend a lot of time involved in medical issues).  We have birthdays slammed up against holidays - that's just how it worked out.  And it's uncanny but predicable that sometimes many commitments end up on the same day at the same time. There are moments to catch my breath and snuggle on the couch with my husband to watch a 1/2 hour favorite show.  There are things I can and should say no to and I'm doing much better with this.

But I accept that life is busy and full and that things don't often work out just the way I might like.  We're often late.  Deadlines often have to be pushed back.  Sometimes I can't sleep or have crazy dreams because of everything going on.  And sometimes there are down-right disasters.  Sometimes I cry and sometimes I handle things really poorly and I'm not very nice to my husband and kids.

Each Sunday, I reassess, gear up for the crunch times I can see coming, and find some bright parts of the week to really look forward to (well, some Sundays this doesn't happen and then - watch out!).  I signed up for this (well, most of it) and there's a lot more good than bad.  We have way more blessings than worries (although it doesn't always feel that way).  Life is good.  Very good.  

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Our Heart Attack and Valentine's Jar

Thanks so much to all of you who gave me great Valentine's Day ideas to help me with the article I was writing for Deseret News.  I had to keep it short or I'd have included a lot more of your ideas.  But here's the final thing if you want to check it out.  And make a comment if you want - we're getting great traffic on the blog but could sure use more comments!


We did our "Heart Attack" activity on Monday for FHE.  As with any project we do around here, it was a little  chaotic with both twins needing help writing on their hearts but insisting on doing the actual writing themselves and some squabbles over who took the hearts that someone else cut out and whose turn it is to use the scissors or glue sticks (somehow, no matter how many glue sticks and scissors I buy, they're always in short supply).

But in the end, we were all very pleased with the results and our kitchen is now happily decorated with creatively decorated hearts and sweet sentiments of love from everyone to everyone.  It's sure nice to know what people love about you every so often!

I'm so glad Isaac knows I like to have fun with him and I really am excited about the things he does -
sometimes I worry that I come off as a total stress-case to my poor kids!




We're totally loving the "Valentine Activities Jar" idea that Brianna gave me.  Each day one of the kids gets to pull out a slip of paper that has an activity centered on love on it.  Yesterday we pulled out "read a story about love together." Tuesdays are crazy crazy days for us - yesterday I had reading duty in the twins' class, grocery shopping, dance for Liza at the same time as scouts for Isaac and a PTA meeting for me followed immediately by a scout leader meeting I had to be at.  But because we'd drawn out this slip of paper that told us we needed to find time to read stories about love, I protected a 1/2 hour for reading time before bed and we read two favorite stories about love.  The kids went to bed knowing completely that they are loved, loved, loved and after a hectic day, I felt like a good mom rather than the harried not-so-nice mom I often feel like after a too-busy day.

Today, we pulled out "write a note to someone you love who you don't see often" and the kids had all these ideas of who they're excited to write an email to after school - grandma, a St George neighbor they miss, a dog they love (the twins are sure the dog's owner could somehow help the dog understand the email).

This stuff is working!  The love in this home is being celebrated - and being increased in the process!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Joy School - Again???

This is my last Joy School group - they graduated in June 2010

Over the last couple of weeks, the twins have wanted to listen to Joy School songs all the time in the car (the older kids aren't exactly thrilled about it) and keep bringing up Joy School memories.  They started begging me to put together a new Joy School group for them and suggested various people we've met here who'd surely want to join our Joy School (most of them with two or three year olds and I just don't know if I've got the energy for a mixed-age Joy School group right now).  I explained to Ollie and Si that they've already graduated from Joy School and that now they get to go to Kindergarten.  But they quite logically pointed out that they only go in the afternoons, so there's plenty of time to do Joy School in the mornings (little do they know how much work I squeeze in during the mornings while they play together).   

When they finally realized I was serious about not putting together an actual Joy School group, they came up with the idea that we could just have our own Joy School - just the three of us - and pulled out Joy Boy (the puppet we always used as part of Joy School) and the CDs with all the songs and dug out a lesson manual.  So we did Joy School together last Friday morning and had a wonderful time.  They committed me to doing Joy School at least one morning a week from here on out.  And after the fun we had together on Friday, I was happy to agree.

I'm so glad that my sweet boys have such wonderful memories of Joy School.  And as I taught them last week, it made me really miss Joy School too.  It's so nice to have a set time to really teach my children important principles and to have great stories, activities, songs and ideas all laid out for me in the lesson plans.  Long live Joy School! 

(If you don't know about Joy School and this is all gibberish to you but you'd like to learn more, click on the Joy School button on the right.  And if you should happen to want to run your own little Joy-School-based preschool in your home, visit joyschoolco.com and you can see how that works).

Friday, February 04, 2011

Motherhood Through the Eyes of a Non-Mother

My wonderful little sister is the favorite aunt of 20 nieces and nephews.  She hasn't yet found her "Mr. Right" so she has no kids of her own.  But after spending just a week taking care of my brother Noah's three little kids, she caught some amazing glimpses of what motherhood is all about and captured her thoughts so beautifully in a blog post that I was in tears as I read it.  Check it out here:
http://drippingwithpassion.blogspot.com/2011/02/world-stopped-spinning.html

Charity, you're going to be one great mom.  I wish I'd known a whole lot more of what you already know when I embarked on this wild ride of motherhood!

Cool to be Cold

We spent last Saturday in downtown Ogden tubing, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, and watching snow mobile drag racing and this crazy sport called "skijoring" where horses pull people on skis over jumps (sort of like waterskiing but a the boat is a horse and falling seems quite a bit more dangerous).  It was pretty darn awesome.

For "Winter Fest"  in downtown Odgen, they packed the main streets downtown with huge amounts of snow brought in from all over.  On a hilly part of the street (right near out house), they made a tubing hill complete with fun jumps and an area for people to try out cross country skiing and snow shoeing plus these really fun snow bikes and snow scooters (and it was all free).  They used the flatter streets for the snow mobile racing and skijoring and human dog sled racing (we missed out on that - we'll catch it next year).  There were all sorts of food stands and barrels of fire for warming up on each corner.  It was seriously such a fun festival!  And we could walk there from our house.  Love that. 
That's Jared and Eliza on the tube (Jared in a black and yellow jacked, Liza with a pink hat)
Ollie was excited that the snow shoes strapped on over his casts, no problem.
Yet another reason we're glad to be in Ogden.  This place is cool - not just plain cold like it seemed at first.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ideas for Valentine's Traditions?

In a couple days, I've got to turn in a post about great ideas for Valentine's Traditions for our Motherhood Matters Column at the Deseret News.  I'd love some help!

In our family growing up, Valentine's Day was pretty mellow.  We looked forward to each getting a new glass or mug full of candy at the breakfast table on Valentine's Day (it seemed we needed new glasses or cups once a year since my dad was opposed to plastic cups and glassware + nine children and friends = plenty of breakage).  I remember working with my siblings to put together Valentine cards complete with conversation hearts to pass out out all our friends (carefully reading all hearts that went into boys' valentines to be sure I wouldn't be giving anyone the wrong idea).  Valentine's Day was nice. It was sufficient.

Then I went through my teenage years and twenties dreading Valentine's Day.  I become convinced that it was a horrible holiday that caused a lot more pain than joy as it reminded every unattached girl and woman of what she wanted and didn't have.  And on the few occasions when I did have someone I was dating or interested in around Valentine's Day, there was plenty of angst trying to figure out what actions or lack of actions on Valentine's Day might MEAN.  Then when I was married, I quickly found that the angst didn't go away and that going out to dinner on Valentine's Day and waiting for a table for hours just wasn't worth it (especially when finding and paying a babysitter was involved).

Since having kids old enough to care, I've worked to make Valentine's Day more of a family affair.  I love the idea of focusing on the love we all have for each other during February and doing some special activities to celebrate that love.  But I need more ideas.  All I've got so far is that the kids get candy on their plates when they come down for breakfast on Valentine's Day morning (nod to my mom) and we do this great "heart attack" activity I stole from my sister Shawni (check it out on her blog here).

I'd love some more ideas for fun family and/or couple traditions for Valentine's Day (and the week or two prior) that I can use in my own family and share with the readers of our Deseret News column.  What do you do?  What else have you heard of?

The Round Table

Just as I was in the midst of moving a couple months ago, my dear friend Neylan McBaine invited me to be part of a new group she was helping to form.  Neylan runs the fabulous website, The Mormon Women Project plus she heads up the profiles of women at Mormon.org.  After helping with a symposium on Mormon Women at BYU a while back, she and some of the other women who'd been invited to be part of a panel there decided to form an ongoing discussion/podcast group to address Mormon womanhood.

The women she was inviting to participate sounded wonderful and I'm always up for a great discussion with intelligent, interesting women.  So even though I felt totally overwhelmed at the time, I just had to say yes.

With lots of emailing back and forth, we arrived at this title for our new group: The Round Table: Insight and Inquiry into Mormon Womanhood, decided to present our discussions via monthly podcasts, and came up with this purpose statement: to build unity and honor diversity as we further the vital work of strengthening and celebrating Mormon womanhood.


I love this artwork that one of our group members found to help illustrate what we're doing - celebrating the many different types of women our faith brings together.




We had our "inaugural" meeting last month and recorded several podcasts addressing the purposes of our group and some of the many facets of being a Mormon woman. It was truly a beautiful afternoon as we shared our hopes and challenges and thoughts in a spirit of faith and love.

 The podcasts and discussion are being hosted by a wonderful site called Patheos that offers objective information and thought-provoking, respectful discussion on all the major religions of the world.  Now that this first set of podcasts is up and running, I thought you might want to check it out.  Please let me know what you think!  You can post comments on our Patheos page after listening to the podcasts.

http://www.patheos.com/community/theroundtable/

This week we're getting together to talk about church culture vs. church doctrine for our second set of podcasts.  Should be really interesting!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Pinewood Derby

Last week was a crazy week with a couple conflicting engagements every evening.  But I knew it would be crazy and expected some hard stuff and all worked out (that Power of Acceptance stuff on the Power of Moms has really been helping me!).  Somehow just accepting and expecting the craziness really helps.

One of the big things for last week was the Pinewood Derby.  Jared and the big boys worked hard on their cars and Eliza even made one too.  The boys invited a couple neighborhood friends to participate too so Jared somehow pulled off 5 pretty darn nice Pinewood Derby cars over the course of a couple weeks (and he loved really using his big workshop in the basement of this house for the first time).

Ashton came up with this door-stop-style car that seemed a little dubious but he forged on with his plan and low and behold, he came out as the overall winner of the derby and was SO happy about it.  Our little neighbor Shai came in second and everyone was so happy for him.  Isaac was a great supporter to his brother and friends even though his cool-looking car didn't prove to be a winner.  And after the scouts were done racing, Eliza got to race her car against the others and low and behold, she beat them all!

Here's Ashton's winning car (I'd put up all their cars but I can't figure out how to get photos off my phone and onto my computer quite yet - Ashton figured out how to send me this photo - I'll have to have him teach me how.  Nice to have an 11-year-old around who can help his poor old mom with technology).

Got to love the Pinewood Derby.  There's nothing like a bunch of wild scouts racing their hand-made cars down a rickety old track in a church gym with their families cheering them on.  I looked around the room at all these cute kids and this very diverse bunch of families and had this peaceful feeling that we're in the right place.  We're really supposed to be here in Odgen.   We're supposed to be with these people.  I love those feelings of "rightness" you get once in a while - often at an unpredictable place and time!

Sadly, our Derby happened at the same time as the Jazz player appearance for the boys' basketball teams.  They rushed over there to try to catch the tail end of that event when the Derby was wrapping up.  But it was over.  Oh well.  Another little life lesson.  You just can't squeeze it all in sometimes and you have to miss some things to accommodate other things.  That's life.
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