Sunday, April 5, 2015

Volume XI, issue iii, March 2015

The Littlest Leprechaun

Our littlest leprechaun is transitioning into more "adult" ways of expressing himself and leaving some of the "baby speak" behind. This month he said one of our favorites for the last time. It pained me to hear him say "Macaroni and Cheese" because we all adored how he referred to it as "Pony Cheese."

One day before Joy School, I informed him that he'd be going to Abby's house that day. His expressive rose-bud lips opened wide in horror and he exclaimed: "At Abby's house there are people! BABY people! And they hit!" Abby has a two-year-old brother who is currently a "non-hitter in training."

The other moms were green with envy because I was the one who got to have Joy School at her house on St. Patrick's day. These cute three-year-olds were shocked and amazed at all of the leprechaun footprints running up our front walk and over our front door and into our house. When they followed the footprints into the kitchen and saw the dirty dishes that Holden had left undone the night before, they gasped. Knowing that three-year-olds are the most horribly awful and terrifyingly vocal judges of the state of cleanliness of one's house, I usually end up stressing out as I am scrubbing and straightening and fine-tuning the house before they get here. But on St Patrick's Day, I had deliberately decided to let the dirty dishes wait for Holden to get home from school rather than doing them myself because I had concocted a wonderful, awful, grinchy idea.

I immediately said with enthusiasm, "Oh my goodness! Look what the LEPRECHAUN did!! Can you believe he left such a mess!" These professional cleanliness critics were uniformly disgusted and appalled.  I grinned and enjoyed their toddler indignation, knowing that for once it wasn't directed at me or my house.

I Triple Dog DARE You
Our Eve was one of the winners of the DARE program's essay contest. She's like a brunette version Anne of Green Gables, but with a sense of irony.

We got a text from Eric's sister, Noelle, in March asking us to facetime her. When we did, Noelle, Marvin, and Matthew were eating dinner at a restaurant, so they asked us to call back in an hour. When they gave us the fantastic news that they'll be moving to Boise, we all cheered aloud and danced around. Eve cried out, "I knew it! I knew it!

I asked her how she knew it, and she replied, "Well, I just looked at context clues and made an inference." Well, of course you did, Eve! She continued matter-of-factly, "They were eating at a restaurant for dinner. You usually eat at a restaurant whey you're stressed or when you have something to celebrate. I thought that if they were moving closer to us that maybe they would be stressed about moving, but excited to move closer to us." Thanks, my adorable little Sherlock.


When details about her day at school came gushing forth at the dinner-table as they usually do, Eve described an assignment her teacher had given them which required her and a partner to establish a government for their own country. She took a pause between lively adjectives and said, "It was quite intense!"


She leaned forward in her seat as we ran an errand together and asked, "Do you know what caused me great sorrow, Mom?" I couldn't imagine what would cause my cheerfully empathetic little sprite that kind of sadness. She went on, "At the end of a book I just finished they didn't say whether the main character died or not. They implied it. . . but they didn't come right and say it!"

In the following video, you will hear the 5th graders at Madison Middle School belt out what each of the letters in DARE stands for. Listen carefully for how it says that "E" means "I will Educate Me." Nice. I'm going to go and have a stroke now.

Holden's "Real" First Date
Holden has a friend that we refer to as his "Book Buddy." They sit on the bus together and talk about books (and if they talk about other things, I don't want to know about it). Her 16th birthday was this month, and Holden wanted to return a cherished book she had let him borrow with a bookmark that asked her out on a date. He quoted the book and incorporated the exposition into his question. He also made her a giant chocolate chip cookie to sweeten the deal.

It was pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. How could she possibly refuse? (If you're wondering how I got such a cute side-by-side comparison photo when I obviously don't live at her house, I have to admit that I'm friends with her Mom and we text sometimes. . . about our kids. . . and things.)
Holden picked her up for the date after a hearty helping of dating etiquette advice from his parents. I told him that he shouldn't pick her up one minute earlier than he had said he would, which meant that the friend he was doubling with was waiting for him at the restaurant for about three entire minutes. Holden received a panicked phone call from his friend (who was also on his first date) saying, "Where are you, Dude?" Thank goodness I never have to return to such gloriously awkward moments!

Holden and his date were on the opposite end of the stress spectrum and just enjoyed each others company as good friends. (Stop it! Stop thinking that I'm in denial just because I'm his mother! They are really just friends. Stop it! Why are you laughing at me like that?)

Caleb's First Sacrament Meeting Talk
Please imagine our wonderfully understated boy standing in front of a congregation of about 300 people wearing his yellow bow-tie and suit-coat with a constant grin wiggling only at the corners of his mouth and threatening to overtake his face.

Somehow sweet Caleb managed to appear completely somber to the casual observer, even when the audience was cracking up as his dry wit.

Good morning….For my topic I chose “Are we really converted to the church?” We read in Luke 22:32 (read scripture) I thought that was an important message “Art thou converted?” An example of trying to be more converted is when I was told to give a talk for example. I didn’t want to do it but, I tried to stay positive about it. I wasn’t as  converted as I could have been but I did it. . . but I didn’t do it with very much willingness.
Another example is a story about my great grandpa, Orval Hafen.  Orval was in a stake presidency in St. George, Utah that had a small town in Arizona called Mt Trumbull that was in their stake boundaries. He wrote in his journal about three brethren on the high council who were assigned to drive sixty miles on Sunday to visit the saints in Mt. Trumbull. There was a gravel road that was rough on their cars and the branch was so far away from St. George. Two of  them would groan and make excuses not to go.One of them complained that the stake presidency always assigned him to go. The stake presidency found out that this brother had only been once in the past three years. Orval contrasted this man with their youngest high councilor who was always willing to go. Orval wrote that this young man was “always willing to perform every call we have made on him.” Orval then wrote, “Is a man really converted if he isn’t willing to make a sacrifice for [the church]?” I like Orval’s point . Imagine what would happen if people wouldn’t sacrifice for the church. Things wouldn’t get done. People might not come to church and many other things.
My last example happened a few years ago when it was stake conference. I just didn’t want to go because I was about seven or eight-ish  and a seven to eight year old might not have the best attention span. I went and I thought that it wouldn’t be interesting and that it would just be boring but, I was willing to make the sacrifice and it was really nice to me when they spoke. I think that we should try to be more converted and make “sacrifices” even if it doesn’t seem beneficial to you it will be at least to somebody else, and I say these things…..        

Volume XI, issue ii, February 2015

So in LOVE With This Face                                             
(especially when he peeks out at me with Groucho glasses and eats sandwiches in that way that he does)
Charlie and I enjoy cuddling up on the couch with just the two of us and digging into a massive pile of books. Recently, I reached into the cavernous book shelves in the study and pulled out an extra large board book copy of Goodnight Moon that is about 14 inches wide. We have several copies of the book and I hadn't realized that Charlie had never seen this particular copy. The ones we had read to him have all been about half that size. 

Charlie wrinkled his forehead and put his nose right in the book and studied it with concern. Finally, he looked at me and said,"Did you put water on it?"

Occasionally we buy off-brand pop-tarts to put in the kids lunches as a sort of cardboard-like confection. Charlie asked for one of them as we were distributing the lunches, and Eric told him that he couldn't have one because Ethan still needed one. Charlie paused thoughtfully as he looked at the full package in Eric's hand and said, "But there are two. Ethan can have the front and I can have the back." Give that smart kid a pop-tart, Dad!

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Peter had some unexpected (and completely experimental and might I add un-necessary--don't get me started) oral surgery this month. He wound up with an incision in his gums above his front tooth that throbbed uncontrollably for days. When we backed off on our usual ploys to get him to eat what the rest of were having for dinner  and allowed him to have yogurt with no strings or bites of food he hates attached, he got a little emotional. With his mouth still drooping from numbness, he said, "Thanks for being so nice."


Eve's poster about herself for a school assignment is as revelatory as it is adorable. I doubt that any other little girls had a combination as weird and lovely as Sharknado, JK's Hot Dogs, and Thriller on their get-to-know me poster. Eve couldn't be more loyal, quirky, or wonderful. 

You don't need many words to accessorize the looks of the faces of these two. They floated off to the middle school Daddy Daughter Dance together with a stop on the way at their favorite Taqueria for dinner. They've been practicing their choreography since Eve could stand up, so they hit that dance floor with a confidence ten years in the making. They lassoed each other, lawn-mowered in tandem, and generally made everyone else a little envious.

For Eve's birthday, she asked for a giant snickerdoodle cookie instead of a birthday cake. After I had tossed the huge dough-ball in the oven, Peter came upstairs and wiggled his nose like a hungry little Peter Rabbit, and asked what kind of cake I was making for Eve's birthday. I told him it was a giant snickerdoodle. Peter said thoughtfully, "I don't know what that is. . . but it sounds good!"

I came home from a Baby Shower on Saturday to discover that Eve had not only made cupcakes with her Easy Bake Oven, but she had used the leftover pieces and parts of one of my previous projects to create cupcake toppers. The toppers say mild things like "Power" and "Cupcake Madness." 

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