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"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."— William Butler Yeats
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beach Day with Besties

I am so scared to go to the beach alone with my crew. I know that Soren and Anders are alright, though it makes me a little nervous that they are getting more and more comfortable with the ocean, venturing farther and farther out to make boogie boarding more exciting.  And Oskar doesn't move too fast.  But Karsten, man.  It's definitely Karsten that's likely to give me a heart attack.  He loves the water and waves and he doesn't pay attention to much else around him, like where his mommy is or where our "beach site" is.  He's a drowning and roaming hazard. So, I usually avoid the beach altogether and ESPECIALLY avoid the beach in the summer.  I always avoid the beach in the summer.  I don't like crowds.  Or heat.  Basically, I'm a wuss.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Danny Boy and His Samantha Girl

My brother is married! One week ago, he married the lovely Ms. Samantha, for time and all eternity, in the Bountiful Temple in Bountiful, Utah. And I got to be there to see it. In fact, my dad was the one to marry them as he is a temple sealer and they requested he do it. It was a wonderful ceremony and we had such a great vacation there in Utah.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dentist and "Understood Betsy" and iPhone Blogging

Yesterday I took my boys to the dentist. All of them. It was their first time ever. Only Soren had ever been to the dentist before and that was when he was a wee tiny lad who shot himself head first into a playground step while at a birthday party, resulting in his top front tooth being shoved gruesomely far back in its socket. His memories of the dentist include being strapped to a table and given multiple shots in his mouth and then having that misaligned tooth pulled ever-so-slowly back into its rightful position. Surprisingly, he never had to have it pulled. The emergency dentist on call that week was sure she'd being seeing us again shortly, but it healed up perfectly and held strong until it fell out years later to make way for his adult tooth. 

So, first time in years for him and first time ever for Anders and Karsten. After a lot of frustration with finding a good dentist fit for our family and dental beliefs within our dental discount plan, I finally took the plunge and abandoned the plan altogether to find the holistic dentistry I wanted for my kids.  This place is great!  And guess what?  No cavities. Huzzah!  I was so stoked to hear that. Soren does have some decay issues on his two front bottom teeth, but the dentist said it is most likely a result of a combination of genetics and his poor diet way back when. Oh how I wish I'd known more about healthy eating back then! Oh well, lesson learned. So, probably veneers in his future. We are also looking at multiple frenum snippings in the future as Soren, Karsten, and Oskar all have pretty big front teeth gaps inherited from their daddy. 

Oskar stayed strapped to me in the Ergo the entire time. I fed him pretzel after pretzel and he watched Bolt with the boys. He did great and didn't even get fussy until right before we left.

Okay, Understood Betsy.  I recently made a goal for myself to read all the many hundreds of books I own. There are so many titles that look very engaging and I've missed reading so much in the last little while as life has simply swept me up and away from my beloved bookshelves. So, I marched against the current the other day and tugged down a book called Understood Betsy. It's about a little girl raised by her very loving but overly protective aunt up until that same aunt has to devote herself to her ailing mother, at which point the girl is sent to live with the "horrible Putney cousins."  Those cousins turn out to be wonderful people, which she gradually comes to realize as she also comes to know her own strength and smarts that were lying dormant under the hovering care of her aunt. I really enjoyed this book. It's fast. It's clean. It made me cry. I loved the characters and the language. Here are a couple of excerpts I thought were especially delightful:

"The matter was that never before had [Betsy] known what she was doing in school. She had always thought she was there to pass from one grade to another, and she was ever so startled to get a glimpse of the fact that she was there to learn how to read and write and cipher and generally use her mind, so she could take care of herself when she came to be grown up." (p79)

And this next from Aunt Abigail, who was my favorite character. 

"I declare! Sometimes it seems to me that every time a new piece of machinery comes into the door some of our wits fly out at the window!" (p91)

I highly recommend this book. It was a fast read, two days tops, and full of character. I really found myself cheering on little Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) as she came into her own and found her strength and confidence. 

Next up: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. 

P.S. This whole post was written on and posted from my iPhone . . . while lying in bed.  SCORE!  :D

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bye Bye Birdie

Remember those birdies I was growing to *love* so much? They are gone. Dead, most likely. After blogging last night, I went to bed late and made the mistake of looking up bird mites on my cell phone while lying in bed. The horror stories about bird mites cost me an entire night of sleep. I was seriously hyperventilating, and I am not exaggerating. All I could think was that we needed to get rid of that nest ASAP, babies notwithstanding. I sound like a monster for that, but if you read the following links, you will perhaps cut me some slack. When it's between my babies and the birdie babies, I'll pick my babies every time.

At 8am this morning I called a wildlife removal company nearby and they promptly came to remove the nest. Heavenly Father loves me. I was struggling with my decision to deliberately cost these birdies their lives, but when the technician arrived, the nest had already fallen to the driveway below on its own. The tech said that's not uncommon with invasive bird species' nests and was especially unsurprised in this case as the nest had been built on the sloping surface of our garage flood light.  So we stood there and watched as this man collected the fallen chicks and the nest, nimbly avoiding the dive-bombing mama bird, and wrapped them up into a garbage bag.  It was a difficult sight to stomach.  Soren was especially sensitive to the plight of this little family of Finches.  Thankfully, the man told us that he would be taking the babies to a wildlife rescue to see if they could be nurtured and released.  Soren later related his emotional roller coaster he'd experienced this morning as I had first told him the babies would die for us to avoid bird mites, then the technician suggested they might live.  Soren also mentioned how much he felt for the mama since he knew how devastated I would be to lose my babies and he figured it must be the same for that little mama Finch.  I told Soren we could pray for that birdie family wherever they all may be and he seemed satisfied with that solution to our emotional attachment.

Lesson learned: never let a bird build a nest on your home.  Never.  You may think it will be a cute, cuddly experience, but it's not.  It's a poop-splattered, peep-dripping, baby-screeching, bug-infesting one instead.

As I survey our pressure-washed, hospital-grade-disinfected, poop-free driveway and flood light, I am relieved to have some peace of mind over this whole issue.  Hopefully tonight I will sleep deeply.  I am weary.  I have been having way too many run-ins with bugs and spiders of late and am worried I'm going to become bug-phobic.  I've been finding caterpillars in our CSA broccoli, we've had an influx of earwigs and spiders inside our home resulting in a couple of spiders-meet-laundry incidents, this whole bird mite issue cropped up and induced a very real panic, our backyard is a haven for Black Widows, and today we went to a new park with older, dilapidated play structures that were literally covered in spider webs.  I'm done, I tell ya.  Done.

Happy to have averted the deep deep doo doo.  Fly free little birdies!  I'm sure birdie heaven is so much better than your noisy start to this telestial life above our roaring garage door.

Bird Mite Nightmare
San Diego Family Nightmare
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lazy Summer Days

After a VERY crazy busy holiday week last week, we have been lazing about our house the last couple of days, lapping up the luxury of having nowhere to go and nothing to do. Well, *nothing* being relative for Mom, anyway, right? There are still piles of laundry and dishes and poorly-aimed pee accumulating around the house and toilets . . . respectively . . . AND there's still a turbo baby charging around pulling books off the book shelves, tearing up papers, exploring in garbage cans and toilets, eating yesterday's tossings off the floor AND there are still three bigger babies constantly demanding that I plunge a clogged toilet, check out this creation, play with that toy, begging for food like a nest full of newborn birdies . . . oh, speaking of birdies . . . no, no, Liz, stay on topic, where was I? oh, yeah . . . BUT with no play dates, appointments, meetings, errands, or any other outside demands on our time, LAZING about has been absolutely glorious.

What does lazing about consist of for the Bagels?

Well, we don't get dressed for one; it's jammies all the way, all day, baby!  Poor Jehovah's Witnesses, UPS guy, and random summer pest control salesman.  They never saw it (me) coming in my bright yellow sweat-shorts and mud run tee, covered in drool from a perpetually teething babe, wielding a Harry Potter wand in one hand, an Imaginext dragon in the other, with a backwards binky shoved haphazardly in my mouth.  It's my new anti-solicitor campaign and I gotta tell ya, it really works!  :)

Let's see, we also don't plan meals or meal times when we're being deliberately lazy.  The kitchen's a free for all.  You want a hot dog for breakfast? Go for it.  Cereal for lunch?  Done.  Clif Bar for a snack?  Healthy choice, young Padawan.  Daddy especially *loves* this part of his family's definition of lazing about, let me tell you!  Coming home to watermelon for dinner?  SCORE!  Okay, just kidding.  Moment of honesty here . . . it was really pizza . . . of the not-homemade sort. Pizza-a-la-Papa-Juan!  Because when you're going to be lazy, you may as well excel at it!

So, that's the alimentary aspect of a lazy day.  How else do we do lazy?

Well, we read a lot.  Scriptures, read-alouds (Fablehaven Book 5 - pure awesomeness, don't want to put it down), magazines, how-to books, blogs, board books and picture books, bath books, science books, craft books etc.  You name it, we read it.  Soren stayed up in his bed last night reading until midnight!  Thank you, Roald Dahl, for unleashing the true I-can't-put-this-book-down reader in Soren.  Now could you please come find the I'm-totally-fine-and-won't-overreact-to-everything-the-next-day-because-I-stayed-up-way-too-late kid in Soren?  Really.  Because apparently those two peeps don't walk hand-in-hand.  In fact, I'd challenge any human to find them in the same hemisphere even.  Sleep is sort of important . . . at any age . . . which is why I am so wisely typing away at 11:08pm.  Apparently I crave crankiness.

On a lazy day we DON'T:

~ open the blinds
~ impede toddler shenanigans
~ wear swim trunks (or anything, really) in the kiddie pool
~ fight, bicker, complain, thieve, punch, kick, bite (okay, yeah right, totally wishful thinking)
~ clean, tidy, or otherwise treat our home with any measure of responsibility (true story)
~ respond to emails, texts, or voicemail messages (sorry, Pops!)
~ follow proper grooming recommendations (fuzzy teeth, anyone?)
~ put water in the bedtime bath (fish out of water!)
~ say no to messes or homemade (and even made up) superhero costumes (Ever heard of Goggle Guru? Don't forget, you heard it here first!)
~ worry one bit about the AMA, APA, or AAP warnings about screen time limits (Pixar marathon?  Check. Poptropica marathon? Yup.)

So there you have the lazy Bagels in a nutshell.

Unfortunately, no more lazy days this week as the responsibilities resurface.  But that's okay because my house and my teeth can only take so many lazy days before they crumble apart.

Oh, want to hear about those birdies now?  A couple months ago we got to watch as a mama bird began to build her nest on our flood light above our garage.  Heaven only knows why she'd EVER want to build a nest there as we use the garage as our main entry and exit and it is lifted and lowered multiple times a day.  But, I digress.  She worked hard, that mama bird, and we were all in awe of her natural ability to scavenge materials and form her nest.  Then she laid eggs, or so we assumed.  We couldn't actually see inside her nest because the clearance from the top of the flood light to the eave was so small.  But, out popped some little chickies one day, birdie babies chirping away for their mama as she fled each time we exited the garage.  I got some pictures of the babies on my phone.  They looked fuzzy and cozy and oh so cute.  Fast forward a week or so and my friend, Heather, comes over.  As she's coming in the house I proudly point out our baby birds and she gravely takes a step back and begins to tell me a horrible tale of bird mites and fumigation and home tenting, etc.  Truly the type of story nightmares are made of.  So, thanks to Heather, I start to circumvent the area directly below the nest each time I enter/exit the garage, feeling itchy regardless of the wide berth I give those babies.  Then one day we notice black spots on our driveway.  It looked like throw up.  Then we notice more black spots and some white stuff mixed it.  We look up and notice the nest appears to be "leaking" fluid that's dripping down all over the flood light.  Fuzzy baby birdie poopy.  Everywhere.  Now our fuzzy little baby birds aren't so cute and cuddly anymore and Dan is struggling against a strong inclination to eliminate them.  I am not so callous (just kidding, Pops), but I am also none too fond of those darn birdies anymore.  I believe they must be like teenagers now in bird years.  Shouldn't their mama be booting them from the nest soon?!  All I know is as soon as they go, I'm hosing everything down with the strongest pressure nozzle I can find.  I am so over the cute little fuzzy baby birdies that pooped everywhere and gave me buggy nightmares.  Also, I think they might be dying. Today they stopped chirping so much and seemed to be just panting away, languidly sprawled about in their too tiny nest.  What if they are diseased?! Although, maybe they are just hot.  I wouldn't blame them.  I'm hot.  It's hot.

Okay, bed time.  Hasta la pasta, people.

Oh, one more story.  Tonight when I got home from my Primary presidency meeting and took Oskar in to the boys' room to nurse him and put him down, Karsten popped up, waved, and said, "Hi Mom!  I missed you.  We were pretecting Daddy."  And then he flopped himself back down into his new Ikea big boy bed, all cute and fluffy like a little baby birdie.  And then he followed me out of the room and begged for more food and refused to go to sleep . . . like an annoying adolescent birdie chirping incessantly.  :D

He eventually fell asleep in our bed.  He likes our bed.  I like our bed.  Mmmm.  Beeeeed.

'Night 'night, bloggy journal and two readers.

Lazy Bagels:

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Hoping for Inspiration

I changed my blog.  It about did me in, but I did it (thanks a million for changing your html, Blogger - not!).  And now I am hoping it will inspire me to visit more and write more.

I deactivated my Facebook account with the intention of letting it lapse into complete deletion.  I am enjoying not having Facebook anymore, though I wrestle with myself a little bit over it.  I don't miss the wasted time, but I do miss the interactions with friends.  I don't miss constantly comparing myself to everyone else's bravo moments, but I do miss being inspired at times by those very same moments.  I don't miss the bickering.  I am opinionated and I am passionate, but I am trying to be less abrasive and more compassionate.  Facebook does not lend itself very well to this new goal of mine.

The very best thing about kicking Facebook to the curb has been this beautiful movement inward.  It's like I am closing the windows so I can stop staring at my neighbors and focus instead on what's going on right inside my own home.  It is so lovely, I can hardly explain it.  It has also resulted in us finally getting to know our real neighbors.  We've lived here for six years and only know a handful of people on our street.  Terrible, I know.  But we are finally having BBQ's and stopping to chat with neighbors out for a walk, etc.  It feels so wonderful and so real.  I love it.  I think the things I love here and now outweigh the things I miss online.

So, there I am.  I am deactivated, soon to be deleted, missing it, but not really missing it.  It doesn't get much more confusing than that.

I did keep my Instagram account, though.  I booted most of my followers so that I can "overgram" to my heart's content and not feel guilty about clogging up everyone's feeds with my storytelling approach to photography.

Here are a few things I've been jotting down in my phone.
  • Conversation with Karsten (3): 
K - "I wish we could fly like birds."
M(om) - "Me too!  You know how people fly?  In airplanes!"
K - "No, maybe we should buy some wings at the store and fly like birds!"
M - "That would be cool, but I don't think we can."
K - "Why?"
M - "Well, because nobody sells bird wings for people to use."
K - "Oh."
K - "We could borrow the wings from the birds and fly!"
M - "Huh, well, do you think that might hurt the birds if we take their wings?"
K - "We could just take them slowly and caaaaarefully."
M - "Well, we are going to have to find some reeeeeeally big birds with reeeeeeeally big wings for them to work for us.  People are big!"
K - "No, only the boys and me can fly. And not you and not Dad." 
I wish I could somehow cement in my mind the tone of voice he used to carry on this conversation.  It was so serious.  He was contemplative and totally problem solving and melting me all over with his adorable toddler voice.  I love him.
  • Karsten says "pursh" for push and "fer" is for.  "What's that fer, Mom?"  It's so pronounced, it's hilarious.
  • Anders declared at dinner the other night that he wanted some "Yoga Mate" like Dad.  Dad drinks Yerba Mate.  Wah - wah - wah.
  • The other day, Karsten was noticing that the light was waxing and waning because of scattered cloud cover. At the impending approach of one certain shady patch, Karsten yelled with gusto, "I think the clouds are dissingappear!"
  • At our neighborhood Independence Day BBQ, our awesome neighbor, Debbie, scooted over to us and, to introduce some juicy, scandalous, local bit of news, muttered, "Don't make me have to want to gossip."  Oh but we did laugh and laugh over that one.  I don't think we ever did hear what she intended to tell us, thankfully, but Dan and I got such a kick out of her very "I-take-no-responsibility-for-this" statement.
And because I love pictures, here are a few for your enjoyment.  All from my iPhone.

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