Friday, October 24, 2008

Would you rather....?

Have you ever played that game "Would you rather...?" It is that game where you chose between two things that are equally bad or good or have different drawbacks. So your answer reveals what is important to you or something about you. For example, "Would you rather be rich and fat or poor and skinny?" or "Would you rather be pretty and dumb or ugly and smart?" Well, I know Annie's answer to the pretty/dumb or ugly/smart question. Here is the conversation that revealed the answer to me:
Annie: Mom, how come you can't marry your cousin? (Now remember Annie is 7 and boys are starting to become interesting to her. She doesn't have any weird tendencies toward her family members. We are close with her cousins and she has several boys cousins, so naturally those are the ones she would be curious about first.)
Mom: Who do you want to marry?
Annie: Jeffrey. (Good choice- Jeffrey is quite the ladies' man!)
Mom: Well, if you marry your cousin, your kids would be squirrelly. (For lack of a better word.)
Annie: What does that mean?
Mom: They could be retarded. (I know not the most PC word, but I was trying to make a point by making the desire to marry a cousin less desirable.)
Annie: What does that mean? (Point not taken.)
Mom: They could be dumb.
Annie: Yeah, but why can't I marry my cousin?
Mom: (Desperate to find something unappealing about marrying your cousin.) Your kids could be ugly.
Annie: OHHH, never mind. I don't want ugly kids.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Up for daughter of the year!

These are my parents and right now they are serving a mission for our church in Czech Republic, Prague to be exact. I am a 34 year old woman and I have never been without my mom and dad for more than a few weeks. Even at college, they were still only 40 minutes away. Pathetic , I know, but nonetheless true! I have been doing surprisingly well without them- thanks for asking- but it has only been two weeks. I do miss them a lot, but I know they are where they should be. They have been planning this mission since the beginning of the year and this is the first time I have mentioned it on my blog. My sisters have written about it several times each- so they are probably in better contention for the "Daughter of the Year" award. But I am about to remedy that.

Now my intention here is to write a tribute to my parents, but first I must tell a little story. But stick with me, I will eventually tie it back to the parents. A few nights ago I was with some friends having dinner. The conversation turned to "What is your passion?" I think I may have asked this question because I am always curious to know what other people's passions are because I don't think I could name a specific passion or interest that really drives me. I enjoy many different things, but I can't think of one thing I just couldn't live without. The girl I asked answered that dancing was hers. I have also heard people say music or sports or writing or decorating or you get the idea. I have had this conversation with my mother as well and her feelings are similar to mine in that we can't think of just one thing. I think we both feel like this is some sort of shortcoming. Like we aren't a whole, complete person without a "passion." During this same evening with my girlfriends, the conversation at one point was about "getting over" some of the mistakes our parents made. Everyone expressed love for their parents, but I could tell a few people have had rougher childhoods. It made me think about what I have had to "get over". I mean sure my mother likes a clean house and sometimes I can hear the "a place for everything and everything in its place" echo in my ear. And my dad is a big proponent of saving and I get the image of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins singing "If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank safe and sound, soon that tuppence safely invested in the bank will compound." (And no, I didn't remember all the words to those lyrics. I LOVE google!) When I was younger, often when I came home from babysitting with cash or got a paycheck from whatever measly job I had, my dad, with a sly grin on his face, would sheepishly ask, "Do you want me to put that in the bank for you?" But really being clean and saving money- are these really vices I need to "get over?!?" I think many people across the nation and world could benefit from such upbringing. In fact, all this government bailout mess has happened while my dad has been gone and I am dying to know his opinion on it.
Now I am not trying to say my parents were perfect, I mean they made mistakes too. Just ask any one of their children- we will be able to recall any number of incidences by reciting famous Robbins' parents' sayings- i.e.- "Where's your brain- in you foot?" or "I'm mad now, you can move." (At this point, my parents are thinking "Hey wait a minute! What kind of tribute is this!") But what I am trying to say is that I think I have discovered my parents' passion... raising stable, healthly, well-adjusted children. I am learning this is no small feat and requires passionate dedication. I'm not saying if a person has another passion, they can't be a good parent, but I am eternally grateful my parents did devote so much of their energy to raising their family. I can't speak for my siblings, but I always felt like we were their #1 priority. One of the miracles of this kind of sacrifice is what is called the "ripple effect." When they put in the time, energy, love and devotion it requires to raise children well, the effects can be far-reaching. You see, because I had a childhood with good memories, a feeling of well-being and an understanding of who I am, I am in a better position to provide this for my children who then can provide this for their children and on and on. The effect can literally last forever. And really what better purpose in life is there than that! This is also why I am amazed at people who may have had a harder childhood, who can overcome it and still be the kind of parents they didn't have.
But for now the lucky people of the Czech Republic can receive some of the love I have so selfishly taken for granted for 34 years. Thank you mom and dad for making me who I am! I love you both and miss you terribly!
(And if that don't raise my standing in the "Daughter of the Year" competition, I don't know what will!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Might Be My Sibling If... Addendum

If your Saturday nights were not complete without the musical stylings of "The Lawrence Welk Show", you might be my sibling. I saw this on SNL and couldn't stop laughing. Even after I turned the TV off, I kept shaking the bed with my giggles. I hope you enjoy it as much as I "doo-doo-doo-oooo!"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"If all your natural instincts have been wrong, then the opposite must be right."- Seinfeld

This is a lesson I have had to learn this year. Without going into too much detail, I have come to the realization that some of my thinking and actions have not been the most beneficial for myself or my loved ones and this year I have had to not only learn this, but also put it into practice. This is no easy task I tell you. But let me give you an example- last week was my birthday. (I know, I know- I'm a week late posting this- but I'm a recovering perfectionist, so I am OK with that!) Anyway, in the past I have just sat back and waited for other people to recognize my birthday and for the most part I have been fine with it. But this year I knew I had to do something different. I decided I was worth celebrating in a fashion I enjoyed- man even typing that is hard! Why do we women think we have to do so much for everyone else and not take the time to recognize what we like and who we are? I suppose that is a post for another day because I just wanted to share my little "breakthrough" in planning and carrying out my own birthday party ever. Yes, I am 34 and this is the first time I have thrown myself a party and I must say it was a damn fun party. And yes, it has been my natural instinct to swear and if that is wrong, I don't wanna be right! I gathered together my sistas both literally and figuratively and had a night on the town. So here is what a group of moderately conservative women with a combined total of 34 children do to celebrate my 34th birthday.

They eat incredible food at "Epic."

They go to a silly play called "Scary Poppins." I love plays and have enjoyed Desert Star Theatre before. This one was cute, but the company was a lot more entertaining.
They just have fun being together.

And although these last two pictures would indicate otherwise, they don't drink!:)

I know a few of my friends felt a little weird, like they should have been the ones planning my birthday, but this was honestly something I needed to do and I'm glad I did it. I am so thankful for all these wonderful women who surround me and make me a better person. I love them all dearly. Just wait until next year when I have learned even more life-changing ideas and put them into practice at my birthday party. Bring on the mid-thirties!

7 year old logic will not be outdone by 9 year old logic.

Riding the coattails of the previous post, here is a small taste of Annie's thinking /personality. The other morning Finn was telling me about a movie they watched in school that was about animals in the future and what they will evolve into. For example he said, "Scientists say that in millions of years there will be octupuses that can crawl on land. There could also be rodents as big as humans. But they say the humans will all be dead by then." Annie overheard the conversation and piped in, "And so will all the scientists."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

9 Year Old Logic

Finn had some great one-liners this week, so I had to get them documented.
*Here's the set-up: We are having dinner and there are some brownies on the counter. Eric and I tell the kids they can't have any brownies until they finish dinner- you know parent manipulation 101. Annie of course is protesting.
Annie: Please, please can't I have some brownies. I don't like my dinner.
Eric: No, you have to finish your dinner first.
Annie: If you don't let me, I will just sneak them anyway.
Finn: It's not really sneaking if you tell everyone first.
Well said, Finn. Well said.

*I put up our Halloween decorations yesterday because my kids think it is a mortal sin if we don't have our decorations up by October 1st. This was the conversation this morning.
Finn: We need to get some scarier decorations.
Mom: What's wrong with the ones we have?
Finn: They are all smiling.

Then this afternoon, Finn came home from school and I was cleaning up after another day of canning- although this time I was training my padawan- Amber in the ways of Jedi canning, so none of the canned peaches he saw were for us.
Finn: How come when I come home from school you are always canning stuff?
Mom: So we can have good things to eat.
Finn, while putting chips and home canned salsa in his mouth and his sisters are downing a bottle of canned peaches: But you can stuff we don't even like to eat.
Mom: I guess you can just call me crazy because I like to do incredible amounts of work with little to no thanks or recognition. On second thought, you can probably just call me mom.