Friday, September 30, 2011

September 30th

My new poem:

Roll me in butter.
Dip me in lard.
Fry me up-
I'm big as a barge!

Pretty  much greatest day of my life today: I went to Five Guys, twice.  Umm...and then my husband bought a peach milkshake, from Herfy's, to split.

My body is hating me right now, but a "little cheeseburger, all the way" is SOOO good.

I know days like today are few and far between, but gosh did I enjoy it-


  • Wonder Boy slept from 9:30 to 9:00, only getting up to eat twice.
  • I was in bed by 10 last night.  Wow.
  • Mimi was up at 6:30, but I let her crawl in bed with me and she slept till 8...an hour later than normal!
  • I slept in till 9.  When was the last time that happened?
  • Breakfast for everybody, and by 10 we were at Grandma's for Ernie's weekly playdate (joint, with Ming Wai.)
  • Went thrifting with Aunt LoLo, Mimi, Wonder Boy, and Siu Jeun.  It was a bit hairy at times, but I found two sprouting jars, four gasket-lid mason jars for storing grains and pickles in, and a fabulous new dress.  Score!
  • Talked Aunt LoLo into lunch at Five Guys.  WITH three small children.  Memorable, but delicious....
  • Naps at Aunt LoLo's house (although Mims never did fall asleep,) then dropped Mimi off to join the big girls with Grandma, and took Wonder Boy to Costco.
  • Costco with one happy-to-be-out-and-about baby is a dream.  He's my easiest baby yet.  No one else believes me, because if he's not with me, he's most likely crying.  But he loves his mama, and we have fun on our adventures!
  • Home for another nap for baby, and got the kitchen cleaned up.
  • Played with musical instruments with Wonder Boy till Daddy got home, and we hit the town for our date night.  I don't know how I got so blessed- we've had a weekly date night almost every week since Ernie turned one.  
  • Back to the thrift store.....*blush* to pick up gaskets for my jars.  I didn't see them on the shelf, but Aunt LoLo asked me about them as we were driving away.
  • Since we were in the area...yeah, let's hit Five Guys again!  Wonder Daddy was feeling left out, you see.  Had to take one for the team.  (Shall I take this moment to announce that I've lost 7 pounds in the last two months?  I promise I'm not a pig all the time :)  
This weekend is another General Conference for our church- it will be broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah, to all over the world.  Amazing.  Every Latter-day Saint church building will receive it via satellite broadcast, and it will be on the internet too.  When I was little, we had to watch it at church....all 10 hours.  I'm pretty sure we didn't go to all those sessions!  There will be two general sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday, with a special session for the men Saturday night.  (The women's special session was last weekend, and the special session for the teen girls aka "Young Women" was before that.  The "Young Men" are lumped in with the men's broadcast Saturday night.)  I am SO excited.  

I know last time, I kind of "live blogged" my notes from conference, but I don't think I will this time.  I thought this would be a good place to store my notes, but I found out after the fact that someone on my friends list (I still don't know who) in Facebook marked my blog posts I shared there as "offensive", and this blog was blocked from being shared on Facebook.  I have an old friend who works at Facebook, he got me unblocked, but.... ouch.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 29th

Remember that school work we didn't do yesterday?  Did it today.  And today's school work.  And the lesson we're not doing tomorrow.

9_21_2011 019

I don't want to say "Focus!" again until at least Monday, yeah?  Haha.  She really is a rock star, and she loves school so very, very  much.  She's smart as a whip, and has a great memory.  She almost got in trouble today during her spelling test, because I would give her a word, then go help a sibling, and come back to give her another.  Well, one of the "helping a sibling" moments went on a bit long, and when I came back, she'd nearly finished the test by herself.  Did she look at anything?  No, she just memorized the list.  (And yeah, she got all the words right.)  Handwriting and spelling are the only truly challenging things for her right now- everything is just challenging enough that she sees it as a good puzzle.  I should clarify- her spelling tests, she aces.  It's when she needs to come up with a sentence, with a noun and verb and punctuation and all that, and then write it down.  System overload!  I help her break the words down into phonemes, and she does pretty well.  Smart cookie.

We had a WELCOME break this afternoon, when friends came to visit- she has a two-year-old and a newborn, and is just as eager as I am to have adult conversation.

We ended the day with chicken-black bean nachos, a poop-painted bathroom floor, a shower, and finally a late-night run to the library for Wonder Boy and I.  Poor girls, I didn't even wait till their "lights out," which made Wonder Daddy chuckle.

I found some new-to-me Garth Nix books, some color and letter board books for the Mimster, and a collection of chapter books for Ernie.  With Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Magic Treehouse, and Magic School Bus on her reading stack, we'll know if she likes any of the popular series- that would make library trips easier!  I also found some used books in super condition on the sale shelf- they'll be Christmas presents :)

Broadcast Bloggers Deal of the Day

Are you enjoying these posts as much as me?  They've been finding great stuff, for really great deals.  (And yeah- I've not been sharing the stuff I don't think is cool.)

$9 plus $2.50 shipping for a fancy cape, mask, and decorations to customize to your hero's heart's content.  Also, a big sheet of felt to cut out your super hero's initial, or insignia!

How fun would these be for Christmas...or party favors...or just a rainy day surprise activity?

(Full disclosure: I would make a small commission off any sales through this link.)







Go here to get your deal.
http://www.broadcastbloggers.com/deal.php?i=87&a=1068385


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Summer's End


All day long I've had this crazy, anxious feeling.  Like I'm supposed to be doing something, but I don't know what it is, so I didn't do it.  Part of it might be the change of season- I feel like I missed summer.  Should have made better use out of the few gorgeous weeks we had!

Yesterday I processed two crates of apples.

making applesauce and apple juice

I ended with 6 quarts of sauce, 6 quarts of juice, and a 9x13 pan of detritus that it took me a full day to bring myself to throw away.  I could have made vinegar!  I could have made pectin!  I could have made jelly!  In the end, all I've made is a bad case of heart burn and some soon-to-be compost.  Sheesh.  I'm grateful there were no broken jars, and everything sealed!  I used a mix of apples- I know one crate was golden delicious (with a few red pears scattered in.)  The second box had a right old variety- I know I saw golden delicious and granny smith.  There were tiny little pink apples that tasted like cider, too.  Pink Lady?  There were some that could have been galas or fujis.  Mixed together, they made a delicious juice!  (I'll be posting the how-to over at DIY Mama for anyone who's interested in the nitty gritty.)  The apples were a gift from a short-on-time and long-on-apples friend.  I still have another box in the garage of (delicious) apples from my mom's tree, but they'll hold for a while.  Mom still has 3 or 4 more trees that need harvesting as they ripen, it's a good thing Ernie has discovered her love of apple sauce!

I have become Wonder Boys favorite chew toy.
iPhone 015

I'm allowing it, as long as he doesn't have teeth.  He's nearly 8 months old, and poor little bugger doesn't have teeth yet!  I could swear that he's been teething for about 4 months now- loves to gnaw on things, and sometimes he is just SO miserable.

Princess Rapunzel
(Not today's outfit, but fancy nonetheless!)

I wonder if part of my anxiousness today is because we skipped out, and went to a birthday party?  Little Ming Wai turned 5 today- as soon as piano lessons were over, we gathered up everything we needed, dressed the girls in their Princess Finest, and went visiting.  We ended up staying till 5:30...no naps....cupcakes....candy necklaces....and all the while, I keep trying to forget that the dishes are still on the counter, and there's no milk in the fridge, and the sun is shining so shouldn't I be harvesting all those green tomatoes before they rot on the vine like last year?  (It will be done by next Friday.  Count on it.)

But, the kids had fun.  The dishes were still there when we got home.  Wonder Boy and I did the grocery shopping after the girls went to bed.  True, nothing but math got done today for school (Ernie does that on her own, on the mornings I teach) but we can get that done tomorrow.  I even managed a decent dinner- a curry, with yellow paste I'd stashed in the freezer after making too much, chicken, fresh basil, sweet potatoes, green tomatoes, all the ripe tomatillos I could find (3 or 4), some peanut butter, and a can of evaporated milk.  The evaporated milk plus the sweet potatoes and peanut butter made a fabulously silky sauce that rivaled others I've made with cream or coconut milk.  Yum.  This paragraph would not be complete without a shout out to my husband who ate dinner.  Quietly, yes.  But he ate it.  There are three things that man does not like to eat: Mustard, peanut butter, and sweet potatoes.  Lucky him I didn't find a way to include mustard in that curry!

iPhone 007

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest Post with Ernie, the Wonder Girl

Please welcome Ernie, who is practicing her letter writing and story-telling skills today!  She has chosen a picture from our last family vacation, and she is going to tell you about it.  I'll be transcribing.  And not editing.

IMG_3392

We had lots of fun at Chelan!  Grandma and Grandpa rented the houses.  It was lots of fun there!  This is a picture of me, my cousin Ming Wai, my cousin Siu Jeun, and my sister Mimi.  Daddy's that big one in the picture.  He's spinning us around on the merry-go-round.  That's our favorite toy on the park beach!  It's so much fun.

I love going to Chelan.  I shared a room with Ming Wai!  My sister shared a room with Siu Jeun.  The room that Ming Wai and I slept in was a princess room!  It was a princess room because there was a princess bed, princess night stands, we each had our own lamp, we both shared a dresser, and we both got to share a bed. We each got to have our own pillow.  Sometimes in the night, Ming Wai would pull the blankets away from me.

On the day we were going to leave, we had so much fun, because we went to the beach before we left.  We lived in the house we lived in last time we went.  Grandma and Grandpa didn't get to sleep in it, because there wasn't enough rooms for them to sleep in it!  They slept in a different house, which is blue.  There's a driveway that goes up, it's kind of like a slide- you go up it, and when you're leaving you go down!  It was lots of fun.

I really love going to Chelan.  Daddy took me and Mimi to a pool.  We first went to the inside pool, but it said "No flotation devices allowed."  So, we had to go to the outside pool.  The sign there said "Flotation devices allowed."  We had lots of fun, even though Daddy didn't even know he was going to have a shower at the first pool that we went to (the inside pool,) he just took a shower at the house!

There were sprinklers at the house- Ming Wai has ladybug sprinklers, and Siu Jeun broke them by stepping on the ladybug sprinklers.  There were still some sprinklers left.

Thanks for having us go on a vacation, Grandma and Grandpa.  It was SO much fun!

Love-
Ernie

Broadcast Bloggers Deal of the Day

When I was a newly wed, one of my favorite gifts we received was a subscription to Taste of Home magazine.  Have you read it?  It's been around for a long time, and is FULL of fantastic recipes.  If I had to classify it back then, it would be "Midwest Cooking."  Really, really yummy stuff, all submitted by readers.  I loved seeing new things to do with fruits and vegetables, from ladies who were dealing with bushels of garden produce.  Or, finding incredible time-saving recipes, from ladies who have been living the crockpot or soup pot life for years.

Go HERE to order your subscription, or paste this into your browser:
http://www.broadcastbloggers.com/deal.php?i=85&a=1068385

You can get three years (24 issues) for $16.99- details are below.  I love that there are NO ads in there, too. (How annoying is it to get a magazine in the mail, and find that it's mostly advertisements...or you have to tear off the back cover before the kids see the underwear models?  Yeah, no thanks.  I'm looking at you, Martha!)
 (Full disclosure- I will earn a small commission off any sales through this deal.)











Monday, September 26, 2011

The Jar and Q-Tip Trick

Photo

Mimi is finally getting bored with watching her sister do school every morning- I wondered when she would! I'm slowly filling a "school box" for her to play with while I'm teaching or her sister is busy. We have some fabulous flash cards and puzzles, from her grandparents, that she loves, and some art books and supplies.

This is an activity I just added this morning- it's super simple, but she enjoyed it! The only reason she stopped was that I called her for lunch- she requested a second jar, and dumped and filled them both a few times, haha.

This is just a spice jar, but something with smaller holes might be fun too, like a shaker jar or water bottle with a straw.

How to Organize Necklaces

I have a LOT of jewelry.  It's kind of fun, but I don't wear it near as much as I should.  It's been stuck away in boxes and bags for as long as I can remember!  Even when I use a pretty jewelry box, and stick it right on the dresser, it's so hard to remember to pull out a necklace, or take the time to open every individual jewelers box inside to find a particular ring or bracelet.

Jewelry Rack

OCD much?  I organized every necklace- reds, pearls, silver colored, beaded, silver chains with pendants, multi-colored, copper-colored, blue, and plain gold chains.  I'm looking at these...and with the exception of one necklace I made, one I purchased in Majorica (an island off the coast of Spain, go ahead and hate me) 98% of what I see either belonged to my mother or a grandmother!  I just love looking at these, there are so many memories mixed up in these pieces.

The red beaded necklace on the far left was my grandmother's.  It was a gift to her from her school teacher- she and her teacher both left rural Alabama together, to find jobs in Virginia.  They weren't so very far apart in age!  I can't imagine what it was like for Grandma to leave- nobody ever had, far as I know.  Another sister later moved away to California, but she's back down there now.  Grandma Mary and her teacher stayed friends- her teacher picked this up for Grandma during a trip to the Grand Canyon.

The blue necklace on the right was also Grandma's.  My mom told me, when I got this for Christmas one year, that she used to sneak into her mother's room and hold this up against her forehead and pretend she was a princess.  (And my mom is totally reading this, so I hope I got that story right!!)

I used a belt hanger to organize everything- it hangs nicely from a hook in my closet.  I love it!  I love seeing everything, and I love that they never get tangled any more.

How do you organize your jewelry?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shop Update

necklaces

We put a pretty little group of necklaces into the shop this week!  Boy was I glad to see some sunshine, so I could get some nice pictures.

two gold eggs

I think this would make the sweetest gift for a bride just starting her own nest, don't you?

three red eggs

This was my first time using the red jade beads, I think I like it!

three gold eggs

Three golden eggs.  I'm glad I tried mixing the gold and silver together- this goes with nearly every outfit!

five turquoise eggs

I still love these howlite beads- they're dyed a beautiful turquoise color, with tan striations.  They remind me so much of little robins eggs.

pink and green eggs

Pink and green.  This is a repeat of the colors my sister chose for her necklace.  Her husband's family is from China, and tradition there is that a family with a boy and a girl is perfect and complete.  Like yin and yang, but they refer to them as the dragon and the phoenix.  She chose these to be her dragon and phoenix colors!  

three gold eggs

Again with the three gold eggs.  These beads are big, and light- they're wooden, and painted.  (Update: This necklace is gone!)

new necklaces

I love the necklace chains- a shiny "ball chain."  I love the visual weight they have, and I love their sturdiness.  Wonder Boy likes to grab for my necklace, and I'm not really that worried about him breaking it!  If the necklace is made with stone beads, the whole thing is pretty indestructible.

I chose a 17" length for the chains- it's my absolute favorite chain length, and kind of hard to find.  It hits that sweet spot, where the pendant hits just below the collar bone.  It's such a flattering length.

checking out the new wares

(How do you like my shop assistant?)


Broadcast Bloggers Deal of the Day

Just a quick note- I'm part of a group of bloggers, Broadcast Bloggers.  Basically, bloggers for hire.  I'm pretty selective about what I advertise, so most of what's come through I never bothered to tell you guys about.  But, there's been some good stuff lately!  So, when I see things I think you guys might like, I'll put up a link.  Most deals last just a day or two, and I make about a dollar per sale.  So really, just putting this stuff up so you guys can get a great deal on things you might want :)


  • You can order Family Fun magazine, $5.99 for one year!  The cover price is $29.90.  Follow this link, and deal ends 9/22/11 at 11:59 MST. 
    • What does family fun mean to you? Crafts? Recipes? Party ideas? Travel tips? FamilyFun magazine dishes up these and more boredom-defying activities in over 180 splashy, colorful pages. Geared toward parents with young children, this energetic magazine promises to enrich the lives of families. Offering a "we've been there, we know" sort of comfort to parents, folksy first-person articles let parents know they're not alone. 
    • http://www.broadcastbloggers.com/deal.php?i=83&a=1068385

PS- If you want to be part of Broadcast Bloggers, let me know.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why I Don't Play Photographer

I got my camera, with visions of creating AMAZING portraits of my kids.

I've got some good shots, yes.

But not often of all three at the same time!

sibling photo shoot fail

(Oh, and to any concerned family members, NO, I did not cut Mimi's hair.  The kids were eating lunch, and I snatched a few moments with her and my camera.  She's wearing a pony tail...and could really use a barrette, or the head band she HAD been wearing earlier.)

Mimi Turns Three

Someone turned three.  The stinkhead.

9_21_2011 008

Please, don't ask her to "smile big."  She's an over achiever.

smile big for the camera!

9_21_2011 023

We partied at our family reunion (under CFL lights, isn't it great?)

Yum!

There was pink strawberry cake with pink cream cheese frosting.  There was Tinkerbell undies (she's been dry nearly a week!!  Hooray!) and there was tiny Rapunzel dolls.  We also grew to love Walmart, home of the last minute "perfect present for a three-year-old."

We partied again at home, so none of us had to schlep packages across the state.  Believe me, SHE didn't mind stretching out the party!

New dolls from Nana

She loves all things pink and fancy.  She loves to dance and hop.  She copies EVERYTHING Ernie does.  Like, she follows along behind her mimicking.  She loves watching Tangled, Pucca, Caillou, and Madeline movies.  She loves skirts and hair clips and pony tails.  She normally has a special stuffed animal or doll within reach, and the toy changes by the week.  She says "po-lo" instead of "pillow."  She leaves all her shoes in the yard, and plays barefoot- once a week or so I go around collecting them all.  She is a content child, she can happily play with a string for an hour!  She loves to suck her thumb, and lay on the floor next to Wonder Boy, holding his hand.  She's stayed dry and clean this past week only because she runs to the potty as often as every 10 minutes, hoping to earn a marshmallow for herself and Ernie.  We're going through a bag of marshmallows a week, and she's turning up her nose at MOST meals I serve.  Heh.  She loves oatmeal, peanut butter, bread and jam, and pizza.  She won't eat meat.  (Except chicken nuggets.  She doesn't know they're meat.)  She loves milk-  milk, almond, soy, chocolate, doesn't matter.  She loves them all.  She loves bananas and strawberries.  She loves Cheerios and popcorn.  She can be the sweetest thing you ever saw.  She has the best frowny face in the WORLD.  (Those lips.  They're incredible.)  She knows most of her colors, and can count to at least 10 reliably.  She sings the alphabet, in a crazy, jumbled up way.  I didn't teach her any of that.

9_21_2011 027

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest Post with Sarah, from Ask5for5

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography



Thank you Myrnie and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.



A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 



At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.



The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.



When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?





My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."







Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.



That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.



I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:



  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you're interested in participating this week.



A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.



Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.





p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!





Sunday, September 18, 2011

Leaving

Two years ago, my family was asked to start attending a local, tiny, Spanish-speaking, congregation.  And now our time there is up.

I have so many things from the last little bit that I want to get written down, but I need to get this written down first before I go too far and forget!

I have absolutely LOVED being in the Spanish branch, for so many reasons.

The women.  Oh, the women.  They are strong, talkative, loving, and almost lazily laid back.  When a sister answers a question in class (no hand raising here!) you can trust that she will talk, and talk, and talk.  She has an opinion, and by the time she's done, she will have taught her own mini lesson.  These women LOVE children, and children love them.  The five and six year olds still lay with their heads in their mother's or grandma's laps.  A woman named M, an abuela (grandma), declared that Wonder Boy was HER baby- as soon as he was old enough to be let out of my arms, she would rock him all through Sacrament meeting and most of Sunday school if I let her.  When I was holding him, she's sit behind me and make buzzing and clicking noises to get his attention and smiles.  The first thing she'd say to me every week was "Donde esta mi bebe?"  (Where is my baby?)  Our last Sunday there, she cried...because she wouldn't see my baby anymore!

The women aren't alone in loving children, the men...I've never seen anything like it.  An entire congregation of doting men.  (Granted, our normal attendance was 30-50, so "entire congregation" is not as ambitious a term as it may seem.)

I've loved being useful and appreciated.  Before I was called into the branch, they had a rotating roster of organists on call for services, and every week was an exciting waiting game to see if they'd remember to come and help.  In a lot of areas, pianists and organists are easy to come by, and it was nice to be truly, truly needed.

On a completely self-absorbed note, it was nice to have my voice appreciated :)  If pianists are easy to find in most congregations, singers are busting out of the woodwork.  For the first time in 5 years, I was ASKED to sing.  *beam*

I've loved the challenge of the language.  I'm not great at Spanish, but I'm better than I was two years ago!

I've learned that when I couldn't understand what someone was saying to me, I didn't need them to switch to English (most of the time.)  I needed them to speak each word clearly...with a big pause in between while my brain processed it.  I'll have to remember that next time I'm speaking with someone who's learning English!

I learned that "Why don't they just learn English, they're in America!" is an incredibly ignorant thing to say.  Remember our Spanish abuela?  She cleans houses every day, and spends nearly every evening in English classes.  She would have Ernie check her pronunciation on words over and over, trying to get them right.  Her mouth simply can't do it, and the words just don't stick in her head.

I never felt lonely in the branch.  Even though hardly anyone spoke to me most days, it was OK....because they couldn't.  You know?  There was never any falseness with these people.  If they complimented me, they meant it.  If they didn't talk to me, it's because they had nothing to say. Smiles and waves and hellos were enough, we weren't ever ignored.  We also made some good friends in the branch, who were friends in and out of those halls, and I'm going to miss them!

There were a few older women in the branch, and they were treated like queens.  There was always someone to hold their arms as they walked slowly down the hallways.  When they came into a room, there were always cheek to cheek kisses for them from the other women.

I learned that radishes are awesome on tacos.

I learned that there are a LOT of Spanish-speaking countries, and they all have different vocabularies and accents.  They also have established rivalries, apparently.

I learned that there are a handful of spanish-only hymns that aren't in my regular hymn book, and I really like them!

The branch was an incredible resource for missionary work, I watched so many families embrace the gospel and change their lives.

I'm a bit nervous to head back to our "home ward" today.  I'm not sure why, we have friends there, and it's ENGLISH speaking, and it's just like every ward I've ever attended.  It's been fun being challenged, I guess.  And I'm anxious about being an object of attention, from people wondering what it was like in the Branch and welcoming us back.  Isn't that silly, but there it is!

As soon as I can get my act together, I'll have updates about a recent family trip, shop updates, baby milestones, and everything fun!

--Myrnie

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Six Month Face Off

006

Plane ride 3

iPhone 010

Big, bald, and beautiful.  Man, I love my babies!