Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This post is not funny

Do you know what my dear boys did today?
They took advantage of the very rainy/muddy conditions and stamped their muddy hand prints in a continuous band around the entire house (outside).

When I told them to get the hose and wash the house off, they forgot to shut the windows first. 

Not funny.

Big mess.

Then I told D and S that they would be getting no birthday presents since I would probably have to buy new locks for the doors (they had filled the little keyholes with mud).

As you can see, this was not funny.

Tonight we were all weeding the garden, and D said, "Come on, Mom.  You'll forgive me.  Just think about all the good things I've done.  Just think about ... (fill in lots of good stuff.)  Lets not think about the past.  Lets think about the future."

Then Evan said,

"Mom, the future is in the sky."

(Then he looked up at the sky, I can only presume to look for the future.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ln Videos

video
video

Ln and Ring Around the Rosies, and Ln and the Chicks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I love music!

I love music.   I spent my entire teenage years dancing in my room.  Here's Fleetwood Mac's Gypsy.  Watching her dance around in front of the mirror reminds me so much of me back then, and my sister thought the same thing, although I never listened to Fleetwood Mac growing up.



Do you ever have the wish that you could go back in time to the 80's?  When music was good?  (U2, Def Leopard, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, etc)



Duran Duran below.  You can't beat Simon's voice or John Taylor's looks.  Still.  Don't you love real talent that happens naturally without being manufactured?
(Favorite songs: I Don't Want Your Love, The Reflex, Save a Prayer, Perfect Day, Hungry Like the Wolf, Rio, Come Undone, Ordinary World, The Seventh Stranger, Union of the Snake, Notorious, A Matter of Fact, Salt in the Rainbow, Is There Something I Should Know?, Friends of Mine...)
Duran Duran - always classy.

And then by the 90's you'd be the lead singer of the cranberries?

Everything... I give up trying to name every song.

Then for fun you would sing in a whole different way, say, in a Mariachi band?  Or Cumbia like Selena?



Or Mana?


And then, hailing back to our ancestors, we'd sing the lovely haunting melodies of Ireland and/or Old English songs like in the movie  "Under the Greenwood Tree".  Doesn't this group below look fun?!  It would be my dream come true!



Edit 7/22:

This one goes under moving traditional haunting melodies:

Personality test



As an activity with the young women at church we all took this color personality test.   Everyone is a mix of the four colors Red, Blue, Yellow and White, but what color are you predominantly?

I am predominantly Blue, with a far away second place of Red, then White, and last Yellow.

Pat is tied for first place with White and Yellow, and then tied for second place much lower with Red and Blue.  No surprise.

But sometimes I wonder if we are what we are because of the circumstances we're in.   Perhaps we'd be different at different stages in life.  In fact I'm sure of it.   Teenagers for example, and singles without the responsibilities of family are bound to have more Yellow in them because they can naturally be more carefree and fun.    Or for example, if I was married to someone with a different personality, would I be different too?   I think so, to a point.

The person teaching the class used the example of her Aunt, who she really grew to love only after her Uncle died.  You see, he was such a dominant, and her aunt was such a peacemaker, that her real personality didn't even come out until after he had passed.  I thought that was really interesting.

Can we develop the personality traits we wish we had?  Definitely, but it's not easy since it's not natural to us and sometimes requires that we step out of our comfort zone, or deal with a lot of frustration.  Believe me, I'm trying...

I've been reading about Gandhi, and I love this quote by him:

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Choose your words for they become actions.

Understand your actions, for they become habits.

Study your habits, for they will become your character.

Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny."

We may be born with certain personality traits, however, that cannot define us.   It is up to us to decide who we will be.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Video games vs. Chores

D: Why don't we have machines to do our piano lessons for us?

M: Because then you would have a mush brain and only know how to play video games.

D: Hey video games teach a lot- like how to drive.  Can't I turn my head into mush if I want to?

M: You can when your older but for now mom and dad will have to make the rules since we'll have to answer to God someday whether or not we taught you good things.

D:  Come on, I know the pledge of allegiance.  Isn't that enough for me to be on my own?

M: I think you'll need to know a little more than the pledge.

D: What about the Star Spangled Banner?  What if I learn that?

M: (rolling eyes)

-----------------------------------

The kids are extremely inventive when trying to get me to let them play video games.  I let them play one hour a day since it's summertime instead of just one hour on Saturday's, but sometimes through bad behavior they lose their "Mario time".   That's when they pull out all the stops.

"Mom can we brush your hair?"

"Mom are there any extra chores we can do to play Mario?"

Usually it's things like that.  In the past they've done a protest, marching with signs, etc.

Last week's was the most impressive of all; a little skit.  It was like the Chicken Little Movie, you know, acting out the end of the world if I don't let them play Mario.

Sam started out whispering in a ominous voice:
They saw the signs.

They tried to warn her!

Etc, Etc- progressively worsening.

The skit ended with desperate pleas for me to give in and save the world.  I did give in, not for the world's sake, but for creativity.  Pat- LN coated herself in a layer of vaseline this morning from her head to her shoes!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Isn't it good that our little ones are so cute?
Caught playing with the phone.



Otherwise mom might get a BIT frustrated.


 ...hands in soup...


...on table hands in food...



Okay let me scroll up to that cute picture at the beginning so I can de-stress myself again.  Okay.




The following is just what we've been doing lately in no particular order, rhyme or reason.

Since I'm trying to incorporate more vegetables and especially raw vegetables I tried this Spaghetti with Zucchini dish below.    I had leftover spaghetti sauce with turkey meatballs and I just warmed it and put it over some raw shredded zucchini.  Guess what?  It was great!


This is Salmon over romaine lettuce that has been tossed with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and lots of lemon juice.  This has long been one of my favorite no-carb meals.  I ate it since my mission and love it!



Sam was being really grumpy and lashing out at his brothers.  I wanted to yell at him and punish him, but instead I felt like I needed to do something with him.  I let him pick out a recipe to make in the kids cookbook and I was hoping he'd pick something I could eat, but alas, he picked cookies.  The hard kind that you have to make and then refrigerate and then roll out, then cut, then bake and then decorate.   As far as kids are concerned these are the best kind to make. The bad attitude completely left Sam for the 3 hour process of making these and he continued happy for the rest of the day!   I like the  Red, White and Blue frosting and the kids had a lot of fun.   Then I remembered that instead of me getting left all dishes with those hard to clean cookie cutters, I could make them clean up after themselves since that is good for them anyway and so they did the dishes and it was wonderful!  They really are growing up.  This morning Sam made scrambled eggs for breakfast all by himself.




E covered in cherry juice.

This kid is sneaky.  Pat was eating some Fruit Loops in front of the computer one night long after the kids were in bed.  He reached down to get the box of Fruit Loops off the floor to refill his bowl and they weren't there.  In fact, they weren't anywhere.  He found Evan hiding behind the couch eating them after he had snuck in and stolen them while Pat's back was turned.  He's been sneaking gum out of my purse too because he woke up with gum stuck in his hair and all over his pillow.  Good thing he's cute.

Our pathetic dog Bella.  She suddenly just stopped making tears for no apparent reason, and now her eyes are constantly full of crusty and slimy gunk.  I've been to three vet's now, the third being a dog eye doctor, and spent way too much money for medicines and I don't know what to do!  She needs eye drops all day long!  I can't do this!  Partly because I'm too busy and partly because I just don't remember to do it every two hours all day long.  Help!

Raw cookies/bars.  Very good and cures your sweet tooth if you're trying to eat better.  It's a mixture of almond butter, unsweetened coconut, raisins, and agave nectar for sweetness.  Pretty darn good, but they don't stay together in a cookie shape very good so we just scooped it. 
There it is folks!

Friday, July 15, 2011

My other Dad

Lemeki Fakalata Muo'mua 
Born February 6, 1940
Died June 14, 2011
I didn't know how much this man meant to me until he died.  I cried.  A lot.  In fact I was at piano sitting on the couch while my kids did their lessons, and I couldn't hold back the tears (I had just heard that morning) and Sister Mink turned around and astonished asked, what the matter was.  I, kind of laughing said, I didn't know.  My step-dad, Lemeki, died and I'm really sad about it, was all I could say.

See, this man had a bad side.  He would get drunk, and scare us.  He once came home with a machete cut across the top of his head from a fight he'd been in when he used to work at Black Angus as a dishwasher.  (I remember he used to bring home the uneaten brown bread for us.)  He'd play rugby and those Tongans were so rough.  Once he got his foot broken in a rugby game, and I could see the bones on top sticking up, but would he go see a doctor?  No.  He preferred to take care of it himself.  A lot of shocking things happened during the years he lived with us- stuff I won't ever share.  I felt sad that he used to be mean to Jeremy.  When Jeremy cried, he'd laugh at him and say he was laughing.  I think that was just his way of toughening him up, and perhaps it worked, but it was still mean.  Lemeki worked construction usually painting or roofing, and I remember the smell of the tar, and how horrible his hands looked.  Those poor hands sure went through a lot.  But we were poor, at times on welfare, and when my mom got a job finally, he didn't feel the need to work anymore, so that was lame.  Growing up we were perpetually poor.  And when he and my mom separated, I remember that I had to go live with my friend Jennifer C. for two weeks for my mom to safely get him out of the house.  And then for years afterward, he threatened to kidnap Stephanie, my then 3 year old little sister, so they would do custody visits at the mall, and we'd have to alert all the security guards first about the possibility of him trying to kidnap her.  I loved my little sister so much (still do) I was like her second mother since I was so much older than her, and I stressed heavily about the situation and had nightmares.  I hated him during those times.

But there were good memories too.  Here's some of mine with him:  Someone once gave us a huge above ground pool, and he dug out the dirt about 1 foot deep in a circle 24 feet in diameter to fit the pool and it was PERFECTLY flat with sloped sides.   I loved watching him do that, and I can remember not wanting to go to school, because I wanted to stay and help him work. Also he built a shed for us out of wood, and it even had a real roof and windows and we used it as a playhouse.  I thought it was a real talent to be able to build something so sturdy.

He had a horse when he was a kid growing up in Tonga who was his good friend and protected him on several occasions.  My mom says that he was in orchestra one day and he played a wrong note and the teacher hit him with a stick, and he grabbed it from his teacher and broke it.

He drank Lipton tea, and grew Taro in our back yard and ate all sorts of weird things, that in time weren't weird to us anymore.  Like how he'd just eat garlic cloves raw.  He'd always eat a huge stack of toast in the morning with hot chocolate, and dip the toast in the hot chocolate, and soon we were all eating the same thing.  Once for Steph's year old birthday, we had a huge lu'au, (Tongans are related to everyone) and we even raised three pigs in our back yard, and then he killed them and hung them up in our shed to drip dry of blood and then dug a huge pit to cook them.  I still remember helping my mom boil the water to scald their skin and scrape off the hair from it.

I remember being so poor that for a while we lived off of really old canned food storage in the garage, and one night my mom tried to make us a treat, and was able to make a cookie for each of us, though I don't know what was in that cookie, because it was a weird color, and looked really weird.  It tasted weird too, and Jeremy wouldn't eat it, but I did, and my dad was really proud of me.  I think because he knew it made my mom happy.  He and I used to sit in the kitchen, and with box cutter knives and for hours we'd strip the plastic off the old copper wires he'd brought home from jobs, and then when he had a good amount of wires folded up nicely and compactly in a box, he'd turn it in for money. 

I remember too when he came to live with us.  I don't know how my mom started dating him or whatever, but we went to visit him in his apartment once, and it was near our house, but in a worse area, and he had cockroaches scurrying everywhere (which hitched a ride with his stuff to our house), and the neighbor's dog bit me, and my mom was scared that I could have gotten rabies since it broke the skin.

I think they got married in Vegas, and I remember we all had matching outfits and he was young with kind of an afro.  I got a new last name.  Muomua.  And I guess because of child support issues with my real dad, he adopted us?  I don't know for sure, but I remember getting talked into that, and one day seeing his name on my birth certificate as the birth father which was shocking and made me mad because it just wasn't true.  Shortly after he moved in with us, his kids came over from Tonga to live with us too.  I remember borrowing an old van from the other Tongans, and there were no seats after the front seats, so we just sat on the floor for the ride to San Francisco, and I still remember their luggage was not like anyone else's.  They had boxes wrapped in leaves and tapa cloths.  It is a really cool memory.  There was Sii, Pelinda, and Mavae.  I guess the boys Sii and Mavae roomed with my brother and Pelinda moved in with me, but they were so much older that Sii and Pelinda moved out soon.  To where?  I don't know.  Mavae stayed for several years though, and he was my real and true brother.  We had a lot of fun in that pool.  I don't see him at all now though.  But I'm happy that at least he's friends with Stephanie.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table Jeremy, Mavae, and I all doing our homework together, but he seemed so much older since he was at Burbank highschool, and I was just in elementary school and junior high. 

I used to remember some of the Tongan they spoke, but now the only thing I remember my dad saying is "shook".  At least that's what it sounded like, and for all I know it's a cuss word. (?)

We used to go to lu'au's or big family/feasting/gatherings with everyone, and the ladies just loved me because I liked all the food.  I think we all did.  The house we ate at was a regular house just like ours, but there wasn't a chair or piece of furniture in the room.  Instead they covered the walls and floor with white butcher paper and then layed out mats on which they placed the many dishes of food.  I loved it, and miss it so much.  I was so happy when Stephanie got married, that Lemeki and Mavae, and all the brothers took it upon themselves to make all the food.  It was great.  I especially loved the spinach(or maybe taro?) and corned beef in foil, called Lu'pulu.

Toward the end of his life, Lemeki moved in with Stephanie and her husband T.  I was glad that on one visit home to see our families, that we decided to stay with her.  Lemeki and I never talked much.  He never spoke English very well, but we understood each other and I could feel that again as we lived under the same roof again for a couple days, and I also felt he really liked me and was proud of me.   I don't know if I could have taken him on like Steph did, but I hope it was good getting to know each other better.  I think it happened for a reason, and I hope she knows that she has 10x the patience that I would have.

Steph felt after a while that he needed to move out, and I think it was to spare her.   Soon after moving locations, he went to bed early one night, not feeling well, and the people he was living with found him in the morning.   I hope he died in his sleep, peacefully.  I think he had a hard life, and I wish he had found the gospel, but no matter what, wherever he is, he is resting from his labors, and I hope he knows that he is loved.   I wish my kids could have known him more, and I'm glad he at least met them.  He's not my dad, but for some years he was, and he was a big part of my life.  I grew up in an area that had lots of Tongans, and I miss that.  I love the people from the islands.  They are dear to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When do you feel powerful?

The kids have a secret club and they are always writing up secret stuff for their club.
D gave me the priviledge of reading one of the club books and it all had me laughing, but one page in particular.

Title of the page reads "When We Feel Powerful" and then they each wrote when:

D: When I am playing my favorite game.

S:When I'm happy.

E: When it's Saturday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Utah trip part 2

First of all I have to say that I feel really bad that I never got any pictures of adults.  Okay, there are a couple of Matthew and Pat, but they don't really count.   I wish I had gotten Papa Scott, Janis and everyone else we hung out with.  I'll tell you, trying to document everything and keep it journaled is not easy!

We never expected to be so taken in by Janis' sister Elaine and her husband John, and by Janis' sisterinlaw Colleen and her mother Beth.   They were so kind and insisted it was no trouble to feed us nearly every meal starting Saturday night all the way through Monday night!  It's not easy to add an extra 6 people to your table!  However, Pat and I kept commenting on how relaxing it was.  He said, it was the most relaxed vacation he's had in a long time.   There was a fantastic BBQ and I ate a whole huge burger in spite of myself because it was so good, and home-made donuts with everything you could want for breakfast, and delicious fried chicken and BBQ chicken and all the picnic fixin's, and terrific pork loin with the best potatoes and corn and desserts!  We thought we were just having 4th of July with all the family and were surprised (happily so) that we got to have much more time with them!


Below is the big picture dump with as many activities as I remembered to take pictures of.  The first thing we did in Blanding is their water park and the kids had a great time, but for me and LN there wasn't a space anywhere to sit or a bit of shade that wasn't taken so it was pretty hard and I wasn't thinking of taking pictures.   It was really busy because anyone with any connection to Blanding comes home for the 4th of July weekend since they really know how to celebrate!   Next some sight seeing:

The boys out site seeing in Blanding.  The tower.

Old Pioneer Home.

Outhouse.



D pulling wagon.


Teepee



Finding a geo-cash.


Fun mound of dirt that the boys later found out was a home that you could go into pictured below.


On the Fourth there was a parade and it was so fun!  The boys especially loved the big fire trucks and construction trucks that sprayed some fierce water!  I got to sit next to Colleen's mom Beth and she is almost 99 years old and just as spry as can be.   Last year she was the grand marshall of the parade as the oldest citizen of Blanding.

Getting ready for the parade!

Setting up our spot

LN sitting on the curb ready to grab candy!

My favorite!  Not only was this band playing Hoop-de-doo our favorite polka song which is actually the only polka song we know, but just check out the name of the band.  Gadianton Band.

These guys were so funny.  You have to check out this amazing contraption.  The sign that says 'I don't really play an instrument I'm just here for the looks'.  The two kids hanging off the back in tire swings.  The guy way up high riding in the Rameumpton.  Absolutely hilarious!

At our hotel there was a pool and we'd go swim whenever we could with Matthew.  We did our skits for everyone too.   It was so nice to sit on the lawn and enjoy a)grass, since that is a luxury here in NM, and b)seeing other families having BBQ's on their lawns, and c)have beautiful trees shading us and sidewalks and nice yards for the kids to play in.   I never knew how much I'd miss those things.

 One of the days there we all had a BBQ in the park.   It was the best park.  Old school.  Blanding really seemed like a cross between Utah and New Mexico.  There were a lot of Native Americans there like here, along with the pioneer stock.  I fell in love with one little Indian boy at this park and wanted to take him home with me!

Old school slide would make you shoot off at the end!

Old teeter-tooters!  Notice how S and E are exactly the same weight.  E is shorter but S is skinnier.



Old see-saw (I think that's what it's called).  All I know is all of this equipment was adult friendly and look at Pat and Dallas go!


Pat and Matthew were spinning the kids and I felt so sorry for them when I heard that two kids got thrown off (one was Evan and he got scraped up), and two other kids threw up.  Yet I wish they'd bring back real playground stuff like this.  Can you see Dallas in these nearly getting thrown?


LN loves swinging and had a great time.  Funny story: LN fell and was crying and that made Papa Scott start crying.  I was chuckling but it was very sweet. The world needs more caring people.

Sam and I went early in the morning on the Fourth to run the mile run together, but when they shot the gun and it was time to start he suddenly didn't feel good and the sun was too bright.  He really is very sensitive to the sun and has trouble with his eyes so we just walked a bit and then quit.

Then late at night there was a small fair where we let the kids ride three rides each and then we all sat on a blanket to watch the fireworks. 




The firework show was so awesome.   There was a band out playing good music and then when it was finally 10pm they started the fireworks.  Once I thought it was over and we all got up and suddenly the REAL finale started and it was so spectacular!  We all went back to our hotel happy, having had a great vacation and in the morning bid farewell to Papa Scott and Janis who were right next door to us and started the long drive home.  Our car did break down twice, but was quickly fixed and we made it home safe!  Thanks so much for inviting us Papa Scott and Janis!  We had such a great time!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Utah trip part 1

My dad invited us up to Utah to visit for the Fourth of July.  We met in the middle (Blanding) since he and Janis have family there and that way it was only a 7 hour drive for us.  We made a few stops along the way though.  In keeping with our theme this year of trying to explore our state of NM, we decided to stop and see Chaco since it was on the way.   It was unfortunately really hot and not a tree or bit of shade anywhere, so if we went here in the future I'd go in the cooler months preferably a cloudy day.  The kids had pretty much seen all the ruins they cared to see and Chaco has about 8 different ruins sites that you have to drive/walk and hike to.  Needless to say we didn't see all of them.  We saw two of them which was as much as we could manage with all the kids and the threat of sunburns and sweat dripping off of us.

The ruins were really neat though as you can see if you enlarge this picture below.  This was a central place where people from all different areas even hundreds of miles away would come.  No one knows why this place was chosen since there is little water, but it had dozens of huge kivas (the round things) which they say were for special ceremonies.  Once again the homes were accessed through the hole in the roof and lots of ladders.  Apparently there is a PBS special or something on Chaco I need to see sometime.

What Chaco was like so you can get an idea of what our pictures are all about.  By the way, everything is this color brown, but since I have the cheapest camera money can buy, everything turns out a really washed out weird bright grey color.  So try to imagine all the below pictures a warm brown like the above picture.

Long walks to the ruins

The girls

D's thinking spot

Mom saying, "Isn't this beautiful?"

Looking at pictures carved into the rock walls and hoping this rock doesn't fall on us.

This picture and the below are of the Pueblo Bonito site



Ceremonial Kiva

This place let us go in through the homes and the doors and pathways were TINY!


Perfect for Evan!
Painful for mom!
This was our favorite spot since it was a room they let us go into the had the roof restored like it used to be so it was dark and cool inside and I would have liked to set up home here! 

LN had her fingernails painted for the very first time.  Isn't it fun?

Here's the kids as we drove on the 20 miles of dirt roads to get to Chaco all watching a movie.   It took a while going that slow.

The next place we went after Chaco was to Four Corners!  We had to drive right by it too, so we figured we might as well stop.  Apparently it used to be free to stop and see this monument, but the government gave it over to the Indians/Native Americans and they charge $3 dollars per person!!  Yep.  Not per car.  Per person.

Dallas in four places at once.  We had a lot of fun pretending to get mad at each other and leave the state we were in by taking one step over to a different state. 

Like that girl is in two states since she has one foot on each side.  Really this is a picture of Sam who was super grumpy and hates the bright sun so he's laying down in the shade.

And then he got a nose bleed.   Pat had to get fry bread, but he told me mine was much better.  All I could think was, for that price I could have made at least 50 servings of fry bread!