Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"I didn't do it on purpose!"

Gesturing wildly and yelling "I didn't do it ON PURPOSE!" to a brother you've just unintentionally hurt,

isn't very reassuring.

And often incites more anger: "Yes you DID!"

Blue and Gold Banquet

For those of you not in scouts, a Blue and Gold banquet is essentially a dinner for the cub scouts and their families, in place of our usual monthly awards meeting (called 'pack' meeting).

The Webelos (10 yr olds) are in charge of the invitations. I created the front (see below), and my scouts will fill in the pertinent info on the inside (place, time, date), and address the envelopes.

I just love how the front of the card turned out! It will be printed in black and white on tan paper, but it's still going to look goooooood:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Old Favorite of Mine--Pachelbel Bedtime

If you by chance haven't seen this before, I think it's a fun video, and near the end are a couple different spots where dad is able to feel how much he loves his little girls inbetween all the reality of whiny kids, and the end is precious.

My kids have actually not been too whiny in the last day or two (I mean, relatively, of course they've had lots of moments). In fact, they've been in "creative" mode. Within the last 24 hours they:

1) Completely dressed up like cowboys with hats, shirts, belts, boots, and their hobby horses that Nana made them (mind you, we only have cheap cowboy hats--the rest of their costumes they made up with regular stuff they own). Spent a couple hours imagining themselves in the wild west.

2) Created a first aid kit for Nathan, "just in case," and decided they need first aid kits in their backpacks for school. Even squeezed 1/2 tsp antibacterial ointment in an itty bitty tupperware container to go with their little first aid kit.

3) When I asked them at dinnertime to use my orange peeler to peel oranges, they turned it into a masterpiece of 'orange' jackolanterns. Instead of quickly completing the task, they used the peeler to cut out shapes and designs from the orange peel part of the orange, much like you might see in the book "How are You Peeling?", only some of my kids' designs were abstract.

Too bad Rob's got our camera, or I would have posted pics of their creative ventures.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Life is meant to be shared.

Ok, ok, if you're not going to comment on my deep, 'thinker' sayings, tell me what you think about the "random stranger togetherness" demonstrated in this AWESOME commercial.*

Maybe part of it is both the dancer and people-person in me, but something rose up inside of me as I watched this, and my smile just kept spreading, reaching out way past my face, into my heart (I know, cheesy). First amused, but then I could feel the happiness inside. This cute video really brightened my day.

Gee I love free happiness.**

*Don't let the word 'commercial' deter you from clicking on the link. The only time it resembles a real commercial is in the last 2 seconds where TMobil tries to infer with the words "Life is for Sharing" that if you buy their cell phone you will now have the market on sharing life in a meaningful way.

**Want more free happiness? As long as you headed over to Natasha's site "Becoming Something," add to your smile with this post. My FAVORITE is the newspaper clipping that recites how a cop called out "Marco," trying to inject humor into a police chase, and the suspect called out "Polo"!!!! Bwaaaahaaaahaaaaaa! Anyway, I may or may not start stalking Natasha's blog and spend hours readiner her archives....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More sayings/poems. They just keep jumping out at me!

I am on a poem/quote 'kick,' I guess. I have two new sayings that I really like. One was quoted at the beginning of this week's episode of Criminal Minds:

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues of society are created, strengthened, and maintained."
Winston Churchill

No pressure, right? But I do love the quote, right next to David O McKay's "The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home"

That's not my second poem, by the way. This is:

"There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it ill becomes any of us
To talk about the rest of us."

Yeah, I know. It's a thinker.

This was a little saying that was part of a handkerchief game (Called 'Drop the Handkerchief') on the school playground in Cades Cove, Tennessee around the 1930s. I read it in a sweet little book called "Autumn Winifred Oliver does things different," by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Self worth

I saw the following poem hand-written in calligraphy, matted and framed, in a Dr's waiting room a few years ago, and I whipped out my pen and pad and copied it all down. Tonight I happened upon the poem--it was and is deeply touching to me. It wasn't titled, so here it is:

After awhile you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and charming a soul,

And you learn
That love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security,

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises,

And you begin to accept
Your defeats with the grace of a woman,
Not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build your road on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid flight.

After awhile you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soil
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers,

And then you discover
You really can endure
That you are strong
And you really do have worth.

Monroe Mohienweiser

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I'm Unbalanced

It's true.

I'm unbalanced.

I don't even need a shrink to tell me so--just a Wii.*

*If any of you have played Wii fit, you know what I'm talking about. Apparently marketers of Wii fit forgot to warn their customers to have a good, healthy self-esteem before stepping up to the 'plate'! It just cracked Tami, my neighbor, and me up when the game kept telling us we were 'unbalanced' when we didn't do so great at all the Wii fit games.

---Oh----and did y'all notice that the nice shot of the green gal doing yoga is picture perfect, but the picture of a real human trying to hula hoop is NOT??? No wonder the game calls us unbalanced! ; )

Friday, January 16, 2009

What would be YOUR answer to this naive person?

What would your answer be to the question asked in this article? I know she's asking in sincerety, but she might have just as well said, "You're just a mom?"

I think every husband who's ever joked about his wife eating bon bons all day, should read this article. And buy his wife flowers (luckily, mine has never done so. But you can still buy me flowers, dear).

My favorite line in Carolyn's respone to Tacoma is that moms are "...resisting [the] constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense."

Carolyn's response explains why I usually answer my phone messages by email. On my time, my terms. I can respond in an email whilst the fighting, etc is going on, and not have the person on the other end sound irritated that I can't give them my full attention. I should be flattered, but instead I feel guilty (for having kids!). By email I know I can be thorough, not be interrupted, or come back later if I was interrupted, and finish off a partially-written email without feeling guilty for parenting my children when they need it, or leaving for carpool etc, or prepping for scouts or whatnot when I need to.

Wow, didn't realize this was a soapbox for me. Getting off said soapbox now. ; )

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free Happiness

I know, I know, I said money can buy happiness.

But sometimes it's free!

I have to say, I LOVE love love having created a playlist, even if I can't find "Orange Colored Sky" by Natalie Cole, or "I Got a Funny Feeling You Don't Love Me Anymore" by Weird Al.

I forgot how much I love music. I love how I can mix and match individual songs digitally. Songs that matter to me. It totally beats making a mix cassette tape like I did in high school or college.* Hmmm, maybe next I'll get an Ipod! (not.)

Oh, and the good news is that for all of you who are annoyed by the playlists that start blasting music when you're stalking blogs, you can scroll down and turn their (my) music off.

My first song is welcoming everyone to my blog ("Consider yourself part of the furniture"), one of my favorite songs from the play Oliver! But it's flippin' five, yes, countem, five minutes long! So, until I make myself an mp3 edit of the best of the song, consider yourself part of the family for about a minute, and then, by golly, click on the next song!

*I later stopped listening to these mixes because I made most of them from a random song here and there from CDs/tapes that friends/roommates owned, not ones I had paid for. That's why being able to BUY individual songs is so cool now (and even better when they're free, like when creating a playlist for my blog!).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Youth!

Click on the picture to view the comic large enough to read. It's worth it. *chuckle*

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The "Resolutions" Post

On New Year's Eve I heard part of an ad that was saying, "...breaking resolutions since 1980...." It cracked me up. I thought, That's the way to go! Usually I don't stress too much about resolutions because they overwhelm me, & make me feel guilty and discouraged at the little progress I've made thus far in life (See the first part of Stephanie's blog & think ditto for me). Plus, it's tempting to try to change everything at once, which usually lasts about a week.

But, despite my poo-pooing things like this, I really do want to try to be better. If I did make a goal in the past, it's usually one goal, usually the goal to be nicer to my husband. Or the 'go to bed earlier' resolution (And this year I have been successful a small handful of times, yay me! Especially when I made it to bed [as in, going to sleep, done w/ bedtime routine] for one entire week!*)

Anyway, here are my goals this year, except the first one is a goal I started several months ago and has been helping me immensely:

Goal #1, made about July/Aug 2008, will continue in 2009:
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT beat myself up
for all the times I fail at goals or ambitions or even mundane tasks like laundry and meals (i.e. be a Realistic Idealist!). I started a "success" journal where I jotted down my successes (even if it was "got dressed today," "ran carpools," etc) instead of dwelling on my failures. I will be continuing the journal this year. It reduces guilt and the stress and helps my self-worth so I'm not so critical of myself.

Ok, now for the new goals:
1. Make meals consistently for my family. Plan a routine to decide on meals and decide when to prepare them since the 3-6 pm time is my least motivated time of day.
2. Flylady—GET off my franny! One load of dishes a day, one laundry a day, and 15 min. declutter a day
3. Scriptures & personal prayer daily (you'd think I'd all have this down by now, yet the days continue to get away from me and I didn't put the scripture reading/prayer first, even though it completely strengthens my day and my perspective when I do, and makes me a lot less mean and ornery to others, especially to my spouse and kids)
4. Early bedtime; Going to bed bed by 10 pm.
5. Humility. I've been so grouchy lately, which is when I tend to hold grudges and not feel very forgiving of others who are being just as imperfect as I am.
6. Saying NO to “me” time that is at the expense of my family.
7. Make school lunches the night before.
8. Exercise--twice a week walking, try to make a mile or two. *Maybe* try to walk to school w/ Rob and kids, which gets me up early and gets my exercise overwith. Exercise is another thing that helps me handle the day so much better, yet I often procrastinate doing it.
9. Say NO to me when I psychologically crave food/sweets, but am not hungry/full. And take in candy/chocolate in smaller amounts, a little after a meal, but not the entire peanut butter M&M bag.... Maybe just 2-3 handfulls. I'm being realistic here.

Wish me luck! (Really. Really wish me luck. I NEED it.)

*Well, ok, this really good week was only 5 days, but I'm extremely proud of my progress that week. From Sunday-Thursday night, I was in bed with eyes closed, at least attempting to sleep, by 10 pm. (We won't mention the part where Friday and Saturday night I ended up being up til midnight--I praise the successful days, and stopped beating myself up for my "bad" days. See goal #1. It rocks.)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

FINALLY- An Update!

We left CA on the 20th and drove to Utah to see LOTS of family. : ) This has been a very rich and fulfilling trip, renewing and refreshing us. It is also an extra-special treat for me to get to fly out to see both Katie & Shelly in Iowa & Illinois, and their new babies.

Saturday night--saw Stacy & Jake Yarrington, dear friends of ours.
Sunday--with the Wilsons, had a big family dinner at Sarah's house (Rob's sister) & picture with all siblings, spouses, and kids.
Monday--Ana, (Dave's wife, Dave is Rob's brother) had a darling baby girl, Gracie. We loved entertaining Ana's kids at mom Wilson's. In the next day or two, the cousins enjoyed a sleepover, lots of legos, chess, snowballs/men*, etc, and I went to see the adorable newborn & mom.
Thursday--Christmas! Shared a christmas dinner with the family, and talked to both Karolyn (my sister, in Russia on her mission) and Kyle (my brother, in Chile on his mission)on the phone, as well as spent time with the Coulams and Aarons (Rob's sisters & their families).
Saturday--went to an extended family Cropper get-together in Lehi, had a big family meal and re-enacted the nativity with all the cousins' kids. Also stopped at Aunt Lori's (my mom's younger sister) and loved talking with her so much that I braved driving later in more icy conditions to get to my mom's house.
Sunday--Cropper family dinner that we treated like our special Christmas Eve tradition, lumped in with Christmas morning, with all the immediate family that could make it. We had a candlelight ham dinner and opened gifts. We had Kristy (my sister) & Brian and their kids, Ken (my brother) & Shiann with Spencer & Boardin, mom & dad, Rob and me & our kids, and a sweet hispanic mom that is living in the basement apt., Ilda, & her two children.
Monday (Dec. 29th)--We left the kids with Nana & Grandpa Cropper, Rob flew home to return to work, and I flew out to Chicago.
Tuesday--A bus got me from Chicago to an Iowa city by 3 am, and I got to spend a day with Katie & Ben (my sister and her husband) and their new baby.
Wednesday--In the evening a rental car got me down to Shelly's house (my cousin) in an Illinois city, to see her new twins, her husband and kiddos, and got the bonus of having her parents and her brother Kevin visiting as well.
Friday--Tomorrow morning I will return by bus to the Chicago airport, then fly home to Utah. Saturday morning I get to attend Spencer's baptism (my nephew), and Saturday evening we will head home so that on Monday, January 5th, the kids can all start school again!

*Jeffrey loves the snow so much, he spent an average of 4-5 hours a day outside, playing and making things in the snow.

Ok, below is a MASSIVE picture log of our trip. If you didn't read the above, you won't know the locations of the pics below. (So, read the top part first) ; D

For those of you who want captions to explain the host of pics I posted, here they are:
1. Jeffrey reading almost upside down.
2. Wilson cousin sleepover.
3. Jeffrey and Nathan out in the snow.
4. Jeffrey lying in and eating snow.
5. Nathan posed (by me) in front of the Christmas tree.
6. Re-enacting the nativity scene with the Wilsons on Christmas Eve.
7. Bryce "leading" the music (unprompted) while we sang many wonderful Christmas carols on Christmas eve.
8. Christmas morning after the boys have opened their stockings from Santa.
9. Jeffrey and Bryce going sledding in Provo.
10. Extended Cropper family nativity re-enactment.
11. Rob and myself sitting on Santa's lap (my uncle Curtis)
12. Cropper cousin sleepover--UNDER the kitchen table!
13. Kristy (my sister) & Brian's air mattress next to Rob's & mine, next to Ken & Shiann's. THREE, countem, three double/queen air mattresses all fit into mom's little living room.
14. Ken (my brother) holding Nathan.
15. Shiann (Ken's wife, my SIL) holding their baby, Boardin. (Yes, as in, "snowboardin") : P
16. All the grandkids wearing homemade socks that someone in Kyle's mission (in Chile) knitted (or crocheted?) and sent to us.
17. The boys' third nativity re-enactment this year, completely organized and put on by Bryce (much like our Christmas tree getting put up)
18 & 19. Me, holding Abby (my sister Katie & Ben's new baby)
20. Abigail all by herself.
21. Sisters. : ) (Katie & me at Budget Rental Cars)
22. Shelly burping her twins, Brooklyn & Bradford.
23. Me, holding Brooklyn.
24. The twins, stacked. ; P
25. The digital cousins. (Shelly & me both on our laptops)