Thursday, July 29, 2010

Falling in Love

Is it possible to fall in love with someone everyday? Each day a little more deeply? I feel this way with Nathan (and with all my babies). Nathan decided to walk a few days ago (he has had the process down for awhile- he has just not been motivated to switch over from crawling).

Whenever I see Nathan walking around the house- in that funny baby way- I just want to pick him up and give him a big squeeze and a kiss (and I often do).

I have fallen for him. Hook. Line. And Sinker.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Vol-un-teer: A person who voluntarily (unconstrained by interference) undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service.

My favorite part of yard work is the element of surprise. There are many unpleasant surprises (snail shells, morning glory, and wasp nests), but there are also many pleasant ones. Every year I am amazed at the ability of the Earth to renew itself- in the spring I love to walk around my yard and see all the plants returning.
However much I enjoy all my returning plants (daffodils, roses, raspberries) and their wonders, the plants I really enjoy are the ones that surprise me. They are the plants that I did not plan on. The plants that although I may have at some time planted the mother plant somewhere in my yard- I really can't figure out how a seed made it way across the yard. They are my volunteer plants.

This year I have some really spectacular volunteer plants. Snapdragons, hollyhock, and columbine are a few volunteers that I enjoy. I always appreciate when anything beautiful grows without any effort on my part! I love my volunteers!

The word volunteer is such a positive, warm, fuzzy word. A person that will give up their time to help other people! or an organization! or save the whales! However, I have noticed that the definition of the word is changing. Phrases like "mandatory volunteer time" and "court ordered volunteer" are becoming common. I don't know if the semantics of volunteer are changing, but most of those phrases sound like an oxymoron. This summer we have had several interesting experiences with "volunteering."

Joseph is on the swim team this summer. It has been a fantastic experience for him and we will definitely be doing it again. They have a really strange approach to parent volunteers. At the very first meeting the coaches said there was a mandatory volunteer time per family to help with the swim meets. Now that swim season is almost over, the coaches are sending out threatening letters "volunteer or we will fine you for your lack of volunteer hours." I am not quite sure how they plan on collecting the fine. Although we will put in our total volunteer hours (and we actually enjoy helping!), I am a little perplexed why they feel the need to be so threatening. I certainly don't feel like a volunteer- at least by my definition!

Joseph has been working on his Citizenship in the Community merit badge. The one requirement keeping him from finishing the merit badge is the "8 hours of volunteer time for a non profit organization." He is 6 hours into the volunteer time and I am finding it is like pulling teeth to get him to finish. Do you remember when you were little and you were about to do your job (empty the dishwasher or sweep the floor) and then your Mom or Dad said "Becky do your job" and suddenly all the fun went out doing the job? This is the feeling I am getting with Joseph except I am on the parent side. He actually enjoys the volunteer time, but being told to do something almost always takes the personal satisfaction out of the activity. "So stop telling him to do the volunteer time," you say. Aye, there's the rub. If I stop nagging- I mean reminding he may just never finish the merit badge, get his Eagle, get into college, get a job, and be a productive member of society. I jest. However, I do feel like I am walking the fine line between nagging and helping my child reach his potential through a productive activity.

So here's a few questions!

Do you feel less inclined to volunteer when the work is required?
Does anyone have a great method to get a 11 year old scout to be self motivated in scouting or anything for that matter?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Reunion

What Happens When You Spend a Week With 42 of Your Nearest and Dearest Family Members:

It was a lovely week. I think we all may be a little tired and in need of a nap!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My New Best Friend or Maybe My Worst Enemy

Sorry for the blurry (stolen from the Internet) image!!

I bought one of these a few weeks ago. A lady in my ward brought her steam cleaner when we were cleaning the church a few months ago and I was impressed with the way it cleaned the grout between the tiles in the entrance. After potty training 3 children in this house, no matter how much I clean the grout in the bathrooms I still wonder if it would be better to tear it out and start over.

Along comes Mr. Steam Cleaner.

Grout in bathrooms. Check
Crayon off the wall. Check
Scary stuff dried on the wall. Check
Exterior of refrigerator. Check

I should love it, right?!

Except that I really don't enjoy cleaning that much (does anyone?!). I love to dejunk. I love a clean house. But the everyday wipe the counter for the three millionth time does not inspire me. I would much rather be reading a book or digging in the dirt. When we moved into this house someone told me that I would be a slave to my baseboards and crown molding: "You are going to spend your life cleaning that crown molding!" However, I haven't been a slave at all. On the contrary, I have largely ignored all my molding except for the few times a year I do really, really deep cleanings (are you horrified?!).

Now, the bar has been raised by this simple little machine. I started to clean my baseboards today. I was amazed (or horrified) how dirty they were and how much better they look. So I spent a large part of the day crawling around cleaning baseboards. I love it- areas that have bothered me and that I always ignore are now looking the way I would like.

But I am left wondering. Was I better off living in ignorance? Now I am spotting so many places that I can clean so perfectly and I am faced with a choice: to ignore (and feel guilty because I have seen the higher road) or to be a slave to my baseboards.

PS I think I need to get out of the house. Did I just write a whole post about my steam cleaner? ;-)

PPS No, I did not pay that much for the steam cleaner!!