Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Out and Proud

I don't care if it means I'm not cool... I am still obsessed with American Idol. I have watched it since it's beginnings as "Pop Idol" while I was still living in England and it was so fun. Imagine my excitement (and Paul's chagrin) when I found out the Americans were making their own version and Simon was even being exported for the project. Now in its 7th season here... I still love it. Maybe it caters to my judgmental side... I don't know. I make Paul tape it when I have to miss it. This season there are 2 LDS contestants in the top 20; a 23 year old girl named Brooke White and my favourite, a young 17 year old singing prodigy from Murray, Utah named David Archuleta. He is just darling and I think has a chance of winning the whole thing... the judges haven't said anything negative to him yet and he really is a cutie. I think it's time for another Donny Osmond! Stay tuned!

The Blame Game

This morning, some friends came over and while we were visiting, Abby got out every single one of her toys from the basket... no big surprise. I noticed that one of her cars had a big chip in it from throwing it around so I asked her about it (she always "crashes" and throws her cars around and I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach her about consequences). She told me, "I think it was the Holy Ghost that did it while I was asleep". Guess she didn't quite get the Family Home Evening lesson this week after all.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Forever and Ever and Ever

Abby's prayers have been so cute lately. She says "grateful" before everything. We have tried to teach her to mix it up a bit but she won't have it. Lately, I have started a little prayer journal for her so we don't ever forget them (ever and ever and ever). Here's a sample:

"Grateful for I can go to Hawaii someday. Grateful I can live on planet Earth for a long time. Grateful that Heavenly Father will be so kind to me. Grateful someday we can have a yellow dog named, Boaty and a baby sister named, Bugsy. Grateful I love my family so much forever and ever and my friends forever and ever and ever."

Today, another dream of hers has come true... she is having a girl play date with her friend Savannah who is a whole 2 days younger. They are hilarious playing Barbies, dancing and I caught them just now playing "Hippity Hop Hop" whatever that is. I snuck and took some photos. I love the picture where Abby has fallen and is sporting her most popular look: the bottom smile. They had blast!
Oh, one more thing. They were talking about "Wonder Woman" at lunch time (they had both been introduced to that fantastic 80's show at their friend James's house last week). Anyway, they discussed the "lasso of truth" and how she protects people from "bad guys" and her gold magic belt and finally, Abby gets a confused look on her face and asks, "Mummy, why does Wonder Woman have stars all over her nappy?" It was so funny. Then, Savannah said that James pretends to be Wonder Woman so I asked her if she pretended to be Batman. Then they discussed amongst themselves the differences between Batman and Wonder Woman... hilarious!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

Okay, so the "Twilight" book series by Stephenie Meyer, that Arizonan Mormon mom, has become somewhat of a phenomenon... just about everyone I know has read it (and some may be a little embarrassed, as I am, to admit they're hooked). It's not the most well-written book and the editing is atrocious but for whatever reason... we all love it! Well, we found out last year that Summit Entertainment was going to make it into a movie much to the apprehensiveness of most readers I imagine... how were they ever going to get the cast right? This morning I saw the first "Cullen family photos" (that's the vampire family for you uninitiated out there). So what do you think? I can't wait to see the Blacks! Check out for more.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Paul and Abby surprised me Valentine's Day morning with a nice card and a lovely box of chocolates. It was so nice compared to my home-made garland and cards I made them. Later that day, when I went to pick Paul up from school, I told him about the "newlyweds" upstairs and how I noticed the new hubby had bought his new wife flowers because of the ProFlowers box on their porch. I then went on and on about how silly it was to spend money on flowers when they were just going to die anyway and how we were much smarter and would rather receive store gift-certificates, etc. I talked about this the whole way home. Well, when we pulled in the driveway, Paul finally says, "I guess I should tell you those flowers are for you." What? Understand this: Paul has never bought me flowers before and he had already given me some nice things that day so I really had NO CLUE! Sure enough, there was a beautiful bouquet of tulips (my favorite flowers) addressed to me with the sentimental note attached that read: "Now you can't say I never buy you flowers." You can imagine how my tune changed. They are beautiful and light up the room! We ended our day with heart shaped pizzas Abby and I made together. What a great Valentine's Day! I am such a lucky girl.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Chewbacca Concert

We were at a friend's house the other day and 4-year-old James made Abby upset by telling her that "Star Wars" wasn't a girl's movie. I told her to ask him about Princess Leia and apparently, when she did, he told her Princess Leia turned into a boy in the movie. I showed her a picture of her at the end and asked her if that looked like a boy. Yeah, in your face, James (just kidding!)

Today I was just minding my own business... well, actually, I wasn't... I was listening in on Abby and Paul talking in the other room when I heard the funniest noise. It sounded just like if Chewbacca had a baby. I mentioned it to them and Abby immediately called it her "Chewbacca Concert". She didn't like the word "impression".

Monday, February 11, 2008

Routines vs. Rituals

My friend Lori invited me to join along with many of our friends and write a post about our family's daily routine. I really have been thinking about this topic and how I would respond for a few days now. My first reaction was embarrassment at the fact that my brilliant friends are able to keep to such awesome schedules and I can't. I never have been able to be so rigid... even on my mission. I am a planner, don't get me wrong, but my life is too different everyday for me to adhere to a time schedule so strictly. Between Paul's work and school, Abby's playgroup, church, my Tuesday night clubs and things that just pop up, I'm lucky to have a rough idea for the week, much less make a schedule that I could keep the same every day... I'd go insane or get depressed or overwhelmed or both just trying! No, instead, I plan in specific generalizations if that makes any sense whatsoever. For example, I meal plan 5-6 meals a week and go to the store with a shopping list, but I still leave some room for some last-minute inspiration in the aisles.

My family life is the same. We have rituals attached to the things we do as opposed to routines. Meal times are generally at the same times but even those times are altered depending on what's happening that day. What we do keep constant is the ritual, in this case, the prayer over the food which we take turns offering. If sandwiches are on the menu, I have to make them into reindeer or butterflies (just triangles really). Paul usually gets home from his early-morning job at about 8:00 a.m. which is also about the time Abby wakes up so he normally gets breakfast for her. She then gets to watch a couple of cartoons while Paul and I trade shifts as he takes a nap and I get up for the day. The TV then goes off until prime-time (and since the writers strike, it's not on every night). Throughout the day there is usually some kind of rough-housing with Paul and some kind of learning activities with me (reading, writing, cooking, art, etc.). We have playtime together, quiet time alone and she has some chores she does as needed (sorting the silverware from the dishwasher, getting out the dishwasher soap and putting it in the machine, folding washcloths, sorting socks, picking up toys, etc.) Of course, we can't fit all of this into every single day, but we get them done most days and that's good enough I hope. We have a very strict bedtime ritual involving teeth-brushing, face washing, story-telling (always starring Princess Abigail and her crazy adventures), kisses, hugs, prayer and if she feels like it, classical music (Chopin is her favourite, but sometimes she asks for Beethoven or Mozart... weird, I know). We have similar rituals attached to Family Home Evenings, car rides, and other things like that.

We are all pretty easy-going, flexible and adaptable people (you have to be if you have ever had to deal with US Immigration... planning is impossible!) Abby is able to function very well even when staying at other people's homes with us and even while traveling to England. I think that having rituals has given us , cohesion, constancy and closeness as a family and allows us to function with an ever-changing schedule. We have regular goal-setting sessions and that is always great for pointing out the things that need changing or prioritizing. I think I am going to make a rough schedule for cleaning the house... it just doesn't get done if I resort to the "do it when it needs doing" method.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Our New Road Trip Game

Driving long distances is boring enough without having to revisit all the same car games... you know the ones: The License Plate Game, The Movie Title Game and A-Z. Oh, and my personal favourite Baynes Family Original: I name a football (soccer for all the Americans and Aussies) team and Paul tells the name of the ground/stadium. Well, those will only get you so far... especially after a few drives to California and back! Well, we came up with a new one on our recent trip to Idaho. It combines rubbernecking, criticizing other drivers and my personal favourite... SHOPPING! What could this brilliant new car game possibly be? Well, here's the gist: You get a hundred fake dollars for every driver who is on their mobile phones in their car. Then, when you're on the long boring parts with no cars, you get to decide how to spend your fake money! With an average of 30% of drivers on the phone just on the way to Salt Lake City, our fund grew quickly. A recent study attributed 2600 automobile deaths and 330,000 injuries to drivers on cell phones (that's not even taking into account all accidents and near misses of course). INSANE! Something needs to be done!