Sunday, October 26, 2008

Proposition 8, YES, Proposition 8

Yes, folks, it's time to get political.  I'm not overly opinionated (a little laid-back for my own good sometimes), but I guess it's time to speak up when I am passionate about an issue.  

If you've read our blog recently, you've probably noticed our little widget-guy over there--------> and even if you are not a Californian right now, this issue is a big one for all of us.  I won't tell you what you should think, but it's a good time for all of us to be informed.  Check out these links:  (They're overwhelming in their entirety but good places to get started.)

My friend Leah has an amazing blog where a lot of her posts lately have been devoted to this issue, and she has some well-thought-out opinions.  You've gotta scroll through her blog to see some of her past posts, too.  I was talking with Amanda, another friend of mine who lives in California, about her experiences lately with Prop 8, and she says it's been pretty crazy out there.  I won't go into details, but there are a lot of similarities in CA to what has been going on in Massachusetts, where gay marriage has also been legalized.

Read the links.  It's a hot issue.  But be careful: a lot of the info is pretty sickening.

And here's another one worth paying attention to:  it's a BYU devotional address given by Boyd K. Packer in March of 1992, entitled "The Fountain of Life."  I saw it on tv the other day and was refreshed by the pure doctrine available to us.  It is only available to listen to, though.  (No written transcripts.) 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just in Time for Halloween

I finally finished Raleigh's Halloween "Good Witch" costume this morning.  It's taken me about a month to find spare hours here and there to work on it.  I always like to have some kind of work-in-progress as a creative outlet, but I am glad this one is finally finished.  I really enjoy working with felt and fleece and tulle for costumes because the edges don't fray, and I don't have to be an expert seamstress to figure out how to piece it all together.  Plus, I can make up my own design, which I did here.  Up there is the cape.  I cut up a feather boa to line the collar, and stitched silver beads around the edges on the sides and bottom.
Here is an up-close of the hat.  I wanted it to look like a Mary Engelbreit illustration.  The flash is a little bright, so the colors are a little crazy.  I added a blanket stitch around the edge of the flower and spider in a shimmery-silver thread color.  And since I love tulle, I put some underneath the flower in black and purple.
More of the hat.
These are a pair of shoes of Raleigh's that she wore to Rikki's wedding.  They lasted about two days before the cheapo fabric began falling apart.  So I stitched some sturdy canvas to the broken places and then glued felt on top of it with an adhesive spray glue.  I sewed darts into the felt to make it lay flush to the shoe.  

Here's the skirt.  She wanted it to be a floor-length skirt, but I made it just above her ankles so the shoes would show.  Now I have just one last thing to add to the costume (and it will be a surprise for Halloween): I'm going to make her a matching ring to wear out of one of those white seal-caps that you take off of the Tropicana orange juice cartons.  They have a little "ring" part that can fit through kids' fingers and a circle on top that is great for gluing things onto.  I'll finish it all in time to be burned out on Halloween and excited to create things for the next holidays!  Au Revoir!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is What Happens Every Month . . .

 . . . when our home teachers start giving the lesson.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Selflessness and Selfishness of Parenthood

This morning I stayed home from church with Kensington, who has a virus called EM Minor (or something like that).  Her most noticeable symptom was a splotchy rash all over her body, but that has mostly died down, leaving her with just a lingering fever and green, yucky nose.  

I have to say, though, that I enjoy it when the kids are sick and all they want to do is SCHNUGGLE.  It's the best.  Kensington didn't want me to put her down this morning, so after I gave her a soothing bath and dressed her in some cozy clothes, I laid her on my shoulder, and we spent some quality time together.  Honestly, she has got to be the cutest baby ever.  (But aren't all babies when they're your own??)  She was really not feeling well because she never lifted her head up.  But the best part was when she started SINGING!  She sang this sweet little contented song with no real words (because she doesn't know any), but it was the happiest tune I've ever heard.  I think it was angel-song.
That got me thinking: why do people WAIT to have kids??  I hear things like: "We'll have them when our lives are more in order," or when it's more "convenient," or "when we feel more ready."  I've said those things myself.  And I think there is actually A LOT to be ready for.  And, true, having kids does bring an added measure of disorder and inconvenience.  But GOSH- let's not undervalue the SUBSTANCE they bring!
When I found out that I was pregnant with Raleigh, (our first child, albeit UNPLANNED), I cried for a week and felt like my life, as I thought it would and should be, was OVER.  I called my mom, and the first thing she said to me was, "Oh, Dionne, it's going to be so HARD."  (thanks, mom, you were right.)  I felt like Dallas and I hadn't had enough time to establish ourselves as a couple and as a separate family group- now we were adding a third party into the mix.  And she was COLICKY.  And a TERRIBLE SLEEPER.  And Dallas was working the night/early morning shift at UPS and going to school full-time.  And I gained 50 LBS.  But somehow, amid the constant stress and sticky, stinky mess that came with Sweet Raleigh-Kroggies, our life really began to take on an unexplainable substance that was sweeter than the sticky-ness, brighter than our basement apartment, and even stronger than the stink coming from Raleigh's lil' bum.  We love those whom we serve.  And parenthood brings countless opportunity for that, don't-cha think?  I'm thinking that regardless of all the time we spend together with our families, it's the times that we spend in service of one another that have the most substance, therefore, binding us together through our experience of mortality.
Consider this: a newborn baby does not have the ability to care for itself.  We, as parents, act in a literal Christlike manner as we care for our children, doing those things for them that they cannot do for themselves- if only they could.  We act in proxy.  We form lasting, eternal bonds with them in the prosaic, daily life.  The hum-drum now seems heavenly.  Life takes on more meaning.  (If only that thought could last with us when the nitty-gritty gets down-and-dirty and we forget.)  

A few months ago, I could feel this Christlike love as a recipient of its goodness.  It was in the form of MY MOTHER.  Dallas was supposed to go out of town for work for two weeks, and my mom had scheduled a trip to come visit all of us girls while he was gone and help me out a little.  But the day she came, I had been to the doctor and was diagnosed with INFLUENZA- not the yucky-stomach-kind, but the lay-in-bed-and-eat-only-applesauce-with-a-104-degree-fever-for-ten-days-and-lose-14-lbs-while-you're-at-it variety.  And she had come to PLAY this time!  We were all disappointed, and I was mostly out-of-it, but she got right to work, LOVING our girls, CLEANING the house (and all of my germs everywhere), doing LAUNDRY, wiping noses- and four-year-old BUMS, COOKING, and taking care of me.  And basically doing everything I would have been doing if I had been well.  And not only that, but doing for me what Dallas would have been doing if he was in town.  AND never making me feel like it was a burden for her at all.  I know it was a big sacrifice of her time out here to VACATION, but will I remember it forever?  YES!  And does that experience remind me that GOD KNOWS ME and knows beforehand all of my needs?  I think so.  Does He forget about us as soon as we have kids and leave it all up to the trusty parents??  NO!  I feel a greater measure of His interest in my life because He doesn't want me to ruin these kids!

I have a lot more to say about parenthood.  But for now I will leave just one thought: I remember when I was younger hearing Andrea Houghtaling say that she LOVED being pregnant.  (What?  Are you kidding me?  Read on.)  She said, "It's nine months that I get to spend with my baby that no one else does."  Aw, cute!  I cannot second that- because the last pregnancy I experienced with Choobers was pretty bad from day one: lots of crawling on the floor because I couldn't walk.  I couldn't wait to pop her outta there for everyone else to enjoy besides just me.  BUT I am starting to learn that those late-night "inconveniences" when I am ripped from my sleep to help a crying baby or 4- or 6- year old (is she really six?-holy cow) are some of the sweetest memories I have of our little critters.  They've only become as sweet as my outlook.

And THAT, my readers, is all I have to say about populating the world right now.  And, no, I am not pregnant.  

American Girl Dolls for Sale

"Lesa" by Raleigh
"Lile" by Raleigh
"Little American Girl Dolls are made to be great fun, costing a lot of money, although they keep your child busy when you are working.  Find all about them online or call us at 181005598."  
"Kmia" by Madeline

"Alaska" by Madeline

These American Girl Dolls are not the only things for sale.  Raleigh got some weird "candy brain" on Walk-to-School-Wednesday for walking to school, but she doesn't want it.  I asked her what she is going to do with it.  She's "going to sell it.  For four dollars.  Because why would I throw it away when somebody might want it?  And then I can get money from it."  So if you want to buy Raleigh's weird candy brain, I'll send it to you.  Really.  We still have it.  Although it looks more like an ear.  Not sure.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

So You Think Your Kids are Smart Until . . . .

You have a conversation like this:

Madeline: "Are baby dolls real mom?"
Dionne: "Like real babies?"
Madeline: "Yeah."
Dionne: "No, they're not real."
Madeline: "Oh."

very long pause

Madeline: "So, are they like the bodies of dead persons or what?"

another long pause

Dionne: "No."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Which Disney Princess are You?

You Are Snow White!
Image hosted by

Pure and trusting. You are a gentle soul who can get along with just about anyone. Everyone you meet instantly falls in love with you. How can they resist? You have a pure, lovable nature that's irresistable. Just don't trust everyone who comes across your path.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

(Thanks Kenda! That was fun.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Onions . . . mmm!

I guess I should apologize right now to Dallas, my neighbors, anyone on the street who has to be near my BREATH right now because I am just loving ONIONS lately.  MM mm, yeah.  I made this fresh guacamole (which included minced ONIONS) the other day to put on top of our chicken tacos w/ corn tortillas, and it is (WAS) basically to-die-for.  I sauteed some red & yellow peppers with ONION to add to the mix, and it was so yummy.  Can I just say that I LOVE ONIONS right now???

Here's a recipe for fresh guac that will make your family love you and you will love yourself for making it.  (Thanks, Amy, for the basic recipe.  The proportions are my own):

Fresh Guacamole
3 ripe, pitted avocados, mashed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8-1/4 cup white or yellow onion, finely chopped
Heaping handful of chopped fresh cilantro
One fresh garden tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
Lots of yummy kosher salt

Next, you've gotta try this recipe (thank you, Rebecca) for chicken tacos from  It is DREAMY.  We love to use corn tortillas as-of-late, and Rebecca's advice for tortilla-prep has revolutionized our dinners!  Here's what she does:

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray, and place six tortillas on the pan in a single layer.  (This is where I would jump in and add a sprinkling of kosher salt on each tortilla.)  Then broil in the oven on each side for about five minutes until crisp and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Also, be sure to serve with sauteed peppers & ONIONS, shredded monterey jack, fresh garden tomatoes, and shredded lettuce!

Thank you, and pardon my breath.