Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Family Traditions

Last Christmas I started a tradition with Tori that I planned to carry on to this year. We bought some cookies she thought Santa would like and put them and some carrots out for his Reindeer. Tori was so excited in the morning when she saw the carrots had been chomped and the cookies devoured. Just the memory of her saying "He ate the cookies!" was enough to make me want to do it again this year. Only instead of buying them, I asked her if she would like to bake them! Of course she was ecstatic, and when Eadie was down for her nap we found the simplest recipe we could and began mixing away. She loved every moment, especially putting the icing on, so I made sure I got some pics.



After they had been made, Tori was so excited about her creation she actually spent at least another hour standing there playing with them. Her idea of fun was to move them from the tray onto the rack and back again while pretending she was the host of a cooking show. I listened to her say over and over, "OK, now they are all finished we will move them over to here...." at which she would, one by one place them in the other place. "There we go", she would say. "Now, there are red ones, green ones, and these ones are blue. OK, now they are all finished we will move them over to here..." and so it went on. I managed to snap a pic of the intricate process:


It was adorable until I realised that her grimy little fingers were all over the food that I was supposed to eat....... But yes, they were nevertheless delicious! ;-)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CHRISTMAS DAY

At approximately 6am Vettoria and Eadith woke up and Tori ran into our bedroom yelling "It's Christmas! Wakeup daddy it's Christmas!" As excitedly as our 6am bodies could, we said "I wonder if Santa has come?!" The two of them hurried down the stairs as fast as their little legs could carry them, and joyfully exclaimed "He came!" when they saw the group of presents waiting for them.

They ripped open the paper and squealed with delight as they discovered repeatedly-asked-for gifts right there in their hot little hands. Tori had been asking for Aqua Sand, a new 'magic sand' that set in water but was dry when you took it out. She also loved her new 'Sunday DVD' of David & Goliath which now takes her awesome appropriate Sunday DVD collection up to a grand total of THREE, which she thinks is fabulous. A couple more little nic-nacs added to her overwhelming excitement, which made Juan and I feel like successful present-buyers for our oldest little girl.
Eadie opened her first gift, a 'magic drawer' which she took to instantly. Before opening anything else she had become obsessed with drawing, erasing, and drawing again on her new favorite toy. Despite a few other nic-nacs, before long she was sprawled over the kitchen floor drawing like a pro. Meanwhile, Tori was becoming familiar with her new Aqua Sand, a gift which I regretted buying instantly when, come 7.30am the pink sand was all over the floor and water was splattered all over everything else. And who was left to clean the mess? Moi. Merry Christmas mummy!! Here's some pics of our girls having fun:


They also received some very special gifts from some very special people. Grandma and Grandpa Hunt who now live in America sent them beautiful frames with special messages, and their Great Grandma Hunt made and sent them much cherished woolen dolls, which they absolutely fell in love with:


This year Juan said he wanted something hand-made from the girls, so we set about making something that he could take into work. We decided on a picture frame with a cute photo of the girls inside. The girls decorated the frame with a special message, and Juan was very excited at his new office show-piece:


The morning was a 'present-giving success', but the best part was when Juan and I would look over each other and silently read the others mind smiling and thinking, "Ah yes... this is what it's all about..." To our much-loved friends and family, Merry Christmas to all, we hope your Christmas is filled with many happy memories and the joy of the gospel in your lives :-)

CHRISTMAS EVE - Montes Style!

As the first instalment of our Christmas weekend, we start with Christmas Eve. What a night! Twelve adults, nine children under eight, a tonne of food, and presents galore! That about sums it up. Oh, but did I mention the wonderful surprise of Karla and Josh visiting from Canada, and Carmen and Joe driving down from Emerald? It has been so wonderful over the past week to catch up and see the kids play together again. Despite the distance we have had regular visit from both families at least yearly, which makes the separation easier. Tori and Eadie now recognise their cousins when they reunite, and it's special for Juan and I to catch up with them and their lives.

This particular night we were responsible for the desert, and the treat of choice this year was ICE CREAM CAKE. Juan took the responsibility upon himself to make two cakes of which he was relieved and proud to say, were delicious. But this meant that when we arrived and put the cakes in the freezer, despite my constant "Anything I can do to help?", between the three pure-bread Latina kitchen hands fussing over the mountain of food in the kitchen, there was really not a lot pregnant ol' me could do... so this pic was taken pretty early into the night.... needless to say I didn't keep that look on my face all night, but I was very comfortable there, none-the-less:


After a delicious dinner it was time to give the kids their presents. I am happy to report that in the Montes family (meaning Juan's family of origin) we all decided it was a good idea to just get presents for the kids. Great decision! Each family picks a child's name out of a hat and we buy for that child. So simple, so great! This year Eadie and Tori were given fabulous gifts from Tia Yanci and their Abuelos. The girls were so excited, and Eadie now falls asleep to the sounds of her singing book from Yanci, while Tori excitedly plays shop with her awesome grocery set, while wearing her 'diamond' tiara and matching earrings from Abuelita and Abuelito. You can imagine their excitement!:



After presents the grownups watched the kids run a muck playing with their new toys until late into the night. It was great just to sit and catch up while laughing at our cute kids. We particularly noticed one funny thing. Elly was given a make-up set for her present which consisted of blue lipstick and eye-shadows. She excitedly put it on herself, and you can imagine how cool the other girls thought it was! So of course Elly took it upon herself to dress them up too! The results were hilarious:





We then took the family Christmas snaps which came out really well despite crazy kids running everywhere and crazed parents trying our best to control them all! Check these out:






One of my favorite things to notice when all the Montes grandchildren are together is their hair! All of the girls looks so similar in their little Montes ways, and they each have their own version of latina curls. It is so cute. Elly with her large ringlets, Sofia with her long spirally waves; Tori with her loose long curls, and Kira with her tight ringlets from the top to the bottom. Then of course there is Isabella with her gorgeous wild afro curls, and Eadie with her 'good girl at the front, party at the back' curls, which my parents refer to as the Mullet. ;-)

As usual with Juan's family it was a great night, and then we all left exhausted and excited for Christmas Day... which brings me to my next segment......


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where's My Melon-Head??

Daddy affectionately refers to Eadie as Melon Head, ever since a few months ago she was 'diagnosed' with an "enlarged head" by our local GP. Eadie actually loves the nick-name; when Daddy says "Where's my Melon-Head?" she quickly smiles and puts her hands to the top of her head as if to say, "Here I am!" So cute.

Some people may think to themselves, "What's the big deal? So her head is slightly larger than other 18 month olds, it's ok...."
Well, her head was a bit bigger than 'slightly larger'. She was completely off the chart of other children her age. She was actually off the chart for two and three year olds! Needless to say, an appointment was made for us at the hospital to visit the Children's Development specialist. Although I knew there was nothing abnormal with her development I was still nervous walking into the hospital and looking around at all the children visiting the same specialists. Handicapped children in wheel-chairs, some walking with crutches, many with broken bones. Some had autistic issues, others had facial deformities. I couldn't help but wonder if I was missing something I should have paid attention to in my baby girl.

Once inside, I was instantly relieved when the doctor took one look at her and said, "Well, I can see that her motor skills are perfectly fine, and she seems to be completely on par with other children her age in all other ways... I wonder why your doctor sent you to see me?" What a relief! After re-measuring and discussing her history, she then asked me, "Do yo know if you have a large head?" I told her I didn't think so, but I had never had it measured. She measured it. To my utter shock it turns out I also have an ENLARGED HEAD! My head circumference is in the 98th percentile of females my age!! What the--?? You mean she gets her Melon Head from ME?! The Doctor then asked me to measure my husband's head when I arrived home, which I did. It turns out Juan ALSO has an enlarged head!! Thank heavens his head was bigger than mine (just slightly, believe it or not...), otherwise I would NEVER live it down.

Needless to say, after reviewing her stats and comparing all our head measurements, the specialist came to the conclusion that, despite the fact that her head is the size of an averege 5-6 year old, there was no reason to be concerned; Eadie simply had a large head that was most likely passed on to her from us, her big-headed parents.. Hmm... What a relief...?? Not so sure anymore! ;-)

Looks like Eadie is not the only Melon Head in our family!! And to my brother Jamie - you're now off the hook!! xx

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pregnancy Update - Week 29

So we are close to being 30 weeks pregnant! It is very exciting and we are anxiously looking forward to the arrival of our third little princess. I am now fully feeling the effects of "being pregnant", something I feel I have avoided for quite a long time this round. I now have fully "popped" as people tell me, and my clothes are feeling very snug and tight around my belly. Needless to say, Belly Belts and maternity clothes are all I wear!

I feel heavy and walk with the pregnancy waddle, despite the fact that I am technically not overly 'big' (according to the spectators). But I definitely feel the pressures of the belly and baby is moving often and strong. It is a nice relief since it took her so long to actually begin moving!

The girls are gretting more and more excited about their new little baby. Dolls and pretending to change nappies are becoming a regular part of play time. Even Eadie is in on it!

At last my appetite has subsided and I feel I am eating regular sized meals at normal intervals. Then, about 2 months ago Cassandra and I joined our gym's Aqua class. We both became addicted to it and we now go at least twice a week, often up to 4 days a week! The classes are lots of fun and we just love the extra time relaxing in the pool knowing the girls are safe and we can just chill and well, play in the pool! I am also happy to report that I am even developing a tan! I know, I am still the lightest skinned person in my family, but I'm hoping some of their gorgeous pigment has rubbed off on me over the years.... Hmm???
The pics shown were taken just this weekend when Juan and I went to his work Christmas Party. It was our first date since our Anniversary in February (and maybe a temple trip or two in between) and I was so excited! A chance to dress up fancy, go out just the two of us, hold hands and eat yummy food that was OFFERED to us on platters. I couldn't believe how excited I was... have I been a mother to toddlers for too long??? ;-)

Anyway, the night didn't turn out exactly as we had planned. The party was more of a stand-around holding wine glasses filled with orange juice while eyeing all the waitresses with the hors d'oeuvres who always seemed to avoid our section of the floor! After 1 1/2 hours I was sick of chasing them around the room, and Juan's work buddies had other plans, so we took off to have some fun! Our fun turned into driving around looking for various cafes that were no longer there, then we settled on ice cream at a local hangout and talked and laughed until about 9:45pm when we came home to relieve Cassandra from her babysitting duties for the night. Not quite the HOT DATE we had planned, but it was certainly wonderful to hold hands, laugh at silly jokes, and look into eachother's eyes without rolling them in frustration over something or other!

The pic above shows off a bit of my 29 week belly, and here is another one of us all dressed up on our date night. We realise it may very well be the last time we are alone at night together for the next 10 weeks and far, far beyond!

Anyway, I am honestly freaking out about having a third baby (I do have only two hands afterall!), but I am also so excited to meet her and start our life together. Well, that will happen soon enough, with only 11 weeks to go.. March 17 is quickly approaching! C'mon baby!

Monday, December 6, 2010

HILARIOUS MOMENT

I just have to share this hilarious story before I forget and then it will be gone forever....

It took place a couple of months ago. I made scones as a morning snack for us. It was Tori's first time experiencing scones, so I dressed them up with jam and cream to make them exciting. I gave one to her and she quickly licked all the cream off and admitted she didn't want to finish the rest, however she would love some more cream. I told her the only way she was getting more cream was if she finished that scone and wanted another one with cream on the top. So she decided to eat the whole scone, pretending she thought it was yummy by making "Hmmm, yum!" noises as she ate it.

Once she had finished she came back into the kitchen and held up her empty plate.
"I finished mum!" she said. "Now can I have another scone with cream?" She then added very seriously, "Only this time can I have it without the jam or the scone?"

It was so funny I couldn't stop myself from laughing out loud!
"So you just want some cream then?" I laughed. She nodded and gave a cheeky grin, and I couldn't help but reward her ingenuity. How adorable is my daughter????  :-)

My little Busy Bee

Another cute moment to share:
We ere eating dinner the other night - chicken nuggets and vegies - and I looked over when Tori said, "Mum look, I made a bumble bee!" I was so impressed I just had to snap a pic. She had used the wooden skewers we use to hold the corn, as antennae on the bee. Very impressive.. And so dang cute!!


Our Big Day Out

An Amazing thing happened the other weekend - we had a Saturday FREE! That meant there were no meetings, no activities, no studies, NO SCHEDULE! What a wonderful way to begin the day! What to do?? Daddy suggested we go to the Museum in the city. Then I added in a swim at Southbank. THEN we decided to take the infamous BUS into the city! The girls are OBSESSED with transport that move large amounts of people. Trains, buses, planes, boats, you name it. We took the girls on a train about a year ago and Tori LOVED it. So we decided that this day was the one we went on the bus for the first time. (The experience reminded me why I don't catch buses with children -- but more on that later!)

So, we went to the local shops and caught the bus into the city. The museum was lots of fun, the girls just LOVED it. And Juan and I thought it was pretty great too! Tori was obsessed with every animal, it was so exciting to see her little face light up with ever corner turned.





After the museum we went to Southbank for a splash in the water. At first I was confused why Juan wanted to stay in the 'big kids' area to 'help Vettoria swim' instead of coming to the usual toddler area the kids were used to... it wasn't until I came over that I realised there was a giant screen set up above the beach area that was screening the Cricket 20/20 match. UGH. FINE!!! So we stood in the beach area with the kids splashing us and watched the 'exciting' cricket for a little bit. After which we made our way to get some lunch (Subway, which is Vettoria's favorite. SO relieved I have weened her off suggesting McDonalds at every opportunity!!!)

We then headed back to the bus-stop. What a relief, we JUST made the EXPRESS bus back to the shopping centre. We jumped on, relieved and exhausted after a fun day in the hot sun. The bus trip should have taken about 10 minutes to get back to our car, but we were a little confused as we began making twists and turns into suburbs that were NOT where we wanted to go. Before we knew it, 30 minutes had passed and we were still sitting on that bus!! Eadie had gulped her last bottle of milk, but thank goodness Tori was happy enough to drive around for a while longer than we had anticipated.... unlike Juan in this photo... haha.


Needless to say, we were on the WRONG BUS!! Who knows WHY it said EXPRESS on the front, because it took an HOUR to get back to the parking lot to drive home!! All we could do was LAUGH at how we managed to stuff it up so bad. (if we didn't laugh, we would have cried...) We were so relieved to be in our car the girls fell asleep before we had exited the shopping center, and Juan and I fell asleep at home not too long after that!

Despite it all, it was a great day and we made some fun-filled memories. But take my word for it, we will not be travelling on the bus any time in the near future... Juan can ride it to work of a morning and create his own fun-filled memories, thank you very much!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bully Update

Eadie is back to pushing again... lasted about 1.5 weeks.... looks like the sweet apologetic kid act was just a ruse..... she's now back with a vengence, and poor Tori is her number one target.. Sorry babe, I tried... suggestions anyone?

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Beat a Bully

Eadith is proving to be quite the little bully! For 3 weeks now she has been pushing other kids, particularly Tori, as well as toddlers who are the same size as her. She seems to do it for no reason whatsoever, and it doesn't matter who or where. If someone walks too close to her, she pushes. If someone wants the toy she is looking at, she pushes. Sometimes she just walks up and does it just 'because'! Of course poor Tori gets the brunt of it as they are around each other the most. I have put it down to "finding her place", "trying to get others before they get her", "attention seeking", "standing up for herself", "seeing what she can get away with", and just plain "being a little ratbag".

I have tried a variety of different methods of discipline, including the regular naughty corner timeouts (seriously, up to 10 a day), sit down talks with her explaining why her behaviour is naughty, even smacking her on her hand or bottom, and of course, telling her to apologise to her victims. NOTHING WORKS!

So the other day when Tori AGAIN came to me complaining Eadie pushed her, I simply said to her, 'well, push her back". Vettoria was shocked! "no mummy!" she said, appalled I would suggest such a thing. I gave it some thought and decided to follow through with my random idea. "Sweetheart", I started as carefully as I could. "I think that Eadie is pushing you because she knows you wont push her back. But I think that if you push her back just once, then she will know what it is like to be pushed, and she wont want to push you anymore". I was making it up as I went along, but I had to admit, it also made a little sense...  I told Tori we were just going to try it one time, and that this was not something I wanted her to do all the time. She agreed and we both went about our own business again.

Sure enough, within the hour Eadie pushed Tori again for a very minor reason.  Tori instantly looked over at me with a look that said, "what do I do?" on her little face. I nervously motioned for her to push her back, and watched as Tori took a deep breath, moved closer to Eadie and gently pushed her. Considering Tori is double the size of Eadie she could have pushed her harder than she did, so I was proud that she chose to just do it gently. I held my breath as I waited for Eadie's response....

She was stunned! Eadith was pushed backwards but remained on her feet, and she looked at Tori with a look of shock. "No push me!" and said, hitting her own shoulder to emphasise her point. "No push me!" she said again. Tori stood her ground and glanced over at me, but then we were both surprised when Eadie got a sad look on her face, put her head down, moved closer to Tori and then hugged her. Tori hugged her back and I stood, still holding my breath. The two spread apart and went their own ways and only then did I breathe!

But this is the best part.... She didn't push Tori again all day! And THEN at Gym Playgroup this morning the assistant said she didn't push any other child! (Not even poor Kenzie who is her usual and victim choice). It was the first time in WEEKS that I had heard such news. I was stunned!

I don't know whether it is complete coincidence or whether Tori's brave effort to stand up for herself really did make a difference, but it has been almost two days and the results have been nothing short of a miracle.  All I know for sure is that Tori, Kenzie and I are very relieved indeed! Good work Tori, and good girl Eadie!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

HALLOWEEN!!

"Meow!!" This Halloween we decided to all go as scary black cats! OK, not all of us- Juan refused to dress up, and the outfits really weren't that scary, but we were totally excited about our costumes, and it was a lot of fun. Each year we head to our friend's Kara and Eli's place for the annual Halloween party. It's a great time to catch up with long-time friends. This year I was pregnant 'mother cat' with my two little 'kittens'. I was really happy with the results, especially considering I made the costumes myself! I was planning on using staples and glue (don't judge me) but decided last minute to give that white machine a go... That's right, I actually sat down at a sewing machine and pushed my foot to that pedal thingy and the cotton stitched! I could hardly believe how easy it was. Thank you to Alisha for letting me mess up your dining room with black fluffy material and elastic!
So once we put on all black clothes we added our ears and tails. The girls were so excited to put on the face paint, I was shocked Eadie stood so still! The girls had been practicing their "meows" for the past week and once they were dressed up there was no stopping them! (or me for that matter!)


We had a great night and I couldn't believe the girls kept their ears on almost the whole time! They were so cute running around like my little black kittens. If only the daddy cat had agreed to participate... maybe next year Juan? ... Yeah right! ;-)  I'll have to think of something masculine and macho before that happens!! Until then, me and the girls can look adorably fabulous and he can be the photographer... HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Swimming with Cousins

While Juan slaved away at work the girls and I had a great time at swimming at Southbank with Carmen, Irma and their kids. Tori and Eadie just love spending time with their cousins Ellie, Noah and Isabella. Not only this, but they also got to swim, which they love almost as much! Before I had even layed out the towel Tori and Ellie were off in the water splashing like fish and having a great time!  I was shocked, as the last time we went swimming she wasn't nearly so eager.

 
Eadie on the other hand was a little more hesitant... A couple of months back she developed a small fear of water - I think it may have developed one day when the bath-plug made a loud sucking noise as the water went down... it did sound pretty scary, poor thing... so we have reintroduced her to baths by reminding her how much she loves showers, then slowly letting the water get higher over the days. We are back up to normal baths now, so I was surprised by how afraid she was to actually go into the pool. After a while she let go of me and played in some small puddles before splashing in the shallowest of water. But we still had a great day filled with sunshine and smiles!  (Even though you can't see it on Eadie's face here... haha :-)
  

 








Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baby number three is a.......

GIRL!!! We found out we are expecting a beautiful baby girl! How exciting! I had a scan today and the three little lines revealed it all. Another female mini-Juan on the way, no doubt! ;-) 

Daddy and I are very excited, and so are the girls - especially Vettoria, who had it guessed from the moment I told her the news. "It's going to be a girl!" she said, and she hadn't altered her mind for one second since. 

Of course, Juan said a girl as well, so he is beaming with pride for two reasons:
1) He was right AGAIN, and 2) we are going to add another little beauty to our family. We are both really excited and with only 20 weeks to go we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little sweetheart.

Lots of names still up in the air, I think we will have a list of about four or five to pick from when she is born.
.....When she is born.... ahhhh..... that sounds nice.....  :-) 

Double Bubble Trouble!

So I have come up with an awesome way to entertain the girls while I do the dishes. Normally it is a challenge for them and me as I stand there with Tori at my side pleading to help but I don't have the time to watch her take 20 minutes to wash one cup and she doesn't want to touch the water which is way too hot for her, and then there's Eadie is grabbing my legs and maneuvering her way from the front of my legs to the back -through the middle of course.

Even though I am sure seasoned mothers have long ago discovered this game, I'm pretty excited about it because not only was I able to get all the dishes done without them killing eachother or me killing them, but they sat there for an HOUR and a HALF playing with these things and there was almost no mess to clean up. I even sat down and had a snack in the process -- Genius! And it's as simple as ... dish bubbles!! I set up their little table and chairs in the kitchen near the sink and they sat very contentedly playing with the foamy bubbles. I got out plastic cups to make 'ice-creams' and spoons just to add that 'something extra'. I couldn't believe how into it they were, and all I had to do was shake the water every now and again and keep those bubbles coming.
But the best part? The plastics all went onto the clean dishes side to dry, and a quick wipe down and it was spotless! (Even sparkly clean!) So, I will definitely be playing that game again!

Look at those smiles... now that's real fun! :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

B.O.M Challenge - Find # 2 - I Suppose the Mansion Can Wait

While I wait for the smoke from my oven to waft out of my house I thought I'd put baking fish on hold and write an entry about my Book of Mormon reading find today. It has kept me thinking throughout the entire afternoon, which is probably the reason my house smells like burnt rosemary and bacon right now.
I was reading chapters 8-15 of 1 Nephi and although I could write all day about my my own revelations regarding the infamous Tree of Life, another verse stood out to me and it made me stop and think... really think.

When I was young I didn't imagine to a great extent what my future life would be like - not in specifics, anyway. I really only had two images in my mind: 1) Marrying The One in the Temple, and 2) Raising a family in the Gospel. Everything else that took place occurred from ideas or opportunities that presented themselves on the journey. But somewhere along the way in hindsight, and to my surprise, all of my hopes and dreams were fulfilled; even those I never knew I wanted! Not only was I actually blessed to find and marry The One and have the opportunity to raise a family in the Gospel, Heavenly Father decided to throw in some of my little fantasies;  I visited and studied in far-away lands, I fulfilled a mission to a destination I had literally only dreamed about, and I even managed to scrape together a degree. I feel much like Ammon as he speaks of the blessings they saw with their missionary work preaching to the Lamanites. Some thought he was boasting, but he told them it wasn't boasting, he was glorifying in the mercies and the blessings of God and the magnificence of what had been accomplished all because of Him and His plan.

I feel the same way about my life. In all seriousness I hadn't 'planned' most of it. I simply had a goal as a Young Woman to please Heavenly Father, and trust that he would bless me accordingly. That is why this scripture stood out to me today: 1 Nephi 12:18. It speaks of the "vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men".  When I read the words "vain imaginations" I thought about what that could actually mean. I immediately cast my mind to the most recent imaginations created in my mind....it was of my future kitchen. No joke. I know exactly what my 'dream kitchen' looks like. I know the color and fabric of the bench tops, the size and layout, the shelf designs... heck, I even know the color of the door handles! I've already pre-imagined the style of house I would like the kitchen to be in, and I even know the suburb in which my family will dwell.... I think about the future and what I would like to have quite often, particularly as my kids get bigger and my house feels smaller....
Upon reflection of my childhood and Young Adult-hood, the imaginations I created weren't nearly so specific. They were more general: "I wonder who I will marry?", "what will I look like when I'm 30?", or "how many kids do I imagine I'll have?"
But nowdays my dreams have become more like GOALS, as in something that I am aspiring to accomplish. I don't think this is a bad thing, but this scripture and another I was led to in Jeremiah 7:24 reminded me of the differences between desires and dreams and "vain imaginations". Jeremiah calls it "walking in the counsels and imaginations of their evil hearts" and they "went backwards and not forward".  This got me thinking. Is my dream kitchen still just a day-dream I think about as I hand-wash my cheap, old dishes? Or has it defined who I want to be and the path I need to take to accomplish it? It got me thinking.

I have a friend who is now engaged to a wonderful man. She has been through so much, with two divorces and raising her three children alone. After returning to church activity about six years ago she made the choice to stop looking for what she didn't have and start focusing her energy on knowing her Heavenly Father and living to please only Him. She decided to dedicate her life and the life of her family to following Christ, serving others as best as she could, and choosing the right. In other words, she let go of the 'vain imaginations' of her heart. She understood that as long as she was doing what Heavenly Father wanted her to do, life would turn out the way that was best for her and her family, whatever that may be. If this meant she would one day meet a man and get married, then that was a nice twist in her journey, but it was not her ultimate goal anymore.
Then, about a year ago she met a man, but still she didn't let vain imaginations overcloud her goal to follow Heavenly Father's Will. To her delight, His Will led the two of them to eachother and they are now in the process of planning their wedding and their life together.

My own and my friend's experiences remind me of the importance of not allowing those 'vain imaginations', as fine and innocent as they may be, to become the actual goals we seek to achieve in life, occupying our thoughts, feelings and the intents of our heart. When we follow the goals outlined in the Gospel, that is when our greatest dreams and desires really come true... and it certainly takes the pressure out of thinking of ways to achieve those hefty goals!
And on that note I am going to try frying fish instead of baking it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's the Opposite of Green?

On Easter weekend of this year, my house was flourishing with greenery and I thought myself quite the Green Thumb. You may remember these pictures of me planting my very first vegetable garden, something I have always wanted to do and I was so proud of my initiative and ability to produce my own food :


I watched eagerly as the days and weeks passed, and I was so excited to pick my very first cherry tomato! I admit, surprisingly it didn't taste very good, but I was so excited I didn't let that ruin my special day. I continued to watch and fertilise and water my little patch and with glee; I saw my corn grow taller and taller and my herbs spread, and grow leafy. How delightful!

At the same time I purchased a gorgeous palm, one I had been wanting for a long time. I love greenery inside my home and I was very excited about this purchase and I placed it in the preselected corner picked months in advance. It looked great, and once again I dedicated myself to fertilising, trimming, and taking out for sun now and again. Although I didn't take a photo I noticed it in the background of a family pic we took in for April conference, around the time I got it. Here is a pic of my glorious palm in the background:

So full, so leafy, so tall, so green. I loved my palm.
So why am I so upset? Well, for a couple of reasons... the first being that my know-it-all husband was once again right.... I am a plant killer. And second because this fact is so disappointing because I really, really tried!

It has been six months, and this is now what is in my backyard...

They didnt' even sprout corn! I watched them grow, I saw the little kernel things sprout up and I waited and waited for the fluffy parts to turn to corn... but nothing! Nothing! I used little sticks to hold the tall stems up so it wouldn't fall over, I watered the tomatoes, I trimmed the herbs, I repotted the Rosemary. But to no avail. They all refused to flourish. Oh, and don't get me started on the Baby Ccarrots; they are STILL stubborn fetuses! 

Needless to say, my quite expensive vegetable garden has now turned into a dirt-pit for the girls to play in. When I knew it was literally a dead cause I thought we may as well get some use out of the money I spend putting it all together. The mess they make really does not make up for the price I paid at all, by the way...

But what about the beautiful, palm? Well, despite my best efforts to keep it looking full and green, over the months it somehow got smaller and more frail... At times it would look great and then at others I guess it just wasn't in the mood to look fabulous... Needless to say, just yesterday I looked over and noticed its leaves were a little dried. This was weird, because there was definitely enough water in the pot. Too much? I emptied some... Maybe it needed some sun. I took it out the front and sat it out overnight to get some fresh air. The morning sun would be the perfect medicine! When I woke this morning I was excited to see the sun shining brightly and I even thought about my plant and the good things in store for it today. I would bring this plant back to good health - I'd show Juan that I WASN'T a plant killer!

Suddenly at 9am the weather turned bad. "My palm!" I cried, and ran to the front door. I was too late:


The rain was too strong, and her stem was just too weak... What more could I have done for my beautiful palm?

I sit here now with a hollow heart. Probably not as hollow as my palm's stem, but still hollow non-the-less. But worse than all this, I now have the dilemma of deciding what to do with it... I was so determined to prove Juan wrong, to prove to him that I am not a fish and plant killer (despite only having 2 fish left out of 7 in six months, but that's another post...). What do I do? Do I hide the plant and he might not notice it missing? Do I just put the empty pot back and hope he doesn't notice? Oh, wait! I have an idea... Maybe I will just put the plant back in the corner and tonight I'll dramatically exclaim, "Oh no, My palm! What happened? It must have been the little careless baby! What a shame..." Hmm... that one might work. That way he might let me get another one because he'll feel sorry for me... Hmm, somehow I don't know if it will work... I have a feeling I'll be given 'The Look' tonight... Ugh, 'The Look' says it all.... Plant Killer.... Fish Killer... Plant Killer... :-(
I'll keep you posted...