When Erik and I were first married, we used our whole tax return to buy our first digital camera, a Sony CyberShot with 1.3 megapixels! This was by far the nicest thing we owned. It was at least a year before I would allow Erik to take it on a sailboat with him. We treated that thing like gold. Then, 4 years ago, we bought a new camera, shoved the Cybershot in a filing cabinet and rarely looked at until yesterday when I officially gave it to Luke. If it looks like he shot these with a cell phone camera it's probably because your cell phone camera has more megapixels.
It was fun to go through his pictures today and see what Luke found worth photographing.
Luke's biggest problem with the camera is that he keeps putting his finger in front of the lens.
It was interesting to me which toys he chose to photograph. This is his beloved Transformers coloring book.
Here is an airplane he built out of legos.
These next two, I am going to take a picture of and mail them to Alcoholly since she likes to send Luke pictures of pictures.
I thought it was really funny that he had Charlie pose for a picture and that Charlie actually did it.
Last, but not least, Luke's perspective of me -
Book now for your Christmas card photos, Luke's calendar is filling up quick!
Posted by Cristin at 5:21 PM
I've recently been watching a lot of What Would You Do? online. It's kind of like a Candid Camera type show for people with social consciences. People are put in "likely" scenarios to see how they will react. One of the most memorable shows was when they dressed up a bunch of people like polygamists in a restaurant and pretended that a 15 year old girl was being forced to marry an old man. This was a good scenario, since everyone can totally relate. I see this all the time, don't you? (That was sarcasm.) The interesting thing about What Would You Do?, besides the outlandish scenarios (a hot blonde girl stealing bikes, as if!) is how emotional I get watching it... perhaps because I am pretty heartless when it comes to helping strangers and the show makes me feel like a jerk.
Today, a man and a kid stopped me in the supermarket parking lot to ask for gas money. I said I didn't have any cash on me. This wasn't completely true. I may not have had cash on me, but I did have money in my car. Nice justification, eh? Afterward, I felt really guilty about it (or scared that this was going to be on What Would You Do?) and drove around the parking lot looking for them to give them five bucks. I never did find them, but it did get me in a reflective mood. Why am I a jerk? Why do I never give money to strangers? How can I be a nice person without giving everything I have away? Is there a more appropriate way for these people to be begging for money?
Erik, on the other hand, has no qualms about helping people out. Although I told him not to do it, Erik picked up a man walking along the side of the freeway a couple of days ago. The man had Erik drop him off at what appeared to be a meth house in a very secluded area of town. After Erik dropped him off, he called me, and in his best Mr. T voice, demanded that I give him all my money or I would never see my husband again. I said, "I'm a jerk who doesn't give money to strangers. Guess I'll never see my husband again." Then we laughed because the guy didn't kill Erik.
Posted by Cristin at 9:19 PM
Charlie has started talking back when he fights with Luke and I love it. I know I should tell them to stop fighting, but it's so funny to hear Charlie be mean! It reminds me of when I would fight with my native companion on my mission. I knew it was bad, but I was so thrilled to be able to use the subjunctive in French while telling someone off that I kept on fighting. Loads of fun!
Yesterday, Charlie locked himself in the bathroom. Even though Luke had nothing to do with it, I could hear Charlie screaming from inside the bathroom, "Stop, Woo, Stop! Go away, Woo! Stop, Woo! Mine, Woo! No, Woo!" It gave me something to laugh about as I was unscrewing the doorknob off to let him out.
Posted by Cristin at 7:13 PM
I read this article today indicating that ADHD has now been linked to pesticides. Of course this had to happen during the same week that I resigned myself to not eating organic produce.
Sommer loaned me The Diet Rebel's Cookbook recently. The book's authors ostentatiously write about making their own butter, only drinking raw milk, sprouting wheat, growing a garden, eating free-range chicken, avoiding microwaves, blah blah blah. They brag about only shopping at this one particular health food store in Utah. So "great." If I sound indifferent, it's because I've been through this before. I saw Food, Inc. and read Fast Food Nation. I know how I should be eating. I try to eat the best can, however, affording to eat that way is another story...
When I finished Sommer's book, I thought I would try to eat like the authors for just one week. I planned out my menu and went down to the health food store. As I was putting things into my cart and tabulating how much it was going to cost me, I just couldn't buy everything I wanted to. I was so mad. I almost started stopping customers in the store to ask what they do for a living. How do people afford to eat like this? I'm so jealous.
People will say you can't NOT afford to eat this way. Really? I beg to differ. So, let's say my eczema is inflamed by drinking pasteurized milk, and it very well could be, buying the medicine is still cheaper than spending $300 dollars a month on milk. Now "they" say my kids are going to get ADHD from pesticides on non-organic blueberries. People wonder why poor people are unhealthy! It is total conspiracy against the poor, I tell you.
So, I guess what I am saying is that The Diet Rebel's Cookbook is great if you can afford to eat like that or if you're willing to become a rice and beans family who drinks one cup of milk a week. For the rest of us, Ho ho's and Twinkies all around!
Posted by Cristin at 1:31 PM
I just noticed that I haven't blogged in nearly a week. I'm still alive. Just busy. Erik went out of town... I managed a dinner and talent show for over 60 people... my kids watched way too much television. I'm so glad this week is over.
Something exciting to report is that we are instituting a new practice in our home. Erik and I will now be trading off on sleeping-in and taking care of the kids on weekend mornings. Friday morning was his day to sleep-in (boo), but today was mine (yay!) Luke woke up at 5:30 a.m., yet I slept in until 8:30 a.m!! Yes, I really am bragging about being able to sleep in until 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Thank you, children, for this new and improved perspective.
Posted by Cristin at 9:08 PM
An abridged version of my phone conversation with Alcoholly this morning -
Me: Hi! I just wanted to wish you a Happy Mother's Day!
Alco: Oh, thank you. This is such an awful day for me.
Me: I'm sorry.
Alco: But, I will get through this. I will. What is your family doing for you today?
Me: Well, Erik made breakfast, fed and dressed the kids, and right now I can hear him downstairs making homemade bread and getting dinner started. I got to lay in bed for as long as I wanted. It's been a really nice morning.
Alco: You know, Dearheart, you are teaching your family to treat you poorly.
Alco: Your husband should be doing this every single day. Your actions are influencing generations! When you allow your family to treat you this badly, you are teaching your boys to treat their future wives this way. Your sons are learning from your poor example.
Me: Okay, Happy Mother's Day! [hang up]
I went downstairs and found Erik scrubbing a pan (apparently with his eyes closed) harder than I ever have in my whole life. This is after a 50 hour work week... after fixing our computers... fixing our cars... after still finding time to go out with me last night... do I even deserve everything he does to take care of us? (Now I hear him downstairs vacuuming.)
Alcoholly isn't the only one to give me such crazy advice lately. I had another woman, similar to Alcoholly, say almost the same things to me recently. I know it's well meaning, but I prefer advice from people who's lives I want to emulate. In the future, if I want some heartwarming Mother's Day advice, I'll call my mother or mother-in-law, or read the best talk ever on the subject of mothering. What was I thinking?
I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day. This really is my favorite holiday.
Posted by Cristin at 10:05 AM
Apparently May is Black Awareness Month in our family.
Today I took the boys to a water spray park for the first time. It was incredibly fun and I forgot my camera in the car so there will be no pictures to accompany this post. Fortunately for us, Luke provided me with a good story.
Imagine me and my two little boys under one tree. Under the tree next to us is a large group of men, women, and children. They all know each other. All the men are wearing wife beaters. Nothing is wrong with wearing a wife beater, I just wanted you to be able to visualize this a little better.
Luke walks in between our two groups, points his finger and loudly says, "Mommy, SHE'S BLACK!! She's black! Her daddy is really black!" I sat there mortified. When I didn't respond, he repeated himself even louder. My response, "That's right and you're white." I'm not sure if that was the best way to address it, but I had to think fast and that was the first thing to come out of my mouth.
We need to get out more.
Posted by Cristin at 8:57 PM
I was reminded tonight while standing in a super long line to buy chicken during Albertsons 8 hour sale, that I live in a really small town. The kind of town where Albertsons' 8 hour sale is a main event. I almost always see someone I know when in public. Our "entertainment" newspaper runs a regular column about new residents. My kind neighbor takes my trash out every Thursday morning without being asked. The owner of the local bakery asks how my kids are doing when they are not with me. Our little movie theater even shows cartoons occasionally on Saturday morning and sells cereal to go along with it. Doesn't it all sound very quaint?
We should love this place. We should buy a house here... but for some reason, in the 3+ years we have lived here, we just can't take that leap yet. I wonder if it has something to do with feeling so removed from the rest of California. I don't know if I'm ready to accept driving 45 minutes to Costco with a cooler in my car as normal. Call me crazy, but I like big cities and all that they offer. I don't know if I could live here if it weren't for our wonderful friends and the remarkable fact that my husband actually likes his job. I'm tired of people trying to make me think it is normal and good to be so removed.
I actually felt somewhat validated today when I discovered that a Survivor type show for kids taped a season here in 2005. The premise being that the kids are forced to live in a remote location and participate in various mental and physical challenges. It was called Endurance. When I eventually write a book, I am going to steal the name of this television show to use it as the title of this chapter in my life. (My favorite part about the show's introduction is how the kids are forced to live at *gasp!* 4,000 feet above sea level!! Eee gad! The horror!)
Posted by Cristin at 8:40 PM
It had been a week since the chore chart began and Luke had accumulated $3.60 that was burning a whole in his pocket. He was literally begging me 20 times a day to take him to the store so that he could spend his money. No amount of talk about saving for something big could deter him. Fine. I didn't agree but I obliged. It's his money.
Are you ready for this? Luke purchased -
A Cheap Water Gun (Just discovered it doesn't work.)
Transformers Coloring Book
Hot Rod Car (Already Broke)
A Handful of Sour Candy out of a Vending Machine
It was cute watching him go up to the cash register and just throw a fistful of coins and bills onto the counter. He wanted to spend every last dime and he almost did. I also must confess to being a bad Mom. I didn't use this first week as an opportunity to teach him about tithing or saving. I'll repent and we'll do better next week. However, after seeing his purchases, what I really want to teach him is that he is wasting his money on crappy toys that will be forgotten by the end of the week. I hate cheap, crappy, little toys almost as much as I hate iceberg lettuce and Hootie and the Blowfish. Ugh.
Just so we wouldn't have a major fit on our hands when we were at the store, I bought Charlie a new coloring book. He was in heaven. I wish he would stay this easy to please forever.
Posted by Cristin at 11:03 AM
So... I'm back. Pioneer Trek accomplished. Okay, well, not really.
This weekend I had to come to terms with my unfulfilled childhood pioneer fantasies. Secretly, I was hoping for a complete pioneer re-enactment. I thought there would be horses, Indians, people dying of consumption, covered wagons, amputations, and lots of black powder guns. I was expecting something similar to my favorite video game of all time, The Oregon Trail!
I was hoping to play some dramatic part in a vignette on the side of the trail or at least be able to tell someone that they were dying of dysentery. Yet, alas, it just was not meant to be. This is not to say that the trek organizers didn't do a fabulous job. It was great. I guess not everyone is into dorky re-enactments as I am. It really is a shame.
We arrived on Friday evening to the location where the trek would take place. It was incredibly cold to the point that most of us were miserable. This is when I decided that, even without going on the actual trek, the pioneers were nuts. Only a person motivated by religion or money would be crazy enough to push a handcart across the country. Friday night was one of the worst of my entire life, even superseding that awful night when I slept on a bench in a bus station in Denmark. My sleeping bag wouldn't zip up, my air mattress had a leak, and the tent had a huge flap in it. I wasn't prepared for the cold. I was convinced that all my extremities had frostbite. (It's not complaining if I'm stating fact.)
When I woke up that morning, our tent was covered in frost. Then again, at least we had a tent. The boys in our ward forgot to pack one and they had to sleep under the stars in weather in the high 20's. So glad I'm not a boy... or pioneer.
Since I wasn't a Ma (my "Pa" had to stay home with the young'uns), I was encouraged to stay at the camp while the kids went on their 4 hour trek. I was too tired to be sad. I welcomed the opportunity to take a lovely nap in my tent and work on finishing Catching Fire.
The moral of this story is as follows -
Pioneers are crazy.
I don't think I can ever go camping again.
I will do just about anything to have a vacation away from my kids.
Posted by Cristin at 10:19 PM