Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mommy Payday

I honestly just couldn't be more proud of this guy.  This is the second talk he's given in Primary, and when I planned it out last week, I was worried maybe it was a bit too much to expect.  I figured I could always shorten it if he was having a hard time with the memorization.  As always, Adam made me wonder why I ever doubted.

I set out to have him memorize, word-for-word, the clever words I'd come up with in perfect meter.  He found ways to "make it his own," though, and perfect meter went out the window.  My "Jesus's disciples sailed..." became his "Jesus's disciples took their boats out ..."  I guess that was easier to remember.  I tried to be patient and only insisted on complete accuracy on names and rhyming words.  He may have tried to turn, "Jared's brother built a boat and needed light to see," into "...and needed light to look," but I insisted we keep the "see" to rhyme with "me."

As he stood up at the primary pulpit to deliver his talk, I reminded him not to let his lips touch the microphone.  (His last talk was delivered at such a high decibel that no one really understood a word.)  Although he stayed back a little further, he compensated with excellent projection.  I'm pretty sure we should have just skipped the microphone.  Oh well.  The message was received, and the Primary President liked it so much, she asked Adam if he'd be willing to give his talk again as part of the primary program next month.  After asking if "everyone will see it," he agreed.

Once home, I wanted to be able to share his success with my sister in Georgia.  He repeated the talk, still in Sunday attire, this time in front of the video camera.  This post is mostly for Aunt Lisa and for the Great Grandparents in Idaho and Arizona, but I'm hoping the rest of you enjoy it as well.


Probably just as big of a payday was when Alex, who has heard brother practicing all week, looked up for three seconds of Sacrament Meeting when he heard the speaker mention Moses.

"Moses?" he said as he looked at me inquisitively, then went directly back to his coloring.  But a seed has been planted.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Read This Book and Read It Now!

I tried to convince myself to wait and post about this book as a part of my annual book review.  But then I would be cheating you out of the five extra potential months you could have been using to create your own parenting plan.  The theory behind this book goes something like this: parenting should be approached with a long-term, big picture focus rather than a let's-just-get-through-today attitude.  Additionally, parenting should not be about making kids happy.  I think my favorite passage was the author's response to her son's query of, "Don't you want me to be happy?"  Her response: "No!  I want you to be righteous, productive, skilled, smart, helpful, wise, intelligent, and hardworking.  That's what I want you to be.  If you feel happy occasionally, that's cool."

The subtitle reads: A real life plan to teach your kids to work, save money, and be truly independent.  Fabulous!  Written by an LDS mother, it naturally includes spiritual foundations through each step of her process. 

Do I think every word is something I'll implement?  Nope.  But some of her ideas will work fabulously with my personality and my goals for my children.  For example, I love finding long-term solutions to the issues that repeatedly come up, such as who sits where at dinner or who has to shower first to get ready for church.  I love having a procedure already set up to handle these issues.  I've often remarked that I don't have a lot of rules around our house, just a lot of procedures.  (Okay, when I force the procedures, I realize they become rules.) 

I also love the idea of having a checklist of everything a child should learn before leaving the home for a mission or college, and I think having a corresponding timeline just makes sense.  Just as children learn according to a predetermined schedule at school (known as curriculum), we should develop a curriculum for teaching our children the things they need to know to be independent adults.

The biggest challenge for me in implementation is going to be getting my Dear Sweet Husband to go along with it.  Not that he won't see the value; I think he will.  But he is pretty universally opposed to formal, informal, written, verbal, or even hinted at goal setting, and I'm afraid his natural tendencies will be to reject these ideas.  Hopefully, the small distinction between "goal setting" and "planning" will be enough to get him on board.  Hopefully, "I want our family to get from point A to point B," will be replaced with, "Our family will arrive at point B, and this is how we are going to get there."

I once heard that a lazy mom is one who does everything herself.  I'm hoping the ideas in this book will give me the motivation and format to stop being so lazy and raise some independent boys, ready to tackle the world.

Oh, and I hope you'll read it too.  I truly don't think you'll regret it. 

P.S. (A note to my sisters-in-law)
I want this book for Christmas.  I need my very own copy to highlight and refer to when I run out of ideas of my own.  So if you draw my name this year, here is your gift idea. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

According to Plan

I remember being a teenaged girl and imagining what it would be like to grow up, get married, and give a talk in chuch that explained how it all started. 

"Hi, I'm Andrea, and this is my husband, Mr. Right.  We're new in the ward."

Teenaged Andrea knew exactly how her story would continue.

"We met in choir in college..." and though I wouldn't have included it in the over-the-pulpit description, I'd silently think, "and we sing great duets, which I'm sure you'll get to hear soon, because we'll be the ward music chairperson's go-to couple."

Well, teenaged Andrea was wrong.  Here's how the story really goes.

Hi, I'm Andrea Fife, and this is my husband, Kirk.  We met on the internet.

I'm going to go ahead and pause here for the verification I always have to give when I have this conversation out loud.

Really.

Kirk was a recently returned missionary working two jobs.  Since his life did a "complete 360" (summoning Karl Malone here, if you didn't get the reference) just before his mission, his pre-mission friends weren't exactly living the lifestyle he was looking for.  He decided to use the internet to try to meet some new friends.

I was a receptionist for a real estate company, and I was bored.  I decided to post a match.com profile just for fun, but almost stopped when I realized I would have to pay to list my contact information.  I didn't care enough to pay, so I just posted my email address as my profile name.  I didn't have any digital pictures of myself, so my profile remained pictureless.

Kirk never looked at profiles without pictures, but for some reason, my screenname "muzikchick" caught his attention.  He read about what kind of guy I was looking for, and emailed me to let me know he was perfect for me.  I just checked that old email account to see if I happened to have been sentimental enough to save any of those early emails.  Sadly, nope.  It went something like this.

"You said you like tall, dark, and handsome.  Well, I'm 6'3", I have black hair, and I think I'm funny looking, but people say I'm handsome." 

I had also mentioned I was looking for someone athletic, and he had played high school football.  He did fess up to not fitting the part about being musically talented.  I gave him a chance anyway.

We chatted online from Monday to Wednesday, and learned just about everything about eachother.  By Wednesday, I knew I wanted to meet him in person, so I sent the message, "So when are you going to ask me out."  My mom and sister freaked out when I told them I'd be going on a date with a guy I met on the internet, but I had already set it up to doubl with my friend and her husband, so they at least stopped fearing for my life.

Saturday night arrived, and my friend's car broke down.  I drove to pick her up which made me late for our date.  Kirk arrived at my house before I did, despite the very confusing directions I'd messaged him.  (Apparently, my typo of living in a "long" house made it very difficult to find the "log" house I actually lived in.")  He had made friends with my dad before I even showed up for our date, and it was difficult to get him to leave the house.

After a very successful first date of bowling and pasta, we made plans to see each other again at the next day's regional conference which we were both supposed to be attending.  He came for dinner at my house afterward.  On Monday I met his family, and his dad knew instantly that I'd soon be a Fife.  On this night, Kirk told me he loved me.  I told him he didn't even know me.  Turns out he was right.

One week later, we spent a weekend in Logan visiting my friend Steph and her soon-to-be-husband.  There, Kirk asked me to marry him.  I told him I wasn't sure I could answer that question yet.  And hour later (after apparently lots of deep thought) I said yes.

The official proposal happened at my parents' house during one of our Thursday lunches.  (He would drive out to see me for my lunch break during a break between classes, but we were too poor to go out once a week.  So we'd go eat at my parents' house.)  I was busy making ramen noodles and turned around to grab something.  He was on his knee.  I thought he was teasing me about being short until I saw the ring.

Looking back, I'm certain we got married for all the right reasons.  Our courtship was so brief, our engagement so simple, I think it prepared us for the years ahead.  We've had a great nine years full of laughter and happiness and, of course, three children.  But we've had our share of really hard times, and we've also eaten plently of ramen noodles, both literally and figuratively.  Our life together is simple, but it is still based on the same things that drew us together in the first place.  We'll still eat ramen noodles together if that's what it takes to be together.  Kirk is still right most of the time.  We still have a hard time taking the serious stuff seriously.  Kirk still doesn't sing, and it's still okay with me.  And what's left of his hair is still black. 

Love you honey.  I'm so glad you have to put up with me for eternity.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Grandpa C. Shouldn't Babysit

My mom offered to take the kids while we celebrate our anniversary tomorrow, and since we've planned to go golfing and have an early tee time, the kids ended up just sleeping over tonight.  We drove them out and got them settled into their beds, then headed back home.  When we left, my dad was in the kitchen, Uncle Jack was downstairs working on an online school class, and my mom was outside having a meeting with someone from the ward.  We left knowing the kids were in good hands, and we planned not to see them again for 24 hours.

About 45 minutes later I got the following phone call:

My Dad: Your kids are out of their beds and telling me they aren't tired.

Me: Well, did you tell them to go back to bed?

Dad: Yeah, but they said they aren't tired.  I told them they will be tomorrow.

Me: Is Mom still outside? 

I already know the answer to this question.  If Grandma was inside, this phone call would never have happened.

Dad: Yeah.

Me: Ok, put Adam on the phone. 

Me: Adam, I'm really disappointed you aren't listening to Grandpa when he tells you to go back to bed.  You and your brother need to get back in bed right now.

Adam: Ok.

Click.

I guess when you're the grandpa it's nice to not have to put your foot down.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Roommie Reunion


When I attended Utah State University, I had yet to discovers the wonders of superfluous picture taking, which means if I want to post a picture of my freshman roommates, I have two options.  Option 1 features 5 of us (missing Cari) apparently all laying on the floor.  I do not remember participating in this picture!  Option 2 features 5 of us (missing Anne-Marie) in our bathing suits at Crystal Hot Springs.  I chose Option 1, and  you can all thank me later!

Although I follow all their blogs, I haven't seen any of these girls in person in 10 years (with the brief exception of buying a car from Sarah).  Amazingly all but one of us (plus a bonus friend from across the hall) live within a 2 hour drive, so when Sarah acted as ringleader for what was hopefully the first of many roommie reunions, we were able to meet at the South Ogden Nature Park for an afternoon of fun.   

I should have taken pictures of the the kids playing and having a great time.  I didn't.  They did.  My kids having a great time wasn't really the picture-worthy, blog-worthy moment of the day.

That honor goes to this right here.  Not so much to the picture, although it is fine.  The honor goes to the moment.  It goes to the fact that in 10 years, six girls from Reeder Hall (ok.... and their husbands) created all this (3 kids missing from the picture, btw).  It goes to the fact that six girls rounded up their progeny and showed up in the same place to actually take a picture like this.  It goes to the fact that neither baby-holding five-year-old dropped their precious cargo. 

Yep, this moment gets the prize.