Rainbow Aliens

I have spent a lot of time around little humans. All my life. The older I get, the more I wonder what is going on in their heads.

There are (few) moments that I catch a glimpse of a memory that lets me remember a hint of what was in my mind as a kid.

I often ask the little people in my home what they are thinking. I always ask what they dream about, when I go wake them up.

Mostly they don’t answer. However sometimes they do!

There was a stretch of time that Marcia the younger would look at me, grin really big, and say “rainbow aliens.”

The best I could understand, after asking her to describe them, was she was dreaming about light fractals, as seen on The Magic School Bus. Hooray for Ms. Frizzle!

Now, she mostly tells about dreams that involve her kindergarten classmates. And her teacher. Oh, how we wish her teacher could move up to first grade with her…. More stories from kindergarten are in order. At a later date.

As far as the youngest goes, he never answers. Mostly all I can figure is that Corban dreams of milk and Daddy. And probably of trying to be like the older two, too.

Hinckley, though, he always has an answer. And recently, he has to tell me all about his dreams before I can even ask. Sometimes he insists that he has to tell me all the details before I am allowed to say anything. At all.

This morning was one of those mornings.

He dreamed about roller skating. With Marcia. And it “was the best dream ever!”

Gratitude, and a bit of nostalgia

Today is the national marching band championship in Indianapolis.

On this day, I’m especially grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had to participate with marching bands and drum corps over the last 18 years, first as a performer, and then as a teacher.

I’m grateful to have been a member of the marching band at my high school, and for all that I learned from Dennis Smith, Todd Foster, and others.

I’m grateful to have been a member of the Colts Drum & Bugle Corps, where I learned not only about performance and music, but about success in life, thanks to Greg Orwoll and the rest of the Colts family.

DCI Finals, 1998
(DCI Finals, 1998)

I’m grateful to have been able to teach the front ensemble at my alma mater, and to work with Mr. Smith, Todd Foster, Michelle Sapadin and many others, and to have helped win the first percussion caption award in school history in 1999.

I’m grateful to have quite randomly ended up in Macomb, where I’ve been able to teach the front ensemble and then the full drumline of a great marching band for the last 11 years, with great competitive success. I’ve worked with great teachers like Mr. Wetmore, Mr. Zahnle, Mr. Howard, and Mr. Mattsey. I’ve had great help from former students like Leandro Pelayo, Xavier Zahnle, Allyson Ray, Michelle Kenny, Kelsey Drea, Dan Reem, and Chris Norton.

I’m grateful for all of the students I’ve had over the years, from the seniors at Red Mountain in 1998, to the freshmen at Macomb in 2013. I hope you learn as much from me as I do from you. You are all truly awesome.

Finally, I am grateful for all that I’ve learned and experienced through marching band and drum corps. I truly believe in the Colts mission statement, that “we use music and excellence to teach each other about success in life.” Any success I’ve achieved in life, I owe at least in part to my experience with marching band and drum corps. To all of my friends, teachers, students, and colleagues, I thank you.

…and here’s hoping for many more great years, great teachers, great students, and great friends.

Way to go!!

The question has been asked, “What if he goes for his PhD?”  Well, if he does, we will cross that bridge when/if it comes.  If it does, it will not be for some time.  It would require us to move, there is not a program here for him, and we all know how we feel about moving.  If you don’t know, we hate strongly dislike moving.  Also, if he does decided to go for more school, I can put together a new image.  Easy fix.  But for now, he took his last test this morning and on Friday evening he will walk across the stage and get some fancy paper and a hood.  He has worked hard and it really is a great accomplishment.  Good job Husband!

 

 

 

Once upon a time

We went to the store this evening, yet again.  They did not have what we were looking for, yet again.  So we will have to order it off the internet, yet again.

Anydangways, on our way home there were some spots of cool fog.  And that got mee to thinking about how we often refer to “dense fog.”  That got mee to thinking about the word “dense.”  When I was younger I used to think it meant “light,” “airy,” or “fluffy.”  So then when someone would give mee bread or cake to try and call it “dense” I assumed it would have the consistency of angel-food cake.  I was confused by it being more like pound cake instead.  I do not remember when I finally understood, probably a science class when talking about mass, or maybe a social studies class when talking about population.  In any case I figured it out.  Some people may wonder why I misunderstood the word in the first place.  This is why.  I often heard some individuals called “dense.”  These are the same people I heard called “air-heads.”  So in my young-brain-logic, dense=full of air.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

*Okay, so “often” could have been only once or twice for all we know, then again it could have been everyday.  (Un)fortunately, I do not remember who was called this or by whom, I just remember hearing it.

 

And just for fun, here is a picture, or two, of an amazing little girl typing the text after the picture.

 

YHGJGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG6

TTJHY555sgsssssssssssssssssssssssccdwdqsss7444nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnjghbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb+

633.

3…

020789.89+.66

3

 

nj

k,o,o,o,o,o,o,o,o,o

 

+++52525252521*99*9*2jhihhhhhhhhhh  hhhhhnnn77777,,,,,jkukun jnjjjjo6yygjujynfg0 .236663666666666 vc’ c[vbccv999999999999999999999999999ui

96.

2.

It is a big day for us Marcias

Well, it’s not really any different from other days.  But today, today I, Marcia the elder, have held Marcia the younger in my arms as many days as I held her inside mee.  My how time flies.  This little girl has accomplished so many tasks in these short 37 weeks and 4 days.  (I believe it is a big day for Jacob too, he just was at the university or high school during the picture and video sessions.)

She was walking all around the office.  I had given her some puffed rice to snack on, with mee in the room I was able to keep an eye on her.  While she is good with the walker, I am still quicker.  I was watching her, she was eating and loving her freedom.  Before my eyes, she got sleepy.  No whining or crying, though she was happy I picked her up to lay her down.

Here are some of the pictures taken during the first video.  And one that she wanted taken of mee.  I figure I ought to include myself at least once in a while.

First video was recorded to capture Marcia’s reaction to seeing her pictures.  The second is to showcase her self-feeding skills.  The videos are not really “thrilling” and I know that many people get bored of seeing baby videos, but I am happy with what she can do and figure that any grandparents or aunts/uncles or cousins Nana might be interested.

When I checked, YouTube had aborted the video. No reasons, just did. So now, 18 hours and 14 restarts later here is the second video.

Other notable information on Marcia (aka Copyright2010):

She has seven teeth, I can see the eighth right under the gums.
Her favorite color seems to still be red, though I do have some neon yellow fabric that she loves to play with.
She LOVES music.
She is always trying to take the camera or phone.  Always is not allowed to do so.  Always complains about that.
She is ticklish, and has an amazing laugh!
She pulls herself up on everything she can, she tried to climb up the outside of the walker this evening.
She likes to walk if some body holds her hands.  Once she figures out balance, there will be no stopping her.
She claps when she approves, or hears the words “good job.”  No matter who did the good job.
She claps when we get her out of the crib after naps.
She loves to look in the mirror.  Especially right after napping.  She smiles and talks and claps for the baby in the mirror, which I am sure she knows is herself (for a while now).
She roams all over her crib.  Standing, sitting, laying.  She does all that on her own.  She also moves a lot in her sleep.
She loves taking a bath.  She stands and sits and crawls all over the tub.  She would probably live in there if we would let her.
She likes to eat.  Her favorite foods thus far are butternut squash, puffed brown rice, and bananas.  I think she would eat anything if I mixed it with bananas.  She has not yet rejected anything, however the food she has been least thrilled with is apple.  We are also now on the look out for sensitivities to that with a second attempt, after a break.
We have been working on ASL signs.  She seems to understand the ones we use most.  She has been able to consistently make her version of “more,” “food,” “done,” “what,” and just today I saw her do “milk.”
She loves to bounce.  Jacob likes to tell people that “just like a puppy, you can tell how happy she is by how much her butt wiggles.”

2010 Year in Review

Tonight, as we bid farewell to 2010, we reflect on some of the things that have happened this year. In hindsight, it’s been a very big year for us, with a lot of big, big changes. Here’s our list of accomplishments for 2010:

  • In January, Jacob went back to school to work on getting a Masters degree in Computer Science.
  • On one saturday in April, we got an iPad and learned that we were going to become parents (OK, so getting an iPad isn’t really a huge accomplishment, but it WAS an exciting day, and helped us launch a new business).
  • On June 14, we closed on the purchase of a house that had been trying to sell itself to us for two years, and on the same day started telling people that Marcia was pregnant.
  • On December 3, Marcia completed her mitosis and now we have two Marcias.
  • 2 weeks later, Jacob finished his second semester of graduate school (with a 4.0 GPA, which I’m quite proud of).
  • This morning, December 31, we read the Second Epistle of John, which was 373 consecutive days of reading scriptures together. 2010 was the first year in which we read together every day.
  • Also as of December 31, we have kept the smaller Marcia alive for 4 whole weeks, which is longer than any plant (and most fish) we’ve ever owned. The original Marcia is still alive and happy as well.

2010 Was very good to us, and we’re excited to see what 2011 brings. Happy New Year!

No exciting news to report at this time

I just want to reflect a bit as this week is kind of a big milestone week for mee.  Most people probably think I must be referring to the fact that on Tuesday (two days ago) my pregnancy hit 39 weeks.  While that is true, and a great thing, that is not what I am reflecting on today*.  On Monday I had the pleasure of going to yet another doctor’s appointment.  As I was waiting for the doctor to come in and check things out (you know the “fun stuff.”  Well at least hearing the baby’s heart beating is fun) I noticed the date written down “11/29/2010.”  Time has flown by!  Without my seeing it.  Specifically, ten years of time.  On 11/29/2000 I entered the Missionary Training  Center prior to going to Chile.  Wow!  That was the day I met for the first time Monica and Amy (and the elders in our district), it was also the last opportunity I had to meet up with Fiona (and meet her new husband Zac), it was nice to have a friendly face next to mee in that farewell meeting.  That was still in the day they allowed family/friends to come past the curb.  Though living so far away, I flew out alone.  Fiona and Zac brought mee a box of Andes mints, which were delicious and I loved them, thank you.  However I was probably too selfish to share them, and I am sure I ate them all myself, my apologies to Amy and Monica.  I know I am not as good at keeping in touch as I wish to be, but I am grateful for the internet and our ability to be in contact over the distances, and through our own web spaces we can know what is happening in each others’ lives.

*Here is a picture from Tuesday, mee at 39 weeks:

belly shot 39 week

And this one too, because I like my shirt, and I think it hides my belly, kinda, though I am pretty proud of that belly…

bellyshot39weeks

(Also, because it makes mee laugh.)

We have a winner, but first some reminiscing

This last Sunday was our Stake Conference weekend.  Four years ago, I was working in Nauvoo, ILL at a bed and breakfast.  I was the innkeeper.  It was a fun job, there was much to be desired in the employer area, but I met some really great people.  As most of us know, that is where I was when a certain young man asked mee to marry him.  We had no desire to live there and work the B&B after being married, so I needed to move back.  It was convenient that Nauvoo is also where our Stake center is located.  So, at the end of the Sunday session of Conference, I/we piled all of my belongings that I had in Nauvoo into my car (Speedy) and Jacob’s dad’s (Richard) truck (I am not sure if it has a name).  And to Macomb I moved, two weeks before I went from Mee to Wee. It was fun this weekend, during the awake and coherent parts of it, to think back and remember the events of that weekend.

So, now, for why you are all here reading this in the first place….

Remember this post?  We do.  And we have our winner.  This person “won” it a while ago.  September 1st, 2010 at 2:37 am, to be exact.

1000th comment blog winner

This seems to have been a  group effort, and so technically we have three winners, Fiona, Bran, and Nuala.  And it is also important to note that they live in Bulgaria, so it is not unreasonable for two three-year-olds to be up at 2:30 in the morning, our time.  Though, from what I have seen over the years, it really wouldn’t be unreasonable for two three-year-olds to be up at any given point in the night/morning.

Now, I just have to get the prize out.  When y’all moved to Bulgaria I failed to acquire your address.  If you could email that to mee, the prize can be on its way.  It will be good.  We promise!

Repost: 9 years ago today

(The following is a copy-and-paste of what I wrote on September 11, 2006, thinking back to September 11, 2001. Last night I was discussing with friends where each of us was on that day, and decided to repost this description of my unique experience on September 11, 2001.)

I was a Mormon missionary in the former U.S.S.R from 2000-2002. My time was spent in areas reasonably close to the city of Moscow. From July 2001 until February 2002, I was in the wonderful and beautiful city of Minsk, which is the capital of the Republic of Belarus.

There are many different kinds of Mormon missionaries. The ones most familiar to most people are the guys in white shirts and ties, dark suits, with little black nametags that go from door to door proselyting. What many people don’t know is that there are also missionaries whose time is spent working on family history/geneology, some who work at church historical sites as tour guides or landscapers or any number of other things, some who work as humanitarian aid workers in places where there is significant need, and several others.

Most of my two year mission was spent as your standard nametag-wearing door-knocking proselyting missionary, but while in Belarus, I was a humanitarian aid missionary. One of the things that we did as humanitarian aid missionaries was travel around to schools, day cares, camps, hospitals, and other places where there were large groups of children, and put on puppet shows about the consequences of alchohol and tobacco use.

On September 11, 2001, we did a couple of these puppet shows at a facility of some sort just outside of Minsk. I don’t really remember if it was a hospital or a camp; it may have been a children’s sanitarium or other long-term recovery facility for sick children (This place was notorious for having rather rambunctions and ill-behaved children, so I’m not sure how sick they really were).

These puppet shows were scheduled for the afternoon and early evening. We met at our office with our driver, Joseph, and headed out to do our shows, which were uneventful. Arriving back at the office, I got into the elevator with one of the large prop boxes and headed up to the 7th floor to drop off the props at the office.

And then the world changed.

The elevator door opened on the 7th floor, and as the elevator was right across the hall from the office, the people in the office heard it open. My good friend Michael Trousdale, another humanitarian aid missionary, was in the office at the time. He ran out and began babbling about an airplane crashing into the World Trade Center. My first thoughts were of the July 28, 1945 accident at the Empire State Building, when a small plane crashed into the building causing minimal damage and killing 14 people – a tragedy to be sure, but not worthy of the kind of hysterics I was seeing from Michael.

Through some questining that seems rather heartless in retrospect, I discovered that it was not, in fact, a small plane, but rather two very large airliners. It was also not likely an accident as the 1945 incident was, but appeared that the two jets had been deliberately flown into the towers. I went into the office.

On the television in the office I saw the horrifying images that we have all seen one time too many. The first tower had already fallen. The office workers and missionaries in the office sat, horrified, staring at the television. Another missionary arrived soon with the other prop box, then two more missionaries and Joseph. This last group had barely arrived when the second tower collapsed and fell.

Being an expatriate at such times is an experience that’s difficult to describe. We’ve all seen news footage on television that is being taken from a local source in some other country. We hear the reporter speaking in a foriegn tongue we don’t understand, with a translator speaking over them and bringing us the news in our language. This was the same experience, except the local foriegn channel was CNN, and the unfamiliar language being dubbed and translated was English.

As the next infamous hour unfolded, I wasn’t sure how to react. My homeland had been attacked. Terrible things had happened in New York. NEW YORK! And Washington D.C. And Pennsylvania. Those places were all so close to home.

But home was so far away.

I’d been in Russia and Belarus for over a year. Those places really felt like home, and the tragedies on American soil felt like they had happened somewhere else to someone else. While I was shocked and horrified by what had happened, and felt the pain that all good people should feel when evil wins a battle in the eternal war, it seemed that emotionally, something was missing. To this day, I’m not sure what it was that I though I should have felt, but I felt a little guilty for not feeling it.

We felt that the event was over by around 9:15 p.m. All of the airplanes in America had been grounded, the three attacks had happened (I think we’d heard of the Pennsylvania crash as well, but I’m not sure of that), and it appeared no more could happen. As a rule as missionaries, we were to be home by 9:30 each evening, so we headed our seperate ways (nevermind that we also weren’t supposed to watch T.V…. Something about extenuating circumstances and all that….). I lived with my roomate, Matt Millett, about three blocks from the office, and we walked back to our apartment that night.

Belarus is not a country that’s particulary friendly to the United States. At least that’s true politically. The great experience of September 11, 2001 was my realization that national borders and cultural and language barriers are easily crossed and overcome by the fact that we’re all part of the great human family. Our faces were known in the neighboorhood where we lived – people knew who we were. They knew that Matt and I were Americans. As we walked home that night, political unfriendliness melted away as person after person stopped us on the sidewalk and told us of the pain they felt at what had happened to our country. They said how sorry they were. They said that no nation – not even America – deserved to be attacked like that. They said that we’re all brothers and one brother should never do that to another. They said that they hoped their would be a war on whoever did it, and they hoped Belarussians and Americans would fight together to stop it from ever happening again.

44 years of cold war and we really had no enemies among those wonderful people.

There is a certain heirarchy of leadership among missionaries. It helps keep things organized. District leaders supervise a handful (maybe 6-10) of missionaries. Zone leaders supervise a handful of districts. Presidents supervise a handful of zones, which constitute a “mission.” I was a zone leader at the time. Geographically, my zone was the entire country of Belarus. Not long after we got home, one of the president’s personal assistants called to make sure that we knew what had happened, and to give us some instructions. Interestingly, much of the news that he gave was actually not true. He told us that in addition to the attacks in New York and Washington, many other airplanes had crashed, and a couple had even been shot down. Of course, such speculation was very common in the days following, but it ultimately only served to lessen the severity of what actually happened: “Oh, only four airplanes crashed? I understood there were nine! Four is so much better than nine.”

The instructions he gave, on the other hand, came straight from the church leadership in Salt Lake City, and were good advice, I think. We were told to avoid conspicuously American places like the embassy or McDonald’s until further notice (McDonald’s was later taken off the forbidden list – unfortunately). We were to be more cautious in who we told that we were Americans (most Americans are mistaken for Germans when they speak Russian – some of us had developed good enough accents that people mostly thought we were from another part of the Russian speaking world).

Soon after that, came another phone call. This one from the American Embassy, with better information on what had happened, a list of emergency numbers in case anything should happen in Belarus, etc… They called me because I was the zone leader. I’m not sure how they knew that, as I had never told them. They asked me to relay that information to the other missionaries.

I called the district leaders and passed on the instructions we’d been given along with the best patch-together I could manage of the news I’d heard from Moscow and from the Embassy. Of course by doing this I just became another spreader of misinformation. Again, at least the instructions were good.

Over the next several days, the pattern of people approaching us on the street to offer their condolences continued. Other missionaries from around our mission shared similar experiences. I was further convinced that we had no enemies among those people – only their governments.

In retrospect, it’s easier to analyze what happened that day. As I conclude this post however, I’d like to share what I felt on that day, as I wrote it in my journal:

…We arrived at Sofia’s office after a puppet show, just in time to see the news broadcast of the World Trade Center attack. What an infamous day! We all huddled around the TV for about two hours watching the news. It was odd to watch it in Russian – it made it all so…foriegn. I don’t feel fear, but I’m apprehensive about the future of my beloved America. I have learned on my mission to appreciate America – her freedoms, her liberties, and her opportunities. God bless America.

And today, on September 11, 2006 (And 2010!), I pray again, may God bless America.

23 down 17 to go

…approximately.

So here are some pictures, mostly for my own documenting purposes.  And some of you don’t see mee very often, and for those that have been around for the gradual changes, here is a more distinct view.

On 14 April 2010 I decided I would take a few pictures before I started growing my belly very much.  At that time I was only 7 weeks (lmp) along and was not close to showing outwardly what was happening inwardly.

20100414 a20100414 b

These next two are blurry, I was not really very focused myself when I took them.  I felt kind of silly since there was no progress to record. But the first here is the most side-ways shot I got.  The second I just felt good in that one since I had not really gotten a shot of how I looked after losing all that weight last year.

20100414 c20100414 d

I had this grand idea to take a picture once a week and then I could compare week to week.  If I had started it four weeks earlier (we knew close to the day that Copyright came to be) I might have really tried to stick to the plan.  But I had not been taking weekly pictures, and life got a little crazy.  And I figured that I would start to take pictures when I started to notice a difference, the next thing I know I was hanging out with some family and one of the nieces was leaning her head into mee and I looked down and did not see her head.  It occurred to mee in that moment, I missed the point when I started showing (I did take a picture of that view, though I have to search through lots of pictures to find it to post).

The next picture shoot I did was this afternoon.  16 weeks later.  What a slacker (in pictures, I have been sewing and doing other stuff like crazy).  The next picture is a side by side of “7 weeks” and “23 weeks” in the same clothes.

20100810 sidebyside

Now for more comfortable clothes.

20100810 hoy

And lest anyone think I am not excited (cause really it is fun to see the belly grow-in this way).

20100810 happy

Frizzy hair and all-I know many of you think it is because of the humidity, it is not so with my hair.  My hair does well in humidity, my hair gets frizzy when the air is dry-the air-conditioner is on and I had been in that all day.