Thursday, October 27, 2005

Black people love us....

I can't even remember how I found this, someone must have sent me the link. It makes me laugh every time I see it. I have no idea why or how this started, although it is clearly a joke. This whole thing is very much in the spirit of the Bean Society back at BYU. It could have been a Garren's sketch (can't you see Lisa Clark or Katie Fillmore Craig as the girl with the sweater around her shoulders?)

Best part--the letters from people who don't realize it is a joke. :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2005


What is a first birthday without having the "cake all over your face" shot? We decided to get Banana Cream Pie (it shows up better) and we just let him go at it. These pictures were taken right before it got smeared in his hair (I am STILL picking it out). He also figured out that if he put a whole bunch of it in his mouth and "blew bubbles" it would shoot across the room.

In our family you aren't officially one until you have this picture. Ironically, every meal time at our house has Jacob ending up looking like this....

Some pictures...

At the front gate......Tinkerbell Costume for Lauren? Check. Tinkerbell Costume for Clara (the bear)? Check. One squirmy toddler? Check...........Lets go find some Churro's.

Lauren knew the drill w/ the characters so she was in HEAVEN. Jacob just wanted to lick them. This is one of the few pictures we have where he isn't actually putting a part of the character in his mouth. I hope these guys get paid well!

It was SO HOT down there. We stripped the kids and let them run around in the sprinklers at Bug's Life in California Adventure. It was a good way to cool them off. This is a GREAT idea.

This is Lulu with her two favorite people. Grandma Jane and Cinderella. They occupy the same worship status in our house.

Ohhh. Derek took Lulu to the park one morning the minute it opened and they were able to see all the characters in less then an hour. This is the best way to do it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It must be stream of consciousness Monday

I discovered a blog that I love. It is called Snarkernacle. This guy follows all the LDS based blogs, some are really more of a web magazine, and pokes a bit of fun at them. It is all the things that I usually think, but don't say. He has comments on the contributors, the topics and some generally funny comments about other stuff. It is usually not personal or mean--but sometimes it is. He is like the John Stewart of LDS blogs. If you are going to put it out there, prepared to have it commented on. He doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. In fact, I think he even contributes to at least one of the sites. Plus, I love the word snark, I use it all the time with my kids.

Anyway, that is not the point, I had never even heard of most of the blogs and I had a great time reading them. I have to say that many of them seemed a bit holy and pretentious (one major exception is Various Stages of Mormonism--because you get all sides of one topic. I enjoy hearing what all sides have to say about it and It doesn't usually turn into a contest to see who knows the most or can pull the most obscure reference from the scriptures). I fully recognize that I am not the greatest authority on all things holy. All I know is that if I were any of my non member friends and ran across these, I would think that Mormons were a bunch of stuffy religious zealots that had really relaxed rules about how much time we were allowed to spend on the computer at work. Many of the people seem to be the kinds of people that drove me just a little bit crazy in school, the people that I liked but would cause a lot of eye rolling and would give me really great fodder for the stories I would tell my non member friends. To be fair, I actually ended up knowing at least one person at each site, between Stanford, Princeton, BYU and my mission. The people I know aren't all stuffy and pretentious. Mainly they are very smart, kind and capable people who DON'T drive me crazy so maybe the blogs just don't read true for me.

Wow, that wasn't the point either. This is where I was going.......One of the threads that I read was all about how this guy came home from his mission and kept wanting to use words in Spanish for English things (come on, we ALL knew this guy...the one who would pretend to not remember the word in English....I frequently forget words in English but it is because between the Diet Coke and my children I am running on fewer brain cells, not because I spoke another language for so long). His point was that there are some words that just cover it better in Spanish. Ironically, when I was at The BY (as Grandma Thora always called it) it was only the Spanish speakers that I ever heard do this. I never heard someone lamenting that a Finnish word or Russian phrase would cover so clearly what they were trying to say. There were at least 30 people in the comments that agreed and all contributed words that THEY liked better in Spanish. Again, just Spanish, not Japanese, Thai, French, etc. Maybe it is because there are far more Spanish speaking RM's then anyother language. Maybe Spanish really DOES work better for English then English. Who knows? All I know is that it if it doesn't work for Madonna, it isn't going to fly with anyone else. It is annoying.

I served in the very short lived British Sign Language British Isles Mission (we basically opened and closed it). I was already fluent in American Sign Languge. Signed languages are spatial, so they are very succinct. Instead of saying "go down the road, turn left, take a quick right and then up the stairs", you can communicate the same thing in ASL or BSL w/a few gestures.
There are many things in a visual language that you can communicate much easier then spoken language. There is usually no verbal equal to many of the phrases and idioms in ASL/BSL. It's been 10 years and there are still times when I am saying something and thinking "I know ONE sign that would cover what I am trying to say". At times, talking can be very tedious (and I should know because I talk, A LOT!!) It IS a real language with grammar rules and all the other things that spoken language have, you just use your face, your hands and space instead of vocal chords. It also isn't just subbing a sign for an English word. If you were to transliterate ASL or BSL into English, you would sound like Yoda. I just want to say for the record that even though there were MANY times I thought to myself, "I wish I could just sign this essay test" I never ACTUALLY tried to.

There was lots of cool slang in England, but most people know it: loo, chuffed, dodgy, git, nappy, tube, etc. It got interesting when we would have to try to translate the slang into the BSL slang equivalent. It was maddening. I lived in Bow, a section of London that still uses Cockney rhyming slang. I still remember it when I hear some words. People in this very small section of London use it all the time. For example--apples and pears is Cockney for stairs, trouble and strife is wife, dog and bone is phone, ruba dub dub is pub. Here is a phrase in Cockney...."I need to go up the apples and pears and use the dog and bone to ring my trouble and strife and tell her to meet me at the rub a dub dub". To make it even more complicated, they will often drop the last part of the rhyme--or the part that actually rhymes with the word that they are subbing it for. This is the same phrase used by someone who is speaking real Cockney--I'm going up the apples to get on the dog to ring the trouble and have her come 'round the rub.
Translate THAT!!!! I shudder to think about what the poor Deaf people actually got when they depended on me to translate for them. The Relief Society President in my ward in East London used various phrases all the time. No one really uses all of them all the time, but it was enough to be confusing. I also want to state here that I NEVER walked around the BYU campus using Cockney slang and "pretending" to forget the real words. Do you get where I am going with this?
I served in Scotland for several months too. That one was hard. They used lots of Gaelic slang up there but the slang was easy compared to the accent. I love the accent more then anything in the world, but some of the people are very hard to understand. If they would all just talk like Ewan McGregor or Sean Connery, we would have be fine. Sheesh. There was a Scottish elder in the London Mission I swore I would marry just to listen to him speak for the rest of my life. Of course there was also a Scottish elder in the London mission that accepted a bet for 5 quid to eat a bonnet pepper (one of the hottest peppers in the world). He did it and was sick for days. He also took 10 quid to drink the water in the old nasty plant pot that had been in the missionary flat forever. Again, sick for days. He would eat anything disgusting for money. Ahhhh, missionaries.

This post really has no point or even very good flow. I was just taking a walk down memory lane. I don't really think about my mission any more. It was fun to think about it for awhile. I am far enough removed from it to not really remember or care about the bad stuff and can just laugh about the good stuff. Also, that is where I met my husband. It was really nice to not have to talk or think about birth mothers, law suits, crazy people, cancer or favorite grandma's that have passed away. I needed that this week.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The devils child....

I am a terrible mother.

For the last few weeks people have been asking me how old Jacob is, I always answer "he is almost one." I think the reason people ask is because he is walking everywhere now. He is also in a phase where he does things like insisting on pushing the cart in Target or his stroller in the mall. He even goes as far as grabbing my hand to pull me AWAY from the cart so I don't interfere with his process. Charming, huh? People always express surpise when I answer because he is really small. He looks like a walking 6 month old (and is still wearing 6-9 month clothes, poor baby).

Lately, when asked, I have been answering "he turns one on Saturday". I am just about to burst my buttons because I can't believe that my boy is almost one. I think about how much has happened in a year, what I was doing a year ago etc. Just today, I realized that I had gotten the day wrong. He isn't turning one on Saturday because that is the 8th, his birthday is on the 7th, that is Friday. I was laughing about this on the phone with my friend and she was quiet for a minute. Finally she said "are you sure, Rebecca? Isn't his birthday on the 6th?" I was just about to become indignant and say something like "I would know my own kids birthday--I was there after all" but something struck true. Suddenly, I couldn't remember the day of his birthday.

How can this be? Is it because he was adopted and I didn't physically give birth to him? Wouldn't that make me MORE likely to remember? Granted I slept at the hospital for three days inbetween taking care of her other kids. I didn't even know my own name by the end of it, but I would remember that......right?

I called my husband. "Is Cubby's birthday the 6th or the 7th?"
"The 6th."
"Are you sure? I thought it was the 7th."
"Rebecca, you have done this before, I remember hearing you tell someone else that his birthday was the 7th and I thought to myself, no it isn't."
"How could I not remember that ?"
"Here is an easy way, just think of him as a little devil baby. He was 6 pounds and 6 ounces and born on the 6th. 666."

Riiiiiiiight, the devils child. Got it.

I can joke about this boy being the devils child because he so clearly is NOT. From the first day JJ entered the world he has been a happy and easy going soul. When I first brought him home and we weren't sure how serious his diagnosis of Galactosemia was, he was mellow and calm. He rarely cried and his face just radiated joy. Lulu and I used to race to his room in the morning to see who would get the "wake up smile". The first thing he does when he wakes up is flash a big smile. Now that he is older he can jabber, clap and laugh too. It is very infectious.
When Derek blessed him, he said that one of Jacob's special talents was to be cheerful. That is a very good description. He is a cheerful boy and it is a talent.

I guess I can give myself a break about not knowing the day he was born. There are lots of other dates that are important. The 8th of October is the day his birth mom relinquished her rights. I stayed at the hospital while they all went to court. I just held Jacob and for the first time REALLY looked at him. Even though he looked like an 80 year old woman with a bad perm, he felt like mine. I just said to him over and over "hey there, I am your Mommy." I recognized the look in his eyes and knew right there that he was mine. The bond was instant and visceral, must faster and stronger then with Lauren. He was meant for our family. The 8th of April is the day that we finalized his adoption. That was also the day his birth certificate was changed to the name we chose for him and his parents names were listed as Derek and Rebecca. The 9th of April we were sealed together as a family. Lisa Clark held him during the sealing and instead of having to wrestle him (like I thought she would be doing), he just sat and listened and looked at us the whole time, almost as if he knew what was being said. All of our friends and family were there to witness this big event. It was one of the best days for our family.

The last year has been full of major adjustments for our family. One bright spot has been to see our little Lulu blossom into a big sister. She loves this boy and uses him as her personal slave and perpetual dancing partner. She is the one that can always get him to laugh. He follows her and copies everything she does. When she sings, he sings. When she dances, he dances. When she goes to school he grabs her doll, her doll bed and one of her dress ups and drags them around the house. He is even starting to say "ooohhh ohhhh" for Lulu. Lauren has been telling me lately that "it is fun to have a brown brother". She still feels this way even though he is old enough to start getting into her stuff.

We got to watch Jacob go from a smiling, not so cute lump(see the above picture, Don King look alike--yes, cute--not so much), to a cuter smiling crawler to a dashing and handsome, smiling walker. Even though there has been drama in the last year, he has added the sunshine. I look forward to him being able to speak so we can know what it is that makes him so happy. He loves to snuggle and he loves his mama. Last night I forgot to rock him before bed and he crawled over to the rocking chair and starting "singing" and pushing it. He is starting to watch Barney, Teletubbies and Elmo. He has a round face and large brown eyes and the longest eyelashes EVER. His hair grows faster then mine, Dereks and Lauren's put together. He has a strong sense of what he wants and usually finds a way to get it. We can usually find him playing the piano or pounding on a keyboard. He is the boy of many nicknames; JJ, little J, Cubby, Dr. J, man cub, monkey man, grumpy pants, puppy...the list goes one and on. He has a voice like Barry White. Even as a tiny baby he had a very deep cry. He still has a low and scratchy voice, but can "whisper" in the most soft and gentle voice too. He eats more then most 3 year olds and will someday, SOMEDAY graduate to 12 month size clothes. I forgot how fun and incredibly frustrating a one year old can be at the same time.

We are so blessed to have him in our family. I know that every parent says and feels this way but I really don't know what we would do without him in our family. I can't wait to see wha the next year has in store.

Happy Birthday Jacob!!!!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

If you have ever wondered about children's television....

Any of you who have watched children's TV and thought...."WHAT?" need to read this post. She hits it right on the head. With the exception of Wallace and Grommett (which I am pretty sure is for grown ups anyway), it is all a little bit wacky.

I will have an actual original post soon, instead of redirecting you to other places where people have written good things. I have been stuck, mentally. I can't think of anything to say. Soon, soon.