Gone, Baby, Gone

I’m not here because I’m on my way to

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

For a family reunion.  I will be bringing
Princess

Princess

Along the way, we will see the sun rise over the

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

We will miss Daddy and Birdy lots, but we will have fun (if we don’t roast to death).  Princess is very excited to see her Great Grandma and see the desert where she was born.  We’ll tell you all about it when we get back!

July 31, 2008. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Stuff I Like: Planet Earth

This spring, we watched the “Planet Earth” series on Discovery.  It is an awesome documentary series that focuses on 11 different parts of the earth.  It has one hour segements on things like Caves, Fresh Water, Deserts, Mountains, Grasslands and etc.  The cinematography is AMAZING and watching it made us appreciate just how amazing this earth is.  After each segement, they have a little “diaries” section where they talk about how the the film was made, or what they had to do to capture some of the footage in the segment.

We recently bought a copy of the whole series on Ebay and I’ve been watching it when I’m folding laundry or clipping coupons and etc. I am reminded at how freakin’ cool this series is.  The best part is that the series we watched this spring was narriated by Segourney Weaver and the copy we bought is narriated by a british guy, David Attenborough and his narriation and voice is MUCH better than hers. 

I’ve always been a nature-show kinda girl, some of my earliest memories are of watching Nova with my Dad.  Apparently they had a super-huge budget for this and they shot over something like 5 years, and it is all so beautiful.  Princess has really enjoyed watching it with us and asking questions about the animals and places she sees. 

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you either rent or buy a copy for yourself (we got ours for about $20 bucks on Ebay).  Or, if you live close enough, and I like you enough, I *might* lend you our copy. Maybe.

July 29, 2008. Tags: . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Playing Hookie

We skipped church yesterday and it is bad, but I don’t really feel bad about it. It is the first time we’ve missed church in a LOOONG time (excepting the times that we’ve been travelling or whatever).   It was such a wonderful day, that I think it was worth it.

We woke up as usual and DMP, awesome studmuffin that he is, woke up with Birdy so I could sleep in until 9. 9 O’clock people!  I’m turning into my mother and I usually am incapable of sleeping in past 7:30, even when I can.  That alone made it a great day.  I came downstairs to DMP playinga loud game of “burrito” that involved wrapping up the girls in a blanket, burrito style.  I joined in and we were having so much fun that I started getting sad that we’d soon have to get “serious” and have baths, lunch, and get ready for church.

So I thought- what the heck- we’ll play hookie.  And Princess and Birdy DO have coughs that have kept them up the night before, so we justified our staying home by saying we were protecting our fellow church-goers.  But really we just wanted to stay home and play with our girls.  So we did.

There was a lot of burrito-ing.  Then Birdy and Daddy took a nap while Princess and I painted things and cut things (her ads, me coupons).  When everyone woke up, we got some lunch and hung out some more.  We played complicated games that Princess makes up where she orders us to say strange things to each other and that also involve a lot of going in and out of doors. 

We cooked (assembled?) yummy Vietnamese spring rolls for dinner, and Princess even helped.  In all, it was a really rare, fun day. We don’t get to spend a lot of “chill out” time with the girls and by necessity our weekends are a lot of running around so there isnt’ a lot of uninterrupted time to play. 

So in a way I think it was a lot better than wrestling both of them in sacrament meeting and then endlessly walking the halls with Birdy (2 months until Nursery!).  But listen to me justify…  How was your weekend?

Princess and Birdy making Mommy pretty...

Princess and Birdy making Mommy pretty...

July 28, 2008. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Everybody’s ‘Brit

We have a friend in our Ward with an unusual (but pretty) name. It is Majbrit (pronounced “Mah-breet”).  She lives accross the street from Babysitter, and Princess plays there alot. She has also, on occasion helped out when Babysitter is on vacation.

The funny thing is that Princess calls her “Babysitter’s Brit” or “Sarah’s Brit” or, my personal favorite “My Daddy’s Brit”.  She thinks we are saying “My Brit” :).

Last night we were talking about her watching the girls and Princess corrected me and said “No, Mommy, it’s Sarah’s Brit”.  I apologized and laughed a little.    Princess got a very serious face and said “We share Brit a lot”.

The Princess in Action

The Princess in Action

July 19, 2008. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Trouble

Princess has been, for the most part, and easy-going kid to parent. Sure, she’d take off screaming and laughing and never look back, and she’ll go up to total strangers and adopt them, but so far she has been pretty easy.

Birdy, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.  She is a baby mountain goat who will be standing and dancing on top of the table every time you turn your back. She gets into everything, and has just figured out how to open doors.  She is also very, very, freakishly determined.

Case in point;

Birdy is just getting the hang of negotiating stairs. She’s had the “up” part down for a while, but till thinks she can “walk” down the stairs like everyone else in the house.  DMP and I have been letting her practice when we are around to keep an eye on her. 

This weekend, she was going up and down the stairs and DMP and I were both in the kitchen.  Suddenly we hear “THUMP, THUMP, THUMP- WAAAAAHHHHH!!!”.  Of course we are panicked and go in to pick up our crying baby who just fell down the stairs. 

DMP picks her up and Birdy is wailing and trying get away. I’m secretly flattered and I say “Oh, do you want Mama?” as I take her from him. Nothing doing. She pushes me away and struggles to get down.  I put her down and the crying immediately stops and up the stairs she goes again.  She wasn’t scared, or hurt or upset. She was just pissed and wanted to do try again. 

The best part? This happened not once but TWICE this weekend!  Heaven help us with this one1

July 18, 2008. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Harry C. Ostrander- Who Are you?!?!

John Mohler and Family

John Mohler and Family- Adella, Harry and Edith are on the far left (Harry is holding baby Edith)

So lately I’ve been working on my family history. Particularly for my paternal line- the Kinsels.  My ggGrandfather Harry Ostrander has been a big mystery and has been by far the biggest research challenge this novice has come up against.  Here is his story so far:

Harry married my ggGrandmother, Adella May Mohler, on 24 Dec 1896 in Henry, Ohio.  They had one daughter, Edith Ostrander- my gGrandmother.  Adella died in 1899.  The family story is that Harry moved back east to New York or Boston to “teach at a University”.  After her mother died when she was 2, Edith only met her father once, but she did know his brother, Uncle Roy.

Edith was raised by her Grandparents, John and Caroline Mohler.  I found her in the 1900 Census (on Ancestry.com) living in Monroe, Henry, OH with them and again in 1910.

So, research-speaking, Harry “disappeared”.  There are many, many Henry Ostranders out there.  I had nothing on him except the snippet of time that he was married to Adella.  Though the help of more experienced researchers that I found on the Ostrander mailing list on RootsWeb.com, I was able to piece together a bit more.  I found him in a tree that was submitted to Family search and it gave me a birth year-1897.  Someone pointed me to an index/transcription of the marriage licence for Adella and Harry.  It includes a note that says “On App of G.W. Ostrander”.  This was likely a relative-like a parent, so that led me to George Washington Ostrander who in the 1880 census, had 2 sons- Harry and Leroy (among his other children).  The dates matched- I had found young Harry!

So I turned my attention to figuring out what happened to Harry after his wife died and he left his daughter with his in-laws.  This is where things REALLY get interesting…

I have two possible Harry Ostranders and I’m not sure which one is “mine”.  Both are listed in the Census records as Harry or Henry C.  Both have approximately the same birth years.  Both have the same birth state and listed parent’s birth states (which Match George W. and Helen Rouse).  Both are married and their oldest child is older than my gGrandmother.
 
One Harry C. married an Ella and lived in Toledo, Lucas, OH- where George lived, and near where Harry and Adella were married and lived. This is the Harry that is listed as the son of George and Helen in the Ostrander Big Book- a very comprehensive genealogical history of the Ostranders. (BTW- the big book doesn’t mention Adella or Edith at all).
 
The other Harry C. is found in the census records as being a border in New Jersey in the 1910 census records with occupations at a local College and as married to a Mamie in New Jersey in 1920 and 1930 with similar “college” occupations (administrator, etc.). His only child also is much younger than Edith (like almost 20 yrs).

So the first Harry could be mine because a) it makes sense that he may have stuck around Ohio where his parents lived. b) The Ostrander Big Book (who was researched by people WAY more adept than me) lists this Harry as the son of George Washington.  But the Big Book could be wrong- it doesn’t even mention Edith and Adella.

The second Harry could also be mine because he fits the “gone back east (New Jersy is near New York, right?) to teach at a university or college). It also seems to make sense that a man who is newly single and living as a boarder far away wouldn’t get around to seeing his daughter much.

Both Harry’s are possiblities and I don’t have any clue how to figure out which is the “real” Harry.  I think about him a lot- what must it have been like for him to have his young wife die (how?) and be left with a small baby. It wasn’t like now when it was as acceptable to be a single Dad.  Did he leave thinking he’d establish himself and come back for her? Why did he not have contact with her- maybe there were letters?

I just keep praying that I can be guided in the right direction to “sort” him out.  Help has been coming slowly, but it must be divine because it comes in bursts- I’ll be fiddling around on Ancestry and say “Hey, I’ll try looking for Harry again…” and find new things all the time- even though I think I’m doing the same searches I’ve done before.  I also know that I’ve been guided to the kind people who have been able to help me so far 🙂

July 17, 2008. Tags: . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Dinner is the answer to the working Mom’s guilt?

I read an article recently in Slate magazine about a study a BYU professor recently did on the effect eating family dinner together has on parents (you can read the article here).

She found that parents who regularly have family dinner feel less work/family imbalance, felt greater personal success and success in their relationships with their families than people who work similar hours (all the parents worked at IBM) but who don’t get home for dinner regularly.

I think that I agree with the study. Being able to be home and not miss importaint things (like dinner, bath and bedtime) makes me feel like more of a success- more like I can do this working/mommy thing.  Nights that I don’t make it home for dinner I feel more resentful of my job and less successful at the work/life balance.

However (as with so many thing about being a working Mommy) it is a catch 22. Some nights, when I know I need to work late, it is almost a relief to not have to do the rushing that it takes to get dinner on the table, the constant battle to get Princess to eat more than fruit, and the screaming from Birdy when we forget to give her her OWN fork.  Sometimes I’m happy to let DMP deal and grab a burger on the way home.  I wouldn’t say that dinner together is relaxing for fun (yet- maybe when the girls are older?). It is nice to realize that I am getting something out of it, though 🙂

July 14, 2008. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Another Charity lesson backfires…

I like to purge our house of stuff. A lot. Part of it is because we live in a 3 br townhouse and have limited storage space, and part of it is that I’m crazy.  Anyone who has been to my house can attest to the pantry with cans stacked with like cans witht he labels facing outward and a linen closet that resembles a small drug store with the neat display of extra shampoo, soap and etc.  I just hate clutter, but that is a different blog.

So, I had a trunk full of stuff to take to DI.  I was joking with DMP that I had “junk in my trunk” to take over.  I recruited Princess and off we went.  We dropped off our stuff and I got out to help the nice people who unload donations. As I got back in the car, Princess saw one of them putting a large (never played with) baby toy on the donation shelves.

“Mommy- that’s Birdy’s toy!”

“Yep- she is all big now and doesn’t need it anymore. It is going to another poor baby who doesn’t have one. Isn’t that great?”

“But Mommy,” said she (no doubt remembering earlier talks about how we give good toys to the poor kids, not just the dumb McDonalds ones) “why did you call it junk?”

July 12, 2008. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Modesty?

I was over at Segullah yesterday and I read a very interesting post and comment “conversation” on modesty.  You might want to pause to read it here.  It was a Mom who had interesting views on modesty and small children.  It is a topic I haven’t thought much about before (aside from telling Princess not to pull her dress up and show her panties “because it isn’t modest”). 

DMP and I had a long conversation about this last night, and I have to say I (mostly) agree with her. I think that we need to be careful about how we teach our children (especially young children) the concept of “modesty”.  It is a very complex concept and it is tied a lot to sexuality- I don’t want my almost-4 yr old to have to worry about such things.  I think (and maybe I’m justifying here) that modesty doesn’t have as much to do with knees, or shoulders, or etc, but more to do with not being provocative.  Could you call my sweet girls in their sleeveless Easter dresses provocative? Does the fact that they don’t have sleeves (or aren’t wearing shorts to their knees) make them “immodest”?  I have to think it is more immodest for them to wear a t-shirt that covers their shoulders that reads “sexy” or “boy magnet” or such… 

Does this mean I’m going to dress my girls like a Bratz doll? Of course not. But they do wear tank tops (with wide straps- no “stringy things”).  They also wear mostly capris because I have a hard time finding girl shorts that cover more than just their bum (tip: buy boy shorts- they are longer).  But I never saw this as a modesty thing- it has more to do with keeping them kids and not dressing them like small (trampy) adults.  Again- I think modesty has more to do with respect for your body and not displaying it in a sexual way and less to do with “rules” on what (or how much) needs to be covered.

Should they be held to the same modesty standards as an endowed member?  I read one comment from a mom who had her kids always wear t-shirts and undershirts to “practice” for when they wear the temple garment- that seems extreme to me.  This Mom (and others) argument was that they “Shouldn’t have to throw away any clothing when they go to the temple”.  I had tank tops and short shorts that I gave to roommates when I was endowed, so maybe that is why it doesn’t fly for me- I’m justifing my past behavior :). 

I am also torn because I know that I want them to prepare to go to the temple some day and wear garments, and they will have to dress a certain way to remain “modest”. I hope my when they are ready to go to the temple, my kids are mature and able to understand that being endowed and the covenants they make require higher standards.  I hope their clothing choices before then reflect a desire to not portray themselves as a piece of meat or “sexy” because they respect themselves and the bodies Heavenly Father gave to them. 

And I guess that is where I agree with the author of the blog the most- I want them to learn to love, appreciate and enjoy the bodies they have. I truly believe that this is key to helping them weather the crazy Middle and High-School years (and beyond) when it seems that so many young women begin to dislike and be uncomfortable with their bodies.  I think a key to this is watching how we teach modesty when they are little. DMP and I want to be careful not to make them feel like they should be embarrassed or ashamed of any part of themselves.  I think it can be easy to send the wrong message when you are teaching little ones.

So for now, we will continue doing as we do- buying clothing that is age-appropriate. Teaching Princess that lifting your dress or showing your panties in public places is “not polite” (because it isn’t). But not freaking out and making her feel bad or embarassed when she goes potty, has trouble re-dressing herself and running buck naked into the living room where the adults are visiting (Welcome to the family, Uncle Matt!).  And, most of all teaching her that her body is a wonderful, wonderful gift from Heavenly father and helping her feel grateful for all the amazing things it can do.  The “modesty” discussions can wait until they are mature enough to understand (and will hopefully be taught gradually as their understanding grows).

What are your thoughts?

July 11, 2008. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

I have people…

It’s official and kind of ridiculous.  I have pretty much outsourced every aspect of my domestic life, thus freeing me for… more work? more time with my family? Hopefully the latter, and not the former, if I can help it.

So here’s the deal. DMP has an internship this summer in addition to his usual summer schedule of classes (big, ugly accounting classes with math homework that consists of a single “problem” that takes hours. Sounds Fun, Hon.!).  He gets home at 5:30 every night- just in time to log in for his SECOND job (thankfully he works from home).  I still work full time and things are, um, slipping at our house.  We just can’t seem to find time to cover the basics like cleaning toilets and buying and preparing food.   

So, my daughters already go to an awesome Babysitter who adores them and they adore her (outsourcing child care and nurturing- check!).  I finally convinced my in-house accountant that we should hire a housekeeper to come in once a week and clean.  It wasn’t too hard once I pointed out that he didn’t want to spend his precious spare time cleaning toilets, either (outsourcing cleaning my house- check!).  And, just last night I signed up for Dream Dinners, one of those places where you go and prepare 12 freezer meals in about 2 hours.  I can’t believe the accountant went for it, but according to him, it should positivily impact both our grocery and eating out budget.  (outsourcing feeding my family- check). 

I don’t blog about this to brag, in any way. We are not what you’d call well-to-do.  I just find it slightly absurd that in order to do our jobs and have time left over for the things we really want to do (i.e. spend time with each other and, most of all, with our girls) we have to outsource everything. I was joking with DMP that we just need a wife- someone to do all of that stuff (plus buy things like clothes, groceries, and etc.)  I’m also probably feeling a twinge of guilt, too. I want to be the one to nurture and cook and – ok, not clean, but two out of three aren’t bad. 

But, on the other hand, I’m also proud of what I’m accomplishing at work. I’m super-proud of DMP and how he is keeping things together in spite of the fact that he literally only has 2 hours (yep, 8:30 – 10:30) where he isn’t actually scheduled to be somewhere and even then, he is getting the girls ready.

Speaking of- I wonder if there is a way to outsource hairstyling duties for Lily in the mornings?

(BTW- I’ll totally post a review of Dream Dinners in case anyone is interested…)

July 9, 2008. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.