Categories: Relationships, Science & Tech

Next week will mark 10 years since Brett sent me an email for the very first time and we became aware of each other’s existence in this world. That email is the stuff legends are made out of. The good kind. He wasn’t the only guy who sent me an email on that site. There were others. Each legendary in his own way, and none of them good. One in particular stood out. His screen name was “The Very Best” and his profile pic was of his abs (at least I assume they were his). Our email exchange went as follows.

The Very Best:

are you sure u didnt steal your pics from one of my dreams?


Just some advice for the future.

A line like that doesn’t work in a bar unless the girl is drunk and easy. Don’t try such stuff here.

Also, your message is the first impression someone has of you. You should make sure it is your best self. It takes less than a second to make sure you have proper capitalization and punctuation in your message. With proper grammar and spelling, even a cheesy patronizing line can come off as somewhat acceptable.

If you think you are, in fact, the very best, maybe you should try acting like it.

The Very Best:

A line like that doesn’t work in a bar unless the girl is drunk and easy. Don’t try such stuff here.

1. I don’t think that was a line of any sort. Mind helping me find the appropriate definition of the word ‘line’ in that context?
2. this isnt a bar, and what do you know about being drunk or easy, and what does and doesnt work?
3. I’ve had quite a lot of success introducing myself ‘here’ are you sure i shouldnt?

Also, your message is the first impression someone has of you.

actually, people generally tend to see pictures before they see text. my picture was the first impression you could have had of me.

You should make sure it is your best self. It takes less than a second to make sure you have proper capitalization and punctuation in your message.

that might be just one second(im giving you the benefit of the doubt that it is indeed only one second. Its probably closer to 2 or 3) but over time that 1* second adds up. if i were to send an average of 50 messages per day over the course of 25 years that would be 77 days spent making sure my punctuation was perfect. if i lived another 50 years that would be 154 days. to a man about to die on his death bed do you think he would remember all those capitalizations and correctly punctuated sentences, or do you think hed much rather have an extra 5.14 months to live?

With proper grammar and spelling, even a cheesy patronizing line can come off as somewhat acceptable.

there you go. i believe you miswrote when you writ patronizing. unless of course you believe by complimenting your pictures i was condescending.

If you think you are, in fact, the very best, maybe you should try acting like it.

im inherently the very best, acting isnt required. you cant really say something is not the very best unless youve tried it. now can you? i wuve u.

As entertaining as that was, that was as far as it ever got. He was not, in fact, the very best. Brett, on the other hand, had correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization in his message. A very good first impression.

Two weeks ago I read a report of a study showing that American undergraduates think it is insincere to punctuate a text message. And now we have a sample of convenience making the rest of us feel like our text messages our insincere if we use punctuation. Undergraduates are easy to do studies with because they are easier to round up than normal people who don’t hang out all day at universities with nothing to do but take surveys about text messaging.

There are no undergraduates at our house. We punctuate our text messages. And some of us do it with great gusto. Sometimes the punctuation is the entire text message (Iddo gets to send voice-to-text messages to Brett and Grandma Giles).


Long time coming

Categories: Life

In December 2012, when I was pregnant with Iddo, I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and had Brett cut off about 14 inches so I could donate it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. It was my second donation. Since then I’ve had it trimmed once, maybe twice, and it had grown down past my hips.

I love my long hair. But with a toddler who likes to play with it (i.e. tangle it) when it is down, and having to bend down a lot for the babies, it’s been easiest to keep it up in a bun all day, every day. I really don’t think most people realize how long my hair is. Make that was.

Because last night I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and had Brett cut off almost 14 inches so I can donate it. And then Iddo went to the stylist with me to have it evened out. It’s still past my shoulders, so definitely long enough to pull back, but also hopefully short enough that if I do something fun with it the kids won’t be able to make too big of a mess of it. And in another year or so when it’s super long again maybe I’ll be at a point where the kids will leave it alone more often. And if not then I can always donate it again. I probably won’t wait three years before I do it again though.

And, of course, you can’t do a blog post about a hair cut without pictures. So here’s the before and after. Everyone in our house loves the new length.

Before After

It’s the day we get ready for Sunday

Categories: Gospel

As I’ve been trying to figure out how I can do better at keeping the Sabbath holy, making it a delight, I’ve had several thoughts. I know from reading the experiences of others that toddlers have the potential of destroying that delight, that it isn’t the day off a lot of people want it to be, and that it is often more a burden than delight. I do not want to invalidate their feelings, but that isn’t the case for me. And there are a few key reasons I’ve discovered for why that is the case, and I’m sure I’ll figure out more/different secrets to the Sabbath as I’m at different stages of life. | My keys to calling the Sabbath a delight.

The first key is having a toddler who loves church and the Sabbath. We can credit part of this to the beyond amazing nursery teachers Iddo has. She has never cried at being dropped off for nursery, but she has frequently cried when we pick her up. Along with this we have the expectation for her to be 2 years old, and we plan accordingly with a water bottle, snacks, and toys she only gets at church. Yes. Children are supposed to enjoy church (in case you were wondering). We also make the rest of the day special by eating certain foods only on Sunday, Skyping with both sets of grandparents in the evening, and finishing the day with popcorn. All of that, combined with the fact that we’ve been blessed with an amazing kid, and it definitely isn’t the toddler keeping us from enjoying the Sabbath.

The second key is taking responsibility for my own Sabbath. It is not my children’s responsibility nor Brett’s responsibility to make sure I have an enjoyable Sabbath. That is all on me. I appreciate it when they don’t purposefully do things to make the day hard for me and I believe it is part of my responsibility to not purposefully make it hard on them or anyone else too. There is no list of things Brett needs to do to make sure I delight in the Sabbath, and there is no list of things he needs me to do to make sure he delights in the Sabbath. I am a mom 7 days a week just like he’s a dad 7 days a week, which means there are things we have to do each day regardless of what day it is.

Which brings me to my next key. As I was thinking about the appropriate ways to honor the Sabbath I wondered how Heavenly Father honors the Sabbath, because that seemed like a person to pattern my Sabbath worship off of. Which made me think of two things: 1) The Sabbath was made for man, for me, it’s His gift for us, and 2) the Sabbath is probably God’s busiest day of the week, definitely not His “day off.” Heavenly Father spends the Sabbath listening to and taking care of His children. Why should I not expect to do the same? This key brings up the point that enjoying and honoring the Sabbath is not a matter of application of the law of the Sabbath, but understanding of the doctrine and principle of the Sabbath, doctrines and principles I’m still gaining a personal understanding of. But the more I learn about them the more delightful and less prescriptive my Sabbath becomes.

One thing I have learned about the Sabbath though, the primary song was wrong. Saturday is not the day we get ready for Sunday. We start getting ready for Sunday first thing Monday morning. We spend all week getting ready for Sunday. When we delight in serving the Lord Monday through Saturday it will be that much easier to delight in serving Him on the Sabbath.

Ishi and Shiphi

Categories: Family

On Thursdays this month I expressed my gratitude for each of the people in my family here in this life. I described what they are like as a way to introduce them. But there are two more members of our family. I can’t describe them to you the same way I can the other members of our family as I only know their hearts. But that is the most important part of a person, so it is enough.

Both left our family 2 months into their pregnancies.

Ishi was our very first pregnancy and we were over the moon excited to finally be pregnant. Losing him, and we know he was our son, was one of the absolute hardest things I have ever done. But he left us hope. Without him I don’t know that we would’ve pressed on long enough to get to the retrival that gave us the three children we have now. I am grateful for his hope.

Shimri and Shimei started as triplets with Shiphi. We suspect he was a boy, it was never confirmed. He gave us a lot of excitement while he was here as we imagined the possibilities and he reminded us to hold on to what we have when he left. I am grateful for the lessons he taught me.

They were small bumps that brought me life.

O Come

Categories: Family, Gospel

There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to this Christmas season. Watching Iddo’s delight in the season is up there at the top of the list. She’s loved the decorations we’ve pulled out so far and is eager to help us decorate the tree tomorrow. I love watching her play with the nativities we have that are just right for little fingers to touch and move around. But I’m most looking forward to teaching her about the baby Jesus. Although I’m sure there is much she could teach me about our Savior if I could understand with a better heart.

We need to demand better

Categories: Random

I love Christmas music. But I refuse to listen to it on the radio. Because I hate crappy Christmas music. And there’s too much crappy Christmas music on the radio. And it’s your fault.

When I first arrived in Brasil as a missionary I was introduced to the dessert “pudim de leite,” a type of flan. And it was heavenly. I have never had a non-chocolate dessert that was so absolutely delicious. I loved it whenever anyone would fix it for us when we came for lunch.

And then about half-way through my mission I developed a discerning palate and realized that not all pudim de leite was created equal, that not everyone knew how to make it. I started being able to tell the difference between good pudim and bad pudim. And it wasn’t that exciting when people who were only so-so at making it made it for us.

The problem with Christmas music is that every December it’s like we’re being introduced to it for the first time and we (the general public) think all of it is awesome and we love hearing it all the time. And then December is over relatively quickly and we are never given the chance to develop a discerning palate for Christmas music and realize that not all of it is created equal and that not everyone knows how to sing it (or even write a few of the songs). We don’t get the chance to learn to tell the difference between good Christmas music and bad Christmas music because we (the general public) have a very short memory. And because we have that short memory rather than a discerning palate the radio stations can play all kinds of crappy Christmas music for us and we don’t care because Christmas music!

The solution is definitely not to play Christmas music year round because that would make it not fun and special. But there has to be a way to stop them (the radio stations) from force feeding us crappy Christmas music every year.

In the mean time we’ve pulled our favorites together into our own playlist and will be boycotting the radios through the end of the holiday season.

What are your favorite Christmas songs? What songs deserve a lump of coal?

Adventure bags

Categories: Life

I bought myself a new backpack at the start of the academic year this year, a JanSport Splice backpack. It was the first backpack I’ve purchased in almost twenty years. My old backpack, an older version of the JanSport Right Pack backpack (back before lap top sleeves were things people thought about), is still usable. I had a lot of academic (and other) adventures with it. It saw me through the bulk of my bachelor’s degree and both of my graduate degrees. But now I’m having adventures of a different sort and found myself needing more than just the basic three pockets that one had.

My current bag has two side pockets for water bottles and/or burp rags. It has two small front pockets with a camera and hanky in one and other first-aid style things in the other. It has a “lap top” pocket that is the perfect place to put two muslin blankets. It has a front pocket to keep books, hand sanitizer, sun screen, pacifier, and other smaller items. And it has a large pocket perfect for three sets of diapers, a changing pad, wipes, a munchie mug, a baby-wrap-carrier, and a few toys. My backpack has to carry not just my supplies for adventures now, but the supplies for three other people as well.

Iddo has a pack-pack that she carries for adventures too. On occasion I’ll pack it for her to make sure it has things she’ll actually want/need at our destination (like when we go to church). But mostly she just likes to bring her pack-pack because Momma and Daddy always take their pack-packs when we go places so I let her put whatever she wants to in there. Part of the fun for me is seeing what she thinks she’ll need on our adventures. Once that meant she brought all 18 of our crocheted rainbow sorting balls. Another time she brought all the contents of our ball basket. She brings books on a regular basis and that makes me happy too.

The contents of my new backpack are going to change over the years. It’s going to be fun to see what kind of adventures we have with it.