Monday, March 31, 2008

Bluebell Tessabelle

Here's one last Sunday Dressy Tessie post for my MOM before she comes out to SEE US!

This sweet little blue number was a gift from Reenie when Tess was born. I remember thinking how big it looked. I thought she'd never grow into it! Well, luckily I decided to try it on her because now it fits her perfectly. I do like her in blue.

The following pics are for my Dad. I've been using "Bottle and a Book (B&B)" time to prep Tess for Cousins' Camp. Cousins' Camp is a summer retreat into the wild, wild woods of Idaho for all the Murdock Cousins. Baba has had plans in the works since Tess was in utero.

A sampling of camp agenda items include wildflower identification, rock collecting and identification, and star gazing instruction. We're counting on a few fishing lessons, as well. (You usually don't have twist my Dad's arm too hard for one of those!)

Friday, March 28, 2008

In Full Bloom

Things are in full bloom around here! I walked outside the other day and the scent from the blossoms was so strong, it smelled like someone had just spritzed perfume in front of me.

These are some pics of blossoms from entrance to our neighborhood. They are the very essence of Popcorn Popping!

(It's embarrassing to admit that I was well into adulthood before I realized what that song was really about--I guess I thought that there really were popcorn trees that grew somewhere.)

Perhaps it's all the pollen in the air, but I thought I'd share my most recent favorite lullaby for Tess, Apple Blossom Fairy (no, that's not me singing!):

Tessie has really been blossoming lately, too. For a long time now, she's enjoyed looking at her mobile, but she's never been too keen on trying to reach for or grab things placed in front of her.

Well, all of a sudden last night she started reaching for everything in sight! It was as if she had a moment of awakening! She was so riled up, it took some time (and 7 oz. of formula!) to calm her down for bed.

And last, but certainly not least, love is in full bloom here, too! My sweetie and I had a lunch date today. We LOVE the weekends! Every Friday I tell Tess that's its one of those special days that Dad comes home from work and doesn't leave the next day!

All weekend, Tess spends so much time just looking at Dad--she hardly gives me a glance. I suspect I'm not the only one in love with cute Ry!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thoughts...An Addendum & One Picture

Thanks, Wendy, for your comment on my Bushman post. Perhaps the excerpt sounded strange because I did not share enough of my thoughts on it or provide appropriate context for it. Yes, Sister Bushman's vision is a bit fantastic--she's not entirely serious. She's taking a bit of artistic license with hyperbole and sarcasm at times.

But I love the thought of Mormon women around the world taking in interest in writing their own personal scriptures--recording their activities, thoughts, experiences and testimonies. That is exactly what scriptures are, after all (except that historically the experiences of women largely were not recorded--or maybe some of them were and we just don't have them yet).

I think it's exciting to think of "the Shakespeares and Dantes of Mormondom" arriving on the scene. That's something I'd welcome and I love the thought of Tess having someone like that to look up to and emulate.

And the thought of Tess with a golden pencil makes me smile--I want to encourage her to see value in and record her thoughts and experiences. Where I can buy a golden pencil?

The final implications Sister Bushman lists impressed me:

1. Generations of wise women will arise.
2. No one will die unrecorded.

Ever since I worked on transcribing my great-great-great grandfather's journal, I've wished there was similar record of my great-great-great grandmother, Jane Sharp. I know so little about her life--it's hard to imagine what it was like.

So, when I say I want to be part of Sister Bushman's vision, I guess what I mean is that I want to write--I want to record. I think we're all contributing to that vision with our blogs--I love reading about each of your daily lives. Believe it or not, this is the stuff history is made of. As Ann commented on one of Laura's posts, we are going to be so pleased have these records, to have these memories written down.

I talked with Wendy yesterday and she has me excited about new projects (at least she understands me--was she meant to be my mother-in-law, or what?). I'm going to start transcribing an oral history: interviews she did with her mother, Virginia, a while ago. And Wendy may even let me do an oral history project on her--that would be amazing!

Tess needs legions of wise women to emulate!

That's it--so if it still sounds strange, I guess that just means I'm strange. If that's the sad case, then I offer a video of Tess as recompense (she'd be able to flip all the way over if it weren't for that durned arm of hers):

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fewer Thoughts, More Pictures

Maur has left some subtle hints that she's not a big fan of the "thoughts with no pictures" format. So here are some pics for Maur. You always get what you want, don't you Reenie? You are such an Avid Diva!

Last night Ry had to get Tess ready for bed on his own because I was at Cub Scouts. This morning I realize that he dressed her in a sleeper I'd never seen--he got it from the 6 mos. drawer. Evidently he picked it out because it says "Daddy's Little Girl." He was pretty tickled by that.

Tess finds exercise so relaxing. This is what Tessikins does whenever I crank the music and take to the treadmill. (The treadmill is in her room because there's no room for it anywhere else. I didn't know it is also a baby sleep machine.)

My Baby Puff.

We've been working with Tess to make her more of a snuggle bug. When you hold her, she usually does not like to rest her head on your shoulder, but she's getting better at it. You will love us, you will love us.

Tess' recent fav pick from "Bottle and a Book" time. I'm going to get her on Reading Rainbow if it kills me--you hear that, LeVar?

Can you believe he's been doing that show for 25 years?

That's all for now--good night, folks!

Rosebutt Ruminations

I let Tessie have free reign of the keyboard. Here's what's on her mind:
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\ ]w][=gffffbbbbbbbbbbbbb hge3drrf.hyyhju777777777777777777dctgygggggggggggggggggggggggsdhgg77666trf}Xd3zswxxxxxsssssewsy67777777

Thoughts...and No Pictures

Just thought I'd share some of the ideas I've been mulling over lately. This is not easy, since Tess keeps trying to share her own ideas by kicking the keyboard while I feed her with one hand and try to type with the other. I may have to let her submit her own post.

The following is an excerpt from a recent address given by Claudia Bushman on "The Future of Mormon History." As many of you know, Ryan and I met during a summer internship for the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute at BYU, under the direction of historian Richard Bushman. Claudia was also there that summer, though she kept largely to herself while diligently researching a book she was working on. I remember seeing her work away in the BYU archives, day after day.

The Bushmans each sent us warm letters of congratulations on Tess' birth--the finest work ever produced by the Smith Institute. Claudia also sent a sweet book for Tess and a copy of "Granny B's Finger Plays"--a compilation of finger games for children that she put together for her grandchildren (I love how she includes an introduction citing the "primary source materials" for the finger plays.) She is also the only person who has correctly recognized the origins of Tess' first and middle names on first consideration.

Claudia has referred to herself as one of "the women of a certain age, those often solitary, old ladies on the edges of things...Grandmothers...the recipient of the Christmas basket. You can imagine the conversation in bishopric meeting: 'We have to do something for poor old Sister So-and-so.'" Yet, her vision for women in the Church remains fresh, progressive and encouraging.

Here is her vision for the future of Mormon history (it warms the cockles of my heart):

There will be greater interest in writing about lesser known individuals and groups. The light of the gospel will follow the plain man or woman rather than the prophet or star, illuminating new meanings and areas of Mormondom.

Implications here:
1. A decentering of church focus to a broader field.
2. More research opportunities
3. More understanding of what the church was really like.

The availability and simplicity of recording experience on film will lead to working out that standard Sunday School allegory, when one’s life is filmed in its completeness. Every act will be recorded for future judgement by the angels above us who are silent notes taking. The same angels will set up booths on earth where the films are viewed and the subjects are interviewed about the completeness of their repentance. The films will then be edited in accordance with their reformed lives.

Implications here:
1. Men and women will be able to judge in advance their approval ratings and know to what kingdom they will be dispatched. They will then have the choice of heading to their heavenly level or volunteering to be reincarnated as small creatures.
2. This process will provide occupation for the multitudes of film makers who will never make films in Hollywood.

Everyone will write and publish at least one book. There will be a greater interest in writing personal scriptures. Mormons will see more value in writing their own stories, in observing the institution changing around them, and in comparing that to other times and places. They will write narratives of adventure, war service, religious enlightenment, miraculous experiences, and the indoctrinization of the young. The familiar genres will be continued: missionary journals, collections of letters, ancestor stories, and personal memoirs. Some housewives will relate how they have turned their housekeeping systems into science. Other housewives will organize collectives to share babysitting and cooking so that they will be able to write the Gothic romances of their fantasies. The Shakespeares and Dantes of Mormondom will arrive on the scene, welcomed and emulated. The bright young intellectual lawyers and businessmen who cannot leave Mormon history alone, will explore new systems of thought. Fiction, poetry, and belles-lettres will flower as never before.

Implications here:
1. Despite a great past of personal writing in the past, there will be an even greater flowering of personal writing in the future, which because of the technical advantages of our age, can immediately be printed and bound for distribution to friends and family.
2. Complaints about how hard it is to write on the plates will be no more.
3. Each story will be placed in the context of time, of history, of other religious traditions, and other worlds. The great connections will be made as never before. While each small story shows like a diamond, it will be in the company of millions of twinkling diamonds in the black night sky
4. A new cave will be blasted in the Wasatch Mountains and all these documents will be collected there. A stone will seal them up for millenia to come. There through heavenly alchemy, our little journals and looseleaf binders will metamorphose into golden plates.

Women will cease to leave their monuments in bounteous feasts to be daily destroyed, in sewn goods to be worn out by lively families, or in icing sugar on ornamental cakes. They will follow the admonition given to Emma Smith, and their time will be given to writing and to learning much. They will each be given a golden pencil at birth to record their thoughts and experiences.

Implications here:
1. Generations of wise women will arise.
2. No one will die unrecorded.

In short, a new world will be opened to us and everything will be possible.

For another provocative Claudia read while the babies are napping today, see Should Mormon Women Speak Out? Thoughts on Our Place in the World. (How's this for a killer line: "We need to take action...Like Mother Eve. She took action. She had to pay for what she did, but she did not remain an idle princess in paradise. She took action.")

I'd like to be part of her vision--lately I've been considering just how to accomplish that. Her list of "action items" at the end of the article provides good food for thought. I'm still working on it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Greetings!

We've had a busy Easter day. It's been fun, but I'm really tired. Here are some photos, but I'll have to write later.

I will say that Tessie's Easter outfit is courtesy of my sister Meredith--I've been dying for Easter to get here so Tess could wear it. I'll also say thanks to Wendy and Keith for having us over for a delicious Easter dinner!

Love and miss you all!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pleasing the Paparazzi

Is there anyone else who finds it a little disturbing that my sister continues to request pics of my baby dissected piece-by-piece?

I suspect that Maureen is either baby-hungry or that she may have some serious anti-social tendencies. In either case, I'm not sure I should be feeding this appetite.

But I love you Reen, so here are your pics of: 1. the nape of her neck; 2. her tongue (that wasn't an easy picture to take!); and 3. the area under her ear, between her neck and shoulders (aka, the "nuzzle" area).

My sister Meredith has made an equally troubling request: she wants pics of Tess crying. When I was talking with Mer on the phone the other day she was surprised to hear Tess crying in the background.

Evidently my blog posts give the misleading impression that Tess is always smiling and full of sunshine and rainbows.

Well, the sunshine and rainbows part is true, but she earned her nickname "Screecher" for a reason.

Now I suspect that Mer made her request in part to cure Maur's baby-hungriness. Either that or Mer may have some serious anti-social tendencies. So, here you go, Mer. I only had to pinch the angel baby 20 times to get her to scream.

And a couple of my favorite "Screecher" shots, just for good measure: