Monday, September 26, 2011

Take a Stand with Lemons

I recently read Half the Sky and it changed me.  I met women who struggle, who hurt, who need help. They are strong, but after learning about them I really wanted do what I can to make their life better.  I also wanted Marielle to know that there are girls who don't have it as easy as we do.  We watched a video and talked about girls in Africa who can't go to school simply because their parents don't have the money to pay the fees.

We decided to plan a lemonade stand to raise money for a scholarship for a girl in Zambia.  Our goal was to hit $211, the cost of one scholarship.  Marielle was such a trooper: making posters, squeezing lemons, helping with the cookies and then of course selling.  "Cookies and Lemonade!" she shouted probably a hundred times in our two hours on the street.  We hit up a brand new flock of freshmen on their way home from school and sold a lot of lemonade and cookies.  All totaled, we made $135.31!

For me the sweetest part of the experience came actually a few days before our big sale day.  Marielle came to me and said, "Mom, I know how I can help the girls in Africa! I can give them all the money in my purse!"  She's been saving random change for months now in her Hello Kitty purse.  Her plan all along has been to buy a toy with it, but she said, "Well, I never go to stores that much, so I can just give my money to help the girls."  Her coins and one dollar bill added up to $5.27.  By small and simple things, are great things brought to pass.--Alma 37:6

If you're good at math you might have noticed we're still $75 shy of our goal.  We're not done and are determined to complete our goal.  Today Marielle painted three pictures that she hopes to sell.  If you want to drink some virtual lemonade, you can donate directly to the scholarship here.  Then let us know in the comments how much you donated, so we can keep track of our tally.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Doctrines

And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned. 
Alma 32:23 
Here's a sampling of the words given to our daughter Marielle:
  1. In the Mullen house we take our prayers seriously. Prayers at church, however, are another matter. During the Sacrament meeting benediction Marielle opened her eyes and giggled. She can hardly be blamed, though because MK was doing her best to stifle her own laughter. Rex was trying to nurse on mom's arm, which works great to keep him quiet, but apparently it tickles.
  2. One morning after MK finished saying family prayer, Marielle responded,
    That prayer was kinda freaky.
    I'm sure she was referring to the items MK prayed for, and not to Jenna's yelling " 'top it. 'top it!" while flailing wildly as I held the two girls on my lap.
  3. Marielle is reading simple words now and found the word "God" in MK's Bible. Later at church, she held up her Book of Mormon and said, "I found another God in this book! There's a lot of Gods in here."
  4. Marielle is learning her part for the much-anticipated primary program. While rehearsing one day she accidentally came up with:
    Jesus Christ died on the cross and I will be, too.
Do you, anyone wiser and more learned than a 4.75 year-old, feel confounded? Which of these should we propose to Pres. Monson for official adoption as new doctrine?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Park Place

Every cloud has it's silver lining. That's been my motto since we downsized from our three bedroom home in Houston to our 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Barbara.

Minimal storage space? We stay on top of clutter and only keep what we need and use.
No yard? No yard work. And we've got lots of open space to enjoy maintenance free.
No washer and dryer? Finishing four loads of laundry at once and folding with Ryan while watching a movie or TV show really is a nice deal.
Only one bathroom? Bathroom cleaning is twice as fast as it used to be.
No dishwasher? Counter top dishwasher came to our rescue here.
No garage? Umm...the parking lot....ummm....you get to use your umbrella more?

As you can see, I still haven't quite figured out what the silver lining is on this one. But after two years of living here, multiple neighbor and office negotiations, we secured the optimal parking spot for our apartment. Yes, we still haul the wagon out to bring in groceries, but we don't walk one step further than we absolutely have to.
Please see map to truly appreciate the saga:

At the start we were pretty bad off. Add to distance, a parking lot full of potholes, poor drainage, loose gravel, and you'd better believe I hated rainy days. Each day as we tromped to and from our car we noticed a spot that was closer and always empty. We talked to the office and they agreed to switch our spot. Then we found out why that spot was empty: major bird drop zone. Since we're not keen on washing our car every three days, we quickly moved back to our original spot. Months later when the Flemings moved, we seized their spot like vultures on dead meat. (Was that too graphic?) This was a great improvement. Although our walk was nearly as long, I didn't have to cross a parking lot dragging kids by the hands. I would have been happy to park there for the rest of our days here, but then one night my parking aspirations were ignited anew. We arrived home and started walking up the sidewalk when we passed another family who had also just parked and were walking to their apartment. It seemed that our spot was closer to their home and their spot was closer to ours. Shortly thereafter Ryan made some chit chat with the dad while their little girl played on the lawn, and bada-bing bada-boom he agreed to trade parking spaces with us.
Clearly the closeness of our parking spot does not compensate for my still-present garage cravings, but sometimes when I'm walking in I can't help but say to myself, "We've come a long way baby!"

Cake Swap

Remember that crazy hands in the toilet, baby rolling over, chocolate cake, and you'll get it when your older day back a few months ago? Well that craziness totally paid off as I got to eat this cake
for my birthday last Tuesday. As delicious as it was beautiful, it was the perfect end to a fabulous birthday. Cake swaps rule.