Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nice comments about Hyrum

I mentioned Prince's poster with statements from his classmates about him. I'll post a picture of it on our old blog (for those who know where that is), but the comments are here:

T -- Prince loves to play with me outside.
Kt -- Prince likes to play in block corner and ride bikes.
Ay -- Prince likes to play with me outside.
D -- Prince likes to play in the block corner.
B -- Prince likes to sing songs at circle time.
Ax -- Prince likes letters.
Ki -- Prince likes boats.
I -- Prince likes outside time.
Z -- Prince is learning to use the pedals on a bike
J -- Prince likes to play with trains.
P -- Prince is my friend.

Is there anything you would like to say about your friends, Prince?

"A____y took a deep breath!" We are grateful that A_____y took a deep breath, Joy adds. She helped teach Prince how to take deep breaths to calm down.

His note to T____ was also sweet: "I like to sit next to T_____" T was his bus buddy, at least when they weren't hitting, pushing, and kicking each other as boys are wont to do.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Decisions Made, Directions Given

OUR BLOGGING EFFORTS ARE MOVING to (links on the right)

So we were there planning to go to Nigeria and really wishing there were more blogs from Nigeria that would help new couples like us get a feel for the place and what it's like to raise a family. Joy announced that she wanted to set up a public blog (unlike this half-public, half-hidden blog) where she would talk about Nigerian life.

I was pretty excited. I'm always very happy when I can get Joy to post over here, in part because then this becomes much more of a family blog and less a Derrill production; in part because she talks about things I don't think to that I want to remember and save; in part because none of our female friends are willing to comment on my posts, but you will say something to Joy, so if I want to hear from you, I've got to get Joy to say something; in part as validation of the time I spend on this family journal; in part because I enjoy every time I get my 19th century wife to use a technological device; and a few more parts for good measure.

What I didn't realize was that she only wanted to post at the new blog. I figured we'd talk about "Africa stuff" in the other blog and Hyrum stuff in this blog. Silly man, trying to keep your life separated into boxes like that! The point is to tell people what it's like having kids in Nigeria. How do you separate them?

Hm, good point, dear. I know, I'll double-post anything of particular family interest and ... no. You're right. It's easier to just pretend we have two blogs and leave it at that.

So until further notice, this blog is going on hiatus. We may return to it when we come back to the States. We'll see. Until then, update your RSS feeders and bookmarks to Tender Mercies Realized.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fifth Fundamental Force

Physics believes in four fundamental forces: gravity, elctromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. I have discovered another force. It is particularly fundamental because it does not operate the same as the other forces, nor obey standard Newtonian physics.

The 5th Fundamental Force is Pregnancy. The actions of the pregnant body are so vastly different from those of a body in standard physics environments, that the differences bear enumeration.

Amendments to Newtonian Laws:
1) A body at rest cannot remain at rest because the baby will start kicking something and it will hurt.
2) Pregnancy increases entropy. Things fall apart faster.
3) For every action of the husband, there is an opposite, disproportionately large reaction.
These changes are significant enough that we can determine with certainty that Isaac Newton was never pregnant.

Interactions with other forces:
Gravity is the curvature of spacetime around an object of mass. This draws other objects in towards the object of mass. This holds true for the pregnant force as so many people find their hands inexplicably drawn toward rubbing the tummy of the pregnant object.

High school students who believe Ben Franklin invented electricity might also be interested to learn about his extensive experiments in the field of pregnancy: "A ship under sail and a big-bellied woman,
are the handsomest two things that can be seen common."

Further experiments are underway to demonstrate how the weak and strong forces interact with pregnancy. Researchers insist they simply haven't collected enough hCG to come up with a positive test result.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Preparing for Lavinia

My visiting teachers had a baby shower for me this week and it has helped me to finally start earnest preparations for Lavinia to come (rather than just preparations to take her to Nigeria). I started going through Hyrum's old clothing and organized the clothing that I have for her. I will be washing it this week and packing some of it to go to the hospital.

The shower was so nice, a couple of games and some wonderful friends that I haven't spent much time with lately. I want to thank everyone that came, it was a enjoyable evening and I am glad that it helped me to feel the event coming was more real. :)


Tender Mercies Realized

Our official Nigeria blog is now up and running. We will be living in either Yola or Jimeta, so the blog address is There is also a link on the right. She has promised to take an active updating role in this one. It is possible that that will eventually become the new and official family blog. We'll see. We'll let you know before we abandon this one.

Hyrum's Top Ten: May 11

Hyrum's top ten this month is amazingly easy:


Between birthday and potty prizes, Hyrum has been stocking up on new music and loving it. Every day to school, the only music he wanted to listen to was his new Backyardigans music, and the only music of that he wanted was the soundtrack to the Mighty Knights episode. It's rock opera. ... Yeah. So we've been listening to a lot of rock opera lately. I can't say it's growing on me. It's the only set of his songs I refuse to listen to more than once a day. If he wanted his other Backyardigans songs, that would be no problem.

1 - Backyardigans Theme Song - 27
     We're Knights, That's Right
3 - A Challenge - 26
4 - Mario Theme song - 25    (not Backyardigans)
5 - Grabbing Goblin - 24
     Tweedily Dee
     Dragon Mountain
     Not an Egg
9 - A Pirate Says Arrrr - 19
10 - Prince of Egypt, horse race - 17  (not Backyardigans)

Hy happened to win a potty prize the day he discovered Prince of Egypt and he asked me for the music as Moses and Ramses are racing horses. It's not on the PoE soundtrack and it's not anywhere on the internet. Most of the music isn't on the net. We have the Tabernacle Choir singing Through Heaven's Eyes and a couple versions of When You Believe, but good luck trying to find anything else, on the soundtrack or not. I was not going to be able to find it anywhere.

Then we went to pray. Hy has been having a hard time praying lately, particularly in trying to come up with things to pray about. But he did come up with one request: Please bless Daddy to find the horses song.

So ... I hooked up my microphone to the computer speakers and recorded the two minutes to a track for him. The next morning, I had one happy boy.

LDS in Nigeria 1: 1960-1980

From News of the Church,  Feb1980, "A Miracle Precedes the Messengers," Janet Brigham.

African Christians in Ghana (green) and Nigeria (orange) had been writing to the church since at least 1960, asking for more information, for "holy books," and for any opportunity to learn more about the Church. While I was in Nigeria, my hosts noted that the two most popular types of book that you can find everywhere and anywhere are religion and self-help (aka get rich). Visa problems kept the Church from sending representatives until August, and then Nov 1978. Within 14 months, there were 1700 converts.
And the friendliness of the people in Ghana and Nigeria compensates for other difficulties. The couples reported to President Spencer W. Kimball: “We have never been anywhere in the world where it is so easy to engage a stranger in gospel discussion—opportunities [are] at every hand. One need not go from door-to-door—just have your tracts ready. Even busy people walking on the street will stop and talk. Workmen on construction jobs carry the tracts in hand for long periods of time. If you go by an hour or so later, it isn’t unusual to see them reading” (see Ensign, May 1979, p. 106).
The first missionary couples found a people who had been heavily prepared in many ways to receive the gospel:
Africans learned of the Church from other Africans who had studied in the United States. They came across some missionary pamphlets. No one now knows how those pamphlets got to Africa in the 1950s—but the effect was remarkable. Many who read them recognized the truth. Then—independent of each other and without knowledge of the other’s actions—several groups of blacks in both Nigeria and Ghana started their own religious organizations, patterned after the Church. However, visa problems prevented representatives being sent to officially establish the Church.

The groups built small meeting-houses and met regularly. They copied organization, doctrines, songs, and titles after the Church, as much as they were able to discern from the literature they received. Occasionally they had contact with members of the Church visiting Africa.
The Africans even proselyted. One man, after a stirring spiritual experience, “was constrained by [the] Spirit to go from street to street … to deliver the message which we had read from the Book of Mormon and from the pamphlets.” Despite some “persecutions” and sometimes being labeled as an “anti-Christ organization,” the “missionaries” were undaunted. 
“We persisted with the word and won forty people that day even to the admiration of the Muslims around,” one man reports.
Among the many letters sent to Church headquarters asking for more light and knowledge was this on
"We here are the true sons of God, but colour makes no difference in the service of Our Heavenly Father and Christ. The Spirit of God calls us to abide by this church and there is nothing to keep us out.”
The author of that letter, Anthony Obinna, was later to become the first black western African baptized and called as branch president.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Believable Fallibility

When I read Joy my post about Brandon Mull's characters being believably fallible, she called to mind our least favorite book recently: Inkheart. We were both highly disappointed. The characters are unbelievably stupid. If there is a wrong decision they could make, they make it. Good guy, bad guy, indifferent; no one thinks ahead, no one plans, no one exercises a modicum of self-preservation, no one shows the least bit of sense. And then the plot is resolved by doing something we were told 15 times couldn't be done. Boo.

"And not only do they make bad decisions, they make them again and again. They don't learn from their mistakes. It's not even lack of character development, it's lack of ability to learn. It's ridiculous."

And that's our unsolicited opinion.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mario Party is bringing back my sanity

Dealing with 3 year old demands, his no to many things, and general resistance to discipline have really sent me packing. I have been searching for something to get his attention and persuade him to be kind, stop yelling and stopping hitting an kicking things. When discipline lasts for more than 3/4ths of the day you know something has definitely broken down. I don't like discipline and definitely not the kind that makes us all grumpy all day long.

So...... how to help Hyrum stay out of timeout. My first attempt at making Mario Party DS (his new birthday game) the prize for no timeouts failed miserably. There were not enough chances for success. This failed attempt went as follows. Mommy says, "Hyrum if you do not get anymore timeouts until _____ time of day then you can play some Mario Party DS." Hyrum was really excited and really wanted to play, so it was not the motivation that failed. It was the fact that he only had one chance to succeed. Within 15 minutes he was in timeout and had lost the opportunity to play the DS and was even more miserable about loosing the prize than being in timeout. But mommy doesn't lie, so there was no going back on the deal, and all the build up of the deal had deflated in 15 minutes, no more chance no more motivation.

I thought and prayed about it some more feeling that there had to be another way. I came up with a DS chart with 5 spaces for Xs. We drew a picture of the DS and I explained that every time he earned an X he would be closer to getting time on the DS with mommy. He has a chance every hour to get an X. If he doesn't go to timeout once in a whole hour then he gets to draw the X (plan B would be to shorten the time for each X if we could not achieve success). It took a few explanations of what he needed to do and what he would get for him to begin to understand and get excited about it.

So, our first afternoon (yesterday), I felt like was a success. Hyrum earned two Xs which means we had two beautiful hours without timeouts and we were all happier too. I am perfectly willing to start the hour time all over after a timeout has happened, there just needs to be an hour before the next one. I remind him if he is starting to act up what will happen if he gets a timeout and it helps him remember often why he is going to choose to listen or be kind to me. Today he earned two more Xs, therefore with any luck he will earn the other one tomorrow and we will play the Mario Party DS game together for 10 minutes. Having some hours without timeouts has been so wonderful to me and sanity and the spirit are returning to our home. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father's help.

Written by Joy

What Pi Sounds Like

This isn't what I did for the talent show last year, but it's so close I might as well claim I'm trying to become like this guy.