Monday, October 20, 2014

Disneyland 2014

Mostly pictures, pictures, pictures.



I think we will make this our Christmas card picture.  It's not every day my hair looks that excellent.  Also, what is Emma doing.  Not looking where she is driving, apparently.  The guy by Braeden was a random stranger they put in our car.  Here are two facts about him.  1) He was a man.  2) He was wearing mascara.

And that's all I know.

We won the race!


This is a sun washed picture from a delicious lunch we had that ended up costing a lot more than we thought it was going to.  But it was really good.

There were a whole lot of pictures taken for entertainment value while waiting in lines:




Some posed:


Some perplexing and unexplainable:


Some blurry:


And some just awesome:


Here are Braeden and Emma on Splash Mountain.  They were both going to pose like that but Braeden felt too much compulsion to hang on.


Here they tried again.  It's easier on Pirates of the Caribbean:


We rode the Grizzly River Run four times.  (Adam and Mark rode it five.)  I got drenched!  So wet that people around the park would sort of snicker when I walked by.  I wasn't the only one and we didn't get any pictures of how soaked we were, but here I am, attempting to blow dry my hair:


Here is where the kids went around again and I sat it out because I get too dizzy:


Speaking of dizzy, I snapped a picture before leaving the scene of the Tea Cups.


And just because, here's the first time we took our kids to Disneyland:

 

Sniff.

Here's another then and now:



She didn't have a cell phone that first time but otherwise, same little Emma.

Something else that doesn't change:  boys and their light sabers.  The boys built their own custom light sabers (which took awhile...you can't rush this creative process).  They made it to the parking lot before they had a full battle.



And then we made them stop.

We dragged ourselves back to our hotel every night.  One morning we were talking about how we'd forgotten to say our family prayer before bedtime because we were so tired.  Mark said, "Well I prayed yesterday.  On roller coasters."

We had a wonderful time.  Of course we did, it was Disneyland.  It was exhausting and more crowded than we would have liked...more crowded than it's ever been when we were there.

But it was Disneyland.  I loved being there with my people.  They are fun to be with.  They are kind and pleasant and make me laugh.  I'm glad we were able to join everyone else in Utah and go to Disneyland together.  (Seriously, there were BYU and University of Utah t-shirts everywhere!)

When we left Disneyland the last night, Braeden said, "Well, that's the last time I'll ever go there for free."

Adam clapped him on the shoulder and said, "Yep."

Good luck, boy.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

We were in Las Vegas at about dinner time.  We decided to seek out a Safeway/Von's.  We miss Safeway.  Our phones brought up several options but then I was too carsick to be of any help.  It is no good when your navigator gets carsick when trying to read something.  Kind of useless.

We pulled off the freeway and Adam found a close Von's.  What Google Maps fails to mention is the neighborhood Von's is in...

We were a few blocks off the strip and when I noticed bars on the windows of businesses and hotel rooms and apartment buildings, I told Adam it may not be a good place to be.

Adam said, "We'll be fine."  Because that's what he always says.

We got to Von's and I told the kids to Stay Together.  We walked past the metal detectors and then past the armed security guard and one way gate over to the deli that was surreal because it was like the Safeway in Silver Firs...although that Safeway doesn't have metal detectors or an armed security guard or a one way gate.

We got some of our favorites--maple cookies for example.  Braeden had wandered off in search of a bathroom and the rest of us needed to go too.  Adam said, "Here, give me the food and I'll go pay."

I handed stuff to Braeden too.  "You go too and help Dad carry stuff," I said.

"No," Adam said firmly, "I got it."  Then he looked at Braeden and said, "Stay with them."

It was the first time I realized Adam was a little nervous about it all too.

In the bathroom, there was a generously proportioned women in a too tight neon pink tank top splashing water from the sink all over the body.  "My son has sticky hands," she said by way of explanation.  I smiled because I understand about sons and sticky hands.  There wasn't really anything I could add to her statement though because in all my experience with sticky handed children, I've never had to splash water all over my body.  Those were some sticky hands!

Next door was a Little Caesar's pizza and that's what Braeden and Mark wanted for dinner.  Adam started to go inside and the boys followed him because that's what they do.  Again Adam stopped Braeden.  "Stay with them," he said urgently.

"Can't we just go to the car?" Emma wondered.  Every cell of her body, like mine, was on high alert. 

"No," Adam said.  "Stay here."  I think he wanted us where he could see us.

I stood close to Braeden, appreciating every bit of his 75 inches and glad for his broad back.  There was a guy close by, smoking and watching us, a few people across the parking lot, also watching, and another security guard pacing nearby.  I told Braeden to look intimidating.  That's not really him though.  He's the kid that lets spiders and bugs go outside rather than killing them.

Adam and Mark emerged with the pizza and we high tailed it for the van.

We were all mostly glad to still be alive.  And I don't think we'll ever go back there.  We didn't leave anything behind...


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Memory lane--TV style

I can't remember how it began, but a few nights ago found us watching clips from ArthurArthur was one of my favorite shows that our kids used to watch.  I remember sweeping the kitchen floor and laughing while they watched.

Mark left the room.

He has zero interest in childhood TV shows--mostly because he had zero interest when he was a little kid too.  I tried very hard to get him interested in PBS while I was homeschooling Braeden and Emma and he would have nothing to do with it.  He would rather terrorize us, sort of a stick with what you know situation.  (He's since gotten over it.  He'll watch Netflix now with the best of them.)

Last night we were talking about revisiting Arthur and decided we would look up all the old shows they used to watch that we could remember.  (Adam can't be blamed for this scheme.  He was working late in anticipation for our trip.)

We started with Barney.  Because you sort of have to.  We made Mark come and watch with us.  "Fine," he said with resignation.  Why wasn't he so compliant when he was three?

Braeden and Emma were deciding what to watch and someone said, "The castle one!" and Braeden googled it and there it was, "Barney's Magical Musical Adventure."


The acting was as painful to watch as that picture is blurry.  If you had kids in the late 90s, you know these kids as well as I did:  Adam, Min, Tina and Michael.  ("What was Michael, twelve?" Braeden wanted to know.)

"Tina was my first love," Braeden said.  Then he and Emma reminisced about Braeden's imaginary friend named Tina and his stuffed animal named Tina.  I maintained that Min was cuter than Tina.  Braeden said, "I think Tina is why short brunettes are my type."

You can't make this stuff up.

We were watching the "magic" unfold.  It was pretty terrible in a wonderful Mystery Science 3000 sort of way.  Braeden got fidgety and said, "This was a scary part...I feel dread building."

Emma agreed.  This character was about to enter the scene.


Mark was watching, mystified. "Why are you creeped out?" he asked.

"It's coming," Braeden said.  Then he stopped the video.  "I can't do it!" he said.  All this time I had no idea.

Our next set of clips was Blues Clues.  Braeden and Emma were unreasonably happy watching the opening theme song.  They both had these Christmas morning worthy smiles on their faces.  We watched for a few minutes, bemoaning the fact that Steve went to college and it was never as good after Joe took over.  "Wait, what?" Mark asked, "Steve quit?"  (Mark had watched some Blues Clues.  I had some of the old ones recorded on a video tape, the good ones, with Steve.)

After awhile Braeden said, "He's a lonely man in front of a green screen.  It just occurred to me.  No wonder he quit."

We watched a few minutes from a whole collection of shows ranging from really weird (Boobah) to really ludicrous (Big Comfy Couch).  We couldn't stomach much.  They wanted to revisit Caillou which was against my better judgement because I hated that whiny kid.  Braeden was typing it into the search box and Emma was correcting his spelling (why Emma knows how to spell Caillou is beyond me.)

Braeden said, "That's how you spell Caillou?!?  See?  This is why I can't spell."

We kept going down the list, mostly just watching theme songs.  Emma put the brakes on for Berenstain Bears.  "We have to watch the hiccup one," she said, "I still think of it every time I have hiccups."

I do not remember the Berenstain Bears being as stupid as it was.  I probably left the room whenever they watched, saving the sweeping for later.  What kind of bad mother was I to leave my children to such drivel?  A tired and busy one...

We couldn't keep watching.  Sorry Emma.  You'll just have to hang onto those hiccup memories.

Adam got home and added things to the list like Greatest American Hero from his childhood which I had never seen.  (We didn't get a lot of channels when I was growing up.)  We watched Richard Simmons on Letterman. (Oh my.)  We even watched a little of Captain Kangaroo.  I used to watch that in the morning after Marianne left on the bus.  Good times.

Finally we watched Homestar Runner.  You really can't have enough Teen Girl Squad or Strong Bad Emails in life.

The moral to this story?

You can find anything online.  Also, the shared memories I have with my family, even the lame kids' show memories, are pretty delightful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If you can't beat them, join them

It all started about a year ago with one of those Disneyland ads about the finite number of vacations you have with your kids before they're grown.  "We have to go to Disneyland!" I told Adam, because those ads were marketing to people like me and hit their mark.

Adam was reticent.  As usual.  That man is even keeled and practical and not swayed by manipulative Disney commercials.

I had been doggedly saving money for a dream East coast trip for our family, to take during spring break this year.  That's not happening because Braeden has drama commitments then.

I was looking at the school calendar and decided we should used the saved vacation money and go to Disneyland during Fall Break.  Perfect!  I looked at the Disneyland website and read that mid October was a good time to go to Disneyland as far as crowds were concerned.  Adam was even on board! (He doesn't want to go to Disneyland when it is really busy.)  We booked our tickets and remained noncommittal when Mark talked about all the souvenirs he wanted us to buy for him.

Then Adam looked into hotels.

There weren't any available close to Disneyland.

"Are you sure this is a good time?" he asked me several times.

"Yes!  The Disneyland website said it was!"  (If you can't trust the Disneyland website who can you trust?)

In the last week, from multiple sources I've heard that UEA (Utah Educators Association), which used to be what Fall Break was known as because that was when they would meet, was called Utah's Exodus to Anaheim.  Because everyone, apparently, goes to Disneyland.

SO.

We'll fit in (our van is now sporting UT plates)?  We'll be in good company?  We can all sing the Utah state song while we wait in line?

(I don't know the Utah state song.  Is there time to learn it?)





Monday, October 13, 2014

Thoughts on suitcases

Since it's October, my sisters and I have started making Christmas plans and then talking our Christmas plans over with each other.

Olivia suggested I get Braeden luggage for Christmas.

Luggage!?!

I thought that was the worst idea I had ever heard.  I pictured Braeden on Christmas morning, morosely looking at his luggage while his siblings were happily enjoying their gifts.

(Actually, more accurately, I imagined me crying in the corner on Christmas morning.  It's not you luggage, it's me.)

Marianne confirmed that Clarissa got luggage for Christmas her senior year.  I told her I thought it was the worst idea I ever heard too.

It's possible I have separation anxiety.

Olivia doesn't just give awful present ideas, she also told me about a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland, entitled, "Remember Lot's Wife."

I will probably need to read and reread it in order to survive.  It gives me hope and is a wake up call to keep me from crying in the corner.  From the talk:

...We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind.
As sisters go, Olivia's not half bad.  She quite often shares wisdom with me.

Braeden said the other day that he and a friend were talking about being grownups (it's on everyone's mind apparently) and they realized with dismay that they will have to pay for their own shoes and their own internet.

When Braeden recounted that story to me at dinner, I added, "And your own food and your own clothes and your own housing and electricity and...then you will need to pay for everything for your children."

But I think he had sort of stopped listening.  For him, contemplating paying for his own shoes and internet is quite enough.

Braeden spent the past several days on a school trip, a Shakespeare competition.  (Their team tied for first place!)  He had a wonderful time and texted me very minimally (limited to one or two words at a time), mostly when I texted him wondering if he was still alive.  He's prepared to do stuff like that without me.  He really doesn't need me to take care of him too much.  It is the natural order of things.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
John A. Shedd

All of this doesn't mean I'm going to buy him suitcases for Christmas though.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Oh October!



August was hot.

September was hot.

Our air conditioning bill was high.

October to the rescue.  October for president!  If this is October, sign me up!  We have had neither our heat nor air conditioning on.  Every day is sunny and warm.  Every night is cool and breezy.  The moon is showing off, it's been so bright and lovely. 

Every day the mountain has more leaves colored.  Yellows and reds and oranges.  This is the view from my kitchen window:


It almost makes me wish I had more dishes to wash.

(I said almost.)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A package in the mail

Braeden and I stopped to get the mail on the way home from school.  (He was wearing his baby blue suit.  That has nothing to do with the story, but I feel like it should be noted.)

There was a package.  It was from Janet.  This was on the side:


Sweet Inge!  Never grow up!  I insist.  (Because that works so well with my children.)

Inside was filled with all sorts of goodness.  There were pictures of these darling girls:

It is legal to be THAT cute?
There was fancy mustard Janet proclaimed life changing and she wanted us to try it too.  There was blood orange syrup for Italian sodas.  There was a book Freja had borrowed from Emma and there were clothes for Mark, some favorite shirts of Leif's he has outgrown.  They made Braeden sigh with happiness at the sight of them.  Every one of my kids held the clothes close their faces and inhaled.  "They smell like the Jorgensens' house," they said happily.

This is what made me cry:


A framed photo of Team Rocket.  I miss those boys and I loved having a pile of their shoes at my front door.   I loved to hear the undulating cadence of Braeden and Jadon arguing about politics or anything else under the sun.  I loved hearing all of them laugh.  A lot.

By the time I had finished reading Janet's note she had included, it was full out ugly crying.  "Come here," Braeden said, holding out his arms and pulling me to him.

"I miss my old life sometimes," I said into his chest.

"I know," he said soothingly, patting my back. "It's OK."

And it is OK.  Because Janet is in the world.  I miss my old life sometimes but my friends are still in my life, the one right here and now.

Their physical proximity has changed but they're right here, in my heart.

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