Thursday, October 30, 2014

Awkward bird

My new job at church is serving with the Young Women, specifically those 14-15 years old.  That includes Emma so that's happy.  Otherwise, it is so far out of my comfort zone that I should be leaving a trail of bread crumbs to make it back to my comfort zone...

Last night we had a Halloween carnival at the church.  Halloween.  I don't like it.  Luckily none of my current neighbors decorate their yards garishly so that's helped me through the season.  I didn't dress up besides wearing a Jack Skellington t-shirt.  (Cormac asked me what I was going to be for Halloween and I told him about my t-shirt.  It feels like a big festive step for me.  Cormac kept asking, "But what are you going to be?"  He has a point.  I'm kind of lame.)

So everyone else was dressed up and then I realized who I was:  awkward new girl who didn't get the memo about Halloween.  It went sort of downhill from there.  I wasn't in on the planning so I didn't really know what was happening.  I tried to help a little but mostly the girls were doing stuff and the leaders were chatting with each other.  Except me.  Because I don't know anyone and they've all been friends for years.  Finally I gave up and sat down and started talking to a little girl that was about 10-11.  She was very adamant that she wanted to help with the fish pond.  The older girls were in charge of it and I suggested they may let her help and pretty soon she was behind the fish pond.  I admired her plus she was rocking her Elsa costume.

As the night wore on, I talked to a few people but I was vastly relieved when it was over and I could make my exit.

Ammon was at our house when I got home. (He was repairing the furnace.  It now works.  Ammon for president!)  I told him about the carnival and he said, "Yeah, I'm the same way."

And I realized he is.  Ammon is one of the best people I know (and not just because my furnace is currently running) and if I'm like him then I feel OK about that.

Later I told Adam I was awkward.  With his arms around me, which is my favorite place to be, he assured me that I wasn't awkward.  He said if I'd been going around breathing in peoples' ears, that would have been awkward.

It is nice to finally have things defined.  Now I know where the awkward line is and I can try to avoid it.

I don't know what the point of this is.  I guess we all can't and some of us don't.  And I should be OK with that because there it is.  Also, I may make friends eventually but in the meantime, I still have friends, they just aren't that close by, and we're having a Nevada Day party tonight. 

Life can't be bad when you're about to have a Nevada Day party.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I am glad for many things

In November our family--all five of us--are speaking in church.  Our topic is gratitude. 

We have 40 minutes.  I told Emma she could take 35 and the rest of us would take the balance of the time.  Actually though, have you met my sons?  Talkers.  They'd never go for that.  Emma wouldn't either.

Anyway, gratitude.  It's a topic I like because it's like a tonic that makes me happier.

Here are a few things topping my list lately:

I'm grateful for tiny glimpses that I'll survive the next phase of my life (the phase where my children grow up).

I'm grateful someone found Braeden's wallet (which he'd lost) and turned it in to the school office with nothing missing.

There are so many good people in the world.

(Thank you, good people.)

I'm also grateful my house didn't blow up yesterday.  I had wanted to wait until November to turn on the heat, (we have to have goals, you know) but it was cold yesterday.  It was still 62 degrees in the house at noon so I caved and turned on the heat.  Nothing happened.  I fiddled with the thermostat but couldn't make any headway.  I turned it off then went to the basement to look at the furnace--intimidate it into working? I don't know what my plan was.  In the basement I smelled an overwhelming odor of gas.  I threw the windows open and made sure everything was turned off.  I tried to call Adam, who was out of town for work, but couldn't reach him.  I was contemplating calling the gas company or escaping into the hills with my redhead but I tried to call my dad instead.  I didn't get him.  Ammon was next on the list--Enoch was going to be after him.  Tabor was last choice because he was likely horseback on a mountain somewhere out of cell phone range.  Adam called me while I was on the phone with Ammon and then my dad called too.  Ammon stopped by in the evening to take care of things.   He found a part that was broken on the furnace and we headed off to Home Depot in pursuit of a replacement.  How Ammon knows how to find the broken part on a furnace is beyond me.  There was no replacement at Home Depot.  I told Ammon I'd call a repairman and he insisted they would charge too much and he would find the part somewhere.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned it...

...but that Ammon is a good sort.

So I'm grateful I didn't blow up the house and I'm grateful for the men in my life who Know Things and come to my aid.  I feel like I have this sturdy safety net and it's a good feeling.

Also there's this view from our deck:

The other night, Braeden said, "Every time I see a sunset, I think I should take a picture!  But then I remember, we live here."

I agree.  I feel like we should be documenting this stuff.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

That's better

The previous owners of our house had a bright yellow living room.

I'm not altogether opposed to yellow.  I had a yellow laundry room in our old house that I quite liked.  I'm not even opposed to yellow living rooms.  My friend Frances has a beautiful living room with buttery yellow walls that I love.

Maybe this just didn't go with our furniture?  I don't know.  I just know that every time I walked into that room I felt like I was in the yolk of a hard boiled egg.  It's not a pleasant sensation.  I painted it Saturday.  I'm abysmal at before and after pictures.  I usually start painting as soon as I possibly can once I get the idea and I don't think about Before pictures.

Here are some I gathered you could appreciate the yellowness.

This is before I had many accessories in place.  And it's a little dark.

Here, I texted Adam a picture of our 12th man flag and you can see a little corner of the yellow:

It made me slightly ill.

I painted the walls the same color as the walls in our old house's living room.  I knew I liked that color:

A great side benefit of the work, besides not having my sensibilities assaulted every time I walked in the room, is that our house feels more like Our House now.  I have put my stamp on it.  It feels nice.

I want to move the chairs into the family room and shuffle all furniture in general.  Adam and I are in talks.  I'll let you know how it goes.  (He usually doesn't have/get much of an opinion on furniture but this scheme of mine involves purchases so he gets a vote.)

Since I was in a painting mood, I also painted some furniture.  Painted wood furniture makes my heart sing.

Melanee gave me this desk:

She wanted to sell it and when I expressed interest she gave it to me for the family discount of free.

Braeden's bedroom is sort of Spartan and depressing in general.  He doesn't mind because he only sleeps there and switches which clothes are on his body and which are on the floor (I know, but I'm not going to die on that hill.  I have other battles to fight).  I decided to paint the desk and put it in his room.

I sanded the edges and applied an antique glaze to make it look a little less freshly painted and a little more comfy.  I tell you, it's going to take more than this desk to make Braeden's room a showpiece though...

I also painted this console table--here is a Before picture taken from our old house:

And here it is now:

I also roughed it up a little after painting.  I don't know why, I just wanted to.

Money and time spent on painting is well spent for me.  I feel like I've feathered my nest a little; I feel a little more at home.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sad day

You probably heard the news on Friday that there was a school shooting in Marysville, WA.  School shootings always make me feel awful.  This was worse.  It was too close to home.  I have a nephew and niece that attend Marysville Pilchuck High School.  I've been to football games and swim meets there.  It's a nice school in a nice little town.  Also, it was close enough to our old school that although they didn't have school that day, the kids that were there for play practice, my kids' friends, were put in lockdown.

I was at the store on Friday when I got a text from Geri telling me about the shooting and that Kain and Raelyn were OK.  (I am grateful I didn't hear about the shooting before I knew they were OK.)  I started crying right there in Home Depot though.  It was too much.  I walked to my van to compose myself and meanwhile missed two calls on my cell phone, one from Adam and one from Brian, Kain's dad.  I called Adam but didn't get him then called Brian.  I had pulled myself together by then but when Brian told me that Kain was still hiding under his desk, I started crying again.  (Luckily Adam's brothers, who have seen me cry on occasion, are as unruffled by my tears as Adam is.  It must be in their DNA.)

I did not want to picture my nephew hiding under a desk while there was a gunman at his school.  I didn't want to picture any child in that setting.

Even though it is strictly forbidden at their school, my phone lit up with texts from my kids.  Especially Braeden.  He felt terrible.  He hugged me long and hard when he got home.

I've read lots of news stories about the shooting.  I've read theories on why the boy pulled a gun on his friends and cousins and started shooting.  I don't pretend to understand his motives.  I don't pretend to know a solution to prevent something like that in the future, except to keep our kids home at all times under lock and key.

We send our children to school every day and we assume they'll be safe.  We take it for granted that no harm will come their way.   

I am grateful that the tragedy at MPHS was not worse.  I'm grateful Kain and Raelyn were safe.  My heart is also aching though.   I'm sad for those kids and their families whose peaceful lives were terrorized on an otherwise uneventful Friday morning.  I am sad for the students who were injured and for those that died.  I can't stop thinking about their mothers.  I pray for peace and comfort for them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

3 things I want to remember about my children today


His friend, Nathan, a certifiably Really Nice Guy, found Braeden at lunch.  He said, "Come with me."
Braeden did because he's up for anything.  It turns out Braeden was picked for the mission based on his size.  There was a girl and boy in some sort of altercation.  Like it was a movie, Nathan said, with Big Braeden standing behind him, "Is there a problem here?  Is he bothering you?"

The boy and girl both said everything was fine.  Nathan said to the girl, "Well if you need us, just yell and we'll come and help you."

Braeden is big but he's the most gentle teddy bear I know.  I can't imagine him getting into an actual fight.  He has never even really fought with his siblings.  I said, "I can't picture you and Nathan doing that.  I don't think either of you are all that tough."

Adam said, "That's OK, they are actors, they just had to act tough."

I like the story though.  I like teenage boys willing to defend a girl.


When Clarissa was over they raided Braeden's dress up box, contemplating Halloween costumes.  In addition to liking that Braeden has a dress up box, I like this picture.

I like the girl too.


He is taking a long distance typing class along with a handful of his cousins, taught by his Grandma Dahl.  Every day he puts on headphones while he types.  He sings at the top of his lungs, the entire time.  He sings Tears for Fears, Queen, The Beatles. Loud.  It's possibly one of the best parts of my day.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cause for celebration

This picture was taken late afternoon, from our bedroom window.  More fall loveliness than my eye can hold.

Yesterday morning, like every morning, I walked out of my bedroom and looked out the windows towards the valley and was amazed by the beauty.  October.  The weather is perfect.  Anytime I remember to look out the windows and soak in the landscape and consider the blessing it is to be able to see such a sight every single morning, I know it will be a good day.

Then we signed over our old house.  It is bittersweet because it's our house!  But now it isn't.  It's also a huge relief.  Two mortgages don't do anyone any good.  It felt wonderful to be able to check that off our list.

When Braeden got home, he did his homework outside on the trampoline in the glorious afternoon.  Who needs a desk?

Last night Emma had a choir concert at school.  Wowzers.  There are a lot of talented choir kids at that school!  There were five choirs--three audition choirs--and each choir had at least 40 people in it and the biggest one had over 100.  Emma is in the lowest audition choir and they sounded great.

In this picture one of Braeden's friends, Andrea, is conducting the choir.  She's a senior and is the intern for the Advanced Women's Choir because she wants to be a choir teacher someday.  How great is that?

Here's Emma after the concert.  Notice the expertly hemmed dress.  No don't.  I didn't do that great of a job on it.  Luckily I'm not a perfectionist and it isn't that noticeable.  Also, why didn't we turn on some lights before snapping the picture? 

Clarissa was with us for the concert and joined us for some celebratory pumpkin cake that evening.  It was that sort of day.

Pretty great.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rome wasn't built in a day

Civilizing children.  It's an uphill battle.  There are all the basic manners:  the pleases and thank yous, the don't chew with your mouth open and don't slam the door.

Then there are the subtleties.  The things like don't torment people that have accidentally texted you.

When Braeden gets a wrong number text, and it happens more often than you would think, he considers he has struck comedic gold.  He loves engaging the person in a conversation and seeing how long he can take it.

When we were at Ammon and Melanee's the other night, someone texted Braeden and asked him if they could stay on Saturday night.  It was a 425 number, our old WA area code.  Since Braeden has told anyone and everyone they can come and stay with us, I thought it was a real possibility we'd have guests on Saturday.  Braeden was excited.  He'd welcome anyone from the 425.

Emma was going down her list of contacts, trying to figure out who it could be and then Braeden realized it was a wrong number.  That didn't stop him in the least.  He carried on a conversation until I made him end it.  Some poor woman with sons thought she had sleeping arrangements set up but she was texting an obnoxious teenager in Utah.

Later, I pointed out to Braeden that just like he wouldn't laugh at and mock someone in person who had accidentally done something, he shouldn't mock someone who had accidentally texted his number.  I explained it just embarrasses that person when they eventually realize they had the wrong number.

Braeden finally said he agreed with me and he would do better.

Yesterday he texted me:  "It was really hard but I did the right thing."

Here's what happened:

I'll call it progress.  Jesse from Pilchuck Rentals, it could have been worse.  I am trying to civilize this kid.


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