Tuesday, March 3, 2015


unrelated to the post, but what a pretty world...

I am praying for rain and snow, which is familiar.  I grew up in the desert and I grew up with prayers for rain and snow being part of my life.  It's not anything against the mild sunshine-y days we've been gifted with, it's wanting water this summer. (Happily, we have been getting a little snow lately.)

Anyway, I'm praying for snow but ushered spring into my house all the same.

There ended up being a lot of birds around here, which wasn't intentional.  I just gathered up things I like.

See the little pink bird nestled in the rocks of the fireplace?  She has a little blue friend and used to have a little green friend.  I climbed up on the hearth (multiple times) to arrange things and accidentally knocked down the little green bird.  Turns out he couldn't fly.  It was a sad time.
I guess I like birds.

And glass bottles and pretty pillows:

And elephants.

Maybe elephants aren't immediately associated with spring, but I like elephants.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A banner day

I have been telling Braeden to get a job.  I cajoled and hassled and reminded him.  I made loose threats that were effective enough that he picked up a few applications and dropped them back off, but that was it.

The boy loves to be social and that usually includes lunch out with a selection of friends.  (Open campus!  What were they thinking!?!)  Also, he never has homework.

He needed a job.

So then Adam talked to him.  And Adam can be so...convincing.  He didn't even need to raise his voice (and he has a very encouraging Dad Voice).  The next day, Friday, Braeden told me he was going to go look for a job after school.

He was finally motivated.  When Braeden is motivated, things happen.  I told Marianne on the phone he'd probably have a job in two days.

It was more like two hours.  He is a proud KFC employee.  One of his friends works there also.  Adam and I both think he's crazy not to try to get a job teaching swim lessons.  It's more of a process to get a job because of certifications and the like and there are very few indoor pools around anyway.  Braeden wants to try this and I was all for letting him.  There's nothing like working in fast food to make you realize that isn't your life's work.  Sometimes on the job training is the best kind.

(Braeden went to an orientation on Saturday morning.  Among other things, he was instructed on what to do in case of a robbery.  Basically, don't be a hero.  Braeden said that he would tackle someone if they tried to rob him.  He wouldn't let them get away.  I said it wasn't worth it, he could be hurt or worse.  Braeden said it was worth it, then he could have KFC on his headstone.  Killed For Chicken.)

Back to Friday though.

That evening, we went to the school and watched Emma perform on the stage.  She and Braeden both were involved in performing scenes that the students in Drama 4 were directing.  (Braeden's had been Thursday night and he died on stage, which I am kind of opposed to.)  It was thrilling to watch Emma perform on stage.  It's something she's wanted to do for a long time. 

Afterward all the drama kids headed to JCW's for oversized milkshakes as is their custom and Adam and Mark and I headed home which is ours.  Adam and Mark were watching cricket, which Adam likes and somehow knows all about and I was on my computer doing something.  I happened to notice a new email had come in.

It was THE email.  The one from BYU we had been waiting for.  Braeden's admission decision.  In the email there's a link to the website where you can read your letter.  I immediately texted Braeden and told him to come home.  I told him The Email was here and I hadn't read it yet.

He didn't answer.

Because that's the thing.  You buy the cell phone, you pay for the data plan and then they ignore your texts.

So I called Emma.  No response.  (See above.)

So I called Braeden.  He finally answered.  By that time Adam and Mark were there with me and we were buzzing with excitement.  Braeden said, "Just open it and read it to me."

We went back and forth several times, "Are you sure?"  "Yes, just read it to me."

For one thing, this was Braeden's deal.  He should be the one to read it.  For another thing, what if it was bad news?  There he was surrounded by a crowd of people.  For another thing, I wanted to know what the letter said and he kept telling me to read it so I did.

And he was accepted.

I started crying, because I am emotionally unstable and Adam had to finish the conversation with Braeden.

He got in!

It's what I've always wanted for him.  I loved BYU.  I want my children to have everything good in the world.  I knew, especially with Braeden's learning disabilities, that it wasn't a foregone conclusion that he would get in.  The competition is stiff.  I was trying to be OK with his second or third choices.
But I guess my heart was sort of set on BYU.

I think his was too.  When he got home, I was walking down the stairs and he was bounding up to see me.  He hugged me long and hard.

It was a pretty great day.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Yesterday I woke up with my left eye swollen shut.  If something is going to cause me trouble it is my left eye.  (And I am so nice to it!)  If eyes could get the bubonic plague, my left eye would already have had it.  I run out of left eye contacts months before I run out of right eye contacts.  If I have a contact problem, it is always in my left eye. 

I had the thought, "If I could have one wish, it would be for a new left eye."  Because it is the worst.

Then I amended my wish. If I could have one wish it would be for my children to never be disappointed, because that is the worst.  Then I considered a whole bunch of things I would fix in my life if I could.

I realized maybe mortality was the problem.

When Mark was a toddler and wreaking absolute havoc in my life, my mom said, "Your trouble is that you think Mark should just sit in the corner with his arms folded."

Well, yeah.

But I appreciated the lesson.  Mark was Mark.  I had to learn to cope.

And life is life. Without all the bumps, bruises, disappointments and hassles (and swollen eyes), it wouldn't be life.

I collect quotes like some people collect life-like dolls (who are those people?).  This is one of my favorites.  I first heard it by President Gordon B. Hinckley but he was quoting Jenkins Lloyd Jones:
Anyone who imagines that bliss ... is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.  [The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. … Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.
I also love this:
Expecting a trouble-free life because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to charge you because you are a vegetarian.
Jeffrey R. Holland
So I'll forge on.  I won't expect bliss.  I won't expect a trouble-free life.  I will be grateful for the ride (and for antibiotics).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The emperor's new clothes

For nearly every day of our married life, Adam has made me laugh before I go to sleep.  I don't know if he consciously decided back in 1995 that he should make me laugh before I go to sleep, or if it just comes naturally.

Another thing about Adam is that he reads the New York Times like it's his job.

He came across an article about some Gucci fashion show stuff and he said it was like watching a train wreck, he couldn't look away.

I don't even know what to say.

socks and sandals aren't even a fraction of the problem here


The ruffles, the lace, the emaciated models.  The duck face pouts.

Do you personally know any man that you could pay to wear these?

I have no words.

Where's Waldo?

There he is!

Another score for Adam making me laugh before I go to bed.  (But also disturbing me slightly.)

Do yourself a favor and check out the entire collection.  You will then have the ability to make someone laugh too. 

Gucci.  I don't know.  I guess we pat them on the head and tell them everything is going to be all right.

And then lead them kindly to a store that has less bizarre clothes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Mark had a baby tooth--a molar--that refused to let go.  Emma had the same thing when she was younger.  His permanent tooth had grown in underneath and the baby tooth was pushed off to the side but it persistently hung on.  Mark refused to let Adam touch it.  (Adam is the tooth puller around here.  I don't know who comes up with these divisions of labor, but that is his department.)

I told Adam that Mark had a dentist appointment soon and he could get it pulled then.  Adam pointed out that the dentist would charge a lot for something he could easily do.  So, I offered Mark $10 if he would let Adam pull out his tooth.  He tried to bargain for $15, but I was firm and he agreed.  He was happy; I was happy.  (He immediately bought a Lego set.)

Mark's currency:  currency--green American folding money.

I try to coax Emma into taking a walk with me when she gets home from school every day.  She rarely wants to.  Yesterday, because I knew she had a big paper due today, I told her that I would log her onto the computer only if she walked with me.  So, of course she relented to the walk.  (I felt like a genius.  A slightly evil and manipulative genius, but still a genius.)

Emma's currency:  getting her homework done.

I decided I wanted a big plant.  A big sun loving plant because what I have in spades is sunshine.  Furthermore, I decided a fiddle leaf fig tree was my heart's desire.  When Braeden got home from rehearsal, since I needed him to come along to carry the fiddle leaf fig tree after I purchased it, I said, "How much do you love me, on a scale of one to fiddle leaf fig tree?"

He said, "Ummmm."

I showed him a picture of a fiddle leaf fig tree (which is really fun to say).  I said, "Will you go with me to find one?"

He said, "Sure."

Braeden's currency:  he is always up for an adventure...and he rarely has homework.

We were non-triumphant in our quest but neither of us have the attention span to keep questing for too long.  He talked me into this plant.

I think it is lovely in its little corner (but it is on a stand with wheels so it may prove to be a nomadic plant).  I will still keep a lookout for a fiddle leaf fig tree.  (Because they are so fun to say...and I have enough sunshine for both.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

State of the union

Adam:  We had a rare Monday night with just the two of us last night.  The kids had a church youth activity. (On a Monday!  I know!)  Adam and I had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant which was delicious and then we went to Costco.  Once inside Costco, I realized I hadn't brought my phone which contained my list.  I couldn't remember anything on the list!  I bought 6 gallons of milk because that's what I do every time I darken Costco's door and some contact solution but I couldn't remember anything else I needed.  I had a sad little empty cart.  I looked around as we stood in line and I lamented to Adam that the other shoppers with their full carts were the successes.  He said, "But I'd rather be married to you."

See why I like that guy? He's nice to me even when I forget what I need at Costco.  (It was canola oil and sour cream by the way.  Among other things.)

Emma:  is at that delightful stage where she is in driver's ed. and knows enough to criticize my driving, but she still hasn't mastered staying in her own lane.  (She comments on my driving when she takes a break from correcting my grammar...and my grammar isn't terrible, but she expects perfection.)  Braeden has never corrected my grammar but he went through the same stage with my driving.  When Emma told me I didn't have the proper following distance behind the car in front of me, I told her I was a better driver than she was.  She paused then said, "You didn't have to...that was a low blow."  But she smiled. I love that girl.

Mark:  went with me to the junior high yesterday.  We picked up a sheaf of papers for me to fill out.  While we were there, he whispered in my ear that he definitely wants to go to school all day next year.  The world tilted in a seismic shift and I had to swallow the big lump in my throat.  And then I had to remind myself that it's not about me, it's about him.  As much as I want it to be about me...

Braeden: gathered me in his arms yesterday while I cried a few tears about next year.  My life is going to be turned on its head.  Maybe because he's naturally empathetic, maybe because he's the oldest, maybe because he's been at it for so long...I don't know.  But that kid gets me.

Me:  I need to put away the Valentine's decorations.  And research house plants.  Because I want more, they just have to be the hard to kill variety.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Family weekend

This was a good one.

First, Friday we celebrated Azure's birthday.  My parents were there too which only made it better.

I love this picture of Mark and Azure.

She'd blown out one candle and was getting a pep talk before she attempted the rest.

When he's not riling his little cousins up with his wild antics, he's quite loving to them.

Here's the sweet princess enjoying her cake:

I am glad we're able to be a part of her life.

After the birthday party, we went to BYU to watch Clarissa perform.  She was fabulous as usual.  I love the way she extends herself with enthusiasm and tries new things and always has a big smile on her face.

I am glad we're able to be a part of her life.

We hit the BYU Creamery for ice cream after.  Marianne's family was there too and it was nice to be together.  Morgan went back to our house with us to spend the night.  We had left Adam's car at Ammon and Melanee's so while we were driving back to their house, Mark and Morgan were talking in the backseat--it was mostly Mark--and Emma and Braeden were in the middle seats, talking and laughing.  Loudly.  With enthusiasm.  And persistence.

When I was a kid and Olivia and I would get in trouble for being silly and told to settle down, I never understood what the problem was.  We weren't doing anything wrong; it wasn't like we were fighting (because we did do that sometimes).

Now I get it, Braeden and Emma can be a lot. A little much, like my mom used to say about Olivia and me.

Emma went with Adam when we got to his car and Braeden climbed into the front seat.  I said, "You have to stop.  I'm tired and cranky."

Morgan said, "I don't believe you that you're cranky.  Because my mom gets cranky."  Then he outlined a time they were given extra jobs because they'd woken Marianne up.

"Oh no!" Braeden said, after assuring Morgan that I could get a lot crankier, "You don't wake up Mama!" 

That's just basic safety.

Then they talked about how their dads don't get cranky when they wake them up.

I'm glad Marianne's kids and my kids have each other.  They can start a support group.  The main tenant of the organization could be You Don't Wake Up Mama.

We loved having Morgan though.  He is a darling boy and he and Mark have a lot of fun.

Saturday, Olivia and Edgar and Tabor and Katie came to town also.  The kids were babysat by their older cousins at our house and we all went to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple.  (My grandma too.)  It was Clarissa's first time.  What a blessing it was to be in the temple with four generations: my grandma, my parents, my siblings and dear Clarissa.  (I wish Enoch and Jennifer had been there too.  Enoch had basketball coach stuff and I feel like basketball coach stuff is severely cutting into my chances to see those guys.  And it is all about me, after all.)

I always enjoy going to the temple but being there with my family just made it all the sweeter.  At one point my mom whispered to me, "It doesn't get much better than this, does it?"

And she's right.

Because of the temple and the covenants made there, everything that matters most in life can be ours.  We are a family.  I can't put it all into words, but I was very grateful to be there.  And it's possible I cried.

But I'm not the only one.

Afterward we retrieved the kids and took over a corner of JCW's for burgers and fries and milkshakes and the like.  I guilted Marianne and Robert into sitting by us, even though they were in demand elsewhere.  If you can't guilt your own sister, who can you guilt?

Sunday morning we went to Provo and saw more family.   My very youngest cousin, Brett, who I hardly know because I am old and he isn't, returned from his mission and spoke in church.  Before his talk, the bishop asked everyone in the congregation who had returned from a mission within the last year to come to the front and sing Called To Serve.  There were 41 of them!  It was incredible.  (A lot of them were sporting Russian tie tacks--that's where Brett served--and they were there to see him.  I was also sort of blown away by Brett's talk.  I love listening to missionaries tell about their missions, particularly when, like Brett, I can tell they returned from their missions changed people.  I was glad my kids were there to hear him too.  It was fun to see some more cousins and aunts and uncles that I haven't been around for years.  When Brett got me confused with Marianne, I assured him it was OK.  I said, "I was the age you are now when you were born.  I'm your much older cousin.  It's OK if you get confused."

For most of my adult life, I've not been around so I love being able to do all these family things that fill me up with belonging and happiness.

I tell you, family.  That's the thing.


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