Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You were warned

It's right up there in the title of the blog.  I write about nothing.  (And also, lately there's that weird black by the title of the blog.  What is that about?  Adam?)

Here's a bunch of nothing:

1- I handed Emma a handful of books to read and she read them.  OK.  That's not nothing.  When has that ever happened?  I'm pretty sure the last time Emma read something I handed her was when she was four and wanted me to read to her and I handed her one of Braeden's kindergarten books and told her to read it to herself and she did.

2- I love walking on the dirt trail by our house and hearing the gravel crunch underfoot.  It reminds me so much of the walks I've taken in Nevada that I feel happy happy happy.  That and the way the blue sky gets really pale at the horizon.  Oh high desert!  You make my heart sing.

3- I skim any fight scene or battle in any book I ever read.  It doesn't happen often but when I read something historical there may be a battle.  For Mark, when there's a fight scene, it redeems an otherwise boring book.

4- Mark makes me sort of crazy because he never likes anything except...

5- Yesterday he was helping me make my bed and he said, "I can't even tell you how much I love you, Mom."

6- I try to tease Emma and she is way too clever for me.  She doesn't take the bait and she comes back with snappy comebacks.  I blame Adam.  He's also clever.

7- Braeden has to provide his own costume for his Shakespeare competition at school.  Really?  I'm being penalized for having a big son?  I blame Adam.  (Braeden said, "Would you have rather married some little skinny guy?"  The answer is no.  I like my big strong man.  It's possible I also brought some size to the genetic table.)

8- I also have to feed my big son.  Talk about a double whammy.

9- I have never really bought boxed macaroni and cheese because that stuff is kind of nasty.  Emma had some when babysitting and it was a revelation to her.  I bought some at a case lot sale.  It was crazy cheap and my kids can make it for a snack.  Yesterday Braeden and I were in the living room and Mark was making mac and cheese (his first attempt) and Emma was helping him/lecturing him/mustering any and all big sister angst she could get her hands on.  It all just made me laugh.  Those two.  Braeden told me I was a terrible person for laughing at them.  Then he went and ate some macaroni and cheese because good luck making something and not giving Braeden some.

10- Maybe that's why I have to provide his costume for the Shakespeare competition.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Dominoes

Enoch and Jennifer and their kids were coming to town.

That turned into text messages, "Hey, let's meet for lunch."

That turned into Ammon and Melanee and kids joining us.

That turned into Jennifer and Melanee and all the kids coming over to our house while Enoch and Ammon worked on a project.

That turned into my parents stopping by on their way home from visiting Tabor and Katie.

We were all sitting around my family room, visiting and the boys would troop through all toting toy guns, intent on some game.  The little girls came in and out, charming us and I thought, these are pretty swell dominoes.

Sunday added another domino.  We had an early church meeting so in the afternoon we took Clarissa with us and headed to Salt Lake City.  Clarissa is a delight.  She brings an effervescent cheer to everything.  Marianne's loss is certainly our gain with that one.

We went to an organ recital in the tabernacle.  Wow.  Later Braeden said he imagined that's what it would be like to hear the voice of God.  Beautiful and powerful and a little terrifying. 

this is me pretending like I have two daughters
Braeden and Emma love having Clarissa around too and I love listening to them talk.  I wanted to take their picture and Braeden said he doesn't like posed pictures.

The hundreds of selfies he takes on my phone (and every other phone he ever gets access to) beg to differ.  They were chatting and I said, "Look natural."


Goofy kids.

I love them.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Connecting

We were weeding outside and I overheard Mark say, "So, Braeden...tell me everything you know about Hittites."

It was an example of a little brother trying to connect with his older brother.  Mark has been learning about ancient civilizations in school and so he launched a conversation about something he knew Braeden loved.  The next thing I overheard was Mark saying, "Yeah, Hammurabi was pretty bronco."

Every time my boys meet in the middle it makes me happy.  Sometimes it is Braeden getting down on the floor to build with Legos.  Sometimes it is Mark starting a history discussion.   Often it is both of them wanting food.

*********

Yesterday, Mark and I were doing errands.  My phone rang and it was Janet.  I cried.  I have been fine, doggedly going through my days, hanging pictures and doing laundry and preparing meals (or not).  I've been determined to try to look for the positive parts of our new life and I've been striving for gratitude.  There's a lot to be grateful about.  I have been fine.

But somehow talking to Janet brought out the less-than-fine parts.  I miss her.  I miss a lot about before.  It was wonderful to talk to her though.

When I hung up the phone, Mark who had been in the car to hear the conversation--and the tears--said, "Now doesn't that feel good?  I felt really good after I talked to Gavin on the phone."

And I said, "Yes."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Some things I know

In everything give thanks...
Thessalonians 5:18 

In the past weeks Braeden has been struggling, really struggling.  As a result, I was struggling.  It is hard for me to be happy when my children are miserable.  Braeden wasn't acting in normal Braeden ways.  He was closing himself off from the world.  He was looking morose and not laughing enough.  We talked a lot.  We cried together a little.  We both decided to pray more.

I know prayers are answered.  

Saturday night, when a handful of kids from school came and "kidnapped" him, our prayers were unexpectedly answered.  He had a great time.  He connected with the kids in real ways.  He made new friends.  He came home optimistic and smiling and laughing and Braeden-like.  Since that night Braeden is a different kid.  He took steps to be more open to friendships, he had faith that he would be helped if he prayed and he was. 

I am near to bursting with gratitude. Words are too feeble to express it. 

I know Heavenly Father loves my boy.  He knew what Braeden needed more than I did.  I was hoping for a gradual lessening of sadness and a gradual adjustment to his new surroundings.  But in one evening, a switch was flipped.  Braeden is happy and now, of course, so am I.  Miracles happen.

I know we have a lot to be grateful for in life.  Sometimes our prayers are answered immediately; sometimes we struggle along wondering when they will be answered.  Either way, we are learning and growing and getting stronger.  The worst times of my life are the times when I've learned the most.  They are the times when I turned heavenward out of desperation.  They are the times when I've been lifted and strengthened.

If we have faith in Jesus Christ the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing.
Henry B. Eyring

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Errands with Adam

Occasionally we are reminded that we really do live in Utah. 



You never know what will happen when you are doing errands with Adam.  The car wash felt like a ride at Disneyland.  It was long and involved and there was a mirror along the side so you could see how clean you were getting.  All that was lacking was music but Adam sang, "It's a Small World."


At the grocery store, there was Cookie Monster standing out front.  (Why?) Adam stopped and asked if he could take a selfie with him.  He wanted to text our kids...it's where Braeden got his desire to do anything to make people laugh.


I walked away and pretended like I didn't know Adam.

The Cookie Monster selfie turned out so well that Adam took another selfie with a cut out of Cosmo.


Again, I walked away like I didn't know him.  I am perhaps not a very supportive wife.

I do like errands with Adam though.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Some tigers can't change their stripes

When Emma was a toddler, she stayed by my side at playgroup.  Braeden had always explored the perimeter and socialized freely.  I didn't mind that Emma was different from Braeden.  I like them both, shy and not.

Emma's whole life she's hated to order in restaurants or talk to strangers or answer the phone.  I get that.  I am pretty much the same way.

Lately, I've wondered if she's changing.  Some of her new school friends were going to the temple.  Emma couldn't find her temple recommend so she made a phone call and got an appointment with the bishop.  She got her new temple recommend and rode the bus to a girl's house she minimally knew and went to the temple with her friends.  Amazing.  She did it all herself.

Then, she had a hunch she was in the wrong math class because the class seemed too easy.  She didn't tell me and have me fix it, she talked to her math teacher.  He confirmed that she was in the wrong class.  He didn't realize she was a sophomore and she was in a pre-calculus class for juniors and seniors who didn't plan to take AP calculus.  The school had changed their system and she would be better prepared for AP calculus in a different math class.  So Emma made an appointment with her counselor.  She chatted with another counselor while she waited.  He asked her about the Yale t-shirt she was wearing and they made a connection about Seattle too.  He ended up being the counselor to adjust her schedule because the other counselor was busy.  Emma was able to navigate her schedule change and purposely put herself in the same hated computer class that Braeden has.  (They will hate it less when they're in it together.)  Also, she was able to get the same math teacher for her new math class because she really likes him.  Emma told me all of this news and I was stunned.  My Emma!  My shy introvert who doesn't like to talk to strangers advocated for herself and made things happen.

Amazing.

Saturday night we were watching the BYU football game in our basement.  It was all kinds of fun.  Ammon and Melanee and their children were over.  We even stood up and sang the BYU fight song at one point.

Emma has very little interest in football, BYU or otherwise.  She played with her little cousins awhile but then she retreated upstairs to write on the computer.

The computer is near the front door.

Emma heard people come to the front door.  She was the only one upstairs and she did not want to answer the door.  To go down the stairs to where we were, she would have had to walk by the front door.  They would have seen her.  She went the other way.  She went outside to the deck, down the outside stairs and to the basement door.  "Someone's at the door," she told us.  We sent Mark upstairs because he is afraid of exactly nothing and the rest of us were too lazy/watching the football game (they weren't going to trounce Texas without us).  Mark reported there were people to see Braeden.  (In fact they were kids from school, drama kids, there to kidnap Braeden and take him out on the town for some fun.  Thank you drama kids from school!  You don't know what your kindness and inclusion mean to this Mama.)

"Why did you come all the way downstairs instead of answering the door?" we asked Emma.

"I didn't want to," she said simply.

There's the Emma I know and love. She can be brave when she needs to but good luck trying to get her to do something she doesn't want to do.

I wouldn't have her any other way. (Except for sometimes when I want her to do something she doesn't want to do.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Belated

Emma's half birthday was August 17.  We completely ignored the day.  I told Emma we'd celebrate later and then we never did.

On Thursday night, when she and I were driving to our first ever yoga class, taught by the inestimable Melanee, I told Emma that I had not forgotten and we would still celebrate her birthday sometime.

Emma said, "It's OK, Mom.  You don't have to."

And she really meant it because she's low maintenance and very little trouble.  We don't really celebrate real birthdays so if we didn't celebrate her half birthday... that was not OK with me.

The next morning, I got the idea that we'd celebrate that day.  That afternoon, Mark and I went on a quest.  I had gained the inspiration from something I saw on Pinterest.  Here's what we gave Emma:


We even bought a blue yoga mat...for our second ever yoga class next week.  Also there was an Amazon gift card included for the little bookworm.
We surprised Emma when she got home.  We left it up to her where we were going to go for dinner and it took her awhile to decide (see above:  she's low maintenance and very little trouble).  She wanted to know where everybody else wanted to eat.

She finally landed on Zupa's which I thought was spectacular.  The restaurants around here are making me happy!

We came home for cheesecake birthday cake (my energy was spent on tracking down blue gifts rather than baking cake):


I'm glad she's my girl. 

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