Friday, July 29, 2016

Books I read in July 2016

The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer ***

I usually avoid reading the back cover or dust jacket of any book.  Too often there are spoilers and I don't want to know.  This book left me so confused right in the beginning/middle that I gave up and read the back cover.  That sort of cleared it up and I was able to limp along until things became more clear.  I read a lot of this book on different nights at about 2:00 in the morning which is my insomnia time of choice lately.  That may have contributed to my confusion.  It ended up being a good book though.  It was set in Georgian England and had its share of sword fights, balls, gambling, romance.  I liked it. 

Landline by Rainbow Rowell ***

I liked this book too.  I have to note here that the language was not fabulous.  I forget about language in books and then I give my mom a book for her birthday that has bad language.  It happens a lot.  So note to self...  Rainbow Rowell books read like romantic comedies.  And I like them.  And they make sense even at 2:00 AM.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh **

This book mostly stressed me out.  I had nothing against the characters or plot, it was just stressful.  The characters found themselves in really difficult and complicated circumstances and I didn't see an easy resolution.  There were illegal immigrants, teen pregnancies, abandonment, deceit, bullying, socioeconomic injustice.  Yikes. So I didn't love the book because it caused me anxiety.  And yes, I am shallow.

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart ***

This was a pretty good book.  It alternated between two stories and was sort of heart breaking and also hopeful.  It was about a baby who was stolen as an infant and her mother that was committed to a mental hospital in the aftermath.  There were kind and redeeming characters throughout.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

It's hot

That's the consensus.   It's been around 100 degrees for the last several days and that will probably be the case for the foreseeable future.


Yesterday, looking for an air conditioned activity,  I took the kids to BYU to go bowling.  There are plenty of bowling alleys between here and there, but I like BYU.  It is one of my happy places.

Also, it turns out if you are an alumni, you get to bowl for a $.25 reduced rate.  That tuition is paying for itself!

It also turns out that these kids are not pro bowlers.  I won.  Not because I'm good.  They're just that bad. 

Our next stop was the art museum.  We walked around and looked at the National Parks paintings which I love then we went to The Way Things Go exhibit which was a 30 minute video that is like a Rube Goldberg machine times 1000.  It was pretty incredible.  It involved fire, water, wheels, pulleys, balloons, chemical reactions.  I was mesmerized.

I love art museums.

Later in the afternoon I got a text message from Virginia Beach.  (I love text messages from Virginia Beach even more than art museums.)  Rebecca Justesen for the win!

Elder Morris is a tall kid.

And I think they're having fun.

Even though it's hot there too.  Rebecca said it was 110 + with the heat index.  She said they weren't melting, which was reassuring.

Awhile ago, I emailed this meme to Braeden:

He wrote back:  amen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Sitting around the dinner table the other night, we reminisced about the trouble they got into when they were little.  I reminded Gavin of how I used to do criss-cross applesauce on his back in primary to keep him quiet.  "Oh yeah!" he said, "I remember!"  Adam told him about when he took three year old Gavin out of primary to the hall, kicking and screaming.  Adam calmly put him over his shoulder and said, "I'm bigger than you are.  I'll wait until you're ready."

I don't think Adam could do that now.

I told Mark about when I buckled him in his car seat during church, kicking and screaming.

I don't think I could do that now.

Good thing the boys became more civilized.

Adam asked them if they remembered taking walks before primary to get their wiggles out.  It was sort of genius. Every Sunday he'd take them both outside to count sprinkler heads on the church lawn.  Even when it was raining.

They remembered the time they hid out on the stage all during primary and no one ever caught them.  "What?!?" I said.

"Yeah," Mark said, sheepishly, "I guess we never told you about that one." (I'm guessing their primary teachers were relieved that day.)

I told them about the time Mark came home from Gavin's and told me he'd given another kid a bloody nose.  I felt bad (and let's face it, worried about repercussions from the other kid's mother).  "What happened?" I asked, exasperated.

"Gavin threw me at him."

Then I felt a little better.  I wouldn't have to take the entire heat for that one.

The other day I heard them downstairs wrestling over cookies.  Lots of crashing to the ground and thumping noises and laughter.

They are like big puppies.

I love these boys.

As evidenced by the following pictures, sometimes you've just got to flatten Mark.  It's the only way.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A tribe

First we got to see Leif (and David) when we took him to the MTC.

Then we've had Gavin (which is delightful).

Sunday, the Germers came to visit.  Miles had family commitments so it was Amy and the kids.  It did my heart a lot of good to walk in to sacrament meeting and see them seated on the front row.  (Amy had asked me if we still sit there and I said these tigers can't change their stripes.)

After passing the sacrament, Mark went and sat between Finn and Gavin.  You've never seen such a happy Mark.  I whispered to Adam that if Braeden were here too, Mark's head would probably explode.

They all came over for lunch after church.  Amy wanted to sit outside (because she grew up in Texas and the temperature in Seattle has struggled to reach 70 lately and she wanted to thaw out).  The July sun obliged.

Until I said, "I'm too hot!" and we had to go inside. (Because it was in the upper 90s.)

We've known the Germers for 11 years.  Old friends like that are the very best kind.  Amy and I discussed the marriages we would like to arrange for our children and what I should do with the next phase of my life and what she's doing with the next phase of her life.

Emma asked, "Are you having an identity crisis?"

(Which is the same thing Janet mentioned the other day on the phone.)

I'm a slow learner and trying to figure out what's next.

It's nice to have friends to bounce ideas off of.  Friends who get it.

We also took some pictures:

The boys

The girls

The moms

I look like a giant next to Amy.  I'm taking her to my next family reunion so I will feel tall.

We ended up having Finn stay the night.  The boys were out on the trampoline still at 11:00 when I was going to bed.  They had a notebook and were alternatively bouncing on the trampoline and writing a story together for the video game they're going to create when they're older.  (They've been working on the idea for years.)

I love when kids' shoes are piled up by the front door.  These three now wear man-sized shoes though.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Can we keep him?

I asked Adam, "Do you think Brent and Stephanie will really need him back?"

It just feels right to have Gavin around.  And it also feels really terrible that we separated Mark from Gavin two years ago.  They have always been sort of like brothers.  They saw each other nearly every day and were compatible like peanut butter and jelly.

Friday night we were at the airport and Mark stared intently at the crowds of disembarked passengers while we waited.

He erupted, "Gavin!"  They hugged and Gavin and I hugged and then Mark and Gavin looked at each other and compared their heights.  They smiled and laughed at each other.  They stood shoulder to shoulder, waiting for Gavin's camo duffle bag on the luggage carousel, happy but a little tentative about what to say.  Besides the one day they saw each other last summer, they haven't seen each other for two years.

"Is that it?" Mark asked, pointing to a paisley print suitcase.

"It's camo," Gavin said.

"He's color blind," I said, even though that shouldn't cause a paisley vs. camo confusion.

"Still," Gavin said. "It's camo, Mark."

"Sorry," Mark said with a smile.  And they both relaxed and just started talking.

Gavin is laid back and polite and funny and it feels absolutely normal to have him here.  I love hearing them tease each other and hearing their voices rise and fall in conversation.  It's the sound of Mark's childhood except now they both have these deep voices.

I asked them if I could take their picture.

"Can you pose normally?" I asked.

"I'm not sure we're capable," said Gavin.

This one is probably as good as it's going to get.

Mark forgot that he was teaching a lesson on Sunday.  After lunch on Saturday I told Mark we needed to look at the lesson.  I figured I needed to be involved to keep him on task with Gavin here.

"I love teaching lessons," Gavin said.


"Gavin can help you," I said. (I've never once been shy about putting my kids' friends to work.  Gavin's helped move a lot of furniture in his day.)

So they sat side by side and my heart melted as I heard Gavin instruct Mark.  How did the kid I used to wrestle in primary become this mature and wise kid teaching Mark how to prepare a lesson?  If Gavin says it, Mark listens.  He is the big brother all of us have been missing around here.

I was looking over my blog and found this post about these boys from five years ago.  The nostalgia!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Gavin for the win

It's been a tough week.  That's all.  It's been a week of clinging to what I know and seeking solace in the well worn grooves of my sources of peace. 

Tonight Gavin is coming to stay.  It's what we all need.  Gavin and Mark; Mark and Gavin.

They are friends through and through.  I'm looking forward to more noise.  I'm looking forward to happy boys laughing together.  I'm looking forward to adventures.  I'm looking forward to more laundry and one more hungry boy to try my hand at feeding.

I kind of feel like I've never needed anything like I need Gavin to come and stay with us and fill us up with Gavin-ness.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Called to serve

Janet and I talked for a few hours the other day.  About All the Things.  There was the usual laughing and crying and baring of souls.  There was the motherhood.  It must be discussed.  It is deliciously wonderful to feel so understood.  We talked about how hard being a mother of a missionary can be and how irrational it is when we would rather have them serve than do anything else.

Yesterday Leif embarked on his mission.  He left the Seattle airport early early and then we picked him up at the Salt Lake airport.  He looked sharp and handsome and eager to go.  In the car I gave Leif a letter Braeden had emailed me to give to him.  He had written a list of advice.  Two of my favorite nuggets of wisdom were:

Don't do dumb stuff.
It's stupid hot.  Just love being sweaty.  

(Here's hoping Braeden will internalize his own advice about not doing dumb stuff.)

We met Leif's brother David at Cafe Rio for lunch.

A happy brother reunion ensued.

Leif tried to pay for his own lunch and we wouldn't let him.  He said, "My mom will be mad at me..."

I told him that by the time he sees his mom again, all will be forgiven.

Around the lunch table, Adam and David regaled Leif with MTC shenanigans they'd participated in.  I kept saying, "Leif, on behalf of your mother, I'm here to tell you not to listen to these two jokers."

We had a little time before the 1:00 drop off so we went to the Provo temple with all the other early arrivals.  Clumps of people milled around, rotating around their missionaries.  A lot of the missionaries had the shell shocked look that Braeden had when we dropped him off.  A lot of the other mothers were barely holding it together.  They were straightening their son's tie and just fussing over them for the last time.

We were a relaxed and jokey group.  Leif had already had his good-bye with his mama.

I made him pose for a few pictures.

He obliged because I'm bossy like that.  I told him that I was sorry he was sitting out there in the sun in his dark suit and he cheerfully said that it was going to get him acclimated to the heat.  He's going to be a great missionary.  I love that kid.

I love that Mark (and Braeden) have the Jorgensen boys in their lives as good examples.

It's possible I cried when I hugged Leif and told him he was going to be great and I loved him.

Me = a lot of excess water in my head.

We dropped him off at the curb and sent him on his way and he had a spring in his step and he was ready.

Lucky, lucky Tampa, Florida.  You're getting Leif!


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