Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Keeping it PG

This little town.  It endears itself to me.

I've been practicing lines with Mark for his play, The Importance of Being Earnest.  I love that his director made an already supremely appropriate play even more fitting for Pleasant Grove.  For example, there isn't a cigarette case; it's a card case.  The play is in the public domain so they can tinker all they want.

The other day at Costco, Adam was chatting with the cashier about the storms and fires and earthquakes.  Adam is one of those people that talks to people.  He said something to the effect that it reminded him of the book of Revelations and was chatting about it with the woman putting stuff in our shopping bags (yes, we want to use them).  The guy ringing up the purchases said to me, "I guess if it was prophesied we can't be too worried."

A Sunday School lesson in the line at Costco.

Sunday at church I had another experience that felt like something that would only happen here.

The Relief Society president, Marcia, came up to me.  She looked around carefully, like she didn't want anyone else to hear our conversation.  She asked me discreetly if Emma and I would like tickets to the Women's Broadcast in Salt Lake City on Saturday.  She said, "I thought I'd offer them to Nola and you seem to be friends with Nola and I thought you'd all like to go together."

I said yes!  She said, "I can't offer them to everyone because they would be gone in a second."

In other words, she didn't want anyone seeing her offering them to me. Sure, these ladies seem nice but I guess she didn't want to test that theory.

Later, before Relief Society started, she had talked to Nola who wanted to go.  Sandwiched carefully between her hands, Marcia passed me the tickets.  I slipped them into my bag.  It was the closest thing to a drug deal going down there's probably ever been in Relief Society.

I loved that Marcia considered that Nola, from the East Coast, has never been to General Conference and she wanted to give her the opportunity.  I'm glad I just so happen to be Nola's friend and neighbor so I get to be in on the experience.  We'll take our girls and have a great time.

What can I say?  It's fun to be a peculiar people among all the other peculiar people.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Helicopter mother

I was arguably a VERY involved mother for elementary school.  I was the teacher after all.  Sending our kids to school, I felt less involved than a lot of my friends.  I didn't check grades, I didn't check homework, I pretty much let them be.  I was busy home schooling Mark and rearranging furniture.  I let Braeden and Emma handle it.  (Occasionally I needed to intervene.  There were the times both of them were in danger of not graduating.)

So I haven't been all that involved with Mark once he went to school either.  Except now.  I've got all this motherly energy and no where else to point it.  Poor kid.  I've been checking his grades weekly and when there were parent teacher conferences, I vowed to go to every teacher (usually I lose interest after the first few and if the lines are too long).  In the end I went to every teacher except his cross training teacher.  I waited in one of the other lines while Adam and Mark went to the gym.

The other day, I checked his phone to see if there was a text about the young men doing the flags.  I saw a text from a girl that read, "Good night Markie" with a heart emoticon.

First of all, Markie?!?

Our children have no promise that we won't check their phones periodically.  In fact, they can count on it.  It's the understanding we all entered into when the phones were purchased.

I told Mark I'd seen the texts from the girl.

He said, "So you're like the NSA, except you tell me you're checking my phone?"


Friday, September 15, 2017

Grateful Friday

Today I am grateful for school teachers. 

We went to Mark's parent teacher conferences yesterday.  Mark comes with me to those because there is no way to navigate that crazy school without him.  The first year Adam and I went without him and we would get lost and ask teachers where another classroom was and they wouldn't know.

Every kid that goes to Pleasant Grove Junior High deserves a prize for navigating those halls.

Without exception, Mark's teachers greeted him warmly and by name.  (Except his Spanish teacher called, "Marco!" and then said something to him in Spanish I didn't understand completely.)  It impressed me that even though school just started, the teachers know him and seemed to genuinely care about him.

Mark's doing pretty well in all of his classes (like Mark said, it's still early in the year, that could change).  We talked to his biology teacher and Mark had 100% on every quiz, test and assignment so far except for one F.

So I, you know, inquired about that one.  Mark fidgeted a little and his teacher chuckled and said, "Honestly Mark, what happened?  You didn't finish it right?"

"Yeah," Mark said.

Mr. Whitaker smiled at Mark and said, "You'll be just fine. You're doing great, except your mom wants to smack you."  Then he chuckled some more and I felt like maybe Mark has Santa Claus teaching him biology.  He's a right jolly old elf.

Adam joined us later and was there when we visited the drama teacher.  She told us which movies Mark should watch to prepare his British accent for The Importance of Being Earnest.  Then we discussed Jane Austen movies and the counterfeit 2005 version (because I have opinions).  I love that we now have "homework" for Mark that involves Jane Austen movies.

We talked a bit about Annie, the spring musical, and Adam asked if she would consider gender bending the role of Annie (Mark already has the curly red hair).  Then Mark riled her up by suggesting that there weren't many male roles in the show.  Drama teachers are excitable by nature.  She enthusiastically pontificated on the great male roles there were in Annie.  I love how passionate she is and that there is a junior high drama program in the first place. 

It was a lively and enjoyable conversation and I am sorry to everyone in line behind us waiting to talk to Ms. Schow. 

Every day I send Mark off with him stuffing binders and mechanical pencils in his backpack on his way out the door.  Every day I pick him up and he is starving and happy and has little stories to tell about his day.

In the space between, he has teachers that care about him and the subjects they teach. 

I appreciate those good teachers. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Me and my ideas

When I home schooled all three, we had three drop down desks attached to the wall in our school room.  Once the big kids went to school, I took two of the desks down.  I painted a sign on one and the other one I kept for the next time I wanted to paint a sign.  (Sometimes you just need to paint a sign.)

All these years later, I did indeed want to paint a sign.  I showed Adam what I wanted and I asked him to help with the proportions.  I can't do it if it has anything to do with being exact or measuring or planning.

Or explaining apparently.

I didn't explain what I wanted effectively and Adam wasn't producing the results I wanted.  "Emma would be able to do this!" I said petulantly.  (I miss Emma.)

Adam assured me he could do it, if I explained what I wanted.  So I did.  I wanted him to help me figure out the spacing and then I would free hand it in my wonky way because it's the only way I know how to live my life.

Adam said I should paint the board with chalkboard paint and then write it in chalk.  Genius!  Then if the wonkiness was too wonky, I could erase and start over.

I bought a can of chalkboard spray paint.  Maybe it was the brand (Valspar) or maybe it was that particular can or maybe it was user error (but I've spray painted a lot of stuff in my life).  In any case, it was a disaster.  It dried all splotchy and spotty so I went to the store to buy the kind of chalkboard paint you brush on.

From the spray paint debacle, the bottoms of my feet were black (from walking around barefoot in the garage on the cardboard in the over spray).

Mark surveyed my feet and wondered if he could write in chalk on them.


So there's that.  The bottoms of my feet are nice little chalkboards.

I will let you know how it goes with the rest of the project (or it may continue to be a disaster and we'll never speak of it again).

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Not for the faint of heart

Yesterday we were at Costco, getting a tire fixed.  Adam and Mark and I walked over to Lowes to look at paint chips.  Some future day I want to paint our kitchen cabinets and Lowes was in walking distance so it was a way to kill time.

Mark started collecting paint chips too.  He has something of a vision for his bedroom.  He said he wants a "marine feel." He said he was ready for a change.

I told him, "You could put your clothes away.  That would be a change."

I told him, "You could take all the dishes on your desk to the kitchen.  That would be a change."

When we got home he did indeed put all his clothes away and brought 5 water bottles, 1 cup and 1 bowl to the kitchen.  (Why do we even have that many water bottles?)  Then he started making plans.  He called me upstairs to hear him out.

Here is his palette:

He showed me which color he wants for the top of his desk and which for the frame of his desk.  He had selected a different color for the doors and then a different one for the trim.  He was thinking of painting the tops of his windowsills one color and the rest of the windowsills a different color.  He wants the walls different colors too.

I just said, "Mm-hm."

(And I decided I'm never taking Mark to Lowes again.)

This morning on the way to school, I told Mark, "I understand you want to brighten your room up, but I think we can do that without all those paint colors."

He said, "I don't want to brighten it up.  I want to add excitement."

I pointed out other rooms in our house I've furnished and painted and designed.  I said, "You trust me, right?"  I could tell he was digging in his heels on this one. 

"I want those colors," he said.  Mark is only rivaled in stubbornness by Emma, so I know I have my work cut out for me.  On the other hand he doesn't have the ability to go to the paint store and buy paint so I think I'm safe.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I saw this advertised on Facebook.  It's a book full of weekly letters you can use to send your missionaries.  (Two years worth!)  Also, as a bonus, there are 17 letters you can download and email.  I guess you have to retype the others.


...you could just buy your missionary this book and send it with them and say, "There.  Now I don't have to write you."

People are so weird.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Golden days

Today I have a flag flying in my front yard to remember September 11, 2001.  (Today I'm grateful I'm no longer a YW leader so I don't have to mess with putting flags in yards in the neighborhood.)

September 11 makes me feel grateful for heroes and grateful for the bucolic peaceful place I live.

Today I am thinking about hurricanes and fires and earthquakes.  (And again, I feel grateful for this place where I find myself.)

Sometimes weeks when nothing much is happening are the best thing in the world.

Braeden came over for lunch on Saturday (and invited some of his friends).  The first thing he did when he walked in the door was open the refrigerator.  (Well, first he hugged me.)  I love feeding people I love.  Emma stopped by that night because she was in the neighborhood.  She told us all about the concert she attended the night before and her job review she got from the theater and the Women's Chorus things she's excited about.  Sometimes you just need a visit from Emma.

Sunday they both came over for the afternoon.  I told my kids earlier the Pax Thelma was when I was at BYU but I was wrong.

The Golden Age is right now.  We ate good food and played games and brainstormed ideas for a group date Braeden is planning.  Adam and Mark periodically checked on the score and would report it to us.  (It wasn't a good weekend sports wise around here--BYU, the Mariners and the Seahawks all lost.)  We laughed a lot and teased each other.

Adam had an "interview" with each college kid about all the everything and I walked in and kept interrupting and changing the subject accidentally.

Adam loves me anyway.


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