Friday, March 24, 2017

Grateful Friday

this picture has nothing to do with this post, but I love how spring is busting out all over


I know how lucky I am.

He is smart and funny and interesting and good.  He is a calming influence in my life and my safe harbor.

When I hit the garage door with the van, I texted him.  I told him the door wouldn't close, but the van seemed fine.  He texted back "Then no harm done.  I love you."

No harm done?  Well, a little.  (The whole garage-door-wouldn't-close thing.)

As soon as Adam got home, he helped get dinner on the table because I was in my typical Wednesday night flurry trying to get out the door for YW.  I had to leave early but he recruited our children to help and started working on the garage door.

Then he went to scouts.

After we had all returned home and had read scriptures, etc. and sent the kids to bed (ha! we pretend we're still in charge), Adam and I went to the garage and I "helped" him which mostly meant handing him the wrong tool.

One of the little wheel things (I'm assuming that's the technical term) on the garage door had popped off its track.  Adam just muscled it back into place because he can do things like that (things that need muscles).  He took off one of the metal pieces that was really bent and hammered it back into shape.  We reattached it (mostly him) and chatted about the day and then voila!  The garage door was fixed.

Adam said, "We didn't even need to call your dad."

I said, "Now you're the dad.  Our kids will be calling you."


I'm also grateful today for how loved I felt on my birthday.  I appreciated all the gifts, cards, phone calls, text messages and Facebook greetings.  It's nice to have people.  That's how you feel on days like that.

In honor of our birthdays, Braeden emailed us last Monday a list of things he loved about each of us.  Here were two of my favorites from his list about me.

I love that kid.

Emma made us a cake.  She has never been very interested in baking and hasn't done it much.  She puts her mind to things though.  She gets all in.  She took Mark to the store.  They bought all the ingredients and shooed me out of the kitchen.  After a few minutes, I was called back because they couldn't find the pans.  Every few minutes they needed instructions.  Mark sprayed the pans (at least he said he did) but the cake layers were pretty well stuck inside the pans.  

I was called in.

I did my best to extract the cake.  Two of the three layers came out in pieces.  I said I thought we could salvage them.  

(Mark was dismissed from the kitchen by his sister.)

There were a million and one more questions, but Emma (much like since she was a toddler) didn't really want help.  If I offered more than the specific thing she was asking for, she'd say, impatiently, "I can do it."

I'd back slowly out of the kitchen until the next question.

Finally I sat on a stool at the counter and we chatted.  I was sufficiently out of her way, but there to field questions.

The cake turned out amazingly delicious.

We were pretty triumphant in assembling the broken layers.  It was filled with raspberry jam, bordered by buttercream frosting.  The top frosting was thinned with heated and strained jam to remove the seeds and then Emma whipped cream and piped it on the top.


It's been years since someone made me a birthday cake and I think Emma is on the hook from now on.

As for Mark, the sweet banished kitchen helper, he also made me feel loved.  He is ever kind and attendant to me and yesterday was no exception.  At the end of the day he sat by me on the couch.  He lay his red curly head on my shoulder and slipped his arm around me.  "Did you have a good day, Mom?" he asked earnestly.


I did.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

When the universe speaks

I never set an alarm.  Adam, Emma and Mark all three set alarms.  And I usually wake up naturally because I'm not great at sleeping late.

Yesterday morning, after a rocky night (insomnia--not for the faint of heart), I woke up and it seemed lighter and later than usual.  I looked at the clock and it was 8:30!  I never sleep that late!  (Unless I was awake until 3:00 AM....)  No one else was awake.  Everyone had either slept through their alarms or turned them off unknowingly and gone back to sleep.

Emma said, "Maybe this is the universe telling us we need sleep."


It was a colossally terrible day as days often are when everyone oversleeps.  There was little joy including but not limited to me accidentally hitting the garage door with the van as I was frantically trying to get Mark to math on time.

Emma gave me one of her really great hugs and then she said, "Maybe I shouldn't go to school and we should go shoe shopping."

We had already planned to go shoe shopping later since she wore broken shoes to church on Sunday.

I thought it seemed like a brilliant idea.  (I complain that my children take school attendance lightly but it is clear why they are that way.)

I think it was the universe telling me, "You have an awesome daughter.  You're welcome."


Yesterday afternoon, two boxes of chocolate dipped strawberries were delivered, one for me and one for Adam.  From Stella for our birthdays.  It was the most welcome kind gesture I can imagine on a gloomy day.

Maybe it was the universe telling me that as long as Stella is in the world, we are going to be OK.


I love every single thing about sharing a birthday with Adam.  (It's today by the way.)  I think it's the universe telling us we belong together.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


On Sunday before ward council, a group of us were sitting in the hall outside the bishop's office.  A young father with a hysterical toddler emerged from the chapel where another ward was meeting.  As the child wailed, Brother Danklef looked at us and said what we were all thinking, "I'm glad I'm past that stage."

Marcia and Camalee and I all nodded in agreement.  Yes!  We have moved on to bigger and better things and church no longer feels like hand to hand combat (which it did for me at times--I have big kids and they started out strong.)

In ward council, we were talking about youth conference and including the younger kids (12-13 year olds).  There are maturity differences.  Would they be able to handle it all?

Another person said, "I think they'd be fine.  What I'm worried about is the Teachers."  Heads nodded in agreement.

Those are the boys that are 14-15 years old.  Marcia, Camalee and I all have boys that age.

We looked at each other sheepishly.  Gone was the smugness about not having to drag screaming children out of church any longer.

Like I reminded Marianne when we talked on the phone yesterday, if you can let your sons live between the ages of 11-15, you can do anything.  Geri taught me that and it is a true principle.

At the same time, I love my boy forever and ever.  The end.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

You really never know

There's this kid that sometimes asks Mark for a ride home from school.  It's not that far out of my way and I don't mind.  Besides, he's just odd enough that it brings a certain razzmatazz to my day.

Yesterday, he climbed in and said, "So, I've never really asked you your name.  I think I should know your name."

"Thelma," I said.

"What?!?"  Because my name is almost always a shock to people.  And forget them knowing how to spell it.  That's just crazy talk.  I don't know why, because it's completely phonetic, but it trips people up.

"Thel-ma," Mark said slowly.  He looked at me and mouthed, "Sorry."  I smiled at him, because I don't mind.

"So," said the boy from the back seat, "You should have a Youtube channel."

Now it was my turn to be surprised.

"It goes with your name," he said, by way of explanation.

"Oh, OK," I said.

"Maybe you could do crazy science experiments," he suggested.

"Sure," I said.

Then he asked if we had any relatives with professions that we took advantage of.

"Um," I said.

"You know," he said, "like they work at Disneyland and get you discount tickets?"

I told him I didn't think we had anyone like that.

When he was getting out of the car, he said, "Mark, do you have any siblings?"

"An older brother and sister," Mark said.

"I would love to meet them someday," he said.

I related this tale to Emma when we got home.  She said, "I want to meet you too, weird kid."

Monday, March 20, 2017


Adam bought me my birthday present on Saturday.  It is the most beautiful little fiddle leaf fig you've ever seen.  I've been wanting one forever.

Meet Felicia:

They're expensive and daunting.  Will I kill it?

(Especially considering the corn plant that is really not doing well.)

Poor sad friend.  His new home is in our bedroom.  I'm hoping he will appreciate more humidity from the master bathroom.
Adam pointed out that there are lots of healthy plants in the house.  For example these guys have bloomed all winter and I love them.

I dwell on the corn plant.  He told me that sometimes plants just die.  I insisted, "No, there has to be a reason!  I have to fix it!"

Which comes down to one of my character flaws.  I always want to "fix" it.  No matter how often Adam tells me that I need to be more trusting and less controlling (or trying to be controlling because who am I kidding?).  I can't make my corn plant thrive any more than I can make everything perfect always for my children.

Over and over I come to the conclusion that instead of trying to see the end from the beginning, instead of trying to convince everyone of what is Truth and what Should Happen, instead of trying to fix everything, I need to be still.

I need to decide and seek answers to the question of today.  What can I do today?

Today I'm going to talk sweetly to my plants.  All of them.  The thriving ones and the intimidating one (please don't die little Felicia!) and the struggling one.

For today, I'll try my best to do what I can.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Grateful Friday

Teach us delight in simple things.

Rudyard Kipling

When Mark started going to school, Adam and I decided to have lunch together once a week.  Sometimes we have lunch together 2-3 times a week.

Because we can.

It is marvelous being married to him.


I went to book club last night.  I love book club.  We talk about all sorts of random and unrelated things and it feels like a safe place.  For example, there are the mothers who think Junie B. Jones books are terrible and won't let their children read them.  There are the mothers who will let their children read them, but after every page they discuss how Junie B. is not acting appropriately.  And then there's me.  I love Junie B. Jones and we no holds barred read them (Emma) or listened to audio books on road trips (all of us) back in the day.

Is this why I have sort of sassy children?

I don't know.  My point is, there's room for everyone at book club.

It makes me happy to have a group where you can be vulnerable about both big (serious life choices) and little things (books our kids are allowed to read).

With the right sort of women, you feel like we're in this together.  We remind ourselves that we are better than the parents in The Glass Castle.  We are all doing OK.


I got this picture texted to me yesterday.  In a surprising coincidence, Braeden's second cousin who happens to be serving in the same mission, also has to go home for recovery because he needs surgery.

Branson (who needs ACL surgery, poor guy) is flying home today and Pam, his mom, told me last night that Braeden is taking him to the airport. 

It's a great thing about life.  You have experiences that prepare you to help someone else in a similar circumstance.  Empathy for the win.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The state of the union

Adam makes me laugh periodically throughout the day, either in person or through texts.

Braeden is as happy as a clam.  And also Stella sent me a picture that someone had sent her of him.  The people of Virginia Beach are maybe my lifeblood.

The senioritis is real for Emma.  She is making plans to decorate her dorm room, reminding me that she may be too busy to come home when she's in college and generally viewing her current homework with disdain.

I on the other hand will never be too busy to go to Provo and wait outside her classes with homemade signs proclaiming my love for my baby girl that I love and just miss soooo much.

She can run but she can't hide.

Mark is working on a monologue for his latest round of auditions.  Also, he's working on the foreign policy he thinks our country should adopt relating to South America.

You innocently pick up an 8th grader from school and you get an earful of how he shaved 25 seconds off his mile in P.E. and his opinion on the Monroe Doctrine and then what he thinks needs to happen now.

Then we get home, he eats anything and everything he can find and he disappears.  Words are used up.

Finally, spring has sprung.  Spectacularly. The sunshine is just over and over making my day.  Flowers are blooming, green leaves are shooting up out of the ground and showing up on trees.  I walked to the mail box and a bright blue bird swooped in front of me, grasping nest material in its beak.  It's good for the soul.

A new season reminds me that things change whether they are wonderful or just to be endured. 

The beat goes on.


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