Friday, May 6, 2016

Grandpa Dahl

from left: my great aunt Iris, my great uncle Jim, my grandparents

This picture hangs in my stairwell.  Maybe it's just at the right level but it seems to catch my eye every time I walk up and down the stairs.

My grandpa died when I was pregnant with Mark and because I hadn't lived nearby for years, it seems a long time since I saw much of him.

I dreamed about him all night long though.  In my dreams he was with Braeden and helping him.

I wonder why I had those dreams.  My grandpa lived in Virginia for awhile, not where Braeden is, but closer to Washington D.C. because he worked in the Department of Agriculture during the Eisenhower administration.

It occurs to me that maybe he is helping Braeden.  In this life, they didn't interact a whole lot.  We mostly lived far away.

I think the grown up Braeden would have really liked my grandpa though.  Grandpa Dahl was charismatic and social.  He loved to be on the go.  He had a big laugh and knew how to command a room.  It occurs to me that Braeden is more like my grandpa than I ever realized before.

That is a happy thought for me.  I love my grandpa.  He and my grandma together symbolize what I aspire to.  They define resilience in my mind.  He enjoyed his life and spent it serving, serving, serving.  He was kind to my grandma and to me.

I like to think that he's helping Braeden too.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The view from here

About a year ago, I thought maybe the best part of my life was drawing to a close.  My oldest child was getting ready to graduate and leave the nest and my youngest child was getting ready to go to public school.

Nothing would ever be the same and it all just felt sad.

Nothing is the same but I'm here to report that it is still good.

I loved homeschooling.  I don't regret one minute of time spent at that pursuit.  I even offered Emma and Mark the other day that if they wanted me to, I would home school my grandchildren.  Emma said, "Um...I'm not going to live in Utah."

Well, then.

Having my kids in school is sort of an introvert's dream though.  All day I have my own schedule and my solitude and then I'm happy to see them and spend the afternoon and evening with them.  It turns out I like it.

It also turns out I like having a son on a mission.  It hasn't been easy.  Sometimes I miss that guy so much that it physically hurts.  And when he's struggling?  You might as well rip my heart out.

But he's also learning and growing in ways I kind of assumed he would and in ways I didn't even dream about.  He's becoming a man.  (Which is weird, because he's my baby boy.)  He's finding reserves of strength and resilience.  He's working hard.  I can tell in ways big and small that he's different.

Except for the parts of him that aren't different at all.

Same. Old. Braeden.

One unexpected side effect of a missionary son is the added closeness it has made me feel to Adam.  We are in this together.  We understand how much the other one misses Braeden.  We read his letters and with just a look, communicate how we feel about what we've read.

I like being married to Adam.

Don't think I'm saying my life is perfect.  I'm not eating sugar, how perfect could it be?  I have the strong willed children (the only easy going one is currently in Virginia).  I have all the hassles and mundane tasks and obligations that are part of life.

Still, life is good.  I'm happy.

That's my report.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Books I read in April 2016

It must have been a busy month.  Only three books and several days late getting this posted.  Here's what I read in April:

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares **

I vacillated between two and three stars for this one.  I did like it but it just sort of ended without resolving anything or the reader knowing what is going to happen.  I'm usually OK if everything isn't tied up neatly but I hate feeling like the last chapter must have fallen out of a book.

I like Ann Brashares' books.  (She wrote the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.)  This book was about a man who kept reincarnating but he remembered all of his lifetimes.  Of course there was a woman he loved that kept reincarnating too, she just didn't have the same memory.  So it was good, but the ending was lacking.

Carry on Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton ****

I loved this book.  I didn't totally agree with everything she wrote but I don't think she would even mind me saying that.  She is someone I think I'd like to have over for dinner and a chat.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella ****

I love Sophie Kinsella's books.  This one was a YA book and also more serious than most of her other books.  The main character suffered from crippling anxiety.  It made me cry several times but it was also typically lighthearted and entertaining Sophie Kinsella.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

To life!

What fun!  I went to every show because I can't help myself.  I was impressed by the talented kids and committed director.  Adults that create fabulous experiences for my children are held in high esteem by yours truly.

I realized a way Mark is different than his siblings.  After they perform in a play or choir concert, they always want to rehash it.  They want my opinion on everything.   They just want to talk about it.  Mark just wanted food.  A lot of food.  That was all.

Our Women's Conference group went to the show on opening night as well as these cousins and my dad and Ammon. My dad brought the Mark-aged kids (except Isaiah who had basketball games).  They all stayed at our house and I bought all the sugared cereal so I could be the favorite aunt.  (Hyrum said it worked.)
Morgan, Mark, Liliana, Hyrum, Azure and Cormac
 The next night Megan and Geri were back and went to the show.

Emma applied Mark's eyeliner for him. She called it guy-liner.

Here's Mark singing about the papas in Tradition:

He was Mordcha the bartender and here he's serving Laser Wolf.

Here's a bunch of pictures of To Life!  The boys were quite...rambunctious.

I can't even tell what's happening with Mark's legs here....

Here Mark is dancing during the wedding scene.  I always felt worried about the smaller boys in the middle of the circle.  Because those boys got a little wild.

Here he's singing Anatevka.

I liked every part of the show but especially the Mark parts of the show.

There were 70 kids in the cast which was a pretty impressive feat for a director of junior high kids.

At the very end of the last show, Mark was about the center of the group.  They presented a gift to their director and Mark left his spot and walked over to give her a hug.  Both our boys have tended to get a little attached to their directors.


Emma picked Mark up from school and took him to Great Clips.  (Having children with driver's licenses is pretty much the best invention ever.)

When Mark came home he said he'd lost ten pounds.  It may have been more though.  That was a lot of curly red hair!

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's been good

The past week was sort of blurry.  Busy and good.

Thursday and Friday I went to Women's Conference at BYU.  I love everything about Women's Conference at BYU, except for maybe the line for the bathroom.  (Here's an insider tip...the bathroom in the ASB is empty.)

My mom and Aunt Olivia were there as well as my sister Olivia, my SIL Katie, my cousins Britta and Hannah and about 10,000 other women.  Maybe more.

(Judging from the line in the bathroom, it was more.)

I go to Women's Conference like a sponge.  I soak up as much goodness and wisdom and insight that I can hold and then some seeps out (a.k.a. I cry).  I loved every class I attended.  I loved seeing my delightful kinswomen.  I loved skipping a session and just sitting in the sunshine and visiting with Hannah.  (It's possible we both cried was one of those kinds of conversations.)  I have a lot of cousins.  Statistically speaking, it makes sense that some of them would be amazing like Hannah.

I went away from the conference like usual, feeling lighter and encouraged and with a desire to do better and be better.  I don't know what more I could ask for.

(Except to be more photogenic.)

Here's a picture of our group.  It's not my most flattering picture, but it's also not my least flattering (because yikes I've taken some bad ones), and I love the people in it.

Olivia, Britta, Katie, my mom, me, Hannah and Olivia--Olivia bookends

Also, happily, this week my text messages have been peppered with pictures of Braeden and kind texts from people he is interacting with in Virginia.  I can't express my gratitude enough for these happy glimpses of his dear face.  I was one of those mothers, passing my phone up and down the row at Women's Conference, showing pictures of my son.

I love how the little guy in front is wearing Braeden's name tag.

I could try to tell you how much I love and miss that boy but I don't have the words.  It's just that a piece of my heart is in Virginia Beach.  (I am happily waiting for Mother's Day when I will get to talk to him on the phone.)

Today marks 8 months--1/3 of the way done!  (But who's counting?  Besides me, obviously....)

A really big part of last week was Mark's play.  It deserves its own post though.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kiss boring good-bye

Our house lays in wait until Adam goes on a business trip.  It makes plans and then he leaves and bam! Action!

Yesterday Geri and Megan were here visiting (they're in and out this week; they headed south toward some National Parks today and will be back on Friday).  Megan went to get something in their car and then came back inside and alerted me to the geyser that was happening in our front yard.

A pipe was spewing water all over our neighbor's driveway.

I did the only rational thing to do in a case like that and texted Ammon.  (Yes, I have the good end of this brother/sister relationship.)

Did I mention it was raining?

It was.

Geri and I were outside trying to figure out what was going on.  I shut off the main water to the house and that didn't make a difference.  I checked and the sprinkler system was shut off.  Then Ammon called.  I Facetimed with him and showed him everything.  We have culinary and secondary water and he assured me it was just the secondary water so that was sort of a relief.  I still couldn't figure out how to get it shut off though.  I found some valves and they turned on the sprinklers (which further soaked us).  Without being here, Ammon couldn't do much else for us, so I called the city.  They sent two guys who found the main shut off box which was sort of buried by one of the bushes in the front yard.  They said, "You buried it!" and Geri came to my defense and told him we just moved here not too long ago.  They were very kind though and once they had the geyser stopped, they hung around and chatted a little.

So that was all exciting.

Other unrelated but exciting things:  Mark's play is this weekend.  He's super excited.  He came home yesterday from rehearsal with eyeliner on and he doesn't know how women possibly wear that every day.  He is having the time of his life and I'm looking forward to the show.  We have lots of family coming plus I have Women's Conference at BYU the next two days so things are about to get real around here. 

He can't cut his hair until after the show (and I'm equally excited about that happy occurrence finally happening.)

Last night, Megan got a pick and went to town on his hair.  His hair looked a bit like Bob Ross but the creepy smile is all his own (and yes, that is the pick stuck in his hair).

The final exciting thing?  Emma asked me the other day if we could go dress shopping.  I know, right?  It's the first time in 17 years that Emma has requested a shopping trip.  She wants a dress for the end of year drama banquet. 

I have to not get too excited about the shopping trip though.  She'll spook and say never mind.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not my email

People in Sweden don't know their email address:

People in South Africa don't know their email address:

People in Australia don't know their email address:

(I'm starting to feel like this is an international problem.)

People with accident prone friends don't know their email address (or it's possible the friend with the head injury mistakenly typed the wrong email address):

People on Facebook don't know their email address:

And a lot has happened!

People going to a conference don't know their email address:

People with bills due don't know their email address:

People who want to know about the So Simple Box Stitch Shawl don't know their address:

(The stitch is simple, knowing your email address, is not.)

And this poor soul doesn't know her email address.  I think I feel the most concerned about this one.  Because taking kids to the dentist is the worst. (Maybe she knew that so she gave them the wrong address to throw the dentist off.)


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