Friday, May 18, 2018

Grateful Friday

Things I'm grateful for today:

May in Pleasant Grove.

It's downright pleasant.  And all the trees are filling up with green leaves and it does feel like a grove in some places.  I love feeling the warm sun and hearing all the birds and seeing all the flowers.  And it's not stupid hot yet.

Making summer plans.

It's shaping up to be a good one.  I'm particularly excited about the reunion of college friends that I'm working on.  It's been 27 years since we met which is staggering.  We had a really great time back then and we're all still friends and I'm looking forward to getting together.  I will be careful not to drink anything though because I'm pretty sure Adam and Robbie both have the ability to make me spew at any given time.  The group messages related to the reunion alone are delighting me.

Time with my kids.  

Every morning I give Braeden and Emma tasks to do around the house and that's sort of wonderful.  We're all in and out all day with appointments and job stuff and the like but we're together too.  And they're super willing to transport Mark hither and yon and that is worth a lot.

Time with my strong kids.

One afternoon this week we disassembled a twin bed and moved it upstairs.  We moved the queen bed out of Braeden's room and into Mark's new room (which used to be the toy room).  Emma and I started to build a king bed frame in Braeden's room while the boys rebuilt the twin bed and reattached the bunk beds in the newly named "bunk room" (which used to be Mark's room).  Mark is the wind beneath our wings with any assembling project.

Mark came and helped us finish up building the king bed frame.

We decided to wait for Adam to get the king mattress from the top floor, down two flights of stairs to the basement.

Turns out Adam was having one of those weeks and he was home from work briefly and then had church stuff to do.

"We've got this!" I told my brute squad because they've pretty much been training for this their whole lives.

Emma and I lowered the mattress over the railing into the waiting arms of the boys down in the family room and we were all laughing really hard and Braeden kept saying they would probably be crushed to death but it worked.

We muscled the thing down the basement stairs (which have a 180 turn in them) and then shuffled it down the hall to Braeden's room.  At one point, Braeden said to Emma, "Dang girl, you're strong."

They all are.

Which makes the amount of food they consume pay off occasionally.


As mentioned, it was a busy week for that man and he ended up sick.  Usually Adam just powers through sickness and it doesn't slow him down.  Sometimes, rarely, it knocks him flat.  At those times 1) I want him to go to the doctor because I know it's something significant and 2) I realize how much I take his solid presence for granted.

Last night, with Braeden as my ally, I made him go to the doctor.  I thought he had strep throat because he sounded like he had strep throat.  (Ever since Mark had strep throat off and on for about a year before he got his tonsils out, I've been able to diagnose it.  For only one disease, I could be a doctor.)

Adam insisted he didn't have strep throat but I think was too weak to keep arguing with me.

I was right and now the man is on antibiotics.  Hurray for antibiotics!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Summer reading

For Family Home Evening we talked about health goals for the summer.  Physical health, spiritual health, etc.

I said, "What about...intellectual health?"  (Still don't know if that's a thing but I had an agenda as you will see.)

I looked at Mark meaningfully and said, "This is like when my mom sends all her children emails about the dangers and woes of Diet Coke and she really means them just for me."

Mark coolly ignored me.

I continued, "I want us to read this summer."

Emma got excited and said, "I'll make sticker charts!"

Braeden said, "I think literary pursuits are their own reward."

Mark said, "If we read can we go to Top Golf at the end of the summer?"

So there you have it.  We suddenly had a summer reading program.

Emma's creativity can't be contained with just a sticker chart so she created a bookworm for each of us, complete with a name and a personality.  And she used the default fonts each of us use on our own computers.  She's just her own kind of awesome.

She has a stash of stickers for us to use.  She's not particularly interested in going to Top Golf but she's in the 2/3 of the children who will read anyway.  Worm Patrick is the one that we need buy in from.

The idea was a sticker for every book you read but Braeden is reading unabridged Les Miserables so we amended it.  If you read 250 pages, you get a sticker.

Do other mothers with children this age have reading sticker charts?

I don't know.

Maybe they should.  (I'm totally going to win.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When your son turns against you

I overheard this the other day.

Braeden:  So is it hard not being the only child at home anymore?

Mark:  No, I'm glad to have my brother and sister back.  Besides, imagine all of Mom's fury pointed at you.  All the time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

When your van turns against you

First it was the tire last week and the ensuing time spent at Costco waiting and waiting and waiting to get it repaired and then replaced.

On Friday, Braeden and I went to the temple and the battery seemed to be having troubles.  We thought it was the connection which gets loose thanks to the bumpy roads we drive in our fair city.  Adam tightened the connections and we were going to take it to our mechanic on Monday just in case.

Saturday it rained so we decided not to do yard work like planned and instead we decided to work on our bed/bedroom switch.

Here's the thing.

Don't buy your sons twin beds.

That wasn't in any of the parenting books or articles I read back when I used to read parenting books and articles.  Mark has outgrown his bed so we're doing a big switcharoo and Adam and I decided to go to IKEA to buy bed parts.

We took the van, even though we knew it was having troubles, because we thought driving to IKEA on those smooth Draper roads would just charge the battery right up and we'd be in good shape.

Turns out it wasn't just the battery.

Maybe the alternator?  I had no idea.  But, yes, it was the alternator.  And spoiler alert, alternators aren't cheap.  I know nothing about cars.  (You noticed?) Nothing except for mine has apparently turned against me.  It is kind of exciting to be driving along and have your car all at once lose all power though.

It helps you know you're alive.

The boys came to our rescue and it must be said, if you're going to spend a few hours unexpectedly waiting for a tow truck and all that jazz, Adam and Braeden and Mark are good company.

The boys love nothing more than coming to my rescue.  They channel Sylvester from It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

"I'm coming for you Mama!  You're baby's coming for you!"

I told Mark that we can't talk any more while we're in the van about what other car I want to eventually buy.  From now on, we can only say supportive things.

Because that van has been vindictive.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day

At church on Sunday, Brother Miles asked me if I was one of those women who likes Mother's Day or hates it.

"I love it!" I said.  (Because I do.)

"You don't feel guilty?"

"No," I said, "Why should I feel guilty?  I am a great mother.  I mean, you've met my kids."

"That's true," he said.

(Brother Miles is one of those people that you can be kind of sassy to like that.)

I've never understood why mothers feel guilty on Mother's Day.  Because you're not a perfect mother?  No one is.  To me that's like not liking your birthday and feeling guilty because you're not a perfect human.  Just celebrate!

I like Mother's Day because after church when my boys asked me when was dinner and what was for dinner and they were circling me like vultures, I told them it was Mother's Day and so dinner was entirely up to them.  "Let me know when it's ready," I said.

I, of course, wouldn't have really left it in their hands because I wanted to eat, after all.  Those chocolates they gave us at church only have so much sustaining power.  Adam led the charge for the creation of a wonderful steak dinner.

One of my favorite parts of Mother's Day this year was the gift Stella sent me, from one Mama Bear to another.

This came in the mail along with a picture.

Meet Clementine:

When Emma got home from work and I showed her, she said, "I have a sister!"

And she is adorable.

Another highlight of the day also included bears.  At my request, we read Winnie the Pooh aloud.  Some even wore costumes for the occasion.

I love Winnie the Pooh read aloud and I love that our kids love Winnie the Pooh too.  We were all laughing and I thought, this is where it's at.

Right here.

Nowhere I'd rather be.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Grateful Friday

It was not an easy week.  Perhaps the hardest part of all was that I thought it would be a good week, a week where I would be productive and could recuperate from the previous busyness.  (Sometimes being the right amount of productive is restorative to me.)

But it was not an easy week.

I texted a distress call to Adam and he ducked out of his conference and called me.

We talked for about 5 minutes and he said all the things that he intuitively knows that I need him to say even though I don't know that that is what I need him to say.

Being married to someone who understands me and loves me anyway, even when I am sort of floundering along, is one of the great blessings of my life.

Other things I'm grateful for today:

1. I'm going to the temple this morning with Braeden

2. Everything is green outside

3. It's outside planting season

4. It's Friday

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Mudge

Mark, a man of many nicknames, has acquired a new one.  The Mudge, as in curmudgeonly.

Because he is.

There is a ninth grade Lagoon day.  It's a local, sort of lame, amusement park.  I used to go sometimes when I was growing up but we went to Lagoon the first full summer that we lived here and it was not worth it.  I didn't leave anything there and so I'm never going back.

Mark is 15 though and all his friends are going.  I thought he would want to go.

"I'd rather stay home," he said.  Reminding me for the millionth time of his namesake.

For Driver's Ed, he carries a small pillow to sit on.  They have to sit in these hard chairs for 3 hours straight and one of his friends, who has taken Driver's Ed before, recommended he bring a pillow to sit on and he does.

I asked him yesterday if anyone else brings a pillow.

"No," he said. "Just me."

"Because you're The Mudge?"


Speaking of Driver's Ed, he sends dire texts sometimes during it:

He also had Driver's Ed homework last night.  He had to locate all the things in Loki (the car he will eventually, probably, be driving).  He was figuring out the lights, etc. and then he needed to check the oil.

"How do I do that?" he asked.

"I don't know," I said.


We popped the hood and he tsked at me because I didn't immediately see where the little thing to hold up the hood was located.  He quickly surmised how to check the oil.

He asked, "Is this a straight four?"

I told him he was adorable to think I would have any clue about that.

He asked, "Where is the coolant?"

"I don't know, on the left?"

"That's wiper fluid."  He shook his head at me and gave me a look that is EXACTLY like the look my dad would give me in a similar situation.

I left him to it.  Because I was obviously a lot of help.

Curmudgeonly or not, I like being with Mark.  He and I are the only ones home because Braeden and Emma joined Adam on a business trip.  I was expecting to get a lot accomplished in everyone's absence and that has not happened, but spending the evenings with Mark is a consolation for my unproductive days spent at Costco dealing with the tire situation (at least yesterday I took a book with me).

Mark and I have sat on the deck and eaten the leftover brownies from a dinner party we went to on Monday.  We've snuggled and watched an episode of Corner Gas, we've discussed changing his room to the basement.  When he isn't silently judging me for not knowing about cars, he is the most laid back and pleasant person to be around.

One time Emma said that sometimes when she's upset, all she needs is Mark.  She said, "I tell him what is wrong and he just quietly listens and then he changes the subject and that is exactly what I need."

I'm glad that curmudgeon is in my life.


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