Friday, October 24, 2014

3 things I want to remember about my children today


His friend, Nathan, a certifiably Really Nice Guy, found Braeden at lunch.  He said, "Come with me."
Braeden did because he's up for anything.  It turns out Braeden was picked for the mission based on his size.  There was a girl and boy in some sort of altercation.  Like it was a movie, Nathan said, with Big Braeden standing behind him, "Is there a problem here?  Is he bothering you?"

The boy and girl both said everything was fine.  Nathan said to the girl, "Well if you need us, just yell and we'll come and help you."

Braeden is big but he's the most gentle teddy bear I know.  I can't imagine him getting into an actual fight.  He has never even really fought with his siblings.  I said, "I can't picture you and Nathan doing that.  I don't think either of you are all that tough."

Adam said, "That's OK, they are actors, they just had to act tough."

I like the story though.  I like teenage boys willing to defend a girl.


When Clarissa was over they raided Braeden's dress up box, contemplating Halloween costumes.  In addition to liking that Braeden has a dress up box, I like this picture.

I like the girl too.


He is taking a long distance typing class along with a handful of his cousins, taught by his Grandma Dahl.  Every day he puts on headphones while he types.  He sings at the top of his lungs, the entire time.  He sings Tears for Fears, Queen, The Beatles. Loud.  It's possibly one of the best parts of my day.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cause for celebration

This picture was taken late afternoon, from our bedroom window.  More fall loveliness than my eye can hold.

Yesterday morning, like every morning, I walked out of my bedroom and looked out the windows towards the valley and was amazed by the beauty.  October.  The weather is perfect.  Anytime I remember to look out the windows and soak in the landscape and consider the blessing it is to be able to see such a sight every single morning, I know it will be a good day.

Then we signed over our old house.  It is bittersweet because it's our house!  But now it isn't.  It's also a huge relief.  Two mortgages don't do anyone any good.  It felt wonderful to be able to check that off our list.

When Braeden got home, he did his homework outside on the trampoline in the glorious afternoon.  Who needs a desk?

Last night Emma had a choir concert at school.  Wowzers.  There are a lot of talented choir kids at that school!  There were five choirs--three audition choirs--and each choir had at least 40 people in it and the biggest one had over 100.  Emma is in the lowest audition choir and they sounded great.

In this picture one of Braeden's friends, Andrea, is conducting the choir.  She's a senior and is the intern for the Advanced Women's Choir because she wants to be a choir teacher someday.  How great is that?

Here's Emma after the concert.  Notice the expertly hemmed dress.  No don't.  I didn't do that great of a job on it.  Luckily I'm not a perfectionist and it isn't that noticeable.  Also, why didn't we turn on some lights before snapping the picture? 

Clarissa was with us for the concert and joined us for some celebratory pumpkin cake that evening.  It was that sort of day.

Pretty great.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rome wasn't built in a day

Civilizing children.  It's an uphill battle.  There are all the basic manners:  the pleases and thank yous, the don't chew with your mouth open and don't slam the door.

Then there are the subtleties.  The things like don't torment people that have accidentally texted you.

When Braeden gets a wrong number text, and it happens more often than you would think, he considers he has struck comedic gold.  He loves engaging the person in a conversation and seeing how long he can take it.

When we were at Ammon and Melanee's the other night, someone texted Braeden and asked him if they could stay on Saturday night.  It was a 425 number, our old WA area code.  Since Braeden has told anyone and everyone they can come and stay with us, I thought it was a real possibility we'd have guests on Saturday.  Braeden was excited.  He'd welcome anyone from the 425.

Emma was going down her list of contacts, trying to figure out who it could be and then Braeden realized it was a wrong number.  That didn't stop him in the least.  He carried on a conversation until I made him end it.  Some poor woman with sons thought she had sleeping arrangements set up but she was texting an obnoxious teenager in Utah.

Later, I pointed out to Braeden that just like he wouldn't laugh at and mock someone in person who had accidentally done something, he shouldn't mock someone who had accidentally texted his number.  I explained it just embarrasses that person when they eventually realize they had the wrong number.

Braeden finally said he agreed with me and he would do better.

Yesterday he texted me:  "It was really hard but I did the right thing."

Here's what happened:

I'll call it progress.  Jesse from Pilchuck Rentals, it could have been worse.  I am trying to civilize this kid.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Something about being gone on a trip resets a homesickness button inside me.  We love our new home, all our stuff is here, and we live here.  But sometimes, I want my old home.  I knew I'd miss people when we moved, and I do, a lot.  I didn't realize I would miss my house.

So yesterday I felt a little sad.  I want to take a walk with my friends and just catch up.  It's been so long.  Facebook made me miss my old community.  Seeing things about Glacier Peak High School tug at my heart. 

I remembered we were going to go to Ammon and Melanee's to celebrate Cormac's birthday though.  That cheered me up. 

You can't be uncheered by a five-year-old's birthday, complete with dinosaur cake.

Last night when we were home, Mark said our prayer (we're back to praying together, not just on roller coasters).  In his prayer, he said he was grateful for Cormac.  Then he said, "We are thankful that Ammon and Melanee are in our lives when we have hardships, like moving."

It was very sweet, as most of Mark's prayers are, but it was also a little poignant.  Mark is in the midst of a "hardship" and we're all there together.

But we have Ammon and Melanee.  That is worth a lot.  Ammon, of course, is my perfect brother.  He is funny and kind and amiable and helpful and capable.  Throw in proximity and what else could I want?  (I guess I want Enoch and Tabor that close too.)  It is also wonderful to be around Melanee.  We walk together most days and talk about the minutiae and dailiness of things but we also talk about interesting topics of all varieties and I'm very grateful to have Melanee and the opportunity to get to know her better.

And then those cute kids!  We all love them.  They dazzle us with their vast imagination and general cuteness.  They make us feel loved.

Ammon, Melanee, Cormac, Azure...they are nice to have when we have hardships, like moving. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Disneyland 2014

Mostly pictures, pictures, pictures.

I think we will make this our Christmas card picture.  It's not every day my hair looks that excellent.  Also, what is Emma doing.  Not looking where she is driving, apparently.  The guy by Braeden was a random stranger they put in our car.  Here are two facts about him.  1) He was a man.  2) He was wearing mascara.

And that's all I know.

We won the race!

This is a sun washed picture from a delicious lunch we had that ended up costing a lot more than we thought it was going to.  But it was really good.

There were a whole lot of pictures taken for entertainment value while waiting in lines:

Some posed:

Some perplexing and unexplainable:

Some blurry:

And some just awesome:

Here are Braeden and Emma on Splash Mountain.  They were both going to pose like that but Braeden felt too much compulsion to hang on.

Here they tried again.  It's easier on Pirates of the Caribbean:

We rode the Grizzly River Run four times.  (Adam and Mark rode it five.)  I got drenched!  So wet that people around the park would sort of snicker when I walked by.  I wasn't the only one and we didn't get any pictures of how soaked we were, but here I am, attempting to blow dry my hair:

Here is where the kids went around again and I sat it out because I get too dizzy:

Speaking of dizzy, I snapped a picture before leaving the scene of the Tea Cups.

And just because, here's the first time we took our kids to Disneyland:



Here's another then and now:

She didn't have a cell phone that first time but otherwise, same little Emma.

Something else that doesn't change:  boys and their light sabers.  The boys built their own custom light sabers (which took can't rush this creative process).  They made it to the parking lot before they had a full battle.

And then we made them stop.

We dragged ourselves back to our hotel every night.  One morning we were talking about how we'd forgotten to say our family prayer before bedtime because we were so tired.  Mark said, "Well I prayed yesterday.  On roller coasters."

We had a wonderful time.  Of course we did, it was Disneyland.  It was exhausting and more crowded than we would have liked...more crowded than it's ever been when we were there.

But it was Disneyland.  I loved being there with my people.  They are fun to be with.  They are kind and pleasant and make me laugh.  I'm glad we were able to join everyone else in Utah and go to Disneyland together.  (Seriously, there were BYU and University of Utah t-shirts everywhere!)

When we left Disneyland the last night, Braeden said, "Well, that's the last time I'll ever go there for free."

Adam clapped him on the shoulder and said, "Yep."

Good luck, boy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

We were in Las Vegas at about dinner time.  We decided to seek out a Safeway/Von's.  We miss Safeway.  Our phones brought up several options but then I was too carsick to be of any help.  It is no good when your navigator gets carsick when trying to read something.  Kind of useless.

We pulled off the freeway and Adam found a close Von's.  What Google Maps fails to mention is the neighborhood Von's is in...

We were a few blocks off the strip and when I noticed bars on the windows of businesses and hotel rooms and apartment buildings, I told Adam it may not be a good place to be.

Adam said, "We'll be fine."  Because that's what he always says.

We got to Von's and I told the kids to Stay Together.  We walked past the metal detectors and then past the armed security guard and one way gate over to the deli that was surreal because it was like the Safeway in Silver Firs...although that Safeway doesn't have metal detectors or an armed security guard or a one way gate.

We got some of our favorites--maple cookies for example.  Braeden had wandered off in search of a bathroom and the rest of us needed to go too.  Adam said, "Here, give me the food and I'll go pay."

I handed stuff to Braeden too.  "You go too and help Dad carry stuff," I said.

"No," Adam said firmly, "I got it."  Then he looked at Braeden and said, "Stay with them."

It was the first time I realized Adam was a little nervous about it all too.

In the bathroom, there was a generously proportioned women in a too tight neon pink tank top splashing water from the sink all over the body.  "My son has sticky hands," she said by way of explanation.  I smiled because I understand about sons and sticky hands.  There wasn't really anything I could add to her statement though because in all my experience with sticky handed children, I've never had to splash water all over my body.  Those were some sticky hands!

Next door was a Little Caesar's pizza and that's what Braeden and Mark wanted for dinner.  Adam started to go inside and the boys followed him because that's what they do.  Again Adam stopped Braeden.  "Stay with them," he said urgently.

"Can't we just go to the car?" Emma wondered.  Every cell of her body, like mine, was on high alert. 

"No," Adam said.  "Stay here."  I think he wanted us where he could see us.

I stood close to Braeden, appreciating every bit of his 75 inches and glad for his broad back.  There was a guy close by, smoking and watching us, a few people across the parking lot, also watching, and another security guard pacing nearby.  I told Braeden to look intimidating.  That's not really him though.  He's the kid that lets spiders and bugs go outside rather than killing them.

Adam and Mark emerged with the pizza and we high tailed it for the van.

We were all mostly glad to still be alive.  And I don't think we'll ever go back there.  We didn't leave anything behind...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Memory lane--TV style

I can't remember how it began, but a few nights ago found us watching clips from ArthurArthur was one of my favorite shows that our kids used to watch.  I remember sweeping the kitchen floor and laughing while they watched.

Mark left the room.

He has zero interest in childhood TV shows--mostly because he had zero interest when he was a little kid too.  I tried very hard to get him interested in PBS while I was homeschooling Braeden and Emma and he would have nothing to do with it.  He would rather terrorize us, sort of a stick with what you know situation.  (He's since gotten over it.  He'll watch Netflix now with the best of them.)

Last night we were talking about revisiting Arthur and decided we would look up all the old shows they used to watch that we could remember.  (Adam can't be blamed for this scheme.  He was working late in anticipation for our trip.)

We started with Barney.  Because you sort of have to.  We made Mark come and watch with us.  "Fine," he said with resignation.  Why wasn't he so compliant when he was three?

Braeden and Emma were deciding what to watch and someone said, "The castle one!" and Braeden googled it and there it was, "Barney's Magical Musical Adventure."

The acting was as painful to watch as that picture is blurry.  If you had kids in the late 90s, you know these kids as well as I did:  Adam, Min, Tina and Michael.  ("What was Michael, twelve?" Braeden wanted to know.)

"Tina was my first love," Braeden said.  Then he and Emma reminisced about Braeden's imaginary friend named Tina and his stuffed animal named Tina.  I maintained that Min was cuter than Tina.  Braeden said, "I think Tina is why short brunettes are my type."

You can't make this stuff up.

We were watching the "magic" unfold.  It was pretty terrible in a wonderful Mystery Science 3000 sort of way.  Braeden got fidgety and said, "This was a scary part...I feel dread building."

Emma agreed.  This character was about to enter the scene.

Mark was watching, mystified. "Why are you creeped out?" he asked.

"It's coming," Braeden said.  Then he stopped the video.  "I can't do it!" he said.  All this time I had no idea.

Our next set of clips was Blues Clues.  Braeden and Emma were unreasonably happy watching the opening theme song.  They both had these Christmas morning worthy smiles on their faces.  We watched for a few minutes, bemoaning the fact that Steve went to college and it was never as good after Joe took over.  "Wait, what?" Mark asked, "Steve quit?"  (Mark had watched some Blues Clues.  I had some of the old ones recorded on a video tape, the good ones, with Steve.)

After awhile Braeden said, "He's a lonely man in front of a green screen.  It just occurred to me.  No wonder he quit."

We watched a few minutes from a whole collection of shows ranging from really weird (Boobah) to really ludicrous (Big Comfy Couch).  We couldn't stomach much.  They wanted to revisit Caillou which was against my better judgement because I hated that whiny kid.  Braeden was typing it into the search box and Emma was correcting his spelling (why Emma knows how to spell Caillou is beyond me.)

Braeden said, "That's how you spell Caillou?!?  See?  This is why I can't spell."

We kept going down the list, mostly just watching theme songs.  Emma put the brakes on for Berenstain Bears.  "We have to watch the hiccup one," she said, "I still think of it every time I have hiccups."

I do not remember the Berenstain Bears being as stupid as it was.  I probably left the room whenever they watched, saving the sweeping for later.  What kind of bad mother was I to leave my children to such drivel?  A tired and busy one...

We couldn't keep watching.  Sorry Emma.  You'll just have to hang onto those hiccup memories.

Adam got home and added things to the list like Greatest American Hero from his childhood which I had never seen.  (We didn't get a lot of channels when I was growing up.)  We watched Richard Simmons on Letterman. (Oh my.)  We even watched a little of Captain Kangaroo.  I used to watch that in the morning after Marianne left on the bus.  Good times.

Finally we watched Homestar Runner.  You really can't have enough Teen Girl Squad or Strong Bad Emails in life.

The moral to this story?

You can find anything online.  Also, the shared memories I have with my family, even the lame kids' show memories, are pretty delightful.


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