Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Girl Time

Since Emma was a little girl, when Adam and our boys have gone somewhere, we have “girl time”. At Emma’s insistence, this usually involves painting our nails.

It’s that wonderful time of year again when I get to go to Women’s Conference at BYU. This year I’m upping the enjoyment ante by taking Emma for some girl time. Instead of going to the classes, she and her cousin Deseret are going to spend their time with their uncle Enoch and aunt Jennifer. The marching orders I’ve given Emma are to play with her little cousins so Jennifer can direct her Getting Ready to Move time elsewhere. Emma’s thrilled with that idea.

As for me, I’m thinking of reconnecting with my old familiars, soaking up the Provo nostalgia, basking in the Good Word, and time with my Sisters (and I include my sisters, mom, sisters-in-law and cousin Hannah in that group). I’ll also get a bite-sized taste (about a day and a half) of my soul’s best home, Nevada.

I love including my Emma in this girl time. I will love being elbow to elbow with her on the plane, our noses in our respective books.

And yes, we’ve painted our nails in preparation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Field Trip

This morning I talked to my brother Tabor on the phone. I told him we were going to the zoo. He said, "I hope they let you out."

(Yes, he's been on field trips with my children before.)

It was a great day for the zoo though. Sunny skies and thin crowds...mostly just toddlers and their mothers who were afraid of my over-sized children trampling theirs.

The zoo is always a good field trip for me. As you may know my sense of direction is sketchy at best but like the airport and Adam's office, the zoo is one of the few places in Seattle that my van can find on its own and I don't have to get panicky with Google maps and emergency calls from my cell phone to Adam's when I'm lost.

While at the zoo...

The kindergartner saw the kinder goats:

We saw spiders on their web:

A tree sloth:

A fruit bat hanging upside down:

Some gorillas:

some were very affectionate

Some flamingos standing on one leg:

Oh, sorry I think these were the flamingos:

Mark sat on a pretend flamingo egg on a pretend flamingo nest.
He said, "I don't know how the flamingos handle it. That is not comfortable."

I didn't tell him pregnancy isn't all that comfortable either. But I thought it.

And for some shots representative of my children's personalities:

Here's Braeden holding Mark in an affectionate pose and Mark's fist is ready to strike.

Here's Mark after he tore across the field to chase some ducks.

Finally, here's proof you can give the girl a day off school but you can't take the school out of the girl. Emma is using the gorilla statue's back as a writing surface for the worksheets she picked up from Zoomazium. She fills out information on animals and they reward her with rocks. It's quite a system. And she loves it.

If it seems like we didn't see a lot of actual animals, you're right. We really didn't. Is that requisite for a day well spent at the zoo?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Going Lighter

At the Pacific Science Center there is a scale that will tell you what your weight on the Sun is. I felt like I was on the Sun last night. I felt heavy laden and weary.

Yesterday was a day of flying from one thing to the next, always a few steps behind.

Yesterday was a day of reminding myself (again) to keep my big mouth shut (again) so I don’t make people mad/indignant (again).

Yesterday was a day of sad news then more sad news.

Yesterday was a day of Can I do all of this? Really?

I got home about 9:30 last night. I draped my legs across Adam's lap while he sat on the other end of the couch. We talked and I let his Adam-ness wash over me.

It helped.

Then he put me to bed and went to take a shower and leave for work. He had meetings in London starting at midnight and ending at 4:00 a.m. He participated in the meetings from his office in Seattle (the good news is he got a good parking spot). The company with desks made from doors is characteristically too frugal to fly him to London right now so while I slept my fatigue away, he worked. (He gets all of the jet lag of going to London and none of the airline miles.)

He called me this morning. He promised me he won’t fall asleep when he drives home in a few hours.

He told me how pretty it was to sit in the sunny misty air at 6:00 this morning and watch the water bubble in the fountain outside his office while he ate his breakfast purchased at Specialty’s Bakery.

I felt lighter.

The sun is shining.

I feel lighter.

I’ve decided that in addition to keeping my mouth shut, I will work at being kinder to other people when they forget to keep their mouths shut. I will try to listen to their hearts and their intentions.

I feel lighter.

Today Adam and I are going to the temple. I am looking forward to stepping away from current cares. I am looking forward to holding Adam’s hand as we walk through the temple doors and remembering he’s mine. Forever.

I feel lighter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grandma Moses

I have long been an admirer of Grandma Moses' paintings. Now I'm an admirer of Grandma Moses herself.

We learned about her in school today. She and her nine brothers and sisters grew up on a farm in New York. She didn't have much time for school but instead went to work on a nearby farm when she was twelve years old. She sewed, cooked, cleaned and made soap and candles. After she was married, she and her husband lived on a farm and raised five children. Her art (in all her spare time!) was needle work.

At the age of 76, she was widowed and life on the farm became too difficult. She moved in with her daughter. Because of arthritis, sewing was too hard.

So she started painting.

She painted until she died at the age of 101. She said, "If I didn't start painting, I would have raised chickens. I would never sit back in a rocking chair."

So I've been thinking about Grandma Moses.

How I admire people that can reinvent themselves. My brother Enoch can do that. That may be one of my favorite things about him (that and the excellent job he did picking a wife).

I've been thinking about Grandma Moses as I've gone about my daily round.

I thought about her when I washed dishes and laundry by spinning dials and pushing buttons and adding soap that I most certainly did not make.

I thought about her when I used my microwave, zipped electric clippers over Adam's head and a wet Swiffer mop over my floors. I thought about her when I pulled boneless skinless chicken breasts out of my freezer.

I thought about her as my van effortlessly ate up miles as I did my errands.

If Grandma Moses could accomplish all that she accomplished and here I sit with time saving devices coming out of my ears, I had just better do something worthwhile with my life.

I'll try, Grandma Moses.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Emma's Accidental Cheddar Company

The only thing Emma's ever done fast in her life is be born. Neither the doctor or epidural made it in time for her birth.

She's done things slower since then. She's always the last one out of bed, the last one to get started on her work, the last one to finish. She's hard to hurry.

Last night when Adam and I were telling her to GO TO BED when she was brushing her teeth/washing her face/kissing her brothers one last time/picking up something in her room/trying to find her night light, Adam said, "Emma needs something to be passionate about that rewards slowness. Maybe she should make wine."

I said, "Or cheese."

So Adam came up with Emma's future. Emma's Accidental Cheddar Company. She'll be late and forgetful and then realize the cheese has been sitting there far too long and it will be fine because she'll call it aged cheddar.

It's a relief to know Emma has a vocation.

I had my own experience with accidental food this morning.

Mark was positioned at the kitchen table in kindergarten mode (we've decided that's a better venue for him than the school room where his siblings are). I am taking a chocolate cake to Enrichment tonight so I got Mark started on his math page and darted to the garage for a cake mix. I know well that you don't leave a kindergartner for long or they will be gone with the wind.

I hurried back and checked Mark's progress and told him to keep going. I zig zagged around the kitchen from the fridge for eggs to the kitchenaid mixer back to the table to flip the page over for Mark and tell him instructions. Then why do two tasks at once when you can do three? I started putting breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. I crossed back to the table to produce handwriting for Mark then put the water and oil in the cake. It didn't seem like enough water but that's what the recipe on the box said. More dishes, on to phonics, back to the kitchenaid.

Then I realized that I'd made brownies.

Accidental brownies.

I pulled out phonics and went to the garage for a chocolate cake mix. This time I got an actual cake mix and I'd like to say learned my lesson about multi-tasking (or failing at multi-tasking) but I probably have not.

And really...accidental brownies? Not a bad problem to have.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Taking My Breath Away and Vice Versa

This morning Adam left for work before I was conscious. I talked to him later on the phone. I asked him how he was. "How are you?" he countered. He asked me if I remembered last night.

Then all at once I did.

Last night I woke up in a panic. I sat up and couldn't breathe. I just could not breathe. I woke up Adam and he told me to lay on my side. I was in too much of a panic to obey so he pushed me on my side and I could breathe again. Instantly Adam was standing on my side of the bed, asking me if I was OK. And suddenly I was.

After he went back to sleep, I lay in bed, wondering why I abruptly hadn't been able to breathe. I wondered why Adam had known that I could breathe if I lay on my side. I went back to sleep and promptly forgot about the whole incident until Adam reminded me.

Ever since, I've been thinking about it. Is there some cosmic reason behind this? I wonder. Also, when did Adam get so alert at night? When our babies were babies, I was the one that sprung out of bed at the least sound while Adam didn't budge. I'd go from deeply asleep to completely awake in a nanosecond if I needed to.

I got over it.

Now on the rare occasions that our kids need something in the night, Adam is often the one to help. And I sleep on.

My other thought is that while it's lovely to have a husband who takes your breath away, it's even better to have one that knows how to restore it.

A Movie You Should See

I love to put books on hold at the library...often late at night when Adam's out of town and I can't sleep. I put book after book on hold then I get emails reporting I can pick them up. It's like Christmas. A pile of books. Sometimes I can't even remember why I put them on hold.

The same thing happens with movies. I put them in my Blockbuster.com queue. Usually enough time passes between putting them in my queue and them arriving that I forget all about them. I enjoy the happy surprises.

Recently I received Children of Heaven.

I knew nothing about this movie. I had no idea why I'd placed it in my queue. (I've since learned that maybe Olivia recommended it to me because she's seen it too...where else would I have heard of it?) I read the synopsis on the little envelope. It's an Iranian movie about a brother and sister that share a pair of shoes. Hmmmm.

Adam and I watched it last night.

And I'm in love.

I want to jump on the next plane to Tehran and hug the little boy and his adorable sister.

I want to call them heroes. I want to take them a suitcase full of shoes.

I won't do any of these things because they're not little kids anymore (the movie was filmed in 1997), and Tehran is not a vacation spot on my list and the movie was fiction anyway.

What a movie though.

The synopsis was correct. It's about a brother and sister. The brother accidentally loses his sister's shoes on the way home from getting them repaired. They don't want to tell their impoverished parents so they share his shoes. It's not the most complicated plot ever but it made my heart sing. I was inspired by the kindness and simplicity of the movie. It made me want to be better and do better.

And appreciate my shoes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Favorite Child

Almost every blog post I write is for me rather than anyone else. This one is no exception. When I look at the landfill like (despite my best efforts) bedrooms my children inhabit, when I find a scatter of DVDs in the family room and books propped open in the living room, when I trip over shoes inside my front door and sticks on my front steps (we enforce a Leave Your Stick at the Door policy), I need to remember just what makes my life with these people so good.

Braeden is my favorite child.

Yesterday some Jehovah's Witness missionaries came to our door. I declined their offer for some tracts. After they left, Braeden asked me who had been at the door. I told him then said they wanted to give me some tracts to read.

He said, "Kind of like, here, you throw this away?"

A bonus of marrying a man who makes you laugh every day is that you end up with children that do the same.

Emma is my favorite child.

Emma is every introvert mother's dream, for she is also an introvert. She and I are the only two at home right now and she's in and out of rooms where I am, needing nothing, bothering no one. I admire her independence and have since she was a toddler.

She also makes me laugh but she's usually not trying to make me laugh, she just does. Here's what she wrote on a recent school paper:

The assignment was, write a short essay that describes Holmes's ability to use deductive reasoning.

Emma wrote:

Believe me, if I knew what deduction meant, I would do this assignment, but sadly I don't know what it means. So I guess I'll just skip this assignment today. Or, maybe I can tell you something else about him...

She went on to write about Sherlock Holmes and to answer the question correctly.

And people wonder why I home school...it's for the entertainment!

Mark is my favorite child.

I have rekindled my love affair with the author Cynthia Voigt, an author I read in my youth. In Seventeen Against the Dealer, Dicey is reflecting on her brother Sammy:

Dicey couldn't ever see Sammy's chunky, sturdy body, even as big as he had grown, without wanting to hug him, and then pound small punches on his shoulder just to feel how strong he was, and then tickle him under the arms to watch his whole body collapse in laughing...

Mark is my Sammy. Through and through.

I love them. Truly.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some straightening up to do...

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I don't like reality TV. At all. The sheer meanness of it all is horrible to me. After I was sent this clip, I may change my mind a little. I couldn't figure out how to embed this one on my blog but it is worth a click to go to youtube to check it out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When the Going Gets Rough, Shop With Somebody Tough

I have a red head you can borrow. His rates are pretty cheap...LEGO is his currency.

Last year during the WASL tests, Mark and I did entertaining things like go to the Children's Museum while Braeden and Emma were gone.

This year, not so much.

Yesterday after kindergarten and toiling away over digraphs and subtraction, Mark and I cleaned his room. Not fun.

Today after kindergarten we did our part to stimulate the economy.

And no, I'm no dummy, there were bribes involved.

Mark trailed around behind me at Cost Plus Imports. "No Mark, don't touch that." "Or that." "Stay by me Mark." "Put that back Mark." I think he had a lot of fun.

In the van he said, "So, do you want me to be your radio?" and he sang Phantom of the Opera and Bionicle songs then some Star Wars (instrumentals) for good measure.

At the mall he relented to a new blue and white pinstriped church shirt that looks extremely dapper even though the collar "bugged" him and he looked like a "complete idiot". Then he clamped his hand over his eyes and faced the wall (just in case) while I tried on jeans. He followed me through the girls' section to look at dresses for Emma (which was painful) then back to the girls' section to return the first dress because a spot was found on it. He lay on the floor and said his legs were going to fall off. They didn't.

At Target he stoically looked at shampoo and nylons and when he thought all may just be lost, we found the toy aisle and a pirate Lego set that is his very heart's desire.

He told me "you're awesome" and "you rock Mom". The feeling is completely mutual.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm Not Normal

But neither is my mom or my sisters so I guess it's my birthright.

This morning I took Emma to the First Presbyterian Church of Everett for the 4th grade WASL test. Braeden will join her tomorrow and Wednesday. As we drove out of our neighborhood, the sidewalks were teeming with moms who'd just walked their kids to the bus stop.

They're normal, by anyone's standards.

I left my heart in the First Presbyterian Church of Everett with my daughter. It hurt. A heart is kind of important like that.

I called Adam because he gets me and loves me despite my lack of normal. He told me it would be OK.

Then I called my sisters (because my mom's at work) and my sisters not only get me but they Understand. We were raised by a mother who cried the first day of school when she sent her daughters off to school. We were raised by a mother who realized she could home school and then did home school her sons. We three home school like our mother before us.

We're not all that normal.

But we love these kids of ours (who probably don't have much of a chance of being normal either I'm guessing).

Since I have the charming personality traits of overreacting and stressing about things far in advance, I've been fretting about sending my children to college. I'm not ready to be done with this part of my life (which is good because Mark's 6 (!) I remind my overreacting self). My friend who has teenagers told me yesterday that it isn't as hard as it might seem because teenagers are so irritating you want to let them go.

I understand irritating children, I've got three of them. They had better get a whole lot more irritating though. Because when I eventually send them to school, it just might kill me. Dead.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good News

Of all the good news ever uttered, this is The Good News.

Happy Easter.

Are You Happy Now?

This afternoon my dad called. I immediately launched into What Has Been Troubling Me and he listened because he's a dad like that. I chatted on and on and he finally saw his chance...and took it.

He said, "I have a complaint."

Here we go.

He didn't like the font on my blog. I told him (respectfully because I'm a daughter like that) that maybe there was something wrong with his eyes like cataracts. He laughed at me and told me to change the font.

Then he said he used my blog to link to my niece (and his granddaughter) Clarissa's blog. I had been moving furniture on my blog and the link was no longer there.

OK, OK, I changed the font. I linked (back) to Clarissa.

Respectfully because I'm a daughter like that.

Weather, Fair and Otherwise

I am a fair weather Mariners fan. I like watching the games...when they're having a winning season. In 1995, they had a great season. In our tiny newlywed apartment, Adam wanted to watch the games and as a recent bride, I was joined to him at the hip. Well as joined to the hip as you can be when you don't even own a couch but instead have two retro chairs from your grandma's basement. 2001 was another good year and we watched a lot of games. Mostly when we were playing dominoes with Adam's parents. It's a great aspect of baseball that it's slow moving enough that you can almost always do something else besides.

Last year I maybe watched two games. Not a great season.

It's still too early to tell if I'll be a Mariners fan this year. Last night at Costco, we saw a table of Seattle Mariners apparel. Adam picked up a sweatshirt and said, "This would be great for the summer."

I wonder if in other cities with Major League Baseball teams they sell thick hooded sweatshirts that would be "great for the summer?"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Blocks with Britta

Last night I had the happy opportunity to babysit Britta (and Freja but Freja mostly just goes into Emma's room with Emma and shuts the door so I'm not sure that counts).

I think one year olds are marvelous.

Britta (re) opened my eyes to lessons learned when my own children were that age.

I remembered to delight in simple things. I had a jar of colored pencils. Britta would pull one out, try it on the paper, giggle in pleasure, then pull another pencil out. Over and over. A jar full of multi-colored pencils is a pretty great thing.

I remembered that Mark is not now (or ever was) going to let himself be passed over. He brought me books to read to him while I was reading to Britta. He wanted me to trace his hand while I was tracing Britta's. Finally when he thought he was being neglected too much (he's usually firmly situated as the apple of his mother's eye and he knows it), he went and got one of his school books and read to me while I built block towers for Britta to knock over. (He got the expected praise and admiration he was looking for.)

And speaking of block towers, I remembered a lesson I learned back when I built block towers with my own when they were one. One year olds want to build the tower up and up and up and quickly (so they can topple it in a fell swoop). If they let me, I try to create a stable base to build the tower upon. That way the tower can get much higher. This takes a little time and one year olds are not part of the patient set. They don't appreciate the effort.

Whenever this happens, I think of my life. I think of how I have my own plans and I want to go up and up and up and quickly. I think of my Heavenly Father. He knows more than me. He sees that I need a solid base before I can go up and up and up. He sends me trials (big and small) that force me to slow down, to seek insight, to pray, to build a stronger base. If I'm too impatient to let the base be built, I will surely topple.

Maybe I'll learn to slow down and build that base, make it solid and sure. I'll try.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finland Fondness

I don't know that much about Finland.

I know the principal at the school where I used to work knew that Adam spoke Finnish so she'd pepper me with Finnish phrases that I didn't know (her husband is a Finn). I smiled because she was my favorite person at the school and I loved her.

I know this picture was taken on a lake in Finland in the middle of a June night. It's one of my favorite pictures.

I know this handsome man served his mission there. He's my favorite person.

I know this is Finnish food. Dense and chewy sour rye bread topped with creamy edam cheese and crisp cucumbers. It's one of my favorites foods.

And we had it for lunch today.

I'm pretty fond of Finland and I think I would be a very happy Finn (in the summer).

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Report

Weather: sunny and warm. All. Day. Long.

Dentist: not a cavity, lecture or "honeybun" spoken

Daily walk: sunny (did I mention it's glorious and sunny?)

Mark: studiously building a TIE fighter all day out of Legos.

Emma: convinced to use her "acting skills" to be pleasant at the dentist office. (it worked)

Braeden: making me laugh.

Tonight: opening day of baseball. I love watching the Mariners at Safeco Field, I love Red Vines and Cracker Jacks (baseball food around here) but I mostly love that baseball = summer. With baseball season starting, that means summer is on its way. No place does summer like Seattle. It rains 9 months out of the year but, Oh, July, August and September!

All in all, it's been a good day.

I Remember!

In the past I have invited people to parties and they have said, "OK, but you'll have to remind me." I immediately think two things: 1) I will not be reminding you and 2) I will not be ever inviting you again.

If someone needs a reminder, they probably don't want to come in the first place.

My children's dentist gets this concept. In a big way. No one (except my sister Olivia of the perfect teeth) likes going to the dentist. I think this is why they may send a reminder postcard or a phone call.

My children's dentist must know the depth of my feeling. They have sent us three separate postcards and one reminder phone call. They know how much I am dreading and loathing this appointment we have this afternoon.

I may or may not dislike it more than Emma...they call her "honeybun" and she glares at them. When I chide her she says, "How would you like to be called honeybun?" I guess she has a point.

They lecture me though. Which hurts my feelings and wounds my pride. I try to be a good mother. I don't buy sugared cereal, I try to limit my kids exposure to sunburn and McDonald's. I really am trying. But I don't floss Mark's teeth. And they don't like that. They ask him in their sing songy voice, "Does Mom help you floss?" Mom is sitting right there but they don't ask her. Mark gives a hearty "Nope," and they look at me with shock and dismay and then the lecture starts.

And I feel bad.

I go home and floss Mark's teeth.

For a few days.

I have no good excuse and no one to blame. Except for maybe Adam. He's just as lackadaisical in all of this oral hygiene as I am yet he gets to go to work where no one considers him a bad mother (at least I think that's his experience). I asked him if he'd trade me places, just for the day. He echoed Mark's hearty "Nope."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Overflowing Joy

This morning I woke up with a smile on my face. I have been looking forward to today for a long time. It's General Conference weekend! I've always loved General Conference. When I was a little girl I loved it because my parents watched or listened and Olivia and I played in her room with our Barbie Dream House. It was wonderful to have our mom distracted from Saturday cleaning.

As I grew older and started watching myself, I loved the coziness of my entire family watching together. I loved the feeling I got from conference.

Now I just love conference. I still love the coziness, I love the feeling, and I love the words. I feel nourished and bolstered and blessed.

To add to my joy, it's SUNNY today and in keeping with our General Conference tradition, the Jorgensens are coming to socialize during (the women and children) and after (the boys and men) the Priesthood session. Tonight's Braeden's first time to go with his dad. I think he's more excited about the social aspect than the meeting aspect but I could be wrong...and if my son's like me (and he is in a lot of ways) someday soon he'll love conference for the Good Word.

Now I want to share my bliss so here's something to make you happy. I know it made me unaccountably so.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blessed Is The Woman Who Knows Her Own Limits

I recently decided our Family Home Evening job chart was an ugly eye sore and I needed to make a new one. I’m convinced this new chart will make our discussions more meaningful, our singing more melodious and our dessert lower in calories.

That’s the theory I’m working under.

Whenever I decide to make something the less exactness needed the better. I thrive on estimating. I roamed the aisles of JoAnn Fabrics, waiting for inspiration for a new FHE chart idea to strike. It finally did. I painted the small frames and ordered some prints from Costco to put inside. When Adam saw the project mid-way through he asked if I wanted help sizing the pictures. (He knows how exactitude and I get along). I said, “I already ordered the prints. You can help me after I find they don’t fit.” That’s how I am. Act now. Fix later (or have Adam help me fix). Adam gave me a look that could have been stark admiration.

But I could be wrong.

The pictures (more or less) fit and that’s when my non-perfectionist tendencies come in handy…when things more or less fit.

I got the whole thing assembled and ready to hang. I decided to do it Right The First Time (perhaps prompted by that look from Adam that may or may not have been complimentary). I pulled out a laser level, a pencil, a tape measure. None of these objects (except pencils…we don’t have any negative history) are friends of mine. I had measured the distance between the nails on the wall (where the previous unlovely FHE chart had hung). I measured and marked the spaces on the new board.

I hammered little picture hangers on the back of the board. When I realized the nails were going through the board I exclaimed in horror. Adam was in the next room and walked over and held one of the nails against the board, clearly showing me it was too long. Oh, so there’s a way to tell before you nail the board to the table? Interesting. I pried the picture hangers off, cut the nails shorter with needle nose pliers (and decided to just get another nail and stop searching around when one of the—now tiny—nails jumped ship onto the kitchen floor).

Once I finally got the picture hangers positioned, I tried to hang it on the wall but they were woefully misplaced. Why do I even try to measure? Is there a hole in my head where the measuring capacity is supposed to reside? I pried the picture hangers off (again) and estimated where they should go. It’s what I should have done in the first place because THEN it worked.

Such is my lot in life.

I have accepted it.

That’s why I stopped myself before I bought a darling apron pattern a while ago. It was very cute and I debated whether or not I could sew it. I finally went with, “No you can not. Remember how you decided you can’t sew anything that involves a pattern?”

I remembered and if you’ve seen me walking around with droopy shoulders, that’s why. Because that apron was really cute.

When my sister, Marianne, who can sew anything anytime anywhere asked me what I wanted for a birthday present, I told her to sew me an apron. She said OK.

Marianne’s kind of a pain like that. She has 6 children, 5 she birthed and one she’s caring for out of goodness, she home schools them, her kids are always involved in some sort of elaborate and impressive venture, her scrapbooks are perpetually caught up to date AND she weighs less now than when she got married. I try to love her despite all this.

Today the package from my sisters arrived. It was from Olivia too which didn’t make sense initially…what did she do while Marianne sewed my apron, hold the scissors? Then I realized the (exceptionally cute) apron they sent (along with some pretty dish towels) was not homemade. When I called Marianne to thank her for the beloved present, she apologized that the apron was not homemade. She said, “I ran out of time.”

If anyone in the world deserves “I ran out of time” as an excuse it’s my lovely Marianne. And it’s something of a relief for an underachieving sister to hear.

My shoulders are no longer droopy. Not one bit.

Thank you, sisters.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some are born confident, some achieve confidence and some have confidence thrust upon them

Besides their long legs, my brothers are long on self-assurance. They range from quietly confident (you know who you are) to downright cocky (you know who you are). I’ve always credited this trait to the fact that they are, after all, Dahl men. Every Dahl man I’ve ever met has quite a bit of aplomb.

I’ve been thinking about my mom though, today’s her birthday. She just might be the most confident person I know. Maybe that’s where my brothers got it.

Her brand of confidence is not just reserved for her though. She bequeathed it on her children by force of her will.

I remember on many occasions telling my mom (likely in a whiny voice), “I can’t …” She would say firmly, “You can and you will.” It’s didn’t leave a lot of room for discussion.

Once when a friend was being monetarily rewarded for good grades, I told my mom I thought I deserved some money for my grades. She didn’t miss a beat and told me that of course I got good grades, she expected it, she wasn’t going to pay me for it.

In high school, I balked at the idea of taking physics and chemistry—I didn’t want to. My mom said, “You will take every class Wells High School has to offer.” As if I were on a different plane than the other mere mortals that walked the halls of the school. (She did however let me opt out of biology II where I would have had to dissect a pig…I’m forever grateful.)

All of this just expecting greatness from me (sadly) didn’t turn me into a dazzling success in any arena but I do know one thing to my core…my mom believes in me.

Once I asked her if she’d ever doubted herself homeschooling. She homeschooled my brothers. She looked at me like I had two heads and said, “Of course not. No one loved them more than I do.” I doubt myself every other day so I looked back at her like she had two heads but I also felt bolstered.

More recently I was seeking comfort from my wise mother who is the source of licking all wounds. I told her I didn’t think I had the courage/faith/strength to help my family through a difficult time. Typically she didn’t leave room for any of (my) doubt. She simply said, “You have to.”

Without frills, my mother believes in me. She has the “give your kids roots and wings” thing mastered. Of all of the reasons I have to believe that Heavenly Father loves me, I think the parents I was born to tops the list. They made all the difference.

Happy Birthday to my dear Mama. I’m glad you’re mine and I’m yours.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Thing Kids Like is to be Tricked

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.
--Jack Handy

Adam and I have a long standing and sometimes tear inducing tradition of tricking our kids on April Fools' Day. It's fun and we figure we can always spring for the therapy later.

This morning dawned without even an inkling of a trick idea. We had nothing. Plus I was feeling lazy...too lazy to come up with a scheme. And as the kids get older, the schemes have to get more elaborate.

Who has that kind of energy?

I decided to embrace the laziness (and we're ahead with our progress goals for school).

I called the troops to the school room for school. And I announced we were not having school. They immediately wondered why not (they're suspicious and cynical, these kids). I blurted out, "April Fools! We really are having school!" They groaned.

Then I said, "April Fools! We're not having school." They looked at me a little unsettled.

Then I said, "April Fools! Yes we are having school." Braeden rolled his eyes and Emma told me I wasn't being funny.

I sort of thought I was being funny.

We kept at it for awhile and all three of them continued to think I was unfunny. Then I told them to drag the futon mattress downstairs. I told them to get their pillows and blankets (and they translated that to mean handfuls of stuffed animals too). They made comfortable little nests for themselves on the futon mattress. I popped popcorn and we watched The Sound of Music...at least the first half, that's a long movie. We stopped for a chocolate cake break.

So here's the moral of the story. Playing hooky is fun. Even when you've just had a vacation and don't really deserve it. Sometimes a little "Lonely Goatherd" is exactly what one needs to keep their chin up.


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