Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skilz


Today I was wasting my time when I should have been tending to this messy school room which may or not self destruct any minute by reading on the couch. (why do I admit these things? wouldn't it be better if I was a more impressive person?)

Braeden and Dillon approached me with an idea. They wanted to ride their bikes to Costco to buy one of those "really big chocolate cakes". They had their own money and their own bikes (they just hadn't thought through how they'd transport the cake home).

I needed to go to Costco anyway (and be more productive) so I offered them a ride. Which they jumped at. It was sort of a win win opportunity because I had help lugging milk jugs and Costco sized cereal boxes. There was also the opportunity to correct Braeden's math when he was paying me his portion of the cake (I would provide the transportation but not the cake). Sheesh! Who teaches that kid math anyway?

The boys called the Jorgensen boys to see if they wanted some cake too (who says adolescent boys can't be sweet to each other). They only got an answering machine so the cake sat untouched on the table. Then Dillon had to go home so they decided to divide the cake in half. I directed Braeden to a cake plate via calling up and down the stairs. Then I heard them contemplating how to transfer half the towering chocolate cake from one cake plate to the other.

Dillon said, "We'd better call your mom. They're good at this kind of thing."

I couldn't help it, I felt happy. Of all the many many things I'm not, of all the abilities that I don't have, I'm a mom.

And we're good at transferring chocolate cakes.

I'll take it.

When Lectures Are Too Effective

Yesterday was our first back to reality day where we had school, did more and more laundry (and I already did so much!), and tried to stay afloat of It All. I shouldn't say we. I should say me. Because my kids weren't all that much help.

My main effort was keeping them on task and tracking Mark down (twice) while he was supposed to be cleaning his room. The first time he'd escaped into the woods with Holden of triplet fame and the second time he was asleep under his covers. Some people will do anything to get out of cleaning their room.

So last night they all three got a lecture for not doing their work in a timely fashion. I was mad and frustrated and tired out and they all knew it.

Meanwhile Adam and I are nurturing a hulu addiction which is being exacerbated by our discovery of Neal Patrick Harris in Dr. Horrible's sing a long Blog.

We stayed up way too late.

And this morning I woke up to the melodious strains of practicing the piano. Well before I wanted to get up.

Braeden was playing (loudly) The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera, which is wholly inappropriate at 6:30 in the morning when your mother stayed up too late because it is not called The Music of 6:30 in the Morning. No it is not.

When I groggily staggered forth, Braeden greeted me with a huge grin because he knew that I'd be so very happy with him.

So I forced myself to smile. But I didn't want to.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Why I'm Mad at Marianne, Olivia, Enoch, Tabor and Ammon

Last night I talked to my brother Ammon. I say that to show off to my sisters because it is a Big Deal when any of us talks to Ammon. We brag to each other about it.

I was describing our trip in the slow meandering way of siblings and I told him that I didn't fit in with my family. They swam in the ocean when it was too cold, their darn hands are NEVER cold and they all love the Tea Cup ride and if I catch it (holding still) in my peripheral vision, it makes me a bit queasy.

Ammon said, "Maybe you're adopted."

I said, "I fit in with the family I grew up in!"

He agreed. Yes we're all a bunch of cold blooded pale faces prone to motion sickness. It doesn't sound like a good group to belong to but they're mine.

And I'm more or less mad at every single one of them.

I may fit in with them but they all live increasingly close together and I am far away.

I talked to Olivia today and Enoch and Jennifer's kids were there. Luke and Ruben were playing with cars. Why wasn't I invited to play with cars with my charming nephews?

I told Ammon that he and Melanee should move to Seattle and live near me. I promised him that I'd invite him over for Sunday dinner every Sunday to sweeten the deal. Then when that didn't seem to be working I told him I wouldn't invite him over every Sunday. Maybe that would sweeten the deal.

He just laughed like you would laugh at a silly little child who makes ridiculous requests.

So see, I'm mad at them.

I picture myself sitting around on a regular basis with my siblings, laughing with and at them and talking with them in the slow meandering way of siblings and I get sad because it's not my lot in life.

Which wouldn't be so bad except it IS their lot in life.

So I'm mad at them.

The only thing making me feel better today is thinking about mud. This time of year, Starr Valley, Nevada is a goopy muddy mess. Thinking about their muddy cars and muddy shoes and the backs of their jeans all muddy from getting out of their muddy cars does make me feel a bit better.

They have each other...but I have pavement. At this point I've got to take what I can get.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pictures from Disneyland





Mark driving on Autopia...he has 10 years to improve his driving.



One of the reasons to love Adam. Mark's sweatshirt was soaked from The Grizzly River Run so he carried it for Mark.

Mark in his version of heaven, the Lego Store


Emma at The Rainforest Cafe

Yeah, Mark was having a good time...



The requisite character shots:





The requisite kids in jail shot in Toontown:


Stopping for tea with Minnie Mouse:


Finding buried treasure in the Pirates' Lair:


One night on the way back to our hotel:


Having survived The Grizzly River Run:


How our family looks while flying:





Braeden convinced Adam to go on the Maliboomer which is a crazy ride that shoots you straight up into the air. I asked Adam what he was thinking when he agreed. He said it was a mid-life crisis.

I guess that's fine, as long as I don't have to have a similar mid-life crisis. No thank you.


I was enchanted by the topiary sculptures outside Small World. This lion and horse were my favorites:


Adam just walked by and asked me if anyone was going to care about all of these pictures.

My answer? Probably not.

Yet I forge on...

That's Mark with his arms flapping:


Taking a break in our hotel room. (Adam and I had a room in the upstairs of the hotel suite...not a bad set-up.)

Taking a break by the pool:


Poor pale Scandinavian Washington kid. Get that kid some vitamin D. Stat.


An ice cream cone on your way back to the hotel. The cherry on the Disneyland sundae.



Hello old friend...back to Seattle.


Put that jacket on. We're in Seattle...remember this place? Where they air condition the great outdoors?

Pictures from Day Two

At the Los Angeles Temple:


There's no measuring the good this sunshine did to my soul:


At the Getty Art Center:






Kite surfers:


And now...for the pictures

I know I already linked to a lot of these pictures via Adam's blog and I know that I probably won't have any friends or blog readers after I do this, but since my blog serves as my journal/scrapbook for our family, I wanted to put some of my favorite photos from the trip.

Then I promise I'll shut up about Disneyland.

I'll try.

Day One

Finding out we're flying:


One of the many pictures of wings that Mark took:



On the plane:



The Friendliest Man In America, who was happy to be seated in the midst of our family:


At the beach:




It was not warm enough for them to be doing this!

Growing


I normally like Norman Vincent Peale's philosophy, "Live your life and forget your age." It doesn't really bother me to get older. Especially since I'm more or less living the life I always wanted to be living.

I thought about it some yesterday though (I think it was because I was exhausted and feeling more like 136 than 36 and I was sitting behind a rail thin, perfectly coiffed and made up 20 year old on the plane). Earlier in the day, Mark had said to me, "You are 36! You are getting old but you're not getting any bigger."

I decided to take it as a compliment. Women like to be told they're not getting bigger right?

I explained to him that after you get to a certain age, you don't get any taller, only wider. (Depressing news if you are the shortest member of a family that values height.)

I am not done growing though. I have a long ways to go. I need to grow kinder, wiser, more patient. And that's just for starters.

I have a ways to grow.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Could Get Used To...

--eating breakfast outside in the sunshine

--never cleaning up after myself or my family

--having the goal for the day be maximize our fun

--watching my kids dance and smile in delight

--spending all day with Adam

--being in not only the happiest place on earth, but the cleanest place on earth...there's not a piece of paper on the ground in Disneyland, despite the crush of humanity

--sunshine...eternal sunshine


I'll go back to Washington and dishes and rain and clouds and laundry. I'll go back.

But it won't be easy.

Again, there are more pictures on Adam's blog if you're interested.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yesterday

We had a great day. We soared over California twice, just for the joy of it. Adam and I have been encouraging our kids (the younger two...Braeden's pretty fearless) that the rides "aren't that scary" if we want to go on them. We emphasize the scary factor if the line is really long and/or we don't want to go.

We're manipulative like that.

Last time we came here, everyone in the family loved Pirates of the Caribbean so I was a little surprised when right after we started on the ride, Mark stood up and said, "I want off!" Adam gathered him up and pulled him into the row where he and I were sitting. We promised Mark he'd love the ride.

He did.

Last time we came here, everyone in the family loved Grizzy River Run so I was a little surprised when Emma had a full scale freak out at the top. She started sobbing and said, "Dad, is there ANY way to get off this ride?" Then she told me to stop laughing at her. (I tried.) We promised Emma she'd love the ride.

She did not.

And Mark didn't really appreciate how soaked he got either.

Otherwise we've had a whole lot of fun.

When we were leaving the park last night, bone weary with our feet begging us to kick off our shoes, Mark said, "Mom, you know how after we die, we'll be resurrected?"

I said yes.

He said, "Well I've learned that someday we'll come back to earth. Will Disneyland be here?"

Here's hoping.


Thanks for all the birthday well wishes. Nothing makes us feel loved like listening to the Jorgensens (and then Adam's parents) sing happy birthday to us on our cell phone while we're on Main Street U.S.A. with throngs milling around.

Monday, March 23, 2009

For My Mom

Adam's smarter than I am (is this news to anyone?) and he has a link to some pictures on his blog if you're interested.

Oh, and thanks for giving birth to me and for a great childhood and for still raising me.

Happy Birthday To Me

For my birthday I think I'll go to...Disneyland.

Today's the big day. Emma and Braeden are dressed and bouncing off the walls and chittering and chattering in excitement. Adam's out cold and Mark growled when Braeden tried to wake him up.

In Mark's defense, it was 6:30 in the morning.

I had a typically bad hotel night and so did Braeden. I guess he couldn't get that excitement energy calmed enough to sleep.

I wish I had the internet connection sufficient to post some pictures. Yesterday we had a great day.

About every ten minutes driving around this city I think, I can see why people would live here! (when I'm smiling in sunshine, looking at amazing plants everywhere or the ocean) Then minutes later I declare, "Why does anyone live here?" (That usually happens when we're on the freeway or circling a never ending parking garage.)

We've sort of fallen in love with Santa Monica. That will happen if you're eating divine pizza at California Pizza Kitchen (everything tastes better when you're having lunch at 2:00 in the afternoon and you're famished) on Santa Monica Blvd. and Sheryl Crow's Soak Up The Sun comes on the radio.

We watched kite surfers yesterday. They amazed me.

We also visited the Los Angeles Temple grounds. It's a quiet oasis of calm and flowers and plants. We didn't want to leave.

Also yesterday we went to the Getty Center. We enjoyed the art in the museum but really loved the gardens and architecture outside. (Again, I wish I had pictures!)

When I return to the land of clouds and fast internet connection, I will post some pictures...

For now, the happiest place on earth (and my impatient 10 year old daughter) are calling my name.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not A Bad Beginning

I'm writing to you from our hotel room with s-l-o-w internet access.  It reminds me of dial up days of yore when I used to have a magazine nearby when I was using the internet.

We didn't tell the kids until we were walking out the front door that we were flying rather than driving.

Mark had only flown as a baby and didn't remember the adventure so it was exciting for him.

He took about 15 pictures out the window.

Of the wing.

Adam and the two other kids sat across the aisle from us and the least friendly man in America sat next to me.  He was thrilled when we passed our book bag across him and when Mark had to get up mid flight to use the bathroom.  I was delighted when I saw that Mark took a picture of him so we could remember his jolly face.

After we landed we got our rental car and headed to the beach.  It was not warm and not beach weather but if you're in our family and slightly unhinged when it comes to water enthusiasm, that didn't matter.  I'm the black sheep (cold sheep?) of the family so while they jumped in the waves I went to sit in the car to get warm.

So that's our trip so far.  Unless I die of old age before the pictures load, I'll publish this post.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Critiquing the Brothers Grimm


Today in teaching Mark school, I read him the story Rapunzel. It got a big thumbs down. Mark's enjoyment of a story is directly related to the violence contained therein. (I'm not proud of this fact, but there it is.)

When the witch cut off Rapunzel's hair and tricked the prince into climbing up the braid, Mark was alert, anticipating the altercation. When "in his pain and grief the prince leaped from the tower", Mark was disgusted and dismayed. He said, "I thought he was going to fight her." After all, what self respecting hero of a fairy tale doesn't wield a sword?

The prince did nothing to sway Mark's opinion of his worth. At the end, when Rapunzel and the now blind prince finally reunite and she restores his sight with her tears, "he took Rapunzel back to his kingdom, where they were greeted with great rejoicing..."

Mark was filled with contempt. He said, "He should have taken Rapunzel back to her mother."

I couldn't argue with him. (Although I'm always a little disgusted with the mother in the story and her thieving greedy ways.)

Sorry Grimm Brothers, we had a much more favorable review of The Valiant Little Tailor. Now that was a story.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ordinary Day

Today I was driving home from Target (where I must go because I've sworn off Wal-mart, forever). I was replaying in my mind the excursion. It was nothing out of the ordinary. But "nothing out of the ordinary" with children on board is anything but ordinary.

First we stopped by J.C. Penney's. I had to make a return. A quick little painless return...at the register near the door. Emma and Mark wanted Webkinz. No, no and NO. Are you kidding me? Then they wanted to just look at the Webkinz. Just look. Yes, they'd stay together. No, they wouldn't crash into any other hapless shoppers. (not my first time in a store with these hoodlums)

I relented. I was finishing my return and heard them then saw them loping towards me, each with a Webkinz in tow. One they wanted, needed, had to have.

No.

On the way back to the van Mark earned himself a lecture on gratitude by telling me I'd ruined his life because he only has three Webkinz and it is all my fault.

Our next stop was Target. Somehow, Mark at Target is like trying to keep track of 15 puppies at once. How can that kid go in so many directions? I gathered a few pairs of pants for Emma to try on. I sent her over to try them on. My task? Keep Mark still. Emma was too shy to request a fitting room. I got her settled and told her to come out and show me the pants. I turned back to Mark who was scaling the side of the cart. We waited. And waited. I untwisted Mark from various pursuits.

And we waited.

Finally I went back to the dressing room (with Mark's hand planted firmly in mine).

"Emma," I called, "Have you tried the pants on?"

She emerged happily from the dressing room, fully clothed in her old jeans. "I tried on both pair." She was triumphant, reveling in her efficiency and speed.

"I wanted to see you in the pants."

"Oh."

"Remember when I said, 'come and show me'?"

"Oh."

This time I yanked Mark into the dressing room. He voluntarily put his nose in the corner so he wouldn't see Emma change. He stood stock-still. A miracle. The pants fit. One pair was selected for their comfort. We moved on.

Next stop was miniature toiletries for travel. Mark said he needed deodoring. Emma, long suffering, corrected him. "Mark, it's deodorant."

"I think it's deodoring."

"Mom, tell him it's deodorant."

"Mom, I think I need some deodoring. I might have used Braeden's before. Maybe. I think I need some...deodoring." (now I think he was just trying to bug Emma)

"Mom! Tell him it's deodorant."

Then we reached the candy and candy was the bribe to make them feel better about having to shop with me instead of stay with Grandpa like Braeden got to do.

So they got candy. Mark selected a big bag of M & M's. I told him he could share with me and he was willing. Emma chose pink Bubblicious gum, strawberry.

We made it to the van. Emma popped a mighty square of Bubblicious gum into her mouth. The scent transformed me back to the Starr Valley school bus where I spent 2 hours of each day during elementary school (an hour each way). The bus was airless, scorching hot in the seat by the heater, drafty everywhere else. It was bumpy with melted snow from boots swirling on the floor and ruining ill-fated dropped homework papers. It was loud and it smelled exactly like Bubblicious gum. It's funny how smells can transport you.

And funny how memories can remind you that even if you have exasperating children on trips to Target, at least you're no longer on the Starr Valley school bus for two hours each day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation. (William McKinley)


Awhile ago I read this post.

I didn't get it. I didn't get not loving IKEA. Then it occurred to me that maybe there is an ethnic explanation. My heritage is largely Scandinavian (and I don't mean largely because I have large relatives--which I do but that's not what I mean).

Anyway.

Is it because of my lignonberry loving ancestry that I love IKEA?

Because here's what I'm not: Irish. And here's what I don't get: St. Patrick's Day. It makes no sense to me as a holiday. My non Irish mother used to make us non Irish pancakes dyed green for breakfast on St. Patrick's Day. It was our nod to a holiday we didn't get.

I have a basic understanding of who St. Patrick was. I know he died on March 17. What I don't get is why that should prompt Americans to wear green, march in parades and dye their rivers (and pancakes) green.

But I am OK with that. I still have IKEA. Which I understand. I am deadly with an allen wrench. I know my leksvik from ektorp.

And I did pinch every single one of my non Irish, non green wearing family members this morning before they were aware of the date.

You've got to love the assimilation of cultures in America.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to Us


Adam and I are celebrating our birthday (birthdays) soon. On the same day. This is a big year too because it marks the fact that we've known each other for half of our lives.

When people find out we have the same birthday...same year and everything...they say, "Really?" Then they say, "How neat."

To which we say, "Not really."

Sometimes it's hard to decide what to do to celebrate. There's a lot of, "Well it's your birthday too," that goes around.

Adam said something once that I liked about our birthdays though. He said we were in the same MTC group in heaven. It's kind of silly (much like a lot of things that are said around our house) but it led me to imagine a scenario where we were heading off to earth on March 23, 1973 to our various families. He to Washington...me to Nevada. Maybe we decided we'd both go to BYU so we'd be sure to find each other. (It was probably my idea to come up with a meeting spot since I'm the planner.) Then maybe (since I also tend to be the worrier) I was anxious that we might not meet...might not recognize each other. I can imagine Adam looking at me with his calming brown eyes and telling me not to worry. It would work out.

And as usual. He was right. It worked out.

And having the same birthday is not altogether a bad thing when Disneyland offers free admission on your birthday this year.

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