Monday, November 30, 2009

Ruby


The Ruby Mountains were the backdrop to my life growing up. Always there. Always beautiful. Always constant and always changing (depending on the light).

I love them.

Now all the more reason to love them:

"Today's the day they give babies away" as my mom's doctor, Dr. Moren used to sing to her on the day we were all delivered.

My brother Tabor and his wife Katie are the proud new parents of Ruby. Grandchild number 18 for my parents (!).

I've been smiling all day because I agree with Carl Sandburg:

A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.


I'm excited to meet her (although it won't be soon enough for my taste). I'm excited she's joined our family.

I also agree with Gloria Steinum (I collect quotes like other people collect teacups):

Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense and as couragious as either one.


Good job Katie!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

When You Accidentally Buy Too Many Lemons...

...make lemonade.

I had a fine time decking my halls today and figured out what to do with extra ornaments:



(Adam asked me what we were going to do when we had a cake and I said we'd just have to abstain until after the holidays. He gave me a very skeptical look. My second answer was we could always just remove the ornaments if we needed a cake...and sometimes we do.)


And I finished off three rolls of paper from other years for my advent calendar of letting the kids unwrap a Christmas book for me to read to them each day until The Big Day.

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Haul Out the Holly

When my kids swim in frigid water, walk around with t-shirts and shorts all winter, love to camp or have permanently warm hands, I think "they did not get that from me."

Today however, they are "my" children through and through. Before I woke up they were working busily. I had told them their bedrooms needed to be clean before we would decorate for Christmas last night when I kissed them goodnight.

They cleaned their rooms and did their chores all before 8:00. I'm telling you, that never happens.

Also, Mark started moving furniture to make room for the tree (which we're not putting up until next weekend) and Emma swept and mopped the kitchen (without moving any of the chairs or rugs). I have to applaud their efforts. They're as excited to get the house decorated as I am.

Christmas in the Northwest may be the gift God wrapped in green, but we're going to do our best to splash some red on our little corner of it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Additionally

This morning as I was laying in my steamy bath, staring at the diffused light coming through the blinds, I started thinking about Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving.

I know how important it is for me to be grateful.

This morning I thought about all the usual things I'm grateful for:

Family
Friends
Health
Faith
Home
Transportation
Adam's job

But I then I started thinking about other things, things that make my life better and things for which I'm truly grateful.

fresh air
blankets
a piano
a dishwasher
a fireplace
handmade gifts from people I love
my computer/the internet/email
a bed
good activities for my children
indoor plumbing
antibiotics
books
my little front porch
comfortable places to sit
a refrigerator and freezer
hulu
memories of Thanksgiving at my grandma's
memories in general
homeschooling my kids
magazines
soap and shampoo
insulin for my diabetic brother
paper and pens
a camera and photographs
lotion
electricity


I could go on and on and on but you get the idea.

So many things for which to be grateful.

But now I have rolls to bake.

And two children to hug (I already hugged Mark, he still comes to find me in the morning).

Have a happy day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why I Love It

Sometimes I miss these people:



And this place:



So much that it makes me hurt.

They'll all be together tomorrow.

And I won't.

I won't get to hold little Cormac or commiserate with Katie who's about to have another baby of her own (at this point, days away from delivery, the woman needs commiserating with). I won't get to see Ruben in his snazzy new glasses or try to tease one of Isaiah's impish smiles out of him. And I won't be able to see my nieces.

How I love my creative charming nieces.

I'll miss out on all of the laughter and teasing and amazing food.

I'll miss out.

I've decided that I need to make a choice. A choice to be grateful for where I live. There are a lot of really great things about living here. It's time I celebrate them instead of mope around, missing it all.

So today's my first day: I'm starting Why I Love It Wednesday. (See what I did there? Now that took brain power.)

Here's the first main reason why I love it here:

Adam

He's from here. Through him, I feel connected. His job's here.

He's here.

So I am too (although I'd follow him anywhere he went).

Last night all five of us were laying side by side in our bed (I was happily sandwiched between my two sons who let me put my cold feet on their warm feet...I love people like that). Adam read Winnie the Pooh to us. We read about Tigger coming to the Hundred Acre Wood. Mark was fidgeting around and not for the first time, someone remarked that Mark is Tigger.

Then we decided who everyone else was. Emma is a mix of Piglet and Rabbit. Braeden is sweet like Pooh but also a little bossy like Rabbit. They decided I am either Eeyore or Kanga (I think it depends on where I am on the grumpy/benevolent mother continuum. And Adam?

He's Christopher Robin.

In all of the stories all of the animals, when they really need help or wisdom or comfort, they go to Christopher Robin.

Years ago I decided to make a quilt for Emma. I love the process of quilting. The piecing? Not so much. My grandma was visiting and she helped me cut perfect little squares for a nine patch quilt. She helped me start to sew them.

She went home.

That's when things got dicey. I got all the squares sewn together in quilt blocks and I lay them on my bed. None of them were the same size. My seams were crooked and variable enough that there was no way the blocks would go together. I rolled the whole thing up in a ball and vowed never again! I should have realized my limitations. If anything has to be exact, I am not the girl.

That night, after I had gone to bed, Adam pulled out the blocks and carefully cut them all to a congruent size. The quilt ended up being a little smaller than I'd planned because the blocks had to be smaller but Adam, Christopher Robin, had saved the day.

Last night I was showing Adam a project on the computer that I've been working on. It's been taking up so much time that I am ready to be done with it and send it on its way. I showed my good-enough finished product to Adam and he started pointing out ways that it could be improved and ways that it was not acceptable to his perfectionist eyes.

My agitation and despair grew. I wanted to be done with it! I didn't want to go back and make all those teeny little changes.

Adam could sense the ticking bomb next to him. He said in his best soothing voice, "Go get ready for bed. I'll fix this."

He's like one of the elves in the Elves and The Shoemaker, he does his best magic when I'm asleep because this morning it's all fixed, perfect and ready to go.

Yes, I would go wherever Adam went. Happily.

To the moon and back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All Because of a Garage Door

We hopped in the van to head to piano lessons.

Emma was shutting the garage. We've never gotten a garage door opener installed. We have three garage door openers/children that function pretty well for us.

Except for when they don't.

The door got stuck on something and Emma put her considerable strength into it and soon the whole door was askew. I was yelling at her to stop (from inside the van) which wasn't working but Braeden jumped out of the van, eager to chide his sister.

I got the door opened but I couldn't get it closed.

I had Braeden go call our piano teacher, Sarah, to tell her that we would be late.

I studied the door, trying to summon any mechanical skills I possessed. I came up kind of empty.

I tried to call Adam who I knew was at a swank lunch with a visiting client. (We had leftovers for lunch, which was maybe as swank.)

Adam didn't answer the phone.

I wouldn't have either if I was at a swank lunch.

Which I wasn't.

I tried to call my dad. Obviously. Because he's 800 miles away and doesn't even own a garage.

He wasn't home.

I called my sister who wasn't home and talked to my niece to find out where my dad was.

She didn't know.

So I called my other sister.

She told me my parents were in Salt Lake City, at the dentist.

So I called my mom's cell phone.

My dad was just finishing at the dentist so I laid out the problem for his analysis. He told me how to fix it.

I also called Sarah to tell her maybe the whole lesson thing wasn't going to happen. She put her husband Rex on the phone. Since he's our home teacher. I told Rex that I thought I could do what my dad instructed but I'd call him back if I needed him.

Then Sarah pulled up in her car.

She said she could do the kids' piano lessons here.

I tried to fix the door.

It wasn't working.

I called my dad again.

My mom answered the phone and did her motherly duty by telling me to be careful. She told me Nick, the dentist who's also kind of related and a family friend, said people knock their teeth out trying to fix their garage doors.

I assured her I'd be careful.

I talked to my dad.

He gave me something new to try.

I had Braeden as my left hand man (which is more useful than a right hand man when you're left handed like me).

And guess what?

It worked.

I fixed my garage door all by myself unless you count the piano teacher, home teacher, Dad, Mom, niece, sister, dentist, and son that were all involved.

I think I'll just call it fixing it all by myself though.

It seems more impressive that way.

Genetics

Marianne told me that she was "saving a small fortune in gift tags this year" by color coding the gifts under the tree for her 6 children . Every child has his or her own wrapping paper.

I said that would work well for me because I have lots of wrapping paper.

But it wouldn't work well for me because none of it goes together and coordinating gifts under the tree are a thing of beauty for yours truly.

I have a small problem...and I confided it to my skilled sister who's cranking out twice the gifts for twice the children. I have too much wrapping paper.

Every year I buy a roll or two after Christmas. Because they're so cheap! And I love a good bargain!

Then every autumn I buy a roll or two. Because they're so pretty! And I love Christmas!

The same thing happens with ornaments. I bought a big set of red balls for my family room tree to find an unopened set near my Christmas boxes under the stairs. I bought them last year. After Christmas.

And I succumbed and bought some more straw ornaments for my living room tree too. I need more straw ornaments like Seattle needs more clouds.

Rats.

Marianne told me that I was like our mother. She said, "Remember the mustard?"

Oh yes. Our poor mother. She doesn't deserve the cheeky daughters she was given.

When she was a school teacher (she taught business, accounting, computers, key boarding), she was also the FBLA leader. Because my mom is capable beyond all reason, they gave the FBLA the job of concession stands at the basketball games. My mom with a handful of stalwart future business leaders of America would serve out hamburgers and hot dogs. My mom hated every greasy minute of it.

But she did it.

Because that's who she is.

She was busy. Busier than I hope to ever be and she'd buy more ketchup and mustard when she was at the store just in case she needed more. Once when I was home visiting (because my mom was only a teacher after I'd left home), I counted and between my mom's two refrigerators, there were 13 containers of mustard! Thirteen!

We teased our dear mother about all that mustard.

And now here I am with the wrapping paper.

If you can inherit quirks from your mother, you can also inherit insanity from your children.

When Braeden was little, he insisted that the nursery rhyme went, "When the pie was old, the birds began to sing..."



I would try to convince him that it was, "When the pie was opened," to no avail. I finally realized the futility of arguing with a toddler and I told him that when he was older and could read, he would know that I WAS RIGHT.

He was two. I'm not proud of myself.

But still, I was right.

The other day at lunch we were having one of our bizarre conversations of unknown origins and Braeden said that the Keebler elf was a girl. In the interest of brotherly solidarity, Mark agreed wholeheartedly with Braeden. Emma insisted that he most certainly was a boy elf. I agreed (of course) with Emma and Braeden said, "Listen to the voice next time. It's a girl. And kind of creepy."

Emma said, "He is wearing pants!" I indicated the jeans both she and I were wearing and told her that wasn't a great argument.

"It's a boy though Braeden. I promise," I assured my gender confused son.

Braeden insisted otherwise and I remembered the Sing a Song of Sixpence incident.

Except for what future event will prove to Braeden I'm right? The Keebler. Elf. Is. A. Boy.

Turns out Adam was the key. When I told him the story he reminded me, "The Elf is named Ernie."

Ah-ha!

(See what I mean, insanity...you inherit it from your children and it gets really sad when you argue at lunch over whether or not the Keebler Elf is a boy or a girl. Really sad.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Case of Laugh Now and Pay for Therapy Later

First, I know I've posted at least one of these pictures on my blog before but Adam and I were browsing through some old pictures the other night and these made me laugh. Some things bear repeating.

Second, I want it noted for when Mark is someday in therapy for the torture his parents inflicted, I was not home when this happened. (Dads are the ones that keep snapping pictures when the baby's crying...Moms are the ones that guiltily laugh at the pictures later.)



Saturday, November 21, 2009

Recconaissance Mission at Bellevue Square

Last night we decided to take Mark to the Lego store in an attempt to reign in his list making of Lego codes:


(he writes his sevens--quite by design--like his dad)

It was going to be an easy little trip. We made sure of that.

First, we planned to go while Braeden was gone camping with the scouts. Braeden wields way too much power. We learned that the hard way during the Half Birthday Lego Aisle At Target Incident of '09.

Secondly, we had assured Mark we weren't actually going to get him a Lego set now, we were only looking. And he understood.

Then we stopped by and visited Grandma Geri before our scamper down 405 to Bellevue. Mark told her all about our trip to the Lego store. He told her that he had to get a set under $30. (He came up with that number himself and I jumped at it.)

Geri said, "Now Mark. If your family went to the movie, they would spend about $50. (Which is why we don't go to the movie all that often.) That's for 2 hours. If you went to the movies twice, that would be $100, for 4 hours of fun." Mark nodded, not sure where this was going.

Adam and I looked at each other. We were sure where this was going.

Geri continued with a mischievous smile directed our way, "If you got a Lego set for $100, you would play with it for 4 hours every day for a month. That would be less than a dollar a day!"

Mark didn't quite get what she was saying but he did get that she was on his side. (I was grateful that Braeden wasn't there. He would have gotten exactly what she was talking about...and would have remembered and internalized it.)

We scooted Mark out of there before his cognitive skills grasped his grandma's brand of accounting.

The Lego store lived up to its billing. So many Lego Star Wars sets and all at Mark's eye level. He started pulling huge unwieldy boxes off the shelves and studying the backs. That's where the important information is for Mark...what guys are included; will the pieces be adaptable to other building pursuits.

Every box Mark was analyzing was in the over $100 range. Before things got out of hand I pointed to several small boxes. "Out of this and this and this and this, which would you pick?" More examining of boxes. Finally Mark made his selection and I breathed a small sigh of relief.

The next stop was the Apple store to feed Emma's ipod yearnings (she's not getting one...the little earbuds don't fit in her cute little ears but she likes to look) and to feed Adam's curiosity for What's New. As for me, I sidled over to Fireworks to get my fill of delights.

We stopped at Specialties Bakery for a treat for the kids but I did not go home empty handed.

At Fireworks I found this magnet:


I'm already Thelma.

I guess you're all Louise.

XOXO

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christie, I'm a Disappointment

Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water.
"Pathetic," he said. "That's what it is. Pathetic."
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
"As I thought," he said. "No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is."
Winnie the Pooh

It's almost time to send The Shoes on their way.



And I feel like the girl (the one standing against the wall) that didn't get asked to dance.

I feel like I threw a party and no one came.

I feel like everyone simultaneously unfriended me on facebook.

I have not had many people enter my drawing for The Shoes.

Could it be that it's late November? And they're sandals?

That's what I'm telling myself.

Because I don't enjoy being such a disappointment.

If anyone else out there (are you out there?) would like to enter the drawing, please do.

It will help me feel more like a worthy person in the blogosphere.



One can't complain. I have my friends. Someone spoke to me only yesterday.
Eeyore
Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Post That Promises Not To Be Whiny

It's about time am I right?

Last night was adventurous at our house.

I had already said my good nights and was in my bedroom changing into my fuzzy striped pajama pants when I heard Emma scream for me.

I wasn't alarmed.

She has a flair for the dramatic.

I called back that I'd be right there.

Then I heard her mention "spider".

I'm the bug slayer around here. Adam is opposed to bugs. I wouldn't say he's afraid of them but he lets me kill them.

Here's the scene I arrived at. Emma, standing on her bed, in tears, talking fast and wailing about the spider.

Adam in the hall with Emma's big pink Disney Princess story book...ready to seek vengeance on the offending spider that was an affront to Emma's feminine sensibilities, but holding back ever so slightly, waiting for me.

Braeden was sort of close to the spider, curious and willing to be involved but not willing to get too close.

Mark standing on the futon, was highly excited and terrified also.

I took the book from Adam and he happily retreated to comfort Emma. I took a long skinny pointy Lego creation Braeden was wielding. With it I scared the spider from its corner. (and in all fairness to the faint-hearted arachnophobic family members, it was one big spider) I dropped the Disney Princess book on the spider with a satisfying thwack!

Mark started screaming and Braeden ran to comfort him.

I went to the bathroom for some toilet paper to shroud Mr. Spider in before sending him down the plumbing. As I went I was muttering under my breath. "How are these my children. Afraid of a spider?"

Then I remembered my unreasonable fear of mice and thought I should be more sympathetic.

I hugged and kissed Emma and she whimpered that she didn't think she'd be able to sleep. I left to calm Mark down. It was a scene all too violent for him I guess. He wondered why I hadn't just caught the spider in a cup and taken it outside.

I showed him the torrential rain outside. The river flowing down the street. The spider was a goner either way.

Mark sniffed, "Well you shouldn't have used my Legos."

Sometimes you can't win.

Especially if you're a big spider that was unlucky enough to emerge from Emma's heat vent.

Revisiting

When I was in 6th grade and life was awful, Marianne would climb into my bed with me and listen to my troubles and offer insights.

It's a formula that still works...except for now it's over the phone.

Yesterday I told her all about it.

She said, "It sounds like you need to go read your last blog post about being grateful."

Yeah, I know. To my never ending chagrin, it's a revisiting that I often need to make.

Towards gratitude.

I've been feeling unhappy, dissatisfied, insert downcast synonym here.

Besides Marianne, yesterday I talked to Janet, my mom and at length Adam all about it.

Have I always been this needy? (Well, yes.)

I think I figured something out.

The anxiety about what might happen is ruining all my fun.

It saps confidence and enjoyment. It clouds reality. It's not heaven sent.

I worry with my children that I haven't done enough. I worry I come up short when I stand next to some measuring stick somewhere. I worry that they won't realize the potential I see shining in their eyes.

And it will be my fault.

Because I've messed something up.

See what I mean about this ruining all my fun?

When I write it out and look at it, it really seems sort of ridiculous. How can I waste so much precious energy worrying?

(I need all the precious energy I can get.)

After talking to Adam, I knew what I needed to do.

Revisit and remember. Remember the assurances I've been given. Revisit gratitude. Remember things that work.

Dial down that worry.

Enjoy Mark saying, "Oh I get it!" during math.

Enjoy teaching again. Enjoy getting a front row seat for the education of my children.

Enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I have a Mary Engelbreit calendar in my school room.

Here's the picture for November:


All month I've wondered about this choice of Mary's. Why not a cheerful fall/harvest/Thanksgiving picture instead?

Yesterday it all became clear.

I was sitting by Mark who was toiling away on some assignment.

I looked up and saw the calendar and felt like it was a mirror reflecting my face.

Too much to do.

Unreasonable expectations.

Holiday projects.

My house was a mess.

And it was raining.

Always with the rain.

Must. Change. Attitude.

It's too bad there's not a holiday that reminds me to pause and shift my attitude.

Be grateful.

Be grateful for the circumstances that allow me to be home with my children...struggling along through pre Algebra, science, phonics, history.

Be grateful for creative projects that make life more interesting and fulfilling.

Be grateful for my house which shelters me from the cold and wind and rain.

Be grateful for the rain because the next day, when it's sunny (!), my heart positively sings.

Hmmmm. If there were just such a holiday...

I think Mary Engelbreit knew what she was doing when she made that calendar picture. Because grumpy should be grateful and November is just the right time.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ladies' Man


Yesterday was the primary children's sacrament meeting program. It's always one of my favorites.

Usually I don't laugh as much as I did yesterday though.

Mark doesn't do anything halfway. He's either really happy or really mad or really tired or really really excited.

And he likes to sing.

He threw his head back and sang as loudly and enthusiastically as he possibly could.

The little girl on his right gave him a look of such contempt and annoyance that if looks could kill Mark would no longer be with us.

The little girl on his left clamped her hands over her ears.

He's a charmer, that one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Plans Well Laid

I don't know if it's some kind of genetic coincidence (a double dose of their uncle Enoch?) or the proximity in which they sleep--in the same room, beds perpendicular to each other--but my boys have one thing very much in common.

They tirelessly wear you down with their requests. You finally give in. It's the only route to peace.

Every Christmas and birthday I know exactly what they want...in great detail. (I never know what Emma wants. Even when I ask her she sort of shrugs. She's undemanding that one.)

Braeden wants Wii games but more than that he wants a guitar. Well, he decided, get Wii games for "the kids" and then I can play with them too and then get me a guitar. That's my boy.

Mark wants Lego Star Wars sets. He pores over the Lego magazine and presents me with his desires. I respond that we'll have to see how much it costs. "We'll see" is the popular mother phrase that doesn't work with Mark. When it's his turn to get on the computer he logs onto the Lego website, or more recently, Amazon.com. He looks up Lego sets. There is a scatter of papers on the desk with neatly scrawled four digit Lego codes written in his hand. He tells me authoritatively which set costs $39.99 which one is only $19.99 and which one is $120. My head is swirling with trying to keep straight whether he's finally settled on a V wing or a V-19 or Jedi Starfighter...or a Y wing. It's dizzying (and will result in a visit to the Lego store with him shortly before his birthday so he can point to the one he wants and have it over with ...except it won't be the $120 set...I can promise you that).

Last night Braeden was at a mutual activity and Adam and Emma and Mark and I were eating dinner and talking about fantastic trips we would like to take. I was quizzing everyone: which continent would you most like to visit? least like to visit, which state? which land-locked state you've never been to already? (I've got to keep them on their toes.) Mark, his head still full of Lego intentions, changed the subject and told us of his idea of working with his dad someday at Amazon.com. He said that he'd work really hard and sell lots of Lego sets and then he'd ask his boss if he could please have one Lego set for free. Adam presented the idea that if he worked he could earn money and buy his own Lego set.

It was almost too much for Mark to comprehend.

We started talking about our children's futures. I promised Mark that if he lived close I would invite him over for dinner all the time (I believe in bribing my children not to move away when they grow up). Emma started talking about her future plans. She said she'd have four children and be a writer. I asked her if she thought she'd home school her children.

She looked at me, startled by the idea and said, "If I did that, when would I have time to write?"

I couldn't help it. I laughed out loud.

She said, "Well maybe I could still have time for it...maybe during silent reading time I could write..."

Mark said, "I know. You could have your children watch TV every half hour and then you could write then." (Why six year old boys wouldn't make good mothers.)





Or you could write a silly blog in bits and snatches between everything else.

It works for me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Accomplices

I had an idea for a Christmas present and I needed my sisters help.

(I'm not at liberty to tell my idea because my mom reads this blog sometimes--and leaves comments referencing my slip wearing habits like "were you born in a barn?" I don't know, you were there. Was I?)

It's a gift for my mom (and myself which is the case sometimes with my gifts).

I called my sisters and got both of their answering machines. They were both having school with their children but I pleaded for their attention and set up a "conference call" this afternoon. Because when I get an idea, I wanted to start it yesterday and they get that. Especially Marianne. We're not sit around and ruminate types of people. We dive in and fix the mistakes later.

We had our conference call (Clarissa even joined). Just like we used to divvy up Barbie outfits and dish jobs, we got straight to work. Creating with my sisters is an easy and familiar task. They are clever and witty and wise. They tell me the unvarnished truth and don't take any guff. (I like the word guff. It doesn't get used enough.) And they're helping me with my project. They are my go to girls when I need advice and honesty and perspective.


Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood.
~Louisa May Alcott

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Knowing What You Need


Yesterday I felt sick. Not sick enough to throw in the towel on all of my duties and activities.

But sick enough to want to.

My head was fuzzy and congested and I was frEEzing all day long. I took my temperature with my newly acquired thermometer (my nod to being prepared for swine flu). I wondered if I had a fever because I was so cold.

My temperature was 95.6.

Then I remembered why I didn't previously have a thermometer. I really doubt I'm smart enough to work one properly.

Adam came home from work and found me huddled under a blanket, wearing a long sleeved t-shirt, a sweater and his Yale sweatshirt. (That sweatshirt is thick and cuddly like nothing else.) He wrapped me in his arms and blankets and I felt warm for the first time since my scalding early morning bath.

He had to go gather forms for scout rechartering (I know, I was jealous too). He told me he'd take the kids (getting more jealous?) and bring me something home to eat.

He asked me what I wanted.

I didn't know.

He ran through a list of foods: soup? pizza? hamburger?

No, no and decidedly no.

He continued listing foods and I finally said, "French bread."

French bread?

Yes.

Do you want light and fluffy French bread or a denser artisan kind? (See why I love my husband?)

I told him I didn't know.

Garlic bread? Croissant?

No. No.

French bread.

Then I realized that my French bread which I suddenly wanted would be a long time in coming since he was out gathering forms. I told him I'd go to the store and get it myself while he was gone. He protested but I told him I'd also get myself a movie to watch and sit by the fire.

I dragged my sorry looking, excessively layered self to the store. When I was almost there I remembered my hair. Yikes.

I selected some (still warm) French bread then unexpectedly decided what I really needed was a twice baked potato from the freezer case. I've never had such a thing but it sounded good. I rounded out the meal with some ginger ale and a bag of peanut M&Ms.

Because no one can be uncheered by peanut M&Ms.

I sat by the fire for my little fĂȘte.

I didn't eat much.

Because I was sick.

But I felt better.

Because I'm glad my world includes a warm house with a fireplace, a warm husband with the desire to care for me and peanut M&Ms.

No one can be uncheered by peanut M&Ms.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Slips


A freudian slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother. --unknown

On Saturday (a.k.a. the Big Wedding Day), my mother-in-law called to see if my niece Raelyn could borrow one of Emma's slips.

Sure, that is no problem at all except for one small difficulty.

Emma doesn't own a slip.

There was a certain amount of tongue clucking and angst heading my way over the phone.

I know, I know. My mom always made me wear a slip but she also made me wear long underwear in the winter and my mother wouldn't be caught dead barefoot so I can't live by her standards, can I?

So here's my question:

Do you make your daughter wear a slip?

Do you wear a slip?

Are we all disappointing our mothers and mothers-in-law or is it just me?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Freedom

When I was in college, my roommate's grandparents went on a trip to Germany and brought her back this:



It's a bit of the Berlin Wall. Knowing I'm sentimental with pack rat tendencies (and she decidedly is not), she asked me if I wanted it.

Yes.

Today is the twenty year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I love that I have this little bit of history. It reminds me of freedom. It reminds me that I can go where I want, say what I want, worship how I want.

Freedom.

I've been thinking about freedom and its paradoxical nature. It's strange: the more obedient, self disciplined and respectful of authority you are, the more freedom you'll have.

Now if I can just get my kids to understand that...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

To Have and To Hold


Last night was the big event. Whitney and Kelly's wedding.

As elegant as we know how to be:




Before the ceremony:

The wedding was held at this pretty little spot in downtown Everett which is an old hotel converted to an art gallery and ballroom.


Before the ceremony, as we browsed around looking at the art, I spied lovely ladies and handsome gentlemen everywhere:

niece Talia and SIL Megan


cousins Jackson and Asia with Emma and Mark

Braeden and Kain

the flower girl, Lilly with the dashing ring bearer

More ring bearer shots: I can't help myself


with Grandma Geri

The Dancing:


Our children had a fabulous time dancing--and sort of made spectacles of themselves. Mark's dancing is somewhat...athletic...a combination of Russian folk dancing and kick boxing. Emma dances mostly in a goofy and skittish way but Braeden. Braeden feels the music in his soul. He loves to dance and would spin anyone around the floor that was willing.

I wish I had better pictures...

Emma dancing with Jackson; Braeden with Talia


Emma and Braeden were at first the only two on the dance floor...totally uninhibited. Adam and I tried to decide where they came from. Neither of us would have done that.


Here's Mark threatening to take the arms off the little flower girl.

Braeden finally did get tired--I think sometime after Thriller

It was a great time... great food, great music and great company. (Adam and I even danced a few dances and I tried to keep up with his foxtrot...the only kind of dancing I know was learned at the Starr Valley Club Hall.)

Adam and his brother Brian kept me laughing the whole time. I know I'm easily amused but they crack. me. up. If Scott had been at our table too I probably would have had sparkling cider coming out of my nose.


Adam was a little mystified when he was asked to do the toast (what do Mormons know about toasts?) but he did an excellent job. He eloquently made us all laugh and cry and said what we all felt. We felt the loss of his dad keenly last night but we love Kelly and welcome him into the family with open arms and hearts.

That is if he's still willing after watching our children dance.



Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Post In Which I May or May Not Be Very Mature

As mentioned before, I sadly broke my favorite shoes.

Today I was talking to both my parents on the phone...and if you ever want a good adventure talk to both of my parents on the phone.

I asked my dad for shoe repair advice. I described the problem. He said, "Bring it here. I'll fix it."

(I think my dad likes to rub it in that it's not his fault I moved 800 miles away.)

My mom said, "You could mail the shoe...you are into Traveling Shoes."

I said maybe I would mail it.

My dad said sure.

"It is my favorite pair of shoes," I said.

My mom said, "Well you are his favorite daughter."

And so to my sisters, I must say:

HA!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gee...Thanks

Back before there was "highly capable", back when it was called "academically talented", my sister Marianne was highly capable. (Actually, she was Academically Talented too.) She's always always been highly capable.

And if you think it was easy growing up as her sort of capable sister then no, you would be wrong.

I talked to Marianne yesterday and she told me she was in need of bolstering. She told me it had been her worst ever day of home schooling.

I confided that a few days ago I'd come as close as I ever had to throwing in the towel.

We shared our tales from the trenches and we felt better. It's reassuring to know that you're not alone with your particular brand of craziness.

When it was time to hang up the phone because we both had Things To Do, I told Marianne that I appreciated her. "I'm so glad I have you to talk to about this. You Understand."

Marianne acknowledged that if it weren't for the support of her sisters and our mom she would have quit a long time ago. She said, with slight sarcasm, "So thanks."

I said, "Thanks for making it so I'm so busy."

She said, "Thanks for making it so my house is not as clean."

"Thanks for making it so I'm cranky every day."

"Thanks a lot."

See what I mean? Our own brand of craziness...

When I look at the mothers that are my mom and Marianne, Olivia, Jennifer, Katie and Melanee, I feel like I'm not in such bad company if I can just be like them.

Highly capable.

It's my big endeavor.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Fourth Outing


It's official. I love SAM (Seattle Art Museum).

(And Clarissa, if your mom won't take you to Nat-Soo-Pah you come visit me and I'll take you to SAM.)

Because it would have been too much to ask for two sunny outings for the sandals, it was certainly not sandal weather.



The weather felt forbidding when I was a little nervous anyway. I donned my shoes though. I willed my butterflies to fly in formation. And we were off.



It worked! We got there and got home without a hitch.

And the museum did not disappoint.


Braeden thinks it's "creepy" when siblings wear the same clothes but here are Braeden and Mark...in unintentionally matching black shirts with matched poses gazing up.

I was afraid an art museum and Mark wouldn't be compatible but he loved it.

There's a Michelangelo special exhibit right now and when I showed Mark a relief sculpture and explained how old it was he said, "This is what is so great about art museums!"

We wandered through, delighted by the Alexander Calder exhibit. We were slightly aghast at some of the Modern art and watched Mark have imaginary conversations with the African masks. We inspected the Egyptian art and then the ancient Greek and Roman exhibit. Braeden and Emma love all things ancient Greek so while they carefully read all the labels and earnestly discussed the painted Greek pottery, Mark and I perched on a bench. He said, "I didn't think I liked art museums but I was wrong. I do."

We stopped in the "family room" which is full of toys and pillows and art picture books.

Mark rode a "horse" while "shooting" in a way that would have made John Wayne proud.



Then he started boxing.



What is it about art that brings out aggression in red heads?



Emma started reading.


And lest you think that's all she did...

oh, wait...

In a rare cooperative moment all three kids built a fortress.


And I put my feet up and enjoyed the view.


When it was time to go so we weren't stuck in rainy-leaving-Seattle-traffic, I gathered up my crew and thanked my lucky stars for three children...

...that all love art museums.




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