Thursday, September 30, 2010

In Braeden's Shoes

"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes."

Jack Handey


I watch Braeden leave every morning in the drizzly darkness.  And I'm glad I'm not him.

Yesterday Braeden's (brand new) shoes were stolen from his P.E. locker.  Sad.  He learned one of those lessons you don't really want your children to have to learn but they need to anyway:  you can't always trust people.  Middle school is not for sissies.

When I pick him from school, I watch him walk doggedly across the grass to me, heavy laden with his backpack.  I hated junior high.

I wonder what it's really like to be him.

Braeden was playing Runescape on the computer.  Mark and Gavin came clunking upstairs smelling like boys and the outdoors.  They interrupted whatever errand they were on--likely retrieving a weapon from Mark's room.

Gavin said, "Wait, Mark, I want to watch your brother for a couple of minutes."

Mark enthusiastically agreed.

They sat and marveled and asked questions until finally they remembered their former mission.

"Good-bye, Braeden," Gavin said.

"Good-bye Awesome Person," Mark said, halfway down the stairs and back outside to boy-dom.

"Yeah, Braeden," Gavin called upstairs, "You rock!"


I wonder what it's really like to be him.

post script:  my faith in humanity is restored...Braeden found his shoes

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Life Dreams

This morning Mark thinks he shouldn't have to have school.

Because it's a national holiday:  My Bunkbeds Arrived Day.

He has told me several times that this is his "life dream" coming true.

While the workers assembled the bed, he bounded around and chatted with them and explained the features of the bed to them.  They were very kind and long suffering.

The old beds we had were behemoth captain beds belonging to Adam's sisters that we were housing while they didn't have room for them.  They weighed 5 tons each (I'm guessing) and one of them had a faint odor despite my best and frequent efforts.  They finally had room for the beds.

Maybe it should be a National Holiday.

The room smells nice now and we feel footloose and fancy free with these svelte new beds.

And I think that's my life dream.

Things are great all over.

Here's where Mark tested some of the new features of his bed:

Webkin containment--

feet stretching--

ladder maneuvers--

Three Lies

Lie #1:  I love teaching my children to work.  It is a lot easier to teach them to work than to do it all myself.

Lie #2:  My children love it also.

Lie #3:  They are really good at the work I give them to do.

For example, here's Mark taking the sheets off his bed.  (The mattress is on the floor because they're getting new beds that will be delivered today.) He wound the sheets around and around himself, trying to get it loose from the bed and then fell over.

 I'm sure he has other talents.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Good Intentions

Sunday, September 18:  Emma told me her church shoes were getting too small.

Saturday, September 25:  When my niece Raelyn was over, I offered her some rain boots of Emma's that are too small.  I offered her some flip flops that are too small.  "Oh, wait." I remembered the church shoes.  I ran upstairs to grab them and gave them to Raelyn too.  She was as pleased as punch.

Sunday, September 26:  Emma said, "Mom, I can't find my church shoes."

Sunday, September 26:  Emma tried some of my black flats and they were too small!?

Sunday, September 26:  Braeden offered Emma his tennis shoes.  She was appalled.

Sunday, September 26:  She wore my (high heeled!) black boots instead. They fit.

(guess who's going shoe shopping?)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes Men are from Further Away than Mars

Adam read my last post, entitled Fed.

He said he thought I meant the Federal Reserve.

I'm sure he was joking because the likelihood of me writing about The Fed is rivaled by the likelihood of me understanding what The Fed even does besides occasionally set interest rates...and Adam knows it.


I love that man but how does his mind work anyway?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Yesterday was a beautiful day.  Maybe the most beautiful day in the history of the world, as my dad would say.  I love fall and when there's a sunny day in the fall (after I've recovered from the shock and picked myself back up after fainting) I am happy.

And yesterday, my house was clean (mostly) because I'd been a horrible slave driver Friday afternoon.  My children had to turn their friends away from our doorstep repeatedly because the Mom Monster was rearing her ugly head.  So Friday afternoon was not pretty.

But Saturday was.

Best of all, I had the delightful prospect of the General Relief Society Broadcast to look forward to.  It is one of my favorite nights of the year.  It is always wonderful.

Last night found me in the chapel of our church.  I was comfortably situated amongst my friends.  I had my notebook in my lap and my pen in my hand for note taking.  I was ready.

Then there were technical difficulties.  The feed from Salt Lake City stopped right during the opening song.  We were able to pick it back up for a snippet of Sister Beck's talk but then lost it again.

Our valiant stake Relief Society presidency scrambled to feed us our dinner early and then we'd try to pick up the rebroadcast.  The dinner was divine as is the custom of the stake RS presidency.  Those women don't mess around.  Every detail for our queenly pleasure is taken into consideration and I'm always grateful and feel loved as a result.

I loved chatting with my friends.  I loved continuing the conversation that I started 6+ years ago with Janet that we'll never finish.  We just have a lot to say to each other.

They were hopeful that the rebroadcast would work but by that point, my thoughts were turning to home and Adam.  We've had a busy week...either one or both of us was away every evening and he'd been gone most of Saturday as well.  I couldn't remember how he looked so I went home.

But I felt deflated.  Even though I'd had an excellent dinner and enjoyed excellent conversation, I was not satisfied. 

When my mom called and Adam answered the phone he told her (by way of warning?) that I was in a dour mood. 

Dour might be too strong a word.

I lay on the couch and Braeden, my 13 year old in shining armor brought me a blanket.  I said, "Not that one," to the scratchy grey blanket.  He said, "Sorry, sorry..." and covered me gently instead with the soft blue blanket.

Maybe dour wasn't a strong enough word.

Braeden then started to quote funny lines from Corner Gas to me because since he was about three that kid has perfected his craft of cheering me up.

He was saying things like, "The metric system?! I got news for you Hank, we won the war," in his best Oscar Leroy voice and I started to laugh.

The boy has skills.

Later I was still feeling a little sorry for myself (I was just so disappointed!) and Adam gathered me in his arms and comforted me.  Between Braeden and Adam, I think I'm set.

Then Adam and I filled out some pages in his restaurant guide and I felt even better.

(What?  Writing restaurant reviews doesn't make you happy?)

Before I went to bed, Adam checked and told me that I could watch the broadcast online.

I'm pretty sure I went to bed smiling.

This morning, before church, I watched the General Relief Society Broadcast.  It was indeed wonderful.  I felt lighter.  I felt like I wanted to be better.

I was finally fed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

When I KNOW I'm in Trouble

When Braeden was born, my mom came to stay with me for a few days.  She did everything because I was completely inept.  Completely.  Although I had been a brilliant mother to Nelly, my doll, when I was a little girl, (aside from the fact that she had holes in her head where the hair was supposed to be because I gave her a bath) a real baby proved much harder.

When my mom left to go home, I was crying.  And so was she.  I think she felt as worried about me as I did.

I knew I was in trouble.

Yesterday I was talking to my mom on the phone and started to cry like you only do when you're on the phone with your mom and you Can't Do It Anymore.

I've been pretending to almost everyone that asks me that everything is great.  My kids are happy.  They're loving school.  That part's true.  THEY are happy.

I'm having a hard time.

I miss my kids.

I miss the crushing pressure of homeschooling three children.  (Which is weird because I enjoyed feeling so tense some days that my shoulders were hunched up around my ears????)

I miss telling them to stop being so silly during lunch.

I miss correcting their papers.

I miss knowing that whatever craziness the rest of the day threw at us, our mornings were together.

I miss three heads bent over three desks.

I miss the chaos.

My mom listened to me and comforted me with merely the tone of her voice.  My mom.  She has this mothering stuff down.

Then she said, "I wish I had something to tell you to make you feel better, but I don't."

Rats.  It reminded me of after Braeden was born.  Something my mom couldn't fix and magically make manageable.  Ta-da!

Isn't it a good thing we don't know what we're getting into when we become mothers?  We vaguely understand things like:  pregnancy doesn't look like a picnic, labor and delivery sounds painful, everyone says kids grow so fast, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da...

We have no idea.

Nothing can prepare you.  It's intense and painful and exhilarating and wonderful and really, really hard.

The hardest part?  The loosening.  The sending them out into the world, on their own.  Their lack of backward glances.   

I am, I think, in the midst of an identity crisis.  If I don't pour my lifeblood into teaching my children every day, what exactly do I do?

(I could always--truly it always needs it--clean my house, but where's the fun in that?)

Yesterday I had the startling discovery that school has only been in session for two weeks.  It seems like a lifetime.  Maybe I'll adjust yet.

In the meantime, I'll comfort myself with the fragments of time I have with my children.  I'll worry less about things that matter less.

Time is fleeting.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What My Dad Does

Sometimes, I think of my dad when I pay for things.

When I'm signing my name on the credit card slip, someone usually comments on my rings.

My dad made them.

If I tell people that my dad made the rings they are either really confused (He made them!?) or think it is a cute hobby of his.  Neither seems to do justice to what my dad does.

He's an artist. This is what my dad does.

Here's something he made lately.

I think I could stare at it all day. 

This week my parents are in Oklahoma City for the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association Exhibition and Sale.  Adam and I went a few years ago and I loved it.  Silent auctions can be electric.  My dad was nervous which may be the first time I ever remember seeing him nervous.  During the sale, I watched him chat with people, all the while glancing over their heads periodically to see if anyone was putting bids in the box near his work.  (My six-and-a-half-foot tall dad + his high heeled cowboy boots could steal glances very covertly.)

I wish I was there this week.

I love to see my dad (and the silver pieces he makes) shine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

People Are Weird

Yesterday Mark and I went to IKEA.  Next to Adam (who is much more useful for lifting heavy boxes), Mark is my favorite person to go to IKEA with.  We eat meatballs and chocolate cake.  He plays while I shop then he pushes the cart to the parking lot and I caution him 10,000 times not to crash into anything.  I enjoy it.

While we were having lunch, there was a woman in front of us in line with a toddler.  She was asking the little girl what she wanted for lunch.  The little girl pointed to the row of milk bottles and said, "Milk."

The mom said hurriedly, "Oh, no!  That's danger milk.  It's not organic.  Dan-ger."

Then she looked around to make sure she had people observing what a good, organic mother she was and repeated her mantra.  "We don't drink danger milk.  It's not organic."

I am no judge of healthy living.  I would have bought my boy the seemingly poison milk if he'd wanted it but he wanted soda.

I was curious to see what this woman would get her daughter for lunch.  Turns out she got juice, french fries and macaroni and cheese.

(Are we assuming the milk used in the mac and cheese wasn't "danger" milk?)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eye Can't Handle It

You may remember (if you have nothing else to think about besides my medical don't, right?) that I've had some eye issues in the last year.

It's been quite lovely.

The low point was when I had a needle poked in my tear duct and I screamed and writhed in pain.  It was worse than childbirth.

(Maybe because I didn't get a chubby baby handed to me afterward as a reward.)

Since that experience last August, I've been very wary of any disturbance with my eyes.  Paranoid.  Even more than normal.

A pattern has been established.  I make Adam look at my eyes twenty times a minute and he humors me and looks and then tells me they don't look that bad.  So I have him look again.

(Don't be jealous that Adam gets to be the one that's married to me.)

I know I'm annoying but I never want to have a needle stuck in my eye again.  Ever.

So I'm paranoid.  Even more than normal.

For the last few weeks my eyes have been bothering me.  I've been quizzing Adam about their state.  He's been enjoying it and thanking his lucky stars that he's married to a neurotic woman.

I went to the Dr. for patanol.  The allergy wonder drops.

They didn't help.

I developed blisters on my eyelid.

I got a little worried.  Or a lot worried.

I asked Adam, when I wasn't having him inspect my eyes, if he thought I should go to the doctor.

He'd say, in his best long suffering voice, "Do you think you need to go to the doctor?"

Finally, Sunday, I went to the doctor.  I couldn't take it anymore.  My eyes were making me miserable.  My psychosis was making me (and Adam) miserable.

I went to the walk in clinic (because it was Sunday) and if I had the herpes simplex virus in my eyes (again), then I needed antiviral medicine sooner rather than later.

The good doctor didn't think it was herpes simplex.  He thought it was a different chronic condition (because really, can you have too many?) for my eyes.  Seborrheic dermatitis.  He said it was like cradle cap that babies get.

Wonderful. (And by wonderful I mean gross.)

He said the treatment was to scrub my eyes with baby shampoo.


So I did.  And it hurt.  But I felt happy that I knew what it was.  My eyes didn't exactly feel better though like I wanted.  I did the thing I should never do...I consulted the world wide web.  I read all about seborrheic dermatitis.  I saw pictures that looked nothing like my eye.  I read that it was either caused by a bacterial infection (in which case if I didn't get antibiotics my vision could be damaged) or by allergens.  I read that you can develop an allergic reaction and seborrheic dermatitis from something that never before caused you trouble.  It could be from make-up (my Big Beautiful Eyes!?!?!  Perish the thought!), hair products, lotion, nail products, nickel, sponges, etc etc etc.


If I was allergic to one of those items suddenly how would I ever narrow it down?

And then my eyes looked worse.

I did what I should have done two weeks ago.  I called the ophthalmologist.  (When will I learn?)  I got an appointment.  I love that office.  I've never been there when they didn't make it all better. (Except for the needle incident and I've forgiven them for that.  Mostly.)

This doctor told me that baby shampoo would make my eyes worse.  He said I wasn't allergic to anything, but had sensitive skin.  He said that during periods of emotional stress (me) or anxiety (me) or if I wasn't getting enough sleep (me again), my sensitive skin had a eczema flare-up.  He said he could prescribe something but to try hydrocortisone first.

Hydrocortisone which I've had in my medicine cabinet this whole time.

I came home and rubbed some on my cracked, red, swollen eye-lids.

And felt better immediately.

When I told Olivia she told me that I should use this to my advantage.  I can see it now, "Clean your rooms!  Oh, my eeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeessssssssss!  This mess is hurting my eyes!"  Maybe it will work.

But in the meantime hydrocortisone is my best friend and the Physicians Eye Clinic is my favorite place.  (Unless you count Alfy's on nights like last night when my slow cooker didn't think dinner should be ready even close to when I thought dinner should be ready and we had buy one get one free pizza instead.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whatever It Is, It's Not That Bad

 I know a woman named Tevy.  She's a quiet capable mother of three.  She serves.  She's talented.  She's kind.

And she's phenomenal.

She survived the genocide in Cambodia in the 1970s.  She somehow managed to escape from horrors I will never understand and to be a whole and happy person.

But she's more than that.

She's a philanthropist.  In her quiet tenacious way, she teaches cooking classes (she's an amazing cook) and send the proceeds to Cambodia.  I think only she and the people she has served know all of the good she has done.

Because I've taken one of her cooking classes, she sent me some pictures of the recent recipients of her generosity. 

Tevy sent money to the Srash Srong village.  The money was used to buy a bicycle for a family and some rice:

One of these bags of rice costs about a 1/3 of a family's monthly salary.

Can you imagine spending 1/3 of your money on one bag of rice?

Here are a few of the families Tevy's rice fed: 

This is what their homes are like:

I think she wanted to encourage us to keep taking her classes so she could keep helping others.

Well, it worked.  (And I would keep taking the classes anyway because they are great classes.)

Also, these pictures left me with the unmistakable feeling that whatever I have to complain/worry/fret about, it is not that bad.

The village Tevy sent money to is poor.  Poorer than seems possible in 2010.  They don't have any school for the children.


How is that possible?

How can I ever lament the circumstances of my life, when it is a given that my children will be educated?

I can't wrap my mind around the blessing that is.

How can I wish for things like more time to read when there are mothers in the world that wish for more rice to feed their children?

How can I be frustrated by traffic when I don't have to walk everywhere?

At such times, when I feel practically overwhelmed, I want to be more grateful.  I want to help more and complain less.

I want to be Tevy when I grow up.

I showed my children these pictures.  Mark and Emma conferred then brought me their jar.  They've been saving money for tigers.  (Tigers?  I'm not sure why.)  Emma said, "This is more important than tigers."

Mark has coined the phrase "Cambodia Cash" and whenever he sees any money he wants to put it in the jar.

I let him.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lumberjacks and Leggings

When Emma gets home from school, it's like a national holiday around here.  Braeden and I stop what we're doing to talk to her and Mark hits the road because he knows his friends are now home.

We all celebrate holidays in different ways.

A few days ago we were sitting around the table with our snack and Emma's chatter.  She was telling us all about how aMAZing Hannah is at multiplication tables, about the assembly with Australian animals and about how Mrs. Schroeder got mad at the other tables for talking but not hers.

I said, "Did you do any school work?" (by chance?)

She said, "Yes, but I want to tell you about the good things."  And she was off and running talking about recess.

She finally took a breath and asked Braeden about his day "in that ugly shirt."

Braeden wanted a plaid flannel shirt because the 80s are back Big Time.  (What's next, Laura Ashley dresses with big shoulder pads?)  Emma doesn't approve of the plaid flannel.

Braeden smiled and said in his wry way, "I'll have you know that I didn't get ANY compliments on this shirt today."

Emma said, "You look like a lumberjack."

Braeden said, "At least I don't wear pink leggings."

To which Emma's waggish reply was, "I'll have you know leggings are in style--I think."

Braeden started to laugh and said, "I love you, Emma."

She smiled back one of her Emma smiles that involves her whole face.

And I thought, despite their messy rooms, their consta-forgetfulness, the laundry lists of aggravations they cause from time to time...

these two are keepers.

In their droll, self-deprecating, best of friends way, these two are keepers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One Year

It's been one Halloween where he wasn't there to ooh and ahh over the kids costumes while wearing his jack-o-lantern beanie hat.

It's been one Thanksgiving where he wasn't at the head of the table.

It's been one Pikku Joulu where he didn't snuggle with Mark to keep him still while his siblings performed.

It's been one Christmas since he quietly gathered up Christmas wrappings that mounded high all around.

It's been one year without trips taken together.

It's been one holiday season when he didn't put someone to shame in a head to head karaoke match.

It's been one holiday season that he didn't complain good-naturedly about all of the snowmen Geri decorates with.

It's been one Valentine's day where the kids didn't make him Valentine cards.

It's been one tulip festival without him.

It's been one birthday of ours he wasn't there for.

It's been one Easter where he wasn't there for the Easter Egg hunt.

It's been one spring where he wasn't there working magic in his yard to create lovely flowers.

It's been one Father's Day without him.

It's been one of his birthdays where he wasn't there for chocolate cake.

It's been one summer where he wasn't there squirting water from a water gun at an unsuspecting grandchild, where he wasn't manning the grill, where he wasn't mowing his lawn and watering his yard.

It's been one summer without a picnic at the beach.

don't be fooled by the jackets...this really was summer

It's been one year of growth he didn't mark on his garage wall.

It's been one August without a salmon barbecue.

It's been one summer of swim meets he didn't watch.

It's been one year without his advice for repair projects.

It's been one summer without bike rides along the river.


It's been one year without his warm smile and arms that every grandchild (and even some that weren't his actual grandchildren) seemed to want to be wrapped up in.

It's been one year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Celebrity Endorsement

If this were one of those blogs that lots and lots of people read and I was paid to endorse products, I know what I'd want to endorse.

It's important to figure these things out ahead of time.  Someday when I have more than my tens of readers, (Hello out there!  I love you for reading my blog!) I will be glad I've made the decision about what to endorse.  By then I may be really busy...

I would want to endorse Benefit Cosmetics.  Cosmetics are about as natural a fit for me and my skill set as nuclear physics (not at all).

Adam has turned me high maintenance though (I'm not complaining) by introducing me to Benefit because he works with them at

(Isn't Adam a benefit in lots of ways?)

I don't know why I love Benefit so much.  It's not like I have much to compare them to in my repertoire of beauty products.  I love the packaging and snappy names.  (Confessions of a Concealaholic, Ooh La Lift, Some kind-a Gorgeous) I love how when I look at their catalog, it seems like it was written for a completely different person than me (someone who knows what primer is and the difference between concealer and foundation).  I love that the catalog makes me believe that maybe I too can become so well versed.  Maybe I'll slap some of that on my face and be a stunning beauty (ta-da!).


The other day, Adam needed me to order something from two different Benefit sites.  Whatever I wanted.  The only thing he needed was the packaging when it arrived.  And to watch me order it.

I agreed.  But only because I'm such a supportive wife.

I ordered some more Something about Sofia perfume.

  Because I love it.  Love.  What's a word that means more than love?  That's how I feel about that perfume.

I also ordered a Big Beautiful Eyes kit because why wouldn't I?

It arrived in a blaze of glory, wrapped up like a sassy pink confection:

How is it that that sticker makes me so happy?

It also came with some free samples.  (Notice, I know what it is.  Possibly?)

I decided to try out the Big Beautiful Eyes.

Big?  Beautiful?  I asked Adam if I had Big Beautiful Eyes and he was very diplomatic, "What do you think?" he asked.

"So no?" I said.

"You already were beautiful," he said.  He plays it safe, that one.

 In the end, I think what I love about Benefit is that it is fun.  Just fun.  And before my dad asks me, yes, I do have more to do than play with make-up on a grey afternoon.

But I don't want to do it.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

(Coincidentally, Benefit's new website was launched in the middle of the night--because that's when new websites are launched.  Adam was in Seattle for the occasion.  He left here around 10:00 p.m. and got home...sometime but I was asleep so I couldn't tell you when.  I know he got home though because he's currently sleeping like a baby.  Or how you wish a baby would sleep when you're the sleep deprived mother.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Blame the Greeks

Mark told me he did not want any of the chicken salad I had made.

He said, "I'm not offending you."

"Oh good," I said.  (It's so nice to know when you are not being offended.)

He said, "I don't blame you.  I blame the Greeks."

Then he said, "Wait, is that a Greek salad?"

I said, "No."

He said, "Oh, well then.  Never mind."

The Greeks are officially off the hook.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Try Something New

Friday, in honor of our new school year and the new frontiers we are vanquishing, we had a Try Something New party.

We went to a restaurant we'd never been to as a family.  Romios by Silver Lake.  It's one of the closest restaurants to our house but we hadn't been there.

the view from our table

We tried to order things we'd never had before.

Emma and Adam shared a Zorba pizza, complete with tzatziki sauce, gyro meat, olives, etc.


I had the G.A.S.P. calzone. (garlic, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and pesto)

I asked Adam after he took the picture if it was one of my oh-so-photogenic moments.  I guess we all know the answer now.

Still, look at that calzone...

The boys didn't like their food so much and the background music threatened to do Adam in.  I'm not sure we'll ever darken the door of Romios again.

(but maybe I'll go back alone because I liked my calzone)

When we got home, we played a new game that we now love:

Mark was continually told at the restaurant to calm down and lower his voice.  

Creationary was time for Mark to shine.  You don't have teams but if you did, there would be a scramble to be on Mark's team.

You draw a card then, like Pictionary except with Lego bricks, you try to get everyone to guess the picture on your card.

Mark did this cactus in about 30 seconds.  When it was anyone else's turn, we would stare at the bricks for a minute and had to consider what we were doing.

I told Mark that the next time he drives me crazy, I would remember how good he is at Creationary.

At bedtime, Mark crashed into me and stepped on me simply because he can't aim and does everything at full speed. (And Mark's big enough that it hurt.)

I said, "Mark, I'm remembering that alligator you DO have talents."

(even if walking in a straight line isn't one of them)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blog Redesign

At great personal sacrifice (we didn't watch a few of our favorite British TV shows because of it), we redesigned my blog.

When I say we, I mean Adam did all of the work and I gave him encouraging comments.

I'm pretty sure he couldn't have done it without me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Today I Love

Today I love:

the flying Vs of geese honking their way across the sky

the buzz and general disarray that has returned to our school room

walking to the bus stop to greet Emma in the afternoon

that Braeden thinks middle school is "awesome" including 1) the cute girl in science 2) his discovery of the school library and 3) his beloved band teacher

snuggling under a blanket with Mark to hear him read

how when Braeden plays the baritone it sounds like a sea lion

Adam who has had to deal with a wife who's been possibly a little (hardly noticeable) bit, um...emotional

the fact that on the first day of school, I talked to my dad, my mom twice, both sisters, Janet, Adam's sister and his mom on the phone in addition to a complete rundown sort of walk with Stephanie--could I possibly get more support in this world?

that when Braeden supplied me with (yet another) list of additional school supplies he needed and I said, "OK," he paused and said, "Thanks for all the help you've been to me, Mom."  (Who are you and what have you don't with my favorite self centered teenager?)

And I LOVE that it is Friday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Day of School: Part Two

The post with the obligatory pictures.

Adam took this picture of me hugging Braeden.  What is not apparent from the photo is my breaking heart.  Don't be jealous that I look so gorgeous at 6:45 (!) in the morning.  It took me all night to get my hair looking that ratty.

Here's Braeden, 8th grader extraordinaire:

Don't be jealous of the beautiful light filled morning.  The brilliant sunshine...

Here's Emma, 6th grader extraordinaire:

Young enough that the umbrella is not a social faux pas.  Young enough that it's a little bit light out when it's time for her school.

Don't be jealous of the pony tail.  It took me about 30 seconds.  What can I say?  I'm a hair whiz.  (And it was sort of miracle that Emma even let me touch her hair.)

Because we all know I'm really not a hair whiz.

They both came home with smiles.

It's looks like I'll survive.

Happily, I spent the entire day with this one:

He's a bargain at any price...and comes complete with nutrition facts.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day Of School

The kids are excited/nervous.

I don't know how I feel.  (Like someone canceled Christmas?  Like the world is ending?)

So for some bolstering:

I am not afraid...I was born to do this.
 -Joan of Arc

If Joan of Arc could turn the tide of an entire war before her eighteenth birthday, you can get out of bed.
 -E. Jean Carroll

Today I will:

--keep a stiff upper lip

--make my butterflies fly in formation

--keep my chin up.


(who am I kidding?)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Saturday Mark and I went to the baptism of one of his little friends.  I spent the first several minutes of the baptism feeling embarrassed about how Mark looked.

He and Braeden had chosen the ensemble Mark was wearing and let's just say they're not going to win any fashion awards.  We were already running late so it had to be OK.  (And it was OK.  Does anyone care what Mark wears?  Besides me?  No.)

As I let my angst over Mark's appearance slip away, I was able to enjoy the baptism.  I love baptisms.  They never fail to make me happy.

Brother Park, a member of our bishopric and a man who has come to our family's rescue numerous times, spoke.  He's high on my People I Admire list.

And I always want to remember what he said.

He told Finn, the little boy baptized, to remember today.

He said, "Remember how it's a little bit rainy.  Remember how warm the water was.  Remember all these people that are here.  Remember how you feel."

He went on to say that there will be days ahead that are scary, lonely, hard, bad.  He counseled Finn to remember today.

There are days that are scary, lonely, hard and bad.  Lots of them.

But then there are the days to remember.  I remember my baptism.  I remember I locked myself in the bathroom and said I wouldn't get baptized.  Enoch had chicken pox and my uncles weren't going to come to my baptism with their young families.

So I wasn't going to get baptized.

I yelled through the door, "I'm not getting baptized unless Uncle Fred is there!"

And my uncle Fred was there.  My aunt stayed home with their babies and he drove the four hour round trip alone.  For me.

When my days are scary, lonely, hard and bad, I can remember that.

I can remember the day I saw Adam after his mission. (handsome!)  The day we were married.  The way more light filled our house with the birth of each child.  I can remember being in the temple with my parents and siblings.  I can remember the glow of Emma's face the moment after she was baptized.  I can remember the first day Braeden passed the sacrament as a newly minted deacon.  Crooked tie.  White shirt.  Nervous gait.

I can remember that Mark's most vivid memory of the day his grandpa died is when we prayed together (the kids and I) in Emma's room and we felt a palpable warmth that can only be our Heavenly Father's love.

Remember, remember, remember.

I will.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Five Day Forecast

I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow?

Is the Labor Day forecast correct? 

The Monday forecast?

An average of the two?

Do you want to tell them Labor Day is on Monday or should I?

A Message To My Sisters

To my cheeky sister who left me this comment in response to my post about our insatiable compulsion to rate things:

"Maybe you & Adam should get involved with rating root beer or something."

She knew in fact that we were having a a root beer tasting party.  We invited over several other couples and handed out score cards and cups of root beer.

What is it about us and rating things?

For me it was one of our most enjoyable parties though.  (I would tell you which root beer won but there were strong opinions on all sides.  One root beer that a few of us had to pour on the lawn because it was nasty was the favorite of some others.)  We also played Hoopla.  When you play Hoopla you can't help but have a good time.  Especially if a certain Brent Johnson unnamed neighbor is there who is super competitive and tries to draw a picture of a voting booth.

To my complimentary sister who left me this comment:

"...all this time I thought you could beat Adam at Scrabble. What gives?"

I can't beat Adam at Scrabble.  It's Boggle that I can beat him at.  He offers to play it when I'm cranky because he knows it cheers me up to beat him.  (Not that I'm ever cranky...)

Adam can do strategy and you need strategy to win at Scrabble. 

To my doubting sister (same sister as the complimentary sister...I only have two sisters) who left me this comment:

"...was the spider really that big or was it an exaggeration?"

Yes it was.

The above picture is a different spider but representative of the creatures we get this time of year.  This little guy was in our coat closet freaking out Mark's freaky.  Braeden took a picture of it.  That's his hand.  It's gratifying that Braeden's not afraid. 

To both good sisters:

This morning I told Braeden he was handsome.  I said, "Do you get that a lot?"  He said, "Yes, from some people."

I said, "Who?"

He said, "My aunts."

Thanks for telling my boy he's handsome. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Winds of Change

Think about the person you know in the world who has the hardest time dealing with change.

Multiply that times 10.

You've got me.

I've never done well with change.  It doesn't matter if it's good change or bad change.  My worst fear when I was a little girl was that I'd have to move.  I cried when I graduated from high school.  My first semester of college was hard.  I couldn't eat much for a few weeks when Adam and I started dating.  I didn't eat more than a few bites the first week we were married.  And I was happy to be married, just unsettled.

Motherhood was a very ungraceful adjustment for me.

I've been desolate each and every time we've moved.

I resent that my kids don't fit into little kid sizes any more.

My sisters know all of this about me.  They've each asked me in the last week, "How are you?"  We all know it's coming.  I think they're ready, with their headsets, so that when I completely melt down, they'll at least be able to fold laundry and cook dinner while they persuade me that life will go on.

There's an undercurrent of anxiety in my days. (And unfortunately, now I can eat, I just can't could have been a clever diet plan!) My stomach clenches when I realize how many days until school starts. 

Why am I even admitting this?  Did you need further proof that I am slightly unhinged?

Yesterday was a Meet and Greet and Janet and Freja, our intrepid guides, took Miss Emma and me to school to meet and greet her teacher.  She seems like a very nice lady.  It seems like a great classroom.  Emma was happily chatting with her friends.

It's all going to be good.

As I was leaving, I looked around at the vibrant energy of the place.  Excited kids with backpacks, smiling teachers.  I turned to Janet and said, "I love schools."

When I was a school teacher (at a school as opposed to in my upstairs school room), I sometimes felt like I was getting away with something.  They were paying me to do something thoroughly enjoyable.  (Well, they weren't paying me much.)

Maybe that little joyous reminding glimpse of schools was indeed a tender mercy.  Next week is going to be Hard.  Someday sending Mark will be (heaven help me) Hard.  When they leave home will be I-can't-even-think-about-it Hard.

But I love schools.  I love teaching in schools too.

My life won't end. Even if the landscape of my days changes, there will be new adventures.  New frontiers.

I might (might) survive.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Adam had a conversation with his friend Eric (esteemed husband of my esteemed friend Janet).  They were talking about birthdays and their spouses and eventually love languages and compatibility.  (They had a little time on their hands—at scout camp.)

Adam said Eric had asked him how Adam and I are compatible.  Besides camping (which I don't like) and taking walks (which he doesn't like) we like to do almost all of the same things.

One of them is the bizarre desire we have to rate things.  We always rate the shows we watch on Netflix and Hulu.  We made a rating system for episodes of Corner Gas, a Canadian TV show we love.  We have it all documented in a little notebook.  We rate for the sheer pleasure of rating.  I'm not sure what this says about us.

Yesterday I bought Adam a gift.  (I love giving gifts + I love Adam = I love giving Adam gifts.)

We shall now merrily critique our way through restaurants.  (Another thing we both love:  eating in restaurants.) Someday this little book I purchased will be a valuable resource to restaurant patrons everywhere.  We are philanthropic, really.  The world will thank us profusely for sharing our esteemed opinion.

In the meantime, we'll keep pretending.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Not to Brag...

I used to think that spiders were a part of Halloween decorations because spiders are ugly and Halloween is ugly.  It's a natural pairing.

Since living in this lovely corner of the world, I realize that maybe spiders are part of Halloween because in the fall, spiders move in.  I'm not sure where they spend the rest of the year.

Yesterday Mark came into my room with a nervous expression.  He said, "Remember that spider?  It's still in my room."

I went in his room and couldn't find it.  I lifted his mattress, I looked in the corners.  I told Mark if he saw the spider again to tell me and I'd come and get it.

One of Mark's defining characteristics is that he doesn't hold anything in his head for more than 30 seconds.  He forgot all about the spider.

Last night when Adam and I were walking up to bed, Mark's spider was sitting on the stairs.  It was big, several inches in diameter.  And ugly.  Adam took a step backwards and I stepped over the spider to the school room for a weapon.  The closest thing I could find was a box of crayons.  I smacked the spider.  It was briefly stunned then started running around like a crazy spider.  Adam took another step back.  I walloped the spider again, this time with more enthusiasm, then I picked it up and flushed it.

Adam said, "I feel a little bit sick now."

While it embarrasses me when my children are afraid of spiders, it makes me just the tiniest bit happy when my husband is afraid of spiders.


is smarter
is stronger
is taller
is funnier
has a better sense of direction
is more outgoing
understands computers
is more patient
always beats me at Scrabble
is a better driver
can stay up late and still be charming
is more educated
can do math in his head
has more earning potential
is a more creative cook
knows more
is a better story teller
is more rational
knows who directs movies
can start the lawn mower on the first try


That delights me just a little bit because I will take what I can get.

(And the thing I really love about Adam?  If I were afraid of spiders, he would have killed it for me.  He wouldn't have liked it, but I know he would have done it.)


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