Friday, March 30, 2012

May I Suggest

I made a new discovery via my dear cousin Hannah's pinterest account.  (I am beginning to think that anything wonderful in this world somehow involves Hannah.

They are called Energy Bites.  I make them on the weekend and they never make it to the next weekend.  Last weekend I even made a double batch.  On Tuesday, Adam said, "Who has been eating all of these?"  Mark and I looked at each other, a little sheepish.

But they're good.  And they seem all healthy and virtuous.

And they're really good.

I think I found the original source of the recipe here.

I am grateful.

Here's the recipe:

Smashed Peas and Carrots: No-Bake Energy Bites {Recipe}
http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2011/08/no-bake-energy-bites-recipe.html August 23, 2011
No-Bake Energy Bites
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

I toast the coconut first which I like.  Also I have used peanut butter chips and I think I'll make them with craisins next time.  Of course you can't go wrong with chocolate chips.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Mentors

1.  She was my sixth grade teacher.   She made me decide once and for all that teacher is what I wanted to be when I grew up.  When I was a junior and senior in high school, I was her teacher's aid.  I'd walk to the elementary school from the high school for one period each day.  I designed bulletin boards for her.  (She taught me purple was the all purpose border...it works with every season and every holiday.)  Sometimes she had me work with struggling students.  Sometimes she had me correct papers.  (Sometimes I would forget to correct papers and find myself absorbed in her words.)  She had my friend Wyatt and me teach country swing dancing to the class at Christmas time.  We danced to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and it was fun.

When I was in college, training to be a teacher, she told me that she'd give me all of her teaching supplies when she retired.  It took my breath away.  For one thing, I was completely honored that she'd select me of all people and for another thing, she had amazing things.

I quit teaching school after Braeden was born and I've always felt like I let her down.  She didn't end up giving me her teaching supplies.

My children love ancient history because I love ancient history.  I love ancient history because of her.

I think about her all the time.

2. She was my creative writing teacher in college.  She breathed life into the small bubble inside of me that wanted to write.  After her classes, I needed to write.  I put more effort into her classes than all my other college courses combined.  She made me laugh every week.  Her praise meant the world to me.  She taught me to write in my own voice and to not take myself too seriously.  I took every class from her that I could.

When I saw her, several years after college, she remembered me (!).  She asked me if I was still writing.  I stammered that I was not.  I had babies and toddlers.  I was trying to accomplish big things like make dinner and change diapers.  I was not writing.

The disappointment on her face was obvious.

Every day I want to write more than I do.  Every day it gets shoved to the bottom of the list.  It is on the list though.

I think about her all the time.

3.  She was my principal when I taught school at a tiny private school.  She stood by the door each morning, greeting each student by name.  She stood by the door every afternoon, wishing every student a good evening.  She was elegant and wise, a spectacular teacher and exceptionally kind.  When I told her I was expecting a baby, she was thrilled.  (She had raised seven of her own.)  When I told her I thought I'd better keep teaching after he was born, because Adam was still in college, her face clouded.  She said, "You don't want to do that."  She explained that babies grow up fast and also how they grow up is not always in your control.  She said, "You don't want to look back and wish you'd spent more time, that you'd rocked them more as a baby."

I believed her.  I quit teaching and we were extraordinarily poor.

I have tried to live by what she taught me.  I've tried to spend the time.  Sometimes I miss the mark.

But I know which target I am aiming for.

I think about her all the time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ha! Ha! Ha! Laughed the Wickersham brothers!

source

We are somewhat immersed in the world of "Seussical", the musical happening at Braeden's school.  He is one of the Wickersham brothers, a group of troublesome monkeys.

Monday night, I embarked on the adventure of taking the three monkeys to a thrift store to costume shop.

I may never recover.

We met the costume designer at the store and between the two of us, we expended our best mom efforts to keep three teenage boys in check.  I have discovered that taking three boys that love drama to the thrift store is like taking little kids to a candy store where everything is at eye level.

There seemed to be two goals:  finding the most off beat clothes and making each other laugh.  They also made me laugh.  A lot.

The costume designer said, "The thing with these kids is, nothing scares them.  They'll put anything on."

Case in point when an otherwise perfectly normal senior boy donned a red sequined shirt and sashayed down the aisle just to make the other two smirk.  When the same boy saw a complete outfit, made of velour, he said, "I love that so much."  It ended up being his costume.

They kept wandering off and reemerging with something crazy.  I didn't know if we'd ever get out of the store.  Then, when they were dressed head to toe in hip hop inspired Wickersham attire, someone said something about the cleanliness of the thrift store finds.  One boy said, "I am sure they wash everything in the store."

"Um.  No, they don't," replied the costume lady.

His eyes got wide.  "Do you realize what I have underneath these clothes?  My bare skin!"  Then he started squirming around, "Now I itch!"

I think I love being around these kids.  They are hilarious and sweet and confident and know their own minds.

Nothing could make me happier than the group Braeden has landed in that he calls friends.

I am just not sure I want to take them to the thrift store again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My kids

Here are some of the things that have been going on lately...and making me smile:

...watching Phineas and Ferb with our kids and listening to Braeden and Emma talk about the literary elements.  (Do you two recognize how nerdy this is on so many levels?)

...birthday talk.  Emma and Mark were discussing gift ideas a fews days before our birthday.  Mark said, "I usually just get away with no gift by making something out of Lego."  The day before our birthday Mark said, "I have a perfect gift for you Mom.  I will do you hair tomorrow."

"I kind of like to do my own hair, " I said.  I have been a victim recipient of his hairstylings before.

He said, "I can't believe it.  You are rejecting my gift."  I told him of course I wasn't.  He said, "Yeah, you sort of are."

(I sort of was.)

...going to Prospector Liquidators with Braeden and Emma.  Emma had been before with Adam.  Braeden and I had not, so the three of us went a few weeks ago.  It's a terrible store.  Really junky.  B. and E. like it because they can afford everything inside.  Before we went in, Emma said, "Just breathe through your mouth Mom...there's a smell inside the store."

...business dealings with Mark.  He wanted an app for my phone.  I told him to cough up the $.99 and I'd be happy to get it.  He hunted around his bedroom and found a penny.  I figured he was thinking somewhere along the lines of "now I have $.98 to go."  But no.  He said, "Now, when I get a dollar, you can give me that for change."  He was so proud of his foresight.  Is it any wonder that kid is top of his class? Top of his class.

...celebrating St. Patrick's Day by watching "Waking Ned Devine".  Adam and I had seen it before (we love it) but none of our kids had.  There's a picture of a naked man riding a motorcycle on the back of the DVD case.  When he saw it, Braeden said, "What kind of movie is this?"

Emma gave me a stern look and asked, "Is this movie appropriate?"  (They trust me so much.)  They loved the movie though.  How can you not?

...living with Mark.  I am the luckiest girl alive that he's my shadow.  Occasionally we have snuggle time for recess.  Occasionally he wants to run away from home and I want to help him pack.  But always, always, things are interesting.  I forced him to read Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran for school for a book report.  (There's really no other nice way of saying it.  I forced him.)  He argued and complained and I didn't budge.  Olivia had told me that Lili, fellow third grader, loved the book.  I was sure Mark would too.  If he would. just. read. it.  He started to.

Then one day, he closed the book and said quietly, "I will not read this book.  Wolves killed a baby buffalo."  I convinced him it was an isolated incident (I had no idea) and that he still had to read the book.  I was not going to be dissuaded.

Until the next day.

Again, during silent reading time, he closed the book.  He had tears in his chocolate brown eyes.  He said, "Now it is a boy that died.  I won't read it."

I finally relented, not wanting to scar him emotionally.  At least not more than the usual amount of emotional scarring.  Mark said, "I don't think Lili (his quiet, pretty cousin) really read this book.  I don't think she could have handled it.  Maybe she skimmed it." 

Later he took an arsenal of swords outside so he and his friends could pretend to kill each other.

I don't get it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I am glad for many things

Things making me happy today:

Sunshine this weekend.  It didn't last.  Of course it didn't last.  I loved it though.  I weeded a little bit of a flower bed.  I swept my front porch.  I felt happy.

Recalling my birthday celebrations.  Everyone from people on facebook to my family to my dear friends to my children to the birthday boy himself made me feel loved.  (Especially Adam...he knows how to make my heart sing.)  There's nothing more anyone could want. 


My parents' new blog.  They are blogging from Nauvoo, IL.  It made me happy to read my mom's words, to see their pictures (I still can't get used to my dad without his mustache).  One picture was my particular favorite:

If you can't steal a picture from your parents, who can you steal a picture from?
My mom took the photo to show us the interior of their new house.  The first thing I noticed about the picture is my dad's scriptures on the floor next to his chair.  At home in Nevada, my dad has a recliner (slightly bigger than that one).  He sits there when he talks on the phone too.  Also, his scriptures were always there next to him.  Every morning in all my memory, if I was up early enough, I saw my dad sit in his chair and read from the scriptures before he started his day.  I may not always appreciate the pale, prone-to-sunburn-and-freckle-skin I inherited from my parents.  I may not love the un-athletic genes I was bequeathed.  I may wish I had inherited more of the height no one shared with me but was given to all of my siblings instead.  But my biggest hope is that I will inherit the legacy of goodness my parents have provided.

They're good ones, those two.

They are my lighthouses, my guideposts, my examples.  Whatever you want to call it, I love them.  I aspire to be more like them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'd really like to celebrate this happy day with you...

The other day Emma asked me what age I would be if I could be any age.

I told her the age I am now.

And now (as of today) that age is 39.

It's a good age.  Adam and I have an entire year to plan a bash for our joint 40th birthday party.

I feel like I can be a little demanding since it is my birthday:  Janet will you bring your onion dip?  Jill will you bring your salsa?  Stephanie will you bring that dip/cheesecake/something amazing we had at your house the night we played Qwirkle?  (I can't remember, I am getting old.)  As for my brothers and sisters, remember how everyone went to Marianne's 40th?  You could all stay with me.  Just imagine.  The teenagers!  The babies!  The long legs!  The facial hair!  It would be a sight to behold.

I quite like getting older.  I feel smarter, wiser, more confident and more knowledgeable about what matters most.

(Sometimes I still feel really dumb, anxious, self conscious and adrift so you can see how far I had to come.)

I like getting older with Adam.  If Adam's with me, everything is more fun.  Especially birthdays.

Happy Birthday to the one who puts things back together (me) when they fall apart (me again), makes me laugh every single day, and is the ringleader of every adventure worth having.

I love you, Birthday Boy

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I've said it before...

...and I'll say it again.  My cousin Hannah is a superstar!  She is creative and talented and you'd think that would be enough but she is also kind and hilarious and beautiful.  (With beautiful children!)

She has launched a new project:  A coloring book for her adorable paper dolls.  If you have little girls, you should get one of these books.  If she gets enough pre-orders, she will print the coloring book.

Go order one.  Do.

Four eyes

Something I wonder about my blog.

1. Should I continue to write whatever sort of drivel pops into my head?

2.  Should I only post something that is Worthy and Well Written?  (so, you know, blog less frequently...)

I am reading The Walk by Richard Paul Evans for book club.  In it I read this (and I'm paraphrasing):  if you wait to write just the important things then you'll probably never write anything, because important things look like everything else except when you look back on them.

Someday, I may look back on the day Emma drew eyes on her eyelids and be glad I documented it.



Or maybe I'll just wonder, like I did at the time, why they don't give her more homework.

I love this girl.  She's a little bit nuts, but I love her.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

While I was away...

First I want to apologize for any alarm I caused.  The people who know and love me best immediately called, texted, inquired.  Are you OK?  It seemed like I had sent up the ultimate smoke signal of distress.

I didn't mean to be so melodramatic (but I did appreciate the concern).  I needed to step back.  I needed to focus.

Am I the only person who has identity and other kinds of crises (real or imagined) on a regular basis?

Because I do.

I didn't know what I wanted to do, just that what I was doing wasn't working.  I decided to take a break from blogging and felt a little relieved.  I asked myself when I would go back to it.  Why did I need a break?  What was the deal anyway? Then I told myself to relax.  I didn't have to answer any of those questions.

So I didn't.

Am I the only person who has full conversations with myself?

Because I do.

I didn't ever think I would abandon my blog really and truly.  I love writing too much (and it's such a lovely outlet for a little catharsis or narcissism or both).

Yesterday Marianne called me and asked, "Do you need me to take over some of your responsibilities so you can have enough time to blog?"  (Yes, the mother of six.  The homeschooler of four.  The bishop's wife. She doesn't have anything going on.  I think I'll have her do some of my work--no really, I would if I could.) I decided to dust off the old laptop.

So am I a better and wiser person now, after my hiatus?  Probably not.

But I am happy to be blogging again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A New Quote

I like to write quotes on the chalkboard by my front door.  Occasionally one of my children (Braeden) highjacks my quote board and writes one of their (his) own.  (And then sometimes Adam alters Braeden's quote.)  Get your own quote boards.

Here's what I wrote on my board lately.



I need more awesomeness in my life.  I need to think more about what awesomeness means to me.  I need something different.

Maybe I need different weather?  (Dear Seattle:  I hate you...don't worry, I'm fickle.  I will love you again sometime.  Maybe when you stop raining.  Just think about it, OK?)

Maybe I need more sleep?

Maybe I need more time?  More perspective?

Maybe I need to arrange furniture?

I don't know.

I'm going to try to take some time off from some of the things I do.  Some of the dailiness.  Blogging for one thing.  I'll try to figure things out.

I'll be back.

Fat Old Lady Yogurt

There are a lot of reasons to love teenagers.  One is the dose of humility they serve up.  Regularly.

Earlier this week, I packed Braeden a lunch.  I was out of grapes or fruit of any kind (I blame Mark who is always on-the-verge-of-perishing hungry)  and needed something else for his lunch.  I found some yogurt in the back of the fridge and popped it in Braeden's lunch bag to supplement the sandwich, cookies, chocolate milk, string cheese, granola bar.  He is also always on-the-verge-of-perishing hungry.

So naturally, you'd think Braeden would come home from school and tell me how much he appreciated my time and effort in packing him a lunch.  Naturally.

He told me he and his friends had declared it fat old lady yogurt and he brought it back home.

In other words, thanks but no thanks.

I love that boy.

(I keep reminding myself.)

I do not consider myself a fat old lady.  I do realize however, that I am no spring chicken either.  At Disneyland, I noticed the shoes other people were wearing and thought, "Their feet are going to hurt them later."

Then I thought, "Wow, I am getting old."

I seldom do risky things like stay up past 10:30.  When Emma wanted me to take her to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games, I told her it was adorable when she said such funny things.

I also remember going to the midnight movie at the Varsity Theater many weekends when I was in college.

I am getting old.

But there are occasional glimmers of risk taking.  Glimmers that there's life in the old girl yet.

I have a favorite wall in my house.  It's in my stairwell.  I like it because I decided to turn it into a gallery wall.  I decided I should try to place everything carefully, measuring and the like.

Then I told myself it was adorable when I thought such funny things.

I do better when I just use my eye instead of measuring.  I trust my eye more than my accuracy at math.

Here's the wall.


It is far from perfect but I love it and I love that there's space to add more when the mood strikes.

The perfect amount of risk for someone with fat old lady yogurt in her fridge.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tax Dollars at Work



Yesterday there was a band trip of some description and Emma said that most of the kids were gone from her block of language arts and history classes.  (They're honors classes and maybe there's a correlation, honors classes = band kids.)  Whatever the reason, the classes were sparse.

So the teachers did what teachers sometimes do and showed a movie.

The Disney cartoon, The Jungle Book.

The teacher said if the principal found out, they would say they were watching it because they'd been studying about Africa in history.

Emma said, "I didn't want to tell her it's set in India."

I wonder if someone should mention The Lion King.  You know, for next time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Springing Forward is the Pits

Saw this on facebook via my cousins Britta and Leslie.  What would I do without you two?

Sunday night no one wanted to go to bed.

Including me.

Then Monday morning I woke up in a definite haze.  I don't even think you can call it a haze.  It was hazier than a haze.  I woke up Braeden.  I woke up Emma.  I went back to bed.

At 7:00, I woke up again, surprised that it was "so late."  (It wasn't late, stupid Daylight Savings Time.)  I took a hot bath which is the best way to approach any day.  Adam staggered in the room and said, "Didn't you wake up Braeden?"

"Yes!"

Adam threw on some clothes and said, "He's freaking out because school is starting."

"Is Emma still here?" I inquired.

"I don't know."

Oh, dear.

But really, what could I do at that point so I stayed in the hot bath.

I worried about Janet wasting her time trying to pick up Braeden for seminary and our house being dark and sleeping.  I decided to call her and beg forgiveness.  (Last week had its share of debacles in this regard too.  Let's just say Janet is very forgiving and Braeden will never flirt with girls again when he's supposed to be ready to be picked up from play practice.  He'd better not.)

But then I saw an email from Janet and there had been no seminary yesterday anyway.

And I had no idea?

Am I maybe the least organized, discombobulated person alive?

When Adam got home from the panicked getting Braeden to school on time, I said, "Did you know there WAS no seminary today?"

He said, "Yeah, Braeden remembered on the way to school."

Sheesh.

Later Mark, who tends to grouse about whatever seems available, was complaining about Benjamin Franklin and Daylight Savings Time.  He refuses to accept the new time.  He keeps telling me what time it "really" is.

I don't know.

I just want to feel like I have a handle on my life.  Is that asking too much?

When it was still light after dinner last night, I felt happier about everything.  I think I can be friends with Daylight Savings Time after all.  


Monday, March 12, 2012

My Own Special Touch

My sisters and mom are the only people on the planet that will get the title of this post.  It's still worth it though.

I decided to make a cake on Friday.   I found this recipe called Grandma's Chocolate Layer Cake.

(Which is sort of misnamed if you ask me because the cake is not chocolate, just the frosting.)

(But who am I to judge?)

I more or less followed the recipe.  (Following recipes to the letter is not exactly my forte.)

I don't know if I didn't grease the pans sufficiently or if I should have taken them out of the pans earlier (it was silent reading time and I lost track of time) or maybe it was something else altogether.  But the cake would not come out of the pans.  I tried all my usual tricks and ended up with this:


I (naturally) nibbled some of the crumbs and the cake was very good.  I had to salvage it somehow.

I remembered cake pops which are delicious but troublesome.  They are made with cake crumbs and frosting.  (And I had cake crumbs!)

I cut the frosting recipe by 1/3 (probably--my math in my head skills are dodgy).  And why 1/3?  I don't know.  I also had neither bittersweet chocolate nor milk chocolate.  I used a combination of semi sweet, unsweetened and white chocolate.  It worked.  Can you go wrong with chocolate?

Then I added pieces of cake:


It resulted in a sort of indefinable creation:


It was the consistency of cookie dough and reminded me of the pudding cakes Adam used to bring me back from London.  Delicious.

Later, after dinner, I arranged balls of the concoction with raspberries and whipped cream.  Gavin was here with us and watching me arrange. He asked, "Are you making faces?"  I told him I was making something much more exciting than faces.

He said, "What is more exciting than faces?"


Probably nothing now that I think about it.

But if ever you ever wreck a cake, don't despair.  This was pretty good.

Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 Election

Things are heating up.

I mean, have you seen all the election signs?


Mark is running for "leader".  He needs a campaign manager to help him with spin though for the gaffes he makes in front of his constituents.  On Wednesday, before scouts, he told me, "I think I will like scouts better since you aren't my leader anymore."

(We have new leaders for the 9-year-old Bears so now I just have two very sweet and docile 8-year-old Wolves.  And guess what, Mark?  I think I will like scouts better since I am not your leader anymore.  You're pretty...energetic.)

When Adam saw Mark's campaign signs, he helpfully pointed out Mark doesn't know how to write the letter a.  Not my fault.

We're blaming his school teacher.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Bad Combination

My girls.  Olivia didn't like this picture so much because she was very pregnant...it was taken a few years ago.  She's still cute though, isn't she?
There are a few defining characteristics about my mom.

She wants to help.  It's how she expresses her love.

Also, she doesn't really want anyone to help her.  She is the queen of I-can-handle-it-alone-thank-you-very-much.

My mom has three daughters.  We are all more or less the same way*.  When my mom was preparing for her mission, Marianne and Olivia showed up on her doorstep from time to time declaring they were there to help.

My mom resisted.  She argued.

(They wanted to help + my mom didn't want help.)

Marianne and Olivia inherited my mom's strong will though.  I think they overpowered her occasionally.

I felt bad being so far away, not helping.

(Not that my mom would have wanted me to help.)

Olivia is expecting a new little cherub and without my mom there I am going to go help her when the baby is born.  Marianne is her neighbor and as efficient as a Costco checker...you know, the one in the line next to yours, the line you should have chosen...but I want to help anyway.

Olivia told me I didn't have to.  She said it wasn't necessary.

(I want to help + she doesn't want me to help.)

She finally relented.

Then I talked to Marianne.  She was indignant, slighted.  She said, "I can help Olivia!  Why does she think I can't handle it?"

(I want to help + Marianne doesn't want me to help.)

I said, "Oh Marianne.  You are too much like our mom.  So is Olivia.  So am I."

She said sadly, "I know.  It's a bad combination."

I was telling our brother Enoch about this exchange.  He chuckled.  Because he knows.  He said, "Yeah, there's a tendency to be a little territorial."

There may not be much hope for us.

Still, I love my sisters.  And if we are going to be like our mom, we could do a lot worse.

*I think I may differ slightly from them.  I have to believe that if any or all of those three showed up on my doorstep, insisting to help me, I would accommodate them.  I mean they could make a dent around here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Books I Read in February 2012



Snow in July* by Heather Barbieri

This is one of the few books that I continued reading even though I didn't particularly like it.  I read I think because the author did a great job capturing the place.  It was set in Montana but it could have been where I grew up.  I recognized the town.  The characters were also familiar.  I could have gone to high school with them.  As the book progressed and I realized I didn't like the book, I also remembered I didn't really like some of the people I went to high school with.



The Book Thief**** by Markus Zusak

Every once in awhile I read a book that outclasses nearly every other book I've read.  The Book Thief was a wonderful book.  It was terrible (set in Germany during World War II) and devastating but also funny and sweet and filled with hope and love and joy.  I can't possibly describe it and won't even try.  But read it.  Do.


On Little Wings by Regina Sirois***

I liked this book.  I was judgmental about it at first because I had just finished The Book Thief and it was hard to compete.  Also, there were grammatical errors.  You can tell from reading my blog that I'm no grammar whiz so obviously, these were pretty obvious grammatical errors.  The book got a lot better as it went though and I ended up enjoying it.  I am a sucker for a book about sisters.  It's about two sisters that are estranged and a daughter/niece that tries to get them together.  Also it is set in Maine.

I want to go to Maine.




One Day by David Nicholls*

I don't recommend this book.  I think the only reason I kept reading it was because it was just compelling enough to keep me going and want to know what happened and also, I read it mainly by the pool in Palm Desert and maybe the sun addled my brain.  I skimmed a lot of the book.  It was a series of really bad choices made by two people and then it ended terribly.  I usually don't feel this annoyed when I finish reading a book.  I wish I hadn't wasted my time. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Family Friends



Mark is learning about Venn diagrams in school.  I like Venn diagrams.  I like organizing.

I could make a Venn diagram with people I love.

There are the family members.  They're in one circle.

There are the friends in another circle.

In the overlapping part there are the family friends.

Friends our whole family loves.

Family who are our dear friends.

Friends who are like family.

The Jorgensen family fits in that middle section.

The first day we moved into our house we met Eric and their oldest son, David.  They came to help us move.  We immediately liked them.  (It's hard not to like people that are helping you move.)

As years passed, we've spent time with the Jorgensens.  We've gone on hikes and picnics, we've celebrated holidays together.  Our kids have destroyed each others' houses.  We've celebrated new babies and mourned lost loved ones.

Sunday night we gathered with other friends and watched David open his mission call.  I cried like he was my own son.  I was proud of his goodness and confidence, dedication and example.  He's going to Taiwan and I wonder if the people there know how lucky they are.

Good news Taiwan:  you are getting DAVID JORGENSEN!  Take good care of him because we love that kid.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Friday

On Friday:

A mother duck and her babies walked all around me and under my chair by the pool.


I was late getting my phone out to snap a picture and they were already walking away but what is cuter than a duckling?  Nothing.

Adam threw Mark around the pool.


Adam beat us at 18 holes on the putting green.


Does it mean I lost because my ball went into a pond?

We also flew home.

As excited as I was to see Braeden and Emma, when I looked out the window of the plane in Seattle and saw rain and gray gloom, I turned to Adam.

I said, "We've made a huge mistake."

But we got off the plane.  That's what you have to do.  Apparently.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Disneyland

Before we headed to Anaheim yesterday, we decided to tell Mark where we were heading.  For one thing, Braeden and Emma made us promise we would video his reaction and for another thing, we wanted to be able to talk excitedly about Disneyland as we drove.

I am not sure the exact reaction I was expecting from him.  Something along the lines of him naming us the best parents in the world and throwing his arms around us and declaring his undying love.

Something like that.

It didn't happen.

He said, "But we can't go to Disneyland without Braeden and Emma!"

We said, "Yes, we can."

He said, "But we don't have tickets."

I told him, "Yes, we do."

Then he asked, "Can we use them later?  Do they have to be today?  I don't want to go without Braeden and Emma."

Then he started to cry.


We assured him that Braeden and Emma already knew our plans and they were excited for him.  (Which was true.  Yes, they wanted to come too but they understood.)

He finally came around to being excited about Disneyland.  Adam and I just looked at each other, mystified.  Do these kids stay up all night trying to think of ways to surprise us?

Walking into Disneyland is always a giddy experience.  I'll never get over it.  We couldn't walk into the main plaza--the one right in front of the castle--because they had it blocked off.  They were filming an episode of Modern Family.

I quickly snapped a picture with my phone (we didn't bring our camera...spent more time having fun and less time photographing it) of Claire (Julie Bowen) and Jay (Ed O'Neill).  They were right there!  At Disneyland.  I wanted to show the picture to Jill.

Here's how it turned out.

A picture of my fingers. You're welcome, Jill.  .
I would have stuck around and tried again to get a better picture but I was at Disneyland!  With two of my four favorite people!

The only thing better than having a (big) 9 year old on your shoulders is to have him stick his thumb in your nose.  Adam hoisted Mark up so he could see the clock display at Small World.

We determined that Mark is not after all King Arthur (but he sincerely tried):


We did manage a few "family" photos:



But mostly it was a lot of Dad and Mark pictures:

As close as I will ever get to the tea cups.


And some Mom and Mark pictures:

Mark told me he'd never had cotton candy.  What kind of mother am I?  I bought him some.



It was a lovely, exhilarating and exhausting day. 

Just like a day at Disneyland should be.

I wouldn't trade my life with anyone.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mark and An Effective Ad

There are a lot of things I hope I remember about this time with Mark.  The way he laughs all the time at mostly his own jokes.  The way we impersonate the voice in the elevator...when she says Level 5 she makes it sound like a question which always cracks Mark up.  I want to remember watching him swim and the game we played where I would read and he would swim across the pool, trying to reach me without me hearing him.  I want to remember that we ventured beyond the resort and its enchantments to find a city park because my boy needs to use his muscles.  He is unlike me--or his siblings--in that way.  We'd be happy to sedately read the day away, but not Mark.  It is not surprising to me that he falls asleep minutes after he climbs into bed. 

I have no good pictures of him.  But I think I'll remember.  He's slightly sunburned and has a chin he scraped on the bottom of the pool our first night here.

In other (though Mark related) news:

Have you seen that Disneyland ad?  The one with the One Republic song, Good Life, and these words?
To all the memory makers.
The ones who know there are only so many moments before the sword is passed,
Only so many mountains left to climb together
And only so many days before she finds her own prince charming.
So all those who know the best memories in life are the ones you hold onto for a lifetime,
Don't wait. 
Let the memories begin at the place where dreams come true.

I have never seen it without wanting to go to Disneyland.  Immediately.

Guess what we are doing today?

(Mark doesn't know yet but we have told Braeden and Emma.  I feel terrible that they can't join us.  Adam keeps reminding me we took them to London and not Mark.)

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