Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just be yourself?

 Common advice:

"Just be yourself."

I remember being in junior high and hearing people say that.  Everyone said that.  Seventeen magazine, of which I was an enthusiastic devotee, said it.  Teachers at school said it.  Posters with cute furry animals proclaimed it.

"Just be yourself."

It seemed so simple, so easy to follow the advice.  Just. Be. Yourself.

Except there was one little tiny problem.  I didn't know who "myself" was.  How could I follow the lights of someone that didn't know what lights to follow?  I didn't know my preferences.  I didn't know how to be successful in the treacherous waters of junior high.  Also, "myself" had huge glasses and braces and frizzy hair.  "Myself" was smart and got good grades but that was definitely not doing me any favors in the popularity department.  "Myself" was sort of shy and sort of awkward.  I didn't think being myself was going to help.

"Myself" was kind of a nerd.

I don't pretend to have figured out all there is to figure out about being authentic, being genuine.  I have learned some things though.

Last year, I wrote every day in October, for 31 days, about being grateful.  I enjoyed the challenge and believe it made me more grateful.  This month, I'm going to write about being authentic.  I am hoping it will help me in my quest to do the same. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Books I read in September 2012



Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox **

I read this book for book club.  It was a memoir.  It felt like homework to read it.  I persevered because it was for book club and because it was a compelling series of adventures.  They just all sort of blurred because there were so many of them.  Lynne Cox was a long distance swimmer and swam all over the world in inhospitable conditions.  (32 degree water!)  The writing lacked sufficient motivation.  I didn't get why she was doing all of those swims.  She just seemed a little foolhardy to me.  Also, she mentioned a steady stream of people that were part of her team and crew and I didn't know a thing about them or why they were on the team or why I should care about them.

I heard through the grapevine that my good friend JoLyn liked the writing.  (I forgot to ask her at our writing group.) Since I don't see JoLyn enough and since I want to know why she liked the writing, JoLyn should have come to book club. (I miss you, JoLyn.)  The end. 


as a bonus, Mark thought the guy on the front cover looked like Chuck Norris


By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman***

This is a book that Mark and I read as part of his school curriculum.  I decided to add these books here too because 1) I read them and 2) someone else might have a Mark sized person in their life and be interested in a recommendation.

Mark read this book on his own.  Easy enough for a 4th grader.  Give me a minute to wrap my mind around Mark=4th grader.


It's confusing that he's a 4th grader when he still looks like this in my mind.

OK.  I'm back.

This was an entertaining and action packed story about a boy Jack and his butler named Praiseworthy.  They leave Boston to make their fortune in the California gold rush. Praiseworthy was my favorite.  He's delightfully prim and proper and witty and wise and transforms into a mountain man by the end of the book. 


creepy cover didn't do much to improve book


William Wilberforce: God's Politician by John Holzmann *

This is another book that we read for Mark's school curriculum.  William Wilberforce, a key player in the abolition of slavery in Britain, was an important guy and this was a significant piece of history.  This book was boring though.  It's one of the ones I borrowed from Marianne.  She wrote in the inside cover, "Don't judge the curriculum by this book.  The other books are better."  That kind of says it all.  I skimmed a few parts as I read it aloud to Mark.  I read reviews that said it was meant to read like a textbook.  Fine.  But textbooks don't need to be this boring.



Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchey ***

I love Maeve Binchey.  I've always loved everything I've read of hers (although sometimes her short stories frustrate me because I want them to be novels instead of short stories).  Her books, once you've read several of them over a span of years, make you feel like you have amnesia.  Characters show up from other novels and I have a foggy recollection of them--enough that I feel like I should remember all the details of their lives but I don't.  This book was good, like all the rest.  The characters are believable and the stories are compelling and satisfying.  This one seemed to ramble a little so wasn't my favorite of hers but I still enjoyed it.



Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell ***

Another 4th grade book.  I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was growing up.  I think because of that, I'll always be a Scott O'Dell fan.  This is a good book.  It's about a Navaho girl.  She and her family were gathered up and put on a reservation.  It was sad.  Also, when I read the afterword, it made me think Kit Carson was a rat.  Carson City was named after him!  Nevada should have reconsidered.



The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler ****

I love Anne Tyler.  I know she's not everyone's flavor.  (Once when I recommended a book by her for book club, it was met with a tepid response.)  I think she absolutely nails her characters though.  They are all quirky and like no one you've ever met but completely believable at the same time.  This book struck me as incredibly real. It's fascinating and impressive to see an author write so well.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Randomness, part two

Whatever works:

Mark has been working on learning the two letter postal codes for each state.

Yesterday he was filling out a blank map.

"The way I remember Arizona is that Cal used to live there and he's in the honors class at his school," he said.

I said, "I don't understand how that helps you remember it.  What does AZ have to do with an honors class?"

He said, "A-Z?  The alphabet?"  He looked sort of disappointed by my denseness and went back to his work with a sigh.  "It's a smart kid thing," he said, "You wouldn't understand."

My parents have a blue car:

At my writing group, we talked about a lot of things, writing even.  One thing we talked about was cars and one of our members is in the market for a new car.  Other members were throwing around names of cars like the knowledgeable women that they are.  Someone mentioned a Subaru.  The car shopper said she thought her husband was too tall to fit in one.

I said, "My parents have one and my dad is tall."

Then they wanted to know what kind of Subaru.

I said, "A blue one."

(They laughed at me for some reason.)

I was recounting this story to Marianne on the phone--if there's one thing I talk to my sisters about, it's trivialities.  She said that our dad's cousin had called her because he knew our parents liked their Subaru and wondered what kind it was.

Marianne's answer?  It's blue.

Maybe car identification is not our strong suit. (One of my brothers could tell me the kind of car so I can stop embarrassing myself.  They seem like the type of people that would know that kind of thing.)

Clearly, Marianne and I have mastered our colors though.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Randomness


Shoes:

I got these new shoes (cute, aren't they?).  They are not actually comfortable though.  I told Adam I insisted on cute comfortable shoes.  I was on a quest.  I wouldn't settle for less.  (I am a notorious settler when it comes to purchases because I lose patience.)

I virtuously passed up many shoes because they were not cute enough or not comfortable enough.

Then I saw these.

They were cute enough that I didn't care that they were uncomfortable.

I told Adam that sometimes we need to make sacrifices for fashion and he looked very skeptical.

The other day I was shopping with Emma.  I asked her, "Are these shoes cute?"

She said, "Yes."

I said, "Really cute?"

She said, "Yes."

I said, "Good, because they are hurting my feet."  Then I added the "sometimes we need to make sacrifices for fashion" thing and she nodded her head like I had just spoken wise words.

Sometimes having a daughter really pays off.

Yesterday morning, after a rough and rocky night without enough sleep, I staggered in my pajamas to go drive the seminary kids to school.  I slipped on my new shoes because they were by the door.  Here's the thought I had as I was walking to my van, "I hope there's not a zombie apocalypse because I am in my pajamas and would not be able to run in these shoes."

Then I thought maybe I shouldn't be driving if I'm having such delusional thoughts.

I told the seminary carpool about my zombie apocalypse fears and they helpfully pointed out that since I was driving I was safe...I could outrun/outdrive any danger.

And why I didn't get any sleep:

I think being a Drama Mama may kill me.  A slow and painful death.

Auditions were held in the last week.  Between callbacks and delays in listing of the cast and refreshing facebook every 3 seconds to find out the results, I was a wreck.  Braeden too.

I usually manage to not be a helicopter parent.  I let my kids do their thing when it is their thing.  Last year I wasn't nearly as concerned about Braeden's auditions...if he got a part, great!

Now I know how much it means to him.

And I get way way way too invested.  (Isn't recognizing you have a problem the first step?)

Why big sisters are a great invention:

I texted Marianne a woeful text.

She texted back:  "Do you want me to beat her up?" (her being the person causing me anxiety)

I texted back: "Yes"

She answered: "I will be right there."

Now Marianne is so slender that any foe of mine, real or imagined would outweigh her.  I'm not sure she'd be that great in a fight.  (I am going to hear about this from her...she will be offended that I doubt her sparring prowess.)

It is wonderful to know that she has my back though.  She's been on my side my whole life and she's not about to switch sides.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My life's work


I took the above grainy, blurry picture in our van this weekend when we were driving.  Sometimes I take in this view and I think, "I did that."

Not only did I birth those three, I kept them alive when they were completely dependent on me.  Adam and I have somehow managed to keep it all together, keeping them fed and clothed and in braces and vaccinations.  At times it wasn't easy but I am everlastingly grateful for their health and love and presence in my life.

And look at them.

Reading. (I did that too.)

I love that they love to read.

(I love that it's quiet in the car when they're all reading.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

A great substitute



In December, I got a letter from the resort where we usually rent a cabin at Lake Chelan.  They were offering us priority reservations.  It was December.  I decided to worry about it later.  It was a current, though ignored, item in the realms of my mental to do list but I never did it.

Then, when I finally decided it was time to get a reservation, there were not any to be had.  I was afraid I was going to be public enemy number one around here but everyone was nice to me.  (Maybe it was sort of a don't bite the hand that feeds you kind of thing.)

We decided to go to Lake Chelan anyway and stay in Wenatchee (where we could get a room) and maybe even spend a little time in Leavenworth which I always like.

Then Eastern Washington caught on fire and going towards wildfires has a certain "no" about it when you're looking for a weekend getaway.

We went the opposite direction, to the Oregon coast and it was wonderful.  A great substitute.  Maybe we'll have to do both in the future?

We stayed at a hotel in the Portland area Friday night.  We squeezed on a bed and watched an episode of The Middle on hulu.  We had to pause it while I tried not to hyperventilate from laughing too hard.

That show cracks me up sometimes.

It has been pointed out to me that my face is not really in the picture.  I'm not photogenic.  This works just fine.
My pajamas may seem a little Christmas-y.  I'm almost always cold in hotel rooms so they serve me well.  Emma's pajamas may seem like an old referee shirt of Adam's. They are.

Happily we had two other beds besides that one and didn't have to all sleep squashed up next to each other.

Saturday morning we went to Tillamook to tour the cheese factory.  Braeden said for Mark it was approaching religious ecstasy...combining two of his great loves, cheese and machines.  We watched the assembly line and sampled cheese and had ice cream cones.

After Tillamook we headed to the coast.  We rolled down the windows to smell the salt water.


Tillamook Bay
There's a picture of me standing at this lookout point pictured below when I was pregnant with Braeden.

And now there's this picture.


We walked down a hill to see a lighthouse.  There was a steep trail back up to the parking lot.  Adam said to Mark, "I bet you can't run all the way to the top."

Mark did. 

At the top he lay down on a picnic table to recover. 

I'm not sure what Braeden was doing but it seemed to help.  Mark ended up surviving.
  And lest you think Emma wasn't there too:

My pretty girl.
We drove up the coast, catching glimpses of the ocean through the trees.  Our plan was to go to Cannon Beach but just short of it, Adam veered off the road.  He heard the siren song of the ocean and could not resist it any longer.


No one could blame him.  It was gorgeous.

At first they dabbled in a little water:


I know these children though and I knew that wouldn't last.




But wait...


That water is cooooold.  (The temperature on the beach was in the 60s, the temperature in the Pacific, considerably colder.)

At this point, the Dahl genes were fighting with the Davis genes.


Guess which genes triumphed?




These are, after all, the ones who got up that morning at 6:00 a.m. and put on their swimsuits (still wet from the night before) and swam in the outdoor pool at the hotel.

I don't pretend to understand them.



When the water washed over my feet occasionally, my feet would immediately start to ache because the water was so cold.



It took Braeden hours to get warm after all of this (he stayed in the water longer than I could imagine after feeling it on my feet).  I think he would do it again any day of the week.

While I sat on the beach (dry and warm) and watched these crazy people I am related to, I felt bursting with gratitude that these four are my family.  I love them.  




It was fun to drive in the car with them, taking turns picking songs on my iphone playlist to listen to.  I enjoyed being with them without the distractions of our everyday life.

Seeing them smile made me smile.


(And I'm glad I was dry and warm on the beach.)

This is about as adventurous as I get around cold water.


The Oregon coast...


...it doesn't disappoint.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate Menaces



Yesterday our house was chilly and the box in my freezer where I keep cookies ready to put in school lunches was empty.

Time to bake cookies.

I decided to try something different.  (Marianne, I added my own special touch.) I changed up a recipe I already had.  Tweaking cookie recipes=my new thing.

Here's the recipe:

2 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 c butter
1/4 c peanut butter
a little less than 2 c sugar (I think the peanut butter adds sweetness so I cut the sugar back a bit)
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 c oatmeal
1 c (more or less) chocolate chips/peanut butter chips

The directions are the same as typical cookies:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butters and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients.  Add chocolate/peanut butter chips.  I had some peanut butter chips but not enough so I added some chocolate.  I'm not sure I needed either but you can't really go wrong adding chocolate chips, right?

Bake 10 minutes.

Mark helped me.  By that I mean he read his history aloud to me while I scooped cookie dough onto baking sheets and he was there to sample the finished product.

He said, "Do you have a name for these?"

I said no.

He said, "How about Chocolate Menaces?"

"Menaces?"

"Yeah," he said, "They're so good it's...criminal."  Then he smiled and took another cookie.

Sometimes I feel like Mark has a really arduous life.  I guess we both do.

Adam said they reminded him of No Bake Cookies (you know the peanut butter/chocolate/oatmeal kind).  So if you like those...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New curtains

I decided that I wanted to make new curtains for my kitchen window.  (This won't be a sewing tutorial.  If I did that, I would be able to hear the laughter from my computer from people that really know how to sew and that would hurt my feelings, I think.)

I have no problem coming up with ideas.  At any given time, my mind is teeming with ideas.  I have no problem rushing off to the store in haste and buying materials that may or may not work and may or may not be in the correct quantities.  I love that part.

I'm not actually good at sewing though.

Measuring, cutting, pinning, being accurate...it all makes me as queasy as balancing my checkbook does.  (I don't balance my checkbook by the way, I'm just using that as an example.  Don't tell my mom, the accountant.)

A few weeks ago, I was hosting a cub scout committee meeting at my house.  My friend and primary counselor, Heidi, wondered if I needed any help.  (She meant with the meeting.  I knew that's what she meant.)  I said, "Yes!  Will you advise me on my curtains?"

Because Heidi can sew.

Before the meeting I lay everything out on my kitchen table and told her my idea.  She told me she thought it would work.  She told me I had to take more steps than I was planning on taking in the sewing.  I saw that she was probably right.

Then the materials sat in a forlorn bag in the corner of my bedroom because they intimidated me.

Finally, yesterday I decided I should just sew them.  No more procrastinating.

I took a deep breath and scattered everything around on the table and started in.  I was just getting going, when Marianne called.

"I'm mad at you!" I declared.

She said, "Oh, well I was just going to give you a compliment."

"Go ahead," I said.  (I wouldn't miss a compliment if I had one coming.)

"I made your cookies and they lived up to their billing."  We chatted cookies for a while and she said, "Why are you mad at me?"

"Because you are not here, sewing these curtains for me.  You should live by me!" (Sisters have a way of spoiling you.  Even though I haven't lived near them for 15 years I feel like I'm being cheated by their lack of proximity.)

Marianne reminded me that I was the one that left and she lives within sight of our ancestral home.

Well.

Then Olivia called on my other phone and since she's been on a trip and I haven't talked to her for a week, I ditched Marianne (she told me I had better talk to the elusive Olivia and I was mad at Marianne after all) and talked to Olivia.  When I finally returned to my sewing, I just kept my head down and forged on.

They pretty much worked!  No one was more surprised than I was.

I think of my Grandma Jaynes every time I decorate my Christmas tree.  The glass bottles on my kitchen windowsill are inspired by my Grandma Dahl--those and the red geraniums on my front porch. 

They are a little wonky and crooked but when you consider that I am a person that eyeballs things rather than measures them they aren't too bad.

So I did it!  I sewed curtains.  I lived to tell the tale.  Now on to my next idea...


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just a day

Saturday was a day like many other; unremarkable.  It would most likely slip into the oblivion of unremembered days but before I went to sleep that night, I thought about little things in the day that sort of delighted me.

--I made a blackberry cobbler with blackberries Stephanie gave me.  What's better, blackberry cobbler or friends that give you blackberries?

--I went to tell Mark it was time to go get his hair cut and he and his friend Cal were reclining in Adirondack chairs on our patio.  They were sipping ice water with colorful straws and poring over Lego magazines.  A boy version of a tea party.

--Adam and I were waiting to pick Braeden up and had 1/2 hour to kill.  We went to Bartell Drugs to window shop.  I suspect Adam and I could window shop anywhere.  We looked at displays and selected what we would buy.  We guessed what we thought the other one would buy.  (Adam is very obvious and looks at what he would buy.  It makes it really easy to guess.)  I showed him how real Q-tips are superior to the store brand or Johnson & Johnson.  We took our blood pressure.  We each bought a Cascade Ice.  We could have spent another half hour there.  There were aisles we didn't even go down.  The fact remains:  I could have fun with Adam anywhere, even in a Turkish prison camp.

--I saw "the cat walker." Mark and I see him often when we are out and about.  An otherwise normal looking guy walks around pushing a cat in a baby stroller.  Saturday a woman was with him.  His wife?  I wonder if a wicked witch turned their child into a cat and they're just trying to make the best of it.

--Braeden sat down near me in the late afternoon and said, "Mom, I haven't talked to you all day!  Let's talk."

--We watched The Pirates! Band of Misfits.  We laughed a lot.  And ate blackberry cobbler.

Just a day.  But, it was a good day.

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
John Lubbock

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A field trip, following Tigger and two big boys

Yesterday Mark and I went to the Woodland Park Zoo.  It's a good place.  It's better right after school starts when the weather is still marvelous and there are no children there above 2 feet tall except Mark.  Besides a few toddlers and their mothers we had the place to ourselves.  Mark is even getting old enough/ careful enough that I'm not afraid he's going to trample preschoolers.

Bonus.

He is growing up but he maintains his attention span.  Each animal got a maximum of 10 seconds of his time.  Less if they weren't being interesting.  He is sort of like Tigger.  I followed him on his bouncy way.

A different mother may medicate the child but I like him the way he is.

How can you not love a kid who hides from completely imagined foes...


...laughs at your joke--"I didn't know porcupines could throw their quills."

"They can't, but a bear can throw a porcupine."  (from The New Red Green Show)


...climbs on everything remotely climb-on-able...


...and makes a cute turtle?


I can't think of a more enjoyable sidekick.  (Or possibly I'm his sidekick?)

We met Adam for lunch.  Zeek's Pizza in the sunshine.  Seattle pulls out all the stops for September.  What a glorious day.

I (naturally) got lost trying to make my way back to the freeway.  There's a name for people like me.  It's "person-who-shouldn't-venture-out-of-her-neighborhood." I'm sort of an idiot but I'm Adam's idiot so I called him and he guided me.

In a completely unrelated matter, here's a picture that made me smile (and brought out my picture stealing thievery tendencies--I'm Enoch's favorite sister though so I don't think he minds).

Two men I will always look up to (unless I stand on a chair).

My brother Enoch at our cousin Harvey's football game.  You don't have to have facial hair if you're related to me.  It just seems that way.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 16



Yesterday marked three years since Adam's dad has passed away. It still seems like he should be here.  I think he's going to ring the doorbell and be here to take the kids to the pool.  Or we'll walk in their house and he'll be there, greeting us with his happy smile and making us feel welcome. 

I could spend the day crying and remembering (and there was some of that).

There was also a family gathering.  There was laughter and joking and teasing that he would have been a part of had he been there.  I think he would have liked the dessert I made.  He always loved chocolate.  He would have chatted with each of the grandkids and congratulated them on all their latest accomplishments.  He would have laughed at their jokes.  He would have applauded the dance Emma and Talia performed.  (I guess we're calling it a dance.)

We have a choice it seems.  Even though he is gone, we are all here.  We will move ahead in the manner he would have wanted.  We'll keep loving and supporting each other, teasing each other and laughing.

And feeling grateful.  It seems like a day for gratitude.  I feel grateful to have known such a man.  I feel grateful for the spectacular son he raised that is my husband.  Adam learned how to be a father from his own father and I'm not sure he could have had a better teacher.  I am grateful for the grandfather my children were blessed with.

Finally, I am grateful for temple covenants that bind Adam to his parents and our children and me to Adam.  And I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Because He died for us, we can live again.  We will see Grandpa Linn again.  Of this I am sure.

If not, I don't think I'd be able to get through September 16 every year.


Friday, September 14, 2012

A significant blog post

Usually this blog is somewhere between inconsequential and trivial.  Occasionally it enters into the realm of frivolous.

Today is different.

Today I am going to write about something Important--chocolate chip cookies.

(See?  Now I have your attention.)

Over a year ago, I wrote about this.  I have been on a quest.  I have been trying to find The Perfect chocolate chip cookies.  I've tried several recipes.  I've tweaked, I've sampled, I've baked.

Here's what I have found:

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies



(I know!)

I used a recipe I like and changed it a little and added oatmeal because I like them a bit more substantial.  (Especially since they march two by two into my kids' lunch bags.)  I don't take this claim lightly that these are the best.  They're good.

If you have a recipe you like better, please share.  In a world with hassles and to do lists and hard work and headstrong children and disease and laundry and dishes, at least there are chocolate chip cookies!

the recipe:

2 c. plus 2 T. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. butter (melted and cooled until warm)
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla (I never measure this, just a generous splash.  This horrifies Emma.  She's a measurer.)
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 c. old fashioned oats (these cookies are good without the oatmeal, I just like oatmeal cookies...you could use quick oatmeal if you want a happy medium)

Preheat oven to 325.  In a mixer, combine butter and sugars, beat in eggs and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

I use silicone baking sheets but you could use parchment paper.  In the absence of either of those, I don't know if you should grease the pans or not.  (I never promised you good recipe instructions, just good cookies.)

Bake 11-14 minutes, depending on how big you make your cookies.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Everybody's got to do something.

picture lifted off the Elko Daily Free Press website

I wouldn't know anything if it weren't for my cousins.  Yesterday I saw on facebook because of my beautiful and charming cousin Leslie (she's one of my favorites!) an article about a bit my dad made.

There was a link to this article.

In case you're like me and don't have the attention span to go read articles when someone links to them, I'll give you the gist.

My dad made a bit. (Not big news.  It's what he did before his mission.)

Apparently though, during the Queen's Jubilee there was a celebration with riders from Canada, Russia and the U.S.  The riders from the United States were cowboys and Native Americans.  One of the cowboys took the bit, which my dad had made for the cowboy's nephew.  (Are you keeping all of this straight?  There will be a test.)

Anyway.

A bit my dad made was part of the Queen's Jubilee.

When I was in college, my roommate Jamee took anatomy.  Every time she had class, she would tell us some interesting tidbit of trivia over dinner "for our gee whiz file."

That's what this story reminded me of.  Not earth shattering, just hmm.  Mildly interesting.

Here's what I like about it and how I know they really did call my dad and get a quote from him.  He said, "Everybody's got to do something."

Growing up, my dad told us, often, that there was nothing he couldn't do.  We firmly believed him.  I still do.  My dad= invincible.  (All the men in my family have a lot of confidence.  All the women do too.  I wish I had more but it's sort of a thing with them.)

When someone other than his children would give him any sort of compliment/accolades/attention, he would deflect it and sort of shrug and say, "Everybody's got to do something."

If that's true, I'm glad part of his "doing something" was being my dad.

Also, of everything my dad created, why did a bit get to go to the Queen's Jubilee?  Why not me?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Friendly advice

Here are some pictures from yesterday:




Don't tell me it wasn't yesterday.

I swear it was.

Somehow, overnight, this happened:



They got a lot bigger (and I think a lot weirder).

My advice?  Don't sleep. You close your eyes and your babies disappear.

Also, don't decide you're going to go through the pictures on your computer and organize them.  You'll get distracted and wonder what happened to your babies.

Nobody wins.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Glad it's not a contest. I'd lose.

When I send Adam an email that is trying to be funny, he sends me an email that is funnier.

When I tell Adam that I feel worried/insecure/lame, he makes me feel safe/happy/successful.

I almost always feel like I got the better end of this marriage thing.  (Except I'm better at finding things...no, not geographical things.  He knows where things are, inexplicably,  in cities we've never been to.  I know where things are in our cupboards and closets.)

When we hiked to the Ice Caves recently, I snapped a few pictures.  Adam did this with his phone:

(click on the image and drag--it will take you 360 degrees)



On the second panorama, can you spy (with your little eye) Geri and me helping Raelyn with her shoes (our niece)? Can you see Emma being The Thinker in Rodin fashion? The boys are there too. I don't know what they're doing.

Life with Adam is a pretty good gig.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The upside of rain

Around here, there's been talk of breaking the record for the longest period without rain--51 days.  It has made some people a little crazy.

I recognize the irony of us being excited about a dry spell when a lot of the country is suffering from a drought.  I grew up in a place where we prayed for rain.

Friday night Braeden and Emma went to a high school football game.  He is very sweet to welcome his little sister along at such times.  (He did however absolutely forbid her from wearing her red jeans which she wanted to wear.  Glacier Peak was playing Snohomish and Snohomish's colors are red and white.)

The weather on Friday was glorious in its dry sunniness.  I thought what a marvelous night for a football game.  It wasn't even too cold when we went to pick them up in the 10:00 hour.  Fabulous.

Then as we arrived at the game and saw wave after wave of people leaving, I saw wave after wave of high school girls wearing really short shorts.  Apparently that is the thing to wear to football games.  That and little tutus.  (?)  I looked at otherwise very cute girls who appeared to have unflattering thunder thighs with their short shorts. Don't they have mothers?  Mirrors?

With a teenage son, I especially regret partially clad teenage girls.  The forecast for today?  63 and rainy.  Thank goodness. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Golden tickets of happiness

I took Mark to his first day of a home school P.E. program that I had signed him up for at the YMCA.  It is two hours long, once a week.  I set up a meeting during it with the primary president from a different ward.  They have stuff in a closet and it's our closet.  (I have the key!)  Closet space is a golden ticket to happiness.  At home and at church.

I also had a list of errands to knock out while I was footloose and fancy free.

We got to the YMCA and learned that parents have to stay there.

Rats.

I hurriedly called the other primary president to tell her I had to cancel and I grabbed a book out of my car so I could read.

(Having a book with you at all times is a golden ticket to happiness.)

My errands didn't get done.

Mark started in the pool and swam for an hour then got changed and went to the gym for the second hour.  After swimming he came dripping to the lobby to find me and tell me that he'd lost his t-shirt.  I went into the room with the pool and found it where he'd left it, right next to his backpack.  His flip flops were there too.  Then we saw a guy carrying Mark's goggles to go turn them into lost and found.

(Is this why they don't let parents leave them behind?)

As I was walking Mark to the gym, he informed me that he'd forgotten underwear.  (He had worn his swimsuit to the pool.)  There was nothing we could do about that.

He had a good time and told me all about it on the way home.  We saw Emma and her friend Hannah walking home from the bus so we stopped to give them a ride.  Emma got in the front.  (Shotgun is a golden ticket of happiness for that one.)  Hannah got in the back with Mark.

Mark told her he had no underwear on.

Hannah said, "OK then."

"Mark!" I exclaimed, "Too much information.  You don't need to tell people that."

(sorry Hannah)

Later I told Janet this story and she asked me if it was going to end up on my blog.  I said no.  Then here it is.  It's a mystery where Mark inherited his over sharing.

I had a hair appointment and Megan--with the amazing and mysterious blow drying skills--styled my hair into smooth waves.  (Something I have neither the ability or willingness to devote time to.)  I like having her transform me for a day.

Last night we went to Back to School Night at Braeden's school.  The evening started with a meeting in the gym.  First, Janet and I were reprimanded for not finding a seat quickly enough by the principal (fondly known in our house as Papa Bear).  Then Papa Bear gave all the parents a little speech with parenting advice.  Things like:  always know where your kids are and who they're with.  Whoa!  This is good stuff!  I should be writing this down!

(Sorry, Papa Bear.  I guess I outgrew principal lectures about the same time I outgrew caring about tardy policies.)

Adam stayed in the commons during the speech because he's rebellious like that.  Someone approached him and asked him if he was there representing ROTC.  He told them to start doing pushups.  (He didn't really but that would have been funny, don't you think?)

We then had to follow our students' schedule.  I think Michelle Obama would be proud of Braeden's schedule and it's contribution to fighting childhood obesity.

Sheesh.

We started on the 3rd floor then went to the first floor on the other side of the building then back to the 3rd floor.  Up and down, back and forth.  No wonder they have tardy policies.

That was the least intimidating part of the schedule though.  That kid has some challenging classes.  I hope some sort of Freaky-Friday-you-have-to-trade-places-with-your-teenager doesn't happen.  I feel like I should step up the lunches I pack for him.

We sat by Jill during AP World History.  I asked a question that Adam thought was embarrassing.  Jill wrote "Cute Hair" on my paper with her red pen.  (Because we're good girls and don't talk in class.)  Then my pen died and Jill gave me her red pen and fished another out of her bag.  (Good friends with extra pens are a golden ticket to happiness.)

All my notes were written with Jill's red pen so at the end of the evening, Adam saw "Cute Hair" written on my paper and he wondered which teacher I had written that about.  And probably more importantly, why I felt compelled to do so.  I explained Jill had written it, about my--you know--cute hair.

Speaking of my cute hair, when I said goodnight to Braeden after giving him all my opinions about his teachers (and their cute hair), Braeden said, "I can't get used to you with your hair like that."

I said, "Don't worry.  It will be back to curly tomorrow."

Mark said, "How much does it cost to have your hair done like that?"

I asked him why he wanted to know.

He said, "Because if it only lasts one day, you can save your money.  I could do that for free."


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Books I read in August 2012

First, I tried to read a memoir and it was boring.  I want to like memoirs.

Then, I started reading two other books.  I was a few pages into each of them and decided they were trashy.  Trash-y

In a last ditch effort to find something I liked to read while waiting for books to come in that I'd placed on hold at the library, I picked up a Sophie Kinsella book.  They are always entertaining.



Shopoholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella ***

Sophie Kinsella writes books that make me cringe and make me laugh out loud.  Her characters are both extremely likable and extremely unlikable.  Flawed and funny and kind.  Works for me.



State of Wonder by Ann Patchett *

I feel like this book blindsided me.  It was good.  It was interesting.  There were compelling characters, a fascinating setting, a captivating plot.  Then in about the last five pages, the characters completely disappointed me.  They ruined everything and I felt really disgusted with them.  If I hadn't liked them all along the book, it wouldn't have been so bad.  So don't read this book.  Unless you love being completely disappointed.

Then I read something and I can't remember what it was.  You can see why I record books I've read here.  I can't remember after a few weeks if I've read a book.  That's sad.  I should write this earlier in the month...



I started to read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  It was about Earnest Hemingway's first wife.  In the prologue, it talked about the end of their marriage.  Depressing.  So I couldn't really get into the book and it wasn't all that compelling.




I also started to read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.  It had been on my To Read list for awhile but it was hard to follow and depressing and I didn't like the characters very much.  I abandoned reading.




Bright Side Up by Amy Spencer ****

I usually prefer novels but this sort of self-help optimistic book was a good one.  It had simple strategies to give a positive spin to things life throws at you.  I recommend it.

(If I remember that other book I read, you'll be the first to know.)

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