Friday, November 30, 2012

Books I read in November 2012


Turn Homeward Hannah Hannalee by Patricia Beatty ***

This was a 4th grade book.  It's set during the Civil War.  It involves a family in the South who were cloth mill workers.  Their mill was shut down and burned in their small Georgian town and the workers--mostly children--were sent to the North to work as servants or in northern mills.  It was a pretty good book.  The best part was learning about a facet of the Civil War that I didn't know about previously.  I also love that Mark has read so many books from opposing sides.  It has created a clearer picture of a terrible war with good people and bad circumstances on both sides.




Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?  by Mindy Kaling **

This book was hilarious.  Mindy Kaling is very funny.  I skipped sections and entire chapters of it because it didn't pass my appropriate test.  I did see something that caught my eye at the end of one chapter that I didn't read.  It said that all Mormons are going to hell.

Fingers crossed that's not true.



The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha ***

This was a good book.  It is about a young boy that was shot and killed and the aftermath for both his family and killer.  There was a surprising twist or two and a lot about forgiveness and surviving.  One of the characters swore a lot so I started skipping his sections.  (If anything, I'm a world class skimmer.)  So I probably missed some of the book.  What can you do though?



Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt ****

Loved this book.  I read it aloud to Mark for school.  You will be shocked to learn it was set in Civil War days.  It wove a five year tale of a family and how the Civil War affected their lives.  It's a coming of age story as well.  It was well written and made me cry.



Summer Island by Kristin Hannah **

I like anything by Kristin Hannah.  This was not one of my favorites by her though.  It was sort of predictable.  It was nice to read something kind of fluffy after reading The Crying Tree though.  This book is set in Washington like Kristin Hannah's book are.  It's about a mother and daughter who are estranged.  Both of their lives fall out from under them and they end up, without really wanting to, staying together at their family's summer home in the San Juan islands. (There's other stuff in the book too.  If you want a real review I'm sure one exists somewhere.)



Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder **

(not to be mistaken with Fifty Shades of Grey!)

Another Civil War book.  I think I'm tired of Civil War books but this was the last one.  I think I liked it better than a few of the books we read about the War though.  It's about a boy from the South whose entire family died.  He had to go live with his aunt and uncle.  His uncle didn't fight in the war so he thinks his uncle is traitorous/cowardly and has to work through the angst of that and come to the realization that there were good people on both sides.

Enough already.

Here's a book I won't be reading:  Old Yeller.  Yesterday it was on the school desk because it's the next book in our curriculum.  Mark said, "I am not reading that book."

I started to cajole him and he gathered up all the righteous indignation he has and told me there was no way I was going to get him to read that book.  He said, "The dog dies and I won't ever read another book or see a movie when a dog dies."

We stared at each other for awhile (picture a gun duel from an old Western).  Then I said, "OK.  You don't have to read it."  Who am I to break my boy's heart?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In praise of dependence

I read this, by Delilah Rene:
...my mom warned me repeatedly not to surrender my choices and options, not to settle for being a stay-at-home mom if that was not what I truly wanted.  I am deeply grateful to her for instilling the value of independence.  By the age of 12 I realized that a woman who is dependent on a man to provide for her has no freedom and no choices in life.
This was startling to me.

I look around at my life and besides my children's eternally messy bedrooms, my life is going along swimmingly.  Every dream I had for myself as a young girl has more or less come true.  I have an incredible amount of freedom and oodles of choices in life.

And I am a woman who is dependent on a man to provide for me.

I am completely grateful for my life.  I can't imagine a better situation for myself.  I wonder if Delilah and her mother are unfamiliar with the men I know.  All around me, good men--Adam, my brothers and brothers-in-law, my dad, my friends' husbands-- are providing for their wives and by doing so, giving those women freedom and choices. (Adam's dad was the same...so were my grandfathers.)

Adam depends on me too though.  He ultimately foots the bill by bringing home a paycheck, but I mostly do the shopping and planning and preparing of the food.  He can depend on me for clean clothes, fragrant towels and fresh sheets on the bed.  I can depend on him for continued use of the credit card.  He depends on me to remember important dates and keep everyone's schedules straight.  I depend on him to be able to put gas in the car and to deal with something when it is in need of repair.

It's really so much more than that though.  We depend on each other to take care of our dreams.  We depend on each other for advice and comfort.  I can always count on Adam to make things more fun and he can always count on me to laugh at his jokes.

Someday, if I become a school teacher again with a paycheck, I will still depend on Adam.  Every day. 

I recognize not everyone has--or even wants--what I have.   I just feel bad when men in general are given a bad rap as domineering and tyrannical.

I am in favor of marriage.  I am in favor of commitment.

I am in favor of dependence.  I think it's kind of the point.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Old photos

I hung some pictures in my stairwell/picture gallery.  (It sounds fancy when I call it a picture gallery even though it's a hodge podge of things, the only uniting factors being the black frames and the fact that I love every single picture.)

My mom sent me these pictures a while ago.


This is my great-grandfather, David Dahl and his family.  (David's standing, the second on the right.)  Seated are my great-great-grandparents, Alexander and Ellen.  The story that has always delighted my sisters and me about Ellen is that Alexander saw her loading sacks of grain and thought she was the woman for him.  It makes me happy to think that her blood is in my veins.   It comes in handy when I'm at Costco, loading my cart.

When I was looking at this picture, I realized that David was the tallest of his siblings.  My grandpa (David's son) was the tallest of his siblings.  My dad is the tallest of his siblings.

I am the shortest of my siblings.

I feel like I failed and I owe all my ancestors an apology.

I told Enoch about this discovery.  He looked at me like I was weird.  (This is not the first time.)

Then I remembered Enoch is the tallest of my siblings.  No wonder he doesn't get it.

(Yes, I think I do have some height issues to work through.)

This is another picture that gladdens me:


My grandpa, Harvey Dahl, is the one on the right.  I can see Tabor and my dad in his stance.  They both rest their hands on horses the same way when they are near them.  I miss them all three:  my grandpa, my dad, Tabor.

This last picture is my favorite of all that my mom sent and makes me unreasonably happy:

On the left are my great-aunt Iris and her husband Jim (Jim was my grandpa's brother who died before I was born). On the right are my grandparents, Margaret and Harvey Dahl.
I love how dapper and happy and young they all look.  I love seeing my second cousins, who I grew up with, in their grandpa Jim.  I love seeing my aunts and some of my cousins in my youthful grandmother and I love seeing my brother Ammon in my handsome grandfather.

I can't really put a name on how these pictures make me feel.  Connected I guess begins to sum it up.  Family resemblances are a delight.  Seeing my grandma and grandpa young and holding hands is a delight.

My grandpa died over ten years ago.  He was a good man. He adored my grandmother.  Seeing these pictures, I think about how happy I'll be to see him again someday.

(But probably not as happy as my grandma will be.)  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to not make a sale

Last night, when I was making dinner, there was a knock on my door.

It was a young man holding one of those security system signs, here to tell me I guess how he could keep my house from being burglarized.  He smiled big and (I think) was trying to look charming.

"Good evening, sir," he said jovially.

Then his demeanor crumbled a little.

"I mean, ma'am!  Sorry!  I was just talking to this guy and..."

At least I think that's what he said.  (I was closing the door at the time.)

I felt 10% sorry for him and 90% thrilled that I could act offended that he'd called me sir when really I just didn't want to talk to him at all. 

Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

This and that

I love a long weekend, and this was a nice one.  A little extended family, a little holiday eating, a little (internet) shopping, a little decorating, a movie (Wreck-it Ralph--we liked it), and a day trip.

We went to Poulsbo on Friday to see the sights.

You have to take the ferry to get to Poulsbo.  While we were waiting to get on the ferry, we speculated about what the W.S.F. stood for that was on the back of all the ferry workers' jackets.  (I mean besides Washington State Ferry.)



"We're SO Fun" and "We Sing Falsetto" were batted around as possibilities but Emma, the wordsmith, won the day with "We Sink Ferries."

It was November on the Puget Sound so it was raining.  Of course it was raining.  We are happily not made of brown sugar so no one melted.  (It was touch and go for awhile though.)

Below is my best trying-to-keep-my-hands-warm pose.  It doesn't work and I had gloves in my pockets so I'm not sure why I wasn't wearing them.


This is Emma and Mark trying not to blow away on the ferry.  It wasn't that windy, but where is the drama in that?

blurry because I was too far away but I didn't want to go out in the rain...

Poulsbo was settled by Norwegians because it reminded them of the fjords of Norway.  I told the children we were getting in touch with our Scandinavian ancestry, then there was a random British phone booth for some reason on a street corner so we got in touch with our British ancestry as well.



We wandered in and out of lovely little Scandinavian shops decked out for Christmas.  I was tempted to buy some Finnish licorice.  (Not really, that stuff is nasty.)  What I did buy was everyone a pastry at the delectable Sluys Poulsbo Bakery.  Everyone picked out something delicious and approximately the size of our heads except Mark.  He wanted a ring pop from one of the gift shops.

Weird kid.

We had a longer wait for the return ferry and I'd brought The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to read aloud.  Adam and I traded off reading chapters.  We started driving but I couldn't finish reading the book.  I had to pass it off to Emma.  I cry the entire last chapter.  Every time.

I also spent time reflecting this weekend about all I have to be grateful for.  Everywhere I turn there are blessings.

I'm also grateful for reminders to notice.

On Saturday night we were decorating a little for Christmas.  I looked over and saw Adam, chin in his hands, leaning on the counter, watching our children.  I joined him.  Braeden, Emma and Mark were pulling Christmas bears out of a box and recalling their names and the circumstances that we got them.  Adam said, "Someday we'd pay money to see that sight."

And he was right.

My life is chock full of moments that are to be savored, remembered, enjoyed.  My job is to slow down, pay attention, rest my chin in my hands and watch the magic.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm thankful...



Our house sprung a leak.  Above the kitchen window, there was a drip and it was disheartening.  Our extra money has already been relegated to Christmas presents and our kitchen has already been relegated to holiday cooking.

I imagined a gaping hole in the kitchen wall and it made me feel a little sick-ish.

Yesterday in the midst of baking, two repairmen came to inspect.  They were friendly, practically jolly.  Braeden was upstairs and after they left he said, "Who was that?  They sounded like the guys from Car Talk."

They looked at the window outside and in.  They gave us their best idea of what the trouble was and an incredibly easy fix that Adam can do himself.  One of them said, "I can see why this happened.  We've had an obnoxious amount of rain lately."

Very true.

After they were finished, Adam said he wanted to settle up with them.

"What do you mean?" one of them asked.

"You gave me some great advice," Adam said, "What do I owe you?"

"Oh," they said, "Nothing.  No charge."

I said, "Can I at least give you a cookie?"

"Yes," one of them said.

"We were hoping we'd get a cookie," the other one said.  They gleefully scooped a cookie off the counter and went on their way.

Like Thanksgiving Elves, leaving gratitude in their wakes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Emma

Last week I blogged about Mark.  The last two days have probably given you your fill of Braeden.

Here's something about Emma.

First there are two things you should know about my girl.

1)  In nearly every way measurable, she is one smart cookie.  She is good at spelling and writing.  (Her poetry brings me to tears.) She has a great vocabulary and is a whiz at balancing chemical equations.  She's good at math and is my go to for computer questions when Adam isn't available.  She's sharp, clever, bright...

...except when she's not.

2) At times, it seems her common sense is on vacation, it's left the building.  It doesn't exist.

Let me illustrate.  Emma was helping me count money from the concession stands for the play.  For all the reasons stated above, she's the one I asked for help.

She looked at a quarter with Helen Keller on it.  She looked puzzled.  "I think I've heard of her," she said, "Who's Helen Keller?"

Adam said, "She was famous.  She was blind and deaf."

Emma cocked her head to the side.  "I thought that was Ray Charles," she said.

(As if to say there's only one slot for famous blind person and it's taken.)

The next day, I told Emma we'd make cookies Wednesday and write on them Thursday morning.  We had discussed at length ways to use the edible pens for Thanksgiving.

Emma said, "I don't know what you mean."

Adam patiently said it again, "Mom said you'd write on the cookies Thanksgiving morning."

"I still don't get it."

Adam said, "Remember the conversation you had with her about what you'd write on the cookies?"

"The edible markers?" I reminded her.

"Ohhhhh, I thought you said ride on the cookies and I didn't understand."

Braeden said, "Context clues, Emma.  Context clues."

Emma sighed.  "This is like the Helen Keller thing all over again."

I love that girl.  I love how smart she is.  I love how ditzy she is.  I love how good-natured she is about it all.

it's sort of blurry but I love this picture


Of all the many things I have to be grateful for, she's pretty high on the list.  (And she consented to skip school today!  Homeschooling--a hard habit to break.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

13 Past Midnight, part 2

More indulgence by me.  Proof that I use my blog for my own selfish purposes.

A quick run down of the plot.  There were scenes without Braeden, but why would I post those pictures when I could post pictures of my boy?

The crazy producer set up a murder mystery game with the cast of the soap opera.


Braeden and his soap opera co-star tried a few methods of "killing" the dummy in the game...

Smashing it with a plant:


Decapitating it with shears:



in the end it was too much and Braeden couldn't go through with it...
 Next they tried drowning it in a pot of water:


Here's the whole cast getting the dummy:


 Poor dummy:


But then, the producer really did end up dead:


And they all started suspecting each other:

this may be my favorite picture of the whole bunch

the portrait on the wall is of the principal at the high school...it makes its rounds on various sets


I could tell you who did it in the end but wouldn't want to give too much away.  Besides, do you care?  Also (spoiler alert), it wasn't Braeden and this is my narcissistic post where I only show my favorite pictures of Braeden.



all photos courtesy of Sam Freeman of Northwest Photo

Monday, November 19, 2012

13 Past Midnight, part 1

This weekend was the last for 13 Past Midnight.  In typical fashion, it sort of took over our lives but we loved it enough that we were sort of OK with that.

It's fun to watch.

It's fun to socialize with the other parents who also have theatrical children.

I did Braeden's hair for the play.   I've never been any good at hair but I was going for a Tears for Fears (the play was set in the 80s) permed mullet sort of look and I think I pretty much nailed it.  If this style comes back, Braeden is SET.


Braeden did his own make-up in the make-up room at school.  Adam sneaked back and took some pictures.



These pictures make me think of Braeden's future wedding--I think because of the bow tie.  The only difference is, he won't be wearing make-up, or having me do his hair.  Here's hoping at least, on both counts.

The play was double cast.  On the disk I purchased (all the following photos are courtesy of Sam Freeman of Northwest Photo) there were pictures of Braeden with both girls who played his character's wife.




They both played the role of jealous wife fabulously.


Seriously.  Fabulous.

That's all for today--because I have to pace myself.

I'll post more pictures tomorrow--because I can't help myself.

Friday, November 16, 2012

He always goes there

Mark:  doing battle against waves
Fairly often, Emma rolls her eyes and sighs deeply at Mark.  "Why does everything have to end in violence?" she asks.

It's true.  His conversation often disintegrates into brawling.

Yesterday may have been a new low.  We were driving and he said, "You know Mom, how I've asked you who would win in a fight, Jack in the Box or Ronald McDonald?"

"Yes, Mark."  It's come up.  Several times.

"OK,"  he said, "How about this: who would win between Taco Bell and Pizza Hut?"

Yes, are we really talking about this? did cross my mind.   I offered my opinion.  "Pizza Hut would win."

(Sort of a rock, paper, scissors thing.  The pizza would defeat the bell, just like paper defeats the rock.)

"But, Mom, what is the symbol for Pizza Hut?"

I didn't know (even though we had just driven by a Pizza Hut).

"It's a roof.  The bell would smash the roof.  It would destroy it." It delighted him and he reenacted the bell and roof battle, head to head.

What can I say, not everyone would consider a duel between trademarks.  My boy is not everyone.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

I happy grammar

Grammar can be tricky.

Marianne told me recently about a certain unnamed English teacher who taught her students that happy was a verb.  (Marianne and I went to high school with this person, but that doesn't make it right.)

I've been trying ever since to use happy as a verb.  I happy you.  I happy my shoes.  I will happy as soon as I am done happying these dishes.  Things like that.  If it wasn't so happy, it would be sad.

Grammar, grammar, grammar.

Yesterday Mark was working on a grammar assignment.  He needed to find the possessive pronouns.

Here was the sentence:

I wish I had a voice like yours.

He asked, "Is 'voice' the possessive pronoun?"

I said, "No.  For one thing, it isn't a pronoun."

He puzzled over it some more.

"I don't know," he said, "I really think it's 'voice'."

I said, "It's 'yours'.  Yours is a pronoun and it is a possessive.  It tells you whose voice it is."

"I don't think so," Mark said. (I think this is a drawback of homeschooling.  My children have seen me lose my keys and cell phone so many times I've lost all credit in the smarts department.)

I said, "Trust me, Mark, it is."

He said, "But 'voice' is what is being possessed.  Voice is the possessive pronoun."

"Yours is a pronoun,"  I said, "It's possessive." 

Who knows how long we would have gone on like this but Mark finally caved and circled 'yours' on his paper.  Sometimes I happy that I should happy him away.  Maybe there's a teacher that happies enough that Mark would happy her.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bells and whistles

I think it started with our alarm clocks, mine and Adam's, going off at different times.  Then there was the telephone and my computer dinging every time more email rolled in.  My cell phone trilled that I had a new text.

The washing machine and the dryer chimed their songs to tell me the laundry needed to be attended to.

My oven chirped to tell me it was heated, then chirped again to tell me the cookies I was baking for cub scouts were ready.

Mark lay on the floor, with his math, whistling tunelessly.  (Is there anything worse than tuneless whistling?  Unless you count detailed descriptions of dreams.)

I thought, I'm going to go crazy from all this noise.

Then I considered for a moment.

I'm grateful Adam has a job to go to.

I'm grateful that my son has the opportunity to go to early morning seminary and learn about Jesus Christ.  I'm grateful that he asks me questions about the New Testament that I don't know the answer to so I can learn too.  I'm grateful that his devoted teacher is waking up to an even earlier alarm clock.

I'm grateful that I have ways to communicate quickly and efficiently.

I'm grateful that I don't have to go down to the river and beat my clothes against the rocks to get them clean.  I love having a washer and dryer.

I'm grateful for an oven that bakes cookies and tells me when they're done so I don't have to keep an eye on them the whole time.

And I'm grateful for my little boy.  Every day I thank my lucky stars that he is home with me, doing his math in his pajamas, trying to wheedle his way out of his school work, and whistling.

I'm grateful to notice that the things that were annoying me the most were really blessings all along.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A day off

Yesterday since my kids were home from school, we went to IKEA.  Some of us were interested in their Christmas offerings.  Some of us were interested in eating our weight in Swedish meatballs.

While we drove, all three children were silent with their noses in their books.  At one point I said, "I'm so glad we are able to spend this time together."

Mark said (without looking up from his book), "Awww, thanks Mom.  We're glad to be with you too."

I said, "I was being sarcastic!  You're all ignoring me!" 

Again, Mark didn't look up.  He said, "Hey, at least I answered you."

Then I realized that he knew all along that I was being sarcastic.  He was just taking one for the team and talking to me so I'd be quiet and let them read.




Monday, November 12, 2012

Life changing

If you heard a big sigh coming from a northwest direction, I think that was me because my week ended and another started.

One of the things that happened last week was I made cookie pops for the first time.

I wanted to make something to sell at the concession stands for Braeden's play.  I wanted to be a little creative.  I had the parameters of limited skill/time/inspiration.  Enter the internet.

I found this posted on a terribly creative blog.  (Isn't that internet something else?)

I obediently bought the edible writers that she recommended.


I made cookies and inserted popsicle sticks without incident.  It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I may quit my day job and become a cookie pop maker.  (If I had a day job.)

I drew a clock face on the cookies:

I'm realizing this isn't my best sampling of the cookies.  These were the ones I did first and the icing wasn't quite set and they got a little smeary.  I'm also wondering if smeary is a word.

I placed the cookies in a lovely little vase to encourage people to buy them.


It didn't really work.  They weren't huge sellers.  Emma bought one.  Mark bought three.  Adam's sister bought one with money Adam gave her.  A handful of other people bought them as well. 

Here's the upside though.  Emma watched me draw the clock faces on the cookies.  She said, "You have changed my life.  When can I make some cookies and use those pens?"  I will not be at all surprised if Emma starts writing her poetry on cookies.

So my cookies were not a smash success in the concession stand but Emma's life was changed.

Not bad in the balance.

Braeden's play was fun to watch by the way.  I was proud of my boy.  He rocks being an 80s soap opera star.  It was great to see both casts interpret their characters differently.  I really like those kids!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The kind of a week

It's been the kind of week that I've made dinner and we've sat down as a family to eat it exactly zero times.  I can't even remember the last time I made dinner and we sat down as a family to eat it.  Maybe it was in the 90s?

It's been the kind of week that Braeden thought someone made me cry (they didn't) and he got really mad because he's a defending his mama sort of kid.  He told some of his friends that someone made me cry and then they got mad too.  He said he was feeling the berserker tendencies inherent to his Viking ancestors.

I told him that it didn't make me cry.

He said oh.

It's been the kind of week that on the one day when I was feeling the most stressed I forgot to take my medicine that I take every day that keeps my eye from flaring up.  So my eye got itchy and red and swollen and sore. (Which is what it does when I'm stressed, the irony.)

It's been the kind of week that I didn't talk on the phone to my sisters much because we didn't have time.

It's been the kind of week that I took ten separate trips to Braeden's school.  (so far---there will be more this weekend)  I feel like I've been there so much that I should enroll.  Take a class.  Maybe I'll take chemistry since that was my favorite class in high school.  (I'm being sarcastic, by the way.  Chemistry almost killed me.  Emma asks me sometimes if I'm being sarcastic so I thought I should point it out in case you couldn't tell.  That's what happens when you're a person who is never, ever sarcastic.)

I'm being sarcastic, by the way.

It's been the kind of week that can't end soon enough.  Especially since there is no school Monday.  Did you hear that, week?  There's no school Monday.  Do your damage.  I'm going to spend Monday with my kids and you can't stop me.




Thursday, November 8, 2012

The theater!

Starting tomorrow night, GPHS is presenting 13 Past Midnight.  It's double cast so Braeden is in half of the performances, tomorrow and then two next Saturday.



You should go.

If you, you know, live around here.

The play has been contributing to the frantic pace of my week.  I have been helping to feed the cast dinner all week and I am selling tickets and running the concession stand at the play this weekend (and next).

As usual, Marianne has seen my busy and raised me.  She is amazing and if our lives weren't so hectic, I may be able to call her back and see how and if she's surviving.

She is directing the musical at her daughters' high school.   Her talented daughters wanted to be in a musical and there was no one to direct it, so Marianne is.  How I love that girl!

The play they are doing is Ducktails and Bobbysox.


You should go.

If you, you know, live around there.

Finally, my parents are Jed and Annie in their Rendezvous show in Nauvoo.



By all accounts (my mom), my dad is fabulous in his role. (If you can believe my mom...she thinks about everything my dad does is fabulous.)

Since I agree with my mom and think everything my dad does is fabulous, you should go.

If you, you know, live around there.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Perfect timing


I knew this wasn't going to be an easy week.  It is incredibly busy.  Yesterday one thing after another conspired against me*.  (One thing at a time is more fair.)  I was struggling and Mark gave me hugs and kisses...and then a Twix bar from his Halloween candy.

I know that turning to chocolate for comfort is frowned upon by some health professionals.

That doesn't mean it doesn't help.  I don't think it's a coincidence that our houses are teeming with chocolate right after Halloween when things get busy/stressful in our lives.  I call that perfect timing.



*and that was even before (as usual) nearly every person/referendum I voted for went the other way...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

While I was off trying to be authentic

Here are some pictures that accumulated on Pinkie Pie while I was blogging the month away in October about authenticity.

1) Braeden wore his fur coat to school.

This fur coat was his great grandmother's, given to him by his aunt.  He loves it because his goal in life is to make other people laugh and he finds this coat to be a catalyst.

He has had a few teachers tell him in threatening tones not to wear the coat to school any more.  (Somehow teachers aren't as keen on Braeden making everyone laugh as he is.)  During the week of Homecoming, on James Bond day, Braeden decided he could get away with wearing his fur coat.  He said he was a KGB spy.

When his phone hasn't been confiscated by me for one reason or another, he texts me throughout the day.  (Because he also likes to make me laugh.)

He texted me this picture:

I don't think anyone in the KGB was ever that handsome.  Maybe their mothers thought so though.

 2) I draped my prize winning knitting over Horace and Emma called it Horace and the Amazing Technicolor Goat Coat.

(Emma and words get along.)



3) Mark and I (sort of) went to Luxembourg.

While Adam was there, we chatted with him over my phone.  He held his phone to the mirror because Mark loves being in foreign places--even if it's just in the mirror.  I took a screenshot because I think if you're in a mirror in Luxembourg, you should have a record of it.

We're in this picture three times...we're like the Norman Rockwell of iphones.



4) Braeden realized he's stronger than glass.

I had him tighten the screws on our downstairs light fixtures.  They shake loose with time and children slamming our front door.  I can't reach them even on a chair so I had Braeden do it.

This is what happened to the first one:


I (sweetly) pointed out that he didn't need to keep screwing the screws until the glass broke.  I didn't get mad at him.  No, not me.  I'm the picture of patience.  What?

5) I moved some furniture and had my children (and Hannah from across the street) help.  Adam didn't notice which I think makes us very compatible.  I can move furniture and if he doesn't notice, he won't mind.




6) Mark was in the cub scout variety show.  He played the piano and gave me a thumbs up which I captured on camera.



7) I made Emma spew.

No pictures of this priceless moment but it was probably the highlight of the entire month of October.  When Adam and Robbie and Erin and Rachel and I had dinner together every night at the Cannon Center when we were freshmen at BYU, the goal was to make each other laugh so hard that we'd spew our drink across the table.  Kind of gross but it was a badge of honor.  Also it made us drink very carefully.

One night last month I was singing a stirring rendition of the Whitney Houston song "The Greatest Love" but I combined the words with the FFA creed which begins, "I believe in the future of farming..."

I was belting out that I believed the children were the future of farming.  (It was lovely.)  As I built in both momentum and volume, the song also got very high.  I sang that "I pitched the song too high and now my dog is going to die..." and that was when Emma spewed the water she was drinking across the kitchen floor because she was laughing.

I'm telling you.  The highlight of the month.  Those are the kind of messes worth cleaning up.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A silver lining

Last week something very sad happened.  My dear sister-in-law Jennifer's dad passed away.  Jennifer and Enoch and their children drove to eastern Washington from Nevada to be with her family.  I offered to take their children for a few days since I live in western Washington.  Enoch drove them here Friday.  After he returned to be with Jennifer, we had them all to ourselves.

Being able to spend time with my sweet nephews and niece was a silver lining to the tragedy that struck their family.  I enjoyed my time with them.

There was a lot of running and playing and snacks administered.  There was a certain degree of chaos and one hole kicked in the wall.  (Mark was solely responsible, don't think it was the little visitors.)  There were sweet conversations where I held Luke snuggled on my lap and we talked about his grandpa.  There were kisses and hugs and brushing Savannah's blond hair and reading to her.  I admired Isaiah's drawings and the rock he brought from Nevada.

On Saturday we took them to the beach.  Savannah said we could build a sand castle and go swimming.  Not really that sort of beach, especially in November.  They admired the boats and the shells, threw rocks in the water and played on the playground.  They were kids which is a tender blessing when things are sad. 

a golden haired angel--swimming in her cousin Mark's sweatshirt
some of the treasures Isaiah found


When Adam and I talked about taking them on the ferry, just for fun, Isaiah laughed a little and said, "Maybe you can take Savannah but Luke and I won't go."

I was puzzled then said, "Oh, it's not a fairy, it's a ferry.  It's a boat."

Mark, Isaiah and Luke on the ferry, not fairy.

After that we called it a ferry boat and took a ride to Whidbey Island and back.  At first Savannah clung tight to me in case "the ferry boat broke" then she started enjoying it.  That night when she was in the tub she told me she was one of those seagulls in the water then she assured me, "That ferry boat was not scary."



At church on Sunday our little guests were as good as gold.  Afterward we fed them and packed them up and headed east of the mountains to meet Enoch.  They were excited to be reunited with their parents but it was a little sad to let them go.  I got to know them more and I love those three little people.

We stopped to look at the planes at the Boeing factory.  I was hanging onto Luke so I didn't blow away.  Windy!

I must also mention how wonderful it was to see my brother.  He advised us on refinancing our mortgage questions and didn't laugh (much) about what a dunce I am about those types of things.  We enjoyed visiting with him about our families--extended and close, politics, our various travels and just life.  He ordered a lime for my diet coke when we had dinner together.  You know your brother loves you when he gets you a lime for your diet coke. I just hope next time they all come, Jennifer is here as well.

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