Friday, March 29, 2013

Books I read in March 2013

 Dreams of Joy by Lisa See ***

This book was a little hard to get into at first but I ended up really liking it.  It was set in China during the late 50s.  There's so much that I don't know about and communist China is one of those things.  This was a fascinating look at how some people were completely drawn in by the communist ideals portrayed and some people were skeptical.  It was also about how disillusioned people became when The Great Leap Forward ended up leaving people starving and suffering.  Mostly it was about the love between mothers and daughters.  It's hard to describe.  You should read it though.  (I may pick it for book club so if you're in my book club don't read it.  Yet.)

 Once Upon a Time there was You by Elizabeth Berg **

This is one of those books I really liked until the end.  Then I didn't like it as much.  Why can't books just have a satisfying ending?  Is that too much to ask?  It's about a divorced couple who come together to help their daughter who is in crisis.  The characters were all interesting.  I love interesting characters.  I just want them to be smart!

All of A Kind Family by Sydney Taylor **

This was a book I read because Mark read it for school.  It was good.  Not really complex enough that I'd want to read it on my own, but Mark loved it.  That's something.  It is about a family that has all daughters and is set in New York City around the turn of last century.  There was a little bit of a Little Women feel to it.  I was afraid that Mark wouldn't like it, but he did.

The Importance of Being Seven by Alexander McCall Smith ****

Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite authors.  I can't decide if I like the 44 Scotland Street series (of which this book is a part) or the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series better.  They are all wonderful.  The books are witty and peaceful and smart without too much plot but I adore every word.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The social event of (our) year

I promise, this is the last mention of our birthdays.  (Blogging seems to encourage narcissism.)

We had a party!  It was fun!  We invited our friends and most of them came! (OK, I'll stop yelling.) Luckily, Geri agreed to host the party because her house is much better at accommodating crowds.  Also, she knows how to host a party.

She created a lovely table.

Complete with replicas of the invitations that Adam made:

the invitations made me unreasonably happy
We displayed our birthday pictures:

Our children stood at the door checking tickets and in the absence of tickets, checked "the list" before they let people enter.

The boys are trying to look formidable but my money is on Emma.

They enjoyed the role.  Maybe a little too much.  They had hand selected people (like Eric and Janet) that they wouldn't let enter.  They said they weren't on the list.  (Of course, it was only because Eric and Janet are like an uncle and aunt to them and they knew they could get away with it!)

There aren't too many pictures of the event.  It was a crowded, happy and wonderful time.  And also, it is increasingly clear that I am not photogenic.  It is not getting better with time.  Jill tried heroically to get a flattering picture of me.  Since I didn't really get one of those though, here are Jill and Mike:

From now on, I think I'll just post pictures of my pretty friends.

Thank you Geri for throwing us a great party.  Thank you to my wonderful friends who brought my favorite foods. (I was not shy.  I gave my three besties assignments.  And I didn't share the leftovers.)  Thank you everyone for coming.  Thank you, thank you my heart sings!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


In honor of our birthday(s), Adam and I assembled some pictures of us from past birthdays:

Here we are, March 23, 1974:  we were one year old.

I love how we have similar yellow, white and avocado green high chairs.  The seventies...

March 23, 1978:  we were five years old.

March 23, 1990:  we were seventeen.

March 23, 1992:  we were nineteen.

March 23, 1994:  we were twenty-two.

March 23, 2013:  we are forty!

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.
Robert Browning

So far it's working.  The older I get, the better life gets with this man.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aunt of the year

Adam's sister Whitney also came for our birthday party.

She came all the way from Atlanta!  (Somebody give that lady a prize.)

It was great to have her for our party.  It was also really great that she got to spend time cementing her status as Aunt of the Year.

Friday, she took all her nieces out of school (let the other kids catch up, I say).

all these pictures have been swiped from facebook.
After trying on bunny ears, and who knows what all, they went to Whitney's friend's photography studio for some make-up tutorials and then a photo shoot.  It was all very glamorous.

Yesterday, she took Mark and Jackson to Seattle for the day.  (She would have taken all the boys but the parents of the two high school boys wouldn't let them miss school.)

(Sorry Braeden and Kain.)

Mark and Jackson in Seattle:

It's officially official.  Aunt of the year:

(Thank you Whitney and thank you for letting me steal your pictures!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Saturday, Adam and I turned 40 and had a party.

More on that later.

I had been telling my siblings, particularly my sisters, that they needed to come.  They said they couldn't.  And they had really good excuses.  Marianne, for example, told me that she was going to chaperone for FFA state (which her girls were going to).  She told me elaborate plans about it.  She told me what her younger children were doing while she was gone.  She told me about another chaperone that she was rooming with.

I talk and/or text both sisters almost daily.  I'm pretty aware of their schedules.  Olivia told me about her comings and goings.  And she was sick.  I was worried about her being sick (you know, the five children, the homeschooling...she's a little busy).  Marianne called me from FFA state.  She told me how her kids were doing in their contests.  She told me about her fellow chaperone roommate and how she got up too early for Marianne's taste.

Then, on Friday afternoon, I had finished a lot of my tasks (admittedly looking back, I should have cleaned my house more instead) so I decided to paint my fingernails in honor of my big birthday bash.

Halfway through that task, someone came in the door downstairs.  Adam had mentioned he might be home early from work, but I didn't think he'd be that early.  I thought maybe it was Emma, getting home from spending time with her aunt and cousins, but my kids usually call out to me when they walk in the door.

"Is someone here?" I asked.

And then my sisters came up the stairs and into my room.

I burst into tears and was laughing and waving my (freshly painted and still wet) fingers around perilously.

Adam took unflattering pictures.

See the way I am not getting nail polish in their hair?  You're welcome, girls.
As fabulous as they are at being my sisters, they are also devoted aunts.  They weren't here 30 seconds before Mark had to show them his latest Lego creation.  I love how fascinated they look by his Lego dragon.  I love those two.

Hence the tears.

It probably took me a full half hour to recover and wrap my mind around the fact that my sisters were there.

Then I started considering their duplicitous natures.  They had lied to me!  So convincingly!  "So you never went to FFA state?" I asked Marianne, in wonder.

"I had to have a good excuse why I wasn't coming," she said.

"Were you really sick?" I asked Olivia.

"Yes," she said, "But I'm feeling better."

Adam snapped a picture of them explaining their deceit to me.

It may or may not have been an animated conversation.

I had even talked to Marianne on the phone, "from FFA state".  She had made all her kids go outside so I wouldn't hear them in the background, because she was really at home.

They told me about a few near misses when they'd almost told me.

Then I asked Adam, "So you knew about this?!?"

He did, since last summer.

I can't imagine my sisters could have done anything to make me feel more loved.  It was the best surprise of my 40 years. (I also REALLY appreciate their husbands and children and friends and Jennifer that made it possible to leave their families for a few days.)

I was wearing heels in this picture.  I don't want to talk about it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Poor Patty Punkety

Several days ago, I was thinking I should call my parents.  I think I was feeling concerned about them and hoping they were OK.

I didn't think they'd be home but I left them a message and they called me back.  I think the invention of talking to your parents on the phone was a good one.

"Are you sick?" my mom asked, "You sound sick."

I told them that my eye, which harasses me from time to time had flared up.  I gave them the whole list of things that were bothering me, all the struggles of a Thelma.

"Poor Patty Punkety," my dad said, in sort of a teasing voice.

He called me Patty Punkety when I was little.

I don't know how to spell Patty Punkety.

I don't know if there was ever a Patty Punkety.  Was she a real person, a character from a book, TV show, movie?

I don't know why my dad calls me Patty Punkety.

I just know that when my dad says, "poor Patty Punkety," in sort of a teasing voice, it makes me feel better.  It assures me and reminds me that I'm part of a tribe of people that love me and Whatever Lies In Front of Me is not all that terrible.

(I think the reason I felt like I should call my parents was because I needed them, not the other way around.)

A few days ago, Braeden was obviously struggling.  He was cranky and surly and he is hardly ever cranky or surly.  Something was up.  I decided spontaneously to pick him up from school and take him to lunch.  Foot long Subway sandwiches are his love language.  I told him everything was OK.  I told him to have perspective and to keep his chin up.  After dropping him off, when he walked back into the school with a bit more bounce in his step, I realized that maybe that was my own version of saying "poor Patty Punkety."

Life can be hard.  There are all sorts of concerns that hassle us.  But there are also reminders all around us.  There are friends that text quick messages of love and support and concern.  There are sisters that hammer everything out on the phone with you.  There are husbands that send you to bed and fix the clogged drain.

There are dads that say, "poor Patty Punkety..." in sort of a teasing voice.

We're all going to be just fine. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My grandma

Yesterday, my dear sweet grandma, Margaret Dahl, passed away.  She would have been 95 in July.

It's hard to be too sad when someone that is 94 dies.  It's hard not to be a little sad though.

Because I love my grandma.

My grandma is the one in white in the picture below, holding my grandpa's hand.

I can't think about my grandma without thinking about my grandpa.  Theirs is a great love story.  It was evident my whole life, whenever I saw them, that they completely adored each other.

We lived close to them for most of my growing up years.  Grandma and Grandpa came over for birthdays and holidays and sometimes just Sunday dinner.  After we ate, Grandma always insisted on washing the dishes.

"I'll wash," she would say. "You know where everything goes and I don't."

I always thought washing the dishes was the worst job so I was always grateful she chose that job.

When we had the kitchen all clean, my grandma, mom, sisters and I would go into the living room where my dad and Grandpa were visiting and the boys were hanging on their every word.  We'd all sit there together for a little while, companionably.  Grandma would sit right next to Grandpa.  They'd hold hands.

Then Grandpa would put his hand on Grandma's knee.  He'd say, "Well, Margaret, do you think it's time we went home?"

She'd smile and say yes and he'd get off the couch, then help her up.  They'd walk hand in hand to their car.  Always a Cadillac.

Yesterday afternoon, in my mind's eye, my grandpa put his hand on my grandma's knee.  "Well, Margaret, do you think it's time we went home?"

I can't imagine how happy they are to be together again.  I'm brimming over with gratitude.  I'm grateful they are my grandparents.  I'm grateful families are forever.  I'm grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ.  Because He died and then lived, we can all live again.  Because of Him, there's a happy reunion in heaven right now.

A few years ago, in a rush of nostalgia, I wrote some about my Grandma and Grandpa Dahl:

Here, here, here, here and here.

I feel like the world is a little bit less because my grandma is no longer in it.

But more than that, I feel like the world is a better place because she was.  She raised seven children who love her and love each other.  She supported her husband, always.  She was a beacon of peace and serenity.  She was one of those people that is so thoroughly good she always seemed to make me want to be better and live up to her high opinion of all of her grandchildren.

Dear, dear Grandma, thank you.

Thank you for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and red geraniums in your windows.  Thank you for saying an emphatic, "Well, I'll say!" when agreeing with something I did or said.  Thank you for complimenting me the first time you saw my two week old baby Braeden by saying, "I have always liked big babies best!" Thank you for raising my dad to be a good man.  Thank you for your example of goodness and service.  Thank you for modeling an eternal marriage.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fortune cookies

We went to a Teriyaki restaurant.  Not my favorite, but they had fortune cookies.  And I am a fan of fortune cookies.  Fortune cookies were supposed to come with the meal.  It said it right on the menu.

Except ours didn't come with fortune cookies.

I told Braeden.

He shrugged in his sixteen-year-old-non-committal-I-don't-care-if-my-mom-gets-her-fortune-cookie sort of way.

(It hurt.)

He went to the counter to get a glass of water.  I said, "Ask about my fortune cookie."

He didn't.

We got up to leave and Adam, the beloved, my knight in shining armor, went to the counter and got me a handful of fortune cookies.

We got into the car and I said, "Remember the story of the Little Red Hen?"

Braeden and Emma immediately knew what I was getting at.

Mark said, "I can't remember, is that the one about the rooster on top of the barn that moves when the wind blows or is that the one about no one would help her make bread?"

(As an aside, I'm not sure what a weather vane has to do with the Little Red Hen. There are some serious gaps in that boy's education and I'm his teacher.  I don't want to talk about it.)

I said, "No one would help me get fortune cookies, so no one gets one."

Adam said, "I don't think I helped you get fortune cookies, I think I got them for you."

(I felt like that was a minor point.)

Mark said, in his sweetest I'm-your-baby-and-you-love-me voice, "I'm sorry Mama, I didn't know you wanted fortune cookies."

I handed him a fortune cookie. (My children only call me mama when they want something.)

Emma said, "I don't have any social skills."

I handed her a fortune cookie, and I laughed because she cracks me up. (And that's why I didn't want to go ask for cookies in the first place...where do you think she gets it?)

"What do you have to say for yourself?" I asked Braeden.

"I love you?" he said.

Adam pointed to the center console in the middle of the van.  I knew what he meant, because we're soul mates.

I put the cookie package down and Adam smashed it with his fist.  Then I handed it to Braeden.

What it comes down to is, with or without the cookies, I have fortune.  I really enjoy these people in my family.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Look alikes

Among the other things we did last weekend (like wait in line 2 1/2 hours for our kids' passport renewals), Adam and I looked through old pictures and we figured out how to use our scanner.

I decided Mark kind of looks like Ammon.  Maybe it's the glasses. Maybe it's the slightly dazed expressions.  (That picture of Ammon was taken at our wedding.  Is he dazzled that his sister made such a beautiful bride?)

Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part. (The Mark looking like Ammon thing, not the me as a beautiful bride thing!  Be quiet, Olivia.)

Ammon is not only a handsome guy, but he's also a very, very good one and I'd love my son to be like him.

Speaking of Ammon, I'm forever telling him and his wife that their little girl, Azure, looks like Ammon when he was a baby.

Here's Ammon.  He has a dirty face and a dirty shirt.  I took tons of similar pictures of him because I had a camera and he was my baby brother.

Here's Azure and her brother Cormac, stolen from Melanee's blog.

I think they look a lot alike except Azure has her mother's amazing eyelashes and she will probably not turn out to be as tall as her dad.

Here's Adam when he was one year old and Emma when she was two:

And here are Mark and me, side by side:

Mark was traumatized because he'd just ridden Splash Mountain at Disneyland.

I was traumatized because I had to have my picture taken.  (Even then, not so photogenic.)

What is the significance of all these look alikes?  I don't know.  I just like them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why do I try?

For one thing, I should have seen it coming.  I should have looked at my husband and my brothers and my dad and some of my cousins (!) and realized that petite children were not on my horizon. 

I can't remember if it was when Braeden was a toddler and had feet roughly the same shape as cubes or if it was when Mark was a toddler and had feet roughly the same shape as cubes--one of them.  Geri told me that Adam had had feet roughly the same shape as cubes and she had to look long and hard to find him shoes that would work.  She told me by way of empathizing, but I also felt a certain sense of duty.  She had hunted up shoes to fit her baby's blocky feet so I had to do the same.

And I did.

And (thankfully) both boys have more or less reached the shape of feet that shoes are easier to find.

But it's the job of the mother to clothe your children no matter their size and shape.  It's just part of the gig.

I tracked down a source for jeans to cover the increasingly long legs of my first-born.   No one really cares except me though.  There's no one to share in this victory.  Braeden shrugs and pulls on the jeans.  He'd wear jeans that are too short and not even care or notice.  Clothes are a very secondary concern to him.

I decided his sleeves were too short on the white dress shirt he wears to church.  I went to the store with Emma and hunted all over an entire table for a shirt with a small enough neck and long enough sleeves.  I couldn't find one.

We searched a second table and then a third.  Finally, success!  The neck was a little bigger than what I was looking for but I thought it would work.  The sleeves, 36-37, were long enough!  I was proud of my purchase, my conquest of the tables of white dress shirts at JCPenney.

I presented it to Braeden, ironed fresh from the wrinkle release setting in the dryer and ready to go.  He put it on.

Yesterday at church, it was stake conference and we were packed in tight.  He became warm.  We weren't in the meeting 5 minutes when he had his shirt sleeves rolled up above his elbows.

All that time looking for a shirt that would have long enough sleeves, and he had the audacity to roll them up!

No appreciation, I tell you.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Impossible strength

This month, I have been struggling to teach the children at church, in primary, about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Struggling because it's a hard concept to teach to children.

What is not hard is to recognize the Atonement's power.

My heart and prayers have been with my friend Sue and her family this week.  Her parents were murdered, in their home, by their own grandson.  He was troubled and newly released from prison.  He had suffered from substance abuse.  The whole situation was so tragic, overwhelming.

A few days ago, Sue wrote on facebook, thanking her friends for their support and prayers.  She expressed her knowledge of Heavenly Father's and Jesus Christ's love for her.  She wrote that she felt her burdens lightened by her Savior.  She demonstrated the depth of her character and the power of the Atonement when she said that she forgives her nephew.  I am humbled by her goodness.

I know that strength, that impossible strength, doesn't come by any other way than accepting the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I also know that it doesn't happen overnight.  I may not be able to make my beloved little primary children really understand it all yet.

If I can give them a tiny inkling though, a small step forward on the path, I will be grateful.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

For the last time

 Sometimes when you do something for the last time, it is with a certain melancholy.

Sometimes, not so much.

Pinewood Derby, not so much.

Tuesday night was Mark's last.

(I sincerely apologize to Olivia for gloating.  My math skills aren't sufficient to calculate how many Pinewood Derbies are in her future.)

(On the upside, Olivia, the boy who was cleaning up at our Pinewood Derby is the fifth son in his family.  You eventually get the kinks worked out, I guess.)

There are parts of the Pinewood Derby that we enjoy.  The planning, for one.  Mark wanted to go on Pinterest to look for ideas.  I felt like I was doing something right as a mother that he knew where to look.  He found a few ideas and I gently steered him toward the easiest.

He and Adam planned and plotted.  They sent me to Hobby Lobby with specific instructions as to the wooden discs they needed me to purchase.  And when I say specific, I mean specific.  Adam has these perfectionist tendencies that occasionally crop up.  They show up in our kids from time to time too. (Except for Braeden...he got a double dose of his mother's tendency to say "close enough.")  Mark and Adam measured carefully.

(Again, Braeden or I would never do that.)

They both loved the exactness of it all.  I thought about Grandpa Linn.  That's where those two got their skills with a ruler.

Painting proved a little problematic.  Adam used a silver-chrome color as a primer (because we had some in the garage) but then the desired red color wouldn't adhere to the chrome color.  He was ready to completely start from scratch, with a different car kit.  (This of course mystified Braeden and me...even Emma thought it was a little nuts.  Even Emma.)

We all convinced Adam it was good enough, so he left it silver.

Before the big night, I talked to Mark at length about his behavior at the Pinewood Derby.  We are all really good at these sort of conversations--we've had a lot of them.  I caution Mark not to run around like a crazy person and he amiably agrees not to, then he runs around like a crazy person.  I said, "Last year every picture I had of you at the Pinewood Derby, your face was bright red from running around.  I want this year to be different."

"Got it," he said, "I will make sure you take my picture before I run around."

"No! That's not what I mean.  I don't. Want. You. To. Run. Around."


(See?  This is what effective parenting looks like. It's so effective we have to repeat it over and over and over.  And over.)

Here's the line-up of race cars:

Mark's car looks deceptively aerodynamic but it was really (really) slow.  I told Braeden that up in heaven, Grandpa Linn was hanging his head in shame.

Mark still had a good time.  And look at him--his cheeks are nice and rosy like a Mark's cheeks should be and he's not running around like a crazy person!

I had the important job of being the starting judge.  If I could have figured out a way to cheat and have Mark win at least one race (or not come in dead last) I would have done it.  If for no other reason, then for Grandpa Linn, up in heaven, hanging his head in shame.

In the picture below, I look like I'm supplicating the heavens for Divine intervention on behalf of Mark's car but that's how I stand when I have cold hands.  It looks stupid and I should either stop doing it or move to a warmer climate.  Or wear gloves?

Braeden was wearing Mark's too small hat and standing by me, making me laugh.  Every time I told him to take the hat off he'd do an Elmer Fudd impersonation.  (Also, does anyone besides me wonder why I have two shirts and a sweater on and I have cold hands and my off-spring is standing there comfortably in a t-shirt and shorts.  Does that goofy hat provide warmth?

Mark lost every race and saw right through his phony award for "Car that looks most like a Lego."  (The kind of award that's made up on the spot so every boy feels accomplished.)

I said, "Well Mark, you win some and you lose some."

He smiled and with a twinkle in his brown eyes said, "Or, you win none and you lose all."

I wouldn't trade that boy for all the winning-est Pinewood Derby cars in the world.

(And I'm pretty sure Grandpa Linn, up in heaven, would agree.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fiction in my writing group

Last night my writing group met at our house.

(I love it when my writing group meets.)

Somehow in the course of our conversation, someone mentioned how my house is always clean.

(I think my jaw dropped.)

(I think I saw Adam, who was in the kitchen at the time, try not to laugh.)

"My house isn't clean all the time!" I protested.  "I knew you were coming."

One of my friends said that awhile ago, when she had Emma come over to babysit, she wanted to have her house looking perfect.

Then I was really shocked.  Emma's room is often like a tornado scene.  I promise Emma wouldn't feel uncomfortable in a less than perfect house!

When they think my house is clean all the time, by house they really mean living room and by all the time, they really mean every time we meet for writing group.  I feel like a fraud if anyone thinks my house is always clean.

That is fiction.

Here is what is non fiction though:  those wonderful ladies, deluded into thinking my house is perfect, those ladies can write!

Every second Tuesday of the month (when my living room is all spiffed up in their honor), they inspire me with their writing and advice and goodness--because our conversation always meanders to other aspects of our lives as well.

It's the best possible sort of non fiction.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Living to tell the tale

I am seriously not cut out for rock concerts.  They are loud and late and crowded.

(And pretty amazing and great.)

Remember when we went to Imagine Dragons?  We were about ten feet from the stage?

This was a little different.

Above is Owl City.  They opened the concert. 

My favorite part of their performance was Fireflies:

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep

Next was Neon Trees.  It just kept getting better.  The downside of Neon Trees was that two women sat in front of us and spent a half hour (I am not kidding) trying to get a satisfactory picture of themselves, taken with a cell phone.  They had no aim.  Finally Adam tapped them on the shoulder and held out his hand for the phone.  He snapped a picture and handed it back to them.  They were thrilled with the results and then left for different seats.

It's like I tell my children.  The sad thing about life is that the dumb people you went to high school with don't just go away.  They're out there.  In the world.

Here's Neon Trees:

The lead singer is the one in the middle with super skinny legs and super skinny jeans.  He was a sensational dancer and I loved their music.

I kept thinking though, that if your legs are that skinny, you shouldn't wear skinny jeans.  That should be a rule.

(Maybe it should also be a rule that I don't blog when I have a headache because this is sounding a little cranky.)

 (I'll be nicer.)  

The last act was MAROON 5!

You'll have to trust me that that's Adam Levine.  The combination of dim lights, far distance, my phone for a camera and my sketchy-at-best photography skills came up with this:

But that's Adam Levine!

The Maroon 5 part of the concert was fabulous.  I loved it and I loved looking down the row and seeing Braeden and Emma singing every word. 

I took earplugs for us to wear and Braeden and Emma ignored them.  When they were babies and I would take them for walks on the streets of New Haven in a stroller, I would clamp my hands over their ears if a firetruck screamed by.

All that protection of their hearing just to have it blasted to bits at a rock concert.

What can you do?

We got home about midnight.  Adam did the morning seminary carpool (and he drove Emma to school because she missed the bus) so I could sleep in a little.  He keeps proving to me over and over that when I married him, I did a really good thing.

We are tired and cranky today.  It would kill me off to do this on a regular basis.

But it was pretty great.

again, you'll just have to believe me...that's Adam Levine


Monday, March 11, 2013

One last hurrah


Twenty years ago (!) on the eve of my twentieth birthday, my roommates "kidnapped" me and wrapped my arms in cellophane so I couldn't move. (I'm not sure why this was an important step, maybe so I couldn't remove the blindfold?)  They blindfolded me and led me on a parade through our friends' apartments and drove me around town until I was thoroughly confused about where we were.  We ended up at the trail head of Y Mountain.  My friends told me that as my final act as a teenager, I was going to hike the Y at midnight.  It was memorable.

Fast forward 20 years, we are not on the eve, but on the cusp of the eve (is that a thing?), of 40.  Tonight we are going to a Maroon 5 concert.  Our kids are really excited.  Adam and I are considering how tired we already are.  Between Daylight Savings Time (which is the worst!) and life in general (which is exhausting!) and the fact that tomorrow starts High School Proficiency Exams for Braeden (we have received email and phone messages from the school reminding us to make sure our students are well rested.  Does staying out late for a concert count?  Ahem.)

I told Adam this could be our last big hurrah before we get old and curmudgeonly.  (It's arguable that we've been old and curmudgeonly before this, but just go with it.)

So tonight, the concert.

Tomorrow, the consequences.

You're only young once.

Friday, March 8, 2013

We are family

I felt sorry for myself because all of my siblings were together last weekend except me.

Tabor and Katie took their three sweet girls to Nevada for the baby blessing of little Charlotte who I have yet to meet.  (I think it should be illegal to have nieces in the world that you haven't met.)

On Sunday afternoon, Enoch fired up his ipad and we gathered around my laptop, propped on the TV.  We skyped with them all. (Except Ammon and Melanee had already left for home.  Rats.)

My cell phone was nearby because I was texting with Enoch beforehand to get it all set up.

I felt less sorry for myself when I considered the blessing of all that technology helping us connect.

I could hear the raucous cacophony that is my family.  I could hear the happy sounds of a whole lot of children.  I could see Tabor asleep on the couch.

"Wake him up!" I said.  (This was rather cowardly of me, I admit.  It's easy enough to say "wake him up" when I'm several states away.  There have been times that Tabor was...a little...cranky...when woken up.)

He was very cheerful though.  He showed off little Charlotte for the camera (shown above).  He sat stoically while Luke, in full pirate costume, waved a toy sword in his face.  (You have to be brave around all those little pirates.)

It broke my heart a little not to be there.

Now, since we are a family that recycles names, concentrate on this story so you don't get confused: 

Olivia (my sister) told me that Olivia (my niece) said, "My bear wondered why we have the same name."

Olivia (my sister) said, "What did you tell your bear?"

Olivia (my niece) said, "I didn't really know."

(How cute is that little Olivia?)

Olivia (my sister) told her about Olivia (our aunt) and Olivia (our great-grandma) and how it was a good name and how all the Olivias had to do their best to live up to the name.

(I love every last one of those Olivias.)

So I don't know what the point of all this is.  I love my family.  I miss them.  I'm glad they're mine.  I'm glad that even though I see them a lot less than I would like, we are linked together.  We are bound by covenants and love and pale skin that burns/freckles.  We are bound by the same silly years-long running jokes, by nicknames no one really remembers the source of.  We are bound by wondrous technology.  Marianne emailed me an essay Liberty wrote for school.  Liberty who is likely the sweetest person in all the world, wrote about how much she loves her aunts.  She wrote she reads my blog every day.

I'm grateful I have a way to connect with my dear niece.

(I wish I had more worthwhile things to write in my blog since I know people of her caliber are reading.)


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