Monday, March 31, 2014

Books I read in March 2014

I found myself without any books to read (gasp!).  I usually put books on hold because our tiny library branch doesn't have much.  None of my holds were in and I was left to browse the meager shelves.  I found some books by Karen White.  I read a book by her before and liked it so I picked up several.  Three were part of a series--luckily the first three.  I liked them.  I took one of them with me to parent teacher conference because waiting in those lines without a book would be the worst.

Braeden's English teacher asked me curiously what I was reading.  I felt slightly embarrassed to be reading such lightweight chick lit.  Next year maybe I'll get one of Adam's old textbooks and put whatever silly book I'm reading inside so I look like I'm reading something intelligent...

It was a month of frivolous reading.


The House on Tradd Street, The Girl on Legare Street, The Strangers on Montagu Street by Karen White ***

I liked all three of these books.  I got a little annoyed with the denseness of the main character sometimes but overall they were compelling and interesting and well done.  They're ghost stories (and mysteries and romances).  I usually don't like that sort of thing but I liked these.

Falling Home by Karen White ***

Another by Karen White.  (Seriously, our library is small.)  The characters and basic plot were very similar to the other series (no ghosts though) but different enough that I still liked this book.  It's about a woman who after a 15 year absence and falling out with her sister, goes back home.  There was of course romance involved.  Wouldn't be shallow chick lit without it...

Wedding Night
by Sophie Kinsella ***

What would a month of junk food reading be without a Sophie Kinsella in the mix?  Her books are funny and entertaining and silly.  This is about two sisters and how one tries to foil the wedding night of her sister--out of love.  Hard to explain without giving too much away but it kept me amused while Mark swam.  Not G rated, I skimmed parts...

P.S.  Last week a story I started was featured on our writing website.  I wrote the beginning and end but all the razzmatazz in the middle was provided by my friends.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Home again

We are home.

It is gray and wet and green.  So green.  And I know this isn't even green, for here.

Braeden and Emma were left home alone while we were gone.  The house is still standing and as far as we know they behaved tolerably well.  If there were shenanigans we'll probably find out in about 5 years.  (That's about when we told our parents what we got up to while they left us alone.)

I'm happy to be home.  I feel rejuvenated by the break and sunshine and time reading by the pool.  I am going to focus that rejuvenated energy towards laundry and restocking the larder today.

While we were away I kept my eye intermittently on the news from home.  There was a big mudslide that killed many people.  It is a little surreal to have our own county in the national news.  My heart goes to the people who lost loved ones or homes or both.  They are in my prayers.

Last night Adam and I spent more time learning about it and looking at pictures.  It is devastating.  I feel grateful for my safe family in my cozy home and I feel like the heavy gray sky over Snohomish county is appropriate for now.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's not just about the food

But, the food!

A guy Adam works with is from Chicago and while traveling, introduced Adam to Portillo's.  It started in Chicago and now there are a few in the Southwest too.  Oh. My.

I had a chicken and fruit and poppy seed salad that was life changing.  Followed by chocolate cake.  If I went again (and I will go again hopefully) I will forgo the cake--good as it was--for a strawberry shake.  Mark had the strawberry shake and it was amazing.  (I felt fine getting Mark the strawberry shake since he swam for three hours that afternoon.  I am not sure I burned quite as many calories sitting poolside and talking on the phone and reading...

While we were eating at Portillo's, I asked Adam what we have in the Pacific Northwest.  Do we have anything?  He said really good salmon.  That's true.

We also went to the Mesa temple.

It was built in the late '20s and we saw pictures of when it was being built.  It was out in the middle of nowhere.  I can't imagine how the people that built it would feel knowing there's now another temple in Gilbert, about 14 miles away.

I loved being there.  It was beautiful and fragrant with all the flowers and I felt the same deep peace that I feel whenever I am near or especially inside, a temple.

I like it here.  I miss my two big kids though so I'll go home...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We've got sunshine

Mark claimed the window seat when we were on our way to the airport.  He loves the window seat.

Turned out there was no window in our row:

We made it up to him the next morning at breakfast with a window seat at Cracker Barrel:

Cracker Barrel is still our happy place.  It's a perfect blend of just the right amount of kitschy charm and French Toast.  Then there's the peg game...

Mark and I have also been to In N Out Burger.  (How I could rhapsodize about In N Out Burger!) It's a good thing none of these places are in Washington.  I think I would quickly develop an unhealthy attachment...

Monday afternoon we went to a Mariner's spring training game.

It was just lovely.  We had seats in the shade which was also lovely because my lily white skin burns.  It was fun to be in Arizona, surrounded by people from Washington, cheering for the Mariners.  (Oh yeah, there were some Chicago White Sox fans there too, whatever.)  Unfortunately the Mariners lost, but it didn't take away too much from our enjoyment. 

That night, we went to see the Thatchers.  Hurray for the Thatchers!  It makes me happy that they are in the world and it makes me even happier that we're in the same time zone now.  (The house next door to them was for sale...we should buy it.)

Bill and Mindy are some of the friends we've had the longest as a couple.  We spent those formative young married student years with them.  Mindy and I were in the baby and toddler trenches together while Adam and Bill slogged through graduate school.  We were all from the West, transplanted to the East coast.  It is supremely satisfying to catch up with them.  It's fun to see their children grow into such charming and clever people.  It delights me to know if we did buy that house next to them, our children would all be terrific friends and the adults would never run out of things to say to each other.  (Also, I would have Mindy help me decorate my house because she has a tremendous gift for such things.)

As we drove back to our hotel, I said to Adam, "You know what I love about Mindy and Bill?  They are just such good, good people."

It was my lucky day when we moved into the same apartment complex as them nearly 17 (!) years ago.

Tuesday I toured the Amazon fulfillment center with Adam.  It was incredible.  Incredible.  I have a whole new appreciation for what goes into all those orders I place.  I loved everything about the tour and I loved seeing Adam's enthusiasm for what he does.  I loved seeing that Adam is a really great boss.  (I helped arrange snacks for the tour Adam was involved with later in the day and one of Adam's team told me thank you and complimented me that I arranged them "like a mom."  Which also made me happy because hey, I'm a mom!  Glad to be one.)  My only disappointment was that Adam wouldn't let me ride one of the bicycles parked alongside the wall in the enormous place.  The bicycles even had baskets and bells to ring.

I really think riding one along the 1/2 mile long building would have made my life complete.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We've had a birthday, shout hurray

Sunday, Adam and I got one year older and wiser too.

We had a lovely weekend of celebrating.  It was a shower of phone calls and texts and gifts and shout outs on facebook and a nice dinner at Geri's.  Also Janet brought me lava cakes and a tub of homemade whipped cream.  (Do you have a Janet in your life yet?  You seriously need one.  You can't have mine though...)

Olivia even wrote a post about me on her blog that reminded me of things I had forgotten all about. (A hazard of advancing years, perhaps.)

Our children...didn't give gifts.  I'm not the kind of mother that says, "Oh, that's OK, my gift from you is being your mother."  Ha.  I want a gift, even if it's a scribbled message on a scrap of paper.  And they know it.

They tried to get me to make them feel better about it but I wouldn't take the bait.  Tough love, people.

Braeden said, "I am sorry I didn't get you a gift."

I said, "That's OK, it's just that gifts are my love language..."

Emma said, "I feel terrible that I forgot!"

I said, "That's OK, it's like that year I forgot your birthday...oh, wait.  That never happened."

Mark said, "I glued something together for dad for his gift.  If you had anything broken, I'd give you a gift too."

I said, "Thanks."

(I may have said it a little sarcastically though.)

Adam's gift to me was Vitamin D in the form of sunshine in the form of a trip to Phoenix. (More on that later.)  At the airport, Emma texted me a gift. (Earlier she'd snapped several pictures of me and I didn't know why.)

The pictures range from ugly to scary but they made me laugh.

I love those little turkeys.  Even without the gifts.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Three things

Sometimes I just want to record things because my children sort of delight me.

1)  Braeden:  "That's why Andrew Jackson is my spirit animal.  He was bad at spelling too."

2) Emma and I were getting pedicures.  I asked Emma if she wanted a manicure too.  She said no.  (I was offering because she was very generously spending her afternoon with me and I also tricked her into reading Rebecca* which she is resisting for no other reason except I recommended it--if anyone tells you the mother daughter thing is simple, don't believe them.)

The lady giving Emma a pedicure asked her if she wanted a manicure.

Emma said, "No, thank you."

The lady, with her limited English, kept trying.  She was trying to cajole Emma.  You can't cajole Emma.  She is uncajole-able.  The pedicure lady said, "You want manicure?  C'mon, get manicure?"

Emma gave her the look that she reserves for times when she is really digging in her heels.  She said, in her most definite and stubborn way, "No."  And went back to her reading.  The pedicurist looked slightly stunned and I thought, Welcome to my world.

I do love having a daughter that is impossible to convince though.  It makes things she does decide to do very authentic.

3) Mark has a new theory.  He is always working on a theory.  His latest is that cartoons are very bad for the health of children.  From cartoons you learn that tangling with radioactive material (like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Spiderman) gives you superpowers when in reality it would probably just kill you.

Mark for president.

*I brought it along to get pedicures because I knew she'd want something to read.  I'm so clever!

Friday, March 21, 2014

One of those times...

Sometimes I seem to have this out of body experience where my sense of wisdom flees and I'm left with...I don't know...ill-advised nonsense?  Almost always my children are involved.

Last weekend I went to the GPHS parent organization auction.  I went to help.  I wasn't going to buy anything.  That was the last thing on my mind.  I was going to get in, provide a little help and get out.


I checked in as a volunteer and they asked me if I wanted a paddle to bid.  I said, "No, thank you."

They said, "It's free since you are volunteering." (It cost $55 to go to the auction otherwise.)

I said, "That's OK."

Then I was in the silent auction room, my designated spot to help.  I started looking at the offerings.  I saw a senior portrait package by a photographer I already know I like at a greatly reduced rate.  I ignored the voice inside of me protesting that if I bought a senior portrait package I may actually have a senior next year and I marched back out to the "bankers."  I said, "Yeah, I'll take a paddle."

They assigned me a number and took my credit card info "in case I bought anything." (Famous. Last. Words.)

I put my number down on the portrait package bid.  Then I bid on a few other items too.  Why not?  I lost the other two bids and wisely didn't bid any higher and then I ended up "winning" the portrait package. (When you spend an evening equating winning with buying, you're bound for trouble.)  A few of my friends hugged me like I was a conquering hero.  Also, adding to the euphoria, I was wearing this shirt and people--even random people I didn't know--kept telling me how great the shirt was (granted there was a lot of drinking going on).  "Winning" auctions and compliments, that's heady stuff.

Dangerous stuff.

That's when I got an idea.

The drama booster club was auctioning a walk on role for the play.  I considered bidding on it for Emma.  It seemed like a marvelous idea.

Then I felt a few doubts.  Was it a marvelous idea?  Would Emma be embarrassed if she got a part because her mom purchased it for her?

On the other hand, it was money going to a good cause...

On the other hand, what if Emma really didn't want to do it?

On the other hand, what if she was thrilled by the idea?  What if it was a lot of fun?

(Yes, I realize that's a lot of hands.)

Stephanie suggested I call Emma and ask her.  The advice had merit.  What if I didn't end up getting it though?  If I were outbid?  Sorry Emma.  You didn't get in the play.  Twice.

I called Adam instead, who was off gallivanting around town with the two youngest children in my absence.  He thought it was a great idea.  I asked him what my spending limit should be.

He said, "Whatever you feel comfortable with."

Turns out we should have clarified a little on that point.

I waited expectantly during the auction for item 17 which was the walk on role.  Lisa, my drama booster club co-president, was very supportive and excited for me to win the bid for Emma.  She kept encouraging me.  Looking back, it's possible she was excited about the bid going high...

So the bidding started and that's when my mind checked out.  Stephanie and Brent were at a table partway across the room.  Brent said later that I needed to learn how to bid.  Stephanie told me that she was trying to get my attention to help me not bid up so high each time.  As for me, my mind had completely checked out so I just bid.

I was bidding against Braeden's history teacher.  How dare he try to take away this from my little girl?  (Note to history teachers everywhere--don't get in the way of mothers.)

So I "won."

I spent more money than I usually spend on Emma's birthday and Christmas presents combined.

I went home euphoric and excited to tell the news and slightly worried.  I guess the best way to characterize Emma's response is to say she was stunned.  She just stared at me.  She asked me how much I spent.  Under no circumstances will I tell my children how much I spent.  I asked, "Are you excited?!?!"

I kept repeating the question in sort of a manic way for the rest of the evening.  Whether she was excited or not or just wanted me to stop asking her, she finally said she was.  She said that she was afraid people were going to judge her.  She said she was a little embarrassed.  She (finally) said she thought it would be fun.

And I hope it will be.

You have no idea how much I hope it will be.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Good news and bad news

The good news is that when you need advice, you can still call your mom.  Even when you're old (as some of my least favorite children like to remind me).

The bad news is that your mom can empathize and give advice and validate and then tell you parenting really doesn't get any easier.

The good news is when your sister calls, you can tell her about things and she'll laugh with you and at you and make you happy.

The bad news is that she always sides with your children.  You would think sisterhood would trump her aunt duties but...apparently not.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An overcast day in March

Yesterday a news helicopter crashed on a Seattle street, right in front of the Space Needle, killing the pilot and reporter and critically injuring a man on the ground.  It was all over the news on the radio--a tragic story.  I have also been fascinated by the missing airplane in the news.  I feel for the families of the missing.  Both stories were ever present in the back of mind as I went about my day.

I thought about it while Mark and I perused the aisles of Costco and picked up a copy of Frozen on DVD which we knew would thrill Emma.  (Adam thought this was ill advised considering how obsessed she already is, but sometimes you just do things that are ill advised.) How wonderful that for $14.99, I could make my daughter's day.

I thought about it when I wondered how I was going to get time for the items on my to do list.  How wonderful that my big concern was getting time for a laundry pile and some vacuuming.

I drove Emma to her friend's tennis match.  Emma never asks for much so when I can, I say yes.  I dropped her off then drove to the swanky new aquatic center in Snohomish and got information about the home school swim program for Mark.  How wonderful to be able to give my children opportunities to do things they enjoy.

I sat in my van and read while I waited for Emma to be done.  How wonderful.

Braeden and his friends were sure that last night was the night that junior girls traditionally toilet paper junior boys' houses.  He assembled an arsenal of friends and determined to stay out all night on our front porch and defend his turf.  I told them that probably the girls were practicing psychological warfare and the boys would stay up late and the girls would be home, warm and happy.  Turns out their intel was correct though, it was the night of the strike.  Also, the boys' parents made them go home earlier than the girls' parents apparently.  So no one was out to protect our turf.

chairs still set up from their late night--though not late enough--vigil

I don't think I understand this...

How wonderful though that our boys don't have to worry about defending themselves from more menacing threats than teenage girls.

Real tragedies happen in this world and I just wanted to record that on an overcast day in March, I knew how fortunate I was.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What our backyard and the Great Wall of China have in common

The first thought I had this morning when I woke up was a happy one.  I thought, "It's Friday!"

Then I remembered yesterday was Monday.

Last Friday evening found us at the Verizon store.*  That always takes a soul-numbing amount of time and we know because we've been there a lot.*  While there, Mark killed some time by looking up our house on a map on a ipad.  In our backyard on the satellite image was a picture of the fort our boys built last year.

Braeden said, "I remember when I was a little kid and I learned that the Great Wall of China was so big you could see it from space.  That used to mean something.  Now you can see everything from space."

I told him the fort they built in our backyard was the same size as the Great Wall of China.  It still means something.

*Dear Verizon,

I have never had such negative feelings about a company that I continue to do business with.  Curse you for having the best network because you have the worst customer service.  In America.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Getting old

For science (human biology), Mark's reading assignment was called "Getting Old" and was about aging.  I said, "That's appropriate with my 41st birthday approaching."

He didn't respond.

I said, "Mark!  That's when you're supposed to say, 'No, Mom, you're not old.'"

He said, "Well technically, Mom, you are.  Forty is when you officially get old."

I said, "How do you know?  Where did you hear that?"

He said, "A variety of sources."

Guess which one of my children doesn't get any birthday cake?

A variety of sources tells me he doesn't deserve any.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lucky day

This week my story has been featured on our writing website:

Today's the last day so you can read it all if you'd like.

The story is called "Lucky Day" in a nod to St. Patrick's day.  It's also a nod to small town Nevada, the time I spent waitressing in casinos and some of the zany characters I met along the way.

I'd call my life pretty lucky.

One reason is my writing group.  We met this week.  I made these in honor of my story:

I told Olivia I'd put a picture on my blog.
You can find cuter ones on pinterest complete with Popsicle sticks and green ribbon.

(You can always find a cuter version of everything on pinterest.  That's just how it goes.)

What isn't cuter on pinterest is my writing group.  They are bonafide originals.   Heather took more pictures of us, glamor shots really, for our website.  Some members of the group (everyone except me) are more photogenic than others (me).

(That's just how it goes.)

We laughed a lot and I'm still picking up white feathers from a shedding boa.  Every time I find one I smile and remember how lucky I am.

Love those girls I write with.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Heritage night

Emma had to take a food from her family's heritage to a Young Women activity.  She decided to take ebelskiever, which are Danish pancakes.

Adam's grandma was born in Denmark and made ebelskiever and so there you go:   Emma's family heritage.

I mixed up the batter (which I can do) and somewhere along the way decided we'd just have ebelskiever for dinner so I tripled the recipe (which I can also do--fun with fractions).  Adam came home from work and started cooking ebelskiever (which he can do).  He needed to go to mutual himself so I shooed him away, insisting I could finish (which I thought I could do).

Turns out I couldn't.  Every time I tried to turn the ebelskiever, I failed.  Adam tried several times to teach me.  I couldn't do it.  We had a whole bunch of smashed ebelskiever.  I decided it was because I have no Danish ancestry.  Swedes, Norwegians, Brits--they're no good at turning ebelskiever.  (I'd rather blame my ancestors than my lack of coordination.)

Braeden--because he's Braeden--wanted to determine just exactly the percentages of countries he hailed from genetically.

I don't know.

Yes, we're Mormons and keep track of our family history but Braeden's a little picky.  A vague Scandinavian and Great Britain umbrella didn't work for him.  I broke it down into Swedish and Norwegian and he wanted to know if the Brits were Celts or Anglo-Saxons.  Then he started telling me where the Celts originated from and where the Anglo-Saxons originated from and quizzing me as to who of my ancestry had been an established group the longest.  I didn't know and he of course did so he told me all of that.

Here's what I learned from our evening:
1-I'm no good at ebelskiever.

2-When your son is enamored with history you'd better be prepared for some history lessons.

3-I can make waffles (which is what I did with the leftover batter after Adam left).  I need to stick with what I know.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

When teenage boys save the day

In the afternoon, when school is out, the only people that call are for Mark and he always answers the phone.

Yesterday afternoon the phone rang.  It was his friend Gavin.

"Is Mark there?"

I said, "I don't think so." (Because he hadn't answered the phone--must not be home.)

I looked around the house and confirmed, "No, he's not here."

Gavin said, "Do you know where he is?"

I said, "No."  Then I joked, "I'm not a very good mother am I, if I don't know where he is?"

Gavin, without missing a beat, said emphatically, "No, you're a fine mother."

I love that kid.

He couldn't know that I'd lost sleep the night before worrying about my mothering.  He couldn't know that sometimes I feel like I'm a lacking sort of mother.

Sometimes hearing a 13 year old boy insist you're a good mother is all you need to make it through the rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My dad and my boys

One of the distinct memories of my growing up years was hanging laundry on the clothesline in the summer.  I mostly spent my summers working as a waitress and I'd work in the afternoons and evenings.  Mid-morning I'd stagger around, bleary eyed and my mom would send my sisters and me outside with a basket of laundry to hang on the line.  My dad would be in his shop, making magic:

He also listened to big band music on his radio.  All the windows and the door of his shop would be open in the summer sunshine and it was the backdrop to our laundry duties.  He would call some cheerful greeting to us and we would grumble something back because we were tired teenagers.

Every once in awhile he'd drop something or hit his thumb or who knows what and we'd hear him yell, "Damn! Damn! Damn!" and we might look at each other with wide eyes and contained mirth but we wouldn't say anything because even tired teenagers aren't that stupid.

Last weekend, Braeden found a station on itunes radio that tickled his fancy.  He piped it through the house and turned it up.

It was big band music.  From the 40s.  I felt like I should be hanging clothes in the sunshine.

I cut Mark's hair awhile ago and every time it's short, he looks exactly like pictures I've seen of my dad at that age.  It's alarming to turn around and see your dad when he was a kid.

Also, while I read to Mark during school, he does things like this:

Mark made a helmet (wooden blocks) for Horace and then knighted him and gave him a (butter knife) sword and a (coaster) shield.  Sir Horace of the Barntable.
Mark had a different...medium...than my dad, but his creative making-something-with-what-he-has-on-hand is something in his genetic makeup that came with the name Mark.

My boys live far away from their grandpa and they didn't purposefully set out to be like him in these ways, it just delights me that they are.

They could do a lot worse.

Monday, March 10, 2014


When I was in high school, I participated in Quiz Bowl.  There were four of us on a team and we would drive 5 hours to Reno to compete in a 30 minute show (which was televised on public access TV that no one watched, so yes, pretty fancy).  We would stay the night in Reno and they were really fun trips, much better than the basketball trips I took around the state.  For one thing, we went in the school car instead of a rattling uncomfortable bus.  For another thing, Quiz Bowl didn't require me to wear shorts that revealed my gawky white legs.  For another thing, I was a lot better at Quiz Bowl than basketball.

Mr. Hutchison was the teacher that took us to Quiz Bowl.  He was terrifying as a PE teacher when I was in junior high, slightly unsettling as an English teacher when I was a sophomore, and a lot of fun as a Quiz Bowl coach.  He would take us out for steak if we won and threatened us with the Circus Circus buffet if we lost.  (If you've been to Reno casinos, you know what I mean.  Bleck.)  We ended up winning all the time and I think the thought of the Circus Circus buffet had something to do with it.  We also usually went to a movie which was fabulous.  There was no movie theater in our little town so it was a treat.

Since it was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we would gather around a newspaper to see what was playing in the theaters.  On one particular trip, everyone else on the team wanted to see a movie that was rated R.  Mr. Hutchison said, "Thelma can't see that movie."

One of the other kids wondered why.

He said, "Marianne would never watch rated R movies."

So for about the two millionth time, I was grateful Marianne was my older sister.  Because no, I didn't watch rated R movies and when Marianne was on the Quiz Bowl team she had established that fact and paved the way for me.  (Also because of her I knew that the Mayflower wasn't one of Columbus's ships.  Sorry Marianne, too soon?)

The one sole movie that was PG was "Oscar." None of us had ever heard of it.  The rest of the kids were disappointed about the other movie they wanted to see and I had every finger crossed that they would like "Oscar" so I wouldn't have ruined their chance to see a good movie in the big city.  (Or you know, The Biggest Little City in the World)

"Oscar" was great.  We all laughed and laughed.  We quoted funny lines the next day on our way home.

Awhile ago, Adam and I came across the movie on Amazon Instant Videos.  We showed it to our children Friday night.  We all laughed and laughed.  I've always appreciated "Oscar" for being funny on that night in Reno so many years ago.  It's still really funny.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The way I see it...

I saw this:

...and all I could see were the whacky butterflies that would happen if I did this craft project with my own kids.

I think size 13 butterflies would frighten the other butterflies...

I saw this:

...and all I could see were camping and death in the same sentence.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


When the sun comes out my mood lifts exponentially.  Lucky for me I live in the Pacific Northwest where there are almost always gray skies.


I have felt like a million little things are weighing me down.  One at a time they aren't that big of deal but added all together, I have been grumbly and cranky and downtrodden.

Yesterday I was preparing to go visiting teaching to my friend Carli.  (Visiting teaching is a Mormon thing.  We are assigned a few women to look after.)  Carli is days away from giving birth so she may feel a little figuratively (and literally) weighed down herself.  The message I was to share was about Jesus Christ and how He is the Light of the world.  I think it is a perfect description.  Light illuminates, it warms, it brings life and (for me) happiness.

My partner was there too when I was chatting with Carli.  She is having her own trials.  Big ones.  Things like a gravely ill family member and a wall needs to be replaced in her house.  I shared my little message and just like light reaches everything when the sun shines, I felt like it was applicable to us all.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:  he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 8:12

Our conversation shifted and we talked about the fact that it is when we think we can't take it anymore that we turn most often heavenward.   We talked about how we are taught that we won't be tried beyond what we can handle but sometimes it seems we are being tried beyond what we can handle.

Maybe that happens so we will turn heavenward.

I appreciated the reminder to seek the light.  More light is what I need.  Always.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Messy creative

Last Friday we went to The Lego Movie.  We'd all been looking forward to it and it definitely lived up to its billing. 

I loved the message that placed a high value on creativity and also acknowledged how messy creativity is.

When we got home, our boys went immediately to their room to build with Legos.  (Usually they go directly to the kitchen for a snack so this was different.)

For the rest of the weekend, when they had time, they were in their room with the door closed.  They hung up Keep Out signs (don't tell them this, but the signs are sort of superfluous--none of us really want to go in their room).

Saturday Braeden had a few friends over and three seventeen year old boys hunkered on the floor and played with Legos.

Monday I suggested...clean up?  That was met with a mix of horror and shock.  Didn't I understand the process?  They aren't in there every waking hour but it needs to be ready for them when they're ready to get back to their masterpiece.

a feeble attempt at a path from the door to the bed

And I'm OK with that.

I have messes all around the house that are works in progress.  I feel like I'm drowning if things get too messy around here but if everything were perfectly clean with no creative disorder, I think that would depress me.  Or just prompt me to make a mess...

Heather posted this on our writing facebook page.  I love my writer friends.  They get that creative=messy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Take me away

After a particular trying day with too many things to worry about and be in charge of and be annoyed by, I told Adam I wanted everyone to go away.  Except him.

I told him I wanted to live on an island with just him.  We would eat pineapple and coconut.  I asked him if occasionally he'd spear a fish for us to eat.  He said, "Yes, but I won't clean it."

I said, "I can clean it."

Then, he started dreaming bigger.  "How about a wild pig?  We could bury it in the sand and roast it."

I said, "I won't clean a wild pig.  We can eat peanut butter."

Adam decided we'd go to Costco.  It could be on the other side of the island.

"Absolutely not," I said, "There can't be anything else on the island."

Adam relented that we'd have a motor boat to take us to a nearby island that had a Costco.

(And since our kids had all been part of the annoyance.  It doesn't happen very often but sometimes they all three get together and decide to torture us on the same day.) I said, "Our kids can't know where the island is.  They can't come."

Adam said, "Of course not."

I said, "We'll visit them once a year, in our motor boat."

He said, "No, we'll fly from different airports so they won't be able to trace us."

"Can we have a hut?" I asked Adam.

"Yes," he said.  And I felt better.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Books I read in February 2014

Slim pickings for what I read this month.  I don't include everything school related we read, just the best ones.  Also, I wrote more than I read and I dreamed and schemed more than I wrote.  (I just didn't want you to think I was wasting my time...)

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken ***

I read this book aloud to Mark.  We both liked it a lot.  It seems like the kind of book any kid his age would like.  There's something for every type of kid.  It's a story about two little girls who suffer at the hands of evil adults but using their own courage and wits they are able to save the day.  What's not to like?

Blessings of a B Minus by Wendy Mogel, Ph. D. ****

I wish I'd read this book a few years ago.  I think every parent of teenagers should read it.  This book qualifies as life changing.  It was written by a woman who is a clinical psychologist specializing in parenting.  She has a lot of wisdom about how to be a parent of a teenager.  It rang true and helped me feel calmer about doing less and also invigorated to do more (of the right things) for my teenagers.

I agreed with almost all of it.  I completely skipped the chapter that I knew I wouldn't agree with.  It's great to be a grown-up.  I like being completely in charge of the intake to my brain.


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