Thursday, June 26, 2014

From a grateful mother

Dear scout leaders,

I came home to this spread on the floor:


Mark proudly told me it was their troop flag and it was his turn to "take care of it."  It would never occur to me to a) have a troop flag or b) send it home with the boys for tending but you two are geniuses.

Tuesday is hands down Mark's favorite day of the week and you're why.  I know enough to know that you probably don't enjoy it as much as he does.

A few weeks ago, when Braeden was picking up Mark from scouts, he reported to me his embarrassment.  He said "All I heard was Mark being wild and his leaders asking him to calm down."

When I emailed you and apologized and told you I'd come to scouts with Mark because that was NOT OK, you both emailed me back immediately and said he "wasn't that bad" and "it wasn't just Mark."  That was nice of you.  I didn't really believe you but it was nice of you to say.

I didn't want you to think that I doubted your ability to run scouts in any way so I decided to just hang around for awhile after dropping Mark off.  I'd read my book in the foyer and keep an ear on things.  I told Mark if I heard him being crazy, I'd yank him out of scouts in a heartbeat.  I sat to read but found myself listening to your meeting instead.  You were teaching the boys about internet safety and I heartily agreed with everything you said.  I was impressed and grateful because I know that since you are a million times more esteemed than me in the eyes of my boy, what you taught mattered to Mark.

So, you're not just really, really patient, you're also really, really good scout leaders.

I'll take care of the troop flag this week.  It's the least I can do in exchange for you taking care of my wild child.

Sincerely,

A grateful mother

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A river walk



Emma needed to do a make-up walk in place of a hike she's missing this weekend.  They are preparing for their summer youth conference pioneer trek.  (My friends are going as chaperones.  Bless their hearts.  Bless their dear hearts.  I love not camping.)

We dropped Adam and Mark off at a bike trail with their bikes and drove to the Snohomish River (Braeden was at work).  When Emma was three we walked along the same path because we lived by that bend in the river.  She'd push her bright pink doll stroller. (I think sometimes she put her stuffed cat Sally in the stroller.  A cat walker!)  Braeden would ride a miniature bike with training wheels.  I have always loved that little stretch of the river...

Anyway, memory lane tangent aside, Emma and I walked along the river.  It was beautiful, as always.


Rivers make me feel peaceful.  They keep moving moving moving on their way but they are essentially the same.  I guess they make me feel like it's OK to move move along.  You still are essentially the same.  I don't know.  It makes more sense in my head than I can express successfully in writing.

Emma is a grand companion.


She sort of makes me feel peaceful too.  (And she got her braces off this week!)  Emma is an undemanding and self sufficient person.  She is funny in subtle ways that bring me delight.  She's pleasant and strong willed and clever and creative and smart.  It's possible I should start an Emma fan club.

When we're together, we talk, or not.  She's good at accents and remembering everything she's ever read or watched, so she's entertaining.  She's also peaceful like a river.  Companionable silence with Emma is wonderful.  We get that about each other.


The boys joined us on their bikes.  Adam offered to let us ride his bike for awhile but the seat is too far off the ground.  Riding may have worked but the only way to get off would have been to crash.  Emma and I decided we were both afraid of heights.  We kept walking.

When I count my blessings, I count Emma twice.  I love my girl.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer

The bad news is having to set my alarm.  In the summer.  The good news is walking and talking with my friends while our kids have early morning swim team practice.

The bad news is swim towels in the laundry.  More and more swim towels.  The good news is the jumble of goggles, flip flops, towels and swimsuits.  It all equals summer.

The bad news is when the June gloom can't quite shed its June gloominess.  The good news is Northwest summer weather.  It is an ideal temperature.  I'm not hot, but my feet aren't cold.

The bad news is the slugs.  They've gone to town on my impatiens.  The good news is that I'm finally triumphing over them.  I added enough slug bait that there are carcasses everywhere.  Take that, slugs!

The bad news is that children with access to music producing devices play music really loudly.  Sometimes more than one child at the same time.  The good news is having children old enough to be good company + helpful.  (Without me asking him to, Braeden has been emptying the dishwasher before leaving for work.  It is more than a little startling.) The music producing devices also turn out to be a good thing too when I'm stuck waiting to get my oil changed and I can text with my kids for some entertainment.

The bad news is that a little over a week into it, summer vacation seems too short already.  The good news is that I am going to relish the light filled evenings, the blooming flowers and a pot of basil growing on my deck. Also, the berries.





 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Another example of Mark resembling his namesake

Whenever anything is askew, recklessly treated, spilled but not cleaned up or put away in a completely random place, I blame Braeden.

So I sort of blame Braeden for this but it may not be his fault.  (None of this may be his fault.  Perhaps when he leaves home everything will still be wrecked and I'll have to find a new culprit.)

Anyway, I think it's Braeden's Braeden-ness that made the towel ring in the downstairs bathroom wonky.  It was barely hanging on by a thread.  One too many yanks on the towel when drying hands.  I called Mark inside and showed him the situation and handed him a screwdriver.

He got to work.  He disassembled and needed another type of screwdriver for the inner screws (and a chair to stand on so he could see everything from above).  Soon enough, it was all reassembled, tight and secure against the wall, as good as new.  He called Emma and then me into the bathroom.  (Braeden was gone but I am hoping at some point, Braeden will get the same lecture.)  He showed us how the towel ring was supposed to be treated and how it wasn't meant to move from side to side.  He patted Emma on the shoulder and said, "Tell your friends."

Besides my dad not needing a chair to stand on, it could have been my dad.  (Except my dad would have said "Tell all your little friends.")

Friday, June 20, 2014

sigh

A few days ago, Olivia and I were talking about books our children were reading and I was lamenting the time honored lament around here that my kids won't read things I recommend.

My great sorrow.

Yesterday Braeden found Mark reading Calvin and Hobbes during silent reading time.  He and Emma were scandalized.  "You have to read a novel!" Braeden said.  Then, "Mom, are you going to let him get away with that?"

I have given up long ago.  I'm not going to die on that hill.

Braeden and Emma mobilized.  They both found novels.  Braeden left Hitch out for Mark.  He said it was a great book.  He said Mark would like it.  He also said, "I won't play Heroscape with you until you have read it for at least a half hour."

Mark said, "Whatever."  He left the book where Braeden had placed it.

Emma gasped.  "Are you going to let him get away with that?" she demanded, outraged.

I said, "Whatever," because I've given up.

She said, "You are trashing his education!  I can't believe this!"

I asked her if she'd read Rebecca, the book I've recommended to her.

She didn't answer.


It's all one big lost cause.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Salon schemes

Yesterday I had a hair appointment and coincidentally, Jadon's mom did too.  We sat across from each other and compared notes on when we are leaving our sons home alone in the next few weeks.  They are good boys and probably won't blow up their houses or themselves.  We trust them or we wouldn't leave them behind.

But there is comfort in knowing that we're in this together.  We'll have Jadon over, they'll have Braeden over.  We'll keep an eye on things.

It's hard to beat the combined forces of mothers working together.  It's one of my favorite things in the world.

That and the feeling of getting my hair cut.  I feel like being able to cut layers is a superpower.  Layers make the world go round.

And now for the obligatory and slightly awkward selfie to show I no longer resemble an overgrown dandelion.

Before:





After:


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This is the kind of thing that happens around here

I had to go to the grocery store and Braeden volunteered to go with me. (!) I didn't even have to bribe him.

He carried the heavy bags.  (That kid is working out pretty well.)

This was on the kitchen table when we got home:

 
I tell my children they cut bread like they're drunk.  I don't know why it's so hard, but apparently it is.

At least they leave good notes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A list

1-It was the last day of school here.

2-Braeden and two of his friends skipped school for awhile.  They sat around our kitchen table eating expired snacks from our 72 hour kits that need to be updated.  They also drank a lot of milk and laughed a lot.  Then they went back to school.

3- I try to muster the indignation to be mad at Braeden and make him stop skipping school.

4- But I kind of like him around.

5-Emma was sick and actually went to school but was miserable.

6- I introduced her to TLC's "What Not to Wear" on Netflix when she got home.

7- Mark engaged in wild Nerf gun battles with his friends in our yard.

8-I contemplated the chronology of some random photographs so I can date them before putting them in albums.  I have no idea.  2007?  2009? Does it matter? 

9- It feels like it should matter. (But does it?)

10- Braeden worked his first shift at the pool.  He came home happy and said he loved teaching swim lessons.  That reminded me of all the times I came home from my summer jobs and told my mom how much I loved them.

11- No, wait.  That never happened.

12- I made soup for dinner.  It seems like summer and we shouldn't be having soup.  But it's June.  In the Pacific Northwest.

13-The June Gloom is alive and well.
 
14- I didn't have a lot of the ingredients I needed for the soup.

15-Why does that always happen?  Believe it or not, I make a shopping list. I put in pepperoncinis and they saved the day.

16- Is there anything pepperoncinis aren't good in?

17-Maybe ice cream.

18-After dinner we played Parcheesi.  Since it's a four player game, Adam and I were on the same team.  You'd think our combined forces would have made us unstoppable.

19-They didn't.

20-Emma won.  She said, "And I'm sick!  Imagine how I would have won if I were healthy." I made her put the game away since she won.

21- She said, "But I'm sick."

22- It didn't matter.

23-We watched highlights of the U.S. vs. Ghana World Cup Soccer game.  Ouch.  Soccer looks painful.

24-Adam read aloud a few chapters from Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  I want my kids to read it but we all know how that goes so we're reading it aloud.

25- We watched Studio C.  It's always a delight.

Summer vacation 2014.  So far, so good.




Monday, June 16, 2014

Progress

Seminary graduation and then our high school's graduation were last week and even though I didn't attend the high school one, they both left me feeling a little bit melancholy because it turns out I don't like graduations anymore.  I don't like what they represent--I'm that much closer to my children graduating.

My niece, Clarissa, graduated in Nevada.  I didn't go but my heart did.  Marianne does everything first and I observed carefully to see if she would self destruct.  Maybe if Marianne can survive Clarissa graduating and leaving the nest, I'll survive Braeden doing the same in a year?

Marianne was sad; she cried a little (not at the graduation but when she was home, cleaning her house and listening to music and thinking about it all).  She told me it was hard.  She also conveyed her excitement.  Looking ahead at Clarissa's future makes her joyful.  Clarissa is in for some fun and adventure and learning and growing.  Marianne's happy for her.

It's all been instructive for me.

I found a story Emma wrote when she was in kindergarten, barely six years old.  It was tucked in a box in my closet.



It was cute but Emma writes real stories now.  She has this beautiful handwriting and imaginative mind and there's no way I'd want to have kept her frozen in time as her six year old self. 

We were talking about middle school at our writing group the other night and I remembered the Emma that was a seventh grade girl.  She was volatile and often times left me scratching my head in a where-is-my-sweet-daughter-and-who-is-this-irritable-girl-that-hates-me sort of way.  Sometimes after school, I sit on Emma's bed and she lays with her head near by lap.  My sweet daughter is back.  I run my fingers through her long hair and we chat about school and writing and summer and books we're reading.  Sometimes we text each other when we're in the same room because that girl is really funny in text messages.  There's this amiable peace between us almost all the time.  Our communication isn't always perfect but the love we share feels like it is.  There's no way I'd want to have kept her frozen in time as her seventh grade self.

I guess this is all my way of comforting myself as I go kicking and screaming towards my next phase of life.  I want to keep my children close always but I also want to let them continue to progress.

Who knows what kind of wonderful is in store?







Friday, June 13, 2014

Father's Day

I can imagine me winning some sort of prize in heaven and getting to stand in the Number Two spot in Mark Dahl's line.  I was maybe high-fiving my siblings over our good luck.  (Were they all so tall in heaven?  Was I able to high five them or did they have to bend down for me?)


There's something about my dad.  He's a classy dresser but heeds no mind to what is in style.  People notice him and pay attention to him but he is quiet.  A charismatic introvert.  He is self disciplined and hard working and inventive and something of a dreamer.

He is an artist who creates beauty and the house he built for his family is situated to capture both sunrises and sunsets and all the mountain views that can fill your eyes.  Because that matters to him.

My dad can be gruff and no nonsense and intimidating to future sons-in-law but he is kind and forgiving and affectionate too.  He has a soft heart and cries easily.  He is a man of God and knows who he is and what he should do.  He's a person you want on your side because he'll drop everything for you if you need him and chances are, if there's a problem to solve, he can do it.

(He's also very, very funny.)

I am sure the dad I was blessed to have helped me find the right sort of husband.  I wouldn't have settled for a man that wasn't strong and upright and good because that was what I knew.

When I fell in love with Adam, I knew he would be a good husband but I didn't think about him being a good father.  It's hard to separate the two anyway.  The best gift you can give a mother is to love her children.

Adam is the kind of dad who thinks of his children's comfort before his own.  He's the dad that buys everyone a milkshake on the way home from a camp out but makes sure everything is put away before the kids can rest.  He reads to our kids, both from novels they choose and the scriptures.  He challenges their thinking and doesn't accept weak answers or any sort of sass to their mother.  Adam works hard to provide any opportunities for our children that he can.  He wants to let them shine.  He wants to pay for Emma to have the expensive hiking boots and Braeden the reliable car and Mark to go to his homeschool swim program while he contentedly drives the nineteen year old rattle trap.  He doesn't want anything really except for his family to be happy.

This is the dad my children will remember.


He's the dad that takes his kids to Disneyland even though it isn't really his dream.  He'll carry Mark's sweatshirt for him and he'll put it on his head so his hands are free to hold his kids' hands.

That's the kind of dad he is.

(He's also very, very funny.)


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The video

Adam figured out the video.  Of course he did.

It's nothing fancy, just 12 seconds.  I love it though, all slow motion and dramatic.  It captures the general Markness that makes him Mark.  Also, his coltish long legs remind me of my brothers and their coltish--although skinnier--legs at the same age.  Every time my sons remind me of my brothers, it makes me unreasonably happy.  My brothers make me unreasonably happy.  For being the older sister, I certainly seem to rely on them more than feels right.  I should be the noble, insightful sage dispensing wisdom and advice.  Sorry boys.  I need wisdom and advice.  I'm just glad I'm smart enough to know where to look for help.

Anyway, I'm off on a tangent about my brothers and I'll forget to post the video if I'm not careful.

Here it is:



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

You don't have to read this...

...I am just writing because I want to blog every weekday.  It's my little goal I've set for myself that no one checks up on but it's like flossing.  A habit.

I wanted to post a slow motion video that Adam took of Mark because I love the video.

I can't make it work and Mark (who is grounded from all screens but I made an exception because I needed help) can't figure out why.  Adam is gone.  Emma is gone.  I'm left bereft of technological support.

I'm a little cranky (see above: Mark...) and a little tired because my writing group likes the night life and I'm a wimp.

But the sun is shining.  I took a nice walk with my friends.  School is almost out.  I have leftover chocolate cake.

Life is not bad even though this blog post sort of is.

But hey, I didn't miss a day.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mark and a half

There are some things my children can effectively talk me into.  Every time.

1) Letting them eat something so they don't go to bed hungry.  (I am forever grateful that I don't have truly hungry children ever.)

2) Going to pick them up from wherever, even if it's not exactly logical because they have another way home.  If they want me to come, I want to.

3) Baking a cake.

Mark is eleven and a half today.  Since tonight is busy with all the various Tuesday night things (a lot) we celebrated last night.  Last night was also graduation.  Where I grew up everyone and I mean everyone went to graduation.  It is a lot less personal here with these big classes and I kind of think I'd rather be tortured with ants than go to graduation.  I'll change my mind next year when my boy is graduating.  This year we dropped off our songbirds to sing in the choir.  (One was willing and one was an unwilling songbird.  You can guess which was which.  They had to sing for their grade though.  Sorry kiddo.)

I told Braeden he looked handsome and he said "Yeah, I do.  I want more vests.  And different colors.  And some more cardigans too."  Lesson:  don't tell your son he looks handsome.
Adam and I took Mark out to celebrate eleven and half years on the planet.  For as bossy and youngest-child-spoiled as Mark is, he evidently doesn't get the final say very often.  He got to pick the pizza and kept saying, "Are you sure that's OK?  Mom?"

Mark's pizza choice:  not a vegetable in sight.

We had a little time to kill before going to pick up our kids from graduation.  (We drove them instead of Braeden driving because parking would have been a pain.)  We decided to take Mark to a park.  He kept saying, "Are you sure?  That won't be fun for you guys."

I told him that it was his night and we'd do whatever he wanted.  He said, "You two are SO nice to me."

I said, "Yeah, we're probably the two nicest people in the world."

This was a very different conversation than we had earlier when he was super cranky about school and I got...a little cranky...myself.

At the park, Mark ran around like an eager puppy.  That kid has energy.


I baked a chocolate cake with mint frosting.  It's what Braeden has always wanted and now Mark does too.  I'm not complaining.  Mint + chocolate work together.



Today Mark wants to take cupcakes to scouts for his half birthday.  Maybe he's the first scout in the history of scouts to take cupcakes on a half birthday.  Maybe not though.

After all, cupcakes are sort of fun to make.


Monday, June 9, 2014

One of these things is not like the other

Friday night Braeden went on a double date with three of his friends.  They tried to get all the details ironed out via texting but one of the girl's phones had been left somewhere and it was all too problematic to arrange.  They decided to go old school and figure it out in person.

Braeden picked up his date and it was her first date so Braeden had a sit down with her dad in the living room.  We had instructed Braeden to ask her parents about a curfew but that didn't end up being necessary.  He was given a curfew.  An early one.  (From me to you: thank you for the early curfew!)

They went to a movie theater, not the one Braeden would usually go to, but a different one because his friends all thought the Everett Mall was "too ghetto."  That mystified Braeden.

We talked about it the next day.  I said, "Maybe I can see why they would think it was a little ghetto."    There was that time I thought I was going to die at the Everett Mall. Braeden just shook his head.

They figured out what time they should see a movie based on the prescribed curfew.  Seeing that movie didn't leave much time for dinner.  With all the incredulity my expressive boy can produce, Braeden told me when he got home (early!  thank you parents!) that the three he was with decided to forgo dinner.  They didn't think they had time and they didn't think they needed dinner anyway.  They could get popcorn at the movie.

"No dinner!" Braeden said with emphasis, in case I missed the shock of it all.

This may be a good time to note that both of the girls are teeny tiny--shorter than Mark.  The other guy wasn't all that big either.  Braeden's...not tiny.  And in other news, he is always hungry.

After he dropped the girls off, Braeden and the other boy hit the grocery store.  


Friday, June 6, 2014

I'm still working on it

Braeden would rather be with his friends than at home.  When he does deign to grace us with his presence, he always wants to be where I am.   That's why yesterday afternoon when I was contemplating the contents of that same drawer, my U.P.P.T.I., he was sprawled on the floor next to me, working on his math homework.

He wanted to talk to me, which was fine except he also kept saying, "Mom, will you look at me when I talk to you?"

(It is absolutely impossible to neglect either of our boys.  They prevent it at every turn.)

Braeden also said, "Are you still working on that same pile of stuff?"

I said yes.  Going through mementos is not to be taken lightly.  There's a lot of reminiscing that has to happen.

I found something that brought memories cascading back.

When Mark was a little infant, the company Adam was working for was dying a slow and painful death.  We had been on half salary for awhile with no benefits while they were trying to resuscitate the company.  Finally the company died.  Adam was without a job and they also weren't going to pay us the money we were owed.

This was about the time Tabor and Katie were getting married.  We decided we couldn't go.   Of course we couldn't go.  Our cupboards were bare.  We had already been living on our food storage with very tight belts for months.  We were at the search for spare change stage.

Enoch called one evening and offered to buy me a plane ticket so I could go to the wedding.  At first my heart leaped with joy.  I wanted to go to the wedding more than anything.  It broke my heart to think of not being there.  Also it would be wonderful to get away from the stress we were in, if only for a little while.

Just as quickly, I decided I couldn't go.  Our little family was in a crisis and I couldn't abandon ship.  I would stay home and take care of my babies and keep looking for loose change.  I told Enoch thank you but I declined his generous offer.  I explained that I couldn't leave.  He understood.  He probably said something kind and supportive.

The next day Jennifer called me.  She told me to go to Safeway, a particular Safeway, and to go to the customer service desk because there was something there for me.

I had no idea what she could mean.

I went to Safeway, to the customer service desk which was right next to the floral department.  I wondered if Jennifer was gifting me with a plant?  (Now that seems bizarre but at the time, that's really what I considered.)

It wasn't a plant.  It was a Safeway gift card for $150.  I think I may have melted in a puddle on the floor of Safeway.  Then I walked through the aisles and filled my cart with food.  I bought all the food I needed but couldn't afford.  I remember I bought laundry soap.  We were about out and I had been fretting about needing more when we needed food too.  Suddenly having an enormous sum of $150 was really quite remarkable.

I don't need to save the gift card holder to remember the day Enoch and Jennifer rocked my world with their generosity.  But I'm still glad I have it.


I'm even more glad I have them (and their beautiful children).

Jennifer, Enoch, Luke, Savannah and Isaiah. This picture was taken last week on the day Luke was baptized.  If there's a gaping hole on Olivia's blog this morning it's because I stole this picture.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Glorious planning

I looked forward to the task of planning my summer with relish (not the kind you put on hot dogs, the other kind). 

Planning our days for the summer is a delight.  My intentions are not very complicated because I've learned from sad experience not to be too elaborate or ambitious.  Simple or not, there's just something so satisfying about mapping it out.

I have a loose schedule book ended by swimming in the morning and silent reading time after lunch (which is like dessert).  Then they can do whatever they want for the rest of the day.  In between there will be writing and piano playing and Lego challenges.  There will be weed pulling and flower watering and housekeeping.

I even created little charts that have a brad clasp in the center.

The Ginga is Mark.  Red haired ninja.  Maybe it should be spelled Ginja?  I don't know.  

There is nothing as lovely as a little brad clasp chart.  Unless it's a page protector.  Office supplies make me giddy.

(So does planning.  It is comforting in an uncertain world.)

I agree with Dwight D. Eisenhower:

Plans are nothing; planning is everything.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A front porch

A few nights ago, I had this blazing headache and didn't feel like anything.  I crawled under my covers and Adam found the News from Lake Wobegon on his phone.  We listened to it in the dark.  I drifted in and out of sleep.  I love hearing the News from Lake Wobegon.  It soothes me and entertains me and is the best salve for a blazing headache.

I slept deeply and the next day wondered what it was about Lake Wobegon that was so appealing to me.  I've only been to Minnesota long enough to see the Jolly Green Giant, I'm not from the prairie, I'm not Lutheran.  It resonates with me though.  It reminds me of something.

I finally landed on it.  It reminds me of my grandparents' front porch.  The one on their brick house, the house that burned when I was sixteen years old.  It was a deep front porch, covered and with steps that were perfect for sitting on.  There were wind chimes that tinkled in the light breeze and it was, in my memory, the most idyllic place imaginable.

It was the place where we gathered as cousins.  It was a place where our parents' laughter spilled out on summer nights when they were visiting in our grandparents' living room.  It was the place Grandma and Grandpa would stand, his arm around her shoulders, when we left their home.   They would call out, "Come again!"

And it was comforting to hear because I knew we were loved and welcomed and would indeed come again.

The brick house is gone, my grandparents are gone.  I hardly see my cousins though I am friends with some of them on Facebook.

I like Lake Wobegon though.  It's a mythical place that reminds me of another mythical place: my grandparents' front porch.

They are both places where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

At least that's the way I see it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mark's video

I want to post this video mostly for Mark's cousins.  I think they'll like it.

Mark has been making little movies lately using some software where he can add in light saber effects. If that doesn't make sense then I'm right there with you. There are words across the video because it's demo software. Braeden suggested Mark get the real software for his upcoming half birthday. Mark scoffed. He wants about thirty things for his half birthday. The real software doesn't make the short list. I mostly notice how messy our school room is in the videos. I use it as a holding area for stuff in transit--like the five things I'm getting rid of everyday. It's the hardest working room in our house.

Also a movie studio.

video

Monday, June 2, 2014

U.P.P.T.I.s

Here's a video clip of Glacier Peak's recent lip dub:



Besides seeing Braeden in it, I saw his fur coat, the leather coat and sunglasses he bought at a thrift store (a friend of his is wearing them in the video), his walking stick and who knows what all.  The trunk of his car is filled with possible costume needs.  Braeden is kind of his own sort.

He has made up a new acronym.  U.P.P.T.I. (Useful Pot to Put Things In--the boy's mother read him Winnie the Pooh when he was younger.) He told me his trunk is his U.P.P.T.I.

Everyone needs an U.P.P.T.I.  Mine is the bottom drawer of an old dresser that I've recently decided to attend to.  It's filled with scrapbook type things including, but not limited to, greeting cards I've been given, cards and pictures from my kids, random photos, ticket stubs...Some of it is worth keeping and some of it will find it's way in the recycling but what is amazing is how it all fit in the drawer.  The drawer is like Mary Poppin's carpet bag.

I found a picture taken at a party celebrating our wedding that Adam's grandma hosted for us.

I asked Adam why he would marry a twelve year old.  (I don't remember being that young when we got married.  I felt all grown up at the time.)


Weird.

Braeden sat down Friday afternoon so I could bask in his presence/he could help me.  (His help was more like randomly moving things into the wrong piles but I did enjoy his presence.)

He found this:


It's a little laminated book Olivia--who he called Ciocia because that's aunt in Polish and he doesn't speak Polish, but she does--made for him.  Braeden picked it up and looked at it and exclaimed over it.  He kept saying, "I remember this!"  Whether you say it in English or Polish, she's a pretty great aunt/ciocia.

Speaking of Olivia, I also found a birthday card from her to Adam in the drawer.

Front of the card:


Inside the card:


Perhaps you have to understand the long standing/ironic/affectionate-besides she was mad when I got married because I was abandoning her nature of their relationship to get it.  But it cracked me up.

Olivia is kind of her own sort.  (And now that I think about it, she had a costume box when she was Braeden's age too.  Maybe it's a genetic trait?)

The funniest thing I've unearthed in my U.P.P.T.I. (thus far--there's a lot in that drawer) is this card from Emma to Adam.  I have no idea when it was written.


He must have followed her directive and not read it out loud because I don't remember this card.  Also I love that she signed her name with an exclamation point.  The card sums up Emma then and now.  Bold and cautious all at once.

Long live U.P.P.T.I.s!

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