Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Y in giddy

Yesterday I got on the freeway and headed to Orem to do errands.  Nothing exciting, just errands.  (Although my boy looking handsome in his tuxedo did make my heart skip a beat...and then it skipped another beat when I saw how much the rental was going to cost.)

I got off on the University Parkway exit and it never fails.  I get a little giddy.  I see the Y on the mountain and I feel excited.  There is BYU!  I live quite close; I get off that exit for mundane reasons, but BYU!  Will I ever get nearby and not have that little tremor of excitement?

I think I really liked it there.

And now Women's Conference.  More goodness to add to the goodness that is already stockpiled in my BYU memories.

I love that place.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To do list

1- Have school with Mark. 

The last official day is one month from today.  I can't help feeling a little excited about the end of school because it means summer with different paced days and dinners on the deck.  It makes me feel a little melancholy too, because this is it.  Also, slightly panicky.  We're a little behind on school...

2-Pick up Braeden's graduation announcements.

I keep lying to myself and telling myself that Braeden graduating is no big deal.  His graduation is one month from yesterday.  I didn't want to send out announcements and I also don't want to go to his graduation and I definitely don't want to see him in a cap and gown.  Picking up the announcements is going to put a major kink in my plans for all out denial.

3-Take Braeden to get a tuxedo for prom.

I have no idea how to do this.  I don't know where to take him or if we are even too late to get a tuxedo when prom is a few weeks away.  Fortunately, we have a back up plan.

4- Try to undo the mess I created. 

We planned a trip and I carefully looked at the school schedules to plan around conflicts.  Then yesterday I realized I missed one.  A pretty big one.  A state choir competition.  I have no idea how this will play out.  (And I don't have a baby blue suit for a back up plan.)

5- Figure out which Women's Conference classes I want to go to.

It starts tomorrow!  I am completely excited.  I started starring classes that interested me and then I realized that I can't go to four classes in one hour.  I am looking forward to some delicious planning time today.

6- Water the plants.

It's nice to have at least one thing on the list that isn't laden with emotions.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The temple

Yesterday we went to the Payson temple open house.  It was beautiful.  I've never really had a thought about Payson, one way or another.  Now I think it is a lovely garden spot.  A temple can do that to a place.

Emma had to go to school because she is still playing catch up from her last trip.  Braeden and Mark went with us, along with Geri and Megan.

On the way there, I was telling them about a story someone at church told us.  His parents are serving a mission in Africa and they went with a group of members by bus to the temple.  It was a 43 hour trip. 43 hours.  By bus. And they had to bribe border guards along the way.

When Braeden heard the story, he said, "I'm going to the temple tomorrow after school."  Soon all three kids were.  I think I'll go too.  What is worth a 43 hour bus ride is certainly worth a few hours on a Tuesday afternoon.

Monday, April 27, 2015

When something finally clicked

This has been a big weekend.  We've had fun with our guests--Geri and Megan.  We watched the final performances of the play.  We watched Braeden's LAST high school drama performance. (sniff, sob, sigh)  We had a bunch of Adam's family that live in Utah over.  We've been meaning to invite them ever since we moved here and it finally happened.  I'm always amazed when I get together with Adam's cousins.  They are abnormally nice to me.  Of all my fifty cousins, I can think of only two of them that would be that happy to see me.  Adam's cousins throw their arms around me and compliment me and are interested in me and I think it must be because they like who I married.  Whatever the reason, they are very kind and seeing them is always enjoyable.

All these were good things.

The biggest thing happened inside of me.  It was a seismic shift that is imperceptible to everyone except me (although Adam said it seemed a weight had been lifted off me).  It's a secret to exactly no one that I've had a hard time with my new Young Women president gig.  It's challenged me and shaken the foundations of my confidence.

As an aside, it's ridiculous that I don't have more self-confidence.  I'm a Dahl.  That's supposed to be my birthright.  Did my tall siblings steal the height as well as the self-confidence?  Maybe the two are connected?  We recently had a returned missionary speak in church.  He served in the Ukraine and described how he was beat up.  Twice.  I leaned over and told Braeden if someone beat him up on his mission, I would be on the next plane to be the mother bear.  Braeden--blessed with both the height and self-confidence--scoffed and said, "Who would be big enough to beat me up?"  When I told Ammon the story, he looked at Braeden and said, "You make a good Dahl."

So see?  I should have more of that!

Anyway, I've been struggling.  Everyone from my parents to Adam to my sisters to my children have tried to encourage me.  And they've helped me.  They've made me feel loved and valued.

Saturday morning, I talked on the phone with my new friend Sue, who is the Girls' Camp leader.  She has all the calm self assurance that I lack and she was very frank with me.  She pretty much gave me a talking to.  She believes in me.  And something has changed.  I feel different.  I feel OK.  I feel like I can do this.

I explained it all to Adam like it was revolutionary.  He said, "That's what I've been telling you all along."

It's true.  He has.

I'm glad I finally listened. And I'm glad he's patient enough to stick around until I start listening.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Against my nature

I’m OK with being an introvert.  I have an extroverted son who needs to be social to be happy.  That’s fine with me.  I have extroverted sisters who think I’m a little crazy/antisocial/cranky (like when I hate Christmas caroling).  I’m OK with that too, because those girls love me anyway.

I can see that the world needs both introverts and extroverts.  We need listeners and talkers.  We need people in the spotlight and people who are happy in the shadows.  We need leaders and followers.

Lately I’ve had a series of traumatizing events that have tried my little introverted soul.  They aren’t traumatizing as in burn-your-house-down but more like I-wonder-if-I’m-strong-enough-to-handle-it and I-would-love-nothing-more-than-to-escape.  When I feel like looking for the nearest exit, I sift through my options and I realize that I am strong enough for this.  I think my parents raised me that way because when I think of them, I realize giving up is not an option.  I also feel incredibly blessed by the iron-clad support system I have.  When the world is mean and disappointing and unfair, I know I have lots of people loving me.

That makes all the difference.

I still don’t really like it though.  I don’t like being in charge.  I don’t like confrontation.  I don’t like talking to strangers.  I don’t like going to meetings or even worse, leading meetings.  I mostly want to be left alone. Why do I have to stretch myself like this?  Isn’t it OK to just go on my merry introverted way?

The other day Mark and I pruned some of the shrubs in our front yard.  I remembered a story I heard by Hugh B. Brown.  He pruned a currant bush—quite dramatically.  He wrote:

You know, I thought I heard that currant bush talk. And I thought I heard it say this: “How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. I was almost as big as the shade tree and the fruit tree that are inside the fence, and now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me, because I didn’t make what I should have made. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

That’s what I thought I heard the currant bush say, and I thought it so much that I answered. I said, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and some day, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down, for caring enough about me to hurt me. Thank you, Mr. Gardener.’

He went on to describe a time when he felt like he’d been cut down to size.  He remembered pruning his currant bush and he realized that God was the gardener and had a plan for him.

I’m an introvert and it’s OK to be an introvert.  But I also need to keep stretching and growing in the ways that are asked of me.  I know God knows this is against my nature, but He's asking me to do it anyway. 

Increasingly, I realize I’m not in charge.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The shape of this week

It's all about Elephant Graveyard.  It's our very essence this week.   There's Emma, third from the right.  I've seen her cast twice now.  Braeden is again tonight.  It's interesting to compare and contrast how the parts are played.  There are different skill levels, but there are also different interpretations.

I like it.

Here's a dramatic shot Adam took at the very end last night.

It's the ringmaster.  To me it is one of the more interesting characters.  Both boys play it really well but with vastly different styles. 

The way they do plays here, every night for a week, is sort of exhausting.  Especially for a home body like me.  One great bonus is seeing my family because they come to watch.  There is nothing like seeing the love my siblings and parents have for my kids.  Olivia threw her arms around Braeden like he was her own long lost son and seeing that feels like it heals something inside of me.  It's just that warm and fuzzy.

Yesterday afternoon, I was out on an errand and my parents stopped by.  Braeden texted me this picture to tell me they were here:

It's the two Marks sitting nearly identically on the deck.  

We sat on the deck awhile and then in the living room for awhile after the sun got to be too much. 

I, for one, think my parents should stop by every afternoon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This happened yesterday

I was away from home and Mark was supposed to be reading for school.  He sent me this text.  A few typos, but you get the gist.

So what was I to do?  I told him he didn't need to read the book.  (I gave him another one to read instead.)

Olivia was in town so in the late afternoon we squeezed in a really speedy IKEA trip (no time for meatballs or chocolate cake), she and Melanee took Mark to the Museum of Natural Curiosity with their kids while I did a quick turn around Costco and then we all met up (including my parents) for dinner before the play.  I felt like I was running all day.

My fitbit sort of agreed:

(It was kind of exciting that I took it off at exactly 13,000 steps.  It's the little things in life that delight.)

And speaking of delight, Braeden asked a girl to the prom a few weeks ago.  From all accounts from his friends, she was planning on answering yes, she just hadn't yet.

Josie, the girl he asked, apparently loves Sunny D.  He bought four containers of the stuff and put the letters PROM on them and delivered them to her door.

Last night, she returned them:

(First another friend texted and told Braeden to stay away from the front of his house for awhile.  Emma was sitting at the computer near the front door.  The girls were having a hard time keeping the candles lit and Emma texted and asked if they needed help.  It was all not very clandestine.)

This is out of order for the events of the day, but last night we watched Braeden's cast of the play.

That play may kill me.  It is very sad and depressing and those kids sell it.

Last night I dreamed vivid Elephant Graveyard dreams and I am going to watch it four. More. Times.

Here's a cell phone picture with a head blocking the way.  Braeden, the preacher man.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Emma went to Disneyland

I could talk about the boring and repetitive topics of how I feel busy/stressed/blahblahblah.  There has been a lot of that lately.  But lucky for you, I'll skip that.  Adam and the occasional phone call pep talk from my parents are bearing the brunt of that tirade on your behalf.

I could talk about Elephant's Graveyard which is the play our kids are in that opened last night.  I will at some point.  Because wow.

Emma went to Disneyland though. I want to internet the pictures because it's where I store stuff.  (Yes, I just used internet as a verb.)

She said she went on Small World just for me because she knows I love it.  She texted me this picture and it cracks me up.  There's Emma looking dutifully excited and Vanessa looking awestruck and Rose looking like she wants me to drop dead.

I could be wrong, but I think Rose loved Small World.

She lives in our neighborhood.  She's one of my Young Women and in the future, if I ever want to torture her, I know just which song to sing. (You never know when that kind of knowledge will come in handy.)

I know everyone in this picture except for the two people in the back.  I asked Emma who they were.  She said they were just two random strangers.  She said, "We asked them to pose like that."

I'm pretty sure if some high school students asked me to pose on Splash Mountain, I would say, "Sorry, I'm not going on Splash Mountain.  I'm heading over to Small World."

This picture is my favorite:

Happy, pretty girls.  I love them and I love that they went to Disneyland.  I would say I would have loved to go with them, but I need more sleep than that.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wrapping up

Our ambush business dinner was a success.  On the way into Cracker Barrel Mark said, "This is going to be about choir isn't it?"

"Why do you ask?" I asked in a convincingly (hey, I'm guessing) casual way.

"Everyone in the family has been talking to me about it.  Braeden lectured me for twenty minutes."

(When I later told Braeden about the conversation he said, "Oh, it was more than twenty minutes."

I told Mark it was a mistake to do things only because your older siblings did them, but it was also a mistake to not do things only because your older siblings did them.  I've always thought choir was a good fit for Mark.  He likes to sing and he's a pretty good singer.  He sang before he talked.  He wants to try his hand at drama and choir will only help him with that.  Besides, the choir program here is really amazing.

Over dinner, Mark agreed to take one semester of choir on a trial period. I texted Emma (who was still in California) and she was.... in favor of the idea:

I feel like I should explain about the picture of Adam I also texted Emma.
We'd been cleaning the garage and Braeden had invented a game where he threw a cardboard box in the air and then smacked the box with a hammer.  As you can imagine, it was very helpful for garage cleaning.

Later, at Home Depot, Adam picked up that whatever-it-is so I could send Braeden a picture of Adam's version of the game.  Adam sort of looks like a scary Viking or maybe Wreck-it-Ralph.  He sits at a desk all day when maybe his true calling is vanquishing foes.

The good news is, we didn't get thrown out of Home Depot.

Also on Saturday, I planned the rest of the school year.  I had a fleeting thought that I wouldn't have to plan for the rest of the year.

Then that settled over me and I realized, this is it.  I'm not going to do any more home school planning ever.

I try to savor and remember every bit of my time with Mark.  The other day we were reading about how you had to remove your shoes in Kublai Khan's presence.  Mark said, "Kublai Khan, the first TSA."  Then there was the time we were reading about Henry VIII.  Mark said, "Henry VIII was a piece of work.  Poor guy.  He just needed someone to love him...and a son."

What am I going to do without his constant presence in my life?  This will end the thirteenth year of me homeschooling. 

I doubt I could have done anything with my time I would value more.

Friday, I was reading to Mark while we were getting some work done on our van.  A woman was tidying up the waiting room at the service center.  She stopped me and said, "I used to read to my kids before they were grown.  There's nothing I miss more than reading to my kids."

I know I will always feel the same way.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friendly persuasion

For one thing, I have a track record.

When Braeden was a freshman in high school, he didn't want to audition for the play.  I convinced him to just try.  He relented and being in plays defined his high school years.

When Emma was going to be in seventh grade, she didn't want to take choir.  My little songbird, and she refused!?!  I argued and cajoled and harangued and finally gave up and enlisted Adam's help.  He said, "I think you should take choir."

She said, "OK."

(I'd like to think I'd laid the groundwork though.)

And now Emma is in Disneyland on the all important choir tour.  She loves choir.  It's her Thing.

So the moral to this story is that I'm smarter than my kids.  (I'm considering stitching it on a pillow so they can see it often.)

Mark needs to register for his classes next year.  Adam and I have ideas about what he should take for his electives and he has other ideas.

I've related the above stories to him.  He doesn't care.  We've discussed it several times and the boy has his heels dug in like a stereotypical stubborn redhead would have their heels dug in. 

I was telling Braeden about it and he agrees with me and he decided he would talk to Mark.  He got a gleam in his eye and I could tell was metaphorically flexing his rhetoric muscles.  If there's something Braeden loves, it is convincing people to do things.  I'm usually his best victim.

Yesterday afternoon, Braeden and I took a walk.  He told me he'd talked to Mark.

"Did it work?"

"No.  That kid is crazy."

this picture showed up on my ipad one one doubts he's crazy
I said, "I can talk you into things and Dad can talk Emma into things but I don't know who can talk Mark into things."

"I'm not giving up!" Braeden said.

And neither are we.  Tonight, Braeden has social engagements so Adam and I are going to take Mark to dinner.  I told him it was a "business dinner" because we're going to talk about his schedule.  "Oooh," Mark said, kind of excitedly.  "Where are we going?"

"Cracker Barrel," I said.

Because we are pulling out the big guns here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A random collection of randomness

1- I still know all the words to Kenny Rogers' song, The Gambler.  Don't let anyone ever tell you I don't have skills.

2- After a hiatus of three years, I am joining my sisters, hopefully all my sisters-in-law, my mom, one aunt and some cousins and going to Women's Conference at BYU.  When I think about it by chance during the day, I just grin.  I can't help it.

The program came in the mail.  I want to go to everything.  Twice.
3- It snowed several inches yesterday.

4- Emma didn't sleep one bit Tuesday night and then she spent all day yesterday at Disneyland.  She is ten thousand times stronger than I am. That would kill me.  Dead.  No more Thelma. 

5- Speaking of the name Thelma, I always, always have to spell it for people.  And it strikes me as a pretty phonetic word.  I've started saying my name is Emma when I need to give it at a restaurant or something.  It's easier because Thelma is such a stumbling block for people.  Yesterday at the store, looking at my account, a store clerk asked me how I pronounce my first name.  Take it slow...sound it out?  I'm not sure how many alternative pronunciations there could be.

6- Yesterday I talked to Tabor while he was driving.  He drove by my house twice in his travels and said he waved.  I didn't see it, but I'll believe him.  He was too pressed for time to stop.  That kid is definitely in the top three of my favorite brothers.  I love talking to him.  He is funny and empathetic and wise.  He always makes me feel better.  He said, "I wish I were there to give you a hug."

7- You know what, Tabor?  Me too.

8- I prepared some stuff for Young Women's and I felt like I was in an alternative universe where I do Pinterest-y type stuff.

9- I mean, look at me and my bad self.

10- But I didn't even get these ideas from Pinterest.  They are Thelma (how do you pronounce that?) originals.

11- Isn't that one pretty Emma?

12- I miss her.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Small victories

Yesterday we had a storm move in.  A big one.  Utah has all four seasons, sometimes all in the same day.  That meant wind.  I think someday we may end up in Oz.  (I may get some ruby slippers out of the deal.)

First the air filled with dust then it rained mud, then it snowed.

I'm not sure if this picture adequately shows how really dirty the window is.  It was not raining or snowing at the time of this picture.

In preparation for the storm, I gathered up all the cushions on the deck furniture and stowed them close to the door and under cover.  I slid all the furniture against the house.  A few nights before, the wind had been strong enough to blow the furniture all around.

At lunch I told Mark that I had battened down the hatches.

"What?" he said.

I explained it's an idiom.  I explained it referred to preparing a ship for a storm.  I gave him a few examples.

"So you did this to get ready for Girls' Camp?"



I started over.  I explained the idiom.  I pointed to the ominous sky.  I showed him the deck.

(Have you ever tried explaining idioms to a skeptical twelve year old?)

He finally got it though.

It's the small victories.

Both boys got haircuts.  They really needed it.  A few nights ago, Braeden and Mark were on the trampoline and the static electricity that resulted only emphasized the bush like monstrosity that was Braeden's hair.  He did what he does though and took a selfie and sent it to his friends.  One friend sent him back a picture of a Chia Pet.

So yeah, they needed haircuts.

And we got them done.

It's the small victories.

We sent Emma on her way to choir tour.  I felt a little apprehensive about sending my girl away.  So what that we were sending her to the Happiest Place on Earth.  I wouldn't be there to make sure she was happy and safe and all.  She's my baby girl!  Adam said, "Of all of our children she is the best equipped to handle something like this."

And of course that's true.  She is tough and responsible and sturdy.  She's got this.  I may have felt a teeny tiny bit like crying when I said good-bye.  But I didn't.

It's the small victories.

I made dinner!

It's been a while.  There's been a combination of busyness, laziness and very accessible takeout.

But last night, I made dinner.

It's the small victories.

Also, we haven't blown away.  Yet.

It's the small victories.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Weekend stuff

New stuff:

Emma was an extra for a movie that was filmed locally.  She had a great time and earned $10/hour.  She was supposed to wear nineties clothes.  She found some of Adam's old shirts in Braeden's closet.  (Braeden's closet is kind of like a costume room.)

Good stuff:

Braeden's school team placed 2nd in the state drama competition.  He performed a dramatic monologue.  He too had a great time (but did not earn $10/hour).

Adam and Mark and I sat on the deck Saturday night (under blankets because it was cold).  We talked and laughed and played a guessing game and looked out over the city lights.

Same old stuff:

Braeden and a contingency of his friends descended on the basement with boxes of pizza and 2 liters of soda.  (I can't decide if I like our basement or deck more.)

Hard work stuff:

Adam and the kids weeded our entire yard.  He took them to the Purple Turtle for milkshakes to reward their efforts.  I went too.  I hadn't helped weed, but the Purple Turtle! Milkshakes!

As for me, I kept my nose to the grindstone and crossed at least every pressing item off my to do list.  When does that happen?  Rarely.  I'm pretty sure I deserved the milkshake after all.

Nevada stuff:

Sunday was quite a day.  I had early meetings starting at 7:00 and I was in a skirt and heels until about 10:00 that night.  Phew.

I spoke in church (I cried).

I taught a lesson (I cried).

As soon as church was over we (Adam, Mark, Clarissa and I) went to Nevada.  It is such a wonderful thing to be so close!  We had a typical delicious and generous spread that only my mom can offer.

("Have more!" she urges.  Well, if you insist.)

We headed to Elko for a production of Savior of the World.  It's a musical drama about the birth and resurrection of Christ.  My own Marianne directed it.  Olivia was in it (sang a solo) as well as Desi, Liberty, Hyrum (sang a few solos), Lili, Ruben and Carolina.

(By the way, Marianne didn't do the casting.  All those kids got in on their own merit!)

It's been what they have all been living and breathing for awhile as they've been preparing.  It was phenomenal.  They were all just wonderful.

And I cried.

Then I looked over at Enoch who was on my left.  He was surreptitiously wiping a tear or two.  My dad was on my right, on the other side of Adam and he too was crying.  So I can't help this genetic defect and I blame my dad.

I hugged my beautiful and vastly talented sisters after the production and we all cried some more and I love those girls.  They are a blessing in my life.  They make my life happier and then when things aren't so happy, they carry part of the burden for me so it's not as heavy.  Sisters.  They live up to the hype.

Back at my parents' house we visited in their cozy living room.  I think just being in their house lowers my blood pressure.  My mom tried to push more brownies on me but I was just thirsty so ice water it was.  A pitcher.  My mom doesn't mess around when it comes to being a hostess.

The next morning it was French toast and fresh raspberries and whipped cream.  My sisters came over to visit for a little while then we headed to Wells and saw Enoch and Jennifer's new house.  It is lovely!  We discussed furniture placement and I told Enoch why my ideas were better than his.  (My birthright as his older sister and he loves it or tolerates it.  One of those two.)

Enoch and Adam went outside to contemplate the sprinkler system, Mark ran around like a crazy banshee with his cousins and Jennifer and I sat at the table in her sunny kitchen and chatted.  It's possible we both cried.

Just a little.

It happens when you talk about those near and dear things with people that are near and dear.

And Jennifer is.

We made it back to our mountain home by late Monday afternoon.  It was good to be reunited with Braeden and Emma and then I rehydrated.

Which you need after all that crying.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Stupid tired/lazy day

Yesterday I was tired.  I had a million things to do (laundry! I'm speaking in church on Sunday! And teaching a lesson!) but no motivation.

My get up and go had got up without me.

I had an eye appointment and started one load of laundry and had my kids do some dishes.  Then I gave up.

I put on yoga pants.

We went to the store and bought junky junk food.  We picked up Adri along the way.  It was easy to find Emma and Adri at the store because I just had to follow the laughter.  I don't just like Adri for her great laugh, but it would be reason enough.

We picked up Braeden's car from the shop which is back in tip top shape.

And thus ends the "productive" part of my day.

I don't really know what else we did.  Emma and Adri were supposed to be working on a school project.  Apparently the first step was hair and makeup:

I don't know what is so funny with these two, but apparently something always is.

We got The Boxtrolls from Redbox and watched it.  (We liked it.)

We didn't even eat most of the snacks we bought.  I guess we were too tired.


Oh today, I'm going to set the world on fire.

(Or at least do more laundry.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I think even my eyelashes are tired

The good news, the best news, is that I survived.  And so did all the kids.

So there's that.

Wow, that was exhausting.

But also kind of wonderful.  We spent a lot of time on Temple Square in Salt Lake City which is always beautiful and uplifting.  

Here's our group, 22 girls and 8 boys.

To help be in charge of that many meant always having a bagful of granola bars and Capri suns to give out at frequent intervals.  (I know hungry kids are no way to travel.)  It meant answering the question, "What's for dinner?" thirty thousand times.

It meant when a girl went AWOL (for only a few minutes, but still, heart attack city and I was the mayor) the other Young Women leaders turned to me.  They also turned to me when one of the chaperone's car broke down, when there were scheduling snafus, when they needed driving directions (I know!), when one of the pretty pretty princesses was pouting, and when one of the girls was hiding in another girl's hotel room and refused to leave.

(Teenage girls.  Not for the faint of heart.)

I was able to turn to the Young Men leaders quite a bit too.  Especially when the hotel complained about some of the boys flirting with other hotel guests.  I just let the Young Men leaders know.

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

I saw the girls in new and different lights too though.  I saw them be incredibly kind to each other.  I watched them fill hygiene kits at the Humanitarian Center like it was their job.  They listened respectfully on tours (for example, the Utah State Capitol which knocked my socks off):

So pretty.  In my next house, I want a rotunda...

One of our activities was this:

It was crazy.  The kids had a terrific time and luckily no one even got hurt, despite a few raw knuckles and Braeden somehow skinned his chin(?).

There's Braeden on the right in the Hawaiian shirt he got from Deseret Industries.  At the Humanitarian Center, they talked about donations of clothing that go to D.I.  Braeden excitedly said, "That's where I got this shirt!"  Emma is somewhere in that jumble of bubble balls too but I can't see her.

Our culminating activity for the two days was going to the Utah State Developmental Center which houses severely intellectually disabled adults.  Each of our youth was assigned a resident.  The residents are mostly in wheelchairs and nonverbal.  Our youth were there to have a dance with them.  Our exhausted kids pushed their wheelchairs and interacted with them and danced like crazy until the residents had wide gleeful smiles.  I almost cried when the kids were doing the Hokey Pokey.  You've never seen such enthusiasm.

You can forgive a lot of shenanigans when you see such unabashed and selfless service going on. 

All in all, it was worth it.  These are good kids.  They really are and I was glad to spend some time with them.

Especially these two monkeys.  They are my circus.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The weekend

Thursday night Adam asked me if I had just had a haircut.  I told him I was getting one the next day.  He preemptively noticed.  That's how good he is.

When I went to get my haircut, I asked Joelyn (who I liked automatically when I met her last fall because she reminded me of my friend JoLyn--same name, different spelling) for something new.  I said, "I don't think what I want is possible.  I want something different but I don't want to spend any time on it or have to have any skill (because I don't have any hair skills).  Joelyn suggested making it shorter...and still shorter in the back.  She told me it would look sassy.  I said, "Sure."

Who doesn't like sassy?

For the rest of the day, one of my kids would stop me and say, "Mom, you look sassy."

And now, since my sisters will ask, here's a selfie.  When my kids take selfies, they always strike a goofy pose.  This is me trying to be normal.  The derpy just happens naturally...

As anticipated, we watched conference on TV.  It was wonderful.  So good.  I wasn't the least bit surprised.  I love hearing our church leaders.  They encourage me and just the vast store of their collective wisdom on every topic is reassuring.

Saturday night is the priesthood session that the men and boys go to.  I love that too.  Time with my Emma.  We decided to go to dinner and then go see Cinderella. 

We left around the same time as our menfolk and we saw a bunch of men walking towards the church to watch the session together.  White shirts and ties.  Looking snazzy.  It looked like a swarm.  We decided they were swarming Mormons.  Or just Swormons.  (Emma and I are a lot of fun.)

We also went by Target and here's the thing about Utah County during the priesthood session.  There were maybe one or two men in Target.  There were only women in the restaurant.  There was one man at the movie theater--which was full.

The boys went out for Chinese food after along with a restaurant full of men in white shirts and ties.

I can't imagine what an out-of-towner would think the first Saturday evening in April or October if they were out and about.

First there are no men anywhere, then every restaurant is filled with men and boys. 

Emma and I chatted about a lot of things over dinner and I love having a daughter.  Somehow we ended up discussing her wedding.  I said, "Are we going to fight when we plan your wedding?"

She said, "No.  I will tell you I don't care and then you'll pick a color and I'll say 'no' and then you'll pick another color and I'll say 'no'."

(She is so right.  Heaven help us.)

We talked about the boys' weddings.  I said, "My mom told me when you're the mother of the groom, you wear beige and keep your mouth shut."

Emma said, "Well, I'm not going to wear beige."

She probably won't keep her mouth shut either.

Sunday morning the Easter Bunny didn't know where the Easter baskets were and only about 2% cared.  All the loot (and by all the loot, I mean a very tiny bit of loot) was put in one communal basket. 

Emma for one, liked the stuff she had helped pick out at Target the night before.

Otherwise we enjoyed Easter.  Clarissa joined us and we basked in more General Conference goodness.  The Bujnowskis, some of our friends from Washington, were in town and joined us also.  It was nice to catch up with them.

And now, I'm off to get ready for Youth Conference!  I won't be writing the next few days.

I'll miss you.

And my bed.

Friday, April 3, 2015


This weekend!

I am excited.  It is General Conference weekend.  That is when we can watch a conference for our church on TV or the internet on Saturday and Sunday.  When I was a kid, I loved it because it meant I didn't have to wear a dress or go to church and I could play Barbies with Olivia.  (I also watched some of the conference.)

Now, I love it because I get to watch.  My spirit gets fed.  I love the inspiration and encouragement and light that I feel.

And all from the comfort of my couch.

Then there's Easter.  I know that I have a Savior.  He lives.  It's the most wonderful good news that I know.  Because of Him, I can live again someday.  I will see people I love.  I can repent.  People I love can repent.  It matters.

Wednesday night I was talking to Adam before bed.  I said, "I want to go to the temple tomorrow and I'm trying to figure out how to fit it in."

Adam said, "Why don't you go early in the morning when you can't sleep anyway?"

(Because lately, I can't.)

That Adam.  His smarts live up to their billing. 

So in the dim morning light yesterday, through the lightly falling snow (!), I drove toward the light that is the temple.  What a gift it was for me.  It is restorative to feel such peace and fulfillment.  It had been a tough week.  Life gets busy, people disappoint you, your teenage son can wreak havoc on your car insurance.


You don't have to wait until the end of the tunnel for the light.  It's all around, you just need to know where to look.

(Also, on Wednesday, two different girls at Young Women's told me my outfit was cute.  So there's that.)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hired help

Yesterday I was having a crazy busy day.  Mark...wasn't.  I offered him a money making opportunity.  We haggled.  We negotiated.  (He's a tough customer.)

In the end, I paid him $5 to do the dishes and "unearth the suspicious smell in the refrigerator."

(He found it.)

I see the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Because He lives

Last night was quite a night.  Among other things, we had first dinner, second dinner and Braeden got into a little fender bender. 

Our first dinner was early, we fed the missionaries which is kind of a Big Deal around here because there aren't very many missionaries around.  Second dinner was with Marianne and her girls and Ammon and Melanee and their kiddos.

The missionaries shared this video with us and invited us to share it with others.

It's a good one.


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