Monday, November 30, 2015

Failed blogger

I got out our "good camera." (It's not all that good but better than my phone.) I charged the battery, I packed it in my suitcase and then I didn't think of it again and didn't take one solitary picture.

Marianne said, "What about your blog?!?"

I know.

We were going to go to Nevada on Wednesday but this is the busiest time of year for Adam and he didn't get away from work as early as he would have liked.  Also there was snow snow and more snow in Nevada.  We instead went on Thanksgiving morning.

It's nice to be so close.

We had a lovely drive in Sweet Allis.  Seat heat was activated all around and we listened to good music and chatted and road trips are my favorite.

We pulled into snowy Starr Valley in the late morning and were met with hugs and delicious smells.  There were 37 for dinner.  My mom is amazing.  Seven of the group were not related but more than welcome.  Somehow there's always room and there's always enough food.  Since there was so much snow, there was a lot of playing outside by the cousins and lost gloves and wet socks and the most enormous pile of coats and boots you've ever seen.  We all just avoided the biggest puddles of melting snow and I reflected on how much easier situations like that can be when your youngest is nearly 13.

So the dinner was spectacular, everything was delicious.  After a Herculean dish washing session we had a talent show.  Emma and I played our ukuleles. (I borrowed John Candy,  a.k.a. Braeden's Hawaiian shirt, which I think enhanced the performance--does everyone name their Hawaiian shirts?  Because he also has a Hawaiian shirt named Penny Candy.)  There were all kinds of talents displayed by all the nieces and nephews and I can't even tell you my favorite.  At one point, Emma looked over at Savannah and said, "I think I'm going to die of cuteness."

It's a very real danger when Savannah is around...or any of those kids.  I loved it.

My parents dispensed generous Christmas presents in the form of checks to the adults and then we reconvened for Nauvoo Bingo.  You haven't played bingo until you've played Nauvoo Bingo which is an invention of my mother's.  Enoch is the popular bingo caller.  He takes his sweet time and adds commentary and refuses to move to a central location if the people on the far end of the table (Olivia) can't hear.  Those two have kind of been going at it their entire lives but I'm pretty sure they would run into a burning building for each other without thinking twice.

There were prizes in careful categories so everyone knew they'd be getting what they wanted.  There was also a fair amount of manipulating packages to ascertain contents before unwrapping.  (I know how to recognize Bath and Body Works soap pumps.) Mark got a pair of wool socks that are apparently "the best thing he's ever put on his feet."  You've never seen anyone so thrilled with socks.  It was all a success except for the fact that every little boy got a car that made a lot of noise.

It was about that time my dad suggested we move Thanksgiving to July or maybe August so all the kids could play outside.

Since no one was remotely hungry yet, we pulled out all the food again and ate some more.  It was just so delicious we had to make room.

I stayed up way too late visiting with my parents and Ammon and Melanee once all was quiet.

Friday morning my mom and I hung out with Cormac and Azure while everyone else was still asleep.  I sort of miss those early mornings with young kids.  It's a nice time of day.

Next was the Ladies' Holiday Brunch at Olivia's which is a highlight of the holidays for me now that I can go.  Everything was beautiful and the food was amazing.  What I love most is the fabulous sisterhood reigning supreme.  My mom, sisters, (which includes the beloved sisters-in-law) and the darling girls eight and older make the group.  Two years running, there have been a lot of tears shed.  I don't know.  Maybe it's something in the quiche?  More likely, we are talking about real things in a completely safe place with women we love.

Katie wasn't there but she called and we put the phone on speaker as we answered the questions Olivia posed about our year that just passed, what we were looking forward to in the new year and a Christmas memory.  Then Katie gave her answers and she was crying too.

I guess we can't blame the quiche after all....

Before she hung up, Katie said she was glad she got to be there for the crying part.  What can I say?  It's a bonding experience.

We pulled Mark in from the snow and his intense cousin time (they were apparently fighting mutant wolves which sounded slightly better than the night before when it had been ISIS they were after) and we headed back to Utah.

We stopped in Salt Lake City at my grandma's and helped decorate her house for Christmas which tied a nice bow on the whole affair.  I love my grandma and I love Christmas decorations so it was a win win for me.

What I'm most thankful for this season?  My family, a beautiful world, the perspective the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides.

And heated seats.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gratitude: a photo essay

I know this would be be a better photo essay if  1) I was good at photography or 2) this was a lifestyle blog and I knew how to style photos.

It's what I've got though.

Just walking around my house, I see reminders everywhere of things I am grateful for.

I'm grateful for these people:


dated pictures and lots of glare...don't care. :)

Mark is so short!  I look like I just woke up!  What can you do?

I'm grateful for the beauty outside:

the leaves on this tree hang on the longest and I love it for those tenacious leaves

I'm grateful for this temple where Adam and I were married:



And for this temple that is constantly in my view like a beacon of light:



I'm grateful for our ancestors:



I'm grateful to have a piano:



And a daughter that painstakingly wrote out the ukulele chords for me so I can try to follow along when we play together:


I'm grateful when I find things like this:


I'm grateful for reminders of dear friends:

this pillow from Janet

This plant from Apryl--she gave it to me when Emma was born.  I've trimmed it many times and it is one tough little plant. 

And reminders of loved ones no longer here:

these pillows from my grandparents' house

red geraniums remind me of my Grandma Dahl
the chairs Adam's dad reupholstered for us


I'm grateful for comforts:

supreme comfort

this blanket Melanee made us keeps me warm every morning and evening and anytime in between

I love seeing this nest every morning...rumpled blankets from when we snuggled together and watched Netflix the night before.

And modern technology:

I know we used to function before smart phones, but I don't remember how....


And modern conveniences:


what a blessing a car is!

electricity!

a furnace and air conditioning!

easy laundry!

indoor plumbing!

I'm grateful for this country:

I upped the glare and added blurry to this picture...Adam is shaking his head sadly somewhere right now.

And I'm grateful for quirky things to make me smile (and grateful Adam doesn't mind):


Emma and I acquired a friend for Horace for the holidays...Lars.

What a wonderful world.  I feel blessed to just be here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sometimes this is hard

Motherhood.  It's never been for the faint of heart.  Probably never will be.

Yet, here I am.  (And I think my heart is a little faint.)

There are as many ways for children to struggle as there are children in the world.  Sometimes their struggles are physical--health related.  Sometimes they're social, sometimes they're emotional.  It's just always something.

We shoulder what we can but we also have to sit by and watch them struggle and grow too.  It's part of the job.  It's nice to have siblings to help.  I get strength from my own brothers and sisters and I am grateful my kids have each other.

Recently when Mark was having a hard time, Emma said, "Who do you need me to kill?"

And you should have seen the look in her eye.  She meant business.  She can argue with Mark until the end of time--and she probably will--but that girl has his back.  My takeaway from all of this is don't mess with Emma's brothers.  They are both taller than she is now but I wouldn't want to cross her.  She can be...fierce.

Often parenting is instructive to me to help me understand more about my relationship with my Heavenly Parents.  When my kids need me, when they are in distress, my reaction is to spring into action.  I want to help them.  I can't or wouldn't necessarily want to immediately fix everything but I do want to help.  I want them to know I love them.

I know our Heavenly Father feels the same way.  When we need Him, when we are in distress, I know He wants to help us.  He doesn't take away everything we're struggling with because we need to learn.  We need resistance training in all of its many forms.  But when I think about how much I love my own children in their struggles, it brings me comfort to know that Heavenly Father loves them too.  And me.

We're all going to be OK.

(And I don't think Emma needs to kill anyone.)


Monday, November 23, 2015

Tiny notes

Dear Homemade Sign Maker on 1100 N.,

I saw your latest offering, "Go fast.  Kids are replaceable."  If you were going for passive aggressive, you nailed it.  It was spray painted on the side of a washing machine.  If you were going for tacky, you nailed it.

Me

Dear Church Meeting that Starts at 7:00 AM,

I don't like you.  You are deadening my soul.  My dad leaves for his church meetings at something like 5:00 AM.  I know I'm a wimp. But still.  7:00 when it is cold and dark is not my idea of a good time.

Me

Dear Braeden,

Thank you for the surprise handwritten letter.  It was shocking because I know how much you dislike writing and how hard the process is for you.  Written in your own wonky handwriting with your wobbly spelling, it is a treasure.

Me

Dear The Intern,

You were a great movie.  I keep thinking about you.

Me

Dear Monday Morning,

Knowing I will get a missionary email this morning makes everything all right.

Me

Friday, November 20, 2015

It's a good day to have a good day

1- Emma's coming home for lunch today.

2- It's pouring rain but we got a new elliptical runner so I can exercise inside.  With Netflix.

3-We decided a good nickname for the elliptical runner is the ER.  So then we can say, "I'm going to the ER," and people will pay attention.

4- The night before it was delivered I enlisted Mark's help to move furniture in the basement.  He was eager to help but he said, "Wait.  We'll go downstairs together.  It seems more intense."

5- That kid....

6- Speaking of Mark, his scout campout was cancelled tonight.  And I'm glad.

7- As of last night, my Christmas shopping is done.  I love getting done early early and then enjoying the season.

8-Our across the street neighbor is coming home today!  He's been deployed in Kuwait for a year.  I'm happy for their family.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Motherhood

It's been on my brain lately.

Like, for the last 19 years. (Is he really almost 19?)

A few days ago, Janet and I had one of our nearly weekly several-hours-long telephone conversations.  aside: I miss living near the Jorgensens.  I miss hanging out at their house and eating Janet's always amazing cooking.  I miss having them over to our house.  I miss Emma and Freja disappearing to go talk about Emma and Freja things, I miss our boys (most of which have flown the coop...sniff) playing games together or laughing at something very quirky.  I miss Mark rocketing between trying to join in with the older boys and doing sweet Britta's and Inge's bidding because those girls captured his heart a long time ago.  I miss Adam and Eric and Janet and me.  Sometimes our conversations would intersect and sometimes they'd be parallel but there was always a lot of talking.

And I'm very grateful that Janet and I still have that.  In the absence of the rest, it is comforting and supremely satisfying to still be able to talk.  We talk mostly about motherhood.  We confess our fears and celebrate our successes.  We seek advice and understanding and empathy from each other.  (The irony of it is that while we are talking, I'm sort of abandoning my mothering post....)

One thing we've learned as we've journeyed along this motherhood trail, motherhood doesn't necessarily get any easier.  We know people told us that all along (for example, my mother:  the bigger they get, the bigger their troubles get).  We sort of believed people all along, but not really.

Some things are easier as they get older.  Emma can drive herself and she keeps track of her own schedule. (When I was on the phone with Janet, I had to speedily pull the plug on the conversation when I realized the time because it was past time for  Emma's voice lesson.  I hurried downstairs to tell her and she, of course, had already gone to her voice lesson.)

Some things aren't.  There are worries and Big Decisions and troubles that can't be fixed easily.

I told Janet about a woman I serve with in Young Women.  Her daughter just had a new baby and she's been worn ragged helping her daughter.   She has been taking the night shift, holding and caring for the baby so her daughter can sleep.  Then she goes to work every day.  After several days of that she was finally getting a night off when she got a distress call from the daughter.  She went back to help.

Of course she did.

Yesterday morning I was changing bed sheets around here and listening to Elder Holland's talk from the last conference, Behold Thy Mother.

I love that talk.  It made me think how grateful I am to be a mother.  It is an honor to be in the trenches with women I admire, side by side doing our best for our children.  It made me think of my own mother.  She has always been a force to be reckoned with.  Her strong will and level of commitment to motherhood and now grandmotherhood is something to behold.  It made me think of my friend, mothering her grown daughter in her hour (hours) of need.
No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child.
Jeffrey R. Holland


I aspire to mother better.





Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lunch dates

Adam and I have lunch together every week.  The day that works best for Adam is also the day that we usually hear from Braeden.  Coincidentally this week, I couldn't go to lunch on our regular day, Monday, and Braeden didn't email on his regular day either.

So we were a day late, but we both heard from Braeden and had our lunch date yesterday.

We spend the first part of each lunch reading aloud to each other Braeden's emails.  I always cry.  A side effect of portioning part of my heart away to Virginia is that I cry at the drop of a hat.  It won't even be anything that significant in Braeden's emails and my eyes will start filling with tears.  (The trials of the emotionally unbalanced!)  Adam patiently waits for me to regain composure.

"Don't worry," he said yesterday when the inevitable tears surfaced, "we won't come back here for twelve weeks."

We've created sort of a rotation of restaurants and the good news is that they won't see the same crying woman from week to week.  Maybe they'll forget about me in the interim?

After we finish reading Braeden's emails to each other, we discuss.  We decide that he's doing OK.  We marvel at how much harder it is to have him gone than we even thought it would be.  We talk about how glad we are he is having this experience.

There is nothing quite so wonderful as being thoroughly understood by someone who is experiencing the same thing you are experiencing.

Then we move on to other topics.  We talk about our other children.  We talk about upcoming plans.  We talk about the food and decor of the restaurant and whether it's a keeper for the rotation.  We talk about current events, politics, religion, history.  We talk.

Yesterday at one point, sitting across the table from Adam and listening to him, I thought, Wow, he is so smart!  That was followed by the thought, and he's mine.

I don't know how I got so lucky.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gratitude and scave

I read and really loved the book Room by Emma Donaghue (I'll tell you more about it later in a book post).  One bit of it shone from the page and I snapped a picture of it so I could remember.  (So much easier than finding pen and paper to copy it down.)


My heart is heavy watching news reports about the terrorist attacks in Paris.  The news showed one person after another declaring they were going to forge on.  They weren't going to let terrorists curtail their lives.

They are scave.

And I admire them.

My reaction is to want to blow up the world and get all the bad people and Adam kindly and patiently tells me why that's a bad idea.

Sometimes life just feels heavy and dark.  When my children are struggling (or on the other side of the country), when the world is a violent and confused place, when sleep is illusive, I start to feel a little downcast.

Gratitude is always a good antidote to gloom though.  I love Thanksgiving for the reminder it gives me to be grateful.

I am thankful for light in the darkness, light in all its wonderful forms.


I'm thankful for snow falling on sagebrush out my window yesterday morning.


The snow was lovely and kindly made everything soft looking but also didn't build up on the roads.  They were just wet.

I'm grateful for good food and good music and a good husband (who convinces me not to blow up the world).  I'm grateful for the hope and light the gospel of Jesus Christ brings to my life.  I'm grateful for the transformative way baking bread changes a house to a home.

And I'm grateful my mom taught me how to make bread.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Things I love about Emma

1- Friday lunch.  We have started a new tradition.  She comes home for lunch on Friday and we chat.  It's just simple but I love having her all to myself for about an hour.

2- Her resilience.  Her voice is broken.  We don't know why.  We have a doctor appointment today and hope to get some answers.  Because of that, her musical audition was a bust.  It was devastating and then she talked to the director and he asked her to be assistant director, which thrilled her.  Resilience is one of the traits I want for my children...because life can be rocky.

3- Her amazing work ethic.  As the assistant director, she works very hard and is 100% reliable.  The other day I saw an email she sent the director--at 5:39 AM.  She was asking about a mistake she saw on the schedule.  And she was right.

4-She is almost always right.

5-Her writing.  She writes Braeden every night and then sends it to him every week.  I may or may not sneak into her room occasionally to read what she is writing.  (She leaves it right on her dresser, I don't think she minds.) It always makes my day.

6-When Emma wants something to happen, it usually does.  She got in her head that she wanted to make gumbo and beignets and mint juleps.  We had an exhaustive grocery store trip Saturday looking for all the sundry ingredients.  Just FYI, filé powder is not easy to find.  And just try to convince Emma she doesn't need it.  We had a lovely Sunday New Orleans inspired dinner though.

All of these are good reminders because also Saturday, we discovered a big scrape on the side of Emma's car where she misjudged the distance pulling into a parking spot.

Her driving may leave something to be desired, but I do love that girl.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A lovely note

Yesterday when Adam left for work, I told him that when he got home, I would be done transforming the school room into my office/project/whatever room.

I mostly was.  It still looks a little out of sorts, but that's only because Christmas preparations exploded in there.

Turns out reworking an entire room takes time. (So. Much. Time.)  It took time to figure out how to make the room the most useful and to go through every single container and box and envelope and file folder to figure out what exactly I have.

(Exactly what I have is a lot of stuff.)

I found something from a few years ago.  Braeden had left it lying around (it's wrinkled because Braeden's about as careful as a puppy) and back then I picked it up and read it and put it away for safe keeping.

These are the kinds of things that are treasures to a mother's heart.


It's from one of his directors at GPHS and it will stay in safekeeping forever, because I love every word.

Wonderful people in the world that build up and encourage and teach your children are maybe the best thing that a mother could ask for.  That, and don't put your clean laundry that is folded into the dirty laundry.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ammon, we need to talk

I spend my days mostly alone and when there's nothing interesting on the radio while I'm driving around doing my errands, I think deep thoughts.  Things like grouping my siblings.

We just fall into groups of three on a lot of issues:


Girls
Boys
Marianne
Enoch
Thelma
Tabor
Olivia
Ammon


Blue Eyed/Right Handed
Brown-Hazel Eyed/Left Handed
Marianne
Thelma
Enoch
Olivia
Tabor
Ammon


Would rather be left alone
Sign me up!
Thelma
Marianne
Tabor
Olivia
Ammon
Enoch


Technologically Impaired
At least as smart as their phone
Marianne
Thelma (I’m only here because of Adam)
Olivia
Enoch
Tabor
Ammon

Then, my categorizing started to break down.  I realized, with alarm, that I don't know where Ammon fits on any of the following!  Worst sister award goes to me. 

 
Like soda
Never drink it
Thelma
Marianne
Enoch
Olivia
Tabor



Definitely need sleep.  Definitely.
Can live on very little sleep
Marianne
Olivia
Thelma
Enoch
Tabor



Neurotic planner
Fly by the seat of their pants
Marianne
Enoch
Thelma
Tabor
Olivia


So then I came up with a new list:


Like to talk about themselves
It’s not always about him
Marianne
Ammon
Thelma

Olivia

Enoch

Tabor



Maybe since we live ten minutes away from each other I can pin him down on some of these pressing issues some day soon.

Here's one last category I thought of:


Can reach the top shelf
Can’t reach the top shelf
Marianne
Thelma
Olivia

Enoch

Tabor

Ammon



They are all a lot taller than I am, but look at what a good list maker I am!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Weighing in

If you are reading this blog then you have a computer and you've probably heard about the kerfuffle (isn't that a good word?) of late about the new policy the LDS church has regarding the children of same sex couples.

I've seen some anguish online and a fair bit of ugliness too.  I've seen downright anger.

A few years ago, I heard a dad say that when dads get angry, it's usually because they are scared.  I think there's a lot of truth to that.  (For example, the angriest I've ever seen Adam is when Braeden almost killed us while learning to drive on the freeway.  Good times....)

The anger that crops up on Facebook probably has its root in fear too.  People are afraid they are being judged or misunderstood or disenfranchised.  Or, the scariest of all, maybe they're afraid because the church they've been a member of isn't sitting quite right in their mind.

I know from personal experience that is a scary feeling.

There have been times over the years that I have had questions about different church doctrines.  It is unsettling.  One time in particular that I am thinking of, I remember I talked to my parents and my sisters and my closest friends and of course Adam and when I was finally all talked out, I decided that in the balance, what I knew outweighed what I didn't know.  I resolved to accept that some things were just hard for me to understand, and I'd move on.

Does this seem like foolish and blind obedience?  Maybe to some.  To me it was the most logical course of action.

My modus operandi to get through tough times is to back up.  I go back to what I know and it almost always helps.

For example, when Marianne and I were in high school and we crashed in a snowdrift in the middle of the night and I was freaking out because we were hopelessly stuck, she suggested we pray.  We did and it settled me down a little.  Praying helps.  Then she backed up to what we knew.  We knew that we had called our parents before leaving town.  We knew that our parents set an alarm for the time they expected us home. (Did they this time?  We didn't know for sure, but we really hoped.)  We didn't know, but trusted, that my dad would head out to look for us with a shovel.

It comforted me to remember what I knew and what I trusted in.

And yep, my dad showed up with a shovel.

Another time, several years ago, I was confronted with something I did not understand.  It didn't seem right.  It seemed askew with what I knew about the nature of God and the Atonement.  I felt confused and sad and maybe even alarmed.

I backed up to what I knew.  I prayed and felt the love of Heavenly Father, more so than I ever have when praying.  I didn't have an answer to my question, but then I remembered a lesson my dad taught way back when I was growing up.  He talked about a scripture he didn't understand.  He said he decided to put the question on a shelf and hope it would make sense later.  And then later, it did make sense.

I decided to do the same.  There was no way I was going to give up all the goodness and light I knew for one hard question, no matter how perplexing it was.

Years later, I was watching General Conference and Elder Scott answered my question.

All I have is my own experience to draw from, but I know it works.  This particular policy of the church doesn't impact me personally.  People I know and admire could be impacted in seemingly really unfair ways, but I'm waiting to see what happens.  I know what I know and that is Heavenly Father loves us.  He gives laws and boundaries to keep us safe and make us happy.  He has a prophet that leads our church.  Sometimes all we can do is remember what we know, put our questions on a shelf, and trust that the answers will be clear eventually.




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

He got the sweater


I printed my blog post about the sweater and put it in the box along with the sweater to send to him.  He said he smelled it to see if it smelled like me and it didn't.

Darn sweater.

This is about as good as his pictures get, mostly they are extremely blurry.  Adam is getting him a better camera for Christmas.  I said I think it's more user error than the fault of the camera.  We'll see.

I am happy every time I see his face though, even when it's a blurry face.

I don't know, maybe you noticed?

I love that kid.



Monday, November 9, 2015

Spontaneous

Thursday, Enoch texted me and wondered if Adam wanted to referee some basketball games in Wells, Nevada on Saturday.  My first thought was, probably.

Awhile ago, Enoch and Adam talked about basketball and refereeing and one of them said something about how Adam should go to Nevada and ref sometime.

I didn't know they were serious.

But I texted Adam and he was all in.

I called my mom and she said we could come and stay.

So we did.

We left Friday after Adam got home from work and Emma did a quick and intense homework session.  (That girl is all kinds of busy.  And she does such a good job on everything that it makes the time crunch worse.  Why did I get a perfectionist for a daughter?!?)

We took Sweet Allis Chalmers which is what Adam insists on calling his car even though the rest of us think it should be called The Illiad (because we also have an Odyssey).  It's nice and snug and has heated seats in the front and back which are ideal for cold fall evenings.  When we were passing Tooele (a.k.a. leaving civilization), Adam said, "Oh, I didn't think about filling up before we left.  The car says we can go 120 miles.  Can we make it to Wendover? (a.k.a. not really civilization but they do have gas stations...and enormous casinos)

I said, "Of course we can make it to Wendover.  It's only about 80 miles away."

But then we were driving straight into the wind.  We watched the gas gauge drop drop drop and I have to say, it kept us awake.

Finally, we were below empty and had about 20 miles to go.  Adam said, "Maybe you should say a prayer."

I told him I already had.

Emma was sleeping and Mark had on his headphones (roadtrips where I had to entertain bored toddlers are a distant memory).  I got Mark's attention and told him to say a prayer.  Mark's prayers are always good ones.  We finally rolled into a gas station at the exit for the Bonneville Speedway.  We had been going on fumes and prayers.  The car has an 18 gallon gas tank and we got 18 gallons of gas.

The rest of the drive was less exciting.

It was lovely as always to stay with my parents.  I like sitting around their living room, visiting.  Saturday morning, Adam went to referee and Mark and I went to Olivia's to visit her.  (My parents went to an early morning health fair in Elko, but then my mom joined our visiting later.)  Marianne's family except Morgan were at cross country state so were sad not to see them.

The boys were all playing outside and Omar who is three came to Grandma for help with his coat.  It used to be Braeden's and then Mark's coat!  Were those guys ever so small?  It melted my heart a little.

We all went into town for the 11:00 game.  Adam refereed and Enoch coached and Isaiah and Luke and Morgan played.  Adam did a fine job and enjoyed himself.  I felt like offering Enoch a throat lozenge pretty early in the game.  That kid gets hoarse.  It's not so much that he yells, but he speaks loudly.  With a lot of enthusiasm.

I felt like offering the boys a trophy.  Wowee wow wow.  Isaiah, who gets up early every morning to practice basketball is a superstar.  He is tall and lanky and coordinated.  It's a good combination for basketball.  I loved when he would pass the ball to Luke and Luke would make a basket (of course he would).  They'd run down the court and point and smile at each other.  Luke is too young for the team, but he knows a guy (the coach) and he can hold his own against much older kids.  Also, Luke gives the best hugs in the world, but that is irrelevant to basketball.... Morgan also made a basket and I loved watching him bite his lip and concentrate on defense.

I completely hit the jackpot in the nephew department.  I love all of them.

I also loved sitting by Jennifer during the game.  She watched with all the intensity of a mother bear watching her young but the only time she got truly animated was when she was worried that Isaiah was going to hurt another kid.  "Oh, be careful!" she would call.  She has the kindest heart you'll ever find.

We went back to my parents for a delicious meal and more visiting and my dad fixed my necklace.

In the late afternoon we headed home and it was a lovely little trip.

Friday, November 6, 2015

All Mark all the time

this is Mark 5 years ago when I still made him practice the piano and when we lived in a place where the sun shone so seldom that it burned his little eyes--at least he thought so

The other day Mark told me that he wanted to have an anonymous online presence.  He said, "I want to live off the grid."

Where does he even get that stuff?

Then he went on to say, "It's kind of hard to do, since your blog is entirely about me."

To which I can only say, "I've got to write about someone."

He is such a Mark.  There's no other word for it.  I don't know where I got these kids with their full sized personalities.  I guess heaven was fresh out of the shy, quiet, compliant types.

Sunday afternoon we took a walk along the Provo River which is my favorite walk--as long as we walk west of Geneva Road rather than east.  With Braeden the conversation naturally evolves to history (he's confessed that in the absence of his history books he has read the chronology of events way too many times in the Bible dictionary since he's been on his mission).  With Mark, the conversation somehow turns to money.  For some reason when we drove home, we started talking about the stock market.  Awhile ago, Adam gave each kid 10,000 pretend dollars and they pretended to invest in different stocks.  When we returned home, Adam checked in to see how their investments were doing.  Mark had earned $10,000 pretend dollars and Braeden had lost $1,000.

Until I made him stop talking (I do that sometimes), Mark talked animatedly and loudly about stocks.  He loves the stock market.  It makes no kind of sense where we got that kid from but he's a keeper and if you want to invest in the stock market, you may want to ask his opinion.

Finally, the last Mark anecdote (for now...if my blog is indeed entirely about him, I am sure there will be more in the future), Mark went trick or treating which is against my arbitrary family rule of once you are twelve you can no longer trick or treat.

(I've sort of given up.  On most things.)

Among his spoils, he got a lighter.

Seriously.  In Pleasant Grove, UT.  What?

Adam took this picture:



I told them both it was not funny but then I'm posting the picture here so that's sort of a mixed message.



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Come fly with me

Last night we had out Young Women In Excellence which is kind of a year in review celebration.  We went with an airline theme.

In a big way.

It all started with Pinterest. (doesn't everything?)  Then the Young Women leaders sort of ran. With. It.

We had the Relief Society room set up like baggage claim and the Young Women room was set up like an airplane.  Complete with windows, an emergency exit, seat pockets with safety instructions.  We had a cart to push down the aisle, with water bottles and "flotation devices" which were tiny donuts. 

It was adorable and I didn't take any pictures so you'll have to take my word for it.

I decided I wanted music for the beginning, Frank Sinatra, Come Fly With Me type music.  I texted Adam, "What are some other songs like that?"

A few minutes later he texted me back a playlist he'd created.

Adam.

That guy never disappoints.

The bishopric was the team of pilots:


And I should add they were very good sports!

(And you don't know how hard we tried to get the broken curtains to close!)

Here are the flight attendants.  It's blurry, but you get the idea:


It was the first big activity that we have done that wasn't us scrambling to carry out the plans of the previous leaders.  It was all ours and it felt good. 

A few of us spent most of the day preparing and decorating.  It was exhausting and afterward, Adam was cleaning up and loading all of our cars with all of our stuff and moving furniture and being his normal Adam self.

When we got home, I told Mark, "Do you know how awesome your dad is?"  Then I outlined all the help he was to me.

Mark said, "Isn't that what dads do?"

And maybe that's the best compliment Mark could give his dad.  Because as far as Mark knows, dads are always helpful and selfless and the go to person when you need anything.

(And Adam learned it from his dad.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fun with math

Have you ever tried to contend with a stubborn ginger?

Mark likes to get an accusing tone and tell me what his math teacher said and point out how it implicates me as a bad teacher.

Things like, "Mr. Francom said that he wasn't going to teach us how to do the distributive property because we learned it in 6th grade."

"You learned it in 6th grade too," I told him.

"Nope."

"Remember?" I said, "It's like dealing cards?  You distribute the number to everyone?"

"Hmmm." I could tell it sounded familiar but he's not one to concede anything.

Ever.

So we sat down and I showed him again.  Then we had a full fledged battle.

I told him how to do a problem and he refused to accept the answer.  Refused. 
He said, "Mr. Francom said you do it a different way."

I said, "I promise this is the right way to do it."

And we sized each other up like duelers in a Western.

It was early on a Saturday morning and Emma and Adam were still sleeping.  (My sons and me--we don't have sleeping in skills.)  I said, "You can ask Dad or Emma when they get up."

"OK," he said, sliding the graphite back into his mechanical pencil.  He was done with me and my shoddy math skills.  "I'll wait for them."

Which is his way of saying that he knew they were smarter than me.  (They are both smarter than me but they occasionally need my help with Word Bubbles, so there's that.)

When Adam came downstairs, I happily handed over the math homework question to him.

He sat down with Mark and said, "Your mom is right.  This is how it is."

Mark started to argue but then Adam restated his position in that convincing Dad Way that no one in the history of ever has been able to refute.

"OK?" Adam said.

"OK," Mark said morosely.  And he completed his assignment.

I need a Dad Voice.  I'm waiting for one to show up on Zulily and I will buy it immediately.


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