Friday, July 29, 2016

Books I read in July 2016

The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer ***

I usually avoid reading the back cover or dust jacket of any book.  Too often there are spoilers and I don't want to know.  This book left me so confused right in the beginning/middle that I gave up and read the back cover.  That sort of cleared it up and I was able to limp along until things became more clear.  I read a lot of this book on different nights at about 2:00 in the morning which is my insomnia time of choice lately.  That may have contributed to my confusion.  It ended up being a good book though.  It was set in Georgian England and had its share of sword fights, balls, gambling, romance.  I liked it. 

Landline by Rainbow Rowell ***

I liked this book too.  I have to note here that the language was not fabulous.  I forget about language in books and then I give my mom a book for her birthday that has bad language.  It happens a lot.  So note to self...  Rainbow Rowell books read like romantic comedies.  And I like them.  And they make sense even at 2:00 AM.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh **

This book mostly stressed me out.  I had nothing against the characters or plot, it was just stressful.  The characters found themselves in really difficult and complicated circumstances and I didn't see an easy resolution.  There were illegal immigrants, teen pregnancies, abandonment, deceit, bullying, socioeconomic injustice.  Yikes. So I didn't love the book because it caused me anxiety.  And yes, I am shallow.

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart ***

This was a pretty good book.  It alternated between two stories and was sort of heart breaking and also hopeful.  It was about a baby who was stolen as an infant and her mother that was committed to a mental hospital in the aftermath.  There were kind and redeeming characters throughout.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

It's hot

That's the consensus.   It's been around 100 degrees for the last several days and that will probably be the case for the foreseeable future.


Yesterday, looking for an air conditioned activity,  I took the kids to BYU to go bowling.  There are plenty of bowling alleys between here and there, but I like BYU.  It is one of my happy places.

Also, it turns out if you are an alumni, you get to bowl for a $.25 reduced rate.  That tuition is paying for itself!

It also turns out that these kids are not pro bowlers.  I won.  Not because I'm good.  They're just that bad. 

Our next stop was the art museum.  We walked around and looked at the National Parks paintings which I love then we went to The Way Things Go exhibit which was a 30 minute video that is like a Rube Goldberg machine times 1000.  It was pretty incredible.  It involved fire, water, wheels, pulleys, balloons, chemical reactions.  I was mesmerized.

I love art museums.

Later in the afternoon I got a text message from Virginia Beach.  (I love text messages from Virginia Beach even more than art museums.)  Rebecca Justesen for the win!

Elder Morris is a tall kid.

And I think they're having fun.

Even though it's hot there too.  Rebecca said it was 110 + with the heat index.  She said they weren't melting, which was reassuring.

Awhile ago, I emailed this meme to Braeden:

He wrote back:  amen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Sitting around the dinner table the other night, we reminisced about the trouble they got into when they were little.  I reminded Gavin of how I used to do criss-cross applesauce on his back in primary to keep him quiet.  "Oh yeah!" he said, "I remember!"  Adam told him about when he took three year old Gavin out of primary to the hall, kicking and screaming.  Adam calmly put him over his shoulder and said, "I'm bigger than you are.  I'll wait until you're ready."

I don't think Adam could do that now.

I told Mark about when I buckled him in his car seat during church, kicking and screaming.

I don't think I could do that now.

Good thing the boys became more civilized.

Adam asked them if they remembered taking walks before primary to get their wiggles out.  It was sort of genius. Every Sunday he'd take them both outside to count sprinkler heads on the church lawn.  Even when it was raining.

They remembered the time they hid out on the stage all during primary and no one ever caught them.  "What?!?" I said.

"Yeah," Mark said, sheepishly, "I guess we never told you about that one." (I'm guessing their primary teachers were relieved that day.)

I told them about the time Mark came home from Gavin's and told me he'd given another kid a bloody nose.  I felt bad (and let's face it, worried about repercussions from the other kid's mother).  "What happened?" I asked, exasperated.

"Gavin threw me at him."

Then I felt a little better.  I wouldn't have to take the entire heat for that one.

The other day I heard them downstairs wrestling over cookies.  Lots of crashing to the ground and thumping noises and laughter.

They are like big puppies.

I love these boys.

As evidenced by the following pictures, sometimes you've just got to flatten Mark.  It's the only way.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A tribe

First we got to see Leif (and David) when we took him to the MTC.

Then we've had Gavin (which is delightful).

Sunday, the Germers came to visit.  Miles had family commitments so it was Amy and the kids.  It did my heart a lot of good to walk in to sacrament meeting and see them seated on the front row.  (Amy had asked me if we still sit there and I said these tigers can't change their stripes.)

After passing the sacrament, Mark went and sat between Finn and Gavin.  You've never seen such a happy Mark.  I whispered to Adam that if Braeden were here too, Mark's head would probably explode.

They all came over for lunch after church.  Amy wanted to sit outside (because she grew up in Texas and the temperature in Seattle has struggled to reach 70 lately and she wanted to thaw out).  The July sun obliged.

Until I said, "I'm too hot!" and we had to go inside. (Because it was in the upper 90s.)

We've known the Germers for 11 years.  Old friends like that are the very best kind.  Amy and I discussed the marriages we would like to arrange for our children and what I should do with the next phase of my life and what she's doing with the next phase of her life.

Emma asked, "Are you having an identity crisis?"

(Which is the same thing Janet mentioned the other day on the phone.)

I'm a slow learner and trying to figure out what's next.

It's nice to have friends to bounce ideas off of.  Friends who get it.

We also took some pictures:

The boys

The girls

The moms

I look like a giant next to Amy.  I'm taking her to my next family reunion so I will feel tall.

We ended up having Finn stay the night.  The boys were out on the trampoline still at 11:00 when I was going to bed.  They had a notebook and were alternatively bouncing on the trampoline and writing a story together for the video game they're going to create when they're older.  (They've been working on the idea for years.)

I love when kids' shoes are piled up by the front door.  These three now wear man-sized shoes though.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Can we keep him?

I asked Adam, "Do you think Brent and Stephanie will really need him back?"

It just feels right to have Gavin around.  And it also feels really terrible that we separated Mark from Gavin two years ago.  They have always been sort of like brothers.  They saw each other nearly every day and were compatible like peanut butter and jelly.

Friday night we were at the airport and Mark stared intently at the crowds of disembarked passengers while we waited.

He erupted, "Gavin!"  They hugged and Gavin and I hugged and then Mark and Gavin looked at each other and compared their heights.  They smiled and laughed at each other.  They stood shoulder to shoulder, waiting for Gavin's camo duffle bag on the luggage carousel, happy but a little tentative about what to say.  Besides the one day they saw each other last summer, they haven't seen each other for two years.

"Is that it?" Mark asked, pointing to a paisley print suitcase.

"It's camo," Gavin said.

"He's color blind," I said, even though that shouldn't cause a paisley vs. camo confusion.

"Still," Gavin said. "It's camo, Mark."

"Sorry," Mark said with a smile.  And they both relaxed and just started talking.

Gavin is laid back and polite and funny and it feels absolutely normal to have him here.  I love hearing them tease each other and hearing their voices rise and fall in conversation.  It's the sound of Mark's childhood except now they both have these deep voices.

I asked them if I could take their picture.

"Can you pose normally?" I asked.

"I'm not sure we're capable," said Gavin.

This one is probably as good as it's going to get.

Mark forgot that he was teaching a lesson on Sunday.  After lunch on Saturday I told Mark we needed to look at the lesson.  I figured I needed to be involved to keep him on task with Gavin here.

"I love teaching lessons," Gavin said.


"Gavin can help you," I said. (I've never once been shy about putting my kids' friends to work.  Gavin's helped move a lot of furniture in his day.)

So they sat side by side and my heart melted as I heard Gavin instruct Mark.  How did the kid I used to wrestle in primary become this mature and wise kid teaching Mark how to prepare a lesson?  If Gavin says it, Mark listens.  He is the big brother all of us have been missing around here.

I was looking over my blog and found this post about these boys from five years ago.  The nostalgia!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Gavin for the win

It's been a tough week.  That's all.  It's been a week of clinging to what I know and seeking solace in the well worn grooves of my sources of peace. 

Tonight Gavin is coming to stay.  It's what we all need.  Gavin and Mark; Mark and Gavin.

They are friends through and through.  I'm looking forward to more noise.  I'm looking forward to happy boys laughing together.  I'm looking forward to adventures.  I'm looking forward to more laundry and one more hungry boy to try my hand at feeding.

I kind of feel like I've never needed anything like I need Gavin to come and stay with us and fill us up with Gavin-ness.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Called to serve

Janet and I talked for a few hours the other day.  About All the Things.  There was the usual laughing and crying and baring of souls.  There was the motherhood.  It must be discussed.  It is deliciously wonderful to feel so understood.  We talked about how hard being a mother of a missionary can be and how irrational it is when we would rather have them serve than do anything else.

Yesterday Leif embarked on his mission.  He left the Seattle airport early early and then we picked him up at the Salt Lake airport.  He looked sharp and handsome and eager to go.  In the car I gave Leif a letter Braeden had emailed me to give to him.  He had written a list of advice.  Two of my favorite nuggets of wisdom were:

Don't do dumb stuff.
It's stupid hot.  Just love being sweaty.  

(Here's hoping Braeden will internalize his own advice about not doing dumb stuff.)

We met Leif's brother David at Cafe Rio for lunch.

A happy brother reunion ensued.

Leif tried to pay for his own lunch and we wouldn't let him.  He said, "My mom will be mad at me..."

I told him that by the time he sees his mom again, all will be forgiven.

Around the lunch table, Adam and David regaled Leif with MTC shenanigans they'd participated in.  I kept saying, "Leif, on behalf of your mother, I'm here to tell you not to listen to these two jokers."

We had a little time before the 1:00 drop off so we went to the Provo temple with all the other early arrivals.  Clumps of people milled around, rotating around their missionaries.  A lot of the missionaries had the shell shocked look that Braeden had when we dropped him off.  A lot of the other mothers were barely holding it together.  They were straightening their son's tie and just fussing over them for the last time.

We were a relaxed and jokey group.  Leif had already had his good-bye with his mama.

I made him pose for a few pictures.

He obliged because I'm bossy like that.  I told him that I was sorry he was sitting out there in the sun in his dark suit and he cheerfully said that it was going to get him acclimated to the heat.  He's going to be a great missionary.  I love that kid.

I love that Mark (and Braeden) have the Jorgensen boys in their lives as good examples.

It's possible I cried when I hugged Leif and told him he was going to be great and I loved him.

Me = a lot of excess water in my head.

We dropped him off at the curb and sent him on his way and he had a spring in his step and he was ready.

Lucky, lucky Tampa, Florida.  You're getting Leif!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New and improved

Here are some pictures of Emma's room, before:


It was not a good shade of blue.  These pictures don't even show how really bright it was.  It didn't look good with the trim.

The blue also didn't match the (equally) unlovely ceiling fan.  We debated about taking the fan down and painting it white but ultimately we don't really like it so we'll just replace it eventually.

To show that it could have been worse, we uncovered this awful color when we removed the blinds.  Before the garish blue, the walls were a sort of dusty lavender.  Blek!

Here is after:

Grandma Geri sent Emma some new bedding (above).  I think she'll alternate with it and her old bedding (below).

I should have turned on the lights/opened the blinds for this picture...I didn't.

It's nice to have options.  We painted a bench for Emma and you can see it below.  It seems like all the furniture is maybe jammed together but she wanted it that way so she can sit on the bench and lean against her dresser.

Like this...

 Her room is an eclectic mixture of everything she loves.  It's a good little room.  It's even clean right now!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Some people have actual adventures

We just buy paint.  It's about all we're up to.

This is a long story, and not a very good one.  You've been warned.

It all started a few weeks ago at the Provo Home Depot where Emma and I picked up handfuls of paint chips.  We taped them to the wall with Washi tape and Emma eliminated the ones she didn't like.  She lived with a few colors for awhile and then made her choice.  Millers Cove.

Last week I went to Home Depot and said I wanted a quart of it (Emma's room is small and one wall is bead board and we weren't painting it.  Although the paint chip was for Glidden paint, I said I wanted Olympic One.  (Olympic One is hands down the best paint I've ever used.)  The guy gave me a blank look.  "Can you do that?" I asked, "Color match it?"

"We don't sell Olympic One paint here," he said.

Ohhhhhh.  I must have bought the previous Olympic One at Lowe's.  But I was at Home Depot already and Glidden must be fine paint, right?


If I could go back in time I would take myself by the hand at that moment and lead myself away from the paint counter at Home Depot.

Friday we got the room all prepped to paint--which is the hardest part.  We moved all the furniture and taped and remove outlet covers.  Emma and I decided to paint Saturday morning when it was cool.  She slept in Braeden's room because her room was all taken apart.

Saturday morning, I ventured into the lion's den to awaken Emma and she begged for more sleep.  "OK," I said, "I'll get started."  And I really didn't mind because I like to paint and the worst part (prepping) was done anyway.

Adam had gone to help someone move but it was super fast so he came home to help me.  As I was rolling the paint onto the walls, I realized what a mistake I'd made.  The coverage was abysmal and even though I'd stirred it, there were glops (probably a technical paint term) of weird yellowish brownish dye in the paint.  Also, a quart wasn't enough--especially considering how terrible the paint was.

We left Sleeping Beauty a note and headed to the store.  We needed to go to Home Depot first to find the paint chip.  The guy at Home Depot hadn't given it back to me which I only realized later.  Home Depot and Lowe's are close by each other in Lehi, so we went there.  The Home Depot had a teeny tiny Glidden paint display.  No Millers Cove.

The only thing to do was head to Provo.  As we were getting on the freeway to head south, I googled Glidden paint and realized they sell it at Walmart too.  There is a Walmart next door to Home Depot.   We crossed the freeway and made a huge circle and ended up right where we started.


Walmart also didn't have Millers Cove.  Who knew it was such an exclusive color?  Also, I almost lost my life in a near collision with a generously proportioned Walmart employee who was pretty sure I would swerve first.

She was right.

We went back to the freeway, this time headed for Provo.

In an exciting turn of events, they had Millers Cove at that Home Depot!  Emma had called somewhere along the way and was following along with us via text.  The highs and lows.  The harrowing adventure....

Then we had lunch.  Because I do better when I'm not hungry and I needed all the strength I could get to complete this quest.

Adam and I surveyed the Olympic paint chips and found Balsam to be very near to Millers Cove.  (I try to avoid color matching if possible.)  We texted Emma for approval...

 ...and she gave us the green light.  Was it possible we were almost done?!?

The paint counter on a Saturday is a busy place.  There were three employees working.  I gave my order to a man, he carefully wrote down all the information and started the order.  He noticed I was holding some paint rollers.  "While I'm waiting my turn for the machine, can I show you better rollers?" he asked.

"Sure."  Because who doesn't like better rollers?

He selected some rollers and then told me all about why they were better.  OK, I thought, I'll get your rollers.

Then he brought me to the brush display.  "Can I show you the best brush?"

"I like Wooster," I said.

He tsked and pulled up a Purdy brush and rhapsodized its virtues to me.  He took it out of the package and had me feel the bristles.  He took a Wooster brush out of its package and had me feel the bristles.  He showed me the little sticker on each Purdy brush that indicates who made the brush.  They take that much pride in their brushes over at Purdy.

You've never seen anyone so excited about paintbrushes.

Then he started advising me on how to cut in, how to tape, which tape to use, how to remove the tape, how to clean the brushes and how to store the brushes.  Adam had wandered off to look for something else while I was getting the paint.  He approached us with a look of wonder.

I never, not ever, ask store employees for advice because I don't like a) people or b) talking to them.  Adam gave me a what is happening sort of look then he fell in line to learn from our enthusiastic tutor.

Next we received instruction on rollers.  He demonstrated with a roller that he told us definitely not to buy.  At one point he was saying something about beginners (and then he gestured at me) and I think maybe Adam took umbrage with the designation.  When Mr. Helpful Paint Guy told me how to store the brushes in a Ziploc bag if I was taking a break from painting, Adam said defensively, "She already does that."

We were finally able to extricate ourselves from the painting maestro.  We bought our paint (and superior rollers and brush).  I texted Emma that miracles really do happen and we were on our way home.

When we painted (in the afternoon when it was decidedly not cool), I used the cutting in method I learned from my new friend and I've got to say, it worked well.

I'll show you pictures tomorrow.  This post has already gone on long enough.

If you've learned nothing else, please keep this engraved on your heart:  Olympic One is at Lowe's.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Not my email

Dear person who is not me,

I applaud your persistence.  You don't know your email address but that does not keep you from trying to unlock your account.  You know the quote that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?  Well, I'm glad you thumb your nose at that sentiment.

Don't listen to naysayers! You keep trying! Keep entering my email address and your password.
I don't mind.  It's really a good example to me of perseverance in the face of adversity.  (Adversity = not knowing your email address.)

Good things happen to Thelma's that don't know their email address too!  It's not just adversity!  For example, they get job offers.

One small (yet significant) detail is that the Thelma who applied for these jobs will never see these emails (unless she reads my blog in which case, email me!  You know the address.)

Also, there are opportunities out there!  Remember last month, I didn't want to play soccer.  How about coach?

It seems like they're having a lot of fun, right?

One poor Thelma is in need of appliance repair.  I don't know if it's more upsetting that she won't know about this appointment or that the repairman isn't coming until August 3!

I'll end with a kind email from Jillian.  She seems like a really nice lady.  If I knew Gran's email address, I would pass on the greetings.  (I don't feel too bad about not knowing Gran's email though--Jillian doesn't know it either.  Maybe Gran doesn't want to be found.)


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