Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Books I read November 2016

Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden ***

I have newly discovered her as an author and I like her books.  The cover is painfully cheesy but the book wasn't.  It is about a young woman from Ireland who left home at an (perhaps improbably) young age and has been working her whole life to make enough money to return home and make amends.  She ended up in a small town in Wyoming where there was a population of Irish immigrants at war with the non Irish townspeople.  That seemed a little farfetched but what do I know?  I have only driven through Wyoming.  (And I got a ticket.)

The War That Saved Me by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley ****

This was YA fiction set in England during WWII.  The main character and her brother were evacuated out of London during the Blitz.  They had a horribly cruel mother and were much better off in Cornwall.  It was a good book. 

The Lake House by Kate Morton ****

Kate Morton books do not disappoint.  I love this book.  It made me exclaim out loud toward the end and it was the kind of book I had to tell Adam about.  It was also set in Cornwall.  It spanned generations and was about the mysterious disappearance of an 11 month old boy on Midsummer's Night in 1933.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls ****

I re-read this book for book club.  It is the memoir of the author's childhood and is QUITE the story.  I saw one of my book club friends and she said she enjoyed the book because it made her feel like a good mother.  You can't discount the value of that!  The worst parents you know are probably better than these parents.  I don't know, maybe you know really bad parents?  I also liked that first part of the book that was set in small western towns, like Battle Mountain, NV.  She was speaking my language!  I have been to the Owl Club!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Little flakes big snow

I grew up with a lot of Native American kids.  One of them taught me that little flakes mean big snow.  They said it was a Shoshone saying.  I googled it to see if that were true and apparently several Native American tribes claim the phrase.

Anyway.  Little flakes big snow.

All day.

It started snowing yesterday morning.  It looked very pretty and provided a lovely backdrop to the Christmas decorations.  I listened to a Christmas station on Pandora as I went about my day and as the hour got closer that I needed to venture out to get Mark, and I heard different versions of Let it Snow, I felt like the song was mocking me.

Because I did have some place to go.

I texted Adam:

There were about 6 inches of snow on the ground by the time I left and I made my way on unplowed streets toward his school.  The lower I got the more well traveled the streets were.  I made it there with only one dicey part when I nearly slid into a UPS truck that was stuck on a street.

Mark and I made our way back uphill and it got steeper and more snowy.

A small pickup truck in front of us slid and ended up facing us.  It got over into the other lane so I could keep full steam ahead. 

At one point I had to back up and try again several times.

I made it to our street and about halfway up, I could go no further.  I backed down and parked and Mark and I walked home.

We spent the next 1 1/2 hours shoveling our driveway and sidewalk.  Then we walked down the street and Mark shoveled snow so I could make it home.

Then I texted Adam that I wanted a snow blower for Christmas.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, teenage sons are the best investment of food you'll ever make.  Mark was a beast out there.  He has boundless energy and is pretty strong.

No wonder I let him fill up the Costco cart when he's with me.  I'm lucky to have that kid!

It finally stopped snowing and my estimate is that we have 8-10 inches.  It is beautiful this morning.

And they plowed our street!

Monday, November 28, 2016

This is an update for Braeden...

...the rest of you can read too if you want.

The kids didn't have school Wednesday.  They did have school on Veteran's Day, which feels so wrong and they only have FIVE days off for Christmas.

I'd like to understand the inner workings of the Alpine School district's mind.

I did sign a petition on about the lacking Christmas break and then got excited and sent me a whole bunch of other petitions I may be wanting to sign.  I don't.  My community activism only goes so far.

But I digress.

It was nice to have them home.  (I gave them cleaning jobs to do.)

That night there was a terrific storm.  Lightening, thunder, wind and snow.  Our garbage blew to the end of our driveway and then onto it's side.  An empty gas can that was also on that side of the garage blew to the end of our street.

Crazy weather.

(And then there was a small earthquake here but we were gone for that.)

But I digress.

We went to the Schelins' for their annual pie night because why not?  Pie!

Thanksgiving morning we headed to Nevada. Over the Salt Flats and through the desert which doesn't have the same ring as over the river and through the woods but when grandmother's house is the destination, we're all happy.

Upon arrival we immediately entered into the joyful cacophony.

My brothers wondered if my dip was from last year because it looked moldy.  I told them it was pesto.  Then Tabor wondered if I made my own pesto and I told him if that's the same as buying it at Costco, then yes.  Then Enoch produced a cold can of Diet Coke with Lime just for me.

Then I told Tabor that Enoch had always been my favorite brother.

But I digress.

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  Practically perfect in every way except I did miss the missionaries.  We ate our fill of deliciousness.  We chatted and laughed and Tabor and Olivia got in both a water fight and then later a pie fight.

Olivia also tried to pick me up but I did what my college roommate, Rachel, taught me to do and went limp.  It's a lot harder to pick up dead weight.

These are some of the things college will teach you.

But I digress.

Enoch had his phone out to show me a video with Tom Brady in it.  It took awhile to load because cell phones sometimes struggle there in the rural wilds.  It finally loaded and then he handed it to me and I accidentally called Tom Brady Steve Brady and then I accidentally pushed the wrong button and the video had to be reloaded.

Enoch gave me what could only be called a look of supreme derision.  I remembered the Diet Coke with Lime and forgave him the look of supreme derision.

And also we didn't get in either a pie fight or water fight so my claim is that Enoch and I got along rather well.

But I digress.

We did a craft for the ladies orchestrated by me and during the craft some of the men had the audacity to want pie so my mom scurried to oblige.

More looks of derision ensued.  This time by some of the ladies who wanted my mom to tell the menfolk to wait.

But pie.  We all had some.

Jennifer's chocolate pie is something one could rhapsodize about.

But I digress.

We also had a talent show starring the grandchildren.  We had everything from a play to martial arts to writing samples to the cutest turkey craft you've ever seen to sewing masterpieces to recitations to piano, flute, drums and electric guitar, to singing.  Also we saw the shoes Isaiah designed.

Whew!  Did I miss anything?

Emma and Mark sang a song in an over the top way that seemed straight out of a 40s musical.  The only thing missing was their tall brother who can sing over the top like nobody's business.

Enoch was the self designated controller, there to assure no one performed more than one talent.

A few people broke that rule but since one of them was Savannah, Enoch's credibility as the self designated controller was weakened.

But I digress.

Next up was bingo.  Enoch was the caller and we were spread down the table with our bingo sheets and buttons and beans as markers.  My dad was conspicuously missing.  He was possibly reading in his recliner in the quiet living room.

I tried several times to get everyone to do the wave but it didn't take.

My mom buys bingo prizes like she prepares food.  Everyone won three wrapped prizes and then there were a box of leftover prizes. 

Speaking of the abundance that is my mother, we then ate again.

Afterward, people started leaving and it was just our little family staying with my parents.  It was nice in the quiet house.  Emma and Mark went to bed and Adam and I visited with my mom and dad.

The next morning we headed back to Utah.  We had many pit stops along the way to home.  We stopped at Enoch and Jennifer's and saw their lovely kitchen they are renovating.  They have white painted shiplap on the wall and Jennifer's never even see Fixer Upper.  I have, so I told her Joanna Gaines would approve.

I was tired and I told Adam I wanted a Diet Coke the size of my head so we also stopped at Love's truck stop.  I was filling cups and realizing I couldn't carry 4 Styrofoam cups the size of my head.  Adam walked into the store after filling the car with gas and I said, "Will you help me?"  The two store employees that were nearby turned to me and said yes, in unison.  I told them I meant my husband but I appreciated their willingness.

Later, I told Adam that I sounded kind of rude if the store employees thought I was asking them.  I didn't say please.  Adam pointed out maybe I should have said please to him.

But I digress.

We stopped at my grandma's and decorated her house for Christmas.  I always like that.  As a bonus we saw two uncles, one aunt and a cousin also.  I told my grandma to sit and visit with them while I decorated the tree.  So they all watched me but I felt confident.  Decorating trees is what I was born to do.

Between lugging boxes and bins up and down the stairs, Adam checked in repeatedly on the Apple Cup which was happening.  We had listened to it a little in the car.  Listening to sports on the radio is like the Peanuts characters listening to adults.  Just a lot of mumbling.  I did catch something that delighted me though.  There's a player named Chico McClatcher.  Isn't that just the best name ever?

But I digress.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving week-5

Because I have been given much I too must give.

Thanksgiving causes me to reflect on my blessings and they are many.  Through none of my own merit, I have been richly favored in life.  I have never been truly hungry or without shelter.  I have been loved and taught by good parents.  I have felt safe.  I have been educated.  These are blessings not everyone has.  

For of him unto whom much is given much is required...
 Doctrine and Covenants 82:3

In the face of these privileges I have been handed, I need to do something.  I need to serve.  I need to do good and I need to be good.

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
Doctrine and Covenants 4:2

It's easy to serve people you love.  I like folding my family's laundry, showing them my love with fragrant neatly folded piles of their clothing.  I like preparing their favorite foods.  I like sending things to Braeden in the mail.

It's harder to serve when you're tired or feel unappreciated or frustrated.  Sometimes my heart, might, mind and strength want to be left alone.  Sometimes I'd rather not go to one more meeting or reach out to one more person who really doesn't want to hear from me.  Sometimes I would rather my son not be on the other side of the country.

Meeting Stella was an eye opening experience for me.  Hearing her conversion story and seeing firsthand the ways her life had been changed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ made Braeden's mission feel entirely worth it.  I was suddenly not just willing to send my son on a mission but so very grateful that I was able to.  I was at once grateful for the gospel and grateful for the missionary program that shares the good news.

Getting to know Stella even more, it is just another example of many.  You can make your small sacrifice.  You can send your son away to serve.  You can feel like you're giving an awful lot.  But, you always get more in return.  What it comes down to is that however much you think you can "give back," however much you feel like you are stretching and offering your limit, you will be blessed in more ways than you can count.

Emma and I decided to ask Stella's advice on career plans.  I emailed Stella and she wrote back the most lovely and kind and supportive email you could ask for.  Emma has this quality, that I've never quite seen in anyone else, where she sort of glows when she's happy.  I read her Stella's affectionate and bolstering compliments and her wise and timely advice.  Emma glowed.

I marveled at the blessing it is to all of us that Stella is ours and we are Stella's.

We can try all we want (and we should) to serve others, to sacrifice and give.  We'll never get ahead though.  The blessings will always outpace our puny offerings.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving week-4

I'm grateful for Adam.

Every once in awhile I realize how much I take him for granted.  He's kind and smart and good and funny and generous and wise.  I'm grateful he's mine.

I'm grateful to have someone who loves our children as much as I do.

I'm grateful for the insight he provides and stabilizing influence he is when I need him to be.  (Every day.)

I'm grateful for the things he's taught our children.  We are all better because of him.

I'm grateful that this (good friends celebrating our 19th birthday together):

Turned into this (even better friends who incidentally are parents to three magnificent people):

I'm grateful for forever.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving week-3

This boy.  He has my heart.  The caboose in our family train, we've had a lot of one on one time together.  I'll always remember and be grateful for the time I had homeschooling him.  He was my sidekick, or I was his.  I was never quite sure.

I'm grateful for his easygoing good humor.  He doesn't crave the spotlight, in fact he hoped he wouldn't get too big of a role in his school musical (and then he was happy when he was cast as Stagehand # 3).  He is good at making me laugh.  It isn't one of his life's ambitions (like certain unnamed older brothers), but occasionally he just cracks me up.

I'm grateful for his helpfulness.  Again, without fanfare, he just quietly helps.  When I pick him up from school and we pull into the garage, he always asks,  "Are there groceries?" because he's ready to carry anything in that I need.  He tightens the kitchen chairs when he thinks they need it and he's always willing to offer help.  He's a wizard with an Allen wrench.

I'm grateful he's his own quirky self.  When he was a little boy at a scout talent show, he did this:

He gave me a thumbs up mid playing the piano.  It's such a Mark thing to do.

Moving to a new state and leaving behind his posse of friends was harder for Mark than any of us.  He's had a tough couple of years.  I'm grateful that he manages to be his sunny self despite the hard things that have happened to him.  He harbors no ill will and he stoically accepts his circumstances.

I'm grateful he's my boy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving week-2

I am grateful to have a girl!  If I was only going to get one daughter, I'm glad I like her so very much.

I'm grateful she is spunky and funny and smart.

I'm grateful that the teenage girl/turbulent/angsty years are behind us and now I just have an Emma to enjoy.

I'm grateful that Emma is so strong willed that she does and thinks what she wants.  I'm grateful for her stubborn streak and also her willingness (sometimes) to listen.  I'm grateful for her goodness and for when she tells me about some seminary lesson that meant a lot to her.

I'm grateful she cries easily.

I'm grateful for this exciting time in her life when she has big choices in front of her and a bright future in store.

I'm grateful she rocks bright red lipstick:

(tangential gratitude side note:  I'm grateful we have Stella in our lives.)

I'm grateful she's way more photogenic than I am:

I'm grateful that Emma fills our home with beautiful music.  Every day she sits at the piano and sings.  She sings on the stairs and while she's getting ready for work.  Occasionally I walk by her bedroom door and hear either guitar music or ukulele music.

I will miss that when she's in college. 

I'm grateful for the way she loyally loves her brothers and helps make them better.  She doesn't take any guff from either of them.

She mostly doesn't need to.

They love her.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving week-1

I horde pictures of Braeden on my phone.  I have imported them onto my laptop too but I like carrying them around with me.

Until I want to take a picture and have no space on my phone.

I decided to make some space but first I had to check and double check that I had the pictures on my computer.  Looking through them, I was hit with a wave of missing Braeden.

A year ago, it would have ended in tears.  Now, it's more bittersweet.  We're on the downhill slope and even though it's a long and gradual descent, there is an end in sight.

It almost (almost) makes me feel happy that I miss him so much because he'll be back!  Next Thanksgiving, I'll be having turkey with that turkey.

Braeden makes me feel grateful for a lot of reasons.  I'm grateful to be his mother.  I'm grateful that I was entrusted with his good and sweet soul to be in my care.  I'm grateful I didn't get in the way of him becoming who he is.

I'm grateful for how much fun he is.

These pictures, taken last Memorial Day and texted to me by the incomparable Rebecca Justesen, show the ready-for-anything spirit he brings to any adventure:

I know from personal experience that he makes everything better.

I'm grateful for the resilience that he shows over and over.  His lighthearted and quick smile masks the challenges that he takes in stride and works through and ultimately triumphs over.  He's an example to me.

I'm grateful for his goodness.  Braeden wants to be good.  He's always wanted to be good.  He's always been quick to apologize.

I'm grateful for my son, my first born who would do anything for his siblings and would probably engage in hand to hand combat to protect them or me.

(But then he would probably apologize.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why I'll keep the basement door unlocked tonight

Mark's scout troop is camping in our backyard tonight.  I think it may have been Adam's idea because Adam said he's going to sleep in his bed.

Mark said, "You're going to leave us?"

Adam said, "I don't need a camping merit badge."

It's a good spot because Saturday they're going to go bike riding on the new bike trails that are a stone's throw (if you're good at throwing stones) from our backyard.

And I think it's going to be a plenty arduous experience, even though it's in our backyard.

The temperature is in the low 20s this morning.

Also, we heard a coyote last night that sounded like it was in our yard.  Adam turned on the lights outside to get a look.  It stopped its yowling and howling.  He thought it was by our playset in the back corner.  He turned the lights back off and it gave one more yip.

I'll be surprised if I don't wake up to a basement full of boys.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


It's not a secret to anyone that I spent the first part of my time as Young Women president scared to death.  I also didn't really want to be Young Women president.  It was a lot of work and the girls were surly so it didn't feel like it was worth the work.

Things have changed.  Last night the laurels came to my house.  One girl came to the first activity I think she's been to in over a year.  I've been doggedly reaching out to her in what felt like ineffective ways, but she came!  (She left early.)

We decorated cookies.  The girls sat around the table and created masterpieces and disasters with frosting.  They laughed a lot.  It seemed like everyone felt a part of things, even the new girl that moved in less than a month ago.

Rose is one of my girls and she's in a wheelchair (hopefully today she'll be able to graduate to a walker).  She had surgery on both legs and she is an inspiration to me of tenacity and optimism.  Her mom brought her early and Mark and Adam got her up the front steps.  They were gone to scouts when we were finished decorating and then we were going to deliver the cookies in our neighborhood.  We debated the best way to get Rose down the steps.  She was game to scoot down on her bottom but by then it was cold and the steps aren't that clean.  (I should sweep them.)

I was in charge of certification at Girls' Camp and inspiration struck.  Liz (another leader) and I did a two person arm carry.  Guess what?  It works!

That's why you go to camp, kids.

We got her in the van and Emma said maybe Liz and I could be an infamous duo.  Instead of Thelma and Louise, we would be Thelma and Liz.

I was just proud of us for carrying Rose.  (She's tiny so it wasn't that hard, but still.)

We had over ten plates of cookies.  We delivered cookies to a house in our neighborhood then asked for a referral of where to deliver the next plate.  It was fun and we made some people happy and made some people super confused.  One lady said, "But I don't know any of you."  She lives in one of the probably 4 houses in our ward boundaries that doesn't have a member of our church living there.  Everyone else looked at the group and knew it was a YW activity.

Running across the grass to the car, Heather wailed about her cold feet.  She was wearing sandals.

There were more changes afoot than just me having a genuine good time at a YW activity.  It was 73 degrees on Tuesday.  A record. 

Last night, it snowed.

I think that's the end of sandal weather.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Emma and I are going to France next year with other students and the esteemed (especially if you're Emma) Madame Tyler, who is Emma's French teacher.

Madame Tyler is from Paris.  She's incredibly kind and charismatic and she terrifies me.  She has said a few times that since there are two adults going (and then she looks at me), the group can maybe divide up from time to time.

Every time she says that I tell her I. Don't. Know. French.

Even if she leaves me with French speaking students, I don't want to be in charge in a country where I can't communicate.

Emma set me up with an app called Duolingo.  I diligently practice every day.  I have learned enough French that I understand this joke:

There's plenty more I don't understand though.  I'm not sure I'm making much progress.  I was very confused about the many forms of the word eat.  Emma used the nearest writing surface, the back of a receipt, and wrote me a tutorial.  I dig it out every time I practice.

There are times when the app prompts me to repeat some phrase in French, then the phone says, "Hmmm.  That doesn't seem right.  Try again."

I'm going to need Emma to write me some more receipt tutorials.  Still, with all the cheat sheets from Emma in the world, don't leave me alone in France!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life with Adam

Adam frowns on it (he thinks it's rude) but the kids and I usually play Walmart Bingo if by some unlucky circumstance we have to go to Walmart.

Everyone picks something you may encounter at Walmart (I usually pick a child screaming uncontrollably).  There are all sorts of options:  people in pajamas, people wearing slippers, an inordinate amount of tattoos....  You get points for each person we see who meets your criteria.

Adam and I were at Walmart Saturday.  A few check stands away from us, a little girl, who had been wailing, finally succumbed to the tantrum and was lying on the floor, kicking and screaming and flailing her arms.  An older girl, who appeared to be her sister, stood there and gave her a kick every once in awhile.  A woman, who I assume was the mother, was studiously ignoring the whole thing.  Another woman, an older woman ( the grandma?), was wearing clothes that weren't quite age appropriate (maybe she'd borrowed them from the tween?) and had on the most horrific looking strawberry blonde curly wig you've ever seen.  She had a cell phone and was videoing the little girl's histrionics.

When we walked away, Adam said, "That was amazing.  That just cleared the board for Walmart Bingo."

And I think he's right.


I use one of these to clean Adam's shower:

It's in the bathroom we share but I'm strictly a bath person so it is therefore Adam's shower.  Our old house had a detachable shower head which I liked.  It made cleaning easier.  This shower has one of those rain shower heads.  Adam likes it and won't install a handheld shower head, despite my complaining.

Instead, he brought a water gun upstairs from the garage.  It lives in the corner of the shower and I'm probably the only person in America that uses one to clean.

It works remarkably well.


If you were to ask our children the most annoying thing about us, they would have a long list, but I think what annoys them the most is our indecision when it comes to selecting a restaurant.  We go back and forth, telling the other one we don't care, they can decide.  (Then Mark makes a choice and we both tell him no and he says, "But I thought you didn't care!)

(We're a lot of fun.)

Adam and I go to lunch every Monday and it's a major decision.  Adam was looking up restaurants on his phone and came across this picture for Rancheritos. 

Adam likes it there but I think it smells weird.  I didn't know storm troopers serve the food.  That changes things.

We may drive our kids crazy, but I like us.  You just never know what delights await when you're alongside Adam.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mannequin challenge

After closing night of any show, the drama kids go to JCW's.  Emma complained all week about how tired she was but she was miraculously revived enough to go to JCW's.  I said, "Don't be too late."

But I wasn't really worried.  They're good kids in a safe town, for which I feel very grateful.

Emma texted me the video of a mannequin challenge they did.

Drama kids have the skill set for this kind of thing.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Thursday in November

In unpacking my boxes from Young Women in Excellence, I discovered I had accidentally stolen three tablecloths.

They've all been returned to their rightful owners.

I walked through Sephora and was mystified by all the offerings.  I didn't even know what most of it was.

Also, without exception, the women working there had about 4 times more makeup on that what I would deem normal.

Speaking of makeup, I was at Sephora because I was on the prowl for something for this girl.

She likes makeup.  (Her eyes may fly away on those wings someday.)  Also, she looks startlingly like her aunt Megan in this picture.

I have been planning for Christmas gifts.  I have a few ideas/purchases that I think are home runs.  I'm excited about them.  I have a few that I think the recipients will like and I have a few that are long shots.

It's all part of the adventure.

Facebook political posts are slowly going away.  Thank you Facebook political posts.  See you in four years.  (Please don't hurry back.)

We went to Working, the musical Emma's production class was performing.

It was very confusing on the family calendar because Emma adds when she is working and she also added Working.

Working was fabulous!  I'm excited to go watch it again tonight.  I think it's one of my favorite shows I've seen my children perform in.

Pretend there isn't a head in the way and pretend you can hear them and not just see them singing.

Because they sounded amazing!

As Thursdays go, it was a pretty good one.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Young Women in Excellence 2016

I. Am. Tired. 

Days like yesterday that are anything but calm, remind me of how much I enjoy the more calm days.

It was Young Women In Excellence which is one of the Big Deals in the life of a YW president.  My fellow leaders and I had been preparing for weeks.  I wrote a talk and then rewrote it yesterday morning.  Everyone's best friend, Pinterest, helped us with the idea.  This is where our inspiration came from.

I appreciate people that share their good ideas.

Our youth are doing a Small and Simple Things challenge right now so a Small and Simple Things theme seemed perfect.

We had eight leaders decorate eight tables, one for each value color.  They looked so pretty that I took a picture of each.  Except integrity.  Somehow I missed it.  I'm also realizing that I didn't take a picture of the refreshment table.  One of my counselors did it and it was amazing. 

Faith:  this was mine
Divine Nature
Individual Worth
Choice and Accountability
Good Works
Each leader also gave a short talk about each value and we had the YW give talks about things they'd done for personal progress. 

Emma wasn't able to be there because she was in a performance at her school for her productions class (I had to miss opening night but there are two more shows and I will be there front and center--well, house left.  That's where Emma told me to sit for optimum viewing).  And if she had been there she would have had to speak because she finished her Personal Progress recently!  Happy Day!  I did have her create the program.  She is a font guru and can make Microsoft Word do magic tricks that I can only dream about. (I should have been taking notes.)

One girl spoke about how I'd helped her with one of her goals by sending her a text message every day for two weeks to remind her.  I was feeling a bit pleased with myself and then the next girl talked about how I'd asked her to speak and "when Sister Davis walks up to you at church that is never a good thing."

So don't worry about me holding onto any feelings of smugness for too long.

Teenage girls have a way of tempering any success you may experience.

It was a nice night though.  They're good girls.  They're worth spending time trying to create a sort of fancy event for.

Now I am off to restore order around here.  I was too tired to even unload the van last night. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Emma left for school muttering under her breath.  She was not happy with the election results.  I tried to soothe her with talks of checks and balances and she said she wants to move to Canada.

I told her about yesterday's meme about the border being closed and she almost smiled, but she has all the righteous indignation of a teenage girl.

A racist, sexist man was elected so I can sort of understand her angst.

Emma, I'm sure, feels like she has very little in common with the people who support Trump (the uneducated white men everyone keeps talking about).  On this morning when I'm shaking my head and wondering what happened (I would be shaking my head and wondering what happened if Hillary Clinton had won also), I have to take comfort in the fact that more unites us than divides us.

I hope so.

I hope the checks and balances and Constitution and political advisors (tell me there are some good political advisors!) will protect us from crazy.  Beyond that though, I have a bigger hope that I will continue to cling to.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Something to get my mind off the election

Raise your hand if you're scared.

What is going to happen?!?  Will bad happen or will worse happen?

And then I saw this:

So there goes that option....

Instead of dwelling on election horrors, here's something for you:  the tenacity of tomatoes.

I grew a pot of tomatoes on our deck this summer.  They thrived and were delicious.  About the time I moved the geraniums inside and put the potted zinnias out of their misery (the zinnias preferred being planted in the ground to being planted in pots), I stopped watering the tomatoes.  Neglectful, I know, but the tomatoes didn't seem to mind.

Saturday I harvested 10-15 perfectly ripe tomatoes off it's dry and withered stems.  Now it looks like this and who knows, there may be even more tomatoes to harvest.

Also, on Saturday, we were doing some weeding.  (Yardwork in Washington had a much shorter season.  Mostly it was just mushy and rainy and you didn't have to do as much outside.  Also our yard in WA was teeny tiny.  Here, it seems like every time we turn around there's something in the yard needing our attention.  And soon enough there will be snow for Mark to shovel.)

I was weeding in the bed in the middle of the lawn (which sounds soft and comfy like a bed but is really filled with spiky plants because of the deer).  I noticed this:

My best guess is that a squirrel stole a tomato and "planted" it in the rock wall where the squirrels live.

Who am I to interfere with the agricultural urges of a squirrel?

Monday, November 7, 2016

The network

Earlier this week, some kind person in Gloucester, VA sent me this:

I love whoever gave him treats and then sent me the picture.  It makes my day every time I see his face.

Saturday night we had three missionaries over for dinner.  I'm the first to sign up when we have a chance.  Mostly so I can text a picture to their mothers.

Their mothers and I texted back and forth a little.  They said thanks and I said I know, I have a missionary too.

Sunday night we went to Ogden to meet Elder Justesen who is serving there.  His mother is one of the MVPs of Braeden's mission.  She fed him often.  She cut his hair.  She texted me pictures of him.  She let him borrow some pants she was going to send to Elder Justesen when Braeden slid in the mud.  I love her.

She had posted on Facebook about a musical fireside the Ogden missionaries were presenting.  It seemed like a good chance to meet him.  I took cookies.

When we got there, I remembered that Ryan Jenkins, who was born to my friend Lisa when we lived in Connecticut, was temporarily serving in the Ogden mission too before going to the Philippines.  (This is the kind of stuff you learn from Facebook.) I told Adam, "That's Ryan!"

On one hand, I wanted to talk to him and take his picture and send it to Lisa (of course I did).  On the other hand, Ryan wouldn't remember me and would probably think I was straight up crazy.  The mom side of me won.  I got up to walk over to him and then I realized he was talking to Davis!  Davis is Ryan's older brother and he was one of Braeden's best buddies back in the Connecticut days.  Every Friday night either Lisa or Apryl or I (along with our husbands) would babysit Braeden, Davis and Thomas so the other two couples could go out on a date.

I walked up to Davis and Ryan. "Hi, I'm Thelma Davis," I told them.

"Braeden's mom!?!" Davis said.  Ryan had no idea who I was.  I chatted with them for awhile and explained why we were there.  (Davis was there because he's going to BYU.)

Lisa and I were messaging back and forth about the Jenkins boys sighting when I got a text from Rebecca.  She told me where her son was sitting in the choir.  (I already had figured it out--super recognizer.)  I asked Adam, "How did she know where he was sitting?"

Adam said that maybe there was another mother in the audience texting Rebecca with the info so she could text me.  "There's a whole underground network of mothers working together," he said.

And that is when I decided that I'm glad I was saved for these latter days so I could be part of this maternal texting network.

As sisters in Zion we all work together....

After the fireside we found Elder Justesen.  Just as expected, he was very nice and friendly and not at all alarmed by this eager family of strangers who gave him cookies and wanted to meet him.

You guessed it--I texted Rebecca this picture.  I look sort of loopy in the picture but 1) it was the end of a long day and 2) I'm not photogenic at best.

But you already knew that.

Rebecca and I texted back and forth.  She appreciated the picture and the cookies for her son and I felt like they were mere drops in the bucket to repay how generous she was to Braeden.  We decided someday our boys would be friends in real life.

I hope Rebecca and I will be too.

Friday, November 4, 2016

My old nonsense

I wouldn't call my social anxiety crippling by any means, but it's there.  I don't like going places, mostly.  Especially social places.

Last night I had Relief Society and it made me anxious.

Two years ago, when we were new around here, I went to a similar Relief Society meeting and it was horrible.  No one talked to me and I felt super awkward and out of place and I left quickly.

Last year, I just skipped it altogether.

This year, I decided I was going.  (Adam asked why--because it seemed uncharacteristic.  I didn't really have a good answer.  I think it's because I want to be the kind of person that does stuff like that.  I was in Everett.) I signed up for a class.  I paid my money.  I talked to the teacher so she knew to expect me.  I did all of these things so I wouldn't chicken out.

I also had some invitations to deliver to some young women.  That made me uneasy so I decided to do that on my way, while I was already feeling apprehensive anyway.  I stopped by the first girl's house.  It's a girl who sometimes gives me a very tepid response.  Other times she hugs me.  Still other times she completely ignores my existence.  She's one of those people that keeps me guessing.  I rang her doorbell, not at all sure she would answer.  She did.  We chatted a few minutes.  It was even a pretty good conversation.

I felt a bit lighter going back to my car. 

The next stop was a new girl.  Her family just moved in.  Her teenage brother was kicking a ball in the front yard with a friend.  They eyed me very suspiciously.  I asked if his sister was home.  He said yes, so I rang the doorbell.

No one answered.

I rang it again.

The two boys continued to kick the ball but they kept their eyes narrowed on me as well.  Finally, the brother said he'd go get her.

She emerged from the house and was quite friendly.  I introduced myself and she smiled.  I asked her a little about herself.  I asked if she knew Emma.  It was not scary at all.

I went to the church.  Maybe it will be better than I feared, I thought.  I was, after all, on something of a roll.

It was just fine.  I didn't feel terribly out of place.  I know more people now; I had someone to sit by.  I did have one awkward conversation.  A woman said, "Your husband seems very intelligent.  Is he a genius or something?"

I didn't know how to answer that, so I didn't say anything.

She said, "He's really smart.  Are you really smart?  Are you both just these really smart people?"

Ummm.  I could elaborate at quite length all the dumb things I had done in just the last 24 hours.

Finally I said, "Adam's a lot smarter than I am.  He doesn't know all his cousins' names though...."

(So yes, Adam's smart, but so are people who know all their cousins' names.)

It was a pretty nice evening, even though I stumble my way through small talk.  I went home exhausted from the effort.  I also felt a little triumphant.  Any day you do the sort of scary thing you didn't want to do and live to tell the tale, it's a good day.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 3, 2016


I like October.  I like the arrival of autumn and the return of sweater weather.  When November hits though, I am in love.  I love moving past Halloween.  I love that now it's time for THE holidays.  Now I can really get down to the business of getting ready for Christmas.

Because the getting ready is a big part of the fun.

(I have a spreadsheet.)

Yesterday morning I just walked around our house happy.  It was a good day.  The sun was just right and everything was pretty.

that little orange bush makes me smile every time I see it

November is just a nice idea all around.

I went to visit my grandma and that's always a good way to spend a few hours.  She put the fear in me by asking me to help her with tech support though.  I'm hardly qualified to help, but I tried.

I stopped at IKEA on the way home to check out their Christmas offerings and I was disappointed.  IKEA has been letting me down lately.

And I take it a little personally.

Things really went downhill when I got home and the youth activity that was planned unraveled.  I called Adam while he was driving home to rant about All the Things.  Turns out he was giving his friend a ride home from work and was on speaker phone.

So that was lovely.

This same friend is married to one of my YW counselors.  I told Cortney about her husband accidentally hearing my rant and she said he was used to it and would at least now know it wasn't just her.

Because sometimes things make both of us a little crazy.

At least our husbands have each other.

Maybe they can start a support group.  (Maybe they already have.)

But at least I have November.

I plastered the front door with things we're grateful for:

This barely scratches the surface.  It's a good life.

(Besides the times when I'm ranting on the phone to unsuspecting people.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

4 eyes X 2

Emma wanted glasses.  She wears contacts but she wanted an alternative too.  I usually wear contacts but have been wearing my glasses more and more it seems because of my ring ding eye.  (Every time my dad sees me in glasses he is happy.  He thinks they are better for me than contacts.)

I noticed I was constantly cleaning my glasses and it never seemed to help.

Then, since, I' know, super observant, I finally realized they were a bit scratched and the non reflective coating was coming off in spots so that's why they always seemed dirty.  I thought about how long I'd had my glasses and I think it was 10-15 years.

So I decided Emma and I were both getting new glasses.

We picked out our frames and Emma helped me decide which I should get.  I don't really feel like I look that good in any glasses but she bolstered my confidence a little.

That night I showed Adam a picture online of the glasses I had selected.

"Really?" he said, "Did you really get those?"

" you hate them?"

"I'm just...surprised," he said.  He tried to recover, but the damage was done. 

I asked Adam, "When I get them are you going to tell me you like my glasses even if you don't?"

He said, "Of course I am."

(He's smart like that.)

I picked them up yesterday. I took a selfie and sent it to Adam.  I told him to practice not being horrified when he came home from work.

He texted back, "They look good."

Because what else was he going to say?

When I picked up Mark from school, he said, "I like them!"

When Emma came home from school she nodded her approval.  I asked Emma if she for sure liked them.  I said, "Your dad didn't seem to like them when I showed him the picture."

She said, "Are you really going to base anything on Dad?"  In typical teenage girl manner she worries very little about her parents' fashion sense.  Probably wise.

I said, "My mom taught me if your husband likes you in red you're a fool to wear blue."

Emma said, "Maybe you shouldn't take your value from a man.  Did you ever think about that?"

So yeah, she's kind of a feminist.

She hurried to take out her contacts so she could wear her new specs without making herself dizzy.

We're two happy kids in our new glasses.

I may look derpy, but my daughter sure is cute!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Books I read in October 2016

Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt ***

I sort of joined another book club but I haven't gone to any of the meetings yet because the times were changed.  This was a book I read for that book club.  It is about an aspiring forensic specialist who had to drop out of college so is instead a crime scene cleaner.  It was set in Virginia Beach which I liked.

Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden ****

Another one from my sort of book club.  I was a little skeptical about this book, I guess because the
title seemed a little cheesy.  I LOVED it though.  The book is about a couple who was forced to marry and then eventually fell in love.  You knew from the first that would happen but it was still enjoyable from start to finish.

The Captive by Julie Coulter Bellon ***

Julie is my neighbor (and friends with the previous two authors).  I got this book from a Relief Society service auction where she gave a few of the books she'd written and some hot chocolate and a fleece blanket.  It was a book lover's basket and I was all in.  I liked this book.  It's about a task force (joint American and Canadian) assigned to rescue a kidnapped diplomat.  It was a departure from what I usually read but I like departures like this one.  There's another book in the series that I'm looking forward to as well.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown ***

This book was about three sisters.  Their father was a professor of Shakespeare, hence the title and the entire book was sprinkled with lines from Shakespeare.  I enjoyed this book.  I particularly liked how it was written in plural first person.  I think I have a fondness for anything about three sisters since I am one of three.  I loved this:
All we knew was that we were wild and venturesome, and the night was ours, and there was power in the three of us, the Weird Sisters, hand in hand.
I have felt that power of three in my life.  These sisters were very different from my sisters and me but there were a few similarities too.  There are undeniable oldest, middle and youngest sister roles. 


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