Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Personal growth


When Olivia was here for breakfast, she asked me which milk to get out of the fridge.  I said, "It's all the same."

She said, "What about this?" and indicated a half gallon, buried on the top shelf.

"That's egg nog," I said.  "And it's expired.  I'm waiting for Adam to get rid of it"

Olivia gave me a sideways look.

It's a true thing that I get queasy about past its prime food and leave it for Adam to deal with.  Why am I admitting that I had egg nog in my fridge in late January?

I don't know.

I will have you know that I got up all my courage and threw it away the next day.  I texted Olivia and told her the good news.


Adam used my laptop to present a really great video he created at our mini mission kick off on Sunday.  The problem with him using my laptop is that my desktop is a crazy cluttered mess.  And here's another true thing.  People judge you when you have a crazy cluttered mess for a laptop desktop.  (Mind your own business, I say.)

When Adam connected my laptop to the TV screen, one guy in our ward said, "Adam!  How can you handle having that for a desktop?!?"

Adam said, "This is Thelma's laptop."

Then all accusing judgey eyes were on me.

I said, "Shhhh.  Leave me alone.  I need all that stuff."

Emma was sitting next to me.  She said, "Most parts of your life are so organized.  Why is your desktop like that?"

(My children are the top judgemental people in this situation.)

I said, "It's like my junk drawer."  Doesn't everyone need a junk drawer?  "Besides," I said, "If I could only pick one, I'd rather have the rest of my life organized than just my desktop organized."

(Because Emma's room looks like a tornado struck, but her desktop is in mint condition.  Two can play at the judgemental game.)

Emma said, "Well, the difference is, you can get your desktop cleaned in 3 seconds and keeping everything else organized takes forever."

Well, I will have you know, yesterday during my email time with Braeden, while I was waiting for his email to come in, I deleted stuff off my desktop.  I'm going to take it to church and show people.  Well, maybe.  That might be weird.


The other night, I had a dream that I went to France and didn't have jet lag!  Not a bit of it.  It was sort of amazing.  When I told Adam, he said, "What's the opposite of an anxiety dream?"

I decided it's a confidence dream.

Yay me.  I'm pretty much improving in every way, am I right?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Everyone still has their fingers and toes

Friday night our young men and young women went tubing at Soldier Hollow.  This was the temperature at the beginning of the evening.  (It got colder!)

I managed to keep my happy face on though, because we weren't camping! (The original plan--which I had not been a part of making--was that we would camp, in marginally heated cabins.  When I did learn of the plans, I made a desperate plea on behalf of sane people everywhere that we not camp.  And it worked!)

The camping bullet had been dodged narrowly enough that my gratitude remained intact, no matter how cold it got.

Here are some of us, bundled up to the hilt.

You will notice in the picture, I am mid putting on my mittens.  They were a gift from Geri.  Between those and my base layer (also a gift), Geri pretty much kept me alive.  Later, Cortney asked me to take pictures.  I said 1) I am not staying out here that long (notice the nice warm lodge behind us) and 2) there is NO WAY I am taking off my mittens.

I stayed outside until I could no longer feel my face then I went into the lodge where there was a fireplace and hot chocolate.

It was a beautiful spot and had I been able to feel my face, I definitely would have stayed outside longer.

This picture shows the rope tow.  As a survival strategy, sometimes people would walk up the hill to get a little bit warmer.

My job became receiving frozen kids in the lodge and giving them hot chocolate and granola bars.  After they were sufficiently thawed, they would usually bundle back up and go back for more.  One girl (maybe one of my favorites, but shhhhh, I shouldn't have said that) came to me with FROZEN hands.  I rubbed her hands and got her back among the living and when her friend wanted to go back out, Rachel said, "There is no way you could get me to go back out there."

And no one blamed her.

Some of the boys came in and their faces were too frozen to make complete expressions.  One boy was touching his face with his fingers.  He said, "I can feel my face but my face can't feel my fingers."

I guess the moral of this story is that I was very grateful for the warm lodge, our warm cars and our warm houses.  We are very fortunate people.


That night, all the young women slept over at my house.  (It was the ace in the hole I offered to dissuade the camping nonsense.)  The younger girls made beds on the main floor.  They fished their toothbrushes out of their bags and patiently waited in line to use the bathroom.

The older girls were in the basement and were pretty much maniacs.  I think they were up until 3:30 AM and I've never been more grateful for a basement.  (Because I eventually retreated to my bedroom upstairs.)  The next morning I fed them Costco muffins and poured juice and milk.  One of them commented on how nice it was of me to spend hours making them breakfast.  Such cheekiness!  Actually, it was really good to just hand them a muffin on a napkin and sit around the table together, chatting.

Eventually the girls from the basement emerged.  Bleary eyed doesn't begin to describe their state.

Emma had gone to her room at some point.  Rose, the last basement girl to emerge asked, "Where's Emma?"  I told her she was still asleep.  "Well, I'm waking her up!"

I wished Rose luck as she bounded up the stairs to Emma's room.

She's a brave girl.

I took a van load of girls home and left the rest in the care of Adam and Emma until they were ready to leave.  (The conversation went like this:  "Do you want a ride home?"  "No, I want to stay longer."  and what was I going to do?) Julie Beck was speaking at our stake center.  She is probably one of the top three women I would like to meet/be neighbors with/follow around like a puppy.  I sat in the front row and soaked in every word.  It was wonderful and enough to wash away any weariness I felt from the raucous night before.

When I got home, our basement looked like a frat house and I gathered up cups and candy wrappers and swept and vacuumed popcorn remnants.  I folded blankets and collected pillows. I filled a bin with lost and found items.  The whole time, I thought, "I'm so glad I didn't have to camp!"

Friday, January 27, 2017

The day was wrecked anyway

I spent the entire morning talking on the phone, texting and emailing, trying to do triage on a youth activity that is happening this weekend.  It had sort of imploded.  At one point, I texted Adam for help on a sort of confrontational text message I needed to send someone else.  "Save me from myself," I pleaded.

Adam is wise with words and emotions and I knew he was my guy to correct my tone but still get the message across.

When he saw my text, he texted back, "I'm going to call you."

Yep, I needed his help and he knew it.

He texted me an alternative message and then he texted that their office was being evacuated because of a strong natural gas smell.

It was that sort of morning.

At 11:30, I was still in my pajamas and hadn't really done any of the tasks I'd planned for the day.

I decided in favor of ignoring the laundry and cleaning and what not and got myself ready for the day and went to Target.

Sometimes you just need to.

It was not the respite from power struggles and negotiations and whining that I was hoping for.  (And yes, a portion of the morning's whining had been from me.)  It's not so much that the toddlers and preschoolers around here are any more disagreeable than toddlers and preschoolers anywhere, there's just so many of them.

Why do I keep forgetting that?

In a nod to incompetent parents everywhere, a kid was screaming and flailing like he was being tortured.  "I want a toy I want a toy I want a toy," he gasped between sobs.

At the same time, the dad said, "Maybe I'll get you a toy.  I said maybe.  I said maybe.  OK. I'll get you a toy."

The child ceased the tantrum immediately and sat sedately in the cart.

And the Oscar for most effective performance in manipulating his parent goes to the child in aisle 12.

It's possible I've achieved a new level of crankiness but nothing makes you appreciate your teenage and young adult children more than a trip to Target in American Fork in the middle of the day.

(The Target trip wasn't a total loss.  I bought Working Hands hand cream which Tabor recommended...after excessive whining about my hands.  Those kids at Target have nothing on me when it comes to whining.)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Feeling loved

Enoch called me yesterday just to check in.  We chatted about basketball and referees.  He's a coach and I'm married to a referee.  It's the closest thing to sports I've got in my life.  We laughed about the ways we are the same.  He listened to me pour my heart out about a few things.  He didn't mind when I cried a little.  He has my back and he's big and strong so that means something.  I'm glad he's my brother.

Marianne and Olivia came and spoke at my Young Women New Beginnings.  I needed a speaker and thought, "I don't know anyone better than my sisters."  I asked them on the off chance one of them would come.  They both said they'd come.  When I call, they answer.  When I need them, they're here.  I'm glad they're my sisters.

My mom tagged along for the girl party.  She went around with my sisters chatting with everyone after New Beginnings.  They're all way more friendly than I am.  She also pitched in like she does cleaning and putting away and the like.  She traversed the icy church parking lot with the garbage to wrestle with the frozen shut dumpster.  I'm glad she's my mom.

Clarissa and Desi joined us too.  The more the merrier I say.  We all had dinner together first and then it was nice to have them at the meeting.  Marianne and Olivia both spoke really well (like I knew they would).  When Marianne mentioned in her talk that Olivia and I had convinced her to give Robert a chance even though he's shorter than she is, Desi tapped my shoulder and said, "Thank you!"  Those girls know how good they have it with their parents. 

We convened at our house.  We all explored the possibilities of the body back buddy:

Chiropractic-ally (new word of my own invention) speaking and otherwise, don't let anyone ever tell you we don't know how to have a fun time.  I enjoyed the buoyant spirit Clarissa and Desi bring to a room and I enjoyed listening to Emma and Clarissa sit at the piano and sing.  I'm glad they're my nieces.

It's good to have a family.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Great Aunt Thelma

Yesterday Mark was not feeling well so I went to check him out of school.  You have to show your ID (since people are always trying to steal junior high kids?).  The lady said, "I had a great aunt named Thelma."

With a big smile on her face, she said, "She was one of my favorite people in all the world.  Every time I see you, I think of her."  (She knows my name because every time I see her, I need to show her my ID.)

Then she told me all about how she used to go stay with her in the summer.  Great Aunt Thelma had never married and she took her out to breakfast and they had all kinds of fun.  "My family never went out to eat," she said, "so it was a real treat to go out to breakfast."

Having been named after my own grandma, I often hear other people say, "My grandma is named Thelma too."  It's sort of an old name.  Never has anyone spoken so glowingly about another Thelma.

I considered as I left the school, what would it be like for someone's eye to light up like that at the memory of you?

It's something I aspire to.  I want to be someone's Great Aunt Thelma.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The pendulum

Yesterday, in a snowstorm, I was driving to go get Mark from school and sliding all over the road.  (The roads down by the school had been plowed and were just fine.  The roads by our house, not so much.)  My fingers and toes are perpetually cold.  I am tired of dodgy roads.  Enough with the snow and ice. I found myself longing for summer.

And that is when I realized the pendulum had swung.

Summers are hot.  (And last summer was awful in lots of awful ways.)  In the summer we have to weed the yard and I have to go to camp (!).  I can't wear sweaters and I love to wear sweaters.  In the summer I don't want to use the oven.  The sun beats down relentlessly on the deck and I can't go out there barefoot in the heat of the day because it would burn my feet.  Our house heats up even after the sun goes down because it's been baking all day.

In the summer, winter seems ideal.  I love hot soup and dressing in comfy layers.  I love leaving the blinds open all day and snow is pretty!  Six months from now, I'll be longing for winter.

Right now, I am remembering that summers are also filled with sunshine.  I love sunshine and blue skies.  I like cool mornings and watching brightly painted sunsets on the deck.  I love being barefoot.  I love playing silly games on the grass in the waning light.  I like striking out on adventures on long evenings.

Instead of longing for 6 months from now, I'm going to try to enjoy now.  I'm going to light a candle and sit by the fire and just relish the season.

The one we're in right now.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Tiny notes

Dear Snapfish,

Thank you for tricking me into being productive.  I made four photo books so I could get a better price. Then it turned out I couldn't use multiple discounts on the same order.  But I still made four books.  I call that winning.

Dear everyone on Facebook,

Shhhh.  I don't care what you thought about the inauguration.

Dear Facebook,

I don't know why I keep going back to you.

Dear Facebook,

Yes, I do.  It's mostly for the funny memes.

Dear Emma's and Mark's schools,

Sorry I let my kids stay home to watch the inauguration.  I know the entire thing could have been watched later.  I know.  But I used to home school and I miss my kids and they know it.  They'll use any excuse to sleep in and I'll use any excuse to let them skip school. 

Dear truancy,

Sorry about that.  But blame my dad.  He used to say, "You'd better stay home.  Let the other kids catch up."

Dear Mark,

When I tell you (at 10:45 PM) that it's time for bed and you say, "OK. I'm just going to have a sandwich first," I'm grateful.    You amaze and sort of horrify me with your insatiable hunger, but I'm grateful everyday that I have the food to give you.  My heart breaks for women whose children are really hungry.

Dear Mark,

Thanks for shoveling and blowing snow and carrying the groceries and reaching stuff off the top shelf and for fixing stuff and replacing lightbulbs.  You keep on eating all the sandwiches you want.

Dear Emma,

Someday when you have a beautiful daughter who you just want to keep safe, remember the disdain in your voice when I asked you if you wanted me to drive you to work in the Subaru.  (Because of the, you know, blizzard that was happening.)  When you remember that disdain, you can call and tell me you're sorry.  I'll be waiting. (Ha.)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Just call me Eeyore


I woke up after a fitful night of unsettling dreams.
It snowed. all. day.
My knee hurt.
The skin on my fingers is so dry and fragile that I am covered in bandaids.
I felt annoyed.
I was still stinging a little bit from unpleasant YW leader stuff.

In an avoidance strategy (because I really should have been cleaning the kitchen), I sat down to work a little on a photo book I'm making.

I came across this picture.

I am their mother.

And their pretty sister's mother too.

It's OK if the rest of everything is annoying me.  Because I've got these guys. 

 And this one too.

They make up a lot of the difference.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ill conceived idea

Sometimes I just want to do something.  Be creative.  Sometimes I should just let that notion pass and go do something safe.  Something that doesn't involve glitter.

What I started with:

several glass ornaments
a bottle of Elmer's glue
a half full bottle of silver glitter of indeterminate age
a half thought out idea

What I ended with:

a mess

A big mess.

Do you know how to get glitter off of everything?

I'm asking for a friend....

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Life goals

You've gotta have dreams.

I decided I want to read every Newbery award winning and honor book.  Then I decided I want to own every one.

It struck me that someday, when I am a teacher again, it would be a very nice thing to have a whole bunch of Newbery award winning books in a library that I could encourage and coerce my students to read.  (Because more often than not, you need to coerce.)

There are 379 books that fall into this category.

I own 55 of them.  (Although I didn't look in Emma's room and some more might be in there.  Also, I thought we owned Millions of Cats and I can't find it.  I told Emma I was going to go see if we had Millions of Cats in the basement and that's kind of a fun thing to say, because am I under the delusion that I may have millions of cats in my basement?)

Here's my collection so far (in alphabetical order by author).  One small shelf and a little bit more.

Laura Ingalls Wilder is pretty much amazing.

I've read about 50 of the books on the list.  It's "about" because I'm not counting the ones I only vaguely remember.  And I'm sort of counting the ones I sort of remember.  (When you make up your own life goals and criteria, you can do it however you want.)

I now have a ready made list for Adam for future gift ideas.

I want books.

Lots and lots of books.

(And now if you'll excuse me, I have some...reading...to do.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What's next

Sunday evening Clarissa and Desi and Hannah (Clarissa's roommate) came over for dinner.  It was fun.  I told them that from now on, it's a standing invitation.

I also told them that when Emma and Braeden are in college, it will be a REQUIREMENT (not really) that they come for dinner, but I will not require it of my darling nieces.  Or even my darling nieces' darling roommates.

I'm easy going like that.

Yesterday there was no school and I loved spending time with Emma and Mark.  They make me laugh and they are pleasant and helpful.  (Mark helped me find Newbery award books for a project I'm working on.  Emma helped me format a document because she's a whiz at stuff like that.  They helped with dishes and laundry.  I think I want them to drop out of school.)

It turns out I really like having older kids.

Sometimes you want to put the brakes on and make your kids stop growing up and changing, but sometimes, I think, bring it on.  I like what's next.  (Especially the part when Braeden will come home.)

Monday, January 16, 2017

People who can do things

I love people that can do things.

Emma had a fancy dress up party at the theater where she works.  She enlisted Adri's help for her hair.

Adri can do hair.  She just can and it is amazing to me.  (This doesn't surprise anyone; I can't do hair.)

And she brought her own curling iron because the antique I got for a high school graduation present apparently doesn't get hot enough anymore.  I've probably used the thing 5 times so it's not worn out from overuse.  Maybe it's just tired of the neglect.

I sewed Emma into this dress again because we haven't had the zipper repaired.

As I was hurriedly making stitches minutes before it was time for her to leave, I thought, "This is no way to live."

That thought occurs to me periodically in my life....

That night I was talking to one of the other YW leaders.  She asked me where Emma was and I told her about the fancy party and the fact that I'd sewed her into her dress and needed to get home so I could cut her out of it.

Susan said, "Bring it over.  I used to sew prom dresses and wedding dresses.  I can fix the zipper."

Saturday afternoon, our YW were in a basketball game.  Five laurels were playing.  Bekah seemingly could make a basket every time the ball touched her fingers.  Heather, who is a natural leader, was talking to the girls and encouraging them the entire time.  Rose, a dancer, was doggedly trying her best.  She ended up where she needed to be then she'd quickly pass the ball to someone else.  Then she would smile in relief.  Emerie and Larisa were solidly doing their part.  They made a few baskets.  They got a few rebounds.  They laughed a lot and made sure everyone was having fun.

Every single one of them made her contribution.

Isn't it lovely that we're all so different and have something to give?  Sometimes our contribution is saving the day in a big way.  Sometimes our contribution is getting the ball into someone's hands who can score a basket.  Sometimes our contribution is giving someone the benefit of the doubt or a smile or a listening ear.

Martin Luther King day seems like a good day to remember we each can make a contribution.  We can make a difference.  Even if it's just keeping a houseplant alive. 

(Because sometimes that feels like an accomplishment.)

(Seriously, one of my plants is dying and I can't figure out why.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Unfounded optimism

I decided I might as well try it.

I had another anxiety dream about France.  I dreamed it was time to go to the airport and I hadn't packed.  I know me and this will never happen.  I pack early and often.

I woke up with a little glimmer of excitement too.  The trip might just be spectacular. 

I have decided to be optimistic.  About everything.  Call me Pollyanna.  Yesterday I talked to Marianne.  We both are tired of cold stormy weather and we're both tired of the sickness we can't seem to shake.  Olivia's in Mexico, at the beach.  Rotten kid.

But I get to see Marianne tonight.  There's something to be happy about.

I've decided to ditch thoughts that make me downcast, not to dwell on the people that have let me down or the cold that is trying to kill me.  I've decided to think things are going to work out just fine.

It's unfounded.  I don't really know that everything will be fine.  Adam told me that's the best kind of optimism to have.

So here I go.

(And reading this by President Hinckley makes me think maybe my optimism isn't so unfounded after all.)

It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.
Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, January 12, 2017

You've had a birthday, shout hurray!

Who knew I would be celebrating Braeden's birthday right along with him?  It was a day of happy surprises for both of us.

In the morning, Stella and I video chatted.  She congratulated me on Braeden's birthday.  She also gave me a little doctor advice for my cold.  (I'm tired of it.  I'm not sick enough to stay in bed and I'm not well enough to feel like my regular routine.  Stuck in a grumpy middle ground.)  It was wonderful to see Stella's warm smile.

Then the text messages started coming in from Rebecca.  Adam asked, "What did we do to deserve the Justesens?"  

I really don't know.  They are incredibly kind and completely made my day.

They went to his apartment (passed Braeden and his companion leaving, but he didn't see them) and decorated his door.

 Her kids had hung candy from the ceiling above.

Rebecca had borrowed a friend's phone to set up a fake appointment with them so they would for sure come home to their apartment at lunch time.

She texted:

Then she sent this:

and this:

THAT is my boy's most genuine smile.  I loved seeing him that happy.  That's the kind of picture that would warm my gloomiest day.

They went to lunch and I got a few more pictures. 

I can never thank them enough.  There aren't enough emojis in the world to express it in text messages. (But I tried.)

Then Cortney invited me to lunch.  Her twin sons have the same birthday as Braeden.  She said we should go to lunch to celebrate the birth of our awesome sons.

Sounded good to me.

I had chicken noodle soup (as ordered by my doctor, Stella) and we talked to each other about the births of our boys.

I think that should be a new custom.  When it's your child's birthday, you go to lunch with other mothers whose children were born on the same day and you share labor and delivery stories and congratulate each other on a job well done.

I love technology and kind and generous people and awesome sons that were born on January 11.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Dear Braeden,

You're twenty today.  And your gift from me won't be there in time.  I don't know whether to blame Amazon or the Pleasant Grove Post Office more but the fact that your gift is late makes me very sad.

I guess it's just one of those things.  When you're an adult, your birthdays are different.  Your mom has a smaller role in the celebration.  That makes me sad too.

Someday your wife will hopefully pick up the slack and make you feel loved and celebrated in a big way.  (You know I have candidates in mind for the job and the list is growing.  These are the hazards of having a mom who is Young Women's president.)

Or you can live next door to me and I'll make you a big chocolate cake with mint frosting every year.  I'll shape it like a frog and dye the frosting green.

Also, I'll do that next year.  ( You won't be next door but you'll be at BYU and that is close enough.)

I'm glad you were born.  Your existence and the blessing you are in my life make me feel like Heavenly Father loves me.  He gave me you!  What a gift.

I've messed up and fallen short and continue to (your gift will be late) but despite my faults, you are spectacular.

I thank my lucky stars that I had you as my sidekick when we moved to Connecticut and I got lost every time I ventured into the streets of New Haven.  I appreciate what you taught me about teaching school that made my degree in elementary education feel like only an introductory course.  I like that you taught me that teenagers are the best and all the people that don't like teenagers haven't met the right ones.  I'm thankful for the ways you continue to inspire me with your dogged determination to do your best and stare down challenges.

I'm grateful for the one million times (ballpark figure) you have made me laugh.

I'm grateful for the ways you have challenged me and have caused me to turn to experts for wisdom and to Heavenly Father for help.  It wouldn't be the same if motherhood were easy.  It just wouldn't feel so Big and I wouldn't be learning so much.

I'm grateful for your peace loving and huge heart.  You love full throttle and those of us lucky enough to be in your line of fire are never the same again.

And people love you back.  Yesterday I was reduced to tears--a big grateful ugly cry--because the Justesens wanted to know your favorite treat.  They wanted to acknowledge your birthday.  You aren't in their area any more but they're not the type to let details get in the way.

Amazon and the PG post office may let me down, but the world is full of good people that make up the difference.

Mark said to celebrate your birthday, he's going to hide twenty pairs of your socks all around the house.  I don't think we have twenty pairs of your socks.

I miss you.  Every hour of every day.  But I don't miss your socks.

Happy Birthday sweet boy.  Thanks for being mine.  Thanks for loving me even when I disappoint.  Thanks for being you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I've had suffering on my mind lately.  Perhaps because every single member of our family has been sick (well, except Horace...that guy has the immune system of a metal goat).

Every Christmas someone ties a bow around Horace's neck.  He likes to be a part of things.
Adam had the worst of the sickness.  I was feeling smug that I didn't get it.  I was thinking that by taking zinc, I had been very smart.

I now view the box of zinc sitting on the table with derisive thoughts.

Thanks for nothing, zinc.

I'm at the worst stage of sickness, when you are tired of it already and want to get on with life but you don't feel well enough to do anything.

Suffering.  There's all kinds of suffering.  Public and private.  Short term and long term.  Severe and mild.

There are positive aspects of suffering, it just doesn't feel like it when you're in the midst of things.  So here I go, trying to cheer my sick self up by contemplating the upsides.

1- Empathy.  When you've been through something hard, you get it.  Adam started feeling better as I started feeling worse.  He texted me on his way home from work:  don't worry about dinner.  I'll take care of it.  He probably would have done that anyway since he's that sort of guy, but I know that he understands how I feel and that matters.

2- True colors.  When you are suffering, you see people's true colors.  Some people pat you metaphorically on the head and want you to get over it.  Some people stay by you.  Some people flee.

3- You get stronger.  You just do.  Whether you like it or not.  Sometimes you think, this is horrible and I hate every minute of it, but it isn't killing me.  I'm surviving.  Sometimes that in itself is amazing.

4- Relationships get stronger.  On Sunday our lesson in YW was about how we could strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  The teacher asked the girls how they strengthened relationships in general.  The girls started talking about their best friends.  Inevitably, it was true that their friends had Been Through something with them.

Also, I think it's incredible that suffering fades away.  Hard times pass.  What a blessing that is.  It is nice to remember.  This won't last forever.

Monday, January 9, 2017



Deer apparently never sleep.  I see them all the time, any hour of the day.  They frolic in our yard at 3:00 in the morning.  They meander the streets of Pleasant Grove in broad daylight.  They dart in front of cars.  Get some sleep, deer.  It may help you not have the urge to dart in front of cars.


I finally succeeded in "killing Christmas" as some members of my family call me putting everything away.  Adam commented that it seems to take a lot longer to put it all away.  There is one reason for that:  I don't have eager helpers.  Everyone loves to open up boxes and exclaim over Christmas bears and set up the Christmas village.  No one wants to put it away.  (Although Mark and Emma did help with the trees.  We had a folding table set up that had been used for Lego building.  It was fabulous for ornament sorting.  I'm never going to decorate or undecorate a tree again without a folding table!)


I dreamed the other night that I couldn't pronounce armoire.  In my dream, Emma told me with great disdain (no one can do disdain like Emma), that she didn't know how I expected to go to France if I couldn't speak like I was French.

I can't speak like I'm French.  Not even close.  I know that I'll have anxiety before the France trip.  Airports cause me anxiety.  I think my subconscious mind is getting ahead of me and feeling anxiety early.  Way to be...on top of things subconscious mind?


I have been watching the weather in Virginia Beach.  My boy is there again and the forecast was 8-12 inches of snow.  He is on a bike.  Oh, and he doesn't have a winter coat.  The weather in his mission is relatively mild and like the Davis side of the family, his blood runs pretty hot. 

Speaking of the weather, no one will accuse of Utah weather of being relatively mild.

We have yet to have a snow day or even a two hour delay.  We've had the kind of storms that would shut Seattle down, but I guess just like Seattle can handle a lot of rain, we're set up to handle the snow.
I have mostly been loving the weather around here.  Besides how dry it is and the cracking and then glued fingers, snow and then sparkling sunshine are divine.  I was following behind a car that had snow on the roof.  The dry snow crystals were blowing off the roof and the sunshine was so brilliant that it looked like glitter was flying my way.  Magic.

It doesn't matter when the temperature is in the teens.  When the sun is out and the sky is that blue, I'm a happy kid.

American Fork Canyon.  That looks like a UFO in the sky but it was the moon.


Adam and I have been watching Stranger Things on Netflix.  I don't think I can recommend it.  It scares me.  I may or may not be brave enough to continue.  The other night I asked Adam to give me something happy to think about when I was going to sleep.

He said, "How about land grant colleges?"

I gave him the sort of look any normal person would after that suggestion.  He said, "Or the national debt.  Or you could think about how you would balance the budget...what programs you would cut."

Then he said, "Hey, you asked me...."

Land grant colleges?  I love that guy.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Books I read in December 2016

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott *

This book was intense.  It was well written but I guess I didn't love the subject matter.  It was about a group of people who had children involved in competitive gymnastics.  It mostly made me glad to have nonathletic children.  I didn't like the people or how they interacted.  Also, there was no satisfying resolution.

The Girl in the Green Raincoat ** by Laura Lippman

This book was about a woman who was in her third trimester and on bed rest.  She was a private investigator and apparently there is a whole series of books about her character.  If I'd read those books I'd probably have enjoyed this more.  There was very little time devoted to character development because maybe you are already supposed to know the characters.  She has nothing to do as she's on bed rest so she people watches out her window which overlooks a park.  She becomes concerned when a woman in a green raincoat stops showing up at her regular time to walk her dog and of course gets involved in solving the mystery.

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker ***

I liked this book.  It was about a woman with a thyroid disorder that made her giant.  She lived in a small town and was treated with cruelty.  She ends up living in a horrible situation but ultimately triumphing over her circumstances.  The book had a great variety of characters.

Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich ***

If I judged a book by its cover I never would have picked this one up.  I really dislike a cheesy book cover, but it was a pretty good book.  Just light and easy.  It's about a down on her luck woman moving to a small town to get a fresh start.

Southern Charmed  by Melanie Jacobson**

This book is about a young single LDS woman who feels social pressure to get married but also feels obligated to stay with her recently widowed mother.  I mostly liked this book but it also kind of bugged me.  She was way too attached to Baton Rouge.  I've never been there, it's probably a lovely place, but there are other places in the world too....

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Not my email

Another round of emails that weren't intended for me.  I've got variety this time, people.


A prodigious use of punctuation:

No punctuation:

Disappointing (because I didn't really get cookies delivered) and perhaps a little passive aggressive because Karen is working all day yet you still are expecting cookies:

And now for the international flavor:

(Thelma Guyot made this purchase on Christmas day.  This makes me curious.  Did she forget Christmas shopping--in addition to forgetting her email address?)

More international email:

Here's the translation:

And even though is was based on Chinese Feng Shui (?) no money truck has shown up yet.  Maybe because I didn't share within 11 minutes....

Finally, I think we can call this revenge of the Thelmas.  My email address was used to sign up for coupons.com.  I predict a whole lot more email not intended for me.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Snow removal

Yesterday I woke up early to help Emma dig her car out before school.

There is a reason that I usually don't talk to her much in the morning. She was super cranky and contrary.  (It didn't help that it was the first day of school after a break.)

Adam showed me how to use the snowblower before he went to work.

Look at that, just a few days into the new year and I'm already learning something.

The mismatched ensemble I was wearing:

snow boots
sweat pants
my pajamas hanging down to my knees
a sweatshirt
a scarf
Mark's hat with ear flaps

I looked like I had just rolled out of bed and put on whatever I could find.  (Because I did.)

It was dark when I started but daylight by the time I stopped.

Times like that, you're glad you don't have a lot of neighbors.  (Although the across the street neighbor was out shoveling.)

In other/related news, my hands have started cracking again.  My secret weapon is superglue.  It lasts a few days.  Sometimes, you're shoveling snow in your pajamas or gluing your skin back together and you think, "Is this my life?"


Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Oh it is so painful to try to re enter your life after a vacation.  I want to swipe my hand over everything and have it all magically put away and in order.

But alas.

Christmas surrounds me still.  Except now it's completely disheveled because I've started putting things away and that always gets a lot worse before it gets any better.

An aside:  Emma told me yesterday that when she has her own house she's going to be a bit more of a minimalist at Christmas.  She said, "I love all of this, but it is a lot of work."

(She has always been smarter than I am.)

We went to Seattle.  It was wonderful.  Every last bit.  My cracked and bleeding hands healed, my hair was curly curly.  Everything was green and dark and gloomier than we remembered.

Here are some highlights (with pictures, of course--mostly stolen from other people, of course).

We went to the Sheraton downtown which has gingerbread house displays every year.  

We soaked up a little Seattle atmosphere at Pike Place Market:

Raelyn, Emma and Mark...one of those pictures where you take a picture when they're all looking at someone else for a picture.

We went to dinner to celebrate Geri's birthday:

Mark in his natural habitat:  eating

I bought Mark some new pants and asked him to go try them on.  Megan said, "You can come and model them for us."

Mark put Careless Whisper (boy loves 80s music) on his phone and came out wearing this getup:

You've got to be careful with some people when you ask them to model for you.

 We had lunch with these cute kids:

And laughed a lot with this crew:

We happily got to spend a lot of time with the Jorgensens too.  They invited us over for dinner and we played games with them a few times and Janet and I got in several hours of visiting and I'm pretty sure we could visit for a few more weeks (years?) before we felt like it was enough time.

I don't have any pictures of them.

Why don't I have any pictures?!?

Geri very kindly let us invite them over for New Year's Eve.  Adam did take a picture of these two beauties, hair and hearts and souls woven together.

I love those two girls together.

I also loved seeing this at midnight:

That's what you do on New Year's Eve.  You watch the Space Needle fireworks.

It all went by too fast.

My eyes are open in this picture.  Red. Letter. Day.

We loved being with Geri.  She is a very gracious hostess.  She spoiled us and fed us well and made our stay wonderful.

We went to church in our old ward and it made me happy.  I hugged a lot of people and talked to a lot of people, but not enough.  I could have stayed another three hours after church chatting with people.

I was doing very well with it all then Amy hugged me goodbye and she started to cry and the floodgates opened.

I love my friends.

We left the green algae and returned to the frozen tundra.  It snowed almost all day yesterday.

Re entry.  Not for the faint of heart.


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