Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sad sigh

This morning Braeden flew back to Virginia.

It's a mix of emotions.  I am happy and grateful he could go back.  I'm glad he's serving a mission.  I can't live in vacation mode forever.  And I feel like someone ripped my heart out of my chest.

So, you know, no big deal.

Yesterday we went to Cabela's to look at shoes.  There's a pond with fish in it and a dispenser for fish food.  Braeden smiled at me in his sheepish and sweet way and said, "Mom, do you have a quarter?"

I did and he fed the fish.

He's probably the biggest kid to ever beg a quarter off their mom to feed the fish and I'm pretty sure he's also the cutest.

In an effort to ease the separation of his leaving again, he left his stuff all over the place the entire time he was home.

A very sweet woman in our ward drops off notes and candy when people speak in church.  Braeden ate the chocolate and left the rest behind.
And then the socks.

He just drops them wherever.

Right. In. The. Walkway.  Who does that?!?  Braeden.

I love him anyway. 

His time home was a gift and I'm grateful.  

A good-bye brother hug, complete with smacks on the back like they do.

We arrived home from the pre-dawn airport run a weary bunch.  The house is definitely different without Braeden.  I sat down to blog and noticed the blanket that usually goes in the basement and wrapped up in it.  Braeden had used it upstairs last night.  It's sort of handy to have a kid who leaves things around the house.

My smiley sunshine boy.  He heard where he's serving upon his return and he was happy about it.

Six more months.  Let's do this!

Monday, February 27, 2017


I've written a lot on here about how much I have missed Braeden while he has been serving a mission.  Is this a magic blog that grants wishes if you write about them enough?

Because I maybe have some other topics to address....

This is us Thursday night.

Braeden looks unhappy about having his picture taken but he's actually the one holding the camera/phone.  He has long arms.  In related news, he changed the light bulbs in our room standing on the floor and just reaching.

Friday Braeden and I went to Provo and visited the Museum of Art with Clarissa and then visited the Monte L. Bean museum.

Braeden wanted me to text this picture to Stella because there are a lot of these birds on the lake that sits between where she lives and where Braeden used to live.

Also, Braeden asked me if I would get him a treat "if he was good."  He knows how to charm me.  When he was a toddler he would get treats if he was good.

I told him he had to be really good.

And he was.  I used to have to chide him to not run away from me and now he holds doors open for me and entertains me endlessly.

We ran out of time and didn't get the treat though.

Saturday morning found us at the church for basketball with the highly acclaimed stake sports director (Adam).

When Braeden let her have her glasses, Emma was in charge of the scoreboard.  She took it very seriously (like she does).  She said, "This is so intense that I like it."

Mark was playing and we cheered for him (and possibly made the sign for a field goal when he shot the ball over the backboard).  The other team basically destroyed Mark's team and Adam told Emma she should mess with the score to see if the boys noticed.

Emma was horrified.

Saturday afternoon Emma had to do something else (like she does--this time it was prepare boxes for the French club's refugee drive so who was going to argue with that) but the rest of us went to SLC for an exercise in futility a.k.a. me looking for shoes.  I have found the shoes I want for a birthday present that seem the right amount of comfortable for when we go to France.  I want to try them on before I order them online.  I googled which stores sold them and found Nordstrom.  But it turns out Nordstrom only sells them online too.

At least Mark (who took his money when he heard Fashion Place Mall--because the Lego Store) went away happy.

My throat was hurting and I told Adam that something cold was necessary to my happiness.  Braeden remembered that I owed him a treat.  Mark decided he had been good at the store too.

So Adam bought us milkshakes.

This is before the milkshakes but I think they'd been promised because of all the smiling.

I was supposed to take dinner to a woman in our neighborhood who had just had a baby.  I realized we were going to be late.  I had the soup in the crockpot but needed stuff added to it.

I called Emma--she didn't answer.

I texted Emma--she didn't answer.

Because why would she?

Adam, who is a genius, told me I should use Find My Phone which emits a loud sound until you make it stop, even if your ringer is off.

Emma immediately responded.  I told her that from now on, that would be my strategy.  "Please don't do that during school," she said.

We'll see.

I told her what I needed her to do.  She said, "Whoa.  Can you text that all to me?"

For the record, she executed her mission perfectly.

After delivering soup and then eating some of our own soup, we went to BYU again for a Living Legends performance.

Clarissa and Desi (who gave me the idea) were seated a few rows in front of us.

I love BYU and these kids (and Adam who was seated on the other side of me).  Living Legends is a  group of BYU students of Native American, Polynesian and Hispanic or Latino origin. They perform traditional dances from their cultures and they knocked our socks off.

At the end we were all crying (except Mark).  Clarissa and Desi too.  Mark said he got chills but didn't cry.  I told him to wait until he's older.  It seems to be the birthright around here.

We were walking back to the car and someone mentioned we'd had milkshakes earlier.  Emma said, sadly, "Really?"

I said that my throat was still hurting.

And the boys, of course, were hungry.  You can give them as many bowls of hearty soup your heart desires, they will be hungry hours later.

We went to Chick fil A for the frozen lemonade (for me).  Adam told the boys he'd get them chicken strips.  He asked what size they came in and the perky girl on the other end of the intercom talked him into the 24 piece tray.  (I think her summer job is working at the Story Book Canal ride at Disneyland.)  Adam agreed to the 24 pieces because he had little chicken nuggets in mind.

It was a WHOLE lot of chicken.

And there wasn't a piece left by the time we got home.

Sunday I had six and a half hours of church.  And also I didn't wear very comfortable shoes for that sort of business.  When I told Adam that it was too much church, he said I should call Robert (he's in a stake presidency) and talk to him.  Or Tabor. (He's a bishop.)


Emma sang in church which I loved and Braeden spoke in church which I loved.  He used the word ethos in his talk.  After, Adam said, "Ethos?"

Braeden said, "Yeah, I thought I'd drop down some Latin."

In the evening we got to spend time with the BYU girls.  I always enjoy having them over.  We did love language tests after dinner and had fun together.  Hannah feels like one of the family--whether she likes it or not.  (She is very good-natured about it all.)

Braeden's mission president called Sunday.  We are hopeful that he can return to his mission soon.  (I'm a tiny bit not hopeful because I love having him here.  But I'm keeping that to myself.  Except for that part when I put it on my blog.)

Friday, February 24, 2017

More blogging about Braeden

He's been gone a long time.  I have catching up to do with writing about that kid.

1- I was down in Braeden's room hanging up a shirt and he. Had. Made. His. Bed.

2- I said, "Who are you?"

3- Also he will occasionally unload/load the dishwasher with zero prompting.

4- Why is he the one that doesn't usually live here?

5- Emma and Vanessa are performing a pantomime for Drama Regionals.  They practiced it for us last night.  Emma kept losing concentration when Braeden laughed.

6- Braeden told her, "That's funny so you have to get used to people laughing."

7- Emma and Vanessa smiled at each other in pleasure and sort of wonder.

8- Braeden and I looked at the BYU class schedule so I can be prepared to register for him in June.  He was looking at the kinds of classes that Adam took:  Principles of Comparative Politics and the like.  What really seemed to interest him were things like Arab-Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.

9- This is what happens when a boy grows up talking to Adam.

10- We have been using one gallon of milk per day.

11- By we, I mean Braeden.

12- Yesterday we were going to meet Adam for lunch.  I said, "Maybe we'll go in his office and he can show you off."

13- Braeden smiled and said, "I like being shown off."

14- We've always been worried about his self esteem.

15- Before leaving I told Braeden I wanted to put lotion on his dry scaly cracked and bleeding hands.  (Those poor hands are used to humidity.)  If there's anything Braeden detests, it is lotion.  He resisted and I insisted and we went back and forth.  Finally he said, "I'm grown.  You aren't in charge of my hands."  I said, "When you are buying your own lunch, you will be a grown up.  For now, I'm putting lotion on those hands."

16- He smiled and relented. And then he winced and acted tortured when I put on lotion.

17- Later he told me thanks for the lotion and his hands felt better.

18- He liked meeting all the people at work.  He shook hands and smiled and chatted and was in his element.

19-  The other day he said he didn't like being home all day.  He likes to be "out among the people."

20- I think we'll go to another museum today.  Gotta keep the extrovert happy.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A new spin

In addition to Not My Email, I think I could create a Not My Missionary blog series.

I get periodic text messages--with pictures--of a few missionaries that...aren't mine.

Both the other mothers are responding to the texts, so it's not like I'm taking someone's place.  It is a number from VA and one of them is apparently an Elder Davis, but why am I involved?

Life is mysterious.

Speaking of my missionary, he has done everything he can (doctor approval plus proved his stamina) toward getting back on his mission.  It is now in the hands of the mission department and for someone like me, who is a planner, I'm a little antsy to know what is happening. 

In the meantime, I'm dry cleaning ties and washing sweaters and replacing exceedingly worn white shirts and holey socks.

And buying milk.

Last night we went to the art museum in Springville.  When we were walking in, Braeden looked around in wonder and said, "I love art museums."

There are plenty of times when I feel like a sub par mother, but in moments like that I think I must have done something right.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Slow down

Life has been joyful and people-y and busy lately.

Last night I went to bed exhausted and with a snuffling cold.  Somewhere during the long night of tossing and turning because of my congested head, I looked out the window and saw the snow.

Lately it has felt positively springlike.  Yesterday Braeden and I took a walk with no jackets, just sweatshirts.  There have been flitting birds and I even saw a squirrel a few days ago. 

And today this.

I will take it.  Perhaps the universe is telling me to stay in my pajamas and get cozy.

(And do some laundry.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I feel like something of a failed blogger, because I didn't take one picture, but yesterday was a great day.  It was a jammed pack and exhausting day but also great.  In other words, I'm not doing a single thing in my housekeeping role.  How important is that anyway?  I mean maybe I truly can just stop doing laundry?  It's a theory I've never tested.

Since it was President's day, it's one of the holidays that we place flags in the neighborhood.  It was the YW turn so I took two sledgehammers, my daughter, my strong husband and my two strapping sons.  (These are tools every young women's president needs.)

I always get the worst route and it takes way longer than the other routes.  Also yesterday the other groups had more people.  Emma said, "Should we have someone else come with us?"  I compared the size of Braeden to some of the little 12 year old girls. 

"I think we're good," I said.

And we were.  Emma drove, Adam had one sledgehammer and drove stakes while I placed flags and the boys had the other hammer and they did same.  At one point Emma was driving a little lurchy (she's not the best driver in America and my strategy is to just not drive with her and hope for the best).  I cautioned her to drive less lurchy (because her brothers' long legs were dangling out the back end of the van.  She usually treats any kind of criticism with serious disdain and this time was no different.  I told her to stop being sassy or I would drive and she could put up flags.

What can I say?  It's good to have leverage.  She was as pleasant as a peach after that.

We finished well ahead of everyone which never happens.

Emma had to stay home and do homework but the rest of us headed to Salt Lake City.  We went to temple square:  the church history museum, the visitor's centers, the Joseph Smith building.  It was a nice time.  We also stopped by Maverik's "base camp" on the way home and Braeden hardly appreciated it enough.

Maybe we'd built it up too much.

We pretty much got home in enough time for flags.  Braeden and I took a preliminary walk beforehand and met the rest there.  Picking up flags with my crew was a breeze too.  Right after that we had a presidency meeting and right after that Braeden and I headed to Provo.  Phew!

Adam was refereeing, Emma and Mark were involved with "mini missions" which is a thing in our ward where the youth, with a companion, go visit a family in our ward who feeds them dinner and then the youth teach the family a lesson.  Mark's group got assigned to our bishop's family and Emma went to the stake president.  They both had a great time though, despite what could have been a little intimidating.

Braeden and I were going to meet David and Shari.  We got there a little early so we swung by the Creamery to see if Clarissa was working.  She wasn't, but her roommate was so we got to chat with her briefly.  We met David and Shari at the bowling alley in the basement of the Wilkinson Center.  Being on BYU campus made Braeden and me both excited for him to attend there in the fall. 

It was great to see the young Jorgensens.  When I was paying for bowling shoes, David said, sort of in jest, "Is there a discount for missionaries?"

The guy eyed Braeden (and the name tag) and said, "You're a full time missionary?"

Braeden said yes.

"Well then you can bowl for free."

David and Braeden speculated on all the free stuff he could possibly get on campus.  Ice cream?  I said, "Let's go bowl."

Shari confided that she was a terrible bowler and I told her I was too.  Then I bowled a strike and two spares.  Then David facetimed Janet and while I was chatting with her, I had Braeden bowl for me.  He only knocked down one pin and I guess that broke my will because after that I bowled terribly, which is my lot in life.

After bowling we went to Chom Burger which was delicious.  We had never been there before but we will go back.  It was comfortable and easy to be with David and Shari.  All those Jorgensen kids feel like beloved nephews and nieces.

As we were leaving the restaurant, we encountered a young couple whose front tire was stuck in one of the irrigation ditches that line the streets of Provo.  Tiny Shari marched over and offered help, then she gestured back at David and Braeden.  "We can help," she said.

David and Braeden went next door and borrowed a big rock from a yard.  They wedged it under the tire.  We pushed and zing!  The car was back on the street.  The grateful young man (who had been contemplating his jack when we approached) looked like he may cry or at the very least throw his arms around David and Braeden in gratitude.  Instead, he shook their hands.  It was dark but he noticed Braeden's name tag, "Wait!  Are you a missionary?"  Braeden said yes.  The guy just kind of shook his head wonderingly and we were off into the night.

You just never know what kind of adventures await when you swerve from your path.  Again, how important is laundry anyway?

Monday, February 20, 2017

The weekend

We celebrated Emma's birthday on Friday.  Emma left school early and Adam and I had lunch with the two older kids at Emma's favorite spot, Harmon's.  Yes, the grocery store.  I don't know.  She just loves the place.  We played games and went out for Thai food for dinner.  I love needing a table for five again.  Later, Grandma and Grandpa Dahl stopped by.  It was a happy celebration.

Saturday morning we continued the party and had Kneader's french toast which is all kinds of delicious but the kind of thing you can only do occasionally.

We played more games and happily received more visitors.  I didn't get pictures of everyone but here are some:

Olivia, Braeden and Edgar

Missionaries--future, present and past:  Desi goes to Hong Kong in June, Braeden is heading back to VA soon-ish, and Clarissa returned from New Zealand in December

I love how much these cousins love each other (Emma had left for work).  Most of them were looking at Marianne while she took a picture but Carolina is looking right at me.  She said, accurately, "This is going on the blog."

In between hands of Monopoly Deal and UNO and rounds of Codenames, Braeden and Mark have been spending some quality Lego time together.  I love hearing them laugh.  Saturday afternoon I walked downstairs and Braeden said, "Mom, Mark is hilarious!"

When Braeden left, Mark was his lovable and sort of pesky younger brother.  Now, they seem to be closer to the same age.  And it's true, Mark does entertain me every day of my life.

Sunday we had what I fondly refer to as the BYU Babes over, Clarissa and Desi.  (Sometimes Clarissa's roommate Hannah comes too.)  We had dinner and played Codenames.  It was Emma and the girls against the boys and me.   The boys and I lost every round.

Today is no school because of President's Day.  Every day sort of feels like a holiday though.

Table for five.

Friday, February 17, 2017


false eyelashes for Secret Garden--and for dramatic selfies to send her mother

1- she is extremely loyal to her friends and her brothers

2- she likes to wear bright and bold lipstick

3- she is impervious to peer pressure (which is a good or bad thing, depending on whether or not you are trying to talk her into something)

4- she is a good ally (also, wouldn't want her as an enemy)

5- she is good with words (grammar, portmanteau words, pithy texts)

6- she has a tender heart (she burst into tears when she learned Braeden was coming home)

7- she is seriously independent

8- she doesn't sugarcoat things (if looks could kill...)

9- when she gives you a hug, it feels like everything is going to be all right

10- she fills our house with music

11- I don't know anyone who can sleep in as effectively as she can

12- she likes to speak French

13- her friends text her when they need cheering up--she invites them over and makes them toast or popcorn and soon they're laughing

14- she wants to see the world

15- she has strong opinions but will listen to other people who disagree with her

16- she loves her job

17- she likes cherry cake for her birthday

18- I love that birthday girl!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How things are going

Since Braeden is still a missionary, Adam and I are his companions.  He's stuck to us like glue.  Yesterday I had to go to the junior high for a meeting with a counselor to discuss Mark's schedule for next year.  (Freshman year + my baby = how did this happen?!?)

I took my sidekick along.  Here's a truth I've discovered:  if you want to cause double takes and strange sideways did-I-just-see-what-I-think-I-saw looks, take a tall missionary into a junior high.

We sat down with the counselor and I explained the nature of my companion and she totally understood and wanted to know all about his mission.   Because Utah County.


Braeden and Emma wanted to watch home movies and wondered if I wanted to join them.  I said I had some cleaning to do.  (Since things have been so topsy turvy, I'm a little behind the times on housework.)

Braeden said, "Why don't we help you?  In my day we used to have to help you clean."

(His day?)

I told him that usually I just get the cleaning done while the kids are at school, but I'm behind a little now.  He said, "Well we'll help you, right E?"

I didn't see the look she gave him but I can imagine it.

He helped clean bathrooms and Emma dusted.


They exchanged Valentines in Emma's English class.  Times like that are why I struggle to enforce school attendance.  These are the valentines Emma photocopied and gave her classmates:

The one in French says, "You are my poor peanut."  I asked Emma why.  No reason.


Braeden is tired all the time but I have to hound everyone to go to bed at night because everyone wants to visit.  Yesterday I encouraged sleepy Braeden to go take a nap.  He said, "If I nap now, can I stay up later tonight?"

These are the kinds of deals he's been brokering since he was a preschooler.


Here they are having after school "companionship" scripture study.  They were surrounded by snacks and detritus but the sun was streaming in and I was folding laundry upstairs and it made my heart supremely happy to hear their discussion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

more to love

More socks left on the floor.

More laundry.

More dishes.

More noise.

More music.  (The three kids have been working on the harmony of Rock of Ages.  I love it.)

More milk consumed.

More laughter.

My boy is home.

Valentine's Day meant going to the temple with Geri and Braeden, going to lunch at Zupa's, taking Geri to the airport (it was nice to have her and I'm amazed she was coincidentally here when Braeden came home!), stopping to see my grandma, stopping by work to see Adam, lots of good talks with my people around here, a restorative phone conversation with Marianne, and then dinner with the three men in my life that mean the world to me (Emma was at work).

Then we split a cupcake.

Some days, despite the ups and downs and twists and turns of life, are just nice.  Adam, Braeden, Emma, Mark.  I don't need more than that.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Strange and familiar

So he came home!  He called from Atlanta, using the phone "of a nice brother from Kansas."  Kid has never met a stranger.

Then he called again, from a Twin Falls, ID number.  The flight was delayed.  By three hours.  He met a woman in the airport and gave her a Book of Mormon and got her contact information so he could have the missionaries visit her.  She lives in Florida.  (Not Leif's part of Florida though.)

Finally, finally, it was time to go to the airport.  I was a fidgety, fluttery mess.  We stood at the bottom of the escalator and watched people descend.  First their feet, then their legs, then finally we could see who they were.  I was standing next to Emma and Mark and every time we'd see black shoes and then black pants we'd get a little excited, but we'd usually decide pretty quickly the legs were either not long enough or not skinny enough--or too skinny.

It was a little bit tortuous.

Adam was on the other side of the walkway.  He had a better vantage point for the escalator but I opted for the side that was closest.

Because I wanted that first hug.

And I got it!

Let the ugly cry ensue.

Mark was shorter than Emma when Braeden left so that took a little while for Braeden to wrap his mind around.

We stopped at Costa Vida for dinner (Braeden's choice).  A lot of people greeted him.  A missionary in Utah County is a somewhat rare sight.

We got home and read scriptures together.  I was reading and then I started crying because we were all together.  It's sort of amazing. 

It's a strange land we're in.  For one thing, Adam and I have never parented up close a twenty year old.  We have never even parented a nineteen year old.  I told Braeden we're used to him as a high school student so he needs to tell us if we forget he's been living on his own for 17 months.  He's still a missionary but he also needs a lot of rest and a lot of sleep.  I need to let him have his space and be his independent self and I also need to shove him off to bed if he is chatting with someone.  The boy has dark circles under his eyes and stairs exhaust him. 

It's possible I could be accused of hovering.

It's so nice to have him home.  I love his laugh.  I love the way he wraps his arms around me and pulls me to his chest for big hugs.  I love the way he interacts with Mark and Emma.  I love hearing Adam discuss scriptures with him.

I love having the gang back together.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Crazy times

Yesterday life got turned on its head again!  We learned that Braeden is going to come home for a few weeks for his convalescence.  He is unable to do missionary work right now and so whoever he's assigned to be companions with can't do missionary work either.  They thought it was practical to just send him home to recover.

They wanted to know our opinion.

What mother in her right mind wouldn't be doing cartwheels and somersaults right now?  I mean, assuming I was the athletic type....

My mind has been spinning constantly ever since we got the word.  I want to make sure to do it right.  I want to get everything ready for his recovery.  I want to prep Mark that they won't be pursuing a schedule of video games and Star Wars movies.  I want to make every favorite food I can think of.

Coincidentally, Geri is here for Emma's play so she'll get to see him!

Coincidentally, my parents were already planning to come on the 20th.

Coincidentally, he'll be here for Emma's birthday.

Coincidentally, my schedule is eerily clear the next two weeks.  All my busy YW stuff was at the beginning of the month.

Coincidentally, I bought 4 gallons of milk at Costco the other day instead of 2.  No good reason, just decided to. 

I'd have bought 6 if I knew he was coming, but still.

By the way, it's not all Braeden all the time but this week feels like it a little.  We went to Emma's play again last night.  I continue to love it more every time.  Those kids are amazing.  Here's a slightly better picture of my pretty bird at the curtain call.  She has figured out that Gibson girl hairdo.

Tonight's closing night.  That always makes me feel a little wistful.  I'll miss it.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Giving me pause

Yesterday I read this article in the BYU Magazine.  (I love the BYU Magazine.)  The article is by Elder Larry Y. Wilson and these words have been in my brain all day:

Each of us faces a choice. We can choose to see ourselves as the Lord’s servants and humbly seek to know what He wants us to do with the talents and time He has given us. As such, we can seek to enlarge His kingdom and prepare it for His return. Or we may imagine that the story is all about us. Too many fall into this trap. They forget that they are His servants and begin to imagine that He is theirs. They think erroneously that Christ came to make all their dreams come true. For those in such a trap, prayer becomes like dropping memos on a desk in a heavenly office: “Could you please take care of this as soon as possible?”

I want to make good use of my choice.

Also, I've been overwhelmed with goodness.  People have been incredibly kind to me and to Braeden.  So many people have reached out with concern.  So many angels on earth have ministered to Braeden and served me in the process.

Sometimes the world feels dark and lonely.  I feel overwhelmed or sad or misunderstood.

Sometimes like the past few days, the world feels like a place that is full of light and goodness.  Everywhere I turn there seems to be kindness and compassion.

It's the same world.  The difference is which parts of it I'm choosing to focus on.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tender mercies

But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance

1 Nephi 1:20  

There are almost too many to name.  I have felt an outpouring of love.  I have felt like people have been placed in my path to take care of my boy who is far away.  I think having Stella there, navigating and orchestrating his care, is more effective than I could be.  I will never in a million years be able to thank/repay/express what it meant to me that Rebecca was there with him overnight.  It soothed my soul.

Olivia told me that two of her kids had decided to fast for Braeden on Sunday.  Lili said, "I just felt like I should."

The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A tale of two mothers

Do you ever have one of those days where everything is turned on its head and at the end of it all you can do is shake your head and think, what happened?!?

Yesterday was one of those days.

When Braeden started emailing, he told us about a health problem he was having.  As I asked more questions it seemed like it was more than what the mission nurse was thinking it was.  I emailed him that I thought he should go to the doctor.

He (wisely) suggested I talk to the mission nurse myself.  (My children know enough to sic me on people they can't make progress with.)  I had also talked with the lady who lived at the house from which Braeden was emailing me.  She described his symptoms and I wanted him to go to the doctor.

I called the mission nurse and there were two mothers.  The warlike Mama Bear and the mother who was trying to be calm and remember Adam's counsel that what mattered were the results.  I tried to make her my ally.  She said she'd talked to him the previous day and he was fine.  I insisted he was not fine.  She finally relented to call him.

Within minutes she called me back and said, "He's on his way to urgent care."

OK then.

A while later, President Weed, the mission president, called Adam to let him know that he was on the way to the hospital.

And that was about all we knew.

I wondered why President Weed had called Adam rather than me but then I realized it was probably because Adam promptly forgot the name of the hospital and if he'd call the mother, she would have not only remembered the name but she would have shown up at the hospital....

Braeden had managed to send out an email earlier for his group email list.  In it he mentioned he was sick.  I got an immediate reply from his aunt Whitney in Atlanta.  She said she was 10 hours away if I needed her.  Rebecca texted.  What did I need?  Stella called.  What was the situation?

And that was pretty much how the day went.  The original lady I'd spoken with, Sister Hunter, called me several times.  She told me how much she loves Braeden.  "He brought the light back into my life," she said.

When your son is basically the embodiment of sunlight, people love him.  I can't take any credit for any of it because he came that way.

He was admitted to the hospital and slated for surgery to take care of an abscess and he's on major doses of antibiotics for cellulitis.

And then there were the two mothers again.  There was the mother and then there was the missionary mother.  The mother wondered how long it would take me to be on a plane Virginia bound.  The missionary mother was trying to leave the situation in the capable hands of the mission president and let my boy be a missionary.

Rebecca was with him.  She went and bought him comfy clothes.  She kept me updated.  I'll never be able to repay her kindness.

It was opening night of Emma's show!  There were two mothers again--the one whose heart was in a hospital in Virginia and then the other one, whose heart was on a stage in a high school musical.  Adam told me to turn off my phone and enjoy the show.

And I did!  (I checked messages during the intermission.)

The show was great.  Emma was great.  I loved it.  They are talented kids and they worked hard.  I didn't take many pictures but I will go three more times and I'm sure I'll be less distracted.

Here's a picture after the show of Emma with one of the girls in our ward.

Adam snapped a few pictures at the curtain call:

Desi came to watch the show too (Clarissa wanted to, but had to work).  Afterward we went to The Purple Turtle for milkshakes.  I spent most of the time on the phone with Rebecca--and then Braeden!  His mission rules are relaxed while he's in the hospital so I can talk to him.

Silver lining!

After the phone call I tried to turn my focus back to Emma.  The Swensons came in and sat at the table next to us and we exchanged congratulations because Fiona was Martha and rocked a Yorkshire accent and Anne Swenson, her mother, told Emma that no one can do red lipstick like she can.

It's pretty much true.

Sometime later we learned that the surgery would be early the next morning and Rebecca was staying at the hospital with Braeden overnight.  She will be forever immortalized in our family.  She is amazing.  That is all.

She sent me a picture of him when he was finally asleep and he was wearing his white shirt and name tag.   I commented on it and she sent me this picture:

He wanted the nurses to call him Elder Davis.  Because that is who he wants to be right now.

I had a sleepless night.  I dozed a little but mostly had a clenched stomach and racing thoughts.

At 4:20 by phone rang and it was Braeden!  He was on his way to surgery and called to check in.  After that I had a steady stream of texts and updates from Rebecca.  A little after 6:00 I got the message he was out of surgery and all had gone well.

This morning I've spoken with him and he seems to be on the mend.  Besides the mission nurse, Rebecca is there with him and Stella is on her way to his side.

I guess what it comes down to is that there are more than just two mothers.

I couldn't be more grateful.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Almost perfect day

Saturday we didn't have any extraneous commitments.  When does that happen?!?  For us, not lately.  I spent most of the morning getting prepared for Sunday.  (I had a dream that I'd forgotten to go to ward council.  Nothing like a dream like that to make you get prepared.  Also I was teaching the YW lesson on Sunday.)

Once everyone was awake and ready to face the day, we loaded into the Subaru and headed out on an adventure.  Our first stop was Adam's office where he needed to drop some things off.  There was shock and surprise at the Spartan nature of his desk.  All around him people had computer monitors and headphones and plants and family pictures and at the very least a water bottle.  Adam's desk had a notebook on it.  That's all.  He carries his laptop with him.  He said his work is chaotic enough and he wants a clean desk.  Emma and Mark tried to get him to change his mind.

I told them that if I died, and it was left up to Adam, that's what our house would look like.

Mark, in an effort to defend his dad, said, "Well if Dad died and it was left up to you..."

Emma interrupted him, "It is left up to her.  Who do you think is in charge?"


We went to Blaze Pizza for lunch which is the closest approximation to Mod Pizza we can find.  I mixed some Key lime mint agua fresca with my Diet Coke and it was a taste sensation.

Our next stop was Fashion Place Mall.  It makes me happy to go to the same malls I went to when I was growing up.  Sometimes I feel like I'm back in my hometown.  At the Sephora store, I got the perfume I'd settled on.  Adam gave me a sampler for Christmas.  There were 14 different perfumes to try and then when I made my final choice, I could go pick it up.  For the record, I went with Marc Jacobs Decadence.  It had the ugliest bottle but I really like the perfume.

In a rare turn of events (really, this has NEVER happened), Emma asked a store employee a question.  (About highlighter.)  Then she asked a FOLLOW UP question.  (About a brush.)  This may not seem ground breaking to you, but I've shopped with that girl for nearly 18 years and she mostly stands behind me.  She can never be accused of making idle chatter.  She was concerned that the highlighter + brush were more than I wanted to spend on her birthday present but I was so stunned by her asking not one but two questions of the store employee, I bought them both.

I told her I was proud of her.  She looked disdainful.  "Why wouldn't I ask a question?"

I don't know.

I'm telling you, if you ever want to describe one of my children, do it in pencil.

We had to stop at the Lego store and the Apple store.  You just do when you are with these people.  Then, we went to visit my grandma, which was the point of the whole excursion after all.  It's always a delight to see my grandma.  We chat and she makes me feel loved and she offers ice cream and tells us to eat more candy.  She gave me a beautiful new skirt and she asked Adam if he could figure out how to make her iPad louder (for when she watches BYU games that aren't on TV).  Adam saw his opportunity to procure a gadget.  He went to the store to buy her a portable speaker.  I told her it would be an early birthday present but she insisted on paying Adam for it.

Of course she did.

How I love my grandma.  I always leave her house with a lighter step.

On the way home, we stopped at the store.  We needed more salt for our water softener.  Mark and Emma remembered that they wanted to make us dinner.  We filled the cart and...failed to get any salt.

On the way home we sang and listened to music.  A few times I heard Emma and Mark harmonizing in the back seat and I wished Braeden were there too.

Emma's birthday had been on the mind.  When we were almost home, Mark said, "I was just thinking, for my birthday, I'd be happy if it were just us four.  Then I remembered by the time it's my birthday, it will be US FIVE again."

When that happens, it will no longer be almost.  It will be a perfect day.

Friday, February 3, 2017

What's saving my life right now

On The Lazy Genius Collective blog, I read a post What Is Saving My Life Right Now.  I decided to write my own list.


On days when I'm confused or struggling to be happy or feel inadequate to the task at hand, prayer is where I turn.  It helps.


Adam saves me in a million big and small ways.  He entertains me and gives me pep talks and acts enthusiastic about whatever I have planned...even if it's a trip to Costco.  (I try to go to Costco in the evening when All the People are home.  I try to get my family excited about going with me.)


Just thinking about him makes me happy.  Knowing he is in the world and he's mine and he will be home in a little over 6 months (maybe?  we don't know yet for sure) makes me excited.  I want to hear him laugh and feed him and bask in his wit and affection.  And I will be able to soon!


Emma is like that cool friend you are grateful to when she makes a little time for you.  I love when we do stuff together.  I love when she comes into our room at night when she gets home from work.  I love hearing about the things that are making her happy.


Mark showed me this video the other day.   I don't know how many times I've watched the first 15 seconds of it.  If possible, Mark does an even funnier version.  Having a fourteen year old means being introduced to silliness and I like it.


I love plants.  I love the cheer they add.  I love taking care of them and troubleshooting their needs.  They make me feel accomplished--except for the one that is sick.  It makes me feel sad.

the occasional day when I don't have to go anywhere

Especially in the mornings, I love when I can stay home.  I think I would make a really successful hermit. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Having teenagers means a constant parade of unpredictable happenings.  It's sort of fun.  Emma posted on Facebook recently that her "bustle is bigger than her aspirations":

It's a formidable dress.  She has a cloth to represent cholera for part of the show and she discovered she can just stow it behind her bustle.

I'm excited for Secret Garden.  It's next week and I'm proud of my girl.  She auditioned for and didn't get cast in every musical up until now.  She is a lesson in perseverance and grit.  I am (sadly) missing a concert of Clarissa's so I can go to every possible performance of Emma's show.  Emma thinks I'm crazy.  "Just go to the concert."

I think when she's a mother and her daughter is a senior in her first and last high school musical, she'll probably understand.


Emma, phone dropper extraordinaire, finally put her battered and cracked phone aside and inherited Adam's old phone.  After careful research she bought a sturdy case and a screen protector.  So far so good.

Mark brought home a cracked screen protector he'd procured from one of his friends.  His aim was to trick Emma into thinking her screen was cracked.  He had to wait a few days for the trick because Girl is never really separated from her phone.  When we had our girl party here the other night, Emma and Clarissa were singing at the piano and Emma's phone was left on the table.  With a gleam in his eye, Mark saw his chance.  I asked Emma to get her phone and she freaked out.  "What happened?" she sort of shrieked.  "I did NOT do this!"  She stared in horror at her phone.

"What?" I asked. "Show me."

She showed me her apparently cracked phone screen and she kept saying, "How did this happen?!?"

Mark nonchalantly walked over and said, "Here, let me see."  He inspected the screen and then peeled off the cracked screen protector.

Emma fell to the floor in relief.  She just lay there for awhile.


In further proof that he didn't get it from me, Mark's favorite parts of each day are dodge ball and P.E.  Who is that kid?  (He also loves history and that makes him feel a little less alien.)  Yesterday he told me about Kaden who was the self proclaimed best basketball player in 8th grade.  Then Ty moved here from Pennsylvania.  Yesterday Ty challenged Kaden to a game of one on one and beat him soundly.  Then they played basketball in P.E. and Kaden picked Mark first for his team.

I told Mark I was always picked last in P.E. and Mark looked at me with a shocked expression.  He didn't know what to think about me and I didn't know what to think about him.


Maybe a year and a half ago?  Emma and her friend Adri were extras in the filming of a movie.  It's set in the nineties and Emma wore one of Adam's shirts (that he wore in the 90s).  She pulled it out of Braeden's closet because he had been wearing it.  It's kind of the shirt that keeps on giving.

Here are Emma and Adri, in the trailer!

I love those cute 90s girls.


Mark and Emma frequently try on political stances for size.  We discuss.  Sometimes they get mad when we challenge them.  Sometimes they nod in recognition when we speak something that resonates with them.  Sometimes they convince me of their idea.


Mark is the perfect antidote for discouragement.  I was feeling a bit downcast.  It's just been so busy and is not letting up and I like margins.  Mark knows I'm downcast without me telling him and he texted his dad about ways to cheer me up.  Really all I needed was time with my two guys.  (Emma was at work.)


Emma bought fake eyelashes (on a Walmart trip excursion with Adri).  Mark wants to take cross training as an elective next year.  (seriously)

You just never know what will happen next.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Books I read in January 2017

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin **

This book was OK.  We read it for book club.  I mostly liked it but it had the feel of a Hallmark movie (not my favorite).  There was A LOT of information in it about heart surgery and rowing which some people in my book club enjoyed and I skimmed because that's how I live my life.  If it's any indication of how far fetched things were, many in my book club were really hoping one of the characters would die.  Just for a little realism.

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman*****

I LOVED this one.  One of the best books I've read in a while.  It's about a curmudgeonly man who keeps trying to kill himself but keeps getting interrupted by his pesky neighbors who need his help.  I absolutely loved the guy by the end of the book.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ****

In my quest to read Newbery books, I read this.  I liked it.  There was a Stella in it and also a Thelma (elephant and bird respectively).  It was a beautiful book and tugged at your humane to animal heart strings without being preachy.  I liked the characters and the style of writing.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo ****

Another Newbery and another book I liked.  It's about a sort of unhappy girl (she calls herself a cynic) who has unhappy divorced parents.  She befriends (begrudgingly) her neighbor's great-nephew who is also really unhappy.  Then Ulysses happens who is a superhero squirrel and everything rights itself as a result.  Nothing is automatically cured (it's not a Hallmark movie) but everyone reaches a measure of peace in their difficult circumstances.  It was a smart book.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander **

Meh.  Book 2 in this series is a Newbery honor book so I felt compelled to read this one first.  I don't love fantasy books and this one gave me whiplash with it's constant jump from one big adventure to the next.  An upside of the book was that I had a window into Braeden's world as a grade school kid.  He read this book and he used a lot of the phrases in his normal life.  There was a lot of, So that's where he got that!  Much like Gurgi in the book, Braeden was on a constant hunt for "crunchings and munchings."


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