Friday, March 31, 2017

more pictures


Adam told me how to add a few more pictures.  Here is cute Emma and less cute me in front of Notre Dame.


This is SFERV.


We ate dinner in a restaurant on this street.



Emma and me in front of the Mona Lisa. Is this real life?
We are in Paris

I am writing you near my open window and French birds are singing in the early morning air.

I think my French is coming along because I recognized they were birds singing.

I am not very good at remembering to say Bonjour and Merci and Pardon. When you are tired hello, thank you and please just pop out.

Emma is impressing me with her French courage. She talked to her seat mate in French on the plane and asked if she would trade me seats so I could sit by Emma. (It wasn't a hard sell because Emma was in the very last row.). Also, halfway through the conversation, Emma said, "Help me, Madame!" to her teacher because the French was over her head. She asked directions at the Louvre in French and she asked what time breakfast is in our hotel.

As for me, I saw a girl with a t shirt that read Pardon My French.

I need one of those.

The flight was long and miserable but Emma and I saw the Northern Lights! She is my good luck charm when it comes to seeing them. I love that I have only seen them with her flying over the Atlantic.

Our bus was delayed picking us up at the airport which was a jet lag catalyst. We sat around in sort of catatonic states by our luggage. I slept on the lurching bus to the hotel better than I had slept on the flight. By then I was beyond exhausted and there was no screaming baby like the plane....

The hotel is ok--sort of seedy--but the bed was a flat surface and I was grateful.

We went to the Louvre. I was put in charge of 5 girls. I call them my ducklings and they call themselves SFERV (Sarah, Fiona, Emma, Rose, and Vanessa). Fiona had a course mapped out for us and the Louvre knocked my socks off. We saw such a little part of it but it was amazing.

From there we walked/took the metro to dinner by way of walking through an incredible part of the city. You know, walked by Notre Dame. No big deal!

We had dinner in a tiny restaurant. It was beef stew and bread and lemon tart. Emma said that the beef stew tasted like my French beef stew recipe and I said this is much better!

She said, "Still, you can taste the similarities."

Hey, I will take it.

We walked around some more and saw impressive buildings, one after another. The Seine was alight with boats and everything was perfectly beautiful. I felt like we were in a movie. A movie where I was exceedingly tired and wanted to take a nap on the sidewalk.

I will try to add some pictures.

Maybe in a separate post. Still trying to figure this out...


Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thelemma

We're off!  Today!  I have to get my house in order and my suitcase filled.  Not much time for blogging.

I am excited.  I'm looking forward to time with Emma.  (Thelma + Emma = Thelemma)

She corrects nearly everything I say.  She looks at me with looks of derision often and effectively.  She told me I looked "frumpy" when I was trying to figure out if I should pack a skirt.  (In the history of the world, no one overthinks packing like I do.)  Like Marianne said, frumpy is never a kind thing to call someone.  She's a teenage daughter though and she is really really good at it.

Also, she is very funny and smart.  She knows French.  She gives the best hugs in the world and she is kind (mostly) and loyal.  She gets me.  When I told her I was possibly crazy with anxiety about the trip.  She said, "Not crazy.  You are an ISFJ. You're a planner."  Her smile lights up my life.  I'm over the moon that I get to share this trip with her.  It wouldn't be possible without Adam.  Besides the obvious financial contribution, he encouraged me to go and keeps telling me when I get nervous how great it will be.

I will try to blog when I am there.  I'm only taking my phone so I'm not sure how blogging will go.  (I'm choosing books instead of technology when it comes to suitcase space.)

Good books don't let you down.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Books I read in March 2017



The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown ***

We read this book for book club.  It wasn't super compelling and I'm shallow and want to entertained mostly.  It wasn't really about imperfection.  I can do imperfection.  Imperfection is sort of my jam. I did like this book though. There was something in the book that really resonated with me.  She talked about the distinction between fitting in and belonging.  She said it's easy to fit in.  And it is.  We can dress appropriately and act socially acceptable and we fit in.  Very different to belong.  To have People.  I've never felt that more keenly than when I've moved.

Connected to that is this thought by her:  If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.  I'm grateful for the right sort of people I have to share my stories with.  Even when they're stories that don't paint me in the best light.  What would we do without the people that love us anyway?




The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows ****

I loved this book!  It's by the woman who co-wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society which I also loved.   This book was set in a small town in West Virginia during the Depression.  A high society girl, cut off by her parents, joins the Federal Writer's Project and heads to the town to write its history.  I loved the family she boarded with and all the characters.  I cried.  (Which is really not much of a recommendation because I cry easily, but still.)


Soulless by Gail Carriger **

I got this book from the library because it was highly recommended.  Then I looked at the cover, "a novel of vampires, werewolves, and parasols."  What?  Not my normal genre but it was highly recommended so I gave it a try.  The writing was witty and enjoyable.  The subject matter was sometimes interesting (Victorian English society) and sometimes just weird.  Also, sometimes I had to skim because it was dodgy.  I don't really recommend it but I did finish it, so that's something.


The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah ***

Anything by Kristin Hannah is a sure bet for me.  This was a good book.  It's about all the things.  Sister relationships, marital relationships, a suffering motherless girl, forgiveness and acceptance and goodness.  I also love about her books that you think you know how it's going to turn out.  You think you know how it should turn out.  Then it is different than you expected and you're glad.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Good things



It's no way to live, just looking forward to the future.

Sometimes though, the future is what gets you through the present.

And good things are going to happen.

I'm excited for my trip with Emma.  I'm excited for summer.  I'm going to try to grow zucchini.  (Don't mention this if I fail at zucchini/the squirrels triumph.  Thank you in advance.)  I'm looking forward to sitting on the deck and watching the sunset while Mark does flips on the trampoline and Adam and I discuss the day.

I see adventures in our future.  I love it when we pile in the car and head out for whatever destination Adam's heart desires.  I like that we stop at Maverik first (Adventure's First Stop) and then we stop at a different Maverik along the way (because I inevitably need to use the bathroom) and then we stop at Maverik on the way home.  Because Maverik.

Braeden told us his probable release date from his mission.

I haven't made a paper chain yet, but I'm thinking about it.  I'm excited for the challenge of keeping that kid in milk.  It was the job I was born to do.

It's counter-intuitive because thinking of Emma going to college also makes my heart crack a little but I'm looking forward to outfitting her dorm room.  She's excited.  She's started pinning things.  Braeden will probably take whatever he grabs on the way out the door that day to college.  Emma's started a pinterest board.

I love both those kids.

I'm looking forward to Sunday dinners with my college kids.  It will be the highlight of my week.  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas with all my kids.  I may or may not have gifts waiting in the wings for Braeden already.

Don't judge me.

Good things are going to happen.  And I'm happy about it.




Monday, March 27, 2017

Joy

Occasionally the world feels heavy.  It just does.  And usually, ironically, it's because I love people.

It seems like love shouldn't end up in sorrow but it does sometimes.  People make choices that break your heart.  People are thoughtless or selfish.  They're wrapped up in their own choices.  They mistakenly think they are beyond help.  They mistakenly think they aren't hurting anyone.

I had a dream early Sunday morning about someone I love who I haven't talked to in a long time.  We were sort of mad at each other in the dream and I was sad about the choices he's made that have wrecked his life.

Finally in the dream I said, "I really care about you."

His face softened and then I woke up.

I told Adam the dream.  I said, "I wanted to go back to sleep and see what would happen."

Yesterday Heather taught our YW lesson.  She hit it out of the ballpark.  When the next generation are in charge of the world and that includes people like Heather, let me tell you, the world will be in good hands.

She taught us about the Atonement of Jesus Christ which is the only source of peace in a fraught world.  She read us this from a talk by Elder Nelson:
Joy is powerful, and focusing on joy brings God’s power into our lives. As in all things, Jesus Christ is our ultimate exemplar, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” Think of that! In order for Him to endure the most excruciating experience ever endured on earth, our Savior focused on joy!

And what was the joy that was set before Him? Surely it included the joy of cleansing, healing, and strengthening us; the joy of paying for the sins of all who would repent; the joy of making it possible for you and me to return home—clean and worthy—to live with our Heavenly Parents and families.

If we focus on the joy that will come to us, or to those we love, what can we endure that presently seems overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair, or simply impossible?
I don't always know how to do that.  I don't always know how to focus on joy when I'm faced with the "overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair, or simply impossible."  I really don't.

Last night, which didn't really help my mood when I already felt weighed down, we watched part of a documentary on D-day.  Emma and I are heading to the Normandy beaches and I wanted a refresher.  It was horrible.  So discouraging to watch wave after wave of American soldiers being mowed down on Omaha Beach.

I remembered the lesson, but where was the joy?

Then I realized, the joy, at least part of it, was the innocent people who were eventually freed from concentration camps.  The joy was freedom wrenched back out of the Nazi's hands and restored to people who had lost it.

I'll keep trying to find the joy.  Spring follows winter.




Friday, March 24, 2017

Grateful Friday

this picture has nothing to do with this post, but I love how spring is busting out all over


Adam

I know how lucky I am.

He is smart and funny and interesting and good.  He is a calming influence in my life and my safe harbor.

When I hit the garage door with the van, I texted him.  I told him the door wouldn't close, but the van seemed fine.  He texted back "Then no harm done.  I love you."

No harm done?  Well, a little.  (The whole garage-door-wouldn't-close thing.)

As soon as Adam got home, he helped get dinner on the table because I was in my typical Wednesday night flurry trying to get out the door for YW.  I had to leave early but he recruited our children to help and started working on the garage door.

Then he went to scouts.

After we had all returned home and had read scriptures, etc. and sent the kids to bed (ha! we pretend we're still in charge), Adam and I went to the garage and I "helped" him which mostly meant handing him the wrong tool.

One of the little wheel things (I'm assuming that's the technical term) on the garage door had popped off its track.  Adam just muscled it back into place because he can do things like that (things that need muscles).  He took off one of the metal pieces that was really bent and hammered it back into shape.  We reattached it (mostly him) and chatted about the day and then voila!  The garage door was fixed.

Adam said, "We didn't even need to call your dad."

I said, "Now you're the dad.  Our kids will be calling you."

*****

I'm also grateful today for how loved I felt on my birthday.  I appreciated all the gifts, cards, phone calls, text messages and Facebook greetings.  It's nice to have people.  That's how you feel on days like that.

In honor of our birthdays, Braeden emailed us last Monday a list of things he loved about each of us.  Here were two of my favorites from his list about me.


I love that kid.

Emma made us a cake.  She has never been very interested in baking and hasn't done it much.  She puts her mind to things though.  She gets all in.  She took Mark to the store.  They bought all the ingredients and shooed me out of the kitchen.  After a few minutes, I was called back because they couldn't find the pans.  Every few minutes they needed instructions.  Mark sprayed the pans (at least he said he did) but the cake layers were pretty well stuck inside the pans.  

I was called in.

I did my best to extract the cake.  Two of the three layers came out in pieces.  I said I thought we could salvage them.  

(Mark was dismissed from the kitchen by his sister.)

There were a million and one more questions, but Emma (much like since she was a toddler) didn't really want help.  If I offered more than the specific thing she was asking for, she'd say, impatiently, "I can do it."

I'd back slowly out of the kitchen until the next question.

Finally I sat on a stool at the counter and we chatted.  I was sufficiently out of her way, but there to field questions.

The cake turned out amazingly delicious.

We were pretty triumphant in assembling the broken layers.  It was filled with raspberry jam, bordered by buttercream frosting.  The top frosting was thinned with heated and strained jam to remove the seeds and then Emma whipped cream and piped it on the top.

Divine!


It's been years since someone made me a birthday cake and I think Emma is on the hook from now on.

As for Mark, the sweet banished kitchen helper, he also made me feel loved.  He is ever kind and attendant to me and yesterday was no exception.  At the end of the day he sat by me on the couch.  He lay his red curly head on my shoulder and slipped his arm around me.  "Did you have a good day, Mom?" he asked earnestly.

Yes.

I did.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

When the universe speaks

I never set an alarm.  Adam, Emma and Mark all three set alarms.  And I usually wake up naturally because I'm not great at sleeping late.

Yesterday morning, after a rocky night (insomnia--not for the faint of heart), I woke up and it seemed lighter and later than usual.  I looked at the clock and it was 8:30!  I never sleep that late!  (Unless I was awake until 3:00 AM....)  No one else was awake.  Everyone had either slept through their alarms or turned them off unknowingly and gone back to sleep.

Emma said, "Maybe this is the universe telling us we need sleep."

*****

It was a colossally terrible day as days often are when everyone oversleeps.  There was little joy including but not limited to me accidentally hitting the garage door with the van as I was frantically trying to get Mark to math on time.

Emma gave me one of her really great hugs and then she said, "Maybe I shouldn't go to school and we should go shoe shopping."

We had already planned to go shoe shopping later since she wore broken shoes to church on Sunday.

I thought it seemed like a brilliant idea.  (I complain that my children take school attendance lightly but it is clear why they are that way.)

I think it was the universe telling me, "You have an awesome daughter.  You're welcome."

*****

Yesterday afternoon, two boxes of chocolate dipped strawberries were delivered, one for me and one for Adam.  From Stella for our birthdays.  It was the most welcome kind gesture I can imagine on a gloomy day.

Maybe it was the universe telling me that as long as Stella is in the world, we are going to be OK.

*****  

I love every single thing about sharing a birthday with Adam.  (It's today by the way.)  I think it's the universe telling us we belong together.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Comeuppance

On Sunday before ward council, a group of us were sitting in the hall outside the bishop's office.  A young father with a hysterical toddler emerged from the chapel where another ward was meeting.  As the child wailed, Brother Danklef looked at us and said what we were all thinking, "I'm glad I'm past that stage."

Marcia and Camalee and I all nodded in agreement.  Yes!  We have moved on to bigger and better things and church no longer feels like hand to hand combat (which it did for me at times--I have big kids and they started out strong.)

In ward council, we were talking about youth conference and including the younger kids (12-13 year olds).  There are maturity differences.  Would they be able to handle it all?

Another person said, "I think they'd be fine.  What I'm worried about is the Teachers."  Heads nodded in agreement.

Those are the boys that are 14-15 years old.  Marcia, Camalee and I all have boys that age.

We looked at each other sheepishly.  Gone was the smugness about not having to drag screaming children out of church any longer.

Like I reminded Marianne when we talked on the phone yesterday, if you can let your sons live between the ages of 11-15, you can do anything.  Geri taught me that and it is a true principle.

At the same time, I love my boy forever and ever.  The end.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

You really never know

There's this kid that sometimes asks Mark for a ride home from school.  It's not that far out of my way and I don't mind.  Besides, he's just odd enough that it brings a certain razzmatazz to my day.

Yesterday, he climbed in and said, "So, I've never really asked you your name.  I think I should know your name."

"Thelma," I said.

"What?!?"  Because my name is almost always a shock to people.  And forget them knowing how to spell it.  That's just crazy talk.  I don't know why, because it's completely phonetic, but it trips people up.

"Thel-ma," Mark said slowly.  He looked at me and mouthed, "Sorry."  I smiled at him, because I don't mind.

"So," said the boy from the back seat, "You should have a Youtube channel."

Now it was my turn to be surprised.

"It goes with your name," he said, by way of explanation.

"Oh, OK," I said.

"Maybe you could do crazy science experiments," he suggested.

"Sure," I said.

Then he asked if we had any relatives with professions that we took advantage of.

"Um," I said.

"You know," he said, "like they work at Disneyland and get you discount tickets?"

I told him I didn't think we had anyone like that.

When he was getting out of the car, he said, "Mark, do you have any siblings?"

"An older brother and sister," Mark said.

"I would love to meet them someday," he said.

I related this tale to Emma when we got home.  She said, "I want to meet you too, weird kid."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Horticulture

Adam bought me my birthday present on Saturday.  It is the most beautiful little fiddle leaf fig you've ever seen.  I've been wanting one forever.

Meet Felicia:



They're expensive and daunting.  Will I kill it?

(Especially considering the corn plant that is really not doing well.)

Poor sad friend.  His new home is in our bedroom.  I'm hoping he will appreciate more humidity from the master bathroom.
Adam pointed out that there are lots of healthy plants in the house.  For example these guys have bloomed all winter and I love them.


I dwell on the corn plant.  He told me that sometimes plants just die.  I insisted, "No, there has to be a reason!  I have to fix it!"

Which comes down to one of my character flaws.  I always want to "fix" it.  No matter how often Adam tells me that I need to be more trusting and less controlling (or trying to be controlling because who am I kidding?).  I can't make my corn plant thrive any more than I can make everything perfect always for my children.

Over and over I come to the conclusion that instead of trying to see the end from the beginning, instead of trying to convince everyone of what is Truth and what Should Happen, instead of trying to fix everything, I need to be still.

I need to decide and seek answers to the question of today.  What can I do today?

Today I'm going to talk sweetly to my plants.  All of them.  The thriving ones and the intimidating one (please don't die little Felicia!) and the struggling one.

For today, I'll try my best to do what I can.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Grateful Friday

Teach us delight in simple things.

Rudyard Kipling

When Mark started going to school, Adam and I decided to have lunch together once a week.  Sometimes we have lunch together 2-3 times a week.

Because we can.

It is marvelous being married to him.

*****

I went to book club last night.  I love book club.  We talk about all sorts of random and unrelated things and it feels like a safe place.  For example, there are the mothers who think Junie B. Jones books are terrible and won't let their children read them.  There are the mothers who will let their children read them, but after every page they discuss how Junie B. is not acting appropriately.  And then there's me.  I love Junie B. Jones and we no holds barred read them (Emma) or listened to audio books on road trips (all of us) back in the day.

Is this why I have sort of sassy children?

I don't know.  My point is, there's room for everyone at book club.

It makes me happy to have a group where you can be vulnerable about both big (serious life choices) and little things (books our kids are allowed to read).

With the right sort of women, you feel like we're in this together.  We remind ourselves that we are better than the parents in The Glass Castle.  We are all doing OK.

***** 

I got this picture texted to me yesterday.  In a surprising coincidence, Braeden's second cousin who happens to be serving in the same mission, also has to go home for recovery because he needs surgery.


Branson (who needs ACL surgery, poor guy) is flying home today and Pam, his mom, told me last night that Braeden is taking him to the airport. 

It's a great thing about life.  You have experiences that prepare you to help someone else in a similar circumstance.  Empathy for the win.





Thursday, March 16, 2017

The state of the union

Adam makes me laugh periodically throughout the day, either in person or through texts.

Braeden is as happy as a clam.  And also Stella sent me a picture that someone had sent her of him.  The people of Virginia Beach are maybe my lifeblood.

The senioritis is real for Emma.  She is making plans to decorate her dorm room, reminding me that she may be too busy to come home when she's in college and generally viewing her current homework with disdain.

I on the other hand will never be too busy to go to Provo and wait outside her classes with homemade signs proclaiming my love for my baby girl that I love and just miss soooo much.

She can run but she can't hide.

Mark is working on a monologue for his latest round of auditions.  Also, he's working on the foreign policy he thinks our country should adopt relating to South America.

You innocently pick up an 8th grader from school and you get an earful of how he shaved 25 seconds off his mile in P.E. and his opinion on the Monroe Doctrine and then what he thinks needs to happen now.

Then we get home, he eats anything and everything he can find and he disappears.  Words are used up.

Finally, spring has sprung.  Spectacularly. The sunshine is just over and over making my day.  Flowers are blooming, green leaves are shooting up out of the ground and showing up on trees.  I walked to the mail box and a bright blue bird swooped in front of me, grasping nest material in its beak.  It's good for the soul.

A new season reminds me that things change whether they are wonderful or just to be endured. 

The beat goes on.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Things I don't understand

There are any number of things I don't understand.  (And by any number, I mean a big number.)

I have never been completely flummoxed by greeting cards before though.

Monday while I was waiting for Braeden's emails to come in (like I do), I was perusing Zulily (like I do).

I saw these greeting cards.


I'm trying to imagine a scenario where you would need this card.  One possibility is if you want to send it in a passive aggressive fashion to your husband because you want him to take you on a weekend getaway.

Fortunately they come in a pack of ten.

That means ten weekend getaways!

Alternatively, maybe these are intended for people with life coaches.  Every time there is a trip to pack for, you can send off this card and your life coach will send you a packing list.  I have never had a life coach but I'm assuming it's just a series of greeting cards sent back and forth, right? 

Then there were these:


Maybe you would need a whole set of ten cards to ask ten girls to be your flower girl.  Maybe?

But for a maid of honor/matron of honor?



You only have one of those right?  Is this so you can ask lots of candidates?  Cover your bases in case they are unavailable/unwilling?

Or would someone need a set of ten because they anticipate needing them for subsequent weddings.  (This man may not be a keeper, I'd better get a whole set of these cards....)

Maybe this set is good for mothers of many daughters.  They can store them in a file folder and when each girl gets married, voila!  They are prepared with cards.

This may be entirely beside the point, but chances are if you are close enough to ask someone (or ten someones as the case may be) to be your maid of honor, wouldn't you maybe do it in person rather than mail a card?

And you thought I spent my time wondering about important things.

Maybe you didn't ever think that....

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Capable // not capable

A while ago our front door stopped functioning.  It worked from the inside but not the outside.  Adam shrugged and said that was fine, we didn't want just anyone coming in anyway.

I told him I thought we should fix it.  I thought Mark could do it.  Adam said he was worried that if we started unscrewing screws, the whole thing would fall apart.

Mark heard him say that and from then on, Mark was unwilling to try.

I told Mark I liked him better when he was younger and fearless.

Yesterday I had a YW presidency meeting in our living room and was reminded again that the door handle was not working.

After everyone left, I said, "Mark, get a screwdriver.  We're doing this!"

He sighed and asked, "What kind?"

"Philips head."

And away we went.

Mark unscrewed the initial screws and like Adam predicted/feared, he ended up with a handful of metal parts.  About twenty of them.

"Um," I said.

But Mark was invested.  He inspected all the parts.  He tried one thing and then another.  He very quickly figured out how all the pieces worked together.  He patiently assembled the mechanism, then took it all apart because it wasn't quite right and then assembled it all together again.


Repeat repeat repeat because part of it was bent (?) and you had to do it just so or it wouldn't work.

About this time, I asked Emma to go and switch the laundry and start a new load.  She admitted she didn't know how to do that.

Really?

It reminded me of how she could write her name before she was two (seriously) but one day I realized she didn't know one animal sound.

There are holes in my parenting.
 
I led her downstairs so I could teach a girl to fish.  I told her, "You'll be doing your own laundry next year.  I think this summer you should start doing your own laundry."

"Or," she said, "we could have you keep doing it so we can savor this golden time a little bit longer."

"Or," I said, "you can start doing your own laundry this summer."

We went back to admire Mark's work and help him hold things while he was screwing them together.   When Adam came home, I told Emma, "Quick!  Go distract Dad until Mark gets this fixed."

Emma went flying into the garage and by then it was just funny because 1) you can't truly hide the fact that the front door is disassembled no matter how distracting Emma can be and 2) Adam wouldn't be upset anyway and 3) I had confidence in Mark.

Well placed confidence.

The door is fixed.







Monday, March 13, 2017

Interpreting my dreams

If you want your dreams to be as fascinating to other people as they are to you, don't mention it's a dream until the end of the story.
@thewoodenslurpy 

I have a rule, instituted because Emma was that sort of child, that I will only listen to a dream if it is 30 seconds long.


That's all.

If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.

I don't usually remember my dreams but when I do, I can usually trace them back to something really real happening in my life.

For example, I woke up Saturday with a sore jaw from clenching my teeth all night.  I had dreamed about Emma leaving home.  In the dream I was mournfully sad and thinking it would be so much worse to send her than Braeden because when Braeden left home, at least I still had Emma.

(Side note:  What's going to happen when Mark leaves?  Despair and wretchedness, that's what.  One time I was lamenting my children growing up and leaving home and my dad told me I should have had more children.  I don't want more children.  I want these exact same children.  For longer.)

I was walking with Emma in the dream and then I quickly scooped her back in alarm because we were at the spot between my grandparents' house and my cousin Shanon's house where I sometimes saw snakes when I was growing up.

(Another side note: I was unreasonably scared of snakes as a child.  They don't really scare me now--mice are way more scary now--but when I was a kid, and would walk to Shanon's house, I would determine just where along the walk it would be closer to run home or run to her house if I saw a snake.)

(I never claimed to not be a weird kid.)

Anyway, back to the dream.  Are you still with me?  I realize the hypocrisy here because listening to dreams is the worst (hence the 30 second rule) and I'm writing about my dream.

In my dream, at the snake spot, an enormous bigger-than-you've-ever-seen snake was crossing the road and I was holding Emma back and protecting her.

(Because I'm suddenly a slayer of snakes?)

I don't know.

In my non dreaming state, I haven't been nearly as sad about Emma graduating as I was Braeden.  For one thing, rather than a mission, she is going to college, 30 minutes away.

In my dreaming state, I think I'm sad and will miss her and want to save her from everything bad or unknown or scary, including really big snakes.

OK, was that less than 30 seconds?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Grateful Friday

I'm grateful for America.  I acknowledge it has its problems.  The president for example.  He embarrasses me.  A lot.

I mean, we voted and that was the best we came up with?

Anyway.

It's still a great country.  Drive thru dry cleaners, for example.  How great is this country?

Yesterday was sort of a banner phone day and while I swept and mopped the kitchen and folded laundry, I talked to my mom and both sisters.  We talked about the mundane and the big.  Like we do.

After I hung up with Marianne, I thought about us.  We've been in this mother thing together pretty much from the start.  (She got a nine month jump on me.)  We've talked over sleep schedules and potty training and chores for recalcitrant offspring and home schooling and public school and extracurricular activities and sending kids on missions and now to college.  It's been a huge part of our identity, this motherhood thing.  It's the main thing that matters.

And it occurs to me after we discussed trips and college majors and options, options, options for our kids, that they are swimming in opportunities.  Those kids are practically drenched in them.

What more could we want as mothers (assuming they, you know, take all our advice and make the most of those opportunities)?

I'm grateful for America.  I'm grateful for the freedom of a dizzying array of choices, chances to fail and chances to succeed and a whole lot of chances for adventure.

Speaking of adventure, Emma's French teacher gave us all a pair of these glasses last night at our meeting.


We are ready for whatever bright lights await!


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Not my email


Braeden suggested I just change my email address.  I don't want to.  It's a good little email address.  That's why people keep claiming it as their own.

It is weird to get pictures of people I don't know emailed to me.



No explanation.  Just pictures.

They all seem happy though.  It's not like they were calls for help.  So that's a relief.

*****

 This was a sort of freaky video of this girl lip syncing.  From Sweden.

And while we're pondering the imponderables.  This.

My best guess is that it's a mattress store in Brazil.  And I got the invoice emailed to me.

It's a strange life.

*****

I don't mind the friendly messages:


From now on can my nieces and nephews call me Antey?




And right back at you, Walter.  From both of us?

I appreciate the brevity on this one:


Way to get right to the point, Robert.  The unfortunate part is that he probably still hasn't had his question answered about going to town.  Is he waiting by the door, just in case?

Rhoda is less succinct.  Is she speaking in code?   


I don't understand the Turnip/Turner reference.  An inside joke?  Too bad the intended Thelma didn't see this.  She'd probably appreciate the humor?  I love that she wished me all bests for tomorrow though.  I could use all the bests.

Here's another spot of good news.  How to avoid the Sunday Blues.




After contemplation, I realized they weren't talking about the Sunday Blues that happen from hours of endless meetings.  They're talking about becoming your own boss so you don't get the blues on Sunday night.

I never get the blues on Sunday night.  On Sunday night, I feel relieved.

*****

I can't help feeling responsible when I get some emails.  For example, I wish Eithne would just bite the bullet and go to the dentist.  They are concerned about her, and frankly, I am too.



And will Thelma pay her bill, when I keep getting the alerts about the bills?


I hope so, because Virgin Media sounds like a rollicking good time.  Must-watch HD telly!




Then there are the appliances.  I would like a new refrigerator because side by sides are the worst.  Did this Thelma get a new fridge?  I hope she will know about the service plan, even though I got her email.  Protect what matters, Thelma.  That's caring.




This Thelma may need a new fridge.


I'm not sure the appointment to get the repair went well.

The drama!

Speaking of drama.  I'm worried about Kath.  Hang in there!  Drink some juice.  Have some chicken soup. 



Stay tuned for more exciting email (that isn't mine).  Will Eithne go to the dentist?  Will Thelma Newnham forgive Hotpoint?  Will that Virgin Media bill get paid?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Emma

Last night we went to Tim Timmerman, Hope of America.

We loved it!

The main reason?  Emma was in it twice!

There was this part (that was also in the trailer):


And another time when she was playing frisbee.

Braeden's friends Brian and Olivia were in it (Brian had a few lines!) and Emma's friends Vanessa and Caralyn were spotted. 

Also, Adam had a plaid shirt exactly like this once upon a time:



It was filmed here in good old Utah county so we recognized the high schools and Seven Peaks and of course Mt. Timpanogos was a shining star.

Adam and I got a little excited because Ripples, the drive in that is in The Phone Call movie was in a few scenes.

The whole thing was just a lot of fun to watch.  It was a pretty good movie too.  Clever and entertaining.

Speaking of clever, Emma and her friend Fiona have been working on a project for their world history class.

They made this guy out of paper mache:


They named him Pierre Oublier.


Yesterday in class, they did a presentation about the French Revolution and cut off his head with a guillotine.  (It was one of those big paper cutters.)

Poor guy!

I like having Emma for a daughter.  She brings a certain razzmatazz to my life.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Very married

If I get married, I want to be very married.

Audrey Hepburn


I think Adam and I have achieved "very married."  We can do that thing where we communicate paragraphs with a look.  We like to do mundane things together.  Costco?  Filling the car with gas?  Anywhere?  It's fun if we're together. 

We don't so much finish each other sentences because we know what each other is thinking but more because Adam stops talking mid sentence a lot because he's a deep thinker.  I stop talking mid sentence because I forget words.  (I would blame old age, but I've been like this for a long time.)

Adam and our kids are really good at deciphering what I mean when I call everyone "whosit" and everything "whatsit."

Maybe a way that Adam and I are most compatible is that I like to switch decorations around and he doesn't notice.  It's a beautiful thing.

Recently I pointed out to him that I'd changed a few things for spring.



He admired (dutifully) and then I said, "Now I need to show you my pièce de résistance."  He corrected my French pronunciation because who am I kidding?

Then I led him into the living room.

He looked around.  "Is that pillow new?"

"No.  We've had it for a few months."

He came up empty, so I introduced him to Andromeda.


Isn't she lovely?

Adam said, "That's kind of weird."

And that's OK.  Because we could have gone months (years?) without him even noticing her.

I think every room needs something "kind of weird" and he doesn't mind. 

We're very married.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Update

1.

I miss this one:

I found this on my phone--I think he texted it to his grandma.

It feels like did that really happen?  Did he really come home? And also, I got used to talking to him and having him around and now I miss him.

2.

Franxiety.  That's what I'm calling it.  I got an email from Emma's French teacher about the trip to France and I was hit with Franxiety.  The best way to combat it is to think of really crazy and far fetched scenarios of doom and gloom related to the trip.  Then I feel less anxious.  And also I'm excited.  And also I'm nervous.  And excited....

3.

I have figured out an excellent way to go incognito.  When I pick up Mark from school, we occasionally give his friends, who are brothers, a ride home too.  On Friday one of them climbed in the van and said, "Oh, I thought you were someone else.  I thought you must be Mark's sister.  You look so different."

I looked exactly the same as usual except I had my hair in a pony tail.  Apparently this is how Superman can disguise himself with just glasses.

4.

I made a congratulatory/conciliatory cherry chip cake.  (We called it a Five C cake.)


I also invented a new kind of frosting because I didn't have all the ingredients I needed for my usual recipe.  My improvisation turned out well.  Tabor called right in my moment of triumph so he got to hear me wax enthusiastically about frosting.

How lucky is that brother of mine?

5.

The cake was created for the big moment when we found out if Emma was admitted to BYU--hence the congratulatory/conciliatory nature of the thing.

I was pretty sure it was going to be congratulatory.  I mean, why wouldn't BYU want my girl?  But we were still all a nervous wreck.  We stress ate our way through dinner and I forbade Emma from checking her phone.  Occasionally I would nudge her and say, "Check your phone!"

Nothing.

All evening.

Later we were on three different computers, refreshing the page over and over and reading Facebook posts from other kids around the country that were also not getting the news.  Occasionally some kid would report that they'd heard.  Emma was despairing.  "I didn't get in.  That's why they haven't told me. I'm denied!"

She said she was going to throw up.

She is nothing if not dramatic.

Finally Adam came down the stairs and showed us the screen on his phone:


Emma fell on the floor. (Nothing if not dramatic.)

I got on the floor too, to hug her.  Mark piled on too because that's how he lives his life.

Adam took a picture.

It's the picture Emma wanted to put on Facebook and I wouldn't text it to her because all you can see is her foot and one arm and it's hardly the dignified image I want to portray on the internet.

Ha!

Never mind.  Here it is.


This is what joy late on a Friday night in the Davis household looks like.


Then we had cake.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Grateful Friday

I'm reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.  In it she wrote that she blogs about gratitude every Friday.

I thought it was a good idea.

Today I'm grateful for Janet.

She's the kind of friend that sent me a video scientifically proving that McDonald's Diet Coke tastes better than other kinds.  (It's something we've always theorized about.)

She's the kind of friend that sends Braeden cookies on his mission and has been a rescuer of my children on various occasions.  She's the kind of friend who provided best friends for my kids with her own stellar children.

She's the kind of friend who prays for us (and I pray for them too).

She's the kind of friend that every time I see her or talk to her, it's like no time has passed.

Why did I do a rotten thing like move away from her?

Braeden eyed the houses for sale in our neighborhood and said, "The Jorgensens should move here!"  I told him the problem was that whenever I mention it to Eric and Janet they remind me of what a hard time we had moving here.

Rats.  Sometimes I should be less forthcoming.

But Janet's the kind of friend you tell things to.

And besides, like Braeden said, "But we're here.  It would be different for the Jorgensens!"

Today I have a playdate/phone call scheduled with Janet.  So excuse me while I go make sure my phone is charged up completely.

Those phone calls tend to take some time.  We have to talk about all the things.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

A day in the life of I need Adam

Yesterday I was grocery shopping and inexplicably sprung a leak.  The knuckle on my thumb split open and started to bleed.  I use lotion, Badger Balm, Working Hands and everything else everyone ever suggests to me.

I texted Adam and told him that my skin is the worst.  He told me that I needed to put on lots of lotion and then gloves to sleep in.  I did that twice last night and I woke up with much smoother hands.

I need Adam.

Yesterday my alarm clock--which tells the date--didn't switch to March.  It had February 29 as the date.  I fiddled with it and messed it up further.  Adam was leaving for work and suggested I use the manual.

Where does he come up with these novel ideas?

I used the manual and got it all set except the alarm went off at midnight.  Then something beeped a few hours later and I just unplugged the thing.

Adam set it up for me initially and I'm going to have him do it again.

I need Adam.

Last night the laurels were in charge of the combined activity--the one with all the boys and all the girls.  We played human PacMan.  I ran all of my ideas by Adam and he helped me tweak them and figure out how to divide the teams effectively.  He left work a few minutes early so he could be there to help set up the course. 

I asked him to be a referee because I envisioned boys leaping over the chairs that were the boundaries of the PacMan maze.  (And yes, the first thing Mark did when he saw the maze was leap over some chairs.)  Also, I didn't want kids running.  I wanted no broken limbs on my watch.

Adam used his booming voice to explain the rules to a gym full of kids that resembled a gym full of puppies.  He oversaw the game and blew his ref whistle for infractions.  He has this presence that is hard to argue with.  He also knows how to facilitate fun.  He tweaked the game a little as we went and all the kids had big grins on their faces.  They were working together and red faced and panting (even though no running) and smiling.  Emma even thought it was fun.

I need Adam.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Books I read in February 2017

I didn't read much.  It was a month where my attention was largely elsewhere.  I did finish these two:


The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander **

I enjoyed this book more than the previous one in the series.  (This is the one with the Newbery award so I guess that makes sense.)  I learned something that the rest of the world probably already knew.  The Disney Black Cauldron movie is based on these books.  I've never seen the Disney movie but Adam has.  So that is something.


The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown ****

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time.  Someone picked it for book club so I read it.  (I didn't go to book club because Braeden.)  I loved it!  The history was interesting.  It's set in Seattle so I knew the places it talked about.  I realized who Royal Brougham Way (a street in Seattle) was named after.  I even liked the sports drama.  Good good stuff.


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