Monday, March 27, 2023


I'm ready for spring, let me count the ways. Ugh.  I'm tired of snow and ice and cold weather!  Thursday and Friday we had inside recess.  On Friday three students lost the privilege to sit on wobble stools because they were standing on them (!) or kneeling on them at wild angles or turning them sideways and rolling on them.

I know they need recess, but I'm trying to keep them from bodily harm in the meantime....

We got five inches of new snow at our house.

Adam and I helped clean the church on Saturday.  He went earlier than I did because he was the leader of the cleaning team.  I parked on the sheet of ice that was the parking lot and held onto Joan for dear life until I got to the middle where there wasn't so much ice.  Our friends Stephanie and Rick were walking in at the same time and I said, "Is this how we die?!?"

Stephanie was clutching Rick to stay upright and said, "Maybe!"

Later, Adam was doing his thing in his office and I asked Mark what he wanted for dinner this week.  He said chicken tikka masala and that started a whole chain of events.

Cost Plus has had the Tiger Tiger tikka masala sauce we like most + I had a coupon for there that they sent me for my birthday.  I considered maybe we should go to Cost Plus (the closest one is in Fort Union) and then maybe we should go to IKEA to get some things for Pleasant Hill.  

I walked into Adam's office and asked him, "How would you like to be involved in a money spending opportunity?"

I'm like a multi-level marketing schemer, but opposite.

He saw my plan and raised me to Pirate-O's.  They have lots of international foods too.

So we abandoned the Saturday chores we had outlined for ourselves and hit the road.  I loved spending time with Adam although we were thwarted repeatedly.

We never found Tiger Tiger tikka masala (but we bought some other brands to audition as its replacement).  We also bought a Lion Bar to split and some Turkish delight for Emma.  I bought some Bakewell Tarts for Marie Louise just because.

At IKEA, they didn't have the bookcase or the nightstand I was after.  Temporarily unavailable.  Then I saw a really pretty tablecloth on display and asked about it and it is sold out.

Ever since the pandemic, IKEA needs to adopt the tagline, get used to disappointment.

We finally made it home, ate a mix of leftovers for dinner and watched The Adam Project with Mark.

Adam is my favorite person to not get our to do list accomplished with.

Sunday we woke up to more snow.  We got home from church and Emma was here.  She stopped by on her way home from Las Vegas.  She went to the Taylor Swift concert with Marianne's girls and had a great time.

We ate and visited and listened to music (I fell asleep on the couch), then I took the Bakewell Tarts to Marie Louise and had a good visit with her.

I looked at the menacing dark clouds on the horizon.

I hope we will have outside recess today; we got more snow.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Grateful Friday

The other day I read these words:  You were born with a limitless amount of encouragements.

You can encourage over and over and over and never run out.  

I was thinking, There are a lot of things that are limitless.  You can also never run out of smiles and you can never run out of hellos.

You can also never run out of happy birthdays.  I was grateful yesterday for all the people who said happy birthday to me.  I think every adult in the building that I interacted with said "Happy Birthday!" to me with enthusiasm.  Several students in other grades did too!  So kind!  

I loved getting texts and phone calls and emails and messages and even some cards in the mail.

It was the first time in my life my grandma didn't sing to me on my birthday, but I thought of her so it's almost like she did.

Also, if you want to have a good birthday as an adult, an elementary school is not a bad place to be.  Teachers are thoughtful and that is all.

Adam came home from Phoenix yesterday and we went to dinner together and talked about being 50.  I said that everyone says, "Wow," when they find out you're 50.  Then they may add, "You don't look that old."

They are still saying you are old, you just don't look it.  Which I guess is better than also looking old.

I wondered if the best part of my life is over, but then I remembered our granddaughter.  Nope.  The best part is not over yet.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Fifty with Adam: a list

  1.   Adam, Robbie, Erin, Rachel and I had dinner together at the Cannon Center almost every night of our freshman year at BYU.  The boys’ goal in life was to make us laugh so hard we would “spew” or they aggravated us with a game called snaps. (Seriously, it was months and months of us trying to figure out the game.)
  2. Adam sat through biology class twice in a row, one time he listened, one time he talked to me. (I didn't know he went twice and thought he was so smart to get such good grades when he clearly wasn't listening.)
  3. As my home teacher, he made me pop a balloon (a futile attempt to make me unafraid of balloons) and taught me how to drive in a city.
  4. We wrote lots and lots of letters to each other while he was a missionary in Finland.  We’d trace an outline of our hands on the letters and I don’t even know how that started.
  5.   I have every letter he wrote me.
  6.  We started dating after his mission and it felt very natural because we were very good friends.
  7. Except we broke up, and then got back together.
  8. He almost didn’t ask me to marry him the night he did because I was cranky.
  9. We wrote letters every day to each other when we were engaged and separated in Nevada and Washington; we called each other twice a week.
  10.  We were married on an incredibly hot August day.  It was still a great day.
  11. He forgot his suit and had to borrow clothes from my dad for our reception in Nevada.
  12. We went to Vancouver for our honeymoon.  I was terrible at navigating and he impressed me with his metric system prowess.
  13. Our first apartment was in a basement and sprouted mushrooms through the carpet.
  14.  We moved to the third floor when I was pregnant with Braeden and blamed the basement apartment for my morning sickness.
  15.  Braeden was born in a snowstorm and Adam has never driven as slowly as he did the night we brought our baby boy home from the hospital.
  16.  We moved to Connecticut for him to attend Yale for graduate school.
  17. We got over the culture shock of weird shaped butter and weird colored cheese and ended up loving it.  Especially the pizza.
  18.  Adam carried me to the hospital bed when I was in labor with Emma because I was in a panic and irrationally wouldn’t move.
  19.  He went to playgroup with Braeden the next day and had his own labor and delivery story to share.
  20.  We made lifelong friends.
  21. We became brief Mets fans and one night I sent updates of the Mets’ games to him on a pager while he was at the stake center working as an assistant stake clerk.
  22. He interviewed for a job in Boston and called to tell me that we were moving to San Francisco in 3 weeks.  I immediately started making a list.
  23. We drove across the country in our Saturn with our two babies and Melody Time on VHS, which got stuck in the tiny TV/VCR situation we had wedged between the seats.  We bought a set of screwdrivers and took apart the VCR in a parking lot somewhere in the Midwest to salvage the TV/VCR for the rest of the trip.
  24. We moved to Pittsburg, which we didn’t even know existed until Adam found a cheap-ish apartment there for us.
  25. Adam took the kids swimming on Christmas Eve and we loved the balmy weather and proximity to Safeway.
  26. When Adam lost his job, we moved to Washington and lived with his parents.  Braeden prayed that Adam wouldn’t get a job so he could live with Grandma and Grandpa.
  27.  After many months and angst, he finally found another job and we moved to a tiny charming old house near the Snohomish River.
  28.  Mark was born in the same hospital as Adam.  He outgrew newborn diapers before we left the hospital.
  29. Adam’s company went under so we were again without a job and we moved to a little (kind of gross) rental in a beautiful spot on the Stillaguamish River.  Adam and the kids swam a lot.
  30. Adam started working for another company but then was offered a good job at Amazon. He told me halfway through dinner in the same casual way you would tell someone you had gone grocery shopping.
  31.  It meant we could buy a house.  We moved to Pinehurst and made more lifelong friends and lots more memories.
  32.  Adam traveled to London, a lot.
  33.  I went with him twice to London; we took Braeden and Emma with us one time. London was not ready for a 5 year old Mark so he stayed home with his grandparents.
  34. We did the whole YMCA sports, cub scouts, swim lessons, swim team, suburban thing.  We were happy.
  35.  We lost Adam’s dad and it left a giant hole in all of our lives. 
  36.  Our kids got older and went to public school and we became the parents of drama kids and our lives suddenly revolved around their schedules.
  37. For about a year, one of Adam’s former coworkers periodically tried to convince Adam to move to Utah.  
  38. We finally prayed about it and decided to go.
  39.  Many, many times we wondered what on earth we had done to our perfectly good lives.
  40.  Adam changed companies a few times.  Once, when he had been let go from a job under really unfair circumstances, he put a reminder on his phone to not be bitter.  It popped up every day to remind him.
  41. Braeden served a mission, which blessed our lives in many ways.  But we missed him.
  42.  Challenging circumstances continued to rock our lives, but they drew us closer. And we discovered we love National Parks. 
  43. Adam landed at WGU and is very happy about it.
  44. I started working full time, teaching 3rd grade, and Adam has been my #1 cheerleader and supporter.
  45.  Mark was diagnosed with not one, but two autoimmune diseases and we are figuring it out.
  46. Braeden married Anna and we couldn’t be happier to have her in our family.
  47. Braeden and Emma graduated from BYU and we have actual grown up children.
  48. We purchased my grandparents’ house in Nevada, which has felt wonderful and like we’re out of our depth at the same time.
  49.  We became grandparents.  It really is 100% as great as everyone always says.  We don’t know how one little person could make us that happy by just...existing.
  50. Today we are 50.  It feels old and like we should have more things accomplished, but also like our life together is a gift and I’m glad I get to share it with him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


The calendar says it is spring.  I have about 3 inches of daffodils shooting up.  

For two mornings in a row, there's been fresh snow.  It's only up where we live and doesn't last the day, but we're clearly not fully invested in spring yet.

Still, I've stopped wearing my puffy coat on principle.  

We've started soliciting season.  The doorbell rings and there is an urgent knock and if I'm not smart enough to know better, I answer the door.  It's inevitably a tall blonde kid with floppy hair and a polo shirt or jacket with the insignia of whatever they are selling.

They are invariably "in the neighborhood" offering whatever service and are named Logan or Preston or Jackson or some other variation of the same.

It comes with the warmer weather and later daylight.  Sometimes I tell them I am sorry, but we have "no soliciting" like it's a policy that I'm beholden to and have no control over.  Sometimes I just say no thanks and close the door with them mid sentence.  I think it depends on how bugged I am at being interrupted.

I've forgiven daylight saving time.  It took me awhile to adjust.  I'm basically a toddler and struggle when my schedule is disrupted, but I love the longer days.  I love daylight while I'm making dinner.  I love the fat bumps on the tree out the window that will soon be green leaves.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

3rd grade culture program

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the school year thus far.  It was our 3rd grade culture program.  It seemed like a great idea back in August when we hatched it.  It has felt like a less great idea as the day approached. 

I had a dream the night before that my brother Ammon came to the program and he was wearing a hoodie and wouldn't take the hood off.  I am in a constant battle to get my students to not wear their hoods.  They ask me why and I say because it is my rule.  I've started calling them Bartholomew Cubbins (From Dr. Seuss's book The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins).  I say, "Take your hood off, Bartholomew Cubbins!"  They grin and take it off, but then next time I turn around, the hoods are back on.  I'm not sure why this hoodie angst translated to Ammon....  

Miriam had a dream that a student fell off the stage.  So I guess you could say we were stressed.

We worked so hard!  And we did it! We performed for the school in the morning.  I had two teachers tell me that they teared up during it.  I didn't; I think I was too busy.  The students did a great job though!  

In the afternoon, we performed for the parents (and some grandparents too!).  I loved watching the students' faces light up when they saw their parents arrive.  It mattered to them!  I loved watching the faces of the parents while the students' performed.

Miriam's class performed an African drum solo and sang a song in Ghanaian.  My class sang De Colores in Spanish and performed the Mexican Hat Dance.  Janelle's class performed the Hawaiian hukilau and a Samoan sasa. We have students who are African and Mexican and Samoan (and from other countries besides!) and I loved watching them shine.  

They sang louder and did even better for the parent program.  We were proud teachers!  I got a little teary at the end.  Watching their earnest faces sing "This land is your land, this land is my land..." while behind me was a gym full of parents, a lot of whom are immigrants to this country, made me feel really grateful that they're here.

On Friday, when we were getting the stage ready, we were using binder clips to attach our decrepit curtains together and I felt Abbott Elementary vibes.  We are just doing our best with what we have.

I felt proud of us though, proud of my students who struggle so hard, but also work so hard.  Some of them have incredibly complicated families.  Some of them escaped harrowing situations in their countries.  Some of them really just struggle to get to school and show up dirty and hungry and with ripped clothes.

I like to think that the teachers at my school are like the Statue of Liberty.  Bring us your huddled masses.  We will do our best.  We will show up every day and teach our little hearts out.  We will plow through the discouraging days which are many, but we'll be all smiles on those rare days when they sing De Colores for their families with loud clear voices.

They are singing The Alphabet of Nations here.  I taught my class to sign A,B,C...while we sang, "Algeria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Dominica..."

Monday, March 20, 2023


After school on Friday Miriam, Janelle and I got the stage all ready for our 3rd grade culture program on Monday.

It is either going to be really great or really chaotic.  It depends on if they get it together in front of an audience or not.  They know all the songs and parts, just the transitions are like trying to orchestrate pieces of paper in a wind storm.

We are singing songs and performing dances from different cultures and we decorated with flags and a poster of the world they colored.

Those balls are drums for an African dance Miriam's class is doing.

It made me laugh when my students were coloring their part of the poster and someone accidentally colored part of the ocean green.  They decided that it was algae.  Tell me you're from Utah County without telling me you're from Utah County.  These kids are growing up next to a green algae lake!

Janelle and I were climbing on a box which was on a wheels to try to hang the map and Riley, the head custodian, was there and NOT happy about it.  He is always lecturing me about climbing on things.  We remembered that Miriam is 6'2" so we stopped our efforts and got her to do it instead, which worked much better.

Riley and I also argued about which way a flag should be displayed vertically.  He said he would bet me $100 and I was confident, but not $100 confident.  And it turned out he was right.  All those years of teaching citizenship at Cub Scout Day camp were in vain.  Because I remembered wrong.

Saturday night we went to Temple Square and to a concert in the tabernacle.  Clarissa is in the Tabernacle Choir now and her training choir, The Chorale at Temple Square, was performing.

We picked up Emma on the way and stopped at Chipotle for dinner, which Mark didn't like because he's always cranky about Chipotle, but I loved.  We talked and laughed through dinner and I always have a good time with those three.

We sat on the second level of the tabernacle, as far as we could to house right.  We had a perfect view of our beautiful girl:

It was a wonderful concert between the choir and the orchestra and the soloists.  Humans are pretty remarkable!

Sunday I taught Sunday School for the first time.  It was terrifying.  Before, Mark told me that it was going to be so bad that the church was going to catch fire.  He was trying to make me laugh and it worked.

And the church didn't catch fire.  

Friday, March 17, 2023

Grateful Friday

 A list:

I'm grateful I slept very well last night after a few nights of not sleeping as well.

I'm grateful Adam is home from his latest travels.

I'm grateful that even though I sort of forgot my student teacher's first day was yesterday (oops!), I pulled it together and I think things will be good.

I'm grateful we got to meet the new principal (again, a new principal!) we have for next year and he seems nice.

I'm grateful it has been sunny, but I'm also grateful the mountains have broken the record for snowpack this year (just melt slowly!).

I'm grateful it is Friday!


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