Friday, November 20, 2015

The Long Overdue Gift

When I was twelve years old I was a pretty good student in school.  In fact, as a seventh grader I had straight A's.....with one exception.  I had an F in sewing.  I'm not quite sure how it happened.  I was not forced to take the class.  At the beginning of the class I looked forward to learning how to sew.  My mother took me shopping for a material and a pattern to make a blouse.  I chose it myself.  Then I hated it.  It was red fabric with palm trees.  Horrible.  It was the 1970's and a lot of stuff was horrible, but this was worse than the usual horrible.  The pattern was also pretty ugly once I got going on it.  I could not see a reason to finish a project that was not going to be worth the trouble.  I wanted to change it but I could not.  So I just didn't do it.  I was reluctant, then stubborn, then absolute in my refusal to finish it.  I got an incomplete in the class.  When I still didn't finish it, I got an F. 

Over the next few years, my mother tried to get me to do a little sewing at home.  I had a new sister born when I was 15 and my mom tried to get me to make a couple of things for her.  I loved her, but not the projects.  Thinking back I don't know if I really hated it, or if I was determined not to do it so I acted like I hated it.  There is not a difference in the finished product no matter the reason for not doing it.

My mother sewed for me.  She made dresses for me.  I remember my 8th grade graduation dress fondly.  My girls would think it was hideous to look at....but it was the 1970's.  My mother made me dresses for various dances.  I don't think I ever showed enough gratitude for spending that kind of time to make something for me. 

Earlier this year I made a new friend.  She's an unexpected friend.  She's a bonus and a blessing in my life.  She loves to sew and started teaching me three months ago.  I don't even have a machine.  I sew at her house for a few hours every week or two.  She is so generous with her time.  I hardly know how to thank her. 

Well the first project I made was a simple quilt.  I cut and sewed the pieces together and then had someone machine quilt it.  I really enjoyed this project.  I've told people who are good at this type of thing not to look at it too closely, because I am definitely a beginner. 

Two weeks ago it was my mother's birthday.  She was randomly staying here at my house so we put on a little party for her.  I gave her the quilt as a birthday gift.  I told her that I appreciated how she tried to teach me to sew and that I was sorry that I didn't show enough gratitude back then or make much of an effort.  I told her it only made sense that I should give this first project to her.  It felt good to acknowledge the things she did for me in the past.  I'm so glad she was able to spend her birthday with me.

Here are my cute parents.

She didn't get all the candles out at once....

I think she liked this long overdue gift.

Monday, October 19, 2015


This post would be better with a picture of Riley and me together, but the topic of the post nearly explains the reason that is not available right now.  This picture is of Riley ready for school on her first day of 8th grade. 

A couple of Saturdays ago, Riley and I took a day trip to Phoenix.  We visited with some of my siblings and their kids.  We had a nice time visiting.  I usually like talking to my kids in the car too, when I can get one to myself like that.  We did talk, but she does not always want to talk as long as I want to talk.  She doesn't always want to take a picture when I want to take a picture. 

How did we fill the car hours?  We sang.  Riley has a lovely soprano voice.  She sings notes that my voice only dreams about singing.  I like to sing, but I sing alto.  As we sang different songs (her playlist) I noticed that she and I do not often sing the melody.  She chooses to harmonize and go higher, while I harmonize and go lower.  In many areas of life, she and I often choose different paths and have different opinions.  In Road Trip Harmony (yes, I capitalized that!) we do not choose the same notes at all, but we blend.  We complement each other.  We bring out good in each other.  I love this harmony, and I love this girl.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Really? An Update?

I glanced around this morning, and although I have so many things to do, there is not a fire to put out.  I have not felt that way for quite a long time.  I tried to think about what I used to do when I felt like this. (I felt like this?)  I looked around a bit on my computer and saw my old beloved blog.  It has been stuck on Emilee's 16th birthday for a long time now.  I wondered what it would feel like to add to start writing again.

I looked at the old family picture on this blog cover, that shows us all gathered on Riley's 8th birthday.  She just turned 13!  So I decided to add a family picture in this post that is a bit more recent.  That's us from last December.  I'm sure I could do better than that.  I plan on it.  I need to, because when I looked back on what I used to write and share here, I was filled with happiness about what I managed to record of our family history.  I want more of that!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


First I have to get the disclaimer out of the way. If you are one of my children, and reading this today it may cross your mind that I did not do a post like this on your last birthday...or the one before. I used to do them more. I could use that as an excuse not to do this one. I could say that wouldn't be fair. I could worry that I am hurting your feelings. I hope I am not. When would I be able to start fresh? Well, this is not necessarily a fresh start. I may or may not keep up the blogging spurt. I am enjoying it right now though, and Emilee's birthday just happens to be in the middle of it. The good thing about it is, although it is focused on Emilee it is just a small part of a much bigger picture, one in which we are all connected. Thank you for dealing with me and my imperfect journaling:)

Sixteen years ago today, the world welcomed Emilee Jordan.  I met her first....

.....but really, her dad was right there too.

Soon, her grandparents came along....

And some of her aunts....

Her brother and two sisters were not allowed to come into the hospital.  They had to look at her through the window.  Kaitie had just turned three at that time.  She was so upset that she could not be with me.  She called me on the phone, cried a lot, and sang me some of her sad, original songs.  Yesterday when I was thinking of this,  I told Emilee that Kaitie made me feel so sad to be away from her, and Emilee said , "But you were with me!"  I replied, "But I didn't know you very well yet." 

The next day Emilee got to start finding out what it is to be fourth. The kids loved her so much, in spite of a little normal jealousy.  Love like that does not always make life easy....

When I think of how the kids were back then, this picture works for me. Although there was an age span, they loved each other, and could co-exist pretty well.  This picture was taken in a tent in our back yard.  If I remember correctly, Ryan and Ally were happy to let the little girls in for awhile, and then were glad when they had to go and nap or something.

This picture of us was taken in my parents' living room. 

Emilee's first three birthdays were at their house too.  This is her third birthday. 

Here is Emilee as she left for school this morning....her first day of being sixteen years old.  We had our traditional 6:00 am breakfast party with chocolate chip muffins and a birthday banana.  She will have some friends over later, to keep the celebration going.

Though she is getting quite grown up now, I swear sometimes she still looks just like this to me:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Part Two...

I know it has been nearly two months, but I can't write about Christmas I, and not add a bit about Christmas II.

You see, even though all the kids were home, we had a relatively quiet Christmas here because our out of town family wasn't here with us. We were able to gather a few of them for Christmas II on December 30 and 31.

We always have a pinata for Christmas with the family.  The little cousins line up in age order, and can't wait to have their turn.  As you can see, we start teaching this violence to our babies when they can't even walk yet ;)

In no time, they can do it on their own, and are quite proud of it!!

Look at Emilee go!  We have trained her well all these years, and have given her the tools for pinata success.

We were missing lots of family here.  My parents weren't here.  Also, two of my brothers, and two of my sisters were not able to come.  We had lots of fun, but it was incomplete....

We had our traditional cousin gift exchange, and then the white elephant gift game.  (I wish this picture was not so blurry.)


After "Christmas" we quickly moved on to celebrating the new year.  We enjoyed some little fireworks in the desert.

After fireworks, my sister brought out these crazy masks!  We tried to keep solemn for our pictures.  It was difficult to do that at the same time as laughing hysterically.  We mostly managed.  I just can't find the right descriptive words, so just scroll down and see a few of the pictures....


And a Happy Belated 2012 to all!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

That Last Picture Reminded Me....

Since I showed a picture of Ryan from Christmas in my last post, I want to add a few more Christmas ones:

Part of the Christmas Eve concert.

Emilee and Riley prepared a song to sing without me hearing them practice.  It was a sweet surprise that Ally helped them with.

Kaitie LOVED the zebra bag from her sisters.

Here they are lined up in the hallway, ready to run into the living room.

She asked for this!

Modeling the new robe, and headband....

Seems like Brittany was pretty happy with her gift from Ryan.

I was happy with my gift too....all the kids were here for Christmas!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

And Many More.....

In our immediate family, we have two birthday seasons. One is at the end of January, and through part of February. The other is approximately six months later.

In January, Ryan led out.

Okay, obviously this is not a picture of Ryan's birthday. Rather it is a picture of when he and Brittany were here for Christmas. That is the Celtic's sweatshirt his dad got for him. Jeff and Ryan are fans.  It seems crazy that Ryan could be 26 years old.  You know, my mom says stuff like that to me.  I am also the oldest, so  I am beginning to understand how my birthdays seem strange to her. 

Ryan is in the process of deciding which law school to attend next fall.  He should know soon.....
It is like we are dealing with a cliff hanger in the Ryan Show, and we can't wait until we know how it is resolved.


Kaitie's birthday was next.  Now that she is a three hour drive away, our visits can be a little more frequent.  We spent a day with her a little before her actual birthday.

Jeff helped her put together some furniture.  They built a little night stand, and a book shelf.  You can see Riley was enjoying Kaitie's computer.

After awhile, we went to meet some of our Phoenix family at a restaurant.  This is how my girls walked through the parking lot.  Don't you love it? 

One of my sisters and two of my brothers and their families met us there....The Cheesecake Factory....and we had quite the lunch and birthday celebration.

Kaitie choose red velvet cheesecake....SUCH a Kaitie thing to go with her birthday song.

Kaitie loves her cute little cousins.

(We have another birthday to go in birthday season....Emilee's is next week.  Brittany's birthday is on the same day.  She fits right into our birthday season....that is just one of many ways she is just right for our family.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

There Was a Bee.....

At the end of January, Riley was in the school spelling bee. Two kids from each class, from third grade to sixth grade were in the competition.

While she was preparing for it, I was visited by the Ghost of Spelling Bees Past. When I was in fourth grade, I did not get into the school spelling bee. In my class spelling bee, I had to sit down when I misspelled the word April. I was stunned, because it was such an easy word. However, I forgot to begin by saying "capital A." Sad, but true.

I remembered Ally's short visit to the school spelling bee. She did not get past the word "benefit." She knew very well how to spell it, but switched two of the letters around in her nervousness. (Now, she speaks in public easily and naturally.)

Emilee had two tries at the school spelling bee. The two words she will never get wrong again are "enthusiastically" and "coordination." You never forget the ones you miss. You never get them wrong again. Emilee remembers debating whether coordination had one o or two. Her elementary school self pronounced it with only one o, so that is how she spelled it out.

After I had these memories, my brain strained for more information. I knew Ryan had been in a school spelling bee, and had gone pretty far in it, but had not won. I could not recall the details. I couldn't remember what happened with Kaitie at all. I really wanted to ask her, but I hardly wanted to admit that I just didn't remember.

I did ask Ryan to help me remember. Ryan came in second place to a younger girl. That is the part he did not enjoy at all. If she had not been able to make it to the city spelling bee, he was the alternate. She went. The word which is forever engraved upon his brain is "souvenir." When he told me all this, the memories came back. I thought that when I asked Kaitie, then the memories would come back as well.

That is not what happened. Kaitie told me that she purposely did not do well in class, because she "didn't want to be a geek in a spelling bee." I laughed. I had no idea.

Back to Riley. She was so cute.

Here she is, missing the word "tiring." She didn't drop the e before adding the ing. She won't make that mistake again. She was the third kid out, but at least it was in the second round and not the first one.

In related news, Riley is much braver than she used to be.  It was her first year to try out for the Christmas program and the school talent show.  The last four years, she wouldn't even consider it.  She had one line in the Christmas program.  It was a small start, but a start.

Last night, she played the piano in the school talent show:

She played "Little Indian Lance." You are imagining it correctly. Anyone who has ever had to play the piano has to play this type of pounding song at some point.  She did a good job.

I only had a short visit from The Ghost of School Talent Shows Past.  When Emilee was in fourth grade she and her friends did a dance routine for the school talent show.   They danced to Ciara's 1, 2 Step.  An older sister of the girls got them ready.  Emilee had more hairspray than at any point in her life.  She said she felt like a poodle.  That is her main memory of it.  I wonder what Riley will say about her talent show in the future.....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Disney 2012

My sister, Jana and I have talked for months about taking a trip to Disneyland with our kids. We finally did it last week. We went on a Monday and Tuesday, and my mom asked me if there was some sort of holiday. "Only one we invented!" was my happy answer.

Here is the group!

We hadn't been there for a couple of years, and I wondered if Riley might have outgrown some of  her love for the characters.  That is a big NO.  She still took her autograph book with her wherever she went.

Near the beginning of the first day, we went to Small World.  You can see the happy cousins riding along in front of the boat.  (The unhappy tortured cousin rode behind.  Of course no twelve year old boy wants to go on this ride!)

We made sure that some of his boat rides were really fun!

The girls loved Minnie!

These caramel apples were so cute, I told the girls not to dream of taking a bite until I got a picture.

They actually felt a little guilty when they started eating;)

We had a great time in California Adventure too.  I love this picture of my favorite action figures!

This is Henry and Emilee waiting for their first ride on California Screamin'.  They were going to be right in front!

This is one of my favorite pictures of the day.  Jana and Lizzie were excited for CS too.

This is obviously from a different time we went on the ride.  I liked seeing all the kids together like this. This trip was Riley's first time to try this ride.  She loved it!

Emilee was popular with her sister and cousins on this trip.  Everyone always wanted to ride with her.  I only got to ride with her once the whole time.

Here are my girls enjoying their World of Color picnic.  

Riley was excited to find some light up mouse ears to keep her entertained while we waited for the World of Color show.  The show was amazing.

Cruella de Ville was hilarious while she signed autographs.  She said a lot of slightly mean, very funny things.  However, when she looked over at Emilee she exclaimed, "I DO love your shoes!" 

Everyone loves Emilee's red Toms, even C d V.  I told you Emilee was popular on this trip.

Even I wanted my picture taken with this character!

(If Emilee would not have died, I might have started singing...."It's guys like you, Mickey...."  I just had to hum it to myself.)