Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning, Riley got up late. I actually had to wake her up. That is unusual. She is generally up very early.

While I was brushing her hair, I told her that I had put her homework into her backpack already. I asked, "Is that Mayflower paper all you had?" She assured me that was all, and then asked me a question, "Do you KNOW about the Mayflower?"

"Sure I do," was my reply. "They wanted to be free, and so they sailed across the ocean and landed at Plymouth." Silly me, thinking I knew the actual answer. "No, they didn't land at Plymouth," she quickly corrected. "They landed near the silent village of Squanto, and NAMED it Plymouth."

My thought: That part is not in the song.

What song? This one...

Rockin' and a-rollin', splishin' and a-splashin',
Over the horizon, what can it be?

The pilgrims sailed the sea
To find a place to call their own.
In their ship Mayflower,
They hoped to find a better home.
They finally knocked
On Plymouth Rock
And someone said, "We're there."
It may not look like home
But at this point I don't care.

You mean my School House Rock education is not enough? (If you got nostalgic at all, and want to remember the rest of the lyrics, go to that link.)

Actually, something in what Riley said sounded familiar. I think I knew it a long time ago. If I didn't then, I do now. She proceeded to tell me that while Squanto was gone from his village (as a slave) his whole village died...that's why it was a silent village. He was alone for awhile, before the Pilgrims came along. You know the story....because he could speak English he was able to help them with a lot of things.

Since Riley was up late, and we were in a hurry, we didn't get into the story very far. I'm sure we will catch up on it after school. I love it when she just grabs hold of something like this, gets excited about it, and then shares it. I also love how six year old enthusiasm is contagious. I look forward to hearing about it later this afternoon.

Well, here is something I grabbed a hold of, and am now sharing. I found this quote last Thanksgiving, and it has been on the side of my refrigerator for the whole year. I have read it nearly every day, and it has definitely had an effect on me:

"Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent. It forges bonds of love and fosters loyalty and admiration."
Joseph B. Wirthlin

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What We Missed!

We used to have front row seats to the annual balloon festival. I guess we don't anymore.

This was a busy weekend, so we didn't go over to the festival. It used to come to us.

These pictures are from our backyard three years ago....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Last Night.....

Last night we went to a 50's dance. Last time we did that...less than a year ago...I rolled up my jeans and put a ponytail in my hair. This time I wanted to do something a tiny bit different. We didn't go all out, but just added a hat, a head band, a very full skirt, and some clip on earrings:

I got Jeff these totally fifties glasses too. He only wore them at the party for a second. I changed my mind about them quickly!

They were much cuter on Emilee:

The party was great. We didn't go all out, but someone did. The gym at the church was a 50's diner. I wished for a camera over there. It was amazing. The Regrets (for my friends who are not local, that was the band)didn't disappoint either! Jeff and I aren't great dancers or anything, but we couldn't help but get out there a few times, because the music pulled us....

Friday, November 21, 2008


Last night, I went with two of my sisters (Jana and Natalie), and two of my daughters (Kaitie and Emilee) to the Twilight party and movie. We had a great time! We are incredibly lucky to know some very good party planners. Sabra and Shannon should be taking lots of bows....
They reserved a theater, printed beautiful tickets, organized a great tailgate party, and gave away lots of good Twilight stuff. I love it when there are people who think of everything, and I can benefit from it. I just don't seem to be able to think like that....but benefit I can, and did!!

Here we are on our way from the parking lot party to the movie. (Emilee took the picture.)

Okay, so my attempt at any kind of scary face is just wrong....I almost cropped myself right out of this picture. I look like a mom zombie headed for a midnight movie. It was not the scary I was shooting for...

I like this one much better!

Notice how Nat puts herself right into Bella's place? Hmmmm.....

Once inside the theater, the party was still going on. Jana won a Wolf Girl t-shirt. (I don't know if there were any real wolf girls left by the end of the movie though.)

Self-described as very "Twilighty," here is my much loved cousin, Stephanie, with her prize!

I won a poster, and handed it right to Emilee. In the car, she had been talking about how much she wanted a Twilight poster. Lucky girl!

Honestly, I didn't have high expectations for the movie itself. I really enjoyed the books, but movies rarely live up to books. I think that because I wasn't expecting anything amazing, I was pleasantly surprised. I loved it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Preview of Reunion Weekend.....

It has been almost two weeks now, and I keep meaning to write about the reunion weekend with my family. Here is a peek of our own little family picture:

I like the picture, but it sure makes me miss Ryan and Ally!

This picture is of the grand kids....again minus three. (Ryan, Ally and Shayla.)
I know it is too small to see them well individually. You get the idea though....lots of little ones, and then Emilee and Kaitie.

What a group....:) This was a do-whatever-you-want picture. I know you can't really tell what is going on, but it's a little crazy. As if trying to get a picture with this many people could be anything but crazy!

Since my poor camera did not make it through that particular weekend, I am still begging for pictures from others. I want to write, but certain subjects NEED pictures...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Less Than Important Stuff.....

This is a silly update on my girls:

Last week Emilee convinced me to buy her an Edward shirt. I'm not a usual Hot Topic shopper, but I made an exception this time. The Twilight Frenzy is upon us. I told her that I was going to buy myself a Team Jacob shirt. She was horrified! I was kidding, but it was funny to see her reaction. Later on, I told Kaitie I was going to buy the Jacob shirt. She had about the same reaction as Emilee did. Funny girls!

This morning when I was taking Kaitie to school, Leona Lewis came on the radio. Kaitie changed it. She said she didn't like Leona Lewis anymore. When I thought I couldn't be any happier, she told me she didn't like Colbie Caillat anymore either. I was beside myself with joy. I'm kind of kidding and kind of not. I call Colbie's music "whipped cream" music. It's nice sometimes as a topping, but you wouldn't want to have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it is too sweet, and too sickening.

Last, and very important for Riley's day, was the packing of Princess fruit snacks in her lunch box. There is at least one boy who sits by Riley at lunch, whose company she does not prefer. She says that if she has something girly in her lunch, that the boys stay far away. I wish I could solve everyone's problems this easily!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Primary Program

Once a year, we have a children's program in church. It is usually close to the end of the year, and they share what they have been learning during the year.

I play the piano for the children, so I was involved, but without having to do the real work. The real work comes from those who plan it, write it, teach it to the children, and practice it with the children. The real workers did such a great job....:)

Riley had two lines to say. The last couple of nights, before she went to bed she would say to her dad, "Do you want to hear my part?" Of course he did. She loved telling it to him, in all her six year old sweetness. I think that's why the program usually turns out well. The sincerity of the children shines brightly, and it is hard to go wrong with that.

The music is the other part that makes the program what it is. The theme for 2008 was, "I Am a Child of God." Our program started out with four children singing that phrase, each in a different language. I loved it. My other favorite part was the children singing, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus." Small groups sang the verses after the first verse. Like the beginning of the program, I just felt an emphasis of the importance of each child. I hope that makes sense. I especially hoped that each child felt his or her own value, as a child of God.

Okay, my very first favorite part was when Riley shared her line with the congregation. She shared it so happily at home, but you never really know how it will come out in front of others. She paused in "very Riley" mode....always a little hesitant, but then launched right into it. Yay!

My inner sigh of relief was complete when the program was, and nothing too bad had happened at the piano....:)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Six New Items of Information....

Martha tagged me to write six things I have not written about before. Six new things....hmmm....

1. When I was five, I got lost at the county fair. I was really shy when I was little, but had no problem asking a security guy to help me find my parents. I didn't cry at all. He was getting ready to announce my name over a loud speaker when my parents found me. I was so disappointed to be found before my status as a lost little girl could be announced. I think I wanted to cry then, after I was found.

2. When I was in junior high school an art teacher told me that I drew well enough to make money at it. I used to love drawing, but I didn't keep doing it. Now I can't seem to make a credible stick figure.

3. The day I turned 20, I flew to Hawaii to start a semester of school. I loved it there so much. It wasn't even a touristy type of love. Not that it wasn't fun on that level, but I did well in school there too, and really enjoyed meeting people from all over the world.

4. Jeff and I started talking about getting married about a week after our first date. It was light hearted talk, but it was talk. We didn't actually get married until about a year later.

5. I play Tetris on my phone.

6. I iron obsessively, and I think it must be a disease.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Three Years Ago

I wrote this entry three years ago:

Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Soccer Game....

Yesterday was Kaitie's first school soccer game. She had told me for days that she needed long, white soccer socks with her uniform. Because of mismanagement, I ended up buying those socks in the midmorning, and taking them to her at school. It was no big deal to stop into the school office, and ask for her to be called in for a second. The crazy thing, is that when she DID come into the office, she was so tall and so beautiful. Did I not see her off in the morning? Did I not call after her just a couple of hours before, to have a great day? I did not call after her to grow more tall and more beautiful! How did she do it? She was sweet too, and I just stood there surprised at the whole thing.

I arrived at her after school game late, because I had to come after Emilee's piano lesson. Such is the life of a mom. Jeff had meetings he couldn’t get out of, so I picked up Em from piano quickly and rushed with my girls to the “away” game, for the second half. The “away” game is about as close to my house as if Kaitie's school was hosting. I felt like I was in the right place, because it was the middle school that my older children attended.

The air was cool. I was glad for that, because the sun shone so brightly in our eyes. Riley recently broke my sunglasses, for maybe the fifth time in her life. That is the reason why I don’t buy very nice sunglasses. Something always happens to them. Maybe when my kids are older, I will spring for a nice pair.

I didn’t bring chairs or blankets, since I was on the run. I will have to put some in the back of the car to stay there for the season. I didn’t mind standing, and Riley and Emilee didn’t seem to mind the soft grass at all.

When we arrived, I went to the bench where the purple shirted girls cheered. I asked the score, and they said we were winning 2-1. One girl asked, “Whose Mom are you?” “Kaitie's,” I answered. “Oh, you look like Kaitie,” she replied. I smiled. I liked that. I don’t know if she would like it much. She is the fresh, young version....and cuter, taller and more athletic than I ever was.

As I looked out over the field, I realized that over the wall…in plain sight…was the house that my grandma recently spent her last couple of years in….the place where I held her hand as she took her last breaths. It startled me. Of course I knew the house was right there, but I wasn’t thinking about it right then, and suddenly it came into focus right in front of my eyes. I felt that startled feeling in my heart, and in my stomach. It didn’t match the cheering on the soccer field. Death and loss seem to be like that. It must be like that reading this entry. There you are reading along about a soccer game, and out of nowhere, the subject changes to death. It doesn’t care what you are in the middle of…it just comes.

Our team tried hard, but fell behind and ended up losing the game. The girls shot at the goal so often, only to miss it by a foot…or less. Kaitie shot it right over the top once. After the game, I learned that she had made one of the goals in the first half. I was sorry to have missed that, but I know that she will make more during the season.

I thought the team was in pretty good spirits for losing, and I appreciated the coach for that. He reminded them that the first game doesn’t end up meaning as much as the games down the road. At first I couldn’t even register that the coach was the coach. He looked like he could have been one of Ally's friends. At the end of the game though, he walked over to a young woman with a baby, and kissed them both. So he is a young father….

As we walked towards our car, Kaitie chatted with her team about everything and nothing. Boys half her height said, “Good game,” as they walked by. I wanted to say, “Sorry little boys…there is no game for you here.” That’s just my mom brain in full gear.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Six Weeks!

This morning, I wanted to tell Riley which Miley Cyrus song I couldn't get out of my head. I thought she might be able to relate. We didn't even talk about it, because we started with the song SHE couldn't get out of her mind: "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

When she started singing, I said.."If there is such a thing...."

I only uttered this normally unspeakable phrase, because she has told me of some very far fetched whisperings about that which she has been hearing in first grade. She said, "Mom, you KNOW there is such a thing, and anyway I heard Rudolph's nose one time." I asked her about this nose sound, and she said it was kind of a beeping thing. I adore my little girl...

Well, this talk about Santa led to a discussion of possible gifts. Riley, like her dad, is obsessed with our pool. She is interested in the dolls and puppy toys that swim. She told me all about them, and included the important fact that they are sold separately. Excellent that she has all the pertinent info!

It's only six weeks from today so it is a relief that Riley has a head start on being good...since Santa is checking his list twice and all. I, on the other hand, have a head start on NOTHING.

Now I have the Santa song in my head....and maybe you do too...;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nothing to Wear.....

“I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don't have any clean laundry, because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?”

I don't know the source of this quote, but I think I like it....except for the not having any clean laundry part, which I relate to, all too well.

I have been home from Utah for a whole week, and I haven't put things quite back to normal yet. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that as soon as I got back, I had to launch into last minute reunion preparation, and then the gathering itself.

My brothers and sisters and their families came to have a birthday bash for my parents. We also took family pictures, had an extended talent show, a pretend Thanksgiving dinner and pre Christmas gift exchange. My sister Lori wasn't here. She and her husband and baby were terribly missed. Ryan and Ally were not here either....:( The other 36 people (plus mother in law) were here. When I say here, I mean right here at my house for the big dinner, and gift exchange. It was a last minute decision to switch it to my house, so it was a little crazy. I thought it turned out though, and was lots of fun.

I don't have any pictures of the weekend, so I hardly know how to begin telling the stories. I will have to see who else has pictures I can "borrow." For example, I don't know if I can tell about Riley dressed as Hannah Montana singing, "This is the Life," if I don't have a picture. I'm not sure there are pictures fit to share of a certain other portion of the talent show. This group called S ABBA (Steve plus ABBA) performed and I was kind of glad when that one was over....;)

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Trip....Continued

Continuing my story about last week....

The mileposts couldn't fly by fast enough for me, as we drove up to Utah. It was an easy trip though, and I most people know...that what often makes travel difficult is unhappy children. Being the one in the back seat was a breeze!

I didn't make any arrangements ahead for myself, or commit to a coming home day. I wanted to decide everything as I went along. When I was finally in front of Ally's apartment, she ran out and dove into my car with me. I was relieved to see she was well enough to "dive." I went in, and met her cute roommates. I had only met one of them before. She offered to sleep on the couch and let me take her bed. Kind as the offer was, I decided I should get a room nearby and kidnap Ally from her usual life. The activity level in the apartment, and all the surrounding apartments was I thought maybe a calm weekend would go a long way on the road back to health.

We found a nice place just a few blocks away, so we could run back and forth as needed. I decided to tell them I needed three nights for starters, and we would go on from there. I took my exhausted girl out to dinner, and we started the catching up process. I could see that she had been so sick, but was recovering, and her main concern was the impending avalanche of school work. Her professors had been kind in allowing her to make up some things, but it was getting very overwhelming. I suggested that I would make a great research assistant, and I think I saw a bit of color return to her cheeks at the thought.

I told Ally to make two lists. One list was to be a list of assignments in order of their importance. The other list was what she hoped we would do for fun, if she felt up to it. Some serious lists were made!

We took a walk in the beautiful autumn air on Saturday morning. (It was beautiful, but autumn leaves are so over rated. They were stuck to every surface. They were up and down the hallway in every building. I was glad I wasn't expected to vacuum anything.) I had so many memories flood in. Ally was a baby there. I pushed her in a stroller around that campus, 21 years ago. Crazy!

She did her work, but I tried to help as much as I could. I read the book she was writing a paper on, so we could discuss ideas for it. I helped her look up articles for a research paper. (We almost got into trouble in the computer lab...) I learned about Living Wills in Utah, to help her prepare for her portion of a group project. I read the most boring textbook of my life, and underlined, and starred what I thought was supposed to be important. I told her what I would test on, if I had to give a test on it. I wondered if that was even useful, since I don't know her teacher, but she said it was. (I might have written a few irrelevant things in that book too...but I'm not saying for sure.) I stayed up until 4:00 Saturday night/Sunday morning designing a ridiculous mess of a diagram...and I loved doing it.

We laughed and cried all while we worked.

We slept with the blackout curtain drawn when we felt like it. We ate when it became necessary. We had a waitress at the Olive Garden who I am sure we will refer to for the rest of our lives. We went to Wendy's late at night in our pajamas, in the rain....:)

On Monday, when she had class I went to the library. That was the library I coaxed my husband-to-be out of...when I wanted him to stop studying and have some fun. I was even younger then, than Ally is now. I walked through there a long time before I found a place to sit and read. You see, each square table has four chairs, and it is sort of a rule that there is only one person allowed at each table....personal space is a big deal, you know. I found a great spot near the Asian collection that was comfortable and beautiful. It felt good. I realized that in helping Ally, I was doing something for myself too. I love it when that happens.

We bought Ally some really cute boots just in time for the snow...and I left just in time to miss the snow...woo hoo!

I knew that whenever I decided to leave, that I wouldn't be ready to leave. Those three nights were enough for her though. I returned her to her regular life on Monday night, and went to spend the night with my parents. The next day, the mileposts couldn't go fast enough either. I was really missing the rest of my family by then, and couldn't wait to get back to them.

I was so glad to find things just fine at home.

(I'm grateful to the people who helped me with driving favors and those types of things!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Last Friday

Early last Thursday morning, I got a call from Ally, who is away at school. She was sick, and stressed. When I got off the phone, I put laundry in and got into the shower. I was going to leave to be with her immediately. Maybe you think that is what I always do. In the three and a half years she has been in college, I have not ever done that. Ally has handled quite a variety of challenges on her own. This time though, her voice carried something magnetic that pulled at me with a great force.

Jeff talked me into waiting a day, instead of just rushing off. So it was determined that I would leave early Friday morning, to make the really long drive. Thursday morning, I called my mom to ask her to help with the kids while I was gone. I asked her if she would be able to drive them to lessons and things like that. She assured me that she would do whatever I needed. Later, she called me and proposed a new plan. She suggested that she and my dad could take me as far as their other home, which is just two hours south of where Ally is. Then I would only have to go two hours on my own instead of ten or eleven. This suggestion was a great blessing to me. I love it when my parents are still so parental sometimes.

I picked up my parents on Friday morning for our trip. My dad said, "I assume I am driving." I didn't argue. I was a kid in the back seat for the day. "When was the last time I was an only child," I asked. (I was an only child for sixteen months, a very long time ago.) My parents have been back and forth between here and that summer home so many times that I think they have their own grooves on the freeway. They know every mile post, and exactly where they want to stop. We had great conversation, and I slept when I felt like it. I don't think I have ever been on a road trip quite like it. They took wonderful care of me. (Jeff said I should have reminded them what it is like traveling with kids, by asking "Are we there yet?" and telling them I had to go to the bathroom as soon as we left civilization.)

I will write more about it later.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I have so much to write about the past few days, but today I need to wish a Happy Birthday to my mom!

This picture was taken almost three years ago. My mom and dad were living in southern Mexico back then, doing church service. Jeff and I took our family to be with them for Christmas. It was the trip of a lifetime! This was in Palenque toward the beginning of the trip. I was actually feeling pretty sick right about this time, and my mom was really helping me. I was fine very shortly, and great for the rest of the trip....and thankful for my mom who helped me during that not very fun hour.

This picture was taken during our Girl's Trip to Oregon in 2007. My mom told someone passing by that all of us were her daughters, and one woman said, "I feel sorry for you." We laughed until we cried. I don't think she feels sorry for herself. I think she is as thankful for us, as we are for her.

Happy Birthday, Mom!