Monday, March 30, 2009

How We Celebrated!

So I finished writing those eight anniversary posts, and what was there left to do? Celebrate the anniversary, of course. Last year, Jeff and I "planned" quite a nice cruise we would go on, for our 25th anniversary. I actually believed we would do it too...for about a weekend. Life is just pulling in too many directions right now.

Instead of the cruise, we went to California for the weekend. When Jeff first suggested that we go to Disneyland without our kids, I wasn't sure how that would be. Isn't there some kind of rule about that? Well, we did manage to have a great time there on our honeymoon before we had we decided to be nostalgic and try that again.

We left here on Thursday afternoon, and stopped in San Diego for a temple session. It was a good way to begin our trip. Then we were off to Anaheim. I was excited to see what the hotel was like. We stayed at the Grand Californian, which is as close as you can get to Disneyland. It even has its own entrance to California Adventure.

When we arrived, we found we had a personal greeting from Mickey and Minnie!

Jeff and I each had a list in our minds of the things we wanted to do on Friday. His list had more to do with pirates than anything. He wanted to go on the regular Pirates of the Caribbean ride, eat at The Blue Bayou restaurant which is in that ride, and take a raft across the river to explore the pirate island.

We had a wonderful meal in The Blue Bayou. I was a bit distracted by a young boy at the next table who was using his spoon to scratch his behind. I said to Jeff, "I will not be okay if he eats dessert with that spoon." But that was not our problem, was it? We got to have a relaxed day. Here is Jeff, eating his pirate ship dessert:

My priority list was about getting Jeff to go with me on Space Mountain, and The Tower of Terror. These are still my favorites, and still not his. We went on Space Mountain right after breakfast, but didn't head over to California Adventure to the Tower of Terror until after all the pirate things were checked off the list. Here I am, as we are about to go into California Adventure:

We had some good luck over there. Besides the Tower of Terror, I really wanted to go on Soarin' Over California. When we got there the Fast Pass machines were not working. The wait was 80 minutes or so, and when we saw that, we turned around to leave.

We hadn't waited for anything longer than 15 or 20 minutes and we weren't going to start now! Just as we turned around, a guy walked up to Jeff and said, "I am about to make your day." He handed us two Fast Passes that were good in five minutes. We were on the ride within fifteen minutes. It was amazing! (Jeff liked The Tower of Terror more than he remembered liking it before too.)

Saturday, we didn't go back into Disneyland, but we stayed a long time at the hotel. We slept in and Jeff went swimming in what he said was the biggest pool he had ever seen. We ate at The Storyteller's Cafe. We did a little shopping...just a little. We had to go to this important store:

It was our 25th anniversary, you know. I showed Jeff lots of things I liked in case he decided to go back and get me something....which he did. Imagine that ;)

We stayed around in Anaheim because we had one more thing to do.

We went to the Honda Center for the Billy Joel Elton John concert, which is part of their latest Face 2 Face tour. It was the perfect concert for an anniversary. Totally nostalgic! These guys have been around for decades, and yet they are still incredible. Most people who were famous for their music in the 70's are now playing casinos and county fairs, if they are lucky. These guys packed the Honda Center....I don't know how many thousands of people were there. The arena is 650,000 square feet though, and it was full! The age range was huge too....young and old. The most exuberant dancer I saw, was quite gray.

You can see they don't look like they used to:
(These are not my pictures. Mine turned out awful.)

But they were full of energy and put on a fantastic show. The concentration of talent was stunning.

The stage was empty at the beginning, and then the two grand pianos came up out of the floor. What a great way to start!

They did a couple of duets, "Your Song" and "Just the Way You Are." They did an outstanding "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." Soon, Billy Joel disappeared for awhile, and Elton John played many of his classics. He ended up with "Crocodile Rock," which was a highlight. Who wouldn't want to LAAA la la la la laaaa, with Elton John and thousands of other people!?

Then Billy Joel played his set. I didn't know if the crowd would be able to sing along as well. His songs have lots of words! But when he sang, "You May Be Right," I knew the crowd would go wild with, "You may be wrong, but you may be right..." They did not disappoint!

And don't get misunderstand, the crowd was with the performers all along, not just on the easy parts. They played for three and half hours, and we would have been happy with more.

After their individual sets, the duet was back on. We knew it had to be the end when Billy Joel strapped on his harmonica and they started on "Piano Man." It was amazing watching him playing that harmonica and the piano at the same time.

The long drive home that night didn't seem so long, because we looked for these old songs on XM radio all the way home. Today I'm still singing, "Candle in the Wind," "I'm Still Standing," and "Daniel." Surely Jeff is singing, "My Life" and "Movin' Out" and "Zanzibar."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24th, 1984

This is the eighth and final post in "The Anniversary Series." It starts a few entries down with the story titled "A Turning Point." Thanks for celebrating this time with us!

March 24, 1984...25 years ago today. It seems strange that I have been with him now a few years longer than I was single. In this picture, we are standing next to the Salt Lake temple where we were married. The words "'til death do us part," don't enter into the temple ceremony. We believe our marriage can last forever.

I love that we were married right at the beginning of spring. We had experienced a bit of a challenging winter, but things were looking so much better. We didn't have a nervous, anxious day. It was a very happy one. The March morning was a little gray and breezy, but some things were just starting to turn green and the promise of beauty was in the air.

Here we are with our wonderful parents.

And here are all those brothers and sisters I referred to a couple of entries ago. (This picture has been cracking me up for an hour.)

After the morning ceremony and lots of pictures, we had a wedding breakfast, at The Lion House. I can't remember at all what we ate. I do remember that they passed around a little tape recorder so everyone could give us some advice. (That's a transcript that will never be available!)

That night, his family held an open house for us. They set up this cute park bench and street lamp for us, as part of it. It was my preference to just stay there, but we had to do a few of the traditional things.

We stood in a line with our parents and greeted our guests. We cut cake and fed it to each other. I couldn't stand to toss my beautiful yellow bouquet though, and just gave it to my closest sister, Jana. I wanted her to have it, and I wasn't leaving it to chance. To be fair, we didn't do a garter toss either. (It was my preference not to do that.)

We spent one night in a hotel, and then we had to get back to our semester. That sounded so crazy to a lot of people, but it wasn't bad at all.

At the end of the semester we went on a little trip to California for a honeymoon.

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

(But that gazing at each other business is a good way to start out!)

Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
Mark Twain

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Anxiously Engaged....1984

This is the next post in what I am calling the "Anniversary Series." It starts below with the post called, "The Turning Point." You see, Jeff and I started dating in March of 1983, and married in March of 1984. I love March! I have enjoyed remembering, writing and sharing these things.

I am learning a little bit in the process of writing it too. For example, I asked Jeff to help me with a couple of details yesterday, and he really did not remember. I realized that I could write this story any way I wanted to, and he would very likely take it as truth. So, I told him that I couldn't wait to find out what he was getting me for our anniversary this week, because years ago he had promised me something really amazing for this, our 25th anniversary. ;) This is kind of a relevant paragraph to my story, because what we are a bit fuzzy on, is the ring.

When I last wrote, Jeff had proposed to me on Christmas Night. It was a sweet, simple proposal. It was perfect, except he didn't have the ring yet. We had discussed rings a few times over the months, so he did know what to get. I wanted a diamond that was visible, but not overpowering. I definitely wanted a solitaire..nothing busy. I am not at all about the fussy details. This was also the 80's, you know. Yellow gold was the more popular gold for rings at the time. So pretty much this:

Jeff's brother was in the Air Force and used to fly all over the world back then. He told Jeff he could get a high quality ring for less money than in the U.S. in Thailand, at Venus Jewelry so Jeff had asked him to do it. The thing I can't remember now is, when he asked him. I know that Jeff asked my ring size while I was still in Hawaii. But we were each still going on dates with other people during that time. We had not made any promises yet.

So I don't know if the ring arrangements were made before or after this evening. Jeff doesn't know any more either. All I know is, they were made.

So I went to tell my mom that I was engaged, and her first response was, "No, you are not." This makes me laugh now. Poor Mom. She was pregnant with her ninth child, and her first child wanted to get married, to someone she had only really gone out with for a few weeks. My mom didn't really resist my plans though. She and my dad were amazing to deal with everything like they did.

A little more history here. My mom's parents were married on May 11. My mom told me that my grandpa and grandma celebrated, or at least acknowledged the eleventh of every month, as an anniversary. They had both died when I was little, so I didn't know them well. This anniversary story about them stuck with me, and I wanted to be part of it. I had always thought I would like to be married on May 11.

This would have been a bit difficult, seeing as the due date for my little brother was May 10.

Jeff and I were planning to get right back into school in Utah in January, and May would have been the perfect time for a wedding, after the semester and all. That obviously was not going to work, in this case. My mom said that she wasn't sure if she would even be able to do everything she needed to do if we pushed it to June. We pondered an August wedding, which would give my mom plenty of recovery time. August seemed SO far away. My mom said she would probably actually have an easier time doing everything before the baby than after. So we chose a closer date, March 24. Right in the middle of our semester! We had three months to get ready. We had ups...and downs....

One night in January, Jeff and I were eating at a restaurant. This was rare for us. We didn't have much money. The waitresses were acting funny. They were gathered, at a distance...but it was apparent that something was going on. Finally I noticed the sparkling diamond ring in the middle of the yellow flower centerpiece. I think they got the show of exclamations, kissing, and even a couple of tears that they were watching for. I was so happy to have my ring!

It was hard to find a job when I got up to school. I had to get humble and accept a cafeteria job. I wore a terrible dress and a hairnet! That part of it was not easy for me. I wanted a nice job like my previous one at the Clinique counter.

Making wedding plans during the semester was pretty easy in comparison. Like I mentioned earlier, I am not one to be fussy, or obsessed with details. I didn't spend my life dreaming of my wedding day as some of my friends had. I chose a wedding dress, bridesmaid dress patterns and some simple announcements in just a few hours. I knew I wanted yellow flowers. We didn't even register for gifts.

Our announcement picture:

Jeff found us an apartment. He also scheduled our wedding in the Salt Lake temple. Jeff's family arranged a reception in his town, and my family arranged a reception in my town, to be held a week later. I appreciate all the work that went into that for us. We didn't have to do much of anything.

What we DID have to do was learn to live in this more grown up world. We had our first fight in January. It was the beginning of really learning how to work things out. We broke up every Saturday in January and February. What an emotional roller coaster! Only once in all those times did I really think we might not get back together. These arguments were not very mature, but they taught us a lot very early, and we matured from them. We learned about our different negotiating styles. It was a refining process that was important to go through, but it was hard! We learned that it was better to cooperate than to have a winner and a loser.

We finally stopped breaking up in March.

Here we are the day before our wedding:

I really wish I had a better picture!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

December 25, 1983

This is the next installment of the "anniversary series." The stories start in March 1983, and go until March of 1984. Currently, I am writing about December of 1983, when I came home from my semester in Hawaii. (You know what kills me about all of this? The lack of pictures!)

I came home from Hawaii with crazy anticipation about the future. I was home for a few days before Jeff came down from Utah to see me.

Well, this is what we did. My parents...ever the BYU football four tickets to the Holiday Bowl being played in San Diego on December 23. BYU was playing Missouri. I know you wanted to know that. Hey, BYU was really good back then, with Steve Young as the quarterback and all. So, Jeff was coming by bus to meet us for the game, and then come home with us for Christmas.

At the bus station, I was totally nervous. I was afraid maybe I was too carried away. I mean, we had only spent five weeks together, several months ago. We had seen each other on two weekends over the summer. That is not a lot of time together. We each did have an overflowing box of letters though, in which we had shared so much. But was it real? Had I imagined the whole thing? Would I feel the same about him as before? Should I be a little reserved at first, and check if he still had the same feelings? We had to wait for the bus for an extra 45 minutes. When the bus pulled up, I couldn't even look. I had my mom watch for Jeff to get off the bus.

But as soon as my mom saw him, I ran to him. No reserve. It was so good to be back with him again, from the first minute.

My dad then drove us to the ocean, and sent us out to walk on the beach for awhile.

It seemed better and more beautiful than any beach had been in Hawaii.

We didn't really have long until my dad was ready to get to the game. It was great to have a few minutes of time alone though.

On the way home from the football game, we stopped for food. Notice how I don't have anything to say about that game? I have no idea what took place there! The place we stopped for food had a flower stand right next to it. Jeff walked over there and returned with a bouquet of yellow flowers. It was the first time he ever bought me flowers. It made me so happy. We were definitely picking up right where we left off. I relaxed and slept on his shoulder most of the way home that night.

I wondered how Jeff would take my crazy family. I had seven younger brothers and sisters, and one more was on the way. Jeff was the youngest in his family, so there was a real contrast. His family was quiet, and mine was well...insane.

On Christmas Eve, we wrapped lots of presents for my mom. Jeff and I also participated in the Nativity Play. I had to be a sheep. He wore a donkey head. He wasn't thrilled with that, but he was a good sport. Our tradition was for all the kids to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve. He dutifully rolled out his sleeping bag, and slept in a small room with all of us. He ran down the stairs with us the next morning. Christmas was on a Sunday that year, so he went to church with us. That may have been more challenging than any of it....getting ready for church in that wild household.

No, this is really not my picture...but I am trying to convey some of the madness that can be a part of Christmas with a large group.

Things didn't calm down around there much until late that night. The kids finally wore themselves out, and dropped off. Dad built a fire in the fireplace, and then he and my mom disappeared. It was our first quiet setting since the beach. In that setting I got the best Christmas gift ever....a marriage proposal.

Don't go away for long. This does not conclude our story!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And Then....

This is a continuation of my "anniversary series." I have been writing about March of 1983, when Jeff and I started dating. My girls are fascinated....and sometimes horrified with the stories. (That makes this time of writing and remembering all the more fun!)

In my last entry, Jeff had been quite honest about his feelings. We had spent a little time together by that point, but not a lot. So, the next order of business was to spend a lot of time together. We were inseparable for the rest of the semester...only about four more weeks.

It was hard to go home for the summer, but we each did just that. I was slipping in my resolve to go to Hawaii, but I hadn't let it go. Jeff and I talked on the phone, but not that often. It was so different then, than it is now. We wrote letters on actual paper, and sent them in the mail. There were no cell phones. We didn't even have CORDLESS phones. It was hard to talk privately. When I discuss all this with my girls, it is as if I am speaking of the Dark Ages. They can't imagine such inconvenience.

My plans for Hawaii hung in there. I wanted Jeff to ask me to stay home, but he didn't. I was feeling funny about it because one of my roommates who was supposed to be joining me on this adventure decided to stay home and get married. I was annoyed with her, and yet a little envious as well. Jeff was wise though. He didn't want to keep me from these plans I had made.

Jeff and I decided to visit each other in the summer. I made a trip to his home for the fourth of July weekend. We hardly saw the fireworks we went to see, because it was so nice to be together again. Jeff came to visit me in August, to say goodbye before my semester away. It made it harder to go!

But, on my 20th birthday, I flew across the ocean:

Here I am, with one of my roommates, singing sad songs into our thumbs about our boyfriends who weren't with us, and our friend who had the nerve to get married rather than come with us!

I didn't have much money while I was over there, but I had such a wonderful time. I didn't get to go to the other islands and do every touristy thing. I made friends with people who lived there. I ate their mother's home cooking. I went on unofficial guided tours. Hiking waterfalls is free. Body surfing at the North Shore until you almost die is also free. I saw history and beauty, and met people from so many different cultures. My friends who danced in local shows were sometimes allowed to bring guests to the shows, so I saw more back doors than front doors. The coconut I am drinking from in the picture was acquired for me by a guy who was raised in Tonga. He had been running up trees to get coconuts since he was a child. He scaled the tree like a monkey, and then ripped it open with his teeth and gave it to me. That's free too...and so awesome!

My two roommates were the best, and we had an amazing time exploring the island.

I also got straight A's. My grades had not been terrible in the past, but never as good as this. Imagine getting good grades in Hawaii! But I was in the library to study by 7:00 almost every morning. This was very new to me. I studied early and went to classes, so I would have the rest of the time to play without guilt and stress. I had never approached school that way before.

I was also very well known to the people who worked in the post office. They teased me about all my letters. I loved my letters! I sent and received so many. Jeff and I wrote to each other almost every day. I still have those letters. They helped us to know each other better than ever. We wrote about what we did each day, but we also wrote about everything we dreamed of for the future.

December came slowly and quickly at the same time. My parents and my grandma came to Hawaii for a little visit, and to fly home with me. My mom was expecting my youngest brother at that time.

Here we are at Pearl is pretty busy there in December. I loved taking my parents and my grandma to see some of the sights. I was also starting to get anxious to get home, and find out what the next chapter in my story would be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More of This Silly Story...

So I have been writing this little "anniversary series" of stories, since Jeff and I started dating in the month of March and were married the following March.

March is my favorite month anyway. It is the month that smells like orange blossoms. It is a month that is warm, but not hot. It is the month where we do silly little things like make green pancakes for St. Patrick's Day (did that this morning) but we don't have to do huge holiday productions.

Anyway, I left off the March 1983 story with me laughing and crying by the door and wondering what was next. I didn't have to wonder long, because Jeff called me the next morning to see if I was okay. The only thing that was badly bruised was my pride! I did have to go and get the borrowed shoes repaired too, but everything else was just fine. I could mostly laugh it off.

My chronology gets a little fuzzy right here. I know we spent some time together that week. We went to a movie with a lot of people, we had a game night at my apartment, and Jeff watched a basketball game at my apartment also. All I know is, we were always with a lot of other people.

A week after our first date, he asked me to go to campus with him the next day, for ice cream, I think. Like I said, I don't have a perfect recollection of all these things. When the next day came though, he called me and told me he would have to cancel this date. He said he had to go to his mom's birthday party. I wasn't sure I believed that story. She was suddenly having a birthday? Out of the blue? My doubt and sarcasm reached him, even over the phone.

"You don't believe me?" was his question. "Come with me then," he said firmly. Oh, I was stuck now. I was terrified now. But I agreed to go. Much of his family lived an hour or less away. His sister was going to come and pick him up, and take him to the party she was putting on for her mom.

Jeff's sister is the oldest of his siblings. She had all six of her children before Jeff and I were married. She seemed so old to me back then. (Younger than I am now.) The funny thing is, now that is the position I occupy in my family. I am quite a bit older than my youngest brother. I had all my children before he was married. My view is quite different now than it was then!

Anyway, she picked us up and drove us to her home. She seemed to assume we were a couple. We may have been a couple of idiots, but not an actual couple. She looked at us knowingly, but there was nothing to know! She was so nice, but I felt very awkward. I couldn't believe I got myself into this.

At first, going from her car, into her home felt like I was acting out the frying pan and fire phrase. Now I had to talk to her husband, and children...and Jeff's parents. His dad was very reserved and I could not begin to know what was going through his mind. His mom was kind and friendly.

As it turned out, the evening wasn't really so bad. It was nice getting to know his family a little. I absolutely didn't mind enjoying someone's good cooking, rather than the ramen noodles I surely would have had at my apartment. They all seemed to regard us as a couple though, and that was an odd feeling....

When I left, someone called to me, "Take good care of Jeff!" I wanted to reply, "YOU take care of him," but thankfully I did not.

After Jeff's sister dropped us off at my apartment, he didn't go right home. In fact, he stayed a long time. He let me in on his side of this whole story. All this time that I was feeling silly, dumb, inadequate, clumsy, awkward...he really liked me. He was ready for us to date more, be that "couple" that his family saw, and maybe even live happily ever after. I was caught by surprise at all he shared that evening, and I was nervous.....but I really liked him too.

We had less than a month left of the semester. I let him know that I had to go home at the end of the next month and work all summer, so I could go to school in Hawaii in the upcoming fall semester. I had convinced three friends to come with me, and more importantly had actually convinced my parents too. I wasn't sure how involved I should be with anyone at this point, since I was about to leave for eight months. He didn't get upset, but just asked if we could at least spend what little we had left of the semester together. That sounded just great to me...

I have a few more stories to come back soon....:)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Walk Home From the Dance (1983)

This entry comes after the one just below. It is the next story, in my "anniversary series."

The shoe is a pretty good representation of the ones I was wearing that night.

So, the highlight of my evening had been our talk on the balcony. The more I talked to him, the more I liked him.

We started the walk home pretty late. My feet were killing me. I thought of kicking my shoes off, and walking home with bare feet, but I was wearing a borrowed dress and I did not want it to drag on the ground. The March night, or early morning by then, was cold but not freezing. I was still glad I had worn the brown coat with the red dress, even though they weren't stunning together. I held his arm as we walked down the quiet streets toward my apartment. I was comfortable doing that.

I was wondering though, what was next. How would this date end? This was after all, only our first date. At the beginning of the date I had the intention of having a nice time with a new friend, but now I was seeing things a little differently.

The closer we got to my apartment, the more nervous I got....the good kind of nervous.

The entrance to my apartment was four cement steps down from street level. I took the first three steps down as normally as I took them every other time I went down them. Now, I don't know if I missed the last step and caused my shoe to break, or if my shoe broke and caused me to miss the last step. I would like to blame the shoe, but either way, the step was missed. I fell down in a heap right in front of my apartment door. It wasn't just a little trip, I was all the way down, with my coat kind of over my head. I was so embarrassed.

I actually wished I had lost consciousness so I could leave by ambulance rather than stand up and face Jeff. He DID wonder if I was "out" for a moment there because I didn't get right up. It was really just a few seconds, but it felt SO long. After he helped me up, I was so shocked and horrified that I just thanked him and went in my apartment.....and DIED. I sat by the front door and laughed and cried for I don't know how long. I wished I had invited him in so we could have gotten past this stupid date ending, and laughed about it together. It was too late, and I felt so dumb.

I wondered if I would ever hear from him again....I guess it is kind of obvious that I did :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

1983 Continued....

Back to March of 1983....

So, a couple of entries ago, I wrote "The Turning Point." This is what was around the corner from that point:

Even though I assured my roommate that Jeff and I were not going to start dating, my thoughts kept returning to him. I did not know him well, but I felt comfortable around him. I saw him playing basketball one day. I watched him play for awhile. He couldn't see me. He played hard and well. I liked the fact that he could be so driven and so easy going at the same time.

I decided that I should return the favor of dinner, so I invited him over to eat at my apartment. That was not really a favor. I was such a terrible cook. I made him a dry, yet rubbery pork chop and some soggy vegetables. I can't remember what else I made. I have blocked it out, I think. I felt embarrassed, but he was so polite. I'm sure he had to chew each bite of pork chop a zillion times. But hey, he at least had those soggy vegetables to help wash it down. I laughed on the outside, but I felt like a total failure.

I didn't expect to see him again any time soon, but just a few days later I came in and found my roommate cutting his hair. I had been helping fill some sandbags because of some flooding in the area, so I looked (and smelled) awful. I wanted to disappear into the other room and get cleaned up, but he kept asking me questions about the sandbag project. I added this experience to the list of marks against me...bad food, and a very messy appearance.

BUT, just a couple of days later, he asked me to an upcoming formal dance. I was surprised that he asked, and surprised just how happy I was that he asked. I mean, it was clear to me that we were not each others types. He was so smart, and kind of quiet. I did fine in my classes, as long as they didn't interfere with my life. His classes were his life. (You know I am exaggerating.) His classes started at 7:00 am, and mine started at 12:00 noon. He excelled in sports, and I was awful in sports. He could cook...and I obviously could not....

It was a little tricky getting ready for a formal dance. It wasn't like a prom, where my parents were there to help me pay for things. I went "shopping" in many closets. I ended up borrowing a long, red dress and some cute shoes with spiky heels. My 5'4" wanted to be taller for Mr. 6'2".

Jeff picked me up right on time, and his eyes gave away the fact that I had not gone wrong in the red dress selection. He looked sharp as well. Where is the picture, you might ask. We didn't take one! I have such regret about that. I could have this great first date picture, and I don't have one.

This is not a very accurate representation, but it will have to do....

Neither one of us had a car. We lived close to campus and walked everywhere. We walked back to his apartment for dinner...more of his cooking. I wish I could remember what we ate, but I don't remember. After dinner, we walked to the dance, and I started regretting the shoes before we even danced. I was used to wearing shoes with heels, but they were borrowed shoes, so they were a little different. We probably just should have skipped the dancing anyway. We are not particularly good dancers. It was fine, but not that fun, so I suggested that we go outside and talk for awhile.

It was so nice just talking to him. I remember the balcony we stood on, and the view we could see, the weather, and...the wallet check...?? This means I took his wallet and went through it. Yes, I did that. He was surprised that I just lifted his wallet like that. I just laughed and said that I wanted to look at the pictures of his girlfriends. There were a couple of pictures, but nothing that stood out to me as a big issue. Everything was in good order, of course. (I say of course, because I know him so well now.)

On that balcony, I knew we would be more than just friends, but I didn't realize how much more...

Next entry: The Walk Home From the Dance

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Magic I Believe In.....

It has been previously established that Riley is a firm believer in the Tooth Fairy. By her description in that link, I imagine she looks about like this:

Don't you think?

Anyway, Riley is really a fan now, because for those two front teeth she lost, it was as if the tooth fairy read her mind, or even more likely, heard her expressed wishes...

Riley's class has been doing a money unit in first grade, and a couple of weeks ago, she came home with important information. She let me know that there was a coin that was bigger than a quarter, and it was a half dollar! She gets enthusiastic about what she learns at school, but when it is about money, it is almost too much to handle. She talked about half dollars for a couple of days.

The night she lost that first front tooth, she talked to herself in her room, "I wish the Tooth Fairy would bring me a HALF DOLLAR."

Early the next morning...too early...Riley bounced on my head, with coins jingling in her hands. The Tooth Fairy had delivered! She brought a half dollar and two quarters. Riley was beside herself with joy. I had to agree about the Tooth Fairy. She is amazing.

When the next tooth came out, just a few days later, Riley wondered what she would get this time. She didn't specify, as she had before. The early morning excitement was even better than the last time!

Riley came in and showed me her dollar coin. I didn't know she knew what it was, but she sure did. She informed me that the woman was Sacajawea, and that the coin looked like it was made of gold, but it wasn't, and she HAD to take it to school to show everyone. My long sentence has commas anyway, but I don't think hers did. She may have said all that without taking any breaths.

It is a good thing that Riley doesn't have any more loose teeth at the moment. She will say that she does, but the wiggle is hardly discernible.

So, in theory, my head should be safe from the morning Tigger bounce. But that theory would be false..

The night before last, Riley got into my bed at 2:00 in the morning. She asked, "Mom, what date is St. Patrick's Day?" "I will tell you in the morning," I answered as I scooted over to let her have more of my space. I didn't want to wake us up more by having a conversation about it. About 6:00, she repeated her question. I told her it would be March 17. She asked me why we have that day, and I told her it was so I could pinch her all day. Of course then I had to reassure her that she would be in neon green all day, and believe me she will, and no one would really be able to pinch her. Then she started asking me if leprechauns were real. Now this one I may have to wonder about. The idea of a fairy being male....I'm not so sure about that.

He's just not as cute, you know what I mean?

But there is one type of fairy I truly believe in:

Fairy Godmothers

If you have not read about Kaitie and Emilee being my Fairy Godmothers, you will have to take a quick peek at that link. Don't worry, it is short. As it turns out, Ally is one of them too.

Last week, I was wearing a comfortable pair of black shoes, and getting ready to leave the house for lunch with friends.

Ally: Mom, I thought you were going to get rid of those shoes.

Me: I know I should, but I NEED them sometimes....

(Ally gave me a look filled with actual pain.)

Me: Well, I do have those other black shoes that I wear sometimes....

Ally: You should go get them. You really should.

(I handed her the old ones.)

Me: Make sure I never see these again.

I am sure I never will.

Now, that is some magic I can really believe in!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Turning Point

I remember when I thought that anyone who could discuss something that was over twenty years ago was extremely old. This story is getting well beyond twenty. What does this mean??! ;)

March 6, 26 years ago even...was a turning point in my life, but I sure didn't know it at the time. I was in my third semester of college and I lived with three really great roommates. Two of them had been my roommates the year before. I had just moved in with them that January of 1983, and they had immediately started introducing me to lots of people.

Right away they took me to meet an apartment of seven guys who were their good friends. I remember that Sunday evening in January pretty well. These seven guys seemed okay, but not a huge deal. There were a couple of them who were very good looking, but they were more aloof. You know, the I-already-have-a-girlfriend-and-several-more-waiting-in-the-wings-if-I-tire-of-her, types. Some of the others competed for attention, telling wild stories and showing off. There was one though, who was quiet. He was not insecure quiet, but secure quiet. Does that make sense? I thought he was a little odd because he was wearing jeans and a bathrobe his mom made for him.

Let me set the stage now, for March 6. It was fast Sunday. In my church, we have about a 24 hour fast on the first Sunday of each month. It is by choice, of course, but I usually choose it. There are spiritual and temporal purposes to this. Along with our fast, which is meant to bring us closer to God, we give the money we would have spent on our meals to help those in need. And here is the other religion related, important fact. We try to keep Sunday as a holy day. We keep it different than the other days by not spending money, etc, so we don't shop, or go out to eat.

March 5, my roommate and I didn't get groceries as we usually did. We could have made toast or something after church the next day, but we didn't have much in the cupboard. I had dutifully fasted, so my stomach grumbled through church. I really regretted not going to the store. As I was walking out of church, I happened to catch a glance from the Bathrobe Guy. I walked right up to him in a bold and silly fashion and stated, "Debbie and I forgot to shop for food, and we are starving. You want to invite us to dinner, don't you?" To my surprise,he said sure, and told us when to come to his apartment. He cooked for us! I had kind of low expectations, but he actually baked us a chicken. I was amazed! That was so out of the ordinary for most students I knew, especially the male students. His roommates were all out, so just the three of us ate together and had a nice time.

After dinner, Debbie watched tv while I helped clean up the kitchen. As I was standing next to this guy doing the dishes, I was filled with this overwhelming spray him with the sink sprayer. So I did. I got him really good. We ended up having a huge water fight through the apartment. I laughed so hard, I cried. The fun we had was another unexpected bonus. He was a decent cook AND a good sport, but I still wasn't thinking anything beyond that Sunday.

When Debbie and I walked home, she said, "You two would make a great couple." I insisted that it would never happen.

We were married a year later.

So I have decided to write a few little stories this month from March of 1983, and March of 1984. I think it will be fun!

Since you already know that we ended up together, it is not giving away much to include this picture of us from April of 1983. It is our first picture together:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why Write Today?

I don't think I really need to write today. If you read yesterday, than this picture is worth its thousand words!

Tune in tomorrow though, because I am going to write about the March 6 that changed my life.....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Small Pieces of Life...

The thing about taking a couple of Disney trips, is that the daily things I usually write don't seem as fun. I need to get back to it! When people tell me they can't blog, because they aren't doing anything interesting, I assure them that they are doing "blogable" things. I generally just write about the small pieces of life.....

This soccer season Riley has improved a lot in attitude, and a little in her actual game. It has been worthwhile. She used to be so reluctant to even get ready. She would complain, or even cry on her way to practice, as if I were taking her for a flu shot. Now, she gets ready easily. She used to run around without focus, and now she is at least focused. She is with the group, and even connects with the ball from time to time.

At the beginning of the season, I wrote all of her games down on a big calendar I keep by the kitchen phone. I wrote her game time, and her assigned field. I did that for me. I didn't know she was looking at the calendar too.

A couple of weeks ago, she came to me and asked, "What does RS B Day mean?" It took me awhile to figure it out. My mind was stuck on RSB. I wondered whose initials were RSB. Then I realized she meant something I had written on the calendar. "Oh," I answered,"That means Relief Society Birthday." (Relief Society is our women's organization at church. There is an annual celebration of its organization.) Riley then informed me that the Relief Society Birthday was at the exact same time as her soccer game. I told her that since I had gone to most of the games, I wanted to go to this celebration. "But who do you love the most? Who is the most important?" she challenged. I didn't see that coming!

Since soccer has been such an issue, it took me a little while to make peace with her on this. I resisted the temptation to make a reward or bribe situation out of it, so there is no shameful story to attach here.

Riley found out she could have a perfectly nice game with her dad and her sisters. I had only a little extra guilt, as I enjoyed some inspiration and time with adult women at the church. I needed that! I used to be able to do these things without feeling guilty. Even though I have been a mom for a LONG time, I still have much to learn. Parenting the baby is definitely different than parenting the first ones!

These soccer pictures are from the week before last:

Here is a little reminder for me and for Riley that really often I AM there for "important" things. Riley's two front teeth have been loose and dangling for much too long now. Last Thursday, when I was helping in her first grade classroom, I could see that one of them was ready to just jump out.

Riley walked back to the table where I was folding and stapling little books, and I said, "Just pull that tooth out." With one motion she protested, "I can't!" and reached into her mouth to show me that the tooth wouldn't come out. To her surprise, the tooth ended up out of her mouth and between her fingers, just as she said those words. We had a good laugh. Her friends gathered around her, to get a good look at the tooth and her bloody mouth. I took this picture of her just a minute later, with my cell phone....

I have tried to repeat that moment to get the other tooth out, but so far it is not working!