Friday, October 30, 2009

Blast From the Past

This is what Kaitie, Emilee and Riley looked like in 2003:

I just started with that for a frame of reference, for this little Blast from the Past post.

This post is from October 21, 2003...(that is the month I started blogging, so this was one of my first posts.)

Haunted House Packet

Emilee is my seven year old. I thought she was my baby. She was...for six and a half years. She used to complain about it a lot. "I don't want to be the last one. I want to be a big sister. So and so is a big sister..." She never gave up saying it, or praying about it. Her prayers were heard and answered. She got her baby sister a little over a year ago.

So Emilee can be very persistent. Her latest plan...luckily not a baby to have a Halloween party and a haunted house for her friends. I have been telling her that I didn't think I wanted to go to that much work or expense. She continues telling me her plans. Every day the plan is more detailed. I learned in school that the set up, the "plan" is half the game to a child. Sometimes it doesn't matter if they get to carry a thing through, because the real activity IS the planning. Why can this not apply here? I want it to apply here. I don't think it applies here.

Yesterday my husband and I were eating lunch and Emilee brought us four pages, stapled together. The front page said, "Honted House Packet." There was a pencil taped to the front. The next page was a list of how she would like to decorate, and who she would like to invite. The following page was a list of supplies needed. The final page was a contract: 1. You won't have to do a lot. 2. It won't be a lot of work. 3. It will only be one night. 4. I will do most of it by myself. Sighn here: Yes______ No_______ Maybe_______

We are wimps and signed maybe. I can't believe she is wearing me down. It's that she is so smart about it. She is not whining and begging. I could say no to that in a heart beat. She is thoughtfully planning, and trying to take responsibility. I guess she isn't a baby anymore. And again, I guess I am lucky that she is not asking for a brother. I'd be in huge trouble!


October 26, 2003
Halloween Party

A few days ago, I wrote that Emilee was persistently asking to have a Halloween party for her friends.  I didn't really want to do it, but she went about the whole thing so well.  We decided a little Halloween dinner would be possible.

Emilee and Kaitie each invited four friends.  They made the invitations, and we delivered them on Friday.  The girls did all the decorating themselves.  We had the party last night from 6:00-8:00.

We started with dinner, where the kids had to order off a silly menu.  They could choose bone sandwiches, cat claws, etc.  They would get to see what they got when it arrived.  After dinner, we had a minor spook alley in the hallway.  We have a pretty long hall down to Ryan's room.  We had a plastic skeleton hanging in his doorway, and Ryan stood behind that with a sheet over his head.  The lights were off, and we had just a few glow in the dark pumpkins and ghosts in the hallway.  We had a Halloween CD playing kind of a spooky wind sound.  I told Ryan to be less scary with the little kids, and more scary with the big kids.  It was hilarious.  I asked who would dare go down the hallway and touch the skeleton.  At first they all wanted to, but as they looked down the hallway, some of the kids wouldn't.  It was so cute.  Ryan did a great job.  He was funny, and not mean.  I loved it.

Then Ally had them come and do the "feel the monster eyes, tongue, brain, etc" in bowls in a different part of the hallway.  She did a great job also.  I didn't know how much she would crack me up as she made up funny things to say to the kids as they touched bowls of grapes, dried apricots, and spaghetti.

The kids had a great time.  I was happy when it was over though.  My husband came into the kitchen, kissed me, and said, "You are a great mom."  "You just like me because I taste like Oreo," I teased.  But I felt happy to have carried out Emilee's plan.

Back to 2009, I looked for pictures of that party, and all I could find was this one of some of the kids playing in the backyard while I finished getting the dinner items together.  They weren't in costumes or was just a casual little dinner.  When I read back on what Emilee wrote, I wonder how I must have seemed to my kids back then.  She had to write, "You won't have to do a lot," in order for me to agree to it?  I guess my life was more overwhelming back then, than it is now. 

Here is the post I wrote for Halloween that same year:

November 1, 2003

Yesterday Ally (16) went to school as her version of a caveman.  I ripped a head hole into a sheet.  We cut the bottom of the sheet jagged all the way around.  We spray painted spots all over the front yard, late the night before.  I told her it looked a bit like a toga.  We tied a little knot in the top of her hair.  She said one of her teachers called her a dirty Roman, so I guess it did look a little like a toga.  She had a great time all day.  She went to a friend's house for a party and a sleepover.

At 5:00, I took Kaitie (as a witch), Emilee (Pocahontas), and Riley (Minnie Mouse) to see my parents.  My sister and her little Power Ranger and pumpkin came along.  My dad has an outdoor bench swing in the front yard.  I took a picture of him pushing all these characters on that swing.  

Next, we took the kids to see Ally at the home of her friend.  Even though they were preparing for a teenage party, Ally wanted to see the girls all dressed up.  They had a stuffed scary looking guy sitting in the chair in their yard and we decided to take a picture of everyone next to him.  As we were getting everyone arranged, Emilee accidentally knocked the head off.  Riley screamed her head off.  I can't believe I let my poor baby be so traumatized...

After the visits, we went to the church for Trunk or Treat.  We had dinner, and then the children went trick or treating to every car in the parking lot.  Riley stayed with me to pass out candy while Kaitie and Emilee went with their friends through the lot.  Riley put candy in the bags as the kids came by.  She loved it!  She put candy into each bag, and said, "Thank you."  Adorable.
Last, we went to see my Grandma.  She can't get out much anymore.  My aunt and uncle who are staying with her right now aren't kids anymore themselves.  It probably won't be long until they are great grandparents.  Uncle J was telling me how Halloween used to be.  He said they had to sing a song or tell a joke to get the candy.  He said if they didn't do a good job, they wouldn't get anything.  That is where the tricks came in!  If they didn't get candy, they would write on the window with soap or something.  Good stories.  I hope my stories sound good to someone someday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Know, I Know....

I know, I know.....I have a lot of Disney stuff this year.  We got passes at the beginning of the year, so I could see Disney in each season.  Our family has never done this before.  We will visit a time or two more before the expiration of these passes, and then I imagine we won't go back for years. 

I just wanted to be able to have THIS picture, you know?

During this Disney year, we have tried to make the rounds of the restaurants as well.  We decided to try the BBQ at Big Thunder Ranch this time. 

Here is Riley, standing at the end of our table.  I wanted someone in the family to go right up on the stage so I could get a really good picture of all the decor.  For some reason, no one wanted to do it.  You may be able to see there is a guy up there playing the piano.  He was really talented, playing his Home on the Range type stuff.    Another cowboy  walked around with his guitar awhile later, and he was also very good.  Woody from Toy Story made the rounds, but Riley was not interested.  The only character she cared about on this day, was Minnie Mouse.  (Her picture with Minnie is a couple of posts down.)

We enjoyed our bbq very much.  The girls went a little crazy with the ribs.  No question, they were excellent.  (When we ran out, more magically appeared...)

I enjoyed all the fall decorations, and this is one of my favorite pictures of the day.

Riley and I were trying to make our best Jack O Lantern faces here.  We didn't quite have the effect we wanted to.  We probably should have just zoomed in more, because....

....she has the classic second grade, Halloween teeth thing going on right now!

I told her to stand by this "guy" as if he had his arm around her, and you can see she wasn't quite sure about that....

The girls were all about the rides, of course.  (I liked those too.)  Here is Em, in the line for the Haunted Mansion.  She prepared for this ride, by wearing her new Jack Skellington shirt.  The Jack Skellington character walked by a couple of times.  I wanted Riley to stop and see some of these Halloween characters, and she just would not.  They had more villains out than usual, like Cruella de Ville, and Jafar.  I thought the pictures would be fun, but I didn't force the issue, when she was not interested. 

The Space Mountain ride was much creepier than usual, for Halloween.  I thought Riley might hate it, but we took her anyway.  She liked it!  I realized that she kind of decides ahead whether or not she is going to like something.  I will keep my eye on that, and see if it is really the case.  We got her onto the Tower of Terror ride with all of us.  She had decided all along to hate that yes, she still felt the same way. 

This was the only picture I took in California Adventure. I wanted to take a million more of all the fun things, but you can see that Riley is sick of the camera. I put it away after this.  They were setting up things for Mickey's Trick or Treat party, and we didn't have tickets for that, so it was just as well to move on. Riley wasn't too concerned about that party, but I was feeling some regret for not getting the tickets in time.

If we had gone to the Trick or Treat party though, we would have missed the amazing fireworks show....and we would not have wanted to miss that!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nants Ingonyama Bagithi Baba

So do you recognize the syllables in this title?

This is the "chant" I woke up to yesterday morning....sung by Kaitie and Emilee.

It supposedly means, "Here comes a lion, Father."  It is the way the song, "The Circle of Life," begins. (Can you sing it in your mind now?)

On Saturday, we took the girls to see The Lion King in San Diego.

It was an amazing show, even though we had the WORST seats in the entire theater.  We were in the very top corner of the balcony.  It was almost amusing. 

Here are Kaitie and Emilee right before entering the show.  You can see they are actually above the level of the chandelier.  Riley wouldn't stand by the railing with them.  She didn't like the height.  She complained while we walked up all those stairs....not about the climbing, but about the view over the edge of the railing. 

She let me take her picture far away from the railing.  She wanted to show off her binoculars too.  That was the only way she was going to see the show well from where we were sitting.

At first, Riley was uncomfortable in the theater seats too.  I call those seats, the Vertigo Seats.  (We had a similar spot when we went to see "Wicked" in the summer.)  I was glad we went early, to give her a chance to settle in.  One the show started, she was fine, and she loved it!  I was pleasantly surprised by her sustained interest in the show.  But how could she not be. The show was incredible!

Riley wasn't the one who sang those chants yesterday morning.  The song she hasn't stopped singing is, "I Just Can't Wait to Be King."  I was amazed by the kids who played the little Simba, and the little Nala.  I think they were nine and eleven years old.  Such talent!

I just can't wait to figure out what show to go to next :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Picture from the Weekend......

Riley loved Minnie's reaction, and I loved Riley's reaction.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crazy Fall Breakers

Riley and Emilee are on Fall Break this week. I imagine that in some locations, Fall Break is a time for sweaters and crispy, falling leaves. Here, it still looks quite a bit like summer. It didn't feel exactly like summer though yesterday when Riley wanted me to go swimming with her. It was windy outside, and so the pool was not very clean. The temperature felt good for sitting by the pool, but I wasn't so sure I would get in.

Riley worked on a plan to get me in there. The first step of her plan was to get the pool a little cleaner:

We don't have a pool guy...well, yes we do, it is Jeff. He seems to have enjoyed this job during the last year. He has taught the girls a few things out there too, so Riley was showing me that she could make the pool acceptable to me. The trouble is, it was still windy. She was cute though. PJ likes it when we go out there, and let her run around with us in the pool area. She is not allowed in there, unless we are out there.


Riley's next plan was to show me how much she enjoyed the water.  It was cold in there, and I knew it!  She tried to act very unaffected by the temperature. 

Then, Riley got more ammunition....Emilee.

Look at the mischief in these devious eyes!  They were purposely getting me wet, so I would "get used to it." 

They won.  We were out there nearly three hours.  I had a great time with those crazy Fall Breakers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Required October Activity

Saturday night, I was determined to get some things done from my "dreaded boxes" which I referred to a couple of posts ago.  A few years ago, I printed some extra pictures...lots of them.  When I say printed, I mean on the computer.  I never did anything with them, because they needed to be cut out.  I set out my tall pile of pages, next to the scissors, and the remote control. 

I saw that a very old version of Phantom of the Opera was going to come on, and I decided to watch that while I cut out a lot of pictures.  I love old movies.  I am nerdy like that.

Emilee was close by, and she saw what I was going to watch.  She told me that she had read that in 1925, when the movie came out, that people fainted in the theater when the Phantom was unmasked.  She said it was the scariest thing that had been shown in theaters to that point.  I guess that makes sense.  I figured there weren't very many movies before 1925. (I did look it up though, and the first movies came out in 1903.)

In typical Emilee fashion, she got sucked into the movie with me.  She didn't mean to, of course.  She never does.  She just wanted to watch for awhile.  She didn't imagine that she would actually get drawn in.  It was a SILENT movie.  How can you have a silent movie about an opera house?  I have to admit I wasn't sure I would keep watching it either.  I like old movies, but not usually this old.
Emilee added the much needed Andrew Lloyd Webber music to our movie in her own special way :)  She makes a lot of things fun for me.  We also managed to get a little creeped out, which is a required October activity.  It was nice knowing all along that Christine was going to be just fine.....

So, here is the Phantom without his classic.  Do you feel faint now?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some Catching Up....

This is a little bit of miscellaneous catch up...

Over a month ago now, Kaitie sang a duet in church with her voice teacher.  I know I am her mom and all, but I have to say she did an amazing job.  Kaitie is fortunate to have some talent, and a gifted teacher.  To that she added hours of practice, and the result was a beautiful version of "Abide With Me."  There now, I have meant to get that paragraph into writing for the last month!  I wish I had an audio clip to add to it.  Maybe Kaitie will let me do that sometime...but I don't really think so...

Speaking of Kaitie, she just got braces.  I was planning to take her to get them.  I thought I would take a before, and after picture.  The day of her appointment however, happened to be in the week where Riley was sick for days.  I had decided to take Riley to the doctor, and the time that we could go in, was the same time as Kaitie's appointment.  Luckily, Jeff was able to get Kaitie to her appointment. He delivered her back to school, as soon as she was finished.

Kaitie sent me a couple of text messages:

Mom, never get braces.  You will gag!   (She knows me well.)

Then she sent me this picture, and message:

I feel like a shark with two rows of teeth!

I think she doesn't look bad at all.

So, I referred to Riley being sick.  She was out of school for a week.  I got a little sick too.  I had to cancel a scheduled root canal, because I was coughing so much.  I um....really hated to have to put that off.  I took Riley to the doctor, and it didn't do much for us, except assure us that she didn't have anything too dreadful.  I got more nervous than I needed to for an evening.  (The media had done just a little too much to my mind right then.)  I told the doctor that I have been a mom so long that I feel like I should know exactly what to do by now.  One of the problems with that is, over the course of all these years, some of the information I used to know has changed.  A bright spot during that week, was when someone amazing made us a wonderful batch of magical chicken soup :)  It delivered a cure to body and soul.

I was so grateful when Riley was well enough at the end of that week, so I could go on my planned trip to Time Out for Women in Phoenix. (And you know that first and most importantly, I was glad she was well.  I have to say that it was especially good to go out of town after a week "in" with a sick child.)   It was my first time to attend one of these.  My friend Stacy had the brilliant plan that we should drive there together, and meet our daughters who live over there for the weekend. 

Maybe it is just as well that the picture is blurry.  I could not seem to keep my eyes open for any picture we tried to take!

We had a wonderful time.  We took the girls to dinner, and then went to the convention center for an evening of music, and uplifting talks.  The speakers managed to be very funny, while delivering serious messages.  I heard some things that I needed to hear. 

I had such a great time with Ally.  On Friday night, after we left the convention center.  I went home with her, and Stacy went home with her daughter.  I loved meeting Ally's roommates.  She has a nice little "family" over there.  I am so happy with her new house!  I stayed in her room with her.  I have never done that before.  When I have visited her in the past, I got a hotel, and had her stay with me.  (It was funny staying there.  I didn't want to walk out of her room in the middle of the night, for a trip to the bathroom, because there was a guy out there watching a movie with the roommates.  I knew that a parental type was the LAST thing anyone wanted to see right then.)

I loved the time we spent catching up.  We had a million things to talk about.  We don't ever seem to run out of topics.  I ran out of steam though.  I finally had to sleep.  She should have been the tired one.  She just finished her first week at a new job.  New jobs are always stressful and draining.  Ally seemed to be doing well though.  She's happy, and that makes me happy.

Oh, here is my lovely self, trying to keep my eyes open for a picture.  That's what it takes.

Saturday morning, I knew Stacy would be back at the convention center early.  I knew I wouldn't be.  I told Ally, that I knew there would be seats saved for us close to the front.  I am not a sit-in-the-front person.  Stacy was kind enough to save seats, close to the front, but also by the side, so we could step in pretty easily when we got there.  She knows me.

The theme of the conference was Sweet Assurance.  It was about how everyone has hard things to deal with, but we can deal with them better when we have God's sweet assurance.

After the conference, I dropped Ally off at her house.  She and her roommate had plans for the evening.  A long time ago, they asked a couple of guys to some big rodeo thing.  Okay, this is how much of a country girl that Ally is not.  She kept referring to her western clothing as a costume.  She was SO cute.  I wish for a picture of her to post here right now. She showed me such fun pictures the next day.  Sorry I don't have one.

I took Ally's car, and went to visit my cousin.  Talk about someone who needs that sweet assurance!  My cousin has had an unfair share of life's hard things.  It was good to have a visit with her.  She was so composed, under devastating circumstances.  I don't think she knows what a picture of dignity and grace she was to me that day. 

After that visit, I was off to see my sister.  It was my first time to visit her in her new home.  She has been there for months, so I have felt bad not to have been there yet. Now that I know the royal treatment that is available there, they won't be able to keep me away!  My brother in law made some seriously good lasagna that night.  We had a great visit too.  I spent the night at their place.

Sunday, I went back to Ally's and attended church with her.  I wasn't expecting to like it that much.  The congregation she is a part of is single adults, ages 18-30.  I was actually very impressed by the meetings.  Those young people were much sharper than I was planning to give them credit for! 

That weekend was so good for me.  I was able to have fun with a friend, a daughter, a cousin, a sister.....I loved all of it.

Then I had to come home and really have that root canal. All I really want to say about it is that I am glad it is over.  I know it must seem like my mouth is a wreck from all the dental posts.   My mouth has actually had a good record until the last couple of years.   I don't even have fillings!  I am really hoping things are good in that department for awhile now. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Time Line

A couple of summers ago, I started working on a project.  I decided to make a family time line that ran from March 1984, when Jeff and I were married, to the present time.  I worked on it for awhile, and put it aside.  I have had it out again in the last few weeks, trying to add various things in as I can.  How do I just think of things, and add them?  Well, I have been going through the dreaded boxes.

Maybe you don't have dreaded boxes.  If you are the organized type, you have no idea what I am talking about.  My boxes contain pictures, and miscellaneous things I have saved over the years.  They are things I wished to look at again, but didn't want to deal with right at the moment.

The stick-it-in-a-box-and-think-about-it-later system, is not a method I recommend. I am trying to bring it to better order.  When I step into the room I work in, I have no idea what pieces of the puzzle I will encounter that day.  Will it be a program from one of Ryan's school plays, or odd pictures of a family reunion?

For sure, there will be pictures of me, that my children have drawn.  There will be notes they have written to me that say things like:

I m    sor e   mom.

Just so you know, that reads "sorry" not "sore." 

Here is a picture that Kaitie drew for me when she was about four.

Ryan drew me too.  I have been drawn a lot.  You didn't know I was an art model, did you?

I have many cards too.  No, I don't have every card I have ever been given.  I save things, but not like that.  This card has been delighting our family, since it resurfaced in the last few weeks.  Can you read what Ally wrote to me?

Mom I love you    you are fun    you are helful and sweat   from Allysha

Too true.

Also, I have saved a few family "newspapers" or "newsletters" that Emilee has made.  She has kept us informed over the years.  I didn't scan hers, but you will get the idea:

Family News

Whether:  A little breeze

Things we should do:  love one another as Jesus did 

Stuff:  Game night Tuesday the 19th of April 2005.  Everyone bring a game.  It is at 6:30.  
(Mom, dad tell Emilee if it is not okay.)

Family:  As we all know ryan is at the MTC.  We all miss him and love him.

So you see, my life has been passing in front of my eyes.  On one hand, I am annoyed at myself for having such a big mess of things to organize, and on the other I have loved many of these memories I have been surrounding myself with.

As I go through and organize these items, there are always things to add to my time line.  I figure out when and where our vacations were.  And no, it is not all about vacations.  I also know when hospital visits were.  Not all the printed programs are for plays and musical performances, some are for funerals.  There are great report cards, and also those that probably should remain hidden in the random mess.

Anyway, I am making progress, but I have a long way to go!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good News, or Bad News...

Yesterday I woke up with quite a cough.  I found out I was not well enough for my scheduled root canal.  Was that good news, or bad news?

(Update coming very soon....)