Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Preview on the Advice I Will Give In the Future......;)

Today is our 26th wedding anniversary. This morning on MSN there were some articles on marriage. There were "secrets" to having a good marriage. There was advice from couples. These couples had all been married at least 30 years. I guess I am not quite to the point of being able to give advice. Ask me some stuff in four years, I guess.

This is what I posted last year for my 25th anniversary. 
(Go ahead and click don't want to miss the wedding pictures.)

(This paragraph is related. Just give it a minute.) Twenty six years ago, I learned a lot more about the NBA than I had previously known, or cared to know. Jeff and I were married in the middle of our school semester. We were both full time students. You would think we would be so busy with school, our jobs and our new marriage that there would be time for little else. Well, but it was season. More specifically, it was a time of rivalry between the Lakers and the Celtics.  Those were the days of  Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird. Jeff was all about the Celtics. That year, the Celtics won the NBA Championship.  (In four years, when I start giving advice, I will say that it is good to take an interest in things your spouse is interested in.  I don't care about basketball like he does, but I have learned to like it enough to watch it and talk about it to a degree.) 

Last Friday, Jeff took his mom back to Salt Lake City.  She spends about half the year here these days.  Here are the girls saying goodbye:

Kaitie asked me why I was taking pictures.  She thinks I should only take pictures if we are at Disneyland or something.  (She objects even then!)  I like having a little history of our life.  I like there to be a record of the day to day, as well as the more eventful things.  

So, here is Jeff about to hit the road.  I can't remember what I was saying to him, to get him to smile like that.  I say a lot of strange things to him, so he won't often be able to predict what I will say next.  I wouldn't want him to get bored.  (I will add something like this in, when I start dispensing advice, in four years.)

Jeff and his mom had a nice trip.  The weather was good.  They visited with family members on the way up there, and after they arrived.

A bonus for Jeff was, that Ryan drove down to SLC to meet Jeff for a Utah Jazz, and Boston Celtics game on Monday night. This is the picture Ryan sent me from his phone: 

Now, since Jeff is from SLC, do you think he is a Jazz fan?  Actually the Jazz moved to SLC in 1979, which is the year Jeff left home.  He did not grow up with that team.  He and Ryan really wanted Boston!

I checked ESPN highlights on Monday night, and saw that the Celtics were up at the half.  I was happy for my Boston fans.  I guess the second half went completely differently, because the Jazz ended up with the win.  

The game was, of course, still so worth it to Jeff.  He lives in a house of girls these days.  It was so nice for him to get some much needed "man time" with his son.

Jeff flew home yesterday morning.  We don't have big plans for our anniversary today.  Last year we did a lot more.  I'm just so glad he is back home again.  (One more thing I will add to that advice list:  It isn't the big celebrations that are so important...although they are great.   It is that every day appreciation that makes a marriage work well.) 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh Happy Non-Uniform Day!

On Friday, Riley's school had picture day. Picture days are non-uniform days. We love those. So here is Riley in all her happy non-uniformness:

Riley better enjoy all that color, and pattern and fun while she can.  Like most trends, it will fade away soon.  Years down the road, her kids will look at her pictures and exclaim, "What were you wearing?"  They will be glad for whatever "new" thing they have that bears no resemblance to that insane 2010 look.  

They will be as horrified as my children looking back on something from the 1970's:

(I have to admit, this DOES crack me up!*)

But she and I will remember how happy she was:

(Oh yeah, this is especially for Ally. That morning I DID say to Riley, "Answer the stripe question!")

*Added:  Tonight I received a funny phone call asking who that person on my blog is. "It's my husband," I answered.

Yes, he has changed a bit.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Riley's Weekend

Last weekend Jeff, Kaitie and Emilee were gone a lot for a church youth conference. They had a pretty decent time.

Riley and I had a good weekend too. Friday night, she wanted to buy the movie G Force, and watch it together. I told her that as soon as we had our work done, we would do just that. We were going to have four extra girls from out of town spending the night here, as part of the conference. We did a little shopping, cleaning, and making up of extra beds. Finally, at about 8:45 we settled down for the movie. I told her I thought we should watch it in my room. It wasn't an amazing movie,  as you may know. I kept falling asleep, and she would say, "Mom! Are you watching?" Then I would try again. Riley finally fell asleep too.

As it turned out, no one spent the night after all. My girls slept on the made up mattresses in the family room, and ate the snacks I prepared. I guess the work we did didn't really go to waste.

The next morning I was not off the G Force hook. Riley made sure we finished watching it. Yay. Then she had another plan.

Riley usually does yard work with her dad. As he wasn't available, she decided we should pull weeds anyway and surprise him. There was one certain huge weed she had in mind to pull.  I told her we would save that one for last.  We pulled weeds for about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I enjoyed it much more than I expected to.  March is a beautiful month around here.  The extra rain has gifted us with an abundance of weeds though.  Our hour and fifteen put a dent in weed land, but it didn't get the whole thing taken care of.  Riley stayed enthused the whole time, because she was looking forward to her stand off with the BIG weed. 

She pulled and twisted, and came out victorious!

We couldn't stay outside all morning because Riley had to get ready for dance class.  I used to have to drag her there.  She is enjoying it so much more now.  It is so much nicer for me too, without the struggle to get there.

Dance is not the only thing Riley is happier with than before.  It is a good thing, because a little later that afternoon, we were off to her soccer game.  She is much more willing to play than ever.  She is still reluctant to take a ball that someone else has, but will happily kick the ball if it is free.  Hey, that is progress!  She is (kind of) part of the action now. 

Her favorite part is still that pink Powerade!

The smile on my face faded after this. We went to about six stores to get ready for a birthday party for Grandma S. for the next day. As much as we love Grandma S, you know I wasn't excited for all the shopping!
Riley loved that part too. She picked out western decor, and Arizona gifts.The next day we had our little surprise birthday party for Grandma.

It was totally worth it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Speed Shopping....

I have heard, as a rumor, that women like to shop.  Okay, I really know that is not new information.  They like to imagine possibilities, find deals, and try things on.  I say "they" because I have not found this to be true in my own life.  I have heard that I shop like a guy.  I get what I need as fast as I can, and I am out of there.  My poor daughters.  When they need something, they are lucky if they can get their dad to take them, instead of having me take them.  He is so much nicer.

Emilee needed some things last week, and she even had birthday money to spend.  Time was low, and it wasn't actually  all my fault this time.  I told her that she could have the one hour after her piano lesson, to spend at the mall, and that was all we could spare.  It is amazing all that can happen in an hour, if it is all you have.

Now, I have to say that shopping with me is not ALL bad.  I pay half for many of their purchases.  This means that just by walking around with me, at a faster pace, each ticket suddenly has a magic 1/2 off sticker on it.  That is nothing to complain about!

I ended up taking Riley to try on a few things, while Emilee tried on a few things, and we got out with some cute items in record time.

We didn't make it out with this shirt, because she didn't REALLY want it.  She just wanted to make sure I saw it:

She does look a little crazy, posing there with a shirt like that, doesn't she? ;)

I will have to be careful.  If I admit to having fun on these little trips, the girls will think they can convince me that we need to do it more often.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Picture This.....

Last Sunday, we traveled to a baby blessing.  My brother Jon, was blessing his son Paxton in church.  In our church new babies are blessed, usually by their fathers, when they are a few weeks old.

After we left the house early Sunday morning, I realized that my camera was still by the computer.  I hate being without my camera!  Here are a few things I would like to have taken pictures of....

Sunday morning, our car raced across the desert in a total downpour.  There has been so much rain lately, that the desert really looks different than usual.  Rather than a dull brown, it looks like a carpet of green has been put into place. The contrast of that green, with the gray sky made it look almost pretty.  (I know some people find the desert to be beautiful.  I don't usually see it that way.)

When we arrived at the church, we were happy to greet the nervous, but happy Jon.  The members of our family who were able to join Jon and Lisa for this occasion were gathering.  I think we took about three rows toward the back of the chapel.  I guess I wouldn't have pictures of that.  We don't take pictures in the actual chapel at church.  Riley was so excited to see some of her cousins.  She had a nice visit with them....all through the meeting.  I didn't do much to stop that either.  They don't get to see each other much, and they were not being loud.  I got to sit by Jeff, which was nice.  When we are home, his place is up on the stand in the front of the congregation.

The blessing itself was very nice.  There is something very sweet about a father blessing his little son.   I could feel the love Jon has for his son, and for his Heavenly Father....who blessings really come from.  Jon spoke to the congregation a little later on, and expressed how glad he was that they decided to do this blessing in church.  He said they thought about doing it at home, and they could have easily chosen to do it that way.  He said he felt that they made a good decision.  I think they did too.  I leaned over to Jeff while Jon was speaking and said, "He was born after we were married, and he is so grown up now.  We are old!"  I really felt that...but in a good way.  It is nice that all my brothers and sisters are married now, and all have children.  (I'm the oldest of nine, if you didn't know.)

I definitely would have taken a picture of Jon, Lisa and Paxton after the meeting.  Paxton was wearing tiny pants, a white shirt and an adorable vest.  Jon said they had a tie for him too, but they couldn't button the top button of his little shirt.

We went to Jon and Lisa's house to eat after the meeting.  They packed a lot of people into their house, and fed everyone a delicious lunch.  It was great catching up with Ally a little.  It is never enough.  I felt torn in different directions, wanting to visit with many different family members.  We planned to stay only a short time and get back on the road. 

I would have taken pictures of Riley with her cousins.  I would have taken pictures of Paxton.  He was starting to get overwhelmed by the group, so maybe it was good I wasn't doing that.  I would have taken a picture of the beautiful dessert table for sure!

Like I said we planned to leave early, so we could get home at a decent time.  We didn't go the same way as usual, because of all the rain.

On the road in Phoenix, we noticed the traffic getting slower and slower.  Traffic jam on a Sunday evening?  Sure enough, there was a bad accident that caused us to take twice as long to get home as it should have.  I was so sad that we didn't stay longer and visit with family, rather than spend the time in the car like that.  When we started to get annoyed in the car though, I reminded the family that those involved in the accident were certainly having a worse day than we were.

Riley told us to ask her questions about the world.  She has been studying maps, and really loves that.  We asked her about continents, capitals, and wonders of the world for quite awhile.  (And very important questions like this:  Which continent would I be on if I said, "I see London, I see France, I see Riley's underpants."  She answered, "Europe."  I said, "No, we would be right here in North America, where Riley is."  Juvenile, I know.  This is however, a good way to entertain a seven year old.)

It wasn't a terrible way to spend our time.  When it would start to feel terrible, we would ask, "Would you rather be in this traffic jam, or..." We would fill in the blank with horrible alternatives.  We were fine, and we knew it. 

Picture that....

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Lark! A Spree!

A Lark!  A Spree!  It's very clear to see 
That a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.....

We were very excited to travel to Tempe last weekend to watch Mary Poppins, at ASU's Gammage Auditorium.

Here is a picture of the girls, with the auditorium in the background.  It is a beautiful building.  We have seen a few shows there.  A bonus for us now is that Ally lives really close to it, so she could easily join us for the occasion.

Riley doesn't always get to go, but this was a perfect show for her...practically perfect in every way. (She actually has seen High School Musical, and The Lion King.)  She walked between two of her favorite people.  She sat between Ally and Grandma S. during the show as well.

Waiting at the beginning, I had no idea how amazing the show would be.

I knew it would be good, and that we would enjoy it, but it was actually quite spectacular.  The staging, acting, singing, and special effects were great...even surprising.  It was very different than the movie.  I have heard that the stage story follows the books a little more.  Anyway, we all loved it.

Here is the group afterward.  Yes, even Jeff enjoyed it.  I appreciate the fact that he can take all of us girls to things like this, and not only put up with it, but like it. 

Ally and Jeff went to get the car after this, so Jeff's mom would not have to make the trek.  I took a few pictures:

I LOVE this one.  Don't tell Grandma, but she is getting this one framed for her birthday.  Riley is the youngest grandchild in Jeff's family.  Some of the grandkids are actually close to my age.  (Shocking and frightening!)  I always say that Riley is what keeps bringing Grandma back to Arizona every winter.   

I think this picture is really cute too!
But when I take too many pictures, it quickly goes to.........


As if Mary Poppins was not enough to make our day complete, we had one more event to attend after the show.  Emilee didn't know it, but a surprise birthday dinner was waiting for her at Rustler's Rooste.  Her picture should show up on the website there, but last I looked it wasn't there yet.

(Note:  Her picture is there now!)

What is not to like about a restaurant you can enter by sliding in?  Riley thought this was the best part.  There are stairs next to this slide so the more boring people in the me...can enter on foot instead of on rear. 

We had some really fun people waiting for us to get there!  Here is my brother Jon, his wife Lisa, and their cute guy Paxton. 

And my sister Lori, her husband Matt and the adorable Shayla.

My brother David and his family sadly could not join us for this party.  We missed them!

This picture cracked me up.  There are some folks here seriously ready to chow on some grub!

You can see that Kaitie really enjoyed the wearing of very dumb paper horns.  This picture was taken by Jon.  I'm pretty sure that only Jon could have convinced her to let him take it. 

Ally could not believe how huge her hamburger was.  She posed for this, but didn't even take a bite.  She was full from salad and bread already.  She took it home, and probably fed it to all of her roommates, and maybe even the people next door.

Emilee got the most special hat of all.  That cowboy hat had an Arizona flag bandana on it. The dudes behind her were leading a Yee Haw version of Happy Birthday.  There was a big eclair with a candle in it, sitting in front of Emilee. 

After dinner, we took a few pictures outside.  The restaurant sits a bit above the city, and it was a beautiful night. 

Riley's look here makes me laugh.  It's as if she is thinking, "I know it's Emilee's birthday and all, and I am trying to put up with it the best I can.  How much am I expected to take?" 

This was my favorite picture of the day.

These were fun too:

Jeff's mom and I went back and had our picture taken too. I decided not to include that one. It might give you nightmares for a very long time....