Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Moments

I had a great day yesterday, spent with my family from near and far, old and young. My two sisters came from Denver and Washington to join my sister and her husband as they blessed their darling baby boy, the youngest member of my extended family. We were also joined with close family friends and aunts, uncles and Great-Grandparents. Just so I can remember, I wanted to share a few of my happy moments. 1. Sitting next to my Grandpa Loya, who is 84 years old, but has not been in the best health lately. Though his skin is easily bruised, his gate and speech are slow, he is still absolutely in love with my cute grandma. He said to me, "Your grandma is a beautiful woman . . . she is a good person, and not just because she's my wife . . . she is the best nurse." What a happy moment to share this sweet moment with my grandpa. I am grateful to have such great examples of happy marriages in my family. 2. My brother-in-law giving his baby son a father's blessing. Though my sister and her husband do not attend church, they chose to have a family gathering and bless their son. All of the father's in the room joined in, with hands resting on shoulders around that precious baby. There are some in my religion who might look down upon an "unofficial" blessing from a man without the priesthood, but it was a very special moment for me and my family. They also asked those gathered, to share their hopes and dreams for baby James, and my cute grandfather broke down in tears again. I am ever grateful for a wonderful, loving family who care and support one another. 3. My darling niece, named after my grandmother, is a precious little 2 year old. I find pure joy in watching her little antics of playing and interacting. As I was talking to my sister, I put two and two together and realized that the little girl we are in hopes of adopting from Haiti is a few days younger than my darling niece. It's hard to explain how that made me feel, recognizing that my little girl (I hope), who sits in an orphanage, is the same age as my beautiful, funny, sassy little niece. I felt even more connected to her, and yet, also sad that I may never have her in my home when she is that age. It was a happy moment for me to realize that she would have a cousin just her age. I remain ever hopeful that she will be ours, or that we will understand and love whoever we are supposed to have in our home, if it's not her. 4. Another happy moment was attending Zumba with my sister this morning. Simple pleasures. I am happy to recognize and appreciate the simple things in life, to value family and friendships, and to enjoy the moment. That's all!

Friday, February 28, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things . . .

1. Sherlock (the PBS version) is my new favorite. I especially like it because, unlike Downton Abbey, Pete likes to watch it with me. 2. My 2.5 tennis league--I've only played in 2 matches so far, but I love it! The ladies I play with have been so nice and our opponents have been kind as well. I know, if I continue to play, as I improve and move up the ranks, it will get more competitive, so I'm grateful for having fun right now. 3. My kids--I love my kids. Right now I am especially pleased with their musical talents (of which I have none). Mitch, Madeline and Tyler are playing in Federation tomorrow. Maddy picked up the flute this year and Jake has started guitar lessons. I love listening to them, as they improve and create beautiful music. Grateful they take after my husband in this regard. 4. Bike rides--last Saturday, while the weather was still nice, we took a family bike ride. I love being outside and riding a bike, it keeps me feeling young. 5. Downton Abbey--a guilty pleasure while I fold laundry. 6. I don't know what they're called, but this little scented pellets that you drop in your washer. They make the laundry smell so good! 7. One Sweet Slice cupcakes--my new favorite, the cake is incredibly moist and delicious and the frosting is flavorful without being too sweet. 8. My jr. high/high school friends. Last Sunday, my friend Julie and I attended the mission farewell of our other good friend Suzanne. Both of these girls have been my friends since 7th grade. Suzanne and I had gym class together, and from the very start of school, she befriended me. Julie was in my English class, and always wore the cutest outfits. It took us a bit longer, but by the end of 7th grade, we were good friends. So fun to be in our early 40's and still have a connection to these great friends. I truly believe that having good friends in your teen years makes all the difference in making good choices. 9. Lazy mornings when I don't have obligations, so I can sleep in and read in bed before the kids are up and going. It's especially nice on a snowy morning with my fireplace on. 10. My husband Pete, who after all these years, is still my best friend. He is President of the Utah Urologic Section this year, and tonight we attended a dinner at Bambara in downtown Salt Lake. Two of his colleagues from Michigan came to town to speak, and being with all of them reminded me of living in Ann Arbor, with little kids, and Pete training at this incredible institution with these fantastic group of people. I am unfortunately plumper and Pete has less hair, but we can still laugh and talk and enjoy one anthers company. I am happy for him in his successes and endeavors, and he's supportive of my crazy ideas like remodeling and adopting a little girl from Haiti. 11. Jimmy Fallon as The Tonight Show host. 12. Diet Dr. Pepper with coconut flavoring and fresh squeezed lime--I wish I didn't like it so much, I should really drink more water. 13. My calling in Young Women with the Mia Maids. We have these amazing girls in living in our ward. I don't think we give enough credit to the youth. We tend to focus on those kids who make bad choices, instead of recognizing the goodness of so many others. 14. Snow--I really wish we'd had more this winter. 15. Unexpectedly warm February days. Last week, we had several days in the 60's. If I can't have snow, thank goodness for those beautiful days and a break from the cold and inversion.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A big decision . . .

It has been a crazy month at your home. After years of thinking about adoption, we decided to finally do the work to make it a reality. We have decided to adopt a little girl from Haiti. We have a particular little girl in mind, though there are no guarantee's that she will be ours. So here's how the big decision to adopt came to be . . . This past summer, our friends and neighbors brought home three siblings that they adopted from Haiti. The process took three years of waiting, and eventually, taking over the financial responsibility of an orphanage to make it happen, but they brought home three great kids, who also happen to be friends with my kids. Anyhow, my church calling is/was the formerly called Enrichment Leader, now known as the Relief Society Meeting Coordinator. For our January activity, our theme was "Service Warms the Heart: Service at home, in the community, and in the world." I asked three women to help out, one of which is my neighbor. I wanted her to discuss how she was inspired to "open her heart to service." She is very passionate about helping kids, whether in foster care or in Haiti, and I really respect and admire her. She gave a presentation, complete with pictures. Here are a few of the things that pushed me from thinking about adoption for years, to deciding to make it a reality. 1) She said it was a leap of faith. She didn't know how it would work out, she just had faith that she could take what came. 2) She said she wasn't perfect--she just does the best she can. 3) She showed many pictures, but one, I'll call her Evangaline for today (since I watched The Princess and the Frog this morning and I've been told that for the safety of the children in the orphanage, its better not to share pictures or names until she's ours), and I fell in love. After her presentation, I asked to look at the pictures of the children. I could not sleep that night, thinking about her little face and feeling compelled to make this a reality for our family. The next morning I asked my friend to text me her picture, and I sent it on to Pete. Pete responded, "Do you want to adopt her?" To which I replied, "yes, can we?" A little background. For the last 8 years or so, adoption has been a something that I've really wanted to do. I have wanted to adopt a little girl. The timing was not right for Peter until now. Why now? Well, he feels more stable in his career and financially. Our home is done with crazy remodeling projects. Our kids are wonderful, well adjusted, happy and successful at school and in other endeavors. We are getting older, and we both feel that now is the time, or we'll let the opportunity pass. Peter asked for three things before we went ahead with the emotional and financial commitment of beginning the adoption process. He wanted to speak with our neighbors about their experience; his partner and his wife from work about their experience adopting a little boy from China; and to go to the Temple after thoughtful prayer and consideration. I definitely felt and feel that this is something we both have to be on the same page about, so I wanted to be sure he felt comfortable moving forward. I also wanted to move forward more quickly. Once I've made up my mind about something, I see no reason to wait. Anyhow, we made time in our schedules that next week to meet and speak with our friends and to take time to attend the temple. We both felt that we have so much we are blessed with, and that we would love to add another child to our home. How could we not help? I felt strongly that this would be a good thing to strengthen our family. That it would bring us closer together and help us to be better people. In the process, we hope to help this beautiful little child come into a loving home with opportunities to be educated, develop talents, travel, or whatever her potential and talents take her. Our three younger children, without hesitation, were on board with adopting a child. Our oldest son was more hesitant, but partly because his personality is one that doesn't really relish change. Believe me, I know, since I love change and constantly change the furniture and entire rooms around. When we travel, he has the most difficulty with us being gone. Not that he doesn't do well, he just likes things the way they are. I can appreciate that, but I also have great confidence that he will be an incredible big brother to her when she does finally come into our home. He just needs time to think things through and get used to the adjustment. We are now a month into the process and the only thing we have to complete, after many long lists of things to do, is to have the social worker finish a home study. Once we have that, we send an application to the United States to be approved, and many more documents to Haiti for their approval. Here's the worst part. Once all of that paperwork is turned in (which I am hopeful will be complete in the next week), we have to wait for a long, long time to actually bring our child home. The adoption agency told us to expect a year wait to receive a referral, meaning that Haiti has approved our request for our little girl or another child of similar age, and then another year after that until she is able to come to live with us. Right now, I am trying to focus on getting paper work done, so the wait doesn't seem so impossible. I also tell myself, if I could have biological children, it would take at least 9 months, but at my age, probably more like a year or so. That helps me logically deal with the time period we have to wait, but in the back of my mind, I hope and pray that the process happens more quickly and we don't have to wait that long. All of the information and education we are required to read, talks about the longer children live in an institution, the more delayed they are developmentally. This little girl we've fallen in love with turned 2 on Dec. 20, 2011 (if that information is reliable) and was dropped off at the orphanage this past August. She has only been in the orphanage for 6 months. We are trying to find out what her situation is, but most likely her parents were either too poor to care for her any longer or she was the child of a young mother who tried to care for her, but wasn't mature enough or financially stable enough to continue to do so. It breaks my heart to think of a mother abandoning her child like that, but the more I learn about Haiti, I can see why it happens. 70% of adults are unemployed in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere with no sewer system and a mess after a horrific earthquake in 2010. The top soil of the land is so depleted, that families that rely on agriculture for their income, have very little natural resources to rely upon. One of the questions asked was if you could be positive about the heritage of your adopted child and forgive a mother for abandoning her child. Poverty does unbelievable things to people. Learning to survive in those circumstances would be so difficult. I can see how a parent who has nothing, might see an orphanage as a way to feed and provide shelter for a child. My heart breaks for these poor families. I also feel so blessed to have the life that I do. I think that we have a lot to offer a little one; love, shelter, opportunities, family, education, a warm comfortable home, culture and travel adventures, and a beautiful place to live. I have so much in mind and my heart right now. It's impossible to fully describe how this experience is changing me, hopefully for the better. I do have some worries. Am I too old with too little energy to take on another child? Though I know that we will love this little girl with all our hearts and souls, will she feel different as the only adopted child in our family? We are approved to adopt two children and I am very open to that, though I want to be sure that I have the time and energy needed to help with adjust to a new language, culture, family, environment, and two does seem more intimidating that bring one child into our home. But would it be better to adopt two children who have a similar background and will have a sibling they can relate to in that manner? These are questions I ask myself, but also that I have a desire to tackle. I know that it won't be easy, but so worthwhile. When I think how I would like to devote my time, I do get excited about my tennis league or the possibility of one day writing a book. It crossed my mind to apply to the Pottery Barn or Pier One for a part time job. Of all those options, nothing makes me as happy and refilled as the opportunity to raise another child or two. I still get a little teary eyed when I go to the grocery store by myself and see mother's with younger children and realize that I am past that stage of life. I relish having little ones in our home again, and I hope that they can forgive that we'll be old white people when she/they graduate from high school. I am sure other insecurities may arise as we wait, but I am committed to this process and to raising an adopted child. I so look forward to the time when she/they will arrive in our home and become part of our family. Enough for now.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner

Just finished reading this book, I've reread three Wallace Stegner's in the past 6 months, and wanted to record bits of wisdom I enjoyed from the book.

p. 102-103 Edited . . . Joe Allston is talking with the author from out of Africa, Karen Blixen, who has retired back to her family home in Denmark.
Joe Allston: "You loved Africa," I said to her.
Karen Blixen: "It was life," she said.
"What's this then?" I asked.
"This? This is safety."
I had the nerve to argue with her. "Is it bad to have a place to come back to?" I said. "An American, or at least one kind of American, would envy you. HIs parents or grandparents were immigrants, uprooted. He was born in transit, he has lived in fifty house in fifteen places. When he moves, he doesn't move back, he moves on. No accumulations. No traditions. A civilization without attics."

p. 162 Reflections from Joe Allston
" . . . I was reminded of a remark of Willa Cather's, that you can't paint sunlight, you can only paint what it does with shadows on a wall. If you examine a life, as Socrates has been so tediously advising us to do for so many centuries, do you really examine the life, or do you examine the shadows it casts on other lives? Entity or relationships? Objective reality or the vanishing point of a multiple perspective exercise? Prism or the rainbows it refracts? And what if you're the wall? What if you never cast a shadow or rainbow of your own, but have only caught those cast by others?"

p. 209, more reflections on life from old Joe
"Well, the hell with it, I do not choose to be a consenting adult, not just to be in fashion. I have no impulse to join those the Buddha describes, those who strain always after fulfillment and in fulfillment strive to feel desire. It has seemed to me that my commitments are often more important than the impulses or my pleasures, and that even when my pleasures or desires are the principal issue, there are choices to be made between better and worse, bad and better, good and good."
"Then why cry over it, twenty years later? Because in every choice there is a component, maybe a big component, of pain."

I know its hard to read quotes out of context, but I really enjoy the descriptions and grasp on relationships that Stegner writes in his books. He writes about the West, its history and present. He compares recent social times, like the 60's and 70's, with an older time when people thought and lived very differently. The other two books I've recently reread are Angle of Repose and Crossing to Safety, the later is one of my all time favorite books.

Anyhow, I had to return the book to the library, but I wanted to jot down a few thoughts and quotes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Holiday Season . . .

is here, and I'm trying to simplify this year. It's easy to get carried away and I'm trying to avoid that this year. The kids each chose a gift to donate to the Christmas Box, and I think that has helped the kids focus on the giving aspect of Christmas, not so much the receiving. I overheard Tyler telling is friend Estee that "everyone knows Christmas is about giving." For a six year old, that's pretty good (at least in words, we'll see in actions). Anyhow, the kids are off for Christmas break on Friday and I realized I have three afternoons to finish their shopping before they're home. So far, pretty good. I mostly just have neighbor and friend gifts to put together.

I did decide that I wasn't going to do Christmas cards this year, although Pete put together a little Jibjab video of the kids and emailed it around. Next year. I love receiving Christmas cards, so keep sending them, I just haven't had a chance to put any together this year, and in the spirit of simplifying, I decided to avoid that stress altogether!

Anyhow, happy holidays!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn, 2011

Peter and I just returned from a 12 days river cruise in Europe. We began our journey Prague, Czech Republic, where we stayed the first 3 days. We drove to Nuremberg, Germany, where we began our river cruise. We stopped in Nuremberg, Regensberg (probably my favorite place we visited), Passau, Germany then into Linz and Vienna in Austria. Our last visit was to Budapast, Hungary. As soon as I can get Pete to download the pictures, I'll post them and give more details descriptions. We traveled with Peter's parents, and his three sisters and their spouses. We really had an incredible time. My only complaint is that its so tough to fly home--such a long flight and hard to get back into the swing of things. It was also a long time to leave our kids and I am grateful to my parents and good friends who helped take care of my kids so that we could have this adventure. Needless to say, I am thrilled to be home and have no plans to travel anywhere soon. I am just happy to be home to enjoy this incredible fall weather we're experiencing in Salt Lake. Today Tyler and I drove from American Fork Canyon through Provo Canyon with a stop at Sundance Resort. So incredibly beautiful!! I'm glad I didn't miss the peak of the fall colors while we were gone.

Jake has just a few football games left, Mitch is finishing up fall tennis and continuing with his piano, Madeline is dancing 3 days a week and taking piano, and Tyler is thrilled to be in a play, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." He is Thing #3 (I know there's only 2 things in Dr. Seuss, but that's what happens when you have a lot of kids to give parts to.) We may have found his niche in acting!! I am thrilled that our garden is growing pumpkins, tomatoes and green beans. I planted from seed in mid-July, so I'm thrilled to have any harvest at all. Pete is busy with work and just was called to the Stake Young Men's Presidency as First Counselor. We are loving our newly completed yard, and grateful for great weather to enjoy it!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

There was a time . . .

when I thought I would have more time to write in my blog. So far, not so good.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Today I finished reading the classic novel, A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I think old Oscar was very ahead of his time in his thinking. The book is about an artist, Basil Hallward, who paints a portrait of Mr. Gray that he thinks is his best work of art, and holds a bit of himself in the painting. He is also obsessed with Dorian Gray, a young, innocent, good looking man, his muse of sorts, who inspires his best art. The other main character, Lord Henry Wotton or Harry, is a bit of a pessimist who corrupts Dorian Gray's innocence with his cynical views on life and relationships. Dorian Gray destroys his soul in his quest for pleasure for the sake of pleasure only. The painting shows the decay of his soul, while Dorian stays perpetually young.

Though I don't agree with many of the thoughts expressed by Oscar Wilde, there are some classic quotes in the book that really represent how people of 2011 feel today. Here is a smattering of quotes from throughout the book.

Lord Henry, p. 45, "Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the cavemen had known how to laugh, History would have been different."

Lord Henry, p. 46, "To get back one's youth, one has merely to repeat one's follies."

p. 49, "Lord Henry had not yet come in. He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time."

Lord Henry, p. 52, "Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed."

Lord Henry (to Dorian Gray), p. 54, "My dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect--simply a confession of failure. Faithfulness! I must analyze it someday. The passion for property is in it. There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up."

Dorian Gray (to Lord Henry), p. 60, "How horrid you are! She (Sibyl Vane, Dorian's first love) is all the greatest heroines of the world in one. She is more than an individual (she is an actress). You laugh, but I tell you she has genius. I love her, and I must make her love me. You, who know all the secrets of life, tell me how to charm Sibyl vane to love me! I want to make Romeo jealous. I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain . . . how I worship her!"

p. 85, Dorian Gray laughed, and tossed his head. "You are quite incorrigible, Harry; but I don't mind. It is impossible to be angry with you. When you see Sibyl Vane, you will feel that the man who could wrong her would be a beast, a beast without a heart. I cannot understand how anyone can wish to shame the thing he loves. I love Sybil Vane. I want to place her on a pedestal of gold, and to see the world worship the woman who is mine. What is marriage? An irrevocable vow. You mock at it for that. Ah! don't mock. It is an irrevocable vow that I want to take. Her trust makes me faithful, her belief makes me good. When I am with ehr, I regret all that you have taught me. I become different from what you have known me to be. I am changed, and the mere touch of Sibyl Vane's hand makes me forget you and all your wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories. . . your theories about life, your theories about love, your theories about pleasure. All your theories, in fact, Harry."

Lord Henry, p. 87, "Being adored is a nuisance. Women treat us just as Humanity treats its gods. They worship us, and are always bothering us do something for them." (Say What? That's from me. How sexist is that?)

Dorian Gray (to Sybil Vane, a day after he declared his undying love), p. 97, "Yes, he cried, "you have killed my love. You used to stir my imagination. Now you don't even stir my curiosity. You simply produce no effect. I loved you because you were marvelous, because you had genius and intellect, because you realized the dreams of great poets and gave shape and substance to the shadows of art. You have thrown it all away. You are shallow and stupid (OUCH!! Me again.) My God! how mad I was to love you! What a fool I have been! You are nothing to me now. I will never see you again. I will never think of you. I will never mention your name. You don't know what you were to me, once. Why, once. . . Oh, I can't bear to think of it! I wish I had never laid eyes upon you! You have spoiled the romance of my life. How little you can know of love, if you say it mars art! Without your art (acting), you are nothing. I would have made you famous, splendid, magnificent. The world would have worshipped you, and you would have borne my name. What are you now? A third-rate actress with a pretty face." (Talk about rough break-up speeches. No wonder the poor girl committed suicide).

Yesterday, I had actually added several other quotes from the book, but somehow, they were not saved and honestly, I don't feel like looking through the book again to find them. I will say, I'm glad I read the book. There was one chapter that was really hard to get through, but I thought it was an interesting read. Happy reading!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Coming To An End

I have spent the last three days with my kids, volunteering for field trips and school activities. I am grateful to be in a situation where I can do that, though I must say, I am tired and looking forward to a relaxed Memorial Day weekend. The countdown to summer is on . . . one more school activity, field day and one more week of school. I think I may be looking forward to it more than my kids--the chance to not have to wake up to get kids out the door for school. Then again, when you add in swimming, golf and tennis lessons, plus the end of lacrosse, soccer, baseball and dance, we still have a lot to do. Its a good thing I love my kids, cause they sure keep me busy.

Tyler "graduated" from preschool today. I was a bit sad, realizing that my baby is going to kindergarten. He, on the other hand, is very excited to go to "Mitch's school." In some ways, I dread the 1/2 days of kindergarten. You barely get grocery shopping in, or a gym class, before your back to school for pick up. I'm not ready to have Tyler gone all day though, so I suppose I can deal with it.

Here are a few "kid" updates.

1. Jake was elected as an 8th grade SBO. He has also played some of his finest lacrosse games in the last week. On Saturday, he scored 4 goals, and made 2 assists of his teams 7 points. On Tuesday night, he scored 3 goals and had 1 assist of his team's 6 points. The other team, seeing that he was doing so well, called a stick check, where the ref said his stick was 1/8 of an inch too stretched out and therefore, illegal. Pete and I were not very happy with the ref, to say the least, but it was a compliment to Jake that they considered him such a threat that they'd have his stick checked. (I still get a little angry just thinking about it!)

2. Mitch is playing baseball and is a great batter. He's an easy-going kid, such a pleasure to have around. He just finished making a "Mercedes-Benz" boat for the Raingutter Regatta, but was disappointed when his boat didn't win. He is a reading machine, he may even put me to shame. At night, I always have to double check before I go to bed to be sure he's not still up reading. Barnes and Noble may be his favorite place, as long as he's got cash for a new purchase. (I know, try the library, but he's not nearly as psyched about that.) He's also a fabulous piano player.

3. Madeline is my busy social girl. She's currently playing soccer, taking dance and piano, and has a dance concert coming up in June. The concert theme is Mary Poppins, so Madeline was anxious and excited to get her costumes (since she's wanted to be Mary Poppins for Halloween the last two years, but I don't have the skills to make the white and red dress from the chaulk scene in the park). Unfortunately, the costumes weren't what she hoped, so the search is still on. Her teacher told me that after struggling with a math at the beginning of the year, she has worked her way up to being one of the top math students in her class. She also learned how to crochet this spring and thinks its awesome. She and I spent last Sunday cooking together, making homemade pizza and other delicious food for Sunday dinner. She is also taking piano lessons and doing a great job.

4. Tyler is my funny boy. Last summer, he fell in love with an older woman (she's 8 to his 5). Though he hasn't seen her but once, he hasn't forgotten her and her awesome toys. He finally had the chance to see her again. I asked if she was like he remembered (we've all built someone up in our minds, only to realize that the dream was better than reality, I won't site any examples to protect the guilty) and he smiled for ear to ear and said yes, she was, even if she was 8, she was still his girlfriend. I asked if she knew that she was his girlfriend, to which he replied, "Of course she knows, I gave her the love look." What, pray tell is the love look, you might ask? Well, apparently she knows because she saw it and everyone knows what the love look is. He makes me laugh. He's also decided to change career paths from being a person who builds Lego sets on video to teach kids how to do it, to being a person who creates Lego sets. He is the Lego master. I have felt bad that his bedroom is our old office room, full of old oak bookshelves. I told Ty he could switch rooms, but he said that he has the best room ever because its not just a bedroom, its an office with lots of shelves for his lego's. He even has two empty shelves set aside for his next Christmas presents--I know, its only May. What can I say, the kid thinks ahead.

Pete and I are great. We are grappling with the finances and design of landscaping our yard. Pete's big request is that it be lawnmower friendly. That means that he wants cement curbing anywhere that grass meets dirt, so he can have one wheel on the cement curb and avoid edging all together. I think for the price of the cement curbing, he can hire someone to edge, or better yet, teach me and then pay me! He also wants a circular drive in the front yard so that we have as little grass as possible to mow. Pretty soon we're going to look like a playground in the Bronx! Ah well, I'll do my best to blend both of our ideas.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me . . .

And who am I kidding, probably don't care to know. But this is my blog, so here it goes!

1. I was a witch for Halloween every year through elementary school. I'm not talking about cute Glinda (Wizard of Oz) either, I mean a plain, green faced, pointed hat, clad in black witch . . . every year. Talk about lack of creativity!

2. My ideal weight, in my very unhealthy mind, is the weight I achieved in college, when a Giardia parasite deprived me of all food and nutrients that entered my body. It also helped that I dropped all academic classes that semester and took all dance classes. It was the one time in my life when my parents were worried that I might be anorexic. Now, four children later, I still lament that I can't get down to that weight or wear those really tiny, light blue denim Guess jeans that I saved, just so I can remind myself that at one time, I could wear them.

3. I never rode on an airplane until I was 20 years old, and took a flight to Portland with my roommate Amy. I've flown many times since, but I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of flying.

4. I love to change the furniture around and have since my father built my sister and I a Barbie house as kids. If only it was as easy to rearrange full-size furniture.

5. Before I married my husband, I dated many and kissed two of his good friends. He took my sister to Junior Prom. In my defense, he wasn't taller than me until he was a junior in high school, so I really didn't think about him in that way. In his defense, my sister was shorter than me.

6. If it were socially acceptable, I would make my life a musical. Happy . . . I'd break into song and dance. Sad . . . I'd let the tears flow and ad-lib a really touching monologue about the woes of life. As it is, I will continue to dream about writing a Tony Award winning musical some day. (I've got it all outlined in my mind, I just haven't gotten it down on paper yet.)

7. I'm a dreamer in general. Here are a few of my other dreams: own a Country French style furniture/decorating store, go back to school to become an interior designer/architect, write the novels I've thought about writing for the last 10 years, and last, but not least, move to the south of France, where I will become fluent in French and buy baguettes from street vendors just like Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

8. I have decorators ADHD--self-diagnosed, but I'm sure its a real thing. That explains the constant state of flux in my house and yard.

9. I really love the idea of having a garden where I can provide fresh veggies while I cook incredible, simple healthy meals. So far, I have a rhubarb plant that doesn't produce very good rhubarb, or I just don't like it. But one day I hope to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, pumpkins, peas, beans, strawberries, and water melons, in addition to apple and peach trees. I just tore out the two apple trees I had, but I'm hoping to create my own little mini orchard by summer's end.

10. I'm a bathtub person. Why, you may ask, when you lie in your own filth? I'll tell you. Its the one time, other than bedtime, when I've justified "reading time." I think that is explanation enough.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crazy. Busy Saturday

This has been an incredibly crazy day for us. Let me just rehash the schedule to give you an idea, though I'm sure, you too have days like this on occasion.

4:30am-Wake up to get ready for Salt Lake Marathon bike tour.
5:00am-Leave to pick up friends for bike tour.
7:00am-Pete train with personal trainer then hospital rounds.
6:00-7:35am-Ride my bike along with over a 1,000 others, beginning at the University of Utah and ending at Gateway. Always a fun ride.
8:15am-Back home, help get kids breakfast.
9:00am-Madeline's soccer game, Pete was the chauffeur today.
9:30am-Personal trainer for 30 minutes, although I skipped cardio. Figured 25 miles on a bike should suffice.
11:00am-Jake's first game in a basketball tournament in Murray.
12:30pm-Grocery shop for dinner Saturday and Sunday.
1:00pm-Jake's second game in his basketball tournament in Murray.
2:00pm-Jake has to be at Juan Diego high school in Draper for a Lacrosse tournament.
3:00pm-Jake's first lacrosse game.
5:00pm-Jake's second game and the start to our Easter Egg Hunt with Families at a friends house. (I prepared salad between games).
7:00pm-Elder's Quorum Date Night: Square Dancing. We had to attend, and it was fun, because Pete's in the presidency. We left early because . . .
8:45pm-Jake's 3rd lacrosse game of the day, the Championship game against Alta. Unfortunately, they lost, but they did get to play under the lights at the Juan Diego stadium.
10:00pm-Finish final touches and print the Bulletin for relief society. I didn't get to make copies this evening, which means I'll need to get to church a little early, or scramble during church.

AAAHHH! This day is finally over. So many good things, just too much for one day. I'm happy to have good, accommodating kids and a very helpful husband. Luckily he wasn't on call this weekend, or I'm not sure we could have pulled it off. I'm also grateful for wonderful friends who help with carpools and taking kids when I have more on my plate than I can manage (that refers to Friday night when Pete was operating late, so I was working solo!) Thank goodness for spring break and hopefully, a little more relaxation!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Winter Walk in Springtime

This morning, I dropped off my car to have the interior detailed. I found out, to my chagrin, that it would take 4 hours. Since Tyler comes home from preschool at noon, and I have to drive middle school carpool at 3pm, I decided I'd walk home, in hopes that the car would be done inbetween those times. Anyhow, this morning it started to snow, so after a delicious breakfast at "The Black Bear" cafe, I bought some gloves and a hat at the ski store and began my walk home. I was lucky to have my iPod with me, so I walked from 9400 South and Highland Drive, to my home on 8200 South. Walking home, I thought about all of the times I've visited New York, and walked miles and miles around the city. Yet, at home, I've never walked from The Firehouse Car Wash home (I've ridden my bike though). I decided that I would like to walk more. I live in suburbia, so its not as ideal for walking as New York City, but its such a healthier lifestyle and doesn't have to be just for exercise. I'd like to make it more a part of my everyday life. I've started walking with the kids to school on nice days, rather than taking the bus. I think I'd like to take my bike to the grocery store for small purchases and try to not be so dependent on my car. I figure less driving will equate to less fast food and Diet Coke runs. All good things.

Now, I had a good experience walking today, but it is March 25th and it is snowing outside. My lawn is a blanket of white. I love it and find it beautiful, but I hope its the last winter walk I take until 2012. Here's hoping!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good news and Bad news

Last week was a hard week in many ways. I spent a lot of time worrying about my friend Lesa, and her upcoming surgery to remove a brain tumor last Thursday. So far, the news is really good for Lesa. They were able to remove almost all of the tumor and her neurological tests have been positive. I know she's in for a long haul, but I am happy for her and her family that all has gone so well.

The same day as Lesa's surgery, Peter and I found out that a good friend of ours from BYU, and even earlier, Pete's mission companion, had his younger brother die very unexpectedly. He was only 35 years old, very healthy, a young father of 3 with a baby on the way. His wife woke up to a snoring sound and tried to rouse him unsuccessfully, and later, paramedics could do nothing for him. His death is explained as Sudden Cardiac Arrest. He had a healthy heart upon autopsy, so it was just a freak thing. So very sad! Our friend Jared and his brother Justin were close in age and the best of friends, two of the funniest guys I've ever met. I am heart broken for Jared, his family, and especially Justin's wife and kids. Its crazy how you can wake up one night and have your entire life changed in a few short moments. A tragic reminder that we never know what will happen in life, so we need to make the best of life and enjoy it.

The good news is that Jake had a great, fun weekend in Twin Falls playing in a basketball tournament. His team won the championships, and though he didn't get as much playing time as on his old team, he had a great experience. There was another boy on the team whose father was one of Pete's college roommates (along with our friend Jared) and it was so great reconnecting with him. I lived across the hall from Pete at BYU, so we share a lot of past friendships and memories, which is nice. The whole family tagged along to support Jake. It was a great way to end a tough week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crazy Twists

I feel compelled to blog about how grateful I am for amazing friendships. I feel really blessed by these incredible associations I have whether in my neighborhood, my high school and college friends, through church and school and family. Technology is such a great way to stay in touch with friends . . . (thanks Steph for reading my blog, I think about you often, especially since your relatives live in my neighborhood . . . do you remember taking your parents Taurus for a cruise one sleepover?) I had a chance to spend time with friends from high school today, discussing books, kids and our lives. I love these friends. Its so nice to know that there are people who know you so well that it doesn't matter how different you are or if you're not wearing your make-up, or if you've put on noticeable pounds due to a steady diet of Girl Scout cookies, they accept you for who you are. I love that and look forward to laughing and relaxing and just catching up.

I also have great associations and friendships in my neighborhood and ward. This winter I've had the chance to ski on several occasions with ladies from my ward. We've danced Thriller and played tennis. I've also seen several of these women end up sick and its been amazing to watch others gather round and help them. One neighbor has a rare liver cancer, another breast cancer and most recently a brain tumor. As a ward, we have knelt on our knees after sacrament and asked prayers in their behalf. We've also had ward fasts. They are sad situations, but its such a strength to see how faith can build us and guide us. On a much lesser note, I have been the recipient of this service. Women reaching out and showing concern. Blessings from home teachers and ward leadership. Its nice to feel that type of love and concern. I hope in some small measure, that I can stretch myself and be less selfish.

In particular, one friend, who will have surgery on her brain tumor this Thursday, has been so incredible to me when I had my surgeries the last couple of years. She brought me movies, did my dishes, swept my floor, make incredible enchiladas Cafe Rio style, called to talk and check up on me. I really cherish her friendship. Its so hard to hear that someone you love has to go through these difficulties in life. I've slowly begun to learn that the people we meet and the relationships we build are the most important experiences we have in our lifetime. I think we come to know and become like God as we learn to love and serve others. I'm sure for others that's an obvious statement, but its really become apparent to me as I grow older.

Anyhow, my thoughts and prayers are with this friend and her family right now. I pray that her surgery will be successful and that somehow, in some small way, I can help her feel as loved and appreciated as she has made me feel.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sick of Being Sick

We are having a hard winter at our home. It seems like someone or a multitude of family members have been sick since school started with very few healthy breaks. Just a few weeks ago, we had stomach flu, thankfully short lived, which compelled me to lysol the entire house and dry clean all of the quilts in the family room. A few weeks later, we took a trip to the pediatricians to find that the kids had strep. I was so relieved that antibiotics might actually help the kids feel better, but no, that's been followed with terrible colds that won't seem to go away. I've actually gotten embarrassed about saying I'm or anyone else is sick, since it seems like we've been sick all winter. Please bring on the good weather and health to our home. It makes me sad to hear kids with barking coughs, red, chapped noses, and watery eyes. Plus I'm tired of being sick myself. Hopefully, next year will be a better one for us.

When I tend to have sickness, I do a lot more reading. I've added up my number of pages read so far this year, and so far its 4,763 pages. I don't know whether to be proud or think about myself as pathetic. I just finished a good one by Jodi Picoult called The Pact, very compelling, actually hard to put down. I got it yesterday when I was buying decongestant at the pharmacy and I finished tonight. I also read the Forgotten Garden and Winter Garden, both were excellent books, some of my favorite that I've read recently. Just a few reading suggestions.

Since I started by complaining about my life, I better end with a few simple things that make me happy.

1. A warm house on a cold, snowy day. We had an incredibly beautiful snow storm last night that dumped about a foot of snow. Despite a lot of broken tree limbs, we woke to a glittering, beautiful, sun shiny snow day in the Salt Lake Valley. Its hard to beat the beauty of snow-capped mountain peaks against a vivid blue sky.

2. Grateful that Jake was the student of the day at Albion yesterday. He was nominated by his health teacher who says his enthusiasm is contagious, that he's a great kid, and she loves his updates on the Jimmer (BYU basketball player for those who don't know). I'm proud of him! We don't always see eye to eye, but I'm grateful for a teacher who celebrates his unique, great, confident personality.

3. I love that Tyler still loves to crawl in bed with me to cuddle in the mornings. Its become a bit of a ritual and the day doesn't feel quite right if he doesn't cuddle with me. Today, since I had a horrible, sleepless night, he didn't come in first thing in the morning, but later in the afternoon, we got to cuddle and read our favorite storybook, Skippyjon Jones. Its hard to have your kids grow up. Its nice to cling to those simple, kind moments--I recognize they're fleeting!

July 4th

July 4th
Maddy and Me

The Boys on the 4th of July

The Boys on the 4th of July
Spencer and Jake