Saturday, May 29, 2010

Her Mother Heart

is breaking.

Mine hurts too.
We'll all miss you, Ben.
Now he's laughing and running and playing like an 8 year old ought to,
in Heaven.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A moment of Tooth

Are you friends with your dentist?
I am.
We're on a first-name basis.  I am a dental frequent flyer.
I know how many kids each of the hygenists have and what sports the doctor's kids are playing.
They keep up to speed on the happenings chez-moi and I think we could hang out, if it weren't for the stigma associated with "the chair."
Last December I had an old crown removed and a new one put on.  At my cleaning in March, they discovered that the new crown was cracked, and would have to be replaced.  It's a fairly invasive procedure, and to be honest, anything more invasive than a cleaning gives me anxiety.  I was happy to postpone a couple of times due to the invasion of strep, but you can only postpone for so long... last week it was out with the old, and on with the temporary.  The new, permanent tooth comes back from the lab in June.
Nothing hard, sticky or chewy, they said.
And I was on my way.
Since that moment I've been chewing gum and eating candy.  It's my way.  How can I explain that in my mind, those things don't count?
I had a big movie theatre-sized box of red hots hanging around that eventually needed to be consumed, so I took it upon myself to complete the task.  Ne'er a thought for my teeth, I sucked on and chewed that gooey stuff and reached in with my finger tips to remove it from my molars as it would get stuck... something you can appreciate if you are a true candy-lover like me.  To the dentist's credit, I got through almost the entire box before that temporary crown popped off.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I was shocked.  I was driving to the store at the time, and I had to reach in my mouth and pull out a tooth.  Kind of creepy, actually, since my tooth-losing days are decades in my past.  I felt my IQ drop instantly when I felt the gaping hole with my tongue.  I was able to pop it back in place, no problem, but as soon as I took a swig of water (to wash the sugar down) it floated out of position again.  Dang.  I called the dentist and confessed.  They put me in for the next morning.  Meanwhile, I had to figure out how to hold the tooth in place until I could get re-glued.  I opted for fasting.  It was either that, or go toothless.  The whole go-without-food-thing lasted until I had to fix dinner for my family.  I am weak.  It was a soft meal, I figured, so I could partake.  The first bite went in, and out popped the tooth.  I decided I might as well use this moment to my advantage, so I pulled out my tooth right there at the dinner table and held it up for all the kids to see.  In a rather commanding tone, I said:
THIS is what's going to happen to YOUR teeth if you don't keep brushing and flossing!!
suffice it to say I think they've been traumatized.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blogging Through the Fog and GIRLS will rule.

FOG, because I can't seem to see farther than a few feet ahead of me, due to a schedule that doesn't quit.  (still ALL good, though,--nothing bad.)
And the blogging: I like it.
I miss it when I can't.  A broken camera (weep) just adds a wee bit o stress since I like visuals.
Despite the lack of visual stimulation for now, I'm here to tell you that we are headed into a GIRLS-ONLY-WEEKEND-O-FUN.  Just bid our fond farewells to the male half of the family, who are flying to Virginia for the long weekend to paint a house.
Let's just start there for now.  And I do think WE somehow managed to get the sweeter end of the deal (as much as I adore my in-laws).

Mission Call Update:  Still not here.  We figure it will arrive tomorrow, now that Yonder and the others are out of state.  We'll all just have to wait.  (And I'm FINE with that).

Monday, May 24, 2010

like drinking life from a fire hose

That's what it's felt like around here lately.
It's all good, none of it bad.
We got a phone call from our good Stake President last night, telling us that Yonder's mission call HAS BEEN ISSUED.  Friday May 21st.  There are people who already know where he will serve.  That important assignment will surely be winging its way toward our mailbox in the next few days.  Now we're all just waiting for the magic envelope to arrive.  CRAZY!!, I tell you!  It's a feeling I can't put into words.  If my camera was functioning properly, I'd post a picture of the gigantic map hanging on our kitchen wall, with post-it tabs on it representing the guesses of where we all think he might be serving his mission for the next TWO YEARS.  Get your guesses in... the time for speculation is coming to a close.
Where do YOU think he might go?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Wednesday Sisters

When I make friends with women, I delight in so easily finding common ground despite the differences that might more obviously set us apart.  The innate desire to care and share--to decipher and delight in discovery are what I love most about the female friendships I have made, and I take joy in knowing that the field of potential women friends is huge.  As a friend, I have things to offer that are unique and valuable to others. 
I think ultimately the relationships in The Wednesday Sisters, written by Meg Waite Clayton are what makes me love it.
It took me about a month to read this book... life spews stuff at me like water from a firehose; about six months to pick it up... my kids gave it to me for my birthday in 2009, and my list of must-read books was LONG but today I finished it.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Wednesday Sisters.  It surprised me to realize, in the second-to-last chapter that I was laughing out loud right through my tears.  The last time I cried at the end of a book was in January 2009 with The Book Thief.  The Wednesday Sisters is touching, funny and mostly a story about women with dreams for themselves that they are struggling to reach for--it reminded me of Whitney's Dare to Dream website, and the gift she has to urge women forward.  The Wednesday Sisters is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s.   It was just as fascinating to remember the pivotal events that took place during this small window in time as it was to be along for the ride as these women friends struggled through the timeless challenges of infidelity, infertility, awareness of body flaws, cancer and coming of age in a time when it was a scary thing to be a woman and reach for a dream.  It's hard to believe that life for women just a few decades ago was so much more restricted than it is today.  Although the story is fiction, the history surrounding the story is full of fascinating and important events.  I was born in the 1960s and feel as though I've lost sight of the fact that just in my lifetime, women are able to reach for the stars in ways that were unimaginable when I was a baby.  I'm grateful for my busload of women friends and thankful that they'll take the ride with me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

better than the dollar movie

It's baseball with five year-olds:

...the first shot is my favorite picture so far this season.
Thumbs up, happy feet and
he's wearing his helmet sideways while he runs for home plate.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday: CHECK.

It was a GLORIOUS saturday.
lots of get-outside-ing
and the noteworthy mopping-of-the-floor;
not to be out-shined by
and chore-doing.

I'm going to feel goo-ood about the resting we do on the Sabbath.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This is how we roll.

I almost kissed the school nurse yesterday.
Roonie hurt her hand at soccer practice on Wednesday evening.  Being the under-reactor that I am (contrary to my brother's nickname for me: ManicPanicJen), I brushed it off as a jam or maybe a sprain or something like that... we iced it, gave her some motrin and sent her to bed.  In the morning it was not feeling any better, and truthfully, it looked a little funky.  Swollen, discolored, and there was a kind of funny lump on the meaty part of her thumb.  I started to second guess my failure to react after practice the night before. 

We needed to be at the elementary school that morning (I volunteer there every Thursday), so off we went and I decided to have the nurse give me her opinion.  Of course the fifth graders were having their state-required testing that morning, so I knew she wouldn't be able to see her until at least lunch time.  After a pleasant discussion with the nurse (who agreed to take a look), I left a reminder note on her desk, just so she would remember to call her down later in the day.

'Round about 2pm, I was hanging denim on the clothesline (no picture here because I'm practicing self-restraint) and I realized that the nurse had not called yet.  I rang up the school, and upon inquiry, the nurse said "Oh!  I completely forgot."  THIS was the point at which, IF I had been standing in the school, I would have embraced her and planted a kiss on her cheek... SO thrilled was I about the fact that someone other than ME had forgotten to do something, that I felt strangely happy.  And I told her so.

Last week I forgot to show up for kindergarten screening.  (Luckily the admin there knows me well, and called 15 minutes into the appointment time to ask if we needed to reschedule, or did we still want to come?)
Wednesday morning I forgot to make sure I had a KEY with which to operate a vehicle... Four drivers, two cars and just NOT enough keys to go around makes for a lot of car-juggling.  We ended up missing a scheduled appointment that morning, and then had to call and beg for a ride to and from preschool for Morning Boy.
Despite the calendar, the lists and my sharp-as-a-tack memory, is it any wonder that my daughter, with panic in her voice asked me this morning if I was going to forget to pick up a birthday present for her friend today, or if I was going to forget to take her to the party at all?  We meekly smiled at each other, and then she said "I love you, Mom."  Thank goodness.  Because I don't forsee any drastic changes in my future.  Today we forgot to put the trash out.  This is just how we roll.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Kitchen Fairy!

She came!
I DO believe.  I DO.
Actually, it was perfect.  She came on the day that my dishes were out-of-control and spawning in the sink.  We had lunch and then *poof!* she was gone.  She left a shiny kitchen in her wake.I LOVE that kitchen Fairy!!
(thank you)

Living Water

Another hands-on FHE Classic by Dub:
Where our water comes from.

We visited the well, the pressure tank, the hot water heater, the furnace and the outlet valves.

Field Trips are a good diversion/distraction.  We also talked about the importance of not wasting water.  He concluded by talking about the Living Waters, mentioned in the scriptures, and the Woman at the Well.  Dub saved our Family Night--it was one of those "She's touching me!" nights.  He is awesome. 
No wonder I love him so!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Anxious Me.

And the sad Tale of the Pumpkins.
I was going to blog all about my new babies; my two-and-a-half-month-old pumpkin plants that I've had crawling around my music room since early March.  I was feeling so proud!  That was my downfall.

Here's the new bed, and the little darlings placed so carefully in the mixture of compost and sheep poop.

And here they are the next morning.
The morning of the deadly FROST:

I wanted to cry. 
But I bought a new packet of pumpkin seeds instead.
I will place them in the pumpkin patch AFTER the danger of frost has passed.
(In New England it just takes SO long to get there!)

Know your MOM:

or how to pump her up:
really wicked awesome!
too cool!

Through the eyes of my five-year-old:
I love that I'm 16.
I'm also thrilled that he doesn't see me as the kitchen goddess;
according to him, my favorite thing to do at home is to play soccer.  No wonder I stay so young!

And of course, know that dessert is BIG.
I love my job.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

IS he ready?!?...

Yes, he IS.
All missionary exams, forms and applications are done.
... they're almost ready to be sent on their way...
( I ready?)
Yes.  I am.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I've grown to love it, but it's been a journey for me.
When I was a younger mom, Mother's Day was the day I felt guilt for all the moments in motherhood that I had botched to that point. I would focus on my moments of anger, frustration or lashing out with impatience while my kids were trying to make me feel like a queen. My mistake was that I was selfishly focused on my own reality and expectation rather than allowing the love to flow. My favorite part of Mother's Day is that from a child's perspective we get to pause and focus on the beauty that is motherhood, and that my kids are enthusiastic about it. Bring on the breakfast in bed and the homemade cards...

I love my kids and being a mother is my favorite job.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dear Mom,

This is a pose I've come to appreciate more fully.

Thank you for wearing yourself out to raise me.

Thanks for not blowing your top when I told you (screamed at the top of my lungs) that I hated practicing the piano.
Thanks for not telling my secrets to everyone.
Thanks for cheering the loudest for me at all of my events.
Thanks for keeping a journal about my successes and failures, and telling me how much you love me.
Thanks for teaching me to wash and iron clothes, budget and cook meals before I left home.
Thank you for making sure I knew that while we were eating liver and gluten, we were being well-nourished on less than $20 a week most weeks.  And thanks for being so resourceful... even though I didn't feel as glamorous as you wanted me to in a dress made from curtains; it's one of my favorite childhood memories--right next to having homemade underwear and carrying a green plastic peanut lunch box with homemade-bread-sandwiches-in-wax-paper to school when other kids had brown paper bags and real ziplock sandwich bags.

Thanks for telling me OFTEN how much the gospel means to you.
Thank you for being a worker instead of a dictator.
Thanks for insisting that we help weed the garden, change diapers on younger siblings and contribute to household chores.
You were better at it than I am, but I know how important it is NOT to give in to TIRED, and keep teaching by example... to stay in the trenches of motherhood, because motherhood doesn't end when kids leave home.
Thanks for stressing the importance of honesty and integrity.
Thank you for serving the less fortunate and having the downtrodden and homeless into our home.  It wasn't always comfortable or fun, but it gave me new eyes with which to view the world.
Thank you for telling me how lucky I was to have you around while I was in college, getting married and having children.  You had to do all of that without a mother and I can't imagine the void.
Thanks for being my mom.
You're the best and I love you with all my heart.


...because chaos isn't TRULY chaos
without music, song and dance:

Keeping my head in the game

Last Saturday was bliss.  I sat in the sun for three hours at two different soccer games.  There was the whole coming-home-to-chaos reality check afterward, but the duty of being a soccer mom was no burden.  I no longer have to use the eyes in the back of my head to watch smaller children as they play nearby or pace up and down the field keeping up with toddlers who might wander and not find their way back.  It was me, the folding chair and a pair of sunglasses.  SIXTEEN years of cheering for kids on the soccer field!  I found myself looking at the moms who were distracted by younger siblings, thinking that kind of parenting takes more stamina than running up and down a field...
...don't wish it away--but oh MAN:  To sit is divine.
Game ON.

Happy Mothers Day to all you deserving Moms

This first one's from Kellly Corrigan.  I liked her book Lift.

The next is from Stephanie Nielson.

You deserve to feel love, no matter who you are.
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good chaos

For the record, our house is generally a revolving door of mayhem and confusion.
Birthday chaos is an especially happy kind of bedlam.  Here are some birthday moments that helped us detach from the routine madness of an otherwise typical week night.
Mesquite pondering her wish
and a little hand helping her to take the traditional birthday bite:  

We have a house guest for the week... 
here is a shot of   child loving dog:
(and below that, dog loving child)

Of course there were plenty of happy birthday phone calls

Taco salad for dinner.

It brings out the crazy in us.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the extended forecast which includes the return of STREP.

Today we spent a fun afternoon (on a half-day from school) getting new hair-dos.  Me plus four kiddos equals two and a half hours of hair fun and non-stop chatter.  Don't ask for pictures--some memories deserve your imagination.  (Please imagine me looking sleek and lovely with my new hair)
Some of the chit-chat in the salon included a meteorology report from Leeli, who ought to consider this as her career I think.  Out of the blue (is that a weather pun?) we're doing hair and the sky darkens and the rain starts pouring down.  I had to make the undesirable dash to the vehicle to close windows--my sleek new hair was saved by draping the handy hair-cutting cape over my head.  Michael Buble was playing on the van radio, so I happily lingered.  When I got back, the conversation was on the crazy weather, and Leeli announces:
It's going to stop raining and get sunny again.  Then the sky is going to get dark again, and it's going to rain, and then it's going to hail.
Um-hum.  Right. (I thought)
Then we drive home, and what'd'ya know?  Exactly as predicted, the sky darkened up, it started raining, and ka-POW!  We were hit with a sudden burst of hail.  Girls with new hair-cuts went out to dance amongst the falling frozen pellets, giggling and laughing until ca-RACK!! the lightening and thunder started.  Then they came shrieking back into the house with a new respect for turns in the weather.
Meanwhile, I'm throwing dinner together in anticipation of a T-ball game, a soccer practice, Jazz practice at the HS and general evening chaos.  (thank goodness for pasta and jarred spaghetti sauce) The T-ball coach calls and wants my opinion on whether or not to cancel.  I'm happy to simplify my evening, so I vote for cancel.  Enrique tells me that the sore throat he told me about at 5am this morning is still really sore, and that now his stomach is not feeling well.  I have this sinking feeling...
So I enlist the village:  Called the asst coach for soccer and asked if she'd take Leeli to the practice.  Left Roonie and Morning Boy creating birthday posters for Mesquite, who happens to be our cinco de Mayo baby.  Dropped spicy chick off to band practice at the HS on our way to the pediatrician, who tells us  that Enrique is to be on house arrest and starting another 10 days of antibiotics.  Apparently being re-infected with strep is not so uncommon.  (I wonder if I should have questioned the likelihood of the other SIX of us coming down with strep again?...)  Life is a party when Dub is travelling.
Back at 7:15pm, tucked Morning Boy in after reading Harry Potter chapter 9, dashed to the pharmacy to pick up the Rx, ran back to the track to pick up the soccer star and her carpool buddy and then did shower/bedtime shift #2.  Had just enough time to toss a pill at the patient and ran back up to the HS to pick up the flute player at 9pm... add to that crazy mix an annoying car fiasco, Yonder gone missing with a girl from Connecticut and a MAJOR job due (that I'm late starting) for the local organization for which I'm the secretary, and I'm just going to take five.

Five chocolate cupcakes, that is.
(Made these in my free time this morning)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My favorite weekend memory

I was sitting in Relief Society this afternoon, listening to my sweet Mesquite speak.  Every fourth Sunday of the month, the young women join us for opening exercises.  They conduct the meeting, take care of the music and give all the announcements.  It's good to have youth and beauty breathe life into the place I'm still working on feeling old enough to be a part of.  She was in charge of giving the value thought.  She decided to talk about the value experience she was working on in the Good Works section of her Personal Progress book.  She looked unflappable. It reads:

"Service is an essential principle of family living.  Help plan your family's menus, obtain the food, and prepare part of the meals for two weeks.  During that time help your family gather to share mealtimes.  Report to your class what you have learned."

(I wondered if it was scary or intimidating to be talking about planning meals in front of a room full of women who do that regularly?) She mentioned that our whole family went grocery shopping together, and that it was fun.  I agree.  It was fun.  But it was more of an act of desperation rather than a  planned event.  Sometimes it's more fun to fly by the seat of your pants.

We have been a large group all week.  Heck, we're ALWAYS a large group.  (I used to be tempted to have a parade permit handy in case we were mistaken for a city exhibition.)  But there has consistently been one person missing for a long time.  Yonder was away at school, and joined us for the summer in Virginia last week over school break.  That was amazing.  The day after we got home, Dub left on a business trip, and spent the week in Florida.  He came home for a few hours and then went off to a scout camp-out to sleep on the ground with a bunch of 12 and 13 year-old stinky boys (note: we don't currently have any of those in our household) while the rest of us juggled T-ball, SATs, soccer games and Saturday chores.  He came back late Saturday night to a home full of people and void of fresh food. 

We enjoyed a meal together--our first summer dinner on the back patio.  It was delightful and filled with laughter.  I was tired and feeling tense and that time together was the perfect spa for my soul.  Then I announced that we needed to go grocery shopping before Sunday was upon us.  Mr. Dub, being the gentleman that he is, offered to go with me, or do it.  Mesquite had mentioned earlier that she needed to plan two weeks of meals, so she got a pen and a paper and surveyed the family about what meals they would like to eat.  The evening progressed, and I realized we were running close to closing time at the local grocery store.  I figured we were going to have to tackle this together to do an adequate job of acquiring what we needed for the week ahead.  The shopping list was then divided on to three note cards and we went out for ice cream to get revved up for our family grocery shopping competition. 

We split up into three teams, the leader of each being one that could wield payment at the registers.  We had fun racing around the store in groups and passing each other in the aisles in pursuit of the items on our lists, trying to be the first group to the van with our purchases.  May I suggest large group shopping for your next family activity?  It was a blast, and what normally takes me a good hour took us about a quarter of the time.  We were all standing at different cash registers 13 minutes after getting out of the race van.  I won't elaborate on the standings; suffice it to say the one with the most shopping experience would have been the first cart to the van if some other team's member hadn't hi-jacked our carriage in the parking lot.  Nothing like a good dose of friendly competition to work off an ice cream cone.  It was lovely, and I didn't even have to put the groceries away.  And now Dub's in Ohio for the week.  He'll be back Saturday afternoon... just in time to replenish the cupboards!