Thursday, September 30, 2010

new Wednesday favorite:

volunteering in the kindergarten lunchroom.

I had my stealthy pocket-cam with me yesterday to capture part of my new favorite assignment.  I love that the kids wave enthusiastically at each other from across the cafeteria--as if they hadn't just seen each other at recess or in the classroom.  I also love that my little guy will wave to me from across the room--every few minutes just to check in and let me know we're still in there together.  A poignant moment from yesterday:  a little girl raised her hand, so I made my way over expecting to open a container or bring a napkin or spoon; instead she looked at me with sad eyes and said "I miss my mommy."  I assured her that her mom was probably thinking about her too, and we chatted for a few minutes about happy things and she went back to her lunch, happily distracted from her sentiment moments before...

30 minutes of Wednesday awesome-ness.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

for the beauty, indeed.

We morph from summer into fall with the farmer down the road.  We enjoy watching him till the field in the spring, and are excited to see tiny shoots of corn announce their presence as they reach up from the dirt in swirling rows while the school year winds down.  On our drives by in the summer, we measure the length of our freedom by how tall the stalks are growing.  When the tractor starts mowing down the rows of corn in the fall, the pattern of change becomes sure and comforting.  We will watch the Canada geese glean from the remains as October turns to November and we wait, giddy, for the first sign of snow.
 Today is one of those glorious Fall days that makes me wish we could stop time--only briefly--to appreciate in ways sensory and spiritual things that we usually take for granted.
The pumpkins are in the yard--the traffic cones of nature, daring us to slow down and notice them...
The clothes are drying on the line--a simple pleasure.
 I found a cucumber trying to be a tomato this morning, as I harvested the tomatoes still hearty and ripening.
The growing season is almost over, but I'm grateful today for the beauty in my yard!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The pieces of my broken heart left today


Saturday, September 25, 2010

The date we were happy to take our kids on

Friday night Mister Dub and I had a date at the temple.
We were excited to bring along our four oldest kids; it was Roonie's first time going (she turned 12 this month) and it will be Yonder's last time to go with us for oh, about two years.  We arrived in daylight, and left under the light of the full moon (and with temple cookies in our bellies).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

some tidbits

Enrique came home for the 12 brief minutes between seminary and time-to-leave-for-school this morning and had a plateful of leftover pasta sprinkled generously with Parmesan cheese for breakfast.

Yonder was asked to drive the two full-time missionaries serving in our area to Nashua for a dentist appointment today, so he climbed right out on the ladder and started painting the house at 7:45 this morning.  He's determined to git'er done before the end of the day.

My eyes are puffy and sting from an array of emotions that happened to peak at bedtime last night... Roonie had the first cross-country track meet of her career yesterday, and I couldn't make it.  I lived through about 35 minutes of panic when she went off the radar screen for an hour after the meet; nobody had seen her, she wasn't where she was supposed to be (for pick-up) and no one could find her.  It was a series of phone conversations, dealing with the unknown and tracking hazy leads that escalated my anxiety and terror before I heard her voice over a kind person's cell phone and learned that she was waiting--and fine.  It took several hours (after knowing everything was okay) to feel the comfort and relief I needed; couple that with the tender heart syndrome I'm experiencing as we prepare to part with our first born for two years, and I'm good for just about nothing today.  Which is fine with me.

I can no longer see my bedroom clock.  From my bed or anywhere else in the room.  I have plastic totes full of off-season clothing waiting to be changed stacked so high that I am keeping time with my body clock.  Thank goodness for my sweet and faithful seminary-going daughter Mesquite who gets up faithfully every morning at 5am without my help.  SHE is my real sense of time--my body clock is completely unreliable.

Our ward choir director (with a fairly common and completely 1950s American name) lives in town.  She moved in about a month ago, and used her cell phone as her main means of communication.  She called me happily to announce that she now had a landline, and to ask one of our daughters to babysit.  I hesitated to pick up the phone the first time she called--since the caller ID function makes it so easy (most of the time) to see who is calling.  I took my chances and timidly said "hello?..." and then laughed when I heard her voice. To me, she is now affectionately known as "Toth Ildiko."

The night I made the pasta dish Enrique ate for breakfast this morning, I bent over to pull it out of the oven as Enrique was opening a new jar of Parmesan cheese behind me.  Before I could stand up, a cloud of cheese *POOFed!* from the space above me, and covered my head and shoulders.  I laughed as I realized what had happened, and casually brushed off the cheese as best as I could and went about my dinner preparations.  Later that evening as I was sitting down with Mister Dub to talk with him as he ate, his eyes migrated to my scalp and he quietly asked "Is it that time of year again?" to which I laughed and felt IMMENSELY grateful that the white-ish bits in my hair were only cheese, and NOT lice.

Today is the first full day of Autumn.  I'm going outside to breathe the crisp air and to artfully arrange the pumpkins that survived "the summer of the groundhog."   I'm also planning (my plans are often bigger than my follow-through) to thin out the jungle of dying perennials to make room for some nice hearty mums.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall means time to march

I'm hemming the last of the pants tonight.  
The band is going to look GOOD this year!


This past weekend,  we made our annual mandatory Fall pilgrimage to the apple orchard.
When I stumbled across the following picture, I was grateful for family traditions.
Change is in the air.  This will be his last trip to the orchard with us for a few years.

Long Live Traditions!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A memory

After what felt like a very long nine-and-half-weeks in the Missionary Training center, I remember stepping off the plane in Cali, Colombia in early February of 1987 to complete my 18 month assignment as a missionary.  It was really warm--and breezy and humid, which was a bit of a shock, having come from a North American winter-y climate just hours before.  I felt a little awkward, climbing down the steps from the plane and onto the tarmac.  The realization that I had just entered a new culture and my new life was just as shocking as breathing in the warmth and humidity.  I knew that the perspiration beading on my upper lip and forehead was not from heat, but rather, nerves and a hard lump of anxiety:  Was I ready?  Would I be the kind of missionary that I pictured in my mind, confidently speaking a new language and sharing the gospel without hesitation or trepidation?  I already knew the pink linen suit I was wearing, wrinkly from travel was not going to cut it.  I felt a surge of relief when I saw my mission president, flanked by two young assistants, salute a brief hello through the glass customs window that separated us.  That relief washed quickly into humiliation as my over-packed suitcases exploded with all manner of un-packaged soaps, razors and feminine hygiene products at the touch of the customs agent's finger to the release on the suitcase I had closed the day before (using my full weight and a part of my companion's as well).  I saw the President shake his head, and later as he was driving the car mutter under his breath something like "when are they going to start telling these missionaries that we're not living in a third-world country down here?"  We were off to a great start--I could just feel it.  The rest of my first afternoon/evening and the next day are kind of foggy now.  I remember waking in the plush mission home to Sister Mickelson (my mission president's wife) sitting on my bed, telling me I could stay in shape by doing sit-ups right in my bed before I even got up.  (huh?)  And then probably some breakfast and instructions followed by the picture to prove to my parents that I had arrived, before they fed me to the wolves sent me off with my non-English-speaking Colombian companion who had a heart of stone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Breakfast dessert this morning

was a DELIGHTFUL walk to the cemetery and back.
And look what I found?  They were trodden upon, yet still speaking to me:
"Hello!! Look at us--we're the preview of what's coming!"
I scanned them to share the gloriousness of early Fall with you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Circa 1978: The photographer who managed to coax a smile out of ONE of us -or- What in the world is going on behind the camera?!??

the birthday wish.

If you've had any experience navigating a large family schedule, you'll have sympathy when you hear that we really couldn't fit a family birthday party into the calendar on the actual day of the birthday.  The challenge here, was to make the birthday girl feel special despite the fact that we were not actually stopping to celebrate her birthday ON her birthday.  We decided to make it a Birthday-Weekend-Extravaganza!  Some good points included thinking and expressing fond birthday thoughts for several consecutive days, as opposed to one.  We have enjoyed happy birthday decorations much longer than we might have, and also, we decided to spread-out the present love.  She got some presents on one day, some more on the second day, and woke up to a couple of surprises on the morning of the big day.  We ended up having her birthday dinner and cake on Saturday, which was the pinnacle of a VERY busy day for all family members... an ACT exam, three soccer games, a trip to the airport, a BBQ with friends and other Saturday activities chores.  I mention that, because dinner seemed a trifle more rowdy than usual--no chairs tipped over, no food flying, but there was the usual raucous behavior and then maybe the kids were taking it up just a tiny notch.  You may be disappointed to learn that there was some burping going on--I'll just tell you, it's the culture here.  Not that it's adopted or accepted by everyone, it just happens and we all know it... as the mother, I do expect a polite "excuse me" at the very least (the necessity of which has been up for debate more than once).  SO, the birthday girl let escape a pretty hearty burp at the dinner table, and my response was a you-should-know-better-sideways-glance followed by "Have you ever heard me do that at the table?" in a you-should-know-better-tone to which she responded-
"Mom; that will be my birthday wish.
That YOU will burp at the dinner table."

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's BIRTHDAY time!

From little Princess
and little darling
to Young Woman!
Happy 12th Birthday!

The time is now

Good MORNING Seminary students!
Another year of early mornings has begun.