Friday, August 31, 2012

Dad in Tampa

Dad said the prayer at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last night.  He did an excellent job.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My new part-time job (fasten your seat-belts and enjoy your supplementary reading)

Today marked the genesis of our back-to-school transition.
Look at our newest 8th grader!
She will be attending classes at the High School this year.
(thank you, newly established school consolidation plan)
 This cute sixth grader is a first-timer at the Middle School.
 And look out second grade!
Despite rain at the bus stop, 
his year looks to be kicking off with the cosmos aligned.
 After sending the travelers safely to their destinations via three separate buses for the first three hours of my morning, I have now added Flight Attendant to my resume.  I have caught the vision of my morning and afternoon routine for the next ten months.  Besides meeting the basic job requirements, I can pack the bags and stand at the departure gates like nobody's business.

In between the departures and arrivals for today?
Sweet Mesquite and I made a day of it.
The upper class-men start tomorrow.
We relaxed, (no camera) we practiced driving, we "shopped" at the library and we lunched out.
She's a gem, and I was grateful to have an extra day with her alone.
Before we knew it, the school trippers were due back.

First came Roonie.
She had a LOT to say about High School.
It was good.
 An hour later, Leeli came home with a glowing report.
 She had a GOOD day.
And also had a lot to say!
I shuffled the first one back to the High School for soccer practice and came home just in time to meet some of my very favorite travelers who are off to a very important meeting in Tampa.  
Their's will be an exciting journey. 
 We will watch Gracie, the royal dog.
 Finally, our last arrival appeared and was happy to be greeted by an enthusiastic crowd.
 And here's the irony; because really, a good story must have irony:
 He had NOTHING to tell the rest of us about 2nd grade.
He might be off to check the overhead bins for something more interesting than a bunch of seemingly impertinent women.
(Please exit through the doors on your right.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

overflowing with love (and muffins)

I was at the temple yesterday with my sister.
She is an amazing woman!
It was a happy day.  It was a special occasion for her family and all who love them, as they were able to have their newest little guy sealed to them.
He is BUSY.
And precious.
 Steve's parents and sister flew east to be here.
There was so much happiness, it was floating freely in the atmosphere... Really.  The joy was so thick, it might have been picked up locally as a meteorological phenomenon.
Our dear friend Laura was there too, with her camera.
Thank you Laura!
I'm always glad to know that happy moments are being captured... especially when I leave the house in a bit of a rush, and forget MY camera.  I also forgot to eat breakfast, and stashed some muffins in the car.
I did not know that the perfect sister-love picture moment would present itself when I was sneaking a mouthful of muffin.  I'm sorry Becky, for being such a muffin-head.  I LOVE YOU SO!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


About a mile down the road there's a corn field.  I drive past it several times each day, and feel a connection with the growing season, and note the parallels in nurturing children through their seasons of growth.  I watch for planting day in the Spring, when I can see the patterns in the dirt indicating that the seeds have been placed.  Then I mark the passage of summer on my trips past the field by the growth of the corn. It starts out barely poking through the dirt, and inches upward at a rate that seems to increase exponentially with each pass of the farmland.  Don't kids seem to grow that way, too?  One day you notice them, standing upright to clutch your knees; then you turn around and they're hugging you around the waist and before you know it, they're looking you in the eye.  This year summer got pretty dry.  I worried, and watched the leaves on the corn stalks curl inward and reach upward, as if begging for rain.  Then mercifully, we enjoyed many consecutive days of soaking afternoon thunder storms.  I was happy to see the leaves open up and relax in the sunlight, able to concentrate on that last push upward.  Finally, the golden tassels emerged an amazing seven to ten feet off the ground, as if to herald the end of summer; the passage of another successful season of growth.
It's always hard to let go of summer.
I'm grateful for seasons and growing and patterns that cultivate familiarity, comfort in change and letting go.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Good Ship Sleepover

No one was more surprised than me when I gave the green light for this little boy's first friend sleepover.  His maiden voyage was successful, and almost uneventful (he woke up the host mom at 1am to tell her he wasn't asleep).  I told him to hang on to the memories of this overnight adventure, because it might be 10 more years before I'm brave enough to let him sleep away from home again.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

soaking up summer

It's almost gone... (summer)
I've loved the freedom from routine, relaxing with the kids, taking trips with the family, the fresh garden produce, trying new things and giving myself permission to slow down.
I told my daughter on the way to the lake this week (when she thought we might arrive late) "There's no such thing as late on a day of relaxation."
And you can quote me.
Soon enough we'll have to worry about staying on schedule; for a few more days, we're going to try to relax our way out of what's left of this glorious summer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

curlers in the kitchen

Curlers + vintage dress
= haute couture
(I'm thinking about re-naming her "Flo")

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

getting ready

It's almost time for Enrique to head back to college.
This summer he worked hard.
He picked up a few side jobs, one of which involved helping a family get ready to move.  They were throwing away an area rug, and he asked if he could have it for his dorm room.  This week his preparations for back-to-school included steam-cleaning his new carpet.
 It looks almost new.
A decent score, Senor Thrifty!

Monday, August 20, 2012


 Last week was Marching Band Camp.
8am to 8pm, EVERY day.
These kids worked HARD!
 At the end of the performance on the last day, Rooney said "I can't believe I did that!"  I asked her what she meant.  She told me that in years previous, when she would go with me to chaperone, she would watch the older kids learning the shows, and she would think to herself "I will NEVER be able to do all that!"
Well, she did.
And they had fun, too.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Making spaghetti sauce
 then making apple sauce
makes you TIRED.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

lucky us

This morning at the breakfast table, the teenagers were becoming visibly annoyed by the antics of their seven-year-old brother.  Isn't it interesting that what strikes some as funny and cute can strike others as irritatingly obnoxious?  I quickly pointed out how lucky they were to have a younger brother... most of their peers, I pointed out, probably barely thrive in what must be a dull home life, because they lack the spontaneity a seven year old brings to the dinner table (in our case, breakfast), a car ride, family gatherings, etc.  I could see that they were pondering this, and then the conversation shifted elsewhere.  When we had all completely forgotten the topic, oh, maybe 5 or 10 minutes later, a rather witty and clever daughter brought to the table
"you don't know know how lucky you are to have an eleven year old sister."
True that, Leeli-pants.
We are lucky indeed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I just finished writing a three page letter to my favorite missionaries.
I've been BUSY!  

And I'm tired.

It was you, blog, or the letter, and the letter won.  I'm pretty good at sharing, so here's the cliff notes version:

I'm marking my four year anniversary of being the Relief Society President this month.  I love my job.  (Maybe I'll get a watch or a pen set.)

Last night a group of Relief Society Women gathered at my house to enjoy salads and chatting.  Because we now group any Relief Society gathering under the simple title of "R.S. Meeting," my official report is that our R.S. Salad Meeting was a success.

We've had house guests again, for the second time in less than a week, and I've thoroughly enjoyed cuddling with my newest little niece.  She's the most easy-going and good-natured baby I've been around since my own perfect children were her age.  Also, I neglected to warn our first house guest this week of the idiosyncrasies of the Inn, so I did not forget to let my sister-in-law know that:

-the hot water faucet in the guest bathroom does not work.  It's just there for good looks.

-the lid to the toilet seat is not actually fastened on.  If you go in to use the toilet in the middle of the night and unsuspectingly pick up the lid, it will fall off the commode in a very noisy and sleep-disrupting fashion, clanking onto the tile floor and waking everyone in the adjoining rooms.

-also, the toilet seat is barely holding on by a small plastic thread, and if you sit down too forcefully, you'll be taking a bonus ride.  (it doubles as an amusement park ride!)

-the water in the shower pools around your ankles and drains very slowly.

-the guest shower is the only shower in the house that EVERYONE uses, because the alternate shower has lousy water pressure.  This means while you assume you'll be taking a quiet and private shower, there may be up to seven people banging on the door asking you not to use all the hot water, and to hurry up so they can have their turn.

Who knew that having guests could be so... um, humbling?  Our pool is ill.  I'm working on the Rx for saving the last of the summer swimming.  The tomatoes are multiplying; faster than we can consume them.  Lucky us!  Our week has been taken over by Marching Band Camp, Tennis Camp, Stuffing envelopes for the High School back-to-school mailing, and gatherings.

May your week be filled with a list of things that bring you equal amounts of humility and joy.


Monday, August 13, 2012

He could've been a mailman

I held the umbrella and handed Mr. Dub nails while he worked on the roof of the tree fort in the pouring rain this weekend.  He's a good man!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rubbing Shoulders with Elaine Dalton

On Friday morning, I dropped my girls off at Fitchburg State University (in my very own backyard!!--a 10 minute commute) for a first-ever Regional Young Women Conference.  There's a long back-story to this, but it really deserves it's own post, so MAYBE another day... Eight stakes were invited, and there were 700 beautiful young ladies roaming around (of all places!) Fitchburg for the weekend.  I saw the clusters of young women walking together when we drove through campus, and I got all verklempt thinking about them sharing amazing experiences together, like singing, and standing to recite the Young Women theme 700 strong.
 And hello, ELAINE DALTON spent the weekend with them!
 I got snippets of information from my brother Rich and my niece Hannah, who spent the night here on Friday (so they could return easily to the conference on Saturday morning) and then my girls filled me in on the whole experience on Saturday night.  Workshops, games, good food, tu-tu making, dancing... SO.MUCH.GOOD.
Rich is on the left below, with the red lanyard on.  He would never say so, but this conference was his baby, and with lots of help and inspiration, was an extremely uplifting experience for all involved.
 He arranged for each stake unit (Hartford, Springfield, Boston, Nashua, Providence, Cambridge, ?I'm forgetting a couple?) of Young Women to have their pictures taken with Elaine Dalton after their gathering on Friday night.  The girls were SO excited to just be near her!  I'm sure there will be eight stakes of Young Women rooms in each unit proudly displaying a picture of this special lady and the girls SOON.  My niece Stevie was with us for the occasion, but her stake had scheduled a Trek weekend for their youth at the same time, so their girls were not in attendance.  Stevie sidled up to Uncle Rich in her very sweet manner and asked "Uncle Rich?... since I'm the only one here from my stake, can I have my OWN picture with Sister Dalton?..."  He made it happen.  I'm sure that picture will be posted ASAP on a blog near you.
Young Women are FUN!  These particular young women are EXTRA fun and lucky to live in New England.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Huntington Avenue

Enrique and I hopped on the 'T' today and wandered around the Symphony Hall area of Huntington Avenue looking for a birthday trumpet.
(it's never too late to give birthday presents!)
We found a good one.
He likes it.
It was a fun day.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What Alice Forgot

I've been procrastinating reading this book since Christmas.
I got it for a Christmas present, and really looked forward to reading it, alas each time I read the book flap, I thought to myself "this sounds really depressing" and I put it off a little longer.  Memory loss doesn't intrigue me--it scares me.  I finally dove in this week, and could hardly put the book down.  It was fun!  I found the characters really likable (except for the ones who you really aren't meant to like at all) and the story line was hardly at all predictable--in fact I found the unpredictability delightful.  The story takes place in Sydney, Australia, and I could almost hear the charming accent as I got to know the characters and worked through some vocabulary that I found charmingly British.  Initially I felt devastated for Alice, who, after sustaining a head injury when she falls at the gym, can't remember the past ten years of her life.  She wakes up thinking she's pregnant and almost giddy about her still new marriage to Nick.  Turns out she now has three kids and a failing marriage, and she's not sure she likes who she's become.  I fell in love with this book.  I fell in love with Alice's sense of optimism (and her attempts to love the heady children she didn't know she had and her humorous stabs at trying to figure out why things have worked out so differently from what she would have predicted).  I started to wonder how I would feel if I was forced to look at myself 10 years from now with no memory of what had taken place meanwhile.  It helped me want to make a pact never to take the real stuff for granted.  Sleep in, skip a ballet class, snub stress, have lunch with my sister, leave love notes for Dub, call my parents and tell them I love them.  Live the days of my life so that in 10 years there will be no regrets.  What Alice Forgot is a fast, rewarding read.  I enjoyed Alice's journey and will put this one back on the list of books to read again.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I'm raising thrifters

I've mentioned before that one of our favorite days is Wednesday--it's half-off day at Salvation Army (Sally's).  I don't even ask anymore if someone wants to go; yesterday Enrique took one of his sisters to explore the goods without me.  I was anxiously sitting on wooden benches with everyone else... When I got home was I a bit surprised to walk in the door and hear organ music? 
Yes I was. 
Enrique is now the proud owner of four new classic record albums, a "sweet hat," and his very own organ.  All for less than $20.  He's since cleaned it up a bit and moved the organ into his bedroom.  The house goes from feeling like a ballpark during the wind-up of a feverish pitch to activity hour at the local geriatric center.  I'll be in the kitchen marinating meat, and I go from feeling like shouting "PLAY BALL!" to wanting a partner (maybe a walker?) for the tango.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another driver in the family

I know that Massachusetts has got to be on the top ten list of motor vehicle departments that cause the highest level of anxiety in drivers.  For this reason, Sweet Mesquite has procrastinated taking her permit exam since May.  Being forced to sit on wooden benches for hours at a time waiting for your number to be called is enough to give you diarrhea, never mind then facing the timed EXAM... I've had my driver's license for years, and I still get angst just walking into the RMV.
So a hearty CONGRATULATIONS!! to our newest motor vehicle operator.
We couldn't be happier!