Tuesday, April 29, 2014

speaking of hospitality

The church has a great program in place called Visiting Teaching.
Basically, it's a system in which the women of each congregation check up on each other at least monthly and make sure basic needs are being met, and that each woman is ministered to.
It's one of my very favorite things about Relief Society, the largest women's organization in the world.
It can also be a very tricky thing to manage--making sure every woman is being visited.
During the years that I was the Relief Society President, I was so intricately involved in ministering to the women in our area that I didn't worry so much about making sure I was also being visited regularly. As is always the case, we are most often nurtured as we are serving others.
So, I haven't had visiting teachers physically in my home for many years.
I think the last time a pair of them came to see me, there was carpet in my dining room, I had lots of small kids underfoot and things were FAR from refined.
The dry spell ended this morning, so I ran around tidying up a bit before the ladies arrived.
I was excited to be hosting visitors!  They're fun women.
But I guess my focus should not have been on cleaning up.
And not on fooling myself into thinking that things were even one smidgen more refined than they've ever been.  EVER.
They probably wouldn't have cared if there were dishes in the sink, or if the coffee table was cluttered. I know this.  But I busied myself anyway, knowing that these were all things I wanted to accomplish today.  Might as well get them done before company comes.
There are more basic needs to be met when people come to call.
(I thought I'd taken care of all that when I asked my husband to fix the front door last night. At almost 10:00 pm I mentioned that my visiting teachers would be coming in the morning, and it would be nice to let them in. Our front door has been broken for a while, and now, wiggling, bumping and giving the door the hip as you flick the wrist was no longer effective. I had to ask my piano student to come in through the garage yesterday. So he dismantled the door in the dark of night and removed the locking mechanism in the handle so that it would open and close. The deadbolt was still working; reduced home security would have to suffice.)
And they came!
As soon as she sat down, Madeleine asked if she could use the bathroom.
Pretty basic request, right?
Except that I had to chuckle, and after saying "Of course!" I also told her that there was no door on the bathroom.  It was removed on Friday, fallen victim to the trim painting we've been doing on the main floor.
And then "Wanda and I promise not to peek if you're okay with that..." to which I hastily added "There's another bathroom at the top of the stairs."
She opted for the latter.
I wondered what she'd discover on her trip north.
And then our visit was so fun that I put the bathroom incident completely out of my head.
Until it was time to say good-bye.
As Madeleine was letting herself out the front door, the door knob twisted completely off and she stood there a little surprised with the handle in her hand.  I teased her and told her I wasn't going to invite her to come back if she was going to keep breaking things (hah!) and waved good-bye after they extricated themselves from my home.
Then I bravely ran upstairs to see what shape things were in.
Here's what I found:

-one pair of teenage girl underpants on the bathroom floor,
-a pile of discarded clothing in a pile right in front of the toilet (Madeleine must have gingerly stepped around it to use the commode--points to her for not disturbing the heap)
-a lump of blanket that was dragged to the bathroom floor from the bed, and never returned
-no soap with which to wash hands (points to us--there WAS toilet paper in place)
-no towel to dry with
-(not to mention the little things, like a missing door on the vanity, since, when Dub was experimenting with painting over stained cupboards, why not take one from each room in the house to make us remember we are all but dust of the earth anyway?)
-a hot water faucet that won't turn on (cold water only in that sink)
-and a nice smattering of mildew over the window from steamy showers all winter, since the master bath shower doesn't work... the lot of us are sharing one tub.

Nothing like a visit to bring a little perspective (and humility) and some humor to the table.
They really might not come back.

Carry on!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DO pineapples mean hospitality?

Ever since we took a family trip to the coast of Maine a few years ago, Sweet Mesquite fell in love with all the golden pineapples that adorned local homes and business signs.
It's generally a historic area with many old homes from the 1700s. We told her that the pineapple is a sign of hospitality.
She became infatuated with pineapples; especially the golden ones. Now, even when we travel without her, the rank of siblings is quick to point out (in mysterious-sounding voices) "Look! A golden pineapple!" after which there is a shout out to document it for Mesquite.
And then look at just how enthusiastically they put on their best hospitable faces.
Maybe I'm confusing the meaning; maybe pineapples are a symbol of hostility.
Perhaps we need to re-visit the meaning of hospitality.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Boston Marathon 2014 - #BostonStrong!

Patriot's Day/Marathon Monday is Boston's BEST day.
This year was no exception... especially as we remembered last year.
We shared, mourned, felt pride and celebrated.
We got there extra early to hold down our spot, came prepared to support runners we knew personally and all runners; each has a story. We soaked in the spirit of every minute at mile 19.

*I"m inserting this comment a day later. I heard a great back-story on the winner of the men's division, who is shown below. His name is Meb Keflezighi. He's a 38 year old resident of California.  His official winning time was 2:08:37. He was at the 2013 marathon as a spectator. He was so moved by everything that happened, that he vowed on that very day to train to WIN the 2014 Boston Marathon for the victims of the bombing. He worked HARD for 365 days, and he came back with the names of the four victims written in each of the four corners of his bib, and WON. His is a story of resiliency and determination. He's the first American man to win the marathon since 1983.

*and HERE is the story for the man you see in the picture below:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday will always be GREAT to me

My second child was born on good Friday.
That's usually the first thing I think about...
How his birth forever made good Friday not just good,
but GREAT! Friday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

That's some gigantic shelf bling

In keeping with the theme of dishing out accolades, I almost forgot to mention Enrique and the biggest trophy he's ever earned. Actually, he thinks it might be the ONLY trophy.

Enrique is the president of his fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi.
He's spent many long hours devoted to this brotherhood, and made plenty of personal sacrifices in their behalf. Countless hours and a tireless commitment paid off a few weeks ago at the Northeast District Convention when his chapter (the Epsilon Nu chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi) won the District's Top Chapter Award. 
Congratulations, Presidente!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

blowing the whistle on the newest ref

It's official.
SHE's official.
She's THE official.
Leeli made her refereeing debut on Saturday.
She loved it, was VERY official, and now has a real (paying!) job for the Spring.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Being a Senior means there are many culminating events

A few weeks ago our sweet Mesquite performed a piano piece for her Senior Showcase. She did an outstanding job, and one of my favorite parts was that she asked her sister to turn pages for her. At the end of her performance, they turned and looked at each other and the unspoken understanding between them was as loud as the applause: 
that was great! 
thank goodness it's over.
(and I'm really lucky to have you)
 Also clear to me is that she is adored by many.
Including me.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


 When your second child turns 21, contemplating and CELEBRATING become the orders of the day. Unfortunately, distance and schedules kept the whole group of us apart.
There was NO WAY, however, that I was going to let April 9th go by without sharing some birthday love IN PERSON with this dashing ADULT (!gasp!).
His sisters and I were laughing about the fact that he is the only member of the family to be born in Fitchburg. How did that happen?  It's a badge of (?something?)... well, it's unique.  Like him.
And honestly, you can roll your eyes if you haven't already, but I swear it was just last month that I was wondering (after 12 hours of hard back labor) if he would EVER make his appearance?  
 We met on campus for lunch.
It was so nice to just sit and chat and catch up.
I miss him!
I look at the bins of legos he's willed by default to his younger brother, and wonder why he's not still nine or ten, playing in the room at the top of the stairs and raking his fingers through the small plastic pieces, finding just the right parts to some amazing creation under construction.
Of course there were birthday cupcakes in the car.
 And some gifts that he was so graciously thankful for.
(Even the vitamins Mimi!)
The rest of us lit up a cupcake in his honor after dinner on the homefront.
Happy Birthday Enrique!
We love you so...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

just me, the boy and the (stomach) bug

Sunday morning this freckly face wasn't feeling quite like himself. It was our semi annual Sunday Brunch. 
(thank you, General Conference
He kept telling me he couldn't believe there was bacon, (and eggs, and fruit and muffins and more...) and he didn't want to eat it.
 Our plan was to clean up from brunch and head to my parents' house for the day. We loaded the car and drove away. Not two minutes into the trip I could tell that Morning Boy was feeling less and less like he would be able to tolerate a 30 minute car ride. So we bailed. We sent the girls off and got comfy at home. By the time the choir had finished singing the opening hymn, he looked like this:
I started unpacking my conference treats... (not as fun when there's no one to share with) I enjoyed the quietest two hours of conference I've ever experienced.
After the first session we went outside where I thought some fresh air and sunshine might perk him up a bit. He told me he felt like an elderly person. There was no perk.
In fact, he stayed pretty stationary right through Monday. By Tuesday morning there wasn't much spring in his step, so I kept him home from school again, but by noon time he felt well enough to run some errands with me, and even talked me into a steamed lobster at the grocery store.  Things are looking up.
I think a pretty good life philosophy is to enjoy a good lobster with your mom as often as you can.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

girl power

alone we are strong
with God we are unstoppable
Feeling grateful for my little women

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

resident fools

If today is a holiday, we've got built-in decorations already in place.