Friday, April 29, 2016

Welcome back!

Just got back from an amazing trip to Utah.
Yonder and Teeny graduated from BYU in December, but Dub and I flew back to watch them officially walk in their caps and gowns. We're so proud of them! It was all so great.
There were commencement activities, convocations, dining with fun people, also meeting friends, meeting some returned missionary companions of Sweet Mesquite, hiking in the breath-takingly majestic mountains and enjoying some really great time away relaxing.
But let's be honest. Amazing trips are not real life.
At the risk of sounding whiny, I'll just say that re-entry was, well, in a word: ROUGH.
We climbed into bed just before 2:00 am on Tuesday morning, and three days later I feel like I haven't stopped running. Good thing I'm in such amazing shape. I vow not to be sarcastic if I can possibly help it.
The kids' truck (the truck the kids drive to school, activities and work) died, was towed to the shop and repaired. Twice. In two days.
Sharing a vehicle is tricky when the merger of schedules is not easy or friendly.
I promise I'm not complaining.
The cats pee'd on a sleeping bag that someone left on the floor. I'm guessing it had been there a few days. (Peeing cats usually means that someone is falling down on their job of cleaning the litter box.) When I picked up the sleeping bag, I didn't realize that it had been contaminated. I flipped it up on the couch to find the zipper so that I could fold it up and put it away. That was when the liquid splashed on my clothes and puddled onto the couch. I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't SUPER ANNOYED. Cleaning cat urine off clothing and a wood floor isn't my favorite, but it's not terrible. Washing a sleeping bag and leather couch cushions, however, is TERRIBLE.
Then, to add insult to injury, the cats pee'd somewhere in my VERY messy bedroom closet. Which I discovered as I woke up to teach early morning seminary. (I had a hard time opening my eyes, but wished my sense of smell wasn't so keen) The very unpleasant aroma of cat urine came wafting across the room to me as if to say
"See? You should have just stayed in bed." 
My suitcase is still not unpacked. In fact, it isn't even open. Because I don't want it to become another option for a cat toilet.
I think I'm the only person who knows how to clean bathrooms, do laundry and wash dishes, because I'm doing all of those things, but it's like playing wack-a-mole in a life-sized carnival game, where, instead of plastic heads popping out of holes, it's dirty underwear, sweaty workout clothes and pans with stuck on food. And I just can't keep up.
Real life is not gentle, people.
After day one of reality immersion, Dub and I were laying in bed feeling very tired and he whispered "let's just run away."
I should have taken him up on it.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


It's EASY to celebrate Teeny.
She's a party on legs!
We celebrated her mid twenties with Indian food, confetti and cake.
 It's lucky for us she chose Yonder.
Because we come as the side dish.
We scored. 
Happy 24 Teeny!
I'm so glad she was born.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy Ground Dog Day

Lucky for us my little step sister was in the house on February 2nd.
She's a ground dog for sure.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

...and the rest of January went something like this:

 Frequent Nerf Wars and not-so-safe Safe Zones.

Our inaugural dinner invitation to Yonder and Teeny's new home
complete with games that made us laugh.
 A speaking assignment at Stake Conference
and enjoying friends who live on the other side of the state
 Morning Boy learned how to iron.
He liked it so much he asked to do it again the next day.
 Weekend family gatherings and testing the limits of Hagrid, the couch that Yonder and Teeny built. (Every time I say that, the question "Who builds a couch?" reverberates in my mind)
 Superfans in Boston, tickets courtesy of Dub's boss.
 Making the Celtics' JUMBOTRON was the highlight of somebody's night.
Probably TWO somebodies.
 And for posterity, these three make me happy.
It's what's left of the ducklings and I'm so happy we have some more time together in the nest.
Believe it or not, the two in the back are looking at the scriptures on their devices.
The fact that we've committed to read the Book of Mormon each night together (Thanks, Instagram @BofM365) and finish it by the end of the year - AND - we're actually doing it EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. is making me want to stand up and do the happy dance. 
See Ya January. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

sighing and dropping the ball

At the Boston airport there's a really great Rube Goldberg-type ball exhibit encased in terminal E arrivals that keeps passengers and their waiting parties entertained for hours. Balls drop at timed intervals from a spot at the top of the sculpture, and make their way down ramps and around curved metal tracks, setting off bells and chimes and other amusing reactions. Then they're loaded onto a lift attached to a pulley that carries them back to the top, where it starts all over again.
Besides being highly entertaining, I'm sure that I never had any deeper thoughts about Rube Goldberg contraptions before today.

There was some frustration in the house tonight.
I wouldn't call it contention, exactly, just some tense moments that are natural consequences of being part of a family; group living that, when examined closely, is not unlike a reality TV experiment without the cameras and crew. And thank goodness for that.
I stopped to consider that we all handle stress/frustration/unforeseen obstacles in different ways.
I'm a sigh-er.
I release the air in my chest with an audible "whoosh" in an attempt, I suppose, to release the pressure; like popping the top on a can of soda.
I didn't even hear myself do it tonight--but once Dub pointed it out, I owned it right and true.
The blatant observation didn't sting like I thought it might, but became a reason to gain perspective on how my sighing affects people within my circles of influence.
There are worse things than an audible release of breath--but considering how my reaction to stressors affects others seems like the right thing to do when you're not Henry Thoreau (or a hermit). It's like putting on the magic glasses that allow you to see the giant invisible Rube-Goldberg mechanism of life: the drop of one ball setting off chain reactions that become no longer controllable by the one who first chose to drop the ball.
If I choose not to sigh, I am choosing not to drop the ball.
Admittedly, though, it's fascinating to watch how one little ball can set off so many reactions. I just never considered the human element connected to setting off my big life mechanism, or that I might be the one responsible for starting and/or stopping the show. 
I don't think I'm going to decide to stop sighing tonight. I think I will, however, try to think about making sure that I am in control of choosing when and when not to release the pressure. 
Research on pressure cookers might be next.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Yonder and Teeny are in the garage building a couch frame from some DIY plans they found online. I love that they're here! I love that they chose Massachusetts as their first post-graduate adventure. I love that they're working together to create a place to rest. They've signed a lease on a place to live on the North Shore, and I predict they will have many visitors in their new home. Living 15 minutes from Boston guarantees a stream of family and friends who will want a place to rest when they choose New England as a destination. Big things are happening for these fledglings who are building the foundation of their story along with that couch frame.
It's good to imagine "big" things happening in 2016--I'm glad that we have so many moments we think of as "big..." 
Really they're just a collection of small things that happen regardless of how we choose to categorize them. The best part of life is made up of the small things, I think, and building the small things up to be big: that's a win in the big picture.
coordinating flannel shirts = win
coming inside to assemble the frame = win
s'mores by the fire = bonus win
We're tripping along more than a week past the new year, and I'm still collecting Christmas decorations from dusty surfaces around the house. Cleaning up Christmas feels like the next big thing; besides what's for dinner and whether I'll get in a shower today.  I say in my head that if I get a shower at least four times a week, 
the tree put out before my mom's birthday (January 8th) 
and the outside wreaths taken down before Valentine's Day, 
I'm on schedule.
Good so far.
Here's to building up to BIG things in 2016.

Danforth Art Museum

My friend Leslie Graff hosted a reception at the Danforth Art Museum to highlight the opening of her Domestic Series Installation. Ladies in a museum makes for a fun night out; we loved visiting with Leslie and LOVED her work.
Skip on over to the Danforth Website to learn more about their free family days, and check out Leslie's art!

Friday, January 1, 2016

For the record...

We DID have a New Nerf Year's Eve Party.
 We DID run barefoot around the house at midnight.
There WAS a fresh coating of snow/ice that had fallen just a day prior to our celebration as if to mock the brazen tradition we are beholden to. There WERE cold toes and happy faces and lots of chaos to ring in the New Year. Just the way we like it.