Monday, January 31, 2011

Lazy Daisy Saturday

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A week or so ago our family had an appointment at 2:00 on Saturday afternoon.  The bathrooms were cleaned earlier in the week (all, except mine, that is – which is never clean!), all the jobs were done, the sun was shining, and there was nothing to do but wait.  We had the longest, laziest Saturday morning in the history of our family, at least in recent memory.  There always seems to be a list of things to do, but with our little appointment (to the Frank Lloyd Wright House) we didn’t want to get dirty or involved in anything.  It was heaven.  We just played and talked and enjoyed each other.  I loved observing the interaction from my perch on the couch where my leg was wrapped in a heating pad trying to minimize pain until my pain-killers kicked in.  I think all that laughing and giggling did more to ease my pain than anything else.  I love these guys.  I can’t say it enough.  I love it when we are all together long enough to revel in our little family. 

And I love those jammies (and that baby!).  It makes me so happy polka-dots are fashionable at the moment making them readily available (note to self: must stock up on all things polka-dotted).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright House

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Djeryd came home with a school assignment to do a book report on a biography of a famous person.  After a trip to the library and the teeniest bit of encouragement from Mom, he decided on studying the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.  I went through a period of fascination with Wright’s work in my high school years.  I remembered learning about a Wright house that was near Silverton and found out they offered private tours daily.  It was incredible!  It was one of the coolest things I have ever done and I was floating on cloud nine for about three days after that.  The lighting was amazing, the lines, the brilliant construction, the seamlessness between indoors and out.  It was like walking through art – it was walking through art.  Walking through the kitchen was like being in a 1960’s movie.  It felt like Fahrenheit 451, or something.  It was crazy!  I think the hallway upstairs was my favorite part of the house.  Maybe it was how the afternoon sunlight was streaming through the fretwork windows, or how glossy all the wood looked, or the way everything sort of glowed; I don’t know, but it was beautiful.

When Djeryd found out that the people who bought the property the house was on originally wanted to get rid of the Wright house and build something new and modern he was just plain annoyed.  In his opinion only a simpleton would choose luxury over a true work of art by a master of his trade.  Man, I love that kid.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Loves

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I love being a mother.  Even on days like today. When I’m surviving on fifteen hours of sleep over the past seventy-two hours of living (I realize some people do just fine on five hours of sleep a night – I am definitely NOT one of those people).  When I’m crabby and jump down my seven-year-old’s throat the minute he walks in the door from school, and I can’t seem to shake the angst for a good three hours.  When every time I turn around there are books and backpacks and toys and dirty socks all over the recently tidied floors and furniture.  When bedrooms and bathrooms never seem to get all the way clean unless I do it myself.  When the freshly washed and folded laundry never quite makes it in the dresser drawers.  When I hear “Mom! Erik pushed me!” or “Mom! Anna won’t get out of my room!” or “Mom!  Djeryd won’t let me win the game!”

Even when I am in the middle of all that I love it.  Perhaps I should rephrase that.  Now that the kids are sound asleep in their beds and I’ve had an hour or two of quiet – I love it.  I find I am happiest when I love it in the middle, too.  When I see two of my children rally around the one that is down.  When I take the time to listen to the little stories of their day that they choose to share with me.  When I see them write love notes to each other.  When we are trying to read family scriptures and they all want to talk and giggle and play.  When they help each other with jobs and homework so that they can go do something together.  When they forgive wholly and completely and quickly.

I guess seeing them love each other makes me love them more.  They teach me when I open my eyes and my ears and my heart, to see and to hear and to understand how to love a little better.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Personal Day

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I remember chatting with an older mom several years ago and listening to her extol the virtues of allowing your kids a “personal day”.  You know what I mean, a day off from school, homework, life in general.  At the time I admit I considered it an irresponsible philosophy.  Maybe it is.  I don’t know.  But I have also spent a lot of time thinking about it over the years.

I was raised that you go to school.  Everyday.  Unless you were deathly ill.  Period. 

Today I made a departure from everything I had been taught about school attendance.  I let my son stay home for no reason other than he really needed a break.  He is a very sensitive boy and the stress of school takes an incredible toll on his spirit.  We are trying to figure out how to help him cope with things proactively, but in the meantime I felt compassion was in order.  We explained this was not a new precedent, but rather a rare exception.  We will have to see if it proves valuable in the long run.

I spent a lot of time thinking today about how important breaks are.  Yes, vacations are nice, but truly playing hooky once is a while is good for the soul.  It reminds you what life is about.  That sometimes work is just work and you have to set it aside to live – just unstructured-crazy-do-nothing live.  My son helped me with the dishes when I asked, but other than that I told him his job was to rest, relax and play.  Emotional health in this fast-paced world is fragile.  Adults take personal days – paid time-off – when life gets too crazy, why not a kid? 

I want my children to know that it’s okay to say “no” sometimes.  And that being overwhelmed is a part of life that they can take charge of (I know that is a dangling participle, but I don’t know how to fix it without the sentence sounding weird).  The power to stop and slow down and breathe is within each of us, but it is a skill that has to be recognized and practiced.    I am not advocating bailing on commitments or using “personal days” to escape responsibilities.  But I am advocating recognizing when life has gotten the best of you and slowing down so that you can get the best of life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Djeryd’s Birthday

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We take a long time to tackle a birthday around these parts.  We celebrate for days.  Seriously.  Here is the illustrated version of Djeryd’s eleventh birthday.  His birthday fell on a Thursday, but timing worked out better to enjoy his traditional Red Robin birthday dinner on Tuesday (we totally owed Erik for his birthday dinner still, so we combined it – my back was out – the first time – over Erik’s birthday – it was a legitimate excuse).  Wednesday night the littles and I decorated the dining room with personalized birthday balloons, a poster, and the birthday garland.  On Thursday morning he opened half his presents including the photo above (my favorite gift) which I took last summer at a Civil War reenactment.  Djeryd is a war junkie so he loved it.

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He opened the rest of his presents at dinner time and then was kind enough to assemble them for his watchful audience.

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I did not make a cake or anything on Thursday because his party was the next day.  But we had to have some kind of a birthday treat.  So my darling husband ran to the grocery store and snagged whatever donuts were still on the rack.  One green stripey candle, and viola` – a birthday cake – sort of.

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Djeryd’s party was on Firday night and had an Egypt theme so I made a plain cake and just sprinkled crushed graham crackers on top to make it look like sand.  Djeryd displayed his new Egyptian Lego set on top and was quite pleased with the result.

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Djeryd only invited a few friends (that makes things sooooo much easier), and all my sisters kids’ spent the night (I love my nieces and nephews – have I mentioned that?).  Each kid made their own pizza, ate tons of candy, played the Wii and slurped down some ice cream.

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We had a great time.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fresh Sheets

Djeryd birthday 135Nothing feels better than fresh sheets.  My niece spent the night a couple of weeks ago.  She got a bed for her American Girl doll for Christmas.  But the poor, plastic thing had no decent bedding . . . Auntie My to the rescue!

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I pulled up dimensions and instructions for a sheet set, then fudged my way through a duvet and decorative bed pillow.

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Alena was with me almost every step of the way.  I was very proud of her for all that ironing!

Djeryd birthday 132  Three hours later she walked away with a pretty white eyelet top sheet, pillow and eyelet pillowcase, pink satin ribbon-trimmed blanket, fluffy comforter and matching flanged decorative bed pillow.  So fun and pretty fast.  I love sewing with all my girls.  Now, if Sean and Djeryd can just finish up that bed for Anna’s doll . . .


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Djeryd decided to have an Egyptian-themed birthday party this year (a welcome relief from Star Wars and Legos (although this one was still based in Legos).  He wanted to do a mummy wrap-up and we decided to do a practice run as a family (which is a good thing, since this activity never made it to the actual party).  First Djeryd tried to wrap Anna, which was all fun and games until Anna figured out what he was doing a put the kibosh on that.  So, naturally, Daddy was the next candidate.  But since a daddy is not a “mummy”, we decided we needed to dress him up as one, a mummy that is.

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Don’t you think he makes a good “mummy” (Anna purple sparkle purse is my favorite touch)?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Alyx Update

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:: everything in the mouth

:: jabber, giggle, coo, smile

:: 10 months and 26 pounds

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:: beautiful eyes

:: oh, so fun to play with

:: eats pasta, oatmeal, peas, bananas, crackers, and mama’s homemade bread

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:: crawling

:: chasing cars (the remote control kind)

:: croup (with a constant smile on her face)

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:: beautiful, straight, strong spine

:: content

:: Heaven on earth

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


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A few nights ago Erik noticed a ladybug creeping along our living room wall.  He wanted to catch it and put it outside, but it was bedtime, so the answer was “Just leave it alone; it will be fine until tomorrow.”  So the little ladybug settled in for the night and we forgot all about it until sometime the next morning as Anna and I were tidying up the living room.  I picked it up to show Anna and much to my surprise she actually asked to hold it.

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I was floored.  If this exact situation would have come up a year ago, she would have simply peaked at the bug crawling up my arm from a distance.  Instead, she allowed the spotted insect to crawl all over her little fingers all the while being so observant and patient.    Since I call both of my girls “little ladybugs”, I couldn’t resist a picture of my sweet ladybug with her own  little ladybug.

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After a minute or two our shiny red friend took flight and all we had to do was crack the sliding glass door for it to fly out to freedom.  There were two little ladybugs spreading their wings to fly that morning, and I’m so grateful I was able to witness it. (Love you, ladybug.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I love setting goals.  In fact, I set so many goals that I have forgotten more goals than most people will ever make.  I do not reach many of my goals – at least not when I want to, but that doesn’t stop me.  I remember reading about a study done with people who simply wrote their goals down and never looked at them again, versus the people who skipped that step.  Twenty years later the group that wrote down their goals achieved many of their forgotten goals, while the non-writers did not.  This little study keeps me writing every last resolution down on paper – not digitally, but pen-to-paper.

In preparation for 2011, Sean and I sat down in December (with the kids, even) and outlined several goals for our family.  We organized them, typed them up and posted them. . . Then we had a great lesson in Relief Society on Sunday that is making me rethink the whole deal.  The message  to me was simplify, simplify, simplify.

Last year I set a goal to be on Temple grounds at least once a month.  Because that was my sole focus, I accomplished my goal – and believe me given the health problems I have had this year it took extreme focus (and a wonderful husband who drove me all the way out there even if it was only for a few minutes stay).    So it worked.  That was my one big I’m-not-going-to-let-anything-get-in-my-way goal for the year.  And I felt good every month because I kept a very important promise to myself.

This year I feel the need to branch out just a bit and make two major resolutions.  Keep in mind I will continue to set goals regularly like clean my bathrooms every week (I am soooo bad at that), and get to bed earlier,  and work on that darn college degree, and landscape the yards, but I digress.  Are you ready?  Here they are:

Resolution #1: Keep the Sabbath Day holier.  We do an okay job with this one, but with 1:00 church this year the entire day can feel wasted pretty quick if we sleep in too late or spend all morning making an elaborate breakfast or just getting ready.  I know it will be a challenge to be proactive with preparing good uplifting things to do -finding ways to serve and learn the gospel - but I believe the blessings of a more perfect obedience to this commandment will trickle into every facet of our family and personal lives.

Resolution #2: Exercise 5 days a week.  I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, right.  Everyone does that for about two days after New Year’s.  Big deal.”  Well, unfortunately for me this has become a very big deal.  Because of the injury in my back and recently discovered arthritis in the same area(according to my MRI), I no longer have a choice in the matter if I intend to live the quality of life I have previously enjoyed.  People say you start falling apart once you hit thirty.  It is true!  I am hoping to have a good 60-70 years left on the planet and I have no intention of taking Vicadin for the rest of my life.  So, alas, daily exercise is my only escape from current and future back pain.

So there you have it.  Two goals.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Welcome 2011 (may you be far better to me than 2010).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Letter to Last Year

Dear 2010,

You were a strange year for me.  I’m glad you came and I’m glad you’re gone. 

Thank you for the new carpet, even though it scared me to death to see an entire corner of my new house rest on a 4x4 in my living room.

Thank you for my beautiful baby girl.  I could have done without all the throwing-up during the last term.  And I could have done without the spotty epidural during delivery. 

Thank you for the new van.  I know it meant a lot of car troubles and being stranded here and there, especially on vacation in another state.

Thank you for the help and love that my eyes have been opened to.  Having a back in this much misery is miserable, but I have been astounded and strengthened by the love.

Thank you most of all for happiness.  It has been a very long time since I have been so consistently and deeply happy.  That has been the craziest thing about you, 2010, that as I have walked through what feels like a ravine in my life, the sun has shone brighter on me than it has in several years.  So, I’ll leave dry rot and the pregnancy and the car troubles and the back pain with you, but would you mind terribly if I took the happiness with me?  You see, I need it.  I had forgotten what it felt like.  And I don’t want to lose it again.

Most sincerely,


P.S. I would actually like to keep all of my blessings from last year, if you don’t mind; especially my sweet babe. ;>  Thanks!

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