Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Graduation!

Dana, Trish, Gerb, Debi and Julie (photo by Julie D., I am sure!) at Gerb's 8th grade graduation

No, you are NOT looking at a photo of members of the band, "A Flock of Seagulls". This is my friends and I in 1986, when I graduated from 8th grade. I will never forget the formal peach dress my mother made for me, complete with bows at each shoulder and throughout the skirt, as per my request. Man, I loved that dress. And I remember more than anything that all of my good friends (who were NOT in 8th grade, by the way) came to my graduation. These are the kind of friends that you grow up with, hang out with, and share brains with. The kind of friends that you promised to live close to when you grew up and got married so your kids could be best friends, too.

At this point, I would like to point out Trish. She is standing to my left in the pinkish-red sweater. Guess what? We're living the junior high dream!! Trish and I both lived in Utah after marriage, and our husbands became even better friends than we ever were. I hesitate to say that, but I can't think of a time that Trish and I called each other up to go get a newspaper together. Our husbands did that once. (once!) Trish and I had our first babies exactly a month apart. They became friends - they had no choice in the matter! They even had cute names for each other as soon as they began to speak: My boy was La-La. Her daughter was Na-Na.

Ok, back to my 8th grade graduation. Now, fast forward 21 years. La-la and Na-na graduated from 8th grade on May 23, 2007. From the same school! And their names were next to each other on the program! HOW COOL IS THAT!? Trish and I even got to sit by each other and give commentary on the ceremony. Which was maybe not so good, because I say what I really think when I'm talking to Trish. And we may have giggled a bit too much. And maybe annoyed people. Because deep down, a part of each of us is still in 8th grade.

With a bit of threatening, we were able to get them to stand next to each other and smile so that * their mothers could ooh and aah over how grown-up they are.

Aren't they beautiful / handsome?!








* And so we have a picture to display--fast forward 10 years--at their reception.

But don't tell Na-Na and La-La.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

And a little child shall lead them...

We have some pretty amazing kids. I know, every mom will tell you their kids are amazing. But let me share a story about KC to illustrate my point.

KC has the uncanny ability to make friends. Everywhere he goes he seems to make a new friend. The amazing thing here is that his best friends are adults. The picture you see is of KC and his good friend, Walt. When Walt first moved into our neighborhood he was immediately popular with the kids and adults alike because he worked for an ice cream company and kept our freezers chock full of the good stuff. The kids called him "The Ice Cream Man". Now, KC is no dope. It didn't take him long to figure out that if Mom didn't give him any ice cream, he could go stop by Walt's for a visit and, without a doubt, be offered some frozen concoction there. KC and Walt were getting to know each other pretty well, and KC was consuming his fill of Drumsticks and Popsicles. Good times all around.

Another thing you have to know about our neighborhood is that we have neighborhood barbecues quite often in the warmer months. We all get together and stuff ourselves while the kids play and we chat. On one such occasion, KC found out that Walt is not a member of our religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as "The Mormons". If you know KC, you know he has a strong testimony of what we believe. So his visits for ice cream became longer and more frequent, and he would ask Walt questions. Walt's wife is a member of the Mormon church, so he had been attending it for years with no commitment. KC just kept asking when Walt was going to get baptized.

Some days when Walt was not home, KC would walk into our house, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and write him a note. He would often attach a treat, then leave it at his doorstep. One note had mini Hershey bars with nuts attached and said,

"Dear Walt, I think you are NUTS if you don't get baptized! Love, KC"

This note he taped to the garage door so Walt would not miss it. Did I mention it was summer? Chocolate and summer do not always do so hot together (pardon the pun) and Walt found a note with melted chocolate upon his arrival. He taped the note to the inside of his pantry, because he liked our little KC and his forthright manner.

KC asked me if he could earn money to buy Walt a CTR ring. These are rings worn by many of our faith. CTR stands for Choose the Right, a little reminder to make good decisions each day. You can purchase some really nice CTR rings, but there are also some available for about 50 cents. KC did some extra chores, bought Walt a ring, and attached it to a little note that he taped to Walt's front door. It said,

"Dear Walt, This is a CTR ring. It will help you to choose the right. If you choose the right, you will be baptized. Let me know when it is and I will come. Love, KC"

Walt taped this note to the inside of his pantry door. He liked that KC would say what he really thought.

Over the years, Walt has had many sets of missionaries from the Mormon church come and visit. He has loved and fed them all. Every set of missionaries asked him if he was ready to be baptized. Not yet. Not yet. But look in my pantry - don't you love these cute notes I have from the little boy around the corner?

A young man from our church was returning home from his mission and speaking on his experience in church the following Sunday. He needed a companion speaker, and KC was asked to speak on missionary work. He invited Walt to come hear him speak. Accepted. KC and I sat at the computer and worked out a talk. I helped him with the beginning, but here is my favorite part, in KC's words:

"I am only six years old, but I love to be a missionary. President Hinckley wants us to be good examples and share our testimonies with our friends. I am not old enough to serve a full-time mission yet, but there are lots of ways I can share the gospel with others. There are things that all of you can do, too. We can always be kind and honest. We can wear a CTR ring and tell our friends what it means. We can invite our friends to ward or primary activities. And we can pray for the courage to share the gospel.

I have a good friend named Walt. He lives behind our house. He is older than my dad, but we are still buddies. Walt has been investigating the church for a long time. I love to write him notes and bring him treats and encourage him to get baptized... He is a really nice man. I love him and I hope he gets baptized soon."

KC became a legend among the missionaries. Whenever a new set would move into our area, or go meet Walt for the first time, they would stop by to meet KC.

"Why do you want Walt to get baptized so badly?" they would ask.
"Because the church is true. I know it. I know it will make him happy."

Finally, the day comes that KC has hoped for, prayed for, wished for and dreamed of. Some missionaries come by. They tell KC that Walt has committed to be baptized. We call Walt's wife. Is it true?

"It's true," she says. "But he's committed before. I think he means it this time. I hope he means it this time."

KC can hardly stand it. How can he get Walt to follow through? He will ask Walt to baptize him. In our religion, a child is baptized at the age of 8. At this point, KC is almost eight!! We give KC our endorsement on the idea. He presents it to Walt.

"If you get baptized in March, you can baptize me in April!"

Walt calls. Is this really okay with us? Usually a father would baptize his son. Yes, it's okay. It is definitely okay.

Walt gets baptized in March. KC gets baptized in May. As Walt and I are sitting outside the dressing room, waiting for KC to dry off and get dressed after his baptism, Walt says to me,

"Isn't it amazing, the blessings that come?"

Indeed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sandwiches!

Do you know the "Sandwiches" song? The one from Pocahontas? What, you don't know that song? Well, I didn't either - until today.

GA and EG were downstairs watching Pocahontas when I suddenly heard GA singing along with Pocahontas' people: "SANDWICHES, SANDWICHES, barely even human!" I told her, "Honey, they are saying, 'savages, savages'. Not 'sandwiches, sandwiches'." Her response?

"That's not a nice thing to say, Mom!"

I think I like her version better, anyway.

Isn't she precious?

CD is growing up so fast! She went from soldier-crawl to rocking-on-her-hands-and-knees to real crawling in no time flat. She loves this new freedom she has discovered and scoots blissfully around the house, searching for items to place in her mouth. (which means I am vacuuming more than usual, and Allen is loving life!) Last week, GA frantically runs to the basement, where I am putting yet another load of our bottomless laundry basket into the washer, and says, "MOM! You NEED to come SEE what CD is doing RIGHT NOW!"

The hard part is, EVERYTHING is an urgent need for GA. So I'm never sure how quickly I really need to see what is happening. Whenever CD does something GA has never seen before, like crawl under the table or play with the door stopper, it becomes urgent for me to come SEE RIGHT NOW. But, because GA is so cute with her little round face and short hair, and those big, blue eyes will not stop gazing up at me until I drop everything and run, I drop everything and run upstairs with her to SEE what CD is doing RIGHT NOW.

Toilet paper! She's ahead of her time. I don't have pictures of any of the other kids getting into the toilet paper until they are at least 9 months old, I'm sure of it. So I quickly grab my camera to capture the moment.

Isn't she precious?

p.s. Don't worry, she didn't really eat any of it. But she sure wanted to. She got pretty darn upset with me when I took the T.P. away after the photo opportunity was over and done with.

Man of the House

I am not a huge fan of Bedtime. Last night we went through the regular nightly ritual, which includes the following:

1. Telling the kids to get their pajamas on
2. Telling the kids to get their pajamas on again
3. Making sure the kids have their pajamas on
4. Helping HH and CD get their pajamas on
5. Family prayers
6. Family hugs and kisses all around
(side note: this is a ritual where every kid gives every kid/parent a hug OR kiss OR both. As a general rule, the older the kid is (A.K.A. AM) the less chance of getting a kiss.)
7. Getting the kids into bed
8. Making sure they are not reading books with the lights still on
9. Turning the lights off for them and physically removing any books from their rooms so they will be forced to sleep
10. Getting HH to bed.

Number 10 varies each night. You see, HH believes that the house is his domain. He can sleep wherever he chooses to, regardless of anyone else's desires. We often try to start with HH going downstairs to the boy's room (where his bed is) with big brother AM. AM says, "HH, you got me?" and HH will sometimes respond positively: grab his sippy cup of milk, jump into AM's arms, say, "I got you AM!" and off the happy pair go to enjoy a blissful slumber. On VERY rare occasions, HH will even say to Allen and I, "'Nite! I go bed! Love you! Bye!..." and so on and so forth as he bounds down the stairs on his tummy to find a warm place in someone's bed to share. But, more often than not, Number 10 of our bedtime routine goes something like this:

AM: "HH, you got me?"

HH: "NO!!!!"

Or...

Me: "HH, you want to sleep in your bed?"

HH: "NO!!!!"

Me: "You want to sleep with AM?"

HH: "NO!!!!"

Me: "You want to sleep on the couch?"

HH: "NO!!!!" (you get the idea.)

So, last night, as happens most nights, I fixed HH his sippy cup (yes, I know he's too old to go to bed with one but I'm a sucker for the kid, okay? It's not like he'll go off to college, sippy cup in hand. At least, I hope not.) and he happily crawled into bed with Allen and I in his usual spot, right smack dab in the middle of the two of us. I laid his pillow on my side of the bed so I could sleep next to my husband and said, "Here, HH, here's your spot." To which he immediately jumped and laid down. Lights went out. All was quiet. Then, out of the darkness comes his sweet little voice, "Momom?" (this is his very cute name for me) and I respond, "Yes, honey?" To which he answers, "I love you." And I say, "I love you, too." And then, from the other side of the bed comes the voice of my dear husband:

"Who is the couple here?"

But he knows I love them both. And I am thinking, maybe I like the Bedtime ritual after all.





Friday, May 18, 2007

Welcome to my life!


When I was eight years old, I was given my first journal. I was excited at the prospect of filling its pages with the adventurous stories that would doubtless occur throughout my life. However, the stories I recorded were actually quite mundane. And, if anything exciting ever did happen, I never recorded it for fear that one of my siblings would find the journal and use it against me. I was a faithful writer up through high school, even a year or so into my marriage, and my journals became more detailed as I grew older. And then, it all stopped. I wrote once or twice a year at best. And then something funny started to happen. My kids became interested in my life stories.

"Tell us another story of your childhood!" they would plead. So I'd read them a snippet of my life from my journal and they would listen, mesmerized, and even ask questions afterwards. We started a family journal that lasted 3 years. Every month, we would get down the calendar and write about the events that were important to each of us. That journal is a treasure, but no longer a tradition.

So, now I am at the here and now. I am keeping a journal once again, an online "journaling scrapbook" if you will, mostly for the future enjoyment of my children. But that leads me to another thing I have become deficient in, and that is staying in touch with friends and extended family. This blog appears to be a rather easy solution to both problems, and I am excited to start. So, WELCOME TO MY LIFE.

I hope you enjoy my random thoughts and daily goings-on with my family and friends.