Sunday, September 30, 2007
It is great to have a best friend right across the street.
Growing up, my best friend lived across the street, too. She and I had a lot in common as well. We were both born in July. Got baptized on the same day. And both had unusual first names. Our gymnastics coach just called us "Ding and Dong."
"Ding's" house was my second childhood home. I was the oldest of seven and she was the youngest of six, so our households were very different. She liked coming to my house to play with all the little kid toys, watch me change diapers, and drink the red fruit punch my mom always ordered from the milkman.
I liked to go to her house because there were no pesky little brothers or annoying little sisters. Her house was full of teenagers who were always washing their cars, listening to KISS records or making out with their boy/girlfriends. Needless to say, Ding's mother was fairly preoccupied, so the two of us could slip unnoticed into the basement and help ourselves to the always-plentiful supply of Certs and Pepsi.
Ding only had one brother who was close in age. He was a year ahead in school and bullied us mercilessly. When we were little he made us cry by throwing snowballs, siccing the big black dog on us, and hiding our Donny and Marie dolls. As he got older, he moved on to more subtle techniques such as bra-snapping and disgusting boy smells.
(Side note: One of my all-time most satisfying moments was seeing this same big brother at church one Sunday years later. He had just returned home from a church mission and was somewhat humbled. I had just finished my second year of college and was not. My face had cleared up, my dress-size was at a record low and my summer perm was extra fluffy. I was wearing an outfit that made me look GOOD and the surprise on his face showed he was interested. Luckily, I was sporting a big-ole diamond engagement ring on my left hand and a tall, handsome fiance on my right arm. Ha! Eat your heart out, bully boy!!! Yes, very satisfying, indeed...)
Ding and I loved to play Husker Du, watch Brady Bunch, lip synch to the Grease soundtrack, and practice our cartwheels in her backyard. Her sister had a hair salon in the basement and was the one to start me down the long road to perm-addiction. We would play on that spinning barber chair for hours. One summer day we got spinning and laughing so hard I wet my pants. It was humiliating. Ding was cool about it at the time. At later points, however, when our relationship was going through adolescent rocky patches, she would bring up the incident and put me in my place.
Ding had a large and colorful extended family. Her grandmother wore a pair of gold, sparkly shoes that I always coveted. An elderly grandfather came to live at the house for several years. The older married siblings were always staying or visiting and we would often find ourselves babysitting Grandpa and the little nieces and nephews for the afternoon. The patchwork of my childhood is filled with so many scraps of this one special friend.
Unfortunately, by ninth grade, circumstances changed. Ding ran with a different crowd. We had little in common. I was as anxious to keep my distance as she was. She went to a party school. I went to a religious university. My family moved away and we rarely saw each other.
So, I was touched one day, years later, to find a box that Ding had delivered to my parents' new house. It was a shoe box with a pair of gold sparkly slippers inside. Her grandmother had died and she wanted me to have them.
Now that I am all grown up and have children with friends across the street, I find myself remembering Ding more and more often. I hope she is as happy as I am. And, I'll bet, if we sat down with a Pepsi, we could still make each other laugh.
- He makes THE BEST chocolate chip pancakes for the kids every Saturday morning.
- He loves In N Out Burger. Whenever he travels to SoCal or Vegas for work, he always has the cabdriver take him through the In N Out drive-in on the way in from the airport. As you can see, he also collects their t-shirts!
- He tiled Robert Redford's swimming pool.
- He got a perm on his mission. (Sadly, I do not have a scanner for photo evidence. Just trust me, Peruvian perms will never take the hairdressing world by storm.)
- He won the market research industry's "Rising Star" award last year in Scottsdale.
- He had a girlfriend named Cinnamon. Really. (And somewhere she is typing her blog and saying..."Yeah and he was really cute, but he married this girl named Gabi..." Touche, Spice Girl!)
- He is the best date for the movies because he loves movie snacks and buys huge bags of popcorn, Milk Duds and Raisinettes.
- He knows EVERYTHING about cars. Cars are his passion. He reads "Car&Driver" magazine cover to cover and can tell you the make, model and special features of any car on the road. And yet...
- He has driven the same SUV for 9 years because, although cars are his obsession, his other passions are...saving money, avoiding unnecessary expenses and keeping out of debt! We are polar opposites, of course.
- He made salmon and steamed clams for dinner tonight and canceled all church obligations so he could take care of the kids for me while I napped all afternoon due to extreme post-Primary program exhaustion. (It was great, by the way...) Thanks, hun!!! You are the best...
Friday, September 28, 2007
No, this weekend I am taking part in that annual mini-miracle known as the Primary Program.
(Brief explanation for my friends of other faiths...Mormon kids go to "Primary" every Sunday to learn, play, pray and sing. Every fall, the children present a musical program for the entire congregation. It happens in every LDS church around the world and has been a tradition for generations....or at least back as far as my mother can remember. For more details, check this website...or, if you are in town this Sunday, just come to church with me and see for yourself!)
I am the music director in our Primary. It is my favorite job ever because:
- I love kids.
- I love music.
- I love bossing people around.
But, as much as I LOVE doing the Primary music...every year I dread the program. And I think I'm not alone.
It's just that the logistics of giving 45 kids each a speaking part to memorize, 10 songs to learn and then practicing the whole thing over and over and over gets to be a bit much.
The weeks preceding the Primary program are filled with lots of repetition, standing still, and waiting for turns. Kids hate repetition, standing still and waiting for turns. So do I, for that matter.
Not to mention that there is a microphone involved.
Our Primary has an extra large serving of challenges too. (I can say this because a few of the challenges live at my house and share my last name.) We never know when one of these little cuties is going to start a fistfight, make an unsolicited animal sound or kick a teacher. It keeps life exciting, to say the least.
Last week's practice gave me such a headache. There was a lot of yawning, pouting, stomping and even a few tears...and that was just the adults! The kids seemed to have forgotten every song. They would not follow directions. And the whole chapel sounded more like a barnyard than a heavenly choir.
But this Sunday, I know, miracles will occur. The children will remember their parts (and even if they don't, they'll be so cute nobody will mind!) They will sing beautifully. They will do their sign language. And when they perform "Love is Spoken Here," grown men will weep.
After all, these little ones were angels in heaven's choir not so long ago. Their pure innocence, sweet faith and earnest efforts make the Primary Program everyone's favorite Sunday of the year. It's a miracle worth waiting for.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
This great event was sponsored by local businesses and opened to children with a variety of special needs. My guy participated in several heats and won each time!
Now he is eligible to compete in the national derby this summer in Akron, Ohio!
The awards banquet was Monday night. Local businesses donated food, door prizes, t-shirts, goody bags and gold medals for all participants.
We are very proud of our winner!!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Come to Camp Nana!
Come to Camp Nana!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Each shop does its own scarecrow, too. This one was outside Chico's! I think I'll borrow her outfit. Notice the nail polish. The twins said, "Ooooh, she's very spooky..." (Sometimes Chico's clothing can be frightening...and the salespeople are even worse.)
Sunday, September 23, 2007
When my friend handed me this book, I did not want to read it. Another celebrity who has kids and then thinks she can write a parenting book....that's what I thought. Luckily I cracked the cover anyway, and found myself loving every page.
I Am a Mother by Jane Clayson Johnson (former anchor of The Morning Show on CBS) is personal, uplifting, fascinating and speaks to SO many of the issues facing women and mothers in this day and age. Definitely not a parenting book, it is the story of Jane's journey to motherhood and filled with uplifting cheer for good moms everywhere!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this woman. She is incredible and loving and helpful and sweet and non-judgemental and just a fun person to have around. (Read here to find out why I love her soooo much!)
Still, there is nothing like having company coming to open your eyes to the fact that your house is a disaster.
Really, I clean, scrub, launder and pick-up as much as anyone. Normally, I love my house and think it looks pretty good on an everyday basis. However, looking at it with "company vision" makes me wonder, How have I been living in this filth?
Suddenly, every room I enter needs a fresh coat of paint, a carpet cleaning and at least three new cool accessories from Pottery Barn. Not to mention that every vertical surface is covered with fingerprints and every horizontal surface is slightly sticky. I wander into the children's rooms and wonder how they can function with such dirty desks and chaotic closets. Then, I walk into my room and realize those little nuts didn't fall very from the tree.
It's one thing to have a party. I can have my house ready in a snap. Just hide all the clutter for a few hours, light a couple candles, dim the lights and serve really good refreshments. No one is the wiser. But when someone is coming to STAY...you can't fake it. The fridge, the closets, the bathrooms, the gross cabinets under the sink are all on display. Yikes!!
So, I'm on the "Company's-Coming-Adrenaline-Rush" natural high and I'm cleaning like crazy. Time's up! Gotta go...
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
It took me awhile to understand the whole blog-a-lution. I'm not the most tech-savvy and I thought blogs were just for geeks. I mean, I am a total geek, of course. But more the paper and pencil and bookworm variety. And, anyway, who'd want to read about me and my boring little old life?
Well, soon enough, my sisters, in-laws, cousins, aunts and even my own mother were all blogging. They weren't geeks. Their posts were funny, creative and as unique as the individuals behind the keyboards. I loved the freedom of seeing the world through their eyes just by clicking the mouse. The new windows into their lives were fascinating...and it wasn't just the extraordinary events that held me captive. I was just happy to read about day-to-day happenings. Ups and downs. Recipes, family pictures, lists. I loved it all.
Maybe in this new blogland there was a place for me and my crazy stories after all. I jumped in and found a second home.
Here are a few reasons I love my blog:
- Words. I love to read them and I love to write them. My thoughts come out in long run-on sentences inside my brain. It's nice to have a new place to put all these words. I enjoy writing for an audience, too. It's fun to get comments and know my words have connected with someone else.
- Friends. When I was little, I always had penpals. Usually eight or ten at a time. I loved getting letters from faraway places and sending long newsy notes back. Junior high was all about writing notes to friends. If I had put half as much effort into my schoolwork as I had each gossip-filled, intricately-folded, heart-decorated epistle to my eighth grade buddies, I would have an Ivy League degree by now. Blogging fills my note-writing void.
- Record-keeping. I love my journals. I strive to scrapbook. I'm a big believer in recording memories. Blogging adds a new dimension. It's a lot less mess than scrapbooking. Plus, when I record my memories on my blog, others join in and add their memories to mine.
- Learning. Believe it or not, my blog has taught me so much. Mostly about the capabilities of my little PC here! Before the blog, I mainly used my computer to shop and do a little word-processing. Just six months later, I have learned to post, edit, add photos and connect to all sorts of goodies online. And I know I'm just scratching the surface! Working on my blog has given me a practical way to expand my limited technical skills.
- Inspiration. I love to read the words of others. I love to see your photos, read about your parties, try your suggestions, see your before-and-after makeovers. It's like reading a really great magazine, but better...because it's real life, not a set design. Mostly I gain strength seeing you push through struggles, reach your goals and try new things. It makes me want to be a little better too.
- Humor. Let's face it. If the Lord did not want me to blog, He would not have sent me such great material! This wacky life-o-mine is just too crazy to be believed. I have to write it down and laugh about it all. So many moments in my day I think, This is SOOOOO blogworthy! It helps me laugh instead of cry and find the silver linings hidden in all life's gloomy stormclouds.
So, thanks, Blogbuddies! It's been a great six months. Keep the blog love comin' for many more to come.
*This post was inspired by this one. Why do you blog?
It's also a great time to...
This is pricey real estate around here...
Best part of the hotel stay is always the pool and hot tub!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
- Mormons who went to church every week (like my family)
- Mormons who did not go to church and drank coffee (like my Grandpa H.)
- and Catholics who were very lucky because they got to go to special schools, wear cute uniforms and/or be Girl Scouts (for some reason, none of the Mormon girls in my neighborhood were enrolled in Girl Scouts...for years I thought you could only be a Girl Scout or a nun if you were Catholic. For a season, I wanted to be both.)
- Oh, and I also knew one Lutheran girl. She came to my 10th birthday party at the Lion House.
Now I live across the country and my daughter's two best friends in the cul-de-sac are Jewish. They play as nicely as three six-year-old girls can play. (Meaning that one is always crying because the other two are being mean to her. But this is NOT based on any religious differences. It is usually a much deeper conflict, such as who gets to be Sharpay while playing High School Musical.)
I have also made some good Jewish friends. They are excellent neighbors and wonderful parents. I love my Catholic friends too...even though none of them are nuns or Girl Scouts. In some cases, I am the only Mormon these people have ever met. It's kinda scary to be representing your whole faith. I mean if the only LDS people you know are the Osmonds and my family, your view might be a little skewed. But I do my best because I love my faith and I love my friends and I think we can all live together in peace and harmony.
So, to celebrate the Jewish New Year, today we went to the beach! It was a gorgeous day and a perfect last trip for the season. Tomorrow we will pack the kids in the car and drive to Washington DC for a quick overnight trip to one of our own beautiful temples.
Just goes to show-- you can celebrate Rosh Hashanah no matter who are you!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
- Leave at 7:30 a.m. and drive through one and a half hours' worth of rush hour traffic.
- Feed said child a sack breakfast in the car--strawberry cream cheese bagel, juice box, grapes...or other foods with high sugar content.
- Take two three-year-olds along, too. (The importance of this step cannot be overstated...if you don't have twins, borrow some!)
- Get lost at least once on your way to the medical complex.
- Make sure the doctor's office is on the second floor and that an elevator ride is required. Encourage children to fight over who pushes the outside button, who pushes the inside button and who gets to stand by the window.
- Enter the office in a fit of screams, shoves and general hysteria resulting from elevator escapades.
- Spend 10 minutes digging through your purse to find insurance card while your children fight exuberantly over waiting room toys. (Most helpful if the receptionist has no sense of humor and hates children.)
- Make three trips to the bathroom. Remember three-year-olds like to do things, "By myseff..." Don't allow too much extra time, or you will lose that desperate-sweaty-mother look before you see the doctor.
- Enter teeny, tiny examination room with all three children. If the room contains a small, kid-level sink and a computer accompanied by a rolling chair your job will be much easier.
- Graciously accept offer of gigantic tub of Legos. These will be very helpful in providing essential background noise as the children drop them from the tabletop onto the cold tile floor.
- Spend 30 seconds talking to the doctor. The rest of the appointment should be spent pulling children out of the sink, picking up fallen Legos and re-rolling the paper liner for the examining table.
Once you have completed the previous steps, the doctor will quickly give you the desired Rx for increased meds. She may even throw in a 30-day free sample if one of the children is willing to make animal sounds and start thumping his siblings with the "reflex hammer."
See? Mission accomplished...
*Note: Next time, try bursting into tears mid-way through the appointment. She may throw in a little "bonus" prescription for you!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
goodbye diaper bag. Hello, gorgeous!
Monday, September 10, 2007
The phone rang. It was my husband. "Turn on the news," he said, with an unusual clearness in his voice. I switched it on and couldn't believe what I was seeing.
I remember thinking the world was ending. What was going to happen to us? And, at the same time, it was still such a beautiful day.
Phone calls started coming. No one seemed to know what to do. I kept flipping the channels. Soon Elmo was off and newscoverage was the only thing to watch.
A delivery man came to our door. He seemed almost embarassed to be bringing me my drycleaning. It felt strange to be doing ordinary tasks. He was the first person I actually saw after hearing about the World Trade Center. I thanked him and then said, "It's just such a sad, sad day." He nodded and left.
Fortunately, my children needed clean diapers, lunch and stories. The routine of housekeeping kept me focused. My brother, stranded in our city, called and asked if he could stay. I busied myself getting the guest room ready and made chicken salad for dinner. It felt good to scrub the guest bathroom and fold clean towels.
Although I didn't often notice the airplanes flying overhead, I did notice their absence that day. The whole world felt so quiet. Everything felt bigger and smaller at the same time.
Six years seems a lifetime ago. My world certainly did not end that day. Those two little babies have grown up, been to Disneyland, seen the Pentagon and Ground Zero, and become older siblings to two more.
The kitchen floor I swept belongs to someone else now and no one watches Elmo any longer.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
- that kids become their most adorable selves right when it's time to go to bed?
- that brothers & sisters who've fought all day long, suddenly play cooperatively together when you have finally separated them to clean their individual bedrooms?
- that children who are much too full for carrots, green beans and peas are starving if ice cream is mentioned?
- that little ones who never seem to hear the rules as applied to them become family deputies, on the vigilant look-out to catch anyone else breaking them?
- that everyone ignores Mom...until she sits down to blog?
Friday, September 7, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
It's my mom's birthday today! Happy Birthday to my greatest friend and role model. If you haven't met her yet, please click here...you are in for a treat. I always get sappy writing about Mom. Today I tried to keep it short and sweet.
Yes...birthday haiku! I have not written in this form since fifth grade...but if anyone will love me for trying, it's my mother. Here are three:
Too old to blog and laugh and
Drink an ice cold Coke!
Anyone who wants to post their own 5-7-5 syllable tribute to Oma...please do. Happy birthday, Mom! I love you!!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I couldn't even get a good shot of her climbing into the bus...she was boarded in the blink of an eye. Loved her first full day! I hosted the third annual "Back to School Brunch" for all the happy moms!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
When we got home, each child had a special (small) Children's Day present to open.
For Children's Day dinner, we headed to the annual church Corn Roast and pigged out on corn, hamburgers and watermelon.
Today we enjoyed a little peace and quiet. We went to church, napped, had a special Sunday dinner and then Brad gave all the kids a father's blessing to start the school year off right!
I think Children's Day will be an annual event around here...