Thursday, March 31, 2011

First date

Twenty-one years ago today Bryan and I went to Jr. Prom. It was our first date.

Oh my.
Um...that makes me feel really old.

Not only was it our first date, it was our first kiss. And not only was it our first kiss as a couple, it was my first kiss period! So March 31st is a pretty special day for us.

Well, actually...Bryan probably doesn't remember that our first date was March 31st. He has a hard enough time remembering the exact date of our wedding anniversary, let alone all the other "special" days that I yearly remind him of.
You know...
*the day we met (January 13, 1990)
*his entrance into the MTC (January 16, 1991)
*his mission release (February 5, 1993)
*the day he proposed (March 21, 1993)
*our wedding (July 15, 1993)
*my birthday (August 30)
*HIS birthday (December 9)
Let's not even get into all the kids' birthdays....
(In his defense, he does usually get really close. :) And honestly, I just have a freakishly good memory.)

So...I'll remind him tonight of what day it is. He'll smile and say something like, "Oh yeah! Really? That was 21 years ago today?" And we'll reminisce for a few minutes about the date....
*how Janet's dress really was pink even though he and Steven thought it was white,
*how Steven had to wear a plastic bib at the Old Salt City Jail during dinner so he wouldn't get rib sauce on his tux,
*how we made silly faces in our icecream cones at Snelgroves after the dance,
*all the dirty looks that he gave Jared Bickham (my ex) throughout the evening,
*the goodnight kiss on the doorstep.

Isn't it amazing that we have been together as a couple for more years than we haven't?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The radio station in my head...

You know how people talk about getting a song stuck in their head? It plays on loop over and over? I realized today that there is never NOT a song running through my head. At any given moment, even in the middle of the night when I wake up to use the bathroom. Sometimes I'm like a CD with one song stuck on loop. Other times I'm like a radio skipping between songs and stations at will. Not my will, mind you...that of my subconscious. One song playing until I see, hear or think about something that reminds me of another song (and let's face it, I know a song for just about anything) then suddenly...old song gone, new song in it's place. Stuck on loop for the foreseeable future.

"Glitter and be Gay" from "Candide." All day long.

"I See the Light" from "Tangled." This is Lilian's new favorite movie.
"Girl From 14-G" by Kristin Chenoweth. Because someone randomly mentioned it on FB this morning and I know the song well, seeing as I sang it for a recital a couple of years ago.
"The Tortoise and the Hare"...a madrigal I'm learning with the Sally Bytheway Chorale which is giving me memorization fits.
"They Call Her Moses" from the musical "Harriet" that I performed in a couple of months ago.
"For Good" from "Wicked"....probably because I am singing it at our stake women's conference in a few weeks.
"The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" from Veggie Tales. Cause that one is just ALWAYS there.

I don't know if I should call it the soundtrack of my life...or maybe the a radio station called
FM Sarah....
Seriously, ask me any time. I always have some random song hovering around in there.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Double digits for Brandon!

Happy Birthday to my one and only, and therefore very favorite, son!

10 Years Old!!

The day started out with a gymnastics workout but seeing how much he loves those teammates and coaches of his, I don't think he minded a bit. Afterwards we took him and Davis (cousin and teammate) to Airborne Trampoline Arena. The past two birthdays have seen him tricking out at Jump On It. As his birthday came closer, there was a request for a third year. But a few months ago this new Airborne place opened...and not only was it slightly less of a drive but also had foam pits. {Oh the joy!}

By the end of the allotted two hours, Brandon and Davis had worked up a good appetite. Salt City Burger was the restaurant of choice. Gourmet hamburgers and sweet potato fries were enjoyed by all while Brandon opened up his presents.

Gifts included (many of which specifically requested):
*the new 39 Clues book
*a six pack of creme soda
*Mod Nation Racers...a game for the PS3
*another season of MacGyver on DVD
*a new outfit he can wear to gymnastics
*a new belt "just like Dad's!"
*a yellow bouncy ball "like the ones they have at school."

AND....drumroll please....

*A pair of his very own, children sized..but just like Dad's, Vibram Five Finger shoes!! He's been wishing for some for years but Vibram did not make a pair in his size. Can you imagine how excited Bryan and I were when we heard that a new line of kids sizes were coming out a couple of weeks before his birthday??

An harmony filled rendition of the Happy Birthday song and 10 flaming candles atop his oreo cake rounded out the happy day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday: Spring Tulips

Spring 2005. I am always stunned by the beauty of Temple Square each spring. I have no doubt that those Temple Square gardeners are some seriously hard working, talented folk.... all the same, I firmly believe those tulips also have some Divine growing help. I mean, MY spring flowers don't look that impressive! (Admittedly, that may also have something to do with the fact that I'm nowhere close to as hard working and talented as those aforementioned Temple Square gardeners. Sigh.)

We're looking forward to our annual tulip admiring trip in a few weeks. Especially since it's actively snowing as I type this....

Ummm...side note.
Lilian just looked at the top picture and gasped.

"Mom!" she exclaimed. "Why are are Rebekah and Julianne standing there? And Brandon? Why is that lady holding him??"
"What lady?" I asked.
"THAT one!" she said as she pointed to me.
"Uh...Lilian? That's me. That's Mommy."

Pause. A strange look on her face as she eyes the picture a little closer....

Do I really look that different? It's been 6 years but I don't think I've changed THAT much. Maybe it's the sunglasses? Or the's a little darker now. Hmm.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Max, Titi and Pepper

Browsing KSL Classifieds in St. George this past weekend, Bryan came across this:

He bought it and then sprayed it down, scrubbed it and cleaned it before hauling it home in the back of our truck.

I think it's almost as tall as me.

You've met Max, right? We introduced him to his new mansion of a home Monday night. But then we decided maybe he could use a friend...someone who could share that space with him....

Tuesday morning Lilian and I went to Petco in search of a friend for Max. Lilian chose this gorgeous little parakeet and decided to name her Titi (Tee tee). Doesn't she have the most beautiful coloring?

But the cage still had room for more. And my mind kept wandering back to that other parakeet I had seen...the one I would've chosen had I not given the decision to Lilian. So yesterday I brought home this beauty. We named her Pepper.

All three are settling in very nicely together. I've spent an inordinate amount of time arranging their cage with toys, perches and food/water bowls. I've been to Petco three times in as many days. Then add in all the time I stand in front of the cage chittering and talking to them...the rest of the house had kind of gone to seed. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St. George: The Vacation

I had grand visions in my head of sunshine and warmth. Visiting the sand dunes in Snow Canyon, playing around on the red rocks above town, finding a good park for a picnic. Ahh...doesn't it sound nice?
Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. But I am happy to report that despite plans and visions dashed, we rallied and still had some serious (indoor) relaxing and much needed family time. An overcast and slightly rainy day doesn't conflict with video watching, card playing, book reading and indoor swimming. Plus, we had cookie dough. Everything is better with cookie dough.

So we did this:

We sat in the hot tub. Ahhhh.....And had floating contests.
And swimming races. (I'm thinking it's a good thing I'm not signed up for any triathlons this summer seeing as my swimming technique is...well, rusty.)

And some of this:
And a lot of this....We watched "Independence Day" (Brandon's token alien adventure flick), and "The Wedding Planner" (because to the girls, a video-a-thon is just not complete without a RomCom). We watched "Secretariat"...twice....(a road trip to Churchill Downs, anyone?) And of course, Veggie Tales for Lilian. Which meant that this song was stuck in my head all weekend:

We are the pirates who don't do anything
We just stay at home and lie around

And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything

Oh, I've never plucked a rooster and I am not too good at ping-pong
And I've never thrown my mashed potatoes up against the wall
And I've never kissed a chipmunk, and I've never gotten head lice
And I have never been to Boston in the fall
And I’ve never licked a spark plug
And I’ve never sniffed a stinkbug
And I’ve never painted daises
On a big red rubber ball

(They don't call them "Silly Songs" for nothing!)

The girls played countless hands of Phase 10.
Oh...and did I mention we read? A LOT? Cause our family...yeah, we are book-a-holics.

Look! Spring! The sun came out for a few hours on our last day. Right in time for me to take a break from my vacuuming, laundry and packing...and at least take a couple of pics of the flowering trees..all the while grumbling to myself "Seriously?? NOW the sun comes out? Sigh."

St. George: Boys State Gymnastics Meet

The boys state gymnastics meet this year was held this past weekend in St. George. A far away venue for a state meet, but we were pleased all the same. Not only does Bryan's parents have a vacation house there, but the kids had Monday off school due to a end-of-term teacher work day. Can you say VACATION???

But first and foremost, the trip was a gymnastics one. I love watching Brandon compete. I know all his teammates and know their strengths and weaknesses almost as well as I know Brandon's. I diligently keep scores and cheer them on. Because I'm not a judge, I sometimes get ticked when I think Brandon has been gypped on a score. And at times I get frustrated with how things shake out when it comes down to awards at the end of a meet. For example: Brandon's age division is the biggest within Level 5 which means his competition is a bit more stiff. At the state meet Brandon got a score of 14.3 on parallel bars. One of his teammates who is in a different age division got a 14.1. That score of 14.1 was enough to win his teammate 1st place on that event. While I was sincerely pleased for this kid, I was frustrated that Brandon's higher score only got him 8th place in his division. Same routine, same level...just different age division. I decided to share my thoughts with Brandon. Not my frustrations, just the facts....that his division was bigger and therefore harder competition, that in most cases his scores were just as good as many of his teammates who were taking higher awards. "Oh, Mom," he said. "I don't really mind what PLACE I take. I know my SCORES are good and that's all I care about."
What a smart kid with a great attitude about sports and competition. He wants to do well, works hard to do his best, enjoys getting rewards for a routine well done. But he competes against himself. And when it boils right down to it, he's there to have fun.

Our gym hired a photographer to follow our gymnasts around and take the kind of shots that we can't get...either from lack of access (seeing as we're confined to the stands) or lack of photography know how. Anyhow, here's the shots that Brandon liked the best...'s in Level 6 that they start using the actual vault. In Level 5 they run down, jump on the spring board and do a flip up onto the mats. It's kind of all about height and sticking your landing.
POMMEL HORSE...which in Level 5 also includes "circles" around the "mushroom."

PARALLEL BARS...Brandon's warm up was a bit dicey on this event but he nailed his routine pretty well when it came time to show off for the judges. (That dark-haired girl sitting in the stands on the left side of the pic? Yeah, that's me.)

HIGH BAR...this is a hard one for Brandon.
RINGS...Brandon thought the dismount picture was hilarious. Thought it looked like he was falling on his head when in actuality, he was "front flipping out of a straddle"....if that makes any sense to you. :)

FLOOR....this first picture is a "scale." And trust me, it's much more difficult than it looks. The second picture is a dive roll in action. Brandon gets some serious air on his dive rolls....I think it's his favorite part of the whole routine.

Brandon's team took 2nd place...missing 1st by only ONE point! All the same, they were happy. Brandon's all around score was high enough to qualify for Regionals in Colorado next month. As pleased as we are about that, we will be missing the meet. Because,'s in Colorado, and frankly, we are a little weary of traveling. Also, and probably more importantly, Level 5's are scheduled for the Sunday of that Regional meet weekend and we're less than thrilled with competing on the Sabbath. So it looks like this state meet is his last this season. Rumor has it that in the next few weeks Brandon will start upping his workout time from 8 hours a week, to 12 as he starts learning level 6 skills. A big commitment...but as of now, Brandon is all sorts of gung ho. (Next up: Our vacation portion of the weekend....)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bring on spring!

It is officially spring.

Which means I will now stop rhapsodizing about the wonders of snow and winter. I will stop reminding people how many days of winter we still have left when they moan and groan about yet another storm. I will stop praying for snow.

It's not that I don't like spring. Heavens's just the opposite! Overall, I like spring even better than winter. But see, I really enjoy living in a state where we have four distinct seasons. And I'm a firm believer that those seasons should act as they are supposed to. Which means flowering trees, light rain and mild temps in spring. Ridiculous heat and, If I'm lucky, occasional lightning and thunder storms in summer. Changing leaves and crisp air and temps in fall. And of course, bitter cold and lots of snow in winter.

That being said, I will now bemoan any early spring snow along with the rest of you. I will glory in the flowering trees, my daffodil and tulip shoots and the greening up of my grass. I will happily revel in the warmer temperatures which allows me to take Lilian to the park, lounge on my back deck, and do more biking and running.

But consider this, all of you who can't figure out why I love winter so much....
Spring also brings with it a whole host of yard work. Yard work that, at my house, I'm the one primarily responsible for. I like my yard work, I truly do...and am happy to do it. But it is exactly Which means that it's one more thing to add to my already busy schedule of cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring the kids around, taking care of a 3 year old and more or less just being the *"homemaker goddess" that I already work hard to be. Is it any wonder that I enjoy winter so much seeing as it brings me a really nice break?

*Inside joke. Bryan and I were joking around the other day about my "goddess" status. (hahaha!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Misplaced vanity...

So. I'm driving to a Chorale rehearsal last night. It's a 45 minute drive away...and that's on a good day, with no traffic. I'm running late. A good 15-20 minutes late. Which means I'm driving fast. Like 80 mph, fast. (Sorry Dad. I have a lead foot, what can I say?) I'm in the fast lane but cars are still occasionally pulling past me in the carpool lane on the left, despite my breakneck speed. A car pulls up but doesn't pass. Not thinking much about it, I look over. It's a guy and he's looking at me. Like...full on, meeting my eyes, type of looking at me. I quickly look away and try not to smile. I try to act all natural as I fiddle with the radio dials while resisting the urge to turn my head and see if he is still looking. He is very obviously keeping pace with me. "He's totally checking me out!" I laugh to myself. And why not? I am looking pretty cute. AND I'm driving a hot little red sports car. I'm feeling pretty good about myself when all the sudden I hear a quick little siren blip coming from that car on my left. I about jump out of my seat as my head involuntarily whips around to look. It's the same guy... {GASP} He's a cop! In plainclothes and an unmarked car. And he is indeed looking at me. Like...full on, meeting my eyes, type of looking at me. But he is most definitely NOT checking me out. No, he's trying to catch my attention, signalling with his hand that I need to slow my speed down.

My heart is racing {pound, pound, pound, pound} in my chest as I slow down to 70 mph. And then as I realize he is not going to pull me over, this bubble of laughter rises up and out of me.
So much for my misplaced vanity.

Favorite Photo Friday: Pretty Rebekah

Rebekah and her friends went all "glamour shot" with my camera last fall. Don't I have a pretty 14 year old?

November 2010

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day!

The kids are wearing green. We're listening to Irish/Celtic type music in the form of the "Riverdance" soundtrack. I'm making mint green brownies and have plans for a fancy corned beef and cabbage family meal tonight. Shamrocks and other such greenery are hanging around the house. I like St. Patricks Day.

Not that St. Patricks Day is all that big or serious of a holiday, really. We don't even get into all the leprechaun mischief that some families do. The only thing I can figure, as to why I really enjoy this day, is because I have Irish blood in me. My ancestors on my father's paternal line came from Ireland. So I wear my "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" t-shirt with pride knowing that although everyone is dubbed honorary Irish on St. Patricks Day, I'm actually legit.
Bryan taking the invitation on my shirt directing him to "Kiss Me," seriously.

What's with the pinching, though? Where did that tradition come from? I STILL have a scar on my arm where Shauna Booth pinched me in the 6th grade. She didn't appear to be wearing any green so I pinched her. Hoping to fool people like me, she actually was wearing the tiniest bit of green in her hair in the form of a green elastic. She therefore claimed it was her right to pinch me back 10 times in retaliation. Except she did it with her nails...which were very long....and she must have really relished that pinching cause she did it very hard. Needless to say, I did not suffer through all 10 pinches before shoving her {good and HARD} away from me. Unfortunately the scar remains to this day, although it has lightened to the point that you can hardly see it...unless I point it out. Which I tend to do every year on March 17th. (I think my kids are tired of the story....)

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Receive These Things"

It was an emotional weekend. Surprisingly so. As overwhelming and stressful (at times) that I found this calling..that of Ward Cultural Events had been a much better experience helping to put together this play, this huge stake cultural extravaganza, than I had ever thought. I didn't realize that in fulfilling this calling, in serving these kids...that it would bless my life as well. Or that I would get so attached to them. I spent a good chunk of Sacrament Meeting yesterday frantically wiping away the tears that were rolling down my cheeks and wishing mightily for waterproof mascara. Those Deacons passing the Sacrament? Those were my cute {oh, sorry...FEARSOME} Stripling Warriors. The three youth speakers? One was a singer from vocal company, one was on tech crew, one was Ether from scene 3...the scene that Brittney and I directed.

It all started back in November when the 2nd counselor in the bishopric pulled me aside to give me another calling. (I already had 2). He didn't really have many details about what my calling would entail...just that the stake youth were putting on some sort of cultural event and I, along with my cute neighbor and friend Brittney, was more or less being called to be a part of it in some way on the ward level. Was I willing? Ummm...okay? I'm always willing to accept any calling. It's just usually nice to have an idea of what I'm agreeing to do!
(Sweet, wonderful, amazing Brittney...I could NOT have done this without her!)

More details later I learned how this whole things had come about. If you remember, President Monson, at almost every General Conference, talks about his travels to dedicate new temples. And almost always there is some kind of big cultural celebration involving the members of the church there...usually the youth. And he has made the comment that he wished that every youth of the church could have that kind of be involved in some sort of big cultural event like that. Our stake president took that comment to heart. He made some callings on the stake level who then decided our youth would be putting on a musical called "Receive These Things." This was to take the place of youth conference this year and would involve every single kid in some way or an actor, singer, dancer, tech crew, costumes, name it.
(Rebekah and her friend Whittney were in vocal company. Rebekah, though not one of my actors in scene 3, was in the small group that came out to sing "You're Not Alone.)

"Receive These Things" was a musical taking modern day issues that kids face, ie: modesty, morality, loneliness, choosing the right, etc...and then finding Book of Mormon stories and lessons that paralleled those issues. Brittney and I learned that each ward would be assigned a scene, that we would be directing said scene, but that the youth of our ward would actually be spread out throughout the play and that we would also need to be the liason between the stake and our ward in making sure all those kids knew what they were supposed to be doing, where they were supposed to be and when. It was a monumental task and I was quite overwhelmed and almost dreading it in the beginning. I could not fathom how we were going to pull this off. But Brittney and I plugged away at every assignment we were given by the stake, found answers to all of the questions from the youth and youth leaders...and after sign ups, auditions, casting and schedules...many emails and a few meetings later, we were set to begin rehearsals.

Our scene was the "lonely girl" scene. guessed it....a girl who was lonely and had no friends. So we blocked a high school scene...lockers and prom posters, texting and studying, football boys and giggling girls and even a big "Will you go to prom with me?" all around this lonely girl... with not one soul paying any attention to her. She has a few monologues along the way..."Why won't anyone be my friend? Am I not pretty enough, are my standards too high" etc. Long story short...she pulls out her Book of Mormon and reads about Alma, Moroni and Ether...all who have found themselves alone at one time or another (with kids playing the parts of these three Book of Mormon characters on the other side of the stage). Remember the song "You're Not Alone" by Michael McLean? (As big as it was in my high school seminary days, none of the kids now recognize it.) Seven girls did a little ballet type dance to the song while another few girls (including my Rebekah and Julianne) sang. (Luckily I didn't have to choreograph the dance seeing as my dancing skills are...well, severely limited.) And in the end, Lonely Girl realizes that she is never truly alone...and on that note, a trio of girls come out and invite her to go to the pep rally.
(Julianne and her friend Taylor. Julianne, like Rebekah was in vocal company and also the smaller "You're Not Alone" group. Taylor was in my scene.)

Rehearsals were a bit crazy and chaotic in the beginning. Brittney and I made cookies and treats to try and bribe the kids to pay attention. :) These were kids who hadn't ever done anything like this before, most of them. Who hadn't even realistically asked to be a part of it and who didn't really feel or understand the responsibility of what having a part in a play meant. I spent countless time assuring them that each of their parts, no matter how small (there were over 300 kids to cast, after all) were important. Teaching them theatre/acting etiquette, timing, lines, big motions on stage, etc. But it wasn't until we began rehearsing on the big stage that it all started to sink in. That is, I think, when the reality of what we were doing really hit all of us. And I, as well as they, realized that this was really going to work! It took some serious time, work and prayer...even a special fast and doubtless, a few miracles, but we did it!

(Scene 3 aka "Lonely Girl" scene. I LOVE these kids!!)

I was anxious and stressed about our scene on opening night. The timing of each kid was rather crucial for it all to go over the way we'd rehearsed. Brittney and I helped the kids know when to go on from opposite sides of the stage...and then watched and hoped. Chills ran through my body as I realized that they were doing the scene better than they'd ever done it! The kids on my side came off with expectant but happy looks on their faces. "Did I do okay??" We practically skipped back to the green room, we were so excited, all of us, with how the scene went. Being scene 3 meant that we were allowed to slip into some side seats to watch the rest of the show. Brittney and I sat together, proud as punch of not only the kids in our scene but all our other kids from the ward as well, in other scenes throughout the show....the vocal company, the Stripling Warriors doing their "Haka" dance down the aisles (SO COOL, by the way), etc.

At the very end of the show one girl came out into the spotlight and began singing, acapella, "The Spirit of God." After a couple of lines, a second girl joined her, and then a third singing a trio. By the time the organ started in on the second verse, vocal company had moved from their seats up to the stage to sing. By the chorus the entire rest of the cast... tech crew, makeup and costume committees and all... filed up to the stage filling every possible space, all singing "We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven...Hosanna to God and the Lamb!" All the ward directors were also invited to go up on stage and sing. Not that I could get a note out...tears were pouring down my face before I even made it up to the stage. It was AMAZING!! I don't think I'll ever sing that song again without thinking of that moment. Bryan asked me yesterday who the play had been for...the audience watching it or the youth putting it on? My response was immediate, it was for the youth. Did I think that the stake president's objectives for requesting this cultural event, had been met? Without a doubt, YES! There were kids that chose not to participate and I feel bad that they missed the experience. I'm sure that there were kids that DID participate that still didn't really "get" it. But I think the majority of them, to some extent or another, learned something, felt something, had their testimony grow or, if nothing else, just enjoyed being part of something different and big with their friends. But I am absolutely sure that they made memories that they will cherish. I'm SO glad I was able to share this experience with them. I know that the experiences and memories I made will stick with me for a long time to come.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday: Lip Sync Night

June 1991

Remember road-shows? Where each ward in the stake would put on a 15 minute skit...travelling around from ward building to ward building throughout the stake in one night? It was a yearly tradition that I remember watching and enjoying as a kid. When I got to be a teenager, our stake had done away with road-shows for the most part. Instead, our ward did elaborate lip sync nights....each axillary coming up with a song complete with costumes, sets, etc. Even the bishopric would get into it (my dad was bishop at the time) and I remember laughing hysterically at my dad dressed up in a wig and dress with his two counsellors lip syncing to "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" by the Beach Boys.

In this picture the Young Women had done a lip sync to "Dry Bones." You know the one...

The toe bones connected to the foot bone, the foot bones connected to the ankle bone... Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...

Black lights across the whole stage with all the YW in black "connecting" white bones throughout the song. I was one of the lead "singers"...or should I say, "syncers"...which is why my face was covered in white make-up.

Tonight the youth in our stake performed the musical "Receive These Things." A huge undertaking involving over 300 kids including my own two girls and myself as a ward director. To many of these kids, putting on a dramatic production in a church setting like this seemed completely strange and foreign to them. They'd never heard of road-shows before. The show went well and the kids did an amazing job...I was so proud of them! How I hope that they made memories they will cherish...kind of in the same way that I still hang on to the memories of the stake and ward productions of my youth. A sneak peak...that's Rebekah in the middle. (I plan to post a little more about the show later this weekend.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Biking Equations

15 miles + Wind x Lousy night sleep = Tired!!

First ride of the season + 15 miles = Sore "sit bones."

Bike ride - Biking buddy who is pregnant and not riding this season = Lonely ride.

Despite all of that.....
61 degrees + Back in the saddle after 5 months off = A happy smile on my face.

(Little Red Riding Hood last June. How I miss Mylissa!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I love my geek

Bryan smiled really big when I walked out of the closet wearing this a few days ago.....

According to Wikipedia:
"Although being described as a geek tends to be an insult, the term has recently become more complimentary, or even a badge of honor, within particular fields. This is particularly evident in the technical disciplines, where the term is now often a compliment, denoting extraordinary skill."

My husband is a computer geek. And proud to be one. I figured it was only appropriate to show my support by purchasing and wearing this t-shirt. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Dinner Hour

This is a recent article written by my dad for their neighborhood that, though was not written necessarily with me in mind, seemed to hit me especially hard all the same:

(Look! It could be us! Well, minus the horse and about a century or so....)

The Dinner Hour
George Orwell said, "Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it." It's true, and that probably explains why people my age feel so qualified to be generous with their advice. That said, let me now exercise the prerogative of my sixty-plus years and offer a suggestion to those of the next generation.

Have dinner together.

The question our kids call out when they come in from play....slamming the back door and sloughing off their coats onto the ancient and predictable: "Mom, what's for dinner?" But the response these days is something new. It's the voice of a busy mother in another room whose thoughts are occupied with other things: "There are some frozen burritos in the fridge. Go warm one up in the microwave if you're hungry." This is, ever more commonly, what passes for the dinner hour in the new millennium.

Dlora and I raised five daughters. To the extent that we had any success with them, we credit it in large measure to our dinner hour.

Dinnertime was one of the non-negotiables in our family. We found that a sit-down dinner at the kitchen and dad at each end, the kids down the sides...not only assured that we were having at least one good, balanced meal in a day, but also assured some daily family time together...a rare commodity in our fast-paced culture. Our dinner meal provided for more than a quick and perfunctory blessing on the food; we often knelt and had family prayer there at the table. We sometimes read from the scriptures. I think it was from our dinnertime reading that Melissa became enamored with the story of Ammon cutting off the arms of the bad men who were scattering King Lamoni's flocks. It was at the table that Katie honed her math and fairness skills, dividing 7 people into 24 fish sticks and making certain that nobody got more or less than their 3-3/7 fish stick allocation. Dinner time was sharing time. Sarah regularly recounting what the awesome foursome of Sarah, Kami, Chellie and Lori had been up to during the day. Mary demonstrated her muscle power, deftly unscrewing the lid from the mayonnaise jar when none of her girly sisters could manage it. Rachel sang us the new song she had learned at Joy School. It wasn't always spiritual resonance...sometimes it was a kind of controlled bedlam as our five daughters all talked at once, but it was family time in real life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And shining through the ridiculous was the ever-present glimmer of the sublime...the rock solid center of family solidarity and love.

On a practical level, our family dinner hour brought order to our evening. And it was easy on our family budget: homemade spaghetti (our kids' favorite) was far and away cheaper than Happy Meals, buckets of chicken, and frozen, prepared entrees warmed in the microwave and consumed at the kitchen counter. So, here's my advice: Put down the frozen burritos. Dust off the family recipes. Stop text messaging. Get a little infield chatter going.

Have dinner together.

I know that having dinner together as a family is important. Obviously I grew up with a stellar example of how to do it. Time and time again I've heard advice and read studies from church and secular leaders alike. Have dinner together, they all say. At the time it kind of baffled me because as parents, Bryan and I had no problem whatsoever with having dinner, together, all of us around the table. It's just been in the past few years that I've realized what all the warnings and hoopla was about. Because all of the sudden, it is ridiculously hard to have dinner as a family. Two teenagers with busy schedules, Brandon at gymnastics four times a week, Bryan with odds and end deadlines or business trips, me with rehearsals....

All the sudden it takes a lot more effort and sacrifice to make sure we have dinner together as a family. So I'm trying. Trying to make it more of a priority. More of an essential part of our day. Cooking is not my favorite chore. Oh, I can cook and I've got some pretty awesome recipes in my repertoire...but it's a chore, like doing laundry or vacuuming. So in order to get a great meal on the table or at least in progress by the time Bryan comes home from's taken some serious mental planning as well as physical scheduling.

Can I just say...making a menu at the beginning of the week and, from that, a grocery list, has been a life saver. I'm not one of those who can rummage through the pantry and fridge and come up with a fabulous meal on the fly. I'm a recipe follower. Our menu for this's a simple one. Because other than tonight, every night this week Julianne, Rebekah and I will be at rehearsals or performances for "Receive These Things"...the play all the youth in our stake are involved in and I am helping to direct. (More about that later this week.)

Monday: chef salad (Kids love this cause they can put in whatever they want... "like all the good stuff instead of all the gross tomatoes and avocados"...according to Julianne.)
Tuesday: spaghetti and garlic bread (You know, that spaghetti with the homemade sauce that my dad mentioned in his newsletter? Yeah, it's still my very favorite.)
Wednesday: homemade chili in the crockpot and cornbread
Thursday: ham/carrot/potato casserole with french bread (Another favorite from my of those comfort food type of casseroles.)
Friday: dinner out before the show.
Saturday: chicken tacos with all the toppings
Sunday: buffalo roast with carrots, onions and potatoes