Friday, August 31, 2012

Spending my birthday at the temple

It was my birthday yesterday.  I turned 39 years old.  And although I've always thought I wasn't too terribly freaked out about getting closer and closer to the big four-oh...I have to admit, I was surprisingly relieved that yesterday I only had to admit to 39 when people offered birthday wishes and asked about my age.

A couple of weeks ago, when looking into making reservations to attend the Brigham City Temple open house, I saw that there was availability on the 30th and decided then and there that that's what I wanted to do on my birthday.  And truly it WAS such an ideal way to spend the day.  There is something rather perfect about being in the temple with my whole family, children and all.  And to have it be on my special day...well, I definitely think it will be one of my most memorable birthdays for a long time to come.

At one point on the tour, we found ourselves inside the front lobby.  As we looked out the beautiful glass windows in the front doors, we realized we could see our friends Kim and Brian and their children, outside in the courtyard.  We had no idea until that moment that they had chosen today as well to tour the temple.  As we watched, they came closer to the door, obviously gearing up to take some pictures.  We waved crazily, trying to get their attention.  And though it looked like they were looking right at us, they clearly couldn't see us.  All the same, we stood there waving like fools thinking surely, any minute somehow they would notice all of us obviously standing there, peering out the window at them.  But it wasn't until they got right up next to the door that one of the children peeped in and saw us.  He relayed the news to his parents and siblings, and pretty soon, all of them were exchanging smiles and waves with us.

It wasn't until we got outside that we realized why it took so long to get their attention.  The windows on the front doors were reflecting our own images back at us.  Not until you get smack up next to them can you see inside.  And I thought, there has got to be some kind of lesson there.  Something along the lines of our Savior standing inside the temple...trying to get our attention, beckoning to us to join him.  He's patient and will never give up...calling, waving, waiting.  But all we can see is our own worldly reflection staring back at us... until we get close enough and make an effort to peer inside.  Then and only then will we be able to truly see what we have been missing.  


 Okay, I just couldn't resist adding this picture....I can't stop laughing!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tea party dress up

My parents have insisted, as they de-junk their house, that I come pick up all my old prom dresses and school play costumes.  And seeing as I have teenage daughters that are coming into Prom age I ended up taking my youngest sister Rachel's dresses as well.  (Hers are actually still stylish as opposed to my lacy creations.)

Julianne has been completely thrilled about our new acquisitions.  Mostly because being the drama queen that she is, likes to play dress up.  A few days ago she convinced her friends to come over for a tea party.

The pink and white lacy wonder was my dress for Senior Ball my junior year.  The green dress was a costume I wore in "Mame".  The blue and pink dresses were my sister, Melissa's.

 I wore the white lacy dress to both Sweethearts AND Jr. Prom my junior year.  Yes, yes....a fashion faux pas certainly...I DID in fact, repeat a dress.  At back-to-back dances, no less. (Gasp!)  But I got asked to Jr. Prom only 2 days before the dance so what else could I do?  By the was Bryan who asked me to that Jr. Prom.  It was our first date.  I think originally it was to be a "You're not going to Prom, I'm not going to Prom...maybe we should go together as friends?" sort of date.  Obviously it didn't turn out that way and I got my first kiss that night.  And a husband a few years later.  :)

The other white dress is one of Rachel's that I think Rebekah or Julianne could still potentially wear to a Prom of their own.  Here's hoping...because Prom dresses have only gone up in price since I was in high school.

Unfortunately I don't think any of my haul will work as a Homecoming dress.  Despite the fact that school hasn't even started yet, Rebekah got asked to the dance a couple of weeks ago.  What do kids even wear to Homecoming these days?  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sliding down the alpine

Sometimes I think it would be rather ideal to live in or around Park City.  Not only are the surrounding views always amazing...but personally, I love the temperatures.  Cooler in the summer, an earlier fall, and a guaranteed white Christmas every year!

Yesterday was no exception. Reveling in temps that hovered in low 80's, our little family along with our friend Heather and her 4 children, spent the afternoon playing on the alpine slides at the Park City Mountain Resort.  (Did you know the leaves are already starting to change up there?  In August?)  We bought tickets for the 5 older kids to do the slide and alpine coaster once each while the adults took the youngest 3 on the slides twice.  One of the best things about the slides in my opinion?  The fact that you have to ride the ski lift to get up to the top.  So relaxing and pretty....even if Lilian was a tad nervous.  (She was a little more mellow the second ride up.)  I was worried that Lilian would freak out about going down the slide.  I had talked it up, shown her pictures on-line, reassured her that she would be sitting on my lap the whole time.  She seemed excited about the whole thing.  But this is a girl that still refuses, year after year, to go on the dragon water slide at Cherry Hill....a wimpy little slide where she gets to sit on my lap and the water is only 2 feet deep at the bottom.  And although she did express some slight nerves the closer we got to the slide...ultimately she was determined to be brave, and then laughed the whole way down.  I told her I could control our speed and if she wanted me to slow down, she just needed to say so.  Nope.  She didn't necessarily ever ask me to speed up....but she did tell me to NOT slow down.  And then looked at me triumphantly at the bottom and said, "Let's do it AGAIN, Mom!!!"

You know me....a little camera crazy.  And when combined with the pics that Heather took also....well, you were forewarned.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Grieving a house

My parents are moving.  I'd been instructed to keep the news under wraps while they did their house hunting.  They didn't want to put their current house up for sale until they had another one in the works.  Living in the same house...and therefore neighborhood, ward and community for 34 years meant that news of their leaving was going to be met with surprise and dismay.  They didn't want to deal with that until they were ready.  But the new house has been bought.  The current house is getting ready to go on the market.  And the news has got out.

Which means it's all official.  And surprisingly....seeing as my parents have been talking about doing this for years now....I'm having a hard time with it.  Ridiculous, really.  They aren't leaving.  They aren't even really moving out of their town...just relocating a few miles down the road.  I don't even want to think about what this would be like if they were leaving the state.  No, my grief has to do with that house.  It's my childhood home.  We moved there when I was 4 and 1/2 years old from Houston, Texas.  My parents picked it out on a quick house hunting weekend trip after my Dad had been hired by an engineering firm in Salt Lake City.  Not knowing much about the area and not having a lot of time to really research it out, they figured they'd live in the house for a year or so while they decided where they really wanted to settle.  But they stayed.  For 34 years.  Because it turned out to be an ideal little area to raise a family in a community filled with wonderful people.  So that house turned into a home that is now filled with so many memories and so much love that I can hardly walk through the rooms today without crying.

(And to my parents...I am sorry if I am being overly sentimental about this.  The last thing I want to do is make this move harder for you than it already is.  I know that it is time to go and I know it is the right thing.  Your new home is beautiful and perfect and I am truly excited for you.  Really I am!  This grieving over the old home has caught me by surprise.  I, myself, haven't even lived in the house for 19 years.  I guess I was still more attached than I realized.)

My Mom has been doing massive amounts of de-junking.  My sisters and I get emails almost daily asking if we want this thing or that before it gets hauled to D.I.  A few weeks ago I was instructed to come pick up my wedding dress that has been stored in one of the downstairs closets with all my sisters' wedding dresses.  And though the actual dresses have been archived into special bags to keep them preserved, Lilian had a grand time trying on the veils.  Here she is admiring herself in the mirror wearing the same veil I wore 19 years ago when I was a bride.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hint, hint...

Okay, okay....I can take a hint.  Julianne is out of her growth hormone medication and wants me to arrange for more to be sent.  Right?

An update:  For those who don't know...Julianne has been giving herself daily injections of growth hormone since she was 12 years old.  At her last appointment with our endocrinologist, she was 4' 10" (and a 1/4...Julianne is particular about making sure we don't forget that 1/4).  This is a good thing seeing as originally the doctor wasn't sure she would ever make it past 4' 8" without intervening medically.  We're hoping to get her to 5'.  See here and here for more details.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Playing volleyball

I played volleyball yesterday.  This is momentous.  Why?  Because I haven't played volleyball since I was oh, something like 13 years old.  I'm not overly coordinated when it comes to sports.  I tried, and tried to like volleyball when I was young.  I wanted desperately to get good enough at it to not embarrass myself when we would play church ball.  (Which we did...frequently.)  But it was all for naught.  I was hopelessly bad.  And playing was more of something to be endured...with slight fear that the ball would come my way and I'd actually have to try and hit it.  But the day I tried to set the darn thing and brutally jammed my finger, I gave it all up.  Clearly, volleyball was just NOT my thing.  And from then on, I became the cheerleader on the sidelines.  Even in college when we had a sand volleyball court right across the street from our apartment....I always watched.

But last night we were invited to join a couple of other families from the neighborhood for a combined Family Home Evening at the park.  A big family volleyball game was the main event so I decided that maybe it was time to give it a try.  Oh, my coordination still hasn't improved much.  But I did actually get a few decent shots in.  And I was even okay at yay me!  Mostly though, we laughed a lot and that was the funnest part of all.

Bryan set up a couple of slack lines and the kids had fun trying to balance on those as well.  It was a great night.

P.S.  Brandon insists that I inform you that these pictures do not do him justice...that I didn't get him in best form.  Just so you know.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Olympics in retrospect

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are over.  I have to admit I'm a little bit relieved.  Mostly because I'm excited to get some semblance of a normal schedule going again.  Bedtimes were varied and late when we were trying to keep up with all the Olympic awesomeness.

We of course were tremendously interested in the men's gymnastics and to a slightly lesser degree, the women's.  The gymnastics...oh, the gymnastics.  I could go on and on about them.  (And those of you who have talked to me in person, know that I have!  Sorry.)  In these Olympics we felt personally invested.  Orozco, Leyva, Dalton, Mikulak, and Horton....we know these guys.  We've met them, we have their autographs, we've watched them compete live.  Danell Leyva with his lucky towel and his hyper-active coach/step-dad.  Humble and sweet John Orozco.  Jonathan Horton's way of encouraging everyone around him even when he is truly hard on himself.  Sam Mikulak's ever-ready smile and his look that seems to read, " did I ever get so lucky as to be here??"  And Jake Dalton with his gargantuan cheering section.  (Seriously...they have matching t-shirts and everything, and they are proud and LOUD.  Boy do they love their brother/son/nephew/cousin/friend Jake.)  They are ALL tremendous athletes...and every bit as good as the Fab Five women's team.  They are better than what the world got to see.  A few things that came to mind as I watched the competition.  First and foremost, pressure is a beast!  Can you even imagine what that must feel like?  But also, keep this in mind...the girls only have to compete on 4 events.  The men?  They have to be perfect at 6.  And last, I think the competition was more stiff in the men's events than the women's.  Not to diss the world's greatest women gymnasts and not to try and make excuses....but in all seriousness, I truly believe that our USA men were going up against harder competition than our USA women.  Just my opinion.
(A few pics from the 2012 Winter Cup in Las Vegas this past February.  Jonathan Horton stopping his workout to give Brandon an autograph and congratulate him on his 3rd place win, Danell Leyva on pommel, John Orozco on pommel and Jake Dalton on high bar.  Sadly, no Sam Mikulak....although Brandon did meet him and get his autograph.)

Okay...enough of that.
For the record...just a few more quick (and random) things that caught my attention over the past few weeks.
1.  Usain Bolt.  He's a runner from Jamaica.  (As if you didn't already know...)  And maybe you already saw this or heard about it....but that man earned my respect in a big, big way.  He was in the middle of an interview with a Spanish journalist when, across the field, the medal ceremony started up for the women's 400 meter dash which was won by American Sanya Richards-Ross.  Keep in mind, Bolt is Jamaican.  This isn't a medal ceremony honoring a fellow countryman.  It's likely not a race that was really even on his radar as important to him personally.  But when the National Anthem started up, he stopped his interview (the journalist had continued to yammer on) and signaled to the reporter that they should be respectful of the moment....and then watched in silence till the anthem was done.  Then and only then did he continue on with his interview.  Wow.  I'm sure I wasn't the only new fan Bolt gained that day.  (Also...apparently his last name really is Bolt.  I'd wondered if he changed it when he became a runner.  What a fortuitous last name!)  :)

2.  Did anyone else see Misty May-Treaner's and Kerri Walsh-Jennings' gold medal beach volleyball game?  Okay, admission....I really couldn't care less about beach volleyball.  The powers-that-be at NBC seemed to think that we were all at the edge of our seats waiting anxiously to see if Misty and Kerri could turn this Olympics into a gold medal three-peat.  (Who knows...maybe most people were.)  What it meant for me was that in waiting for gymnastics coverage...we watched a lot of beach volleyball.  Whatever.  What DID stick with me....Kerri's run over to the spectator stands to find her husband after that final gold medal winning point...and him lifting her completely up off the ground below and into the stands with him as they celebrated together.  Because this victory wasn't just Misty's and Kerri's.  The sacrifice and support of their families meant that it was every bit their victory as well.  And how sweet was that hug??
3.  I kind of really loved that the British Royals were so hugely involved with the Olympics and with rooting their countrymen on.  

4.  And last but not least, I absolutely adored this Sears commercial.  Seriously.  I tried to fast forward through the commercials as much as possible but somehow I ended up seeing this in its entirety.  And I was so surprised...and laughed SO hard....that I had to immediately rewind it so I could watch it again.  Three times.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spaghetti for one

The older girls are at a church activity.  The younger girl is asleep on the couch.  And father and son stopped for burgers on the way home from gymnastics.  Which means....spaghetti for only moi.  And that's okay because my homemade spaghetti (my mom's recipe, really) is my most favorite of all comfort foods.  Not that I really need comfort today.  It's been a good day, actually.  But I'm feeling all sorts of cozy, contented and domestic as I putter around my (but NOT pregnant, thankfully).  I love my kitchen.  It's so pretty and functional.  So when I throw on my apron so as to not get my new cute little summery sundress dirty, turn on some music (today...Claude Bolling's Suite for Orchestra and Jazz Piano) and start throwing together feels really good.  (Do you listen to music while you cook?  It's rare that I don't have something playing.  And though I have a fairly varied playlist...when I cook I usually prefer classical.  Well that, or Broadway show tunes.  Not sure why.)  

I've discovered something.  Maybe some of you know that cooking hasn't ever been my favorite thing.  Oh, in the past 19 years I've become fairly decent at it.  I just don't love it.  But in my quest to try and make family time an essential part of our day, I've realized that there is a difference between "cooking" and "making dinner."  Making dinner revolves around family time, not just frying chicken or mashing potatoes.  And therefore, somehow I'm finding I actually enjoy it all when it's wrapped up in the thought of serving my family rather than seeing it as nothing more than just a chore to be done.  And so it's the cooking, yes, but more than that, it's also the prep work leading up to the meal...the menu building and grocery shopping and even down to setting the table.  All of it so when we sit down together, all six of us at the dinner table I feel like we're being fed more than just physically...the togetherness being just as important as the actual meal.  Kind of interesting how a different perspective can change so much, yes?    

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Foam is the new mud!"

Brandon brought home the flyer in mid-May.  "Mom!  Mrs. G told us in class today that she is doing this race in the summer. She said she thought you might be interested and that she wants you to be on her team."  Volunteering in Brandon's 5th grade class every Tuesday meant that his teacher and I had become good friends.  (Julianne had her for 5th grade as well.)  She'd already been trying for months to convince me to come to bikram yoga (aka: hot yoga) with her.  I'm a fan of yoga....but hot yoga where the temps hover around 105 degrees...on purpose?  I think there is a good chance she would have to catch me as I passed out from the heat.

But this Foam piqued my interest.  A 5k filled with obstacles...many of them wrapped around foam, mud and water.  I hadn't ever done an obstacle course before.  So after thinking on it awhile, I signed myself up on Franki's team...the newest member of the "TransFOAMers."

I have to admit, my nerves flared the closer this race got.  Stemming from the fact that I hadn't done much running since Ragnar ended, certainly.  But mostly, fear of the unknown.  Oh, I knew that this race was more about silly fun than anything and that likely I'd have no real problems conquering any obstacle they threw at me.  But I was running on a team where I only knew 2 of my 6 teammates....and more than that, I had no idea where I would fit in ability wise.  Could I keep up with them?  Would I end up running this race on my own?

My fears were for naught.  I fit in just fine.  And as we conquered all the obstacles, we cheered each other on...and laughed.  Frequently and hard.  Among those many obstacles, we climbed up and over 8 foot walls and cargo nets.  We army crawled under electrified wire.  We crawled through mud and slipped and slid our way through numerous obstacles filled with foam.  We ran across the water on thin foam pads.  We clambered over huge tubes in a lake.  When I crossed that finish line I was soaking wet, my shoes were filled with rocks, I had bruises in odd places and my knees were shaking (which they continued to do for the next few hours.)  It had been challenging, to be sure.  But what ridiculous FUN!!  

(More pics to come when Franki sends me the ones from her camera...hopefully soon!)      

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

You're reading what???

For some weird, odd reason Brandon has decided to read my old journals.  Now lest you misunderstand...I DID think those journals would be read by my children some day.  But I kind of assumed it would be when I was dead.  And by my daughters.  Because really, isn't it usually girls that are more into that kind of thing?  Maybe?

But my 11-year old son?  And he didn't even start from the beginning.  He just jumped right into the middle of 9th grade.  And when I say middle...I don't mean the middle of my one an only journal.  Because boy howdy, was I ever a journal writer!  By the middle I mean, he picked one out in the middle of the many.  Kind of like starting with book 4 in a 10 book series.  Maybe he didn't care about my elementary years.  Maybe it was just the first one his little fingers grabbed hold of, I don't know.  But he's fascinated with that thing.  He laughs and laughs...and keeps reading me bits and pieces.  As if I don't already know the story.

Last night as I was making dinner he was teasing me about how detailed I was in describing my trip to Rockin' R Ranch in Antimony, Utah for Youth Conference.  "Eight pages, Mom!  You took eight pages to describe just the first day!!"  To which I (somewhat defensively) responded with various comments revolving around how obviously I must've really wanted to remember the event, and how much I clearly liked writing.

Hmm.  I guess it's no surprise I turned into a blogger as an adult, yeah?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Late night, date night

I was tired and my stomach was feeling slightly unsettled.  Bryan was trying to put the finishing touches on his gospel doctrine lesson for Sunday School the next day.  But Ryan was a good natured way.  He wanted sushi.  We had piqued his interest with talk of a VIP 1/2 off special at Happy Sumo after 9:00 on Saturday.  We don't see Mary and Ryan much, being that they live in Idaho.  Plus, they had convinced Melissa and Scott to come as well.  So we spruced up a bit, put Julianne in charge of her younger siblings and drove to the Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City to meet up with my two sisters and their husbands for a late date night.

I'm so glad we did!  That the food was excellent was not a surprise.  I crave sushi anytime of the day or night and sushi from Happy Sumo is my favorite.  Unsettled stomach or no, I downed my fair share of the 3 appetizers and 10 different rolls we ordered.  But beyond the food, the company was stellar!  We segregated, funny enough, with the sisters on one end and the brothers-in-law at the other...but there were only 6 of us so conversation was easy any way we wanted to spin it.  Seeing as it was after 9:00 at night, we chose to sit outside.  The sparkly lights making it just bright enough to see our menus, the outside temperatures delightfully comfortable and a fairly decent guitar player just a bit away playing background was a perfect evening.    

Melissa's comment summed up the experience nicely..."How nice not to feel like a Utah mom for an evening!"  I laughed, because I'm sure she didn't mean to infer that being a Utah mom was a bad thing. Just that it was nice to step out of normal for a few hours.