Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bottling sleep

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could bottle sleep?" said Julianne as she prepared for a late night of homework with a subsequent earlier-than-usual morning wake-up call a few hours later. During the summer, she said....morning after morning of sleeping late. She wished it were possible to bottle that extra sleep to stock up and save for those times during the school year when she needed to get through those long nights of math homework and essay writing or mornings where she is required to be at the school by 6:30AM for a rehearsal or meeting.

Or how about a sleep factory? Where people are employed to sleep...and you could purchase bottles of zzzzz's to supplement your own. Can you imagine it? I mean, I'm assuming the sleep factory would have to be rather particular about who they hired. After all, if it is sleep they are after, insomniacs clearly need not apply. And they'd want to offer a quality product so restless sleepers like me who toss and turn all night long would likely not get hired either...

But what about dreaming? Aren't those kind of crucial to our well being? Supposedly dreaming assists our body with rest and rejuvenation but also in a psychological way, our dreams help reduce stress by reexamining the day's events and shifting through thoughts while we sleep. Some believe that the symbolism of our dreams are how our minds subconsciously communicate with us. If we bought bottled sleep, would we be viewing the dreams of someone else? How potentially confusing would that be for our psyches?

Maybe rather than bottle sleep we should find a way to bottle time so we could spend more of it on sleep when needed. Or perhaps just borrow one of those fancy time turners from Harry Potter...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quiet vs Silence

I had to write a paper for a class once, I think it was in college, about sound. I can't remember if it was for a music appreciation class, or possibly english or maybe science? The gist of the assignment was to try and find silence and then write about the experience. The point likely being that we are surrounded by sound always, many times not even realizing it. Back ground noise, white noise, stuff you just tune out. Quiet is achievable but complete silence is hard to find. Of course you are going to hear and notice the honk of the car picking up the neighbor kid for school, the music coming from your son's downstairs bedroom, the chatter on the TV, the cows mooing in the field behind your house, your daughter's mindless whistling of the same tune over and over again.

I think we are pretty good at tuning certain sounds out, once we get used to them. I can be completely oblivious to electronic game music from the iPad, our 5 chirping parakeets, even the aforementioned whistling. To escape this noise Bryan frequently has to take refuge in his man cave. That being said, he is able to sleep right through the noise of a crying baby in the middle of the night, or the continuous chirping of a smoke detector with a battery that needs to be changed...sounds that get my attention immediately.

My point is....quiet is achievable and oftentimes desirable. But silence is frequently broken by such tuned-out, previously unnoticeable things such as the house settling, a creak in the floorboards as you walk down the hall, water running through the pipes, a car driving past an outside window....if you really take the time to listen.

Today my house seems quiet. I am home alone and have not turned on the radio or TV. The dishwasher is not running, I'm not tumble drying any loads of laundry. But my house is not silent. Besides the tap, tap, tap of my fingers on the keyboard as I type this, I hear a constant hum. From my bedroom upstairs it's mostly white noise. But it sounds a bit like the engine of an airplane or cruise ship. Downstairs the sound is much louder, to the point of having to raise my voice if I were to try and talk to anyone.

There are ten industrial fans plugged into various outlets and blowing air into two bedrooms, the hallway and the storage room. When the irrigation water was turned on by the city and released into our sprinkler pipes yesterday, a pipe in the manifold next to Julianne's basement bedroom cracked under the pressure, and we ended up with untold gallons of water leaking under the window, seeping down the walls and spreading throughout the bedroom and into the hall. A disaster recovery company arrived a few hours later and in their wake left said fans to dry things out.

It's not an irritating noise. It's a sound I can mostly tune out from upstairs. But its constant engine like hum is indeed ever present. I'm sure the sound is masking other noises I would normally be hearing...sounds from outside, the creaking floorboards, etc. Maybe these fans, despite the sound they are making, are causing me to have an even quieter day than I would normally...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

a 14-year old Brandon

His birthday was a Thursday. And even though I offered to take him to breakfast or lunch on his big day and let him miss a bit of school, he refused. Wanted to hang out with his friends. Nor was he willing to miss his gymnastics workout that evening. How's a mom to celebrate?

Well, this for starters.
And this was actually Plan B. Plan A had me forking all these balloons into the front lawn. A sea of color bobbing ever so slightly in the breeze. Except the breeze was more stiff than was helpful. And the grass was so dry from our winter-that-wasn't that the blades of grass kept popping the balloons! So I frantically relocated all the balloons into his room and taped them to his ceiling. And realistically, it probably looked better there than it would've had Plan A actually worked out. 

But just so I still had something waiting for him outside when he came home from school....
...I chalked up the driveway with an enormous Happy Birthday Brandon message. I'm sure my neighbors were wondering what on earth I was doing...reverting back to childhood perhaps...making chalk pictures like my 7-year old. (And when she came home, she was so delighted with the whole thing she spent the next hour adding to my creations and making them that much more colorful and creative. Thanks, Lilian.)

I sent three dozen donuts to gym with Brandon to share with his teammates in honor of his big birthday. And then when he came home there were enchiladas and a big chocolate oreo cake per his request waiting for him. We weren't able to eat birthday dinner and open presents until 10:00...but the birthday boy is worth waiting up late for. 

He's a good kid, this son of mine. He gives awesome hugs, even to his mom, almost every day. He is not shy about telling me how much he loves me. And he talks to me...shares with me his ups and downs, girl stories and gym workout stories and how his classes are going. He asks questions and takes my advice. I'm a lucky mom.

Around the World in Sadie Days

Julianne asked her good friend Isaac to Sadie Hawkins this year. Isaac and Julianne met at CentreStage Theatre and have been in many shows together over the years. The two of them also tend to be duet buddies and have sung together a few different times for various events.

Isaac answered Julianne by setting our street on fire. Yep. As I was putting Lilian to bed, I saw movement out her darkened window and realized that this must be Julianne's Sadie's answer. But having learned my lesson from accidentally interrupting Julianne being asked to Sweethearts a month earlier, I kept this news to myself and continued to peek covertly. Isaac and his buddy spent some time doing something on our front porch and then down the driveway before ending in the street near the gutter. I could not figure out what they were doing until everything got lit. And then I heard the doorbell ring....

The poster on the front porch said: "The Sadies Dance will be a blast! To see my answer, hurry fast! This answer looks best at it in the FIRELIGHT!"
Sprinkled around the poster were bunches of starburst candies and a few tea lights with more leading down the steps and driveway out to this...
Isn't that awesome? Julianne was absolutely delighted. Apparently it was hand sanitizer that he painted on the street and lit on fire. It looked so cool!

Everyone in their Sadie's group except for one were theatre geeks...and that one could've been in terms of personality so they all got along great. They had their day activity at our house....making personal pizzas and then building a blanket fort in the basement to watch movies in. From down the hall Bryan and I could hear them listening to a musical theatre playlist as they were cooking and having conversations that revolved around such thing as how amazing Lady Gaga's performance at the Emmy Awards was where she sang that medley from Sound of Music, etc. Bryan and I both laughed....Bryan with a bit of an eye roll and me with more of a fist pump/"you know it!!" sort of attitude.

Before the dance they stopped at the park for pictures....
 Abby and Dillon, Lance and Alyssa, Isaac and Julianne, Liz and Jordan

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


When people ask me what my favorite color is, I usually struggle a bit before giving on an answer. I can never decide on just one favorite and on any given day, my answer will likely be different than the one before. Sometimes I go through phases. A few years ago I was enamored of turquoise blue. Apple green often tends to be a top contender. But occasionally orange will pop out. Or yellow. Or red. I really can't make up my mind. Sometimes the dazzling blue of a fall sky, the creamsicle orange of a sunset, the perfect red of a ripe tomato...just so beautiful it almost hurts. Colors in all their shades and hues, I am a fan.

Home decor in clean, crisp, white and gold is very popular right now...couches, cabinetry, accent tables, linens. It is incredibly beautiful, but it's not my style. I want pops of color my throw pillows and rugs, the lamp on my bedside table, the spines of books on the shelves, the art on the walls, the holiday/seasonal decor. I also love my dark wood that feels cozy and grand and reminiscent of libraries.

When getting dressed this morning I picked a pair of brown corduroy pants and a long sleeved cream-colored sweater to wear. It's raining today, and chilly. Truth be told, even if the sky was bright blue with sun shining and temperatures very warm and spring-like, I'd still likely be wearing neutrals rather than bright colors. Strangely enough despite my love affair with color, the same does not hold true of the clothes I dress myself in each day. And though my closet does have color in it, my go-to's are grey, navy blue, black, white and cream. Every now and again I'll add a pop of color with shoes, a cardigan or a scarf. I feel like on most days I dress stylishly, but almost always in those same neutral colors.

Why is that?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Four bedrooms

It's spring break. Because Rebekah at USU does not have time off this week and because Julianne is in Disneyland performing with CentreStage Theatre, that leaves four of us. And because Bryan has deadlines and Brandon hates to miss gymnastics, we did not plan any sort of spring break get-away. And truth be told, with all the traveling we did last year, the idea of relaxing at home was kind of a nice one, you know? So it's been a quiet week for us. Most of our neighborhood is gone and it feels a bit like a ghost town. My Instagram and Facebook accounts are overflowing with pictures of spring break adventures. Disneyland, Hawaii, NY, Oregon, St. George, San Diego, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas....just to name a few.

But beyond living vicariously through my friends and neighbors, I've been trying to spend my time doing some cleaning and various projects that I've been putting off for awhile. Spring cleaning for spring break? Not quite as exciting as travel, maybe...but still satisfying. I had wanted to dig into my yard work this week but the weather isn't being quite as cooperative as I had hoped.

So before I climb back up on my ladder to change some more lightbulbs and continue dusting my ceiling fans, here are a couple of pictures I took yesterday. I found myself in and out of each of my children's rooms multiple times, putting things away and was struck by the variety. I mean, of course they are going to have different styles of decor. They are four distinctly different people and their bedrooms are their sanctuaries. Different personalities, different things they are involved in or interested in.
But, here....look at this.

Rebekah's room doesn't get used as much seeing as she spends more of her time in her Logan apartment right now. But that Union Jack hanging in her bedroom represents the excitement of her upcoming LDS mission to London in 6 weeks.

Julianne hung those hearts up on her wall back in February. In honor of Valentines Day and her birthday which go hand in hand seeing they are just a few days apart. She hasn't taken them down, mostly I think because she is a big fan of love and romance any time of year.

The walls of Brandon's room are plastered with gymnastics ribbons, medals, plaques and pictures. But right now the ceiling is also covered in balloons because his birthday was last week. We're conducting an see how long it takes for them to shrivel. We count a few new ones each evening.

Lilian's room is a pig sty. We're just waiting for her to grow a curly tail and start oinking. Either that or a phone call from the reality show Hoarders. But see that pink Christmas tree? Each of the kids have one in different colors. It's supposed to just come out during the month of December. But she refuses to let me store it in the basement when Christmas is over and has had it sitting on her dresser, lights on 24/7 for a good year and 4 months. It's more or less turned into her nightlight. And she sometimes hangs various things from it...necklaces and other such decor. Right now she's got an Easter bunny and chick tucked in there. Luckily the rest of her room is pink and purple so the pink tree matches at least in color if not in season.