Wednesday, May 17, 2017

There Goes My Baby

And just like that, she went and turned 12.

We had a (relatively) quiet birthday at home this year. Kentucky Fried Chicken, (her choice for dinner), a couple of good friends, grandma and grandpa, family, cake presents and ice cream. 

I always feel a slight pang of guilt when a birthday passes without a huge blowout of a party that exhausts me, destroys my house, deflates my budget and overwhelms my child. Quiet family birthdays leave me feeling like an under-performing parent. I have to keep the pep talk going in my head- my kids have had a LOT of big birthday parties- way more than I ever had- and their childhood will not be ruined by a few quiet birthdays at home without Disney princesses and chocolate fountains. But the struggle is real, and I quietly fight with myself all day about it.

Enough about that. On to what really matters, which is that my baby  is 12, soon to be a Primary graduate and Sand Springs Elementary graduate. We are moving on to Young Womens, Jr. High, mascara and shaved legs. Zoinks.

She sure is a good kid though. She is kind, hard working, funny, thoughtful, loyal, loving, artistic and introspective. Some days I am sure that she is the one to finally finish off my sanity, but most days, she is also the one to restore it.   Parenting a daughter is not for the faint of heart, but my oh my it is an adventure.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pretzels and Lemonade

Well, our second screenless Saturday has come and gone. When Olivia found out that this was going to be an every week occurrence, I thought she might just melt into a little puddle of despair and rage right there on the floor of her bedroom. She thought it was only going to be a one week deal.   After a few moments of turmoil, she pulled it together though. Today we did a little yard work, ( I fixed the lawn mower all by myself) planted the larkspur seeds I got at Mt. Vernon last year, wrote letters to Will and made pretzels. The pretzels were a huge success. Even Duncan got in on the making and rolling and shaping of them, and we all had a good time. We even boiled them in a baking soda bath before baking them, and they turned out really good.  Next Saturday, I'm thinking bagels.

This week, Duncan acquired the skill of making lemonade. He is quite proud of his lemonade, and gets miffed if  you drink some without complimenting him on how good it is. We make it with water, lemon juice and sugar, none of the artificial powdered crap for us health nuts. Maybe having nice cold lemonade around will help me conquer my diet coke habit, IF I ever decide I want to conquer it. Because I totally could. If I wanted to. Which I don't.

Audrey. Oh Audrey. She needs a job. She needs 300 bucks by the end of the month. If I wasn't going to Paris, I could help her out a little, but since I am taking her to Paris with me, I am fresh out of extra 300 dollars. She took the AP test on Friday though, so maybe now that she doesn't have to study as much,  she can find a job. Maybe she can sell Duncan's lemonade. Maybe she can sell pretzels.  I hate money. I just really hate money. I hate never having any of it.

Olivia and I have taken up running together, have I mentioned that yet? And by "taken up running", I mean we have been running twice, for a grand total of 16 minutes. Hey, we gotta start somewhere right? I am going to get that girl in shape for 7th grade gym if it kills me. Or her. I am certain that if one of us dies in training, it will be me. It almost happened tonight. She decided on the spur of the moment to just suddenly stop running and then to step right in front of me. I was still running, and crashed into her, narrowly missing splaying my old body all over the road and breaking both ankles.  First rule of running learned: Keep running, and if you stop, move away from the person behind you who is still running.  She does make me run faster though, which will be good for me. I bet with her, I can finally break that 15 minute mile mark. Hey, I'm old. My goals are simple.

 And when I got home tonight after our 8 minute run, I had a nice cold glass of delicious lemonade, for which I expressed my profound gratitude to Duncan.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Screenless Saturday

As the self appointed CEO of this joint, I made a spur of the moment executive decision while lying in bed at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, wondering why I wasn't sleeping in.  I decided that Saturdays around here, from this point on, will be known as screenless Saturdays. This simply means that from Saturday morning until 7pm  Saturday night, there will be no video games, no tablets, no Facebook, no computers, no TV, no cell phone gazing and grazing.  No screens, all day Saturday.

For many many years, Saturday was the day the boys looked forward to for playing video games. They usually didn't play much if at all during the week, but on Friday nights and Saturdays after chores were done, video games were pretty much free reign. And that worked pretty good when they were in school. But somewhere along the way, with the addition of cell phones and tablets, and WiFi, and Netflix, our screen time got ridiculously out of control. Week nights are spent in front of our various electronic devices, sometimes working and sometimes playing, but they are always on. And Saturdays have become the worst. Dan goes downstairs and plays video games, Duncan is upstairs playing video games, Olivia is squirreled away in her room on her tablet or at the computer, and I am glued to my phone. Audrey is the least offending, but she does have a ton of homework, and she does a lot of writing on her laptop.

In all honestly, most weeknights, I don't have the energy to fight it. We are all tired, and when we get everything done, we all just want to veg out for a few hours, and that is okay. But Saturdays should be a day when we get a few things done, or at least acknowledge the existence of our family members. Hence, screenless Saturdays.

To my surprise, nobody even balked that much. I mean, it was only the first week, so I'm not holding my breath. But the first one was pretty successful. Dan was a handyman machine, got Audrey's car fixed, and the lawn edged and trimmed. Duncan worked until one, and he was kinda bummed that he couldn't come home and escape to his games. He survived though. He helped Dan get the lawnmower fixed. Olivia and I went to Wendy's and hung out at the mall together. She wore lipstick for the first time too, so that was exciting. Audrey was at youth conference all day. After dinner, Olivia suggested we go see Lego Batman together. It was a nice Saturday. We will see what next week brings.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Junior Prom- April 15, 2017

Can I get just a small hallelujah choir in the background please?

 I have just completed the last but certainly not the least of several large and hairy projects that have been congealing on my plate for the past six weeks. They were all terribly boring, time consuming, tree destroying things that suck your soul and your will to live. You know, like taxes and passport applications and work certifications. Medical crap.  All that dumb adult stuff I somehow got sucked into without ever realizing it.

Anyhow, as far as I know, it is all DONE, for the moment at least. So now I can finally get around to the important stuff, like posting Audrey's junior prom pictures.

We were like, the most awesome host family ever, and when we heard that Nicole really wanted to go to prom while she was here, Audrey arranged a date for her with our neighbor Jake, who was pretty cool to agree to go to prom with a girl he had never met. Jake goes to a different high school, whose prom was on a different night, so there was no interference there.  He even delivered the cute poster to officially ask her, and then she got to answer him by delivering a poster and candy to his doorstep. That was a fun night.

We had to get a shot of the back 'do's, courtesy of the talented Nikki. Nikki the hairdresser neighbor, that is, who should not  be confused with Nicole the German.

This picture makes it look like Audrey has a red corsage, but no, hers is the really pretty white one with a hint of purple. She had an odd colored, although lovely, dress and her date Zach did a great job of matching it.

I know I'm a little biased, but I think these two are the cutest couple there, especially the girl.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Lull

Audrey pointed out the other day that it had been over 50 days since I updated this old beast of a blog. She knew this because my last post was about Will being gone 130 days, and we are now past the 180 day mark. Yes, it has been quite the extended break in our little world.

It's rather Twilight Zone-ish that he has been gone six months and is 1/4 of the way through. For your kid's whole life you think about those two years he will spend on a mission. As it gets closer, you start to count down how long you have left before he leaves. But you never spend much time thinking about what it will be like while he is gone. And suddenly here we are, smack dab in the middle of this time that we planned for and thought about for so long. It is weird that time is really passing, he is really out there tooling around the streets of Mexico, and these are his mission days. We just better buckle up and enjoy every moment of the ride, because it's already starting to seem like quite a fast one.

We have not been sitting around pining however. Life keeps happening here too, and while I for sure can't catch up on all the comings and goings of the past 50 + days, I will attempt to make a small accounting.

Duncan is a working man again. He got a part time job at McDonalds, making fries. And he is a substitute custodian for the school district, so he gets called in last minute to cover when regular custodians don't show. He is happy to be working again and is looking forward to a paycheck coming in one day soon.

Audrey, in addition to our big Paris trip coming up in June is also going to New York City in August with a group from her school theatre club. She has been busy working her tail off to earn money for this adventure She has been selling cookies and brownies, babysitting, and now has a temp job at a store that is closing. She has to earn another 300 bucks by the end of May. Yikes.

And perhaps our biggest news of the month is the arrival and departure of this kid:

 who came to stay with us from Germany as an exchange student for three weeks. In three weeks she managed to wrangle herself right into the middle of our family, going from complete stranger to adopted daughter and sister in 21 short days.

Nicole and Audrey hit it off right away. While she was here, she experienced Walmart, Zion National Park and Las Vegas, the mall, Target, Del Taco, Park City, Logan, Cedar Fort, Red Dot shooting range, the spiral jetty, junior prom, bagels, general conference, high school, school buses, Dr. Strange, Hot Topic, and so much more. She left for Germany last Friday, and we are all still recovering, but we have plans to meet for lunch in Paris for a grand reunion.

I have tons more pictures of all of the many adventures that happened, but we must pace ourselves on this the first day of blogging in so long.  Suffice it to say we really liked our German.
 We all bawled when it was time to see her off. I'm getting kind of tired of taking people to the airport and telling them goodbye. I'm going to look forward to picking people up at the airport. Or better yet, being the one to leave.

Which leads me right into  a nice segue of our next trip to California, planned for a few weeks from now, in which we will go to Alisa's graduation and then pack her and Erwann and two cats up and move them to Utah! Yeehaw!

Friday, March 3, 2017

130 Down

Here is a screen shot of the missionary app I use to track Will's time in Mexico. Today, as you can see was a momentous occasion when we hit the 600 days to go mark. 130 days gone, 600 more until he comes home.

That sounds like a lot of days.

 It's odd how in some ways, it seems like last week that he was here and we were so busy running around and getting everything ready for him to leave, and in other ways, it feels like he has been gone FOREVER. It also feels like the more days we get underneath our belts, the faster the days are going.

I am still determined to not wish this time away. It will go fast enough. Life is good. We shall savor the moment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jackpot Times Six

I'm pretty sure that everybody in the world has at least a few things in their life that did not turn out the way they wanted or expected.  I have my fair share of those bothersome things, and the older I get, the more I realize that some of them are just not going to change, no matter how much I dislike them. I am also really good at dwelling on all of those things I have not, and feeling sorry for myself.

Today though, it hit me hard that there is one big part of my life where I got everything I hoped for and more.

I have great kids.

 Whatever areas it shorted me in, Life was kind enough to bestow upon me six terrific kids.  More than anything else, I always wanted a herd of kids, and that is exactly what I got. The older they all get, the more I just really like them. Every single one of them. I wish I could take more credit for what wonderful people they are, but I really can't. They mostly just came that way. I will take some credit for the fact that none of them are ax murderers, but beyond that, I think I really just got lucky.

They are kind, intelligent, level headed, hard working, thoughtful, funny, honest, motivated, and of course, beautiful. Right now, they are all doing exceptionally well, achieving great things, and giving me much about which to brag and boast. I have been a parent long enough to know that I could wake up tomorrow and all six of them could be in dire straits. But no matter what happens tomorrow, I have six good, decent human beings on my side. What else could a girl ask for?