Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Best Day So Far

We spent a wonderful morning helping Betty Kaiser to decorate her house. It involved carrying in all the trimmings from her very tidy shop and then setting them up. We got to look at some of Lowell's treasures out there--his unfinished wood projects, his 24 karat gold- plated tool set given him from Chrysler for his years of hard work and integrity, his perfectly organized workplace. The morning was sprinkled with stories of Lowell.

Once all the decorations were carried in, we paused for some more stories. Betty really recognizes the many ways the Lord has taken care of her family through the years. It makes me more aware of the small miracles in our own family.

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Posted by PicasaOur morning ended with singing. Betty loves Bruce--really everything about him. I think one of her favorite things on earth is to hear him sing. We all joined in on a few.
I can't describe how much I've loved this Christmas. We haven't spent a single day shopping. We plan to wait until the last minute, see how things turn out with Bruce's prospective job, and then buy a few things accordingly. Our children understand and are fine with it. Normally, I think I'd be sad about the situation, but this year I've felt complete peace. It's been all about people--our loved ones coming, little simple opportunities to serve, stories every night together. Finally, after all these years of trying to capture that illusive Christmas spirit, I've discovered it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas is Coming!

The tree is trimmed, the halls are decked. Now we have to wait. I've never been more excited to see everyone.

Did I mention that we painted the kitchen? It's so pretty and it really adds to all the Christmas things. The problem of course is that I want to keep painting and painting now and never stop til every room is done.

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Thanksgiving would have been a lonely thing around here if not for Mikelle. She breezed into town for a few days and made us all happy. Dinner was divine. Brian and Mikelle made the pumpkin pie entirely alone! And it was perfect. The boys were a bit sore after a very rugged Turkey Bowl, but aside from that, the day was joyous.

After eating, we just left the dishes on the table and watch Up. We knew that since we had barely made a dent in dinner, we'd want it all readily available in a couple of hours.

In the evening, we went to the Carters for snacks and games. It's becoming a tradition to do that and I love it. We noticed though, that even though Jessica and Mikelle were home, the crowd seemed sparse. Can't wait for Christmas when the masses will arrive and every day is a party.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

The spelling test

Peter had his first spelling test. We practiced his words before school and I found his practice board later in the day. Isn't it cute? I'm pleased to report that he got a perfect score. He even remembered to capitalize "Gordon" on the real test. Why is "Gordon" on his spelling test anyway? I don't know, but Peter knows how to spell it.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

First Snow

Today it is snowing. It is just so beautiful. All those tamarack needles that we've battled with are covered with a clean white sheet. It seems like a blank slate. I'm feeling that way personally to. Today I met with a vocational counselor and we made a tentative plan for my future. She doesn't know me or the myriad of conflicting feelings I'm having. The room was so cold that she was sipping hot water to stay warm. Not enough body fat. I was feeling awkward about my age and my whole pathetic story. But we skimmed right over that part. We went straight to sorting through the various careers I might be good at and one seemed to crystalize as we talked. An Occupational Therapist. A two year program that will result in a career with rewarding work, great pay and high demand. She feels that my years as a mother have prepared me with the patience and compassion that the job will demand. I will be helping people whose mental or physical handicaps stop them from being independent. I will teach them skills that will allow them to function without help in their everyday lives. There are a great many unanswered questions--how I will pay for the education--can I do the math?--will Bruce be well enough and do well enough to support us?--how will it affect the most precious things in my life--my children? The snow contiues to fall. So slowly and yet so thoroughly changing the landscape. For just a few hours, before it starts to melt, I won't think about the unfinished chores underneath. I'll just enjoy its whiteness and its simplicity.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Cat Tale

Does anything distinguish a home as "white trash" more than having 52 cats on the porch? I think not. And yet, here I am! In my defense, three of these cats were dumped off at the end of our driveway--the three good ones. The rest are inbred, disfunctional, obnoxious creatures that migrate between our house and our two neighbors. I only like the black and white one. He runs out to greet me when I drive up and nuzzles my leg and purrs. He's rather inconvenient when my arms are full of groceries, but socially, he gets top billing. I'd like to get rid of all but him. Marielle and Peter, however, know and love each one. They claim that the ones I most despise are the best mousers, which is probably true. But mousers or not, some of them have to go. We've asked around and nobody wants them.

To get rid of these cats, there are a few alternatives. One man in our ward gets out his shotgun when his cat population gets out of hand. Truly I admire his callous and nerve--but I'm not a great shot, and besides, I don't have it in me.

I could do the responsible thing and take them to the Humane Society, where for 25.00 each, I can drive away and never look back. But I don't have an extra 300.00 lying around, so that's out.

OK. So I'm going to tell the world a story that only a select few know. Since few people read this blog and it's mostly for my benefit, I'll cleanse my conscience and just say it. About three or four years ago, I was having a bad day. I don't know. A lot of things had piled up in my life and one of those things was, you got it--cats. Now all of those other things were entirely out of my control, but I knew I could do something about the cats. So I made a plan. These cats were extremely wild and they were lurking everywhere. I knew they had to go, but I had to catch them first. So, I think it was Kristen and Mikelle and I went out one night and spread a blanket on the lawn with about 5 cut up weinies in the center. Cats came from everywhere and while they were madly eating, we each took a corner of the blanket and wrapped them up. No. We didn't suffocate them. We took our clawing, panicked bundle and threw it in the car. (This sounds much easier that it actually was.) Once we had loaded all the cats we could catch that way--and a few we caught individually, we drove into the night--further and further. We didn't want a Homeward Bound story. This had to be final. My heart was pounding because I knew this was about as low-life as a person gets and I was not only doing it, but I was teaching my kids to do it! Finally we found an area--nice and wooded with houses scattered here and there. It was no problem getting the cats to leave. It turned out, they didn't really like the car. They took off like shots in every direction and we slowly drove home. This is the way I rationalized the whole thing: When these strays turned up, the people could call animal control and have them picked up for nothing. So no real harm done. After all, my taxes paid for animal control so, really.... Right or wrong, the three of us took a secret pact never to tell what happened to the cats. Even Bruce was kept in the dark. It was our own crime. We didn't really think anyone would notice since there were still 2 or 3 random cats around. We were eating breakfast the very next morning when Bruce, who was much more invested in the cats than we thought, came in and asked us if we knew where they were. Dead silence. Our pact had not included an explanation so we just shrugged and kept eating, trying not to look at eachother. Eventually, it all blew over.

Posted by PicasaSo here is the question: Do I, or don't I? And do I act alone this time? Hmm...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

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Turkey Shoot Today!

For the third year in a row, Seth has won a turkey at the annual Turkey Shoot. This year, though, was a little different. Yes, that's right. Because this year, Seth was the top shooter out of 100 contestants! Can you believe that? He shot 24 out of 25 clay pigeons. (He missed the last one.) So besides the usual turkey, he won this prestegious and very Deer Park "Wild Turkey Federation" hat and a Buck Knife--his new pride and joy.

"Home is the hunter...home from the hills" and it's turkey dinner tomorrow!
I wish I could capture the beautiful carpet of tamarack needles that covers our driveway. Not just the driveway, but the patio, the trampoline, the garden, the lawn. They are so lovely outside...AND SO MISERABLE INSIDE. We sweep and sweep and sweep but they are impossible! I think it's the one thing that could make me anticipate snow.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Hospital Stay

For the past couple of weeks, Bruce has noticed that the slightest things have worn him out--walking up stairs or up the driveway. He kept saying that something was wrong but I thought he was just letting himself go a bit--no exercise, poor eating habits. Monday, he decided to see a doctor. Fortunately for us, the doctor wasn't as casual about the whole thing as I was. He ordered some tests which led to some x-rays, which revealed that Bruce had 4 large blood clots in his lungs! He was immediately admitted to the hopital and put on blood-thinners while a search began for the source of the clotting. His legs were normal, his heart seemed great, the cause is still unknown.
Today, he comes home and will have to inject his own blood-thinners. As the truth of the situation descends upon me, I am so grateful that he is alive! Any one of the clots could have killed him very quickly. In fact, Sister Marge Barnes, our beloved friend and ward member, passed away a few days ago from this exact condition. The other challenges we're facing right now pale in comparison when I consider my life without Bruce. I think I'll take better care of him. We're all so excited to have him back home with us.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009


Eric and Andy came out to watch Seth's last game. Look at that adorable giraffe and zebra--the cutest kids in town!

Brian made a major haul. That's right....ten pounds of candy! He and his friends trick-or-treated for almost three hours in a carefully selected neighborhood. The best part? He was fasting. Yes, he and Seth both went to fun, food-filled Halloween parties while fasting. It was hard, they admit, but they made it. Brian brought home an "Arizona" (his favorite drink) for after his fast.

...and we're still fasting of course. Can you imagine being Peter? The great test of self-denial. Seth is counting the Snickers....38.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

My favorite costume of the day

Can you believe this Christmas Tree costume? It had battery-operated lights and a star on top. Don't you love the Christmas present slippers? Wow. It was really cute.

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Halloween Party and Parade

After Marielle's school, I helped with Peter's party. He was so happy to see me, introduce me, show me all the points of interest and take me with him on the "tour every classroom in the school" parade. His teacher is a lot of fun and seems to appreciate Peter for all the right reasons.

This guy is not Peter's teacher--just another teacher
in the grand parade. But I loved his costume--especially for him. It's rare that people find the perfect costume for themselves but Peter and I agreed that this could have been Fred Flintstone himself.

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Boo-ography Day

I visited the school today to hear Marielle's boo-ography--an educational twist on Halloween. Marielle made an adorable and very poised Mother Teresa. Classrooms full of students, parents and teachers came through and each fifth-grader rattled off a little spiel about "themselves." I loved how Marielle looked people right in the eye. Mother Teresa herself would have been pleased.

Mother Teresa and Laura Ingalls Wilder (Carrie Attridge) pose for pictures.
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About Me

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There are no joys to compare with family. The experiences and feeling associated with family run so deep. Little moments are filled with meaning. They are the people who know us best and who we know best and who will be forever. This blog is a collection of the experiences that we can remember--the ones that happen on earth. I think our associations began long before and maybe the best is yet to be. Brigham Young says that our mortal experience is dreary compared to what is to come. I'm glad I can't see ahead because my life is anything but dreary. These people are my light and my joy.

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