Monday, April 29, 2013

Is it May Yet??

It's almost May.
Did you know that May is one of my favorite months?
It's warm, but not gross. You can see the finish line for summer break and sleeping in. Birds chirp, trees are green and your heart practically bursts out of your chest every day with how wonderful May is.
I probably post this video every year, but it's always being sung as soon as I step outside and my soul squeals with delight that it is finally May.

I know, Guenevere was a tramp, but you can't blame a girl for getting a little too giddy after being trapped in a cold dark castle all winter long. Okay, you can blame her for that whole Lancelot thing- that was horrible, but I still embrace the careless abandon and barefoot-ness of the month.
I know Spring starts in march, but who are we kidding? You don't actually feel safe from winter until May. May is  a different season- proper.
I'm just a wee bit excited about it.
It had to be said before I could move on with my regular life.
My regular life is moving these days, I'll tell you that.
My email boxes are starting to get peppered with renewal notices- 1 year renewals- for all of the things I signed up for and started when we moved to New Jersey.
The end of May marks one year here.
I know!
One year already. when did that happen? I don't know if I should celebrate or cry. Sometimes I do both.
I've made so many dear new friends, I love our too-small home and our little commuter town that thinks Mormons are some kind of hybrid between Amish and Quaker.
I've had three callings already.
I was ward activities co-chair, then I was Primary first counselor.
I say that because it is in the past tense.
I was released yesterday, so that I can get to work on my new calling:
Second Counselor in the Stake Primary Presidency.
I know!

I have no idea what that even means and what we will be doing. Maggie Cicon, my other Maggie that I love, is the new Stake Primary President. I feel so stinkin' lucky to have an excuse to hang out with her again and call it church work.

I am sad sad sad to not be in our ward Primary every week though. That was very hard for me to face. I cried my eyes out and wondered "When will I get a hug from Jane U? Who will give Ryder Z Werther's candy when he's being sassy and know that he does much better with a sweet than a stern word? Who will sit by Julia T and let her put stickers all over their arms so that she will stay in her seat? Who will put on Axel M's shoes when he takes them off over and over again as he's learning to mainstream into environments with non-disabled kids? Who will pass out the stickers and sneak treats to the rowdy boys in the back row?

I know someone will do those things, and they will do what needs to be done for their time in Primary.
 I think I was actually less concerned that the things would get done and more concerned with how I would miss being the one to do them.

I went in yesterday with a heavy heart, but a smile on my face.
And wouldn't you know it, Jane U could tell I was hurting inside.
I sat in the front as we sang and she looked at me and smiled and I smiled back.
She then leaped from her seat and gave me the biggest hug I think I have ever been given.
That kid sees right into my hear and has a way of knowing when you're scared inside.
I took her sweet little face in my hands and looked her in the eyes and said "Do you know how much I love you? You are so special and such a joy to my heart. I will always be your friend and I will always love you, Jane"
She looked right back at me and said "I know that. You always loved me." and gave me another hug.
I simply can't count high enough to number my many blessings.
Sharing Time went on. Axel took off his shoes and looked to me- he has it in his head that this is something 'we' do and I felt my heart string play a happy note as I got from my chair, sat on the floor and gently put his shoes back on and he kissed the top of my head.
Ryder gave me the 'do you have them?" look and I slipped him one of those sickeningly sweet toffees that I buy just for him,
The back row boys got rowdy and I sat with them and we failed at staying reverent, as we usually do because they are really funny boys.
Then it was over, I put things away, gave the stragglers extra candy and said goodbye to Kuniko, MaryAnn and Natalie, who were trying to figure out who to call for the new counselor.
They can handle it just fine, it's me who will struggle without them every week.
 I was never serving the Primary, it was always serving me.

I'm nervous and intimidated and I have no idea what is next.
 We have 15 units with Primaries and leaders to help take care of. I'll be traveling all over New Jersey and will miss more Sundays in our ward than before, but I'm ready. I can do it  and there is no better month to jump into an adventure and take risks than the lovely month of May.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

dee deee de deee de deeee......
Yesterday when I picked up Romy, she had quite the tale to tell.
"So-- today was awkward!"
"How so?"
" my friend Katie was feeling sad, and thinking nobody liked her and that she was ugly. So, when I was done chasing Sean I went over to talk to her because I realized she was just sitting by herself, sad. I was like, DUDE- you're NOT ugly and I like you and so do other people- besides- if someone doesn't like the way you look, they gotta get their priorities straight!!"
Ah, this child of mine.
 I hope that stays with her.
Please oh please oh please let her keep this truth.
 Please don't fall into this trap that I fell into at 10 years old and have fought to get out of, always believing that what I looked like was who I was. Please let the talks of "we are not our bodies" sink in. Please let her see herself through the heart, as well as humankind.
"Did that help her feel better?"
"Yeah, I think so, she started smiling, so that was cool."
"So, why was that awkward?"
"Well...after we were done talking and the bell rang, I stood up and this big green stretchy tail was stuck to me. I was sitting in GUM!! It was stuck right to my butt! We tried to kind of pick it off, but it got everywhere. When I went to my next class, I told the teacher and she said it probably wasn't that bad, and I turned around and she said 'yep, you need to change!' so i went to the locker room and wore my gym clothes the rest of the day. It was awkward--BUT I got over it. At least it was just gum, not like I pooped my pants or something. THAT would have been way worse."
Have I mentioned lately how much I love this kid?
Life lesson:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Verdict is In.....

And she said.....

Prom Season

Zane asked his good friend to the Mormon Prom.

He wasn't going to go, but we nudged him a little and he decided to go, possibly just to shut me up, but I think he wanted to go, he just needed a nudge.

('s going to be his first date, actually.)
He wanted to make sure that everyone knew that even though it's a date, he and Bethany are just friends. 
No worries, Kid.
Friends are just great when you are 17.
Friends make better dates anyway- no pressure, no crazy expectations and you can just be yourself.

His little sister helped deliver his 'promposal' and now we just wait to see what the answer is.

(She was not the stealthiest helper, but she was cute.)

How is it that it was over 20 years ago when I had my Prom?
I remember it was really lame and I was kind of shocked to see how skimpy so many of the dresses were. 
We were super poor, so I had to borrow a dress from Ladon Whetten. 

It was green satin with black lace and poofy sleeves and a giant bow on the rear.
My hair was like a helmet, I made sure every ringlet was perfect and nothing was going to mess up my 'do.
My date was my boyfreind, Paul. 
I don't think either of us had a really great time, but we both were glad to go. We left early because my best friend was being weird and I just wasn't feeling it.
Also my boobs were being smooshed by that dress, Ladon and I had the same waist size, but not the same chest size. We went back to his house, changed and watched a movie and fell asleep on his sofa together. I didn't have a curfew that night, but I hadn't intended to fall asleep there. 
His mom was very sweet the next morning and knew we were both behaving and we really were just pooped. I can see now, that she was probably very relieved that we were under her roof, watching videos with doors open and family around instead of getting in the kind of trouble so many of our peers did. 
Paul was a good guy, he still is. He's married now with 4 kids to a cutie pie of a girl and he's a hypnotherapist now. 

Zane is only a Junior, so there will be a Prom next year, and hopefully he will decide to go to the school Prom next year as well as Mormon Prom. You never know with sons, they don't lie awake at night and dream about these things the way girls do. 
I think moms dream about it more than sons do, too. I'm already driving him nuts talking about corsages and the new suit we are going to get him. (He needs a suit anyway, so this is a good excuse to get him to actually participate in the process.)

Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that she says yes!

I didn't start Weight Watchers yesterday because we had friends over for dinner and that's no fun.
I started today and my body is already screaming at me "you can't function without a constant stream of sugar!!" and I am super tired. The first few days of any diet are always some of the worst, but so far so good. 

I've still got 18 more points to spend today and the evening will be my biggest challenge, but I have taken the first step (again.) 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Craft Day and My Big Fat Mormon Winter

I hosted a craft day yesterday.
10 hours of visiting while pretending to 'work.'

I think it's time for a new tote, Terri. :)

I didn't do any layouts, but I did make some cards.

Tomorrow I'm re-registering for Weight Watchers Online again.
Matt and I did it a year or so ago, it was a really good program and worked really well for us both. We did well as a team on the plan.
When we moved, I went off of the plan.
Over the course of  this incredibly long and depressing winter, I have gained some weight.
Like, NOTHING fits gain, my fat pants are giving me wedgies.
(TMI? )
My arthritis was a killer this winter and I spent a lot of days hurting so much and because I eat my feelings, like so many of us do, I sat around for months and just puttered around my house and ate. 
I will always be a person with curves. I like having curves, to me they are feminine, to my husband, they are sexy. Breasts and hips are awesome. 
(Yay! More TMI! )
After spending all of my teenage years starving myself, I stopped caring about being super thin when I had my first child. I think my parent cared more about my weight than I did and when I realized where I was happy at, I stopped hating myself because my clothing size wasn't a single digit. 

But this winter, I just went to crap.
Cold weather that never ended, arthritis and flat out stress eating. 
I have to make some changes or this will happen to me every winter.
 The nature of the seasons are not going to change, but the nature of this woman can.

So tomorrow, with the discount Matt gets from work, I'll sign up again and stop buying rainbow cookies and Cheetos. I'll stop having an energy drink for breakfast and M&M's for lunch.
I'll be more supportive of Matt as he has been trying to get back on the plan for a month now and I have been cooking and buying groceries in the same fashion I did before.

Owning it is the first step. 
Not eating a box of Girl Scout Cookies while watching The Biggest Loser is the second, or so I've been told.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chair Fix

Much better.
Cruddy picture, but the chair looks cuter.
I probably shouldn't have painted them at all, but at least I can live with this.
This week kind of stayed tough.
Hopefully, next week will be better.
Tomorrow, my friend Tara is coming over for the whole day, we're going to scrapbook.
A few other women from the ward will come by as well, I believe.
I picked up some rainbow cookies and a bag of cheddar pretzels, Tara is bringing the Diet Dr. Pepper.
Rainbow cookies are very similar to a petit four and people here will correct you if you don't call it a 'rainbow cookie.'
You have been warned.
I think I am going to try and make these, they cost 8 bucks for a small container of them at the grocery store and they are not usually even there because they get bought almost as soon as they bring them out.
 I have found a few recipes, all pretty close to the same and them main thing you need to have when making them is patience, as they have a lot of steps.
Patience and almond paste.
I can pick up almond paste and anyone who has ever taken all seven  of her children with grade money to a Walmart --- has plenty of patience.
In spite of this being a poop of a week, I am counting my blessings.
Our friends, The Ralstons have been in Boston for the week, visiting family.
They went to see the marathon.
They left before anything happened, and they are all safe and I believe headed back today.
We have missed them and worried about them.
I have three friends who were there with their families and all are safe and accounted for.
I think the world has always been violent and people have always done wretched things to each other. Some people just need to create pain for others. They need there to be something ugly so they can feel powerful, or alive or create some kind of justice and even some cosmic score. Some people are just crazy and can't or won't get help.
The 'why' doesn't really have a reason, not one that feels like the question has been answered.
So we turn off the TV, hug our kids and remember that life is precious and all things considered, we have it pretty easy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creative Process, Cliff's Notes Version

Yesterday was a crummy day.
It was physically exhausting, emotionally taxing and by 6pm I had given up, changed into a nightgown and ordered pizza. 

I wrote a long blog post about it. 
When I was done, I realized that writing it all out was for me, so there it will stay. 
Writing it helped me to identify what parts I could help fix and what parts were just random garbage that was actually no use to anyone, not even myself. Digging deeper into the trash heap wasn't going to be good for anyone. We examine what is broken so that we may fix it, not so that we may roll around in it and carry it everywhere and wear it like soggy memory armor.
 I didn't learn that until I was almost 40.

I think when I was younger and had dreams of growing up and moving to the big city and being a journalist, I believed that every word was art, if written with that intent. As I've grown older I have learned that editing is as important as the creating.  There is a lot of ground between the creative process and  finished work.

I spent all morning in the process and when I was finished, all I has was a rough  day and a great deal of that was just bad luck and things I can change pretty easily. 
Nothing life altering, but lousy, all the same.

My brain still runneth over.
I have not yet emerged from the bad day cocoon I spun yesterday.

Before it all went to crap I was feeling crafty. 
I saw these on Pinterest (the Devil) and I've been trying to find a craft I can send my besties in Utah that wouldn't break the budget. 
This seemed like a good enough idea:

(image from Pinterest, could not find the original link )

I went to the Christmas Tree Store and picked up some white mugs for $2 each.
I printed and cut out a template of New Jersey and of Utah and looked up quotes on friendship.

After I was finished, I baked the mugs at 350 for an hour- Pinterest said a half hour, but I lost track of time.
I do not think they are dishwasher safe, but they will survive a decent hand washing. 

(this one is for Sher, my  poor, misguided Utes- loving friend)

You could easily fit 20 New Jerseys in one Utah.
My heart really is in both places now. 
Both feel like home.

If reminding myself of that doesn't pull me out of my cruddy mood, then I'm going to need to pull out the big guns and take the last, hidden box of Samoas out of the freezer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

How To Ruin Your Favorite Chairs

I painted and recovered those chairs I got at the Thrift Store:
 I hate them.
I have to re-do them, completely.
The color is wrong, the fabric isn't so bad, but it's not right for the room.
I hate these chairs enough that I am embarrassed to even post the picture.
My original plan was green with geometric fabric, but I saw the blue fabric on sale and........lesson learned.
I don't think I love them painted at all.
I think I'm going to strip them, refinish them and then use a bold green geometric fabric as I should have in the beginning.
They are so ugly.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Songs (Random Ten)

I'm starting a new thing on my blog.
Random Ten
I am not assigning it to a specific day so I can do it on dud days.
Today was not a dud day, but I have made a lot of posts about the weather and rugby and all of the awesomness of today involved those two things.
I am bored to death of reading my posts about these two topics, even though they are both big things in my life right now.

So, this is my idea to break up some of my blog boringarrhea.

 Random Ten
( all prompts are from the book "List Yourself" by Ilene Segalove & Paul Bob Velick)

List 10 Songs You Know By Heart:

The Star Spangled Banner-I learned it when I was six- probably my favorite song ever
Blister In The Sun by the Violent Femmes 
Every Song in Fiddler on the Roof (minus possibly a few words in Annatevka)
La Bamba- Spanish Version only
They Were You- Fantastiks Soundtrack (sang it to Roe as a lullaby)
Time After Time- Cyndi Lauper
Rocket Man- Elton John
The Idaho State Anthem (thank you, my 4th grade Idaho History teacher)
American Pie-Don McLean
The Sign- Ace of Base

And now you know some of my weirdness. 
What's a song that You know by heart? 
(You should sing it today.
It will make you feel good.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Little Zane

This weekend, Zane has a big Rugby tournament in Virginia.

Even with his owie, he made the elite team that gets to go and compete with some of the best teams and players in the nation. It doesn't hurt that he is a full head taller than the biggest guy on the team, or any that we have played. He's also built like a truck and even though he is my most introverted child, he intimidates the tar out of the other teams.
The boy is a beast on the field.
I am crazy proud of all of my kids-- this weekend, it's all about Zane.
He's come a long way from the little big boy who cried on the football field in 5th grade!
Have you heard this story?
He has always been a big strong kid, and in 5th grade we signed him up for flag football.
He didn't want to do it, but we pushed.
Brilliant idea.
He walked onto the field and wasn't really sure of the rules of football. The coach was super excited to see him, due to his size. Zane was taller than the coach, who had been playing ball since he was a kid. He threw him into the mix and told him what to do.
But Zane wasn't comfortable. He's a kid that has to know the rules before he does something and he doesn't want to break them. He's brilliant and creative and amazing, but he likes to color within the lines. He's happy to color boldly and push the envelope, but he won't go outside of the lines.
it is important to him to know where the lines are.
When we threw him onto football, he wasn't familiar enough with the game to know the rules- to know where the lines clearly were.
He was miserable and he started to cry on the field. He kept trying to play, but he didn't know what he was supposed to do and it was too much for him.
We took him home, hugged him and teased him a little until he felt better and he didn't go back to football.
One of the things he likes about Rugby is that each player's role is clearly defined.
 You don't get in front of the ball if you are playing certain positions, you always pass the pall if you are another. The scrum has an order you stand in, the place you can tackle in is very specific, penalties, touches- all have some very specific parameters. Players are given very strict rules on behavior as well, you will get a penalty for grandstanding in this game, big time.
With the clear rules and explanation of what his job is in each game, Zane thrives.
It will be interesting to see how this affects him as he chooses a career path and grows up.
He can do anything he sets his mind to, he just needs to have his structure and he is willing to create that structure himself if needed. I am proud of his finding it in Rugby, because that day on the football field, we figured he just wasn't going to do any sports and it was a shame because he was built in such a way that he could really go far.
This weekend, he's going to play with some of the nation's best.
He is one of the best, part of one of the best teams you will find at the U-19 level.
(my child is at the bottom of this pile)
We'll be wearing red and blue and cheering him on all the way.
......go little zaney-bird.......

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Springfield's Spring

This week, oh, this glorious week!
I am sorry it is cold in Utah, but we have had such beautiful weather I want to sing.
(Don't worry, I won't sing, but I may hum.)

The squirrels have awakened  and are scurrying all across the streets and our lawn again. They are so skinny,compared to the fat rodents that dropped nuts on the roof of our house and scared the tar out of me last fall!
I'm going to make a squirrel bait in the yard, hopefully to keep them out of my garden.

 I figure if I can at least get the zucchini to produce this year, it's a start. We're also planting watermelon, sugar pumpkins and a lot of climbing plants. I'm hoping they take and we can start to have a little bit of privacy from our well- intended, but often grouchy neighbor, Jacobv.
Our yard stresses him out.
  I can't say I blame him, it stresses me out too when I go into the corner of doom.
 Between Sandy and the former owner, it's bad.

What you see, is a giant stump, a bunch of twigs and leaves.
What you do not see are tons of boulders bigger than basketballs and chunks of concrete and asphalt that were dumped there and buried under a light layer of yard debris.
What you also don't see is the thick layer of vines that weave their way through everything, making it impossible to just hack and rake and move on with life.

I don't want to deal with it, and honestly- right now-  I just don't think I can.

In Utah I loved my irises. 
We didn't do squat with the rest of the yard, but I kept my roses alive and I fussed over my irises.
They made me feel loved and they are my favorite flower.

There is a huge Iris garden just about 45 minutes from here and I'm going to go when they bloom.
We planted a lot, but I think they are duds. 
One of my NJ native friends assured me that they will bloom- they just do it late in the summer here. 

Time will tell, but they look pretty scrawny right now.
I think I planted a miniature version, though.
I will buy bulbs when I go to the iris garden this summer. In Utah we had white, purple, yellow, red and orange blooms. 

We are going to try and get sunflowers to grow in the front and I'm also going to try and get some poppies & violets to grow. So far, my starters are still just little containers of dirt.

My tulips are so close to blooming! I am relieved to find that the squirrels really didn't dig up as many as I thought they had and I am soon going to have a pretty row or tulips along my walkway.

I don't remember planting daffodils, but here they are!

They were not here when we came out to NJ last year to find a home.

Can you believe it has been a full year since we learned we were moving and we put an offer on this house? It has it's challenges, but it's a great house and a great location for us. I love Springfield.

The trees are starting to have blossoms, the sound of chirping birds fills the sky and I love that there is so much nature here in the big "Back East." There is a mockingbird that is building a nest in a tree nearby and you can whistle and if you are lucky, you will hear your song sung back to you.  There is also a woodpecker just having a party in the trees. 
There are so many wonderful, new spring sounds here.

Thank you, Heavenly Father for the Spring.
 Thank you for this sunshine and for the pretty blooms that I see when I walk up to my house. Thank you for bringing yesterday's rainstorm to us at night, so I could soak in the sunshine again today and most importantly- thank you for helping me feel that You are there, wherever we may go.

 Thank you for being in New Jersey, too, Father in Heaven.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Busiest Week Ever

This was a busy week!
Crazy, crazy busy!!
Awesome and fun busy, but I'm a little relieved that tomorrow is boring old Monday.

The girls flew up for their Spring Break from Utah and we had a nice week together as an almost complete family-  just missing Parker.
It's weird that he's sort of a grown up now and lives on his own.
I miss him so much.
He's coming to visit in a few weeks, I may just club him over the head and lock him in the basement here.

We did a lot of fun things while the girls were here and I'm pretty wiped out, so I'll just post some pictures and go to bed early tonight.
This Mama is tired. 


 Easter happened. 

 My kids are old and we had to be to church by 8am and stay late on Sunday, so we hid a bag of pre-filled plastic eggs and filled the baskets with the usual stuff. 

The girls came and the kids went to YM/YW

 They reconnected with friends they made last summer and played volleyball.
Well, mostly the YM played volleyball while the YW giggled at the boys.

We celebrated Jane's 13th birthday as a family.

 She may be a little old for a doll, but the girls have been eyeing this line of Disney dolls ever since they saw them last summer. We got Jane a Belle doll because it kind of looked like her and she's a bit of a bookworm. 
Getting her a Nook probably contributed to that.
 All three girls share one account so they can share books.
Even though we're a Kindle house, we got them Nooks so that the accounts and funds won't get used by a person they know who struggles with what belongs to her and what belongs to others. 
We can send the girls new books now and all three of them can share them, hopefully that will work without any trouble.

There were lots of hugs and fits of laughter...

 Games were played.
Dixit, Redshirts and a few rounds of annoy the parents.
That's a game the kids made up.

 They win every round, too.

We had another Birthday Celebration for Jane, this time with the YW. 

 These girls....sigh...these girls. 
They are fantastic and lovely and I adore them.

I made an ugly cake:
I own no fewer than 6 sets of tips for icing and yet, I always just use a ziploc bag with the corner cut out for things. 
Eh, it tasted good.

As we did at parties before, the girls were allowed to give Dad a makeover.

 And they had a blast, as always. 
I think it helps the kids see the big tall guy in the same way we all see him.
 He's just a big squishy, after all.
 They jumped on the trampoline and talked about boys- which was weird because Romy was talking about boys, too. 
This growing up stuff....
 Everyone had a really fun time and I am so thankful for this ward and the great folks in it. Even the kids are just so friendly and loving. You'd have thought they had been friends with the girls their entire lives. 

 The next morning, we went to Short Hills and caught the train to the city.
(I just love saying that...we caught the train to the city...because you know, we're city folk now.)

We were late to the Scottish Festival in Central Park. 
Apparently, it wasn't a big thing anyway- just a race and later they had a parade. but we only caught the bum end of some a Scottish rapper and saw a lot of men, freezing in kilts.

 We went to the toy store and the girls all got to take a turn on the BIG piano. Jane had done it before, but it was a first for Emma and Kate.
 They tried to play songs, it was cute.
Chopsticks as a solo act is impossible, Kids.

 We went back to the park and had out own little Doctor Who walk.
One of our favorite episodes takes place in Manhattan, it's also probably the saddest episode.
In it, The Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams all sit on  a rock like this in Central Park. 
We recreated the pose:

(Tina Bushman, do you recognize the book Kate is reading? We took Table Talk with us to make the ride into the city more interesting- and it did!!)

 We went to see the fountain with the angels and absolutely, positively did not blink.

Then we hung out on the bridge where Amy and the Doctor realize that Rory has been taken by the Weeping Angels.

 Totally Geeky, but it was awesome.

The John Lennon memorial was on the way back to the subway we needed to take to Penn Station.  It's in the park across the street from where he was shot. 

 And no visit to this part of the city would be complete without seeing the temple. 
If you're not familiar, you can see the spire sticking up, it's the white building behind the girls that looks like a million other buildings in Manhattan and it never stops being amazing to me that right in the middle of this loud and often gross city- there is a House of God.

We ate sweets from Magnolia Bakery outside across the street from the temple, at the Lincoln Center by the Farmer's Market.
Matt and Kate had caramel cheesecake, Emma had a chocolate cupcake and Jane and I had apple crisp. 

We ALSO finally were able to enjoy a Rugby game with Zane.
He got hurt in the first game of the season and has not been able to play in a game until now and finally, finally we got to see him play.

 It was great to spend an hour yelling "let's go, Boys!" and "knock his legs out!!!"

 Next week, Zane has a tournament in DC/ Virginia.

We've had so many things going on, but you know what?
The sun has started to shine every day and I am so happy that winter is over that I don't mind all of this 'to-do-ing' one bit!