Wednesday, May 30, 2012

From the Catalogue of Ugly Dresses

In an earlier post  I had proposed the question, “What’s up with bridesmaid dresses anyway?”  Why are Bridesmaid and Choir Dresses always so ugly? Well, maybe not Always.  But more often than not.

Neither of my daughters-in-law wasted money on needless dresses – nor did my sister or I.  No bridesmaids.  No ugly dresses.

I had once heard someone describe the purposely made ugly dresses allows the bride to shine (Roz Doyle on Frazier)

          I love the movie 27 dresses.  Roland purchased the DVD one year and gave it to me for my birthday.  The movie came with a humorous book called "101 Uses for a Bridesmaid Dress" by Cindy Walker.  It provided ways to recycle. There were suggestions such as cutting the dress up into squares and washing your car.  Or throwing the dress over the car to protect it from the elements.

101 Uses for a Bridesmaid Dress

How glorious it would have been to own 30 plus years ago.  For one of the suggestions was to cut up the dress and make diapers for the first born of the bride who was responsible for dressing you in something so hideous. How cute my cousin would have looked in his great supply of lavender diapers, perhaps not as cute as my niece would have looked and how comfortable she would have been in pink taffeta diapers.  Oh, the joys of trying to wash them.

          The lavender dress – I kid you not – must have included one yard of fabric just for each sleeve.  My aunt was trying to get something that would work on all nine of her bridesmaid (count them, nine, plus two flower girls) as they were all assorted lengths and sizes.  It was a lot of fabric.  A LOT – we could have dressed a small nation with all that fabric.

          We had to keep our arms down as one raise would reveal any underwear that was put on underneath.  Another aunt made the comment that we looked like purple bats. I know pictures of these outrageous dresses exist somewhere, but not in my own personal file.  I’ll have to look harder. 

          My sister-in-law had chosen two shades of pink – taffeta of all fabrics.  Seriously.  The slips had to have sleeves sewn into them as I personally felt like I had brillo pads beneath my arm pits.  I must admit that I did use the slip as a night gown, but I wore the dress only one time – and that was while I was in line at Patrick and Sunny’s wedding. Half of us looked like circus tents.

          Then there are the choir dresses.  For years and years the fabric at my high school had been green.  That was the school color after all.  I suppose they worked on some girls, but looked very awkward and out of place on others.  Most of the shades that were chosen seemed to work.  But there was one year it was decided to go with a completely different look.  (Though I don’t think having the majority of the choir appear to have jaundice was the intent)

I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to use peach – more than half the girls appeared very sickly in appearance.  And although the pale gray suits seemed to work on many of the guys – it didn’t really make any one of them stand out.  It seemed to mask most of their facial features, I think.  But then I’m no expert.  But I don’t think the clothing selector was either.

I remember one choir that was dressed in black and blue.  The entire choir itself looked like a giant bruise. 

All choir dresses (not so much when they’re seen in a group as just with an individual) speak the language:  “I want to be noticed.  I want to stand out” and they do.  But it certainly isn’t the attention that most girls are looking for.  At least the choir dress will be worn more often than the bridesmaid dress (or so I would assume)

They can also be recycled as prom and drag queen dresses.  Bless those wise brides that don’t have bridesmaids or at least dress them in silly dresses.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So, what would you do?

          Last week my husband spotted a wallet in the parking lot of a shopping complex.  His arms were full of groceries and he asked Jenna if she would bend down and pick it up. 

Excitedly, she retrieved the wallet and announced that it must be returned.  I am so happy that it was such an automatic decision for all three of us to turn the wallet in.  Oh, and we could have so used any money it may have contained.  But I’ve been in that situation too many times where I have been the one that has lost whatever – and if the roles were reversed, it is exactly what I would want the finder to do. 
As the grocery store is the largest – it is where we ended up taking the wallet.  The owner frantically entered the store only moments after we turned it in.  We told him where it was.  With gratitude he gave Roland a half embrace.

Jenna was a little bit disappointed that there weren’t any cameras or having John Quinones pop out of the woodwork to announce that we were part of his reality show.  Roland assured her that Heavenly Father could see her actions and has His own version of “What Would You Do?” and was giving Jenna a thumbs up for she did the right thing.

I am so happy that Jenna wanted to do the right thing.  And I’m happy about her excitement for the reality show which has really taught her values.  Thank you John Quinones and the creators of that show.

Oh, my picture at the beginning of the post?  That is Jenna mimicking John Quinones.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Birthday

        In addition to sharing my birth month with Mothers' Day, half of my birthdays happen to fall on Memorial Weekend - which actually bothered me as a kid (or rather when the holiday was pushed to the Monday prior to the 31st) because everything was always crowded, nothing but war movies all weekend long, and like I really have a strong desire to visit cemeteries on my birthday.

        But now that I think about it, having freedoms is a pretty awesome birthday gift.  So thank you men and women who helped fight (and continue) for this awesome gift.  What an honor it is to celebrate your day with you!  Have a good one

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Journal Jars

I once attended a Relief Society enrichment meeting where we made “journal jars”.  What is a “journal jar”? you may ask.  It is a jar containing questions that will hopefully provoke thought to get written answers one may record in his or her journal. 

Questions like:

“Do you remember your grandparents?  What special memories do you have?”
          “Did you have a favorite radio or TV show as a child?”

          “Tell about the changes you have seen in your lifetime: society in general, technology, fashion, politics, laws, inventions, etc.”

          Jenna absolutely LOVES to explore these questions – or my answers rather.  Often she can answer for herself, but many ask for detail on things that she hasn’t experienced yet such as marriage, parenting, high school, dating, etc.

          The idea of the journal jar is to record memories.  But Jenna loves to use it as a conversation piece or in place of playing games.  And I like that she likes it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Heavenly and Sinful (at the same time)

          I know that I mentioned in an earlier post – perhaps several – that cooking is really not my forte.  Roland, on the other hand, enjoys cooking and baking but does not have the time or opportunity that he used to, and so I have had to put together more of the meals and frankly, I’m just not that good at it.

          I can follow a recipe but it’s got to be exact.  Roland has told me a few times (probably) that I need to cover dishes when baking in order to maintain moisture – I haven’t committed that to memory however.  If the recipe had instructed me to cover the dish, I would have done so, but it didn’t – needless to say the lasagna I made was a little dry.

          The other day I went to the office to meet Roland for lunch.  He was on the phone and pointed to his lunch bag and said he had something for me.  Inside were what appeared to be two muffins – although I didn’t know what kind.  I bit into one and oh . . . what heavenly pleasure . . . the taste buds came to life on my tongue as I enjoyed the succulence sensation of  cookie and  brownie surrounding the surprise taste of melted peanut butter cup.  It was delicious!  Sinfully delicious.  Heavenly and sinful at the same time!

Though my tongue was quite pleased with the vivacious wonderment – the rest of my body must have experienced some kind of resentment. I did not eat them both.  I saved the second to give to Jenna when she returned from school.  I knew she would agree with me about the wonderfulness of it all.  And she did.  We both wanted more.

          My family is having a BBQ on Memorial Day – and Roland decided we would make this awesome treat, and so last night we had a practice round. They still taste sinful – unfortunately this particular batch also looks like – well, it looks like I made them.  It gives me comfort when Roland’s food doesn’t always turn out quite right – not that I want to gloat in it.  But I feel like such a failure in the kitchen, it’s nice to know that he’s not kitchen perfect either.

All I can say is that it’s a good thing we did a test run.  I suppose we’ll try it again later on today.  Meanwhile Jenna and I will somehow manage to force ourselves to eat the mistakes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Racked Nerves

          I am usually not pressed for time – but on those few days that I do need to leave – well, those are the days my mom would like me to stay.  And it would be all well and good if I actually lived closer – or with her.  But I don’t.

          We’re down to one functional car – and even that has been questionable. 
          Since Roland works late on Wednesdays, he drove the car in and so I borrowed my son’s car in order to get out to mom’s.  Talk about nerve racking.
          First off, it has a quirkiness to it that anybody but Biff might not get – and the fact that other people have trouble turning on the ignition is actually a great feature in Biff’s opinion.  I was just about to give up, when I actually got it to turn.  I don’t know how.  But then I worried – if I did make it all the way to mom’s and it was time to leave, would I be able to start it again?

Biff’s car would make clicky sounds – even when I hadn’t put on the turn signal.  I was only part way to my destination when it dawned on me that I didn’t think Biff has car insurance.  Oh, great!  As if I wasn’t already neurotic about the whole thing.

          And then, I parked across the street from my mother’s driveway (as there was a van in her driveway) and pulled out the keys from the car and the radio continued to play.  I didn’t know if that was normal for Biff’s car.  I turned it off so that the battery wouldn’t run down.

Mom’s air conditioner was being worked on – a good portion of the day – I might add.  She was hungry.  She wasn’t satisfied with anything in her fridge and asked the worker how much longer he’d be.  At least another hour.  She told him that she was going to go get lunch and that she’d return before he left, but if not, he could just lock up.  Just a few years back, that would have been so out of character for my mom to do that.

We went to a drive-in just at the end of her street.  And we did return before he was finished.  (I think they should have sent two guys instead of just one) and I actually had to leave before he did – although he was packed up and ready.  Biff left for work shortly after I returned.

          I noticed a luggage tag fastened to mom’s purse.  Corey had posted some personal information on a bright pink card.  It may let others know her medical situation and contact information in case she gets lost again. I don’t like this “old timers” mental state at all. It is more irritating than Biff’s car.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crossing Bridges (NOT a metephore)

One year our family was asked to host a room for Halloween.  Roland wanted to do something different from the typical activities and games that we had seen in years past.  So we ended up doing a haunted maze  (which I will provide details for as it gets closer to Halloween).  The point I was looking to make in this post was the reaction of what some considered scary while others seem to enjoy or become bored with.

Our “haunted maze” was a big hit with the teenagers – but too frightening for the majority of children under eight maybe ten.  Except for Jenna – who would laugh each time she went through.  She feared nothing at the time. 

          Over the years she has grown into some fears.  I suppose we all do.  Some we can rationalize – while others make us wonder why it has become a fear.

          Jenna LOVES crossing bridges.  There is a definite excitement about it.  I remember feeling the same exact way.  And it didn’t matter if we were walking or driving across.  Nor did it matter what the bridge was over.

I recall at a certain place downtown there were two different bridges for the freeway on and off ramps.  I thought that was the absolute coolest because at one point we’d actually be on a bridge and under a bridge at the same time. 

What a tremendous difference in my once joyful outlook to the emotions that stir up right now.
I realize that there are people who cross bridges everyday on their way to their jobs or family or whatever.  They think nothing of it.  Nor did I as a youth.  I used to walk across the intrastate on my way to work.

Somewhere along the way I completely lost my enthusiasm for bridges – well maybe not all bridges.  Just the ones that pass over the interstate or intrastate or major traffic or long drops – not water necessarily.  I can stand on bridges that are over water and pose for pictures. But just as with railroad tracks,  bridges seem to freak me out lately.  I don’t know why. There’s no rational reasoning for it. I don’t recall having any bridge collapses.  But when I see a great number of cars below me, I am definitely not as excited as I used to be.

I am grateful that I am able to cross bridges and that they are available - I just wish I could cross them with the same enthusiasm as I did before I was the driver.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the assistance of a shoehorn

This morning I was helping Jenna to get the knots out of her shoelaces and adjust the shoes back to her feet.  She tugged at the heel of the shoe and stomped on the floor in attempts to get it to fit over her own heel.  It reminded me of the convenience of the shoehorn.

          I had worked at a daycare only briefly.  The children were required to take naps.  All shoes had to be removed before naps.  After the naps, all shoes were to be returned to feet.  This was not always an easy task.  Some of those children had really tight fitting shoes over really fragile feet.  Thus  I started bringing the shoehorn to work.

          Funny about the different reactions I received from the kids.  Suddenly I had this long line of children who would wait their turn to be fitted properly into their shoes – while others would go out of their way to find another teacher so that they would not have to deal with that “scary” shoehorn.

          It is actually a great invention.  I used to have several of them.  I don’t recall ever having seen one after I got married. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

I don’t think Jenna would survive Charter School

I had looked into a Charter school while Jenna was still in kindergarten (which I referred to in this post)   She needed to be challenged, and just wasn’t getting that in our assigned public school.  I am still on the waiting list.

          If she had started APA  in the first grade, I don’t think she would have ever questioned it.  She would have loved it in all the ways that I would have not, had it been available to me when I was a youth.  But after two more years of public school?  I think she would totally freak out and hate it even more than the school I was trying to get her away from.

          Jenna is very smart academically.  But organizational skills and prioritizing is not in her nature at this time (something that we will be working on this summer) and I don’t think she will adjust well going from free spirit to uniform and structure.  She tends to misplace things – which is NOT acceptable at APA (from what I understand)

          For example: on May 15th Jenna brought some papers into me.  They were dated for March.  One was for the talent show that I remember her telling me about – but I didn’t see the form until six weeks after the fact.
          The other was about my scheduled conference with her teachers.  I was wondering where it had been. 

          I would prefer that she was more organized and cared more about her appearance and had more respect for belongings – but such a drastic transition (should the opportunity ever occur) would only discourage her – whereas she would have not even questioned it two years ago.

          And while there are things that I really like about the charter school, there are also things that I don’t like.  I would love to have her do more with music, but in the long run I think there will be more value in having her learn a second language.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Third Petal of the Forget-me-not

          Roland had been in charge of putting together the  Mothers’ Day program last week.  It was AWESOME – one of the most amazing Mothers’ Day programs that I remember.
          It was based on Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk from the September 2011 Relief Society Meeting.  The theme of the talk was based upon the “Forget-me-not” and five pieces of advice that we should not forget.

          Roland introduced the theme of Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk and introduced those who would be speaking.

The first speaker shared with us a bit about his childhood.  He has seven siblings.  All eight children were expected to play a musical instrument. The first petal was to “forget not to be patient with yourself”.  No one is perfect, even though there are many who may appear so.  The first speaker reminded us of patience.
I unfortunately don’t remember a lot of what the second speaker said.  His assigned topic was to forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.  He related experiences from his childhood in which his mother had made sacrifices for one reason or another – for the good of the family.

Then there was the musical number.  Practically every Melchezedik Priesthood holder in attendance came up to the stand and sang a medley of songs dedicated to mother.  It was awesome!

My most favorite talk – perhaps because of the way it was delivered – came from the third speaker.  Forget not to be happy now.  The speaker related Pres. Uchtdorf’s comparison of the “golden ticket” sought after by so many children in the story of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” – so busy with trying to find the gold that they’d forgotten to enjoy the chocolate.

          We need to be happy in the moment in which we’re living instead of constantly looking ahead with the decision of becoming happy for what’s ahead.  We may never be happy if we continue looking to what might be instead of rejoicing in what we have now.

The forth speaker put enthusiasm into his delivery as well.  Forget not the “why” of the gospel.  Sometimes – perhaps often – in our daily routines, the vital aspects of the gospel are unintentionally overlooked. 

As with the first speaker, this one was also “forced” into piano lessons – though he did not appreciate or pursued.  He loves listening to his mom play the piano.  He says he and his dad will turn the television down or off just to hear her play.

The last speaker summarized Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk.  Forget not that the Lord loves you.  There may be times when we may feel insignificant in comparison with others.  Retold the story (or legend) that Pres. Uchtdorf related about the forget-me-not flower.  What a beautiful talk. 

You can find Pres. Uchtdorf’s entire talk here. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Really Great Theatre Teacher

         Jenna LOVES to sing, and dance, draw, learn, explore . . . I have wanted so badly to enroll her in dance lessons, or music lessons, art classes , etc.  I have even considered sports when she has shown interest – but it was always out of reach financially - even on those rare times when it looked like the class itself might be in reach, I knew that the costumes (or uniforms) would get out of hand.

          Last summer I had the opportunity of enrolling her in a peewee theatre class taught by a gal who had instructed children’s theatre in New York.  Jenna would have an opportunity – not only to act, but to sing, to dance and perform and hopefully make new friends.

          The play is never done in its entirety.  The instructor has been given only six to eight weeks to rehearse before putting on the show. 
          We met for eight weeks initially.  One hour per week.  Realizing that she would need more time, she made arrangements for the children to do their dialogues on a Saturday at her home.  I thought that was so awesome of her to be willing to do the extra work.

          So the first play was “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”.  Six parts and seven children showed up – four being girls.  And the “Charlie Brown” has two girls with speaking parts.  Four boy parts.

          Two girls were asked to split up lines for Lucy.  Jenna chose to read for Schroeder.  The youngest of the cast was asked to read for Linus – and actually sounded just like the cartoon character.  That night the parts were cast for Linus and Lucy.  Who in the world would she get to play Charlie Brown?

          None of the three boys seemed like the right candidate.  The four (going on five) year old had been cast as Linus leaving a boy who was not so fluent in English, and one who appeared to have ADD as he was all over the place or hiding behind his mother.  I understood what had possessed his mother to enroll him, but was seriously wondering if he’d be able to pull it off.

          The not so fluent was cast as Snoopy – and the instructor saw great potential with casting our ADD as Schroeder.  He was fabulous.  Knew all of his lines.  Stayed on page.  I was actually very impressed.

          Jenna had read for Schroeder and Sally – and because Sally was the only girl’s part left, Jenna memorized her part (actually she had started memorization on all of the parts except for Charlie Brown)

          After two of the girls dropped out (they had attended the first night only) the instructor thought she could split up Sally’s part among the rest of the cast and asked if Jenna would be interested in playing Charlie Brown. 

“He’s the main part!” I told Jenna.  Her enthusiasm did not match my own.  How could she possibly play a boy?  She didn’t.  We made Charlie Brown a girl.  Instead of dreaming about a little red-headed girl, we changed Jenna’s line to say that she liked a red-headed boy

But then it was realized that Sally’s part was needed.  And so the instructor asked a neighbor to take her class – she learned her lines and dance numbers and songs in just four weeks.

There was no costume expense – it was whatever is in your closet.  I liked that. The shirt that Jenna wore was one we had purchased the prior year as I had enrolled her in a dance class and the instructor provided us shirts to make jagged edges for the “George of the Jungle” number they’d be performing.

All of the class members pulled it off.  Unfortunately Jenna didn’t get to sing and dance as much as the other children (it wouldn’t make sense for her to sing “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”) and she never got to learn her solo because of the time frame.  But she did a beautiful monologue and she actually did very well.

Her professionalism was surprising as she was truly sick that night.  Not a contagious sick necessarily.  She had just eaten something that hadn’t agreed with her.  And the drive to the school only added car sickness.

She had puked twice on our way into the school – did an awesome performance – and then made a b-line to the garbage can to heave up some more.  Poor child really had nothing left to throw up.

School House Rock was announced for the next production.  Excitedly Jenna made her approval known.  But because of the location of the school and my inability to see at night, I said I didn’t think I would be able to keep her in.

I was so touched when the instructor offered to come get her and drop her off.  I could take her – that was no problem.  But my house is not on the way home to the instructor’s house (hers would actually be on the way to mine) and so I made arrangements to drop Jenna off at the school and meet her instructor near her house after class.  It worked out well except for one day when I gave the instructor the option of keeping Jenna home or asking the instructor to drive out of her way to drop her off – she chose the latter.  And I feel blessed.

The class hours had been extended to an hour and a half a week instead of just one hour. School house rock didn’t seem to have any specific roles except for Tom – the teacher (also played by a girl) – though they all had speaking parts and solos.  And the attendance had gone from five to fourteen.  My husband filmed most of it as I was laughing so hard I couldn’t seem to keep the camera still.

The last play that they did was “Alice in Wonderland”.  They had moved to a high school much nearer to my home (as well as the instructors) and I have been excited about that. But because of earlier schedule conflict and lack of funds, Jenna did not participate – although Jenna and I went and saw it the same week Randy and Carrie were married. It turned out really cute. 

All of the children wore black with quick costume change on top. The instructor had allowed three different girls to play Alice – one at a time during various scenes.  The costumes were a bit more elaborate than whatever was in the closet, but still kept simple.  The kids pulled it off rather nicely.  I was impressed.

I promised Jenna that we’d put her in the next show – Wizard of Oz.  Am looking forward to attending classes again.  It appears that they will rehearse just six weeks (nine hours) though before they put on their final production.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Please Pick and Element and Land on it Already

         Mother Nature’s at it again.  Seems many of my posts have to do with the weather. 

          It was hot on Monday.  HOT.  The kind of weather  that wipes you out just looking out the window.  Highness was upset when I wouldn’t walk him during the day.  But I had taken him for a short walk in the morning, and one as the sun was going down – figuring that it would be cooler. It wasn’t.

         This morning I wore a pair of shoes that I actually hadn’t worn for a while.  The shoe on my left foot felt extremely tight – which is weird.  It’s usually my right foot that gives me problems.
          After we returned from dropping off Roland, I take off my shoes and put them in Jenna’s closet – figuring that she’ll grow into them within the next couple of years.

          She gets dressed and ask if I can assist with tying her shoes.  I am puzzled.  She’s got on brown shoes.  Her brown shoes are slip ons.  And then I realize that she has on the clodhoppers that I had left in her closet.  They look big on her.  She says they fit just fine.

          I hold up a pair of her shoes next to the clodhoppers.  They aren’t all that much smaller. Gosh, no wonder they hurt my feet.  Well – at least one of them. And so I let her wear them.  They really are too big however.

          This morning I drop Jenna off behind the school.  I park so that I can go into the school myself and assist the teacher with making copies.  I get out of the car – and it is freezing cold. 

          I open the trunk to retrieve Roland’s jacket, but find my sweater and put that on instead.  I start to walk towards the school and think better of it, and drive myself around – which I’m glad that I do.  Because after an hour and a half worth of copies, I return to the parking lot to find it raining – HARD.

          Of course it’s really not a big surprise.  I did say that would happen as we have put up an A/C. - which we have used all week - except for today.  Back to the heater.  How pathetic!  
          Any seeds that have been planted this week have most likely been washed away.
          Roland forgot his pills and would like me to meet him for lunch.  Hopefully I will be hungry by then.  How's that for an exciting post?

The Fascinating Tissue Box

While visiting my mom the other day, she pointed to a box of tissues covered in a pile of tissues that had been pulled out.  My neice,  who is almost towo, discovered the fascination of the Kleenex box just a few months ago.

When Jenna was in preschool, we had purchased several boxes of tissue to donate to the preschool.  It was a knock off brand – and a knock of quality – unless the actual tissue paper is what we may have been going for.  I like Puff’s.  They’re soft.  They don’t feel like you are holding wood up to your nose as this knock off brand does. 

          I remember when Jenna discovered the tissue box.  How exciting it was for her to reach in and pull out a tissue and have one pop up again.

Unlike Jenna, who would just pull them out by fascination only, Anna would hold each pulled piece up to her nose.   I don’t know where she found so many opened boxes.  I ended up putting four of them on top of the piano.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Houdini Could Toss a Basketball

          We had a bear-sized dog come live with us before we were married and were moving Roland and the boys into the house.  He was an older dog who had come with his own name – but if he hadn’t, we would have named him Houdini as he was an escape artist.

          The first year we lived in Kearns we had gone to a Cinco de Mayo [taste of Kearns] celebration.  The boys (Randy specifically) had wanted to enter Houdini  in a contest but didn’t know what category.  They ended up entering him in the fluffiest – we were among the first to arrive and hadn’t had the opportunity to see the one we knew would take first place.

          Best trick really would have been the best option, but I don’t think the boys had a ball with them (as I recall we had just walked to the High School where the celebration had taken place) otherwise Houdini would have put all the other animals (even more so, their owners) to shame.  For the “tricks” that were performed were not all that impressive – and each animal had to be rewarded for his unimpressive talent – whereas Houdini could bounce a basketball off his nose and didn’t need a reward.  Being able to play with the boys was reward enough.

          Houdini could also catch a baseball in his mouth.  It seemed so odd that this overweight tailless dog had so much talent. From what I have captured on video tape, Houdini always had perfect aim.

          Houdini has been our favorite dog of all the dogs that we’ve had.  We miss him tremendously.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Some of the Places where my Mind takes me

          It’s time to get my hair cut – or at least thinned out.  I feel like I have a heavy scarf draped over the back of my neck.  I have been pulling it back – but some days just don’t seem to matter.

          We’re down to just one car.  Jenna and I have to get up in the morning to leave by 6:30 to take Roland to work.  Jenna stays in her pajamas, wears slippers out to the car, buckles herself in, lies down and throws a blanket over herself. 

          Roland turns the heater on – I usually turn my side down before we arrive to his work (one nice feature which still exists on the car – passenger and driver can adjust to different temperatures) I shut the heater off before completing the journey home.

          We return home one hour before I take Jenna to school.  By that time I have the A/C on.

          Biff and Roland put up the A/C in our living room the other night (on Biff’s birthday actually). We’re expecting rain now.  It always rains after we put up the A/C.  Though yesterday seemed unbearably hot, it’s been quite overcast today.  I see several people out in their yards working – pulling weeds, planting.

          I went out to see my mom.  We used to be rivals when we played word games like Scrabble or Upwords.  Mom was a sore loser, but even a more prideful winner.  It was all in fun. 
          That was then.  I continue to play games with her in order to stimulate her brain, but there is really no point in keeping score anymore.  No longer do we share our playful competiveness.   She seems to have lost interest in how to keep score and doesn’t bother looking for points so much as just getting rid of her letters. 

          Seems I need to work harder at getting her to smile or understand a joke.  And we have all repeated ourselves almost as often as she has.  Very little seems to stick with her anymore.  This change is hard on everybody.  And there are some of us who have questioned as to how much longer until I am in her shoes.  (I often wonder if I’ll be there tomorrow – for real)

          I’ve been searching through tapes and taking glimpses of home movies – not really that far in the past.  My mom is more put together and aware of things even just a few years ago more so than now.

          My niece and her husband live in the basement.  They don’t have their own private entrance.  Seems “grandma” is forever locking them out.  And so my niece has learned to always have her keys on her – even if she is just in the yard.

          Just as the weather changes, so do our lives.  Sometimes we can revisit where we were – but often we’re forced to move on or ahead and don’t have the capability of revisiting – not even in photographs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Incentive Charts

          Trying to get Jenna to pick up after herself has been a chore.  I just don’t understand why it is such a big deal to remove clothes from one’s body and not put them away or put them in the dirty clothes as soon as they come off.  Granted, to take them off and discard them to the floor does take less time at that given moment – but when it builds up – it does take much longer than it would if initially put away.  She’s a smart girl – but she is also very lazy about certain things.

There are actually four or five charts I would like to incorporate – but not
all at the same time.  That would be overwhelming for both of us.  I did have the “Go to Bed on time” chart up, but as there are just a few weeks of school left, and it is her whining that is really grading on my nerves right now, I have changed the incentive chart to “I will go an entire day without whining” I hope there will be enough incentive there.

It helps that her dad is currently enrolled in furthering his education.  He told me that he has to be on the Net at least four times a week to get credit.  So Jenna decided that I needed to make a chart for Roland, also.  And actually it has worked to my benefit – for Roland has already earned six stickers.  Jenna’s competitive.  Her goal is to beat him.  I sincerely hope it works out.

I was familiar with the idea for incentive charts before.  I had used them on the boys when they were in junior high.  I wouldn’t think a junior high student would care so much about stickers – but for some reason it appealed to them.  And it appealed to them to each get more than his brothers.

Ooki certainly didn’t care about the stickers – but I had a chart for him initially so he wouldn’t feel left out.  Tony was jealous of Ooki and jealous of the amount of stickers which Ooki had earned – not because he was competing – it was just his nature to do things – mostly without being told.  So that gave Tony incentive to do more than he would otherwise.

We will be continuing education during the summer.  More charts.  We have to read, write, practice cursive, practice times tables and she really ought to brush up on her Spanish (I’m going to need help with that one) and will put checkmarks or smile faces or something each time we have put in 20 minutes or so on whatever it is.  None of her friends are early risers, so I do not foresee it being a problem.
Hopefully by the end of summer ALL of the incentive charts will be full.  I hope so anyway.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset (a timeline)

Met Roland Dec 31, 2000

                   first date – First Night

          New Year’s kiss on train

Boys welcome New Years with future cousins

three days pass –
 Marriage proposal,  Oh, right

Mother to three boys

I know them better than I know dad
I know them better than dad knows them

Purchase house in Kearns
                   Roland and boys move in

May  -
          Biff’s birthday. 
          toothpaste and laser tag

                             Roland, Biff, Tony, Randy –
my instant family

our first Christmas

April 2004
                   Jenna’s born

First mothers’ day
                   Precious moment photo
                             smiling up at brothers
                                                but not for mommy, not for the camera
Jenna grows.

          They all grow.

          All three boys are in high school

                   Jenna starts pre-school during Randy’s senior year.

February 2007

          Biff receives mission call to work at Conference Center

March 2008

          Family portrait
                   Roland with all six of his children

          Tony leaves on a two year mission to Brazil

Mothers’ Day
                   Biff and Randy make a gift for mom

                   She is surprised by all the thought

April 2009

          Randy leaves on a two year mission to Portugal

November 2009

          lose house in Kearns,
                             move to West Valley

                   Tony returns

                   He joins the army

                             trains at Fort Knox

April 2011

          Tony and Rochelle get married

                     ten days prior to Randy’s return

Feb 2012

          Rochelle gives birth to Ester

          family goes to Arizona
                             Grandma’s birthday
          Biff and Randy on the dance floor
                   enjoying life

May 2012

          Jenna gets baptized

          Randy and Carrie get married
                   starting a new life

Today Biff turned 25.