Thursday, August 28, 2008

His Name is Nicholas.

The note had a picture of the two of them and their teacher under a big shiny sun and some grass all around. She wrote their names together, along with the teacher's name. I had to steal a glance at it as she stuffed it in the envelope as fast as she could.

I casually asked her about it today. Did she give him the note? Yes. But he didn't take it. She forgave him because sometimes, "Nicholas doesn't like to take notes when he doesn't know what it's for". She seemed relaxed and confident still, and continued on with the usual, "Nicholas is so cute. He sure was friendly today to everyone. He talks funny, says his s's funny." A man with a lisp? Perfect! That's my girl, go for the personality!

She's old enough to like a little boy, but still young enough to throw occasional tantrums, write her name on my closet door and suck her thumb. I guess she's been fighting all along for legitimacy and esteem. I see her grown up aspects and I match them up with the toddler still in her and just chuckle to myself. I never knew what perspective parents had!

Apparently they hold hands and he holds other girls' hands, too (Uh, wha??). I treat this matter very delicately as not to disturb our communication balance. I listen and "ooh" and "ahh". Jake mostly stuffs his fists into his pocket, listens to her intently, and pretends he doesn't want to charge into the school and give this little kid a once-over. We've got a long road ahead, lover. Pace yourself.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Things I Learned Today

From Ruby: The guy on the front of the penny is not Abraham Lincoln. No. He's Heavenly Father.

From Grace: If the short hand is anywhere near the 8, it's 8 o'clock. No arguing, no questioning, that's the way it is.

From Lillie: If someone has not pooed in 5 days, don't expect that person (or baby) to sleep, don't set her down, and don't answer anyone that asks you what you did all day.

From Jake: The pattern is perserverence during the day, relaxation at night (and when does he do his household chores, may I ask?).

Also: My children seem to think the bedtime ritual is a farce. I would like some help with this.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've been reading the news today. Doing so can really steal the magic out of my day, but today, it has knocked me to the ground with gratitude.

It is so unfair that children have to grow up without parents. That grown women have to wake up every morning to memories of abuse and violence from which they will never mentally heal. That people in America have brothers and sisters that are shot in the street, mothers that die of cancer, and fathers who just don't ever come back. That's just mentioning a few.

What about the parts of the world that have no way of getting help because their government is too currupt to allow it? Why were they born at that time, in that country, only to suffer huge amounts of sorrow? There are people who are dying slowly of starvation, or in plane crashes, or by people that they once trusted. Why was I born into a good family, receiving a lifetime of blessings by birthright? I have my mental capacities, my children, my husband, my family, my physical needs met.

I look at the face of the third little life I've created and just can't stand it. I am so grateful for her, and the other two girls. One green, one brown and one blue pair of eyes looking up to me for guidance. And I guess for them, I don't want praise, honor and achievement to be their goals. If they could just give themselves away, little by little, to those who have much less than them, they will feel enriched and successful. And that's all a mother can hope for.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Peer Pressure

So, Grace, how was school?
I can't remember...
Well what did you do?
Did you play on the playground?
I have a friend, her name is Rachel. Rachel Brown.
Is she nice?
Does she bring her lunch too? Did you eat it together?
What does she look like?
She has brown hair, brown eyes, brown eyebrows... has a body. Like me.
Oh ya, she sounds nice! What else?
She has hair, on her head... I mean, all around her head, like Ruby.
Oh, she has bangs?
Ya, I REALLY want that hair on the front, like bangs. Can I have them?

I can't resist the way she walks when she thinks she looks pretty. It's sensational.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Double Chins Run Rampant In Our House.

*What Lillie's been up to: "Your baby's hands should be mostly open now — ready to reach out to the world. In the early days of your baby's life, grabbing was mostly automatic and instinctual and she couldn't let go if she wanted to. Although she can't really grab objects just yet, she can hold things placed in her hands. And, once she wraps her hands around something, she might not let go so easily. "

*What we've been up to: No hurricane, and no alligator. Boys really tried! Maybe next year...

And here's the lucky one who gets to play with all of Gracie's toys uninterrupted between 8am and 2pm:

And guess what she named her baby.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Long Time Comin'.

I have a confession to make, Graciegirl. I kept you out of preschool longer than most people. I kept you out of swimming lessons, soccer practice, and gymnastics. I thought that if I kept your brain all to myself that you would be better off, and that I would be, too. I thought that if I could weather the tantrums, enjoy the happy times, break up fights with your sister, and make you peanut butter and jelly every day, my influence would reign supreme in your mind. That you would feel balanced and complete knowing only our world. The world with Mom, Ruby and most recently, Lillie.
But I know now that nothing I could do would keep you from this moment. This moment where your confidence and your passion for people and everything social would finally become a lovely, progressive, sequential blend. You arrived at this intersection today with the bravery and solidarity that only my 5-year-old could possess. And you hardly glanced behind. If you had, you would have found me, forcing a smile in place of a few years' worth of love and emotions. You were quiet, and you held my hand. We walked slowly toward the entrance together. I pushed Lillie's stroller over the bumpy sidewalk, looked down at your hand in mine and considered it a great gift. It was a gift to be present when you came into our world, it's a gift to know you better than almost anyone else, and it's a gift to know that no matter where you go, your heart and soul belong to me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


It was nice knowing everyone. The black line on the map is the path of the hurricane (still just a tropical storm). The black line goes directly through Lakeland... and that's where I live... and I'm sort of nervous, mostly excited. Grace's first day of Kindergarten is tomorrow (which I'm trying not to think about.... ahh!), and then the hurricane is supposed to be here sometime Tuesday. Great timing isn't it? It's not looking like a huge hurricane yet, but today in church they canceled the last block of meetings and had an emergency disaster council. And people are putting shutters on their windows. SHUTTERS. This does not sound good.
We got a few supplies and we brought them home and put them on the counter. I told Grace not to eat the crackers, they were for the hurricane. Her eyes got as big as pepperoni. Sensing her panic, I quickly said, "It shouldn't be too bad, it's going to just be really windy and rainy". She said, "Oh no, it's going to be a BAD hurricane, look at all those supplies we needed!"
I know, it's scary and all, but I'd take this any day over earthquake country where I grew up. At least we know when the hurricane's coming, and I love being warned. This weekend in summation: my 7th anniversary, alligator hunting, Grace's first day of kindergarten, and a hurricane. It's all so exciting!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Please Don't Die and Leave Me To Raise The Kids.

For one week out of each year, the state of Florida gives out several thousand licenses to hunt and kill ALLIGATORS. Apparently the alligators are becoming too numerous from being on the Endangered list. My husband Jacob has taken this yolk upon him. He's been talking about this for months upon months. He bought a Jonboat, a motor and lights. He got the proper licenses. The license place assigned him and his brothers to a lake way out past Disneyworld near the coast. They have to go at night. They don't shoot them, no, no, no. They have to stick them with harpoons. Does this remind anyone of Lord of the Flies? You know, the book about the crazy boys on the island that turn into savages? Hopefully the whole "boy vs. nature" thing will be quenched after this expedition.
I think I should be worried... but I'm a little numb. If you want to risk your life, risk it, but don't say I didn't warn you that this sounded like a very dumb idea.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Love Story

He was unlike anyone else. He looked a little older than 22. He was always laughing. He snowboarded Brighton on the weekends. He was spontaneous. He talked fast, had green eyes, loved fountain drinks. He was a star of energy, charisma and grand ideas.

She was young, special and fearless. She was skinny, energetic and sarcastic. She knew what she wanted. She smiled all the time. She saw him and a light went on inside her. She could see something in his eyes.

He spoke, they laughed. A little time went by, they fell in a deep love, kissed, held hands, planned the future. Being together felt like they had finally come home. They decided to be married and never once doubted they were meant to be together. Sure, they annoyed each other sometimes, but they couldn't stand being apart. She knew how he liked to have his neck scratched just gently. He knew she liked to be listened to, and complimented.

Their first year of marriage, they were only a couple of kids. Eating pizza in bed, working at the same place, going to college together, taking trips. Life was lovely. Their first baby came a year later. They had never been so incredibly happy.

Seven years have passed since their summer wedding day. She cries when she thinks of how lucky they still are. Their life now consists of being parents together, collapsing in bed at midnight and giving a hardly audible sigh that means both "Goodnight", and "I love you". She kisses him when he walks through the door. He loves the way she cares for his children. She admires how hard he works, he watches her lovingly while she dresses the babies and washes his clothes. They argue sometimes, but the next day they are back to being best friends. They spend their days thinking of each other in the back of their minds.

They wouldn't trade their lives for anything else in the world. They are intrinsically connected to each other, and the universe to them, to God. Sometimes it's a struggle for survival, sometimes it's uncontrollable laughter. Mostly though, it's waking up to one normal day after another, all adding up to a beautiful, beautiful love story.

Happy Anniversary, Baby.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Deeply Felt.


-No one stole my clothes this time, and I don't think that's a compliment.

-I definitely try to be everyone's mom.

-With Naomi, every day is a broadway musical.

-Don't make yourself sick over it: You'll never be even close to as musically gifted as Miriam is.

-When I tell you to put on sunscreen, put it on.

-If you need someone to explain how to cough or sneeze into your elbow (and why it's effective), Rachel is the woman for the job.

-When in doubt, eat.

-The stupidest stuff is always the funniest.

*Thanks Donna for the photos!!

We are four sisters missing two more sisters and our three brothers. Rachel is the oldest, she's an army medic, sky diver, recently home from serving a year in Iraq, horticulturist, food expert, violinist, marathoner, walking scrabble dictionary, and is lovingly accused of having OCD.
Miriam is a concert pianist, voilinist, returned missionary, in her 3rd year at BYU, astoundlingly good at analyzing people, tans really easily, asks really deep questions, great at word games, well read, does a great impression of Mom, and loves white bread as much as I do.
Naomi is buoyant, nurturing, sings perfectly, in her 2nd year at HSU, instinctually helpful, laughs easily, prone to injuring herself, tolerant, easy going, loves chocolate, and is very dramatic.
It helps me sleep better tonight knowing that I am helping my daughters create this same magical club of sisterhood.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Every Saturday, Grace Loses a Tooth.

Disney World tomorrow, Tuesday they leave. Tuesday night I sob myself to sleep. Then I'll write it all down.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Grace: "Have You Guys Been Friends Forever?"

Rachel flies in tonight... Scrabble just got WAY crazier!!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Miriam and Naomi.

I will eat more than I have in a long time.
I will not sleep very much.
I will watch lots of old movies.
I will laugh a lot.
I will take lots of photos.
I will be reacquainted with a part of who I am.

My sisters are coming. Two of them. They fly in tonight. I can't wait!!