Friday, July 20, 2012


Have you ever seen kids at restaurants who are holding DVD players and watching movies during dinner?

I have. I used to pass them and think with a sneer, "What are those parents teaching their children? Dinner is a time for talking and togetherness. What is this world coming to?!"

But life has consistently taught me the same horrible lesson. Over. and over. Every rude thought I have comes back to bite me.

It's not a fun thing to have happen to you.

I'm going to have to stop thinking.

Here is Weston. And his friend, George, at breakfast.

{This is his camera smile. I know, I know, you don't have to say it. All my children are destined for Hollywood modeling careers.} 

{Breakfast courtesy of this fine lady who--in addition to Weston and George--endured two other monsters crawling under the table and requiring bathroom trips and fighting over crayons. Love her. And the monsters. Most of the time.}

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Word to the Wise

(This is a post I drafted in 2010. I thought it was too provocative to post at the time. But I read it yesterday while culling posts and died laughing. So, if it's TMI, forgive me. But it's funny.)

We all have iPhones. My siblings and I. My mom and Karlee have gotten enough new iPhones to supply everyone with their hand-me-downs. I am a fan of the arrangement.

Anyway. When my mom's heart stopped, there was a lot of texting going on. And it was annoying that one person could send out a mass text but then the responses would only be seen by the person who sent the text. We needed to be able to have a text conversation. And then Karlee educated us old people on group texting.

It's like an old-school chat room. One person sends a group text and we all see each other's responses. It can be very convenient. But it's new. And we're still figuring out how to use it.

I really am getting somewhere. Hang in there, people.

So. Last weekish I sent a group text to my family. Brad's family too. It included this picture of this adorable boy:

I received a series of typical responses. Things along the lines of how cute he is.

My dad responded:
"I love that little man. I want to squish him til his legs break!"

My family is violent like that.

Because this was sent in a group text, my dad's text was sent to everyone I originally sent the text to (my siblings and in-laws and Brad's siblings and in-laws). Keep that in mind. Because this is where it gets awkward.

The next two responses are as follows:

Mom: Why don't you come home and squish me until my legs break?

Dad: Show me the way home honey!

Yeah. Awesome. That's when I started sending frantic individual text messages to my parents explaining that their messages were being viewed by Brad's entire family.

My parents thought the mixup was hilarious.

My in-laws not so much maybe. I don't know. I've been too afraid to ask them about it.

Moral of the story: Group texting. Be careful.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An ironically self-absorbed post.

Last month, for whatever reason, I experienced a huge series of little failures. It was depressing. I cried a lot. I had a mini identity crisis. "If I'm not good at ____ or ____ or _____ or _____, who am I? What am I doing for the world?"

This crisis has happened before.

When I was in high school choir, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. I competed as a solo vocalist, and I thought I did well. I scored well, and placed high. And then one summer I went to a camp run by BYU's Young Ambassadors. (Think "Glee" on steroids, minus all the drama, slushies, and sex.)

And then I realized I was not. that. great. Like, I was placed in the bottom group with people who had done very little singing.

I met Reality. And it said to me, "You are not the Best. You will never be the Best. Stop trying to be."

I discovered there was a big difference between trying to be the Best and trying to be My Best.

I think trying for the Best means looking for approval, acceptance, attention, recognition.

Trying for My Best meant being realistic about how much I cared about singing, whether I wanted to seriously pursue it as a career (realizing I did NOT), and feeling at peace with the results when I tried my hardest, practiced really hard, and satisfied my own expectations.

It was liberating. After performing, I didn't care how many compliments I got. I did my best. The end.

So, last month, after just BOMBING a bunch of things that felt really important, I met Reality again. And it reminded me: "You are not special. You are not exceptional. You are not God's gift to mankind." (Reality is a dramatic lecturer.)

And... that was liberating. I looked over my failures and realized that I had done my best in each situation. I had done the absolute best I knew how to do. I had prepared. I had planned. I had failed. And I was learning.

So how did I get that way? Why was I ever under the impression that I was somehow special?

I think we get told that. And I think venues like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger reinforce it. And I don't really want that for my children.

When I saw this graduation speech: I felt like cheering.

Being "special" doesn't make me a valuable person (I don't think my life has been dramatically affected by Michael Buble or Adele or Anthony Hopkins or William Shakespeare even though I enjoy their work and they are extraordinarily talented). But that doesn't mean that I think an individual life is meaningless and unimportant. Being special to someone makes my life meaningful (My kids have only one mom, my husband has only one me, and my friends need me to be the best friend I can be).

Do you disagree? Do you think there are advantages to being special or teaching your children they are?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A lot to say and a lot of pictures.

When I was young, my family did not take a lot of fancy vacations. We didn't go to Disneyland or Disneyworld. We never went on a cruise. 

We camped. 

We lived in Washington state, so we used to pack up the car and drive to Deception Pass or Astoria or Cannon Beach or Winthrop

One of my favorite memories was when we took a vacation to Utah and spent several days camping on the way down. We ended up in Little Mill Campground (on the Alpine Loop) and we found this great huge boulder that had been eroded and smoothed and made a perfect, giant (and slightly dangerous) slide.

We used to ride bikes and pick blackberries and put sticks in the fire.

Good times.

So I thought it was time that our family take a camping trip.

I planned for weeks. And I shared my plans with Brad. And that was weird. 

Brad comes from a camping background too. But not so much family camping. I don't know how much of that he did. Or at least not the kind I was used to. My family camped in a lot of car camping sites (where you park right next to your tent). We did a few middle-of-nowhere-no-plumbing-no-bathroom-camptrips, but not many. Brad, however, did only that kind of camping. He was a backpack camper. He never took anything that didn't fit into a backpack.

So I was planning steak and potato foil dinners, and pancakes for breakfast (with our gas stove), and dutch oven desserts... and he looked at me like I was from Mars.

But I talked him into it, and then Memorial Day weekend came, and we headed into the mountains of New Mexico. Whenever we go, all Grace and Claire can say is, "Wow!! Look at all the trees!!" And then Brad and I look at each other, heartbroken, wondering whether we're ruining our children's lives by raising them in the desert instead of the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Sigh.

Anyway, we found a cute little site minus plumbing, but with some beautiful scenery and only a few other campers.

We played hide-and-go-seek in the woods. We went for a walk. We introduced the munchkins to s'mores. We taught them how to roast marshmallows. Roasting by children ended when Claire accidentally flung a flaming mallow into Brad's arm, which burned Brad's arm and singed his hair [which he handled by standing up and silently yelling. I thought that was a very fair and mild reaction to being burned by fire.]. Claire spent the next half hour inconsolably moping in the tent because she felt so bad. At the campfire, Brad spent all his time at the edge of his camp chair, arms out, catching kids who ran too close to the fire pit. Then, cleaning their hands with baby wipes before bed, he kept saying, "How do they get so dirty? I mean they are covered in dirt!" Which I responded to by laughing hysterically.

The whole experience was kind of a role reversal. I was mostly calm. Brad was a little panicked. Not typical us.

Everything was fabulous until nighttime. When the temperature cooled to a chilly 30 degrees and Weston screamed his head off every twenty minutes.

That's when we decided not to stay all weekend. 

But it was fun while it lasted!

Our walk:

An attempt at a family portrait... 

Oh, yeah. I forgot...

We don't do family portraits.

I love them so:

Hide-and-go-seek. Grace was a fantastic hider. This was just her refusing to pose.

Cute girls.

I told the girls dandelions are edible. They gave them a try.


Oh but Grace likes them.

Um... no thank you.

Chesney the beautiful dog.

Brad's crazy long hair and marshmallow burn.

Blurry pictures are at least evidence that I still exist. And that I like marshmallows. And that I am capable of smiling occasionally.

We wore this puppy out!

After the kids went to bed, Brad and I spent about an hour talking and goofing off with the camera and fire. We tried to write words with fiery sticks. Because we're five years old like that. Anyone guess this one?
We had fun. But it took a long time to recover from the lost sleep. Oh. But I converted Brad to foil meals. Win.