Friday, March 4, 2011

A Few of my Favorite Things

Just emerging from the post-partum fog to share with you a few of my favorite things about Charlotte Daisy. (With apologies to Julie Andrews. Feel free to sing along.)

Smiles and softness and multiple chins

Downy white fur on her pink wrinkly skin

Yawns like a hippo

and little crossed feet
These are a few of my favorite things

Male pattern baldness
with cute little sideburns

Sleeping in nightgowns

and cuddles with sister

Practicing looks she can use in her teens
These are a few of my favorite things

When the poop leaks
When I don't sleep
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving: plates, pies, and honoring the past

Allow me to squeeze in a few thoughts from Thanksgiving before the avalance of madness that has now become Christmas overtakes me entirely.

As large families grow even larger, we have, over the decades, witnessed the ebb and flow of family gatherings. Families grow, bursting their homes at the seams, and then over time, the younger generation comes of age and becomes hosts to the older generations. Families are dispersed to manage their own smaller Thanksgivings, and then over time, children have children and suddenly the home isn't big enough any more. This Thanksgiving was one of those: bursting, loud, full of youth yet flooded with memory.
My mother is a traditionalist: she insisted on a sit-down affair with real china and silverware. We used every piece if china in the house, from mom's own silver-rimmed wedding china from Auerbach's to great-grandma Chamberlain's famous fish plates with the little lavender flowers. The silverware was Grandma Clark's. Even the raspberry Jell-O resting on a lettuce leaf on a separate salad plate was an homage to a bygone era.

When I observed Jane drinking from one of Grandma Ginny's blue glass goblets, I was overcome with the feeling that we were literally surrounded by history. Not just any history—our legacy from our own flesh, witnessing to us the great abundance that we share.

The kitchen was crammed. Every horizontal space had food on it.

The "kids table" was the largest one.

And of course, using real china and silverware means doing dishes for hours.

And what is Thanksgiving without (count 'em) 13 pies.

Oh, pie. The quintessential homage: nostalgic, humble, American, sweet, tangy, buttery, and altogether symbolic everything I love.

Raspberry-Cherry Pie

Apple with sweet pastry

Not all Thanksgivings will be like this. Some will be more simple affairs as we turn once again to our own growing families. But these will be the ones I'll remember because they were like the ones from my own childhood: overcrowded rooms, fancy plates, steaming windows, giggling through the prayer at the kids table, and a feeling of abundance, fullness, gratitude in a home literally overflowing with family.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Around the summer in 60 seconds

Hey, internet. Long time no chat, and since brevity is the soul of wit, here's the whirlwind tour.

First, I planted a garden. This is what I harvested this morning. That big pile of green hiding the zucchini is more basil than I can shake a stick at. I'm also revving up for some serious canning. Yes, that last statement makes me feel like an old Mormon mom. I'm living the dream, baby.

June was eventful. Most importantly it was my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, which is so amazing that I will save my more thoughtful comments for another post. Suffice it to say there was lots of good food, a great band, a slideshow, and of course, a program by the grandkids.

My artist extraordinaire brother Clark helped me with the cake.

And here is the final product.

I ran the Wasatch Back Relay again, along with 10,000 others who had the same crazy notion.

It turned out great and I ran hard, which isn't bad for a burned-out, in the weeds mom. We were team Speedy Deliveries, because you just can't have enough Mr. Rogers in your life.

Me rocking the Ragnar.

My sister Laura, who gets my vote for both most inspirational and most eligible (c'mon guys, snap her up!).

Our team plus or minus a few.

I baked a little.

Our kids swam on the local swim team, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

We took a trip through Wyoming and fed Llamas in Lander.

Stopped at Devil's Tower (cue the Close Encounters music...)

And drove on to South Dakota, where I had some major gastrointestinal distress at a bar called Mustang Sally's in Deadwood.
(sorry, no picture here)

And went to Mount Rushmore.

Awe-inspiring, although I must say I felt conflicted as I was currently reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and how the Americans stole the Black Hills from the Native Americans, but again, I guess that's a blog for another day.

We also paid too much money to go to Bear Country and see some bears.

But the best wildlife was in Custer State Park.

We rounded out the trip with a tour through Wind Cave National Park, which was also really unique.

So that's it, plus or minus a few sunburns. Stay tuned for something entirely more thoughful. It's in here somewhere.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

While you were blogging

To the four people who read my blog and have been missing my world-class posts and biting humor, here's a taste of what I've been up to these days.

I've been cleaning up this:

And this:

And this:

And this:
(Jane trying to put toast in the CD changer)

And this:

Not pictured because I was laughing or crying or curled up in a ball in my closet: Jane climbing onto the countertop and walking along the edge, Jane eating half a cake layer I had baked for someone, Jane learning how to climb on the oven drawer and pull open the oven door (whee!), Jane throwing towels into the bath water, Jane plunging her fingers through the fondant of a fully decoated cake, Jane unwrapping an entire package of pantyliners (each one is like a little present with a sticker inside!), Jane climbing into the bath with her clothes on, and Jane "rearranging" all of the following: the bookshelf, cd cabinet, dishes, clothes drawer, household chemicals, baking pans, garbage bin contents, makeup drawer, filing cabinet, etc.

Share how this makes me feel? Okay.

5% I'm going Thelma and Louise
15% I hate me life
22% I love my life
58% Profoundly grateful

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And the leaves that are green...

Time hurries on.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand.
Once my heart was filled with the love of a girl.
I held her close, but she faded in the night
Like a poem I meant to write.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown

--Simon & Garfunkel

It's time to take a walk in the canyon. No friends, no extended family, no cell phones, no Hannah Montana, just us.

Jane apparently likes the possum's-eye view, because she kept giggling and throwing her head back.
Over and over,
And over and over,
And over and over.

And time marches on, the girls growing more beautiful.

We walk in the woods, knowing that the moment where Beth absently takes my hand and walks with me can't last for long. How wonderful is it when your child holds your hand!
And then there will be the year Emma decides that gathering leaves of every color is dumb, but not this year, as she runs to me with fistfulls of leaves, each one more beautiful than the last.

While I'm feeling thus grateful, I want to thank all family and friends who have been praying for Jane's smooth adjustment to her BiPap machine. Jane has been diagnosed with severe central sleep apnea.
(BiPAP stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure and assists in breathing and helps keep the airway open and the lungs inflated. It differs from CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) in that it is not a constant pressure, rather it goes up and down with each breath. For example, Jane's rate is set on 8/4 (8 over 4). That means the pressure is 8 LPM (liters per minute) of air when she inhales and 4 LPM when she exhales. The idea is to give her a boost on the inhale so she has more air in the lungs and thus takes a deeper breath. )
This is what the BiPap looks like. It's about the size of a shoe box and is very quiet.
Here's a picture of her mask (w/o the ugly head gear).
We've decided not to put any pictures of her wearing the mask because it just looks sadder than it really is. While she hates initially putting it on, she is sleeping better and longer, and we have you all to thank for your prayers and support.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Love Notes

I just realized what romance is. It's finding love in the unexpected. Last weekend I was wiping the sawdust of the wood paneling of a room we were painting. Ed had gone to Lowe's to buy paint. While he was gone, I found this.

Isn't it strange how a simple expression traced in dust can leave me so profoundly grateful, happy, and even relieved. Relieved that in the midst of busyness, schedules, changes and challenges, there can--and should be--romance. It's the best love note I've ever received.

There are many ways to say I love you.
by Mister Rogers

There are many ways to say I love you.
There are many ways to say I care about you.
Many ways, many ways,
Many ways to say I love you.
There's the singing way to say I love you.
There's the singing something someone really likes to hear.
The singing way, the singing way,
The singing way to say I love you.
Cleaning up a room can say I love you.
Hanging up a coat before you're asked to.
Drawing special pictures for the holidays
And making plays.
You'll find many ways to say I love you.
You'll find many ways to understand what love is.
Many ways, many ways,
Many ways to say I love you.
Singing, cleaning, drawing, being understanding,
Love you.