Sunday, September 29, 2013

A First, A Last, and a Full Heart

Sometimes I go to bed with a smile on my face, a full heart, and a grateful attitude. That doesn't happen as often as I'd like, but Sunday night it did.

Our main church meeting on Sunday was presented by the Primary (age 3-11 year olds) children, and as one of the presidency members of the organization, I was very involved. A couple of months ago, I was asked if I would "write" the program. I say "write", but really I compiled it, rather than write it. With the exception of scriptures read from the Bible or the Book of Mormon,  and a few narrations from the Sharing Time book, all of the spoken words came from the children themselves. Each week a child gives a talk in Primary, and words were taken from those talks, or answers given to questions asked in class such as, "What do you love about your family?" or "What makes you unique and special?"

My heart felt full as I listened to these young children share their faith with innocence and purity. Although I was touched by each child's spoken word, when my own children spoke words from their heart, it was balm to my too often weighed-down soul.

Joshua's teacher introduced the subject of families, and Joshua was asked, "What do you love about your family?" His heartfelt, sincere answer was, "They help me when I am hurt." Of course, his pronunciation of the word "hurt" is said without the "r" sound, which endeared his line to me even more.

Drew was asked "What makes you unique and special?" and his understanding of his divine nature is based on his ability to [I] "Get dressed by myself."

Ellie had more depth to her part, as she shared an experience of losing something and saying two (?) prayers and then finding what she was searching for. Her brief little talk ended with, "I know Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers." I'm touched by her faith, and belief in something so profound, yet so simple.

Luke had a part in the narration, with 5 other children that will soon be turning 12 and leaving the Primary organization. He was less than thrilled with his "at least 50 parts I have to say!" (Hmmm-wonder where he gets his numerical exaggerations from.) All of the narrative parts were taken from Primary materials. I think one of my favorite parts of the program was at the end, when a song about Jesus ("If the Savior Stood Beside Me") was played softly in the background, and the 6 narrators shared a simple line spoken from their hearts--sharing something they know. With a straight face, void of any smile or emotion, Luke stated, "I know Jesus loves me and knows me." I love that though his faith is in its beginning stages, he has the belief that not only does Jesus love him, but he knows him too.

Megan plays the organ for our church congregation every other week, and it just so happened this week was her turn to play. The closing song was, "I am a Child of God", and the congregation was invited to join in singing for the 3rd and 4th verse, which Megan accompanied on the organ.

Mike serves as a Primary teacher, and he too was involved in the program. So if you're counting, that makes all seven of us, in our own way have a part in today's Primary Program. It was a first, and probably a last. The seven of us can sharing our faith, testimonies, and talents in unique ways, in one meeting will likely never happen again.

Sunday night Drew fell asleep in our bed laying next to Mike. The other children were on the other side of our bedroom door a little too wound up from the evening. My patience was wearing thin, despite my determination to keep the good feelings of the day forefront in my heart and mind. Mike was getting ready to carry Drew to his room, and I quickly chose to lean over and kiss him goodnight. I smiled as I rubbed his little head, kissed his cheek and whispered to him, "You are special, you can get yourself dressed. Don't ever forget it."

I wish I could bottle up days like today to share with my children and myself on the days when things don't feel quite as pleasant, or quite as full. Instead, I have written my thoughts to remember on those days that will inevitably come...

"We write to experience life twice."
~Anais Nin


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stop Dreaming, Start Living

Believe me, this isn't going to be quite as deep of a post as you might imagine from the title.

But let's talk about dreams for just a minute. Occasionally our Power of Moms events have a "Dream Night." It is such a powerful thing to sit in small groups and talk about her dreams. Some are big dreams that may really take some dreaming. Some may seem insignificant to others, but real to the dreamer. Dreams can and are very easily interchanged with a more frequently used term, "Bucket List."

And maybe 'bucket list' item would be the more appropriate term here than a dream. But as I left the house last weekend to go __________, (I'll tell you in a minute.) Mike's last comment to me as he said goodbye was, "Stop dreaming and start living, Dearie."

Let me set the stage...

Friends with women with PTA duties...
One PTA friend arranges a day with a local grocery store to get a percentage of sales to our school PTA.
The PTA friend mentions (somewhat in passing) that she'd love PTA moms to help bag groceries for a while at the aforementioned grocery store.


I about fell off my chair when she mentioned the need, and I think she just about did too (well she was standing, but same thing) when she saw my reaction of sheer joy and excitement and happiness.

I was going to get to bag groceries at a grocery store!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has been a secret wish of mine for years. I've said to Mike for the eons I've been mothering that "When my youngest starts school I really want to go bag groceries." That day is growing closer, and I tell you folks the only thing that stops me from really thinking about making it happen is because of my pride.

Regardless of all this rambling, my point is to tell you I spent a couple hours bagging groceries the other Saturday. I loved it! Except my excitement was slightly dampened by the ornery cashiers and "real" baggers that didn't appreciate us being there. But I was a dang good bagger.

No question about it.
Maybe the "real" baggers were ornery because they were just mad they don't ever get a "bagging photo shoot" while on shift.

And that's why I'm glad I'm good friends with the PTA President. It's all about the connections, right?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fun in Seattle

So awesome to have spent last weekend with my sister-in-law. Visiting, talking and laughing with Cindy was even better in Seattle. Too often our every few months visits are interspersed with kids needing attention, or places to do or go. I'm sad she lives far away, however I'm glad we have excuses to take trips together.

The food!! Oh I can't say enough about the food. Food is an important part of trips for me, but not everyone feels that same way, but Cindy? Oh yes, don't be fooled by that petite frame of hers--that girl loves to eat, which endears her to me even more. Fish and chips, clam chowder in sour dough soup bowls, bacon-cheese burgers with no cheese, french pastries, beef jerky samples, fresh nectarines, peaches and apples, etc. I regret not eating any crab legs. Maybe next time?

I'm not one to typically photograph food, but LOOK AT THAT PILE OF BACON. Seriously? I only ended up with about 2-3 pieces of it on my burger, but oh my would I enjoy eating my way through that pile.

And Cindy's sister who decided to join us for one night? Oh I loved her too. Not just because Wendy loves food too, but because she was so fun to be with. She lives a 3 hour drive from Seattle, and just had a baby 5 weeks ago, but she couldn't bring herself to turn down an opportunity for some Seattle Fun. It made me mildly jealous I don't have a sister, but at least I have sisters-in-law.

Pike's Market was surely one of the highlights of my trip to Seattle. I could spend hours in that place. LOVED it.

Not sure what to think about the ONE AND ONLY photo Cindy ASKED to take of me was this one with a pig?!?

I became my mother-in-law for a couple of seconds at the Seattle airport, and grabbed a city map and a few flyers of nearby attractions. I don't think my sister-in-law thought we'd need it, and I think she felt very similar to me when I first realized my mother-in-law thought we'd use a "real map" in Boston. (I learned my lesson in Boston about real maps vs. phone navigation systems, and passed my knowledge onto Cindy.) That real life map of Seattle in our hands and not our phone ended up being how we navigated Seattle for 3 days. I will never mentally criticize my mother-in-law and her love of brochures and maps again. I mean look at this--Cindy was actually GIVING someone else directions.

 Wendy obviously preferred using her phone.

The underground tour was fabulous. Of course it made me wish I lived in those days. Except the part about the men to women ratio and the fact that the women's taxes from their uh-hum business ended up contributing 80% to the building of Seattle.

Cindy found the gum wall disgusting. I found it fascinating.

 The food. Oh yeah. I already mentioned that.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED finding a couple of vintage dresses to add to my small, but growing collection. I've been in a quest for them since reading a novel about a vintage dress store a couple of years ago. I loved holding up the dress and admiring it. I wondered aloud what memories the lady who once owned it was doing while wearing it. Did she wear it to play bridge in with her neighbors, or was she wearing it when she found out she was pregnant, or did she wear it to a school play her child was in? Cindy and Wendy may very easily have thought I was a little crazy with my out-loud ponderings. I'm not. I'm sentimental.

I was very proud of myself that I experienced no anxiety or worry, despite going 520 feet in the air in 40 seconds to the top of the Space Needle. Yay me.

The CHEAP flowers? $5.00 for these beauties. And yes, I transported them home on the plane even though the water bag attached to the bouquet may or may not have had a spontaneous leak all over the foot of the passenger next to me. (More on the passengers next to me later.)

The Olympic Park?
Oh yeah. Some people are not very informed. They make a point to visit the park and then get all confused that there are a bunch of artsy statues and displays and no Olympic torch or rings anywhere in sight. They spend minutes and minutes trying to decide when exactly the Olympics were held in Seattle, because they can't recall it in their lifetimes. Fortunately the less-than informed people stop short of asking somebody where exactly the Olympic memorabilia is, when one of the more informed of the two, makes a sudden realization. Maps show an Olympic Mountain range. There is even a city in Washington named Olympia. A park with the name Olympic in it, doesn't necessary mean the OLYMPICS. Duh. Some people.

Our hotel sat at the top of a big hill. As we ascended the hill for the first time, I imagined in my mind a picturesque view from our hotel room window. Our room view wasn't quite what I imagined, but I was not disappointed... Remember, I am my Granny's grand-daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed our view straight into the windows of a hospital.

Chinatown in Seattle is not worth your time to visit. It felt as though it was nothing more than an obligatory visit to Chinatown instead of the highlight of my visits to other cities Chinatowns. Very, very disappointing.

Mount Rainier
The pilot directed the passengers' attention out of the window as we were approaching Mount Rainier. For obvious reasons, I don't choose to sit in the window seats of aircrafts. However, a view of Mount Rainier was quite tempting, and I couldn't help but lean a little to my left to peek out the window myself. The immediate view was quite spectacular, but within seconds I had myself convinced I would be seeing Mount Rainier in person, along with every other passenger on the flight, and chose instead to direct my attention back to my magazine while everyone else oohed and aahed about a mountain.

The Troll--what visit to a city wouldn't be complete without seeing a giant troll under a viaduct? Loved this fun little part of Seattle, especially the outdoor vintage market and of course the vintage shops.

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED my visit to Seattle. Another visit there is definitely on my list of things to do. So is another trip with my sister-in-law (and Wendy).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Twice at the Fair

Luke skipped school the other Friday to compete with Dudley (his pack goat) at the Utah State Fair. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the event, but a few minutes into it, I changed my tune and actually realized it was quite enjoyable.
Dudley performed flawlessly on his pack goat course. A second place win for Dudley was even more exciting for Luke than skipping school. The only points he missed were in the "confirmation" category where they judge the goats on size, muscle development, etc. Dudley is only 6 months old and was by far the smallest there, and didn't score perfectly in those categories. But the course?

He was the best.
I'm not just saying that either. (I wish I could figure out how to get the video from my phone on here.) Although I'm totally biased towards my son, I'm not so biased towards our goat. I'm fairly certain the other contestants don't play with their goats quite like Luke does. I'd even place money on a bet that none of them set up obstacle courses in their backyards for their siblings and friends their goats.
Luke and goats was my first experience with the Utah State Fair.
The second?
Megan and Ellie and screaming girls.

Bridgit Mendler concert at the state fair.
Don't know who she is?
I didn't either.

All in a day's work my friends.
All in a day's work.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Laughing Out Loud

Most of you already know I'm not a fan of the BSA (Boy Scouts of America). Although I'm not a merit badge and award earning driver type-parent, I encourage Luke to go to 11 year old scouts each week when we have no other conflicts. Rarely does he come home and report about anything that even cracks a smile on my face, let alone makes me laugh.

So tonight, when Luke returned home from scouts and I was laughing hysterically in the kitchen with him, it wasn't long before the whole family came to see what the raucous was about.

Wonder why?
Luke's scout lesson tonight was about...

Now, I know it was meaning poo as in, when one is camping and in the great outdoors. But nowhere on his assignment did it say anything referencing that. He simply handed me a paper titled, "How to get rid of poo."

And within seconds I was laughing when I began reading such things as,

"Put leafs and grass over it to make it look nice."
"Getting rid of poo is chalnging."

You can read the rest yourself, so I'll only mention one more,

"If there is a restroom, use it for best results."

Can you see now why I was laughing H.Y.S.T.E.R.I.C.A.L.L.Y?

Who knew the BSA could actually make me SMILE!?

This paper is a keeper, but oh no. Not in the put-away-in-Luke's-special-papers-to-keep-folder type way. No, quite possibly as in, I'm going to get it framed and hang it in a bathroom.

I mean really, what bathroom is complete without instructions of "How to get rid of poo."

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Wednesday Evening

Occasionally I have the opportunity to act kind of professional. Like, speak at a book launch/signing event for the new Power of Moms book I told you about. I got to interact with some wonderful women that I absolutely love, and was delighted to meet some new ones.

Except, my thoughts of professionalism ended somewhere around the time I caught a glimpse of these "author photos."

Take this one for example?
I'm grabbing my dress while crossing my legs as though I'm doing some kind of potty dance or something?! What in the world was I thinking or doing? My sister-in-law was nice. She said it looked like I was about to curtsy.

Not sure what's worse, that I'd curtsy at someone taking our photo, or doing a potty dance.

Or there is this one. The only people not looking at the camera are a one year old and ME?

All in all though, what a fabulous evening. I was honored to present with these great ladies, and then sit in a discussion group with some truly fabulous mothers. I LOVE learning from other women.

What a fabulous night!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brevity and Conciseness.

I'm not a frequent Facebook status writer. Although I love reading others, I don't often write one myself. I find it difficult to wrap up a thought in a sentence or two. If you've read more than one or two posts of mine, you know I'm long-winded not succinct.

As a writer, I often find myself "thinking in sentences". I spent the last week or so, recording those sentences when I thought them. Here are a few moments of my life captured in just a sentence or two.

Found myself laughing hysterically during a game of Operation with Drew the other morning. He can NOT grasp the concept that the tweezers are not supposed to be touching the sides. I think he thinks the buzzing sound of the tweezers on the sides are some form of cheers for his efforts.

Lifting a crying first grader up into the school bus is difficult--emotionally and physically, especially more than once.

Wondering if any other parent rigs the cards in Candyland so it ends a little more quickly than otherwise?

I'm not sure what to think of Ellie's response when she told me that a 5th grader on the school bus said to her, "Your mom is really, really pretty." Ellie's response? Absolute puzzlement and bewilderment.

Spent a couple afternoons helping with school lunch for the 1st graders last week. I have personally committed myself to never again allow my children to eat school food again.

Mildly concerned I'm actually beginning to like the sights, sounds and smells of the livestock portion of fairs.

Forgot about my no school lunch commitment a couple days later when I found myself pleading with my children to have school lunch the other day when I was having a minor meltdown. It included asking myself, How many more days of the school year are there that I have to fix home lunches for? There may have even been tears when I answered the question. 174!!! So depressing. Joshua took the bait and tried school lunch for the first time ever. He isn't planning on repeating that anytime soon.

Never quite gotten into the fascination with "selfies." Nor have I ever tried to make myself have a double chin. That comes naturally for me.

Sunsets and sunrises have always reminded me to take one day at a time. Beautiful ones remind me to enjoy those days even more.

Love and adore my wonderful associations with so many fabulous fellow-mothers out there. Would love to name names of some of my favorites, but I just can't. I think they know who they are though.

One of my favorite candies are Milk Duds. After being around a lot of goats for several hours at the last two fairs, Milk Duds have lost their appeal to me for a while.

There are a few of my thoughts in a sentence or two.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Me and Ellie, Ellie and Me

I have to admit I felt a little nervous when I sat down at Ellie's desk during back-to-school night and had to take a "test."

It was one of those "newly-wed game" kind of ideas, and I had to fill in the blanks, without peeking at the blanks Ellie had previously filled in answering the same questions.

I passed with okay results, and Ellie was thrilled with my correct answers and thoroughly entertained by my mistakes.

I on the other hand, feel offended by one of HER answers.

I play games with that child day in and day out. I can't even begin to count the number of games Ellie and I played during the summer. (We have slowed down since school started, but for the most part, we still play at least 2 games a day.)

But her answer on her favorite inside activity?


Total lie.
Total, I-need-to-let-my-brand-new-4th-grade-teacher-think-I-love-to-read-and-that-my-mother-doesn't-have-to-say-each-night-when-she-tucks-me-into-bed, "No! It is reading time, no more games."

Take last night for example when I went into check on her and Megan, after having already tucked them into bed. Ellie was laying in bed playing a hand-held "Bop-it" game when she should have been doing her "favorite indoor activity": READING.

Who is she trying to fool?

To be fair, maybe Ellie forgot about the games with the seriousness of being a big 4th grader, and she is now resolved to read more.

Green and purple are 2 of Megan's favorite colors. Oops, my bad. As for hashbrowns versus all-in-one, it's one and the same. (All-in-one is the Sowby's way of saying hashbrowns, eggs and sausage mixed together.) As for her favorite book? I didn't know she'd ever cracked open "The Secret Garden" that sits on her book shelf. Maybe she likes the pretty picture on the front cover? Besides, I think we were both trying to be "4th-gradish" and not include that really she has always loved "The Very Hungry Caterpillar. If she ever hears me reading it to the little boys, she is over in a hurry to listen to it. That's her real favorite book.

As for her favorite outdoor activity?
Wasn't hard to get that one right.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Can't Help But Smile

I spent a lot of Saturday mornings as a child at a bookstore with my dad. Specifically, WH Smith. As much as I loved the stationary that filled the downstairs, I loved the shelves of books that filled the second floor more. Probably due in part to the fact I probably left the store with a new book each time. My parents said no to plenty of things, but asking to buy a new book pretty much always got a yes.

Except the time my parents said no to the Seven Days with Topsy and Tim special pack of books. Oh I remember leaving the store disappointed, and though I don't remember the season, I'm assuming the reason I was told no was because Christmas was just around the corner. I don't have a lot of things from my childhood, but I'll tell you, one of the things I treasure most is my Seven Days with Topsy and Tim pack, that Santa placed on a baby doll changing table under the tree one Christmas morning. I absolutely love those books, and so do my children. I think my children love them for a lot of reasons, but especially because I CAN'T read them without an English accent.

I digress. Enough of Topsy and Tim.

Back to bookstores with my dad as a child.

Loved them. Besides WH Smith, I remember frequenting Sutton Library with him, and then often going to a bookstore just down the way from there. And sometimes, we'd even venture clear up to the top of the High Street (and beyond) to a little bookshop next to the Sutton Post Office. I have no recollection of what sections my dad would peruse, while I found myself lost in my own perusal of books.

My dad had two rules I had to adhere to each time a book was purchased.

1. I had to read the first page to him. I guess to check it was on my level? One of my most clear book purchase memories is crouched down on the second floor of WH Smith with Black Beauty open to the first page, reading it while my dad stood over me. I wanted that book so badly. "Everyone" was reading it, and I didn't want to miss out. After reading the first page flawlessly, my dad approved the purchase of the book. Once home, I never got past the first page. Remember, I'm not an animal lover, nor a fantasy book lover.

2. The second rule is a no-brainer. You never take a book from the front of the stack. EVERYONE picks up that book to browse through. For years now, I've volunteered at our PTA sponsored school bookstore. It seems no one else, had a dad with the same "Pick the book from behind" rule as me. Makes me sigh every time to see someone purchase a book that 329 other people have already looked through.

Oh man, am I long-winded.

My point here is really just to tell you how excited I really am to be part of the Power of Moms book that was originally published last year, but the cover has been beautifully re-done and been picked up by a national publisher.
The newly designed book is now on sale. Even on Barnes & Noble website! I know it isn't WH Smith, but it's a close second. You can see it HERE. There is a chance that it may be sold in some Barnes and Noble bookstores. I can't help but smile to think about that. I will absolutely make my dad take me there and buy one, if and when it is. I'm hoping he won't ask me to read the first page, but you can bet neither of us will reach for the one in front.

Barnes and Noble aside, one of the locations it is for sale in, is a quaint, darling bookstore in Salt Lake City, Kings English Bookshop. I will be participating in a little book signing on October 24th at the store, and will also be participating in a book launch evening next Wednesday evening in downtown Salt Lake.

A second Power of Moms book will be released next spring, and I am honored to be a part of that book too. It is beautiful as well. I love everything about the cover.

That's a lot of rambling for one post, but I love books. I have recorded in my journal from 1993, "a secret wish" which was, to see my name in print in a bookstore.

Twenty years later, that secret wish makes me smile.


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