Saturday, December 28, 2013

Do You Remember

Do you remember that time you let me dye your hair?

that time you made me brownies?
that time I told you you had to come with me to MI for Easter to do your home teaching?
that time we played Rummycube and I was so nervous I ate an entire plate of brownies?
that time you asked me where I am from and because of my answer you thought I didn't like you?
that time you helped me look for fossils in the river?
that time we rode the bus using senior citizen tickets because we didn't understand the system, and inexplicably the bus drivers let us do it?
that time you took me to the chocolate festival?
that time you held me hand as I pushed a baby out into the world?  Three times?
that time I remembered you needed fingernail clippers?
that time the vacuum salesman came, and I cried all night because it was pretty much the worst day?
that time we bought a car that neither of us knew how to drive, so my parents had to drive it off the lot?
that time you let me borrow your car and you parked it early in the morning outside my apartment with a bag of sunchips on the drivers seat for me to find?
that time I gave you a cheese grater for Valentine's Day?
that time you laughed at my joke and made me feel like the funniest person alive?
that time you sat in the computer chair and complained about how uncomfortable it was?
that time I got really, really lost at your marathon and my brother had to come pick me up and help me find you?
that time one of the girls ran to the door in just a diaper when you got home from work and you said, "Where's your pants?!"
that time the girls did something we didn't know how to respond to and we just looked at each other with those big "so this is parenting" eyes?  Every day?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gingerbread Houses!

This year we kept the Gingerbread House Party simple.  For all the reasons.

I know I look really sick and tired and just sort of bad in these pictures, and I could have gone upstairs and put on nice clothes and my contacts and some makeup and fancied myself up for all of the posterity that will see these pictures.

OR if I knew how to use photoshop and cared about things like that, I could make myself look nice digitally.

Which one takes more effort and time, do you suppose? Just curious...

BUT, this is what I really looked like that day, and I'm mostly not even embarrassed about it.

Love the sweatshirt, Grandma Boling, thank you!  Heather loves it too, finding all of the "Smas smas trees" on it is her favorite game when I wear it.

This year was really exciting because Hallie was able to do most of it on her own.  Nice job Hallie!

 Heather and Daddy were a team. 
She had a pretty spectacular house. 
We were really impressed with some of the pieces she managed to hang.  
She'll be a pro in no time!
 Hanna did all of the decoration application herself, and I did all of the frosting application for her.  She is well on her way to Gingerbread Independence.  Maybe next year!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Hair

Devin is gone Sunday mornings when we are getting ready for church, because he has meetings.  He comes home just before we leave, and makes the girls a snack and gets the diaper bag ready and out the door we go.

While I am extremely grateful he does those two things, the rest of getting four people dressed and ready is up to me.

Which means that some weeks, their hair looks great and some weeks it looks exactly the way it did when they woke up that morning.

The Sunday before Christmas however feels like a special Sunday, and I wanted them to look nice.

Except I was tired, and didn't want to have to think about how I was going to do their hair, so I let them choose whatever they wanted and I would just do it.

Hallie went first.  Her request was for "three braids and this flower in my hair."


Here is the finished product.

From the front.  Generic I know but you wanted to see her face, too, didn't you?

And here's what three braids and a flower clip looked like at church on Sunday.
This was the second to last braid I got to put in Hallie's hair before her big haircut.
At least now I can look at it without crying.
And, just curious, how would you have done a "three braids with flower clip" request?

Then it was Hanna's turn. She came to me and asked for "a fancy braid with these two flowers".
Here's how she turned out.  
Again, you wanted to see her face, right?
Heather insisted on being in the picture.
 Ok, and now from the back.

 I didn't really know what to do with TWO clips... so, yeah, whatever.
Since I have never in my life used a bobby pin, I had to use them to tuck the end of her braid up anyway, so I guess it worked out.

Then it was Heather's turn. She was not in the mood for fancy braids or any sort of clips.  
She got water and gel, and off we went to church.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Deal Breaker

My girls watched this music video on October 7, 2013.   That was... you know, a while ago.

That was the only time they ever watched it.

They still walk around the house singing it.

Now that's a catchy tune.

It still makes me laugh every time I watch it, too.  And I've watched it many times since then.

Because it makes me laugh.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The David Jonathon Giveaway

I've had these clothes sitting on my desk, waiting for this moment, for... two months?

Blah blah blah, I hadn't done it yet, all the reasons why, but I've gotten over it now and it's time.

This year, seeing as how one of the reasons is that I have less energy than I usually do, I'm not going to do the giveaway all in one lump.  I'll do it piece by piece, maybe kind of a 12 days of Christmas thing.

Sort of.

We'll start with the David Jonathon Giveaway.  Back in August, Devin and I were picking up a few things for baby, but since this was before we knew if it was boy or girl, we were just grabbing girl things, on instinct.  And then Devin said, "But what if... it is a boy?" and we stopped and stared at each other, and then Devin said, "Do you think it would jinx us to get just a few boy things?"

And we laughed, because we don't believe in things like jinxes.  We still don't, but it has been, all the reasons I haven't done this yet, but I'm over it now and so if you have the same taste in little boy clothes that I apparently have, well, you know what to do.  Tell me in the comments which one you'd like.  Or go for all three!  It's Christmas!

 Size newborn, Just One Year by Carters, it has two dinosaurs hugging, and it says "Mommy's Snuggle-SAURUS. 

This one... doesn't have a size?  I would guess 2T or 3T, but what do I know about the size of boys?  Definitely toddler though.  Obviously it is a tiny sports coat, complete with suede elbow patches.  The deal with this one is, please, if you get it, send me a picture of your little guy wearing it, please?  This one hurts the most, really.  The tag on the coat says "Jonathon Strong".

Red and blue striped sweater, Chaps.  It says size 4.

Good luck, and more things to Give Away to come, so stay tuned.

This Giveaway will close day after Christmas. December 26th.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Elegance of Cows

You know those times when the magic of life seems lost in the reality of life?

When the snow is just dirty and grey, and the ice seems slicker than usual, and you keep finding Christmas tree ornaments under the table, and the wrapping paper keeps ripping?

All you want is to take a deep breath and try to slow it all down, but there is a baby inside you that has gotten confused, taken up lodging in your lungs instead of your uterus.  You have no scientific evidence for this, but you strongly suspect that it is true.

All that is left is to lay down for a minute and close your eyes, and try to think quieting, peaceful thoughts.  But those thoughts get lost in the high quality surround sound of little voices shouting, "Stop it!"
"That's mine!"
"I had it!"
"That hurts!"
"Momma! Pooping!" 
mixed to the percussion of little fingers poking at your eyes, and little hands batting at your tummy.

The whole thing swirls around you faster and faster until you are dizzy and breathless with the unending chaos of the reality of life.

Can I tell you a secret that I have learned?

At the very moment when I think that surely this time I will sink beneath the wildness of it all, throwing my hands up in the air and joining in the dance of the Lord of the Flies, I find a moment of perfect stillness, perfect serenity.

I had just fought the battle of coats and shoes, hats and mittens, times three, and we were on our way to pick up Hallie from school.  That dirty city snow covered the ground and road and I was not really in the mood to be sitting outside Hallie's school for the next hour.

We turned the corner, now in the part of our drive that is pretty desolate, nothing but fields as far as the eye can see.  Across that vast expanse of snowy white landscape, I found my moment.  That moment that relaxes every muscle, releases every strain, and provides a week's worth of deep breaths and quiet eyes resting all in an instant.

Did you know that cows are beautiful? 

Picture it.

A parade of all black cows.
More than 30 of them.
Daintily picking their way,
each step a cautious motion forward,
across the snow and ice of that pristine white field.
They walked in single file.
No hurry.  No rush.  No pushing or shoving or squealing or squawking.
No groaning or moaning or whining or whimpering.

And all it takes now is to look out over that field as we drive by and I feel peaceful again.  The cows are still on the other side of the field, and every time we see them Hanna yells, "Mommy, your cows! Your pretty black cows!"

Maybe I'm a simple person, but that's my secret.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Body

I've largely been successful in not feeling so angry at my body, although there are still moments of frustration.

To curb that, I've started listing in my head all the reasons I should love my body, all the body parts that are still functioning as they should, and giving me no problems whatsoever.

10 fingers that are amazingly deft and capable.  Thanks, guys.  From opening cans to making quilts to wrapping Christmas presents, you guys have been there for me.

10 toes that sit so nicely on the end of my feet.  I can't really see you very well anymore most of the time, and it's true: absence does make the heart grow fonder.

A neck that swivels and allows me to shift my focus to whatever interests me, or whichever child is shouting for me the loudest.  You hold my head up so patiently, day after day, and receive so little appreciation for it.  Thank you.

2 eyes that are able to absorb and appreciate the beauty and the magic of this time of year.  Sometimes I sit on the couch in the dark and just look at the lights on the Christmas tree.  There are some things you just don't ever grow out of doing.

2 ears that are able to hear my children laugh, come to their aid when they cry, alert me when I need to break up fights, and enjoy beautiful Christmas carols.  Lately, these ears especially love that peaceful silence that descends on my home at around 8:02 every evening, when all the little bodies are tucked in their beds.  Knowing that they are safe and warm and dreaming of plum pudding* makes me happy all over.

A nose to smell all the delicious smells in the world, and the skill that it has picked up as an adult of not noticing quite as much the yuckier smells in life.  You've really grown up from the child who had to hold a flower in front of her nose when we went to the market in Brasil, my dear nose.

A mouth that tastes and laughs and kisses and yawns and drools and holds all my teeth in so nicely.  One of my recurring nightmares since high school is that all my teeth fall out, and so far my mouth has done a nice job keeping that from becoming a reality.  Thank you.


Admittedly, sometimes one or more of these joints hurt and sometimes I have threatened to cut them off from my body, but at the end of the day they get the job done and these days, can I really ask for anything more?

An appendix that has never burst, or even threatened to burst.  We're on good terms, my appendix and I, and I shouldn't take that for granted.

A gall bladder that honestly, I'm not even sure what this little guy does for me, but again, I'm so glad we are friendly and I've never had to worry about having it removed.  Let's keep you in there nice and tight, shall we?

A belly button, especially now that it does not have a two inch tear above it in my insides.  Of all the things I am grateful for this pregnancy, you should really probably be at the top of the list.  Thank you for keeping yourself closed shut this time around.  It feels so good.

Then of course, there are all the other things that get a lot more recognition, and of course I am grateful that they work: brain, lungs, heart, liver, kidney, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, and so on and whatnot and what have you.

It really is a pretty good body to be in, and as far as I can tell it is making one great little baby.

Lest you felt ignored: Way to go uterus.

*Has anyone ever actually eaten plum pudding? What is this?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sleeping Beauty and Anger

Hello, hello you poor neglected blog.  You sad, sad little thing.  I haven't been myself lately, and I haven't wanted to take it out on you.  So you see, it's me, not you.  I promise.

I've been angry, at my body, at my current state of weakness and limitations.  I get angry about being in pain and uncomfortable and not being able to move quickly, or take care of my children and home the way I want to.

And I do not like being angry.  So then I get more angry.

On Friday on our way to the church Christmas party the girls asked me to sing their favorite Christmas songs to them, and even though I didn't want to because I was especially angry at myself that night, I obliged and began singing.  When I was done with their songs, I asked if I could sing my favorite Christmas song.

And then I cried the whole way through the song.  And then entire drive to the church I cried.  I was just so tired, and even more so tired of being angry.  It is exhausting to be angry.

I had one of those moments where you just have to slap yourself across the face and say "Wake up!" "Get over it!"  "STOP IT!" I mean, sure, I am going to get bigger and more awkward and uncomfortable and in more pain each day for the next seven and a half weeks.  There is nothing really I can do about that.  While I am grateful that I don't hurt as MUCH as I have in previous pregnancies, I still kept feeling angry at how little I am able to do.

So.  There is nothing I can do about that.  But I can choose to be angry about it, or not.

That's my choice.

On Friday I abandoned my anger, and my insides just feel all better.  My emotional insides, you know.  My physical ones are still very aware that there is a baby inside me that probably has far more limbs than it really should.  Honestly, I don't remember with the other three that it hurt so much when the baby moved.  Uncomfortable, sure.  And when they'd stick in your ribs, sure.  But every movement?  I didn't remember that.

Tonight, Hanna sat on the couch and read me stories.  Disney Princess stories, you know.  The thing about my girls is they know who all the Disney Princesses are, because how can you be a young girl in this world and not know who they are?  But the only Disney movie they have ever actually really watched is Cinderella.  You should have heard me trying to read them the story of The Little Mermaid.  They were completely baffled.  I didn't try too hard to get them to understand it, it being my very least favorite story of all time.

Anyway.  There's Hanna, "reading" me the story of Sleeping Beauty.  It went like this:

Sleeping Beauty was a lovely girl.  She loved all the birds and her owl.  "But wait, there's more!" she said.  "I have a blue dress."  And she did not like the dragon.  But she did like her prince.  And then she lived happily ever after.

I like that story.

My other favorite thing about today, is that Hallie kept trying to talk about when she and Hanna were younger, and she doesn't know the past form of the word "fit" so every time she said "fat", as in "When Hanna was little and she fat in that dress" and I can't help myself, it's funny.  We taught her how to say it right, of course, but part of me is sad that maybe she won't say it that way anymore.

Speaking of which, Heather makes me laugh every time.  When she asks for something, we tell her to say please.  She does.  "Please!"  Then we give it to her, and I ask her to say "thank you".  And every single time, she nods her head and says, "Welcome".  Awesome.

That little girl has the chipmunkiest smile you ever saw, and it's a good thing that she isn't a naturally naughty little person because between me not having the energy and her ridiculous smile, I would be in big trouble.

And, the only other piece of news I can think of to share is that Devin has officially declared that I win the spelling war, and we can name the baby Hazel.  He still isn't "happy" with the 'z', but he says I can have it.  Thanks, honey.

If you are wondering, my favorite Christmas song is "O Holy Night".  You just try singing it when you are feeling lousy about yourself and not cry.  I dare you.

Friday, November 29, 2013

And We're Off!

I always feel like the holiday season starts with Halloween, probably because if you go to the stores the day before Halloween they are pushing the remaining candy bags closer together and beginning to make room for the Christmas decorations.

That's what my grocery store was doing, anyway.

And my girls start to get so excited, and they make me recite over and over every day the list of exciting things that are soon to happen.  The list goes like this:

New Year's
Hallie's Birthday
Hanna's Birthday
Hazel comes
Heather's Birthday

All that, in just a couple months, and it is no wonder the girls think this time of year is the best.

Except, that they also ask me every day when it will be warm enough to go swimming again.

But they mostly like it.

Here we are, decorating the house on the day after Thanksgiving as is our custom, to make all things look merry and bright.  Except me, I sat on the couch and watched my family make everything look festive and bright

Thursday, November 28, 2013

6th Annual Rose Family Thanksgiving Day Turkey Run

I took dictations from the family on their experience this year.  I took some liberties with Heather's, seeing as how a. she is asleep right now, and b. she doesn't really, you know, reliably speak in intelligible sentences.

Hallie: It was cold.  And fun.  I ran fast.  And I beat Hanna and Daddy to the coats.  I had two jackets on.  It was the funnest Turkey Run, ever.  Heather rode in a stroller.

Hanna:  I ran faster than Mommy and Heather.  Then Daddy ran with me on his back.

Heather: I just wanted them to take my gloves and jacket off, but no one would.  I cried when mommy tried to put a blanket on me.  I had a lot of fun.

Devin: This was our coldest Turkey Run yet.  Builds character.

Amy: This was definitely our coldest day yet, it was four degrees below freezing with a nasty biting wind. We didn't stay long.  The girls did a mile, with Devin carrying one of them for a lap each.  But it felt good to get out in the fresh air and move our bodies around a little bit.

Here's to next year, maybe we'll be back in shorts like last year!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winner Winner Turkey Dinner!

November has become sort of a special and intense month for me.

Thanksgiving, obviously.

Black Friday, to shop or not to shop?

Rose Family Annual Turkey Run, hoping it won't be too cold

Thanksgiveaway, where I give away random things to my friends because it's fun, but sometimes I forget to mail them for... far too long

National Novel Writing Month, why do I keep thinking I can write 50,000 words in one month?

And then, you know, everything works out and November turns into December and the months roll around until I'm ready to do it all again.

Happy November to you!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hallie's School Pictures and Hyperbole

 We finally got Hallie's school pictures, only a month and half later than everyone else got theirs.

And only after several phone calls and emails and many disgruntled statements that I made to Devin about my dissatisfaction with Life Touch.

"I'm never going to order school photos again, ever, for any of our kids."

"I think this is the worst company of all time, how can they not get us her picture?  It's the only thing they do as a company!"

"This time when I call, I'm going to tell them that I have plenty of photos of my daughter and I don't want to keep waiting for them to figure it out, and could they just refund my money."

To these hyperbolic statements, Devin responded very calmly.

"Of course we're going to keep having school pictures taken."

"It's a big company, and it probably just got lost somehow.  Just call them again, they'll figure it out."

"You aren't going to tell them you don't want the picture anymore.  You know you want Hallie's kindergarten picture."

Which made it all the more amusing, after the last phone call with them, when I confidently declared to him that this time I thought we had jumped through all the hurdles and we were really going to get her picture and he said, "I just don't think it's going to happen."

And then when the envelope came in the mail today, he handed it to me and said, "I'm sorry, I really hope that what is inside this is what you wanted, but I don't think it will be."

But it was, and so he kept me going when I had given up all hope, and when hope seemed lost to him, I had regained my own, and all is well that ends well.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

She Did That, I Did This

Thank you so much for your responses that you have sent me in email, or Facebook, or in the comments.  You will all get an honorable mention in my book, I promise.  I'm so excited!  If you'd still like to give your input, feel free to, that post is here.

Last month my girl Al came to visit me.  The thing about Al is that she is really talented.  I've decided that this is one area in life that I really excel at.  I just feel like my talent is making friends with exceptionally talented people.

Since you're reading my blog, you can call yourself my friend, and so that should make you feel really good about yourself.

Al has lots of talents, but the one that came into play on this particular trip was painting.

She got me all hyped up, the way she does, into thinking that maybe I could paint too.

So we sat there with our paints and our brushes and our canvasses, and the lighting and her easel, which was Heather's high chair, and it was all very artistic and inspiring.

I became sassy, which is what I do when Al is around and she has me thinking I'm cooler than I am, and so we're painting, and I begin to say, periodically, "Look, I'm an artist. If you don't like my work, you can just get over it."

In the most ridiculous voice ever.  Because, again, sassy.

And thus we painted.  Hers came out sooooooooo well, and I sometimes sit and just stare at it on my wall.  You might think I'm joking.

But if you do know me, you probably know that I really do do that. I mean, not all the time.  I have a life.

My painting?  It hung on the wall, and sort of started to make me feel sick.  I kept thinking, "yeah, so... I'm an artist, if you don't like my work, you can get over it, but what happens when the artist is me and I really don't like the work?"

It was all sort of sad and disheartening, and I wished that I had some of the talent that my talented friends have.

But then, just when you thought this story was going to get really mopy, Pinterest.

I whipped together a little something, painted over the mess that I had done earlier, and am mostly satisfied with the result.  It isn't finished yet, I haven't quite figured out exactly how I want to make it really pop with a little more color, but I'll think of something.

Hey, talented friends, you have any ideas?  What would you put with it to make it really look finished?  Remember, nothing complicated.  I am not, it turns out, an artist.

Her painting.
  I asked for birds in the springtime. Can you see the little pink buds on the trees?  It makes me so, so, so happy.  And she only had a couple hours to do it. Amazing.

I wish you could see the birds better.  They are kind of blurry here, but they are just perfect.

 AND... what I made.  
My original thought was that we would all put our hand prints around it, but... I don't know. Handprints?  Any other ideas?


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stuff and Things

People ask me, "So, how's the story coming along?"

And I say, "Oh, it's coming!  I think it's... yeah, it's coming! It'll probably be great.  You know, we'll see, but it is coming along."

In fact, if you your very own lucky self would like to be involved in helping move the story along, you could help me by answering the following question.

Are you more afraid of physical pain, or emotional pain?

Your answer should be in one of the three following formats:

I am more afraid of physical pain.

I am more afraid of emotional pain.

Pain does not scare me at all.

And then, if you want really bonus extra points from me, you can tell me why you chose the response you did.

So!  Email, facebook, comment here on the blog, call me, send me a letter in the mail with a stamp on it, whatever you're into.

Except Twitter, because I still haven't figured that out yet.

And now, for some pictures of other things I have done, mostly in October when my mom was visiting.

 Canning tomatoes.  
Also canned in October: grape jelly, raspberry jam, apple raspberry jam, applesauce, strawberry jam

 I saw this on Pinterest and had to make some since the number one most aggravating thing in our house is that the girls always steal the kitchen towel, and the bathroom towel always ends up on the floor.  No more. 
They are now buttoned on, and while Hallie and Hanna CAN undo buttons, they just don't seem to want the towel as much when they have to work for it.  I think I made 8 of these, in just a couple hours.  A fast project makes me really happy.

I just wanted something to decorate our bathroom.
I had these random bits of scrap fabric that my mom gave me that she inherited from my Grandma Homer.  So, cut out a little blue bird, and zip zap zoop, the bathroom looks great. Well, I think so.

 The girls like to stand on "stage" and perform for us.

And this is the towel/apron that I made for my cousin Kate, if she likes it, for when her baby comes.   

A note just for Kate:  The towel is huge. When I am wearing it, it goes all the way to my ankles.  You'll never get wet with this thing on, and it could easily handle a baby up to 2 years old.  So, what do you think of the colors?  I'm not going to lie, I like it so much I sort of hope you'll say you want different colors, and it came together so fast I'd be happy to find colors you prefer.  But if you like it, I might still have enough of that fabric to just make myself another one.

Because please, I'm making one for myself too.  I am in love with it.

And, there is one more project that I made in October, but I don't have a picture of it yet, but I am most pleased with that project because I did it all by myself after my mom left, and I didn't even cut it in half. That's huge for me. Want to know what I made myself?

It's glitzy. It's glamorous.  It's gorgeous and glorious and just really great, you know?

A hospital gown.  Yes, so that I can feel pretty when the baby comes. Because, I don't know, this is my fourth baby and suddenly that seemed important?

You want pictures?


What kind of pain scares you the most?

Thanks, and thanks.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Good Songs People Wrote

My friend Nick Empey is a musician.  We first met back in high school, and he performed at a talent show at EFY, which is kind of like Mormon summer camp, sort of.  I don't know.  Anyway, as a person without any talent at all, I was so impressed that he actually knew how to do cool things.

He sent me a copy of his cd after we had gone back home and resumed normal life and whatnot and then we found out we were both going to Purdue when we graduated, and it was such a relief to know that I would know someone at that big school so far away.

It was a long, tedious 2 hours from my home, and so I could only make the trip like twice a week.

At school, he realized that I was even crazier than he could have guessed, but there was a group of us that had good times, many many good times.  And one of the girls in the group, who would become one of my life long best friends of all time because she's the coolest, let him fall in love with her.

And now they have this little pack of kids who are just adorable, and they wrote the lyrics to this song, and Nick put it to music.  You should really listen and enjoy, and then like his page on Facebook, too.

I'll Be Right Back

hungry hungry caterpillar hanging out with mr. miller
foxes in heaven falling in love
you can do anything you do
you can't do anything you can't do
dancing cat with dancing cow

you can eat breakfast and not sing ho ho ho
up and down and all around like the letter O
i know what a pencil looks like
i will be right back

itsy bitsy spider has a pencil in his hand
caterpillars like eating envelopes or parts of them
move the bubbles out da way
oh, lovely lovely lovely day
that's where me and rubber duck will stay

you can eat breakfast...

Awesome, am I right? I'm told there is a music video in the works.  I am holding my breath for that.  It makes the baby uncomfortable, but I am holding my breath anyway.

Then have you heard about this song, Oh Sweet Lorraine?  Apparently some radio station hosted a contest to see who could send in the best original lyrics, and this 96 year old man won the contest with lyrics that he wrote about his deceased wife and the life they had together.  You can watch a video of Fred hearing his song for the first time, here.  It was number 7 on itunes when it was first released.

Way to go, Fred!  I know I bought it.  Because also, did I mention, Fred is from PEORIA.  How could I not buy it?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Veteran's Day

My old frenemy, NaNoWriMo is back in full force, so I've mostly been spending my time at the computer over there.  Or on Facebook.  Because you know how it goes.

But tonight I was honored to be involved in a special choir that was performing for a tribute to the Veterans in our area.  I had been a little nervous about how the songs were going to go, because some of them were sort of challenging (we sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic", the version that earned the Mormon Tabernacle Choir their Grammy, and that wasn't even our hardest song).

But it came out so nicely, and I thought the whole night was beautiful.  I don't know why, but I always cry when I hear the songs representing each of the divisions of the armed forces, in particular the Marines song and the Navy song get me.  We were supposed to sing the songs with the presenting of each flag, and I was crying so hard through most of them I just couldn't. I don't know what that is about, but perhaps the pride and the courage of those men and women that are illustrated by the words just speaks to my heart.

I mean, do you know these songs?

Anchors aweigh, my boys! anchors aweigh! farewell to college joys, we sail at the break of day.  Through our last night on shore, hail to the foam, until we meet once more, here's wishing you a happy voyage home! (NAVY)

Off we go into the wild blue yonder climbing high into the sun; here they come zooming to meet our thunder, at 'em boys, give 'er the gun!  Down we dive spouting our flame from under, off with one helluva roar! (yes, this meeting was held in our church building, and you could hear the choir stumble through that last line, but no lightning struck...) We live in fame or go down in flame, nothing'll stop the Army Air Force! (AIR FORCE)

We're always ready for the call, we place our trust in thee.  Through howling gail and shot and shell to win our victory.  Semper Paratus is our guide, our pledge, our motto, too.  We're "always ready" do or die, aye Coast Guard, we fight for you. (COAST GUARD)

Over hill, over dale as we hit the dusty trail, and those caissons go rolling along. In and out, hear them shout, counter march and right about, and those caissons go rolling along.  Then it's hi! hi! hee! in the field artillery, shout out our numbers loud and strong, for where e'er you go, you will always know that those caissons go rolling along.  (ARMY)

From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli; we fight our country's battles on the land as on the sea; First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean; we are proud to claim the title of United States Marine. (MARINES)

Maybe you had to be there, but to see those men standing as their song was sung, to see their proud faces and their upright postures, some of them so old and some of them so young.  To look at them and to know that the things they have seen, and the things they have had to do, all so that I can sit at home and be comfortable and warm and safe.

And because I like poetry,

Concord Hymn:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
and Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
to die, and leave their children free,
bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30

I held Heather's soft body in her dark bedroom, rocking her small self back and forth.  Her eyes grew heavy from the motion and the sound of my voice whispering lullabies.

Tears streamed down my face.

For me, this story, this day, will always start the same way.  We were on our way out the door to go to church when the phone rang.

Any other day I would have just let the phone ring, let the machine take a message, and worry about whatever the caller wanted later.  That day a small voice in my heart said that this time, I should turn around and answer it.

I will never forget that conversation with my brother.  I will never forget the new tones in his voice, the way he tried to comfort me when I broke down.

It was obvious I could not go to church, and I managed to tell Devin that I needed him to take me somewhere beautiful, the most beautiful place he could think of.

We got in the car and drove.

I have gone back to that same park every year, and I have sat in the same bench every year.

The girls know that when we get there, Mommy will become a little slower, a little softer, a little sadder.  They know that this change will come over me, but it doesn't slow them down.

I watch my girls running and whooping, delighting in the crisp autumn air.  The walkways are open to explore, bursting with flowers on all sides.  In their faces you can see the exultation in the near limitless energy of their young legs.

I look at the flowers with their brilliant colors. I look at the towering trees fully crowned in their autumnal, majestic glory.

I think of change and decay, permanence and eternity.  I think of beauty and sadness.

Light.  Love.  Loss.  Laughter.  Life.

I think of bright eyes with a smile that never ends, but goes on and on. That smile so innocent and sweet that charmed the hearts of all who were lucky enough to hold her, tickle her, snuggle her.

I only got to meet Tabitha twice, but I think of that smile, and how even though we don't get to enjoy it beaming at us beneath those sparkling eyes right here, right now, it is
there still.  She is smiling still.  This, I know.

We get up to leave the park.  Driving away, Hanna says, "Mommy, you were thinking about Tabitha.  But, are you done thinking about her now?"

"No, Hanna. I am not done thinking about her."

There is silence in the car, a rare thing.

"Mommy, I miss her." Hallie softly says.

"I do too."  Hanna chimes in.

I do too.  I do too.

If you want to read Rachel's beautiful words about her sweet Tabitha, go here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A trip to California

This summer we went to California to visit Devin's family.

Of course it was a great trip, the making of many good memories, all of which were recorded as photos to be treasured for all time.

Except, of course, most of those pictures were on Devin's dad's camera, not ours.  We got a copy of those pictures, except that Devin doesn't know what happened to them, so I've never actually seen any of them.

On our camera, we had many photos also. That Hallie took.

And so, please enjoy a photo-mentary of our trip to California.  If you've been wondering what California looks like from the backseat of a van, through the eyes of a five year old, your wait is over.


 I did not repeat any photos.  So yes, that happened that many times.

I don't know who that lady is.

Alright, that about wraps it up.  Grab your popcorn, a buddy to snuggle, and hit the play button.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Pumpkin Run

And now for some pictures of Hallie at the Pumpkin Run.  It was a mile, and while I know she could have gone much faster if Devin had been running with her, we were so proud of her for wanting to do it on her own.  She finished at exactly 14 minutes.  Way to go Hallie!

 Before the race. Hallie was a little cold.

 The starting line. This is the last heat of the day, the kindergarteners from the "big" schools.  I think there were 10 heats throughout the day. I'm glad Hallie's was last.
 She finally came around the bend, so I was able to postpone my panic attack for another day.
 Devin always gets so excited by her form when she is running.

 A picnic after the race.
 It was so great that the run was while my parents were in town. Thanks for visiting, it had really been too long!