Thursday, September 30, 2010

of dependents and dependency

Three signs that I'm a Disney channel dependent parent:
 1. I have a Jonas Brother of  preference.
 2. I've got Camp Rock , that is Camp Rock Two the Final Jam dance moves.
 3. I have a favorite line from High School Musical....

Some of you already know I'm prone to line-from-movie smattering.  As I said before, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is good for admonishing, while Napoleon Dynamite thrown in at any random juncture keeps my sanity in question--it's important to keep the kids wondering.

So I really feel that it's Ms. Jarvis, not Troy that steals the show in HSM.  I love a movie line that fits naturally into any situation, particularly Ms. Jarvis's  "That's so disturbing. Go see a counselor."

You know it had to said here.

Sam enjoyed terrifying William and Grant when we went out for a preliminary round of Halloween preparation Saturday evening.

So speaking of counseling, I have a beautiful, funny and  wonderful friend who told me that going to see counselors was one of her favorite hobbies, so I decided it would be safe to try, you know for my dependency and other issues.  I now also recommend it.  I should have paid someone to figure me out years ago.

I was feeling both disturbed and disturbing Friday afternoon when I took all four of the at-home kids to Sophie's appointment with the cardiologist.  All three of the big kids were wailing at once, even prompted a friendly couple to try to come to my aid and compliment me on my "childrens' chorus".  But may I say that I love the new Primary Children's Hospital outreach center in Riverton.  They weren't even phased by our noise and clamor.  The nurse was ready with bubbles, movies, a toy to take home for each of them.  Sophie got her pacifier dipped in raspberry syrup to appease her during her first ultrasound and echo cardiogram. She was quite excited to learn about flavors.

I call her small tumor her "heart light" since the little glow on the ultrasound looks more auspicious than ominous.  The doctor said her heart is functioning fine so we just need to come back for another check-up in six months. Perhaps sans siblings.

Friday was a busy day.  We also got to make an appearance in Mary's class for her All About Me presentation.

So what about sanity? What about this crazy house of laughing and crying, and laundry everywhere, and kids wrestling in the laundry, and its always fun until someone gets kicked in the eye, and honey nut cheerios everywhere and William with his hand submerged in the peanut butter jar, and constant debates over who's turn it is to use the laptop? What about that? What kind of citizens will emerge from this existence anyway? I was thinking about that this morning, hoping that they would just be happy to come home for Thanksgiving in ten years from now. That has always been my goal.

So I have a two fold plan 1) That they always leave the house knowing that they are part of a big team who loves and supports them...even if they did have to dig their clean underwear out of a big pile in the living room that Ben called "cozy" anyway.
 And 2) That they do leave the house.  That's the best way I know to get them away from the Disney channel.

Monday, September 27, 2010

first shoot

I mentioned the CD that arrived Friday in the mail from Bella Baby photography. Here are a few of Sophie's first portraits.

Sweet Dreams!

Friday, September 24, 2010

liquid sunshine

Editing the blog the other day, Caitlin sitting on my lap, looking at her picture on the header said, "I miss that hat."

 I miss that hat too now.  It was time for a change, but I feel a sense of loss now.

 The hat, purchased at the Great Wall some years ago, was packed in a box and shipped off to Maryland, and the picture, which is what I meant, of scowl and freckles and plastic jewels, and the "owie" on her elbow is somewhere in the hopefully retrievable memory of one of the three laptops that Grant and William destroyed this summer by excessive force, fire and water, sent off to an early death, should have bought the warranty. That kind of thing. I didn't think about that until after I'd changed the header, sent that cute picture off to cyber world. I'm getting entirely too nostalgic about this.

Another thing on Caitlin's mind, "I miss China, cause we could eat in the living room."  Anyone remember the Raines carpet?  It was a  famous disaster.  I remember when the first chocolate chip fell from a hot, gooey, cookie. Then it was over.

I feel like rambling today.  Wednesday September 22  what a collection of weathers. First a clap of thunder, then a bit of rain, looked the next minute at sunshine over the mountain.  My mom said they call it liquid sunshine in Hawaii. I thought it felt like laughter through tears.

I don't look at Geraniums without thinking of Andrew Wyeth, but the Olsens' were more nicely situated.  I should take the price tag off.

My front stairs in the rain.

Front stairs in the sunshine and fall shadows.

The park and mountains after the rain.

My flag in the wind, which kept opening the front door, felt bad locking it out.

We even had a bit of hail, driving to preschool today.

Yesterday, took Grant to the doctor. His surgery was successful, the whole mole was removed and cancer free. Grant is still enjoying his bandage.

The Fed-ex guy drove up to day. Knocked loudly. Sophie's hospital photo-shoot pictures arrived. That's something for tomorrow. 

When we lived in our little housing project in Maine I used to look out the kitchen sink window for entertainment. Who was yelling at their kids in the driveway, who was chatting by the garbage, who was getting a delivery from rent-a-center, getting soaked no doubt, a big screen television they surely couldn't afford, who was getting a Fed-ex? One day we got one, and then we were gone.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

september canyon

Saturday, September 18, was determined to vacuum, clean bathrooms, and bedrooms but didn't do much about it. Fed Sophie, changed Sophie, held Sophie, asked her siblings to hold Sophie, so much attention for such a little bean.

I usually think of myself as a morning person, but since we've moved from China, I've found myself feeling most productive in the early evening.  Even after so many months I still feel fourteen hours behind. I got the get-up-and-go to get out of the house around four o'clock, so what I had announced would be our picnic lunch, turned into a picnic dinner. Sometimes lethargy can work to my financial advantage. Got two meals for the price of one.

We bought a big bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (Sam's been waiting all summer) and a gallon of A&W Root beer (that's Ben's favorite part) and headed up the canyon. From the valley you can see the leaves changing in the mountains now. I wanted to see them up close.

Ben took pictures for me while we drove.
This is one of my favorite places.
Sophie didn't get any chicken.

The first coolness in the air, the sound of river, the smell of bricketts and just crunchy leaves and high altitude and chicken greasy fingers-- all in one sensory experience.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

overheard and overseen

Tuesday afternoon, driving to pick up Ben from after school musical practice I overheard Olivia having a little devotional with Sophie.  First they sang our family's default reverent song The Sacred Grove.  For years that's been our go-to when we need to get things quieted down at scripture time.  But in Olivia's version Joseph was kneeling not "upon that Holy ground..."  but rather "upon the Holy grail..." 

Next was the prayer.  Olivia helped Sophie say it..that's when I heard "Bless that the Holy Grail will be safe..."  Obviously there's been too much Monty Python in the home.

Tuesday evening another delicious meal appeared at our doorstep, this time from the Young Women's presidency.  Two big pans of chocolate brownies, hot fudge, and vanilla ice cream included.  So Wednesday morning I happened on William in the kitchen, helping himself to the leftovers.

And since I know how delicious gooey, chocolaty, brownies taste first thing in the morning, I didn't have the heart to take them away.

I asked, "How about a bowl William?"

And he said, "Bowl. Yummy."

Then when he was full he showed me his hands and said "All done. Wipe."

So William's learning how to navigate meaningful conversation.

I thought Sophie looked sophisticated in brown and floral so I wanted to take some pictures. Sophie hasn't really learned about posing.

It's all been a blur to me too. Sophie.
That's how I ended up with this enormous pile of laundry in the living room.

Thursday was a big day for Grant.  He had out-patient surgery, a giant Spitz nevus, or in other words, a mole removed from his leg.  He came home with his leg bandaged and was quite proud of it.  I was grateful that he didn't seem to be in pain at all, was quite cheerful and playful the rest of the afternoon, and didn't need any of the prescribed pain medicine. 

Friday we passed by the hospital and he told Caitlin,

"Dat's where I gotta broken leg."

I had been too involved with bed making Friday morning and made the big girls late for the bus.  Olivia said

"I hate my life."  She was worried that she had missed recess.

Mary looked at me with mischievous eyes and said excitedly,

"The later you are the less you have to learn."

I was grateful for those supportive words.

Friday Sam and I watched The Conversation in the afternoon and I finally got the laundry cleared out.  In the evening Sam and Ben went to the International Cinema with Jackie and Isako.  We are blessed with good friends here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

saving sunday

Just when I thought I'd lost the sabbath, I had an idea.

  Sunday morning I woke up with plenty of time to get myself was just that the girls had gone to bed sandy, ketchuppy, cat tailed, and smelling like barbecue and the Great Outdoors, if you can call the park that, and so baths were still in order.

 Then there were the church clothes, frightenly absent from the closets, and thus necessarily somewhere in the midst of the, well-at-least-they're-clean laundry piles that have accumulated in the living room, basement and anywhere else I think I might be motivated to stop and fold.

  And then there was the phenomenon of thinking I was doing fine--time wise, and then remembering I had like three other children running around (or in Sophie's case sleeping and who wants to mess with that?) in stinky diapers.

So we were already an hour late for Stake conference and I broke down in anxious sobs, not really about being late for church...I've been granted serenity there...just about other things that I can't control.  But I kept pushing forward, sent an unshowered adolescent to the showers, hoping that we could still catch the concluding speaker, sure to be a General Authority in this Stake ( and sure enough there were two) and headed towards the piles to find Kyle's missing pants and something besides pajamas for myself.

At eleven forty-five I shooed kids to the van thinking maybe the meeting would go over and I'd catch at least one meanigful phrase of inspiration, but then there were missing Olivia shoes and by the time she came up in multi-colored crocs, cars full of white shirts and ties were passing by, heading towards home. 

The bishop and his wife pulled up to see if they could help me get kids back in the house.  I had to admit that we were actually still loading up to go. The bishop was kind to give me a recap of the speakers we'd missed. Told me that Elder Holland spoke about the faith of pioneers and how they had to be tough through adversity and how he'd thought of me...and I appreciated hearing I guess I got my phrase of inspiration for the day, just trying to get to the van. 

Then I gathered up some ham and cheese and a couple of loaves of homemade bread that sisters had brought by during the week, some marshmallows, cookies, grapes, and everyone's favorite--a jug of pink lemonade and returned to van.  I told the kids we'd head to Temple Square and was pleased to hear cheers (you never know...)

It was a nice drive up to Salt Lake, listening to Sounds of the Sabbath on the radio and I thought that we should do this every Sunday.  We had some trouble finding a good, legal parking spot around the temple so we drove up a bit toward the capitol and found a place next to this little park where we had our picnic lunch.

Grant said, "It has a huge bridge, Mom!"

The park is on the site of the first grist mill in Utah  territory.

It was Sophie's first time to visit the Crismon Mill Site.  Mine too, but no need for a picture.

Grant wanted to help William get  his lemonade.

Then we walked down to Temple Square. 

Grant called it "Heavenly Father's castle."

William was fascinated with the Christos statue.  (Remember Sam use to call it the Moon Jesus.)  When William saw the statue he ran up to it, stretched up his arms and jumped up and down trying to reach up to Christ's hands.  His big brothers tried to bring him back to our seats, aware that we were making a bit of a spectacle, but I had to think about "forbid them not.." so I just did what I do..took pictures.

What are the chances of this? We were sitting by the Christos, listening to the narration, when the Sevy family, our friends from Beijing appeared. It was a great place for a  reunion.

They were just a little excited to see each other again.

Early Monday morning I couldn't sleep, more anxiety.  I listened to the wind in the trees. It's been a windy summer.  And I thought about William stretching his arms toward Christ. Such a nice memory.