Sunday, March 3, 2013

pestilence, presidents, pie

Staring across the room from his perch on my bed, William my ever inquisitive four-year old asked, "Mom, why are there clothes in your closet?"

"Well son," I responded thoughtfully. "Ideally that's how it should happen."

So by Valentine's day laundry was an issue again.  This time I noticed a back log not only with the clean, but also with the wet and stinky.  I started a personal campaign against the towels.

"We're Democrats," I said to the kids.  "Democrats means reuse."

"But Mom, sharing towels can give you genital herpes."

"Really?" I asked.  "Spontaneously?"  And for the first time I wished I had let my seventh grade son ditch maturation day, as requested.

"Then you'd better not share with the rabbits," I said, remembering how lagomorph bath day had increased my work by a full load of extra large, super absorbent, navy blue bath towels covered in white fur.

"Mom, that's disgusting." He replied.

"Well you're the one who brought it up," I said. And that ended the discussion, but unfortunately, not the dirty towels.

President's Day weekend brought some progress. I had opportunity to ease the clean clothes pile growing up the side of my bedroom wall.  As is usually the case, Friday evening Sam and Ben insisted we go to the Orem Library--which has the world's best collection of movie rentals in its basement.  Sam picked out School of Rock, because I had been calling myself a Jack Black fan and hadn't seen it.  It was a movie that all ages were eager to watch. Even baby Sophie knows Jack Black by name. Everyone agreed to gather by the little T.V. in my bedroom so I could put away laundry as we watched. I took particular pleasure in watching Grant"s "gut busting" laughter at Jack Black's dance moves and facial expressions. School of Rock has become the next movie I can't get enough of, but if you decide to watch it with your family, don't blame me for the raunchy language, or get mad at me when your kids tell you to step off for the next week anytime you ask them to do something.  You can check IMBD for yourself.

Sunday was Stake conference--which Olivia referred to as "that thing we're always late to."  So remembering our 2010 experience. I suggested we pick up Grandma Martha and head out on another picnic and Temple Square trip. Sam agreed that could possibly be less stressful than chasing William around the Stake center.
As it turned out--it probably wasn't.  William terrorized the North visitors center at Temple Square, tearing up and down the ramp leading to the Cristus statue surrounded by planetarium, or Moon Jesus, as Sam called it when he was a toddler. I felt out of sorts and wondered how, after 15 years, I felt no more capable of achieving reverence at church sites than before--remembering the time we visited Palmyra, New York, and Sam and Ben ran around like wildlife in the Sacred Grove...or so it was called before we arrived.  Now in retrospect, chasing frogs in the woods seems like a perfectly reasonable activity for young boys...but parental angst and anxiety are so often self-inflicted.  I'm sure the the sister missionaries weren't really shooting poisonous darts at me with their eyes Sunday afternoon at Temple Square...but it kind of felt like it at the time.

On the happy side, I was grateful that the kids were all willing to spend the afternoon together.  Something about President's day makes me delusional and over-optimistic about eating outdoors.  Everyone was enthusiastic about returning to Grist Mill Park, the little strip of grass and stream in the city, where we had our picnic in fall of 2010, so we took a drive around the beautiful old homes in the Salt Lake City Avenues until I happened upon the familiar place.

  As we passed out the sandwiches, Bethany hijacked my phone for the purpose of taking pictures of people looking miserably cold, but insistent upon eating at the benches all but buried in snow.

  When the wind picked up and blew across the still very frozen ground all agreed we could eat in van. I felt grateful  for good sports, barring a minor scuffle over the bag of Chicken and Waffle flavored Ruffles.

Monday I made good on a promise to Caitlin and took the girls and youngest boys to Classic Skate.

In the evening, Kyle and Olivia spent time with their friends Nathan and Tracy, and I enjoyed time with their Mom, Cami, while I cleaned the kitchen and served up dinner.  We have somewhat of a traditional President's day meal-- in honor of Abraham Lincoln's favorite meal Chicken Fricassee, and in honor (loosely) of George Washington and his cherry tree--pie.  We skipped the chicken altogether in favor of beans and rice from the Mexican market, and Olivia helped me make a raspberry pie.

This was her first pie. She managed the crust all by herself, as I was distracted by another man-to-man with Kyle. Good job Olivia!

Friday, March 1, 2013

love boxes

Valentine's day the girls left for school smiling about their creations. 

Grandma Martha and I took Sophie and our little men out to lunch at Carl's, because Grant loves to jump through the shark's teeth in the playzone. Then I dropped the group off at home, and drove to the elementary school, marveling at the day's perfection.  

The grey skies had given way to brilliant blue and sun-- creating thin silver shadows on the crusty patches of snow, as the tree branches stretched out in proud, bare, elegance. I noticed that muddy brown earth was beginning to appear in odd shaped circles around the warmth of tree trunk and root, and the evidence of a hundred twisting paths and a thousand steps in January could be observed melting into too long ago to remember.

And while the teenagers had groused traditionally about Valentines--facing the prospect of the potential mentioning of the holiday at school with obligatory annoyance, the elementary school was all 1979 and I was eight again when I saw the parking lot filled with mini-vans and moms carrying sheets of cupcakes veiled in foil.

I had signed up to help in Mary's classroom.

As I have mentioned before, Mary and her teacher are both from Hong Kong. I had a happy Asian moment  when Mary's teacher asked me to serve the pizza--with a chopstick.  Caucasian means uncoordinated.

In the evening we made homemade heart-shaped pizza.  Sam's dough was especially delicious!

 For desert I passed out little heart shaped boxes of cheap chocolates filled with bright pink and orange flavored goo.  Grandma Martha said it was the most fun she'd ever had on Valentine's Day, and I agreed.