Monday, December 8, 2014

Hopes

Logan:
I hope one day he looks back and realizes that in his greasiest, grumpiest, prickliest teenage days, his mother was always happy to see him.

Levi:
I hope one day he looks back and notices that his mother came to very nearly every single one of his many, many games. And that every time he looked her way after an especially awesome play, he could catch her eye, watching him.

Haley:
I hope that one day she looks back and can see all the encouragement, instruction, structure, consistency, and correction from her mother as a form of love.

Jesse:
I hope that one day he looks back and is grateful that his mother made him believe he was a special gift (no matter how rowdy, disregulated, or behind the curve he fell).

Betsy:
I hope she's always my best friend.

Roscoe:
It is a huge bright spot in my heart that he now sees his mother as the wind beneath his now spread-wide wings.

Notes

Jesse is trying to teach Betsy math:

Jesse: What's 1+1 ?
Betsy: I don't know.
Jesse: So if I have one, and then I get another, then I have two. So 1+1=2. So what's 1+1?
Betsy: I don't know.
__________________

I usually work on my resume business for a few hours a day. Maybe an hour in the morning responding to emails and taking client calls. Two, maybe three, hours during quiet time in the afternoon. More if Betsy has preschool, some work in the evening if I'm swamped.

Today I didn't work at all. And it's amazing what I've done around here. A couple coats of paint on the stairs. Mopping floors. Washing walls. Cleaning the laundry room. Even an episode of Project Runway. And it's only 3:00!
_________________

Also, this morning Mark and I went to another doctor's appointment regarding his torn tendon. Which has caused to him be on crutches since January. Today we scheduled a surgery.

Boo: Surgery. Painful. Expensive. Long recovery.
Yay: A plan. An end in sight. Hope for recovery.
_________________

More pros and cons:

Boo: Yesterday I completely lost my temper and hollered at a recalcitrant kid.
Yay: I realized I couldn't remember the last time that had happened.

__________________

I took Jesse out for lunch today to have a little heart to heart. Highlights from our conversation:

"I know the first kind of bug you should eat when you're trying to learn how to eat bugs. Ants."

"Have you ever eaten an eyeball. You should; they're good. But don't use a fork. The fork would get nasty."

This was not actually my planned topic of conversation.



Friday, October 31, 2014

School pics

It's Halloween evening, and really we're just waiting for trick-or-treating time and the kids are hyper and need supervision but can't be persuaded to do anything productive, so here I sit putting final touches on this year's "school" pictures. Taken against an old sheet draped over the piano.


This year, I decided to let the kids' pictures show their personalities. And we seem to have plenty of personality around here.

Starting with this one. Look at all those faces!



Betsy
3-year-old preschool
This girl has soo much moxie. She loves preschool, playgroup, stuffed animals, books, Barney, and her family.




 Jesse
2nd grade
Jesse is an orange belt in karate, is on the 5th Magic Treehouse book, and thinks about Legos day and night.




 Haley
5th grade
Miss Haley takes piano lessons, plays flute in the school band, and takes a tumbling class. She loves experimenting with hairstyles and reading spooky books.



 Levi
7th grade
This dapper dude plays on soccer, volleyball, and basketball teams and plays percussion in the school band. He is constantly scheming grand social plans.



Logan
11th grade
Logan is a busy young man, who keeps solid grades and works five days a week. He dutifully practices screamo vocals. Every. night. His band is called Sunshine Pizza. They practice in the garage.


Roscoe
halfway through his mission to Neuquen, Argentina
Roscoe has had an unbelievably positive first year. He loves what he's doing and is learning and growing. I think so far his favorite area has been "the balsa," a remote neighborhood where he worked to establish a branch.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Saturday Vingettes

Along the sidelines of a breezy, sunny soccer game, I'm chatting with another soccer mom. We agree that it can be challenging to be a less-than-uber-conservative Mormon in Utah. I suggest the strategy of keeping a book such as this in your church bag. Then when the conservative rhetoric gets too intense, you can pass it along the pew for your children's enjoyment.

She suggested the added strategy of sharing the book with the children on adjoining rows.

Yes, We Can! A Salute to Children from President Obama's Victory Speech

~~~~~

Walking across the parking lot after the game, we overhear from a passing car, "Parker, I'm disappointed in you. You played horrible. Just horrible."

Levi and I agreed, that Dad is horrible. Just horrible.

~~~~~~~~~~

Choretime scenario:


Child #1 is singing sweetly to herself.

This annoys Child #2, who decides that loudly chanting "Blah, blah, blah" is a helpful solution.

Child #3 enters the room and begins yelling at Child #2 to be quiet.

It's a win-win-win.

~~~~~~~~~~

Among the many reasons it is foolhardy for me to leave the house: the mysterious tangles my family makes in my absence.

Exhibit A:
Who (and why?) unloaded the dirty dishwasher, filling the cupboards with neat stacks of crusted dishes? 

Exhibit B: 
Who (and why?) took the recycling bin, and what are we now to do with this empty milk jug?

Exhibit C:
Why is my blow dryer strewn across my bathroom counter, cord suspended over the sink? Is this a trap laid by a disgruntled progeny? 

Answers:

A: Jesse. (As it often is.) Jesse believes he had been assigned to unload the dishwasher, though Mark swears it isn't so. The milk smears and jelly smears did not deter Young Jess from his alleged mission.

B: Unsolved.

C: Apparently Logan has taken to blow drying his hair, but has not taken to putting the blow dryer away.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Other days...

Sometimes, I send the kids happily off the school and buzz through the day completing tasks with pleasant efficiency. When the kids come home, they finish off their homework then disappear for some screen time or friend time.

Other days, I rush from appointment to errand. Things run late. Kids have emergencies. By three o'clock it occurs to me that no less than 11 kids and teens have been in and out of my van. Homework requires much hand-holding and a few tears. It's all accompanied by a screaming fit by Bets. Demands for homework help, snacks, and pick-ups overlap. The prospects for a delicious, healthy dinner are waning fast.

Today is an other day.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Firsts

According to my calculations, this is the fourteenth year I've sent kids off to the first day of school. And I have fourteen to go. Yikes! That's twenty-eight years!

Here's the first group to start school. Aren't they just adorable? Nervous, excited, clean, jumpy with expectation.
Levi- 7th grade
Haley- 5th grade
Jesse- 2nd grade

Jesse is not wearing new school clothes. His new clothes (same brand, same colors, same size even as last year's!) felt too stiff, so he started the new year in last year's worn-out duds. *sigh* I spent the day rewashing perfectly clean clothes to soften them up. However, he was quite proud of his special, spiky hairdo and asked for some solo shots.


Little Elizabeth began the three-year-old class at Apple Preschool, where Haley and Jesse both attended two years. Oh my goodness, her cuteness was reaching toxic levels as she bravely marched her little self up the steps.

Here's what she did on her first day.


The simplest little starting point in the world. 1. It means one. You write it with one straight line.

Logan is a wordly junior. Much too cool to pose for a picture. I will tell you that he is actually a very handsome young man under all that hair. And that he, of his own volition, with no prompting whatsoever, signed himself up for two AP classes. I did dare to inform him that even people as smart as himself do find the need to sometimes do some homework when taking two AP classes.
This prickly young man can drive me stark raving mad. But oh how I adore pretty much everything about him--the hair, the smart mouth, the loping gait, all of it.

I'm sheepish to admit how much I've gloried in their collective absence. My goals to foster more sibling unity this summer were not a huge success. Our family feels very Balkanized right now, and our times of collegial cooperation and intra-sibling play were too few. The peace of this emptier house feels very welcome.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I know a guy

After the other night, my life may just be all downhill from here.

I'm a huge aficionado of the one-hour TV crime drama. Specifically murders. The iconic "dong-dong" of Law & Order is music to my ears.

I love them because they're a narrative puzzle. Breadcrumbs and laid out from the opening frame, and if you're clever (and if the writers don't take any unfair liberties), you can piece it all together before the gavel falls. I can predict "It was the business partner" or "It was the landord" based on a lingering camera shot or an offhand comment during an interrogation scene.

But the other night may have been my life's zenith. I didn't just predict the ending, I said the next line before the actors. I admit, it wasn't the trickiest call. One character said something like, "How will we ever prove that someone has tampered with the videotape which contains our key piece of evidence?" The characters looked intently at each other. And the second character said, as I knew he would, can you guess? ...

"I know a guy."

And can you guess the next scene? Yep. The backroom office, strewn with cables and monitors, of a geeky audio expert.

(Yes! Someone had tampered with the tape. It was a conspiracy!)