Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Evening

Church, ward council, home teaching, dinner, cookies, the dishes, a backyard fire--all done. So they mound together on the couch to phone some uncles and grandmas.

Roscoe's production of Aida ended last night and it was glorious and his high school does the best off-Broadway productions you've ever seen1 and all that, but we're just happy to have him home.

1. Okay, an exaggeration. But barely.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Betsy, 7 and 8 months

At seven months, Betsy worked diligently on learning to crawl.

Apparently crawling is harder than it looks. Trying to keep her balance and move an arm thisaway while a leg moves thataway--it reminds me of trying to get into a tricky yoga pose.

The moment she got crawling under control, she immediately began pulling up to stand, crawling up the stairs, and cruising. For several days, she fell constantly and was covered in little, black bruises. It was parenthood in microcosm: There was no way to both keep her safe and let her chase her dreams (of climbing up the stairs like everyone else in the family).

She wore these little pads to protect her knees. I think they make her look like a roller derby queen. We thought maybe "Thunder Thighs" could be her handle.

She's a little music lover. She squirms and bops when she hears a catchy tune and she's very diligent about her piano practice.

She still has a special place in her heart for Logan, who will stop at nothing to get a giggle from her.

 She's settled into a pretty predictable sleep schedule, but she still frazzles by dinnertime.
Today she's a pro crawler. She easily crawls all the way up the stairs and rarely loses her balance. Her dandelion hair has settled down. She's the most scrumptiously chunkalicious thing we can imagine and we all think every Betsy day is a treat.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Today Jesse went to school early to attend a special assembly and receive an award for being an example of the IB trait of Inquirer.

There are many things for which Jesse will not win an award this year. (Most Distractable? Least Likely to Know His Letters?) I'm so grateful he has a teacher who can recognize the strengths and talents he has.

He stood in the front of the gym looking bemused, confused, but proud.

I posed him next to this statue, but he was more interested in examining it.

As we walked to the car, a gust of wind blew his award certificate high into the sky. He walked the rest of the way discussing kites.

As I buckled Betsy into her seat, an updraft of wind blew my hair out of its bun and around my face. "Your hair looks like fire," Jesse commented. I caught a glimpse of my shadow and saw that sure enough, the blowing tendrils looked like flames.

We drove past a lighted construction signs flashing merge arrows. "How do they make the lights move?" Jesse wondered.

Inquirer indeed.

Unable to suppress of a moment of smarm, I said, "Jesse, have I ever told you that I love you?"

"Uh, one day you did."

"One day?"

"Well, maybe two."

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I am sewing dozens of tiny rings on the back of fabric panels to make roman blinds, while supervising the creation of a Jackie Chan biography poster.

I am spooning smooshed banana into Betsy's mouth, while correcting Haley's piano practice.

I am nursing Betsy, when the orbits of Levi and Jesse collide and from the playroom I hear escalating screams.

"Levi, be a peacemaker," I call.


"Be a peacemaker!"



"Sheesh, Mom."

I am wallowing in irony.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I am now forty years old. It feels good. I have six children--one of whom is sixteen--I've been married for nineteen years, so it's time for me to be forty. In many ways, my thirties felt so much easier than my twenties. I don't miss all the looming major decisions and transitions of young adulthood. My thirties also really feels like a decade of growth--sometimes literally: our house got bigger, our family got bigger, our kids got bigger--and my capacity to deal with all that grew too. I'm planning on my forties being fabulous.

Several weeks ago, Mark announced he was throwing me a birthday party. "What kind of party?" I asked. "I was thinking chips and salsa," Mark replied. (He now says that was a joke.) I let Mark take the lead on invitations, but I took over as party planner, and we threw what I think was a delightful chocolate tasting party.

I strolled the chocolate aisle at Target and bought two of everything that looked yummy. I sliced them into small slivers and arranged them on little saucers I found at DI.
I made little spreadsheets for taking notes on the taste of each chocolate, and Haley sharpened ten new pencils for us. By the time you worked your way down the table, you'd know your favorite chocolate.

I put each chocolate wrapper in a numbered brown paper sack in the other room so partiers could identify the chocolates once they had finished the blind taste test. You voted for your favorite by writing your name on the bag.
It made for a great party. Should the conversation lull or strangers need an icebreaker, they could chat about chocolate for a minute.

The real crowd-pleasers of the night were:

Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate. It really was smooth and dark but not too dark. I don't believe anyone disliked it.
Lindt Excellence Black Currant. Mmmm.

But the most wonderful part of my birthday was this:

I was standing in the kitchen during the party, when suddenly Mark rushed up to me. He led me around the corner, and there mother. From Dallas. With no warning to anyone, that crazy girl woke up on Saturday morning, bought herself a plane ticket, and showed up for the party. I burst into tears right in front of everybody. Not much better than seeing your mommy on your birthday.