Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow Chronicles Part 2

What do you do when there are nine inches of snow on the ground and the day presents itself like a blank piece of paper just waiting to be filled?

Well, I could have done some extra cleaning, I could have organized the office as per my January goal, or I probably should have started prepping my bedroom for my painting project. Instead, I made cinnamon rolls. Two batches.

We dined on warm cinnamon rolls after dinner last night then reheated them for breakfast this morning and again after we came back from the second day of sledding.
I wonder if this was a wise use of my time. And it has gotten me thinking...about my Grandma.

When I was a freshman in college I caught a ride with a friend to Idaho Falls (four hours away from Brigham Young University) to go visit my Grandparents. Of course, I brought my stack of books and my reading lists with the intention of spending the weekend getting ahead on my studies. I arrived in the evening and was greeted by my Grandma and Grandpa and a delicious meal. Piping hot ham, little peas and potatoes in a cream sauce, and homemade blackberry pie. After weeks of dorm food, the dinner was more than a meal. It was a feast.

After dinner Grandma and I went to her TV room. She had purchased my favorite wafer cookies with frosting (they came in a pack with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry). She opened the package and brought me a tall glass of milk. We sat together watching a show, while she sewed, and I ate the cookies. At one point I said, "Grandma I've eaten an entire row of cookies!" She smiled approvingly over her sewing and said, "Good, Holly. Have some more. I got them especially for you."

You know, I can't remember what books I brought with me to read that weekend. I can't even remember a single fact I memorized. But I remember the food. And I remember the love from my Grandma that accompanied each delicious bite.

Sometimes, love equals food. In a good way.

So, I guess the cinnamon rolls were my way to show love to my family on this snow day. And in that sense, there was no better use of my time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day Chronicles

While I made dough for cinnamon rolls and took a delicious nap on the couch, here's what my husband and the kids were doing...

Swooshing Meya!

Madi with some serious air!
Tman takes the jump
Screamin' Leasie

Did I mention I got to take a nap? Snow days. Glorious times.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


2011 has gotten off to a bumpy start. I'm still debating whether or not to post just how "bumpy" in such a public forum. Maybe when it's not quite so close. Instead, I want to share two experiences that have helped me through the rough patch.

Our family started off 2011 with a whopping 16 hour drive back from a lovely visit to Mississippi. The kids were real troopers on the drive. But let's be honest, 16 hours is enough to drive anyone a bit crazy. The first night after 9 hours of driving we stopped at a Pizza Hut for dinner in a little town south of Bristol. I'm sure I looked exhausted, but I remember being really happy to be done driving for the night. My husband and I took turns helping the kids color their placemats and juggling Baby C while we waited for the food to arrive.

When we went to pay for dinner, the cashier told us that someone had already paid for us. We stood there for a moment, totally shocked. I think I kept saying "Thank you" to the cashier, because I wanted to thank someone. I was so touched by this anonymous gesture.

The second event happened just yesterday. I had posted on facebook that the twins had combined their meager money in hopes of purchasing a Harry Potter Lego set. They had only about $10 between the two of them. The set they wanted was $100. With Christmas and our Mississippi trip, we have no extra money for toys. So I posted that it was going to be a LONG wait until they saved enough.

Then yesterday in church the twins were handed a envelope. Inside was the money for the Lego set and a note from the giver. It was such a surprise! I was overwhelmed to the point of tears at the generosity, the love, and the kindness...that someone who I hadn't seen for a while cared about me and my family.

Angels. Are they real? Absolutely. I believe there are heavenly angels, unseen, who help us all the time. But there are other angels. I love this quote by Jeffery R. Holland from a talk he gave at the 2008 General Conference (you can read the entire talk here). "But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind."

I am surrounded by angels. And I feel so blessed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Lesson in Letting Go

I'm a control freak (just ask my husband). Of course, my desire for control has its limits. It does not, for example, leak into the realm of a perfectly ordered and perfectly tidy home. And it does not mean that I don't appreciate a good surprise or spontaneous adventure every now and again.

But when it comes to planning out our lives, making big decisions (and little ones), and all things regarding my children, I really like to be in control.

Last fall when Madi brought home a writing contest form I was all over it! The theme was: "Together We Can." Oh I had so many great ideas. And I was more than eager to share my ideas with my 10 year old.

However, Madi had already started the story. It was a fiction story about two friends, Peanut Butter and Jelly, who were entering a debate contest together. I read her first couple paragraphs and thought (thank goodness I didn't say it outloud) no no no, this will never work. I tried making some suggestions, but Madi had her mind set on her original idea. I'm afraid to say, I actually stormed off. Like, stomped upstairs and brooded. I returned a little while later to apologize and offer some weak words of encouragement. She worked really hard on her story for the rest of the week. And in the end, I only did a final read-through and only made minor grammar and punctuation suggestions.

Last week, we attended the awards ceremony for the contest. Madi read her entry aloud along with six other finalists. Then came the big moment. The principal announced that Madi's story had won! She was so pleased. She beamed as she shook the principal's hand and took her trophy. And I stood back and watched her enjoy this moment. And it was truly HER moment. I watched as her friends surrounded her to get a look at the trophy and congratulated her.

Now here's the thing. If I would have insisted she use one of my ideas (aka let my controlling nature take over), I would have robbed her of this moment. And I would have robbed myself of watching my daughter shine.

Letting go. It's not easy. But it's a lesson worth learning.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Little Things

Sometimes, I wait too long to blog. I wait for the "big" events worth remembering. Sometimes life gets busy, and I put the writing on the back burner. The result is that I miss recording so many things. Little things that are so easily forgotten.

Take today. Today nothing monumental happened. It was just a series of little things. Meya stayed home from school with a fever. We read books while snuggling on the couch, Baby C on my lap, Meya at my side. We opened the new play dough Madi had given Baby C for Christmas. There was more than an hour of snake rolling, cake making, and cutting tiny pieces. Then while I folded clothes and listened to Josh Groban, Baby C insisted that I come dance with her. So we held hands and danced.

The school called to tell me that Leasie had forgotten her lunch. Last week Tman forgot his lunch three days in a row! I told the secretary that I planned to duct tape lunches to my children for the rest of the week. But I got in the car and drove the lunch to the school. As I scurried from the school to the car in the freezing cold, I realized how grateful I was to be home and accessible to my children.

And suddenly I was grateful for all the little things of the morning. The play dough snakes. The dance with my daughter. Even the forgotten lunch.

Though my life is far from luxurious, I am grateful for the luxury of staying home to be a mom to my children.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin!

In one of my favorite childhood movies (Never Cry Wolf), a crazed arctic pilot hollers as he is about to climb out on the wing of his plane, in a storm - mid flight, "How do you beat boredom? Adventure!" I love this line and have repeated it often throughout my life.

I've had some pretty big adventures. Living in Alaska. Traveling to Russia and Poland for a summer. Being the TA in London for a semester. Raising twins. But the biggest adventure of my life has begun. In just a short six months our family is moving to Indonesia for two (maybe three) years. We are thrilled! Okay, I am thrilled. And I'm pretty sure my excitement is rubbing off on the kids. I know they don't understand the immensity of the school, third-world country, new food, new bugs, new climate, new language, new home, new people, third-world country, third-world country. But oh, the adventure!

And the adventure begins now as I tackle the daunting task of getting ready for the move. The house! Yikes! And the paperwork (medical, international school applications, financial records) all has to be in order. I'll have to be more organized than ever before.

But there's something about planning for such a huge change that just makes me happy. Call me crazy - but I look forward to having my life and world shaken up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Last week of 2010

We spent the last week of 2010 in the deep south where the air is 50 degrees warmer than home, kudzu vines hang from trees, beautiful Annabella homes stand as tributes to a former grand time, and the muddy Mississippi River runs steady and strong.

Of course, the best part of the deep south is visiting Granddad and Nana. The kids enjoyed a boat ride on the lake behind their house.

We went down by the river and walked along the river murals. An old caboose was as inviting as a playground.

The kids climbed and imagined until we heard a distant train whistle. Thinking a train was on its way, we hurried to scrounge up some pennies to place on the tracks. However, the train never arrived, and the pennies were left un-flattened.
When we weren't exploring, we built puzzles with Nana, fed the birds in their backyard, played basketball, and snuggled upstairs to watch Silas Marner and Sense and Sensability.

If 2010 had a theme for me, it was "All About Family." The best moments of this year were times spent together...whether it was watching my children on a sports field or playing instruments, eating pizza with Poppy, exploring a museum with Mom and my sisters, or enjoying time with friends who are part of my family too. This final week was a fitting way to slow down and say farewell to a year that whizzed by at break-neck speed...and enjoy time with family...which is truly the best part of my life.