Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Well, you know what they say: if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!

Twenty Seven of My Favorite Things About My Twenty Seven Year Old Sister

1. She only remembers the good.

2. She is forgiving.

3. She gave me the sweetest niece on the entire planet.

4. She will do anything for me.

5. She is the greatest cook and is always experimenting.

6. She fed me pears on my last birthday.

7. She doesn't scrapbook.

8. She isn't embarrassed to be herself around me.

9. She is so crafty which is not a trait I usually admire but she does it in such an endearing way that I admire it in her.

10. She has a strong testimony and is always striving to be better.

11. She loves my kids alot and treats them well.

12. She loves to play games and cards with me.

13. She is happy where she is. She blooms where she is planted.

14. She genuinely cares about the happiness of those around her.

15. She hates the phone as much as I do.

16. She worries about things and I find her worrying adorable.

17. She is such a good mother and is raising an adorable and wonderful daughter.

18. She is unselfish.

19. She has big feet.

20. She doesn't judge me.

21. She doesn't mind my messes.

22. She always greets me and leaves me with a hug and a kiss and an "I love you."

23. She always thanks me for the little things.

24. She will lend me anything even knowing there is a great possibility that I will lose it.

25. She laughs with me.

26. She cries with me.

27. I can tell her anything and know that she will only tell one other person. Her husband is a given.

Anna, I hope you have the happiest birthday!
Love you bunches and bunches!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lemons and melons and pears, oh my!

On Saturday, Anna and I went to see "Wicked" at the Stranahan Theater in Toledo. She gave me the tickets for my birthday in December and I have been looking forward to going to see it ever since. It was fantastic! I loved the sets, costumes, music...loved everything. I have looked up the schedule for the rest of the tour and it is coming to Kalamazoo in December. I already told Chris that I want to see it again for my birthday. I wish they would make a movie of it so I could have it and watch it over and over again. I especially loved being there with my wonderful sister. She's the best for getting such a wonderful gift for me. I love her!

In the midst of the wonderful event...I was missing a milestone in Emily's on...

Love to! Love the bag, love the shoes, love everything. Love to!

On Saturday, Emily went to the Mock Prom at the Bloomfield Hills Stake Center. This dance included kids from four stakes in the area. It is a really fun event for the kids to be able to get dressed up and know that everyone is going to be modest. Since she just turned 14 last month, this was her first church dance. I was really excited for her!

She found a really pretty black dress at Target for $3.98. Unbelievable! Anna made her a shrug to go over her shoulders and a black cami filled in the blanks. It was perfect.

Since Anna and I were both gone to Toledo, my friend Jodi stepped in and took her to get her hair done. Unfortunately, Emily and the stylist interpreted the picture she took in very differently. I got a panicked call from Emily during intermission. She was crying and very upset because she said her hair was awful and she hated it and her day was ruined. I felt so bad being so far away and unable to help her. Jodi stepped in and saved the day with her can of hairspray and bobby pins. She came back to the house and fixed the hair so it was less Princess Leia episode 4 and more messy chignon. Lifesaver!

Chris made it home from the hospital in time to take pictures of Emily and her friends that were riding together. She looked beautiful.

From the accounts I received, she had a wonderful time and danced with five different boys. That is quite a success for a church dance. My first church dance was youth and young single adults together and one person that danced with me was 26. That was frightening. I hope they don't still do that. What a mistake! I didn't tell Emily this, but I only enjoyed one church dance I went to and that was at Youth Conference with another stake. Our church dances were always really LAME. Probably because there were 26 year olds there.

Trying to help Emily during her crisis, I was discreetly texting her after the show came back from on...

Maybe some mental defective put something stupid on her leg.

Most of the commotion with Emily was taken care of during the intermission, however, there were a few loose ends that I needed to tie up with her after the second half started. I was discreetly trying to text her. Also Chris was updating me on some changes to his dad's condition. And, Jodi was letting me know that Emily was alright. I was not talking. I was not making any noise. I was holding my phone low and texting. A guy two seats over leans at me and tells me to put "that phone" away. I just turned it over and stopped. Inside I was seething. The little light from my phone was not deterring from him being able to enjoy the show. Seriously. In addition, our seats were second from the back row. Obviously he takes his theater-going a little too zealously for someone who is buying the cheapest seats possible. There is NO way any of the cast members could see it and be distracted. What was his deal? I had to stand up three times so he and his stupid girlfriend could go empty their tiny bladders and buy some iced coffees. Did I tell him to "sit down and stay put?" Certainly not.

We live in 2010 not 1980. Technology exists so that we can be connected. I am thankful for the connection that my cell phone gives me with people around me. I was glad I could talk Emily down from her crisis that afternoon. I was glad Chris could share with me what was happening with his dad. I was relieved when Jodi said she was heading back to my house to help Emily. I was glad my boys could reach me at a seconds notice in case of emergency. There is once place that I will not use my cell phone and that is in the temple. Otherwise, call me rude or whatever, but I don't care. In emergency, crisis and so forth...I will text. During a movie, dinner, at the theater, church, on a boat or with a goat.

I will not just randomly text friends during this time. But if the need arises for me to take care of an issue, I'm going to.

Maybe there should be a texting seating area where you can text in case of emergency. I'd buy my tickets in that section every time.

And for my last little on...

I know nothing stays the same. But if you're willing to play the game, it will be coming around again.

Anna and I rode to Toledo with some friends who just happened to be going to the same show. Anna and I had planned on eating at Tony Packos after the show. We narrowed it down to Ideal Hot Dog and Tony Packos and Packos won out. But not by much. :) So, I had to tell our ride that we had to go to Tony Packos after the show. Luckily they didn't seem to mind too much. Something is wrong with you if you don't like Packos. Really seriously wrong. You should get checked out.

Driving into Holland and then Toledo toward the theater was really sad for me. SO many memories on those streets! St. John's High School, location of a very disappointing homecoming dance. (Josh, if you read this, I'm sorry. I know it was disappointing for you too.) Chuck Muers which is now some lame Mexican place. And Reynolds Road...what happened to Reynolds Road? Has South Toledo just fallen apart?

The saddest by far was the parking lot that once was Southwyck Mall. Southwyck Mall contains a million memories for me: Santa's Lap, the Easter chicks, the giant fountain and stairs to sit on in the middle, the carousel, Anna's ear piercing(s), Lions store. Lion's Store! That's where I got my first Liz purse with the vinyl sides and the L stamped in it. That was the "it" bag at my school. Everyone had one. And Midnight Madness at Lions. And that's where my mom took me to the Clinique counter for my first makeover. Everything cool came from Lion's. Can you tell I just loved Lion's Store?

My best friend and I would walk from her house (she lived in the neighborhood behind the mall) to the mall all the time. I think Eliza and I saw "Three Men and A Baby" there five or six times. One time I gave her a birthday gift in a bag and the ticket taker either looked in it for contraband candy or asked her if she had some. I can't remember exactly why but we thought it was hilarious. Southwyck Mall was where I went to the movies with friends to see a specific movie that my mom had forbidden me to see. Don't do that, Emily!

In high school, we pretty much stopped going to Southwyck and spent most of our malling at Franklin Park. Which I'm pretty sure isn't even Franklin Park anymore. Where has my Toledo gone?

I almost cried in the car seeing the sad dilapidation for an area of town that was relatively bustling 10 years ago. I guess things change fast especially when you aren't around it every day to experience it slowly. I was glad we didn't head out the other way on Heatherdowns so I would have to pass my old Churchills. That would have reduced me to tears.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me. I'm right here. Come and get me! You'll never sink this boat!

My dad had lots of opinions and words of wisdom that I remember from over the years. Some of it was good advice like always buy the heaviest head of lettuce you can find. Some of it was silly like never order a large ice cream because your taste buds will freeze half way and then you can't taste it anymore. (I googled that one and NOT TRUE!)

Today as I drove down Canton Center Road I was reminded of another piece of his advice. Never plant a Bradford Pear tree. The street I grew up on had a ton of these flowery trees lining the roads. You see them all over and they really look beautiful for the spring. Whenever I would comment on their beauty, my dad would tell me this: Communities plant them because they are cheap. They will look good for about ten years and then they get weak and fall apart. One good storm will break them down. He would say to get a Redbud or a Dogwood. Still pretty and much sturdier. When it came to plants and trees, my dad knew his stuff. He was a landscape architect by profession. He knew everything about every plant and tree there was including their Latin names. When I was at BYU and MSU and would find an unusual plant, I would mail him a leaf and he would identify it for me. I loved his plethora of knowledge on this subject.

Now when I see the Bradford Pear I get mad at the stupid weak trees. What a waste! Sometimes I think about how some people are like the Bradford Pear, unable to weather the storms. Maybe that's why my dad didn't like them. He wasn't weak and he NEVER bowed or split during the storms in his life.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Calvin!

Happy 10th Birthday to Calvin!

Here's the top 10 things I love about him:

10. He has got the cutest little behind. It is adorable.

9. He is very sensitive.

8. He loves babies and little kids and playing with them.

7. He works really hard when you give him a job and Rarely complains.

6. He is interested in all kinds of interesting topics and shares his knowledge with me often.

5. He loves going to church and being a part of scouts.

4. He has the greatest laugh. Seriously, if you hear it, you will laugh too.

3. He works hard to choose the right.

2. If I am sad, he gives me a hug and tries to make me feel better.

1. He's my son and I love him very much just because he's him.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm so hungry I could eat a whole elephant

I finished the second set of real foods baby sizes. Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Baby Sizes Weeks 21-40
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Are you stupid or something?

You may remember my dilemma with Spencer last summer with his delay in reading skills. He repeated kindergarten this year and is doing great in everything except reading. It continues to challenge him. It's like there is something blocking his ability to understand the relationship between the letters, sounds and words. Reading is frustrating for him and for me.

I met with his teacher last week to talk about his needs. They are going to have Spencer evaluated for possible learning disabilities. He will continue to get extra support from the reading specialist at the school and he will be moved on to first grade in the fall. He will go to the summer school program during summer to get extra help. We are looking into getting some tutoring help for him. I don't think he has a disability. I think he is just at a slower pace than other kids his age. Poor Spence. I really want this skill to "click" in his brain. I know it is so important for him to have good reading ability because it is the foundation for so much in his future. I am confident that we are on the right path of support for him.

Sometimes I worry that this problem is caused by our large family. I worry that he is lost in the shuffle. I don't have as much one on one time with any of the kids as a family with less kids would. Is that what Spencer needs? I expressed these concerns to his teacher. Her response made me feel so great. His problem isn't because he has lots of brothers and sisters. She said some wonderfully positive things about the joys of teaching children who come from large families. I don't hear things like that very often and I left the conference feeling so validated and joyful. I'm so thankful that we have been blessed with such a wonderful teacher. I know there are so many people on Spencer's team rooting for him and he will catch up thanks to the efforts of all of them.
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