Monday, August 8, 2016

Sink bath


Theo: "To be honest, this is a bit awkward.  But I'm doing it for tradition."

Monday, July 4, 2016

I like this kid.

Some days I get so worn down by Hal- his energy, his needs, his lack of focus. He often sings at the top of his lungs. He has been known to jump on my belly when I wasn't expecting it, or pull my hair. He might dump out every bucket of toys in the house. He wakes up his sister.

But then he will also wrap his arms around my neck and say, "I really like you, Mom."

Or he will be chatting with his Uncle Adam, and say (unprompted), "Thank you for letting us stay at your house!"

Or he will watch Mae laughing across the room, and say, "Oh, she's cute!"

Or he will say to me, when I come through the door after a church meeting, "You shouldn't go to church without me! I missed you."

Or he will say a prayer, and thank Heavenly Father for letting his cousin Eric stay an extra day.

Or he will say, appreciatively, "This is a really, really good dinner, Mom!"

(These were all in the last four days)


I know it's unlikely, but I hope he's always this sweet.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Sarah!


 Sarah's birthday fun included a roller coaster ride, a hidden geo cache, a trip to the moon, and watching a 1949 classic movie "The Heiress" in an old timey movie theater.  Happy birthday sister,  how I love you so.






Saturday, May 28, 2016

Gregorys Under the River Kwai

Things that made me worried on the morning of the race:

- I forgot to pack underwear
- I've never run more than 3 miles in a row, ever.
- I had to steal socks out of Lucy's drawer. I was literally wearing school uniform socks.
- Most of the other teams had matching spandex outfits. Chris was wearing his swim trunks.
- Apparently Chris and I qualify for the Masters category, but I had signed us up in the regular category out of pride.
- At one point before the race started, I looked down at the gears on my bike and couldn't remember whether higher was better for uphill, or lower.....?

We had some bets with our friends, Jonny and Nicole. You got points for:
- first blood (Chris won, within about 10 minutes)
- first couple's fight (a tie. Both of us mad at our husbands at the same point in the cycling leg)
- first serious swear word (I think I might have won this. I don't want to tell you what I said.)
- overall winners (they beat us by about 10 minutes)

Overall, it was extremely hard and extremely fun. Of the people on this poster, I think I most resembled the swimming girl:


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Remember this?

I was remembering this situation because of Darcy's graduation coming up and pulled out the article to show my kids. I wondered if it ever made it onto Woodpile.. for memories sake...

Friday, April 1, 2016

900 Nights in Bangkok and the World's Your Oyster.

"Someone should do a study on the human's ability to adapt to luxury." - Tina Fey

Our time in Bangkok is already starting to feel like a dream. The other morning when I was putting out food for the lizard in the bathroom, it occurred to me that there are things I have adapted to, and things I would probably never get used to, even if we lived here forever:

-  the lizards, to start. There are at least 2 that live in the kitchen, and now the new baby one in the bathroom (poor little guy, he'll starve in there!). I've gotten used to hearing them late at night,  rummaging around in the trash for food scraps.

- If you'd told me when we first moved here that I would get used to being driven around town, Miss Daisy-style, I would have laughed in your face. Now I happily have the car door opened for me, answer to 'Madam', and sit comfortably in the back seat reading my book while my driver navigates traffic, pumps the gas, and parks the car after dropping me off. I hear you judging me, but here's the thing...you would get used to it too.

- But on the subject of luxury, it has been three years and I am not any more comfortable with having someone in my house cleaning than I ever was. By which I mean, extremely UN-comfortable. I never know what to say. I never know where to be, or what I should be doing. I can't use the kitchen, because it feels like her space, and also because then I'm just there, making even more mess, right in front of her. Still, I have persevered, because otherwise who would wash the dishes?

- One of my least favorite things about Asia, and something I'll never be used to, is having random drops of stuff fall on your head when you're walking down the street. I'm not sure what it is, and I'm not sure I want to know. Old rainwater? Condensation from the power lines? Someone tossing something out the window? Or..? No matter what, it's not good.

- The moto-taxi. I'm now comfortable walking up to a cluster of men hanging out on the corner with their motorcycles, picking one out, climbing on the back and zooming away. In fact, it's one of my favorite things here- the efficiency combined with just a touch of danger.

- Speaking of motos, I love being able to push some buttons on my phone and somewhere in the city a moto guy is dispatched to bring me some food. From almost any restaurant in town. For a $2 delivery fee. THAT I have definitely gotten used to.

- I will never get used to the heat here. I mean, I must have adapted somewhat, but it's hard to tell.

- I have gotten used to leaving the kids home alone while I go out. The crazy part is that my friends all have live-in maids so THEY can go out any evening as well. It feels like we're in college. Or is this what old people feel like?

- What also feels like college, in more of a bad way, is apartment living. The apartment itself is fine, but I have not gotten used to sharing common space with so many people. I'd like to have a whipped cream fight, or a chicken party, or shoot a bow and arrow without anyone judging.


It's not exactly real life, but it almost feels like it sometimes. I will miss you, Bangkok.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mom's Birthday post



Tell about a time when mom let you stay home from school.
Claire - The first time I ever had caffeine was when I stayed home sick from school one day. I must have been about 6-7. After all the sisters went off to school, Mom took me to Tiny Mart. I got to pick out a VHS, and a soda. I got a tape of Thundercats to watch, and Mountain Dew to drink. I don’t think Mom even knew it had caffeine, but maybe she did. I thought it was the best thing I’d ever tasted in my life. I’ve never had it since. That was a good day.


Beth - When we lived in the big brown house on the hill, I couldn’t have been older than 10 or so, mom hurt her back. I got to stay home and help her with chores, even getting her to the bathroom. I think now on how hard that must have been for her to be in so much pain and so stuck. I remember being SO excited and feeling so mature that mom NEEDED me and that was one of the first times that I felt the high from helping someone else, especially someone who was so strong and capable. It really made me feel... compassionate and grown up.


Carrie - One day when I was a junior in high school, Jessica and I ditched school with parental permission and went skiing at Sierra Summit. Somehow word got back to Marceline Scott that we had been out of school, and she called the house that evening to tell on me. It just so happened that I answered the phone, and after scolding me sharply, she asked to speak to my mother. I was pretty sure that I had the coolest Mom in the world when I heard her say calmly into the phone, “Oh, yes, we were aware. Thank you for calling but we feel like Carrie is responsible enough to make her own decisions about this kind of thing. Have a good night.” (click)
I always felt like Mom was on my side.


Rachel - I don’t remember a specific time, but I do remember her excusing me from school because I was “sick and tired” when really I was just sick and tired of school. I thought that was hilarious and that mom was the most awesome.


Vivian -I had such a busy schedule with extracurriculars and was often missing part or all of school for one reason or another.  Mom finally gave me a pad of paper with her signature at the bottom to use at my discretion.  I’m sure you couldn’t do this with all kids but I don’t remember abusing the privilege.  Well there was just one time when I wrote myself a note right in front of the office lady.  Maybe that was just a little over the line.


Sarah - I wish I had a specific memory to share. I know she must of let me stay home “just because” but I can’t think of a certain time. I do remember the phone ringing about 8:30/8:40 and you knew it was the school calling, “ Do I answer it with a sick voice? Cough cough.”  Also I can recall sitting on the couch watching cartoons/movie like it was a sat morning.


What do you remember about family vacations to the beach (or elsewhere)?

Claire - My favorite thing to do on beach trips (besides watch cable television) was to climb around on the jetty when there were big waves. The thrill of “Is this the big one?” never got old. The sound of the crabs crawling around under me freaked me out, though.
















































Sarah - I remember leaving to go to the beach one morning we were living in the rental on auberry rd and hoover looked so sad to see us leave dad stopped the station wagon in the middle of the driveway opened the back door and called to him. Hoover ran down and jumped right in and off to the beach we went. I don’t know if everyone was excited about that but I thought it was great. I don’t remember mom saying, “oh hey wait a minute that’s going to be more work.” She just let it happen.

Beth - I remember trips (or maybe a trip) to utah. I remember climbing up SO HIGH up a cliff, i could see forever. Camping up against some cool rocks, and the wild feeling of southern utah. We never really did much camping, so that was a super adventure. Family reunions always felt kind of magical to me. Strangers that I felt so connected to.

Vivian - The best part of car trips when dad would stop to get gas and he would disappear into the station to pay and come back with treats. So EXCITING!  I also remember that orange cooler mom would pack full of tasty food. A packing strategy that as a parent, I entirely understand now.  There is nothing worse than driving and listening to a kid complaining that they are thirsty or hungry.  Basic menu included fried chicken, tuna sandwiches, melty trail mix, all the favorites. We had no electronic entertainment of any kind, so mom would play games like the license plate game or singing camp-type songs.  We had that station wagon that must have had poor or no AC because on hot summer road trips mom would put wet towels in the door frame with open windows for kind of a “swamp cooler” effect.  

Rachel - I don’t know if this counts because it wasn’t a family vacation, it was just me and mom. But I remember going to a festival in Monterey for New Years 2000, despite how everyone was saying that it was going to be the end of the world, all of the computers were going to crash, there’d be havoc in the streets, etc. When a lot of people were bunkering down, mom and I went on a road trip to a party where we ate delicious food and listened to live music. It’s a formative memory because mom showed me that just because other people are freaking out doesn’t mean that you should too. In fact, those people are probably wrong.

A time when you broke something or wrecked a car

Vivian - Claire and I owned a beautiful little car called “Mitsubishi Precis”
I think we purchased it for around $1500 and it cost about $10 to fill up with gas. If you pushed on the gas pedal a little way or all the way to the floor you would notice no difference. We had to push start it in the parking lot of Sierra High School on more than one occasion.
One day I was washing the car and needed to move it closer to the hose. Instead of turning on the car I just opened the door, stuck my foot out and started to push it down the driveway.  Well the open door caught on mom’s car on the way by. Since I was looking out the back, I didn’t realize what happened until loud pop of the door being bent all the way forward.  Oops.
Don’t worry though.  Claire and I took the door off and used a sledgehammer to reshape the door and hinges enough to put the door back on.  Fixed.

Beth - One time I made Sarah super mad, and she was chasing me around the SJE road house. She was out for blood and was gaining on me. So I did like they do on the movies when someone is chasing them and pulled a lamp over behind me as I flew by. Weeeelllll, it landed ON her and knocked the wind out of her. Seeing her laying there, trying to breathe, i thought I had killed her. Freaked me out. I was nicer to her after that. For a while… (and one time I “broke” aunt Meredith AND aunt Meredith’s car AND my truck. That was a bad day.)

Carrie - I didn’t personally wreck a car, but I loaned one to Jessica Porter, which pretty much had the same effect. It was this awesome Dodge Dart, which would just be the coolest car in the world to own now, with leather bench seats, AM radio with knob dials, and a giant lever to activate the turn indicators, which made this fantastic click-CLICK, click-CLICK noise when you were turning. Sadly, it got smashed up in an intersection and I’ll always remember Dad’s resigned sigh when I called him with the news.

dart.jpgswinger.JPG

Claire - I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to remember if I’ve ever wrecked a car. The closest I come also involves the Dodge Dart. I must have been about 11? This was after it was smashed up, and it just hung out in our backyard, next to the woodpile. Vivian and I would climb in there and pretend to drive. It was a fantastic toy. Once, I’m not sure how, we got it in neutral and it started rolling forward. It only rolled about 6 inches before it struck the woodpile, and it was already smashed up. So, it didn’t do any damage, but Viv and I were a little freaked out and stayed away for a few days.

Rachel - I shot an arrow through the trampoline once. Carrie has questioned exactly HOW I came to shoot an arrow through the trampoline...
C: "What angle did you have that you could get an arrow through the trampoline?" 
R: "Straight up."
C: "Wait, you were lying under it?"
R: "um, no...well, how it was, was, me and Joel were lying on our backs shooting arrows straight up into the air, trying to see how close we could get to the arrow coming straight back down and hitting us...and it came down on the trampoline. And put a hole it in. 
C: ...
R: "I mean, you would have time to see it coming down and get out of the way, right?"

Sarah - How come I can’t remember a Dodge Dart? My Mustang got wrecked. I was waiting to turn into the church parking lot and the guy behind me slammed into me. The car itself, the engine, was ok but the gas tank was cracked and so it wouldn’t hold gas, it wasn’t driveable any more.

What chores did you do most growing up?

Beth - For some reason, I really liked dusting. I liked to see the immediate change in the piano or the shelf. I also LOVED it when mom would get a call that we were showing the house in 30 min and we would RUN around and clean SO FAST. I also loved to work outside. Once we had a flooded porch and i was digging a trench to drain the water in the pouring rain. I was super happy. I liked the dramatic jobs. I also remember getting the assignment to make biscuits for dinner. I got good at that. I hated to clean windows, because I could never get them streak free like the commercial said I should…


Carrie - I’m not 100% sure I actually DID chores. I mean, I know we always tease Viv about getting out of them, but I have very few actual memories of working. I do remember once I was supposed to hang the clothes on the line to dry and I took forever to do it because I was messing around, imagining that I was Cinderella. Eventually Mom showed up to see what was taking so long and very patiently helped me finish the job. Later I overheard her discussing it with her friends in a very earnest tone of voice, about how she had asked me to do the job, but never really taught me the lesson of how to do it, and how it’s vital to set our children up for success so that they truly feel like they can achieve the tasks we set for them...and I knew that really I absolutely was capable of hanging clothes on a line but had just been screwing around. But Mom sounded so enlightened, I decided not to tell her.

Rachel - I feel like I did all the chores, since I was the only one around. A memorable one, though, was one particularly buggy summer when mom paid me 5 cents per fly and 10 cents per bee/wasp I killed. I kept a tally on the chalkboard and made a pretty good amount that summer. I used to love sweeping the leaves off the roof, it was so satisfying to have them go thumping down to the sidewalk. I hated cleaning the ceiling light covers in the kitchen.

Claire- My favorite chore to do was not even an assigned chore. I volunteered. I loved cleaning the wood stove, especially the glass doors. I liked to see the fire crackling through the clean glass when I was done.

Sarah - Rachel I hate cleaning the kitchen light covers too. Well let’s see I remember every sat morning having to weed the garden and move the woodpile, (ok it was probably only a few times), five min clean up after dinner, washing windows (mom used vinegar and newspapers), and every so often mom would have us sort the loft storage, “ can we get rid of this?” “ NO! That’s my favorite.” She was probably better off doing that one herself.

Vivian - I didn’t like cooking much, so I feel like I did more than my share of dishes. I also really liked defrosting the big freezer.  Worst chore = knocking down all the spiderwebs.  

Tell about a time you got in trouble.

Beth - In the SJE house, mom started buying whole milk from someone with a cow down the street. The owner said i could come over “any time” and learn to milk. I thought that was super romantic, so i went one day. Without telling mom. When i got home, mom was furious. I was grounded because i scared her and she didn’t know where i was.  It lasted a day or so. That was the first and the last time. I was totally confused, but now as a mom, i get it.

Claire - I also got in trouble for disappearing. It was the only time I was grounded. We had gone to the bridge back Art Tate (Tait?)’s road as a family one evening, and I thought I’d just walk back on my own to find it. It took way longer than I thought. I finally gave up, and returned home. It’d been hours, I think. Mom was so mad. Similar to Beth, I didn’t get it at the time, but I do now.

Rachel - I honestly don’t think Mom ever got me in trouble. I remember Dad spanked me once, I think just to see what happened, because he never got me in trouble again either. Well, there was one time he reprimanded me for not squeegee-ing down the glass door after I showered, and I’ll tell you what, I’ve done it every single time I’ve showered at his house since.

Sarah - Oh my, I was such a stinker I sure I got in trouble all the time but right now I can’t think of a specific time mom got me in trouble but I do remember a time Carrie grounded me. We were living in the rental house and Carrie was watching us but I don’t really think I got that she was in charge because we were let home by ourselves a lot. Anyway our property was close to the road and I was down by the road I think waiting for mom to come home when I saw her drive by and I flagged her down and she said she had to go to the store and wanted to know if I wanted to go with her I said sure and got in the car. When we got back Carrie was upset because she didn’t know where I was and she said I was grounded. I was so indignant because I was with mom. But mom let it stick because I should’ve let her know where I was and that I was going with mom.

Vivian- I also have a memory of getting in trouble for not reporting my whereabouts.  Brad and I walked to his house after school, got his bb gun, and set up some target practice.  When mom finally found us she was mad, but I thought mostly because I hadn’t done my chores yet.  
I was frequently “in trouble” with dad for mouthing off, hanging on cupboard doors, or not going to bed in a timely manner.  I got Carrie very angry at me for sneaking all her chocolate chip cookies (gifted to her from a boy) one by one, while no one was looking.

A time Mom said “yes” when she could have said “no.”

“Whenever possible, say yes. They are only kids once.” -Marjorie Hinckley, on parenting.

Carrie - I feel like Mom said yes all of the time when she could have said no. Yes to finger painting with pudding. Yes to making my own decision about sleeve length on my 8th grade graduation dress. Yes to painting shadow outlines of ourselves on the house. Yes to having my own room in high school, even though the rest of you all had to share (suckers!). Yes to setting my own bedtime. Yes to teenage road trips and stargazing parties and nighttime trips to the lake with friends. Yes to staying home from school occasionally, and to making friends with the Porters. Yes to a trip to Washington DC to stay with Aunt Shirley (!). Yes to letting Tom Dunkle crash on our couch. Even now that I don’t really need permission, I still feel like Mom approves of me and my decisions. It’s a good feeling.


Beth  - Mom never really stopped me when i wanted to see how close i could get to killing myself, without actually doing it.  I would climb up in a tree, all the way to the outer most branch that would hold me, then leap, flying squirrel like to the next tree to see how far i could go without touching the ground.  I remember her walking under me, wringing her hands, but not saying no or get down.  She said yes to cat food, jumping off stuff, matches and fire, camping by myself, sliding down mossy rocks in my clothes, swimming way out in the ocean, power tools when i was little, homemade see-saws that could kill, sling shots, weapons, sneaking around, sleeping in trees, climbing on the roof (ours, neighbors, church, school), mixtures in the kitchen, pets, wearing what i wanted, cheerleader tryouts, watching mature movies if they would teach me something (gandi, glory, malcolm x),  making forts out of .. well everything, doing pretty much whatever i wanted with my hair, ditching primary if i hated it that day, blowing our allowance on candy or soda..  Good grief, she rolled with us.

Claire - This isn’t a specific instance, but in general she always seemed fairly approving of my friends, and having them around. I brought a lot of groups around, especially during college, and she was always so gracious and hospitable to them. It never even occurred to me that she might not want visitors (or at least some specific visitors) on a particular weekend, but I’m sure it must have happened. It was nice to feel like my friends were always welcome.

Also, all my favorite dresses I look back on now and cringe.


Vivian - I feel like mom said “yes” all. the. time. I can’t figure out how it turned out as well as it did. The only real limiting factor on my adventuring in high school was the 60 mile range of the Mitsubishi Precis I mentioned earlier. That car would make it to Kingsburg and back and that’s about it.  I had made decisions for myself so much in high school that I during my freshman year of college there was a noticeable difference between me and some of my classmates who were experiencing freedom for the first time.  My roommate kept drinking too much, got a tattoo, and was always on the phone lying to her mom about where she had been. Seemed crazy to me.

I decided that by the end of my freshman year, if I had $800 left over, I was going to buy an airplane ticket to Australia and go in the summer.  I had the money, so I went to the travel agency on campus.  They wouldn’t take a check and I didn’t have a credit card with that high of a limit.  I used their phone to call mom.  Me-  “Mom, I’m in a travel agency right now, can I use your credit card to buy an airplane ticket to Australia?  I’ll pay you back”  Mom-  “5441 1872…..”
I was 18 at the time.


Rachel - She let me fly to Korea by myself when I was 16.

Sarah - Well what comes to mind is my doll that I still have. We were in Goodwill and I saw this baby doll in a bunny suit on the top shelf. I asked mom to get her down for me. The way the doll hugged me I just had to have it. It probably cost more than she wanted to spend and the doll didn’t have any hair and she was kind of dirty but mom let me take her home.  

A pet memory?

Carrie - We had pets? Actually, I do remember Mom saying yes to letting me name a cat Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Cherry Berry Ruki Pip Perry Pembo, after the Chinese boy whose name was too long when he fell down the well.


Claire - I took Gravy to be put to sleep. I’m not exactly sure how I ended up with the job. Maybe I volunteered. But it was pretty sad. I loved that cat so much. I think the hardest part was that after he was gone, they gave him back to me to drive home. I drove the whole way, crying, with him on the passenger seat next to me. When I got home, no one else was around. I carried him gently to the backyard, and dug a grave next to the bridge. It was hard to be the one responsible for this task, but it was also kind of nice to have the time to say a quiet goodbye. No other cat compares.


Rachel - Vivian and I went to Canyon Fork once and saw someone giving away a litter of kittens. Vivian and I knew that Mom wouldn’t want another cat, but they were so cute! So we stuck one in a box and pretended we were surprised that we accidentally brought home a kitten. We have to keep it now!


Sarah - I remember getting Hoover. We woke up christmas morning in the big brown house and opened presents as usual, I think this is the year we got everything. When we were all done Dad said there’s one more and I think I opened a can of dog food with a string attached to it. I followed the string down the stairs and to the door leading under the house when I opened the door there was a doggie looking at me. He was a good dog.  

Vivian - One year I asked for chickens for Christmas. I remember really really wanting chickens.  I got a good-natured rhode island red and named it “Pot Pie”.  This chicken was very tame and she and I became good friends.  One day she held very still while I painted her toe nails.  I fashioned a harness with a leash and began to try to walk her around.  It didn’t go so well until i realized i could kind of guide her along with a long stick, tapping one side or the other to turn.  After she got used to the harness, I trained her on some obstacles.  For the Auberry ward talent show, I walked her down the middle aisle and up a flight of stairs to the stage.  She was a star.  
Her other talent was riding a bike.  I wrapped a kitchen towel around the handlebars of my bike and put her on there.  She held on tight so we rode down Blue Heron Lane and back again.  She would lean her head down into the wind.  Must have been very freeing for a flightless bird.


Beth - mom let me “experiment” with animals.. A wild mustang that i broke myself (and broke myself), birds (that i killed), salamanders (that i killed), a pony (that kicked me in the head).  I am not really a pet person, but all of these adventures were very formative.