Thursday, April 30, 2009

biting my tongue...

because today I've had it about up to my eyeballs in community angst.

over swine flu.

Now, lots of you who read this blog do not live in the great state of TEXAS. Perhaps you've heard the joke that Texas is so big, and so "different", that it could and should be considered its own country. And actually I'd agree with you. We have special and different educational tests for our children. We tie the value of our homes to the quality of our schools. We don't pay state income tax but instead pay ginormous property tax. We are different here.

And we border with the country which has had death due to flu. And many of our citizens have contracted this flu. And so there is angst.

And I live with a lot of angst on a lot of other levels in my life (like; how are we ever going to unload our house? and Where are we going to stinking LIVE when we leave said house? and How am I going to finish bed time tonight without losing my smaller than average mind?) so I am familiar with the sensation.

Lucy was sent home today because "she had a fever". Now, please make no mistake. I would much prefer SAFE over SORRY. Last February, when our kids were exposed to Whooping cough, I kept them home from school even though the test was negative, they put them on antibiotics "just in case" and there were no symptoms. I don't want my child to suffer, and I don't want another child to suffer because my child was ill and in their presence.

But Lucy didn't have a fever. I took her temperature with a brand new thermometer. I took the temperature repeatedly over a sustained length of time. No fever. No runny nose. No dirt under her fingernails and no recent trips to Mexico.

just angst.

And it must have rubbed off. Because upon gathering the girls early from preschool, Lucy and Molly both by my side ("better keep Molly, just in case...") we went to Target to buy the new thermometer. And we bought them out of ibuprofen and Tylenol. And we bought Gatorade and clear liquids. And then i went and fueled my car. And while at the gas station I purchased a box of gallon containers of water. And I'm ordering a generator today after I gather my kids from school. And somehow picking up firewood for our outdoor cooking pit "just in case we want to make s'mores" (or if the gas company has so many freaked out or ill employees that they decide not to provide service before this scare subsides)

So I must have angst too.

How are you fairing the unknown ill of the swine flu? Have you stepped up your hand washing, your pork inspecting? Have you opted out of public gatherings? Is your school still open?

perhaps you, after reading of my over reaction to non-fevered preschool expulsion, are biting your tongue now too.

or maybe, instead, I've caused you angst.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The collection is growing

First, could one of you please send me a tutorial on how to put many many pictures up on one blog post? Jessa, you did an amazing photo essay on Sea world, HOW DID YOU DO THAT? I have many more photos to my collection to share, but don't know how to share them...

o.k., now that I've cried for help, here goes.

When we were waiting for Lucy to come, and as we nurtured Molly in our home, it occurred to me that the make-up of our family would not look like most other families. We would have children who do not fit the biological mold of their parents-some would look like us, and some would not. This didn't bother me a lick, but I did desire some way to instill in us a family identity-something that made us unmistakeably belong to each other.

That something was a covenant, performed in a sacred temple, which binds our children -adopted or otherwise- to us for the rest of this life and into forever. That is the binding strength and power of special promises made in temples that now dot the earth. The power for these promises to have effect is centered in the atonement of Jesus Christ.

He makes this forever minded covenant possible. And I am humbly thankful to have a glimpse of understanding into that truth.

While this is the power of the covenant, and the center of what makes us a family, I-in my propaganda promoting motherhood-sought some way to emphasize and remind our family that we are all in this together. My choice was to collect the initial of our last name "G" and place the letter G in many forms around our home. It began with a painting I made, with the help of my gifted mom-in-law, for John at Christmas in 2006.

Since then, my collection has grown.

I wear a silver stamped "G" on a chain around my neck. there are G's dotting the landscape of our home in most every room. And what has made the collecting more fun has been the support and encouragement of friends as I"ve shared my interest in collecting and propagating our family initial.

In the pictures you see here please note the darling crochet coasters, given to me by a dear friend, Jill, and the very stylish way she finished said gifts with G's in different fonts. A friend from Africa sent a stitched G to me last winter, and it adorns our picture wall where I see it most every day. I woman who I've come to know stopped at my door when only an acquaintance, and handed me two darling "G's" that she had seen when on a trip. she had heard about my purpose in collecting and wanted to support it. Another friend brought magnets for the fridge, and Erin brought the fab green and yellow G that stands centinal in the guest room. The list of gifted G's goes on and on...

-again I insert my need to know how to post more than a few pictures at a time-

I love these special gifts. Not only because they add fuel to my family identity fire, but also because they have come from supportive friends, who in their small gestures of kindness have encouraged me in my efforts to keep my family solidly surrounded by the reminder that we belong to one another. Bound by power forever, and linked by love day to day. And hopefully reminded, through my fun and enjoyable collecting, that it is great to be a forever Graham.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trying Gratitude...

Dear John,

We missed you lots last night. Family night, though short, was sweet. We listened to a piece of this and focused our thoughts and remarks on how we can be more grateful in our prayers. I wanted the children to understand something that came over me like the soft rain that fell this morning as you left us. Just like Elder Bednar explains in his discourse, the Lord can often give us insight and revelation when we focus our prayers on that which we feel grateful for. The understanding that He already knows what we need before we ask, and that sometimes when we don't ask but instead praise and thank, He is prompted to give us that which we would have asked Him for.

And maybe when our thoughts and words and prayers are filled with what we've been blessed with, we can better recognize that really He is giving us that which matters most.

So, we've begun an experiment, and we want to have you join us. For the next 5 days we are going to pray in gratitude, and ask the Lord for nothing. As much as we feel we need Him to help, we are going to set that aside, and try to just say thank you.

The kids were receptive and open to the idea. As I heard their prayers this evening these are some of the things they said:

"I'm thankful I can be smart" (Madi)
"I'm thankful that you made electricity, so I can play the wii and charge the DS" (Porter, he seriously said that).
"I'm thankful for my healthy body" (Brynley)
"I'm thankful none of us were sick today" (Mason, of course)
"I'm thankful for mom, and dad, and Bryn, and Mason, and Madi and Lucy and Porter" (Molly)
"Thank thee for daddy" (Lucy)

And I'm thankful for covenants that bind us together across miles and states and endless days apart. And for health and daily strength. And that the kids are all asleep before 10 p.m. tonight. That they all have the right number of fingers and toes. And that today Molly said with a giant smile "I have TWO moms who love me, right?!!". And when I told her right she hugged me and happily said "I"m glad you're my mom, mom".

And for the note you sent me in response to my written sobs. I love you for loving me.

And I'm so thankful for you. With a depth of gratitude that only the Lord himself can comprehend.

join us. Be thankful in all your prayers this week. I look forward to the experiment, and I pray in gratitude for all we may learn.

Monday, April 27, 2009

When its Adios to Texas, its Adios to Cable

For the last 5 years or so our family has had access to cable or satellite television. These have been the basic channels mind you; like CNN and Disney and NOT HBO or MTV. But its been a lot of stations to flip and stuff to watch for a long long time around here.

We are through paying for our television programming with the leaving of this house. Back to being content with PBS and network news.

It isn't a hard choice for me. Not only do we now have access to our favorite shows via the Internet, but we've come to realize that our big kids get to do the channel flipping and our little kids get to watch Hannah Montana instead of Sesame Street.

no more I say, no more...

Its time for me to let my little ones be little ones again. And to find other entertainment avenues for my big ones besides commercial riddled - Disney propaganda promoting - sitcoms where boys act stupid around girls and girls act stupid for boys. We can be more selective, more careful, and more fun too. With our saved cable budget I'll purchase Apple TV and all our DVD's (and hopefully someday VHS's) will go onto itunes and be played, scratch free, on any tv in the house. I'd even be up for more Wii and Rockband and fewer commercials or made for tv movies where girls hike up their shorts and boys comb down their hair.

a couple of weeks ago I cam across a DVD collection of Sesame Streets that were made when I was 5 years old. Hours and hours of the Count and Cookie Monster. Songs from folk singers about fishing and the forest. The girls are glued whenever they get "screen time" to watch it. The simple shows that kept me so visually content as a child have still got the good stuff. Safe television, educational for them. A chance for me to remember that a child's media experience does not have to include Spongebob in order for that child to be to be completely content.

I know our big ones will pitch a gnarly fit at the next address when they don't have Zach and Cody to hang out with on Friday night. But I hope after a few weeks of Wii fit and old episodes of ICarly off of the net they'll see that, in the end, no Disney is good Disney.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Porter and my Parenting

We enjoyed Porter's 1st grade music program last night. All the kids and me. We caught a snip of video for dad to view and for all of Porter's posterity.

He was darling

and he wouldn't like me using the adjective darling to describe him. He would want me to say that He was awesome. Or that "he rocked!"

which he did

The kids were awesome too. No screaming, no fighting for the camera, no complaints about supporting their brother. They did great. I felt like a decent enough parent, seeing my kids behave and perform in an "above average" kind of way.

After the program we chatted with friends and teachers and helped put chairs away. In usual Graham fashion we were some of the last to leave. But not the very last, there were a few families left.

"what were you thinking putting a banana in your locker Porter?" was the question posed by another lingering parent.

"it wasn't a banana, it was crackers, with peanut butter in them, I swear" replied my darling son.

"was it a banana the janitor had to clean up today?" I asked, the story Porter spewed after school was now becoming more clear.

Porter had reported that his class would no longer be aloud to have "snack" because there were bugs in the lockers due to kids leaving their half eaten snacks inside them.

-I am going to interject here that this is the first and only school we've attended where kids have to pack a snack in addition to their regular lunches. Odd to me from the start but even more odd are the reports from my kids that the common snacks to bring are cheetohs and little debbie snack cakes-my kids can take pretzels, fruit, and crackers with peanut butter. If they are REALLY lucky, they can pack whole grain goldfish or low fat triscuits-

"yep, Mr. Jim had to fumigate the lockers and wipe them all down." said the jovial parent.
"now none of the kids can have snack. Silly Porter" she says with a wink.

"oh, I had no idea it was a banana..." said me.

"well, how could you possibly be expected to keep track of things like that. I mean, you have (she counts heads with her finger) 6 KIDS!"

in other words: "you are a mother to so many, we can't expect you to actually MOTHER".

Remarks like this have been a part of my daily life since I had my 4th child. Somehow, upon reaching that number of offspring, I have somehow been exempted from actually having to rear them into productive members of society who have manners, and who are responsible for themselves and their actions and who know things like how to prevent lockers from becoming infested with ants by throwing away old fruit. Or eating it when its snack time.

This line of reasoning, while now a common occurrence in my life, is baffling to me. I chose to have ALL of the children I am rearing. I should be looked upon as one who felt she was capable of molding them into functioning and contributing members of society, right?

Apparently, my lack of ability to rear the children became evident the moment I decided to have so many of them.

And maybe they are right, but I don't think they are. I mean, the day Porter told me he was going to take a banana for snack, here is what I told him;

"good food choice buddy. Better than crackers or pretzels!"

Here is what I did not tell him;

"better be sure not to leave it in your locker, because with a little time that banana will attract bugs, and the janitor will have to come and clean out your locker and tell the kids you can't have snack any more. O.k. Porter? ya got that? Bananas will go rotten if they stay in your locker..."

I forgot to mention that detail. Silly me. How could I possibly be expected to remember important parental advice like that when I Have

One: who takes out the garbage on his own and gets almost straight A's without my having to babysit him

Two: who hasn't had a late homework paper but once or twice in her life, and who often rises on her own in the morning at 6 a.m. to complete her morning chores

Three: who can cheerfully capture her younger siblings in the very palm of her hand with the phrase "lets play school!" and a wave of her hand to the white board

Four: who at 6 years old frequently remembers to read his scriptures before he goes to sleep

Five: who at the age of 4 can now make her own bed, her own sandwich and put on her own clothes, not to mention sorting the laundry by color if I let her

Six: who is still pretty young, but who loves to be held and hugged by her siblings and who knows how to pray on her own

kids. How could I possibly be expected to actually parent them? Only heaven knows how, so I try to consult with heaven ALOT on the matter.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lessons in Life Lessons (its a long one folks!)

Bryn is a gifted individual. Academically, socially, physically, the girl can do pretty much anything. She's helpful too, and funny. And she can read recipes and follow them.

Pretty amazing indeed.

Bryn decided upon our move to Texas that she wanted to become a gymnast. We signed up for classes and, no surprise to me at all, she was soon invited to try out for the team. She was -again no surprise to me-invited to join the team. She did. Mission accomplished, right?

Bryn began to work out often, and to apply her many physical gifts to her new found sport. She wisely chose to compete with the lower vs. the higher level, because she knew she could execute the lower level skills to perfection where as the higher level skills wouldn't be perfectly polished. And by chosing to compete at this level she has won meet after meet.

There is one thing to insert right here. Most of her meets were on Sunday. At least they were scheduled for then. With a brief explanation that we believe in the 10 commandments (one of which states that the SABBATH DAY is holy ie. not a day for leotards and scorecards at the gym...) most of the meet organizers allowed Bryn to compete on Saturday instead. This meant she went to the meets with the girls in the higher level, and she performed her routines and was judged for them based on her performance. What a blessing we felt, that she could learn that when she stood up for her beliefs (no sports on Sunday) a way would be made for things to turn out o.k.

Bryn has medals and ribbons dangling from her gym bag which testify of her superior skills. She was, of course, looking forward to the final competition of the year. The State championship meet.

It is this Sunday.

And no amount of begging or asking has persuaded the powers that be to allow our girl to strut her stuff on the day that was made for sport (namely; Saturday).

I broke the news to Bryn right after she came home from school. She sat on the bench in the garage and stared out into the sky as I explained our family's position on the matter.

-now I am going to interject something here-and I hope you'll forgive that I break up the story to record the thought process that took place within me...for I learned some lessons about teaching life lessons and I want Bryn to have my words when she is the mother some day, so here goes.

As a parent who loves her child, I have tried to teach correct principals to her. I've tried to point out the blessings that come when those certain principals are lived. I've tried to show compassion when those principals seem to be in conflict with the teachings or common practices of the world, but I've never felt inclined to apologize for those principals, because I know they are true.

But that doesn't make them easy to honor when the hard day comes to live them without reward.

The living of those principals is hard sometimes. And when those hard times come, I wonder to myself; is she doing what's right because I tell her and she is obedient? Or is she doing what's right because she knows for herself that its right? Has the principal become part of who she is? Or is she living it because she has to, just to get along with me?

And how do I give her whatever she needs to WANT to make the principal a part of her very self?

So now I'll return to the story...I left off with Bryn staring out into the sky as I tell her that visions of medals and ribbons have been dashed over Sunday competition schedules.

And Brynley, after curling up on the bench for just a minute or two says to me

"I want to go do my homework now".
And I fear.
Because here is the moment when I wanted her to say "I know its the right thing to do, even though it stinks". But that is not what I just heard. And I, being insecure in my life lesson teaching skills, prod a little further....

"could we talk about this a little more sweetheart? I'm sure you must feel dissapointed."

and really, she doesn't want to talk about it. She humors me, she sits back down, and eventually she politely opens up just enough to let me know she's not mad at me for laying down a standard she doesn't believe in. And I try to emotionally let her know that my heart goes out to her and I'm sure it seems unfair. And I try to uncover my fears to her, and I say something kind of like this;
"do you feel you've come to understand why we've chosen not to play sports on Sunday? 'Cause I know this would be so much harder for you if you felt we were taking something away from you that you would do if you could........."
and then she says these words;
"I know its right for me not to compete. I know for myself that its right.I want to go do my homework, k. mom?"
"sure honey, thanks for talking. Love you" I say

and my heart is a little relieved.

and I hope what she's revealed is the truth. And not just the smart and savvy in her saying just what her mom wants to hear...

but instead the warm assurance that the loss of the competition is not greater than the loss of a standard kept. A chance to stand up for what's right, even when that means standing alone, and standing in a place that won't bring her medals or ribbons or cheers from the crowd.

only a cheer from her mom. And from concourses of angels above, happy she's chosen right whether out of personal conviction or simple obedience.

Oh that she could hear them cheering.
Maybe that's why she stared at the sky...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Reason for being away

We celebrated the life of our friend's brother this weekend by running in a race. We ran because he liked to run, and though we had not met him, we love his sister (and brother in law and niece and nephew). They lost him to an ATV accident just before Thanksgiving. And, wisely, they prepared themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually to celebrate his life and grieve his loss through the training of a marathon. Though it was fun and satisfying, to have been a little tiny part of this experience was, well, reverent for me. Oh that others might celebrate me in such an active and spirited way whenever my time here is through!

Ironically, as the family celebrated the day's accomplishments, they received a phone call tragically announcing the loss of a family friend to the same recreational pursuit that took Micheal's celebrated life. Bill Orton, a Utah politician and family friend, had taken his boys out on ATV's for the day and sadly lost his life on the trip. Rest assured my children will NOT ride one of those machines-EVER if I can help it.

And here is my favorite running partner. Though Mason is prepared to run this mileage, John and I left him home so we could have a weekend long date. It was the best weekend I've had in a very long time.

We didn't visit with our family.
We didn't go looking at houses.
We didn't interview principals or "ward hop" to see if kids our kids' ages lived in any certain neighborhood.

We ate out
We slept in
We stayed in a hotel (hubba hubba)
We went to a movie that was PG13
We shopped and drove and talked

and we kissed and held hands every chance we could get. It was bliss. And its taken me days and days to ponder and savor the experience.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Can't Wait

to tell you all about the great weekend we've just ended. Running a race, spending time with my hotty of a husband and enjoying the things that are great about Salt Lake City. But today we are off, having fun with sister-in-law Jody who came here to my kids so I could go. Thank you Thank you Jody!

Look for pics tomorrow and a few stories about "all natural ben-gay" and other odd but enjoyable anecdotes...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


When Molly came to live with us she was small, white as porcelain and silent as a snowy night. We watched over her, we held her, we loved her. As her eyes were opened to the new world she was living in she found her voice, her smile and her big-eyed expressions. It was magic watching her come to life. Her name was Eowyn then, and we called her Winnie. she was a miracle to behold, a baby for us to love while we searched the world over for the baby I'd seen in my dreams. Little did we know that she was the baby we were meant to love and the baby in my mind was yet unborn. God had made our hearts ready for this little soul-His plan was perfect in hindsight. Like the song says:

Thy God doth undertake
to shape the future as He has the past
thy hope thy confidence let nothing shake
all now mysterious will be bright at last

and that is the way it was. And all the way back then we didn't know from day to day, month to month if our little "Unsinkable Molly Browneyes",as we nicknamed her, would remain with us or go home to the mother who loved her enough to send her to our waiting arms.

So we bought her a present. something she'd have always. Something consistent, something to remind her of safety and security.

We bought her a blanket.

She loved it instantly. Placing it over her face, Molly would suck on that blanket like babies suck on their pacifiers. It was the balm of Giliad we had wanted it to be.

And then Molly didn't have to go. Months turned to years, and one wonderful light-filled October day Molly's mom called me out of the blue and bestowed upon us a mandate to parent her daughter eternally. It, after some bumps and bruises along the adoption journey, was a happily ever after....

and the blanket remained a constant. It moved from Utah to Africa, from Africa to Texas. It is the "go to" for sacrament meetings, for plane flights and long car rides
and of course for bed time.

But time has passed. Molly turns 5 in just 4 short months. And its time now for blanket to take a back seat, or a top shelf, and for Molly to move ahead and find security in other things.

Its been hard for us both to give up the blanket. But yesterday morning Molly snuck her blanket from her bed and hid it somewhere in our house. And I was of a strong enough constitution not to search for it high and low when bedtime came.

And Molly slept anyway.

And then today instead of searching for the shining green security of her blanket she jumped on the trampoline and screamed at the top of her lungs at the horses as they ran in the pasture behind the house

and bedtime came again
and her blanket was still lost

and though she asked for me to find it, I was strong again, and with compassionate words I calmly let her know that she could look for it tomorrow. And I loved her and laid in her bed with her and read her stories. And somehow I'd like to think

that maybe its time that I could be that security, that feeling of home and safety and that maybe blanket can stay hidden.

and Molly can perhaps be blanketless for good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Upbeat me is finally here

This is "upbeat me". Its been nice to feel her rattling around this week, and I've felt happy to see her in the mirror and pray in gratitude for her attitudes and disposition in morning and evening devotions. Upbeat me can handle change with open minded willingness. She tries to solve problems and help others. She is genuinely interested in self improvement and isn't too hard on herself when set backs occur. She assumes the best of herself and others and tries to shun the worst. She works to take care of herself, and she strives to improve mind body and spirit. She wears fun flip flops and puts on her make up and her bracelets, willing to show the world that the soul in the body has a dimension of creative freedom and a little spunk and fun.

Upbeat me usually emerges after "wallowing me" is banished. "Wallowing me" comes around when change is presented. She stays a good long time, like a bad haircut that just has to grow out in order to get better. With the wallowing there is a bit of self pity, self loathing and self centeredness. Wallowing me stays in bed too late in the morning, sneaks ice cream and brownies when it isn't her free day and goes to bed remembering all the good intentions she had for the day. She wants to serve others, but when it comes right down to it she spends lots of time trying to fix things she can't control and dreaming up scenarios to end whatever emotional, spiritual or physical change is looming. She snaps easily, tears up constantly and looks back at how things were or ought to be instead of seeing the adventures on the horizon.

Banishing wallowing me is nothing short of exorcism. First, realization that she has full control mus be, well, realized. Then once I know I'm not my upbeat self, I have to weigh the pros and cons of forcing myself to change. Then there is the guilt. Guilt for not being grateful enough, strong enough, "upbeat" enough to let myself become wallowing....then the repentance. And sometimes it takes repenting again and again, and the earnest prayers to have the strength to face whatever it was or is that allowed wallowing me to creep in and take hold...And the process of self-forgiving, of allowing the truth that we can't be upbeat always and the quiet fortitude to invite the good back in.

and then, she is banished.

Most often she rears her ugly head again but once the banishment has begun she's usually gone for the duration of the challenge. And upbeat me looks ahead, plans to problem solve, tackles challenges and sifts through what needs to happen and what can be left behind.

Its 8 weeks until the end of school in Texas. Our house is not close to sold. My love and dearest companion works several states away, and it is time we go to him. With hope that God will swoop in and send the perfect family to our home-one who actually likes a rectangular swimming pool and a wall of windows overlooking horse pasture-its time to plan for our exit. And as part of that plan we must be willing to let our "happily ever after" include a leased home rather than a sold home, and a quaint rental in Utah rather than the purchase of the perfect home for the Grahams to make their own one last time.

And upbeat me can handle that. As many new challenges and undesireable prospects as those realities bring, they can be faced and planned for. And in the planning I'll be working out the long term permanence of this determined upbeat me.

Excuse me please, I have some fun flip flops to go put on.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, followed by deviled eggs and egg salad on Sunday...Eggs were hidden in the garden where our budding perennials-gifted in last year's Easter baskets-were beginning to bloom. Perennials are an Easter basket tradition, and will resume next year when we have a permanent garden in which to plant them...

This is called "mommy tax" and it is the rightful act of taking a portion of that which is given to our children when it comes to treats. How can one resist and Easter Cadbury's?

This year's baskets, in lieu of perennials, held flip flops. It is time to wear those in Texas!

Beautiful recap of Easter garb in the Texas Bluebonnets. I'm so glad John insisted on stopping here after church for a photo op. My long standing control issue has been that our children coordinate on Easter Sunday. Why do I do that??? This is why. They look, by all accounts, like they belong together.

And they do.

Wonderful Easter Feast Sunday evening, when we were joined by the Baggs Family for our festivities. So glad they could join us, made the day so much more special.

Not pictured here? It isn't possible to photograph the feelings of love and reverence for our Savior Jesus Christ and a deep and abiding appreciation for His atoning sacrifice for me. I'm so humbly grateful to know Him enough to know He died for me. And that He loves me. And that He knows who I am and hears my voice when I plead with Him for help. I love Him and commit myself to living a life which is greater evidence that I carry His name and follow Him.

Friday, April 10, 2009

So I've been Flaky, What's it to ya?!

I've been a flaky blogger this week. We made it through Flat Stanley (I got 100% by the way) and we got everyone where they needed to be when they needed to be there. And that was all I had in me. So, what's it to ya?

John came home Tuesday night and every day since I've had to remind myself umpteen times that it isn't FRIDAY yet. It feels so much like the weekend when my husband is present that it has really thrown me off (He hasn't thrown me, he has been pleasant and helpful and enjoyable). Yesterday we scooted off to Costco and as we packed the car to go home I realized how late we would be getting the kids to piano lessons because, oh yea, it is THURSDAY, not FRIDAY, and our kids play the piano for their teacher on Thursday!

I also stood up a lady who has tried to come to our home and train me to record important data concerning our healthcare expenditures so I can help solve America's broken medical system (who knew I'd been called to be a public servant? I didn't. My name was drawn randomly, and they don't care much that we are in a state of upheave presently. 'Study can go with you when you move.' 'National study, people available in every state to take your data and thank you for your service'. Sigh)

And today our kids are out of school. Someone-bless them-came in to see the house this morning between 8:30-9:30 a.m. so we pulled the kids out of bed and ate sugar cereal in the park (freezing cold wind blowing in our faces) to start off our "stay-cation". Came home to a spottless house and fell asleep for an hour or so while the kids vegged in front of the tv. Now we are off to eat delicious bar-b-que, then see a movie, go swimming and play rock band 'til I can actually NOT lose on the guitar or drums.

I do rock at the vocals.

And Bryn promised to show me how to work the wii so I can do Yoga with a virtual trainer who will tell me I can become balanced and centered if I practice often enough. Some kind of wisdom in that, right?

Look for photos of Easter garb and children looking for Easter eggs in our well-mowed back yard. We are looking forward to fun and giggly Easter secularism on Saturday and reverent Easter worship on Sunday. We've been reading during our scripture study accounts of prophets who testified of Christ, His ministry, His atonement, and the wonder and purpose of His mission during this week. I've felt closer to Him and to our children as we've read these sacred words about Him and look forward to a more personal discipleship as I try to maintain this pattern in my personal scripture study.

Happy Good Friday.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Oh yeah, today is the 6th of April-YIKES!

So, this morning I was lying in bed, mentally creating the day before me. The plans of a calm morning, a work out at the gym, not so much cleaning as I'm currently used to, and a walk to the little park with the girls was all swirling pleasantly as I hit the snooze.

We muddled through morning chores and scripture study. Then the realization



So, Flat Stanley came home with Porter the Friday spring break began. He was supposed to accompany Porter wherever we all went, with photos to prove we did not forget him. Then three sentences per photo. Then typed sentences on the computer. Then pictures printed, sentences printed, all presented nicely on a big giant poster board.

Well, for starters Flat Stanley was left in our suitcase while we went to Sea World. Then he got left when we went to the alamo. Then I left my poor sister in charge while I went to Utah to scout houses. She remembered better than I-got two photos taken on excursions to the book store and the local bouncy castle emporium.

So the week after spring break we reconstructed some of Porter's adventures (and we even kind of made one up). The sentences got written, though with several spelling errors.

The poster just didn't get made. John came home, I gave away my check list to the euphoria of having my husband around, and Porter-bless him-never registered that this was HIS assignment anyway (don't you wonder that about teachers sometimes? I mean, a 6 year old is supposed to print photos, type sentences on a computer, print, yada yada yada? Much of the assignment was grade appropriate, but the poster part, totally an assignment for ME).

So Monday morning, 15 minutes before kids need to leave for school, and I remember that Flat Stanley is due on the 6th. And Mason says to Porter "Today is the 6th of April Porter!" This randomly came out of Mason's mouth

revelation from the mouth of a child.

TodAY!!! Flat Stanley is due RIGHT NOW!!!

Poster was constructed by 8:10, ten full minutes after the tardy bell rang. Porter was 19 minutes late for school. He seemed unruffled. Even my best efforts at "you need to do an assignment BEFORE the day its due" with my most stern voice just didn't bring him to tears. This is a child who, by his birth order, is late to most everything he does save school and church. He doesn't get deadlines as yet...and obviously I don't either ;(

Madi has a project for her super-brain class (she's been tested into the gifted program here, called LEAP). I am personally extremely intimidated by her assigment to research the cost involved in planning a trip to Capitol Reef National Park. Lodging, transportation costs, an itinerary all mapped out. Driving routes, photos of the park, all presented in page protectors organized into a binder. Good grief, here we go again. Its due May 1. Better get started on it now.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

funny bits from the kids...

"Mom, my tooth is almost out, look its staying sideways all the time" (this is Porter's second tooth loss in almost as many weeks.)
"Do you want me to finish the job for you?" I ask, hoping he says no for the 100th time-I'm no fan of inflicting pain on my kids ya know?
"O.k. mom, you can try-but try to be soft o.k.?"
-one little jerk and the tooth was free, Porter let out a yelp.
"Oh, is it gone? You kind of hurt me mom"
"I'm sorry buddy, but now your tooth is out"
"o.k., then I forgive you" (bless him)
sometimes it has to hurt a little so we can have what we want, I guess.

Lucy says today;
"can I have some grapes?"
"sure honey, have the ones in your hand" (about 5 can fit in that tiny little hand)
"can I have aladose?" (all of those? that would be about a pound of grapes)
"Nope doll, if you eat all of those you'll be sick sick sick"
"Will I blaahhh?"
"Yep, you'd probably throw up"
"Then we could go to the doctor. She would give me medicine to make me stop the sickness and then I'd be all better..."
"Sometimes, when you throw up, the doctor says the best medicine is to go to bed"
"I don wanna go to bed!!!"
"then lets not eat all of the grapes, o.k.?
When considering our choices, its often good to ask ourselves "what would happen next?"

"Mom, today I want to be PIN -KA- LICIOUS" announced Molly
"Is Pinkalicious a person, or is it a way to behave?" I ask
"Its something in a book I read with Jenna. No, Aunt Jessa. Yea, for sure it was with Aunt Jessa-when you were gone away. She took us to read stories at Barnes and Oval"

its great to remember the particulars of how other people have loved you. But in the end, to remember that you've been loved by somebody, well that's a memory you want to return over and over again-no matter who that somebody was...

Have a good rest of your Thursday. I can't wait for mine to wind down, because John will be at the end of it-in our home and in our bed-very pinkalicious.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Photographic review

For the sake of my future posterity I thought it valuable to display here a photo essay of sorts on what we've been up to as a family for the last few weeks. This causes me to think I should also do a bit of a photo essay on our every day right now; the keeping of the "magazine house" and the running around of children would be good to document for a time a place where perfecting the polishing of the granite counter tops does not take priority over reading to a child or being on time to school...but that will be for another day. Here we go with the out of the ordinary events of March 2009;We went to San Antonio with my sister Jess and had a good time. I've written about the long lines at Sea World-but other than that most annoying day we enjoyed the Alamo and the rides. John bought passes the second day at Sea world which let us "cut to the front" of the lines, so our second experience was much better than our first. I cried-yes tears and everything-when I watched the trainer ride the whale. What is it about mammoth water creatures being nice to humans that makes me totally turn to mush? Notice in the photo above that John has Porter by the neck-I love that about this photo-because Porter is in so many ways like "Dash" from "The Incredibles"
We celebrated birthdays for Madi and Lucy. I've blogged about both, but just for this record I'd like to say that it is kind of fun to have two sisters celebrate their days just one right after the other. Hectic for mom, but fun for the girls.
I didn't have enough room to add a photo of Madi's birthday party; a "late over" with girlfriends and pizza and very expensive cupcakes and new pillowcases and pillows as party favors so I wouldn't have nightmares about lice coming in or going out of my house...because Madi requested a HUGE birthday gift (Nintendo DS in pink) we had a SMALL birthday party-so sorry not every child in 3rd grade and every classmate from Primary was not invited to attend! My guilt about excluding was overridden by our budget and my emotional ability to maintain sanity with a house for sale and full of children all at the same time ;)
I went to Utah to scout schools and neighborhoods. Didn't take a single picture. My one selfish indulgence? I got a hair cut and wandered in to Children's Hour boutique. Otherwise I was a busy bee and gathered lots of sweet information about where we might plant ourselves whenever we get to roll into the valley
And most recently but certainly not least important, Jenna came back to see us! Jenna spent her spring break (which was a week after ours) sleeping on the blow up mattress in the studio, playing with the little girls and babysitting so I could do stuff like go to church training meetings and Middle school Choir concerts. It was great to have here with us, she is such a special friend and even a part of our family when she's here. Highlights with Jenna were visiting IKEA and eating fancy cheeseburgers, oh-and sending her shopping with Bryn. I also just loved having her company.

So that has been the last few weeks in the Graham household. Not everything has been captured, but the things that were most fun are now documented for us to remember. Look out for another photo essay coming soon on the very mundane ever day that is our current life.

Happy Wednesday!