Monday, March 29, 2010

An Early Easter

Lucy seeks for colored eggs in our sunny front yard

Our yearly tradition; perennial flowers to celebrate new life and re-birth. These will be added to the front flower beds here at the Spruces.

Once a Year I make everyone dress in the same colors. Even John sported a yellow tie. They are an indulgent crew, and the color coordination hits me right in that spot of my brain that is a little OCD.

filled plastic eggs are hidden in the back yard, full of jelly beans and cadburry chocolate eggs.

John's basket was filled with edibles from boutique chocolatiers from San Fransisco and home-based food artisans from our very neighborhood.

Due to the upcoming adventure for Brynley, John and I, we decided to have an early Easter Celebration. It felt a little rushed, but in the end I'm so glad we could enjoy all the things we love about Easter together, and of our own accord. Next week we will reverence the purpose for the celebrations; the reality of the Resurrection and the truth that Christ lives and loves us all. Just today I am reminded of our vital need to know Christ, and to rely on Him to strengthen us and save us from our sins and lesser selves.

Welcome Easter Week, Welcome Spring and all its reminders that there is new life available for all of us who choose to rely on and place faith in the life and mission of Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Molly's deeds and words...

When John travels I end up sharing my bed with various children. They kick me and roll over me and I tolerate it because they love to have "sleep overs" with me.

But the rule in our bedroom is that the last person out of bed makes the bed. And my kids are the lasts ones out of bed when they sleep in the one in my room (or any room for that matter).

"Kids, if you sleep over in my room you've got to make the bed when you wake up" I said the other day, while driving someone to something with the rest in tow.

"The only reason I make your bed is because I love you Mommy!" That was Molly's response to my announcement/reminder/edict.

Next day I was up before the child who slept over. My day was full like always, and after that guest had pranced off to school I scrambled to grab a shower before I was off as well.

When I got out of the shower, I found the bed, just as you see it above.
Molly stood beside it, and these were her words after the kindly deed...
"See mommy, I told you that I love you. And that's why I made your bed"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Things I Thought as I Swam in the Wake of Water Aerobics

Grandma GG and Grandpa Hadfield, clear last year

I have started training for a triathlon. This post is not about that training.

It is about being old. And I thought about being old while I was training, swimming to be exact.

We belong to a gym which has been around a long time. Tennis is the big thing there, but because they have good prices, a pool, good spin bikes and good babysitting we have joined up while I'm trying to tri. Lots of locals have been using this gym for lots of years. Many of its patrons are beyond retirement age.

And I love being at the gym with them.

As I tried to count my strokes across the pool last week I witnessed Water Aerobics. a Co-Ed class taught by a retirement aged instructor. It was full. Couples and singles all tip toed into the water. Swim suits were modest, hair caps worn. No one was late, no one was in a hurry. The class began with the music I listened to from the AM "oldies" station that played from the 66 chevy I drove in high school. Franky Vally. Elivs. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to kind of oldies music.

The students were having fun. They were exhibiting signs of joy. First it was marching and working submerged arms; waving and flexing them to the beat. About mid class, they took to the noodles, and straddled them as they bicycled their way into the deep end of the pool.

I watched them peddle under water as I tried, face down, to stroke less and move further with each lap.

as arms and legs wheeled and whirred the giggles and chit chat ebbed. It was a work out, and these were patrons of the gym who had come to better their hearts and their health.

Then, class ended. And here is where the lessons really began.

The students didn't leave. They stayed and visited a while. Checking on one another's children and grandchildren. Making arrangements for tennis matches later in the week or offering to show one another the latest and greatesy genealogy tricks.

They were in no hurry. They did not watch the clock. Time meant something different for them, they were not trying to beat it, and they were not trying to slow it down.
They wanted to connect with other people. Though some names were forgotten, they remembered how they'd met each other and who was related/connected to whom.
They hoped to make life better for others. Genuinely wishing one another well and offering to help with house chores, volunteer work and the like.
They were a little perplexed at the way the younger people were hurrying and scurrying about them. As if they'd never lived in a time or a place where the days were packed to overflowing. No errands to run right away. No expectations for what they'll accomplish before the sun goes down.

I thought about my own little girls who were playing in that moment at the nursery in the gym. My girls have these same desires. They cannot be successfully hurried. They may not know names, but they connect people (that is the girl from church mommy! She is my friend at school! We see her every time we come to this store, Mommy!) with places. They genuinely want to make the world better, and packing days with activities about them or for them will not make them want to move from one of them to the next with speed or efficiency. Time is fluid, it is there but matters little. People and feelings matter more.

In the scriptures it says that we all must become like little children to live again with God. As I stroked my way across my work out last Friday morning I thought perhaps I was grateful that a time may come for me when my nature will move from an overflowing schedule to one where time matters less. And I hope by then I've learned, like the water aerobics students and like my little girls, that people and feelings matter lots more than schedules or errands or even work outs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Coming!

Spring is coming to the Spruces. I am anxious to see what flowers will bloom and where they will blossom in our yard. As Jess and I drove home from our recent road trip with the girls I enjoyed seeing her begin to grasp all that will involve creating our outdoor living spaces-it will be a long process and will span many years to come.

First up, enjoy the blooms left for us by those who've come before!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Anatomy of a Road Trip

Throw your kids in the car and drive for a long time, passing small towns, casino halls, and Salt Flats. Revel in the beauty of Tahoe, Thrill at the curves of the decent onto the Western coast.

Watch them explore the new, the beautiful. Enjoy the chance to breath, to play and to learn through their eyes and on their time.

Laugh with them at whatever they see funny. Marvel at their humor, their innocense and their natural ability to feel and share JOY.

take them shopping. Preferrably with money they've earned themselves. Let them learn about a new place by seeing what others value there. Let them realize what really matters. Give money to street people and show mercy and compassion (I wish I'd done that better this trip)

enjoy the culture, the fun and the talent! Musical, Gallery or Museum. Help them see that the world is big, and that it is full of people who are gifted and good.

Then climb back in the car, and talk about whatever they want to all the way home. Eat snacks, listen to their music, chat. Giggle. Grin.

Happy Road tripping to you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Last Week...

Was very busy. Here is the recap, in reverse:

The girls and I road tripped to San Fransisco to make good on a Christmas gift; a night at WICKED

Lucy turned 4

Madi turned 10
and I ate most of her birthday cake, myself. She decorated it herself. Great recipe Sharon.

We had a dinner guest, a friend from Johannesburg South Africa who is studying and BYU in Provo... I had his picture above and just hit "delete" by accident. I'll send his mug along another day.

This all went on while John was out of town on business, I was fighting a cold, and we had play performances and rugby practices, first time soccer practice for Porter's spring season and dance classes for Bryn, Molly and Lu. Also; relief society, Kindergarten orientation for Molly and Maturation program for Brynley all took place at the same time on the same night. Needless to say, I went to Relief Society...after a week like this my own spiritual well being seemed to trump knowing where to drop off Molly next September in the Carpool line or re-explaining the birds and bees to daughter Bryn.

What was your week like? Busy as usual? They all seem busy these days. Full and crazy and busy with kids and homework and sports and the like.

just the way they ought to be...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March Birthday #2

photo care of Sprout, thanks Logan!

It is Lucy's Birthday today. "Princess Breakfast" of waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon and canteloupe were served. Presents opened before Daddy was off to fly again. Lucy and Molly and I stopped by the grocery store to purchase chocolate donuts for her classmates. Now she is off to school.

She will choose "birthday lunch"; my bet is on McDonald's happy meal (heavily influenced by her sister Molly, I"m sure). Tonight I will snuggle in bed with her and read "Fancy Nancy" and close my eyes and dream about the day she became my child.

I have a pit in my heart that I was not present for her birth, and that she was not born of me. But I have a daydream about her birthmother loving her little baby and having some sense of peace and understanding deep enough to know the she would be taken care of. I have to believe it was that way, because God had so gently and definitely told me about Lucy so long before, and we'd been trying desperately to be united with her.

Someday I'll ask Lucy's birthmom what she knew and what she felt. Because I was praying for her, for years before Lucy was ever conceived. I hope she felt those prayers on this most special day when Lucy entered this world.

And How happy we are to celebrate her today. A princess indeed. Happy Birthday Lu!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Foggy thoughts on Monday

John has been traveling a lot this month. Last week he brought me something from his many travels.

He brought me a cold.

I've been living with my nose stuffed up and my head heavy and foggy for the last few days. It stinks.

Especially because today is Madi's Birthday! She is now 10 years old! I've been thinking so much about the day and week she was born today. Just a few days after her birth John and I left her (and big brother and sis) with my mom to do some research in the local Barnes and Nobel. We were to give John's company a list of the top 5 countries we would live in as "Ambassadors" of his firm.

Our top choice, after reading and researching and xcel spreadsheeting that night, was Sweden.
Hard to believe that was 10 whole years ago.
But its not hard to believe that Madi is 10. She is independent. She is wise. She is smart. She is funny. She decorated her own birthday cake (thank you Sharon for the recipe! Delicious!)

Mason's play went well, so they extended it by one more night. He will be swinging his hips for the last time just after we sing "Happy Birthday" to Madi and dig in to her personalized pastry.

And thank you Blue! The cupcake was divine. I've been dutifully staying away from sugar and sweets. Its been paying off, I can actually button my jeans again. But your yummy cupcake was a much needed lift during a week with husband away and very busy children. Thanks for thinking of us. Thanks for thinking of me.

Here is hoping that tomorrow brings a clear head and a smiling face. I'm off to take more advil, do some dishes, wrap some presents and prepare to sing "happy birthday" with a raspy horse voice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Go Go Go Mason

A Good luck was waiting for Mason as he got in the sower this morning.

Our first born enjoys his theatrical debut tonight at the Jr. High. I saw him in action on Monday and was, to be honest, relieved that he is as good as his director has been telling me he is (I'm a pretty harsh critic I guess). He shares the stage with a lot of talented kids, and the best part about watching him "in the moment" of his glory?

You could tell he was having fun!

If you want a look at some pretty good amateur play acting then head over to Olympus Jr. High in Salt Lake City. Tickets are $5 at the door. Mason is Pharoah tonight and Friday night-but the kids who play that role and others on opposite nights are (dare I say it?) just as good.

Break a Leg Mason~!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Home Improvements

This has been the view from the front door of the Spruces

Now, a slimmer, "cleaner" view awaits any who cross the thresh-hold

Many weeks of design work, lots of detailed measurements, approving finishes and figuring out the electrical. The installment took two weeks.

A TV is housed in the upper cupboard, so young ones can watch disney flicks while big kids kick around in front of the big screen in the basement. I spend lots of time sitting in front of the mac, blogging and checking email. This is our stereo system, our entertainment center, and will soon house many of our books and knick knacks.

My favorite detail? The corner shelf on the end. The designer said he'd never seen anyone use craftsman elements and a corner rounded edge. I wanted it to look like a Grandma's curio shelf. A nod back to the time when the Spruces was new, and not just new to me. I love it that he did what I wanted, and I like the way it turned out. My old fashioned milk glass collection is nicely perched on the vintage inspired shelves.

Thank you John, for letting me have my way with the design and the execution of the entire project. I think it is a great gift from a loving and doting husband to his finicky, particular wife. You let me do this not because we really "needed it" for our home, but because I wanted to make this into a place where I truly feel at home.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Just long enough

sporting her favorite do

Perfect little pony tale

Lucy wants to be a princess. She prances around the house in one of Brynley's old dance costumes with a ratty long red-haired wig on her head saying "tell me I'm so beautiful".

Her hair is just barely long enough for a little pony tail in back.

Lucy loves the look. she believes that if the hair is in the pony, it is somehow longer, more full, more "princess-like".

Long hair or short, ratty wig or au-natural, she couldn't be more of a princess to me.

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Final Word From the Trenches

100+ kids "take a knee" for opening day of Highland Rugby 2010

He's wanted to play on this rugby team since he was 10 years old.
I have been concerned that he would quit, get injured, or worse than anything, be told he wasn't good enough.
He would hear none of my concern.
I spent the weekend buying equipment.
He spent the weekend with the flu.
Monday afternoon he ran to the car, butterflies in his stomach and a smile on his face.
Racing onto the field for the first day of the season, I heard him mutter under his breath "I've been waiting for this".

In our Mothering, sometimes its so important to let our kids lead the way to the fulfillment of their dreams. My role as taxi driver, cheerleader, supporter and budget keeper becomes critical as he gets older. My role as "decider of possibilities" must vanish into the aging sunset.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Another one From the Trenches

Bryn and her science partner Lauren pose at the Awards Ceremony

We chided her about her less than stellar effort on the science fair project.
No Research Paper, and notes on the subject matter loosely gathered in a binder.
The presentation board was clever and the project fun, but not real substantive.
We expected more.

She went on to win Honorable mention.
She earned more points than anyone else in her class (well, she earned the same number of points as her partner :)
She has been rubbing our noses in it ever since.

Sometimes in mothering we expect the moon. When we see the stars instead, its important to be happy for the way they shine too.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mothering From the Trenches

He smiles for the camera, though I've just broken his heart

I didn't read the newsletter carefully enough.
I had the African Market Day and the African Dance Presentation mixed up in my mind.
I drove past the school on what I thought was Market day to see the parking lot packed.
My stomach sank.
I had to drive the jr. high carpool before I could do anything about it. I left my own Jr. High kid because he wasn't quick enough to the car and broke every traffic law possible to get the others home.
As I rushed to the door of the elementary school, sweating with desperation, Porter came out and announced "it just ended".
I walked inside with him, trying to hide my tears.
He showed me his pyramid, other mothers who thought I had seen the dance commented on his coordination, on his joy in the experience.
I smiled and appreciated their words, still trying to hide my tears.
I apologized again and again. Took him for a slurpee. Sat and read extra stories to him at bedtime. Cuddled with him as he slept.

As a Mother, Sometimes even though you mean well, you will make mistakes.
I prayed he would forgive me. I prayed I'd forgive myself.

Next morning Porter tackled me with hugs and kisses before school.
Prayer answered.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

All This Week; Life in the Trenches of Mothering...

Molly and Lucy have a new afternoon past time. Riding with me in the car as I shuttle kids from rugby, swimming or dance. Soccer starts soon too-sigh.

Molly got the mail yesterday before she hopped in the car. Here was the conversation between she and Lucy as the parused the J.Crew Catalog;

"Molly! I want a turn with that book!" Lucy wants a peek at the new spring looks
"This magazine is just a little boring, Lucy, its only full of mom's style" 'mom's style' is said with a tone of "yucky'
"Molly! GIVVE MEE THAT BOOOKKK!" Little Lucy cries
"You don't really want it Lucy, it is so boring" Molly slyly smiles because she is holding something her sister wants, though she clearly doesn't care for ruffled t-shirts and expensive flats...
"Mommy she won't give me a TURN!!!" Lucy screams in tearful desperation

I negotiate a few moments for Lucy to see for herself.

"Your right Molly. Mom's style is really boring" Lucy determines after she pages the style filled catalogue.

Sometimes, the things you think are cutting edge cool, are only old fashioned boring to your kids. But I bet in their high school days, my girls will be rummaging my closet for the few J.Crew pieces that now grace the pages of the boring book from the car.

Stand by your style, mothers, even if your children mock and scorn.