Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On Travel

waiting for their latest adventure to end, these are our families most traveled accessories. Our trusty suitcases.

We bought the large green suitcase the year John finished Business school. He had bought into a school based franchise selling great luggage and nice suits and shirts to newly recruited business school grads. It was a great deal. We knew we'd be a 'large-ish' family. We knew we were moving away from where our parents lived. We expected it would get some use.

That suitcase has been all over the world. Sweden, Vietnam, Africa and now Hawaii, not to mention Chicago, Dallas, Boise and Salt Lake. And many places in between.

I never expected when we bought it that we would get to travel so much.

John bought the black one when he returned for his 2nd round of consulting, the last time we lived in Texas. He keeps it under our bed, because he uses it so often. Las Vegas, Bentonville, New York, San Fransisco. Those seem to be the places he takes it most often, but it has also been to Greece, China, Australia, Singapore, and many places in between. I knew it would be well used, but never dreamed it would be taken on so many adventures.

The newest piece, light green with our 'G' monogram for ID, was purchased on a whim when we lived the last time in Texas. It was a bargain, an outlet find, and I was heading to Salt Lake to buy a new house. Our old carry on was tattered and worn, and I felt it was time to refresh...

I also never expected to get to use it as much as we have since it found its way into the luggage inventory. I thought after leaving Texas that our family travel would be lessened. And it is true that as a family we haven't ventured all together on too too many adventures.

But still that newest bag has been to New York a couple of times. It went with Madi to Wisconsin and it traveled well to Napa and Newport. It was the perfect size for our latest trip to the island of Maui. And it will be heading on a few other fun adventures before 2012 is over.

This was not the life of my youth; our family adventures were limited by money and the time it takes to run a family business. I feel so blessed and lucky that in my life as wife and mother, my adulthood if you will, the world has become large, infinite to my mind, with so many places to see and, lucky for me, a few I've experienced.

Travel is so valuable. It gives perspective. It gives understanding. It promises adventure. It makes home more meaningful and more safe. I'm so thankful that we, the Grahams, travel.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How is Your October?

a rare occasion for October; all the Grahams together at the same time in the same place! Porter's Football game, in far away Tooele

Its been really busy around our house of late. Soccer season, Football season, dance (which happens in every season), piano practicing, rehearsals for the High School's musical and swim team work outs paired with community service commitments (PTA service chair and PTA foreign language chair) and John's professional obligations (a start up within 1800 contacts is John's latest project) and church service assignments like scouts and Primary. Whew. That's a lot for one family; even a family as large as ours!

Its made things pretty interesting around the Spruces. Dinner nights where no one is home for dinner. Saturdays where 'chores' are going to games and rehearsals. This season has moved more quickly than I prefer.

I've tried to find ways to slow us all down.

A few weeks ago, Mason was home from the play before it was time to take Porter to his game. Madi and were already back from Soccer. We had a window of opportunity. We took it. Cramming all of us in the dirty family ride, we made our way down to Tooele-an hour's drive-to cheer Porter at his football game.
He lost the game.
We won time with our family.
We stopped for a burger on the way home.
The words or prophets echoed through the otherwise quiet car as we listened to General Conference.

It was a 'breather' in what has been a very chaotic Autumn.
I've taken the difficult step of pulling myself out of a few time commitments so I can be home a little more to do things that bless our family and keep me feeling 'sane'.
I am counting down the days (19 of them exactly) until soccer and football are over. The musical ends this Wednesday.

I can't wait for dinner time to include all of us sitting at the table at one time, discussing the day and finding joy and gratitude in the life we get to live.

Heaven knows we are living a LOT of life right now!

How do you keep things in balance when your time is taxed by your children's opportunities? We are truly struggling with how to help our kids understand that their talent development is a privilege and an 'extra' and not an entitlement or a job. When they see it as an obligation instead of as a joy I feel its time to set it aside and let other joyful things surface - like sitting outside in the crisp fall air or jumping on the trampoline or finishing that book or project. I'm praying for the way to lead our family to balance. Its not an easy road, and one less traveled indeed. But its the road that looks best to me, and I intend to take us down it, joyfully and with purpose.

Friday, October 07, 2011

If you are ever in Salt Lake...

Delicious sandwiches with a secret ingredient. Yummy cookies and artisan breads

2 locations; one in Sandy and another Downtown

John knows good food. And he told me about Hagermann's.

And now I'm telling you.

Hagermann's bakehouse is a terrific spot for breakfast or lunch. Its local. Started by a local. Owned by a local. Operated by a local. Great food. Reasonable prices. Well worth the visit.

John learned about this yummy spot from a former business associate. His brother owns the place. John's friend, to help his brother get the business off the ground, went into the bakery every morning at 4 a.m. to bake the bread, and then went to his regular job.

family helping family. I like that kind of business.

Now there's a regular bread bakin' guy, and a funny man who runs the front counter. And lots and lots of people standing in line for sandwiches, soups, brownies and more.

The Sandy location is at 11400 South and 700 East, on the southwest corner of the intersection.

And you can find them down town in the new City creek development, right on South Temple near the Deseret Book.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Snow, so soon, is falling

We wore shorts and sandals all weekend long. Monday it was still blazing hot. The tomatoes have been growing so beautifully in the late season heat, and I've felt it was justice for the cold June we had so long ago at the start of summer.

But right now there is snow falling. And sticking to the ground. And my tomatoes.

It is kind of the last straw in a difficult realization that my entire life is a day late and a dollar short.

I had hoped to paint the kitchen and den before the grey of winter set in. I kept telling myself last year in the cave of our home that this year it would all be different.

Its too late. The grey is here. And the kitchen looks the same.

I made dinner this week and sat down to eat it with two other members of my family. The pattern I've set my entire career as a mother to sit at mealtimes together has completely fallen apart.

I have looked at the garden with its dire need for attention and tried to see how I would fit in the hours it would take to prune and pull and prepare it for winter.

Now winter is here, so early. And the roses are still blooming in the back. They started late and now they are caught in the white blanket of cold. Unprepared and wishing for more time in the sun.

Like me.

Monday, October 03, 2011

I Live with Junie B. Jones

We love reading stories about Junie B. Jones. Her spunk. Her absolute guile-less perspective on life. Well, I live with Junie B. -she is embodied in the actions, the demeanor and the make up of our very own Molly E.

Here is the thing about life with Junie B.

Have you ever noticed the reactions of her parents? They are always tired, always explaining, always straining to stay patient and composed when their darling (funny) spirited daughter is lost in the school, or is in trouble for with "Mrs." the teacher, or is inconsolably afraid of school bus rides or losing her tooth.

Its hard to be Junie B.'s mom.

But here is the thing about it; we love Junie in the story books. She is spunky. She is smart. She sticks up for herself and her antics make sense when we see the way she thinks through them -

and that's what I'm trying to remember. Every day that I'm Molly E.'s mother.

Someday, if we were to see Junie B. all grown up she'd be a rocket scientist or a super creative musical genius or at the very least an inquisitive television news journalist. Her inquisitive no- nonsense stick up for myself nature would prove to be her success.....if we could only see into the future of that spirited 1st grader.

So for now, when she pinches the twirp who made a face at her in line, or when she screams that she is terrified of the grasshopper that jumped on her arm in the yard, or when she dresses and acts like a princess for hours and hours on end I just keep telling myself to be patient in mothering her and, if I could read her thought process like a grade school novel it would all be really cute and funny.

Cause my daughter is Junie B. Jones.