Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Disney Days

     As most of you could tell from previous blog posts I had my doubts about the whole Cali trip.  Of course I wanted to be there and see my daughter graduate from college, that's a big deal.  I just didn't want to have to drive there with four of my children in the back seat.  I'm still waiting for the transporter to be invented, you remember Star Trek, they would step into those tubes and dissolve into those sparkly little dots and in seconds they were where ever they wanted to be.  No stopping for potty breaks, no car sickness, no whining, why in heaven's name hasn't someone invented those things yet?!
     Anyway, we finally made it to Cali, saw Katie graduate and then made our way to Disneyland.  This was no small undertaking, we had twelve people in all, including three children, four and under.  The paraphernalia you have to have when traveling with small children could sink a ship.  Our suite at the hotel looked like a thrift store. Every morning we would pack up, board the shuttle and off to the happiest place on earth we went.  We would spend the day going from ride to ride, from California Adventure back to Disneyland and vice versa.  I was surprised, no shocked, when the teenagers wanted to stay with us and all ride together.  We must have gone on Grizzly River Run in CA ten times.  We all got soaking wet and we had a blast.  We did all the good rides, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn, Peter Pan, Small World, and all the rest.
     On our last day, even though I don't think my feet could have done any more, I was sad that it was over.  And I realized, I really like these people.  Of course I love them, name an organ and it's yours, but I really like them and that's not the same thing.  I like them and I would choose to spend time with them if given the option and I think that says it all.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

     We are back from our trip to So Cal.  Disneyland was a blast, but more about that later.  Today is Memorial Day.  A day to remember family and friends that have passed on.  I have been so blessed in my life to have only lost a few people who were close to me, aside from grandparents, who had for the most part lived long and full lives. 
     I want to take a minute today to talk about my friend Julia 'Judy' McMasters.  I met Judy at church many years ago.  We served in the women's organization together for several years.  Have you ever met someone and you just hit it off immediately?  That's how it was with Judy.  We were instant best friends despite the fact that our lives were very different and yet, not so different.  Judy had four grown sons, who were married with children.  I had six small children at home and was pregnant with my seventh.  Judy taught me so many things, not the least of which was, no matter how old your kids get you never stop worrying about them.  I, in my immaturity at the time, thought that once kids were grown you could take a breath.  Not so.  I remember many heart to heart talks where she shed tears over the struggles her grown sons were going through and I saw her joy when things went well. 
    I learned from Judy that you can't judge someone's marriage from the outside looking in.  She talked about friends she lost after she left her first husband because they couldn't understand why she had left him.  Things are not always what they appear to be folks, be careful not to judge.  Even after all those years I could see her pain.  Judy made many sacrifices to make sure her sons would have every advantage in life.  She was a remarkable woman.
     Two years ago on New Year's Eve Judy passed away.  Her kidneys were failing and she didn't want to be dependent on dialysis to survive.  I spoke with Judy several times while she and her family were making the decision of whether or not to go on dialysis and when she opted not to and was in hospice.  I have to say I wanted to beg her to stay because I loved her and I would miss her, but I couldn't talk because I was crying too hard.  She always called me the daughter she never had and I was honored.      
     If a life well lived is in the moments that we remember fondly our loved ones who have gone before us, Judy lived well.  I think of her often.  I have wanted to pick up the phone and share special moments with her, like the births of my grandchildren.  I know she would have rejoiced with me.
     I love you, Judy, and I miss you.  I know I will see you again.
     I hope all of you are taking a minute or two today to remember someone special and I hope you all have a "Judy" in your life to make it that much sweeter. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our Ten Hour Drive

     Well, our ten hour drive turned into a three day adventure.  We left Wednesday afternoon because our baseball games were cancelled due to rain.  After a trip to Walmart and fifty dollars worth of junk food and I mean junk, except for Karrah's vegi-tray, if she hadn't been born at home I'd demand a DNA test, we got on the road.  We hit major snow near beaver and decided to stop in Cedar City.  We stayed at our fav hotel there and I discovered that sharing a queen size bed with the hubby has lost it's charm.  In the morning we woke up with two sick girls so off to the urgent care we went.  It appears we are traveling with Strep throat.  Walgreens was our next stop with three perscriptions, and then back on the road.  We made it to Vegas before I was freezing and running a fever so we found a hotel and stayed the night.  Good decision, I don't think I would have made it.  We finally arrived and I think we are on the mend.  We still have the graduation and Disneyland to go and I'm not going to say "the worst is over because I don't want to temp fate."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Road Trip!!!!! Noooooo!!!!!

     After today I don't know how often I will be able to post. For the next week and a half it may be spotty. I am still working on chapter five.

     Tomorrow is the day I have been dreading for months.  We are going on a road trip all the way to California.  My daughter is graduating from Cal State Fullerton.  I am so happy and proud of her, I just wish she had gone to school here in Utah where I wouldn't have to endure a ten plus hour drive to get there.
     Of course, it's not just the drive itself.  I am going to be in an enclosed space with my hubby and four, count em', four of my children.  I have been in this situation before with tragic results.  There have been multiple instances of car sickness, and you all know how I feel about vomit. (see May 3rd post )  The running-out-of-gas-in-twenty-degree-weather incident and there has been the no-working-heater-in-central-Utah-in-the-middle-of-January incident.  Not to mention the millions of, "How much longer? "I have to go to the bathroom!" "I'm hungry!" "Why can't we eat ice cream in the car?" "He's looking at me!"  "She's drooling on my pillow!"  And all the other assorted whining, complaining and fighting.
     So think of me tomorrow when you have a quiet moment and keep your fingers crossed that we all get there safe sound and for some of the more obnoxious ones, alive. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

If You Had Six Months To Live What Would You Do?

     I heard someone ask this question at a conference once, "If you found out you only had six months to live what would you do?"  Would you quit your job and travel around the world?  Would you move to the beach? Would you write that novel that has been on your mind forever?  Would you divorce your spouse? Would you patch up old wounds with friends and family?  Would you quit your job and spend all your time with your children or grandchildren?  The answers could be as varied as the sands of the sea.
     If, when faced with that scenario, you wouldn't make any major changes in your day to day life, you are right where you need to be.
     I have often thought about the end of my earthly life.  Many years ago, I thought about those last moments and I pictured myself laying in my bed, an old woman, and my main thought was I didn't want to look back and think of all the wasted moments spent in anger or ambivalence.  I thought about all the times I had gotten mad at my husband for things that really didn't matter. I thought about all the times I put frivolous activities before my children, even though they seemed important at the time.  I didn't want to look back and think instead of wasting my time on that I wish I would have done this.
     Realistically, I think most people will have a few regrets, we wouldn't be human if we didn't second guess ourselves, but stepping back and looking at where we have been, where we are and where we are going is a healthy thing to do.
     I am really happy with my life and the choices I have made.  I have spent most of my life giving to others.  At times I wonder if my children will ever see that?  Will it influence them to do the same, because while we live in a time when it is all about "me," it really isn't all about "me."  It's all about what you give.  That is where true happiness comes from, what you give comes back to you ten fold.  That is why I am so blessed.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hairs To You

     I got my hair cut and highlighted today.  My head feels ten pounds lighter, even though Jessica didn't cut off that much.  Why is that?  And what is it about getting your hair done that makes you feel so good about life?
     For me, I think it has something to do with waiting until I absolutely can't stand my hair for one more minute before I call and make an appointment.  Seriously, I am usually to the point where I want to shave my head.  And then I just imagine the horrified face of my husband when he sees his bald wife for the first time and I decide I better not go that far.  It is so easy for them, unless of course your Donald Trump, they just shower and go.  We have to gel, and mousse, and tease, and curl, and straighten and whatever.  And what thanks do we get for all that work. "It cost how much!?"  Well, excuse me, I can't just run a number two clip over my head and go.
     Of course he doesn't do that I do. I have been cutting my husbands and my three sons hair for quite a while now, saving us a small fortune, because it needs to be done about once a month. I wish you could all be in our tiny bathroom when this is about to go down.  I have the clippers in my hand, buzzing away, and the hubby is draped in the hot, plastic, sheet thingy and he looks at me and says, "We're good right? "You're not mad at me for anything are you?"  You'd think I was about to give him a vasectomy.
      It's pretty pathetic, after all, it's only hair.

What Is Your Passion?

     Have you ever heard the expression, A creative mind can be a dangerous thing?  I should know I have one. Did you know that you have one too?  My creative mind has taken me down so many roads I probably couldn't count them and it has been a wonderful journey.  I love to learn new things, so the other day I signed up for a painting class.  I have always wanted to take one, so when I saw the sign up sheet at Hobby Lobby I thought, what the heck.
     In our old house, my creative mind was always planning new projects.  I painted and wallpapered that house from top to bottom so many times that I have to look at old pictures to remember what I had done. I even learned to lay ceramic tile.  My daughter and I found tiles for 26 cents each on clearance and cleaned out the store. We then tiled my entire kitchen and patio room. This was no small job as my kitchen was 24 feet long by 16 feet wide. The patio room was slightly smaller and we had to go down a step.  When the guy came to install the granite counter tops he asked who did the tile.  When I told him my daughter and I did, he couldn't believe it. 
     That moment taught me that if you want to learn something new go for it. Everyone has a talent or a gift.  The hard part is finding that talent or gift.  I always tell my kids you have to find your passion.  Some people have music, some have art, some are athletes, there's cooking, and jewelry making, the possibilities are endless. Some people have more than one passion in life, which is awesome.
     Here's your chance to sound off. What is your passion?  What is something you have learned how to do or something you have always wanted to learn to do?  And for all my writing friends, don't say writing.  I know that is a passion for you, but what else do you love?   


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today I Am Naked

     I love to write. I have always written stories and tried to make them exciting and engaging.  Even as a girl in Jr. High, I would spend way more time on a creative writing assignment in English than anyone else.  I always got A's.  Like most writers, my love of writing began with a love of reading.  I can remember babysitting when I was ten and eleven and taking all the money I earned and walking down to The Village Book Shoppe in Glendora and buying the Little House On The Prairie books.  I had the whole series.
     When I got a little older I was reading way more sophisticated stuff then anyone else my age. I read the book Exodus by Leon Uris and loved it. I think I read most of his stuff.  The librarians and my teachers were always amazed at my choice of reading material.
     I now read just about anything that catches my eyes. Books, magazines, blogs, the newspaper you name it I'll read it.  About fifteen years ago, I tried to find a western romance that I could really sink my teeth into, but everything out at that time left me flat, so I decided to write my own.  That was a catalyst to where I am today.
     I have so many stories I want to write, yet finding the time to commit to it is not easy.  Writing is a very solitary activity and finding alone time in a house with twelve other people is a challenge.  And when you do finish something you have to find the courage to put it out there and let other people read it.  I can only relate it to having other people critique your child.  You know how wonderful they are despite their flaws.  On the other hand it can be a case of the Emperor's New Clothes.  All your friends and family say how wonderful it is because they can't hurt your feelings.  My family has by passed that by not reading any thing I write.  You would think I had asked them to donate a kidney or something.  Only one of my daughters has even read my completed book, all 454 pages. Thanks, Katie. 
     So here I am, putting one of my stories on my blog for all of my friends to read.  It can be very scary standing in front of all of you naked and waiting to be critiqued, but I figure if I can give birth to eight out of my ten kids without any pain meds, I can do this.
     So for those of you who have been kind enough to read it and let me know what you think, thanks so much.  And for those of you who don't like it don't be afraid to say why.  A writer can't fix what they don't know is broken.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Mother's Day

     Well, it's eight-thirty on Sunday night and I snuck away to write my blog for Monday.  Today is Mother's Day.  A day when we honor our moms and or mother-figures, or grandmothers, or sisters, or daughters, or whomever we want to, that is usually of the female persuasion.
     We get a chance to say thanks for putting up with all the crap I put you through when I was a teenager and thought I knew it all. We get a chance to say thanks for taking care of me when I was a colicky baby and you didn't get to sleep for six months.  Thanks for helping me realize that my life was not over when I didn't make the cheer-leading squad in junior high, or when I had a massive pimple on my nose the day graduation pictures were being taken. Thanks for teaching me that life isn't fair, even when we think it should be.  Thanks for teaching me that if you work for something it is much sweeter than if someone hands it to you for free.  Thanks for teaching me that life is really about hard work with some fun thrown in, rather than the other way around.  I appreciate knowing that life is about family and friends and not what kind of car you drive. 
     For me Mother's Day comes many days of the year.  I experience it when my daughters say, "How did you raise ten kids?"  It happens when someone calls to ask for my advice or talk about a problem they are having.  It's Mother's Day for me when all of my kids are here, not because it's a holiday, but because they want to be.  It was Mother's Day for me two weeks ago when my twenty-one-year old son told me that we(his family) are his best friends."  It's Mother's Day when one of my eight grand kids hugs me and says, "I love you, Monna."  It's Mother's Day when my hubby says I'm the only one who could hold this place together.
     Being a mom really is the best, hardest, happiest and saddest job in the world.  Thanks to all the mom's out there and thanks to my mom. I hope your day was the best ever.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Houston We Have Tulips!

     I have blogged before about all the work the hubby and I did last fall when we planted over one hundred tulip bulbs.  All winter long I have waited, and hoped, and prayed that those bulbs would live up to their promise and bloom.  I had such high expectations.  After all, in California we couldn't grow tulips because it just didn't get cold enough in the winter, which is why most Californians love it there, especially in the winter.
     In fact their are a lot of things that grow here that you can't grow in Cali.  Apple trees, for instance, though I don't have one of those.  I do have a pear tree, and two peach trees, and two plum trees and an Asian pear, which I don't like very much.  Now the peach and plum trees would grow in Cali. but it feels different here.  In Utah so many people have fruit trees and grow large gardens that it's almost expected.  The gardens are a lot of work, but it is so cool when things start to grow.  The kids love harvesting the stuff we grow.  Last year we had a plot in the Stake garden and we had to plant it, weed it and harvest it. My two youngest boys were my garden helpers.  We had such a good time while we worked and it was cool to see what all the other plots had growing in them.  Gardening is so cool, I love it.  You know what else I love?  I love my tulips.  Yes!  "Houston we have tulips.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ten Things I Like About Spring

     Well, here we are springtime, which means we are only a hop, skip and a jump from summer. Oh boy! I can't wait. If you caught the sarcasm in that statement you are on your toes today. I don't like hot weather. That's why I decided to focus on today and not to dread the long, hot days ahead. So here are ten things I like about springtime.
 1. The grass turns green.  I like this, and the fact that I don't mow it makes it even sweeter.
 2. The trees start to leaf out, and since I have 21 of them in my yard it's pretty cool to watch.
 3. All the shrubs start coming back to life. I went out the other day and tore out the dead stuff that was left over from winter, so we're pretty much ready to go. Bring on the daylilies, the black-eyed Susans, and the purple cone flower.
 4. The days get longer and that's okay, we like hanging out in the yard and watching the kids and grandkids play.
5. We have some time before I have to think about putting on a bathing suit to go to the Roy Pool. Not that that will make one bit of difference, but I can dream.
6. The air is warmer and you can go without a coat. Although this spring has been unusually cold and I haven't put my coat up yet.
7. Their is only a few weeks left until school gets out for summer vacation. To be honest this is a mixed blessing and number 7 might also be on a list of things I hate about spring.
8. You can go for walks in the evening without freezing or slipping on an icy sidewalk.
9. It's time to plant the garden.
10. Springtime is special. If you pay attention it really is a rebirth like all the poets say, especially if you live in a cold climate.  For months everything looks dead and is either under a foot of snow or if not just looks barren. And then one day you wake up and it's all coming back to life. I find it miraculous and beautiful and I am grateful for the opportunity to witness it every year.
     I hope springtime is as special where ever you are. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Warning: If You Have A Weak Stomach Don't Read This Blog

     When I first had children I thought I had a pretty good idea what it was going to be like.  Even though I was young, I knew I would be up all night, I knew their would be dirty diapers, and fighting, and spills and little owies and big owies that would need stitches, and broke bones.  What I wasn't prepared for and what I still find the most intolerable of the intolerables is the vomit.  We have called it many things at our house, puke, barf, blowing-chunks, throw-up, up-chucking.  Call it whatever, I call it gross, and I have cleaned it up by the bucket full.  I have changed sheets in the middle of the night so many times I couldn't count them all if I tried.  I have dug regurgitated chunks of food out of shag carpeting, and washed it out of long hair. I have even tried to keep the dogs from eating it while I did it.
     We have had disasters the likes of which some people never see.  One of my daughters ran to the toilet when she was about to be sick and she made it, but not in time to get the lid up.  It all hit the lid and splattered on every wall and the ceiling. The shower curtain was history.  The floor was a swimming pool.  Then I have a daughter that pukes like Linda Blair in the Exorcist.  She stands straight up and projectile vomits every where.  If you've ever had a projectile vomiter, you know what I'm talking about.   
     I hate being sick myself.  I fight it with all my might and I usually succeed.  Like Jerry Seinfeld I have a streak going.  Their is one thing I don't understand though.  Why is it that no matter how old my kids get when they are puking they always want their mom. That's me.  I have to stand in the bathroom and live it with them. Why?  Even my adult kids want me when they have the flu. They want me to come and be with them. And here I thought I had raised independent people.
     Instead of giving clothes and diapers at baby showers, we should be giving the mothers-to-be a barf-bowl for their precious little one, cause heaven knows, sooner or later she's going to need it.
     If you're wondering what inspired today's blog, I have a little boy sleeping on the floor right next to my bed with a big bowl and a case of the flu.

Monday, May 2, 2011

To All My Friends

     Last Wednesday I blogged about going on a writers retreat to Park City Utah.  Well, I did, and I had so much fun.  I hadn't bonded with other women on this kind of level for so long that I almost forgot what it feels like.  Human beings are social creatures and I think women are more social than men.  It is so important to forge those kinds of relationships, to tend them and to nurture them.
   We have all kinds of opportunities as mothers, daughters, sisters and friends to make it happen.  I left so many good friends behind in California when we moved, and I miss them.  It seems like every one is too busy to maintain friendships and I am as guilty as anyone. 
     Friends help fill the well when it gets low.  They let you know you're not alone and that you're normal even when you don't feel like you are.  They help you maintain your balance in this crazy world.
     So here's to all my friends, old and new, you know who you are.  Thanks for being my friend and for putting up with me.  Thanks to all of you who read my blog everyday.  I hope you find some kind of value in it and it makes you laugh, or think. Mostly, I hope it brightens your day.