Monday, July 30, 2007

Sisters, Sisters....

"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." ~Clara Ortega

When we were all young my sisters and I would gather together on someones bed, behind closed doors and have "sister meetings". I don't remember what was discussed in those meetings, but I loved the bond that we had. We were sisters and no one could take that away. Sure, there were times we wanted to strangle each other, tell on each other, scream, yell and fight. But above all, we were sisters and we loved to be together. Of all the childhood memories, most of them are with us all playing house,"The Price is Right", Fisher Price Little People, walking to Vogels grocery store with whatever change we could find, playing in the creek behind the library for hours on end, and the list goes on. I never think about the bad times, fights or injustices we felt we had. I hope it is the same for my sisters.

They have seen me at my very worst and don't hold it against me. They have seen me be insanely goofy, rude, crude, and giggle about "garbage" and they love me anyway. They laugh with me, cry with me, fill in the gaps when talking about the past, and I am just so thankful to have sisters. Especially the ones I have.

"How do people make it through life without a sister?" ~Sara Corpening

I was lucky to have both of my sisters here for a week after our dad's retirement party. We had sooo much fun! As exciting as it was for us to be together, it was so great to see all of our kids together. My sister Sunny brought her new baby Hyrum for us all to meet for the first time! It was perfect! We looked through some of my sisters boxes of "treasures" that she has saved since she was a kid. It was fun to see the different memories that we each had of the same things.

We had an extended family picnic on Saturday and it was so nice to catch up with my dad's siblings and my cousins. We used to see each other all the time growing up at Grandma & Grandpa's farm. It's just kinda sad that we don't see each other more than just Christmas now. It was fun to get to know one of my cousin's new wife, another cousin and his adorable wife pregnant with their first baby, and another cousin and his family before they leave to move to Utah. I can't wait for Christmas to catch up again!

On Sunday- after we all went to church together, we had an extended family get together with my mom's side of the family. Again- so great to see everyone. I wish every weekend was like this! We took a few pictures of all the grand kids together for all of us to have. We figured with all three of us taking pictures, at least one would work..

We were able to take some pictures of Great Grandma & Great Grandpa (aka Grandma and Grandpa Old Ears) with all the little kids. It was quite a challenge- but well worth it!

Friday, July 27, 2007

He's Home... Finally!!

When I was in elementary school, I always felt comfort in knowing that I could call my mom anytime and she would be home. I am sure that she wasn't always there, but I thought she was and I guess that was all that mattered. She used to listen to a radio in the kitchen to a guy called Paul Harvey, and can the most wonderful fruits and vegetables. Every night she made dinner. I remember setting the table constantly glancing out the window hoping for a glimpse of Dad coming down the driveway.
I knew that my Dad would be home every night for dinner, we would sit at our white table with black and white chairs and on special occasion when we had spaghetti, we would get every red candle in the house and have a candlelight meal. Smelling the spaghetti sauce that my mom had been preparing for what seemed to be all day made the anticipation all the more intense. That was what it was all about. Being together, eating spaghetti, and talking about how our day was.

Every winter Dad would have to travel up north to Petoskey or Traverse City, for work. He would be gone all week and home on the weekends. I remember missing him, but my mom planned secret trips so that we could go up and surprise him. We LOVED that!! Even if we had to take homework and practice the piano at the motel it was worth it. I remember one place he stayed that had an air hockey table and elevators.... HEAVEN!
As a kid I know I was naive to a lot of what was going on, in fact in writing these memories, I wonder how much was accurate. It was my reality though- so it is what I cling to. However as I grew into an adult, and as the world changed from blissful simplicity, I realized that things at work weren't always so great for my dad. I know that is true for many... too many. He wasn't able to use his creativity to full capacity, there were deadlines, and quotas, and pressures of all kinds. He started to put in long hours- sometimes only being home for a few hours to eat and sleep before returning to the same thing. For someone with the appreciation for small simple things, like the beauty of softly falling snow, or relaxing on a hill while flying a kite in the blue sky, I was sad that his obligation to work had robbed him of these pleasures. I had learned to appreciate the same things and wanted him to be able to enjoy life- not just work it away from behind a desk, in a corner, surrounded by people he wouldn't choose to be with otherwise.

And now as of 5pm on July 27th after 37 LONG years of waiting... HE IS RETIRED! I hope that he will take time now to catch up on all the beautiful things he has missed. I hope he will take time to be creative in what ever way he chooses. I hope he will spend as much time with his grand kids as he wants to. I hope he will take the time to read the manual on the new DVD video recorder he just got so he can use it soon- not 4 years from now. I hope he will learn everything he wants to about anything he wants to. I hope he will reminisce on the great times we had and he had growing up. I hope he will go to Petoskey and Traverse City in the summer and walk along the beach, see the sunset, look for Petoskey stones and experience the natural beauty that is there. I hope he loves his new life and I can't wait for HIM to be the one to always be home when I call.... or when my kids do.

Congratulations Dad!!

A toughtful co-worker copied covers of all of the books my dad had worked on in the past 37 years... Amazing!!

I was so impressed with the amount of the people that really appreciated my dad and came to his party to tell him so. I always knew he was great and it was nice to see others feel the same. It really was a wonderful event.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sweet Baby J!

Happy Birthday Miss Jaleigh Ruth! I love you soo much!

*Even when you get in trouble and get your feelings hurt, I love that you always end up crying, "I love you momma... I love you momma" and won't stop until we have made up with a big hug.

*I love it when you talk because all the breaths you take in between make me smile.

*I love that you love nail polish, clothes, shoes, earrings, bracelets, necklaces & princess dresses.

*I love that you love to shop, and want to look, and touch and try everything on.

*I love that I can hear you yell, "Momma's HOME!" before I even open the door.

*I love that you can melt your Daddy's heart... Always!

*I love that you think your brother and sister are the funniest people in the world.

*I love that you are still little.

*I love that you say, "It's not my fault" even when I don't know what happened.

*I love that it takes you a REALLY long time to walk thru an isle of mirrors at the store because you like looking at (and talking to) yourself.

*I love your smile, your voice, your fingers, your toes, your eyes, your hair, your laugh, your insides & outsides.. I just plain love every last thing about you. I am so honored to be your Mommy Jaleigh. You are a princess to me....

*** Note the beautiful new earrings Jaleigh has. She was so determined to get them peirced, she didn't even flinch, twitch, blink, move or cry. She smiled all the way through it and is still smiling today!!***

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Disney Dilemma

I need advice. We have been planning a trip to Disney World for next year. We have been scouring the Internet and talking to friends and have gotten some great ideas and hints so far. However, a few things have been bugging me about this whole thing.

First of all, I wonder if the kids will be old enough to enjoy and REMEMBER everything. I was talking to a couple of people tonight who said, "My daughter was in kindergarten and she doesn't remember it at all." Another said, "Well- I don't really remember it. I was only in like 3rd grade when I went." Ok- That takes care of two of my kids, and the other one is younger than that! Someone suggested to wait until my kids were 13 10 & 7. That seems like you would be too old to get into it. I must say that I only went to Disneyland once when I was 18 and I was more interested in the boy that came with us, than any of the attractions. He WAS the attraction for me. So when is the perfect time? I guess this doesn't have to be the ONLY time we go, but we are kind of cheap. Maybe this will be the only time we feel like spending this much money on something like this.

The next thing is that we are not really "Disney people". We don't rush right out to buy every Disney DVD ever made, or even rush to the theater to see every movie. Saroya really does NOT like Disney Princesses, & Ethan seems to like Cars ok, but he is kind of getting to like "older" movies, not cartoons. Jaleigh LOVES Disney Princesses but we don't have cable, so she dosen't watch any shows that are on the Disney channel. Plus she is the one that will probably remember it the least! I keep trying to get excited... well- I am excited. But I think that I am more excited about having a family trip than going to Disney World. I try to get in Disney mode by going to the Disney store or looking on the website, but I am un-inspired. I can't even find anything I REALLY want to buy there. (And that is BIG for me because I can usually justify buying anything!) We are usually the kind of people that have our best vacations somewhere you can't buy a t-shirt. Is this trip all wrong for us? Or is Disney for everyone?

Nathan & I have talked about just staying home and buying a camper or wave runner with the money we would have spent going to Disney World. Nathan actually mentioned that to Ethan who was right on board with that idea instead. But by not going- are we depriving our kids of some fantastic magical journey? I mean it is "Where Dreams Come True", right? Plus everyone that has been there seems to be so passionate about it. "Should I stay or should I go now?" (sorry I had to...) Should we go to Florida,go to just the Magical Kingdom and then hang out on the beach? We've never been to Florida. I don't know. I really am looking for some advice before we make a decision. I don't want to go and think, "Wow.. I can't believe we spent so much money on that". and I don't want to go years from now and think, "Why did we wait so long". HELP!!!! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We <3 New York!

Here is your fair warning... This post covers a whole week. I promise not to do it again! :)

We just got back from a great trip to visit my sister and her family in New York. We got there late on Saturday night the 7th so we pretty much just hugged and crashed. On Sunday at my sisters ward they had what was called a "Friendship Sunday". At first I thought it sounded a little corny, but it turned out to be pretty cool. The whole sacrament meeting was geared toward people not of our faith. The speakers were so great, lots of people commented that they wish they had a recording of the talk to share with friends. I guess that was the purpose of "Friendship Sunday"... bring your friends. Anyway- I spent the remainder of church in nursery with Jaleigh. After church they had a "Salads" bar and everyone stayed, chatted, and ate yummy salads. People actually stayed for at least an hour! Plus I got to meet the guy that inspired Jon Heder's interpretation of Napoleon Dynamite . Wow... Anyway. It was a nice Sunday.

On Monday the kids (and Grandpa) spent the day in the pool. It was a nice hot day and the kids had a blast. I held the hose for the slide on the swing set to make it a water slide. : )

The kids also wanted us to take a bike ride to a creek that is a couple blocks from her house. After being there for a few minutes someone mentioned that it looked like Terabithia. So from then on that is what it was called and the magic began almost immediately. It was so fun to see their imaginations at work.

Tuesday was just as hot and sweaty so we went to a nearby amusement park for the day. We started off at a few rides but it was so hot it wasn't long before we were in the water park. Everyone had a blast! Wave pool (until someone puked in it...yum.) lazy river, water slides, and kiddie pool. It was so much fun and the adults took turns staying with the little kids so the others could go on the fun more adult rides with the big kids.

Wednesday was a rainy yucky day so we took the kids to an open gym at a gymnastics place nearby. The kids just ran and jumped and played and the adults just snapped pictures.

Later that night we celebrated Jaleigh's 3rd Birthday with one of my sisters spectacular cakes fit for a princess.

This is a picture of Princess Jaleigh and all of the "guards" that watched out for her on her birthday!

After the party, gosh it must have been 10:00 the kids were begging to go into the pool. It was only about 75 degrees outside (if that!) but Nikki & I decided to let them have the experience of swimming in the pitch black when the water is warmer than the air. They just squealed with delight. I think that will be a memory that will last for a long time... :)

Thursday we went to Palmyra NY to see some church historical sites and the Pageant. I was so amazed with all the late nights and busy days, how enthralled the kids were at the Pageant. It doesn't even start until 9pm but all the kids (including the little ones) stayed awake and interested. At one point the man depicting Jesus says, "My joy is now full." and Jaleigh turns around to me and says very matter-of-factly, "Momma- He's full now..." It was classic. I loved watching Ethan and Saroya know what was going to happen next because they know the stories. In fact Ethan got annoyed with Saroya because when the wicked Nephites were killing the Lamanites she kept saying, "You just WAIT!! They will get you next time!!" Totally worth the late nights and long days!

Friday morning we got up (me sick because I ate buttered popcorn the night before...) and took one last trip to "Terabithia" before the final send off. Lots of hugs all around and talk of plans for when they they come here for a visit in 2 weeks. Thank you so much Dad for coming with us and to the my sister and her family for having us and for being so much fun to be around. We can't wait to see you again!

On the way home to Michigan, we stopped in Kirtland and I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures. Thanks for hanging on for the long haul with this post!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

It's the 4th of July!

Our 4th of July traditions always start with a stroll down to watch a local parade. We always get there about 10 minutes before it starts, park a couple hundred feet away from the parade route and get the best seats for the show. My kind of parade! The first people in the parade walk around and give everyone an American flag to wave. I love that. By the time we leave the kids are LOADED down with tons of candy (that we actually end up throwing away- no one needs that much!) and everyone has had a great time.

After the parade, we usually head home to do a little birthday celebration for Nathan. He had to work later at night, so we just had a picnic here with my mom, dad, grandpa & grandma. It was really good food (too much of it) and we all had a good time. Nathan doesn't much like cake, so he asked me to make him "puppy chow". We stuck a candle in it and sang happy birthday! How easy is that?

By the time my parents and grandparents were ready to leave, Nathan had to leave for work too. The kids and I just had a relaxing day and hung out until it was time to go to see the fireworks.

Jaleigh peeked out from behind a blanket while she watched the fireworks, but she loved them. She made sure she had her "Merican Flag" with her all day.

Every time there was a big loud boom, Ethan would say, "Thank you" and Saroya kept chanting, "We want a bigger one, we want a bigger one." Such funny kids. :) All in all... a great day!