Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful Thanksgiving...Final Assessment

As our home emptied after a day full of food, family, friends, and, hopefully, fun, I sat, catching up on my emails and favorite blogs. I read the thoughts of gratitude, shared by the many many wonderful people I learn from...and I felt sad. It least to me...that they had a perfect was perfect, the preparation came out right and on time, their homes were perfectly decorated and spotlessly cleaned. The family had shared baking pies, peeling potatoes...memories of blessings throughout the year were heartily shared. No fights, no misunderstandings...just blessed wonderful peace and gratitude.

My day, I tearfully realized, had not been that way. It started out fine...I exercised, I ran-even wished a kindly little old man walking his dog a happy Thanksgiving, though I fear he thought I was some kind of nut and didn't reply. I tried to clean, cook, plan, prepare...and then, came the issues that seem to only plague me...I often feel like one of those circus acts where the guy puts a plate on a stick and spins it...and then spins another...and another...and another...and then has to run back and forth, re-spinning each and every plate, keeping it going, while draining himself of all the joy and energy. One misunderstood a time issue, one activity was planned that might interfere with final preps here...I cried, and called, trying to keep that "plate" spinning. trouble down...then a difference over a cracker...anger...yelling...phew...another plate only hears part of the problem and makes a comment...blow up...tears...another plate tottering-must release anger and frustration and get it comes...all are waiting, but some are missing...appears I have AGAIN offended...try to make that better and get that teetering plate spinning again...Food good, dinner cleaned...keep that plate spinning over a future gift outside...dessert...keep the plates spinning...divide the leftovers...Christmas hard feelings...keep that plate spinning. By the time all left, I finished putting away the Thanksgiving Decor, and put up the rest of the Christmas...teary that a day had gone by, and MY traditions...the things I take time to remind myself of...were forgotten, simply because I was trying to keep everything from crashing to the floor in a pile of pottery pieces.

I fell asleep, teary, woke up, exercised, ran 3 miles...and sobbed. What a sad day...for I had created this sadness. This is my family...I love each and every person...I try to make everyone happy...and it appears all is for naught. Angry words and feelings continued, even out of my presence. What have I done wrong? I taught them to pray...prayed with them, prayed for them...supported them, helped them, trained them...yet, my family picture seems so much different from everyone...on Facebook...on Blogger...The deep sadness overcame me, like none I had ever felt. So, here I go, try to get those plates a spinnin' again.

To my dear family...near and far. I love each and every one of you...just the way you are. Just because I may do things differently at my house, does not mean I in any way feel you can not do things your way when you are responsible at your homes. Some things that were said, and done throughout the day...just remember, things that you may see are just the outside...the stress coming to the top...not the every day. My sweetheart and I are dealing with more than you will ever realize. We don't wear our hearts on our sleeves. We want all of you to be happy, and successful, and for all your dreams to come true. We never set out to hurt you, or hold you back, or ever tried to slight you in any way. Please do not judge...put the happenings of the day behind you. Remember the good things, each and every day, that are done in your behalf...the thoughts for you when shopping, the help, the patience...try to be thankful for the good that has been done. Love each other...forgive and forget. Remember, Thanksgiving should never, ever be one day a year...but every day. Thanksgiving should be celebrated every morning, every night, when you pray, and every time you look into the eyes of these imperfect people in this imperfect family...forget what mistakes we make, where we may lack, our poor decisions. Deep down...all of us love each other...and that is really all that matters, and what should be shouted from the rooftops..."thank you...for my family...and for love!"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Elf On A Shelf???

I should be cleaning, or making the pie crust I am really too scared to even begin, but, I am blog snooping...and I saw Elf on a Shelf.What a super cute idea. I remember hearing someone doing this...I would try, but Nathan is not really "into the holidays" and might just grimmace at my idea...but I think it's wonderful! (Sure a lot better than, "what did I just see flying through the sky from near my window!)Maybe we all need an elf on our shelf!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It is Finished!

It's amazing to me how something that starts out rather "run of the mill" ends up being something that you treasure. The Christmas stockings that hang over my fireplace began as three clearance kits I found at Thomas Mall (there is no more Thomas Mall now!) When Morgan, Katelyn, and Nathan joined our family, I made up my own pattern to match...and swore that was it! Then, Michael joined our family, and I just couldn't hang something different...he might not feel part of us!

So, Cameo, Danyel, Adam, Grace, and now...Joshua have stockings neatly hung over the fireplace. (Charles has his own special white satin one, perfect for the sweet angel he is!) It is a labor, but one of love. And, as I said, they have become so important to me that, if there were a fire, I would grab my hard drive, my important papers book, photo albums, and those Christmas stockings! And, come January 1st, just in case, mind you, another stocking will be started for the next one to enter our family.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Wish...

Today, I am full of wishes, for today is a very special day; a day that changed my whole life, some 28 years ago. Today is my sweet Allison's birthday. And so, since it is her birthday, I think I will make wishes...

I wish Daddy could have gone into your bedroom, with a Snickers Bar, at 1:02 A.M. to be the first to celebrate. Allison waited to come to the earth...she was to be induced the next morning, but she has always done her things in her way, and it has always been best. When she finally decided to come, there was no stopping her...Dad didn't even get to park the truck at the old Good Samaritan Hospital...and they were trying to get my doc to hurry and get there. That is Allison...NOTHING stops her, even to this very day!

I wish I could be there to see the wonderful things your sweet hubby and kids did last night to greet you this morning. Every birthday, Allison and Michael decorate the house: streamers, balloons, and a specially made happy birthday banner. Allison does this for her family, and I think it just makes the miles she has to be away from all the other family that much smaller.

I wish I could make your favorite: Chicken A La King. That is one of Allison's favorite meals. She really was always pretty easy going as a child. She always wanted to make everyone happy, so she never really disliked much of anything, except for beef, and touching raw meat. So, when she did say she really liked something, that was what she got. She is such a great cook now. She was ALWAYS a great baker, candy maker, etc. but she had to work a little harder to like making the main dish stuff (that ol' meat thing again!)She does so much to make sure everyone eats healthy, eats well, and she is amazing with a budget! another wish for me!

I wish I could be there to help you more! There are sooooo many times I would just love to run up there and help play with Grace, or listen to Adam read, or watch kids while she is going to's that ol' 5 hour trip that keeps me from being there ALL the time! I am so excited to be able to get to go up there soon to help with the grandbabies when number 3 makes his appearance.

I wish for you to have peace that you WILL be able to handle "mom of three" just as well as you have handled all other challenges. You are a fantastic mom. When I am there, I see how much she does to make sure my grandchildren are taught everything: how to study the scriptures, how to pray, how to clean up their toys, how to read, how to empty the dishwasher, how to be obedient, how to magnify their church calling, how to serve, how to be a good friend, how to be a good neighbor, to be patient and kind and loving and...well, I could just go on and on. New little one is so very blessed to have you for his mommy.

I wish for your dreams to come true, just like you made mine come true. You, my dear sweet Allison, made me a mom...the one thing I wanted to be since I was very little. I remember sitting one day at the back of the Relief Society Room, just gazing at you. Someone came up to me and said, "You sure do love that baby!" and yes, I surely do, and love all the babies that followed you. When you gaze into your baby's eyes, you don't see the see them reading their first words, losing their first tooth, dancing, playing ball, going to school, graduating...and my dear, you made all those dreams come true for me! And then, to top it all made me a Grammy! I never knew how much I would love that! It's like loving, your heart doesn't have to share the just gets bigger and bigger with each sweet person that enters your life!

Thank you, Allison, for being the answer to prayer and hope and all there is to dream about. And here's also to many, many more years of being a Mommy and a sister and a daughter and a leader and a teacher and a wife and all that you wish to be. And make some wishes of your own, this very special day.

I love you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not Just Ornaments

My house is full of Christmas, though my kitchen table/buffet still keeps the beauty of Fall and Thanksgiving. I was decorating my Christmas tree the other day. It is a big task, but oh, the wonderful time I have holding each ornament, remembering the circumstances, the giver...There is the orange beaded star that came from Carol, a dear Jewish lady that I worked with at my first real job. There are the "baby's first Christmas" ornaments (I reluctantly gave those ornaments to my older married kids) I hang them near each other, now a group of three, remembering when I was given each one and those tiny precious babies that made our family what it is. There are the yellow booties, given to me for Allison by a dear friend who was a victim of breast cancer. I remember spending time in the bathroom stalls with Marianne Scott, I nursing Ethan, while she nursed Trevor...she helped me become a better mom. There is the Schroeder that Sister Theone Hamblin, my piano teacher, gave me. There are the ornaments from Dorrie's travels. There are the painstakingly cross stitched ornaments my mom makes each year, with her eyes growing worse and worse. There are the sweet ornaments of felt, salt dough, and rice, with pictures: treasured gifts from my children, made at school. There are the ornaments from family: Aunt Bonnie's Salt Dough Treasure, Dorrie's Mrs. Claus, the olive wood ornaments from Sherry, the nativity ornaments from Marina, the grapes from Susan when she lived in Modesto, and now the snowflakes we get from her in Denver. There is the painted scene Judy Pulver made when I worked in Primary many years ago. There is a beautiful glass cat that Dee had when we got married. There are also the wooden ornaments, very simple paint by number, that Dorrie gave me when we first married. There is the needle point pickle Allison made for good luck! There are the ornaments that I have made each and every year of our married life: starting in fabric until Dee purchased tole painting lessons for me, and from then on, there are wood creations, with wood Mom's friend, Ed, used to give me that he salvaged from produce box ends. I remember when I painted those: the cowboy Santa that I painted by candlelight after a terrible summer storm took our roofing and our power for days, the ornaments I sat by Woods Canyon Lake painting while my family fished on vacation. There are the ornaments that came with stories, from Visiting Teachers, from neighbors. Each a cherished memory. And...there are the ones that aren't there! One year I made ice cream cone ornaments, using real cones, with styrofoam and caulk for the ice cream. I would go into the living room and find the cones eaten off by one of my curious, and hungry kids. And, another time, I went to the tree and found these slobbery empty gum machines Marina had made and glued together: that's kids sucked on the ornaments to get the gum out! All tell a story, all bring a memory. I guess it's kind of like our lives: each little ornament, each experience, make up us, and end in something greatly more beautiful that the individual parts.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hard Work Pays Off

Nathan has spent the last year working his tail off. He began last year, a sophomore, placed on varsity football, after only playing a season of flag football at his middle school. He was behind, and spent quite a bit of the season on the sidelines, waiting for a chance. He spent the rest of the year lifting weights, running, exercising, going to early morning workouts and then having to make up seminary lessons. He didn't get a Christmas break, a Spring Break, a Summer vacation. He spent his summer, except for one week, going to practice early in the morning, coming home and eating, and then did concrete and block work for our wonderful Young Men's President at church (he saved Nathan! Nate couldn't get a job with his schedule, and this sweet man worked with him, paid him very well, so he had the funds needed for the work he was doing on his truck.) This schedule continued when he began "two a days" in July. He worked and worked. Now, too often, one does not ever receive rewards for hard work, but this time, someone did. Last week, all the football coaches in the division he plays in, got together to select players to be recognized. Coaches submit names, and then present why this player was selected. Nathan was given an Honorable Mention by the division. He was one of only three players selected from his team for this great honor! Five others were selected to second team, and one to first team. It was a great accomplishment for the Falcons! Then, today, at the team barbeque, he was awarded by his coaches the trophy for best offensive lineman. I am so pleased that, this time, hard work payed off, and he is one happy Falcon!
Now, a few days off, though he is already on his running/exercise/weight lifting regimen, and back to football, with a side of shotput, discus, and maybe even baseball!
(Oh, by the way, Nate is the lineman in black, with his socks pulled up, on the far left of the pic. He and the other big guy, Eric Altmeyer, made up "a wall" that few could pass.