Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Anyway, later that day in a friend's back yard, Bitty decided it would be a good idea to put a towel around her head and start running around. Just for the record, that's actually a bad idea. She tripped and of course did the land-with-your-teeth-on-your-lip thing. Not so nice. Luckily the otter pops were near by. Witness the day's somewhat gory results:
I guess yesterday's events inspired Stomper, because he started wiggling that next wiggly tooth with much fervor. He came to me, not long after waking up, somewhat alarmed, as he had wiggled it so hard that he kind of...(yuck) broke the tooth away from the skin a little. Come on, I know you're all cringing with the memories of the sound of your own baby teeth start to come out. I'm getting the heebie jeebies myself. Well, not one hour later, Stomper just yanked that one out as well. That one was a little more gross, as you see. He and I made jokes all day about the tooth fairy having to come over two nights in a row. I told him not to be surprised if he heard someone in the middle of the night say, "Oh MAN! Not another one!" He thought that was hilarious and giggled profusely, thus showing off his now formidable gap, which he insisted on drinking through all day. Good thing I had a few straws on hand.
We have lived in our house almost 10 years. A fact that hardly seems possible, but it's true. Another difficult to imagine fact is that in all our years here, our bedroom closet has never had a doorknob. It's a cool old door, possibly not originally assigned to a closet, but there it is. Lacking a knob, we never could keep it shut. It's always open at least a little, and the door had a couple of holes where a doorknob should have been. Stomper, as a wee lad, used to love to stuff things like wads of kleenex down the doorknob holes. Well, as Troy was finishing the closet, he mentioned the door to his coworker, the honorable Mr. Steve Burnett, who just happens to live in a very old farmhouse in Layton, and who just happens to have a box of antique doorknobs in his attic. Due to his and his wife's generosity that box now contains one less doorknob. And due to Troy's hard work, the doorknob is now stripped of paint and has working parts. And now our closet door finally shuts. You can't perhaps understand the pleasure I feel while cleaning up my room, to open the closet door, place my shoes neatly on a cedar shelf, and then shut the door. I am a very happy lady.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Well, I have to admit it. My friend Misty and I went to Stephenie Meyer's book signing yesterday. We bought tickets a few weeks ago, which included a copy of her new book, The Host. Quite a good book, I thought! I always love spending time with Misty - we picked up lunch from Paradise Bakery and headed over to Highland High School to eat as we watched hundreds of girls and women (many many more women than girls, by the way) streaming into the auditorium. I have to say I thought that Stephenie was very funny and engaging, and I was impressed at how quickly over 1,000 people got their books (as many copies of The Host as you wanted plus 2 others) signed. Well organized. Good job, King's English! A very entertaining part of the day was reading all the t-shirts the super fans were wearing. (I can not consider myself a super fan because I don't think I could bring myself to wear a t-shirt.) There were plenty of "Twilight Mom's Club...Bite Me" and "I'm rooting for Jacob" kind of stuff, but the good ones we saw were a guy wearing a shirt that said, "I'm Her Edward." (That guy must be very secure.) I also enjoyed the one that said in small writing on the back something along the lines of, "It's because of Stephenie Meyer that I have an unrealistic expectation of men." That was funny. I can't recall the others - oh yeah, "I'm going Native" or something. Misty and I had to raise our eyebrows a little bit as the gang o' gals next to us had a spirited and rather sqeally discussion of Twilight. But hey, I can't be too critical, seeing as how I was there too...I wonder why I'm such a sheepish fan. I was sitting there thinking, wow, look at all these crazies with their really obnoxious t-shirts...but uh, who bought the ticket? Me! I have to own it. I'm a fan.
I couldn't think of anything brilliant to say to Stephenie as I finally got my turn to get my books signed. The best I could come up with was, "I'll certainly be looking forward to whatever you come up with next." She stopped and said, "Really? Most people just tell me exactly what they want me to do next." So, I guess I did okay. It was a fun day. And you know what, despite the 1000 screaming women, they did not top the screaming at the Mandy Patinkin concert.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Alex is beginning his annual blow out of all his extra hairs. The number of hairs he no longer needs is truly staggering. I gave him a good brushing the other day, just to get him serious about shedding. I cleaned up the piles of fluff as much as I could, but there's always some remaining clouds in the grass. I have to say that it warms my heart every spring, after a brushing, to see all the little birdies in the area land in our yard, pick up a beak full of fluff, and fly away to their nests, looking like they have these fabulous little Einstein mustaches.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
A couple of months ago I was at my parent's home while mom was doing her usual reading through the arts section of the newspaper. I've got to remember to do this - this is how she finds amazing stuff! Like the fact that Mandy Patinkin (you may remember him as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride like 20 years ago) (but he's actually a super-star show-tunes singer) was coming in concert. Mom said, "Oh Leonard, let's go to this!" and I, third-wheeling, mouthy daughter that I am, said, "I'm sorry, but you're going to have to take me too."
So last night I crashed my parent's date. It was so much fun. We went to a lovely theater up at Weber State University, and it was packed with maybe two or three thousand people. I'll tell you, those people screamed like little girls when Mandy walked on stage. Okay, I was there, I was screaming too. Like it was the Beatles or something! What was really fun was that he didn't have a set or a big production - the stage was sort of scattered with racks of chairs and a ladder and boxes and stuff like that. He and his pianist Paul Ford, who is pretty much Stephen Sondheim's right hand, sort of chose what to play as they went along. Wonderful. He didn't really dance a whole lot, but he definitely got into character wholeheartedly for each number. Lots of Stephen Sondheim, especially from my favorite of his musicals, seconded only by Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George. (Misty, go rent these movies. I would love to watch them with you.) I have loved the music from Sunday in the Park since high school. I am profoundly attached to it. He also sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Oklahoma, "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, lots more Sondheim, and some funny stuff like White Christmas, Maria (from West Side Story) and Take Me Out to the Ball Game in Yiddish. Funny. He was funny. And wonderful. My parents and I just sat there grinning at each other, clutching our hearts, crying, etc. Perhaps the best moment of the show (besides all the singing, of course) was as it came to a close and Mandy said, "I never end my shows without this." He took a sword fighting stance and said, "Hello. My Name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." You should have heard the crowd go nuts. I haven't heard screaming like that...maybe ever.
I'm so grateful to my parents who have brought so much art, culture and beauty into my life. They have done this for as long as I can remember, and I feel enormously enriched by it. Shakespeare, musicals, old movies, symphonies, theater, museums, and on and on. My whole life. I can't say that as a child I loved every moment of being enriched, but I certainly caught their infectious enthusiasm for these things. I really hope I can send a little of that the direction of my own children. Seriously, the effort mom put into it makes me overwhelmed, and yet treasure so much what I love that I hope I pass a little along. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
And in other dental news, Stomper has, count 'em, FOUR loose teeth! He's only 5 1/2, and both his top front and his bottom front teeth are very wiggly. I have to say I think he's lucky. I felt like it took forever to get a loose tooth, and I don't recall having more than one loose at a time. He's going to look a little silly with all four missing at once.
And now in other unrelated news, I have to say that we have developed a strange little ritual that I have come to totally enjoy. On Monday nights we've been making a concerted effort to have a very low-key Family Home Evening. We do like to begin with singing a little primary song before a prayer and a story, but the kids really like to each choose a silly song to sing before the more serious "opening" song. Well, it's fallen into a pattern. Bitty really likes to sing "Princesses." Have you heard of this song? Neither had we, but that didn't mean we didn't have to sing it for her. So we made it up. To the tune of Jingle Bells you sing, "Princesses, Princesses, Princesses we love, Oh what fun it is to ride with a Princess by your side, hey!" Forgive the lyrics, I was making them up as I went along, and they stuck. Now every Monday night we find ourselves singing it together as a family, to be followed by Stomper's usual choice, "Dinosaurs Popping on the Apricot Tree." I think you can figure that one out. Anyway, it's very silly, but it always gets the evening started off right.
And finally, I must post a picture of Bitty, who went on a ton of errands with me last week to get ready for that party on Friday night. One of our stops was at a party store, and she had been such a trooper that I let her choose a party hat (she loves those things) as well as a giant twisty sucker. As we were driving along to the next stop she zonked out. This is not a great picture, being from my cell phone, but it was worth it:
Yes, folks, she's asleep with the sucker (look Ma, no hands!) lodged between her teeth. I guess I'd better not procrastinate her first dentist appointment as long as I did Stompers....even though I'm sure she'll totally wig out, right?
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Friday. My dear friend's husband graduated from law school, and so I helped her put on what turned out to be a huge party for him. We had started to plan it at my house, but thank the weather gods, it looked cool and rainy so we moved it to our church. This was a very good thing because there were at least 50 people there. We threw a fiesta with major decorations, great fajitas with all the fixin's and we basically worked our butts off. I was so exhausted Friday night that I was surprised that Saturday went the way it did.
Saturday. I have these fond memories of doing a big job with my family on a Saturday and at the end of the day feeling so tired and happy about the hard work we did, enjoying the evening in a really clean space. We had a Saturday like that. Troy and I both worked so hard all day. The whole house was a total mess from the party prep the night before, so that got all cleaned, but I also washed all the windows (ahhhhh!), did all the laundry, and the real kicker was that Troy finished our bedroom closet, which got ripped out a couple of years ago to make way for the staircase to our attic. We've gotten pretty used to having the only closet in the house be the tiny one in Stomper's room, and having a big old set of shelves in our room to hold more stuff. That felt normal. So when Troy effectively quadrupled our closet space it made quite a difference. Getting the extra shelves out of our room, unclogging Stomper's closet, and having a lovely space to store our clothes just felt like a miracle. It took Troy so much work and time that we named it my official Mother's Day Gift and I still feel a thrill every time I open the door. This picture doesn't do much justice because I couldn't back up enough to capture the entire closet on film, but here are some of the cedar shelves Troy made.
I couldn't be happier. Then came Sunday. Wow.
Sunday. We invited my in-laws over for dinner, so late Saturday night I went to the store to get the groceries for the meal, including a couple of cuts of beef to oven-roast the next morning. Well, Sunday mornings being Sunday mornings, getting to church was a party. I was a little extra tense because I was trying to put together a little craft for the nursery kids to give to their moms. I got that done, and then before the last hour of church slipped home to pop the roast in the oven. One problem. There appeared to be no meat in my house. Somehow the meat did not make it home from the grocery store. Yay! That was a fun surprise. So I headed back to church because I didn't want to miss Stomper singing with with primary kids. Of course, 5 minutes before he was supposed to go up and sing he grabbed one of his squishy dinosaurs a little too hard and the thing exploded in a burst of tiny plastic beads...yeah, kind of a mess. He was very sad. We went out in the hall to tearfully dispose of it, and he of course wouldn't have anything to do with the singing primary kids. He and I sat in the hall the whole time. By the time church had ended Stomper had cheered up. We went on the front lawn, me feeling slightly panicked due to my lack of beef, whereupon Stomper, now playing with another beloved squishy toy, launched it onto the roof of the church. More hysterics. So I dropped my stuff, grabbed his hand and hauled him to the 2nd floor bathroom, and lowered him out the window so he could cross the roof and collect his toy. Okay. NOW can we go home so I can figure out what to feed everyone? Not yet. We got to the parking lot to find that a friend of mine had not been paying attention as she backed out of her spot and ran into our car. The poor girl felt so bad, plus she had bashed out her rear window but luckily we sustained only a minor dent.
Then I had several friends come to my rescue, donating more than an entire meal to us, including chicken breasts and pork tenderloin, plus a bunch of other stuff. Luckily Morris and Carol were late so almost everything was done by the time they got here and we ended up enjoying a lovely afternoon. After lunch we ate dessert (these fantastic little mini-lemon cakes drenched in glaze and drowning in strawberries....yum...) on the back lawn while both kids stripped and played like little wild piggies in the mud. Bitty was especially nutty, but managed to stay pretty cheerful until she fell over, sound asleep before her head hit the pillow, at exactly 7:15, and slept until 7:15 this morning. What a day, indeed.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Now it is later, and we have had a somber and tender day, yet still filled with the regular busyness that life with children, employment and a home holds. I really wanted to do something special to celebrate and remember Matthew, but it felt a little forced. I do appreciate so much the smattering of phone calls, visits, gifts and even a surprise anonymous package we received. I wish I knew who our beautiful "sun jar" is from, but I don't, so I'll send out a general thank you to the thoughtfulness and sweet message of the sender, and to each touch we felt today. Anyway, though we wanted to do something special nothing felt like it was enough, and you know, nothing could be enough. Once I was able to recognize that feeling within myself, that it was okay for this just to be a hard day, I felt better. I wrote our baby a note to tell him this, that I couldn't do anything on this day but express that I remember him literally every hour of the day, and that I wish that I knew his face. Troy and Stomper also composed a note, and Stomper chose a tiny toy he really wanted to send. We tied our offerings to balloons and had a really lovely family time (even Bitty seemed to be slightly aware of what we were doing) on the back lawn, cuddled on our Matthew Blanket (thank you still and again, dear Mayfields) and let the balloons go.
So, on this day of what feels like emotional time travel, we are returning to a place in ourselves that holds this experience frozen, each raw emotion of anger, loss, tenderness, faith, surety, and sorrow still fully fresh when we choose to look there. We feel again our gratitude for the family we have, the closeness we have gained, and again the longing to get back what we never can.
I don't know what else to say. I think I'm exhausted, actually, and need to snuggle with my husband and go to bed. I would like to end by posting a poem I wrote a couple of months ago, when I felt like I was finally able to write. I love my friends and family dearly, and again express my faith in our journey home.
To Kathryn and Emily Jean,
To Danielle, Winnie, Margaret and Sarah
To you silent and still ones
Whom we long to know and a little bit we do
Whom we yearn to cradle, touch, smell
Whom we ache to rest our hungry gaze upon
To breathe in the fuzzy warmth of your skin
I say to you that you are known,
That your names are spoken, whispered, remembered
Upon our lips, upon our skin, in our bones and on our walls
Whatever part of you we knew, we know by heart even still
And think of it, be it the kicking in our bellies or the mournful bundle in our arms,
We think of it with beauty and darkness together.
Babes, you are quiet as secrets, which we tell ourselves daily.
Do you hear us shout with joy and longing to think you belong to us?
Do you feel in our words and songs and breaths
The echoes of your presence?
Can you know that with each touch we give
Some of it goes to you?
Certainly you know, you feel, you wait
And listen to the chimes and ringing bells that are our hopes
Sounding forward to you in glory