Thursday, December 30, 2010
Today was a good day and I think this will be the last post of the year. Don't be sad. The new year is about to begin!
I'm thankful today that I felt well and got a few things done that usually don't sound like fun, but did today (I cleaned out half of the filing cabinet and the office closet ). I'm happy that Derek got to come home early from work. I'm thankful for nice neighbors. I took one neighbor a thankyou note today because she brought me a gift and my family a treat for Christmas. I hadn't done anything for her and thought she should know that I appreciated her thoughtfulness. I was greeted with a "Come in! I was just going through my books and thought you might want some." So I came home with more presents for me! How nice is that?
Kayli keeps cleaning and cleaning and I've given up on trying to convince her to relax and so I'll just enjoy her help. And, just a minute ago I got to talk to a friend who lives on the other side of the country. She gave me the Lion puppet that starred in "A Christmas Carol Puppet Show" at the family party. It's good to have helpful, thoughtful friends.
I'm thankful for Angela because I got to talk to her a couple of times lately and it made my day. Besides, cousins played and had a good time and happy kids help Mom be happy.
I'm thankful that Russell is around to help me troubleshoot my computer when my equally helpful brother Brian is a bit far away.
I'm thankful that I made dinner for a change because I was really hungry and those hamburgers hit the spot. I'm really quite thankful for the idea of writing about what I'm thankful for. It helps me to think every day about how many blessings I have.
Thanks again to all of you. You have helped me throughout the year in many ways. May we all have a thankful, happy new year!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
*Kayli and Connor built a snow fort with friends.
*Trisa and Jake are improving in health.
*Dan got on his coat to go play with Dad. Fortunately I followed him out since Dad didn't know he was coming. We followed the path that Dan was sure his Dad had made just for him into the backyard and jumped on the trampoline (which Derek had cleared).
*Tia was pleased that both of her schools were cancelled and headed off to build snow forts with her friends too.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Other thankful items:
1. Erin chatted with me on the phone on Sunday which was a very happy thing for me.
2. I don't have any cavities.
3. It turns out that Tia's cavity wasn't really a cavity, it was "calcium buildup" and that saves me money and her some pain.
4. Angela watched Dan for me and even fed him lunch while I reclined in the dentist chair.
5. I have amazingly musical friends that I got to practice songs with last night and that was fun.
6. Derek had pity on me this morning and shoveled our surprisingly large amount of snow (it was supposed to be just a little on the valley floor - not about 6 inches!). That snow was heavy and I was hungry.
7. Tia's new phone took a dunking but it appears to be making a recovery. It's sitting in a bag of rice.
8. I have had a great primary team teacher for two years. (I'm still working on being thankful that she has a different church job now and I'm on my own). I had a different great team teacher before and hopefully I will again.
9. I'm almost done sending out my Christmas letters and I've gotten more in the mail.
10. Trisa gets to come to the Christmas party on Saturday. Hooray!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Other things I'm thankful for:
1. The chance to go with Erin and Russell to his work party and see Russell win twice.
2. The chance to laugh at Brian Regan again.
3. Jake and Dan were really good at the dentist -- nevermind that they have multiple cavities.
4. Jake and Dan were really good at Tia's school having their hair cut. Jake liked chatting with Tia and Dan is always popular. He was singing Christmas Carols for all to hear -- which did seem to bring Christmas cheer.
5. We got to have one of my nieces and one of my nephews over to play this morning and they were cute and good and we were glad they came.
6. My piano teacher friend came Christmas shopping with me yesterday.
7. The boys actually slept through the night -- I think. At least I did.
8. We got some Christmas letters yesterday. I love those.
9. I don't have to go anywhere today if I don't want to. Nice.
10. Have I mentioned my great family and friends lately? You're all terrific!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
We are both Moms with good families and good extended families. We both like to chat and we didn't have (and still don't have) any trouble coming up with things to talk about. Back then we talked almost every day. I would hop her fence (or she would) and we'd make fancy meals of macoroni and cheese or quesadillas and our kids would play while we talked. Because of her those years when it was just me and little girls at home during the day were a whole lot more fun than they would have been. We went places and, even though it was always a bit crazy, we went again and again.
We may not have everything in common, but we have the important things in common. Yesterday I got to spend another day with her. We got to chat and help her sister with a painting project. My first thought 17 years ago came when I made the mistake of comparing myself to her and being intimidated. I still think she's a bit intimidatingly beautiful but she's also compassionate, and kind, and fun, and generous, and thoughtful. Many of you will recognize the fact that I'm describing my good friend Shannon. It's her birthday soon so she will be as old as me:). I hope it is the best birthday ever. Time has a funny way of speeding past at alarming speeds and before we know it days and even years have gone by. I am thankful that I have had, over many years, the blessing of having Shannon as my long time friend.
Monday, December 6, 2010
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel,
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch,
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel!
Dan loves this ornament and presses the button to make it sing so often that his brothers and sisters keep trying to make him promise not to do it again until next year (much to my amusement). Dan sings along with the ornament with slightly altered words. He sings:
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are mean,
You're as handsome as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch
(Then he starts to mumble because he doesn't know these words yet).
When he first started singing it was something like "huggy as a cactus" and then it changed to "happy" as a cactus. Now Mr. Grinch is as handsome as a cactus. I like it when Dan pushes the button because he sings with such enthusiasm. When I get tired of it I won't try negotiating, I'll try hiding the ornament up high in the back of the tree!
Other happy things I haven't reported:
1. I got to spend time with a long time friend.
2. I watched last years Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Special.
3. I got a new Christmas CD (Motab again:)
4. We got to go to the extended family Christmas party and enjoy seeing the nice people we're related too. Derek didn't entirely lose his voice being emcee.
5. Derek and Jake had a good time at the baby blessing for cousin J.D. and got home safely.
6. I got to talk to a good friend on the phone today.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
While recuperating from all of my super activities I was sitting on the couch with Derek when our rock star made an appearance -- for real! Here came Dan who ran down the hall with his black hair looking just like that hair he created for the Wii. It was, of course, a wig from the Halloween box. We cheered for our rock star and he took the wig off to show us that he was really Dan. He's always a little worried that we'll forget who he really is when he's dressed up like some character or another.
His fears might be well founded! This morning I went to get Jake's backpack, shoes, and coat. I came back with his coat and backpack and could not find his shoes, which I could have sworn I had just seen, anywhere. We both looked and looked. Finally, an odd thought occurred to me and I looked in his backpack. Sure enough, when I had put his lunch in, I had also deposited his shoes. At least, though his feet might have frozen, he would have gotten to school with dry shoes!
Other things I am thankful for from yesterday:
1. The music on the album Ring Christmas Bells by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In particular, the song Processional on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman". I had forgotten about this song -- which I love. When we listened to it in the car Dan somehow thought they were saying "tiny Christmas" instead of "tidings of comfort and joy". He laughed at the words that made no sense to him.
2. Trisa called and shared all of the funny stories from her life.
3. I actually got to see Tia and talk to her for a few minutes.
4. Kayli got a new haircut and loved it.
5. Texting. Derek doesn't mind if I text him at work whenever I want (within reason). It's great! Also, I was able to get in touch with a hard to get in touch with friend that way and I get to see her today.
6. Connor babysat without complaining, did some work on a merit badge without complaining, and in general was happy.
7. Jake helped out with Dan when I went to Jake's school. Dan, who didn't "need" to go potty before we left all of a sudden really needed to once we arrived. Jake took him. Hooray for good big brothers.
8. My comfortable bed. Nevermind that it was a jack-in-the-box type of night. The bed was comfortable anyhow.
9. I'm thankful that, even though it's fun to be Superwoman, I don't have to be her everyday -- sometimes I can me just regular me -- the rock star's Mom.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This morning at family prayer Dan propped up his stuffed animal bunny into the praying position and then knelt beside him. I wished for a camera. I thought it would be inappropriate to go and get one during the prayer.
Then it was time for an after breakfast game on the Wii. Well, sometime this weekend Dan's Mii (the character you can create who represents you in all Wii games) got changed. He threw a fit about it yesterday and so I thought he should fix it today. His character is called "Sweet Boy" because that is what I've called him since he was a baby. His Mii used to look like him a little -- blond and cute. Someone switched it to a chubby looking dark haired man with glasses. I naively thought Dan would turn it back to how it was -- or something close. No. After going through every possible feature he changed the glasses (but he kept them), added a mustache (said moo-stash) changed the mouth, changed the eyes and the nose, and changed the hair style. Then he went back and decided against the moo-stash. The outfit stayed black. The hair also stayed black -- just in a shoulder length style that is apparently "cool".
So Dan, with no mustache, began playing and he said to me "Mom! Look at me! I have cool hair. I'm a rock star!
My reaction? I chuckled and wondered where my four year old learned to like long hair and where he learned about rock stars! He said another funny today too but it is as inappropriate as getting up during the prayer to find a camera.
Hooray for funny boys and no mustache!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Today I got a visit from my new visiting teacher (singular because one had a sick child). She took the time (since we had never met) to learn a little about me. We even discovered that we are reading the same book! Then she left me with a lesson and a prayer. I am happy that she came and I'm already looking forward to her (and her companion) coming again. Shortly after she left one of my former visiting teachers stopped by to give me a gift and to tell me that she loved me and would miss being my visiting teacher. Wasn't that nice? Some of my very best friends have come through visiting teaching. It is an inspired program.
For family home evening (that thing us Mormon's try to hold on Mondays) we worked on service ideas and then we put together gingerbread houses. They were tiny, and some were broken, and the frosting stuff was frustrating, and we only had one tube which we had to share. Aside from one comment that making gingerbread houses is stressful (which is a very true statement) there was no complaining, or whining (well except at the end when Dan wanted something and we weren't quick enough on picking up on exactly what it was). Derek mixed up the frosting and helped with Dan's house and Jake patiently put up with my attempts to "glue" his house together. Nobody even said what maybe everyone was feeling. "Wow, I'm glad that's over!" I was really impressed.
I should quickly add that Thanksgiving with family was fun. A trip to Trisa's turned out well and on the actual Thanksgiving we got together with some family from around here. I was kind of tired and had a bit of a rough morning, but when everyone came I just was so Thankful that everyone is so fun, and nice, and easy to be with. Erin planned fun activities and I really enjoyed the day.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
This same Dr. gave us the good news that, if Jake didn't have his scar, not even a heart doctor would be able to know that anything had ever been wrong with Jake's heart. His repair worked. This doctor was there when Jake was three days old, being impressed with how well Jake did during and after surgery and has been Jake's heart doctor (cardiologist) for the almost 9 years since then. Jake had two very excellent heart surgeons also.
I do realize that we are very blessed. Not all parents of heart patients get good news or have their children do so well. Some hearts cannot be fixed. However, all are blessed by these people, who decided to study for years and years so that they can fix many of the hearts that come broken in some way. Because these doctors, and others before them, chose to do that, I got to keep my little boy. I am very thankful for that.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Well, this morning early when Derek was supposed to be playing ball he threw the door open and in a less than cheery voice said "The house is flooded". The zombie climbed out of bed and went to work. But, in an attempt to send the Zombie running, I did notice that when we woke up the children they pitched right in and helped and when we called the neighbor (and maybe woke them up too) they came right over with their handy water sucking vacuums and even offered to stay even though it was time to get kids ready for school.
Other events have brought out the zombie side of me this week. Sick kids, (but now they're well -- mostly), van brakes needing repair (but they are fixed), the van window getting stuck down (but it miraculously recovered before a trip to the shop!), Dan being naughty (but he had to go in the tub because of it which allows me to type), the house getting messy (but -- well it's still messy), dinner needing to be cooked --every day (but I've done pretty well for me).
Today the Zombie is fighting hard to stick around. I've got to go use that vacuum again, and rescue Dan from his de-smellifying bath. There are a thousand and one things to pick up, clean up, and put away. But, I am determined to remember that it's November and that there are lots of people and things to be thankful for too. So, with Thanksgiving in mind I'm off to fight the Zombie.
Monday, October 18, 2010
|Jake and Trisa at Trisa's early birthday celebration.|
We celebrated Trisa's 20th birthday on Thursday -- a few days early. We bought her a cake to share with roommates, and took her some presents. I think we forgot to sing to her.
She liked (or pretended to like) all of her presents. She liked us coming to visit. She loved the complements Dan kept giving her such as "Trisa, your ground here is really nice". Or "Wow, what a nice table -- it's square and soft."
|Kayli, Sherie (that's me!), Derek, Jake, Trisa, Connor, Tia, and Dan|
Here we all are in her new apartment. Trisa is a beautiful girl (as you can see!) who we love very much. She knows how to have fun and to include everyone. She cares about people and tries hard to help them. She knows what is right and does her best to do it. She has musical talent and sports skills. She likes doing the movie quote game with her Dad and laughing as much as possible. We are really happy that she is enjoying college even though Dan has a point when he complains that college takes a "long, long, long, long time".
Happy Birthday Trisa!
Before Trisa turned 20, I turned 20 plus some. Because of all of the thoughtful, incredibly fun, skilled, nice people in my life I had a fabulous birthday. I asked my husband to get me puppets for my birthday. I like to be silly sometimes and it seems easier to do this with a puppet on my arm. So, he got me a princess and an Oscar the Grouch (to match my Oscar the Grouch shirt that I already own). What fun! Dan renamed Oscar "Silver" because I was rather paralyzed by the fact that I don't do a good Oscar the Grouch voice and so he needed a new name. Dan usually is Silver and I'm the Princess. You know we have fun because Dan requests that I make the puppet come to life quite regularly. A few days after my birthday I got another nice surprise. A friend of mine remembered me telling her how much fun I had being "Mange" and "Sunny Sunshine" for a family reunion with some borrowed puppets. She sent me a Lion puppet. This one has a mane a lot less mangey looking than the last puppet I used so I'm still debating on a name. There is a picture below and some suggestions. Feel free to vote!
Everyone was super nice on my birthday sending me greetings by phone, facebook, nice notes, or even in person. I was taken to lunch on my birthday and a few days later. One friend gave me a drawing of my husband and me. What skill! Another friend made me a yummy pie. My kids made me nice notes and pictures. Mandy tended at the last minute. So many thoughtful people made for a super happy birthday. I didn't stop to feel old on my birthday. I was too busy enjoying the fun. Thank you!
|Pincess Catherine Castlehoff, Lion (Spike, Elvis, or the new Mange?), and "Silver" the Grouch|
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Paris is a very large city. 2 million people live there. 2 million more come to work there every day. More millions live in the suburbs and lots and lots of people visit. Paris is crowded and loud. There are cars, scooters, and motorcycles. There are buses and the rumble of the metro. There are sirens and the constant sound of horns blaring. The streets are full of people driving in the most dangerous looking fashion I've ever witnessed. It was fascinating to watch. The sidewalks are full of people walking every which way -- and often smoking as they go. There are the constant smells of tobacco and exhaust -- mixed in with the occasional smell of food. It is all a bit overwhelming for someone who has lived in small towns her whole life.
Paris is also fascinating. There is something historic to be seen almost everywhere you go. There are fabulous churches and monuments. When you walk around you get constant reminders of the people who once lived there, and who shaped Paris, and the country of France, into what it is today. You also discover that their blocks are triangles and it's kind of easy to get a little lost. You also get constant reminders that their sculptors didn't like to put many clothes on the statues.
What did I enjoy? I enjoyed watching the wild traffic. I enjoyed walking the gardens of the Louvre with Derek and then sitting and watching the Plaza de la Concorde as people came and went. I enjoyed walking under the Eiffel Tower at night and then walking along the river Seine on the way back to the hotel. I enjoyed the dinner cruise on the river Seine -- except the smoked salmon that looked raw and the smell of deisel fuel. I was impressed with the expansive gardens at Versailles. Our trip to the Loire valley was beautiful and the castles were impressive. I enjoyed visiting with people from work who appreciate Derek and his humor. And, I even enjoyed the fact that the grocery store we went to was named "Ed". We visited Ed twice.
If you are one who still thinks the trip was wasted on me it is probably because you wish you could have come-- and if you had -- then I would have enjoyed it more because it would have been more like home.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
To all of the wives of those men -- give them a thanks from me. Because of them I can be more hopeful than terrified. My girls will, when the time is right, find good Christian men -- and then we can rejoice!
Monday, April 19, 2010
We take our troubles to the family table. Heavenly Father is there and lots of brothers and sisters -- some who are expert in fields you may never have even heard of. You sit down and tell Heavenly Father all about the problem and what you have done so far. Then you say "Would you please pass the possibilities?" -- and he does! You are so happy! And then you look more closely at them and realize you don't like either of the possibilities you've been given. You ask if you can exchange them and he says "No, those are good for you, you have to keep them" (It's a little like being handed your two least favorite vegetables to eat). Now you have a choice -- you can leave the table and storm and fuss and get very mad -- forgetting that you now have possibilities when you didn't before. You can stay at the table and keep them and feel a bit sorry for yourself. Or you could stay at the table, keep them, and ask for more possibilities.
Much to your surprise, you are given more! Perhaps Heavenly Father hands them to you directly, or perhaps, he passes them around the table and you get them through your brothers and sisters. When you look at these you are not sure about them but you take them. One possibility, when you try it, ends up making that first possibility you were given easier to handle (like being given cheese sauce to go with that broccoli). One you're not sure about, but it turns out that once you've accepted it, it makes you see clearly what you have gained from that first thing you had to keep. Maybe you even get a possibility that seems a lot like dessert!
I am thankful to have been reminded in a few different ways lately that even if I can't see a possibility for a solution, it doesn't mean that their isn't one. Miracles happen. When I see a dead end, or a giant chasm -- I might be able to look from a different view point and discover that the road continues or that there is a bridge I hadn't seen. When I face a challenge and feel weak, and angry, and worried, I can turn to Heavenly Father and find power, and love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
In the future I hope to always remember that if a problem seems impossible to solve, I can ask --"Please pass the possibilities!"
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
1. Make your own cookbook -- when you find something that works type it up and stick it in your book. It makes looking for recipes at dinnertime less complicated.
2. When you start to get frustrated again remember that there are resources that you might not know about yet and start looking. Sometimes help is a google search away.
3. I read somewhere that it is better to treat an allergy matter of factly. Don't treat your child like they are picked on and they are less likely to think that they are.
4. Finally, be willing to ask questions -- so here is one for you:
Dan one day will go to school, he will have birthday parties to attend and ball games with treats. At some point, no matter how matter of factly I treat his allergy, he is bound to feel a bit picked on because he will be different. Any suggestions on how to help him through that? Most of you won't have had to deal with that before -- but neither have I -- any ideas?
Thursday, March 25, 2010
So what did I do to turn these times back to the relaxing, enjoyable things they used to be? The one thing I do is to call in advance to find out the menu so I'll know what I need to bring. I've forgotten to call before and that is stressful! The other thing that has helped make these events enjoyable again is what others have done and continue to do to help. I have cried tears of gratitude over some of these things when nobody was looking.
When Dan was almost two it was time for the family reunion on my side of the family. It was to be held at my sister Jenny's home where I had seen cousins track food all over the house before. Almost two year olds are not always very discriminating on where they pick up their snacks. We would be having meals there for a couple of days and going to the store or home were not really good options.
This is where my angel Mother and one of my thoughtful sisters came to the rescue. Mom and Jenny planned the entire reunion's meals around what Dan could have. They even thought carefully about snacks and made sure that there were snacks that Dan could have too. I found upon arrival that all of the cousins had been warned to be careful what and where they ate and to make sure Dan didn't have anything without his parents knowing. My nephew Seth who was 6 at the time was particularly vigilant at looking out for Dan and I was very touched by his concern.
On Derek's side of the family we have meals together at least monthly. I have been so thankful for the times my sisters-in-law have read labels in order to make sure the meal was something Dan could eat! Other times, when something not Dan safe is planned, they are thoughtful about letting me know so that I can plan in advance how to handle the meal for Dan. My mother-in-law buys lots of popsicles and Dan has come to think of that as the treat he eats at Grandma's (besides fruit snacks). Even when I bring cake that he can have or cookies, he often opts for a popsicle. It makes me smile when I look and find that several cousins have joined him in having popsicles instead of ice cream.
At church the primary leaders have bought treats that Dan can have so he will be safe and his teachers sometimes call me from the store and read me labels just to be sure. On top of that, a couple of our neighbors who are aware of Dan's allergies went out of their way at Christmas time to bring treats just for Dan (blond oreos and popsicles) because he can't have so many of the goodies we get.
I don't think I was ever so thoughtful for people I knew with food allergies. It seems so surreal that someone can die from eating something that most other people have every day. It's hard to believe that such a thing can be real until you see it -- or experience it yourself! I appreciate what good family members, friends, and neighbors we have had who have gone out of their way to think about it when they don't have to.
So, in dealing with food allergies it is good to plan ahead, and call in advance. It is also good to know great people like we do who help keep my Dan safe and me sane.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
This is the car that my phone has spent a year being lost in. Isn't it nice? The black interior must have done an incredible job of hiding my dark phone. A man from Arizona bought this car. It wasn't until he was looking for his son's phone that he found mine. He found some way to charge my phone enough to find the phone numbers. He left a message on my cell phone, called Derek's phone, and even talked to Trisa before getting in touch with me at home. He's mailing my old phone back to me. When I offered to pay the postage he pointed out that if he could afford to buy a 30 thousand dollar car he could probably afford a couple dollars of postage. He seems to be a very nice person. Now -- what to do with a phone with no cables to charge it with?