Only in Mayberry

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Ding dong! The doorbell rang loudly. I walked to the front door wondering who could be there. It is a known fact that Gwen’s curfew is 5:00 pm. It was after 5:00. She is also involved in the school play for the next two weeks. Her first practice was today. The deacons weren’t supposed to come over until 7:00 for their pizza and Forsa party. Who could it be?

I opened the door to two young ladies from the neighborhood. They were holding several sheets of hand colored art apiece. As soon as the door swung open they started fumbling their pages as they asked me a question I never expected to hear.

Girls: These are pictures for the local elementary yearbook cover. Will you help us judge which one should be picked?
Me: Sure!

The girl on the left dropped half her pictures while the girl on the right said Miss Left should go first. She showed me several different pictures of frogs, the school mascot. I nodded my approval equally with each one. Then the girl on the right showed me one picture of a really well done frog and several pages of crayon written text.

I pointed to the frog that was obviously done by a fourth or fifth grader at least. Maybe it was that girl who did it. They never said who the artist was of any of the work. I wisely did not say that I thought the crayoned words were boring, especially for the cover of a yearbook. Then I told the girl on the left that I liked the frog in her stack with the tongue sticking out. I said I liked the red tongue and how it broke up the colors. They thanked me and skipped off my porch.

I never would have expected that! We don’t really live in a place called Mayberry. It sure feels like it sometimes! My 1950’s dream …

Bucket List Item Checked Off

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The Scouts went on a snow campout over the weekend. Gavin has never been on a snow campout. He went on overnight winter camping trips in California but you have to drive a bit further to find snow in California. Somehow it just wasn’t the same.

We bought him lots of things he would need. The closer we got to Friday the more I was getting nervous. I’m a mom. It’s what I do. Heath was supposed to pick up the boys from school along with the two neighbor boys up the street so they could get ready for their ride to the campout.

Heath and I went to Wendy’s for lunch and then to Winco Foods to check on peanut butter Twix. No luck. What did happen was we narrowly escaped a car accident in the parking lot. Some guy started backing out the same time we did. Heath couldn’t move fast enough so he honked. Bless the other driver’s heart! He stopped hard immediately. We could see his face in his side mirror. He had a weird smile on his face as he waved. I think he was embarrassed and grateful that we all avoided the collision.

After being annoyed by the shoppers in the store – they were more obnoxious and rude than Costco shoppers on a Saturday – and then nearly being in an accident, Heath and I have sworn off that store. It reminds me of Reams. Not a place I feel compelled to go to again.

Our little side shopping excursion made us quite late. Heath dropped me off on the side of the road to walk home. True story! Luckily he stopped early enough that I could cut through the green zone instead of having to go the long way up one street and down our street.

Gavin got all his gear together and changed into his winter camping clothes. It was a lovely day and he almost left his coat in his school backpack. His friend did leave a coat behind. Colt’s dad picked up Grant and Gavin and dropped off his other son, Skyler, to play with Parker for a couple hours. Amy came later to pick up Skyler. As soon as I opened the door she said, “So I just got the worst phone call a mother can get.” It was the call that Colt had left his winter coat at home and she had to drive it up to him! NOOO!!!

Luckily Tom was outside playing with his girls. He said he had sent Grant and Tucker with an extra coat each. I didn’t understand why they had extra coats but he said he would be driving up the next morning to help ferry kids back home. The other Tom barely squeezed in the boys he picked up on our street with all their gear. Up the street Tom knew things would not pack up as easily a second time. Anyway, Amy was off the hook. Colt would be taken care of.

Gavin was excited about his freeze dried spaghetti in a pouch. Just add boiling water, stir, and enjoy. He loves spaghetti so much!

Most of the boys brought sleds so they could play in the snow. Gavin said he didn’t do any sledding. I’m not sure if that was because he would have to borrow from someone. He said he didn’t want to play in the snow because it was dark and he thought it would be dangerous. I did hear stories that if you stepped off the path you would be up to your knees in snow. Gavin hung out with a couple boys around the campfire. He said he had fun.

I ran his camping clothes through the wash twice. They still smelled like campfire and smelly beads. Ugh! Actually, I think the second try was good because once they dried they smelled more like smelly beads than campfire. I have an addiction to Downy Unstoppable laundry beads. I think Heath appreciated that addiction!

The weather was perfect for a snow campout. Overnight lows were in the 20’s. Zero chance of precipitation. If you have to pretend to be homeless overnight in the snow with a stake scout troop, those are the conditions you want. Still. It’s camping overnight in the snow.

At church one dad was saying that the older boys were not interested in going snow camping again. They had mentally checked it off their scouting to-do list and that was good enough. So I asked Gavin how he felt about snow camping. Would he like to do it again the next time he had the chance?

Gavin: Not really.

Good enough for me. He had fun and as far as I know, he doesn’t have to do it again. We sure missed him while he was gone though. Heath shut down the house and said goodnight to Gavin’s empty room. Sad. In Gavin’s absence we watched Ella Enchanted with popcorn and candy. I was happy when he came home in time for lunch the next day.

Post-it Note from Heaven Day

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My responsibilities as assistant secretary include two blog posts a week on a Relief Society blog. It’s a lot of fun because, hey it’s me! I love blogging! It can also be time consuming and a little draining at times. Women go out of their way to thank me for capturing the lesson notes. Most of them are women who serve in Young Women’s or Primary. Their service prevents them from coming to the Relief Society lesson and they appreciate that I capture it with as much detail as I do.

The other posts I do are for the General Conference Book Club. Once a week we study a different talk from the October 2016 General Conference. Those are the posts that leave me with a big question mark hovering over my head. I try not to but inevitably spend a significant portion of my day agonizing over what to say. Every week I tell myself I won’t post anything personal. Almost every week I feel like the Holy Ghost is strongly suggesting I do just that. As soon as I post my personal story I feel regret. People don’t really comment so I don’t know how they feel about what I say. The stats show that not many people come to the site to read the book club posts anyway. All I can hope is that the right person read what I felt inspired to write. I may never know.

About a month ago a friend took it upon herself to organize a casual get together to discuss what I post on the Relief Society blog. Every time I felt like my efforts were falling on deaf ears, I reminded myself that at least Jenn cared. Our first meeting was last Thursday morning.

I felt bad for quickly shutting down any ideas about meeting in someone’s home. I was afraid that if I committed to my house as a meeting place there would be lots and lots of at home moms bringing their young children. My house is no longer baby proof. We have fewer toys to share with little ones now that my kids are getting older. I just didn’t want to deal with the stress of entertaining children while my own kids were at school and my husband was working upstairs in his home office.

That all being said, my other fear came true. No one really came to the meeting. The Relief Society president went along with three other sisters. Two of which were involved with me in planning the meeting. We could have met at my house no problem. Instead we met at the church. Oh well. What can you do? It was nice to just chat with friends about gospel topics.

Later that night we had a Relief Society activity. I had been asked to present at the meeting. Somehow people got it in their minds that I’m some sort of video expert! The activity was called Not Your Mama’s Family History. The idea was to learn how we are already doing a lot of family history through social media and modern technology.

I never had a clear idea of what I was supposed to teach. I assumed I was supposed to teach how to create family stories on video. I’m glad I introduced myself and my topic by sharing how I keep track of my stories. The table was full of my stories – scrapbooks, blog books, family history stories in binders, and videos. Those things fit well with what the other presenters shared.

Heath helped me create a power point presentation that included a video of my grandpa telling his baptism story. The women loved his story. They loved him. He is a great storyteller. I had forgotten that. In my mind he is my grandpa. I love him but I forgot how lovable he is to other people.

The presentation went well. I shared personal stories of my journey through obsessive story collecting. I had lots of visuals with Heath’s camera equipment. Not sure people cared much about that part. It was interesting doing the presentation. Some women were visibly hanging on my every word. The Relief Society president had a huge goofy smile the whole time as she obviously loved what I was doing. One sister had an angry look on her face. It probably had nothing to do with me. She came in late and never looked super happy. I tried to be engaging by looking at my audience. The extremes made it difficult for me.

My last slide was for questions. When I asked if anyone had any questions you could hear crickets chirping. So I looked at the girl who opened the meeting and said I was finished! I think people did like what I put together but I think they were overwhelmed by the technical part of it. I hope they were inspired. That was my goal.

The interesting part was when I was talking to a friend afterwards. She said that she was confused by something I had put in the book club post that week. I had said something to the effect of feeling like a broken record with alluding to my painful recent past. She said she had never noticed anything redundant in what I posted. But she was so intrigued to find the story. With Heath’s blessing, I had linked to my own personal blog. I found a post that I felt so strongly the sisters in my ward needed to read. When it fit with the book club talk I told one story and then linked to my blog in case anyone was interested in more.

Christina said she linked to my personal blog and loved the post. Again she was concerned about my obvious distress, that was also in that post. She apologized for being creepy and digging through my archives hoping to find the beginning of this trial. She found a post that she loved because she thought it was well written but she was even more concerned about me and my mental state. It was interesting that I could not remember writing what she was describing.

She wanted to know if I was willing to talk about what was happening. I gave her the Reader’s Digest version expecting to have a longer conversation later. I get the impression that was enough and we may not revisit this topic. It’s okay.

The way I found that old post I had linked to in the book club post was odd indeed. When I read it I felt so very strongly that people needed it. I spent hours trying to figure out how to incorporate it in the book club post. Heath told me I should link to it. I honestly thought it was because it would be useful for someone else. I never thought I needed to link to it for someone to be there for me.

I have felt very alone at times. People treat me like I’m some sort of superhero who can do anything despite the trials I’m going through. The trials they know about but assume I can handle because I’m Tristan! It was nice to have someone care enough to dig and figure out what had happened. She didn’t know me then but she cares about me now. It was an interesting outcome to the prompting I felt when I wrote the book club blog post.

The Lord knows us. He never forgets us. He blesses us in very personal ways.

I was glad that I didn’t need to present on typical family history. I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in family stories from my ancestors for sure. Temple work would be nice but it’s already been done or spoken for. Really, my interest is in leaving behind my own personal family stories. It was nice to go to an activity where I heard that the work I do is just as important as pedigree charts and temple work. The Relief Society president said in her presentation that we will be inspired by different aspects of family history. All of it is good and important so work on something!

Thursday ended up being a Post-it Note from Heaven sort of day.

Ever the Same

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Sometimes I feel like the Grinch. All the noise, noise, noise, noise! I spent over two hours getting my hair colored and cut this afternoon. As soon as I got home Heath said the kids were hungry so we all piled into the van for someone else to fix dinner. On the way home we stopped off at the grocery store where the kids talked incessantly about total nonsense. I was at the end of my mental rope barely holding on!

I went upstairs to fold laundry and listen to music. Pandora hooked me up bigtime. She started with a Rob Thomas song. I felt my blood pressure immediately drop as I visibly relaxed. The next song almost brought tears to my eyes.

I love this song. I closed my eyes and let the rest of my stress just melt away. It reminded me of the Sunday that Parker came running upstairs to let me know that my favorite song was on. I went downstairs where Pandora was playing Cristofori’s Dream. I sank into a chair. My eyes stayed shut and I felt transported to another world until the song was finished. Total bliss.

It’s been a good day. I cleaned my bathroom, did laundry including washing Gavin’s campfire smelling camping clothes twice, and transformed my hair back to its natural and former self. Rob Thomas crooning Ever the Same was the cherry on top.

Cows vs. Angels

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Parker’s cartoon reads:
Somewhere in Heaven …
Cow: Hey you!! March 18.
Angel: What?
Cow: Remember that burger you ate?!
Angel: No.
Cow: That was me! Now you are going to know what it’s like to be eaten.

What a twisted mind. It’s somewhat disturbing that he illustrated this whole scene in the middle of Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. We all laughed. Quietly, but still mostly out loud.

Tonight for dinner we had a chicken and rice premade dish from Costco. The last time we had it we loved it. Lightning did not strike twice. I think several chickens were killed for the making of this dish. Either that or one mother of a gristly, gelatinous fat filled bird.

I wonder if a free range bird with dreams and aspirations or a caged bird produces such subpar meat? I don’t know. Like the comedian I heard today, I don’t want to eat a chicken with dreams of going back to school. Of course I don’t want to eat the chicken that should be tender because of its sedentary lifestyle either.

I hate chicken. Full on HATE chicken. It always tastes like chicken and that is no compliment. This was the most chickeny of all chicken and I was practically dry heaving. As I apologized for the thousandth time, Parker piped up with a glass half full point of view.

Parker: At least no cows are being eaten tonight!

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One of these days I will get to sleep in. I just know it. Today was not that day. Gavin had a basketball game this morning with the deacons. Heath is the second counselor in the Young Men’s presidency and apparently now he is also the basketball coach. Between his Young Men’s responsibilities on Tuesdays, he also referees men’s basketball on Thursday nights. Welcome back sport widowhood. *sigh*

He has been refereeing church basketball games since he was 15 years old. Coaching is new and intimidating to him but he is doing it. He said that he really enjoyed being a coach today and watching the game from a different perspective. I just loved looking over at him and seeing him make all the hand signals as if he were the ref! Old habits die hard.

This morning’s game was a trip down memory lane for Heath since the game was at the same church building he attended as a 15 year old. Every time he reminisces and wonders aloud if he will recognize people from his past, I always wonder if I should change my clothes. Should I put on something cuter to give off a better impression? My clothes aren’t changed and so far we haven’t run into anyone. There are only a couple of people in our ward now who know Heath in roundabout friend of a friend sort of ways. Going home can be strange.

Gavin asked me to watch him play. He says he performs better under pressure so he wanted an audience as motivation. He played well. Most of the boys are experiencing organized ball for the first time. I don’t particularly like basketball. I would rather watch basketball than many other sports like baseball or soccer. I have to say, I rather enjoyed watching basketball today. Since the boys are inexperienced 12 and 13 year olds, it slowed the game down for me. The referee explained things to the boys which I found extremely helpful.

My first experience with basketball was traumatizing. Someone called me. I think it was the Young Women’s president. She would not take no for an answer. And I’m such a people pleaser that I rarely say no to requests! (if you need me to do something then ignore that last sentence) I told her I didn’t want to play and that I didn’t even know how to play basketball. She didn’t care. She made it sound like if I didn’t show up the team would have to forfeit. Motivated by guilt, I reluctantly accepted the invitation to play a game I didn’t understand with girls I never felt connected with since I was a school grade younger.

I remember I was chewing gum. It completely disintegrated as soon as I went out to play. I was so nervous! I ran up and down the court praying no one would ever pass to me or expect to even see me. Watching the deacons play today made me realize I was not as invisible as I once thought. Somehow I lived through my experience. I was a little jealous of these boys though. They had coaches and plenty of adults in the gym shouting encouragement and advice. No one did that for my team. Sports are even harder when you grow up in a family that doesn’t follow sports in any way and church leaders just expect everyone to understand the game.

These boys had a lot of support. I loved watching boys that would immediately pass the ball as if it was a hot potato start trying to take shots. Whether the shot was successful or not the parents went crazy cheering. This gave the boys an extra boost of confidence and they would try again. Two of those boys made several baskets for their team.

I also thought it was cool that Gavin congratulated an opponent for successfully scoring. The teams were a little mixed. There was supposed to be a game at 9:00 but only one team showed up. The team that was supposed to play our boys didn’t show up. We won by default. There were enough boys to play a game if Heath gave up some of his players to the other team. Gavin was one of those trades. When he patted an opponent on the shoulder, he was really congratulating a friend.

After Heath logged his first win as a coach, we went to Café Rio for lunch. Love that place! Then we did some shopping. Gavin is going on a snow campout this coming weekend and still needed a couple of items. I have mixed feelings about a snow campout. I’m so excited for him because I think it will be really fun for him. Heath tells great stories about building an igloo on Mt. Rainier in the rain. I just worry about Gavin being warm enough. I’m a mom. It’s my job. I think we got him the supplies he needs to stay warm. I will still worry until he comes home! Can’t wait to hear about his adventures though.

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Heath bought me drapes for our bedroom. We put them up while watching BYU play basketball. I definitely need to work on reupholstering the bench. The 90’s called and they want their striped cream fabric back.

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The drapes are a shiny gun metal gray color. The sheers are white with a pretty geometric design. The drapes boast light blocking, sound reduction, and they should also help reduce electric bills. Sweet! I look forward to not having the early morning sun wake me up in the summer. I am super excited about the noise reduction since there are times, especially on warmer nights, when the neighbors are out partying until the wee hours of the morning. It looks so grand. I love it!

Interesting bit of trivia, Batman!

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They say money doesn’t buy happiness. While that’s true, it can often buy memories. Would you rather sit at home being bored on a day off? Or go do something touristy? Personally, I’ve done the first part. A lot.

When we moved to California we had no money. So we didn’t get out and enjoy the many activities the state had to offer. By the time we felt like we could afford to do some of those things, the kids were in school. We learned very quickly that any school break equaled an enormous number of people. Taking kids out of school comes with a lot of guilt. We still did it on occasion! I didn’t want to get stuck in a rut again here in Washington. So I suggested we do something fun for Civil Rights Day.

The tickets weren’t cheap, but Heath booked a Future of Flight tour for Monday morning. Neither one of us had ever done that before. We have tried on several trips here. The timing never worked out right. Until now.

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It was a clear day. Clear enough you can actually see Mt. Rainier! The temperatures finally rose to normal – low to mid 40’s. Rain was forecast to arrive later in the evening. It was the perfect day to tour Paine Field and the Boeing Factory.

Cameras, purses, bags, cell phones, food, basically anything not attached to your body are prohibited on the tour. Espionage and safety. They do have free lockers in the lobby. We were just about to show our tickets for the tour when we realized Gavin still had his cell phone. He didn’t know he couldn’t have it! So Heath had to run it out to the lockers before we could go into the theater.

I have been on many factory tours like The Peppermint Place in Alpine, Utah where you see candy canes being made and The Jelly Belly Factory in Fremont, California where you learn everything there is to know about the gourmet jelly beans. These tours come with complimentary samples. Can you believe that Boeing doesn’t give out complimentary airplanes?

We learned that planes range in price from one to three or more hundred million dollars. One guy bought himself a plane for about 300 million dollars and then he bought both of his daughters a plane. True story. If you do have your own airplane you can land it and store it at Paine Field when space allows.

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This is the Boeing Factory. We took a bus to this building. After touring the C tunnel, we got on another bus to the M tunnel. The bus ride was not a 30 second jaunt down the parking lot either. The building is the largest building in the world by volume and has it’s own microclimate. To give you an idea of the size, because the picture can be deceiving, all of Disneyland plus the Disneyland parking structure will fit inside the building.

There are eight different Tully’s coffee shops inside. It’s one of the only buildings in the Seattle area that does not serve Starbucks! There are also several different cafés for the employees, as well as child care, video rentals, and places to get a massage. Employees often run down the long tunnels for exercise. When Gavin heard that his eyes lit up as if he was thinking, “Running? What are we doing walking when we can run?” Gwen wondered why people were riding tricycles. I would imagine it’s a faster way to get around from plane to plane.

We got on elevators as if we were cargo. The elevators were huge. There were about 50 people on the tour. We saw planes in various stages of completion. They put the planes together like Lego bricks. The planes move up and around a large U shape picking up all the pieces until they are finished.

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We learned that planes (the 787 Dreamliner) are now being made from carbon fiber. It is lighter, stronger, and much better in many ways. At the end of the tour, in the museum area, we saw the difference between carbon fiber and aluminum. The aluminum had a ton of rivets holding the pieces together. The carbon fiber had no rivets at all. It was much thinner too. Some benefits of carbon fiber: the plane is more as pressurized making you feel more rested and have less jet lag. It is more fuel efficient and also quieter.

Windows are now being made differently, particularly without shades. With no shades the windows can be in a variety of shapes. You touch a button to darken or lighten the window.

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The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the newest plane in production. The plane in the picture is a Dreamlifter. It’s a cargo plane that takes parts from around the world back to the Boeing facility in Washington to complete Dreamliner production.

By the way, we learned what the numbers mean. The first of the three digit numbers coincide with the type of aircraft it is followed by other numbers that show which series it is. Plane numbers start with sevens, like 747, etc. Space equipment starts with a different number, prop planes and helicopters start with another number and so on. I honestly can’t remember which aircraft starts with a 200, 500, etc. But that’s what the numbers mean.

The fact that the first airplane was a Boeing 707 was a marketing ploy. They felt that 700 wasn’t interesting enough so they started at 707 and have only changed the tens place with each new series.

When the tour ended, the tour guide let us into the gift shop through the emergency exit door. We had already looked around the gift shop when we arrived early. So we quickly weaved our way through to the museum.

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There were many interactive displays and fun ways for the kids to play and learn.

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Like these balls that float over the air vents.

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And nanotechnology. They had three different domes with different sizes of magnetic material inside that you could move with the handles on the outside.

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We had our picture taken. Gwen had to put her coat back on because her bluish green shirt wouldn’t show up against the green screen. Yes, this is in front of a green screen. We didn’t actually see any rocket launches. That happens in Florida, right?

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Here I am in front of a 787 engine. I am there to show scale.

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This picture shows how big the back fin is.

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Kids in front of the fan.

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There was an old 727 cockpit. Gwen and Parker had fun “flying.” Heath would talk about the different knobs, switches, and levers. Two guys were just outside patiently waiting for their turn to go inside. When we came out they asked if Heath was a pilot since he seemed to know so much! He replied that he knows enough to be dangerous. Although if he had to he could land a plane safely. Not that he would ever have the chance. But if he did … if the pilot couldn’t do it and the co-pilot couldn’t do it and so on, Heath could land the plane. Probably.

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One picture we had to get was Batman dressed as a pilot with the Dreamlifter in the background. Parker wants to send it in to Lego magazine. They are asking for pictures of mini figures around town. What could be cooler than Batman on a Future of Flight tour?

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Batman playing tic tac toe with Parker at Bob’s Burgers. That definitely counts as cool.

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Of course we had to adopt a new pet. Meet Bill, as in William Boeing, the aviation pioneer who founded the Boeing Company. Our Bill is a tiger who came with a tag that said he served as a legendary member of the famed Flying Tiger Squadron. They flew the much feared shark teeth P-40s.

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We also picked up a vintage Coca-Cola sign for our bonus room. I love vintage Coca-Cola ads and I love the story that this one has for my family. Parker is saving his allowance for an Area 51 sign to hang on his door.

Sitting in front of a crackling fire

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It has been a busy three day weekend. On Friday afternoon I laughed so hard my sides were splitting. I was reading Gwen’s report on cheetahs. She cannot spell to save her life! Somehow spelling came up later that night. Heath told Gwen about my fit of laughter. Without missing a beat she said in the most deadpan voice

Whatever Miss Spelling Bee Champian! (champ ee awn)

Yes, the misspelling is on purpose. I have a t-shirt that says Spelling Bee Champian. It’s funny because that’s not how you spell champion.

On Saturday I swore we would never have anything to do with another birthday party. Ever. Those midday birthday parties mess up the whole day! Gwen understood since I complain about this a lot. I even wrote a post last January saying it would be my New Year’s resolution for 2017. Somehow I forgot that. On Sunday I got an email inviting Parker to a birthday party for a church friend this Friday. Looks like my stairs will continue to be vacuumed every day this week too!

My biggest problem with all these birthday parties is the short notice for my kids to truly earn the money for a gift. Gavin pointed out that Parker’s friend is turning 12 “and that’s a big deal.” Very true. Turning 12 and receiving the priesthood is a big deal.

Sunday was the day of meetings for Heath. If Gavin wasn’t involved with one of those meetings I may have taken the kids out for a walk. The sun was shining and the temperatures had warmed up. To the 40’s but it still felt balmy! The kids had spring fever so badly. We never went out walking. I did get a nap in which was nice. And my blood sugars stayed on the lower side of normal all day. That was a nice change of pace for a Sunday.

Yesterday we went on a Future of Flight tour. Afterwards we had family over for homemade pizzas. It was a full and fun day. I want to blog about it. Just not right now. I decided not to post the lesson notes on Sunday and yesterday I didn’t have any time to post anything about the General Conference Book Club reading assignment for this week. I just got both of those posts out for my ward. Now I’m tired.

I think I will curl up in front of the fire with the rest of my Diet Coke and a book of deck ideas. Heath and I have been dreaming up plans for our backyard. I’m so excited! While we wait for Heath’s bonus and tax info we will solidify our backyard plans. For now the Pineapple Express is dumping warm rain. *contented sigh*

Miss Matched

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Look Mom! I dressed myself!

Actually, she didn’t dress herself. Today is Mismatched Day for Gwen. She woke up early to ask for my help. Once I got all the lunches packed, I went with her to her room. That was when I learned that it is extremely difficult to find mismatched clothes for my children. I don’t think I do it on purpose, but they all seem to wear colors that go together. They also wear jeans. Anything goes with jeans!

Gwen wears skirts but even her print skirts go with everything. Grandma suggested this patterned fabric for a skirt because of the many colors. Any t-shirt would go with it. I found one shirt with an allover print. I wouldn’t recommend she wear the shirt and skirt together but the shirt is pink with a subtle print. It didn’t not go! The shirt is more summery with fluttery, nearly non-existent sleeves. So I grabbed a long sleeved shirt to go underneath. Also pink. With a pair of jeans underneath, the outfit didn’t feel mismatched enough.

The only t-shirt she had that clashed with the pink sleeves on the long sleeved shirt was a yellow Ariel shirt. Then I remembered her purple zebra print pajama pants. Apparently the lesson here is that mismatching is easier with layers. Heath suggested she wear her tennis shoes instead of her boots. Gwen wanted to wear one shoe and one boot. We shut that down immediately. It would be too distracting for her to walk in uneven shoes.

She also wanted me to do weird things with her hair. Whatever the dress up part, she must be all in. I wisely braided her hair normally. Let’s keep the focus on the mismatched clothing. Weird hair would make for a weird looking crazy person.

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Layers indeed. When she put on her coat to head out the door, I had to snap another picture. Now that’s a mismatched outfit! She will be home soon. At that time she can shed a few layers and go back to normal. I hope.

 

Ice Skating

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The weather finally warmed up enough for rain to fall instead of snow. All the lingering snow melted. The nice thing about snow here is that it stays white and pretty. If you have to have snow at least it looks nice.

This has been an unusual winter. I have been told anyway. I am experiencing the Northwest for the first time. Heath lived here for ten years and has never seen such cold temperatures or as much snow in one winter! He probably hasn’t seen that much snow in all his ten years here combined! For now we blame the weather on Gwen. She wishes it and it comes true. Those are the facts.

Temperatures were in the low 30’s this morning. It was cold and the ground was still wet from last night’s rain. No snow. The boys planned on walking to the bus stop. They can  handle the cold. They are manly men! They come home from school wearing only sweatshirts since they have both stuffed their coats in their backpacks. That 5-10 degree increase can be such a sweaty heatwave!

This morning I waved and called out my farewells from the front door. Parker’s head could be seen as he passed behind Heath’s car. Suddenly the head disappeared. Parker came back into view behind the car and laughed that he slipped and fell. The boys said it was very slippery and icy outside. So I called them back inside. I did not like the idea of them walking to the bus stop when conditions were icy enough that Parker fell on his butt at the end of our driveway. I found out later that they were not the only kids who had slipped at the end of their own driveway on the way to school.

Heath took them to the bus stop. I was afraid he thought I was overreacting until he came home and announced the ground was a virtual ice rink. He stopped by the mailbox at the top of the street. Luckily he had one hand on his car the whole time his feet were flailing wildly underneath him as he got the mail.

Unfortunately Heath had a call when Gwen needed to go to school. The sun rises about the time the boys leave for school so there was no way the ice was melting before Gwen had to go. I got dressed and tried to decide if it was better to drive to the top of the street and walk in with her from there or actually go all the way around to the bus stop.

I’m from Utah and I know how to drive in the snow. I’m no dummy. But I never had the opportunity to drive my car around the Olympic Speed Skating Oval when we lived in the apartments down the street. I also chose the glamorous job of teaching over becoming an ice road trucker in Alaska. Icy roads are not on my driving resume.

I turned around at the barriers and parked on the side of the road facing into my own neighborhood. Gwen and I walked into the other neighborhood to the bus stop. We held hands and I squeezed any time she slipped. Which was a lot. She finally asked me not to squeeze so hard because apparently I was hurting her! The sidewalk looked wet and normal but it was essentially a sheet of black ice.

There was already a gaggle of kids at the bus stop. I asked Gwen if she wanted me to stay with her. I was kind of hoping I could just go home and work out. She said it would be nice if I would stay with her. Before we left I got a text and an email from the school district saying Gwen’s bus was late due to icy conditions. It’s typically late so who knew how late it would be now? It showed up about 20 minutes after it is scheduled to arrive.

While we were waiting the kids were ice skating in their sneakers. There were lots of falls. I thought the kids would be black and blue before they got to school! We also witnessed a car accident. That was crazy. I have no idea where this woman came from since I don’t remember seeing her SUV on the side of the road when we walked to the bus stop. Maybe she lives in the houses near the barriers. I don’t know. But she clearly was unaware of how slippery it was outside.

It’s not like there is tons of road for a driver to get up to speed on an icy day before getting to the T intersection where the bus stops. This woman came flying down the street. Not really. She was probably going 25 mph but on a day like today, it’s not wise. I assumed she would drive straight but at the literal last second she turned right. I knew she would crash into the car parked on the left side of the street. She didn’t turn early enough or break enough to avoid the collision. Her car slid to the left until it was directly in front of the parked car. Bam! At least the parked car stopped her momentum.

We all saw it. No one said anything about her driving. Just comments on how slick it is outside. We tried not to stare as she angrily got out and had to go knocking on doors to admit her mistake. I was relieved to know that no one was inside the parked car. I hadn’t paid enough attention to know if it was a waiting parent or an empty parked car. It was empty. One lady from that neighborhood said it belonged to the boyfriend of the house it was in front of. He came out. She drove further down the street and parked. He pulled into the driveway. Slipping as he backed up. We never saw the lady again. She must have taken her daughter to school out of sheer embarrassment.

The minor fender bender of an accident shut up my mind though. I hate driving. I didn’t trust myself to safely get down the hill and onto the main road to drive up more hilly side streets to get to the bus stop. That’s why I stopped at the top of my own street and walked in. Seeing the accident made me realize I had made the right choice.

Another mom drove her daughter to school after the accident. I had no problem waiting for the bus. The bus is probably safer than my car. Actually, Heath told me to drive his car since my van has too much power. I agreed with my next door neighbor who believed that the main roads are not slippery. It’s the side roads that are the problem. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get out of the neighborhood onto the main road though. No one judged me for my way of dropping off my kid. I stood firmly behind my California roots!

The sun came out earlier than Wally Weatherman forecasted. The sun has been out all day melting the ice. There may still be some in the shade. When Heath and I ventured out to the store we noticed some ice on the road just before turning onto the main road. That part of the street sees no sun in the winter. The rest of the week will go back to the low 30’s for a high. Good thing the sun has mostly dried out the ground. No rain forecasted until the weekend when the temperatures should also rise. What a crazy day!