Music I Love

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mothering Baby Birds

I'm not a fan of transitions.  I'm extremely resistant to change.  If given the choice, my preference would always be to get used to things looking and feeling a certain way, and then to just count on them staying that way forever.  We're going through some pretty giant transitions around here lately.  
There's a strange dichotomy in having an 18 year old child who currently lives in the nest, but is on the verge of taking flight.  Some days, I feel like I'm going to just fall apart when she leaves, and I can't imagine how I will ever get through a single day with part of my heart wandering around without me in Utah.  And other days, like some of the recent ones, I'm tempted to move along the whole packing process and push her right out of her comfortable little nest.

Here are some of the things that have been heard around our house lately...
"Here's a list of all the things I'd like to do before I leave Texas forever.  I know that some of them are a little bit costly, so I thought that since the other children will still be here for a few more years, we could just leave them at home and not have to pay for their admission."  
The Allen HS football team is once again in the State Championship playoffs against a team that we always love to watch, and we are playing at Cowboy Stadium this weekend, which is always such a fun experience...especially when it doesn't have to involve any Cowboys...
"I've decided I can't go to the football game on Saturday because I really need all the hours I can get at work in the last few weeks before I leave for BYU." 
"I'm just going to leave all of my stuff in my room the way it is and you can just close the door and it will be like a little place where you can think about me when I'm not here."
"Mommy, I think we should plan a time to go through your closet so we can see what's mine and what I'm taking with me to college."
and this one I heard via Megan who was in this YW class with Savannah...
"One of the things I've learned is that when I listen to my mom's advice, I'm happier, and when I don't, I regret it.  My parents have actually done all the stuff I'm doing now.  And they know a lot."
and this one is my favorite...
"Don't worry, I know that my life of luxury is coming to an end.  I'm going to be living on Ramen noodles for the next four years."
None of us is really sure what this whole new life is going to look like for Savannah at BYU and for the rest of us at home.  She vacillates on a daily basis between a practical, confident 18 year old, and a slightly selfish, insecure toddler.  

I am amazed on a daily basis that after 18 years of this parenting thing, every transition is still a completely new and humbling experience.  How grateful I am to have the opportunity to sit in this front row seat and watch these little birds learn to use their wings.  I'll let you know how the actual "taking flight" part goes in January when I'm returning home with one less little bird.    

Friday, November 14, 2014

Connections

My dear friend and I went visiting teaching yesterday.  It was bitter cold and we were bundled up hoping to run quickly from the car to the warm living room of the sister's home where we were scheduled to be at 10:30am.  Unfortunately, she wasn't home.  So Jeanette and I lingered in the cold driveway and tried to quickly think of a Plan B before we froze to death.  Brunch?  Show up to the other sister's home early?  A random drive until 12:30?  

None of those ideas seemed like the best use of our time.  

We have a mutual friend who happens to love Coke from Sonic and who happened to have some exciting news to share, so we decided to drive through Sonic and pop over to Robin's house unannounced...because Robin is one of the few people who doesn't mind that sort of thing.  After 30 minutes or so at Robin's there was some question about whether our next appointment would be available or not, but Jeanette and I hopped in the car and drove over to her house anyway, and knocked on the door. 

And here is a list of a few of the wonderful things that happened because we decided to be spontaneous and let the spirit guide our day:


  • We helped someone prep a crockpot full of chili for dinner.  
  • We held a baby so her mom could get a few chores done.  (ok, Jeanette got to hold her the whole time, but sometimes I get to do that job, too, so it all evens out.)
  • We watched a mission letter opening via Facebook.  (That's where a prospective missionary opens his letter to reveal to family and friends the much anticipated mission call and to see where and in what language he will be serving.)  
  • We heard the most awesome and inspiring conversion story.
  • We shared some Diet DP (with coconut...which is my new, all time favorite drink in the whole world) and Coke.    
  • We learned about the climate and people of Mongolia (via Google.) 
  • We cried over the amazing and often startling way that Heavenly Father can change hearts and move mountains.  
  • We learned about family history and indexing.  
  • We shared family stories. 
  • We admired some beautiful sewing of Texas pillowcases in one home and a gorgeous, intricate tatted doilie in another. 

And in one short morning, we connected with not just the two sisters we had hoped to connect with, but with five sisters total...not to mention each other.  As I sat across the living room in two different homes and watched each of those sisters share a few of their hopes, some challenges, and a lot of their joys, I was completely filled with vast love for each one of them.  Some of them are my friends, and some just happened to cross our paths that day...although I don't for a second believe that was random.  But how grateful I am to have been available and willing to be in a place to feel connected to those women.  The whole experience made me think of Sister Hinckley's quote...
Doesn't that just inspire the heck out of us to want to know everyone's story?  It inspires me.  And it's so true.  Everyone that I've taken the time to get to know on a more personal level, I have come to love immensely.  Imagine what would happen if I took that time with more people?  

I'm grateful for inspired, unexpected, meaningful connections.  And I'm SUPER grateful for an awesome visiting teaching companion who doesn't let a little unanswered door stand in the way of a productive morning.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gratitude

I have strong feelings about gratitude, in case you haven't noticed.  I think it's not just a good thing, but absolutely essential, to have gratitude in our hearts all the time, and for all things.  Because there is much to be grateful for.  

This afternoon on the way home from school (which is just about my favorite time of the day) Megan told me a great story.  She had been walking down the hall on the way back from lunch with her friends, when she decided to hang back a little and take her time.  When the friends noticed she was no longer with them, they stopped to let her catch up and asked why she was walking so slowly.  Here's what she said, "I'm just trying to soak up as much of my surroundings as possible, because I don't want to look back someday and regret that I didn't even know what color the walls were in a building where I spent three years of my life."  Her friends rolled their eyes and hurried off to their classes.  Megan then listed for me all the things she had never noticed during previous walks down that hall.  I love that Megan notices the details of her day.  I love that she never misses an opportunity to generously gush forth compliments, and I love that she is grateful from the inside of her soul.  

(People think Savannah and I are so much alike, and I suppose on the outside we are, but really if you laid my heart and Megan's side by side, they would be almost identical.  We are magnetized by the same things, uplifted by the same things, and motivated by the same things.  We stop and sniff roses, smile at babies, and take pictures of whatever takes our breath away.  We are hoarders of memories and frenetic scribblers of words...any words, all the time.  We are fascinated by animals and nature, but also miserably allergic to those things.)  

I love this time of year because gratitude is in the forefront of everyone's minds and hearts, but I always secretly hope that those November feelings will linger after Christmas has been packed up.  It wouldn't be a bad thing for all of us to slow down a little and memorize the color of a hallway or the sound of a bird.  There is much to be grateful for even when Thanksgiving and Christmas are months away.

"Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God's love." - Gordon B. Hinckley

I am grateful today for a warm house, slippers on my feet, a daughter who thinks like me, and chocolate chip cookies in the oven.  I am grateful for family and friends, both near and far, who love me unconditionally, no matter the condition of my house or the gloominess of my mood.   And I am grateful every day for a loving Heavenly Father whose hand is apparent in even the tiniest details of my life.   

  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Adoption

Last week was National Adoption week, and IG was filled with lovely stories of parents who had already adopted, or are currently waiting to, adopt children.  And so, I thought that since today would have been my mom's 85th birthday, this would be a good day to share my personal gratitude for the blessing of adoption in my life.  

One wildly improbable, totally unselfish decision gave opportunity and hope, not just to me, but also to the other unselfish, amazing woman who parted with me for awhile.  I love both of these women and I am eternally grateful to have had not just one, but two amazing moms in my life.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Finally Fall

Fall in Dallas is apparently an elusive thing.  I'm not sure if it's here and I'm missing it, or if I just haven't wanted to find it so intensely in the four previous Octobers that we've lived here.  I've been hunting for weeks for some evidence of leaves changing, and I've found nothing.  Everything I've seen here is either some shade of green or some shade of brown, which is beautiful in it's own way, but I really wanted some red and orange.  

Craig suggested that maybe the problem is that my fall hunts all take place within about a 50 mile radius of Dallas.  I needed to wander farther.  So on Thursday morning, we hurried all the kids out the door and headed toward Oklahoma!  

It took two hours, three bathroom stops, and a brief stop to admire an unexpected Eiffel Tower in Paris, TX, before we found it...
FALL...in Texas, or Oklahoma, I'm not sure which; we were somewhere close to the border.  I screamed.  Craig pulled over.  I grabbed my camera.  And these were my first shots of fall for the season!  It took until November to find it, but isn't it just shockingly beautiful??  Oh, I just love straight lines of trees in a long row...that are changing from spring green to spectacular orange and red.  


6 hours later, I was fully satisfied with the amount of fall we had taken in for the day, so we turned around and drove back home.  What a perfect way to spend a sunny Thursday in November.  

I'm grateful for the glorious colors in nature, for an unscheduled, spontaneous day, and for a thoughtful husband who takes conference calls from the car so that I can restock my iPhoto files.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fishy


Pets are funny things.  I didn't grow up with any when I was a little girl, except for one little dog that my parents got as I was leaving for college who growled at me every time I came home from school.  

So I'm not really equipped for pet deaths.  

Fishy (his actual name is Taquito and you can read about how we acquired him here) has been slowing down for several weeks.  He hasn't been his peppy self, and he hasn't been responding to my voice.  That's how I could tell he was getting a little tired. 

Last night he was very slow...and lingering near the bottom of the tank. And then this morning he was in a little heap underneath that green tree.  I made Craig clean out his little tank and do whatever it is you do with a dead fish.  

You'd think that a little fish who has been with us for over two years wouldn't be such a big deal, but really he's just been one more thing to make me cry this week...along with too many Jane Austen movies, two days of being curled up on the couch with some unknown miserable illness, my daughter registering for classes at BYU and therefore being one step closer to leaving this nest...it's been a rough morning.  

I thought about running to PetSmart and getting a new Fishy, but I don't think I will.  I'm pretty sure I can't handle getting attached to anymore things that leave.  :(



You know what I realized tonight?...that it's dumb to never have another fish again.  I can't just live a fish-less life because this one died and we really liked it.  What a hopeless, fearful way to live.  This fish might die, too.  Or it might live for a really long time.  Either way, I bet we'll like it.  And on the days that it swims in the sunlight and happens to be the exact same turquoise and red that I have in my living room, I'm pretty sure it'll make me happy.  And that's a good thing.  And somehow that also translates into hoping for other stuff in life and not having fear, but I can't quite make it all come out right, so you'll have to just make that leap.  



Saturday, November 1, 2014

Murder Mystery Birthday Party

Way, way back a few months ago, Megan decided she wanted to have a Murder Mystery themed birthday party with 18 of her closest friends.  Unfortunately my skills in the murder area aren't strong, so I agreed to it as long as she came up with everything.  Which she happily did.

She made the invitations herself.  Each person got a personally selected "weapon" which they had to bring to the party with them.  One person was pre-selected as "the murderer" and another was selected as "the victim."  

Emma and our cute neighbor/adopted daughter helped her label all the rooms in our house...




Promptly at 7:00 the doorbell started ringing, and kid after kid came walking into my house.  (This is the part where I mostly hid out in my bedroom.)  

There were a couple of blood curdling screams, a lot of laughing, and some teams of investigators hunting for clue in every part of my house.  Three people were "murdered" by one person whose pre-selected weapon was an Ebola-carrying fruit bat.  (ugh...intelligent humor can sometimes border on the inappropriate.)  Accusations were made, the murderer was revealed, forced to confess and then hauled off to "murder mystery jail" by that Red Morph armed guard down there in my dining room.  (I wondered how he was going to work himself into this party.)   

After all the murdering, the kids watched Clue...isn't it crazy how timeless that silly movie is? 

What a cute and diverse group of kids Megan is friends with.  I love all of them and I'm so glad her party was a success.  

Oh!  I forgot my one contribution to the party...the FOOD!  I don't usually do gross, but they turned out pretty cute for murder cupcakes, don't you think?  

The party is actually still happening down there at 10:43, and I'm about to start herding them toward the door because I can barely keep my eyes open...

In other news...Savannah had her own party to go to tonight.  It was a Harry Potter themed party, and she decided her after-work pool hair really lent itself to a particular character...
...she's Bellatrix LaStrange for those of you who aren't big HP fans.  


Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

I love Halloween!  Have I already said that more than you'd like to read it?  Sometimes my enthusiasm for this holiday becomes a little too much for the people in my home, too.  

I had leftover candy eyeballs from some Scout activity, and it turns out that Halloween is the perfect time to use those kinds of leftovers.  It's the one day that you can get away with adding eyeballs to just about anything and people love it!
I got more than one text from some happily surprised kiddos after lunch.  :)

It was slight chaos for a few hours after school.  Emma brought home two friends who were going to the football game with her.  McKay had a friend over for pre-trick-or-treat planning.  Our cute little neighbor who has recently adopted us (or we've adopted her, we're not sure which) came over.  We had pumpkins to carve (I know...last minute) and dinner to make and then eat.  And a couple of sister missionaries needed to drop by for some costume help.  

Megan helped with dinner...Mummy Dogs and Chili.  Traditional Halloween dinner for us every year.  No matter what.


Emma and her friends carved pumpkins with the little boys...
They carefully saved every single pumpkin seed because that's another tradition...roasted pumpkin seeds!  Unfortunately I put them in the oven on Sunday morning and then forgot them in there while we went to church.  (Four hours at 350 is way too long to cook pumpkin seeds...oops!)

The pumpkins turned out pretty cute considering they were slightly rushed.  

After a super fast dinner, McKay and one friend planned their trick-or-treating strategy on the front step while they waited for the third friend to come home from another Halloween party.  And that all planning went great except for the tiny meltdown that one little banana had about his hat not staying up straight.  
...but he got over that pretty quickly.  Friends came by.  The third friend came home.  And they were off on their quest for candy.


Here's a picture of Round 1...they stopped at our house for a quick drink and to unload their heavy bags of candy.  

Meanwhile, these two girls were having a great time at the football game even though it was really cold.  At least it was finally the perfect weather for a letter jacket.  


After trick-or-treating, three little boys traded candy for about 45 minutes, then fell asleep on my couch watching Shrek's Halloween special, until all the football fans came home.  It was a pretty great night for them.  And for all of us, really.  

...because I really love Halloween!  :)







Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween around the House

I think I may have mentioned before that I really love Halloween.  I'm a decorate-y kind of a girl (well, that's more of a desire than a skill) and after a long stretch of holiday-less months, I go a little crazy with the festive-ness around here.  

Here's what the house looks like this October...

I usually do this for birthdays, but I found a bunch of old Halloween pictures, so I decided to sprinkle them around the kitchen cabinets.  The kids love looking at their old costumes.  


The rest of the kitchen:



The entryway:




The dining room:  I totally copied this idea from someone on IG, and I kind of love it.  Here's hers...

...and here's mine...


The living room:  It's possible that giant spider is my favorite Halloween thing I own.  :)

Oh, that cute little Halloween bunting?  I made that one afternoon a couple of weeks ago.  

 Oh, I just love Halloween...and fall...and the color orange...