Thursday, August 27, 2015

Collecting Glitter

I sit here in a hospital room only 1 week after finding out that Brady has Osteosarcoma. Devastated. Confused. Overwhelmed. Shocked. These are just a few of the all consuming feelings pressing on me. You can imagine that any decision making ability, rational thought or normal brain function came to a screeching halt.

By now you may have heard of of our campaign "Collect Glitter". I would like you to know how this came about and what it means.

The day after Brady's diagnosis, I was with two of my best friends. They were doing their best to be there for me, make me eat and get me doing normal things. At one point they asked how I was feeling. I told them I didn't know. I said I felt like I was immersed in a giant pool of black fog. I didn't know if I was upside down or right side up; moving frontward or backward, I was trying to look for the light, but was never sure if I was even going in the right direction. But I then told them that every once in a while I come across a golden piece of glitter. Something tiny and fading but that gives me a glimmer of hope and faith, helps me feel that I CAN and WILL move forward. It could be anything from a sweet message from a friend or "coincidence" (or not) that helps me see that God is in it and that he is aware of me. Some people call these tender mercies.

The day after this conversation took place, I was trudging around the hospital with Brady getting test after test, feeling a little bit numb, and making sure everything was in order before his treatment started. He was getting an EKG and I was sitting off to the side watching. Julie, the technician, off-handedly, said to Brady, "You are very photogenic." "This is a text book heart." and "Even I'm pretty impressed." It touched me to see Brady's healthy heart doing it's thing. I took a picture and posted it on social media with a caption that said just this. I was overwhelmed to see the responses of those viewing my posts. One of the comments was from my friend Tiffiny, who had been with me during the conversation about the glitter. She said,

"His healthy heart doing it's thing"
... one more piece of glitter to add in
Keep collecting those flecks!

I burst into to tears then and there. I texted her immediately to tell her that COLLECT GLITTER was going to become my motto through this whole ordeal. I was going to collect glitter and once I had enough, maybe all the flecks would all join together and make one giant, bright, ball of hope.

The more I thought about it the more it resonated with me. I pictured making t-shirts with this slogan, attached to a hashtag that went along with it, to encourage Brady and to give me and his friends and family something to focus on and just build up a lot of positive energy.

The hashtag we chose and Brady approved is, #bradysgoldenstateofmind. To promote the positive side and the power of the mind. We are collecting energy and light! Remember to use it when you are posting about Brady on social media. Feel free to use any other hashtags you might feel is appropriate. And share this link if you would like.

If you would like to order a T-shirt 

Go: to our Facebook Page
("Like" it while you're there, -- or send a post or look for a Brady update.) 

Send: a private message with your name, 
quantity of shirts and 
the size(s). (YXS-4XL - additional cost for 2XL and above)
If you would like to view the sizing chart go here.

Pay: The cost is $10/shirt (additional cost for 2XL and above)
plus a small cost per shirt if you need to have it shipped to you. (any proceeds we get will be donated to bone cancer research - there may not be any, unless you want to donate extra - completely your choice)

Pre-order: Right now we are taking pre-orders with shirts arriving Mid-September. If you want to order more after that date it WILL be possible!!

Payment Method: Right now check (made to Stefani Meyer) or cash is accepted. With PayPal options coming soon!


As you know, Brady is a great kid, and is taking things in stride (as he does so well). He is all on board with this idea and I think it gives him a measure of hope and faith along with all the rest of us. It is so inspiring to keep track of all the "pieces of glitter" that float past us in this giant pool of craziness. It reminds us that God is in the details. He really and truly IS in the details!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tales of a 48 Year Old Fangirl!

(I had to add this picture of Cale Mills in here - one of Kris' old friends, and member of his band - I think he might have actually been Kris' Brother's friend - who knows maybe I am totally wrong. Anyway, I always think of them together. Plus I thought Afton might like it.)

So, I know what it's like to be a fangirl. Back in the day I swooned over the likes of Donny Osmond, Shaun Cassidy, and someone called Harrison Ford. I know the symptoms, weak at the knees, breathing comes a little bit fast, heart palpitations, thinking of said victim idol 24/7, knowing random facts about said individual's life, the list goes on. Now I'm 48 (shhh, it's a little bit of a secret). There are people that are definitely of interest to me. Kris Allen is at the top of that list. I am a 48 year old, happily married mother of 3 young adults. Question: Is one still considered a fangirl at this stage in life? There has got to be a better word. Fanwoman? This seems a little weird. An image like this comes to mind...

I don't think it quite gets the feeling across.

I no longer get weak in the knees and I'm pretty sure my breathing can be considered normal. But there are times when to others, it might seem like I am pretty obsessed. Let me let you in on a little secret, sometimes I play it up, just  a little, just because it's fun. I am of the motto "Own it!" and "Go Big or Go Home". I exaggerate it because it's better than being embarrassed about my apparent "fangirl" (fanwoman) status.

Now, don't think I'm trying to talk myself (or you) out of having idols. I think it's a good and healthy and normal thing (even for old ladies). I'm just trying to figure out where or how I fit in.

What brings all this to mind you ask? Well for one, I was just able, for the 1st time, to see my beloved Kris Allen IRL. I need to expound on this amazing individual and the reasons for which I am completely drawn to him (in the public eye or not).

(This is us the night Kris won American Idol. True fan girl picture. I would like to think that I single handedly helped him win. I would continually hit redial on the voting every week on the way home from Hollister after watching Idol at either the Dickson's or the Anderson's house)

- In 2009 Kris won American Idol. He beat the talented and charismatic Adam Lambert, who was the apparent shew-in.  California (and really, all of America) had just come off of Prop 8 and Adam seemed the perfect poster child for the "changing" times in the country. Kris, who couldn't be more opposite, won. To me, this speaks volumes about what an "idol" is and should be.

-Kris didn't get much airtime before he got picked to be in the top performers of that season. As soon as I saw him and heard him though, I was drawn to him. Genuine, nice, happy, and of course talented.

- You'd think after 5 years of listening to his AI songs - which, in reality, weren't really his, I'd get tired of them. But I still get just as big of a kick out of them today as I did back then. The nuances in his voice are exciting to me. What is it? I've never really paid attention to this before. I don't know about music. I don't know what to expect out of these contestants, except that they sound good and put on a good show. Kris was a game changer for me. I've never listened to the contestants again the same way, nor have any of them risen to Kris' standard.

-Kris is confident but not conceited. He's just a normal guy doing things he loves. He posted this on Instagram the day before I saw him in Santa Cruz. How can you not love someone who loves you and wants to share his talents with you?

- Kris's show was clean. He didn't even so much as use any swear words. So impressive. So unusual. It makes a difference. And guess what? He's still uber-cool!!

- Kris has THE cutest family. Wife, Katy and Son, Oliver. I once read that sometimes he looks at his wife and thinks, "She's the best decision I've ever made". How sweet is that? - and, if I have my sources wrong - I'm pretty sure that that's what this picture says anyway.

- Kris knows how to be true to himself - With his latest album he left the label, so he could do what he wanted. This is what he said about it. "There were times when I was nervous about doing this independently, but I stuck to my guns and made it on my own. It’s been a totally new journey and there’s so much more freedom to making music now. In the end I’m the one who has to be happy with the record and make something that means the world to me, and that’s exactly what I did.”

- Kris is resilient  Kris broke his arm a couple of years ago in a car accident. He couldn't play the guitar for a long time (I'm sure a great source of frustration for him), and then, when he was able to play again, he didn't have the range he had before. Maybe he notices the differences, but really, his guitar playing is incredibly sexy and so spot on (as is his singing). I heard he had to relearn to play in a different way than he did before. I find this incredible and amazing. And speaking of hands...

- Kris has great hands! Fun fact: Stefani likes hands. Have you noticed? Some people have really cool hands. Kris has some of the best. Here's the latest picture where I can't stop looking at his hands. These hands play guitar and piano (and probably other stuff) and that, to me, is incredibly attractive. I've never really figured out my fascination. Maybe it's because cool hands doing cool things = cool. Maybe it comes from my years as a "fine arts major" where we did really hard projects like drawing hands. Did you know hands have personality just like faces? I think Kris's hands have amazing personality. I mean really. How can you not be a little obsessed with this picture? (this is also a good picture for Dianne to get obsessed over, with her interest in forearms and all... am I right?)

- Kris is endearing and genuine and funny. -- So, there were 12 of us that made the trek to Santa Cruz last Friday night to see him. At least 7 of the 12, either didn't know who he was, or were going only to support their signifigant other. By the time we left, all 12 of us were fans! Kris sold a lot of music that night even though we were part of a very tiny crowd. I promise Kris, if you come back to the Catalyst Club, I'll make it my personal mission to fill that room. I know I can.

(Here's the 12 of us that went. We got ice-cream afterward, when we really should have stayed at the club and waited for Kris to come out the back so we could meet him. Sigh, I guess we are just 40-something's that are guided more by our stomachs than our concert-savviness. Speaking of appetites though, maybe we should just invite him and his band over for dinner when they are next in town. We're good at that. It would be fun. What would/should a real fangirl have done? )

(And here's me and my hot date. He's talented and sexy in his own right. He was so supportive about going to a concert that was anybody other than Rush, but in the end, he gained a great appreciation for Kris, and rightly so, Kris earned it. And Brad is all kinds of awesome!)

-Kris is an amazing artist - I love that he is an expert (in my opinion) on the guitar and piano. He does it so well and seemingly so effortless.  Did I mention the "cool" factor too? I love when the music is "in" someone and it comes out so real, so smooth, so genuine, and with such feeling. I like that he chose to leave the imperfections (his word not mine) in his new album to give it energy. Success! I've always loved the little things to hear in his music (voice and instruments). Hearing him live was all the more beautiful. His songs are relatable and catchy and I like almost all of them immediately.  It was extra special hearing my favorites in person and imagining his motivation and feelings while he was singing. My playlist is becoming ever more and more "Kris Allen heavy". Sometimes I fool myself into thinking I will delete some of the songs, but when it comes down to it, I never can.

- Kris' songs are universal. While Brady (almost 17) may not choose to put Kris on his own playlist, he knows all the songs and sings them, with feeling, when I've got Kris playing at home or in the car. Sometimes he makes up his own words and that is totally endearing to me.

-Kris was nice to my Afton when she saw him at BYUI. She and her friends waited after the show to meet him and get their pictures taken with him. She was so impressed with all of them and their caring attitude.   Side Note: Kris' Band is crazy talented too. They can play songs seamlessly that they've admitted they'd never played together before. Tee Hee. It just makes me giddy. Something about unity makes me extremely happy.

-Kris has uplifting and hopeful songs. - Lyrics like, "There's probably no saving us, but I wrote this song to try" is just one example of this. Beautiful & Wild (where these lyrics come from) has been running through my head continually since Friday, such a special song (Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.) He writes all types of songs but one thing they have in common is that they are positive in nature. Kris recently had a contest where the winner would get to pick a song for him to "cover". As I considered which song I might choose, I realized that many of the songs out there (as good as they might be) were too angsty, sexual, or depressing. I couldn't picture Kris singing any of them. And holy smokes, if we are talking about word enunciation... well, slay me now... the little quiet pronunciations of "s" or "t" at the end of words are there and pierce into my soul.

-Kris smiles and laughs and genuinely always seems to be in a good mood. Now, I'm sure he's not perfect (at least I don't think so), but I think it's mostly easy to tell if a person is a naturally positive person. I'm certain Kris is. This video makes me think so even more.

So there you have it. Decide for yourself. Am I a fan girl or do I just appreciate a good thing when I see (hear) it?

Just take into account. I can't remember when his birthday is. I don't know his favorite color, and I certainly don't know his tour schedule. I don't write fan fiction about him, I don't google him or watch YouTube videos (too often anyway). I only have one picture of him (hanging on the inside of my garage door - Poster from when he performed at BYUI) Much against what Brad thinks, I have no desire to be a groupie.  If Kris gave me his guitar pick or set list, I wouldn't complain. I would love to shake his hand or give him a hug (or maybe adopt him), but I am happy just to hear his music and enjoy his talent.

I'm just going to leave you with this. This interview continues to be one of my favorite things I've ever seen about Kris (besides him singing). It's silly and good natured. Now if I could just figure out how to upload one of my own videos you could see what I'm really obsessed with. Sorry, I'm not tech savvy enough. I guess you'll have to see my Instagram feed for a video clip that Brad took at the show. I'm a wee bit obsessed with it.

Ok, one more thing (yes I suppose I really AM a fangirl),  you have to see him performing with Keith Urban on the American Idol finale the year he won. Also one of my favorite KA moments.

And just for the record - I'm in favor of this...

Ok - after some input I decided I should put a disclaimer here. So, while several people I've talked to and heard from are on board with me here; they get where I'm coming from and are of the same mindset. However, it may come across to some as inappropriate or at the very least slightly cracked and over the top. Ok, I get it, maybe I can see how someone might feel that. But I assure you my motives are completely pure. I'm not fantasizing about Kris, I have absolutely no questionable thoughts. And I would really feel sad if someone thought this were true. However, I can understand why some people might see it this way. Hence the disclaimer. I love and appreciate Kris for sharing his talents and blessing us with them. Please know it's a spiritual connection not a physical one. And while I do appreciate some physical characteristics, that's all it is... appreciation. I don't know how better to explain this. And please know it's true.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Movies - Top 5

I'm taking a page out of Kelsi's blog. Just for fun I thought I'd post about my top 5 favorite movies. Like Kelsi, I have a hard time with favorites. It just seems so absolute. Even a list of 5 favorites is hard. A lot depends on mood, circumstances and current stimuli. As I was making up this list there were others that I kept thinking, "Oh, I should replace that on with this one." In the end this is what I came up with (subject to change).

In no particular order:

You've Got Mail

So witty and thoughtful. I once heard that many of the lines in the movie were taken from random essays of life in Nora Effron's journal (I may have that wrong). I tried to look it up but couldn't find it. Admittedly I didn't try ALL that hard. Do you love Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together? Akkk, I do. So hilariously cute. I also love Greg Kinnear as Frank Navaski.  The man so in love with his typewriter. 
I suppose it could be said that this story is a modern day version of Pride and Prejudice. Middle class girl meets rich, stuck-up guy. After many encounters they decide they do like each other after all and that their original impressions of one another were wrong (They even discuss Pride and Prejudice in the movie. How perfect is that?) It is, however, based on a Jimmy Stewart movie called The Shoppe Around the Corner.
Much of this movie dialogue is in my everyday conversations. Listen for it, it's there.
At first I was going to try and put my favorite quotes in this post, but I decided that was one of the deciding criteria in "favorite movies" they are "oh so quotable". But right now my go to quote (for no apparent reason) is, 
"That caviar is a garnish!" 

Pride and Prejudice

Recently my seminary students were giving me grief about liking Pride and Prejudice. Did I mention 10 out of the 13 are boys? They just don't understand!! It's the characters, the dialogue, the understated wit. Oh my goodness, how can you not love it!! Not to mention Mr. Darcy!! What? He is great in all the adaptations I've seen, but my favorite and the most accurate (in my underdeveloped mind) is Colin Firth's portrayal in the A&E version. Gulp!! So shy, so misunderstood, so full of integrity. Did I mention so HANDSOME? Really, it should be illegal.
He certainly has a reputation. And to prove that I am not the only one who feels this way, I once read part of an interview with Colin Firth. 
Interviewer: Are there any women in your life?
Colin: Yes. My mother and Jane Austin (HA! It must follow him wherever he goes)
Again, such awesome dialogue by many of the characters, Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine. But here I need to stop and give props to one of the most unappreciated characters in the movie, and that is Mr. Bennet. Seriously, pretty much every line he speaks is hilarious in it's own right. I love that his sarcasm and cynicism seems to be a coping mechanism for living with 6 very silly women.
One of my favorite parenting mantras comes from Mr. Bennet. When all the house is in uproar, when certain members - or I dare say all members, of the family are whining, complaining and using unscrupulous methods of getting their own way. Mr. Benett calmly wipes his mouth with his napkin, stands up and as he's leaving the room says, 
"And yet, I am unmoved". (End of conversation)

Casino Royale

So seriously! Who knew? I think this is why it's on my list. It caught me totally by surprise. I have always liked the legendary 007 to one degree or another. But the new era of James Bond, the gritty, less polished version - made it's impression on me. And who better than the asymmetrical but oh so eye-catching Daniel Craig to give him life? He's cool as a cucumber and hot as Hades (I love when I get all metaphorical - ok don't correct me I know those are similes). I like the idea that James wasn't always the "robot" you see in other films. He has a heart and feelings and knows how to love, not just womanize. I still love though that he is confident, competent and good at pretty much everything he does. Then there's this...
Vesper Lynd
No, now don't get confused. 
Not this... this is a Vespa. I can see your confusion though, sometimes with their British accents, it sometimes sounds like they are calling her some type of motorized bike.

Anyway, I digress. Vesper is not your typical Bond girl. But seriously do you love her? James does! I need her wit and her brains. Her secrets, her style, her ability to read a situation and to stand toe to toe with an arrogant MI-6 agent, she is a brilliant character.
I could also do with that necklace (an Algerian Love Knot - just in case Brad is reading this).

I love their sparing matches. Both quick and stubborn. There are many lines worth remembering but below is one of my favorite. Another favorite is their conversation on the train when they first meet and the other one when they are deciding what to wear to the poker game.

Vesper Lynd: Am I going to have a problem with you, Mr. Bond?
James Bond: No, don't worry, you're not my type.
Vesper Lynd: Smart?
James Bond: Single.


Have you seen this movie? You haven't? Do yourself a favor, get your hands on it as soon as you can! You will NOT be disappointed!!
First off, how can you go wrong with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn? Chemistry galore. And if you haven't already noticed I like witty movies. This is one of the best. All the little lines that don't even have to be in it but that make it unforgettable. And the characters... simply top notch. Mr. Bartholomew played by Walter Mathau (Would you like Liverwurst, Liverwurst, Chicken or Liverwurst?) Tex played by James Coburn (And you fell for it, like an egg from a tall chicken.) 

And speaking of sparing couples. Grant and Hepburn take the cake. 
I'm not gonna ruin it for you if you haven't seen the movie, but here's a picture from one of my favorite scenes. If you have seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Classic, classic, classic!
Don't we all want to be as cool as Ferris Bueller? Not to mention, adorable and charming? I probably saw this movie in the theater 10 times. It would have been more except I had to alternate it with Top Gun which was out at the same time.
So much of this movie is in our culture even today. The lines and the characters. Anyone... anyone?There's absolutely NO way to choose a favorite scene or line. And all those characters. Jeanne (or was it Shawna) Mr. Rooney, Grace, Cameron, Slone. 
 John Hughes (may he rest in peace) knew how to do a film right.
Did you know there was no official soundtrack to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, even though it had epic music? It also came out in the days before downloadable music. So sad. However, I had a friend that compiled me a cassette tape full of my very own Ferris Bueller songs. It was the nicest present. Unfortunately, it got stolen later that year, out of the backseat of my friend's car. I guess someone else needed Ferris Bueller music more than me. Sadly, I never recreated it.

Honorable Mentions

Here are some of the one's that just about (but not quite) replaced the ones above.

The Princess Bride

It never gets old
One of those movies I didn't expect much from. It was a total surprise. I mean really, wasn't it one of those books kids HAD to read in school for literature class? How could THAT be good anyway? I was completely wrong! 

Ace Ventura, Pet Detective

So movies with a character that has a strange and memorable name are often really good (see above). But I had the smallest hope that this would meet any sort of theatrical achievement. 
Who was this Jim Carrey person anyway? Go re-watch it, if only for the scene of Ace at a
mental institution in a pink tutu.

While You Were Sleeping

Right up there with You've Got Mail.
Funny, and charming and totally quotable.
Too bad Bill Pullman couldn't stay has relevant as Sandra Bullock has.
Side Note: While You Were Sleeping came out in 1995 when Sandra Bullock was 31, she played opposite Bill Pullman who was 41. Totally believable. In 2009 Sandra Bullock, then 44, played opposite Ryan Reynolds, then 33, in The Proposal. Again, totally believable. Hmmmm, draw your own conclusions about that one.

She's the Man

Before what's his name (I can never remember, is it Channing Tatum or Tatum Channing) became who he is, and before Amanda Bynes became who she is. This is a hilarious and brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare's, Twelfth Night. I might actually add "Twelfth Night" to my list but since  She's the Man is a little easier to watch when you're half distracted (as is the case with most movies I watch) it got the nod. So, I guess Twelfth Night got the honorable, honorable mention. Either way, go watch them both. Amanda Bynes make the best Sebastian. And it's a toss up on the favorite quote. There are so many!! ("I got a lifetime-a-knowlegde" -- "Viola dear, chew like you have a secret")

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Being a Mom

So maybe this should be one of those posts that I write near Mother's Day or when a big event in a child's life happens, but sometimes you've gotta strike while the iron is hot.

I've been considering this post for a long time and it wasn't until today that the right words seemed to form. Unknowingly, my niece Britni Favero inspired me. She has a cute, little, baby boy named Benson. Benson was born with a heart condition and it is always a bit touch and go with him. Whenever she posts on Facebook or Instagram it is, without fail, a moving experience. I don't purport to know how she feels or even understand the dire straights Benson could be in at any given moment. But I AM a mom and I DO know how THAT feels.

Benson is in surgery today and this is what Britni posted. "He is the sweetest thing, my heart started missing him even while he was still in my arms... I have heard it said before, having a child is like having your heart living outside your body... These are some of the truest words I have ever heard."

Folks, this feeling does not change when your little kiddos become big kiddos, it just becomes infinitely harder to express to them, or to anyone else how you truly feel. Some days you feel brave, like the days when you have brazenly taken a hot bagel out of the toaster with your bare fingers. You feel empowered and strong, so you risk a side hug or a word of appreciation or, heaven forbid, love, to your hormonal daughter. Or you take a chance with an affectionate smile at your surly son as you pass in the hall, who then quirks his eyebrows and asks, "What's wrong with you? What was that look for?" And you wonder why you even made eye contact at all. And if acknowledgement was unavoidable, you realize you should have just gone with, a chin wave and asked, "Ts'up?" Of course that will probably get the response of, "Mom, you're not young, so don't attempt to use phrases that only those of us who don't remember Michael Jackson's hair catching on fire, are supposed to use. "

When my kids were little I, of course, was a concerned mom. I listened to make sure they were breathing at night. I hugged them when they fell down, I stayed up at night and bounced them when they had gas. I sacrificed a new outfit so I could afford the more expensive baby formula that would hopefully prevent future gas. I invited 13 screaming kids (including my own) to toddler birthday parties and pretended to love every minute of it. I left a classy (or not) restaurant in the middle of a meal because my daughter's tooth was loose and she was afraid she was going to swallow it. This where I found out how truly stressed out a 6 year old can become. I chased my beloved darlings down in the craft store and pinned them against the wall with my shopping cart to prevent them running away from me, because I sure there were at least 4 pedophiles walking the aisles in Michael's looking for stray children to kidnap. I sat for many hours in the hot sun, on Saturdays, watching sports that I had no particular love for, because my child liked to make daisy chains in tall grass. I drove them 40 minutes round trip for them to attend a friend's sleepover only to have to make the same 40 minute trip 4 hours later after they had watched  "Creeperville IV", and sleeping in someone else's house was not an option.

Don't get me wrong. It was hard and stressful, but I wanted to do those things. I wanted to be a good parent. I WAS a good parent. I saw a home video recently where I was overseeing my three children (ages 6, 4 and 2) washing dishes, by hand, at grandma's house. I was taken aback at how patient I was. Wow! Was that really me? Most of the time I just felt like a maniacal mess with a few tender moments and slobbery kisses splashed in, which made it all OK.

As hard and physically demanding as all that was. They were my babies. I was their mommy. They thought I was neat. I thought they were neat. They thought I was pretty. Of course they were the most beautiful children on the planet. They thought my ideas were great. I enjoyed their candidness and creativity. And in those moments when we didn't see eye-to-eye, I could pick them up, and force them to see it my way (even if it was while they were kicking and screaming).

Then along came teenager-hood and their needs were different. Their size was different. They somehow became autonomous beings. They had ideas, they had feelings. They had opinions, they had strong opinions. Then Mom became that annoying person who served them broccoli instead of Fritos and tried to make them brush their teeth and wear deodorant. Mom, that embarrassing, old person who knew nothing of the current, up-to-date world. Mom, who could never be as cool as their friends parents. Mom, who made them come home earlier than they planned because she thought 3 am was a little too late to be out on a date. Can you even imagine?

I mean really? Wasn't I the cool mom? Didn't I do my best to stay up on good songs and TV shows and clothes and movies and electronics. Didn't their friends like me (somewhat at least). Didn't I give them their space, their own room, their first iPod? They should be appreciating the difference in me as opposed to how my parents were; which was uncool, unhip and definitely embarrassing and out of touch.

Don't they know? My heart is still out there, living and breathing on the outside of me. It hasn't changed. Don't they know that my arms still ache to hold them. Don't they know I miss them before they even leave the house in the morning. Don't they know I still like to watch them sleep. Don't they know I think about them constantly and worry for their health and well being?

It is no longer cute to post pictures of their mishaps or "adorable" failures on Instagram. In fact it is no longer cute to post any type of pictures of them at all. I feel alone, isolated and unappreciated. I don't get any of the supportive comments of my fellow moms, "LOL, I feel your pain" or "My kid did the same thing". I'm not sad (not too much anyway). I realize it is the circle of life. They are learning to become independent and, hopefully anyway, become responsible enough to live on their own one day. But I miss the interaction, the support from others. I miss the honesty that little kids have. I miss that time period when they would want to cuddle with me every morning. Oh my aching arms.

Being a mother to older children is fun sometimes. You can quote (grown up) movies ("That caviar is a garnish") You don't have to listen to songs about purple dinosaurs anymore. You can leave home (even for extended periods) and no one minds - in fact they prefer it. You have someone to mow the lawn and vacuum the floor. But, no one told me that once kids grow up it gets harder. What? Wasn't I supposed to be leaning back on my laurels, congratulating myself on helping them be able to play a rickety version of  Fleur de Lis on the piano, keeping them drug-free and from being kidnapped (remember all those creepers in Michaels?)? Shouldn't I be congratulating myself on keeping them from going down the path of immorality and from covering themselves in tattoos and other body art? This stage in life was supposed to be the easy part, right? One always hears of classes being taught or books being written about "dealing with toddlers" or about "having a meaningful relationship with teens". Why haven't I heard about books/classes having to do with raising (um, raising is NOT the right word - Living with people whom you gave birth to but who you rarely have any say over) young adults.

Do you realize that anything you say or ask gets misconstrued as unsolicited advice or prying or control tactics or disapproval? Do you realize that the relationships very are fragile? Sometimes you only get one chance to say something (sometimes none). It's so unfair. Do you realize that secrecy is easier for them because of their freedom and independence.  I really truly appreciate the, as one very close friend put it, "Mormon Mom Spy Network" It's amazing how effective this can really be. If the kids knew we used it and how amazing it is, they would very likely keel over and die. What they could never understand is that we don't use it against them (at least not very often;). We use it to find things out, tidbits about our former rugrats. Tibits that we wish THEY would just share with us themselves. Come on kids, throw us a bone, you'd be surprised how even the smallest piece of information can sustain us for so long. We want to know these things because we love you, you are important to us, not to pry into your very secret, very important lives. How could they EVER understand?

So, I don't want to sound all depressed and melancholic. My knowledge gives me a positive outlook. My kid's pre-frontal cortexes will develop all the way. They will think more like real adults than giant pre-schoolers. Who know's they might even think I'm a little bit neat again one day. My beliefs give me a positive outlook. I have an eternal perspective. I believe in something call being a "Savior-on-Mt. Zion" and I believe mothers will be numbered among these. (Father's too, but especially mothers because of their emotional attachment and involvement in their children's lives) I may have to wait until the afterlife to experience this kind of lasting peace, but I can wait.

In closing I would like to post some links to a couple of blog posts that I have read recently. They have impacted my life in a big way and if you're anything like me, you'll like them too. Us moms of older kids are not alone. None of these are long. They are, however, funny and poignant and I wish I was half as good of a writer as them, but I wish I was a lot of things, so that's neither here nor there.

Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids
Mama, There is Hope.
The Phase I'm In

Also if anyone can find me an article that was published in the Reader's Digest circa 1997-2001 about being a "cool parent" I will love you forever. I read it long, long ago and have forever wished I would have saved it. Now I have no idea how to find it. While you're at it, even though they were on different subjects than motherhood, I would like the link to an article called "What Were They Thinking" and one about how to apologize (sheesh I'm not even sure that's what is was actually about- ok I forgive you if you can find that one. Can you say vague?)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


A couple of posts ago I talked about taking picture of interesting people. I like to do this. And I also said that sometime in the future I would post about taking pictures of people and having it go horribly wrong. 
This is that day, and this is that picture.

It all happened one day right around the time "Batman, The Dark Knight Rises" came out. I was waiting for a prescription and I saw this charming fellow. It just kind of cracked me up that he was basically the antithesis of Batman. Bright neon colors, portly, sedentary, visually challenged and sporting casual, open-toed rubber footwear (at least he got the rubber part right). 

I wanted a picture of him, oh how I wanted a picture. I decided it was definitely possible if I wrangled myself into the right position and then pretended to be looking at my phone, I could just sneak a quick picture. Come on. Admit it. You've all done it right? ( Please say yes, if only to make me feel a little less voyeuristic.) 

So, I got into position, snapped the picture, and looked at it... (This is how my inner dialogue went. I remember it clearly.) "Dang, bad angle. I needed to do it again... But he looked right at me... surely he knows what I'm doing. No, how could he? I'm being very careful to look away and seem totally disinterested, I'm just being paranoid."

I then proceeded to move a few feet over and try again. Right after I snapped the second picture, he looked at me again. I quickly hurried out of the room before I made up too many more stories of what he, or any other people, knew about me.

I then proceeded to post the photo, I'd obtained through cunning, of "Anti-Bat", in all of his glory, on Instagram, with a hashtag #christianbalewouldbesoproud

I felt a little smug, and got a good laugh from all those who saw it.

Now comes the embarrassing part. 

Fast forward a couple of hours. I went to take another picture, this time, in my darkened house. As I snapped the shot, my flash went off. GHEEEEEE! What? My flash is NEVER on! Then, the dawning realization that it was also on when I took "Anti-Bat's" picture came slowly drizzling into my awareness. 

Apparently, it was so bright in the pharmacy that I hadn't noticed a flash, but someone on the other side of the camera would have seen it for sure. Especially one on whom the camera was aimed and sat only a mere arm's length away. THEN I proceed to not only take 1, but 2 (TWO!!) pictures! I was mortified and thoroughly embarrassed. Even though I'm sure he would have never seen my picture on Instagram, I removed it IMMEDIATELY. This not who I am! I don't openly mock a person I know nothing about (I only do that to people I know intimately - ha, jokes).

Embarrassing as that was/is though, I didn't stop taking pictures of people in this manner. The lesson I did learn is, to always check to see if the flash is turned off before taking sneaky photos of people's questionable fashion choices. That lesson has served me well. I have more of these type of photos that I'll share at a later date. 


Now, just so we can have a little bit of the emphasis taken off of me and my blunders and my probable creepiness, here are a few pictures (that someone else took) that I find quite hilarious and random, two of my favorite things. 
No explanation necessary.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I cried...

Three years ago when I ran a marathon I titled my post "I Cried at Mile 18" (read it here). This time I just cried. I cried for a myriad of reasons. 
I signed up for this race thinking to redeem myself from last time. Not that it was so horrible, but I really did want to "run" the whole way. If you read the last experience I had to walk the last 5 miles or so. I don't know why I felt the need to do better than this, but I should have left well enough alone. 
I was a little sketchy going into this race. I was running alone, I had had some terrible runs in the weeks prior, I didn't want to get up at 3:30 am.
But let me not get ahead of myself.
I want to start off with how I actually started the race.

Look at me, here, by myself. I survived. I just horned my way next to a fire barrel while I was waiting and I was happy (and warm) as a clam (are clams warm?). I took this picture just as the sun came up over the mountains, the light and warmth was such a morale boost. I was happy to be there.

This was my first cry. Seeing the sea of people stretched out before me and feeling the zip in the air as everyone started forward on their goal. All these people (one way or another) had prepared to be here. This wasn't a group of slackers. This was a group of people that were dedicated enough to 1) sign up all the way back last fall, 2) train for at least 6 months and 3) get up before the sun to be high up on a mountain in the cold, and I was one of them. Big boost for the state of mind.

I don't know exactly what point in the race this was but look at me, I was relaxed and happy.
Running photos of me aren't my favorite, but I can deal with this one, if for nothing else than to confirm to me that running is a happy place.

I texted this picture of me to Brad and Caroline about the 7 mile mark. 
My text said, "1/4 done, doing well." I remember how good I felt. Only 3 more of what I had just done! Totally doable.

(I can tell by this picture that I was in pain. See how I'm holding my shoulders? I think I'm trying to lift myself up and keep the weight off my knees. It was before I started walking in ernest though because I still had my sleeves rolled down.)

Somewhere around 1/2 way my knees started hurting. It was the same pain I had experienced last time I ran this marathon, only about 8 miles sooner. 
At this point I had only made it 1/2 way. I knew from past experience that I couldn't last the rest of the way. I had a decision to make. I ran as long as I could (maybe to mile 14.5). Then I had to decide,

Should I quit? 
-After all I had made it longer than a 1/2 marathon. 
-No one would blame me. 
-I wasn't out to prove much. 
-I wasn't letting anyone down (except maybe myself) if I quit.
-12 miles would take a long time to walk 

Then, I remembered my goal (to do better than last time). I knew this was no longer an option, but in order to even save face with myself I had to at least finish. I knew I would remember quitting for a long time to come. I didn't know if I could face myself if I quit. I knew it was going to be extremely hard, but until I persevered on, I didn't know how hard. I had thoughts of quitting (from pain and humilitation) almost at every mile after that until I reached the end.
This was my first sad cry of the race.
Next cry: I lost pace with those who were in my same running category (this isn't a real thing, but  you become accustomed to those running around you. They run like you, they dress like you, they seem to have basically the same mentality as you and you feel like you can relate to them)
Third cry: After a while the 5 hour marker passed me. I knew there was no keeping up
More crying: The 5 1/2 hour marker passed me. I tried running with them for a while but in the end I fell behind. Never to catch up.
I cried some more: After a while I started noticing people around me that were clearly on a lower running scale than me. Those who were older, chubbier (yes there are a few), and less athletic. I was walking, they were still running. I cried.
Still more crying: The police officers who had been patrolling the race rode past and told us we had a half hour to be out of the canyon. I didn't know how far I still had to go but I knew they wouldn't be telling us if we we were almost out. Sob.
The crying didn't end: Finally, right toward the end, people who had walked the whole race were starting to catch up. What a blow to my ego. Luckily by that time I was on flat ground and my knees recovered just enough to walk a little faster. 
The reasons all blurred together: I was embarrassed, my ego had taken hit after hit, my knees and feet hurt excruciatingly, my fingers were swollen to the point of hurting, I was in the last 50 people (out of 9,000) to cross the finish line, I felt bad that I had made Brad and Caroline and Arnell wait for so long, the vendors and barriers were being taken down by the time I got in, no one was in the grandstands cheering, I was more than an hour and a half later than my anticipated time...

Look at this picture, I'm pretty sure I was deep into a good cry here. Luckily sweat an sunglasses obscured most of this. (also take note of my ring here being swallowed alive by the puffy skin on my finger)

 Before you get too depressed though I have to point out some of the many good points about this race.
There were many, many fun and funny people along the way. Ogden Technical University was one of my favorite. Here I am posing with their poster of Grumpy Cat. They also had other signs with Yoda, Napoleon Dynamite, Ron Burgundy, Nacho Libre' etc. etc. etc.

 I WAS prepared mentally - even though I had my doubts. 

The weather and the scenery were FABULOUS!! So so beautiful!

Brad and Caroline texted me throughout with words of encouragement. I don't think I could have made it except I knew they were cheering me on with words like
"You don't have to go fast... you just have to go"
"You should be PROUD of yourself! Wish I was there walking with you"
The picture above is Brad meeting me right at the end. He hugged me and walked for a little way with  me I  of course cried from exhaustion,  and let down, but most especially from the support and encouragement.

I told Brad at the end. "One good thing is I NEVER have to do this again if I don't want to."
And after all was said and done, I got the SAME metal that all the other runners got. I finished. I crossed that line.
  I fought the good fight, I finished the course!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love (work) Week -- Day 2 (Baking Soda Orange)

Sheesh, between laundry, helping Brady with homework and helping Brad plan a mutual activity, I almost didn't get Love (work) week -- day 2 done before it was day 3. (If you missed day one go here.)

So, in case you were wondering I'm a little bit obsessed with the color orange. For some reason I am just  drawn to it. You might even say I LOVE it.

This is my latest "orange acquisition", an orange sweatshirt from American Eagle. What makes this find doubly good is the price. Have you ever bought a sweatshirt from AEO? Ya, they're expensive. The other day I happened up on this little gem. It was already on clearance plus all the clearance items were an additional half off AND on top of it all, I had a coupon for 25% off of my entire purchase. Voila! $9.60. Favorite store, favorite color, AWESOME price!

I love all shades of orange, but this bright orange is my favorite. I call it baking soda orange. I held the box of Arm & Hammer baking soda right up to my sweatshirt. They were an exact match.

Speaking of Baking Soda orange… check out this bad boy sunrise! There are advantages to getting up early some days! Don't you LOVE it? I do.

Here's some of the orange I have in my house. My mantle is one of my favorites when it comes to mime decoration. The picture frame I got at an antique store in Jackson California (shoot, maybe it was Sonora) anyway the ceramic bird (yep, that's what that blob on the right is) came from the DeAnza Flea Market. It was a had-to-have. I paid more than I wanted to but haven't regretted it for a second. My dear friend Annette made me the banner. She made it at my house and right under my nose. I didn't even know she was doing it. I LOVE it! It was just suppose to be for the fall but I love it so much I've left it up. Just off to the left is an old orange gas can. I suppose I should have photographed it too, but you'll just have to use your imagination.

Now before we get off the "orange" subject all together, I just had to post this picture. This ginger didn't realize that his devastating charm and extra special attention to style got him a space in LOVE week. 

I've decided I LOVE taking pictures of interesting people. Here's the latest offering. I wish you could really see his boots. They are knee high cowboy boots with his dark washed jeans tucked into them. Snazzy! His hair was buzzed very short but he still managed a center part that, of course, compliments any face, even those with full-on Grizzly Adams beards. Yikes!  I'm not even going to mention the "lollypop" effect here. It really is his most striking feature. I could tell he thought he was really something special.

(SIDE NOTE: look for a post someday about taking pictures of interesting people and how it can go extremely wrong.)


Moving on.
These aren't orange but I just had to post my extreme love of these ca-ute aprons that my friend Denise Shattuck made for my girls who helped out at activity days tonight. This is officially Kelsi's calling but Afton went with her tonight to help out with a Daddy Daughter event. They each came home with one of these. Maybe you can tell, but she attached a double string of pearls to each of them. Way too adorable. Denise's talents and skill set never cease to astound me! Maybe I'll be her when I grow up.

So, tomorrow (Day 3). I'm going to be talking about my media LOVE. I have it in spades!