"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, February 21, 2014

factual friday -- come laugh with me at my own mediocrity

I must have been in the bathroom too long. The knock ... knock-knock-knock ... and muffled little voice singing through the door confirmed it.

"Mom .. I know you're in there ... Come on, let's go and play ... I never see you anymore, come out the door ... It's like you've gone anwwwaaayyyy !!!!!" 

Thank you, Frozen.

There's something wrong with my brain lately.

The half gallon of milk I found shoved in a cupboard one afternoon simultaneously realizing I'd been the cleaner of the kitchen post school hoorah that morning, just confirms it.

I was headed to a meeting a few days ago with an informational binder, cell phone and snack for two little girls piled in one hand and sleeping baby balanced over the other shoulder.

Arriving at the meeting, the binder and phone were nowhere to be found in the car.

Returning home, the binder and phone were nowhere to be found in the house.

Luck would have it that a blizzard-like storm kicked up between the the two trips and IF I did possibly leave it on the car ... though why I'd set something way up on the top of a suburban, I'll never know ... cuz I can't remember ... 

I won't find those items 'til spring thaw come mid-April.

I drove the kids crazy retracing my steps over and over, turning up nothing. They finally deemed the house haunted, turned off the lights heading to bed and left me muttering to myself in the dark.

Hence, I've been cell phone-less for about three days.

Therefore, I've repainted my kitchen and living room.

Winter is going to last forever, I'm convinced.

I get horribly teased by the rare 50 degree day that almost melts the snow. Then the rug gets pulled out from under me.

It's not nice.

But, the occasional morning delay for icy conditions has allowed for some really nice big brothers to do a little before school sledding.

And on mornings where it's fresh and quiet, I could stand at my kitchen window forever watching the sun slant through the trees and the wind gently blow sparkly flakes that look like magical glitter.

No camera in the world could do it justice.

We had a lovely Valentine's day but it felt kind of crushed in the middle of a whole bunch of things.

The holiday fell on a four day weekend for us so Valentine making for school was rushed amid packing up to soak in another one of our ski weekends.

Grant's was our only school party this year so we felt there was time to dress up these cheapie pop rocks from the dollar store.

Annie and Janie were into giving to their middle school friends. Annie gave these heart cookies I saw in the specialty groceries while grabbing bathmats at Ikea ...

I love a quick solution.
And Janie squeezed in time to home bake cookies somewhere ... like at midnight.

That was the extent of our creative genius none of which was caught on camera, rather, here is a series of super adorable helpers:

We scrambled through all of this while Newel's parents were in town. It was such a short visit and I once again kicked myself for not snagging a picture with them.

In accordance with a new calling Newel received at church on the high council of our stake, Newel's father came to set him apart as high priest in the Melchizedek priesthood.

For those not of our faith ... there's an explanation here.

For us, it was a sacred and special event. As our family sat around the council table in the stake offices, the stake presidency gave a little lesson tailored to our children regarding order and revelation.

My heart melted looking around at all of them listening so respectfully ... one of a kind moment ;)

And though it was short ... we so appreciated Newel's parents being present.

I was supposed to be on time to church the morning it was announced.

I wasn't.

No surprise.

He leaned over as I bailed into the bench beside him with a shoe-less baby and whispered that he loved me even though I'm 100% unreliable.

I've made sure to open with my reliability rating to everyone I've spoken to since ... just so's there's no misconceptions.

Newel's parents got to double up and attend the young women's New Beginnings program that night. I can't believe Janie will be entering the young women program on her birthday in April. She was supposed to stay little forever.

When all of the hubbub died down, I spent a lovely Valentine's/President's day skiing with some of my favorite valentines of all .. thanks to Celia who stayed in the condo with Charlotte to do some AP homework and texting everyone she knows and beyond.

Capped off by a fun dinner date with my best friend in the whole world.

We took a vote to continue our family celebration to the end of the month. More on that later.

We returned to myriads of doctor, dentist and orthodontia appointments. Charlotte wanted her turn at the blood pressure cuff. She was so cute wanting to do everything the bigger girls were doing ... except when it came to the shots.

 She seriously looks like this nine tenths of the time and it's not for lack of trying.

And it's a good thing she's so darn cute cuz she's a beautiful, into everything, mess that still has me running too fast to stop.

Monday, February 3, 2014

happy month of loving more

Maybe it's the perpetual-cold indoor seclusion that makes an extra dose of nippy behavior need a change come February.

In any case, there's a hub around here over the actions of the many "Secret Service Agents" at work.

This family tradition is a celebration of a month of love by doing 14 days of secret service acts for each other. It spins the traditional couples romanticism of Valentine's day in a different direction for our family.

When push comes to shove around here ... quite literally because sometimes it actually does ;) ...

Nothing changes the atmosphere bringing them all back together like an opportunity to think about the feelings of someone else both inside and out of our family.

We had our kick off last night with a little lesson about what it means to be "faith-ful", that one who is "full of faith" would constantly be trying to build on Christ-like qualities. There was never a greater example of one who "loved more".

Together we watched this little video snippet:

Boy, that last quote really stuck with Newel and I as parents. I really ought to put that somewhere so we can all see it daily.

 "Never let a problem to be solved
 become more important 
than a person 
to be loved"

Names were drawn.

By the way Annie ... if you are looking ... that one up there is intentionally meant to throw you off the trail ;)

We emphasized secrecy and the need to either drop a note disguised in handwriting, typed or written by another sibling to keep up the mystery.

Or if they liked, they could simply leave three of these candy hearts as a marker indicating the service agent had struck with their act of love to add to the fun.

I loved that Eliza gently unfolded her slip of paper and leaned in to whisper in Newel's ear, asking him to tell her whose name she had.

"Dad!!" he whispered, and she gave one of those squinty, whole face grins of excitement and threw her arms around his neck.

So much for secrecy there, but she couldn't have been more pleased. ;)

On February 14th, we'll reveal our admirers and give an inexpensive valentine surprise. We'll cap it all off with a visit to the residents at our nearby retirement home to take them our expressions of love made just for them.

Last year, there were no better card makers for those ladies and that one gentleman who we just love to sit and chat with. The thickness in the air after each of our visits is something we all adore.

The doing of little things was infectious already this morning.

My heart melted when I spied this on Christian's bedside table after he left. He was less than thrilled that Charlotte had completely dismantled and tasted all the pieces last night. Bet he will be glad when he comes home to find it back in good working order.

And into February we go. Happy month of loving more!