Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December Happenings

"Mom, take my picture here by the toys!"

Spend 6 hours at work, these two might just build a Lego base together

"Mom, take my picture". The kids' favorite bear at the home teacher's home

Christmas Adam sleeping around the tree

Brennan and Asher konked out first, but Kieran held strong well past 11pm. Whew, finally all 4 asleep

Brennan asked to put lights up around his room. It looked pretty cool in there

Nativity story puppet show, this year at Grandma and Grandpa's

2 youngin's, one doll house, lots of fun

 Two snow days for what would have been the last days before winter break. Add that to the Monday New Year's observance day and they end up with 3 extra days of winter break this year. Woot!

Ward Christmas Party

2nd bell choir performance (the first was at the Nativity Festival). Brennan played the xylophone solo for one song.

Asher got really into combing and styling his hair this evening and asked for a picture so he could recreate it. And then promptly forgot and he's maintained his crazy locks after all.

Underwater Audio Christmas Party

So fun for him to still have a friend-since-birth around. And so fun to have Angeli working with me at Underwater Audio since last August.

He did win "Most Outrageous" in the Ugly Sweater contest

 This kid had his very first band concert. They did pretty good, really. We heard mainly selections from their workbook like hot cross buns and the like, showing a progression of how they started and how they've progressed already. They ended with a Christmas Medley and I couldn't tell you what the individual songs were, lol. So fun.

These boys, right here. Love them.

 When I watched the 3 Butler kids for a week it included cheering one of them on at the Mustache Dash with her Girls On The Run team. I managed to not (permanently) lose any of the 7 kids at that busy event and we had a great time!

I'd begun the holiday season with much more motivation than last year, but it lessened as the month went on and in the end, we didn't do very many of our usual traditions. Actually, we went from the week with visitors, to a week of sickness, to a week of bad weather, and then bam! Christmas arrived! Still, there was plenty of fun. My home teachers (former Bishop and his son, and the wife is my former VT companion) invited us over for their Christmas Eve celebrations with included 3 sets of Elders, a traditional Swedish Christmas meal, and a German tradition of finding the pickle ornaments in the tree to win a present. You probably can't picture this, but Asher completely talked one of the Elder's ears off, and we all had a wonderful evening.

Christmas morning was spent at our home for the first time in years. The kids had been watching Santa Tracker the night before and figured he comes around midnight. So in the morning as they awoke me to go downstairs I confessed that I'd accidentally stayed up until about 1am and that I was afraid Santa may have skipped us as a result. Asher's face froze in fear.  Thankfully, it turned out to be ok. Kieran saw his main gift and brought it onto the couch and wouldn't, no matter how much we encouraged, go check out the rest of hi stocking. He got something cool and was good.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


So much fun attending Time Out For Women, this year with Shannon for her first time. It was so great to have some sister-time, enjoy great music and presentations, and be part of the experience.

Knock on wood, but I'm still 100% on hitting the pumpkin patch on a beautiful warm day. No easy feat, this year. I think that afternoon was the ONLY sun we saw in October. So that was nice. The unfortunate thing is that the preceding rains had created the deepest, wettest mud I have EVER seen. It was like something out of the movies. We had to give up on the corn maze (almost didn't make it out with both of Hollyn's boots when one got stuck in the mud, lol)

Time to teach this girl to shave!

 It was a happy coincidence when we visited the Richardsons over the same weekend of Elder Christofferson's Medford/Grants Pass visit. I enjoyed watching the Saturday evening broadcast immensely. On Sunday Elder Christofferson spoke in the Grants Pass building so we got to be there for that. The meeting was cut shorter than usual due to his time constraints, which also limited his ability to meet with all of us as he would have liked. Instead, at the conclusion of the meeting he invited the children to come up and shake his hand. My kids went up with the others and the line got really long. And of course all the adults flooded the isles with their visiting while they waited. Finally, the younger three returned and I assumed Brennan was seconds behind them so I headed out the car to wait. Eventually I drove around closer to the door. Then eventually I went back into the tremendous downpour to look for him. No avail. We finally caught up with each other. It turns out that after Brennan's turn shaking his hand, he'd waited for the remainder of the line to finish so that he could ask Elder Christofferson for a picture. He'd actually only meant to snap a quick one of just him, but I guess Elder Christofferson assumed he meant WITH Brennan. The kid was pleased as punch to have this photo with him and wanted a copy, blurry as it is, printed for him to put on his wall. Happily, it turns out a lady from the stake was taking pictures of most the kids during the handshake so I've got a couple of those pics too. I love how much Brennan loved meeting an apostle. I remember feeling that way when I shook hands with Boyd K. Packer when I was about 7.

Election Thoughts

I braved Facebook a little bit last night but was too bothered by the deluge of other people's outrage and emotional reactions. It's clear that, like my literal demographic surroundings, my Friends circle was not a fan of Trump. Can I just quickly offer my own election musings?

So I voted 3rd party and it was my first time. I pretty much equally disdained both Clinton and Trump and, knowing for a while now that I wouldn't like the result of the election either way, I'd already covered the steps of grief and just watched the election as a neutral observer. It was a fascinating experience! Here were my own reactions:

Watching the results come in as unexpected States favored red, it was hil-arious to watch the news commentators. They were completely incredulous. Stupefied! I know an election is serious stuff, but I totally wanted to get some popcorn and snuggle in to just laugh at their stunned faces. As they asked "what went so wrong?" and "how could the polls have been so off?" and the like, I really got a kick out of it. I may disagree with Trump on many, many things, but I admit I loved the slap in the face this is to "media", Hollywood stars, outspoken liberals, Californians, city folk, and the like who presume to think that their endorsements and world views are tantamount to everyone else's, their thinking that they are so important and hold so much swaying power. Maybe it goes back to my friend-bubble, but I certainly saw waaaaay more negative memes, ads, press, etc for Trump than I did for Hillary. I doubt he needed the help, but social and traditional media went to town making Trump look ridiculous and he STILL won! Hahahaha.

As the reporters all threw around various theories about what the heck was going on, one of them brought up the point that there were many people who voted for Obama in both previous elections, who voted for Trump this time. MANY people. He postured, could it possibly be that this wasn't a racism issue like so many want to accuse, but in fact, that there are some who genuinely liked his policies better than Hillary's? A politician from Michigan went so far as to say that many people in his state, though dismayed by some of Trump's social comments and behavior, cared MORE about the economic effects of policies like trade agreements and immigration in their own lives. It irritates me immensely that you can't support one person over another without being accused of racism or sexism.

Regarding the Republican sweep in the rest of the government: to my virtue or to my fault I'm extremely loyal. I don't give up old connections easily at all. Although my political views have broadened, I'm still technically a Republican and most likely will always favor them over Democrats in the general sense. So, I kind of enjoy the overall results of the election in that way. Aside from that inner bias, here are a couple other things I've concluded: Trump may be a wackadoo in some areas, but thankfully many of the status-quo Republicans didn't and don't support him. Therefore I have trust in the checks-&-balances system that even being full of members of the same party, I think Trump's craziest schemes won't see fruition. On the other hand, having split parties is a recipe for nothing to ever change and nothing to ever get done. I'm intrigued to see what kinds of things might happen now that there's such a strong majority - and WAY more interested in seeing what these happenings are when it's the (slightly) more conservative party being that majority.

Now the big question: As all the reporters last night talked about needing to do some soul searching as a result of this election going so horribly awry from their expectations and hopes, what exactly will they find when they search their souls?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Lower Key

Usually Halloween has been craaaaazy busy. Which is fine. This year though there was no trunk-or-treat at the church and after down town trick-or-treating the kids just chilled for a while. Eventually I took Hollyn and Kieran around the neighborhood, and Brennan finally convinced Asher - who was content to spend the rest of the evening watching Halloween movies and gain nothing more than his meager stash - to hit the neighborhood next to ours. I ended up with the largest supply by FAR, just in leftovers from so few trick-or-treaters coming to our house. Not complaining though. :-)

I know it's very trendy these days to buy your kids' candy off them or replace it with a toy. Maybe it's because I'm lazy, maybe it's because I'm cheap, or most likely it's because I'm a terrible parent, but I just let them do what they want with it. Binge, save, whatever. They can savor the way they want to savor. #childhood. Also, I'm kind of surprised to read parents subbing their kids' candy for a toy. As if they need more toys any more than the candy in their lives, lol. Plus, I already paid for costumes AND candy to give out to trick-or-treaters (whose parents will just toss it out, apparently), and now I'm expected to buy the kid a toy or pay them for something I'm going to toss? Meh. Being a "good" parent is SO not my thing. If I get to it in time, I might look into the donation to soldiers thing. Anyway, end rant...

This year we had (depending on who he was talking to-) a Roman Soldier/Captain Moroni (in his mind, he was the latter, which was his very own idea), The Grim Reaper, a Cow, and Superman. I did Little Bo Peep again, since I didn't work on Halloween last year for those folks to have seen it. Next year I'll branch out I think.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Play it, broth'eh!

I know, I know. 11:30 at night, on a school/work night is NOT the right time to begin writing a blog post. So this is brief, just because I got a kick out of it.

Background: When Brennan began school last month he was determined to play the french horn. As other instruments were introduced, he completely wrote them off. He was zero interested in anything except the horn. Great. Cool.

Until he suddenly decided horn wasn't for him and he asked to switch to percussion. There was lots of drama and tearful nights in total despair as he agonized over which instrument to play. Finally he decided he felt good about percussion and went with it. His band teacher has been nothing but patient with him, going to tons to effort trying to find him a bell kit or whatever he needed.

Then out of nowhere last week he begins crying in his bed again because he's decided he wants to switch back to french horn. He doesn't know if it's too late or not and what his teacher will say - after all the bell kit she'd spent weeks trying to secure for him was supposed to arrive the next day. I would strangle him except I kind of get the anxiety - it's the first "big" decision he's ever really had to make.

Anyway... yada yada yada he was allowed to switch back to horn and all seems well again.

Today he brought his instrument home. Shortly after, we all left for Hollyn's karate and other evening activities and Brennan packed his horn, book, and music stand. I thought he wanted to play it at the Butler's house where he'd be after karate. Instead, he set himself up and practiced in the parking lot, sitting in the side of the van. It was so funny. It's a pretty secluded area - the karate place is the only open business on that whole side of the shopping center. But there was still some passerby, not to mention the karate teacher who could vaguely hear it from inside. I think it is SO cool of Brennan not to care at all. I've always been too embarrassed to practice in front of others, which meant I just didn't practice. Anyway... Brennan trying to learn the french horn in a parking lot. Enjoy!