Sunday, June 27, 2010

Little Rascals

Church out, all a bit stir crazy, we want to find a close mountain lake to dabble our feet in during informative gospel discussions.   Problem.  Briz and I can't agree on where to go.  I give in.  We drive and drive and drive and drive.  My blood boils after the first hour.  Looks like we're in for a rough outing today.  I am keeping my mouth shut but I WANT TO GO HOME RIGHT NOW and have a nap.  We stop at a few places.  Place # 1 has groomed grass.  How is that mountain retreat I ask you?  Place #2 has no cover, just sage brush and rocks leading to the reservoir.  Place # 3 looks promising.  Briz and the kids get out.  There are tattooed beer bellied dudes in wife beaters lounging every 10 feet.  An abandoned baby screams under a towel, Retrievers bark and chase.  I roll up the window and plan activities to do with the family this summer and try not to think longingly of my bed.  No one can stand it.  Back to driving.  Place #4 is supposedly shut down.  Does that stop us?  No it doesn't.  We park on the road and hike through the brush to a river running into Jordanelle. 

Briz pops up some chairs.  

The girls, tired of answering my "What would you do if" questions, waste no time creating a dam, then happily dive in.  

Hours of happy giggles reach our ears as we talk, rest and I read up on how to incorporate more love into my parenting.  

I look up and see a small face looking a me.  No, make that 3 small faces.  

Wary, but  curious, they snuffle over to my feet, try a shoe lace, then find small pieces of apple core to munch.  

Twenty minutes later, after much crooning and clicking, the little girl climbed up my leg and into my lap.  She decided she liked snuzzles.  So much that when we finally called the girls over (after 1/2 -1hour of our own private fun) she dove down my shirt to safety. 

We reveled in the soft pads on their little hands, their pungent musky odor, and natural curiosity.  The littlest figured out how to unzip Briz's pocket to obtain a granola bar wrapper.  

Less than 3 months old, they are not nocturnal till 11 months old.  So while their mother sleeps in their hollow tree, they get into a lot of mischief.  

We all longed to bring them home with us.  But we realized it would be wrong on so many levels. Of course, when I saw that raccoon pets and breeders were all over the internet, I rethought it for a minute.  But only a minute.  In intelligence tests, raccoons unlocked 11 of 12 complex locks in under 10 tries.  They retain solutions for over 3 years.  I hate to think what they'd do to the pitiful child locks on our cupboards.  

Rascal was the handsomest with a dark black mask, yet he was the most fierce.  When I reached down to touch his soft fur, he sunk his teeth into my finger.  I let my hand hang limp in his teeth to let him know I was no threat and soon he warmed up so much he rolled over on his back for a nice nap between Briz and my chairs.

We must have played for close to 2 hours. 

Parting with our new friends was traumatic.  Little Rascal (the big boy) looked up at Briz with a pleading puppy dog look that about melted his heart.  They tried to follow us, so finally, we grouped up and took a run for it.  They stayed close to their hollow tree and will have quite the adventure to tell their mother. 

Riverton Rodeo

We get in ruts sometimes.  I keep coming to the Riverton rodeo because:

They are patriotic.

The cowboys love kids. 

My little ones wear themselves out chasing elusive calves for the hope of money.

When they get knocked over be the calf, I am there for comfort. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

School's Always in session

Bright and early Saturday morning the girls and I dressed for their first race.  We've been practicing.  We started with a half mile and each day, I told them they just had to run a little further than the day before.  Each child responded so differently.  Ladybug ran a few yards then gave up angry because her legs hurt.  Little Mother sped along for a lap, then walked a lap, then ran ahead for a lap, then walked... anything to win.  Five year old Sunshine held my hand and gave it her all.  She studied her form, and consisently outran her sisters in heart and ability.    They each progressed as the weeks went by and I wondered how they would do on the actual race.

Little Mother was humiliated to have everyone watching her and refused to start the race running.  Sunshine ran a few yards then, seeing only the length of the course, cried, begged to stop, and ended up being dragged along sobbing by her mean Mother.

(Her mean mother knew she could do it and needed to see for herself).

Ladybug began solid, continued solid, raced like a champ and gave it overall, the best run.  As I thought, each child felt so pleased and proud of themselves for finishing the mile they forgot their earlier hicups.

There is something wonderful about a small town parade.  The flags fly, the politicians wave and shake hands, the 4-H horses poop in the middle of the road, the community floats float by, the lovely girls wave, the kids throw candy... and best of all, my  little one gets the opportunity to feel like a celebrity. 

She marches, kicks, and punches.  We scream her name and give her a cheer.  She looks a little embarassed, but wouldn't she miss us if we didn't?

Ladybug used the dragging time before the parade started to sell mint brownies.  There are so many expenses in the summer.  She understands this and wants to out the best she can.  She volenteered to earn as much as she could to take herself to Girls Camp this summer.  So, she walked up and down the parade route, basket in hand, offering her wares.   

I couldn't have done that.  Not now, not then.  What courage, what bravery.  She cleared $10 from the brownies.  Initially, I planned on keeping some for supplies.  After watching, I decided she can have all my labor and supplies for free, her own part looked so difficult. 

Summer is still a time for learning, a time for growing... for the adventurous heart, school is always in session.

Our Pop Rocks!

Today all in the castle used the day to let our Pop know HE ROCKS!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why are you the way you are?

My Dad called yesterday.  "What is important for your daughter's to know?  What can they gain from Ivy's accident?  Brainstorming with my mom has been a great opportunity for reflection.   I re-ran across this poem by Russell Kelfer.  I loved it when I first read it and I love it today.  Girls, THIS is what I want you to know. 

You are who you are for a reason.
You're part of an intricate plan.
You're a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You're just what he wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God's plan in mind,
And they bear the Master's seal.  

 No,That trauma you faced was not easy,
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You've been formed by the Master's rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day in the Life of a Girl

I had  forgotten the smell and ceaseless noise made by 40 sweaty kids packed into a school bus.  I had forgotten the long drives, with open windows to provide true air conditioning that blew my hair in my face till it itched.  It all came back as I watched the boys pull their heads and arms into their t-shirts, roar and crush water bottles like He-Men, and listened to the girls giggle, whisper, and make silly faces.

I forgot what it felt like to be in a world of small people, the pressures, and the political posturing.  I remembered as my little one clung to me heart broken over having to use a wolf for the 3rd Billy Goat's Gruff.

remember feeling so proud of my young pretty mom when she came to class to deliver my birthday cupcakes, so I worried how Little Mother would feel taking a middle aged woman with her.  My concern deepened as she woke me this morning with a full tour of my closet, picking out the most uncomfortable and stylish clothes in my closet for our visit to a 19th century pioneer town.  "Tell her to go take a hike", my protective husband said.  "I can't."  I replied.  "I know it means a lot to her not to be ashamed of me.  I'm okay with it."

The boys rachetted their hands, made machine gun noises and kept sighting their favorite little girls. They called their names over and over while the girls ignored them and continued clapping out Pease Porriage Hot.  Yet at Virginia Reel time, they smiled oh so coyly as they sidled up to the boys.  My mind went back to Mrs. Clark's third grade class.  I sat by Ryan Gardner with the big brown eyes.  He chased me at recess and Jeni Bott and I talked about him as we played.  He came back and asked me out when I was in high school, but the magic had gone.  Yes, I guess I participated in this immature flirtation. 

As we walked along the pebbled streets, I felt a little padded hand creep into mine, over and over.  "Isn't my mom so pretty!"  The 5 girls I chaperoned clamored around me petting my earrings, smoothing my hair, touching my necklace.  Little Mother beamed.  "My Mom!"  She forcefully moved the girls closest to me away so she could take her rightful spot.  Trying to understand the mysteries of womanhood, they raided my purse, tried my gum, dabbed my perfume on their wrists and tasted my water.  "Even her water tastes minty and fresh!  Maybe it's our lip gloss!"  I keep Spearmint oil in my water with a touch of vanilla, but I'll let it hold it's womanly magic for now. 

Yes, now I remember.  I remember it all.   After all, it wasn't the olden days.

It was worth the humiliation of asking for help with my other two.  For 5 hours, I walked in my daughters world.  And she is not yet ashamed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Prayer Log -- pretty great idea

John Lund says to take our frustrations to the Lord and our love to our families.  I TOTALLY do the opposite.  After all, my loved ones cause my frustration and the Lord fixes it right?  Therefore, he deserves the love, they deserve the frustration.  Hannah Whitall Smith tells me to keep a prayer journal and write things I prayed for down, then have a spot to record the answer.

I haven't started the prayer journal yet.  But after today, I am going to.  Romance is struggling.  It is withering, smothered from daily life.  Every night after the children go to bed, he goes upstairs, puts on his earphones and listens to his audio book.  I sit downstairs, fuming.  Doesn't he care about the relationship?  Doesn't he want to reconnect?  So many nights we have meetings, have tos, or he gets called out for work.  Doesn't he care that we are strangers?  So last night, he and Ladybug ask to go play tennis during our sacred marriage time.  "Whatever."  I reply.  They take that as a happy yes and off they go. 

Ooooooh!  Well.  I don't care anyway.  Why do I need him to want to spend time with me?  I have a million projects to do.  I'll show him.  I'll stop begging for time, after all, he should be the one begging.  I won't say a word.

Hmmmm.  This is passive aggressive.  This doesn't help the real problem.  But I've tried everything!  Not prayer a little voice in my head whispers.  "Take your frustrations to the Lord and your love to your husband." With water streaming over my head in the shower, I poured my heart out to the Lord and expressed my needs for attention, our marriages need for time, for conversation, my frustration over the situation.  The impressions came immediately.   "Be a disciple of Christ in word and in deed.  Take no thought for the morrow.  I will care for you.  I will make up for your unmet needs.  Lashing out, even passively, is not what I would do. "

The shower had not finished before my husband stood outside the bathroom.  "I'll be downstairs finishing the dishes."  What had he eaten at tennis?  Had the Lord talked with him that quickly?  I toweled off and came downstairs.  "What would you like to do?  Watch a movie or read?"  After we settled into our leather chairs, "Is there anything you would like to talk about?"  As a matter of fact there was... We hadn't had 5 minutes in a week and I had many things to clear.  The night went well.

Today, he came home.  Hug.  Hug.  Hug.  "I want a snuggle."  He said.  "I'm craving hugs from you.  You are so snuggly today."  I started to cackle.  "What!"  Are you doing something magical to make me feel this way?"  I just laughed some more.  "Yes, I am."

The first entry in my prayer journal will read as follows:
Prayed:  June 15, 2010 9:00  p.m. prayed for husband to feel the need and initiate more contact and time.
Answer:  June 15, 2010 9:10 p.m.  husband responded.

Pretty cool huh!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Midodi's Ultimate Fruit Salad

Don't you just love/hate to come home and smell BBQ cooking in the air?  I am having a heyday with all the fresh seasonal fruit available.  It seems that almost every night we are having a version of my most favorite of all time fruit salads.  Why is it my favorite?  Because it tastes like fruit candy.  People ask what did you do to this fruit but they are never really sure if you did anything or if they just wandered into fruit nirvana.  

So.  In honor of warm days, pot luck dinners, and reasonless come on overs - here it is.  It is really flexible, so be flexible.  Use what you have or what is on sale.  You will love it!

Midodi's Ultimate Fruit Salad

Brown Sugar (2 T. or less to taste)
almond extract (1/4 t.-1/2 t.)
Combination of fresh fruits like the following:

In a large serving bowl, combine chopped fruit.   Sprinkle with brown sugar and almond extract.  Toss.  Let sit and meld for 5-10 minutes.  Stir again.  If adding bananas or kiwi, add just before serving. 

Obviously, I love you all.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Concert in the Park

It's one of those perfect evenings novelists write about.  It is warm but cool enough hold that jacket back (just in case).  The park is filled with lovely people, music lovers all, friends, and my girls. 

While the musicians play, we clap, sway, then get up and dance. 

Cookies fill our tummies, Fun Stix  and Spree color our lips (all except the mommies who delicately munch sugar snap peas.)  

It's a good night for holding onto and treasuring what is left of my Little Women's childhood.

I watch Little Mother chase after the older girls and hang on their every word.  I watch Sunshine blast through the delicately preserved antique crowd and dance to the music. 

Some day they will live in different houses.  Our lives will not be so closely, deeply intertwined.  I won't get to watch every expression, listen to every conversation, and share every moment. 

So tonight... is a good night.  We get home an hour past bedtime.  Sacrifices must be made after all.  "I'm a fan of Peter Breinholt.  Are you Mom?"  asked a sleepy voice as I carried her up to bed.  "I sure am sweetheart." 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kindness is the Best Policy

"Kindness is almost always the right thing to do."

I noted the flashing billboard as we drove home from the graduation party.  "Oh yes.  I thought.  I'm really working on instilling this in my little people.  I'm glad I'm a kind person.  It seems to work really well for me."    I've used many lessons and signs to drive this point home including many Mormonads.

This morning Briz took me for an early morning tennis date.  My fragile body is recovering from so many tennis dates last week.  The right wrist is weak and can't hold up a forehand.  Both knees ache as they rush to greet the ball.  My back is strained from reaching difficult backhands.  While protecting my body, I injure other parts.  I can't get a shot for love nor money.  I meditate, I focus on follow through, I watch the ball.  It isn't working.  Briz approaches me with a tip...."You're too close to the ball.  All your shots are going wide."  Does he think somehow I've missed that fact?  Frustrated, I keep trying.

A long haired punk jogs by with ipod plugged in.  He stops to watch our game.  I hit it into the net.  "MISSED!"  he yells.  How rude!  I think.  I give the creep a thumbs up signal to show I heard his rude comment.  A few more difficult mishits follow.   "NETTER!"  he taunts.  I've had it with this creep.  Everyone tells me I have no backbone and don't know how to express negative emotions.  Not this time.

I turn to him.  "Would you like to come and play?"  I ask.  "No." he answered.  "I don't play tennis.."

"Then perhaps you wouldn't mind keeping your mouth shut."

"O.K."  The earphones went back in and he shuffled off. 

That went easier than I thought it would.  Briz approached me with consternation at the net.  "Dodi, that woman had mental handicaps.  Couldn't you tell?"


"She is hanging out here because she has no where else to go.  She was hoping to start a conversation... She yelled NETTER because she felt so proud that she knew what one was."

The breath went out of me as though I'd been sucker punched.  I didn't stand up for myself at all.  I injured a woman who had plenty of injuries all ready.  How could I be so cruel?  She was long gone, but she stayed in my mind.  My shots didn't get a lot better.  I was out of bounds with more than just my ball.  My mind was on a lonely young woman wandering around the skate park.

As we walked to our car, I saw her (for now her gender was clear).  She turned to avoid me and started to walk faster.  "Please!"  I called.  "Stop!"  I cut her off.  "I am  so sorry I was rude earlier.  Will you please forgive me?  I was really frustrated with my game.  I had no right to be so unkind.  Tell me about yourself."  Our conversation continued for a few more moments then she ambled off, skipping and happily kicking a rock.

I must record my lesson.  Yes, kindness is always the right choice.  But not just when I feel it is meritted.  ALWAYS.   Because most times, I can't see too clearly.