Sunday, December 30, 2012

a list about skiing

I continue to be amazed at the things I learn, and today, I learned that:

1.  Sitting on the chair lift properly allows your legs to rest before you ski down the hill.
2.  Keeping your legs relaxed and your skies parallel is easier than trying to snowplow all the way down the hill.
3.  Being able to clearly see more than five feet in front of yourself makes skiing much easier (even if it means wearing your glasses instead of your goggles, maybe especially if you can wear your glasses instead of your goggles).
4.  Last week, Jr claimed he and the drummer used to count Subaru's on the way up the canyon and insisted they'd counted over 100 Subaru's on one trip to Alta.  We scoffed at the notion of that many Subaru's in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and as I'm prone to do, I told Jr he must be making stuff up again.  But last week and again today, we started counting after we entered the canyon and while I'm certain we missed a few of them that were parked at Snowbird, today we counted over 150 Subaru's.  Not sure what that all means, but it cracked me up that my kids had picked up on it.
5.  I'm so glad we decided to become skiers in this place--this state--this pretty great place.  And next time, I'm not wearing the goggles.

Friday, December 28, 2012

movie viewing

Sopranos marathon ongoing in the gardens.  Episodes interspersed with Jack flying his new helicopter around the diningroom.  Probably ought to post pictures before it crashes and requires's always good when people like the presents you give them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

four days

So much going on around here over the past four days.

Jack's family party on Saturday.  His mom suggested we all tell our favorite Christmas memory, so many, too hard to choose.  For many years, Jack's sister and her husband videotaped family parties on their VHS recorder.  A while back, she transferred all of those movies to DVD.  On Saturday, she brought us a DVD that included many of the parties from 1989 to 2002.  So many memories--Christmas parties, family picnics in the canyons, weddings, birthdays, videos of loved ones gone.  We've had so much fun watching it over and over.

Sunday morning church services, listening to the drummer's ward choir, directed by his sweet wife.  I have always loved singing in church, especially at Christmastime.  This program did not disappoint.  It was lovely.

Sunday afternoon was my family party.  Good food, entertaining chat, fun games.  And plenty of the usual, uh, insanity.

Monday afternoon was The Nutcracker with Jack.  I've taken our girls/granddaughters to the ballet each year for several years.  We always sit on the last row, or very close to it.  Jack decided to surprise me with tickets on row 13.  We drove downtown in the rain, and as we crossed the street from the parking ramp, the rain changed to sleet/hail/snow.  We had hungry stomachs and half an hour before the ballet started, so we headed into Siegfried's Deli where we shared half a chicken and exceptionally yummy fried potatoes.  We sat at the bar facing the window and watched the snow fall through a steamy picture window.  It was beautiful.

Then we headed to the ballet.  It was stunning, tear-inducing, as always.

Last night, Stu and his family came by for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner--ham, cheesy potatoes, salad, and of course, vanilla wafer pudding for dessert.  Then into jammies and home to wait for Santa.

Today, of course, was Christmas.  Gift exchanging, breakfast with all my local kids and grandkids, then off to my parents' house, then to Jack's mom's house, then home for Facetime with the Californians.  After massive, first-rate persuasion tactics by Jr, Jack and I agreed to join him at Alta for a couple hours of skiing on a beautiful sunny winter day.  (That may be Jr and Jack on the lift for their last run...)

It was clear and cold, but not crowded, and really, a perfect end to the last four days.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

who doesn't love a dance recital?

This one wants to be dancing

But this one has the moves

She's the leader, watch what she does and then do it, okay?

This one cracks me up--it may be that they're all supposed to be doing the same thing, but if you check closely, you'll see who's standing on her blue tape spot, so you tell me who's doing the right move...or maybe they were doing their YMCA moves...right?

Perfect form hands...

Now, jazz hands, big finish, bring it on home!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

christmas concerts

Some of my favorite memories as a mom are Christmas band concerts.  Every year in December starting around 1991, we went to listen and watch as one or more of our kids, starting as 5th graders, then jr high, then high school, and eventually university students played songs of the season.

Tonight we went to watch the drummer.  But tonight he wasn't playing instruments, he was the conductor.  Student teaching an amazing jr high group.  Brought tears to my eyes listening and watching as he conducted them playing old favorites as well as a medley of the songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Even more remarkable was hearing them play songs from The Nutcracker. 

Such talented musicians and a great opportunity for them to become familiar with incredible music.  Very touching evening.

(My kid is the one standing up, making sure everyone is ready to play the music.  I'm not gonna' lie, I was pretty much wowed by the whole experience.  Probably still rather watch him drum, but still.  It was awesome.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

some christmas

I nearly forgot about the night we decorated the tree.  Leo didn't participate.

And in a surprising turn of events, Jack bought a Christmas present for Oscar.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

more snow

Jr and his friend, Danielle, convinced Jack and me to go skiing today.  It was snowing but not too windy and we almost had the place to ourselves.

Today is the first time Jack and I have skied together.  He was pretty much impressed by my ski skillz.

I think we can all agree that it felt awesome to be out moving in that beautiful winter wonderland.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

snowing but cozy

It was snowing when I went to bed last night.  I haven't been sleeping soundly of late, so I pulled a well-used, old familiar comforter off the shelf and spread it over the bed. 

Then I added a layer of dogs on top.

We all arranged ourselves and drifted off to sleep.

I slept all night, a deep, restful sleep and woke later than I have in months.  Truly, that snow was a gift.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

we don't know the story

I saw a post on facebook the other day that started me thinking.  It was a post written by a college-age girl about how much she loves her mom, how much she appreciates all of the support over the years.

She said how grateful she is for this person (her mom) being in her life to do all of the stuff that _____ (her actual mother) didn't do for her over the years.

She was really writing to her stepmother.  And dismissed the woman who gave birth to her, raised her until the divorce, and likely reads her facebook posts.

I've been thinking ever since I read that post that none of us really knows anybody's story but our own.  We only know our version of how other people enter our lives, leave marks on our lives, and sometimes exit our lives.  We don't know much if anything about their lives, only our perception of how they impact us.  We don't know their intent.

It occurs to me that maybe I need to cut other people a bit more slack.  I need to have more compassion for others.  Because I don't really know their stories and everybody has a story.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

it's very quiet around here now

The Californians left around 6:30 this morning, arrived home around 8:30...14 hours in the minivan with four kids, including the wee lad who needs to stop and eat every three hours or so...but they made it safely home.

Yes, I was a bit weepy earlier today.  Solemn even perhaps for a few hours.  But still.

In the past week, we had at least one night of RockBand. 

One night of HedBand (a kid's game with blue plastic headbands and pictures of animals/things on cards that fit in a slot on the headbands so you can guess as quickly as possible what picture is stuck to your forehead). 

One morning of pedicures. 

One morning breakfast of pancakes and bacon and french toast and juice with all the grandkids and their parents and Jr. 

One morning/afternoon of present exchanging, complete with oohs, ahs, and much commotion from the massive nerf gun war that occurred after the locals gave nerfguns to everybody.  (Seriously.  There may have been 20 different nerf guns and ammo everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  Stuck on windows, doors, walls, pictures.  My gramma's grandfather clock.  Perhaps funniest moment of the weekend when Jessie laughed so hard she cried after she turned and fired back on Stu with her gun still in its package.  That'll teach him to shoot her, right?) 

Then there was the afternoon of the baby blessing with 48 family members and friends who brought happiness, good feelings, and enjoyed heaps of food. 

And of course, a different girl (or boy) every afternoon or night falling asleep on my lap. (I have that effect on people.) 

It was so great.  And it's quiet now.

And yet, Christmas is still coming.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

things i need to remember

They arrived last night followed shortly by almost all of the locals.  I write this post to record two memories I want to keep.

Immediately after everyone arrived, I watched as a single file line of girls ran by, giggling and talking excitedly through the kitchen and down the stairs to play together in the basement.  It was music to my ears and golden to my eyes--all of them so delighted to be back together at gramma's and grampa's house.  You see, this is what it is all about - family together.


At some point, Leo started to fuss a bit.  Shilo held him closely and rocked him, but really, he wanted and needed his mother, who was out back touring the trailer for a few minutes with her dad.  Janey heard his fussing and proclaimed that what he needed was his pacifier.  I asked aloud where his pacifier might be and watched as she tapped a finger on her cheek and thoughtfully noted that his pacifier was probably in his carseat.  I said I thought the carseat had been moved into the toy bedroom and off she dashed, returning moments later with the pacifier.  I said, "Good job finding the pacifier!"  She slid to my side and quietly said, "Well, actually gramma, you helped find the pacifier because you remembered where the carseat was.  We found it together."  Adorable, smart, and really loves to help with that baby brother.


Sunday, December 2, 2012


I've already started my Christmas shopping and wrapping.  There's only one word for that:  UNBELIEVABLE!

But that's what has to happen since the Californians will be here ON WEDNESDAY!  They're coming for a wedding in Cory's family and staying at our house for six nights so we'll be exchanging gifts early. 

Obviously, the best gift for me will be seeing them together with all of my family.

Can't. Hardly. Wait.