Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here to Make Friends

You don't have to watch the whole thing to get the idea.

Clearly reality T.V. has nothing to do with reality, and these people probably know what they are talking about...well, maybe not the ones from Flavor of Love, but the rest of them are sticking to a game plan.
I've been thinking about this a lot because while I don't consider it my sole purpose, to a degree I think that I really am here to make friends. My survival strategy consists of relying heavily on those around me for inspiration, help, advice, entertainment, recipes, and hand-me-down clothes.

Recently I have had reason to reflect on how friendship has enriched my life because one of my dearest high school friends passed away. Braden is my second cousin once removed (it took us about a year to figure out how to say it.)

After a very traumatic accident when he was in 8th grade he spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic. He was an awesome person and, with the exception of the hand-me-down clothes, fit all the above-mentioned criteria for a great friend. He and his family welcomed me, and a bunch of other friends into their home, where we made all kinds of great memories. A lot of times I would go there just to get away from all those silly pressures that seem important when you are 16 and I always left feeling better. I will miss my friend, especially his laugh, but I feel happy that he was finally able to leave that still body behind and let his spirit free.

When I look at the good parts of the adult that I have become a lot of them come from the positive examples of the friends I had along the way.

Okay, now for the really mushy sappy big finish.

I have had a lot of different seasons of my life, and in each one I have met friends that have brought me so much joy. When I left home to go to school in Hawaii, in Boston as a missionary, in college at Weber State, and in Eugene. With the exception of the ones that live here I rarely see any of them, but I still feel close to them and appreciate the way they have touched my life.

While it has become obvious that my real mission in Eugene is to commune with my inner hippie a by-product has been some really great friends. The tough part of living in a student community is that the graduation season means that people you love will be leaving you behind.
I guess it is the same with Braden. He's moved on and we are all left to keep truckin' through. But, even though the season has changed, I get to keep all the good things I learned from him, and all the rest of you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Best Part

The best part of being a mom are moments like this one.
Ummm...I mean, moments like this one.

A Poem

A special poem for anyone who is a mother, or who has one.

The Lanyard - Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Happy Mother's Day to the special moms in my life. I really hit the jackpot when it comes to special women in my life.

Brandon's mom has been a dear friend and mentor to me as we've started our little family. She is a wealth of knowledge, as she should be after raising this family.

My family is celebrating with heavy hearts this year because of the passing of Kristin's mom, Maureen. Even though at first she thought I was a bad influence, she grew to be a great support and friend. I owe her a lot because she raised Kristin who is a true friend and sister.

Here are my parents, and Maureen and Kent with Ethan on his baptism day.

Two sets of amazing grandparents.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Major Motivation

I was privileged today to watch thousands of brave, strong, and amazing runners battle through the 24th mile of the Eugene marathon. It is a humbling, and extremely motivating experience to watch people push themselves forward despite being so completely exhausted.

It was super fun because I got to be with some of my awesome friends...
Lindsey, Autumn,

and Katrina,

to cheer for Laurie who has inspired us all with her example and her running blog.
I tried to copy this sign from something she posted, and even though it didn't look that good, the message was clear.

I thought that she would think it was funny, but I underestimated the affect that it would have on the other runners. I know from my own experience that two miles from the finish might be the hardest spot in the course, but when people saw this smiley they remembered to enjoy the moment for what it was. They smiled and several people said thanks. I have to give the thanks to Laurie for not only setting an example to sheer toughness, but for having such a great attitude.
I got home, and even though it is ugly, I hung this poster up on the wall because I think I need to remember that whatever is going on in life, or in a race, to run happy.

Professional Photography

Rocky just wanted to announce that now that she has her own digital camera she is going to start a business.
She specializes in weddings but is also available for family, and senior portraits. So far only one picture she has taken has turned out the way she liked it.

Here is her portfolio.

If you are interested in booking a sitting she can be found most weekdays at the playground outside of her apartment between 3:30 and 5:00.

Bonus Pictures:


How can my little Rock Star be three?
She is such an amazing little girl who loves life and when she is around it is hard not to feel the same. Her energy and her smile are contagious and she has a special capacity to see the best in everyone.
All she wanted for her birthday was a pinata like the one in her favorite music video. More details on this will soon be found on Brandon's blog because that is his scene.
It turns out that making something like that takes more time than you would think. Brandon and I both spent a couple of late nights getting in touch with our creative spirits and this is what we came up with in the end.

So what do you do after you and your husband spend a week building a slightly horrifying model of a slightly less horrifying musician?
Give a bat to a bunch of kids and let them destroy it.

I'm not sure at what age a plumber's crack stops being cute...it might be three.

I'm not sure who was more excited about the Cinderella doll, the givers, or the receiver.

I was surprised, and excited when Rocky picked the delicious looking cupcakes, over the quirky fun ones. It might have something to do with them being called Rocky Road.

Once again, for posterity's sake I think I need to mention important current events to place this day in a correct historical context. I just heard that Osama Bin Laden was killed...but enough about that, let's get to the real news.

Prince William and Kate finally tied the knot.


The girls were all ready on Easter Sunday to model their beautiful new dresses. Rocky was especially proud of the Easter dress that she insisted her Oma buy her from the peanut butter store. Some people call it Costco, but those of you who have seen our dried beans in the empty peanut butter jars know why we buy our PB in bulk.
Daisy also looked ravishing, deciding to pass on the traditional pinks and yellows and went with the simple, yet stylish blue polka dots.


Rocky couldn't contain her excitement at the student housing egg hunt. She got to be with her buddies, Tate and Lilly.

Daisy was a little bit miffed about being in the category with the "babies" since she is obviously more mature. It payed off though because she did find the golden egg, fulfilling her mother's childhood dream. In this case it wasn't much of a feat considering that there were three babies and 3 golden eggs. Oh well, the chocolate bunny was still just as sweet.

A Little Bit Wicked

Brandon and I got to go to Wicked and I am making sure to document it so that I can date myself, and so that I'll never forget how fun it was. My mom told me that when she went to the theater to see Gone with the Wind she was so overwhelmed that she cried. I had the same experience with this musical.
I looked up a bunch of the songs on youtube and after we watched them Daisy thought that she would show everyone that those witches had nothing on her. I had to explain that being wicked is different than just being a troublemaker. She didn't seem to care.

Rocky filled her potty chart which meant that she finally won the prize of her dreams. When we were brainstorming ahead of time to decide on a really great reward I told her she could have anything she wanted out of any store and she confidently told me that she wanted a balloon. When she earned all her stickers we went shopping and I told her she could pick out the one she liked best. I didn't even narrow it down to the small cheapies, the big expensive ones were even in the running, but lucky for me she picked the one that only cost $1. I was positive that she would want a princess, or the Pikachu but she picked out the heart that says, 'You're So Special'.
I tried to sway her toward something a little less along the lines of terminal patient and more toward celebration but after all it was her potty prize so she got her way.
How long do those things stay inflated anyway?

It has only been Track season for a few weeks and Rocky already told me that she is sick of races. She made an exception to go see her tio, Victor run the hurdles.

She prefers hitching a free ride to racing...

and Daisy is willing to oblige.

She is just about walking on her own. I don't know if I'm excited or scared.