Monday, April 26, 2010

Growing-Up, Books, and Prom

Some quick thoughts on each of the kids this week:

Benny started going to nursery this month! He loves it. It's that simple. He seems to know what to do and where to go as if he were prepared somehow, to make that big step! The first week, I didn't know what to expect when I brought him in. The ladies said I might expect to stay for a few minutes with him and let him get used to the place, and then leave. They warned me he might cry, but probably not too long. He didn't even wave good-bye. He went straight to the table, found his chair, and started in on a puzzle. Beginners luck? No. The second and third week were followed similarly. He appears to be quite social and fits in well with the kids. Whew! Another milestone for Benny-boy, and we are on our way to the next one.

Tori-Laine and I were going to sell her hundreds of books. She said they were too much of a temptation (she REALLY gets sucked in to the books and sometimes forgets about her real-life). So we posted them and sold the first couple collections. I have never felt so much regret in all my life. She grew up with these books! She is who she is, partly because of these stories! What was I thinking? Long story short, I cleared shelf space in my office, and have vowed to read them all myself. I have never really been one to "make" time for pleasure reading, but am finding it nice to read a chapter here and there--catching glimpses of Tori's world from time to time.

Dania attended her Junior prom this weekend. She went with her very good friend Jacob, and they looked fabulous together. Everyone at school thought the "double redhead" idea was cute, but I think they were even cuter for who they were on the inside. Two great friends, each hoping the other had the perfect day, and they did. It started with a group horse-back ride up some mountain trails--Dania had a BLAST! Then after getting ready, they were off for pictures in the orchards (in their formals), Italian dining, Prominade, the dance itself, and crepes at a friend's house afterward. Dania looked stunning (in my unbiased motherly opinion) and Jacob was quite the gentleman. Their next dance they'll be seniors!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home, and Arizona

When I wake up to a snow covered lawn in the middle of April, I try not to say anything--at all. I know it will melt quickly, I know it won't last forever. I can't help but think of Arizona's warm air in my lungs and sun on my back. The girls and I took a trip to Scottsdale this winter, just the three of us to soak up some of that good stuff, how I miss it now.

We really had a great time, except that Tori became quite sick once we got there. While we didn't spend as much time poolside as we had originally planned, but the purpose of the trip was fulfilled and girl-time was certainly maximized. One of my favorite memories of the trip was a simple walk to get Tori out in the sun and feeling better. We started with the hotel grounds, taking pictures. Then we moved on to the nearby neighborhood and admired the very different (from Utah) landscaping and architecture of the homes. Eventually we decided to test the limits and went for a drive to see the LDS Mesa Temple.

We used to live in Mesa when it was just the three of us. Every Saturday night we would go to the Temple grounds and watch the Arizona sunset behind the peaceful building. We brought blankets and pillows, and though the girls were small they somehow offered reverence here. I remember breathing deeply and wondering how things would turn out for us. This was a healing place for us then, when we needed it. And now, as we returned some 10 - 15 years later, it was again. Reverence was there between us, the sun was setting, and Tori was feeling better.

I love that my family moved to Mesa back in 1990 from Seattle. While I appreciate the beauty and climate of the great Northwest, there is something that will always bring be back to the warmth of the valley. Our family visits are often at parks or trails. Even Thanksgiving dinner has often been at a hiking trail where the little kids could roam. There is so much to do outdoors there, and so much to love. I know the desert can come across as baron and desolate to some, but I connect with it. I miss it.

Maybe one day I will return for good. Tori swears she will live there as soon as possible. I hope she can. For now, we bloom where we are planted come snow or rain or (hopefully soon) sun. We soak up the goodness that Utah has to offer, love the people, enjoy the experience, and make the most of it. As much as our trip to Arizona was wonderful and warm, it was still better to be home in the closeness of our family and the life and love we have built together here. Home Sweet Home.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Plan B

Normally I am quite an "all or nothing" kind of person and I prefer to stick to the scheduled plan. In some things, people have called me OCD, or an over-achiever. I don't know if I'd go so far as to categorize myself in this way, but I admit to have a tendency to set very high expectations for myself sometimes. However, every week I am learning and trying to accept the very real place that "going with the flow" has in my life... at least for the next few years. So every Sunday I will continue set "plan A", and work diligently to achieve it as always, but inside I know that "plan B" awaits. Sometimes that isn't so bad.

This week, "plan A" was to spend each day familiarizing myself with italian cooking with Giada. I made it through Monday's meal -- then Benny was sick Tuesday and Wednesday so Pizza and Cafe Rio food were okay substitutes for a quick "plan B", all things considered. Then Thursday and Friday came, and the reality of teenager/baby combo hit hard. We had to start preparing Thursday, since we ended up hosting the MORP festivities this time, and I was lucky to do it. It is really a lot of fun watching the kids, and remembering my own similar times. Long story short, I got two decent cooking days in this week. Monday and Friday. For MORP we grilled out, up the canyon after games. It was FREEZING COLD and blustery up there, but thankfully it was dry.

The theme for the dance was "Celebrity Couples"... Dania's group chose Disney couples in the form of: Hercules & Meg (Hercules), Peter Pan and Wendy (Peter Pan), Woody and Jesse (Toy Story 2), and Carl and Ellie (UP!). WHAT DARLING COUPLES THEY ALL MADE! After dinner and the dance, they all came home for dessert--one HUGE ice cream sunday directly on the table, 8 spoons, and lots of toppings later... well, you get the messy idea. What a blessing it was to listen to them talking and laughing and tossing whip cream over the newly mopped floor.... really. I wouldn't trade that hour and a half for 4 planned days of successful cooking with Giada... ever.

Lesson learned: sometimes "plan B" is the B-etter plan in the end.