We went down to BYU and sprang Ryan from Chinese Camp for a couple of hours yesterday. It was SO good to see him! Grace has been having a really hard time being without him...Friday night about 10 minutes after we tucked her in, we heard her sobbing. She was missing him. So we called him on the phone, but she was crying too hard to talk to him. We held the phone to her ear and he talked and talked trying to get her to snap out of it, but it didn't work. It was tragic : ) So we told her that we would go visit him on Sunday, and it helped having that to look forward to. She picked peas from their garden and filled a gallon bag to take to him...he loves them so. He took her up to see his room so she has a better idea of where he is. I think it'll help. I think I've taken his sweetness with her for granted. I don't think any of us realized just how much time he spends making up games for her, hanging with her and just being there for her. The Slurpee Incident sums it up: a few weeks ago the kids got slurpees. Grace took hers upstairs to my BED to watch tv. A few minutes later we hear her panicked voice SCREAM out "RYAN!!!" The rest of us were busily going about our stuff...it didn't occur to me that the hysteria in her voice could be Slurpee-related. It sounded kind of "I see a spider" freaked out to me. But I see Ry casually going into their bathroom..."hmmm hmmm...just getting a towel..." Yeah. Slurpee coated bed. The point is, her first instinct was to yell "RYAN!!!"....And his first instinct was to RUN to her as fast as he could! Ry will fix it, reach it, clean it, make it, cook it, pour it; make everything good for her. He's her go-to guy. Now his absence is making this glaringly apparent! We spent 2 hours with him. It was amazing to hear about his experiences in the short week he's been there! They've packed so much education in 7 days. He's aced all of his assignments and tests. He says that he's learned more Chinese in this week than in 2 years of school. I love him so much. He is amazing. This was such a scary thing to do, but he went, and conquered.
http://www.signaturebooks.com/bookcovers/momo.gif Every couple of years I go off on a rabid, freakish, uncontrollable anti-polygamy raging rant. I rent this book from the library, read it in about 2 days, and basically make my husband and family crazy with my chest-heaving-hysterical-eye-rolling-teeth gnashing-dare I say irrational-rant. I've been fighting it SO hard this year, especially in light of the news from Texas. So THANKS JOY (sarcasm intended!) for putting this bee in my pioneer bonnet with your book suggestion on your blog. Of course I had to look up the book you were reading. It was enough to get the idea constantly niggling in the back of my head until I finally gave in and went to the library. I've read every book I can get my hands on relating to this subject. Andrew and I had our first fight 2 weeks after we were married because I read "The 27th Wife", and asked an innocent question of him about polygamy. "Honey, what would you do if the prophet said you had to take another wife?" "I'd do it." WHAT!!!????? Remember, only married 2 weeks. Of course NOW I can see the beauty in being married to a man who would follow the prophet, but at the time my innocent 20 year old desperately in love heart was seriously offended. He would replace me that quickly? He didn't even stop for a second to consider it, or pretend to be horrified! Hee. It's funny NOW, but at the time... Anyway, Annie Clark Tanner is an unbelievably amazing woman, and this book is an incredible tribute to her, to women, to the resiliency of the human spirit. But don't read it if polygamy makes you angry : )
I keep copying Lilian's quizzes...apparently I'm black. Hmmm. What's Your Color Personality?
You always get noticed, even though you don't care if you get attention. That's because you naturally ooze charm and sophistication. Black personalities love their solo time and are huge fans of quietly observing others. But. . . you tend to be a little shy, and people can mistake that for being secretive or antisocial. Let people in on the fact that you're naturally pretty curious.
So the boy called late last night. He's doing ok. He said it was a really hard day...apparently in level 2 you are already supposed to know a lot of Chinese Characters (they're expected to be able to write sentences not using the alphabet, which he knows, but characters), and the teacher at Renaissance didn't really teach these. So he has big plans to go up to the school when he gets home to let her know that she should be adding this to her curriculum! This camp is going to be a life changing experience for him. He told me that he is so grateful for the way his brain works...he's realizing that he is very blessed. He did have to study for about an hour last night, but in that time was able to commit everything he was behind on to memory and is now caught up. There are a couple of other kids in the same situation who are really struggling apparently. The counselor over his dorm checked their homework last night and told Ryan that he'd never seen such perfect work. He was laughing that after only 2 days at BYU in this environment, he's already thinking in Chinese...he went to the Creamery and was really struggling to converse with the clerk in English! Hee. He's afraid that he's going to be a freak by the time he gets home : ) So the answer is, yep, we have a scary prodigy on our hands. But thanks to this experience, a humble one who knows the value of hard work! What more could a parent ask?
This is a picture from Meg's wedding, because I didn't take the camera to BYU this morning when I dropped him off...he'd have died! He's gone for a 3 1/2 week Mandarin Chinese camp. I cried half of the way home....partly 'cause I'm going to miss his face and partly 'cause I've never been away from him for this long and partly 'cause I had a TINY taste of what the MTC experience will be like. How do you ladies do it? Oh man. My boy. This boy has a special place in my heart. I love and admire him so much. He was excited to be going to this camp, but was a little freaked out too, which made it all the harder to leave him there. But he just called me. He's been gone for 8 hours now. He just finished studying the first lesson and has already memorized the stuff he needs to for class tomorrow. Remember this is the boy with the photographic memory. School has always been so easy for him...I told Andrew tonight that this experience is going to be the true test of his abilities; if he has to work at it, then good! he's a normal genius. If he slides through and aces it; OH MY HECK WHAT KIND OF PRODIGY DO WE HAVE ON OUR HANDS!!?? I'll let you know how it goes;) They have every minute packed with classes and lessons and crafts and cooking...AND they just announced that they've figured out how to get high school credit for this, so that ROCKS! He'll earn a whole year of language credit in 3 weeks. I reminded him what President Hinckley always said about "get all the education you can" and "learn as much as you can" and "BE SMART!"...yeah yeah yeah he says. I'm so proud of him : ) But I'll be praying very hard tonight that he doesn't get too homesick, and that he'll continue to have fun. It wouldn't hurt if any of you wanted to mention him while you're on your knees as well!
The kids have a tradition of camping in the backyard when school gets out. Usually they do it on the last day of school...this year they're a couple of weeks late; but better late than never! Jill, Ty and Ryan have been doing this since 1996...I'm pretty sure they haven't missed a year, and some years (when they were younger!) they would spend a whole week sleeping out in the yard. It's a great way to kick off summer, 'cause of course mom buys lots of treats and new flashlights and games! Hooray for my fantastic kids...because this is one of the many traditions that they really are sick of, but make the effort to keep going for Grace's benefit! How many 18 year olds do you know of who would do this? How many 14 year old BOYS do you know that would do this for their baby sister? Aren't I lucky to have such fabulous kids!!!??? They were honestly still awake last night at MIDNIGHT laughing their heads off...fueled by sugar and nostalgia : )
So I've noticed that I don't blog about Tyler very much. Number of reasons for this: he's usually not around when I'm taking pictures, he chooses to not do much with the family etc. But I've spent a little more time with him now that school is out, and I'm reminded that he is one of my favorite people! I'd forgotten! He is SO smart; he's musically gifted; he secretly loves babies; he has a kind heart. But he also has a lightening quick, super funny wit. He can make me laugh like no one else. He can do impressions of just about anyone, and is always dead on. Today while we were out, Ryan called him and asked if he had written on his arm while he was asleep. He seriously hadn't; THIS TIME. Poor Ry has been terrorized throughout the years...the time Tyler DID write stuff with permanent marker on his arm and face while he was sleeping, the picked off skin he surreptitiously places on Ry's pants leg during church (Ryan has a serious hygiene phobia!), the time he hid the mannequin head in the closet, the time he tied a rope around one of Jill's dolls and hung it from the top bunk and woke Ryan up that way...should I go on? No one has ever been physically hurt, but who knows what therapy will be needed later on! He looks at the world through a completely different set of glasses than I do...but it's this very thing that makes him so fascinating and hysterical to me! I'm so grateful that he picked us as parents; that a loving Heavenly Father knew we'd need this soul in our home to make us laugh, love, and learn to be unconditional with each other. I hope he knows how much I love him and how much I believe in him!
So look down the page and see the picture of me and Andrew at Meg's wedding? Ok. The outfit looks kind of, well, drab because you cannot see these little morsels of beautifulness on my feet! NOW imagine the whole look. Better, right? Shoes are it, baby. Shoes have magical properties;they are possibly a panacea for anything that may be troubling you. (see word of the day!)Nothing makes me feel better than having new shoes. Wearing them is a close second, because sometimes they hurt, but just buying and having them is bliss. You may not know this, but losing 117 lbs makes your feet SHRINK TOO!!! Oh the joy. "Ummm...honey...I really HONESTLY do not have a SINGLE pair of shoes that fit me now!" Complete this sentence with the required walking in front of him with shoes flapping off of your heels, and you're golden. Now for the funereal part of the post. I had to take a bag of shoes to D.I. yesterday. I lovingly packed them up; the red snake-skin pumps with the cork heels, the pink linen with the wood-grain heel, the maroon sling-backs...you get the picture. NOW before you judge me too harshly, most of these beautys were purchased at Payless ONLY on BOGO weeks. I'm nothing if not thrifty. You know you have a problem when said store CALLS YOU on the phone to remind you about the BOGO event. My luck was such that Andrew answered the phone..he nearly sprained his face with the eye-rolling that went on. That reminds me that I'm still in need of a replacement red pair of heels. If you see some while you're out, call me : )
My niece got married last Friday. She had a wonderful day. She was beautiful. Pretty much everything went according to plan...even the weather cooperated. I've been feeling a little maudlin though...she was born 2 months after I graduated High School. She's been an amazing gift to her family...always done her best. Graduated from College last year. But now she's MARRIED? Of course, it got me thinking about my own wedding day. It'll be 20 years ago this September. Would you do it again? I would. Even though I was only 20...and I would probably FREAK OUT if Jillian did that...I could never wish away my children...how and when they came to us...all of the other daily "stuff" that weaves the fabric of a relationship. It's all good. Even the bad stuff. It's what we're here for. Here are pictures of Jill and Ryan (she was a bridesmaid,)some of the cousins,me and Andrew and Megan and Chris in their line.
Run through the sprinklers, of course! Ryan was kind enough to set things up for the girls yesterday, and then they turned on him! Good thing he's a good sport :) Today was cold and rainy so Grace and I stayed in and made bead necklaces. Sadly, "Hogwarts", the summer program I've had for the kids the past 7 years has been outgrown by the older three. Poor Grace is getting the shaft on that one.
The Brain: Are you pondering what I'm pondering? Pinky: I think so Brain, but burlap chafes me so.
Quote of the Day
"Faith in something greater than ourselves enables us to do what we have said we'll do, to press forward when we are tired or hurt or afraid, to keep going when the challenge seems overwhelming and the course is entirely uncertain." -Gordon B. Hinckley
Word of the Day
fillip \FIL-uhp\ , noun: 1. A snap of the finger forced suddenly from the thumb; a smart blow.
flummox \FLUM-uhks\, transitive verb: To confuse; to perplex.