Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to Two Wonderful Brothers

Today I celebrate two of the most wonderful men in the world: My younger brother, Jared and JDub's youngest brother, Aaron. It makes it nice to have them both on the same day.

First, Jared, since he's oldest and I loved him first.

I remember Jared being one of the most darling little boys. He was so much fun and I loved having him around. See what I mean? See how cute he is?

He has always been one of my favorite friends. From counseling him on what to do about the crush he had on a cute little girl in kindergarten, to hours spent doing his hair and dressing him up, to staying up all night talking about a kazillion things, I have loved and been so grateful for the 25 years I've gotten to spend with my brother.

He is tender-hearted, loving and incredibly loyal. He is smart and funny and playful. He has a boyish grin that could melt anyone's heart and, though he is not perfect, he is a much, much better person than he believes he is. He is brave and strong and persistent and just so, so good. I have often wished that I could give him just a glance at himself through my eyes so that he could see the amazing person I see in him.

He's a great uncle to my children, too.

I love you Jared and am so glad I get to have you as my brother. I wouldn't trade you for anyone in the world.

Then, there's Aaron who was obliging enough to be born on Jared's birthday a few years later to cut down on the number of birthdates I'd have to remember. :)

Aaron came into my life as Jeffrey's little brother, a typical ten-year-old boy. I was convinced at the time that I didn't like ten-year-old boys. But I sure love Aaron and it was well worth sticking with him through that ten-year-old stage. (For the record, Aaron, I liked you then, too. The you who showed up when the annoying parts of ten-year-old-boyness fell away. And the rest of the time I knew it wasn't your fault. Everyone has to be ten some time.)

Right from the beginning, Aaron has been a phenomenal uncle. He loved Kaitybean right from the beginning and even used to save all of the soft parts from his popcorn kernels for her.

Aaron has grown to be an astonishingly valiant (and handsome and fun) young man. He is a great example to me of integrity and faith. He is currently serving an LDS mission in Minnesota and I love reading his weekly letters to our family. They lift me up and make me so proud to call him my brother.

Happy birthday, Aaron, my friend! Enjoy the last month of your mission and your trip to Israel (so jealous!). You've got at least four nieces and nephews who are chomping at the bit to hug you when you come back our way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Scud's Baptism Day

Scud was baptized on August 30th. He has been so excited for this day and talked of little else for the month before it. I am so proud of him for the wonderful choices he is making and the amazing young man he is. He was just as handsome as could be that day and I couldn't stop hugging him. Handsome and happy and healthy and good. I couldn't help feeling like a lucky mama.

He asked his Grandpa (my dad) to baptize him and JDub confirmed him. It was a good day.

Here is a smattering of pictures from that day. It was a joy to have all of our friends and family there to support Scud and celebrate him.

I feel terrible, though, that our best friends J&J missed it because I forgot to tell them what time it was. Sorry guys! You were very, very missed.

This one of Scud and I was actually taken the next day when I realized I hadn't gotten a picture with my handsome guy.

And for a bonus, here's a cute picture of Coco with his "squirt gun." JDub read an excellent tip about giving kids squirt bottles to play with instead of squirt guns. They are sturdy, easy to use, carry more water and pretty cheap. Some of the best advice we ever took. We got three big bottles for a dollar each and the kids have toroughly enjoyed them all summer.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Very First Day of School

So, this is very late. The first day of kindergarten for Mashuga was actually in August. But, I had to share these cute pictures.

He likes his teachers and his classmates and keeps telling me that he's bored because he knows all of the answers already. (No surprise there.) I talked to his teacher and she will be splitting up reading groups soon and giving him some good individualized attention. So, I am optimistic. We shall see how it goes.

Mashuga was very excited for his first day of school and just the cutest kindergartner.

He and Scud (who is homeschooling) had to be silly for a picture.

Coco didn't especially like having his morning nap interrupted to get Mashuga from school.

I feel guilty that I didn't get any pictures of Kaitybean on her first day of school.

We went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point that afternoon, which was wonderful. What a glorious place!

Kaitybean made friends with the petunias.

We all got our picture taken on a giant caterpillar.

Coco and Daddy played together.

And took time to smell the roses.

Scud sat on a bear.

Mashuga walked a maze with me.

And we enjoyed the general splendor.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Music Education


I've watched David Archuleta's music video for his song "Crush" about ten times in the last 24 hours.

It's a catchy song, he has an AMAZING voice and I have a serious Mommy-crush on David. (By mommy crush, I mean I *do* want to kiss him, but not the same way all the teeny-boppers do. I want to kiss his cute forehead and pinch his cheeks and give him a hug and feed him. I hope my teenage boys are that adorable.)

But, music around our house has gotten weak lately. We listen to a lot of David Archuleta and Blake Lewis (Scud's favorite) and Kelly Clarkson. It's all good, but I'm feeling a bit anemic.

So, I've undertaken a course of music education for my family. I want my children to know (and want to remind myself) that there are generations worth of REALLY good music to draw from. So, we're listening to everything from Mozart and Puccinni, Bach and Handel to Bob Marley, Don Williams, James Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane and the Beatles. Oh and a bit of Bobby McFerrin and REM and Edith Piaf and Olatunji sprinkled in. (If you'd like a sample of our current listenings, go waaaaaaaay down to the bottom and turn on the music player.)

So, how about you? What are your favorite "classics" throughout the ages? Any genres, any time period is game. What music do you think I should absolutely be exposing my children to?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Sound of Trees by Robert Frost

One of my favorite poems. The trees are stirring in the breeze today and, oh, it makes me restless.

The Sound of Trees

I wonder about the trees.

Why do we wish to bear

Forever the noise of these

More than another noise

So close to our dwelling place?

We suffer them by the day

Till we lose all measure of pace,

And fixity in our joys,

And acquire a listening air.

They are that that talks of going

But never gets away;

And that talks no less for knowing,

As it grows wiser and older,

That now it means to stay.

My feet tug at the floor

And my head sways to my shoulder

Sometimes when I watch trees sway,

From the window or the door.

I shall set forth for somewhere,

I shall make the reckless choice

Some day when they are in voice

And tossing so as to scare

The white clouds over them on.

I shall have less to say,

But I shall be gone.

Robert Frost

Sunday, September 07, 2008

And Thoreau Must Be Credited For One More Blog Entry

Emily, so glad to know you are also a Thoreau fan. Anyone else out there? What are your favorite quotes?

Oh, and just as a sidenote, I got to meet the amazing Emily in person last week at my friend, Edge's, birthday party. It's such fun when I get to make my pretend-internet friends into my real friends. And she is even nicer in person than online. *Waving* Hi, Emily!

So, I have been reading a lot of poetry lately -- Ted Kooser, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Wordsworth, Dickinson...

And I came across this little poem by Thoreau that I had never read:

My life has been the poem I would have writ,
But I could not both live and utter it.

Just perfect, isn't it? I have written bits and pieces in a similar vein -- lines about wanting to live my life with the candor, care and caprice with which a poet chooses each word, lines reminding myself that I will have no poetry to write if I do not choose to truly LIVE my life right now.

But, poetry is a bit of a disease for me. Or a tick. Writing a poem or two each week is almost involuntary. I just can't help myself.

This blog, however, is an entirely different matter. Sometimes I feel like writing here, sometimes I just think I ought to shut it down for good and stop pretending to be a blogger. As for posts about my life and the goings-on of our family (though I know this is what many of you come here to read) I often feel to write a la Thoreau:

My life has been the blog I would have writ,
But I could not both live and publish it.

These days it seems I only come here when I have something to say or something strikes my fancy. I hope you will forgive my lack of cute kid pictures and newsiness. I'll get to it eventually.

Until then, I'm busy trying to live my poems and blog posts and to write poems that will hopefully be good and poems that are just silly and probably will never go anywhere -- like this snippet I wrote at 2am last week in the middle of a VERY long poem that turned out to be positively dreadful when I read it the next morning.

But I think this part's a keeper at least for the fact that it makes me chuckle:

I could believe entirely
each theory of evolution --

That man descends from ape
cannot cram its way inside my head
though I have witnessed many modern men
who seem intent on proving the claim
by making it clear that the transition
isn’t universally complete.

I hope you are all well. By the way, I have been considering sort of merging this and my (now defunct and even more neglected) poetry blog. Would any of you be interested in having a "Poetry Tuesday" or something like that where I post a poem I am liking each week?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


"Men have become the tools of their tools."
Henry David Thoreau

Dear Mr. Thoreau,

How do you manage to always get to the heart of the matter and to be SO right SO often?

Trust me, you have no idea how right you are on this one. You didn't even live to see the computer age.

Thanks for the reminder. I'm fighting the good fight, trying to let my computer be a tool for me rather than the other way around.

Your Computer Addicted Friend Who is Desperately Seeking Walden-Like Peace,