Better Than a B12 Shot

There is a story that is told in my family, especially among the women.  A family folk tale of sorts, but I heard it from my Aunt Margaret who swears it's true.

It goes that when my mom and her sisters were young and my grandmother would get in a particularly bad mood, one of my aunts would call my grandpa and tell him to bring home the B12 shot.  My grandpa was a doctor and on really rough days he would bring his doctor bag home and while my grandmother was madly stirring away at something on the stove he would lift up her sleeve, swab her arm, and give her a shot.  The story goes that neither of them acknowledged that he'd done it, she'd go on doing whatever she was doing without even looking at him, and he'd put everything back in his bag.

(I told this story to David once and he said, "Really?  Did it work?" and then wondered aloud how you go about getting B12.  He said he was just kidding when I protested indignantly.  But sometimes when I am particularly hard to live with and I see him staring off into space, I know he is secretly wondering if there is a B12 black market.)

There were several things this week that just made me happy.  Better than a B12 shot, I say.  The picture above was one of them.  The American Girl Christmas Catalog arrived this week.  When David got the mail he said, "Oh no."  I just smiled.  The girls poured over it, took it to school for conferences with their friends, let their dolls peruse it, and sat with David oohing and aahing over the holiday spreads.  This morning, after the girls had gone to school, I found Olivia's dolls making their own Christmas lists.  The anticipation has begun already.

And while I'm at it, just for the joy of it, here are a few more things this week that made me happy:

I found a get well note under Olivia's pillow from Savannah, that was mostly a long paragraph listing the fun they could have together once Olivia was feeling better and a profession her love.  Eighteen x's and o's with lots of exclamation points.  And speaking of sisters, I got a comment on my post yesterday from both of my sisters and one sister-in-law, all of whom knew exactly what I was alluding to.  I thought how very nice it is to be known.  I was completely delighted at this happy gift and the little impromptu book club on my blog. 

Yesterday David suggested that we meet for lunch.  I put him off thinking that we were both too busy, but then changed my mind after I got ready for the day because I thought I looked so good he really deserved to see me.  We met at In-n-Out and ate outside in the decidedly pleasant weather.  It is so rare to see him in the middle of the day, I have decided that lunch is my favorite kind of date.  The only downfall of the lunch date is there is no place for passionate necking.

Savannah and I have plans to tea-dye her mummy rags after school today, and we are going to pick pumpkins this Saturday.  For whatever reason I am embracing the Halloween season this year and my children could not be more pleased.  Perhaps it is all the spooky movie watching...we have plans for another movie marathon this weekend.  On tap, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Casper, and Ghostbusters.  And David and I have our own late-night plans for Wait Until Dark, my personal Halloween favorite which I could watch any time of the year.

Yesterday I took Savannah and Ethan to the school book fair in the afternoon.  They both spent their birthday money on new books.  (Thanks Greg and Becca!)  Can I tell you how happy it makes me that I have children who would rather spend their money on books than anything else?  Deliriously so.

And speaking of books, Caleb has been working on his Reading Merit Badge.  One of the requirements was to read to a child for four hours.  He completed the requirement by reading to Ethan every evening, but they both enjoyed the experience so much that they've continued reading together every night since.  Last night they finished The Enormous Egg.  My heart does little thumps of joy as I hear Caleb reading and Ethan laughing from the other room and see their heads tipped towards each other in a pool of yellow lamp light.  Be still my heart.

Best of all, the weekend is here.  Mine is going to include date night, stake conference, sugar cookies, an indian-food dinner party, a trip to the thrift stores for our missing costume essentials, and maybe even a nap.  Color me delighted.

An Overdue Ode to Olivia, at Eleven

Nearly a week ago we celebrated Olivia's birth with shrimp linguine and lemon cake.  We toasted her eleven years and remembered the early days of her arrival on earth. 

I think she was my hardest baby and toddler (there were days I hardly thought we'd make it to her third birthday), and yet she became my easiest child to raise.  Full of compromise and empathy and peacemaking, she gives easily, repents easily, and mothers everything she can get her hands on.

She started out demanding and turned out soothing.

(Which gives me hope for myself.  Perhaps it is not too late.)

She once told me that she felt different than everyone else in our family.  I told her it was only because she was better than every one of the rest of us.

She has the kindest heart of any one I know.  A few weeks ago we were at the table eating Sunday dinner and discussing what we had learned in church that day.  Olivia told us that her class had learned about Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, about the conditions of the jail, and the prophet's prayers to heaven for help.  She then said incredulously, "And do you know what Heavenly Father said?"  And then, not waiting for an answer and tearing up, "He told Joseph Smith that these things were for his good."  Then she was quiet, and softly said, "I think that was a terrible answer."  She couldn't help herself.  She cannot stand to see suffering and, while we explained and she understood that there were things the prophet had to pass through, she was heartbroken that heaven's help could not be immediately forthcoming. 

That's my girl.

I count it as nothing but privilege to be the mother of such a girl.


Olivia and her friends dressed as lovely ladies from Milan, New York and Chicago, respectively. 

Naturally, their dolls were invited as well...


A Hedonist at Heart

We've settled into summer nicely.

Every day we sleep a little later, our bodies slowly adjusting, I guess.  It takes a while to catch up.  Eventually we'll even out. 

Yesterday Rachel tried to talk me into going running with her, for social reasons.  She needs someone to distract her from the pain.  I was momentarily tempted (I like socializing with her) but then she used the words "pain" and "misery" and I got ahold of myself.  Instead, I told her what time I got up that day and tried to tempt her into a life of hedonism.

It's a pretty good life, actually.

The girls and I are slowly moving through the musical section of our local video store.  Earlier this week it was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, bless your beautiful hide.  (Which I would watch just for the quilts--even in the skirts!--not to mention the fist-fighting and stubborn men in multi-colored shirts falling in love against their better judgement.)  On tap next, The Sound of Music.  I like the delusions musicals teach about love and marriage.  (I was a June bride myself, you know, and I've been a bride for the rest of my life.)  It's time to start indoctrinating my girls, I say.  Past time.

I spent an afternoon making fairies with Olivia and her friend out of nylons and crepon, and then we spent another whole afternoon buying doll hair and gluing it on.  Life cannot get any better when the only thing on my to-do list for an entire day is:  Buy doll hair.

We have started our third 1000-piece puzzle.  And here is something really great:  When David comes home from work and asks what I did that day and I have to really think about it and then remember, well, we finished the puzzle.  I cannot stop smiling at that.

Ethan and I are making our way through A Dog Called Kitty one chapter at a time, with me reading and him pressed up against me and making gasps and sighs at all the right places.  Best job in the world.

Most days when David comes home dinner has not been started and the table is full of puzzle pieces or game boards.  We kiss for a bit and then I go to the store for corn-on-the-cob and fruit.  It's already dark when we start eating.  We eat and talk for a long time, until Ethan curls up on my lap and asks for a bath and tucking in.  David does the dishes while I start the bath and turn on the reading lights.  And neither of us hurry.

Then there's the reading and the swimming--the sunscreen alone is enough to make me take up a life of riot permanently.  I've decided I'm going to start wearing sunscreen in the winter just for the smell.

I like life as a hedonist.  And weddings for twelve in the spring. 

So far our summer has plenty of both.  Come and join us.

Pajama Party

The Thunells have come from Santa Barbara for a short visit.

Our girls, and their dolls, are making the most of every minute they're here.  I suspect there will be giggling and whispering into the wee hours.  There's a year's worth of catch-up and elementary-school gossip to talk through.  They're just getting started.

While David and I set up the bedroom for a proper sleepover, the girls took care of the most important thing...dressing the dolls for bed.  They found enough nightgowns and stylish headbands for everyone.

I suspect there may be quite a bit of giggling and whispering going on between these six as well.