Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Thanksgiving and Christmas 2015


I hosted Thanksgiving way too early this year to accommodate family.  It threw me off for the later part of November.  Boys and husband successfully survived another year of our neighborhood's Turkey Bowl with no broken bones or ER visits.   

The downtown lights, especially the night I took the train up by myself, completely absorbed in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and met Jaclyn for the choir concert.  The Nutcracker with Grandpa Carver and my nostalgic homesickness for Tchaikovsky.  

The mass of presents we started accumulating in September.  When we thought we were done in October.  And then those frantic last days when we realized we weren't done at all.  The never-ending struggle to wrap Our Big Guy's mountain bike.  It looked like an elephant under the tree. 

Shock when we discovered the best memories from the kids had nothing to do with candy in stockings, but instead underwear and socks.  Every one of them declared their favorite part about Christmas is our usual Christmas breakfast of sweet rolls, sausage, chocolate milk and juice.  So much for stressing about presents.  

Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ along with Trader Joe's and Star Wars.  The boys absolutely loved it.  Pretty Girl hated it.  Mom no longer believes she's our real daughter.

COUSINS!!!

Dinner at Brad and Sherry's house.  Dinner at Spencer & Brit's house.  Dinner with Marianne and Pete - missing college years at BYU.  

The newly remodeled Church History Museum (finally!!) and Mom really needs to stop crying at art exhibits.  Popcorn while watching the First Presidency Message.    

And finally... our Kindness Advent Jars - and when we realized on Day #2 that not everyone got the general idea.

Farewell dear Christmas.  







One of my favorite pieces in the current exhibit at the Church History Museum.  "We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber" - D&C 110:2




















Thursday, December 24, 2015

So Gracious Is The Time

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated
This bird of dawning singeth all night long
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

-Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 1


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015


McKinnon Phrases 2015 
ourdivinethings.blogspot.com


Dad – “I’ll organize it this weekend.”  “Lizzie, do you know you’re my favorite daughter?”  “Yeah, I need to fix that.”  “I need to run to Home Depot really quick.”  “Just one second… (checking Cougarboard)”

Mom – “Do you mind if I go for a quick bike ride?”  “Make your bed.”  “Love you!”  “It’s time to go!”  “Here’s the schedule.”  “You really need to clean this up.”  “I still see weeds.” 
 
James – (7th grade) “Can I earn another 15 minutes on the computer?”  “Can I get this song on iTunes?”  “It’s Andrew’s turn this time.”  “I was nice to her!”  “My homework is all done.”

Andrew – (4th grade) “Can I bring my Rubik’s cube?”  “What’s the movie rated?”  “Does anybody want to play a game?”  “Wait.  What?”   “That wasn’t scary.” 
 
Elizabeth – (2nd grade) “You guys are going on a date AGAIN!?”  “Okay, okay, okay!”  “I forgot.”  “I don’t want to talk anymore.”  “Have you seen my lovey?”  “Can I have a kiss and a hug?”
 

Matthew – (preschool) “Arby’s.  We have the meats!”  “Is the movie available?”  “I didn’t know that.”  “I know that.”  “I know everything.” “Yay!”  “I really like you Mom.  But I love Dad too.”    

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Windy City


I haven't talked about this much but my Dad's health is declining.  We had a terrible scare 3 years ago when his cancer was first diagnosed.  We thought we had weeks.  Maybe days.  It was so awful.  My brothers and I consumed everything we could find on the health histories of Steve Jobs and Dave Rose (same stage diagnosis as my Dad), praying and fasting for a miracle.  

3 years later...he's finally gained back some weight, he avoids chocolate, he gets monthly meds with horrible side effects that he strives to conceal from the rest of us, he still works insane hours and he gets a CT scan every six months.  The good news is the tumor isn't growing.  But it also isn't going away either.  And there's no medical technique in existence that can safely remove it (and believe me, my Dad would know if it existed).  

Eventually, the tumor will win.  And we all know that.  

We've been told 5-8 good years and then a rapid 2 yr decline.  Could be shorter.  We have no idea.  But whenever things get dicey, my Dad reminds me that he's not leaving until he see's Our Big Guy leave on his LDS mission.  Knowing my Dad the way I do, I have lots of reasons to hope.  

In the meantime...

He's determined to spend his remaining days with the grandchildren.  And so at the end of September, he took Our Big Guy and his cousin, Bradley to Chicago for 4 days.  Just the three of them in the Windy City.  Lots of pizza, Ghirardellis, midnight lake ride, U-505 Submarine Museum, the Field Museum and one unforgettable Cubs game (our son is now a die-hard Cubs fan - see hat).  They had an amazing time!  And they reminisce constantly when they get together.    

Boston is next...  Maybe Washington DC in the spring.  

These are the kinds of things my kids will remember for the rest of their lives.  

And my Dad's counting on that. 


(These are the only 2 pictures I have from their trip - waiting on my Dad for the download of more.  Updates will happen when I get them.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Up On The Rooftops


She was beautiful!  But I have to admit my favorite part is when Pretty Girl does splits in the air - because she's just like her mom.  When you have really, really long legs, you can only stretch them so far...and it's not much.  And yet she keeps going in spite of it. (back row, second from left in the video below)

It's part of the reason I adore her.   


Monday, December 7, 2015

Bronco Mendenhall


I don't know who I envy more.

Charlottesville for getting Bronco?  Or Bronco for getting Charlottesville?

My old Albemarle ward is cheering right now.  

Either way - it's time to plan our next visit to Charlottesville for the UVA/BYU football game in 2017.  Maybe bring the two oldest with us.  And how can I possibly pick a side now??

Give my best to Mr. Jefferson, Bronco. 




PS - Avoid College Inn Pizza like the plague...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else...”  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Our Garden Story


I have a friend who is crazy like me and works out every morning at 5:00 A.M.  This friend also has explosive vegetable gardens every year.  He asked me last winter if I'd like a few tomato transplants.  I told him I have a black thumb and would probably kill it.  He reassured me I'd be just fine.  

So I thought, what the hey - let's try it. 



A disclaimer.  I know nothing about gardening.  Nothing.

Stupid me.  

So between myself and the troops, a lot of advice and me actually talking to the plants (no joke), our backyard exploded!






It was so super super cool and amazing and mind-blowing!! (it actually worked!)  

Seriously.  Wow!!  Like...this was my favorite part of the summer.  

And the best part - asking my children every evening while making dinner, "Hey honey, can you go pick me a few [insert veggie or fruit] from the garden?"  

Why in the world did I wait so long to start this??

We have big plans for next year.  BIG.  Like potatoes.  And watermelons.  And squash.  And hopefully raspberry transplants from Lea.  And more tomatoes... 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Radiant chaos and animal calm...


Nothing in Common 


Sometimes I feel I have nothing in common with anyone.
I shamble through the day, dragging my knuckles in the grass,
and each new hour with each new person is a cliff I can’t climb —

yet I know I’m alive now — inside a song as deep as forever,
that stretches to the infinite future and the bottomless past,
connecting every place I’ve lived or nearly died —

and I shouldn’t worry so much about losing what’s most precious,
my simian balance, shaggy fur, bold fleas,
my plentiful fingers and opposable thumbs,

and my curious, glowing, ape-like eyes that still shine
with radiant chaos, wondrous animal calm,
and so much love, for everyone.


- Freya Manfred 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

His First Decade


My Roo...

When the doctors delivered my son and I heard his first cries, I immediately broke into tears.  Outright sobs.  My doctor even joked with me while I lay recuperating on the operating table - "Don't worry.  He doesn't look that bad".

I've never experienced a happy cry like that before.  And not just happy - it was celebratory, exclamatory, triumphant!  The little guy had made it!!  For 9 months I had lived on a perpetual cliff of anxiety.  Not knowing how long I'd be granted this precious connection with a little life inside me.  I came to appreciate every single moment.  Grateful for every passing day for what it was, never looking too far ahead. 

He arrived 10 years ago this month.

We're still soaking up every moment.  





Thursday, November 26, 2015

Five


Bubbs was born during one of the worst forecasted storms in Utah's history.

The hospital went down to a bare-bones operating staff.  They even called nurses at home and told them not to risk themselves on the roads.  Greg left Bubbs in my arms and quickly hurried home so he wouldn't be stranded away from the other 3 kids when the storm hit.  The hospital consolidated all the maternity wards onto one floor and in one hallway.  I remember keeping Bubbs in my hospital room that night - I wanted him safe with me throughout the storm, especially if we lost power or something else outrageous.

But nothing happened.  

The storm was a light dusting - a laughing joke for the predicted "storm of the year".

Turned out to be a perfect parallel for my apprehensive fears over adding one more to our family.

Fear isn't the right term.  Terrified is more like it.  For my health, my sanity, my balance.  The hard part of going through years of infertility - once the windows miraculously open, how do you possibly justify closing them?  

Bubbs almost didn't come.

But Heavenly Father knew we needed him.  And in the end, it was Greg.  All Greg.  And revelation that comes when you're least expecting it - like on a busy Sunday morning with all our crazy chaos for 9:00 church - the last moment in the world when you feel like plunking another little one in there. 

But we did.

And the joy and love in our house has only skyrocketed since.

So let us not be fooled.  And let us not be disillusioned.  Let our eyes see You clearly. - Nichole Nordeman