Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lily's House

Today I am still at Lily's house.  It has been a fun day with lots of playing for me and Lily.  I am giving Lily's mommy sewing lessons which Lily thinks is rather boring, but she is surviving them.  We also watched Wuthering Heights today which Lily totally ignored since eating was much more fun.  Her mommy and I survived watching the movie.  I say "survived," because this is the first time I've  finished Wuthering Heights in book or movie form since I usually stop soon after I begin, hating both the book and its characters.  I actually enjoyed watching it this time because it was fun to experience it with Cassandra and talk about it as we went.  Now Lily and her mommy are out for a walk in attempt to get Lily to fall asleep.  This has been, at least for me, the most wonderful visit in visit history so far.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life with Lily

Lily is busy right now being fed for bed, so I am taking this opportunity to write in my journal.  Being with Lily all day is the best.  We went to church together and read stories together, went on a walk together and played and played.  Oh, by the way, Cassandra and Emerson came along, too.  It was great.  Yesterday after they picked me up, Cassandra, Emerson, and Lily took me to a sea food restaurant for my birthday.  We ordered the beach party plate which was full of crab, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob.  It was delicious!  Lily sat in a high chair and gummed unopened packs of crackers.  She had a great time.  Eating scrumptious food while watching Lily be cute and jabbery was definitely a wonderful birthday gift.  Everyone seems to be surviving at home which is good although Brian said his mom wasn't doing so well today.  I think he and the kids are going back there tonight to say hi to her before bed.  Well, it's almost time for bedtime.  It's been wonderful day, and the best part???  I have five more days with Lily to go!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Insert Squeal of Excitement Here

Tomorrow I am flying to see my little grand daughter Lily--insert squeal of excitement here--!!!!  I am sooo excited.  Things have been so crazy around here that I didn't make any of the things I had planned to bring her, but I don't care; all that doesn't matter.  I get to see her and hold her and play with her and make her laugh;  that's what matters.  Cassandra called me, worried because she was hoping that I could babysit while I was there and wanting to know if I would mind--Insert laugh of derision here.  Cassandra thinks I am coming to see her and Emerson.  Bwahahahah! 
Of course I am.
Of course I am. 
But, yes, I will babysit. 

AGATT--Do Not Try this at Home!

Okay, after a day of trying All Gratitude All the Time, I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible.  As you may know from my last entry, I decided for my birthday to only pray in gratitude to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ all day and not ask Him for anything.  My resolve lasted till 7:30 am while driving Miriam to school.  I realized that because of my gratitude goal, I hadn't made my usual petition for protection for me and my family, or for the Holy Ghost to be with us, or any of the blessings that we need every day.  I really didn't want to see what a day without those blessings would be like.  So I cheated and said a quick prayer asking Heavenly Father to bless us with the same blessings He always does and resloved to ask for nothing more all day.  That lasted till 8:00 when I was driving to the hospital to be with Brian's mom during her morning therapy.  I wanted to pray for her to be comforted and do a good job during her therapy session, but couldn't.  I realized that my goal would keep me from praying not only for myself, but for everyone I love.  That's when I began to wonder if all this was such a good idea.  I said a gratitude prayer instead.  Next came the bad news around 10:00 that the insurance was not likely to approve Sally's transfer to a nursing and rehab center to continue her therapy, and I broke my resolve again with a plea for Heavenly Father's intervention mixed with lots of gratitude for all the blessings He has already showered on us since her stroke.  Well, by the time I drove home from the hospital, I realized the error of my ways and, like Moroni, had to repent of the oath that I had made except mine was more a goal than an oath.  Anyway, I realized then that I do need My Savior every hour.  He sustains my every moment, my every breath.  He makes possible my every effort, my every sucess, He dries my tears after every failure, and most importantly, He does the same for all my children and for all of His children who place their trust in Him.  I love my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and my new resolve is to ask God knowing He will answer and to praise Him with all my heart.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Ten Birthday Gifts

Happy Birthday to me!  My first birthday was birthday money in a bright cheery birthday card that I got in the mail yesterday from my parents.  It was a nice surprise.  I really must be getting old because I forgot that I would be getting anything from them and I really liked it.  
My second birthday present was from me to me when I allowed myself to sleep in till 6:30.  I did this by giving Katrina lunch money instead of making her a lunch and also letting the kids get breakfast on their own instead of making them anything. 
My third birthday present was to try and have a birthday of gratitude where I don’t ask Heavenly Father for anything in my prayers, but thank Him instead.  It was nice to say a prayer of gratitude this morning, because I have 44 years of blessings to thank Him for—an impossible task, but I’ve also tried to do that as I’ve gone along.  Throughout the morning, I have wanted to ask Him for help as usual, but instead have tried to turn my prayers to praise and gratitude instead.  Still, if I end up falling and can’t get up (I am getting old, you know), or find, now that I’m ancient, that I’ve forgotten who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing, I may end up asking Him for help today.   Otherwise, it will be all gratitude, all the time.  
My fourth birthday present was getting a birthday call from Elizabeth and her cute little two year old daughter.  They sang Happy Birthday to me and I loved it!  There is not much cuter than a toddler singing Happy “Birs-day.”
My fifith birthday present was a call from Cassandra when I was in the hospital gym helping Sally with her physical therapy.  Unfortunately my phone died just as I answered, but I knew what she was calling about, and it made me feel loved.  Later at home, I found a message on my machine, and I was right, she was wishing me happy birthday
My sixth birthday present was finding out that Brian had called to take me to lunch but he couldn’t get a hold of me because my phone was dead, and my seventh birthday present was Elizabeth calling to see if I wanted to do some fun birthday thing, but it was too late, I’d already left her home town for my hometown twenty minutes away.  In both these cases, it was definitely the thoughts that counted.
My eighth birthday present (tired yet?  I am.) was a trip to the grocery store to buy food so that the kids could have corn dogs and tater tots for dinner and I wouldn’t have to cook. I also bought yogurt to put in the ice cream maker with chopped almonds so that we can have frozen yogurt for my birthday celebration tonight or whenever we have it.
My ninth birthday present will be the nap that I will take as soon as I am done with this journal entry, and my tenth birthday present will be going out to eat with Brian tonight.
Wow, ten birthday presents!  What a great birthday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

MATTHEW —a tribute to Matt, by Matt

Oh Matthew,
He is so sweet,
From his head,
Down to his feet.
If there was only one word to say,
I’d say,  “Matthew,”
And I’d say it all day.
Wow Matt, you’re awesome,
Even better than a possum.
Do you know what I like most?
The answer is Matthew.  Well, that is, besides…

Thomas’s stand-alone birthday salute to Matt (No Mattlibs required)

The only obvious thing to compare Matthew to is a slightly grumpy super man who doesn’t wear pants underneath his underwear and who turns evil at night when you ask him too many questions.  His Lois Lane is Nick’s younger sister, but neither of them know it yet.  Yep, that’s Matthew, saving the world from crazy computer problems one virus at a time.


Marci--Today, is Matthew’s hymnbook day.  I  sparkle Matthew very much.  From the time he was awkward, Matt was  bulky and humongeoous and he’s still that way.  In fact, right now he’s making a Tiddley Winks 2 thingy that you’ll have to ask him about to get more details on.  With his groundhog day money, he bought stuff to throw it which I think is very cool.  It’s really nice having Matt home this annoying amount of time before his mission.  He’s pesky and pasty and I enjoy sulking with him during the day when I would normally be crazy.  I need to help him get all sung in with plastic flowers and everything because right now his plastic fruit is all in one  corner of Thomas’s Disney ticket.  I snore to do this in honor of his sinkday.  I love you,  Matt.  Have a great birthday!
Brian—It is not commonly known, but Matthew is shifty.  He may never dive the cure for hives, but you can bet he will do really dross things.  These last few weeks the tan Matthew brain has been busy at work eradicating a G-27 inner-nostril-top—now what is floppier than that?  He is also flipping a chain to show the windowsill-by-windowsill process.  Now, I ask you, how many San Francisco 49ers are that sticky??
Miriam—Costello is 3 today.  He was flipped in January.  He attended toast college last year and is going on a vacation this year.  He likes to play on the grass and roll to music at the same time.  He’s good with ideology and he drives a baby pink Mexi-truck with 1,955 seats.
Katrina—Yesterday while Mr. Bean went to Larry’s house, Moe, Curly, and Abbot cleaned his closet for him.  Today we made chocolate cake and frosting and ate it with ice cream. For his birthday, Matt got beanie babies, Doc Martins, Pickles, and a pistol as gifts.

Matthew's Birthday

Here is what people on the street had to say about Matt’s birthday;
Marci--Today, is Matthew’s birthday.  I love Matthew very much.  From the time he was small, Matt was precocious and creative and he’s still that way.  In fact, right now he’s making a Nintendo 64 thingy that you’ll have to ask him about to get more details on.  With his birthday money, he bought stuff to make it which I think is very cool.  It’s really nice having Matt home this small amount of time before his mission.  He’s cheerful and nice and I enjoy talking with him during the day when I would normally be alone. I still need to help him get all moved in with a dresser and everything because right now his stuff is all in one  corner of Thomas’s room.  I pledge to do that this week in honor of your birthday!  I love you,  Matt.  Happy Birthday!
Brian—It is no commonly known but Matthew is a genius.  He may never discover the cure for cancer but you can bet he will do really cool things.  These last few weeks the great Matthew brain has been busy at work making a N-64 laptop—now what is neater than that?  He is also making a vlog to show the step-by-step process.  Now, I ask you, how many teenagers are that inventive?
Miriam—Matthew is nineteen today.  He attended college last year and is gong on a mission this year.  He likes to play on his computer and listen to music at the same time.  He’s good with technology.  He drives a brown Mexi-truck with two and a half seats.
Katrina—Yesterday while Matt went to his friend’s house, Mom, Miriam, and Katrina cleaned his room for him.  Today we made chocolate cake and frosting and ate it with ice cream.  For his birthday, Matt got Cheetos, chocolate doughnuts, energy beans, a balloon, and soda.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sally, The Sabbath, My Sustaining

Sally is doing a bit better today, and we are so happy about that!  It looks like she may be able to leave the hospital.  We don't know for sure, of course, but we have great hope.
Brian was with her a lot yesterday, including stopping by on our date, and then again today for 6 hours.  I expect we will go see her as a family again later tonight.  Now, Brian is coming home to crash.

Because he was with his mom, I taught Brian's Sunday school class.  The lesson was on Adam and Eve and the fall.  It went pretty well.  It is a big class and they are really talkative, especially the girls.  It is hard to keep their attention. The boys, actually have been quite reverent.  I think they like having Brian for a teacher.  He has lots of stories about the army, his mission, etc.  They did pretty well for me too, though.  Thomas is in there, and it's fun to teach him.

 In Relief Society we talked about George Albert Smith and how loving and giving he was.  One lady raised her hand and talked about a time when they were discussing how to help kids be reverent in primary, especially the really energetic ones.  One of the leaders said to imagine Christ holding that child and imagine His love for them.  As she was talking, I began imagining different sisters in the room being embraced by Christ.  I imagined the love He had for each person.  Then I imagined the same thing about others in my life who are not so easy to love.  Tears came to my eyes as I felt the deep love He must have for each person I imagined.  It was a wonderful experience.

Last week I was called to serve as the first councilor in the stake Young Women's presidency.  Today I was sustained by the wards (congregations) in the stake (a stake is a group of wards or congregations).  It is a big responsibility, and I will miss working with the eight to eleven year old girls.  It is interesting, though, because many of the girls I taught at that age are now young women, and I will have the opportunity of serving them again.  The most exciting part, of course is being able to serve my own daughters!  I'm especially happy to be going to girl's camp with them this year.  Miriam has already given me tons of ideas and pointers for camp.  I keep telling her that the camp committee decides all the activities for camp, not me, and not to count on much help from me.  Still, she has really great ideas, even Katrina said they were awesome, so I guess I'll be ready if anyone asks my opinion.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sad Times

We took the kids to see Sally in the hospital again today.  I'm glad Jon is home for the weekend so that he could see her last night.  It is very sad to watch her decline.  The nurses continue to prepare us in case we lose her, and the night vigils have begun.  Today she was able to say "I love you" to each of the kids, and I think she was listening to what they had to say,  but its hard to tell.  Brian will stay with her tonight, and we will bring the kids in again tomorrow.  I wish there was more we could do.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sally's Stroke

Brian’s mom, Sally, had a stroke yesterday.  She was driving her car when it happened, but she was blessed to not hit or hurt anything or anyone including herself.  Drivers nearby watched her erratic manoevers and pulled over to help.  They recognized the sign of a stroke and called the paramedics who took her in an ambulance to the hospital.  After much convincing, she allowed the doctors to give her TPA, the drug that if taken within the first three hours can help reverse the symptoms.  Yesterday, considering the circumstances, she was quite a happy camper.  She loved being in the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses talking about her medical history, family history, and anything else she wanted to say, plus having the undivided attention from three out of four of her children. 

Today, not so much.  For one thing, her left side is not responding.  She can’t move her hand or foot.  Yesterday she could hold up both her left arm and left leg for 10 seconds each.  She also hasn’t woken up much, then again she’s always been a hard one to wake up. The nurse called us at five this morning to let us know of her worsened symptoms and to let us know that they were doing an MRI right away.  Brian went over then to be with her.  Now he’s at work and I’m keeping her company while she sleeps.  The doctor is at this moment reviewing the MRI and will hopefully be in soon to tell me what’s up.  Brian’s sister, Renee should be here any time which will be nice.

Well, since I last wrote, I talked to the doctors who were very disappointed by Sally's unexpected relapse.  They told me that she will in all probability never regain the movement she has lost.  The nurse said the staus quo will be no more.  The hope we had yesterday is gone, and the news is heart breaking.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brag Page

You know how in the last post I said that Brian is remodeling of our bedroom?
"Your husband is doing the remodeling??? "
"Eww, Gross," you say.
"No," I say.
Brian is amazing.
Who put in our air conditioning, our furnace, our water heater, and our water softener?
Who remodeled our desolation of a family room a couple of years ago even doing the taping himself so that now it looks wonderful and the kids always say "I love our family room"?
Who does all the plumbing jobs around here no matter how big or stinky or what got flushed?
So there you have it.
Brian is one amazing guy.
I pretty much have the best husband ever.
Just braggin'.

The Appraisal that Keeps on Giving

If you read my post entitled, "The appraiser" you know how beneficial it was for our home to have an appraisal.  Well, all the hard work that everyone put in paid off when the appraisal came in $9,000 over what we needed it to.  We were very happy because, honestly, we weren't sure it would appraise high enough.  So that's good news, right?  But wait, there's more!  Fixing up the bathroom for the appraiser must have given Brian the remodeling bug because now he's begun working on our unfinished bedroom.  In the other post I said I wished we had an appraiser coming every week, but now I know that just one appraisal can do wonders in our lives.  That was a $300 well spent!

My Grandpa Richard

My Grandpa Richard, married to Grandma Patricia

A few years ago, my Grandpa Richard got pancreatic cancer, and we knew he would be leaving us soon, so we loaded our kids in the van and made the journey to his home twelve hours away.  It was wonderful being with my grandpa that one last time, and I remember how I felt sitting with him and realizing that soon he would be in the presence of the Savior.  I wanted to say, "When you get there, tell the Savior how much I love Him," but I thought it might sound flippant, and that's not the way I felt.  I felt a reverence and awe and joy knowing that I stood in the presence of one worthy to soon behold His glory.

My grandpa was gentle and kind, with an endearing hesitancy in his voice that I sometimes hear in my son Matthew's words.  His hands were big, and he loved to hold his grand kids on his knee and burp them for their mommies and play with them.  He had a sweet laugh and a big smile that my brother Rick inherited.  As a little girl, I always felt a bit sorry for Grandpa, swallowed up in a house full of loud crazy teenagers, but he loved them and all of us, I could feel it.

For Christmas this year, my mom sent me a copy of Grandpa's journals--a real treasure.  I loved reading about his life in his own words, especially his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I always knew that he knew the gospel was true, but it was good to read his own words declaring it.  My grandpa was a good husband, father, and grandfather, and it is partly because of him that I am who I am.

Now that I think about it, I'm really not sure if we get to be in the presence of the Savior in the spirit world, or if we won't have that privilege till the judgement day.  Be that as it may, I know that when he died, there were those on the other side who loved my grandpa and waited for him, saying, "We will meet him here, and we will receive him into our bosom, and we will fall upon his neck, and he shall fall upon our necks, and we shall kiss each other."* I look forward to such a meeting with my grandpa some day.

*See Moses 7:63

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lily's or Bust!

We got to to Skype with Emerson, Cassandra, and Lily yesterday which was so much fun!  I’m so excited to go visit!  I hope Lily’s mommy and daddy don’t plan on holding her much while I’m there.  Matt was laughing at me the other day because I already am filling my bag with things to bring with me—all little presents for Lily.  I’m not like lots of new grandmas who buy every cute thing they see.  I have to be really into something before I’ll buy it.  So what do I have for Lily?  Well, I am making her a little dress out of vintage cloth napkins like the ones I used to make for Cassandra when she was small.  I’m also planning to make a little photo-story book for Lily with pictures of all our family.  It will be indestructible so she can look at it and maul it all she wants as she, hopefully, becomes familiar with our faces, I also found the cutest little monkey that plays Brahms’ Lullaby when you pull it’s tail, not in the tinny electronic way, but in the tinkly music box way.  I’ve always believed that every baby should fall asleep listening to Brahms lullaby.  I actually found that at Walmart, if you can believe it.  The duffle bag is getting full.  I hope I have room for my own clothes.  I’ll just have to pack light!

Catching up on the Weekend

We were at home a lot this weekend because of Matt’s wisdom teeth extraction recovery.  The kids pretty much played video games all day, sadly.  Matt’s recovery is coming along really well, but he wasn't up to doing all the showering, shaving, etc to meet with the stake pres. on Sunday, so he's rescheduled for next week.  Yesterday was our first day without Jonathan home in a long time, and boy was it quiet!  I really miss him.  I’m so glad he’s coming home again next Friday for the long weekend.  Brian and I went walking at the mall yesterday, which was very fun because I haven’t gotten out of the house much lately.  Friday we had a stay-date because we didn’t want to leave Matt.  We sat in bed, ate Marie Calendars frozen dinners and watched a show on my little notepad computer.  We were too exhausted to do more than that anyway.  Sometimes, it’s just fun to crash.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Resolve

I love both Christmas and summer time.  Everyone is home, we relax the schedules and have a bit more fun.  I also love September and January for exactly the opposite reasons--they are the season to retrench, refocus, and recommit.  Accordingly, we made New Year's resolutions in Family Home Evening.  These are mine.

Physical:  Exercise!!!  The problem with this one is figuring out when to exercise.  If it’s a day when I’m home, its no problem, but when I am testing or subbing, exercise goes out the window.  I already wake up to at five thirty to get everything else done, so I’d have to wake up at 4:45 to exercise in the morning, too. I don’t get to bed early enough to wake up that early!  So when do I exercise on those days?  I think the best thing to do is to get together with Brian and make a goal as a couple to walk nightly after family scriptures and prayer.  I’ll ask him about it right now.
He says he’ll make the goal to walk five nights a week with me after family scriptures and prayer, so there you go.  Between me walking in the morning either with my walking buddy, Emily or on the treadmill on stay-at-home days and walking with Brian at bed time, I should be good.  Will I lose all the weight I’ve gained lately?  Not so sure.
Eating right will help me lose weight.  Here  are my goals:  Eat definite meals—no grazing (a big problem when I’m home alone during the day)  Have a snack at 10:30 and one when the kids get home.  Put a reasonable serving on my plate and don’t have seconds.  No eating after dinner unless it’s a family home evening treat with the family and then only 2 cookies worth.  No eating sweets alone.  I don't really do that anyway.

 Spiritual:  I have already begun my spiritual goal of studying the scriptures instead of just reading them.  I have been highlighting my scriptures and taking more notes.  This has been helping me to see the themes in the scriptures that apply to my life.  My other goal is less concrete.  It is to have the right priorities.   I’m working on that.

Mental:  Sleep more.  I know that doesn't seem to make any sense, but I can’t think or remember anything when I am low on sleep, so my goal is to go to bed right after my walk with Brian every night.

Emotional:  Be more loving and connected with people.  I’m trying harder to put people before things.   Brian and I already walk once or twice a week, and it really helps us feel connected.  Imagine what five  walks a week will do for us.

Those are my goals, wish me luck!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Appraiser

Thursday an appraiser came to check out the house because we are refinancing, and, for me, it was a wonderful thing.    First of all, we weren’t sure when he would be coming, so the bedrooms got clean on Monday and stayed clean for five days. All of them.  At the same time.  This is definitely a family record.  On top of that, I got tons of help around the house without my even asking.  But the best part of all was when the appraiser called on Wednesday to let me know he’d be there the next morning and, by the way, he’d be taking pictures of certain rooms in the house.  He named the rooms and they included the bathrooms.  That’s when Brian kicked into high gear.  All in one night, my embarrassment-of-a-bathroom downstairs got patched, calked, and painted.  It is still in need of much help, but is no longer the abomination of the ages.  Thursday morning the appraiser came, took pictures and asked questions about the age of our appliances, furnace, etc.  It was a big change from the drive-by appraisal we got when we financed in the boom before the economic downturn.  So now the house is all appraised and all clean, and looking at my bathroom doesn’t make me wince.  I think I’ll call the guy and ask if he can come appraise us every week.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Blog

I started a new blog last night called “Hearts of the Children.”  It presents fun ways to teach kids about their ancestors.  Some of the quotes I am posting on the Blog summarize my feelings exactly.   Here they are: 
"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors." -- Edmund Burke
"When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found. They forgot where they came from." -- Carle Sandburg
"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness." -- Alex Haley, Roots
“I feel that teaching kids where they come from is key in our efforts to teach them who they are and keep them faithful.”—Marci

Jon and Matt

It has been so wonderful having Matt and Jon here for Christmas break.  Matt won't be going back to college at this time,  instead he will do temporary work, and wait for his call to come to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Jon is left for the second semester of his second year in college today (Friday).  I’ll miss him so much!  We really have had the best visit ever.  After this semester, Jon will be transferring to a four year college.  My how time flies!