Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Should Do This More Often

None of you know this, but I was out of town for a few days last week. My mom and I hatched a little plan to surprise my dad for his 65th birthday. All of his kids showed up at his house on his birthday without him knowing any of us were coming. It was great. It was just us: Mom, Dad, Bob, Audrey, Wendy, Sally. That's it. No spouses. No kids. Just like the good old days. We figured out that it has been 19 years since the six of us were together like that, as the "original" family members. It was pretty cool. Of course, now my parents want to make this little reunion an annual tradition. It wouldn't be a problem to me, mainly because I have one of the best husbands I have ever heard of.

He took two days off of work to stay home with the kids while I was away. He even watched the little boy I babysit every morning. (He did refuse to take my turn teaching our co-op preschool though. I knew I was pushing it when I made the suggestion, but a girl's gotta try.) When I got home I found the house completely clean (he even mopped the bathroom floors), all the laundry done, and my entire kitchen reorganized. Granted, that last part has its downside since I spent a good twenty minutes the other day looking for our paper plates (FYI - they are no longer in the pantry. They are in the cupboard over the microwave). Oh well. Organizing things makes him happy and stresses me out totally, so he always does big things like this when I am away. It helps us avoid many unpleasant conversations like this:

Me -Why are you putting the paper goods over the microwave?
Tyler -Well, because we don't use them much and this cupboard is totally empty.
Me - Yes, but now the paper goods could just as well be in Siberia. They are stacked so tightly that I have to wrench everything out to get any one item. And I have to stand on a chair while I'm wrenching. Is this really a good idea considering my lack of coordination?
Tyler -I'll get any paper goods you need down for you.
Me - Right...good plan dear.

These conversations were totally eliminated by him making these changes without me around.

Also, the kids had a grand old time with just Dad. I asked them my first morning back if they missed me.
CT: No.
Lily: No. But Dad did.

Good to know. Naturally I had to ask a follow up question to boost my self-esteem as a mother.
Me: Well, are you glad I'm back?
Both Kids: Yes.
At least there's that. And Amelia didn't scream and cry when she saw me this time like she did the last time I returned from a trip. That is real progress.

Overall, I think everything turned out great. I owe it all to my dad for being 65 already!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

California Dreamin'

I am not a true California girl like so many of you are. I don't have the same fanatical feelings of the truth of the place like others do. I can, in fact, quite easily admit that there are other worthy places to live in this country. But still, I did live there for just over six years. That's the same length of time that I lived in Logan, and I claim to be FROM there.

I know that California is generally one of those places that people LOVE or people loathe. There are certainly good and bad things about it, and I consider myself to be more objective than you natives on this point because I can't truly claim it as my home. That said, the thing is, California is a place that is dear to me now, in a way no other place will ever be.

In California I:

1) Got to live by myself in a cute little apartment where I painted my first stripes.
2) Made truly amazing friends that I am counting on having for the rest of my life.
3) Met and married Tyler.
4) Had not one, but two dear little babies.
5) Fell in love with and bought our first little house that seriously, I miss as much as a real person sometimes. That house was a friend to me.

It's hard to describe the way events of life get entwined with the places they occurred. So many emotions and experiences come back to me when I think of one little sun drenched spot in the vast Inland Empire. I will always have a fondness for it. I will be one of those annoying parents who drive my children around the places of my past that will then be ghettos and run-down flop houses and tell them how idyllic all of these spots used to be and they will think I am crazy.

I may not have California in my blood, but I will always have California in my heart.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Say Cheese

It seems that at least half of the people I know are now photographers. I'm not sure if this is because photography is something more flexible that a mom can do to earn a bit of money, or if the scrapbooking trend has fueled the movement. All I know is that many of my friends take beautiful pictures that make everything their family does look like it came straight out of a magazine. This is not a skill that I have learned. I don't have a fancy camera. I haven't even bothered to learn all of the features on the simple one I have. Sadly, the pictures I take reflect this. This lack of photographic talent runs in the family I'm afraid. My mother is a notoriously poor photographer. My dad doesn't even try. I have one brother-in-law that is better, and he was in charge of taking all pictures at family gatherings for years.

I'm not terribly interested in learning how to be a great photographer, but I would love to have lots of pictures of my family that look like they came out of a magazine. If only some of these talented friends would just follow us around once a month or something, like our own little paparazzo. The friend would take splendid candid shots of us, with wonderful natural light and expressions of delight on all my childrens' faces as we do things like bake cookies, find ladybugs in the grass, and build sand castles at the beach. That would not only supply me with pictures I could never manage on my own, but also relieve the nagging feeling of guilt that passes over me frequently when the family is doing something and I think over and over again "I should be taking pictures of this".

Kids growing up these days are going to be absolutely inundated with a photographic record of their lives. Think of the task it will be for them to do something like make a retrospective slideshow for their weddings. I didn't have one personally, but if I had, it would have taken about fifteen minutes to go through the photographs of my life. Ten years from now it will literally take these kids hours to attempt that. I don't mind not having lots and lots of photos of me throughout my life. After all, they would mainly be taken by my mother (whom I love dearly and has many fabulous talents) and wouldn't be very good pictures anyway...