Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby or Toddler?

At what moment precisely does a baby become a toddler? Is it when he takes his first step? Or when he climbs up and then falls off the kitchen table? Maybe it's when he no longer wants to snuggle into your chest when he's tired.

My son is becoming lots more work. As a baby, he slept and ate and smiled and laughed. Now he climbs and sometimes falls. He empties out drawers. He makes messes. He makes funny noises and tries to mimic his Dad. Yesterday, after I got him dressed he went to the front door thinking that we were going somewhere. We weren't.

He can climb up the bunk bed ladder. He stands on his tiptoes and plays the piano. He tries to feed himself. He plays with his Dad's cell phone. He likes to poke his head into the washing machine.

Two days ago I found his Dad's cell phone in our front-loading washer after I'd just washed a load of towels. It was soaking wet and totally ruined.

I think we have a toddler.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pie for One

Next week is Thanksgiving. I won't be making pie, but some of you might. While you're at it, you might as well make some of these:

Aren't they adorable? And you can freeze them and give them as gifts. I think they look scrumptious. If you like pie. Plus, did you notice the free labels? There. The work is already done. Oh, except MAKING the pie. Yeah, that's a biggie.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Small Town Traditions

Small towns have traditions. In Mapleton, Utah where we moved from, the fire trucks would circle around town at 6:30 a.m on July 24th with their sirens screeching. It was to wake everybody up for the Pioneer Day celebrations.

Here in Lander, Wyoming, they set off cannons at 6:00 AM! to commemorate Veterans Day.

Oh, how I love small towns.


I grew up in a small town: Preston, Idaho to be exact. Yes, home of Napoleon Dynamite. Only I lived outside of town. I was a country kid. See, in our small town there were city kids and country kids. You were a city kid if you lived in town. Our town had fewer than 5000 people. Hardly a city, but still we made that distinction.

We probably made it because we felt different. Our families were mostly farmers. We got up early, had chores, and listened to the commodities report on the radio. We went to church and high school basketball games. We never ate out. The most we could hope for was a stop at the gas station--the Will-0-way--where my Dad would buy a Mars bar and cut into seven equal pieces when we got home. About once a year, we'd get shakes at the Arctic Circle.

The city kids were different. Their Dads were bankers or salesmen or supervisors at factories. The city kids slept in on Saturdays, played golf, and shopped for school clothes in Salt Lake City. Their families owned their own VCRs. They ate chinese food and seafood and knew what they were going to be when they grew up.

We, too, had a small town tradition: Rodeo weekend. Rodeo weekend was big. A parade every night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday followed by the rodeo. There was a carnival, too. You could see into the rodeo arena from the ferris wheel and you could hear the carnival noise from the rodeo stands. The rodeo grounds smelled like hamburgers, cigarette smoke, and cotton candy. I was a country kid, not a cowboy, so the rodeo was thrilling to me. I loved rodeo weekend. Even now, the thought of it fills me with memories and nostalgia.

Lying in bed, at 6 a.m. with cannons going off every 20 seconds, I thought how a rodeo and a parade and a carnival are really the perfect small-town tradition.

Mostly because nobody wakes you up.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Party Line

My daughter, age 9, warned me that she might want a cell phone. Not yet, but sometime. Perhaps in a year or two. She just wanted me to be forewarned.

How nice.

I did what any reasonable parent would do. I told her about the “olden days.” I’m 35 and yes, according to a 9 year old, even I lived in the olden days. Here’s proof:

Up until I was five years old, I lived in town. Town was laid out in blocks. It had neighbors and modern conveniences. When I was five we moved to the farm. The farm was exactly 8 miles from the only stoplight in town. The closest neighbors were a mile away. We had a party line.

A party line, I explained to my daughter, was when the whole rural road we lived along all shared the same phone line. We all had our own phones in our houses, but they were all connected to one, singular line. Only one of us could be on the phone at once. Someone miles down the road might be using the phone when you picked it up and you’d have to wait until they were done talking. And yes, you could listen in on other people’s conversations.

My mother taught us that this was very, very rude. She never did it. If someone was on the line, she’d hang up so quick it was like she’d dropped the phone. My mother was patient and polite. But there were occasions when she’d need to actually use our party line.

Every party line had one: an Odessa. Odessa was a neighbor who lived 3 or 4 miles closer to town than we did. She probably wasn’t that old at the time, but as a child, I thought she was old. She was a heavy woman and she was LOUD. So loud, that all you had to do was lift the phone from its cradle at arm’s length. If she was on the phone, you knew it.

Odessa was ALWAYS on the phone.

She also always knew everybody else’s business. (There was speculation in our house that she “listened in” on the party line).

I remember only three occasions when my polite, patient mother quietly asked Odessa if she could get off the phone because my mother desperately needed to make a call. Most of the time, my mother just waited, checking the line every hour or so until she heard a dial tone instead of one of the neighbor’s voices.

It’s hard to believe that it was well into the 1980’s before we got our own phone line. Now, that . . . that day was a party.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Let it WHAT?

Isn't he cute?

Yep. That's the white stuff. And it's a flying.
My kids got to use their snowman kit (I'll have to post about these later). They were so excited. I think it will melt. I don't think winter is here yet. But then again, I've been wrong before.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


As a new Wyoming resident, I went to get a Wyoming driver's license. The routine is a fairly simple one, until January. (It gets more complicated in January). Now, though, in 2009, you only have to present an old license, pay $20, and take an eye exam.

I hate eye exams. An eye exam was the first test I ever failed. It was 2nd grade and I had to get glasses. I've had glasses ever since. Year after year, I fail eye exams and my prescription gets stronger and stronger. You can't study for an eye exam, you know.

At the DMV I looked into a machine. There were tiny little numbers in there. Teeny tiny ones. I could make out the first and last and took a guess that they went in order.
"6 7 8 9 10," I said.
I passed.
More little numbers.
Was I really supposed to be able to see these? I guessed. Half wrong, half right.
More little numbers.
"I can't read those," I admitted.
Maybe I can hire someone to drive me around, I thought.
The screen clicked. The numbers got bigger. I passed.
I drove home, passing speed limits signs with great big, bold, black numbers on them.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I used to be in a writing group with Lynne. One day she was reading a piece about clean sheets and how good they smell when they've been dried outside, on a clothesline.
"Wait," I said. "Is that how they get that smell?"
I'd been wondering why, all these years, my sheets never smelled fresh and new after a washing like they did when I was a child. It was one of those fleeting mysteries of childhood; a moment I tried to re-create every time I washed my sheets, but it always fell flat. Somehow, my sheets never smelled the same as I remembered. I used the same laundry detergent my mother did. I used the same dryer sheets. Still nothing.
I dry my sheets in a dryer. I dry all my laundry in a dryer. Hanging clothes on the line was one of my most dreaded chores. I didn't mind taking the clothes off the line so much, because it went much quicker. But hanging them up? No thank you. I served an LDS mission to The Netherlands. No dryers. We hung our clothes on racks in our apartments. When they dried, my clothes were hard and stiff. I couldn't wait to use a dryer again. I love when my clothes come out of the dryer, soft and still warm.
But I'd give anything for my sheets to smell like they did when my mother washed them.
We've moved to Wyoming.
It is different here.
The houses are older. There are mature trees. We have a clothesline in our backyard.
After I washed our sheets, I hung them out there to dry. The clothespins were cracked and sun-bleached. The air moved like a whisper around me, barely a breeze. I pinned some of the worries I've carried for a long time up there with those sheets. I didn't take them down again.
When I slept that night my bed smelled like earth and sunshine. I breathed deep and felt almost young again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Butter 2

Another essay on butter I wrote at the BYU WIFYR Conference:

My grandpa spread butter on his waffle slowly and carefully, so that it sank into every hole. He topped it with thick maple syrup, pouring slowly row by row, filling the indentations with sweet stickiness.

 High cholesterol runs in our family. We shouldn’t butter our bread or fill the holes in our waffles with golden pools of butter, but Grandpa did. When my mother expressed worry over this unhealthy indulgence, Grandpa scoffed. Butter was natural. Pure. Better watch out for those other, fabricated foods; things that could not be tied to the earth. Those who live off the land understand these things. Besides, he’d say, he’d probably outlive most. He has.


My mother asked him, when she was dying, if he would help carry her casket. He nodded. I saw tears pooling, like melted butter, in the corners of his eyes. Mom patted his hand—my father’s father.

            “It’s not right,” he said, shaking his head.

            He couldn’t finish, so my mother finished for him, “No, it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”

“Nope. Parents are not supposed to bury their children,” he said. He stood up. I knew he’d go outside to the farmland where he felt most at home. I knew he’d go to be alone. He’d walk past the barn, the machine shed, the haystacks. He’d open the gate, leave the fenced yard, and walk through the wheat field where the stalks were tall and golden, and waved like a sea of shiny butter. 

Friday, July 17, 2009


My husband, Brady, had the honor and privilege of singing "If You Could Hie to Kolob" at Anna's memorial service this week. This was a very special and spiritual experience for both me and Brady. A tender mercy. Our hearts go out to Joe and Christy and their family. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you in the months and years ahead. You have been an inspiration to us and our family. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sooner or Later

Sooner or later, it seems that every kid does it: cuts their own hair. Oh yes, isn't it lovely?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Butter 1

During my novel writing class at the BYU Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers Conference, my instructor, Louise Plummer, asked us to write something about butter. We had a few minutes, right there on the spot. This is what I wrote:

My mother greased bread pans with shortening, using squares of waxed paper she kept in the shortening can. She only made bread when I was young, before we remodeled the house. The remodel brought men into our house. Men I didn't know. Men who came, kicked up sawdust, then left. Men who never--according to my father--put in a full day's work. 

My father loved his work. He came into the house for breakfast with the smell of earth already on him. He brought raw milk, fresh from the milk tank. We'd pour it on our cereal. White rivers of cream flowed through our Cheerios. At lunch, he came inside with the smell of sweet hay or dust from the grain field. We ate meat and potatoes, and slices of bread heavy with butter. 

My grandpa was always with him at lunchtime. Grandpa never said much. He'd roll up the sleeves on his work shirt and wash up, past his elbows. He ate ice cream off his dirty dinner plate because he didn't want to my mother to dirty another dish for him. The farm was his, before it was my fathers. It had belonged to his father before that. I watched him butter his bread and chew slowly, knowing that I knew so little about him. I knew they used to have dances in the parlor of the old farmhouse when my father was a boy. I knew that my grandpa was a fine dancer. I knew he stole watermelons from his neighbor when he was a kid and that he swore a lot when he talked with old friends and when the calves were ornery. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Handy Mom

Over the past two weeks I've:
Fixed the latch on my laptop (which wasn't working)
Jump started the car
Figured out how to fix the Ipod which was frozen on some weird screen

Pretty good for me, who's usually inept at everything.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not quite Cinderella

All my daughter wanted for her birthday were these shoes. The day she got them she had a sore on her toe because she'd smashed it somewhere while wearing flip flops. So, of course, these shoes hurt to wear. Now that the sore has healed, she won't wear the purple shoes that she just had to have. I don't think she's worn them even once since her birthday. Little stinker. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mom's Radiation

What was it like at radiation, once she went through the doors? What did she do and think while I flipped through issues of Newsweek and watched the clock? Who did she talk to? Did the nurses remember her? Was the room too cold? The radiation hot? Shame on me for not asking—for not even wanting to know.

 I remember a day when my sister and I took my Mom to Salt Lake City. Was it for a CT scan? Seems like it was. My sister, a nurse, would know. 

 I do remember that she couldn’t eat anything, so my sister and I didn’t eat anything either. It seemed wrong to have pancakes for breakfast or stop for a cheeseburger when my mother was trying to gag down some drink that would light up like neon in the machine they would feed her through like she were on a conveyor belt. She was trying not to throw it up. She took tiny sips and then shivered. She lay back in her seat taking measured breaths. Inside the building, we sat with her in the waiting room, watching a 30ish man in bicycle shorts talk with the receptionist. “The form says shellfish,” he said. “I’m allergic to shrimp, does that count?” She nodded. There’d be no neon drink for him. I wondered to myself if that was a good or a bad thing.

 We moved to another room. When they called her back, we left the waiting room.

“I’m starving,” my sister said. I was too. Mom had told us to eat. She’d begged us to stop on the way. We didn’t. She told us to go while she was in for the scan. We hated the thought that she might finish before we were back. Suddenly, it seemed, that was the whole point of a waiting room. It wasn’t for those waiting to go in. It was so that someone was out there waiting for you when you were done.

 We found the candy machines. They didn’t take debit cards. Nope. Cash. Of which we had very little. We went out to the car and raided the glove box and the cup-holder drawer. When we’d pooled our change we bought a packet of red, coconut-covered zingers. I don’t remember anything ever tasting quite so good. I hadn’t had a red coconut zinger in years and years, since I was a kid, probably. We both wanted chocolate milk to go with them, but we settled on long slurps from the drinking fountain because we only had two nickels left.

 That’s what I remember from that day: red coconut zingers. I buy them now, sometimes. They still taste good to me. “Do you know what’s in these things?” my husband says, reading the label. Yes. Hydrogenates. Trans Fats. High Fructose Corn Syrup, or something else, equally bad. They’ll probably stay on a shelf for years and not go stale. They’ll survive nuclear war. They’ll attach to my artery walls and stay there. I just want to eat them and have my memory. They are, after all, inseparable in my mind from that day—CT scan day. 

 “I know.” I say, “They’ll kill me.” I bite into one. That is, if the cancer doesn’t get me first.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, now I get it!

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
- E. L. Doctorow

I think I needed to hear this a long time ago. Write on!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grocery Shopping

Not very often, but sometimes, I think ahead before going grocery shopping. Sometimes, I go through the ads and circle what I plan on buying that week. My daughter was at the kitchen table coloring with markers. This was one of those rare weeks when I was thinking ahead. The grocery store ads were strewn across the table. I went about doing my daily things: laundry, checking email, feeding the baby. When I came back to the table I found the Walgreens ad. I guess I must go there. Oh, and look at what I'm supposed to buy. Hilarious. Thanks my five year old. What? No vitamins or Mountain Dew?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Smart Computers

Computers now days are supposed to be smart. They know everything about us: our social security numbers, where we shop online, what celebrities we might have secret crushes on. Right? Then why are there a few things they just can't get straight? I mean, if they were THAT smart, then I'd stop getting emails about breast enhancement surgery. Case in point?

Although I had a wonderful experience at the hospital where I recently gave birth, I was asked three times about my mother. Apparently the computer system was smart enough to know that I was her daughter and it linked us together. What the computer system was NOT smart enough to know is that she had died. I had to explain this three times, to three different people: once before my son was born, once after he was born, and the two days later when we were back for a bilirubin test. It was not something I wanted to be reminded of at any of those moments. And how do you explain it? She died? She passed away? She's deceased? Then the person who asked mumbles "Oh, I'm sorry" and then is embarrassed. Yeah, awkward.

When I told my father about it, he said, "Yeah, I got a call less than a year ago from the hospital asking how her cancer treatments were going. I had to tell them that she'd died--over five years ago." 
"Well, somehow that information is STILL not in their computer system," I told him. 
"Why does the computer make the connection anyway?" he asked me.
"Oh, probably in case I don't pay my bill, they want a way to find me," I said.
"Well then, that's where you made your mistake. You should've just said, yep, she's my Mom--send the bill to her."

Oops. That would have been funny, Dad. And smart. Very smart.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

His Eyes

My pediatrician told me that by about six months my baby's eyes would stop changing and become the color they will always be. Right now, his eyes are brownish in the middle and blue/grey on the outside. To me, they look like the color of storm clouds--gathering. Will they stay this way and what does that mean?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chivalry Alive

I was at the pool yesterday with my kids at swimming lessons. There was a Mom, dropping off her son. Since he was early for his lesson, he headed to the balcony to wait. I heard his Mom tell him that either she, or his Dad, would be back to pick him up. He nodded and climbed the stairs. I was behind him, carrying my sleeping baby in his car seat. At the top of the stairs, the boy saw me. He stopped and waited and held the door open for me. His Mom was long gone, out the door, but I wish she could have seen him. Surely, she'd be proud: it was so thoughtful and sweet. See, chivalry is not dead, not in that ten-year old boy. Perhaps, then, there is hope for all the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


My daughter has a friend at school. Her name is Rose Marie. She has long, bright carrot-colored hair. I met her once, at Albertsons. She's gorgeous. She smiled shyly and I instantly liked the girl. My daughter likes her too. She comes home with stories of Rose Marie and tells me how nice and how beautiful she is, both inside and out. 

One day my daughter told me that she feels so sad for Rose Marie for one reason. It seems that she goes to speech therapy. 

Lots of kids do. I tell her. Not to worry. She'll learn to say whatever sounds she's struggling with. Just give her time.

Oh, I know, Mom, my daughter tells me. It's just that the only sound she has a hard time with is the "R" sound. She makes it more like a "W." My daughter is disgusted when I look at her blankly. "Mom, her name STARTS with an R." Oh. Yes, it does. "Mom. I just want her to be able to say her own name, the way it's supposed to sound."
And that's my girl. Always waiting for the day when a good thing will happen. Even if it happens to someone else. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pass the paper doilies

On the eve of school Valentine's Day parties everywhere, both my daughters informed me that they needed Valentine boxes the next day. I smiled. I was cursing under my breath, though. 

Being a responsible parent, I knew this was coming. Every year there are Valentine's Day parties. I know this. I know they will need a shoe box, covered in red paper and doily hearts with a slot in the top for Hannah Montana and Scooby Doo cards. But I'd forgotten. And now I was tired, it was late, and I did not want to spend the evening making Valentine's Day boxes. 

I remember making my own boxes in Elementary school. My mother (a saint) had sat at the table with me for hours, cutting hearts, glueing paper, and sprinkling glitter. Hadn't she? Unlike me, she'd never cursed under her breath. No, she brought out the construction paper and old cards and stickers and smiled. She'd been patient. And loving. At least, I remember her being patient and loving. And smiling. 

I thought about it, though, as I measured fabric and cut it and had my girls glue it on their boxes. As I showed my daughters how to fold a piece of paper, cut, and open it to reveal a perfectly shaped heart, I realized that I have no idea if my mother had actually enjoyed making Valentine's boxes with me. I only know that every year, she did. 

And suddenly, I was very happy to be making boxes with my smiling, loving, girls. It's just that next year, let's start earlier. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chocolate + Love

When I was first married, I heard my father-in-law complain to his wife about the half eaten chocolates she’d left in their pleated wrappers in the box. He was very annoyed. Convinced that my new husband shared the same pet peeve, I vowed not to make the same mistake. So when we received a box of chocolates as a gift, I ate the entire piece. Well, pieces. Strawberry crème filled. Caramel pecan. Dark Chocolate truffle. I savored them, knowing that he would be glad I hadn’t bitten them in half, leaving my teeth marks in the chocolate and making the crème filled centers dry out. Yes, I was proud of myself—until he came home.

            “What have you done?” he asked me. “You’re supposed to just eat half a piece and leave the other half for me. That way, we can both try all the flavors in the box!” He was very annoyed. Sometimes in love and chocolate, you just can’t win.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Fun Run

Our Junior High had an annual "Fun Run." I don't know if those two words belong in the same sentence. But I married into a family of runners. They have a family Turkey Trot before Thanksgiving. They are the kind of people who believe that running is fun. Really fun. So of course, they loved the Fun Run.

It was bound to come up. And one year it did: 
"How did you do in the Fun Run, DeAnn?" 
"Fun Run?" (This was a stall tactic). 
"The Junior High Fun Run, how did you do?"
Pause. More pause. Followed by a sheepish grin.
"You didn't run in the Fun Run?" This was said loudly as to attract the attention of the entire family, including my husband who might not have married me had he known this bit of information.
More sheepish grinning. Followed by, "I can't believe it: DeAnn didn't run in the Fun Run! Everybody ran in the Fun Run. Didn't you have to run in the Fun Run?"
The Fun Run, I explained, was optional. 
"You never ran in the Fun Run?" 
See, The Fun Run was an annual event. Three years of Jr. high, and not a single "Fun Run" for me. The sheepish grin had become more of wince.
My husband joined the questioning. "What did you do during the Fun Run, if you weren't running in it?"
"Well, it was simple," I explained. "Every year, there was an option. You could either run in the Fun Run or you could go to the library." (I think at this point my husband might have hit his hand against his forehead). "And not just the school library, either. You got to go to the public library. The city library that smelled of dusty books and glass cleaner. And it was the middle of the day, so it was empty. Even the big leather chairs next to the map collection. The chairs that had big metal rivets along the seams, the ones that were always taken. Even those chairs were empty during the Fun Run." I shrugged. "See, I loved the Fun Run, too. Every year. Oh, how I loved it."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Birthdays

"You are SOOOO lucky!!!" 
My brother, Brian, said this to me one year when my birthday fell on Super Bowl Sunday. 
I didn't feel lucky. I didn't want to spend the entire day watching football, which is what we would most certainly be doing. (Well, besides going to church). He, on the other hand, thought there were few things greater than a both a birthday and the Super Bowl on the same day. 

I've watched few, if any, Super Bowls since leaving home. Yesterday, I guessed (correctly) that the Steelers were playing this year. After all, it seems like I've seem them in the news and mentions of them on my yahoo home page. I was told the Arizona Cardinals would be the opposing team. Funny. I'd never heard of them. Wait a minute. Aren't the Cardinals in St. Louis? I looked them up on Wikipedia. Apparently, I've not watched football since 1987.

I have had birthdays, though. Some on Super Bowl Sunday, some not. This year, my birthday was on Monday. On Monday, the ALA announced the children and young adult literary awards for 2009: The Newbery Award, the Caldecott Medal, The Printz Award. The Super Bowl of Children's Writing. Combine that and the fact I finally got flowers on my birthday:
Well, I am so lucky.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Miss America

Why am I watching Miss America? Tradition, probably. It used to be in September, right around my sister's birthday. We didn't watch it every year, but enough to remember some highlights. Like the year Sharlene Wells, Miss Utah, won. She played the harp, and ate almost a pound of fudge just prior to  the swimsuit competition. I'll also never forget the year Vanessa Williams was stripped of her crown after nude photos of her were exposed by Penthouse magazine. I was young. . . and shocked.

My Mom always complained that they didn't show enough of the talent portion of the competition and too much of the swimsuit competition. And can we really compare an opera song to a show tune? or tap dancing to classical ballet? And a dramatic reading? Just how did she get all the way to Miss America doing a dramatic reading??? My mother loved the talent portion. She would always base her prediction of the winner based on the contestant's performance in the talent competition. Almost always, she was wrong. 

My father, on the other hand, almost always correctly predicted the winner beforehand. Ironically, he wouldn't even watch the pageant. Usually he just bumped in from time to time, complaining "oh, did I miss the swimsuit competition again this year?" 

No, my father would base his predictions on a set of random factors. A minor one was chest size. (For this my mother would scold him. He'd shrug and say, "sad, but true"--He never claimed to approve). The major factor, however, was simply a different kind of size: the size of their home states. New York, California, and Texas were always front runners. He'd also account for any politically correct wild card-ness. (In the case of Vanessa Williams, it was time for a black woman to win, and one year, there was a contestant who was deaf). 

This method of prediction drove my mother nuts. It tore at her belief that the Miss America pageant was based primarily on talent, scholarship, and community service. To this my father would answer, "I'm not saying that Miss so-and-so SHOULD win, just that she WILL win." Then my mother would point out that her evening gown was the wrong color for her skin tone. Yes, it was as entertaining to watch my parent's bicker about who would win as it was to watch the pageant. 

Home tonight, watching alone, well there's just not as much fun in it. There's still surgical enhancement, spray-on tans, too much make-up, and that song: "Here she comes, Miss America." Oh, and world peace. There is always, always world peace. Well, a girl can dream.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I did something last night that I hardly ever do. I went to bed without taking off my make-up. I  thought it through. Since I didn't even put make-up on until 4:45 p.m., I thought maybe it could stay there all night without terribly damaging effects. After all, there are days I wear make-up ALL day. What's the difference, if you wear it all night? 
Well,  I read once that for every time you don't wash your make-up off at night, you age five days. I've committed this crime twice in past year. So people, that technically means that today's my birthday.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kids & Christmas

Christmas is not my favorite holiday. Instead I long to crawl under a rock and stay there until the spring thaw. At the very least, I want to stay home the entire month of December. I really do. I want to stay home, snuggle with my kids, and read a book. I wish that there really was a man in a red suit to deliver presents on Christmas morning so I don't have to go shopping. My brother-in-law calls me Scrooge. 

I didn't stay home, though. No, this year we packed up all our kids, all their presents, all our snow/winter gear and went to Idaho. I didn't want to, but I understood that my husband and our children did. It wasn't about me, anyway. Christmas isn't about adults. 

We'd driven about 40 minutes when my husband got a call that his cousin had been killed that morning in an avalanche while snowmobiling. We still had a 2 1/2 hour drive. A person thinks during that time. 

We entered the house to a somber crowd. Jesse had worked for my husband's brother alongside  his other two brothers. We probably knew Jesse least, but I never saw him without a smile on his face. Now I saw pain in everyone's eyes. 

And then our kids came in behind us, bounding--their eyes and hearts excited for Christmas and all it's wonders. Being at Grandma and Grandpa's was an added bonus. It took a little time, but I watched everyone pick up their sagging hearts. After all, there was still Christmas to be had. 

So we had Christmas. It was better for everyone, I think, because of the kids. It's hard to be too sad, with children around at Christmastime. Of all the years, this one was a good one to be at Grandma and Grandpa Campbell's. We didn't bring anyone lots of gifts. O.K, we didn't bring any gifts. But we brought the kids. I hope it was enough.