Friday, November 30, 2007

Flashback Friday!

My friend Dawn and I flew from PA to UT twice to attend EFY together at BYU. What grand adventures those summer trips were! This is a photo of us the first year we attended Especially For Youth together; we were just sixteen years old. This is my choice of flashback photo because today Dawn is 34! How did she get so old? Hee hee.

Dawn and I have been friends since we were like 5 years old. We were in the same classes for much of elementary school so we share many memories of those early years. We became more or less inseparable around seventh grade and were each other's constant companions until I went off to BYU and she to Hood College. Of course, we've always kept in touch and even now love to get together with our little ones and spouses for some fun visits.

Together, Dawn and I participated in all kinds of extra-curricular activities in high school--from field hockey to vocal ensemble to student council to musical productions. We loved taking classes together--anything from chemistry to yearbook to P.E. --we were there together making it fun! We were a team. Our senior year we were on the Homecoming Court together and I heard a rumor that we had each received the exact same number of votes. I still believe that rumor to be true. We were "Dawn and Mendy." I don't think people thought of one of us without the other (except boys--they only thought of her).

We would make others (and each other) laugh with our characterized sketches of various teachers and our own set of overused words, like "hideous" and "heinous."

Dawn was good for me because she'd make me study (something I rarely would have done if left to my own devices). Of course, to study for big tests we would convince our parents that we had to have sleepovers and we were both lucky enough to have parents who allowed such things--even on school nights. If I had Seminary in the morning, Dawn would come along if she'd slept at my house. If there was not Seminary, I'd sleep at hers. We were for fortunate to have each other all through adolescence and we knew that.

Now, I know I am still lucky to have such a friend in my life. After enjoying our teens together we went in different directions and found our own lives but always keep in touch. For a couple of years, we both lived in the same town in MD. At our 10 year reunion, classmates would ask where I lived and then where she lived and when we said we lived just miles apart, they'd say, "Of course!"

Even though Dawn still lives under an hour away from me, I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. Life is like that sometimes, you know, just busy busy busy. Although I don't see her everyday, I think of her often and smile remembering all of our teen-aged girl silliness. I know she'll be my friend forever.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Judo Masters

Tuesday nights 'round these here parts is Boys Night Out/Girls Night In. I give the girls good baths complete with hair scrubbing (we are too lazy to rinse Maia's hair more than twice a week) and then we have girl time. Usually, we watch something ridiculously girlie like a Barbie movie and paint fingernails. It's quite nice.

Michael and Mason put on their gis and head out the door to their Judo class. They've been taking Judo for a couple of months now and both quite enjoy it. They come home sweaty, bruised, and smiling. Recently, they tested out of their beginning class and are now in the advanced class. That means that they know the names of the throws, know how to fall correctly, and get more bruises.

I think this is the cutest thing on earth. Michael has long been a martial arts junkie, already having studied Tai Chi and Tae Kwon Do (in his youth, he earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do--but don't tell him I told you; he'll be embarrassed). He'd been wanting to study Judo and asked Mason if he'd like to join him. Mason seems to have his father's love of martial arts. He takes his Judo very seriously and never uses his moves at home (a promise his instructors made him make).

I can't say that Michael is as good at keeping that rule. Routinely, he interrupts me to practice throwing me in an effort to perfect his technique. He's taught both Teensy and Mackenna how to roll out of being thrown and Kenna has been known to include in her prayers such phrases as "and I can get big and go to Judo with Daddy and Buddy."

So, if you wonder why I can't go out on Tuesday nights, this is why. And if you have a problem with that, I've got a couple of Judo Masters who can teach you a lesson! Hee hee.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great Wolf Lodge

On Monday and Tuesday of this week Maia and Mason played hooky from school and Michael took off from work so we could go with Michael's brother and his family to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA. Man, did we have a blast! It is an indoor water park and resort--very family friendly. Our kids had the best time playing with their four cousins and Michael and I had a great time enjoying our little ones.

This is Maia and Mason peeking out from their bunk bed in our Kid Suite. They loved having the bunk beds and, of course, fought over who would get the top. Maia's mind is like a steel trap, I tell you, because she remembered that Mason had gotten the top bunk in our similar hotel room in Orlando when we went to Disney World four years ago.

Marlee loved her little bed in the kids' alcove. She "made her bed" by spreading her beloved Strawberry Shortcake blanket on it and stared at the above mural endlessly (it was above her bed).

Mason and Ethan enjoyed a quick game of checkers before breakfast.

Mackenna loved the little fountains and kept trying to step on them to let the water tickle her feet. She did some of the little slides, but preferred splashing and crawling around in the water best of all.

There was a giant bucket that filled with water and then tipped its 1000 gallons every five minutes. The above photo shows Mason and Ethan as they await the downpour.

Mason loved the wave pool. Since there were hardly any people at the resort, we had it to ourselves many times. He and I rode the waves repeatedly. It was so easy simply to enjoy my children when I didn't have to worry about cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc. In the above photo, Mason and Maia are riding the waves in a raft with their cousin, Nina.

Michael got pretty good at balancing on the boogie board while riding the waves. Then, he forced me to have a go. I was worried I'd lose my suit (it had happened to others--men and women), but I gave in to his pleadings and had a go:

These are the eight cousins after two days of water play. They were tired but deliriously happy at all the wet fun they'd had. I was so proud of all my kids for being brave and trying new things. Maia actually tried everything--all the slides, including the tornado one (although she vowed never to go on that one again) and the surfing thing. Mason, too, did it all. Marlee tried the big slide with her dad and is still bragging to anyone who will listen about how she went down the big slide. Of course, she refused a repeat trip, but at least she did it. She preferred the little slides. Mackenna was happy just to splash and frolic in the water or to sit on my lap as we floated down the lazy river. Michael and I always like hanging out with our brother and sister-in-law. It was just a great time and I am so glad my brother-in-law gave us the chance to go!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Out of Context

So, a couple of days ago Mason was reading in the morning before school. I was doing dishes when he came to me and asked, "Mom, what does L-U-S-T mean?" I almost dropped a plate in the sink. I stammered, "Um, well, it's...yeah, I's like when you want something really badly--like a man wants to kiss a woman." He thanked me for my help and then continued reading. I was thinking about how I might have handled that differently if I hadn't been so caught off-guard by it when his next question broke through my musings. Mason was looking up at me again, "Mom, what does 'thrust' mean?" I had to laugh. "Lust" and "thrust"--where was Michael when I needed him? I could barely get my "short, violent push" definition out between chuckles.

You might be wondering what I was letting my seven year-old son read that contained such words. Well, my cute boy recently started reading The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ in preparation for his baptism next spring. He was actually reading a part where an evil man did "lust" after another family's riches and then "thrusts" said family members out of his house. See how innocent it truly was? With "lust" and "thrust" it really is a matter of context.

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill