Monday, January 17, 2011

The Truth Behind the Tart

So I have been browsing this book called “Cherries in Winter”. It’s very charming actually. Suzan Colon shares her own, her mother’s and her grandmother’s stories of life and perseverance in tandem and parallel one with another.
There was one particular part that caught my eye.

Suzan shared how she had been attempting to make her grandmother’s lemon meringue pie. Let’s just say it didn’t go well and her take on the “execution” of the pie was rather amusing. But even as she dumped the egg whites that simply would not meringue -up down the sink and lamented her partial pie that seemed flatter and not much like her grandmother’s at all (although she outright rejoiced over the homemade crust!) her husband assured her it was fine. It could just be a tart and it would taste great. But Suzan continues to be distraught because she wanted a pie. She meant to make a pie, she followed the recipe for a pie, and instead got a tart.

She paralleled this perceived failure with the experience her and her husband were having at that time. They had been married later in life (41 for her, 43 for him),but had decided to try and have a child anyway. They both wanted it very much. They tried everything possible, and every month when her period started she would cry. Finally her husband, holding her one night, asked with a voice cracked with emotion “What are we doing wrong?”. Her response was “Nothing. We’re fine.” And it was in that moment that she realized they really were fine…there was nothing wrong with who they were.
To make plain her metaphor: She wasn’t content with the tart because she had been so focused on the fact it wasn’t a pie. But then again, there was certainly nothing wrong with the tart (outside of the fact it wasn’t a pie).

I sat back, closed the book, and immediately found the parallel with Suzan’s story in my own life.
My life is a tart. And I have been terribly unhappy with my tart-ness because what I was really trying to make all along was a pie. I grew up being taught to be a pie. The flaky crust (myself), the lustrous sweet (and sometimes sour) filling (my kids) and the meringue… fluffy, sweet and protective (a marriage to a good man) on the top.
And yet…here I am meringue-less.
And no matter how much I beat those egg whites, they refuse to become meringues.

And so I lament my tart-ness, pining for the pie I should have been, I planned to be, and that everyone else seems to create with far less effort. But perhaps I was never meant to be a pie…and maybe I’ve been missing out on the delights of being a tart because I’ve been grieving my apparent failure.And it was in that moment I realized that I hadn’t failed at all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with tarts. What would this world be if there was only one choice of dessert? I may even grow to hate chocolate cake if that were the case. And so instead I will enjoy the tart that was supposed to be a pie, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 16, 2011

List Maker

Ashlyn, much to my delight (and often amusement) likes to make lists. She loves them. There is usually one, sometimes two that I see per day. And what is so fun for me, is that she write phonetically according to her first grade knowledge. And she writes lists she feels are logical and important. It is a great insight into how her mind works.

(I will first write the words out exactly as she did, and then offer a translation)

This list is for her birthday party…which is in July. She plans and re-plans it daily and gives me an update on her planning. Here are her plans:
Cake (cake)
Tencrbell toys (Tinkerbell toys)
Frasting candls (Frosting, candles)
Riben ballonns (ribbon, balloons)
Table cloth food table (tablecloth, food, table)
emvatashens (invitations)
And her guest list:
Sindne (Sidney), Jenna, Kacy, Emma, Ella, Lora (Laura), hania (Hannah), behtne (Bethany), krastena (Kristina)

This list I found her making one night on her bed after we had discussed the possibility of going to California as a family. She was elated and immediately began making plans (where she got that from, I will never know)

Californy (California)
Emte 3 playr (MP3 player)
Pelo blanket stuft anamli (Pillow, blanket, stuffed animals)
Clos undrwer socks (Clothes, underwear, socks)
Shoos (shoes)
Chaptstick (Chapstick)
Angalena blaren movies books (Angelina Ballerina, movies, books)
Camra (Camera)
Neckles (necklace)
Sticor creashen (Sticker Creashen)

I love it! It just overflows with cuteness and curiosity! Only two lines are absolute essentials and the rest are the things she has determined are important to this journey. It cracks me up.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Gift

So in our famly we have this great gift. It is indescribable in many ways. And yet, a few choice words have been assigned to it.

It reminds me of something that should be dangling from the limbs of an evergreen draped in lights and tacky tinsel.
Or something straight out of Aladdin ("Dead Sea tupperware. Phhhbt. Still good.").

Either way...My brother and his wife bought it for my mom as a gag gift.

A little while later, they got it back from her as a joke.

And the game was on.

Everyone has had it in their posession at one point or another.

It has been wrapped in shiny paper at a wedding, tied with ribbon for birthdays, and presented as "Welcome home from your mission" gift. We though about sending it to Brazil when one of my brothers was down there, but we were afraid since the Brazilians are notorious for pre-opening packages, someone would think it was shiny and from America and keep it. Plus Bryant said he wouldn't have made room in his luggage to bring it home. Obviously he has his priorities all messed up.

It has also been given on the sly, or in disguise. Like this last time. Garrett and Amanda had it. They sent it home from Utah with Tamra and had Tamra wrap it and bring it as a white elephant to our family party. It was a in the biggest box under the tree, tucked safely in a brown box splattered with pleas "I'm the best present under this tree! Take me!" or "You'll love me, I promise!" and "You'll hurt my feelings if you don't pick me. No, Seriously."

And the lucky recipient...Bryant!

You never know when it will show up. Or how it will come to be in your posession. Or even when it will be useful. Like the time my mom's hand pump on her REAL soap dispenser broke and she traded it out.

So now besides being horrifically ugly, it also doesn't work.
Shame that.

-I will refrain from making snide (and yet loving) brother comments at this point. -

Anyway, the funny thing about this gift is that even though its the less then perfect gift we would all be a little sad if it disappeared.

It is, after all, the gift that truly keeps on giving.

Or maybe because its mere presence reminds of something...
We will always have each other.
Even when we can't see each other, we know the others are around and will eventually show up.
And we may just show up when you least expect us, but its more likely at birthdays and weddings and holidays.
Or missions.
Sometimes the wrappings and the situations may change, but whats inside the package will never alter.
And we all know what's ugly inside and manage to not mind when we show up anyway, because it makes it kind of fun and gives us a reason to laugh.
And it helps us remember how precious the simplest things are when shared with people who love you.

For : My Mom, Dad, Melanie, Robert, Bryant, Garrett (And Amy!).
The people who know all my ugly secrets but continue to believe the best of me. They back me up, pick me up, and hold me up.
They are the greatest gift I have ever received.

And I don't mind at all if they show up when I least expect it.

Posted by Picasa


Last night at supper, Conner and Ashlyn were both seated on the piano bench since they have the smallest behinds. A kafuffle ensued. There was spitting, and hitting and pushing. And when the grownups intervened; there was blaming from Conner and looks of sweet (fake) innocence from Ashlyn. And Conner was told he needed to move over to another chair. He refused. Refusal is not acceptable in our home. So dad got up to physically move Conner to where he was told to go. As he was being towed away from the bench, he broke free long enough to run over to Ashlyn, lean in very close, and menacingly announce through clenched teeth “You’re going to pay for this!”

Threats also do not go over well in this house and grandpa placed a firm hand on his hind-end as he was not too gently placed into his new chair. Two rivers of silent tears formed on his cheeks as he continued to (more quietly) protest. “But she HIT me!” (More innocent looks from Ashlyn…who then in fairness was also moved, cried, and ended up in her room for 10 minutes because she was hysterically sobbing over moving to the other side of me. Drama.)

Things calmed down and the evening continued without further incident.

This morning we got up and started getting ready for school. Ashlyn was frantically and whinily looking for her shoes. She is infamous for not really looking at all, but just standing there whining about not being able to find something until I go find it for her. So this morning I told her 4 places to look, and that if she came back and said they weren’t there, and then I went and found them where she had previously “looked” that her Angelina Ballerina doll would have to sleep with me tonight instead of with her.

She was motivated.

And she diligently looked in all the places I suggested to no avail.

Finally, grandma suggested she look upstairs. She came back down with them a few minutes later, declaring they had been hidden somewhere obscure (I don’t remember where now).

Suddenly, at the table, cereal bowl before him, spoon in hand…Conner smiles impishly. “I told you you would pay for it.”

That little stinker.

I’m trying to be angry. But that is honestly exactly the kind of payback I can appreciate.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Whole Fam Damily...

So Mom and Dad got everyone PJ's for Christmas Eve! I haven't had new Christmas Eve Pj's in years! I always get them for my kids, though. And everyone still loved theirs. My pants, should you not be able to tell, are polar bears on black. I also got a teal plaid pair.
Ashlyn has fleecy cupcake jammies, Paul has Star Wars pants and a few new t-shirts. Conner has Mario Brothers and Maryn's are plaid with a penguin tank top.
We all put our toes in the middle and took a picture of our pants. :)
Except for mom and dad.

Rob and Tamra and kids came up Christmas day afternoon. Garrett, Amanda and Bryant were already here, and Mel and Kirk came up on the 26th after church. That's 22 people in this house. 22! It was...cozy:) But always fun.

Rob, Bry, Garrett and I sang "Gesu Bambino" in church that morning. It was lovely (I think). Then we had our official Christmas Party. We had ham and some delicious sides. And for dessert whatever sweetness we were all trying to get rid of. Then we played Christmas Bingo. Lesson 2 games. One for adults and one for kids. Reason? Some of the white elephant offerings were cool...if you were a grown up. My poor 6 year old nephew opened a book called "The Belly Fat Cure" and immediately burst into tears. My sister in law took pity on him and traded him her beach balls. Her and my brother ended up really liking the book. So we're trying to come up with a different plan for the kids for next year. But the good news is Bryant got "The Gift" (another long story which truly deserves it's own post). We wrapped it up, got kids in bed (after a little 6-11 year old girl drama about who was going to sleep with whom and how none of the ideas the parents came up with were good enough...whining commences, complaining commences...all girls assigned to their parents rooms for the night. )and played games! Well, one game actually. A new fun game that is like Balderdash but less complicated. And just as fun.

Mom wanted a nice picture of everyone.
Unfortunately, this is the best we could do.
Now that's more like it. Thackers in their natural habitat.
Note the bizarre behavior.
Note it...and run away.

Posted by Picasa

A Licking...

So yesterday Conner got frustrated with my mom and stuck his tongue out at her, which she, of course, immediately called him on. Grandma: "Conner! Did you just stick your tongue out at me!?!" Conner: "No! I have diseased lips and I was just licking them!"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Program

The younger kids also did a program. It was very good! The music teacher used tracks to accompany them and they sang some fun songs like the "Christmas time is here..." song from Peanuts and "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" and they did a good dang job.

Here is my little Erma girl, looking for me.

And she found me :)
And so did Conner!
Posted by Picasa

A Cause for Mrs. Clause

Maryn auditioned for and got a part in the 5th grade play at Ft. Meigs this year. She was Elf #6! But she has some lines and was on stage a lot. It was a really cute and clever play and quite good actually.

Here she is all elfed out...
The enthusiasm here is truly contagious...
The set and all the elves and Santa...
And they take a bow!
I think it gave her a taste for the theater. She wants to try out for the middle school musical next year. I think she can do it!
Posted by Picasa

Hooters :)

A few days before Christmas, we discovered a special visitor had taken up residency in our owl. He stayed there are day. My dad, my kids and my brothers spent most of the day going out and checking on our little friend. Sadly, by the next morning, he had left for other boxes.

Posted by Picasa