Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Parable of the Three Blue Mugs

Yesterday my sister Lindsey came over and we hosted a joint garage sale together. She had lots of enticing vintage glassware items for sale which inevitably drew Oliver in. With some of the quarters he made from hocking a few toys, he soon became the proud owner of three glass mugs. "They're for my mom," he explained to Lindsey. I'm sure he was aware somehow that this was the only way he could make her consent to selling such sparkly forbiddens to a minor. When I came back out of the house, he presented his gift to me.

[Withhold judgment here]: Preoccupied with trying to get rid of all our stuff, the blazing heat of the afternoon, and wondering what we were going to scrape up for lunch, I offered a paltry, "Oh, that's beautiful, Oliver," in one of those irritating, phony-mom voices. I had no idea what had gone on while I was in the house and wasn't sure of what he was really doing or saying. When I finally understood that he had purchased them for me, I was secretly irritated that he was accumulating more stuff while I was trying to get rid of it. Ughh. Yes - low moment.

There's more. I asked him to take the mugs into the house so they wouldn't get broken. Wait, let me help you up the stairs... "No, I can do it myself, Mom." and one fell and broke its handle. "It's OK, Mom.", he reassured me. "We can drop the other ones so they all break their handles, and then they'll be the same!"

A few lessons here:
1) I was so absorbed into myself that I missed what was really happening in those moments as they happened and so they passed me by
2) I couldn't see that I was placing more value on an object than on my son's delight
3) Children live in the moment. In fact, they are experts at it.
4) There's more than on way to interpret an event. To me, the broken handle was a misfortune that could have been prevented. To Oliver, it was an opportunity for transformation.
5) It wasn't too late to turn my mistake around

This afternoon I called Oliver into the kitchen. While some berries and yogurt were mixing in the ice-cream maker, we washed the two remaining mugs together then filled them with the frozen yogurt when it was done. "I know just the place to eat these, Mom", he said with his knowing look. "The porch swing!"

And he was right.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Incubation Speculation

Day ten of twenty-one.

So our little incubator is jerry-rigged out of a Styrofoam cooler, some mini-loaf pans, a dish scrubber,a string of garden lights and a meat thermometer (the latter two items were both gifts on separate occasions from our neighbor Randy. How fitting since he and his wife Colleen are our chicken-sitters whenever we go out of town...). The "instructions" say to turn the eggs up to five times a day, keep the temperature at 102F with the relative humidity somewhere around something percent so that the eggs don't dry out (hence the dish sponge which we keep wet all the time). How do you know if the eggs are incubating? After the passing of Chicker, I suppose the next worse thing after all of the anticipation is to realize we didn't so it right and that the eggs won't hatch. Hmmm. Is it possible to stage a hatching?? Broken eggshells and three fluffy chicks from the IFA suddenly appear in the incubator one morning. "Brahm, Oliver! Come see what happened last night!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

It's been nine years today and we celebrated first thing in the morning by removing the toilet from our upstairs bathroom (photo courtesy of Brahm). The toilet was the only thing allowing us to stay in our house during the remodel (who needs a shower?) and so now that the only modern plumbing convenience remaining is the kitchen sink, it seems we must go. (Brooks' aunt and uncle in South Jordan have graciously agreed to take us in.)

They say if your marriage can survive building or remodeling a home, it can survive anything. How fitting that we should mark the occasion in this fashion.

Other things we have survived since July 14, 1999:

•moving to Historic Sandy from Provo
•three job changes for Brooks
•two live childbirths for Jenny
•the gain and loss of one hundred pounds directly associated with those childbirths
•transition from a sedan to a station wagon (yikes!). No minivan in sight.
•two first days of pre-school and one of kindergarten
•three trips to the ER and one appendectomy for Jenny; a tonsillectomy for Brahm
•(almost) two Bush terms
•the ascension of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie in popular culture

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday Playgroup

For a few years now, Brahm, Oliver and I have had a summer tradition of meeting up with a small group moms and their kids for a weekly outing. These are women I originally met through friends of Brooks while he was in the grad program.

One of the mom's husband is an organist for the tabernacle choir. Today he gave a recital at the old tabernacle and she kindly arranged a backstage tour for us which included an up-close explanation of the organ itself as well as a walking tour through the pipes behind the stage! Of course this is one of those moments where I'm thinking what a fine cultural opportunity this is is for my kids in order to subdue the guilt I feel for subjecting them to an hour of doing the impossible: sitting still through the recital and keeping their hands to themselves while near and in the organ! What are all those buttons, knobs and keys for if not to be physically examined? Sigh. And what's more, of course I felt compelled at dinner to reiterate what a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that was for them and how amazed they should be by what they saw and did (ahem, like I was).

Illusion: this had some cultural meaning for them.
Hope: they will remember this day as time well-spent with each other and with me.
Reality: Oliver summarizes the day's events with Brooks by stating that he had shared his Pokemon cards with Isaac and that Isaac promised to share his with Oliver next week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Egg Watch 2008

At the prompting of our media-savvy neighbors, this is our official foray into the blogosphere. The matter at hand that incurred the prompting? Our family's attempt at hatching three chicken eggs.

Chicker (Brahm's Rhode Island Red) was unexpectedly taken back home to the Great Coop in the Sky last week by a (brace yourselves) wicked maggot infestation. We noticed she wasn't quite right only too late and rushed - yes, rushed - her to the vet's for an emergency diagnosis/prognosis. He gave her a 50/50 chance of surviving the treatment and so, after a brief family council in which we discussed our options, Brahm decided that we should attempt to save her. Naturally the question of cost came up and the vet replied with no small amount of humor in his voice, "Well, if she makes it through, she will definitely be your golden chicken!" (Can I still be a good mom and have secretly hoped in that moment that she wouldn't? Sigh.)

Well, she didn't. We were on our way out the door to go camping/river rafting with some friends when we noticed she was sick and so that's where we were when we got the news. As fate would have it, one of those friends had packed some farm fresh ("fresh" = "fertilized") eggs in his cooler and, upon hearing of Chicker's passing, kindly donated three of them to the replacement cause! And they just happened to be from a Rhode Island Red: the stars were aligned.

Chicker is resting peacefully behind the raspberry patch and we've completed day one of the twenty-one-day incubation period.