Sunday, October 31, 2010

and so it is with life . . .

"You learn much more from a flop than a hit, because it's hard to learn anything when everyone is praising you to the skies on those opening nights when everything is going well."
~ Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960) ~

I heard this quoted the other day while listening to a story on NPR about the life of Oscar Hammerstein.  It grabbed my attention because I thought, "that is so true . . . I learn much more about myself when I really screw things up and someone witnesses me at my worst, but then with patience and forgiveness, allows me to grow from the experience."

It is wonderful when others appreciate and adore you because they always see you at your best, but it's truly something when those you've let down still love you despite your weaknesses and shortcomings.  I know my life is filled with fabulous "opening nights" as well as many "flops" and I'm so grateful for an audience that still appreciates and supports my occasional flawed performance :-).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thank you God for the beauty of last week.

In my element.  Really, what more can a girl ask for than a pair of hiking shoes, a camelback, and a some time for meditation, exercise, and bonding with friends while wandering through our majestic mountains in their full autumnal splendor??

Not much.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sing to me

Many evenings after singing the girls their goodnight song, I think to myself, "I should really write about this tradition before they have outgrown our bedtime ritual . . ."  So, when tonight's request became I See the Moon (we all know this is the only song accepted on a night with a bright harvest moon shining through their window), I knew as I tucked my little ones under grandma's quilts and turned off the light and left them cozy and secure in bed, it was the perfect night to finally preserve these memories.

Our songs have evolved over time to include a small repertoire of a few simple melodies on the girls' "most requested" list.  When Ryan was little, we stuck to primary songs and basic nursery rhymes since that was the extent of my knowledge when it came to children's music.  Caroline garnered a little more excitement at bedtime when we could sing Kindermusik tunes together, and her favorite "Annie" lyrics over and over (I'll never forget her only request, Maybe, every night for months on end when she was four years old).

I guess I have never forgotten my mother singing to me every night before she tucked me in, and there must have been something so comforting in that memory to have continued the ritual with my own children.  I can't say for sure when I, or my older children outgrew the songs,  possibly around age 10, but I am hopeful that this tradition will live on as they become parents and long to once again feel the comfort of a lullaby.

So, tonight, while I'm feeling nostalgic about my own childhood memories of my mother singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and wanting to preserve the lyrics and melodies of my children's bedtime songs, here are our favorites . . .

I See the Moon

I see the moon, and the moon sees me
God bless the moon, and God bless me
Oooohhh, ooohhh, ooohhh, ooh, ooh, ooh

The light of the moon shines down from above
The light of the moon shines on the ones I love
Oooohhh, ooohhh, ooohh . . . .
(from a recording of lullabies, sung by Joan Baez)

Goodnight my Sophie and Elizabeth
Goodnight my Sophie and Elizabeth, goodnight my dears
Sleep tight my Sophie and Elizabeth, sleep tight my loves
The stars are shining so bright above . . .
Goodnight, my Sophie and Elizabeth, Goodnight . . .
(adapted from "Goodnight my Someone," The Music Man)

Where Shall We Go?
Oh, Sophie and Elizabeth, where shall we go?
The world's such a very big place you must know . . .
To see all its wonders the wise people say,
Will take us forever a year and a day . . .
(adapted from "Oh, Rocking Horse" - Sophie's favorite Kindermusik song when she was a toddler

Spider's Web
It's a web like a spider's web; made of silver, light and shadow
Spun by the light of the moon at night.
It's a web made to catch a dream, hold it fast 'til I awaken,
As if to tell me the dream is of you.

It's a web . . . like a spider's web . . .
Spun by the light of the moon at night.
It's a web . . . made to catch a dream . . .
As if to tell me the dream is of you.
(YW girls camp song - Edgemont 21st ward)

You are my Sunshine
You are my Sunshine(s), my only sunshine(s),
You make me happy, when skies are gray . . .

You'll never know dear(s) how much I love you.
Please don't take my Sunshine(s) away.
(no need to explain this song, just one of our favorites)

Ladybug, Ladybug
Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one, her name is Sophie Ann . . .
She crept under the pudding pan.
Butterfly, Butterfly
Butterfly, Butterfly, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one, her name is Liza Jane . . .
She flew under the window pane.

(thanks to Mother Goose for her "Ladybug, Ladybug" rhyme, which we added our personal melody and new lyrics to match Sophie and Liza's nicknames).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Morning hike

We thought last weekend was beautiful, but the canyons this weekend have been simply magnificent, unreal, and bursting with color! I just can't get enough of days like today,and unfortunately we didn't have our camera to capture the
blazing leaves and gorgeous mountainside on our hike up to the reservoir, but Sophie reminded me of the phone so we did manage to get a couple so-so pictures.  Leaving our trailhead behind will truly be the hardest part of moving (if it ever even happens).

Thanks girls for a most splendid Saturday morning hike.  How blessed we are to live amongst such overwhelming beauty.  Tomorrow: family hike up RED PINES!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh, Glorious Fall

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot

Ahhh, autumn . . . the past week Mother Nature has been our best friend.  The canyons are filled with color, the sky's brilliant blue so unique to this season has been ever present, and the temperatures could not be more perfect . . . crisp and cool in the mornings and evening, yet oh, so warm in the late afternoons.

It's when as darkness falls, George Winston's Thanksgiving beckons to be played on the piano and brings such peace and stillness into our home as the little girls drift off to sleep.  Since I was a teenager and heard Winston's albums played for the first time I have always associated this glorious season with these beautiful piano arrangements.  Playing his music this time of year just warms my soul and I seem to find myself on the piano bench practically every evening, getting lost in the beauty of his calming melodies. 

We also make sure we take time to drive up the canyon on Sunday afternoons before all the leaves have fallen.  The kids look forward to this tradition every year and this past Sunday we invited Chris' mom and his brother David who was in town to join us for a walk through the woods and then back home to one of our favorite fall dinners waiting on the stove . . . homemade clam chowder.  I wouldn't have wanted to spend an afternoon any other way :-)

Little Cottonwood Sunday late afternoon

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Good-bye Grandma Jean

As I've been gathering my thoughts together for my grandmother's memorial service tomorrow, I wanted to share a few of my favorite memories of my dear "Grandma Jean" . . .

Backyard picnics, words of encouragement, laughter, "Robinson's Sporting Goods," testimony, support, generosity, travel, dancing, BYU, Judge Booth home, hard work, Christmas mornings, KFC, music, stories, tenderness, friendship, guidance, love . . .

Grandma loved my mom and my brother and sister, she adored my kids, and thought the world of Chris.  She constantly encouraged me to be my best, always telling me how fabulous I was (even if, on many occasions I felt less than stellar) . . . and in her later years, her eyes would fill with tears, reflecting her tender spirit, while she told me how what a  wonderful mother I had become and what beautiful, smart, and amazing children I was raising.  We were literally perfect in her eyes and I know my kids enjoyed hearing how handsome and pretty they are.  She thought so highly of all of us - bursting with pride when she mentioned her daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to anyone within earshot.

It was my grandmother's generosity that always took care of my latest fashion needs in Jr. High and High School every Christmas.  It was a trust fund set up by my grandparents that paid for my college tuition and allowed me to travel abroad to Europe to study for a semester.  And it was my grandma who wanted to take me to the British Isles for my high school graduation - just the two of us, sharing in the experience.  She was always aware of me, she never failed to drop a note in the mail or call to see how I was doing, which many times I doubt I showed my appreciation, but she understood youth and was so patient while I matured.  I don't know if I adequately expressed my gratitude to her while she was still with us, but somehow I would hope she knew how much everything she did meant to me, and how much her example has made me who I am today.

Every summer, starting when we were about 12, we would go down to American Fork and spend a week with grandma and help work in the store.  I loved it, loved working behind the counter and feeling grown-up while I wrote out hunting or fishing licenses or helped customers find what they needed.  This pic was taken when I was about 15 or 16.

My trip to the British Isles with grandma - we had such a good time . . . my first time out of the country!

Thanks for the memories, I am a better person because I had you in my life.

Click here for the obituary.

Friday, October 1, 2010


May the running gods be with me . . . or at least my grandmother's spirit. My sweet grandma waited for my brother and I to arrive in St. George this morning so we could say good-bye with my sister and our parents before she passed away. It was a beautiful, precious experience I'll hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.

So, with the passing of my grandma earlier today, and yesterday spent with a close friend who is dealing with the devastation that her marriage is ending, I am emotionally spent. However, my enegy is high, I want to RUN, and even if I will be running this marathon on a wing and a prayer - just hoping the KT tape will keep my ITB stable, it's just what I need - time to reflect on life, family, and the people I hold most dear.

Thanks grandma for your love and support.

Celebrating finishing my first 26.2 with my mom and sister . . .