Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pretending it is still October 25th

October 25 is John's birthday. Since he is my MOST favorite brother, I feel badly that I didn't get something written for him on his actual birthday. Does it help my case of behindness that I have had 2 kids with strep in the last 4 days? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I am here today to write a bit about my brother, John.

I sometimes feel badly that John is the only boy. He was mothered more than he probably wishes, smothered is probably a better way to describe how we cared for John as he was growing up. We styled, dressed, teased, and questioned him WAY more than boys care for, but he was always so good about our type of "love". I guess to end the year of birthday tributes, I want to do something a little differently for John. I have a few favorite memories of John that pretty much sum up everything I love about him. But if my stories (and they may be a little lengthy, so be prepared) don't express how I feel about my brother, John is truly one in a million. That may sound trite, but it it honestly the truth. You will see what I mean...

As you can imagine, John would get bored with all the girls at our house and would be a bit desperate for someone to play with at times. He knew I would agree to play with him if we played the "torture game". (This says so much about him and so little about me!) I would stuff him in a hamper and sit on the hamper, make some kind of concoction for him to drink--the base was ALWAYS pickle juice--and then lock him in a room until he drank the whole glass. All kinds of horrific things that I thought were so funny and clever. He would just play along and be glad for someone to play with--he is ALWAYS a good sport about whatever his sisters have in mind.

When John was 12, I was 17. We were having a Halloween dance at church for families, so even the 12-year-olds were allowed to come. John and some of his friends weren't asking anyone to dance and spending way too much time at the refreshments table and drinking fountain. I told them there were lots of girls who would be thrilled to dance with any one of them. Next thing I know, John has asked a little 8-year-old girl to dance--very safe move. I told John that although I was proud of him for asking her to dance, I was thinking of all the girls holding up the walls who were closer to his age. Finally, he and his friends started asking some of the girls to dance and they were all having a good time. True to any dance, there were more girls than boys, so there were always a few of the girls not dancing. On the very last dance all those boys went and got all the girls and they all danced together in a big circle. It looked pretty funny since it was a slow song and I got quite a laugh out the whole thing. As John and I were leaving, I asked if he had fun. He said he had and of course I told him it was all thanks to me since I "strongly" encouraged him to dance. I then said something to this affect, "What was the deal with the last song?" "The idea is to dance with just ONE girl, not all of them." John replied, "Do you remember the Campbell's Soup commercial where the little red head girl goes home from the dance early because no one asked her to dance?" I said I did remember. And then John said, "I just didn't want any of those girls to feel like that, so we decided to ask them all." I remember being amazed that this boy would even consider something like that at his age. But that was so typical of John. I remember him spending his own money on earrings for my birthday because he was sure I would love them.

Just before I left to serve a mission, my life had gotten a little complicated and messy because of choices I had made. I was confused about my future and what I wanted and didn't know what direction to take in many ways. I came home after classes at USU (Go Aggies!) one afternoon and I was crying--a lot. I left for work a complete mess. I got home around midnight and could hear John's alarm going. I went in his room and he was sitting up in his bed. I told him that he had set his alarm wrong and that I would reset it for him, to just go back to bed. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and said, "No, I meant to set the alarm for now." "I knew you would be getting home from work and I just wanted to make sure you were okay." I still get teary thinking about that one. That meant the world to me. I needed to know that in spite of the craziness I had created, someone was still there to make sure I was going to be okay.

When John was about 13, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor called a calcified blood vessel. He had started having seizures and was put on medication to control the seizures. This maintained things quite well for several years with just minor breakthroughs occasionally. John was pretty quiet about all of this, very few of the kids he went to school with even knew what he dealt with. The end of his junior year, he decided to run for SBO. During his speech he had a petite mal seizure. When this happened to John, he would just mumble and his leg or arm would shake. All the kids in the auditorium watched it happen. But because not many of them knew about John's seizures, they all thought that John was being funny and they laughed. John won the election and I don't think he ever told many people what had actually happened. He didn't complain and ask for another chance or ask for anyone's sympathy--he just moved on. Things got A LOT worse and John finally had surgery a while after he got home from his mission. He had wires connected to his brain and had his head cut open. He was so full of faith and hope through it all, he truly inspired me.

John just finished his class work for his MBA this month and will graduate with his Master's Degree in December. He married the most fabulous girl and has two beautiful daughters who adore their Dad. The feeling is quite mutual--John is a great dad--I love watching him talk to his girls. And who better to be a dad to little girls?! John is patient, kind, helpful, sincere, smart and wonderful.

So I hope you all have a glimpse of why I love John the way I do. I think Heavenly Father only sent one boy to our house because he would have been the favorite either way, no reason to ruin some other boys life, right?

Love you, John.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Yesterday Kash & I were discussing an episode of "Little Bill" he had seen. Little Bill thought he had broken his baby cousin when the baby spit up. Kash told me that he thought he had broken Ruby when she was a baby. I told him I didn't remember that, but I did remember when he bent Ruby's finger back really far just to see what would happen. Kash's responded, "Yep, I was pretty mean in the 80's, wasn't I, Mom?" I just laughed. Then later that day I noticed that Kash's sneakers were really wearing out and the inside of the sole was worn enough that his ankles were turning. So I told him we needed to buy him some new sneakers. Of course this turned into a conversation about his old sneakers. Kash said, "I remember when we bought my other sneakers back in the 60's." He is TOTALLY serious when he is telling us all this. I just love my little boy. By the way, he LOVES his new sneakers! I just wonder which decade he will remember this purchase taking place...

Sunday, October 18, 2009


We went to Petersboro this weekend for the annual Octoberfest. My sister, Wendy, started the tradition a few years ago, but after we had moved away. So this was our first fest and we were not disappointed. The kids got sufficiently sugared and had such a great time with all the cousins, games and crafts. And it is always nice to spend time with family. My mom and I took the kids to the last Saturday of the Farmer's Market in Logan that morning, what a fine time that was as well! I love the booths with all the veggies and homemade goods. But the greatest part was running into Peg, someone who has been part of my life for more years than I think could really be possible. I had thought earlier as we were walking around, "This is something I am sure Peg likes!" And then, there she was! I love Farmer's Markets anyway, but getting to see Peg made the morning especially nice.

It turned out to be a fabulous fall day--perfect for all the activities and fun. This really is the best part about being back in Utah, getting to spend time with our families and knowing we don't have to fit a million things into a few weeks. here are a few pictures from the fest...

Ruby was a spider

Sally, my pretty witch

Jake was Buddy Holly

Ben, our hippie

Kash, the Power Ranger

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kate's Birthday...

Yes, two days after Malayna's birthday, it is Kate's turn. I wrote before that October would be "tribute month", 4 out of 6 kids were born between October 14 and November 2! Anyway, today is Kate's birthday and it was wonderful to be in the same state for a change so I could go to the little surprise party Kade planned for her. I love being closer to our families! In January I posted a few things I loved about Kate when we were celebrating our "Praise to Jen & Kate Day", so I copied and pasted some because I still love Kate for all the same reasons. But I have added a few new ones as well. Anyway, here's to Kate!

1. Kate can always make me laugh. Stories she tells or silly things she does--she just makes me laugh. And everyone knows laughter can help you live longer! One of my favorite "laughs" about Kate...in high school she was working on a group paper. Someone suggested they do the report on euthanasia. Kate's response was, "I think we should do the paper on Youth in America, not Youth in Asia!" The greatest part, she was TOTALLY serious. And she will be the first person to laugh at herself. Like I said, always good for a laugh.
2. Kate is always up for anything, "Sure!" I can hear her saying it now!
3. She is a great Mom, whenever I talk to her on the phone, she and her kids are up to something--the latest was caramel dipped pretzels--her oldest is 6 and youngest is 9 months. She is SO brave! :)
4. Katie is kind to everyone, she can make anyone feel like he or she is her favorite. She is just one of those people who everyone wants to be around.
5. Kate was "the baby", I have always thought she was fabulous.
6. Katie is beautiful, like all my sisters, it comes from the inside and just keeps going.
7. She could spot a jerky guy when I brought them home long before I could & she let me know. Not always in the most tactful ways, but she let me know. Once she left "For the Strength of Youth" on my pillow because she was concerned about some of my activities--I love that one!
8. She is amazingly athletic, something of which I am a tad bit jealous. She could not run for months and then decide to run 5 miles & I believe she could! I always loved watching all my sisters play volleyball. I cried when I had just had Jake & couldn't go watch Kate at the state finals.
9. She has made some very tough choices in her life, but she knows what is right and she does it.
10. She is just plain fun! She laughs easily and lots--I love that.

Happy day, Kate! Thirty looks totally fabulous on you! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Malayna!

Today Malayna turned 40! My mom is 20 years older than her and Kate is 10 years younger. They make it very easy to keep track of ages--you can do all the math if you want. But today I get to celebrate my only older sister. So here is my birthday list for Malayna, a few reasons I think she is great...

1. Malayna always made it hard to be the 2nd child. She was SO good at everything. She is athletic, smart, beautiful, talented, and good. I remember all of those things making me crazy at times because I was not like Malayna in so many ways. But I remember having someone in middle school make the connection that I was her sister and oh, how that made my life easier. I was given a few free passes because she had been so good that others just thought I was having an off day when I wasn't. I decided then that all her good qualities were a good thing--they couldn't curse me forever.

2. Malayna was and is such a good example. The oldest child is given a lot of responsibility without asking for it. I think Malayna set such a great example in so many ways for the rest of us who came after her and she still does.

3. Malayna is SO honest in such a tactful way. I think this is a really amazing ability. To be able to tell someone exactly what is what and do it in a way that they still like you afterwards.

4. She doesn't let the unimportant stuff get in the way of what is really important. Malayna can see what needs to be done and is able to sift through the nonessential and get a job done well.

5. Malayna graduated from college. That may sound silly, but it was always a goal for her. It took her a little longer than she intended, but she did it. And I think because she did, she showed the rest of us it was possible. I was so proud of her.

6. She and Marty have great kids. And I know behind most great kids are great parents. I don't know all their secrets, but they are doing lots of things right. So like I say about all my sisters, she is a great mom.

7. Malayna used to get mad so easily and had quite a temper. I should know, I was the family button pusher. I especially loved to bug her and Wendy. But I have watched over the years, and Malayna has totally changed that behavior. I obviously don't try intentionally to bug her anymore, but I am sure there are others who have taken my place. And she handles difficult situations with such grace. I am constantly impressed by this.

8. Malayna is so kind. She has such a good heart and really wants to help others. But she does all of this very quietly without much fanfare, which makes me admire her even more.

9. Malayna is a true friend. She makes and keeps friends forever. I am not good about keeping in touch with people, so I really admire this about her.

10. Like I mentioned in #1, Malayna and I are very different in most ways. We fought A LOT growing up and I honestly thought we would never get along. Then I started high school as a freshman when Malayna was a senior. Some older sisters pretend like the younger sister doesn't exist--especially when they are a little dorky like I was. But Malayna was SO good to me. She would take me with her to games, dances, all kinds of things. I did have to start her car in the morning during the winter if I wanted to ride with her ;), but it was all worth it. During all those car rides between Petersboro and Mountain Crest, and lots of other things she became my best friend. I adored her. I cried for days after she left for college. I was thrilled to have my own room finally, but I missed her like crazy. I had some pretty terrible experiences in middle school with friends, but I had Malayna to show me what a real friend was like. I don't think I would be who I am now without Malayna being the friend she was to me then.

I love you, Malayna. I hope you have a fabulous day.