Monday, July 30, 2007

Part Two: Mexico with My Man

Now, lest the following entry look like bragging, please remember: Brian and I EARNED this relaxation! (See previous post!)

The Mayan Riviera was the perfect getaway, situated 40 miles south of Cancun, with its white sand, blue Carribbean water, snorkeling, swimming, and excursions to Mayan Ruins at Tulum and Chi-Chenitza (which the people are so proud to claim as a new wonder of the world!)

Everyone asked us if we were on our honeymoon, and we would answer: "Yes, in a way" because it pretty much felt that way without our kids for 5 days! I don't know how to put my enjoyment of this trip into words, so I won't even try. I think the pictures speak for themselves...and you'll see I have a lot of "speaking" to do! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Part One: The Ma and Pa Memoirs

I am going to do a 3 part series in honor of my husband and since today is "Pioneer Day" it seems fitting to start with memoirs of our recent "Pioneer Trek."

In Utah July 24th is like a second Fourth of July, only bigger. It is a State holiday with fireworks, parades, rodeos, and all kinds of celebrating in honor of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley, where Brigham Young declared "This is the place." Some made this thousand mile journey pulling handcarts, eliminating the need (and therefore cost) of oxen to pull covered wagons. It has become popular for Latter Day Saint youth to re-enact this exodus, dressing in traditional pioneer clothing, and pulling/pushing handcarts for a stretch of miles over a period of days to get a small taste of the experience.

Brian and I had the opportunity to accompany a group of youth two weeks ago as the assigned "Ma and Pa" of a "family" comprised of 5 "sons" and 2 (a third joined us the last day) "daughters." We were part of a 9 handcart company, our own handcart being a 500 pound load that we pulled 13 miles in the course of three days over rough and hilly terrain. It was extremely hot--especially in our long sleeves and long dresses--and a bigger chore than any of us had imagined. On the last day in particular, we "trekked" the last mile and a half straight up hill.

It may seem funny or strange to undertake such an activity in the age of convenience and comfort, but it is an experience not soon to be forgotten by those who participate and those who have "trekked" know it is not something easily explained to or shared with anyone who was has not.

I can't even describe how much fun it was for Brian and I to slip into this Ma and Pa role. We loved our teenage children and the reflective moments of "family time" we shared throughout each day. We loved the camping, the square dancing, the stick pulling (Brian is somewhat of a legend for it) the hatchet throwing, the soap carving, the interaction with a great group of people, and the beauty we were surrounded by day and night.

The first day of our trek marked the 150th anniversary of our ancestors Mary Ann Weston and Peter Maughan burying their three year old son along the trail as he had fallen off their wagon and been run over by the wheels. This was at the front of our minds throughout the trek as we missed our own precious children (safe at home with grandma) and tried to even fathom what that must have been like. It was hard enough to put one foot in front of the other in a trek reenactment for the fun of it in July 2007--so how this family had done the same when it was their real life and their real loss and a monumental sacrifice to follow their faith, I can't begin to comprehend.

But I am grateful for the strength and fortitude of such faithful forebears and for the legacy they left for us to learn from. I am also grateful for this experience that gave me a more personal insight into their journey, and a refreshed, renewed perspective of my own life's path. I loved sharing this experience with my husband, and seeing him in action with those big teenage boys who looked up to him and respected him in ways his own boys will one day.

Of course the pictures I include can never convey the rich experience of the adventure--but they are my small tribute to the memory of the Mormon Pioneers and the trail they forged not only literally but spiritually for the beneficiary generations to come.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Triple Whammy

Within the span of four days, there are three birthdays to celebrate , each belonging to one of my MI's. (The hip way to refer to "most importants" according to the book I just read.) The fun starts July 20th (which coincided with my return from Mexico so forgive the belated nature of this entry--but it was a fantastic stint in the Mayan Riviera--and much footage will follow) with my DAD's big day. My MOM is right on his tail with a July 22nd b-day and the very next day, my own PRINCE CHARMING turns another year wiser. And buffer, of course.

This triple whammy is a lot like the week in December when we celebrate two sons' birthdays and Christmas within a one week span: When it rains, it pours. But birthdays are cheerier than rain so you won't find me complaining, however you will find me struggling to balance so much love and celebration, which I am doing even now as I try to write this entry. How to give proper air time (web time?) in tribute of the two outstanding people who gave me life, and the stand-out person who is my life. Overwhelming indeed.

I thought through some alternative options to save me the blogging anxiety, but I think you'll find my list as impressive as the lounge singer in La Laguna, which was Mexico's answer to American Idol's worst moments, so the blog entry won out in the end.

1. Play dead
2. Plagerize a few Hallmark cards and call it good
3. Conveniently "forget" and plead innocent on account of early Alzheimer's
4. Convince my loved ones that birthdays are "so yesterday" and you'll stay young longer if you ditch them
5. Send flowers instead-- or better yet, a singing telegram, if those still exist
6. Leave my self-appointed Hallmark-Central post 6 months early because half a year ain't half a bad!


7. Just Do It, Because Michael Jordan would, and he's rich.

So I'm doing it, in spite of the fact I can never do my MI's justice, but hoping my sincerity will compensate for my inability and that my poor attempt is better than no attempt at all.

You are not only kind, gentle, smart, funny, talented, and P.A. of the year-- you are to the family what "Houston" is to NASA, serving as mission control to keep us informed, connected and up to date on the details of each other's lives. The grandkids adore you, your children enjoy you, and your lifetime of learning, growing, shaping, redirecting, and authenticating has developed very real and very rooted relationships with the people who matter most. I love your "ideas of the week", whether a new invention, a small business/large business/family business idea, a book or movie plot, or even a new and improved form of societal living. My favorite part is your passion behind each idea, even if dreaming it up is more the sport than actual implementation. Just today you shared your latest plan: A bakery that sells butter tarts to Canadians in Phoenix. See what I mean? You rock. And I love that you're Canadian too. You are pleasant and easy to be around, full of humor, endearing chit chat and enough trivia to blow anyone out of the water, while also able to carry on deep and meaty discussions on any level with any person. Your busiest years stretched behind you, and your shining golden years still ahead, you are healthy, happy, admired, appreciated, and have accomplished much with your life. Thank you for your friendship, your dedication, and your love.

You are confident, independent, free-spirited, and adventurous...the kind of grandma who would bungee jump off the highest bridge in South Africa, be the last one on any dance floor, and squeeze the marrow out of life, never wasting a moment, but never hurrying too much. You are a true lover and respecter of nature and animals, taking time to notice a beautiful spider web in Oahu, listen to a howler monkey in Mexico, or worry about a starving stray dog in Chile. You raised your children with wholeheartedness, attentiveness, and a playfulness that makes childhood the stuff of fairytales. You raised five boys and a girl with a vigor and vitality that taught us each to love the world and every person in it. You were always there to listen when we were ready to talk, and always there to remind us of the best that was within us. Your token question to me after any social event was not "did you have a good time?" but "did everyone around you have a good time?" and this worrying more about others and less about myself fostered in me a deep sense of compassion that has served me my whole life. You are a people person, a solid "yellow" and the life of any party. You are the embodiment of faith, which has generated miracle after miracle in your life and the lives of those who have the privilege to be on the receiving end of your prayers. I take pride in being your daughter and great satisfaction in being your friend. Thank you for your example, your fervor, and your love.

We culminate the triple whammy with you, but your post is coming tomorrow. It is past midnight now, and you are sleeping as your birthday officially begins. I am excited to delve into my thoughts about you, Johnny A, and post some fun pics of our latest adventures. Stay tuned...I love you.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

SIBS in Seattle

Although you have to go to Team Biddle's blog to find out what SIBS stands for, you have to travel back in time to New York City to understand what SIBS are all about. The SIBS reunion in Seattle (We were missing one, but will track her down for the next) was everything it should be: Food, shopping, food, girl talk, food, touring on the DUCK, and more food. Oh yes, and chocolate. Marie's husband was very accomodating to let us steal his wife away from baby Noe-Noe for hours at a time. He is also one of my heroes as he worked on the network for i-Phones and furtively carried one for three months before the world was allowed to see it. I also had the treat of meeting up with Adam and Pek who were in town for Pek's tournament.

Anyway, I love my dear friends from the days of tracting, fearlessing, teaching, and always plenty of laughing on the streets and in the projects of Staten Island and Queens. We are already looking forward to our next SIB get away- leggings, party bracelets, knock off purses, matching_______and all!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No longer

You know you are no longer 25 when your youngest brother turns 27.
You know you are no longer a student when you tell your brother to update his blog and he says: One word: Facebook.
You know you are no longer single when you have three children running around your brother's bachelor pad, and you use it to host family parties.
You know you are no longer hip when your brother mentions Belle and Sebastian and you think he is refering to Disney characters.

So this brother is my bridge to the young, cool and hip side of life and tries to keep me savvy and aware. He is the king of adventure, social coordinator extraordinaire, and master of the unexpected. He studies people, situations and anything else that engages his psychological mind and he is happiest in waves, on rapids and around anyone who is ready to follow his dramatic lead. When I called him to wish him a happy birthday, he was off with a big group of friends, surfing some kind of wave in some kind of canal in Utah, so we know he celebrated in style. His style. Thanks for your friendship, Myro-lots of love on your big day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


When I think of SARA I think of


That's a lot of S's for one trip to Florida, but I wouldn't mind adding one more:
So Dan the Man, please take note.

To top her "S" list, Sara celebrates her birthday today:

Sara, you are Smart, Stunning, and Sooooo much fun. Enjoy your day and thanks again for the
-Sweet memories!

Looking forward to more...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

blood runs thicker than milk

My husband has this thing about milk. He will be the first to tell you "milk should never hit the counter" and he means this more literally than you can imagine. I despise warm milk as much as the next person, in fact, I put ice in my milk if it's not cold enough for my liking--so I am hardly without a fettish for cold milk. But I do not suffer in the same way my husband suffers if milk sits out on the counter for five minutes, or has to be transported from the grocery store to our house without a refrigerated truck.

Now a short lesson on genes. We ran out of milk this morning and my kids brought in a new gallon from the outside fridge. It took less than a minute to get the bowls and cereal ready for the milk but before the cereal had been poured, I heard my six year old say to my four year old, "We need to hurry, the milk is already warm." Immediately I was both amused and concerned at how my husband's quirky attitude toward milk had been passed to the children. They are too young, I realized, to get the humor in the exchanges and teasing between Brian and I over the milk. I decided it was time for a teaching moment.

I proceeded to try to explain "quirks" to my children and how the inability to let milk be away from the fridge for more than 5 seconds is just a quirk, and that they don't need to grow up concerned that its really a problem. Now if milk sits out for an hour, you may have a problem, I explained, but 5,10 or even 15 minutes isn't going to hurt it. I then told them it would make their life easier if they didn't have this quirk about milk.

"Oh, I didn't know it was a quirk," said my son. "Well now you know," I said proudly, pleased that I had intercepted this learned quirk in my son before it had time to fully germinate. And then he followed with: "But can you stop talking now and pour the milk, mom? It's been an hour, and the milk is getting warm. I like my milk straight out of the fridge...just like daddy."

So you win some and you lose some, and whether by nature, nurture, or both, I now have two quirky men in my family to keep the milk cold for.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Gap or No Gap?

I need to know two things:
1. Are you on a Mac or PC?
2. Is there a large gap between the pictures and the writing on the rafting entry below?

Taking the time to tell me gap or no gap will help me know how to go about my blogging. There seems to be a disconnect between the way my blog looks on my computer vs. others. I think it may be a Mac/PC thing so your input will greatly contribute to my research. Someday I will figure out the fancy blog stuff, and really go hogwild, but for now, thanks for helping me with the basics.

All my bloglove for your efforts.