Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The End of a Day

It is the end of a day—9:30 to be exact. Four out of five are either in bed or getting ready for bed. It is earlier than normal but tomorrow will begin at 5:30 a.m. for two of them. We ate dinner at 6:00 on the patio which is on the east side of the house so it is shaded and comfortably warm this time of year. Breakfasts together at our house are sporadic, lunch together is rare but at dinnertime we are almost always together. Tonight was “clean out the fridge night”. This occurs about once a week when there is an accumulation of a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the fridge. The fridge looks so much better now and everyone enjoyed the meal which consisted of pansit, noodle and spinach casserole, green beans, salad for one, cottage cheese with pineapple, sliced and toasted roll with canned chicken and mayonnaise on top. I am glad my family is easy to please. I assembled the dinner while Cherlyn set, Phil cleared, Paul did the dishes and Clark will unload the dishwasher tomorrow morning. It is always a combined effort. Most evenings about 8:30 we eat popcorn and watch a 45-minute program (recorded without commercials) with three on one couch and two on the other. It is a relaxing, peaceful, enjoyable time of the day that I always look forward to. For the past few months we have been watching Doc with Billy Ray Cyrus. When we were given the complete three seasons as a gift I remember saying “You can watch these when I am gone in the evening.” But then I tried one episode and became a fan. I will be sad when we come to the end. By next year, though, we will have forgotten much and can watch again.

Clark invited me to lunch today so I drove and he treated me to a hamburger at a new “Burgers and Shakes” place about three miles from our house. When we came home Clark complained of a sore throat so I gave him some medicine and told him to lie down on the coach. When he actually obeyed, I knew for sure he was not feeling very well. He even fell asleep, putting his head on my shoulder, during Doc. I am the mother of a young child in an adult body and I still worry and check on him.

Phil asked me to play The Price Is Right game someone gave him as a gift. It is an electronic game you connect to the TV so it has the music and an announcer. “Do you know who that is?” Phil asked me. I had no clue. Then he told me. Of course he would know since The Price Is Right is one of his very favorite shows. Fortunately he was ready to quit after about 15 minutes. Then he got out a 300-piece puzzle—Pinocchio. “Come help me.” he said as he spread pieces all over the kitchen table. So I did. I like puzzles. Time for the puzzle will be grabbed in snatches so it will take a day or two to finish. Then we will leave it on the table to feel (I love to run my hand over a finished puzzle and have noticed other family members doing the same thing) and admire.

It has been a good day. The house is quiet and I will get in some reading time as I always do when I finally go to bed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Beep, beep"

I came across a journal entry this morning from 1988.

Last night daughter #2 fell asleep before daughter #1. I went in to their bedroom to talk to daughter #1. Phil (who was 11 at the time) came in and stood by his sleeping sister. He looked down at her (he didn't know I was watching), smoothed her hair, pulled up her quilt and tucked it softly under her chin. He looked at her so sweetly and then bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He then looked over at me and smiled angelically. Then he tweaked her nose softly, said "beep, beep" and went out of the room. I would love to have had a video camera. It was wonderfully perfect.
Here is Phil in 1988 (and his three older brothers) with his two sisters, one on each side of him.And here he is helping his sister get water.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cookie Baking Time

We had a ward picnic yesterday and I signed up to take chocolate chip cookies. I decided to make them on Saturday morning so they would be fresh when we took them to the picnic at noon. Phil got out all the ingredients as he always does (see June 4, 2009). I did the assembling except for the chocolate chips which Phil poured in while sampling. Then, of course, came more sampling (by more than one person I might add) before the dough was dropped onto cookie sheets and baked. A change has occurred in
cookie production. Clark has officially joined the team. After months of training he now does a very commendable job of getting the trays ready to put in the oven. I set the timer and am responsible for taking the cookies out of the oven. I can get easily sidetracked and cookies have been known to overstay their allotted time in the oven. Further training was required to help Clark and Phil feel some responsibility in telling me when the timer goes off when I have wandered upstairs and can’t hear it. All in all, I think we make a pretty good team.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Stared into Eternity

For the past eight days we added four people to our household—a daughter, her husband, their 18-month old son and their two-month old son. I held my two-month old grandson for hours during those eight days. One particular morning before it was time to get ready for church I held him for 30 minutes straight, staring into his eyes as he stared into mine. He seemed very content and contemplative. How could he focus on me for so long? What would he tell me if he could speak? I told him lots—about how much I loved him, in fact, how much he is loved by many people, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great grandparents, cousins. I told him about his wonderful family with caring parents and a big brother. He couldn’t understand the words but he could sense the love, peace and security. When he would fuss while my daughter and I were making freezer jam Clark would scoop him up. He would walk around the downstairs
talking to him in a soothing voice or he would sit in the rocking chair, rocking back and forth. He is amazingly patient. More times than not he would bring him back to us, slumped over and sound asleep. What a great uncle he is!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Where is...?

Every house needs a Phil. I am reminded of that on a regular basis. This morning it was—“Where is the floor mat I put on the front lawn yesterday?” I didn’t do it, my younger daughter put it there from her car, and it was missing. “Ask Phil…” I told her “Phil knows where everything is.” She asked him but he was moping about not being able to watch TV so I went to his room to negotiate. I found these two notes taped to his door.
I knocked. No answer. I knocked again. Still no answer so I opened the door and went in

“Where is the floor mat?”

“I don’t know. It’s naptime.” He was laying on the floor listening to music and it was 10:30 a.m.

“It is not naptime. Where is the floor mat?” Silence. “Do you want to talk about not being able to watch TV?”


“Since your finger is getting better you will be able to watch TV again BUT you need to help wash the car (after The Price Is Right).”


Phil bites his fingernails. A few days ago infection set in. One finger was swollen and red. It needed to be lanced. We tried two times. As soon as Phil would see the sterilized needle he would yank his hand and hold it tightly to his body. Once there were even tears. We were tired of fighting him and frustrated that we couldn’t overpower his will. Nothing worked. Finally it came out. “No more TV until you let us lance your finger.” So yesterday evening he stayed in his room while the family watched a movie. This morning his finger actually looked better, the swelling and redness down.

“Now where is the floor mat?” I asked him again.

“On the curb.”

And it was.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Roll Call

As we were packing the van three weeks ago, early in the morning, for our trip to Idaho and Montana Phil came into the garage with a legal-size yellow notepad with a stiff cardboard back. I looked at his pad of paper with each family member’s name written on it and told him what a good job he had done. We finished packing, piled in the van and then it was time for roll call. With no silliness in his voice he called out each name and waited for each us to answer “here” when our name was called. That set the precedence for the rest of our trip. Each time we got back in the van Phil got out the notepad and took roll. I remember a couple of times when we had a few more kids living at home when we did forget someone somewhere. A roll call would have come in handy back then.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

We awoke early yesterday morning so we could be at the church by 9:00 for an Independence Day celebration, the most patriotic part of our weekend. Scouts of all sizes assembled at the flag pole with an assortment of onlookers encircling them. After the flag was raised we said the Pledge of Allegiance with meaning and solemnity and were then treated to The Star-Spangled Banner sung a cappella by a young woman I did not know. Stephanie, an immigrant from a small island southeast of Africa, spoke to us about her observations of the United States, reminding us of the freedoms we enjoy in this great land. We all felt her sincerity and were uplifted by her remarks. Then we (over one hundred of us) lined up for a breakfast buffet of pancakes, sausage, strawberries, blueberries and conversation. Our family sat across the table from a single mother with two young boys who served in the Navy for three years. Clark was content to sit by us but I have no idea where Phil ate. Soon it was Phil’s favorite time—taking down chairs and tables and putting them away. After an hour most of the people were gone and tables and chairs taken down but there was one table yet with the plastic table cloth still on and a person eating while two sat across from him talking to him. Phil tried to roll the table cloth right up to his plate. He wanted to take down that table. The woman across the table got a cool, angry look on her face and said something to Phil which caused him to stop what he was doing and leave them alone. My first instinct was to go to her and explain that Phil was doing his best even though it may not have seemed like it. His judgment isn’t always the best but his heart is. I turned away and didn’t say anything. How many times during his lifetime have people been unhappy with him and said something unkind or curt because they didn't understand him, hundreds of times I am sure. Phil handled it well. He did not seem affected by her comment and walked away to help in another area.