Monday, February 28, 2011

Goodbye February

This month has been quite the month.  It was bitterly cold during the first part of the month, then we had Valentine's Day, then President's Day, the Academy Awards, and now it is over.  Today, it was approaching 50 degrees and the sun was out, so I hauled out my bike and took a beautiful ride on the river trail!  Ah, sun..giver of life!  But as with everything, moderation.  Sadly, the dilemma we are always fighting.  I think that this quote by Max Muller fits today and this month in general, "A flower cannot bloom without sunshine and a man cannot live without love."  So as February leaves us, it is a reminder to me of two things I cannot live too long without--sunshine and love!  And this February, I'm grateful that I have no shortage of either one.  

I've been wanting for a long time to share some of the poems of my late maternal grandmother, Helen MacDonald Livingston.  She was a wonderful woman, whom I adored as a child.  Before she left us, she left behind beautiful writings. Her poetry speaks to me today more than ever.  Here are two of her poems - one about sunshine and one about love!

                Message Of Spring
Have you heard the song of the meadow lark?
Do list(en) to the message it brings!
With the first warm rays of the sun, hark, hark!
Hear it sing.  It is spring, Oh! It's spring.
A message of spring, the meadow lark brings
It pours forth from its liquid throat,
And where 'er it rings there isn't a thing
But what responds to its joyous note.
The sun peeks out a little more to hear,
The sprouts of grass stir beneath the green,
And perhaps the spring herself loses fear
And trips out to greet the rapturous sound.
So list(en) yourself for the meadow lark's song
And list(en) to the message it brings,
And you will be filled before very long, 
with the wonderful sunshine of spring!

             Love's Coming (or Oscar Night 2011)
 Love comes to some in crimson gown
'Neath brilliant lights of dazzeling town,
With blaring bands, and pomp and show
That she has come, she lets all know.

Love comes to some 'neath country trees.
Her step is muffled by the breeze.
I really can't say what she'd wear.
One hardly knows that she is there.

Tho' some would like the love in red,
I'd choose the quiet one instead:
The love that has quaint, quiet ways.
I think it is the love that stays...

But my, aren't these dresses beautiful?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ice Is Nice (When You Aren't Bulldozed By It!)

We've had some strange and epic weather all around the U.S. this year.  Mainly record-breaking snowfall and flooding!  Utah was comparatively tame in comparison.   But we did have some really cold temperatures in January and the snow fell in abundance. And then this!  On Wednesday, February 16th, high winds with gusts of about 50 miles per hour blowing over Utah Lake, caused the ice to blow to shore and pile up on the dike and over the moat!  Within 5 minutes the ice had piled up 35 - 40 feet high!   It even caused $5,000 damage to a man's vehicle that was parked where the ice was piling up.  At least he got to it before it was totally destroyed.  Read about it here!
Anyway, we took a little time over the President's Day weekend to go take a look for ourselves at what hasn't happened in over 25 years to this area of the lake, according to old-timers.  Here's what we found!  We had a lot of fun climbing around on the ice and it made for some fun shots!
Chunks of ice blown up on the dike
Cars will have to wait until summer to drive on this road

As for me, I hope we've seen the last of the cold weather.  Three months of really cold weather is all I'm good for.  Before too long, I'll be whining about moving to St. George during the winter! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The First Week

Our first week as full-time parents to my 14-year old son has come and gone.  Let me tell you there were some doozies!  First of all, he eats a ton.  We are not used to cooking so much food!  It's a full breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am so grateful that DH has started to take cooking to the next level and really enjoys it!  His cooking is so much appreciated because I leave for work at 7:30 and come home at 3:30.  I am pretty tired after dealing with 6 or 7 at-risk boys at Independence HS.  We had BLT's for breakfast this morning, the best fried potatoes yesterday morning and banana pancakes the morning before. It was hecka good!!!

Another thing is that Joseph has a lot of catching up to do academically.  He has missed long periods of school for virtually every year of school since kindergarten.  And while he is very intelligent, he doesn't understand some of the math concepts that he should have known in elementary school.  So there is a lot of catch-up to do.  That is another thing that DH has so unselfishly done.  Every single night he has had to help Joseph with his homework and help him to understand what he isn't understanding at school.  This means that first he has to understand the math himself.  (Fortunately, it is only math that seems to be the thing that is giving Joseph the problems.)  So first he is going over it himself to make sure he gets it and then he tries to explain it to Joseph.  One night it took 3 hours to get his homework right. So while Joseph got off to a rocky start and had to be put back in math, he is now starting to turn in his homework and do well on his tests.  I am optimistic that he will be able to catch up!

Apparently in Virginia, where he had been living, Joseph was used to quite a bit of freedom, taking off wherever and whenever he wanted to.  He lived in a very small rural area, with lots of forest and wooded areas.  He and his dog, Shadow, would go exploring a lot.  This cannot happen here, because there is so much to do after school and only so much time to do it in.  One day, Joseph didn't come home.  After an hour, I decided to go looking for him.  I was worried that he had missed the bus and had forgotten our number and had started out walking himself.  I drove around and ended up at the school and patrolled the deserted halls but didn't find him.  I called a couple of other boys' moms to see if they had seen him, but they hadn't.  Finally, after almost two hours, he walked in the house, followed by two boys.  They had gotten off at the other kid's bus stop and had gone to his house, hung out, gone to the second kid's house, hung out, and now they were at our house, ready to see what was here.  So we had a little chat about that.  

He is used to going to bed whenever he wants and so where it should only take him 30 minutes to complete a shower, brush his teeth and get to bed, it takes him up to an hour and a half to get it all done.  We have to stay on top of him constantly to keep him focused and on time.  
I honestly have to say, I couldn't do it if I didn't have DH helping and participating - fully committed and engaged to what we are focusing on:  helping Joseph to succeed this year in school.  But having him here is so wonderful.  He brings such a great spirit to our home.  He is so funny. He is so fresh.  He wants to accomplish things but he needs our loving help and support.  In turn, we need his sweet ways and innocent sense of adventure.  He just loves our dog, Evee.  It gives us a new sense of purpose. I am just tickled pink.  I only hope that it can continue on, but I'm not sure.  It will be mostly up to him if he chooses to stay.  Maybe this routine is too structured for him.  He has been left to do virtually everything on his own his whole life--with no routine, no discipline (except by his older brother--Yikes!), and no stability (always moving around).  I hope that he will like it here and realize that what he can get here is stability, routine, discipline and encouragement.  So far, so good!