Saturday, November 27, 2010

Changing Beds

Saturday is bed changing day around here. In order to inspire some kind of work ethic in my children, I have them strip their beds. There are so many animals and blankets on these beds that it is a good "job" for them. I then make the beds (bunk) and have the girls re-decorate them. This all sound nifty, no?

I might as well just say, "Go play with your linens." This is, after all, what ends up happening. I don't remember having this much fun changing my bed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Missing Those Family Gatherings

My girls asked me a couple of Thanksgivings ago, "Who is coming to Thanksgiving dinner?" It occurred to me that they had never, in their young lives, spent a holiday not surrounded by family. It was a bit of a blow to them the first year that it was just the four of us and Grandpa Ron. Last year we extended our family to include our dear friends and neighbors, the Holbrook family, and we experienced that excitement of waiting for everyone to arrive. There is something about that isn't there? I am so thankful that we are still able to have my dad as our guests. Guests and holidays just go together.

I was talking to a friend the other day about family gatherings and some of the challenges that occur when families get together. We all have those experiences. However, I couldn't help but recall that there was a time when I thought that our family gatherings would be forever occasions. I now see that what I thought would go on and on, didn't. Who knew that deeply rooted California families would relocate out-of-state? Who knew that grandparents would pass on three years in a row leaving a small empty space each year following when we gathered? Those big, fun, crazy family gatherings don't go on forever, and I find myself missing them very much today. If there were any words of wisdom for me to leave for my children it would be to appreciate each moment and each occasion while they are there to enjoy. They just don't go on forever the way your heart wishes they would.

Christmas Eve Nativity with the cousins - 2002 & 2004

Post holiday lunch at Ruby's with the Crane's and Palmatiers - 2003

Thanksgiving Day with all of Melissa's extended family - 2004

Christmas Eve at Uncle Chuck and Aunt Kathy's house - 2004

Christmas dinner - Grandma & Grandpa Pete, Grandpa Ron, Uncle Kevin & Aunt Beth - 2004

Tiddlywinks with Grandpa Pete - Christmas 2005

Reading With Grandma Pete - Christmas 2005

Thanksgiving in New Mexico with Michelle and Shane - 2008

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Grandpa was here for Thanksgiving dinner. Kelly did the awesome turkey and homemade stuffing that he does so well. Just before dinner we listened to President Monson's conference talk on gratitude. The story of the family who had hardly anything for Thanksgiving dinner sparked my husband's creativity, and we prepared ahead of time to have an oil lamp ready to use. After watching/listening to the talk, we lit the oil lamp and sat down to dinner. It was pretty dark as you can see...

We opted for a little light after a few minutes, but the girls got the message and point of being grateful for what we have. If you'd like to read this talk titled, The Divine Gift of Gratitude, you can find it here. If you would like to watch/listen, you can use the link here. The story is near the end, but the rest of his words are definitely worth the time.

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We miss our extended family more than we can say and think of you fondly and with loads of love.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Special Persons Day

Grandpa Ron drove down to attend Special Persons Day at school. Grandpa Ron has been the only grandparent able to attend this event since Heather started Kindergarten. It is a special time, and the girls love that they have a grandpa they can have come to share the experience as they honor him as their very own "special person".

Heather and the cheerleaders open the festivities.

Jenna finishing up a special card for Grandpa.

Grandpa visiting Jenna's classroom.

Heather presenting Grandpa with her Special Person writing assignment.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

First Cheer Tournament

Wednesday was the first of four sports tournaments for Moiola. The cheerleaders followed their team to the designated school and cheered from about 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It was a very long day, but the girls had a good time. It was fun to see Heather out there doing her official thang. She is such a cutie.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance - Tour 2010

Tuesday night was the So You Think You Can Dance Tour show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Due to a surplus of tickets, we were able to expand our original group of four partygoers to twelve. Here are some snapshots of our extremely awesome and most phenomenal dance show ever!

Our carpool - Lauren, LeAnn, Heather, Me, Daisy, Angie

Heather and Daisy got to come with and use some extra tickets. They sat together in the section LeAnn and Lauren were in, and they did such a great job of being all grown-up.

Our original foursome, Trish, Michelle, myself and Angie, found each other near our seats on the floor. The floor seats ended up not being so great. They were close to the stage, but not leveled so there were just too many heads trying to see around each other.

This is the view from where we sat with me holding the camera way over my head.

After the show, we found the other carpool of friends, Rachel, Trish, Michelle, Hannah and Trisha's sister Sara and their niece. We didn't get to be together much inside, and as you will see in the next grouping of photos, carpool number two scored big time.

They ran into a few people in the lobby. Here are Hannah and Tyce Diorio.

And Trisha, Rachel, BRANDON (season #5) and Hannah. You might remember Brandon from this blog post .

Then, apparently within minutes after we left from our group photo, Adam Shankman came along. What lucky girls they were! Carpool number one was jealous upon hearing of the celebrity sightings, but very happy for carpool number two. What an awesome evening!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Full Plate

As I was getting my thoughts together for my post on preparation and mastery, I took a figurative snapshot of what the Peterson clan is up to at this time in November of 2010:

Kelly is busy at work with projects and deadlines that are taking him away earlier in the morning (sometimes 3:00 a.m.) and bringing him home to us twelve to fourteen hours later. He is dedicated to his current assignment at church making sure that we all have opportunities to attend the temple. Until one actually has this assignment, there is no way to explain how much time it involves. The next time you LDS folks have a chance to thank the gentleman who plans your temple appointments, thank him. And maybe bake him some cookies.

Heather is working on various strokes to stay afloat in this world called middle school. She is discovering that cheerleading is hard work, especially when you have to play catch-up after being out with tendonitis. She has become a lover of piano practice, is learning how to sew a sock monkey at Activity Days, and is hard at work making beautiful music with the OCMCO Youth Chorus.

Jenna has also been bitten by the piano practice bug. I wonder if it's because mom finally called the piano tuner and got the sticky keys fixed? She is also discovering her Swedish roots and working on a Heritage Project for third grade, and working really hard at her weekly gymnastics lesson. The girl has flexibility that I wish I had a tenth of. She is very close to mastering a front hand-spring.

Melissa... I may have an anxiety attack if I list all the things I am supposed to be doing at a proficient level. To say that I am "just a mom" is the understatement of all understatements in the history of the universe. I have a new acronym for the word mom --


Time management, home management, organizational management, scheduling management, homework management, mental health management, physical health management, relationship management, personal growth management. It's a busy job. I'm pretty much doing what I am supposed to be doing which is, my best. Most days I lean more toward insanity than proficiency, but what can ya do? There is no way to be proficient at everything. I am striving to manage well. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I think it has to do with moving forward, staying positive, and being mindful of ways to improve.

Preparation and Mastery

Melissa, April 2009
Photo by Jenna

It has been difficult of late to find time to blog. We are each currently immersed in various pursuits requiring practice and dedication all of which take gobs of time. It was recently pointed out to me by a master-level musician that there is no one of us who is going to be able to achieve master level status at anything in our lives with only an hour a week of practice. Although this appears to be common sense, I am guilty of desiring master level status and only putting in the hour a week. I am getting good experience right now putting in some hard work to achieve the results required, and I'm grateful for this latest lightbulb moment. It came at a time when I am working on some difficult music, both choral and instrumental, and at a time when I really need to show my girls, by example, what it takes to master something.

After the next few weeks pass and some of the challenging music is 'mastered', I intend to apply this to other areas of my life. Home management, organization, scripture study, healthy living...these are all areas where I need to apply more dedication and practice. It is a tiny bit embarrassing that I don't have this concept of preparation and dedication down, but again, I am in a place of gratitude that the Lord has allowed me time to learn. There is still hope for me!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Personal Record Keeping

Have you ever had a hard time and really wanted to talk to one of your loved ones who has passed on? What I wouldn't give for some words of wisdom now and then. Sometimes I think, "I wonder what my Grandma would say about this?" I had her around until I was in my 20's, but I don't think we appreciate our 'elders' when we're 20. Some people do, but until we have some life experience, we often don't know what we need from them.

Wednesday night we had a great meeting at church with the women. We talked about family history, personal record keeping and righteous holiday traditions. I sat there thinking that we sure have a lot of different ways to record our personal history and thoughts. When I was young, we had journals, but now we have so many other options if journaling in a notebook seems too much. I love this blog and hope that one day my adult children will treasure the blog books on our shelf and learn what they can from my musings. I think that our children are going to need us one day when we're not around, especially in the times they will grow up in. I believe the Lord knows that and that's why family record keeping is being discussed so much throughout our church again. Knowing that I can inspire and support my children long after I'm gone motivates me to keep writing. One day, we they need me the most, I can still be there for them in a small way.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mint Brownie Cupcakes & Birthday Time

Today is Kelly's birthday, so I went in search of a Kelly-worthy cupcake. I decided on Martha Stewarts Mint Brownie Cupcakes. I was really excited as I mixed them up. So much chocolate goodness!

What is it about Martha that makes you want to pre-measure into pretty bowls?

Yep, that's a York Peppermint Patty getting buried in the batter.

All done and so pretty. I used the Buttercream Frosting I've used for three weeks. I love it!

We lit 47 candles.

By the time we were done, most of the candles had melted into the frosting, but it was fun. We scraped the waxy off and re frosted. So delicious!!! A definite re-do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Let Me Count The Ways...

Gratitude and Thanksgiving are the theme this month. I posted this comment on a blog this morning in answer to the question, "What are you thankful for today, right this minute?" and thought I would share...

If I had to pick one thing, right now, it would be time. Not as you or I know it, but the way the Lord sees it. I am 43 years old and still discovering things that I need to change about myself, things that another person may find easy or in the realm of common sense. I am grateful that we have a merciful Father in Heaven who gives us the time we individually need to become our best selves. Every time I learn something and incorporate it into my life, I'm grateful that He didn't give up on me and gave me time to "get it."

What are you thankful for today?