Sunday, June 16, 2013

George Nelson - that's my Dad.

The problem with growing up is realizing what an idiot you were as a kid.

It's Father's Day and this year I am focusing on my Dad instead of my husband... no, not because I almost forgot about Father's Day gifts this year and then couldn't afford the super awesome idea I had so now I have to improvise last minute and who wants to post about a last minute gift for the whole world?  After all, I am all about keeping up appearances.  So naturally, I am going to blog about my own Dad instead.

Ok, that isn't the real reason.  The real reason is that I cut his completely gray hair the other day and got kind of freaked out because he looked like an old man, and not my Dad.  And then I got scared that maybe I am not doing enough and saying enough and all of that stuff that scares you when you realize your dad is not 49 anymore.  And instead of being normal and calling him- I am posting a blog, since I am still dysfunctional enough to avoid awkward sappy conversations with my family.

When I was leaving on my mission I had some friends come to my Missionary Farewell (an opportunity for a missionary who is about to begin their mission to speak in church before they leave).  After the meeting these friends, who I have known since I was 14 years old, said "was that your Dad?" referring to the man who gave the opening prayer.  "Yes" I answered a little confused.  "Wow." they said "In all these years we have never actually met your Dad!"  We had a pretty good laugh about the fact that they had known me for 9 years and never met my dad!  But if you know my dad, you know he is not a "lime light" kind of guy.  

I hate to admit that sometimes I have felt like I didn't even know my dad that well. We didn't have the easiest relationship growing up.  (This is where me being an idiot comes in.)  Now that I am raising Riley (who has some of my most ridiculous attributes) I can see why I might have been a difficult child.  Stop laughing, Nelsons.  And I think because of that and some differences in interests (who knew my dad didn't love parties and nail polish and that I didn't love bird watching and math) we weren't very close growing up.  That is kind of hard to write for the whole world to read.  (yep, the whole world has started reading my blog) But luckily I am growing up and a lot of that has changed.

So here goes a few of my favorite George Nelson highlights.

Graduation (1997) - after graduation the school wanted all of the grads going to the all night Grad Night to stay at the school while we waited for the buses to come (that would take us to gamble, dance, and eventually be hypnotized into stuffing my bra with a ton of napkins in front of the whole senior class) so that we wouldn't sneak out and get drunk, defeating the purpose of the all night Grad Night party.  I was exhausted.  And I was saying how much I wished I had an ice cold Diet Coke to give me a little boost for the night.  Growing up LDS, caffeine had been strictly prohibited... ok, it was definitely frowned upon, and so the idea of my dad (a former Bishop) approving of his daughter consuming caffeine seemed highly unlikely.  But the next thing I knew, my Dad left the excitement and picture taking to run up the road to 7-11 to get me a Diet Coke!  It sounds really simple, but to me it was huge.  It was my Dad saying "I know you.  I know what you love, and even though I don't necessarily approve, I support you."  Maybe it was just him saying "Kate, stop whining, I will go get you the Diet Coke if you will quit whining about it!" I like to think it was the first. :)

About a year later- during the new stage of Post Graduation Freedom I made some mistakes that I was not proud of.  Mistakes that I knew would disappoint my parents.  (Even worse than my Diet Coke addiction.)  After seeking counsel from my Bishop down in Utah, I decided to call home to talk to my parents.  I was pretty scared about how they would react, after all, I was their perfect angel! (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.  That may have been the funniest thing I have ever written on my blog.)  After I talked to my Mom, who was really calm about the whole thing, she handed the phone to my Dad.  I cried when I told him what I had done and how bad I felt and his response literally changed my life.  My dad answered that he was proud of me. Wha?? He told me as a Bishop he had always counseled the youth to share their struggles with their parents and they rarely did.  He was proud of me for applying the Atonement to my own life, and for being brave enough to go to my parents for help.  And then, the best part, that he loved me.  My entire perspective on the Atonement of Jesus Christ changed in that moment.  My understanding of a loving Heavenly Father who cries with us, and desperately wants us to seek his guidance was personified in my own dad.  I think that is a huge reason why I am still active today.  I knew in that moment that the Savior would always be forgiving.  I knew that mistakes were human and part of life.  That using the Atonement to heal my broken heart would actually make my Heavenly Father (and my earthly father) proud of me!  It is one of my most cherished memories with my Dad.

Some less significant, but still favorite moments, with my dad are from a trip we took as kids to Disneyland.  I was about 12 years old, when dads aren't cool.  And I remember my Dad handing us each $20 for food and $20 for whatever else we wanted to buy in the park. We were shocked!  (For a family that shopped at thrift stores, and treated a snickers bar like a huge event, getting $40 handed to me by my Dad was like winning the lotto!)  That is when I found out that my Dad has an extremely generous heart.  Way more generous than I even realize.  I know he has always given freely to our church, to programs that he loves like Boy Scouts of America, and even to his children.  That $40 has gone along ways.  Much farther than the cotton candy I bought.

One last attribute of my Dad's that I have always admired (and one of the things that I looked for in a spouse) is his ability to resist the temptation to gossip about people.  I really have never heard my Dad say an unkind word behind someone else's back.  I have never heard him say anything negative about any of my siblings or any of his friends or coworkers.  I have seen him bite his tongue, and even cringe when others around him begin to gossip.  In fact, when he does talk about anyone who isn't present it is always to praise them.  (I should start having my sister record conversations with him because I know he is bound to compliment me at some point, and it is nice to hear.)  He even has a saying about how "Small people talk about other people, average people talk about things, and great people talk about ideas." And he really lives what he says.  The conversations we have had since I have become an adult (and not an idiot) have been uplifting and inspiring. This is one area where I fear I have fallen short of the example he set. ( I blame it on "being a talker", that I feel compelled to talk about everything and everyone.) But when I think of my Dad's example I am more careful to only talk positively.

There he is.  And obviously, that is  my mom too.

So there it is.  If you have ever wondered if my Dad really exists, he does.  And I am grateful that he is my Dad. 

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Early Valentine's Day

It's a shame that Valentine's Day only comes once a year.

OK, not really.  It is such a fake holiday anyways. Created by an elaborate conspiracy of vendors who are just out to make money. Some say it was Hallmark who kicked off the need for one more card to be purchased, written in (or if you are my husband; left untouched in the bag on the counter for weeks after Valentine's Day), gagged over, recycled, and forgotten. Others think it was a group of desperate florists with an abundance of red roses that were too cliche to sell so they needed to invent a reason for them to be a necessity in every American household once a year.  And still others believe that it was a collaboration of pharmacists, low on their quota, who targeted the desperation of women who feel like crap spending the holiday alone and therefore turn to the loving arms of an anti-depressant.   Does the price of Zoloft go up in February like the price of diamonds?

In any case, who ever invented Valentine's Day must be sitting pretty.  Or fat from all of the chocolates.

But it is a holiday that I have always celebrated.  My mom made us cute little Candy Bar Valentine's every year (before they were cool on pinterest) and that was the one day a year my dad picked out a card (indicating that he could, in fact, tell all 6 of his kids apart, even though we were often called by each other's names) and wrote in it that he loved us (I have kept many of them).  I have always liked V-day.  And really, I am narcissistic enough to love one more holiday where people tell me they love me and buy me stuff (even if it is a gimmick).

This year, however, I decided that I would be on the giving end.  Having just received my Silhouette Cameo (a crafting toy I had coveted) for Christmas, and having just set one of my 90 Day Goals to learn how to use this new toy, I decided to make a vinyl sign for my man. (*chorus of women saying "awwwwww" and all of my male readers asking "Why isn't my wife as awesome as Katie??" because every guy wants another painted piece of wood to hang on the wall*)

Of course, like most well meaning people, I began the project the week before with Christmas-like excitement and anticipation. I would be the most thoughtful wife.  Not to mention crafty- which apparently is the new standard for stay at home moms.  I would be praised by my goal group, adored by my husband, and respected in the blogging world (of 4 people who read my blog).  I would feel complete.

However, in reality, I would fight with my Silhouette (yes, I fight with all forms of technology) and end up spending the night crying and cursing and hating my new toy.

Some of you may be aware that it is in fact not February right now.  And you may have realized how strange it is that I am writing about an accomplishment from months ago.  You may be thinking that this post has been in the que for months and that this was the first opportunity I have had to post about my amazingness.  Or if you know me well, you assume that I took the pictures of that project and then left them on my camera until the SD card was full and just finally got around to downloading them to my computer in June.  Some of you die hards may even be judging me, seeing that I have failed in the crafty standard set for my particular occupation by not promptly blogging about any and all crafting pursuits.

I am here to clarify.

It's June 13th and I just finished JT's Valentine's Day present on my Silhouette.

Just the sign, I didn't make the pillows, I haven't reached that  pinnacle of crafting.
I am not sure if this counts towards next year's Valentine's Day and I am even more awesome for being 8 months early?  Or if my Goal Group will still praise me for finishing a 90 Day Goal in about 120 days?  Or if I have completely lost my status as a successful stay at home mom because there are no embellishments on my vinyl sign?  Who knows.  All I know is that I am no longer afraid of my Silhouette.  Mostly.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Just what I always wanted

A few months ago, when my super talented daughter, Macie, won a prestigious art contest with her Easter Basket submission, she received a gift card to Toys R Us.  Of course that meant an immediate trip to the most fun store on earth!

Here is Macie with her first Prize Winning piece of Art- notice the Blue Ribbon?

Here she is with the Toys R Us gift card.
I had no idea that this trip to Toys R Us would actually prove life changing for me.

After spending hours combing through each aisle for the perfect toy for Macie, we stumbled upon the Barbie aisle, and this is what we found.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I saw the Barbie "All Dressed Up" head.  I had no idea they still made them!  I was flooded with emotion as I dropped to my knees to get a better look.  There were all of the old accessories.  Nail polish, make up, a brush, but also new additions like a flat iron, and fake nails with decals.  My kids stood in confusion watching my eyes well up with tears.  (Ok, maybe I didn't really cry... or maybe I did...) I explained that this was the toy I had always wanted.  Oh, how I had dreamed of having a Barbie Head of my own to do her makeup and braid her hair.  It was probably the toy I wanted most in my childhood.  I snapped a pic and sent it to JT to show him the toy I had always wanted.  He laughed and told me to buy it.  But the practical not ridiculously childish side of me resisted the urge.  Riley was as devastated as I was to not put the Barbie in our cart.  But I knew our house was already filled with toys and that if I want to spend $30 on makeup - it should probably be at the Lancome counter of Nordstrom.

It has been a month or two since Macie's artistic triumph and the day at Toys R Us. I had completely forgotten how my dreams had almost come true, when Blake lit up with excitement one afternoon before Mother's Day.

He came running to me and said "I know what I am getting you for Mother's Day!! It is something you have always wanted!"  I shouldn't have been surprised, after all, he is JT's son and JT is one of the most thoughtful people I know.  I laughed a little and wondered if I would be getting some Ninjago toy or Hot Wheels car.  (I should have known better than to be skeptic of his motives, that is something that Riley or I would have done, but not Blake.)

When Mother's Day arrived my kids were as excited as I was to open gifts.

Don't mind my no makeup, towel, and robe, it was Mother's Day!

Riley scratching her nose- this is why I should always double check the pictures even when JT tells me "it looks great!".

Getting excited!

Best Friends For Life!!

I could not believe that after all these years I finally had a Barbie Head of my own!  Of course, the kids love her almost as much as I do (emphasis on the almost).

Blake styling Riley while Riley styles Barbie.

Macie joined in on the action.
Some moms want nice jewelry, vacations, flowers, chocolates, thoughtful cards, and walks through the gardens, not me, I want children who know me well and love me.  Kids that think of me and what would make me happy.  And nothing makes me happier than playing (and braiding Barbie hair) with my children.

(Don't get me wrong... I still like jewelry and flowers and personal trainers at the gym and all of the wonderful gifts that JT gets for me! *I need to mention that so I don't get a Hot Wheel Track for next Mother's Day*)