Thursday, April 30, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/30

Dear Mindy,

I always think it is funny when people tell me that the Tanner sisters all look alike. Of course, looking at the above picture of us, I must admit I can see the family resemblance! However, I would like to note that we did part our hair different directions (how much hairspray did those bangs take?!). From our perspective, we don't look alike at all because we know the personalities behind the people. How can 5 sisters be so very different and yet so very similar? How can I instantly know my sister's voice and yet know that we all really do sound the same? I have always deeply appreciated your talents, especially because they are mainly in areas that challenge me.

Beauty and creation come so naturally to you. I know how hard you work to create something beautiful, but honestly, even if I worked that hard, I would not have the same end product. Wedding cakes, restoring doll houses, drawing, design, flower arranging, and photography are a few of the many arts that I am continually amazed to see you create. Even the sugar cookies you make and decorate are works of art!

I especially treasure our time together at college: eating watermelon, hiking the Subway, taking care of that cute baby Robkins, you bringing me bagels, and all the other good times we shared! I am so grateful you are my sister!

I love you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/29

Tuesday is laundry day. I don't like to spread my laundry out- I do it all in one day (OK, if you count towels and sheets I guess it is two days!). Yesterday was a good laundry day and I was done (with shirts ironed and socks matched!) by 4:00. I know, some people save the rain forest, find a cure for the common cold, and establish world peace- I get excited about finished laundry! Last night Paul went to put on his scout shirt (washed and ironed!) and a few minutes later came and asked me "Umm, did you wash this shirt with any dress ups?" (In a family with 4 girls he knows to ask this question!) Sure enough, his scout shirt has a fine glitter sheen all over the whole shirt. They best part is that it is not just glitter which we could dust off or vacuum, these are fine gold threads that seem to be fused to the shirt. I wonder if I should wash the shirt again before he heads to Woodbadge tomorrow? I would be breaking my "laundry-one day a week rule" which I only do in extreme emergencies. I guess he will just get to head to camp with a little reminder of home:-)
Dear Mel,

One of the great things about marrying Paul was that I instantly gained five new sisters! I have always felt included and loved even though I am an in-law! Like any family, Paul's sisters are all so unique and I love them all for the different things they have taught me.

I have always admired your great capacity to love. You always greet me with a big hug and smile. You are able to find the good in people. Actually, I think it is more accurate to say that you don't see the negative in people.

I love this picture of you with Joseph. At every family gathering, it seems like you always have one of the nieces or nephews on your lap. They all love you so much!

You have such an enthusiasm for life! I enjoy how positive and happy you are all the time. You always uplift me and make me feel happy. I am so privileged to have you as a sister.

I love you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/28

Dear Dad,

One of my favorite things about growing up was all the time we spent camping, hiking, and spending time as a family outdoors. I especially loved learning how to rappel. I was lucky enough to be your helper for many of the times that you taught girls camp, scout groups, and young women's groups the basics of rappelling. I had a lot of fun helping and I learned a lot of things along the way (things become embedded in your mind after you hear them 60+ times teaching A camp to rappel!). Although some of these teachings apply only to rappelling, many quickly make the jump to "real life." I won't elaborate to try and keep myself from waxing poetic.

Lessons from Rappelling

Pull your hair back from your face (unless you want it cut off)

Take care of the equipment

Trust the equipment

Don't step on the ropes

Always have a safety on the rope

Don't throw rocks

Lean out

Trust the teacher

Don't let go of the rope

You need to have a good rock or tree to anchor you at the top- possibly two anchors

You have to make it to the bottom- you can't stop in the middle of the cliff

Listen to the teacher

It takes a lot of effort to find a good rappelling cliff

You can do it- even if you are really scared

Don't look down

Thank you for all that you taught me and continue to teach me. I am grateful for the time that we spent together and the lessons I learned along the way. You are an exceptional father.

I love you!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/27

What you give, write in sand
What you receive, carve in stone

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/26

Dear Mom,

One of my favorite memories from childhood was coming home from school for lunch. As best as I can remember, we were allowed to come home once a week for lunch. Now I realize that with several children attending elementary school at a time, this meant that you would need to be home several days out of the week at lunchtime. I recall one specific time that I came home and you had the pink tent set up in the sun room. You brought me strawberries in milk for lunch! What a treat! I have had several friends comment that they felt lost in a big family- that they never felt like an individual. I never had this feeling and now thinking of specific things that you did as a mother, I can understand why.

Recently I have been thinking about how you can teach your children to set specific goals in their life- goals like going to college, missions, temple marriage, and families. These were always my goals, but I don't remember a specific time when we talked about them (although I'm sure it happened!). Last week, I was going through some picture frames and found the frame that you did for us when were were little.

Most of the spaces were filled with pictures of Grandparents, of when I was a baby, family pictures, etc. There were a few blank spot that I had never filled with pictures. These spaces were "reserved." On the paper backing was written: "Reserved for my High School Graduation Picture," and "Reserved for my Temple Wedding Picture." Looking at the frame I remembered the many times I stood in front of that frame and looked at the pictures and read those captions. You probably didn't think much of it when you wrote those words (or maybe you did!), but I know that it became a part of who I was and who I am today.

I think the only problem I can find with your Motherhood is that you made it look too easy! It seemed perfectly normal to me that my Mom would be able to make 5 dresses for Easter, can peaches, pack for a camping trip, keep the house clean, read books, help with homework, cook bread from scratch, make trays of chocolates, plan and cook food for 75 people at A Camp, care for seven children, and many, many other things. Now I know how much energy it takes to load several children into the car and I marvel that we went anywhere or did anything when we were young. You were and are amazing!

As a mother I am painfully aware of my shortcomings. I know I do many things wrong, I know I need to be better. Knowing this, I am sure that you can look back and think of things that you would do differently. However, for what it is worth, please know that you were and are the perfect mother for me. I am grateful for your sacrifices and love.

I love you!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/25

This morning all four girls got up very early and started playing a complex pretend game. They were playing "store." They collected items to purchase, made fake money, got dressed in matching clothes (dresses of course), made name tags and signs for their doors, and set up a second business in the bathroom (beauty salon). The game was in full swing when Joseph dragged himself out of bed. Of course, he wanted to direct, I mean play, the game. He walked into the girl's room and announced "OK, there is going to be a robber at your store and I am going to teach you how to defend yourselves!" I decided that it was time to intervene before a simple game of store became Karate 101 (a game that always ends in tears). I think this brother may be 8 years too late to help Joseph out of his playmate problem. Of the positive side, we will have very tough girls (if they can survive Joseph)!

Dear Bi,

At what point did cousins become sisters? I know it started at Granny's house in Paradise Valley with all the times we were seated out in the hall for dinner. Maybe it was in St. Johns at the middle child table! I think it may have been at the start of your Freshman year when we walked all over campus and stayed up late, late talking. All I know, is that by the time I had children, they had an aunt they didn't know was extra!

I think the vital point of our friendship is that it continues. So many friends seem to fit into stages in your life. There are the friends that you can say "Do you remember when this and do you remember this?" But the conversation stops there. They do not have a grasp on your current state of life. Then there are friends that you can talk to only in the current form: "How was your Young Women's lesson on Sunday?" These friends do not understand when you say "My sister is having a baby" because they may not know you have a sister! Although all friendships are essential, there are a few rare friends that span the past, present and future. These are truly rewarding friendships.

So although I could list all of the memories that have meaning (visits, driving to St. Johns, running the 1/2 marathon, shopping for a wedding dress, etc) or talk about all of your qualities that I respect, I will leave it at this: I am forever grateful for our friendship- the memories from when we were little, the talks we have now, and knowing that our friendship will continue over the years.

I love you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/24

Dear Ann,

I don't think I could have a better Mother-in-Law. I enjoy our friendship and the time that we are able to spend together.

I have always enjoyed your beautiful garden and yard. I appreciate your generosity in sharing so many plants with us! I always enjoy coming to your home and enjoying fresh produce from your garden!

Your children are a tribute to you. I am particularly grateful for your third child;-) I see your influence in his life constantly. I also really enjoy watching your relationship with your grandchildren. Each child feels special and loved when they are with you. Thank you for all the drives you make for Birthdays and other special events!

I love you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/23

Dear Tiffany,

Can it really be 15 years?! Congratulations on 15 beautiful years of marriage. Looking back, I remember a very early spring morning at the Salt Lake Temple! I have always enjoyed watching your relationship and family. I have learned so much from you.

Several memories stand out. We shared a room for much of our lives. I remember leaving each other little notes in the pictures on the walls of our room. I remember playing racquetball together in the summers (with our wins chalked up on the walls). I remember a late night party when we cooked treats in your easy bake oven.

I have always looked up to your happy attitude, your calm demeanor, and your creativity. I wish that we lived closer and I could make you a big chocolate cake for this special day! I hope you have a great day!

I love you!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/22

Lately Adrie has been confused by convertibles. The first time she saw one with the top down she said "Oh! Poor man! Look at his car!"
Yesterday as we were driving, she saw another convertible and had the same reaction: "Oh, poor man!"
"No! It is OK" Skye said.
Adrie replied "No! When it rains he will get all wet."
"No!" said Skye, "Those are special cars and they come with coats. The coats are buckled in and you put them on when it rains."It is always intriguing to see the vastly different personalities of children. They each bring a unique twist to a family. Adrie certainly has a lot of personality.

Dear A,
You are a bright joyful light in our family. With your big blue eyes and long blond hair, many people assume you are a gentle, quiet child. We know better. Often you are the mastermind behind the spectacular messes and general naughtiness that happen in our family.

You have always been a snuggle bug and we still enjoy a good rock together.

Life is a musical for you. Literally. I didn't know that some people actually set their life to song until you came along!

I love you!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Daily Daffodil 4/21

Every year I look forward to the first spring flowers. I don't mind the winter with its cold an snow, but I must admit I always feel a bit jipped. Growing up in sunny Arizona has left me with a sense that winter should really be about blue skies and mild days. For me, spring signals the start of the way weather should be.

After the bland grays and browns of winter, the first few spring flowers are always so lovely to my color starved eyes. Crocus, hyacinth, daffodil, and tulip all defy the cold and even withstand the spring snows that are sure to come. Daffodils have long been one of my favorite flowers. They are cheerful and resilient- coming back year after year and naturalizing. I have one patch of daffodils in my back yard that are always my first flowers to bloom- they are my Grandma's daffodils. Several years ago, when my Grandma Wessman was moving from her home on Bryan Avenue, I went and dug up several starts from plants as well as some bulbs. Last April as I watched Grandma make the transition to the next life, her flowers were a bittersweet reminder of her life. This year they have been a joyful reminder of her life and all the things I learned from her.

Three things that I learned from my Grandma are filling my mind this year. The first is an appreciation for beauty and nature. The second is trying to find the good in any situation and the last is expressing love and appreciation in letters. As a birthday celebration for my Grandma Wessman, I am going to try a little project for the next month. I will post a Daily Daffodil on my blog. I hope you will enjoy.

Dear Grandma,
One time when we were visiting, your driveway was getting redone. I don't remember the whole story, but you had learned that instead of leaving the small strip of garden down one side of the driveway, the workers were going to pour the cement right up to the house. We spent that afternoon and into the night digging up flowers and plants and transplanting them all over the yard. Every single flower was important.

I will always remember a certain death march to Calf Creek Falls when you taught me it is better to sing songs than to complain about how hot it was, how dry it was, and how deep the sand was.

Another thing that I have always appreciated was the time you took to write personal messages in our Birthday cards. You were always so positive and made specific references to things in our lives. I always felt loved. I love you!


Monday, April 13, 2009


Happy Easter!
We had a great weekend. The kids were very excited for Easter. In fact, they actually had trouble going to sleep Friday night because they were so excited. We had our neighborhood Easter egg hunt, a fun party with Paul's family, dinner with my sister and her family, and our own celebrations. We also fit in dyeing Easter eggs and dipping chocolates! Now we are on day one of spring break! I am looking forward to a week without carpool, spelling words, and scouts!

Katie was a big help dipping chocolates. She just skipped the dipping part and went right for the chocolate.
This year I tried caramels. After one practice batch, I got the temperature right and we had caramels to dip. We even got fancy and wrapped pecans in caramel and made turtles!
We usually make a lot of hard boiled eggs- I know they will disappear since Rachel has been known to eat 4 eggs in a sitting.
We hope you had a wonderful Easter. We especially enjoyed the beautiful weather!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Not So Good Book Review

I don't read every book my children bring home from school or the library. Although I am pretty aware of what they are reading, I haven't felt the need to read every Magic Tree House and Redwall book that marches through the door. However, now that Joseph is starting to read books with more substance, I am finding that I need to read the books so I can address many of the questions the books bring up (a huge lesson learned from a simple report on Rosa Parks- try explaining the Scottsboro Boys trial to a 10 year old- not fun). For Christmas I usually buy each child a book. This Christmas I bought Joseph a series of books that I had not read. I just went off reader reviews (the first book has 5 stars on Amazon and people go on and on about how wonderful it is) and the fact that according to Joseph "everyone has read it." Obviously the "everyone" fact should have clued me in to the nature of this series. So for what it is worth, here is my first scathing book review.

When I finally picked up these books to read I was horrified. It actually made me sick to my stomach that Joseph had read them (and that I had bought them!). This is a pretty extreme reaction for me, so let me explain. The books are funny. The books capture the mentality of a teenager. The books are original- part journal, part comic strip. However, the books have something majorly objectionable in every single chapter. Objectionable, you wonder?! Do they have drugs, alcohol, or promiscuity? No, nothing that major, these books just present meanness, disrespect, selfishness, and laziness as funny and even worse, as completely normal and acceptable.

Here is one example from the book taken from a review on Amazon: "For instance, on Halloween, Greg and his best friend, Rowley, take refuge from some high school boys at Greg's grandmother's house; they taunt the bullies, who then T.P. her house. Greg's journal entry reads, "I do feel a little bad, because it looked like it was gonna take a long time to clean up. But on the bright side, Gramma is retired, so she probably didn't have anything planned for today anyway." " Ummm yeah. I don't quite know what to say to this except expecting your Grandmother to clean up a yard full of TP and being disrespectful are not high up on my list of funny.

I may not object to these books quite so much if the main character had a moment of insight or learned from his mistakes. Unfortunately the author never felt the need for the character to learn or grow- he thought it was sufficient to just entertain.

I realize that I sound extreme. Many people obviously find these books to be a good read. However, when I feel like I fight the battle against disrespect and meanness everyday, I can't accept when it is presented as humor.

So, I did damage control. Joseph and I sat down and went through the books chapter by chapter and talked about all the things in them that although may have seemed funny on the surface, were not acceptable forms of behavior. In case you are wondering, Joseph did not find anything wrong with the books until we started to talk about them. He just thought they were funny. Which verifies why I think they are such dangerous books.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Books, Books, Books

First of all, I need to establish the fact the I am the biggest scaredy cat in the western United States. I do not like scary movies. I do not like scary books. When I was a teenager, I wouldn't read Agatha Christie books because they were too spooky for me. I leaned towards Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre. Nice safe books. Now things don't scare me quite as much. Although I will probably never choose to read truly scary books, I can handle Agatha Christie.

A few times when I was young (when is young? I don't know an exact age, I just know it was before college) my family would watch Sherlock Holmes movies. These movies petrified me. After watching a few I can remember deciding that I would never watch them again. The next time my family got a Sherlock Holmes movie, I put myself to bed and plugged my ears so I wouldn't even hear the music.

So, it was with a little trepidation that I picked up The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes (Vol 1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I decided to read the book because Joseph stared reading it. I knew that Sherlock uses drugs and I wanted to address this issue with Joseph, but I needed to see how Doyle worked it into the stories first. I have been pleasantly surprised with this book! Although I would not say that these stories are especially literary, I am impressed with Doyle's writing.

As I noted above, the version I am reading is Vol 1. This is scary considering that I could use this book as a substitute for my weights. I don't think I realized quite how many Sherlock Holmes adventures Doyle wrote. While several of the stories are long (10 chapters or so), the majority are short stories. After reading more than 30 of these stories, I have decided that if Doyle was writing today he would be writing for TV. Although there is not much character development, Doyle manages to keep almost every story unique and interesting.

One interesting note is that Doyle's first Sherlock story: A Study in Scarlet, features "Mormons" as its starring characters. Although they are definitely not portrayed in a good light, I still found it amusing. Sherlock Holmes Meets the Mormons sounds like a spoof!

As for the spooky factor, even while reading The Speckled Band (one of the scariest Sherlock movies I actually watched), I have not been scared. Maybe it is the visual factor combined with spooky music I can't handle, but I honestly have just enjoyed these stories and can even read them before bed! Now I will just need to decided if I am brave enough to watch the movie after reading the book!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools!

Except the joke is on us! Even though I knew the storm was coming, it still is painful to see this out the front and back doors. The part that doesn't show in the picture is that it is still snowing- sideways (extreme wind!).

The girls and I played a joke on Joseph and Paul this morning. I made pancakes with card stock down the middle. The joke worked because the boys always eat breakfast last in our family (due to getting ready for work (Paul) and dinking around (Joseph)). It was pretty funny to watch, but the best part was watching the girls laugh!

Happy April Fools!