A lecture on parties

On parties and dancing dates:

You can be with me all day except when you go on dates with Dad, then you go on dates with Dad and you look at him with your eyes. Now with your eyes, look at your dancing. If you are spinning and get dizzy, then you sit down. Also, if it’s a fancy party, you look fancy. If it’s not a fancy party, you don’t look fancy. If it’s a pretty party, you look pretty, but if it’s not a pretty party, you don’t look pretty. If it’s a medium party, you look medium. But if it’s not a medium party, well, you don’t look medium. So just wondering what you do. Raise your hand if you need something to tell me.

On ramen noodles after Christ’s crucifixion:

O: Mom, Mayka taught me how to eat meat noodles. You spin it on a fork, blow on it, and then when it’s too warm, you take a bite. See?

Me: I know how to do that.

O: Who taught you?

Me: Heavenly Father before we lived here.

O: And who taught Effly Fodder?

Me: He invented ramen noodles.

O: Oh and when Jesus Christ died then He went to Effly Fodder and Effly Fodder taught him and then he came back in 3 days and taught the world.

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Ophelia wanted to be swaddled like her baby sister, who is also too old for swaddling. 🙂

Family Trees

The Deep Dark Woods by Jeff Rose
The Deep Dark Woods by Jeff Rose

“Are these the deep dark woods?” she asks. It’s Ophelia’s question, the one she asks all the time.

With only four years of human experience, Ophelia doesn’t know yet the value of longing for relationships that are all wrong, the proverbial bad boy, the feeling that comes from sitting across the table from a lover with whom you share nothing in common, and the comfort that comes from nowhere and nothing.

Daphne’s a baby and doesn’t yet know that the best way to deal with being a target of someone’s intense feelings of passion and love is to turn into something–anything–else. She doesn’t know and may not ever know the isolation and peace borne from shying away from sincerity and kindness: things an imbalanced mind equates with misery.

On Day 1, the Alpine Loop is deep and dark, but I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t talk about the comfort of a million trees that are actually all connected. In response to Ophelia’s question, I give a science lesson on the aspen–its root system that can’t help but be more trees. It grows connections on accident, whether it wants to or not. I grasp for connections, reach out to other trees, and long for someone to reach out. But for what? To have something to hide from. To turn into a laurel. Whatever it takes.

On Day 2, my therapist asks me a question. He wants to know when I felt happy. I think of two years between marriages, spend days writing about relationships with people who were nothing. We were nothing for each other. My long list of Hamlets. Other relationships with men who in hot pursuit were left frustrated, staring at a laurel tree. A list of Apollos.

On Day 3, I walk through halls lined with art, and I see my connections. An exhibit by an artist, a fellow tree maybe but I doubt it. The artist has pulled trash from the landfill and from construction sites and arranged it on clean white walls and glossy gray floors. Opposites: obsidian and mattress foam, one on top of the other, weighing it down, illustrating perhaps the connection between hard and soft, a relationship that defies physics and yet exists, perfect and awkward, on the floor of a gallery.

Yet this is where I am home, among these relationships that make no sense but that are there. I walk back and forth with my Ophelia, her crazed eyes taking it all in. We look at the angles and shadows created by a row of water-filled jars. I show her the shifting shadows as we walk back and forth from one end to the other. Home. The jars of water collected from locations across the U.S., other jars full of nothing but air from significant places in the life of the artist. My brothers and sisters. Finally a connection: person and art.

I know what that is. Filling jars with air and water and displaying them as if they mean something. They mean something. These elements that feel like my siblings. I’d lost that part of me, and I saw not empty jars but connections. I had long ago forgotten that connections with air from places you’ve never been could be made, could be stronger in a moment than the connection between husband and wife.

On Day 4, it’s Sunday and we drive to Grandma’s for dinner. We drive through a canyon with autumn leaves draped on either side, and Ophelia’s question rises up from behind me. “Is this the deep dark woods?” I reply, “It is. What do you think? Is it pretty?” She says it is and I agree.

I leave a house full of siblings to walk through the woods, walking past people who have made connections with other people, relationships that are smiled upon by an extrovert God who smiles on His extrovert children. This God discourages my comfort, encourages connections with people, demands that I reach outside. I’m not sure who that God is and not sure I’m the type. I’m the type to wander through hallways connecting to transparent jars of other people’s memories, the type that creates ties with aspens and pines on a walk through the canyon.

In the deep dark woods, surrounded by my blood, feeling cool and comfortable at last in skin that finally feels rough and cracked, the way it should, I embrace the disconnect and think my happy thoughts: rows of jars of someone else’s memories, of water collected from unfamiliar cities I know nothing about. And I step even deeper into the Deep Dark Woods to be with family.

References
LIZZE MÄÄTTÄLÄ: UPHILL/BOTH WAYS
GRANDMA’S CUPBOARD: KATE ERICSON & MEL ZIEGLER, AND MEL ZIEGLER

Shornda is real

Lolo has an imaginary friend. Her name is Shornda. She has a baby sister/brother/ungendered sibling named Kevin (she can never decide), and her parents are always hanging out at our house when we aren’t home so they can take care of Kevin while Shornda hangs out with us wherever we are going.

Lolo makes up some pretty awesome names. Shornda is our favorite, and it’s the one name that has been consistent. We used to laugh about it because it is really a funny name, but let me tell you something. I am grateful for Shornda.

If you have kids who can’t communicate their feelings, encourage them to have an imaginary friend. It’s kind of awesome to see how Lolo is able to articulate complicated emotions and experiences by projecting them on Shornda.

Lolo doesn’t have nightmares, but Shornda does, which Lolo tells me about in vivid detail (relayed, of course, from Shornda). When her feelings are hurt, I hear Lolo processing her feelings and emotions through conversations with her little invisible buddy. It started out as a weird quirk but over time I have actually come to feel very grateful for Shornda and her role in my tenderhearted girl’s life.

I do feel like I have an extra kid though. The other day we were leaving and Lola freaked out that we left “be out” Shornda. I had to go back home, open the van door, and let Shornda in before we were good to go again. Bless you, Shornda, you weird little thing.

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Park Review: Orchard Park

We went to Orchard Park today because it is close to our house and it is awesome. We love this park and Lolo spends most of her time playing restaurant in the corner of the playground rather than actually playing on any of the equipment. Their specialty: turkey tacos with blueberries and cinnamon. Blue and green sprinkles optional. Your side choices: White or brown chocolate donuts. They’re out of fries. Don’t even ask. And you can’t get a smoothie or a milkshake unless you eat all of your dinner because those are treats, not drinks.

I’m just really in love with this girl. She is made of charisma and spunk.

Equipment

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Did I mention? Orchard Park is basically the park of all parks. There is climbing stuff (too scary for me), awesome slides (too scary for Lolo), and stuff for every age possible. Except babies.

Daphne felt pretty whatever about the whole experience and tried to get picked up on the grass. She does this by laying down, arching her back in protest, accidentally rolling herself over, and whining like a maniac until you take pity on her.

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Location

Best location ever. Close to home and to the grocery store. We live in a really good area and the kids that hang out around this park are all good kids, I’ve never met a hoodlum there. So bonus.

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I love the parks at elementary schools because of the big ol’ soccer fields that kids can run rampant through. (She didn’t run rampant. She has an owie.)

Picnicability

Meh. I don’t like to sit at the picnic tables and the grassy area around the park is a hill so you sit the babe down and feel like she’s going to slide down and die.

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Mom of the Year Award: I forgot our picnic and too late, I remembered we had no water. We walked to Harmons and made do. Because we’re ghetto fabulous. Is that a thing? Do I even know what it means? Relevant? Moving on.

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Daphne didn’t care. I brought her lunch because her life is the worst if she doesn’t eat every third second.

Shade

Not a lot. The trees are sparse and the shade is not great.

Birthday Party Possibilities

I should have it here since the park is so close to home but the accommodations are pretty little. For our big group, there wouldn’t be enough room.

Notes for Next Time

  • Bring water, you vagabond.

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I basically love this girl.

Park Review: Cascade Park

Today I decided that I’m too fat and for some reason the thought occurred to me that going to a park a mile and a half away would be a good idea, because it’s the middle of the summer and walking while pushing 70 pounds of humans plus all the dang crap they have to take with them (library books, shovels, a bucket, 5 pounds of grapes, just the basics really) would be a good way to start shedding some of that weight.

We also have to scope out a place for Loaf’s (she earned her nickname today, too–lazy girl!) birthday party coming up and a park is a good place for it. So we’ll be looking at all of the birthday party possibilities at these parks too.

Getting there was no small feat. I messed up the coordinates and headed to 9th North and 2nd East, where there is no park, rather than 9th East and 2nd North, where there is an awesome park, and had to backtrack quite a bit to get to this other park which is right in between 9th East and 9th North and 2nd East and 2nd North.

I believe I am a better mom when I don’t have a smart phone and landlines are cheaper, so I didn’t have a cell phone with me to look up new directions and didn’t want to look like a homeless person and knock on a random door. Lolo was pretty confused and kept asking, “Mom where are all the other kids? Why is nobody outside?” And I told her frankly. “No one else is as crazy as we are.” (Lumping my innocent 4 year old into my blanket statements about my failures as a mother make me feel better.)

Anyway, let’s complain about some more stuff, shall we?

Equipment

Okay truly, the equipment here was pretty good. We brought the bucket and shovel in case of a truly horrible playground equipment situation like last time:

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But didn’t end up needing it at all. Boom:

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I really tried to get her to stand at the top of the swirly slide so I could take this photo but she still suffers from unfamiliarswirlyslidephobia. To her credit, I’m afraid of the water slide at the rec center and it’s about the same size as this one.

Location

The location is pretty whatever. It’s in the middle of a bunch of neighborhoods and so there were other kids for Lolo to play with and make instant friends with. No restaurants nearby or any place really to grab lunch on the way there, so I’m glad we brought our own. Speaking of which…

Picnicability

Extremely picnicy. There were tables, but not close to the playground, so Deedee and I hung out in the shade while Lazy Bum #1 played and whined about her owie. (For the record, she got it three days ago and makes a point to not do any activity that might exacerbate her condition. Interestingly, walking is one activity that has been nixed for good. Climbing playground equipment has no effect.) And look how good I was: mangoes, grapes, water (iwater in a dinosaur bottle is the only way to keep little girls hydrated), crackers (Annie’s–love those), and well, a bottle of formula for Daphne. Sorry, girlfriend.

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Also, holding your hands at weird angles for photos is now the latest. If Deedee looks bored, it’s because she was. I love this age where they can interact with you but basically don’t care about anything yet. And yes, she is always flat on her back because she can’t/won’t sit up yet or crawl. She just lays there, helpless, and waits for someone (me) to show up and hold her.

Shade

There was a ton of shade. None covering the playground, of course, but shade everywhere else. Some of it was suckier than other spots. The spot we were in was under a pretty lame tree so the leaves weren’t full enough. It was mostly shaded unless you turned your head just wrong.

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Deedee (oh, to be a baby and be able to sleep despite sweating to death) and Lolo and our makeshift ghetto blanket-over-the-stroller set up. Our stroller was bought from some lady from the classifieds and it functions. That’s about all I have to say about it.

Birthday Party Possibilities

Super possible. There was a good mix of little kid equipment and big kid equipment, and a huge ol’ hill for rolling down and getting dizzy until you puke. Also, don’t let me forget: Lolo has demanded a brown and pink cake. And candy for lunch. Heaven help us.

Notes for Next Time

  • Next time, print directions to the right park. We walked about 2.5 miles each way. This is too much walking for smack dab in the middle of summer, in the middle of the day, with two girls–one who can’t walk, and the other one who won’t, on account of her feet are too tired and she has to be nice to her owie.

Park Review: Lindon City Park

I took the girls and headed to the Lindon City Park because every time we drive past it, she begs to go. It was kind of lame. In the future, I am going to be judging all parks based on the following criteria: Equipment, Location, Shade, and Picnicability. Because that is a word now.

Equipment

The equipment is pretty whatever here. There is no shade whatsoever covering the equipment itself, which means Lolo went on the slide one time and whined the whole way down that it was burning her legs off. Thank goodness for her sandcastle bucket and shovel.

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There was a random electric game thing that looked out of place there at the park, but it played music and kept Lolo’s attention for 30 seconds.

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Location

This is just a few steps from the Lindon City Aquatics Center, which is a pretty cool place to be. I imagine next time we visit this park, it will be to have a picnic lunch after going swimming at the pool. Of course, we will have to find free passes to the pool somehow…

Picnicability

Very picnicy. There are tables set up under one of the pavilions so I imagine if you wanted to have a party where all the kids went home with burned butts from the 300 degree slide, this would be a good place to do it. We took smoothies from nearby O’Crowley Irish Tacos (Irish. Tacos. Smoothies. Random.) and had a liquid picnic. Which according to Lolo is the best kind of picnic. Girl consumes a mostly liquid diet.

Shade

There was enough shade that we could sit in the shade of one of the mature trees surrounding the park while we sucked back on our drinks. I have a baby with the world’s most sunburny skin, so I love me some mature trees and shade.

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Notes for Next Time

  • Go later in the afternoon or in the evening. It’s so dang hot. (Milk would be a bad choice.)
  • More shovels and buckets.
  • Bring a picnic and pass to the pool.

I've been through the desert on a blog with no name.