Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why I Will Miss Michael Jackson

I can't believe that he has passed away. I really can't. A lot has been said on twitter, Facebook and on news services regarding Michael Jackson. The day he passed away, I downloaded Thriller on itunes and a few of my other Michael favs and had my Michael "moment."

I remember being very young and dancing to "Rockin' Robin." I had it on an old 45. My kids won't know what those are, but that's ok. I love the oldies from the Jackson Five. I love "ABC." I love the catchy tunes and the young Michael as the front man. Boy, do I have great memories of those old tunes.

I remember getting my first record player. It was a BIG deal. It was a clunky portable. I had a carrier for my 45s. I spend hours and hours and hours in my room listening to my tunes. Today if I close my eyes, I can see my bedroom in great detail and remember feeling really, really happy.

Thriller came out in 1982. In 1982, I was in the 6th grade at Broadmoor Intermediate School. Thriller was the first LP I bought for myself. My kids won't know what an LP is either, but that's ok. I LOVED that album. I played it again and again and again. I danced, sang and rocked out when no one was home.

I remember spending money on a Michael Jackson poster for my room. My mom did not like the poster, and that made me like it even more! I, like every other girl I knew, had a fascination (and perhaps a bit of a crush) on Michael Jackson.

In junior high, we danced our butts off to Michael Jackson songs. What fun, fun times. Remember when your best friend asked his best friend if he would dance with you? Ah, the good old days!

In high school, I listened to Michael Jackson. I spent way more time than I care to admit watching MTV. Remember when the V-Jays were big, big names? Those days are gone. I remember that we made an "event" out of the Thriller premier. We all gathered at Mike's house to watch it. What an MTV video event. Michael's videos were awesome, and they always set the standard. Other followed suit with great videos, but Michael's were the best.

When I was in college, you guessed it...Michael's music was still there...and still associated with memories from the good old days. I loved the Bad album. I had it on cassette tape. My kids know what they are, but they don't possess one or a tape player, but that's ok.

One of my all time favorite Michael songs is "Black or White." I LOVE that song. I have spent many a shower session belting out the lyrics. I love the video.

Without question, Michael Jackson and his music is one of the things that defined my youth. A song can bring back a thousand memories that remind me of a date, time, location and happening. One song can bring me back to high school. One song can bring me to a college party or remembering tunes blaring from the windows of Geisert.

Michael Jackson was a phenomenal artist, performer, and dancer. I LOVE his music. I'm deeply saddened that we will no longer experience future Michael Jackson creations. I'm happy that I still can listen to my favorite Michael songs whenever I need to be reminded of a good memory from my youth. Michael's music did not impact one time period of my life; it has impacted MOST of my life...from youth to adulthood. There are not many artist who have ever lived who can say that.

I'm deeply saddened for his family. I certainly hope that in Heaven there is a place for musicians to be re-united and sing with the angel choir. If there is, I'm sure that Michael is there...and probably teaching them a thing or two!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Being a parent is hard....

Dean and I have had some parenting trials as of late. The details are not too important, but what is important is that together we've worked through the worst of it. I love my husband, and I'm so grateful that he is a perfect compliment to me!

I think being a parent is hard no matter what. I think being a step-parent is complicated. I think that being a kid is hard, and I think that being a step-kid is complicated. Parents and children both have trials, and at any one point in time one or the other thinks their issues are worse than the other.

As the kids get older, they want more "freedom." I've struggled with that word and the concept as of late. As I told the oldest one, "you've always been in control, you just don't realize it." Our choices are directly related to "freedom" in our house. I could spend all day every day explaining that concept, but instead, I spend most days repeating myself. *Heavy sigh.*

I have the foresight to know that this time in our lives won't last forever. Part of me is excited for the teenage years to pass quickly. Another part of me knows that once they're out of the house that things will never be the same. It's a mixed bag. Being a parent is hard.

The only thing I ask of others...neighbors, friends, folks at church and our family please do not tell my kids that what they did "could be worse." Please don't marginalize what we are trying to do as parents by saying, "You only took the car for a joy ride." "A tattoo is not that big of a deal." "At least you're not doing drugs." "Sure, the skirt is short, but at least you're going to church."

Please, keep your opinions to yourself! Let us parent based on our principles, values and choices. I know that people are sometimes trying to help, but no one knows our kids better than we do. No one knows how much time and effort we have put into establishing values. No one know how many battles we fight and the compromises we already make with our kids. No one knows the entire story.

The only thing I ask is that outsiders support the parents. I know that folks are well intended, but I would ask kindly that you not state your opinions to my children. It interferes with what we are trying to accomplish as parents, and in the end, it causes more issues.

To my friends who read my blog...none of you are "those people." I'm just throwing this out into the universe in the hopes that folks will think twice before they tell a kid that their parents have overreacted to a particular event or behavior.

When I was a kid, my mom had this record of children's songs. I still remember the words to the song, "Be kind to your parents." I thought for the longest time that I might have made this song up because I could never find it. Thanks to google and itunes, I've found this song from my childhood. It's a perfect reminder for kids and their parents.

Be kind to your parents, though they don't deserve it
Remember the grown-up, a difficult stage of life
They're apt to be nervous and over-excited
Confused by their daily storm and strife
So keep in mind though it seems hard I know
Parents were children long ago. Incredible!!
So treat them with patience and kind understanding
Despite of all the foolish things they do
Some day you might wake up and find you're a parent too

I still remember this song from when I was 4 or 5. Kids remember things from their youth...I want mine to remember that my friends, neighbors, family and church members were all on the same page as their parents!

Thank you!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Moving on up...

to recommended black belt. About 3 1/2 years ago Elle began Tae Kwon Do through a community ed class at East High School. She was the youngest one in her class, but she really enjoyed it. When we moved to Sandy 3 years ago, we weren't sure where to take her for Tae Kwon Do. It took us a while to figure it out, but there is a good school close to our house. She has thrived there and moved up in all of her belts.

She's in leadership now at the school, and she's taking on more responsibility. She's very good at her sport, and she takes it very seriously.

Here are some pics and videos of her on Saturday. She received her recommended black belt. There are several steps and ranks in black, but she is well on her way!

Testing form

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Airforce Week 2009

Salt Lake is one of three US cities chosen to take part in Air Force Week festivities. Our week began with a low fly over by jets from Hill Air Force Base as the airmen did a fly by for the Salt Lake Bees game. It freaked out a lot of the locals who didn't know what was going on, but they were quite a spectacle over the Salt Lake Valley.

On Thursday night, Dean and I went do dinner down at Temple Square and heard a WONDERFUL concert by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that was a tribute to the US Air Force. The MoTab is always wonderful, but their patriotic hymn singing gets me every time! It was inspiring to have the entire audience stand and clap for the US Air Force theme song, "Nothing Can Stop the US Air Force!"
Tonight, the Real Salt Lake soccer game had fireworks and a special concert by David Archuleta (our American Idol!) in tribute to the Air Force. Fans were asked to bring soccer balls that the troops will ship over seas for children in Afghanistan. The Air Force parachuted in with the American flag...then a ginormous plane (courtesy of the Utah National Guard) did a low fly by and scared us half to death!

In conclusion of Air Force week, I wanted to pay a special tribute to my cousin, Kevin...who is more like an older brother to me than a cousin. I love him and respect him tremendously. Kevin enlisted in the Air Force in the late 1980s, and he served for 6 years. We're so proud of him and grateful for his service to our country. He served in Gulf War I, and he served in many places in the States and overseas.
Kevin in Cairo in 1990 during Gulf War I
1989 Making his momma proud...winning a major Airman award!

For Kevin and all of the other men and women who put on the uniform to serve our country, I am grateful!