Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day of School Pics

Ah...the only day of the year when they wake up without protest, shower without protest and are out the door on time. They LOVE the first day of school!

The whole gang.

Bradley, 17 years old, Senior at Jordan High

Mariah, 15 years old, Sophomore at Jordan High

Elle, 13 years old, 8th Grader at Mount Jordan Middle School

Dominique, 11 years old, 6th Grader at Sandy Elementary

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to School

I love this time of year! It's that time of year when the days of summer wind down, it starts to get darker a bit earlier each night, and it's time to go back to school! New clothes, hair cuts, new teachers, in some cases new beginnings. The advent of fall means the anticipation of football season, crisp days and changing colors.

This year, I'm a bit reflective. When Bradley first came to school in Utah, he was eleven years old and in the 6th grade. Today, Dominique is 11 years old and in the 6th grade. That blows me away. On top of that, Bradley is a SENIOR. Honestly, there were times that I didn't think I'd live to see this happen. It's been a very, very hard road to get him to his Senior year, but I'm hopeful that it's all down hill from here. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn't seem to be a high speed train that will smush me.

Each year on the first day of school, I have the kids line up in their outfits and pose for pictures. These pictures end up in the family scrapbook. I'm really bummed that this year will be my first year EVER with the kids that I won't be there on the first day of school. I have relegated picture taking duties to Dean. Ironically, Dean is typically gone in the morning by the time the kids have left for I suppose it's his turn.

Every single one of the kids said something like, "What? You won't be here? You are always here on the first day of school. I can't believe you're not going to be here." It bummed me out and warmed my heart at the same time. I'm hopeful that we've established family traditions and routines that they have come to know and expect. "First Day of School" is one of those predictable events. Thanksgiving is another. Halloween is another. Christmas is another. Easter is another. I hope that when they grow up and leave and begin their independent lives which they so desperately crave that they will remember the predictability of some of the things of their youth.

I hope we've done a good enough job teaching them manners, teaching them responsibility, teaching them boundaries. I hope they love our Family Home Evenings. I hope they love "beer and pizza" night. I hope they love Sunday dinners.

I'm not a perfect parent, and if I could re-wind my life to 6 years ago when I first got married, there would be many, many things that I would do differently. I hope the kids forgive me for my failings and remember the better parts. I hope they see their home as a place where they have a dad who loves and adores them more than anything in the world and a step-mom who did the best she could.

I will miss them on Wednesday as they leave for school...a Senior, a Sophomore, an 8th Grader and a 6th Grader. My how time flies! This year Dean will be taking the pictures, but I will cherish all of the "Back to School" days in my memory!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Six years ago, Dean and I were married. Four years ago, we were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple and had a formal ceremony. Here are some of my favorite shots from that day...and not your typical shots. The thing that is most shocking to me is how much the kids have grown in four short years! Bradley was just about to enter the 8th grade. Now, he is beginning his senior year!

This is one of my all time favorite pictures of the kids. I think they look so nice! It was a fun day, and they loved getting all dressed up and participating!

The kids looks so nice because of this woman! Alicia Brown was their primary president, and I asked her if she would help them get ready and bring them to the temple. I was overwhelmed at how beautiful the girls looked! Alicia is one of the un-sung heros of the day.

This is Steve, my BFF. It meant the world to me that he came up for our special day! He was such a help (even if he did forget his pants...oopsie!) I'm so glad he was there!

This picture makes me laugh. I have no idea what is in my hair...probably a bug or something. Check out Domi who is still posing for the camera...albeit with a forced smile. Many, many things happen behind the scenes to get to that one "money shot."

This picture makes me smile. This is our "funny face picture." (Oh, and for the record, that is not my real hair color...for some reason, it was exceptionally dark that day....I think we did more brown than normal. My real hair color is pretty close to Elle's (left).)
These two girls are definitely sisters. They fight like cats and dogs, but they really do care about each other. This candid shot speaks volumes about the true nature of their relationship.
I call this picture "Taller than Dad." Bradley was so excited that he was finally taller than his dad (which isn't too hard since his dad is only 5'5"). It's no mistaking that these two are father and son...and if you saw Dean's'd see just how strong that gene pool is.

It was my idea to have candid pics taken on the little league field where Bradley played ball. At first the kids were like, "Um...I don't get it." Then we had a good time with it! These are some of my favorite pictures.

This was near the very end of the photo shoot....what bride in their right mind would sport a baseball cap for pictures if it wasn't near the end. What fun pictures!

Happy Anniversary to the whole clan. I didn't just marry Dean, I married everyone!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Don't you forget about me...

I'll be alone dancing you know it, baby....

Ah...another influencer of my youth has passed to the other side. John Hughes' movies define my teenage years. I actually saw "Breakfast Club," "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty in Pink," and "Ferris Buller's Day Off" in the movie theater...first run...none of this retro nostalgic showing on 80's night at the local theater. I had my butt in the seat during the first run. I laughed; I cried. I LOVED John Hughes' movies! I still do.

Every girl I know wanted (in some way) to be Molly Ringwald. Oh how I wished I could do that "lipstick trick." I wanted to kiss Judd Nelson. I wanted to have a cute a-symmetrical hair-do. Oh, how I wanted to be like her! Today, Molly Ringwald is a "mom" in the ABC Family TV show "Secret Life of the American Teenager." That is how my kids know her.....a middle aged mom. To me, she'll always be the girl from Breakfast Club.

Just the other day Dean and I were quoting Breakfast Club, and our 18 year babysitter didn't know the references. She's never seen it. What a shame. I recommended it to her, and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I hesitated to recommend it. As a parent, I'm not fond of the language in the film...but what the hell...I heard it back in 80s...and I'm "OK." (For the most part!)

I love James Spader as Alan Shore (Boston Legal), but I still hold a secret grudge for him because of the character he played in "Pretty in Pink." What a punk. All of the girls at my high school wanted to be Molly Ringwald again after this flick. In fact, an entire group of student began wearing abstract 80s outfits inspired by Ringwald's "Pretty in Pink" character. For those of you from PCHS, you'll remember sophomore year...and the Megalos...and perhaps you might even remember the near riot between the stoners and the megs in the Leeway. imitating art!

Matthew Broderick as Ferris...classic. Not only did I get to see my favorite parts of Chicago, I still think of the parade scene every time I hear "Twist and Shout." SAVE Ferris.

And "16 Candles." Again...I wanted to be Molly Ringwald. The final scene sequence of that film with the drugged up sister, the girl with the cut hair showing up with Anthony Michael Hall in a convertible....and the hunky guy with the birthday cake. Love it!

Thank you, John Hughes. Thank you for showing in film what was really important to teenagers. Thank you for describing our lives, our issues and our angst. Thank you for movies that I want to watch again and again.

We won't "Forget about you."