30 August 2012

Eight Greats

It's my mission in life to get people to memorize the names of their eight great-grandparents - their "eight greats" as I usually refer to them. My brother's kids have demonstrated that they are well on their way to accomplishing this. It really is not a hard thing to do.

I got Eric to memorize his in 2008, and he still knows them. I did this mainly because at some point in our marriage I learned that Eric had memories of a couple of great-grandparents, but he really wasn't sure how they fit into his tree. One in particular was amusing because he knew his great-grandmother Hazel simply as the "Raisin Grandma." This was because she gave the kids raisins. But who was the Raisin Grandma? Which grandparent did she belong to? Thankfully, his mom was able to inform us that she was Hazel, the mother of Grandpa K.

I did not know any of my great-grandparents because they were all dead before I was born. In fact, I didn't even know any of my own grandparents really. Without giving you a ton of details you aren't interested in, I'll just say that geography played a significant role, and both my parents came from not-awesome homes and were not particularly close to their parents as adults. My dad's dad died before I was born. His mother died when I was six; apparently I met her as a baby, but I have no memory of this. My mom's dad died when I was 10. He lived in California, and my lone memory of meeting him when I was about 4 is "old guy in a suit." In fact, when I saw a picture of him at my parents' house a couple of years ago, I said, "Who is this guy?" I think my mom was a little surprised that I had no idea who her own father was. I did know and have many memories of my mom's mom. She lived close to us with my mom's step-dad, and she was the only biological grandparent I really knew. (My mom's step-dad is pretty much the one I always refer to when talking about my grandpa.)

So, the point - Sherry did not know her grandparents, let alone her eight greats.

A couple of weeks ago most of Eric's family was in town because his brother came home from his mission. (Yes, it's been two years! He's back!) We had our 11-year-old niece stay the night with us before heading up to Park City. On the drive to Park City we quizzed her on all sorts of things. (She is, in fact, a geography whiz.) I quizzed her on her eight greats, of course recognizing that I could only name four of them. I told her she'd have to work with her mom to get the other four memorized.

As we talked about how impressed we were that she could name almost all four of her paternal eight greats, it dawned on us that she had met all three that she could name. The only one she couldn't name died in like 1955.

Lucky kid. That's what I say. (It also helps that she is the oldest child of two oldest children. The numbers are in her favor.)

Did you or do you know any of your eight greats personally?

27 August 2012

Mt. Timpanogos Hike - 2004

Today Heidi posted about her hike up Mt. Timpanogos. It reminded me of my own hike up Timp back  in 2004. The more I tried to remember about the hike, the more I realized that the whole day is actually quite fuzzy. So I whipped out my old journal, but it hardly gave any details at all.

Yesterday was awesome!!!! Heather, Eric (from such events a s camping, canoeing and FHE) and I hiked Mt. Timpanogos. We took all day. Well, it was about nine hours in total, but that was because we spent about an hour at the top just enjoying the view.

I've decided that I definitely am a fan of Eric. I would not be opposed to spending more time with him. :)

And then I moved on to other things. I'm a little sad that I didn't share more of my memories of the hike. When it really boils down to it, it was the lead-up to the hike that is really worth telling.

Heather (my roommate) and I had been wanting to hike Mt. Timpanogos for a while. Neither of us had a car. We had originally planned on doing the hike with our other roommate, Priscilla, who did own a car, but she always had school stuff she had to do on Saturdays. (If I remember correctly, she was taking some kind of film class that semester, and she always procrastinated viewing her movies so she had to go to Saturday's showing.) Eric and his roommates were in mine and Heather's FHE group.* Heather and I figured we could probably get some of those guys to agree that hiking Timp was a good idea, and one of them would be the driver. So, during the treat portion of our FHE that Monday night, I said that Heather and I wanted to hike Timp but we didn't have a way to get there. Eric promptly said that he'd go. (And by promptly, I mean, promptly. We hardly had to ask and he was chomping at the bit to take us.)

Like I said already, I don't remember much about the hike itself. Lots of talking and singing, and me having a hard time with my knee. And then I was incredibly sore for a few days afterwards. I also remember telling Eric the next day at church that I was really sore, and he told me that he was not. I did not understand how that could be. I appreciate that my wussiness did not deter him from falling madly in love with me.

And here are some truly terrible pictures that were taken with a disposable camera, (Remember the days when digital cameras were not yet the norm?) then scanned on a lousy scanner.

*FHE is Mormon lingo for Family Home Evening. When you do not live with your families and attend congregations full of single people, you are often placed in FHE groups, and you get together every Monday night for a lesson that is almost always followed by a fun activity and a treat. The fact that Eric and I met by being in the same FHE group is a very stereotypical BYU story.

16 August 2012

Smart Things

I don't feel like a do a lot of smart things that are also worthy of sharing. But here are a few smart things I've done that I think you ought to do too:
  • I rotate Ike's toys. He doesn't have a ton of toys, but he has enough for me to fill a few diaper boxes full. About every two weeks I load up all the toys he has scattered around, and I get out another box. He is the kind of kid who really likes his toys and can spend long periods of time playing with his toys by himself. I've found that when I rotate them he maintains interest longer. It is a huge boon on my working-at-home days.
  • Before we moved to New Zealand we bought rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. We didn't know that a pack of batteries in New Zealand are so unbelievably expensive; we just bought them because we knew we'd be taking a lot of pictures and burning through our batteries fairly quickly. Now that we have a child with a handful of battery-operated toys, I'm glad we have rechargeable batteries. Plus we always have an extra (charged) set in our camera bag, and we don't have to fret if our camera runs out of batteries at some important event.
  • The last few weeks I've been cutting roses from my bushes and putting them in a vase in my kitchen. They smell lovely, and I do not know what took me so long to do this.
  • Ebates. Get paid for shopping online. It's silly not to do it. This past week I got a check for about $35. (That is because I booked most of my work travel on my own, which meant I first went to Ebates, then I went to whatever site I was using to book my flight and rental car. Free money for me!!!!) Even if you only get 1% back on a $10 purchase, eventually things will add up, and it never hurts to get a little check in the mail. (Usually my checks are like $6, not $35.)

14 August 2012

Perfect Timing

Two weeks ago today an awesome thing happened. It was the day before we were set to head out to Park City for the annual L. family reunion. Eric was working late in an attempt to get caught up after our trip to Seattle and before he missed work again for a couple of days. I had worked that day and would be working again the next day. Then I'd head home, load up the stuff and head back out to Park City.

So Tuesday night was going to be busy. I needed to prepare a lunch that I was in charge of for our unit. (I opted to make a chicken and pasta salad in advance so I wouldn't have to remember all the ingredients or bother making it in the condo.) I needed to pack for myself and for Ike. I also needed to tidy my house, which was a total disaster, and put in a few more hours of work. Not to mention that I had a kid to take care of.

I was doing the best I could and managing to get a fair amount done, but when it all boiled down to it I knew I'd be returning to a messy house. Cleaning just wasn't going to happen.

After Ike was down I was upstairs working when there was an unexpected knock at the door. I ran down and found two young women from my ward, plus a leader, standing on my porch. They told me they were there to thank me for donating supplies to their Young Women camp that had taken place a few weeks prior. (They gather pretty much all of their cooking and food supplies by asking ward members to volunteer to supply one or two small items. I had provided 100 paper bowls. Nothing major.) Then they told me they would like to volunteer to help with any chores I might need done.

The proud part of me immediately thought, "Do NOT let them in your house! It's so embarrassing!" But the smart part of my brain knew that this was exactly what I needed. I let them come in, and they told me that I was the first person that had let them in to do some chores. (The others were either not home or declined the free labor.) They swept my kitchen floor, cleaned off my table and counters, picked up Ike's toys from all over everywhere and helped me move my frozen ginger from the ice cube trays to a plastic bag. They weren't huge chores, but the four of us were able to do them in a matter of minutes, and it was perfect timing.

09 August 2012

Mama Bear

I am not especially protective of my kid. I'm just not.

But last night Mama Bear came out.

We were at a water park for a company party. Truthfully, we only decided to go because we thought it would be fun for Ike. I knew I wouldn't be able to do most of the slides in my pregnant state, and I knew it would be fairly crowded, and I knew that we'd have to drive for a bit to get there. We were really and truly going for the child.

We went into a children's area, and Eric assisted Ike up some steps and under some waterfalls, (Ike was NOT a fan) so he could go down the slide. I waited at the bottom to catch him. I was worried that he might not like being splashed as he went down the slide, and that was something that was pretty much inevitable. (It was a slide with a cover over it and water running down the slide into the pool.) A few kids came down the slide, and then right as Eric was about to send Ike down, a little kid, probably about 4 years old, started climbing up the slide. I told him that he needed to wait because a baby was about to come down. Either he didn't hear me or he didn't listen. I didn't want to just yank him out of slide since I didn't know him at all, and I figured that when he started climbing up, he'd see that Ike was about to come down, and he'd skedaddle out of the way.

But that's not what happened. Ike came down the slide and plowed into this kid. He was very distraught, and I picked him up to comfort him. Right as I did that, the kid started to climb up the slide again. Enter Mama Bear.

I grabbed him by the shoulder, pulled him out and shouted, "You DO NOT climb up the slide! YOU JUST HURT A BABY!"

The child ran away. My heart was racing, and I said to the lady standing next to me, "I've never shouted at another person's child before." She said, "Oh, I figured he was yours." I replied, "No, if he'd been mine, I wouldn't have let him climb up in the first place."

I am just a little tempted to send an email out to everyone in my company (over 1,000 employees) saying, "If you attended the summer party and your small child said that a crazy lady yelled at him, it was me. And he deserved it."