Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Punchline Works for Me

I heard a friend tell one time of an episode he’d heard on NPR’s “This American Life.”  The narrator had told about meeting with the Mormon missionaries and listening to their lesson.  She could tell they were building up to something they thought was magnificent, and she wondered what it was.

Finally, they said it.  The punchline of their lesson:

Families can be together forever.

She laughed and laughed. 

“Why would I want that???” was her question…


In June we had a family reunion at the beach.  A week of cousins and siblings all in a pile, of playing in the waves and sand, of feeding great hoards, of playing games late into the night.  It was so wonderful.

Last week we had a family dinner in Utah.  I got to see my brothers who didn’t make it to the beach and their sweet families, as well as some of my cousins and an aunt.

 Jason with new cousin Liam.

We ate and then sat around and (as Watsons are wont to do) talked and talked.


Mahon showed Jason how to start a blog,

and Cindy Lynn took her turn with the baby.

Sweet Scarlett, who was my friend last summer, would have nothing to do with me this year as a stubborn 2 year old. (But she was very interested in the chocolate cake!)

Thankfully Elizabeth, her four year old sister, was more willing to hang out with me.

After showing the captive audience the family reunion slideshow,

The crowd dispersed.

Some to resume their interrupted play in the driveway,

others to congregate in the driveway for more conversation,

still passing baby Liam around.

It was with great sadness that I wrenched myself away from all of these people that I love.  It was time to check Jason into his dorm and after that I still had a 2 hour drive before I was done for the day.  We had stayed much later than planned (of course!) and it was still so hard to leave everyone.

I passionately love this place that I live.  I love my house, my yard, my neighborhood, my city, and my beaches.  I love the friends that we have made here, friends who stand in the place of family for us on so many occasions.

But I sure love my family too.

And that is why I am so glad that I know that

Families can be together forever.

Penny Stupid

Money is such an interesting thing.  I try to be pretty frugal, but sometimes downright cheapness jumps out in unexpected places.

Cindy Lynn, Jason, and I flew to Utah last week on Southwest.  It was a good thing we were flying Southwest because Jason had his own big suitcase and two more boxes.  I had a big suitcase that had some of Jason's stuff, some of Cindy Lynn's, and a bunch of clothes for my nephews.  Cindy Lynn, as always, had her vest (for chest physical therapy) suitcase.  Between the three of us we checked 6 things, and carried on all we could as well.

Russ’s dad is so sweet.  He was picking us up at the airport (which he does without complaining) and told me that he would park and come in to meet us because he figured we’d have a lot of luggage.

As we were waiting at the baggage claim I decided that we might need a luggage cart, and I went off to get one.

Utah August 2010 022

I walked around the carts to pay, and as I pulled out my credit card I looked at the info on the front.

Utah August 2010 021

“Four dollars?” 

“This cart is going to cost me four dollars?!?”

I stood there wrestling with the idea.  What a waste of my four dollars!

The practical side of my brain finally took over and made me swipe my card and grab the luggage cart.

The stupid frugal side of my brain fussed all the way back to the baggage claim.

Where the cart was greeted by Guy, Jason, and Cindy Lynn with much rejoicing…

Utah August 2010 024  
My dilemma reminds me of the old adage,

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish.

Except that I was just being 
Penny Foolish

Have you ever found yourself in a similar (irrational) quandary over such a small amount of money?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't You Always Make Bread Like This???

August 2010 408 August 2010 412

I’m working on it, Amy!

They've Got Talent!

Our ward had a talent show again in June, and Rachel and Jenna sang again.  It was kind of noisy in the room and I’d hoped to video them later at home so that Cindy Lynn could see, but that never happened.  So here are their songs.  I think they are precious! 

Here's Rachel:

And Jenna:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nourished by the Good Word of God

I took Jason out to BYU early so that he could attend a 5 day program called Late Summer Honors.  In between doing a lot of shopping and moving him into his dorm I had a few extra days.  I decided to spend them with my sister Andra and my awesome daughter Cindy Lynn at BYU’s Education Week.

I’ve been a long time fan of BYU’s Women’s Conference, but have only been to Education Week once before--the summer Cindy Lynn turned three. 

Last week I my loyalty changed, and I will be going back to Education Week.  It was amazing.

I sat in classes with Andra and Cindy Lynn, listened to wonderful teachers, and felt like a parched little plant being watered. 

The funny things was, I hadn’t realized how parched I was.

Utah August 2010 043

  Today I’m hoping to find time to type up my notes, and hopefully I’ll feel nourished by the spirit again.  And I am resolved to do a better job of keeping that poor plant watered…



I’m hoping that this site and this one will help me keep that education week feeling…

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

More Family Pics

I loved it when one of my cousins recently posted pictures of her nieces and nephews on her blog.  I rarely see her siblings and their kids, and it was a treat for me to see all of her pictures.

So—just in case some of you have been wanting to see my lovely siblings or their families, here you go.  All three of my sisters and two of my brothers (out of six) were at our reunion.  Here they are in gestational order.

First, obviously, there was me.  And yesterday you saw many, many, MANY pictures of me and mine.  So I’ll skip any more of those today.

Next comes my sister; the one that I spent my adolescence hating and have spent my adult-hood relying on for emotional support.

P1060605 NICE

Next, my amazing brother.


And then another sister—the wonderful mother of 8 children!


Next comes my fun brother who also loves to take pictures. 


Last my youngest sister, the artist responsible for my beautiful bathroom mural.


And of course my dad & stepmother.


Tomorrow I’ll post our combined family beach picture, the likes of which you have never seen before!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Family Pictures

I have always been a fan of pictures, and especially of family pictures.

1989 1992 1997

But at some point the idea of family pictures morphed.  Or expanded.

Maybe it started the year that we took the triplets to the beach for the first time, and bought everyone tie-dyed beach t-shirts.


Whatever the reason, the next year I decided that it would be a great idea to take a family picture at the beach.  We used the resulting picture for our yearly Christmas letter and a tradition was born.  The first year’s picture got an overwhelmingly positive response, and lived on many refrigerators for years after that.


Emboldened by that success we decided to take pictures at the beach again the next year.  It was really windy and they weren’t great.

EmeraldIsle 096

We were a little more successful when we pulled out the kayak and let the kids do whatever they wanted.

EmeraldIsle 102

At some point I realized that even if I wasn’t always thrilled with the final result, (read: happy with the picture of myself) the family memory that we were creating was priceless.  So we kept on taking pictures each year at the beach.


Even on bad hair years.


The year that Cindy Lynn was graduating we took our family beach picture to the next level; we hired a professional.  It was during this time period that I looked at approximately twelve thousand beach pictures online and became a fan of the white/khaki color scheme.  Our family beach picture from that year lives in the place of honor in our home. 

2006 (photo taken by Lee’s Photography, Morehead City, NC)

The next year I was wearing braces and my mouth was hurting and our picture wasn’t quite so beautiful. 


And the year after that I had the brilliant idea of taking the picture wearing the kids’ swim team pictures.  How I missed the fact that we’d look like a big advertisement for the swim team, I do not know.  But it is our first family picture with Mahon in it, so we still love it.  Fortunately we had a family picture from the wedding to send out for Christmas that year!


Somewhere along the way I persuaded my extended family to “let” me take their family pictures at our beach family reunions.  After those pictures I realized that I really wanted a tripod, which Russ supplied later for Christmas.  I was very excited to put it to use in the Florida Keys last year.


We took family pics again at our family reunion earlier this summer.  I was pleased to see that everyone is well trained now, and the results make me so happy.  I’ll have to post our great extended family pictures another time.  It was a beautiful evening and the colors were incredible.

P1060979 BEST

I thought we were set for the yearly Christmas card. But then Cindy Lynn & Mahon got to come to the beach with us in August, and so of course we had to take another picture so they could be in it!

EI 2010 day 5 282

It turned out beautifully.

I love having all of them, to look through and to marvel at where we started and who we’ve become. 

I think we’ll be taking family beach pictures for many years to come…

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Family Reunion Memories

One of the things I did in my (spare) time while in Utah (hah!) was make a little slideshow of our family reunion last month at Emerald Isle.  It's got some fun things in it even if you don't know all of the people.  If you're going to watch it, let the video load for a few minutes first.  If it keep stuttering after that, sorry, it's your computer.  (And it's my computer too, sadly...)

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig


What a week that was!

While I'm recovering I have an awesome headline for you here.  Let's just say that after my day of travel yesterday, I can totally empathize with these guys!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It seems like just the other day that he was a cute little toddler with dimples, but last week we had his graduation while we were at the beach. 

EI 2010 day 5 372

Today we are flying out to Utah where he will start the next part of his life as a student at BYU. 

EI 2010 day 5 382

This is such a bittersweet moment.  I am so pleased with the young man he has become, excited for the opportunities that are before him, and at the same time so very sad to think of our home without him in it…



I won’t be blogging while I’m gone, so I’ll see you next week.  And thanks to all of my siblings who stored their graduation gowns and hats in my cedar chest all of those years—it’s nice to have “official” graduation clothes when we do our homeschool graduations!

Monday, August 16, 2010

(You Already Knew That) This is How I Look

As the main photographer for our family, I am usually the one behind the camera and am rarely in the pictures.  This summer at the beach I noticed that my brother Jeff, also a camera enthusiast, seemed to be pointing his camera in my direction one afternoon.  Later when I was out playing in the water with my sisters and sister in laws, Russ took some pictures.


When I saw the pictures I was dismayed.

I look so fat!

My posture is terrible!

Does my belly really stick out that much?

I look terrible with wet hair!


The thoughts started there and kept going in that direction.  In fact, my first instinct was to delete the pictures.  I always think this when I see pictures of myself, but I usually resist the temptation to hit the delete key.

This summer as I looked at the pictures I told myself—

it’s not like I can stop playing in the ocean


everyone else already knows that this is what I look like when I am playing in the ocean. 

(And now you know too!)


So I’m keeping the pictures.  I don’t think I’ll blow them up real big and put them on the wall, but I’m keeping them.


When my mom was dying I made scrapbooks of all of our family’s pictures.  My brother Jeff & I spent hours sorting through a lifetime’s worth of pictures, trying to put them in something close to chronological order. 

One of my favorite pictures was my mom’s “glamour shot.”  I love this picture because I think it was the first time in many years that my mom had felt truly beautiful.  I loved the pictures from the glamour shot and I loved my mom’s delight with them.


But the other pictures that I love are probably not pictures that my mom loved.

I love the pictures that show the mom I remember. 

mom asleep

The pictures that she probably told my dad he shouldn’t have taken.

mom w curlers

I never look at these pictures and analyze their faults.  I look at them and a place in my heart sighs and says…

there is my mom—just how she was.

mom w laila

They make me happy.




I will keep the pictures from the beach this year.  And I will keep handing off the camera to someone else so that I appear in more of the pictures.

One day I will be gone, and my children and grandchildren will be able to remember me when they look at these pictures.  Somehow I think they will not notice so much that I looked like a (happy) drowned rat.

I think that they will, instead, talk about how much I loved going to the beach.  And that I was always happiest while in the ocean. 

I hope the pictures will make them happy…