Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Small Lack of Attention to detail

I really don't know why I can't focus on small details.  The first time I remember it being a problem was in my junior year of high school.  My English class was reading The Ox-Bow Incident.   I actually read it.  (I will freely admit that Cliff's notes got me through many a book -- but this was not one of them).  I even liked it.  In fact I had a hard time putting it down.  I was confident to take the test because I knew I had done the work.  I got a 46%.   The whole exam was quotes from the book and you had to match it to the character that said it.  There were seriously like 50 characters in the book.  They were split into 2 groups (the good guys and the bad guys) and I could easily classify them into the 2 groups -- but paying attention to each one of their little reasons for being there was a waste of my brain space.  NO, I do not have a clue which one always brings up the railroad in conversation -- I just know it was one of the good guys.

Anyway, this is a trait where Trent and I are completely opposite.  I even already wrote a post about it.  But I proved myself yet again yesterday. 

Catherine failed her eye exam at school and I took her in on Wednesday to the eye doctor.  Yep, she needed glasses.  Yep, her eyes were worse than Julianne's and she is a year younger than Julianne was when she first got glasses and I felt like a lousy mom for not noticing Julianne -- so now I felt even worse about not noticing Catherine needing glasses. 

After the appointment we headed to Lenscrafters.  Catherine was immediately drawn to this large, bulky red frame.  I did not like them.  It looked like she had an injury between her eyes.  I suggested she try on every pair they had and see if she liked them better than the red ones.  One after the other she said, "NO, I still like the red pair".  Finally with only 2 or 3 left she put on a very simple frame -- silver with a hint of blue, rimless on the bottom and she smiled so big into the mirror.  She turned and faced the technician who was helping us and he just said, "Wow, those look amazing on you.  It makes your eyes so blue.  It fits the shape of your head perfectly!" 

I was so relieved.  We got them, they had the lenses ready in an hour and I took her back to school.  Julianne went to a birthday party after school so it was nearly 6:00 pm when we picked her up and the two girls saw eachother for the first time . . .  and  . . .  they have the exact same pair of frames. 

This is something that would NEVER have happened if Trent had been in charge.  But to me . . .  glasses are glasses, most look about the same (except for the bright red ones).  So please don't feel bad if I don't notice something about you someday -- like new glasses, or a hair cut, or new tires on your car, or something else . . .  I really can't help it.  I have always been like this. 

I justify it to myself that my brain is just too full of other worthless dribble  interesting facts. 

Don't worry.  I will post pictures soon. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My First Writing Assignment

My ward has a writer's group.  I joined.  The first time it was just me and Sally.  When we left she gave me an assignment.  (she is afterall-- a teacher).  I thought about it for a month.   I wrote it a little after midnight last night and brought it to writer's group tonight.  There were now 3 of us Sally, Deborah, and me.  I thought I would share it with all of you. 

Assignment : What do you see when you look in the mirror

I was 18 the first time it happened, just a freshman in college. And I didn’t actually say them but I heard the words nonetheless. I was enjoying some down time with one of my hobbies – making cards with rubber stamps and glitter—when I needed some scissors to cut out a design. I opened my desk drawer and quickly turned the contents over, but the scissors were not there. I asked my roommate about them; she shrugged and shook her head. So I reached up for my new sewing kit and the bright blue handled scissors that were inside. The sewing kit was a graduation present from my Mom’s best friend. But I was pretty certain I would never need it. I had tried to sew before and always gave up-- finding the task too difficult; so I knew that kit was going to sit unused for a long time. My fingers were in place and as I started to make that first cut, I heard her-- right there in my dorm room. Even though I knew she was 1500 miles away, I heard her. “If you cut paper with your sewing scissors they will get dull.” She didn’t yell at me. She didn’t even correct me. She just reminded me of the facts- the simple cause and effect that would happen. I listened. I stopped what I was doing and set the scissors back in their box – safe.

Over the next few years there were many times I heard her in my head reminding me, but at least for a little while it was my little secret.

I was 20 the first time I remember hearing her words come out of my mouth-- a young newlywed. My mom always called my dad “honey” and it always seemed a little saccharine to me. But there I was one day saying, “Honey, let’s go!” and “I love you, Honey”.

And over the years the more I started to sound like her. I sang the same songs to my babies that she sang to me. I told the same stories that she told, like Fluffy the cloud. When I visited her house and answered the phone it always took me a while to stop the person talking and let them know I was not her. “But you sound just like her” they always answered back.

And the more I sounded like her, the more I wanted to sound like her. I don’t remember her yelling as much as I do. I don’t remember any sarcasm in her voice.

But I was really unprepared for what happened next.

I remember the moment pretty clearly. It was late. I was tired. I was in the bathroom in my pajamas just finishing brushing my teeth. I was smiling and vigorously brushing my front teeth while staring at the bottom of the sink. I spit and then glanced up at the mirror to check out my teeth, when I saw her. I blinked and then looked into the mirror harder, but she was gone. I had to close my eyes to remember what I saw and it was unmistakable. I saw the mom of my youth. The smile lines starting to form around my eyes, the crystal clear blue eyes that could see right through you, the slight puffiness from too many late nights and early mornings, the premature gray hair now a half centimeter showing again, the bow shaped lips and the laugh lines around them, and I was amazed.

Not only do I sound like her, but I look like her too.

And the crazy thing-- I am OK with it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009!

Another year has come and gone. It seems like I just wrote last year's Christmas Greeting!  Enjoy these recent photos of our family.  The short
story is that we are healthy and happy and hope you have these same blessings in your life!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love, The Handys!

P.S.  the long story is below the pictures

We had a fun year.  We have now done all the "big" New York things: broadway shows, statue of liberty, Macy's thanksgiving day parade, Christmastime in Manhattan, Wall street, central park, the museums, the food, the shopping.  We have also done lots of fun things in Connecticut: going to the beaches, apple picking, playing in the snow, and watching the seasons change.  We have also learned some new things -- like did you know that New Canaan, CT where we live averages 49.7 inches of rainfall each year.  (for comparison Seattle--37.2  Houston-- 51.1  Salt Lake City -- 16.2)  We are pretty sure we are well above our average for rainfall this year.  It was hard to know if we had spring or summer because of all the rain. When we finally left for our summer vacation to California (Disneyland) and Utah at the end of June we had not even worn shorts yet because it had been so cold and rainy.  In fact, we never even turned on the AC until July 17!!  (Coming from Houston, this was quite the shock!!!)

Julianne (9 years- 4th grade) is just growing up right in front of our eyes.  She seems so mature and responsible.  She loves school, being social, playing soccer, and playing the piano.  Currently she has had a basketball in her hands as much as her mom will let her.  She loves reading and recently got into the Harry Potter series.  She is halfway through book 5 and fully immersed in the wizarding world!

Catherine (7 years- 2nd grade) is still all fun and giggles.  Her sense of humor is unparalleled.  She loves reading and hates to turn out the light on her books each night.  She loves school, soccer, piano and playdates!  She hates having loose teeth. 

Madelyn (5 years- Kindergarten) is so sweet.  She loves getting on the bus with her 2 big sisters each school day.  The world of reading is opening up to her and it is really a fun thing to watch her experience.  She wants to play soccer and play piano just like her sisters!  She prays for loose teeth (she hasn't lost any yet).  She learned how to ride her bike with no training wheels!

Adam (3 years) just makes you smile.  He teases his sisters, loves his Mommy and Daddy and is happy all the time.  His big talent is puzzles.  He loves his "Joy school" days with his friends. 

Jamie and Trent are just running along chasing after the kids.  Jamie also did a lot of other running while training to run the New England Ragnar Relay (a 12 person 200 mile relay race from New Haven, CT to Boston, MA).  Trent does a lot of running racing from Times Square to Grand Central to catch those trains home!  Often he calls from the train quite out of breath due to the sprinting involved. 

We love to hear from all of you, so give us a call, leave a comment, or send an email our way.  And if you are ever in the NYC area -- give us a call!

My Favorite Party

For the second year in a row, I have thrown a Ladies Christmas party with my good friend Alyssa. We call it "My Favorite Things." We stole the name from Oprah. We take all the ladies who RSVP yes and divide them into groups (this year it was 2 groups of 7 and 3 groups of 8). Each person then brings a gift of one of their "favorites" for each person in their group. We set up bags for each group so that as each person arrives, they find their group section and place their gifts in everyones bag (but their own). At the end of the night everyone leaves with fun new gifts.

This year we randomly selected one person from each group to open all the presents at the party so we could all see what they all were. It is so much fun. So much fun that I did not even think for a moment to go and grab the camera and take a picture.

In case you were wondering, my favorite thing is to not have to make dinner. So I made and froze lasagna for each person in my group so that they would have a dinner ready for sometime when they needed it! And this is what it looked like in my kitchen when I started. I started out planning to make 8 -- but then had enough stuff to make 10. And it took me just under 1 hour start to finish.

The only tricky thing was fitting them all in my freezer. I stacked the foil pans alternating direction -- and learned this valuable lesson. . . the bottom foil pan can support 2 lasagnas on top, if you put a third on top the weight is too much and the foil bends and the top three crash down onto the bottom one and the weight displaces the sauce and cheese and stuff all over your freezer -- so-- unless you really want to clean your freezer -- remember that important fact.
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