Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Workin' Nine to Five...

...what a way to make a livin'. Barely getting by.
It's all taking and no giving. They just use your mind and they never give you credit. It's enough to drive you CrAZy if you let it!"
In the immortal words of Dolly Parton, I think I've been spending a little too much time lately workin' nine to five. This is a project Eli brought home from 1st grade. Picture on left says, "My sister likes to watch movies." Picture on the right says, "My mom likes to fold things." CRaZy!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

In the immortal words of Dean Martin...

...she's going to "Houston...Houston...Houston!" English-speaking. June 24th. Warm weather. No snow. Home of a few great sports teams. The Atros. The Texans. The Rockets. Home of several great universities, including Rice and Baylor. There is a space program there. It's given opportunity to one of the most famous movie quotes of all times, "Houston. We have a problem." It is also home of the 97th temple. And, soon to be home of one of the greatest sister missionaries-to-be in the world. Sister. Sorensen. That's Whitney Sorensen. Or, as we have been saying for the past four days...Whitney! Houston! Whitney! Houston! WHITNEY! HOUSTON!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

She Will Be Loved...

...and she has been for 18 years and 9 days now. Cassidy had her magic birthday on Saturday, April 18th. She turned 18 on the 18th. It only happens once in any one's lifetime. Amidst all the party preparations, my birthday tribute blog to her was delayed. But since she is a once-in-a-lifetime-kind-of-girl, I'm sure that a few days will make no difference. Here are 'only 18' things I love about this 'beauty queen of only 18'...

  • From the moment she was born, I knew she would be something special. Tiny and helpless, looking a little bit like Yoda, but with quite the mind of her own. She has certainly left her Yoda-like baby wrinkles behind, but has kept the force with her from day one. With Cassidy it is always Do. Or Do Not. There is no try. Whatever she sets her mind to, she does it all the way. A challenge does not scare Cassidy. Looking like Yoda scares Cassidy.
  • She used to be my quiet, shy girl. I had a friend in Lehi who used to say, 'If you want to find Cassidy, check under Joy's arm, because she will always be tucked right there, safe and sound.' She grew out of her shyness, and away from my arms, but she will always be tucked right next to my heart, safe and sound.

  • Just like Jan Brady, Cassidy is stuck in the middle as a sister. Unlike Jan Brady, Cassidy can never be heard murmuring, 'Marcia, Marcia, Marcia' about Whitney. She worships the ground Whitney walks on and wants to be just like her. Before Eli came along, she was the baby, and enjoyed that spot immensely. I think it got to be a little lonely for her and one Christmas she asked Santa to bring her a baby brother. It took a little longer than any of us expected, but we are always thankful that her wish came true. There is no better friend than a sister, and there is no better sister than Cassidy.

  • Laughter is her best medicine. Her laugh is infectious. The minute you hear her laugh, you want to experience the exact same emotion she is feeling. I could listen to her laugh all day. And some days I do!
  • "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Cassidy doesn't have a dog, and she's afraid of the dark, but she LOVES to read. In our family, books are a part of you from day one, and Cassidy is no exception. Her taste runs towards romance and mystery, and anything in between. It has been a blessing to have not one, but two daughters to discuss books with. They read my recommendations, and I read theirs. If you want to find Cassidy in the summer, check our front porch first...she's usually there with a good book in hand and a smile on her face.
  • Cassidy wears her heart on her sleeve. Not unlike the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz, she is extremely tender-hearted, and a great respecter of other people's feelings. Her heart is very perceptive to other people's hurts. She is the first one to apologize, and the last one to leave a sad friend behind. She knows when someone needs a little extra attention, or a little more love. She will be there in good times, and she will be there in bad times. And if you are lucky enough to have found a special place in her heart, you can rest assured that you will be in her heart forever.
  • Once she grew out of her shyness, Cassidy discovered the art of making friends. She is always surrounded by friends. She has a way of making everyone feel good about themselves, and everyone loves being around Cassidy. When Cassidy goes away, I will miss her desperately, and I will miss her friends almost as much. Almost.

  • She has P-A-S-S-I-O-N! She's passionate about oh so many things. Olympic swimmers, U.S. Open and Wimbledon winners, David Archuleta, glistening vampires, and yes, even Mr. 17 Again himself, Zac Efron. When Cassidy likes someone, or something, she likes them all the way. She cheers for them LOUD! She supports them at concerts and in the theaters and in basements full of friends wishing she wasn't quite as passionate with her cheering. All I can say is, "You Go, Girl". If you love something, let the whole world know!

  • She wouldn't be a part of our family if she wasn't a lover of music. We have introduced her to car singing and the Beatles and the Beach Boys. All by herself she discovered Michael Buble' and Josh Groban. And, not wanting to be satisfied to just sing along with the radio, she actually went one step further and developed a beautiful singing voice. Many a compliment have been paid to her for her solos in choir, in church, and for various high school musicals which she participates in. Her highlight this year was a solo in NIGHT ON BROADWAY, presented by the Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre. Her rendition of 'I Could Have Danced All Night" brought the house down. I see great things in her future and thank Heavenly Father every day for bestowing her with such a beautiful voice and such a humble willingness to share this talent with those around her.
  • She is a connoisseur of all fine foods...macaroni and cheese, Ramen, Olive Garden Fettucine, and my own Penne pasta with pesto sauce. Do you sense a carb-o-holic here?
  • They say mothers give their daughters virtues and vices. Hopefully I have shared more of the former and less of the latter. We do share a passion for a certain liquid refreshment. Coke. Straight Up. With Ice. No lemon. No lime. No D-I-E-T! Have a Coke and a smile!
  • She is a bit of a 'drama queen' but not in a bad sense. When she was little she would spend hours with Whitney putting on plays and shows. She starred in a 1st grade production at Meadow Elementary in Lehi, and her first role here in Idaho Falls was that of a cow in the chorus of 'Beauty and the Beast' with the Missoula Children's Theater Company. She has had parts in many musicals, and a supporting actress role this year in her high school production of "The Univited." Appropriately, she played a psychic actress and conducted a pretty believable seance. So, if you ever need someone to conjure up dead spirits, sing a broadway tune, or play a beautiful bovine, Cassidy is your ACTRESS!

  • Speaking of acting, Cassidy is also a lover of movies. Anything with Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Doris Day, Rock Hudson, or Cary Grant. Anything involving superheroes, like Batman or Superman or Batman. If it will make her cry, she'll watch it more than once. Pride and Prejudice. You've Got Mail. A Walk to Remember. Charly. If it involves handsome men playing sports, she's all over it. Miracle. Remember the Titans. Glory Road. The Sandlot. The Rookie. If it makes her laugh, it will make you laugh. Napoleon Dynamite. Meet the Deedles. 17 Again. If it scares her to death, she'll watch it only once. The Village. Signs. The Others. If there's popcorn, she'll watch anything! (Did I mention anything with Batman?)

  • She has a flair for fashion. Shoes. Nice Clothes. Jewelry. One of the first car songs she ever learned to sing along with was, "These Boots Are Made For Walking"...and that's just what she'll do. Buy enough pairs of boots and shoes to walk all over you!

  • She is also a collector of purses. And things that go inside of purses. Lipgloss, mascara, i-pod, cellphone, love notes, gum, money, wallet, driver's license, Personal Progress Book (only for a few more weeks) the latest book she is reading (The Christopher Killer--Alayne Ferguson), pomegranate lotion...this list could go on and on...but as long as it's all in a purse, she's ready to rock-and-roll!

  • She has a strong testimony of the gospel. She loves to study the scriptures and share what she knows with others. She is a shining example of choosing the right, even when it sometimes takes her out of the crowd and leaves her home alone. It takes great courage to make hard choices, and Cassidy has shown great courage on more than one occasion. She knows what she belives and she lives it every day. I learn daily from her example and I feel privileged that we have been blessed to raise such a spiritually strong daughter.

  • She loves to learn. She likes the challenge of discovering new things, whether it be AP Government, AP Literature, or even Computer Applications, she puts her heart into her studies and manages to always come out on top. There's no need to sing "If I Only Had A Brain" about Cassidy. We are proud of her accomplishments in school and the example she has set for Eli to follow. When she graduates on June 1, it will be at the top of her class!

  • She has great vision. Her eyesight is good, but her vision for the future is even better. She knows how to set goals and she knows how to achieve them. There is nothing in the world that Cassidy can't do. Once she sets her mind to it, we know she will do it. And do it well. Because from day one, it has always been: Do. Or Do Not. There is no try.

Happy (Late) 18th Birthday, Cassidy. May you always look beyond the rainbow to find your dreams. Just follow the Yellowbrick road and you will get to wherever you want to be. Just don't forget your ruby slippers. And always remember...There's no place like home!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oooh...I hear laughter in the rain...

Isn't it great to be a boy? Seven comes with all sorts of fun. Learning. Exploring. Experimenting. Laughing. Lots of Laughing. The other day it was pouring down rain and the boys were outside getting soaked to the bone. It was our first real rain storm of the spring season and it brought with it a seven year-old boy's favorite pastime. Playing with worms! Worms in the gutter and on the grass. Worms on the driveway. Worms on my car and in my son's hands. They spent almost an hour chasing each other with the worms, discovering what happens when a worm gets cut in half, and even throwing them at each other. If Eli ever needs a part-time job maybe he can dig nightcrawlers and sell them to fishermen. My brother and I did it one summer and earned quite a bit of money. That was years ago, though, and I haven't touched another worm since. Now it's Eli's turn to touch those worms. Don't you just love the Circle of Life?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

As 99 Red Balloons Go By...

...I want to wish a special lady a very happy birthday. Today my Grandma Ricks turns 99. WOW! Somedays I can't even imagine what it feels like to turn 47, and yet she has doubled my years and added another lucky seven to that number. She is one of the women I most admire in my life. She raised a family of 8...three girls and 5, yes count them, 5 boys. My grandpa was a farmer and she was the gardener. She grew beautiful flowers and even more wonderful children. She was trained as a nurse. If I ever have health questions about my kids, she is the first one I call. She has climbed Table Rock numersous times, a feat I have yet to accomplish. I guess if she can do it, I should give it a try. Probably before I'm 64. For sure before I'm 99. She is very spunky and has a definite opinion on everything, from what to eat or not eat for breakfast to how many quilts should be on her bed. She is a bit of a health food fanatic, and is always willing to share her knowledge on the 'latest and greatest' healing herbs and potions. She would have made a great teacher at Hogwarts! She is a lover of animals, which made the farm the perfect place for her to live. Up until two years ago she was still taking care of the cows and their calves and feeding her collection of stray cats...24 in all. Whenever I would go and visit we would sit in the yard with her Book of North American Birds and see how many we could identify. If she went with us on car trips she could always be called upon to identify the flowers that bloomed along the side of the road. My favorite was and still is, 'Indian Paintbrush'. She would also bring snacks to enjoy. Usually saltines and Swiss cheese. Now that's a memory. Most moms don't let kids bring saltines in the car because of the mess, but my grandma never cared much if we made a mess. We were too busy looking at the flowers. I hope her day is fabulous. Just like her. To my Grandma Ricks I say, "Here it is, a red balloon. I think of you and let it go."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A tisket, a tasket...

...I love what's in my basket! Every year it is my tradition to have a Dove chocolate truffle egg. I love them. They make me happy. When we lived in Utah I would always buy one package with 5 eggs. One for Phillip, one for Whitney, one for Cassidy, and two for me. I would eat one on Easter and save the other one in a secret hiding place for later. The year we moved to Idaho was no exception. Easter was in April and we moved in July. We lived at my parents house for 2 1/2 months until our house was done being built. Right after we moved in, the girls started school. That left me HOME ALONE. On a particularly bad day, when I was feeling a little sad and a lot sorry for myself I had a revelation. Where was the other Dove chocolate truffle egg? I checked my drawer for the secret hiding place. There, in the very back, was my life saver for the day. Dove. Chocolate. Truffle. Egg. It brings a smile to even the saddest of moments. Years later, we still have Dove chocolate truffle eggs in our basket. Only now, I buy two package of five. One for Phillip. One for Whitney. One for Cassidy. One for Eli. That leaves six. For me. I knew those math skills would come in handy some day. Now I just need to find a few new hiding places and I am set for life!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Springtime IS Coming...

"Daffodils" (1804)
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;Beside the lake, beneath the trees,Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:Ten thousand saw I at a glance,Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thoughtWhat wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;And then my heart with pleasure fills,And dances with the daffodils.
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).