Minute Memories: My Grandpa

talltabI don’t know if playing music by ear is a gift that can be inherited, but if it is, I can’t take full credit for what I have learned.  I have a long ancestral line of musicians, including trumpeters, harmonica players, singers, band leaders, songwriters, whistlers, and of course, piano players.
talltabMy Grandpa Hathaway played the piano by ear.  I never asked him what kind of technique he used to learn what he played, but I have vivid memories of watching his fingers dance across the keys as the sounds of Beautiful Dreamer and Memories filled my grandparents’ living room.  Their house always had a classic, well-cared for style, with curio-cabinets and intricate mementos of their lives and era.  The piano was situated in the tightest corner of their beautiful living room, with only enough room for the piano and a player, but the music carried throughout the whole house.
talltabNot only did Grandpa teach himself to play that piano, he essentially put the thing together himself – at least after taking it completely apart.  When he and Grandma bought it, they wanted to put it in the downstairs living room, but their stairway was too narrow for a full-size piano.  So Grandpa disassembled the whole thing – with every key removed, and took it down into the living room in pieces.
talltabGrandma hassled him that he would never be able to get the thing back together, but he did, and it is still there today.  I suppose that piano will stay with the house forever.
talltabWe had a piano in our living room, too, though we didn’t have to take it apart to get it there.  I was fourteen when I decided I was going to really learn to play the piano, and that year Grandma and Grandpa Hathaway came for Thanksgiving Dinner.
talltabDuring those contented hours between the feast and the serving of pie, I found myself Continue reading Minute Memories: My Grandpa

Making Moments: Adventure

adventure1

TabToday Tootles and I went on an adventure! Jenni and Lunch Bucket went to a bridal shower, so Tootles and I went on an adventure while they were gone.

TabWe drove to a downtown area, where we stopped at a gardening store (my choice) and a candy store (Tootle’s choice) and bought some licorice. We also stopped at a music store (my choice), and a small park (Tootle’s choice). But I realized the adventure would be cut short when Tootles started emanating a suspiciously unpleasant scent. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought a diaper bag.
TabSo we left after the park – but not before the part of the adventure where we discovered bear tracks! They were in the grocery store in the ice-cream section, so we took some home. Soon Tootles had bear tracks all over his face.

Tribute: I Love You, Mom!

Tis the season to feel guilty,
falalalalaaaa-la-la-la-la.
Mourning that the house is filthy,
falalalalaaaa-la-la-la-la.
Screaming kids and lazy father,
falala-lalala-la-la-la.
Makes me wonder why I bother,
falalalala-la-la-la-laaaaa!

Now that mother’s day’s approaching,
falalalalaaaa-la-la-la-la.
Listen to the old-folks’ coaching,
falalalalaaaa-la-la-la-la.
Think of all your rotten mistakes
falala-lalala-la-la-la.
Work, and just ignore the back-aches
falalalala-la-la-la-laaaaa!

Spare me.

Every year I hear the wonderful things about mothers, and I love it, but every year I hear mothers complain because it makes them feel so terribly inadequate.
I think it’s sad that mothers hearing about how wonderful mothers are makes them feel guilty.  Of course they feel inadequate!  They’re are inadequate.
Has any mother really been adequate to Continue reading Tribute: I Love You, Mom!

Making Moments: Why Parents Come in Pairs

Took the munchkins shopping today.  All I can say is…
Good. Gravy.

Things started out all right.  But soon Lunch Bucket and Tootles were fighting over a curtain set that we were purchasing, and when I took it from them, it was complete pandemonium.

I’m sure there was some in the store that suspected that I was kidnapping the kicking, screaming, and thrashing little three year old, as I took them both out to the car and left Jenni to do the shopping.  Especially when the said three year old would not get in the car, and which I finally has to shove in the door and slam it before she escaped.

Tootles was only slightly more cooperative.  At least he calmed down once he was in his carseat.  Trying to buckle in the struggling Lunch Bucket was very challenging, but soon the three of us were sitting in the car amidst frantic tantrum gasps.

Jenni finished up the shopping and came out in time to see a calm but very pink and wet-faced Lunch Bucket.

We didn’t take her into any more stores after that.  I did feel bad for her throughout the ordeal, but I felt at least as bad for me.  Thinking back on it now, I feel even more bad for my poor parents.

The Clockmaker

While Jenni was pregnant with Lunch Bucket, I decided to write a collection of childrens stories to read to our kids.  This was one of the stories I wrote.  It’s a little long – but it was intended as a childrens book.  I just thought it would be fun to share here:

theclockmaker

The Clockmaker

Once upon a time there was a clockmaker. He could make large clocks, small clocks, blue clocks, green clocks, and just about any kind of clock you could think of. Whenever someone wanted a clock, they would come to the clockmaker’s shop, knock on the door, and say,

“Clockmaker, clockmaker! Where could you be?

I need a clock that is made just for me!”

And the clockmaker would come to the door and respond,

“I am the clockmaker, for heaven’s sake!

What kind of clock would you like me to make?”

Then the person would describe a special clock, such as one that chirped like a bird, or crowed like a rooster. Some would ask him to make a clock that grew out of the ground from a seed. Others would ask him to make a clock that sang, or danced, or laughed, and the clockmaker could always fulfill the request.

One day a man came to the clockmaker’s shop, pounded on the door, and said, Continue reading The Clockmaker

The Chronic Distraction

I was deeply impressed with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf‘s talk this evening in the priesthood session of the Church’s general conference about not getting distracted by less important things.  It got me thinking about how easily I get distracted from quality family time.

Why is that so stinkin’ easy to do?!  Why is it so easy to push my kids away so I can check my Facebook?  I tell myself it will only be for five minutes, but it never works out that way – and it has nothing to do with Facebook itself.  It’s me.  And if the distraction is not Facebook, it’s the piano, or email, or the garden, or even the dishes.  Sure, those are all good things – things that I should take advantage of.  But must I use the most quality family hours to do them?

I suppose everyone struggles with stuff like that.  That’s why I think it’s SO good to get these reminders once in a while.  Usually the things the church leaders encourage us to do are simply things that our conscience has been trying to get us to do for a long time.  The reminder simply brings it back to our immediate attention – oh, yeah, my family really IS more important to me than the computer.  Oh, yeah, my relationship with my Heavenly Father really IS more important to me than preparing a time-consuming meal.

Then I tell Heavenly Father about my mistake, and how I’ll do better, and I expect Him to say something like, “Duh, dude!  Hulllloooo!”  But instead He just smiles and gives me a hug.  If there’s anything that will solidify a re-dedication, it’s that.

He always does know what works best.  Always.

the-chronic-distraction

Click cartoon to see it big

Making Moments: Mickey’s Ogre

Today with Lunch Bucket’s help, I brought Mickey and some of the other stuffed animals to life.  I helped Mickey, and Lunch Bucket helped Bree (my stuffed animal horse).
Mickey and Bree built a castle for Mickey, but then a humungous ogre came and crushed it.
So to defend themselves against the ogre, they put up a fort – which he was able to climb over.
So they got together as a team and attacked him full-on.  They were able to knock him over, but the ogre was resilient, and got back up and tromped through their fort and castle rubble.
mickeys-ogre1 But then Raggedy Anne (with Jenni’s help) came and explained to the group that their ogre was actually a cute little nice boy.  So they befriended Tootles, the “ogre.”  And played hide-and-seek with him until bedtime.

Mama! Can I help you cook?!

help-you-cook

Lunch Bucket LOVES to help us cook.  Mostly she just climbs up on the chair and pretends to stir while eating whatever is in the mixing bowl.  She’ll also eat whatever is on the counter – especially if it’s powdery.  She’ll tank down on flour if we let her.

Tootles has no interest in helping.  He just wants to watch – which would be fine, if he didn’t INSIST on watching from above.  In other words, he has to be held in order to be happy while we’re cooking – preferably the one who is most busy at it.  He will take ocassional diversion however, if he can manage to get a drawer open.  Especially if there are knives, bags, or some other dangerous item inside.

I’ve tried stuffing the drawers with toys and stuffed animals, but he just pulls them out, plops them on the floor, and digs deeper until he can find a real treasure – such as the butcher knife.