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Saturday, June 25, 2011

These Are My Sister Wives, Except They Don't Sleep With My Husband

Subtitle:  P.S. They're Not Married to Him Either (remember my post about Mormons and how they don't practice polygamy anymore?  Still True.)

Today is my 38th birthday.  I know this because my Irish twin brother called me and so I asked him how old he turned last month.  37.  So that makes me 38.

And you know what?  38 is pretty great. 

Better than 28, when I was trying to figure out how to be a new mom and lose the 60 pounds of pregnancy weight I had put on.

Loads better than 18 when I was trying to figure out everything, but somehow knew it all.

So I'll take 38 and celebrate.  Which I did on Thursday because one of my oldest (as in, I've known her for a long time, not, she's-an-old-lady old), best friends threw me a rockin' birthday party.

Here is a picture of us, not at my party, but in Hawaii a few years ago during our Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition shoot. Don't be jealous of our supermodeliness.

 A lot of friends came to my party which made me feel very special-- I like to feel special. And grateful. Because I don't think there is a better group of women anywhere.  You can disagree with me and tell me how great your friends are. And I'm sure they are.  But my friends are still better than your friends.  And this is my tribute to them:

From the back, left to right
Karen:  one of my Original Girlfriends whom I've known for almost 20 years now since she was a Laura Ashley dress, Doc Marten wearing (at the same time) freshman at the BYU. She knows all my secrets and will drive through L.A. traffic to come party with me and my friends in the O.C. even though most of us are blonde and tan.
Allyson:  we spent three years of playgroup and pre-school together and then had to break up when our kids went to school.  Now we have to settle for seeing each other every six months or so, but that gives us lots to talk about and it's always fun to catch up.
Sally:  my investment club co-hort, gardening guidance counselor, and never grouchy neighbor.  She likes me even though she is the nicest person in the whole world and I am not.
Heather S.:  an actual model, she is generous enough to not get dolled up too often so she's only pretty instead of gorgeous.  Then the rest of us don't feel so bad.
Valerie:  mother extraordinaire who can hold her own in any crisis.  I'm so glad there are people like her  who have the courage--unlike me--to raise a lotta kids and raise them well.
Tracine:  who is not going through chemo, she just needs a haircut in a bad way.  She is one of the most interesting people I know.  And I love to hold her baby.
Camille:  I've tried to get adopted into her family because they are so awesome (not that mine isn't, hers is just 900 miles closer). She holds the title of The Most Creative Woman In The World. And I love to hold her baby too.
April:  for years our paths crossed sporadically.  I'm so glad they cross on a more regular basis now.  Plus I want to go shopping with her because she always looks cute.
Alison:  she's helped me birth my babies, find my dumb dog, decorate my house, raise my kids, and thrown me three awesome baby showers and one fantastic 38th birthday party...Seriously, what would I do without her?
Kjersten:  she doesn't just bring the party where ever she goes, she IS the party.  There is no one more fun than this girl.  She has a talent for making everyone else feel like the center of attention.
Heather B.:  this girl throws the parties.  And they are AWESOME.  No one is more generous. Everyone knows she has a lot because she gives so much.
Monica:  we've shared many a breakfast and it's my favorite part of the week. She's tried to move away but we just keep pulling her back in. Because our lives are better with her.
Clea:  I made her burned grilled cheese once when she was sad and she's still grateful for it. If I need to know something about anything, I ask Clea.  Or if I need to borrow some cowboy boots, Clea's my girl.
Katie:  she has 4 kids under the age of 6-- half of whom are twins-- and yet she still finds time to plan and organize a Daddy Daughter Sock Hop. Here is a peek at its fantasticness:

For which I spent my birthday making poodle skirts so my family could party without me. But I love her anyway. She amazes me. (Did I mention 3/4 of her kids are boys, and well-behaved ones at that?)
Jenny:  we've preschooled and playgrouped our way through all of my kids and three of hers.  We've quilted, activity dayed, exercised and park dayed together.  We've laughed a lot and we've mourned a lot.  And we're still mourning the loss of her son and our dream that one day my girl #2 would be Tess Hess.
Sheridan: my friend who teaches babies how to hypnotize people into having more of them.  But I could be wrong about that, so you should read her blog here:  She is awesome and one day we will go shopping again only this time I will make sure she wears a proper bra instead of packing one unpadded enough to be crumpled into her purse. 
Angela:  the better half of the "young Larsens."  Good thing I like her so much otherwise I just might resent being part of the "old Larsens."
Brooke:  she married my cousin's ex-boyfriend and still likes me even though I often introduce her to people like that.  Co-room momming is just one of her many, many talents.
Bethany:  who came late after the picture was taken because she was busy teaching all of our kids to swim so they don't drown in frothy swimming pools filled with whipped cream and flailing arms and legs. Best. Swim Teacher. Ever. 

And a shout out to a few more girlfriends, far and near, who couldn't make the party.

Melanie:  who inspires/encourages me to write and lets me win at Scrabble and games with trains. If you haven't read her book, you should.  It's called The List and you can go here to get it:
Nikki: who has enough faith to ride through the chaos of raising 7 kids--twins,triplets,single and soon-to-be single--with her hands in the air, screaming with joy. And sometimes frustration.
Paula:  she's taught me that faith means more than just living your religion and I learn from her example every day. We will always have Belize.
Anonymous:  she gave me the best girlfriend quote ever:  "if God wanted me to have sex with my husband every night he would have given me more energy."  AND I  wish I could give credit where credit is due, but I don't want to embarass her.
Big Emma:  her girls are my girls and I can always count on her for shopping and cooking advice.  I just wish she were still close enough for me to invite myself over for Sunday dinner.
Lynn, Beth, Suzi:  the other three Original Girlfriends.  The Dancing Queens who could have warned Shawn what he was in for living with me, but were kind enough not to.  Girl(s) You Know It's True...Ooh Ooh Ooh, I Love You.

These are my sisters.  We laugh, cry, eat, bunko, read, swim, beach, play, and mourn together.  We take care of each other and each other's kids.  We can see each other once a day, or once a year, but our bonds of friendship keep us tied together no matter how far apart we may be.

They are like my sister wives, only better because I don't have to share my husband with them.  Which is good,  because he is also awesome and has spent many Thursdays and a few weekends alone so I could have my girl time.

Many thanks to all of you and the many more who aren't on this list but are still my sisters. My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Work is Fun, But Fun is Funner

So yesterday was the last day of school, which left me a little teary-eyed.  And not because I have to --I mean, get to--entertain my children an extra thirty hours per week now.  No, my tears were because I loved my girls' teachers and was sad to tell them good-bye.  Especially my fourth grader's.  Mrs. J. is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of teacher and I am praying my younger girls get her so I, at least, can experience her thrice in a lifetime.

I got to know Mrs. J. pretty well because I was one of her room moms.  It was kind of a big job because she does a lotta stuff for her students, so yeah, it took two of us.  Luckily we're both Mormon moms, so, according to what Mrs. J. knows about Mormons, we are crafty (but not in a Beastie Boys She's Crafty, sort of way--I'm assuming), we bake, and we have very organized closets.  I did not correct her on that last one.  But co-room mom and I did have to step up and show her we could craft and bake.  Sew (get it?) we made her a quilt and it's awesomeness made her cry.  And, for the last day of school party, I took the industrial size bag of Krusteaz from my food storage and we made pancakes for the kids. 

Mrs. J. was mightily impressed.  I did not mention that the Krusteaz was the extent of my food storage (I'm hoping the apocalypse is not scheduled for tomorrow).  I did tell her that she, too, could totally do the Mormon thing if she wanted.  I have connections so, you know, it wouldn't be that hard to get her in.  I think she's thinking about it and now I can say I've done my missionary work.  For life.  Glad I can check that one off the list before I'm translated.

After I dried my tears my girls and I headed to the park for the annual Last Day of School Whipped Cream Fight.  And then to the pool, because there was no way in I was letting those sticky monsters into my car or house. 

And you know who else was at the pool?  About four million other people under the age of twelve.  I actually had to watch my children to make sure they didn't drown under all those other bodies.  This was no easy task, not just because of all the other little people, but also because of the whipped cream cloudiness of the water.

I also grew concerned that the minions would realize they vastly outnumbered their oppressors (collectively known as The Mom) and would rise up against us.  I envisioned life after the overthrow and shuddered at the thought of radio and TV stations playing only songs and shows produced by the Disney machine.  When I Realized life wouldn't be much different than it is now, I relaxed. Plus the minions were too busy trying to drown each other to recognize the perfect opportunity for mass rebellion.

Now that the last day of school fun is out of the way, mission Work Is Fun can begin. Today is the day we catch up on all the things we've put off in the midst of the last-weeks-of-school chaos that usually ensues about January. Things like, cleaning the bathrooms,  throwing away a year's worth of school papers/lunches which have accumulated in backpacks, putting said backpacks away until September when I am ready to trip over them again, feeding the dog (she's probably pretty hungry by now), weeding the garden to see if we have edible plants growing there, etc. etc. 

We should be able to finish most of that today.  Except... I just got a text about a pool party/BBQ going on right now at a friend's house.  And it is Summer Solstice, so technically it's a holiday.  So maybe we'll start those jobs tomorrow.

Except... I promised the kids we'd go to the lake tomorrow.  Plus we've got swim lessons at 6:00.  So there's no real point in starting something we won't have time to finish.  We'll start Friday.

Except... well, Friday is Friday and you can't really say TGIF if Friday isn't fun.

And Saturday's my birthday.  So, you know, that's another holiday.

We'll start Monday.  I mean, a week after Monday since the kids are going to their grandparents' for a week (have I mentioned I love my in-laws?).  I'm sure the dog is just fake starving anyway.  And I can only smell the bathrooms when I'm near the house.  So I guess that's one more reason we should maybe not stay home today.