choo choo

Time can be like the bullet train from London to Paris, only it is often kind enough to make many stops along the way.

I hung out with my old BYU roomie tonight.  We sat with three other acquaintances at dinner and had a great chat about our children, our lives in different states, our church responsibilities.  In the last 22 years since I got married I have seen her maybe 5 or 6 times, either when she has come to Utah to visit her family, or when we have stopped at her home in Chicago on one of our many cross-country trips to see mine.  The train has stopped for those short visits, and the passengers that have both boarded and left the train have been numerous: new babies, grown children, career changes.  Anything that has caused change.  

So this morning, after a 4-hr dinner (we were encouraged to leave the restaurant an hour and a half after it closed), I have travel fatigue.  It is like a jet lag feeling that comes from jumping onboard long enough to get comfy and then being shoved out the door, while the train is still moving.  I need to reset my watch and get a nap.  

preparing the soil

photo by Luann Hawker at

CS Lewis once said, Make me a field that is replowed over and over again. I have always loved this idea because it is tangible and full of sweat and hard work. I know that I need my land reworked. I need to be ripped up and replanted, cultivated, and redone in the new season.

Sometimes the plow is my job. Sometimes my family. But my goal is to be ready for it, and willing to have the soil turned and turned until I produce the best crop possible.
A nice weekend full of things that remind me why I love my life.

  • I hung out with Heidi Ashworth and Charrette
  • I met a lot of other blog friends
  • My only sister (and one of my best friends!) came to visit with her little one year-old daughter
  • I celebrated my 45th birthday on Sunday with good friends
  • My 18 year-old went to prom and looked smashing
When the dust clears tonight, and my day off from work is over, and my sis and niece get on the plane, I may pass out. But I am filled up. I am satiated.

carrots anyone?

We wear fuzzy bunny ears in our class. Not everyONE and not everyDAY. Each month we change what the kids wear on their heads when they are the helpers. But this month we are all about bunny ears. Easter, you know.

One of the things I love about our class is that when a big (read:husky) Hispanic boy decides he wants to wear the pink bunny ears nobody laughs about it. We strap those ears on and suddenly he takes on the mantle of the helper. No snickering from the kids. They are just happy to be there, and to let each person be. It has been a great lesson to me about acceptance.

Another lesson I have learned in my transitional kindergarten class is if you cut in front of someone in line to get a drink of water you might get punched really hard right in the middle of the back.

brrrr.. anyone else feel that draft?

We watched Dr. Strangelove tonight and my son asked a little about the cold war. Bombs that weren't dropped, threats never really carried through. The cold shoulders are what named this war, this period in our history.

We all have our cold wars. It might be against a neighbor or a coworker, or even something intangible, like a principle we are counseled to live by, like eating dinner together as a family or paying our debts. And if there really is someone who has avoided cold wars I would be surprised. We get defensive, mostly out of sheer self-protection, and our shoulders freeze up like icebergs.

I am guilty of this. My best self (the one buried somewhere in there) wishes that I could face everything head-on, with a smile, and solve it. But then my worst self (right on the surface) turns that shoulder just enough to make a point.

I need a nice warm electric coat to warm me up. I miss people sometimes because of the cold. I miss blessings. I miss opportunities. When have you been chilled?

be thou moved

We breathed in magic potions as we climbed the mountains with our good friends. Pumpkin bread. Hymns. Swings. Cold grass under our blanket as we sat and talked about the last week of Jesus' life.

And then we collect our things, gather the children, and descend to our real lives. The potion starts to take effect and we get sleepy. Good night birds and Hobble Creek. And thanks.

"my men are merely softening up your defenses to prepare for our impending invasion"

We had chicken and rice for dinner and then quickly cleaned up before sweet Brother Osborn came over to check on the mental and spiritual health of the family. He is an angel with a dark gray suit and kind handshake.

After the visit Geo broke out some secret chocolate truffles and called me aside to share one with me. Like medicine in golden foil. Mmmmmm.

Then Geo said he wanted everyone to wait for him in the living room because he wanted to share something with us. Immediately the boys looked at me concerned. I have no idea, guys. Just wait and see. In walks G with his laptop, and he asks the boys to squeeze in on the couch to watch a cheesy 50's sci-fi free podcast movie with him. Radar Men From the Moon, featuring Commando Cody.

So I stretched out on the floor and took a picture of their cute feet. Husband's mismatched socks and all.

mountain meditation

We met L's friend at Sundance today so that he could go to Park City and hang out.

It was warm and quiet. Good visiting time while we waited.

Big, chopped rocks. White dust. Green brushes.

a boy by any other name...

We had a hard time deciding on names for our kids. As a matter of fact, when I was about 7 months pregnant with our first baby my parents came out to see us, and my dad actually gave us a little help in the name game. We were all out shopping at the local mall when my dad and I were sitting outside a store waiting for Geo and my mom. When I told him how difficult it had been for us to decide on a name he said, Why don't you name him after your grandfather? My grandfather was given the name Manuel Pereira, but for business reasons (who knows, it was a long time ago) he had always used Jim Perry. And this is how my oldest son Perry got his name.

Then when we were living in California while my husband was going to graduate school, we were excited to find out we would be having another little boy. Samuel? Ethan? Nothing seemed right, until Geo thought it would be nice to narrow things down by either using family names or names from good literature. He was getting his PhD in rhetoric and literature after all, and since he had done his Honors thesis at BYU on Paradise Lost, we knew we had to name this new little guy Adam. It fit then, and it fits now, partly because he is a bit of an innocent and we like to say he hasn't really left the garden yet.

Ok, back in Utah again after getting hired by BYU and along comes pregnancy number three. Lots of good names in my family to choose from. My father's name is Robert. I have brothers named Robert, David, Anthony. All good and hearty names. Good names on my husband's side too. My husband's name is Gideon, but it is a bit of an overpowering name and best reserved for grandsons rather than sons (which I have loosely committed my children to use). Again, a standstill, until one night my husband says he would like to name this boy, revealing it to me later in the pregnancy. I was kind of game for a little fun, so I agreed, until it was decided that the name would come from a Shakespearean play, my husband being a Shakespeare professor. Rosencrantz? Malvolio? But I was happily surprised when Geo told me the name he had chosen was Lear, not from the happiest play Shakespeare wrote, but from the well-crafted one that many consider to be his best work. Plus, my new little one might appreciate being named after a king. We had no idea how important his name would be to him until we started noticing in about third grade the way he signed all of his homework "King Lear". And going to Dad's class and reciting the plot to a roomful of college kids at the start of a semester was pretty cool too. It has fit him through and through.

Then came the last one. Here we go again. A boy's name. My husband and I each had a grandfather we never knew, both of whom died before we were born. My oldest son got the name of my never-known, and now we decided to complete the trend by naming this last son after the other one. This grandfather went by FG, for Fielding Garr (Burton). Garr being an ancestor's surname. We loved Fielding, but decided to use a different middle name, keeping the FG in tact. And thus Fielding Gray Burton rounded out the family. We call him Gray mostly, but Fielding gets used here and there too. When he was little he liked to decide when he wanted each name used, and just today he walked into the dining room and announced to me and Geo that he is going to start telling some of his friends about his first name. He likes it. He thinks when he is an adult he will use it more than Gray.

I have been thinking of this topic lately because we really celebrate Memorial Day well in my husband's family, which we live close to. We gather at the three cemeteries where their ancestors are all buried, and we clean off graves. We put peonies in vases and sit on the grass as my mother-in-law takes out flip charts with pictures and stories and explains what name goes with what picture. When my kids that have Burton ancestral names see their names on those head stones they are not creeped out, but proud of their heritage. And my sons that have names more related to my side of the family still know where their names come from.

A humble grocer who helped everyone, the first man, who was a sign of God's love, a great work of art that teaches the lesson of familial loyalty, and a grandfather who died while serving a mission for our church.

It helps to give them a sense of belonging and purpose. It matters.

that new car smell

I like cars. I blame it on my love of design, which is what I also blame my love of all things electronic on. I love the smell and feel of a new car. And while I am here at the dealership waiting for my 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander to get an oil change, I find myself drooling over this little number. My addictions are simple. Anything that looks sleek and feels well-made. Such a good thing that I am not rich.

adam, the musical

I took this video of my son yesterday in the midst of some Easter photos that I accidentally erased (new camera). My kids love Dr. Horrible (a sing-a-long blog produced during the writer's strike), so Adam volunteered to sing a song from it. Of course, my other guys were going to join him until one son whispered to another one, You know, Mom is probably going to blog this! At which point they both left the room. Enjoy, and consider this a substitute for my Musical Mondays, which I hope to return to soon!

our own groundhog days

Sometimes I feel like a cog in a machine, but who doesn't, really? Part of life is repetition and even drudgery. And believe it or not, I am not complaining about it. I believe the philosophical statement made by John Burroughs when he said, To learn something new, take the path you took yesterday.

Up at 6:30 am for private reading time

Kids upstairs for breakfast/ family prayer and scriptures @ 7

A and L out the door by 7:30

I jump in the shower as they head out

While I get dressed I call out to FG to make sure he is getting his cello practice in @ 7:40

Geo jumps in the shower @ 7:45

By 7:50 I am drying my hair and following up with FG to make sure he is getting ready to go

Geo is dressed quickly and out by 8

I kiss FG goodbye and leave for work down the street @ 8:10

Pretty much the same routine everyday, with the only real variety in the afternoon, which has its own kind of crazy. But guess what? When I sit back and look at my life, I somehow am grateful for the over-and-overness of it all. I learn about myself and my strengths AND weaknesses. It keeps me real.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:33
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.


my name is kazzy, and i am an electroholic

Isn't it the younger generation that is supposed to be hooked on technology? The teens? The twenty-somethings?

We are one of those five-cell-phone, three-lap-top, one-desk-top families. Scary to see it in print, but it's true. We are plugged in. But we still seem to get a lot done around here, and I would love to think the electronics helped us out in that regard. Who knows?

All I know is that my 12-year old fell climbing up the few stairs to our front door the other day and we haven't been the same since. See, he smashed the screen on his cell phone and changed everything. We have been swapping SIM cards in and out of my phone, so that when he walks to church or goes to a friend's down the street I can reach him and he can reach me. And I have been running around to cell phone stores looking for a new phone, so that I can just give him mine.

But here's another sign that I have a problem. Whatever phone I picked up and considered buying had to pass the test. Can I blog from this little shiny device? Can I be heard? Can I easily find my friends on here?

I think I feel the static electricity leaving my body...

car time

photo by Luann Hawker

I just spent about two hours with my eighteen year-old as we drove to the drivers license division of the DMV for him to get his learner's permit. That's right, learner's permit and he is eighteen. But he has always been non-aggressive, so a driver's license at 16 wasn't really in the cards for him.

As we drove we had the great occasion to visit about things that matter. He talked to me about his feelings about God, his character traits he is working on, and his reflections on his older brother who is in Africa right now. And in turn, I talked to him about college, marriage, the big picture. This kid kills me. He isn't perfect. He has some quirks that my husband and I try to help him with here and there, but who doesn't?

I tend to blog about this son a lot, maybe because his imminent departure weighs on me. But he is a gem. He wants to do what is right. He is like a magnifying glass on the small good parts of me and Geo.


When my friend was a cub scout leader years ago they took a trip to our town's police station, where one of the boys proceeded to dial 911 from the lobby phone. When one of the officers came out to find the culprit it must have been a bit embarrassing for the leaders, and even the boys who were there to learn more about law enforcement.

I have reflected on this funny experience over the years and find it a great metaphor for our own lives. How many times do we get to stand right in the midst of God and communicate with Him? Unlike our little cub scout example, where he was obviously and overtly in the middle of the police station, sometimes we are standing in His presence without realizing it.

I hold the receiver ready to talk to God when I kneel beside my bed, when I spend time with my children, when I look across the table at a restaurant at my husband, who loves me. I hold the receiver when I read a meaningful book, or when I am served by someone else. I call, He answers.

my happy plague

I may be living with locusts.

We love to watch Planet Earth on the Discovery Channel on Sunday nights. It is quickly becoming a cooler-than-cool tradition. This past Sunday the show focused on deserts, and how certain living things are able to thrive there. Snakes, toads, camels, etc.

In some deserts there are locusts that live underground until there is the slightest hint of moisture, at which point they come out of their subterranean condominiums and eat everything in sight. At a band of up to 40 miles wide they thicken the sky until it is almost dark and eat every leaf, blade of desert grass, stalk.

The "moisture" came to my house this morning when my husband ran off to the local grocery store to pick up some cereal, milk, and lunch makings. Soon the whirring began as the boys ascended the stairs from their bedrooms and started ripping open boxes of rice chex, coconut granola bars, and whatever else was available.

I just ducked out of the way and plugged my ears.