Sunday, April 29, 2012

an (un-needed perhaps) explanation

So, I've had this on my mind for a bit, but am just now getting around to writing about it.

At Christmastime, I was sitting around, talking with my sisters (in which group I count my sisters-in-law, as I only have one "genetic" sister), and the talk turned to blogs and facebook.  One of us commented (and the rest of us agreed) that it was sometimes difficult/painful/a real bummer to go through those sites because reading through a seemingly unending list of marvelous vacations, adorable kids, perfect husbands, and spotlessly clean houses (etc.) often nets out a general feeling of discouragement and discontent.

So, on the off chance that this little spot of quirky-ness is a place that might tempt anyone to feel "less than", I'd like to make a few things clear:

The life I portray here is not a completely accurate view of all that life contains for me.  We don't spend our days alternating between planting seeds and going to Disneyland.  Heather isn't adorable all the time, Eric isn't a prince of a man 24/7, and am certainly not smiley and sanguine about absolutely everything that we (I) experience and endure.   I don't write much about all of that though, at least not here, because I am well aware that this is a public space, not my personal journal or "let off steam notebook" where I can write whatever I want and whatever I'm feeling, and then hide it away where no eyes will ever see.*

I'm not saying that I make up stories and stage pictures of a life and family that are vastly different from my actual reality--I don't.  Everything that I share here actually happens, and although I don't put an inordinate amount of thought into these posts, I do try to write in a way that is honest and true to the character and spirit of how I experience it all.  But, there is a lot that goes on in the Cantwell home and in the life of Charlotte that doesn't (and never will) see the light of the blog.

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A bit more on Heather and Eric, and by extension the rest of my friends and family, and then I think that will be enough for now.  I am absolutely thrilled to be married to the man that is Eric, and having Heather for a daughter is honestly better than I ever imagined motherhood could be.  However, that doesn't mean that either of them are perfect, or that we don't have issues and problems and disagreements and tears sometimes.  We do.  Family relations are work, and we definitely do a lot of working through things and learning together around here, learning and working that often ends up being painful and difficult.

The fact is though, that unless I do so very superficially, I'm not going to write about those experiences here, out of respect and love for Eric and Heather, their feelings now, and their feelings in the future.  One day, Heather will be a middle-schooler.  Do I really want her to be able to see that her mother has shared her frailties in a public spot for the world to see?  Do I want to write anything that will contradict the over-riding message that I want to teach her--that she is loved by God and by her parents, that she is important, that she is capable, that she is marvelous just the way she is and just because she is?

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NO.

Likewise with Eric.  As easy-going and good natured as he is, I've learned over the years that (like all of us), Eric has insecurities.  So, because I love him, I'm not going to purposely share things here that will embarrass him, or portray him in an unkind light.  I'm (obviously) not afraid to tease or poke gentle fun at him here, but I have discussed that with him, and he's good with it.  (To be clear, I do run things by him if I think I might be dancing on the line by sharing.)

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I guess what I'm trying to say here is that our lives are not quite as colorful and fun and glorious as these words and pictures might have you believe.  As middle-class American families go, I think we're pretty average.  We laugh a lot, and we cry some too.  We struggle with our weight (except for Heather), we live in a house that is just a little bit too small for total comfort (but since we tend to be a little pack-ratty, chances are that will be the case no matter where we live).  We want more than we have, but realize that we have much more than we need.  We watch too much television, and we wish we were better than we are.  By and large we're happy.  We're happy and we feel blessed and lucky, and that's the portion of our life that I most often share here.


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So, there you have it.  Thanks to you for checking in here from time to time to see what we're doing, and thanks for sharing all the laughs.  'Cuz as interesting as it is to write all this serious thoughtful stuff, it is laughing that's my favorite, after all.

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(Well okay--laughing and being cheesy.)





*Just to show you my level of OCD, I really do have one of those books.  The cover page includes an explanation from me to whoever might find the book in the event of my untimely death, explaining that the words written there have been written in times of stress, times of frustration, times of needing an outlet.  It also includes a request that my life not be judged by those words.   I know, I'm a little bit crazy.  (I prefer the terms "eccentric" or "quirky" though, if it's all the same to you.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Random Photo Friday--Obnoxiously Proud Mom Edition

A note about the title.  I don't think Heather is doing anything that warrants a particular amount of pride here.  But, she's just so darn cute, you know?  (Maybe you don't know---she is my kid, after all, and I'm sure to be biased.)

While we were in Disneyland, Heather was naturally tempted by all the treats that are found at every corner.  Following my modus operandi with the Pluto dog, I told her to look at all the treats and decide which she wanted, and we'd get it on our last day there.

She wanted a lollipop.  That was kind of fun for me, because I had wanted the very same thing every time I went to Disneyland as a kid.

So, on our last full day in California, we headed to Downtown Disney, found the biggest display of lollipops that we could find, and I let Heather choose one.

Naturally she chose the biggest one, and the pink-est one.



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Good heavens, that girl is a cutie!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Disneyland in Pictures, and what passes (with long-winded me) for a few words

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In case you were wondering, Eric didn't join us on this trip.  That's because we were basically mooching off a spare bed in my parents motel room and some spare seats in their car, and although my folks were more than willing to squish together for us, Eric (and I, once it was explained to me) determined that it would be pretty uncomfortable for everyone involved, and so he made the sacrifice to stay home.

To put your mind at ease,  we (Eric and I) have been planning/saving to take Heather to Disneyland for a little while now, but we want to wait until she's old enough to remember it before we lay out that kind of money.  While we were waiting for that day, this family trip opportunity came along and was just too good of a bargain (nearly free, as a matter of fact) to pass up.  We're still hoping and planning to be back in 2014 or 2015, with all three of us.  

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Dumbo.  The first Disneyland ride of Heather's life.

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We're counting this guy as a stone lion.

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Kaylee finally gets a chance to drive

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Heather loved loved LOVED the teacups.

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I love the contrast between the kids facial expressions and those of the parents.  Classic family dynamic!

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Heather talked about this moment for days and days.  Heck, she's still talking about it, three weeks later.  That's like a year in three-year old time.

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This is probably my favorite picture of the whole trip.  Disneyland is great of course, but Disneyland with COUSINS?  Could there BE anything better??

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Eliza on the Rattlesnake Rapids.  One of my favorite memories of the whole trip happened on this ride.  We had been gently gliding up and down through the river, when all of a sudden we heard a sudden rush of water in the distance.  Eliza, made the connection, and in all seriousness and with big eyes and a little bit of fear mixed with a little bit of excited anticipation blurted out, "WATOWFALL!"  You probably had to be there, but I wanted to laugh my head off, and would have if I hadn't been afraid of embarrassing my tender-hearted niece.  She was right, there was a waterfall coming. Eliza and the rest of us got drenched.  

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Grandma Cantwell had given Heather $20 to spend on something special at Disneyland.  She started with  the usual "can we buy this" questions after we'd been in the park for about two hours.  So, I told her to watch for what she wanted, and think it all through, and on our last day there, we would buy her a "present to take".  After being tempted by a beautiful set of Mickey Mouse ears complete with a glass slipper, as well as several other bits of merchandise, she spied this Pluto on the morning of the second (and last) day.  She wanted it, but I wasn't sure she wouldn't change her mind later on, AND I had no desire to carry a Pluto through the park for the rest of the day.  So, I told her that if she still wanted it by the time we were leaving, we'd come back and get it.  She promptly hid it under a pile of identical Pluto dogs, "to make sure no other kid gets this one".  From that time on, every 20 minutes or so she would ask me if it was time yet for us to go get that Pluto.  I held out for nearly 3 hours, but finally my resolve crumbled.  We went back to the stand, dug through the pile, retrieved the specific Pluto that only Heather could recognize, and bought it.  Heather was in heaven.  She loved and doted on that dog for the rest of the trip, and continues to dote on him now that we're home.  

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No doubt about it, 
This trip was absolute Magic.




Monday, April 23, 2012

The Great Disney Trip--a good omen

We recently returned from California, where we lived it up with my parents and two of my brothers and all their families.  You know of course, that I'll be going on and on about this trip with one million pictures (which is a totally new thing around here, after all).  However, for today, I'm just going to give a(nother) little highlight. 


After we had driven the seven or so hours from Cedar City to Anaheim, we were all a more than a little ready to get out of the car.  I remember as a little girl, how agonizingly tedious the whole check-in-to-the-hotel process always was in this situation.  It seemed like those few minutes waiting in the car at the end of a long ride, as my dad arranged for our hotel room would drag on and on and on until they seemed to be as long as the drive had been.

Fortunately, this time, we had no sooner watched my dad and the boys head off to the front desk than we noticed a fountain practically right next to where we had parked.

And, it wasn't just any fountain!



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It was a LION fountain!

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It was obvious right away that we were off to a great start.  



Friday, April 20, 2012

Random Photo Friday--I don't think that does what you think it does edition

Awhile back, I was in Wal-Mart just in time for the end-of-winter sale.  I bought a purple ear-flap hat for Heather for something like $1.  Interestingly, when I brought it home, Heather determined that it was a bike helmet, and acted accordingly.

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Note the bare legs.  It definitely wasn't a snow hat kind of day.

Funny kid.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I've been looking forward to writing this one

FIRST:  A huge THANK YOU for your encouraging words and advice as I embark on this Primary President adventure!  You give me hope and courage, and I just so appreciate you taking the time to help me out.  


Now, back to our regularly scheduled post . . . 


* * *

This year, due to a happy chain events that ended up with us in Cedar City the Monday before Easter, with all my Cedar City family having plans to be out of town for a good part (if not all) of Easter Saturday, I was able to participate in the Corry Eggstravaganza for the first time in many many years.

Loved, loved, loved it.

For those of you who don't know what the Corry Eggstravaganza is, here is a brief explanation, lifted directly from a post my sister-in-law (Melissa) wrote a few weeks ago:

The Extravaganza is an egg spinning contest.  We break into the kids group and the adult group.  The kids started this year and we began with the Royal Rumble. Everyone spins at the same time to be assigned seeds for the official Double Elimination tournament.  With the seeding assigned we move onto the tournament with head to head battles. In the end, one emerges victorious!

So, with that explanation, I present to you my own personal one-million photos/documentation of:

Corry Eggstravaganza 2012

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I'm always on the look-out for more evidences of the "Corry Tongue", particularly in the younger generation.  Kirstin here is doing me proud.

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Nader is obviously pretty  pleased with the progress of his egg.

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Betcha can't guess who this egg belongs to now, can you?


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Obviously, we take our egg dying pretty seriously around these parts.

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Mark sets up the brackets in preparation for the Double Elimination Tournament.

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The rankings according to the kid division "Royal Rumble"  (I didn't get a picture of the actual Rumble--I was too busy watching the joy of it all.)  You'll notice that Heather is in second-to-last (Kamree with the yellow hat on the right was the winner of the rumble).  She (Heather) obviously isn't all that concerned with her low seed in the tournament.

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Heather and Dallen get ready to face off.  You can tell just by looking that Dallen has this match already won.
Intensity and focus people, intensity and focus.  

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Ty and Nader face off as well, while Mark (in the blue shorts) provides commentary.

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The crowd is spellbound by the suspense and excitement of this amazing competition.


Here's a sample of a face-off from the kid division:

(We make them hug afterwards.  It seems to help with the hurt/sad feelings that tend to occur when you have a game where there is a definite winner and a definite loser.)

eggstravaganza--nader vs. makell from Charlotte on Vimeo.


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Winner Jessi (in the blue shirt) and runner up Kamree (in the yellow hat).  MaKell looks on.  Heather and Kami seem to think that they won as well, which is just fine.  

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The Grown-up Royal Rumble.  Not all eggs are pictured here.  Obviously I was in the Royal Rumble, and couldn't be bothered to snap photos while my egg was still in the running.  So, this is after probably 6 or 7 eggs had been eliminated (including my own).

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Jacob and Krista face-off in a head-to-head competition

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My mom and dad face-off in a head-to-head competition.

And here is the final match-up, the one that determined the winner and runner-up.

eggstravaganza--the final from Charlotte on Vimeo.


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Our four winners:  Jessi & Mark (winners of the kids and adults divisions respectively), and Kamree and ShaLiece (runners-up in the kids and adults divisions respectively).


And there you have it.  In all likelihood, we will be in Logan again next Easter.  It's times like this that I wonder if I could persuade the Cantwell clan to gather together on Easter Saturday for an Eggstravaganza.  Or, if not that, a neighborhood eggstravaganza?  Maybe?  




   

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

planting seeds, of a few varieties

For my birthday among other presents, I received some small flowerpots, and some flower seeds.

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So, on a recent rainy afternoon, Heather and I did a little indoor planting.

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And now begins the waiting game . . .

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In other random news, Eric and I had a lovely anniversary trip.  We didn't actually make it to a movie, but we were fortunate to happen upon the Salt Lake Library's semi-annual book sale, which was awesome.  We walked away with about $500 worth of books and books on tape for which we paid a total of $39.50. Feels good.  Upon returning home, we picked up Heather and had our family birthday party.  I took a few pictures of the event, but haven't gotten around to taking them off the camera and putting them on the computer yet.  There's a reason for that.  The truth is, pictures and computer time haven't been really high on my list of priorities for a few days now.  Why, you ask?

Well, I'll tell you.

Sunday I was released from my beloved calling of Primary Chorister, and put into a new (hopefully soon to be beloved, but currently quite intimidating) calling of Primary President.


Gulp!


I've never had any calling in the primary other than chorister, so although I know the music like the back of my hand, when it comes to administration, scouting, nursery, individual classes, rolls, or anything else, I'm totally out of my league.

Lucky for me, I know the kids, and I adore them.
(Also lucky for me, so far, the kids seem to like me alright as well.)

Also lucky for me, I have awesome, knowledgeable, hard-working counselors.

I'm sure there will be some this-cracked-me-up stories (with names changed to protect the innocent) to come.  So, look forward to that, won't you?

And with that, I have a little Primary-cramming to do.  Apparently these kids aren't going to teach themselves.


   
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