Monday, December 31, 2007

Newscaster in the Making

Santa brought Rachel The Flip video camera, which is perfect for our loquacious little girl who offers her constant running commentary on all things in our home. Here's her first broadcast.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Magic

Last Easter while vacationing in the Desert, Cole continually hounded me about the authenticity of the Easter Bunny. Perhaps he had stolen a glance of the Easter Baskets I had secured on a previous trip and had judiciously hidden in the pool equipment closet. He questioned, he coaxed, he prodded and pried. Sensing that he "knew" and growing more exasperated by the minute from his constant interrogation, I finally relented.

"Cole," I reasoned with my logical and very astute, ten year old, "do you really think a six foot tall bunny comes hopping through our front door and hides eggs?"

I will never forget the look of horror that flashed across his eyes. For although he knew the answer, he really wasn't ready to know.

"Well, then." he stammered, "What about Santa Claus?"

But before I could respond he clapped his hand across my mouth, "No, don't tell me! I don't want to even think about it until December!"

So many times in the past six months Cole has amazed me with his insightful heart. At times I am astounded by his charm and maturity. As the Christmas season arrived, I began to wonder when he would bring up Santa Claus. I assumed we would at least have a continuation of our conversation from last spring. But he never brought it up, and frankly, I was relieved.

Then something magical happened. Louie arrived on our front porch. Louie is our own little elf, sent to us by Santa, to make sure we are behaving ourselves. Louie came with clear instructions that each night he would return to Santa with a full report of our good and bad deeds. We could leave notes for Louie, but were cautioned not to touch him.

The kids went crazy for Louie. Several times a day they would embark on an all out search to see where Louie was hiding. It seemed Louie would move from room to room even while we were home. Louie was magic. Even Cole got into it and kept exclaiming how traveling Louie was "freaking him out."

Tony and I were amused...after all, this was the same boy who no longer believed. And yet, somehow it seemed he believed in our little flying elf and he delighted in Louies' hide and seek antics. He was so sincere in his joy, so excited by Louies' presence, that I had almost convinced myself that he was still a believer.

About a week after the arrival of Louie, Cole came home from school and requested a private meeting with me. We took a walk down to the mailbox and he asked me if I was the one moving Louie. I assured him that I wasn't.

"Then is dad moving Louie?"

"No, Cole. I don't think so."

"Well Mom, someone needs to be responsible for moving Louie. I've noticed that over the last few days Louie hasn't moved very much. So I have been taking care of it."

"You have been moving Louie?" I exclaimed in surprise.

"Well, yeah. Don't you think it's important to keep the magic alive for Rachel?"

I was stunned and I was speechless. I honestly believed that Tony had been taking care of Louie, and I'm sure Tony was confident it was me. And all along it had been Cole, single handedly spreading Christmas magic around our home.

He has a certain twinkle in his eye this year, a sense of enthusiasm for the season that he happily shares wherever he goes. I expected this coming of age ritual to be more traumatic for him, maybe because of the way my heart felt in knowing that my first born no longer believed.

Just yesterday he whispered in my ear, "Mom, is Santa real?". I told him that the spirit of Santa is very real to me, that I believe in the Magic that Santa brings.

"So do I, mom. So do I."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

First Haircut

We went kicking and screaming to the hair salon today for Miles' first haircut. Unfortunately, it was me doing the kicking and screaming. I can't believe my baby is big enough to get a big boy haircut. I really had to compose myself as I watched his curls fall. This is seriously the saddest event of the week.
My baby is growing up too fast.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Become As A Little Child

The first snowfall of the season arrived the morning of Rachel's baptism. I love the peace, the calm and quiet of a morning storm. The earth was blanketed in clean, white snow and I found it a fitting allegory for the events of the day.

I was at the sink washing lettuce and found two strong arms around my waist. "Mom, I want to fast before my baptism."

I took the opportunity to teach her the proper way to open a fast. But in reality, it was she who taught me, as she humbly asked for help so that she wouldn't feel hungry and that she would feel of His spirit. Children have an amazing way of simplifying things, of sorting through the teachings and reducing it down to all that really matters.

Like Oprah, I believe that love is in the details. So I spent most of the week organizing a beautiful post-baptism luncheon and party for Rachel. My mom helped me plan a fabulous mexican fiesta complete with pink sprinkled sugar cookies carefully cut out to spell Rachel's entire name. From pale pink roses to hand-crafted favor boxes and programs written in Rachel's very own script. One of my girlfriends created a beautiful DVD of pictures from Rachel's first eight years and set it to Primary songs. Another friend hand made a necklace for Rachel bearing her initial.

Cole and Tony's sister gave beautiful talks. Cousins and friends sweetly loaned us their angelic voices. And of course, I am always so very grateful for the soothing tone of Tony's voice as he performs these sacred ordinances.

I had a very difficult time composing myself during the closing hymn "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". Somehow I managed to say the closing prayer and express my sincere gratitude for Rachel's choice spirit and how she blesses our home in so many ways.

The baptism was beautiful. The luncheon, delicious and delightful. But truly the most wonderful part of the day was the strong spirit which was present. How grateful I am for a wise young daughter who invited the spirit in and who truly recognized the significance of the ordinance. Who understands the promises she made and the blessings she will reap by remaining true to her baptismal covenants. That was the most lovely detail of all.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Weddle Wonderful

Cole was born with Ute blood running through his veins. Around here, being a Ute fan isn't really a choice, rather it's a birth right.

Tony and I have been toting Cole along to Ute football games ever since he was just a baby.

Slowly over the years, I have lost the rights to my season ticket to Cole. He has happily taken over my chair and has developed a loyalty to the Utes that runs long and deep.

His passion for football ignited during the Urban Meyer era. And while he has a great affinity for Alex Smith, he has always been more excited by the play of Eric Weddle.

Along with the Utes, Cole has loved the San Diego Chargers with a passion. Last year when Eric Weddle was drafted to the Chargers, Tony and I heard the news on Sports Radio while we were out on a date. Upon arriving home, we woke Cole to tell him the news. He smiled and drifted back to sleep.

The next morning he came storming into our bedroom, "Was Weddle really drafted to the Chargers or was I dreaming?"

Ever since that day Cole has been dreaming of traveling to QualComm Stadium to watch Weddle and his beloved Chargers play.

When the day finally arrived a few weeks ago, Cole and his cousins all dressed in matching Weddle jerseys and we made the 2 hour drive from Palm Desert to San Diego for the game.

My dad suggested that we park in town and take the trolley to the game, but instead we opted to park at the Stadium and I am so glad that we did. Upon entering the stadium a man noticed the boys dressed in their Weddle jerseys and directed us to Weddle Headquarters.

The boys were thrilled to meet Eric's family and tailgate with fans and friends of our beloved #32. Eric's mom was so darling with the boys and took them right in...asking them for their addresses, asking them to sign a poster for Eric, introducing them to all of the family. I have never seen happier little boys. She insisted they come back after the game to meet Eric.

Talk about dream come true! After watching a fabulous win against the Ravens, and some serious shopping in the team store. The kids went back to Weddle HQ and got to meet Eric. He couldn't have been more darling with our boys. He autographed something for each of the kids and told them a little about his experience in the NFL.

Just as we were turning to leave, my nephew Riley started to sing the Utah Man song. We all joined in, including Eric and his entire family. His cute mom was wiping tears from her eyes as we all loudly proclaimed "A UTAH MAN AM I!"

I listened to the boys talk about Eric Weddle all the way back to the desert and for most of the next day. It couldn't have worked out any better and I was so thrilled as a mother to witness my son have such a wonderful experience and to be so excited about his chance encounter with Eric Weddle. The thing that strikes me as so amazing was that Eric's mother was just as thrilled to witness her son having this experience. She was so overcome with emotion to think that her son had such loyal fans. I guess it doesn't really matter if you're the mother of an eleven year old or the mother of an NFL star, the only thing you really want for your kids is to be happy, experience success and make the most of small moments such as these.

Eric Weddle and Me

This is a guest post from my son, Cole. I am trying to encourage him to write about certain experiences in his life so that he will be able to remember them down the road. I promised him I would post this if he took the time to write it.

Earlier this year, my Grandpa Bill made my dreams come true by giving me tickets to watch the San Diego Chargers play. We went to the game on November 25, 2007. My cousins Riley, Matthew and Nathan and I all wore our Weddle #32 jerseys to the game. When we were walking into the stadium, some guy yelled out "Are you guys Eric Weddle fans?". We all nodded. He told us that Eric Weddle Headquarters were around the corner.

We headed over to Weddle Headquarters and found his family and friends tailgating. We saw about 20 or 30 Eric Weddle jerseys: white, dark blue and light blue, all kinds. Since we were the youngest kids there, everyone was noticing us. This lady who looked to be in her late 50's came to us and told us she was Eric's mom. We were all surprised. We introduced ourselves and told her we were from Salt Lake. She introduced us to Eric's family and then we got to ask her a lot of questions about Eric. Here are some of the questions I asked:

1. Does Eric like the NFL? Yes, but he still wishes he could play for the U.

2. How much money does he make? $99,000 per month, plus he received a $2.5 million signing bonus.

3. When is Eric's baby due, and is it a boy or a girl? The baby is due on January 5th and is a girl, but they are hoping it is born on January 4th, because that is Eric's birthday.

4. Where is Eric's locker? It is next to LT's, Shaun Merriman's and Antonio Gates'.

5. How many days a week does Eric practice? 6 days a week, 12 hours per day.

Eric's family was so awesome! They let us sign a banner that said "Go Eric Weddle #32". I wrote "Good Luck!! Your #1 fan Cole Parkinson P.S. Go Utes!"

Eric's wife told us that Eric always comes back to Weddle Headquarters after the game and signs things and visits with his fans. I asked Dad if we could come back after the game and he said "We'll see". So Eric's mom suggested that we give her our address and she would have Eric send us autographed pictures and stuff.

We went to the game, which was awesome. The Chargers won 32 to 14. Eric made 5 tackles and knocked two passes. After the game we went back to Weddle HQ and met up with Eric's family. After about 10 minutes Eric's sister came over and said "that's him" and pointed to a guy in a beanie about my dad's size. We went over to him, and yet again, because we were the smallest, all eyes were on us.

I asked Eric to sign my white Chargers hat. I told him that we were from Salt Lake and came all that way to see him play. I also told him that I followed his entire college career and that he was my favorite Ute player. He thought that was great. We got a couple of pictures with him, and then my cousin Riley started singing the Utah Man song. To my surprise, everyone, including Eric and his family started to sing it too.

After that a guy who said he was from the Deseret News interviewed Erick and took a picture of Eric and anyone who was wearing a Weddle Jersey.

It was a great experience going to a Chargers game. Did I mention that Eric makes $7 for every Weddle jersey that is sold? So my cousins and I made $28 for Eric Weddle. What a Great Day! I will never forget my day with Eric Weddle.