Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Family: Abby

Madelyn * Kathryn * Me * {Abigail} * Elizabeth * Isaac  * Reed

Abby doesn't like to be summarized (who does, really?), but she doesn't mind being explained. She can usually be found reading, organizing, making a list, making delicious food, homeschooling her wonderful daughters, spending down-time with her brilliant husband, playing the piano, or laughing so hard that she cries. She shares with me a secret and somewhat-embarrassing love of Twilight movies, and an unabashed love of: all things birth and babies, young adult literature, new recipes, selective shopping, and dark chocolate. We also share obstinance, over-thinking, and Middle Child tendencies, which may or may not be a reason for a rather rocky year or two of our adolescent years of sisterhood. (Or maybe it's just because we were adolescents, which is both a word and stage that I hated.) Abby and I call each other just about every day, for reasons ranging from big {hey, I'm coming to visit!} to non-existant {hi. I just called to say that. So. Hi.}, and she has been the patient, ever-present witness to my growing-up, even the most painful aspects. If I could put ear-plugs in her ears so she wouldn't hear me summarize her in this one word, I would say that word is: Constant.  
So. Without further ado. Abby:

What brings you most happiness?

At this point in my day? I'd say having my girls in bed and getting a chance to hang out with Eric (usually watching TV).
During the day - knocking things off my to-do list and those moments where I actually manage to really enjoy the girls! (This is a fine art I am still striving to perfect. If you have kids, you know what I mean. If you don't, someday you will.)
Overall?? My family and living the gospel. :D

What would you say is your occupation currently, and/or what would you prefer it to be in the future?

My current occupation is like many other moms. I'm a professional chauffeur, housekeeper, psychologist, chef, and schoolteacher.

I have thoughts of a piano studio full of young students and am excited about the latest curriculum I'll be checking out. In the future, I have my sights on finishing school with a degree in Elementary Music Education. Strangely enough, I have no desire to teach in a traditional school with a degree like that, but I'd love to teach groups of kids on a private basis or at a charter school.

Sometimes I dream of completing a degree in nursing and then a Master's in Midwifery to be a Certified Nurse Midwife, but I don't know. I can't do everything as much as I would love to and music calls to me a little (maybe just a little) bit stronger.

What is your favorite memory with Rae?

Favorite? That's hard. What about favorite funniest memory with Rae? Oh wait...maybe those are a little too embarrassing for her (and me!) if I were to share them. Hahaha. One word Rae -- ballet. Can you think of a way to share that story without embarrassing us? Don't forget the egg.

One to share with everyone else...

I'm at a loss. Rae was with me everywhere we went. Aside from a short time where we didn't get along (blame hormones), there are just so many memories! I remember that when we lived in North Carolina, in the purple house, for some unknown reason I loved walking down the street to visit an elderly couple. I don't know why. It was really unusual considering all the other things I did with my time. But I remember Rae liked to go with me to visit Bob, Hazel, and their poodle (ack! urg! poodles?!), Dolly.

I love remembering playing at Grandma's with Rae. But I can't think of the words to describe it and make it sound as amazing as it was. If you've read Rae's essay (Rae, link here!) "June in Junction", you'll get an amazing picture of the things we did. (My, I'm not very verbose tonight, am I?)

What makes you laugh really hard?

Farting so loud at night that I woke myself up! I still crack up when I remember this. The best part was that at first I didn't realize it was ME. "Wha? What was that?" Bwaahhahaa! (Us Boatrights and bodily humor...never failed to disrupt us while trying to gather for family prayer....poor mom and dad...)

Conversations with my four year old.
E: As she walks down the hall, "Ah! Someone keeps giving me wudgies (she means "wedgies")."
E: "Ugh! Someones's still giving me wudgies. Oh! It's me!"

Watching my one year old get dressed, in everyone else's clothes.
Hearing my one year old catch on to different phrases and how to use them.
B: "Mom, watch."
B: "Mom, I want that. Now."

What are three of your favorite family memories?

1. I love remembering the short time we lived in New Jersey (9 months). Being a family of nine made it hard finding places that fit us all and the military put us up in a duplex and cut a doorway into one of the walls to join the two apartments. It felt like something out of a story. Two kitchens. Lots of rooms. And Reed, our oldest brother, slept in the kitchen on a cot and liked to wash his laundry in the dishwasher and buy his own ice cream to have handy in his own freezer.

2. I used to love going on road trips as a family. Our trusty old van, Beulah, was perfect for our big family. Eight seats, and a huge back section for cargo. Our dad built a frame in the back to fit luggage underneath and then he placed a thin mattress on top. I don't think we could get away with it nowadays, but we would climb back there and play on the mattress on our long road trips. It was up at window level too, which must have looked strange to passersby. Isaac coined his own version of the round, "Scotland's Burning" on one of those road trips. We loved to sing and we loved to sing familiar things. That meant lots of repetition! We used to sing "Scotland's burning, Scotland's burning, Look out, Look out, Pour on water, Pour on water, Now it stops, Now it stops." Is that a really old round or does anyone else know it? ANYWAY...Isaac's version went like this:
Broken record, broken record
Repeat, Repeat
Lift the needle, Lift the needle
Now it stops. Now it stops.

I am amazed at our Mom & Dad's patience on trips like that. I daydream about taking our kids on long roadtrips (longer than a day), but doubt it'll ever become a reality. I am remembering through the rose colored glasses of a child. [I, Rae, would like to add that although we had pretty lax rules about the mattress in the back (SO COOL), my mom also did Seat-Belt Checks every half-hour....she'd call out, "Seat-Belt Check!" and if you were buckled up, you'd get a mini snickers or a couple of Starburst. Once I kept my seat belt on for two hours straight and ended up with a huge wad of Starburst that I shaped into one giant ball. Abby was grossed out beyond belief.]

3. The Christmas before I got married, we all spent the holiday at Grandma & Grandpa's in Junction. We played so many board games. The highlight of that visit was playing Clue. Isaac started it really. He decided to make a "chart" of some sort that would help him figure out cards he hadn't even seen by writing down the suggestions of others and taking careful note of who could and couldn't prove them wrong. It caught like wildfire and we all slaved away trying to come up with our own style of charts to help us win the game. It made for a fun (if long, as we updated our charts) game of Clue! [P.S.-Isaac cheats at Monopoly.]

What do you do to relax?

Play the piano, watch TV, read books. Eat chocolate.

What are three books you love?

I read such a variety of books. But the main uniting factor of most of the books I read at this stage in my life can be summed up this way -- compelling and engaging stories (whether real or not). Three favorites that come to mind are:

1. Left to Tell -- the truly amazing (TRUE) story of a woman who discovered God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
2. These is My Words -- a wonderful story based on the author's grandmother's life, but fiction. It's been a year since I read it and it still sits with me. I like to think over it and remember all the details. I loved finding all the things I felt I could relate to, with the main character, Sarah. I loved reading about such a strong woman. It made me want to be stronger myself.
3. The Lonesome Gods -- a classic. And yet, it's Louis Lamour! Fun, huh? So good. What a story. What depth in the characters.

I just love a good story.

What are two of your favorites of all the places we've lived as a family?


What do you love about where you live now?

fresh fruit my neighbors bring me
winter that feels like spring and sometimes summer
5 1/2 hours away from my Rae
living close to the Happiest Place on Earth
having annual passes to the Happiest Place on Earth
a backyard with a swing set, monkey bars, and playhouses for the girls

Tell us about your family.

My family is awesome. We're a little crazy, but we have a good time. Eric and I have four girls who manage to be very girlie while simultaneously being very "boy". Anyone who thought they only had to worry about boys breaking windows or causing destruction around the house -- hasn't met my girls. But on the flip-side, they are also the sweetest, cuddliest, girliest, girls you've ever met. I can't believe how old they're getting to be already. Autumn turns TEN this year and loves all things Harry Potter. She is in 3rd grade but already reading the fifth Harry Potter book. Heidi turns EIGHT this year and is obsessed with Hello Kitty. Really obsessed. Like squeal at the store when you see anything Hello Kitty, kind of obsessed. Esther turns FIVE this year and will start kindergarten. She loves playing violin and Tinkerbell. Becca turns TWO very soon. She is a joy. And a little spitfire. Eric is almost done with school. He's been in school since before I met him. 1996 to 2011 with breaks in between for a mission and working (and thinking school was not what we wanted). This December he will graduate from USC with a doctorate degree in Vocal Performance. WE will graduate with a doctorate, I should say.

What does your dream home look like?
My dream home doesn't look like anything in my mind yet. Currently, it's a bullet list of all the things I want in it. Oh wait, sometimes I joke with my friend Melissa that her house IS my dream house. We tell them to let us know when they're ready to leave because we'll be more than willing to move in. So here's the bullet list, if you're still here reading...

- an entryway
- a "doored" (what's the word for that?!) music room/studio off the entryway
- master bedroom a half floor up from the main floor
- a crawlspace/playspace under the stairs that leads to the master bedroom
- an open family room/kitchen/dining room plan
- guest space
- a laundry ROOM (not hallway, not section of kitchen)

And really, I think that about sums it up! Not too much to ask for, right? Someday, I'll find out...

Do you have pets? Tell us about them, and maybe briefly share a memory of one of the pets we had as a family.

We have two cats, Louis - as in Louis Armstrong, and yes, he's black, and yes, I know -- not very PC. Deal with it. We're musicians. And Izzy. Short for Isabella. The female lead in the opera Eric was in when we got her. Louis is everyone's cat. Autumn is Izzy's person. They are a lot of fun.

Growing up, we were definitely a cat family although we did have the occasional bird, dog, mouse, and hamsters. I think Elroy won a spot in every one of our hearts though. He is the only cat that was as "pro" as he was at detecting raw emotion. He just knew when someone needed a little extra love. We got that from other cats we owned, and I get that from our own cats now -- but never to the degree that Elroy did. He was really special that way.

What do you like to create? What makes you feel most create-ive?

I like to create
And order.
Do I get to keep things that way?

But I'll take one out of two.

It's interesting that what I "like to create" and "what makes me feel most creative" are not the same things! I feel most creative when I'm with the girls doing science experiments, crafts, drawing, doing art, or playing creatively (forts, masking tape trains...).

What do you love to eat?

Chocolate. Fruit. Salads that work as your entire meal. Homemade bread. Big, delicious sandwiches. Usually on french bread.

What is your favorite thing about where you are right now?

My brain is really winding down now. I'm amazed that I've made it this far in one sitting. At church I feel like I have ADD/ADHD because I can barely concentrate on the lessons. That's what happens when you spend all day with kids and kids' attention spans. And spend more than a year serving with the kids in Church. So...I'm calling this one already covered by the earlier question that is similar, although slightly different. :D
Lastly, will you explain a family phrase of ours, which is: "Psst....Bernard. Pass it on."
We have a secret code in our family. I know it started with Reed, but I'm not sure if he thought it up himself or if it came from a book. [I think my mom said that the boys needed a non-embarrassing way to say I Love You in front of friends?] But he would lean over and whisper, "Pssst. Bernard. Pass it on."

Bernard = I love you

We've kept up the tradition for years.

On a semi-related note, we also had a secret password for opening the door if we didn't recognize someone at the door. It went like this:

Person at the door: "Who killed Amalickiah?"
Person waiting: "Teancum."

The other day I was telling the girls about whether we wanted to use it in our own little family or make up our own.

Esther said chimed in, "How about -- who killed the babies?"

??!! Oh, wait...

We also just started studying the New Testament as a family and had just finished our scripture reading for the morning. We had just read about Herod killing all the babies when he couldn't find Jesus.

How's that for a secret code? I think it sure would throw people off. No scriptural names to go from either. So no worries that someone would know Amalickiah's killer but have poor intentions. I kind of like it.
Abby lives in California and blogs at Business As Usual


Christy said...

Oh, I just LOVE your family!

Rae said...

I KNOW! I've been so excited to "introduce" them.

Qait said...

I also love that I too remember these big family things and am not excluded by having been so young then!!!
This was delightful to read. :)
Abby, thanks for taking the time out of your SO SO SO busy day to do it! Yay! I love our family!

Abby said...

Ugh, Rae!! I'm grossed out beyond belief all OVER again. A giant wad of Starburst? A starburst ball?!


Thank you oodles for such a sweet intro. I love you.

Q, thanks! I was mildly stressing, knowing I hadn't given Rae my answers yet, but it really didn't take up as much of my time as I thought it would. And it turned out to be more fun to write than I thought it would too. I bet you thought so too when you did yours. :) Which I loved, by the way.

ishmael said...

I love your family photo !! The girls & you guys look so happy...

Peace & happiness