Thursday, April 12, 2018

Spring Break 2018

We rented a little lamb over Spring Break. That term doesn’t seem quite right. Rented? You rent a condo or a wave runner or a car, but do you rent a lamb? Hm. Perhaps there isn’t a correct term as . . . people don’t typically pay to take care of an animal for a week?

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But! We had such success with Mr. Piggles several years ago that Mike decided why not try a lamb? (And now he’s been hinting at even crazier things like future Spring Break calfs!) So he called some local(ish) sheep farmers and asked if they had any bum lambs they’d be willing to let us take for a week. (A bum lamb is one without a mother who, for one reason or another, is willing or able to feed it.)

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The little lamb we got (Lamby as we called her [which was almost as clever of us as when we had two Pygmy goats long ago which we named, with toddler-Abe’s input, . . . Brownie and Whitey]) was only two days old. Her mother had died before even cleaning her off (as they do). She was dirty and a bit sickly and had difficulty drinking her bottle.

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Of course all of this caused me to feel extra sentimental towards the creature. Poor little orphan lamb. Poor mom sheep who never got to care for her child. I knew I was imparting human traits and emotions. And yet . . . much as I don’t like animals in the house, I couldn’t bear having her sleep outside, so Mike filled a dog crate with straw for her bed. And we washed her wool all clean — more than once. And let her wander — diapered — about the house. She’d follow us around and run to greet us so exubberantly that she’d bonk into our legs and nearly fall down.

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In the end she was healthy and strong, bigger and drinking bottles like a champ. Letting her go back to the farm was difficult enough that, as a family, we knelt and said a prayer over her future life, and even I had a little cry. I hope, somehow, that putting a week’s worth of love into a the start of a little lamb’s life matters. Somehow.

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It was also Easter over Spring Break. As usual, kids dug out baskets and left them by their doors the night before, waited our command in the morning (while waiting, the girls even dressed themselves and their younger sisters in Eastery dresses), then wandered about the house — following trails of jelly beans and robin eggs — filling their baskets with hidden treats, calling out things like, “Hey, look, I see some eggs hidden over here!” to tiny siblings, and, “Who didn’t get a Cadbury egg yet? They might want to look by the high chair.” Hans was delighted when we set him loose in a trail of candy. He kept exclaiming in Hansie language. And picking a piece up and setting it down and looking at us as if he didn’t really believe we meant for him to freely eat this stuff. After that, everyone looked for the basket hidden for Mike and me (which, as usual, appeared to be full of whatever candy remained from the stuff the Easter bunny had hidden for the kids). Then everyone sat at the table — opening eggs and making trades — and eating as unhealthy a breakfast as one could possibly create.

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Easter also landed over General Conference weekend (the time, twice yearly, when our church leaders gather in the LDS conference center [along with the thousands of church members who come to listen] and broadcast their talks live all over the world so that we can listen from practically anywhere – including our own cozy living rooms in the company of diapered-lambs).

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General Conference weekends are always such a time of my family gathered close and of uplifting words and light that they are inevitably among my favorite weekends of the year, and having it fall over Easter was just the best. This conference was particularly significant for us as we sustained a new prophet (Abe was fortunate enough to be at the conference center for that). I also reminisced with the kids a little – telling them that it was just such an Easter Conference weekend as this (when I knew that Mike would likely be home from BYU and spending the weekend with his family [in the day when cell phones didn’t exist and the only number I had for him was his parents’ house number]) that I boldly called him again after our break-up four and a half months earlier.

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I should write some of my favorite talks and comments from this conference, but I feel like I was hardly able to soak it all in and am currently in the process of eagerly re-listening and re-reading as we speak. Hopefully I’ll find time to record more specific thoughts between now and our next conference. I keep thinking I want to do something regular like a “Sunday Thoughts” post focusing on some spiritual ponderings each week. But . . . as I’m averaging posting about once a month currently, perhaps I won’t commit just yet!

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At the tail-end of Spring Break (after taking Lamby back), we went up to Bear Lake just for a night. I was a bit hesitant about the worthwhileness of such a venture. All the packing to go and packing to come home (and associated cleaning) is a lot for a single night. Nevertheless, I determined to subdue my non-adventurous, practical side and we all loaded up. I wavered for awhile when, at 11:00 pm Hans, who takes at least a sleep or two to adjust to an unfamiliar bed, was still screaming and crying and unwilling to sleep. I might have even sunk to the levels of loudly grumping that I was just going to drive all the way back home with him for the night. But in the end, I somewhat rallied (likely assisted by Mike letting me sleep in til nearly 10:00 the next morning!). We packed snacks and drove down to the local park. In the rain we followed the board walk (“troll bridge” as Mette and Summer began calling it when I reminded them of The Three Billy Goats Gruff) down to the lake and explored around a bit – climbing onto a tiny floating dock that had washed up on shore, etc. Abe, Dais, and Gold goofed off by racing each other along the boardwalk with a strict rule about each foot having to land in every single plank of wood. (Abe, far ahead of the girls by the end, and assuming they had quit, finally called it good and stopped . . . only to have Goldie eventually round the corner and finish. A true turtle and hair story in action.) We then sat in the bowery, ate snacks, watched the oldest three create more contests (this time on the park’s climbing walls), and tut-tutted over toddlers going down slides soaked with rain water. After lunch at the cabin we headed back home, stopping in Logan to tromp around some of Mike’s parents’ land up there. (No child has ever been so horrendously offended by the smell of freshly spread cow manure as Mette was that day. It struck at the very core of her sense of rightness.) And we were back home early enough for me to make tacos and give kids baths.

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The End. :)

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