Escape

Recently Scott and I went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I loved the story of a man who finally decides to start living his life outside his own head. As I sat in the theater, Scott and I listened to the theme song “Escape,” sung by Jack Johnson. I knew the tune, but it was the first time I’d ever really listened to the lyrics.

The song is about a man who is lying in bed one night looking at the personal ads, when he reads one from a woman who is looking for someone who likes pina coladas and dancing in the rain. The man considers for a moment his long-term relationship and the fact that he and his gal have slumped into the “same old, old routine.” So he answers the ad. He wants to escape too, just like she does.

As he walks into the bar to meet this exotic new lady, the man finds her and realizes “It was his own lovely lady.” They laugh and say, “I never knew . . .”

Sometimes the thing we are yearning for is sitting there right there in front of us. We think we need to escape our situation to feel better, to feel alive, when really, we might just need to mix things up a little.

For spring break this year, Scott and I are taking our little family beach camping. This is new for me. I love the ocean, so I figure that with a little, sand, water, and sunshine we have the perfect cocktail for a fun family getaway. I hope. As long as the dirt, wetness, and far-from-pillowtop sleeping arrangements don’t get in the way. If nothing else, we are stepping outside our old, old routines and trying something new. That should be enough for one family escape, with or without the pina coladas.

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Planting a seed

Our six-year-old daughter, Ellie, had her first cello lesson on Friday. We were excited to get her started in music lessons of some kind, and after lots of thinking and listening to different music, and making a chart of pros and cons to three different instruments, she decided cello was her pick.

The lesson, and the cello, I found adorable. The teacher was wonderful–she talked softly to Ellie and got down on her level, looked in her eyes and immediately referred to the new instrument we were renting from her as “Ellie’s cello.” She even had cards with little pictures to help her remember what songs and rhythms to practice. All the doubts I had about driving 25 minutes downtown for this teacher evaporated. I was already in love.

But it’s a heavy cost in terms of money, time, and the inevitable struggles over daily practice. Why do we do it?

I asked Scott that question as I was mulling it over this morning. With a career as a wealth manager, his mind went straight to investments. “We are investing in the future,” he said. “Something small can turn in to something great, with time.” Then he mentioned his mother.

We spent yesterday at my in-laws’ house. Scott’s parents have five kids, and through the years, each of those kids has grown into an incredible adult. They are well educated, they are kind, they are responsible, they are fun, they are musical. Of course, no one starts life with all these talents and abilities. I think of how Scott’s mother must feel watching these grown children of hers, and I think of all the years of investment–one music lesson, one practice session, one hour of homework, one heart-to-heart, one day at a time.

Like so many things in life, when we plant the tiny seed of something new, we hope for something great to grow in time. For our family, it’s the hope that, one day, each of our children will be able to make beautiful music. We just planted a seed for Ellie. Now we’ll see if we can make it grow.

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He shoots, he scores

Monday night we got free tickets to take our family to the Jazz game. Our girls had never been before, and we were all excited for a night out. We sat down at the top of the arena and looked down on the players. They were so small, and the giant screen in front of us was so . . . giant. I don’t think the girls were paying as much attention to the actual game as they were to the dancers, the gift-giving blimp, and the little bags of popcorn I brought in my purse.

Third quarter got ugly. Our players weren’t shooting well. We were fouling left and right. We were even missing our free throw shots. I told Scott “This isn’t looking good.” He smiled as the girls were climbing all over him, clamoring for turns to be tickled. He offered to take them for a quick walk around. Zach and I stayed to watch, since he was into the game. He was cheering out “D-fence,” as the jumbo-tron encouraged, but we gradually fell further and further behind. I was looking at the clock, feeling like maybe this hadn’t been the best idea to keep our kids up so late. Especially if we were going to lose. (I know–terrible attitude, right?).

A few minutes later Scott came back with the girls. In their hands was a giant bowl of ice cream. Cookie dough and Moosetracks–my favorite. I had to smile as everyone huddled around and dug in to the bowl with their own personal plastic spoon. Scott doesn’t even eat dessert (hasn’t for years) but he seemed to get as much joy out of watching us as we got consuming it. The night had been redeemed.

We didn’t win that game–not really even close. But as we were walking home I asked Ellie how she like her first Jazz game. She smiled at me and said “I didn’t even want to leave!” She didn’t care at all that our team was shooting terribly that night. She had her family, and a fun outing, and part of a big bowl of ice cream. Who really needs anything more?

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Heroes on the wall

For my “A is for Abinadi” launch party, I had some little stickers made up with heroes from the book. Just some of my favorites–Nephi, Queen Esther, Mary with Joseph and Jesus, Samuel the Lamanite, Eve, and Captain Moroni. I thought it would be a fun giveaway for the kids who came to the party. I let my kids pick out the ones they wanted to keep. My son, who’s eight, picked one of each and put them on a white paper. Then he wrote “My favorite scripture heroes” at the top. I thought that was cool, but didn’t think much more about it.

A couple of weekends after the party we were finally moving our littlest child out of her crib because she was turning four and she was old enough to insist that she “needed a big girl bed.” But why? You’re so cozy in there! OK, we knew it was time. With our other two kids, we always had a new baby motivating us to move one child out of the crib to make room for the next. This time the incentive was low. But when she was ready, we got ourselves excited too. Before we made the move, our oldest son and daughter were sharing a room. We took this opportunity to move the girls in together with the bunk bed and let our son finally have his own room–much to his delight.

Kids have a way of putting the things they love up on the walls. We all do. And now that this was his own room, he had free reign. The first thing he wanted up was the poster of an alligator he got as a prize at school with the word “Smile” written in what looks like it’s supposed to be blood. Cringe.

His grandma gave him a pin board so he could pin up other things that are important to him. We set up the board for him above his desk and let him go at it. When I walked in later that night, I found the scripture hero sheet pinned up on his board. Now, when he sits at his desk, he has these spiritual giants to look to. That made me smile. It was a moment that, for me, summed up the whole reason I wrote “A is for Abinadi.” I wanted kids to be familiar with the amazing men and women in the scriptures and maybe, just maybe, let those people be their heroes.

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Scripture Hero Fun!

A-is-for-Abinadi-Heidi_Poelman_illustrated_by_Jason_PruettWelcome to the official website of author Heidi N. Poelman, and the book A is for Abinadi: An Alphabet Book of Scripture Heroes, illustrated by Jason Pruett.

A is for apple but also for Abinadi! Teach your children about some of the greatest heroes in the scriptures with this beautifully illustrated alphabet book. They will love searching for items that represent each letter while they get to know heroes like Captain Moroni and Esther. Along with learning their ABCs, your children will learn to recognize and love these great Book of Mormon and Bible examples.

Find out more…