WHEN YOU DIG FOR POTATOES
Happy 9th birthday Mitchell- my budding archaeologist.
When Mitchell’s mom told him to go outside and dig up some potatoes for supper he groaned, “Do I have to? It’s my birthday.”
“You never know what you might find,” his mother said with a wink.
“What I’d really like to dig up is a mummy,” Mitchell answered. “There’s a mummy exhibit coming to Salt Lake City at the Leonardo Museum with real mummies from all over the world in January. I really, really, really want to go.”
“But the admission tickets are so expensive,” his mother answered. “Now get those potatoes dug up. Since the snow melted off yesterday, you can get to the last ones next to the raspberry bushes.”
Mitchell dragged his feet into the garage, grabbed a small shovel and reluctantly walked to the backyard. He found the spot his mother told him about and started digging. The shriveled vines were his best clue of where to dig.
First Mitchel dug up a gigantic potato then several small ones. He brushed the moist earth off the spuds and continued digging. Suddenly his shovel hit against a solid object. Mitchell’s heart raced. He quickly dug deeper and brushed the dirt away. Buried in the ground right next to the raspberry bushes, Mitchell found a wooden box secured with a lock.
Mitchell wiggled the lock but nothing happened. He ran into the house yelling.
“Mom, you’ll never believe what I found buried in the dirt in our garden. It’s a box with a lock. I want to get this lid open so bad. What do you think is inside? It could be anything . . . like papyrus or a gold goblet.”
Mitchell immediately called all his friends to come over and bring every key in their house. He tried each key one by one. Nothing fit. The box stayed locked. All his friends went home disappointed. Then Mitchell remembered his own key collection. He tried every one, but nothing fit.
Mitchell wondered what to do. Because he was born on December 19 there was always a Christmas tree in the family room in their home. He plopped down on the floor, flipped over on his back and looked up at the tree through the boughs. That is the moment when he noticed their giant silver key.
“The key!” Mitchell said. “I forgot about our magic key.”
That large silver key was how Santa got into their house on Christmas Eve even though they didn’t have a chimney and even if the door was locked. His family hung it on the tree each year. Mitchel always liked to leave the key on the front porch with a plate of cookies before he went to bed on Christmas Eve.
Mitchell grabbed the key off the tree and rolled it over in his hand. Then he walked over to the dusty locked box. He pushed the key into the lock and turned it to the right. He heard something click right before the lock opened. Mitchel quickly creaked open the lid to the box.
There in the bottom of the box were tickets for the mummy exhibit in Salt Lake City along with a treasure map and a secret code that looked like Egyptian hieroglyphics.
“Mom! Dad! Look what I found in the box!” Mitchell screamed running through the house. “The magic key worked. Now I can go see the mummies. And look there’s a treasure map with a secret code in here too.”
Mitchell carefully unfolded the treasure map. He carefully deciphered the hieroglyphic writings that formed the secret code in his notebook. Mitchell noticed a half moon, serpent and the bird along with the picture of a man, woman and child. He followed the treasure map through the house as he thought about what the glyphs meant. He ended up in his parent’s bedroom where they were sitting together holding hands and smiling.
“I’ve got it!” Mitchell said with a smile. This treasure map’s secret code translates to . . . mother . . . father . . . love . . . son . . . Hey, does that means you guys love me. Ah shucks. Thanks Mom and Dad.”
Mitchell gave his dad a high five then he gave his mom a big hug right before he said, “You guys are a pretty great daddy and “mummy”.
Happy Birthday Matthew. You are awesome!
I’m not a boy.
I’m not a man.
Will someone please tell me
Who I am?
Food stuck in my braces
When I smile -
Teacher with a whistle
Makes me run the mile.
“Change your underwear.”
Says Mom with that look
But I frankly don’t I care
If I smell like fish on a hook
“Comb your hair, brush your teeth
Take a bath would you please
Practice piano, clean you room,
Or my patience is going to leave.”
Homework and locker combinations
Assemblies, recitals and tests
Gives me days at junior high
Without a moment to rest.
All the girls my age
Look two years older than me
How am I supposed to impress them
When all they see . . .
My pants turn into floods
Whenever I turn around.
My voice seems to crack
Whenever I make a sound.
Older brothers stare
Younger brother tease
When will this annoyance
Ever, ever cease?
Too old for Halloween
Not old enough to drive
How in the world
Am I supposed to survive?
Junior High is full of
Jocks, nerds and bores
I just don’t know how
I’m supposed to soar.
Maybe I’ll just relax
And just practice being me
Cause when all is said and done
I’m content to be
Matthew the magnificent
Matthew the brave
Matthew the courageous
With a sense of humor to save
Late night video games
Lying in my hammock to sleep
Sneaking treats from the pantry
Is all I really need.
Who says you need
Nutritious food to survive
Mac and cheese serves me well
That’s all I need to thrive
You say I need
Proper vitamins to grow.
I say life is too short to skimp on candy
When your blood sugars get low.
Someday I’ll be the dad
And surely I will say
“Stop doing that!” to my son
But today is not that day.
A HOME FOR FORGOTTEN DOLLS
By Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy Birthday Sophia - my fellow doll lover.
Sophia loves dolls – all kinds of dolls - just like her mother and her grandmother. She loves them so earnestly that she created a home for forgotten dolls right in her own bedroom. The dolls at the regular stores are fun to look at but she prefers the dolls she finds at thrift stores and garage sales. Brand new dolls encased in plastic are not as intriguing as the ones she discovers under dusty blankets or scattered in the left behinds of other children now grown too old for play.
Sophia understands the drawbacks with new dolls – they simply don’t have a story to tell because they have never been loved. Old dolls always have enchanted tales deep inside them waiting for a listening child. Each doll’s story comes to Sophia when she holds them in her arms while she falls asleep. Then their individual tales become her dreams at night.
When Sophia wakes in the morning, she paints the doll’s story on paper or canvas with crayons, watercolors, pastels or oils.
When people ask, “Where do ideas for your pictures come from?” she graciously smiles.
Though Sophia has lots of dolls, she knows they do not tell their tales to everyone. Each story is a hidden treasure available only to those with a kind heart.
Once her best friend said, “Sophie, you have too many dolls.”
Sophia knew her friend didn’t understand. She knew dolls that are forgotten and thrown away leave empty places in their former owner’s hearts unless someone rescues them and gives them a home. If these former owners do not eventually fill their lives with children, that empty place will remain.
The dilemma Sophia understands is that older children often think they have grown too old for dolls and childish things. So they store them in the attic or throw them away. Some fortunate dolls are rescued by mothers who cannot bear to throw away their daughter’s childhood. So they lovingly donate their dolls to thrift stores or garage sales hoping these cherished possessions will eventually find a new home and another little girl to love. Sophia’s dolls all have the honored pedigree for dolls that have been loved many times.
Sophia likes to place her dolls all around her when she goes to bed at night so each doll will feel cherished and adored. Often when her mother checks on her she has a hard time finding Sophia’s sleeping face among all the sizes and shapes of dolls tucked in all around her.
On her birthday, Sophia’s grandmother gave her a large porcelain doll dressed in a turn-of-the-century dress.
When Sophia took the doll from the gift bag she smiled warmly at her grandmother and they both winked at each other. Vintage doll lovers know other vintage doll lovers when they see them.
“Sophia,” her grandmother said, “this doll has so many tales to tell. I know you will have sweet dreams tonight.”
Happy Birthday to a very special young man we love. We feel so grateful to be your grandmother/father. We hope you know that we will always be there for you and that our love is constant and true. We are so proud of you for the life you are choosing to live and the good example you are for your younger sister and brother.
We notice how patient you are with Izzy and Daniel. They are so blessed to have you for their oldest brother.
We notice that you love to read. Reading is the best way to learn and discover the world of knowledge. As long as you keep reading, you will never be lonely or bored.
We notice that you have a wonderful smile. When we see you smile and notice that sparkle in your eyes it seems like the whole room lights up.
We notice that you have very good manners. You always say please and thank you.
We’re always so grateful to receive a Brad hug. You never forget to give us a hug goodbye when you come over.
We notice how you work hard in your schooling. We’re excited to hear about what you are working on.
We notice that you are a worthy priesthood holder and willing to do your duty with a smile.
We get so excited when we know we are able to spend time with you. We had fun camping with you this fall and going on that hike with the beautiful autumn leaves.
We notice how you are always willing to help with anything that needs to be done – like moving family members to a new place.
We notice you never complain and work hard and try your best at everything you do.
It has been a joy to watch you growing up and becoming such a fine young man.
Always remember Brad that you have a Mother/Father in Heaven who loves you. Jesus Christ is your Savior and best friend. Remember that your earthy mother/ father loves you. Never forget that you have a grandma and grandpa Baadsgaard that love you with all our hearts.
You are a treasure - and we found our pot of gold when you became our grandson.Grandma and Grandpa Baadsgaard
I love you sweet Daniel. Have a great birthday.
Soft brown eyes
And a shy little smile
Lots of snuggle hugs
To last a while
Arms around our neck
Head on our heart
Good times to share
We’ll never be apart
Grandsons are the best
To make Grandma’s heart sing
Little boys are hard to catch
But oh what joy they bring
When you look up at me
My soul just wants to melt
I feel all warm inside
With all the love that’s felt
You were once a dream
But now you are here to stay
All my love for you
Will never go away
I love you buddy. Have a great day!
When you’re turning two
There’s lots of work to do
Like turn every knob in the house
Then sneak around quiet as a mouse
Grab lots of treats to nibble
And use lots of pens to scribble
All over freshly painted walls
Then counter-tops newly installed
Next you find balls to throw
And make forts in the snow
Climb on beds and jump
using your arms for a pump
Then pick up rocks to pound
Smash pan lids for startle sounds
Whenever food is near
It is your job to make it smear
Then make your belly wiggle
Right there in your middle
For if you’re turning two
There is lots of work to do . . .
by Granny B
Happy third birthday to a very busy and charming little boy.
I love you Daniel.
When Daniel laid his sleepy head
On the train pillow upon his bed,
He had a dream that made him smile
Of riding trains for miles and miles.
For Daniel loves trains you see -
So when he is awake he likes to be
A conductor with a blaring horn
That blasts his family from night to morn.
Around and around he chugs about
Roaring and screeching as he shouts,
“Toot – toot! Here comes the train!”
He’ll run through you if you remain.
Then with a smile on his face
He circles and circles all over the place
He won’t slow down ‘til Mom says, “Stop!”
And holds up the sign – her kitchen mop
Then says, “All trains will halt right here.
And park your caboose in the rear.”
Happy 5th birthday Rylan. I love you very much.
Here is the clown story you wanted.
“Why are you smiling?” said Rylan to the clown
He answered, “I always paint on a smile when I’m feeling down.”
“But if you’re feeling blue why don’t you paint a frown?”
“Because a frown is just a smile turned upside down.”
Everyone has sad days - we don’t need to spread ‘em around
Because then we’ll make other’s smiles turn upside down.
Then Rylan went home to his house in the woods
Full of, “don’t do that and Rylan maybe you should”
“Brush your teeth and clean your room
And don’t make a flipper out of your spoon.”
And when he built a tower it was knocked down by his brother
So he ran to the kitchen to tattle to his mother
“Griffen knocked my tower down,” Rylan said with a big frown.
“He doesn’t know better - don’t make those grouchy sounds.”
So Rylan did a cartwheel until his head was pointing down
Then his frown became a smile that wasn’t turned upside down
Rylan knows how to change things so he still wants to play
He takes the muscles in his face all pointing to the ground
And turns them up to make a smile so he’s nice to be around
No one makes us mad or sad, we simply choose the way
We respond when life’s battles are at bay
If we choose to see what’s right in all those who are near
We sport a smile and always have lots of reasons to cheer.
by Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy 5th Birthday. I sure love you Liam - my mighty warrior.
In the towering cliffs next to the sea, lived Liam a mighty ninja warrior. Liam wasn’t always a warrior. Once he was a little boy who lived in a cottage with his family. One night many men dressed in black unexpectedly came to his house and set the roof on fire. His family ran out the front door. Liam ran out the back door and hid behind a rock wall while he watched the men tie his family’s hands behind their backs and take them away.
Liam was alone. He slept on the beach until the dawn. He caught a fish in the ocean when he grew hungry. He searched over the remains of his home. He pulled out a half burned quilt his mother made him and a small blade his father had given him. He found his flute hidden under a stone in a box beneath the floor boards. That night he played a sad song under the stars. He did not know where his family had gone.
After many days passed he saw a peasant gathering wood near his home. The man walked toward Liam. He looked at Liam’s home in ashes.
“You are alone,” the peasant said.
“The men in black burned my house and took my family away.”
The peasant quietly turned and picked up a piece of charred wood then another until he formed a pile. Soon the rock foundation was all that remained.
“We will find new wood,” the peasant said.
Liam followed the peasant into the woods, chopped down trees and carried many logs to the foundation. Together they built a new cottage. Later, after they finished rebuilding Liam’s home, the peasant built a fire in the fireplace. Liam played a song on his flute with his mother’s quilt around his shoulders and his father’s blade in his pocket.
“I miss my family,” Liam said.
“Then we will find your family,” the peasant said.
“I am afraid of the men in black,” Liam said.
“Then we will use strategy and skill,” the peasant said.
That night when the peasant thought Liam was sleeping, he walked from the cottage to the edge of the cliff in the moonlight. Liam secretly followed. Liam watched as the peasant crouched down then curled into a ball on the ground until he resembled a stone. Then Liam saw the peasant transform into an eagle that rose majestically and flew into the night sky. Liam returned to the cottage deep in thought.
“I have found your family,” the peasant said at breakfast the next morning. They are slaves building a castle for the men in black. There are many, many men in black. We must plan your family’s escape with cunning and skill.”
Lessons began. Each day the peasant gave Liam new lessons in the use of mental clarity, forecasting and transformation skills.
“When you feel fear, knell on the earth and gather courage deep inside. Then rise, spread your arms like the wings of a bird and let your fear go. You can rise above and fly.”
Each night Liam rose from his safe place next to the fire and secretly followed the peasant into the cold dark then watched as he transformed into an eagle and flew toward the castle. When he was ready Liam openly followed his teacher to the each of the cliff. Then he too crouched down low until he resembled a stone. He gathered his courage deep inside. As he stood and spread his arms wide, his limbs became wings and together they flew toward the castle.
When Liam saw his family sleeping in dung and rags, his heart ached. When they returned to the cottage Liam knew what he must do.
“I am ready,” Liam said to his teacher the next morning.
That night they flew together to the castle, transformed then spoke to Liam’s father.
“Father,” Liam said. “I am here to bring you home.”
Liam’s father awoke and quietly roused Liam’s mother and brothers and sisters. Silently they followed Liam toward the gate. Liam and his teacher flung grappling hooks over the castle walls and assisted Liam’s family as they cleared the wall. When they were safely outside the castle, both Liam and his teacher curled into a ball on the ground until they looked like a stone.
“Gather your courage,” Liam said.
Then Liam’s father, mother, brothers and sisters quietly followed their lead. Just as the moon rose over the horizon, a flock of eagles soared high in the night sky and glided toward the cliffs near the shore and their home. When Liam woke the next morning, a fire crackled in the fireplace as his family slept soundly all around him. He walked from the warm cottage and found his teacher sitting at the crest of the cliff looking out toward the eastern horizon. Liam sat next to him facing the wind.
“We are only grounded by our fears,” his teacher said.
Then Liam watched as his teacher slowly crouched into the shape of a stone. For a moment Liam longed for him to stay. Then he understood why he must go.
“I am ready,” Liam said.
WRITE YOUR OWN STORY
by Granny B
Happy Eleventh Birthday Sandy.
I love you. Keep writing your stories.
While the rest of her family was busy watching a movie, Sandy sauntered through the house deep in thought with a notebook in her hand.
“Come watch Princess Pink’s Magic Kingdom with me,” her sister begged jumping up from the couch. “Please.”
“No thanks,” Sandy said, “I’d rather write my own stories.”
Sandy imagined she was Sherlock Holmes as she continued pacing about the house with a keen eye. She turned on her story brain by playing detective. Everywhere she went she studiously observed her surroundings and carefully listened. Her grandmother once told her that you can write a story in your mind while you are doing something else like washing the dishes or walking home from school.
“I want to be a writer like you when I grow up,” Sandy said to her grandmother when they were sitting next to each other one day.
“What a pleasant idea,” her grandma answered. “We writers should stick together; for we all like to gather words like clouds, let them rain and then make the sun come out again. It is the perfect line of work for those of us who want to live lives with happy endings.”
“There are stories circling around in my head all time,” Sandy said. “Sometimes I hear people talking to each other in there.”
“Me too,” Grandma answered. “I still don’t have all my stories out. Did you know that when you love to read and write you always have somewhere interesting to go even when you have to stay where you are?”
“What is the best way for me to practice writing?” Sandy asked.
“Listen carefully, feel deeply, read widely and write every day,” her grandmother answered.
So Sandy listened carefully to the way her mother and father spoke to each other across the kitchen table and practiced writing their dialogue in her notebook. She read The Secret Garden and grew curious to learn about the life of the author Frances Hodgson Burnett. She wrote a few verses about their apple tree sending blossoms into the air like wee parachutes. Then she tucked those lines of verse inside her idea folder. Mysterious plots, good versus evil themes and noble characters were stacking up in the accordion file of her mind getting ready to be played. Sandy listened to narratives writing themselves inside her head everywhere she went. She didn’t have enough time to write them all down; she had to choose. Choosing was hard.
Sandy tried out her latest story on her younger brother when she tucked him in.
“Once . . .” she began, “There was a purple ballerina who couldn’t stop dancing.”
Her brother gave her a blank stare and grunted so Sandy changed up the plot a bit. “Once upon a time there was a dinosaur that ate little boys!”
With wide open eyes her brother stopped wiggling and waited for the rest of the story.
Sandy pulled out her notebook and wrote, “Good stories need a villain.” When her story went too long, her little brother fell asleep; so she added, “Little boys like short stories.”
Sandy also liked to try out her new stories with her older sister when they were falling asleep in their twin beds in the basement at night.
“Once upon a time there was a girl who liked to write stories,” Sandy began contemplating being the star of her new interesting plot.
She heard her sister yawn.
“Once there was a girl in junior high that discovered a hidden door behind the blackboard in her English class.”
Her sister sat up excited to hear the rest of the tale.
The next morning Sandy pulled out her notebook and wrote, “People like stories with a little mystery thrown in.”
Then Sandy headed upstairs for breakfast and walked straight into a wall because she had her nose in a book. She heard her brothers and sisters laughing at her in the kitchen.
“Stop laughing at me,” Sandy said.
Her siblings laughed even louder. Sandy stopped being embarrassed and laughed along with them.
“People like stories with characters that make them laugh,” Sandy wrote in her notebook after breakfast.
Later that night Sandy’s father tucked her into bed.
“Will you tell me a story?” Sandy asked.
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who had more tales and yarns in her head than pieces of sand on the sea shore. Every day she told a brand new story to anyone who would listen until she was very old. When she had grey hair and lots of wrinkles, she told stories to her grandchildren. She never ran out of stories. The end.”
“Is that a story about Grandma or me someday?” Sandy asked.
“Yes,” her father answered.