Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Anchor- My Crazy Family

The Crazy Family
This is before the birth of my third baby.

We vacationed two nights, three days, for our annual family vacation to The Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland.  The perfect setting.  The perfect place.  As we were in the hotel room, supposedly spending quality time together, what was my family doing?  I walked into the room.  My older brother, his wife, and my husband were all concentrating on each of their computers propped on each of their laps.  The television was on; no one was watching it.  My younger brother, two years younger than me, was playing a video game on his ipod with my two boys perched on each side of him looking on intently.  My heart sank and I wondered to myself, so this is a family vacation?  Where is the bonding?   Where is the closeness that a family should share?  My heart longs for a deeper connection with these loved ones.
This family is one of the anchors I say I cannot move from.  I see them on holidays, and every once in a while I see them for family dinners.  I love them.  They can make me laugh to the point of tears.  I wish I saw them more.  I wish my children knew them more deeply.  They live within minutes from us, but we see very little of them.

There’s my brother, the one eyed uncle. 

He is my free spirited younger brother who lost his eye as he was victimized while repossessing a car.   He wore an eye patch over one of his eyes for months.  Arrrrr.  A pirate for an uncle, only a dream come true for my two small boys.  I have a picture of my boys with homemade eye patches next to their uncle.  This brother of mine is a thrill seeker, jumping from planes and spending many of his nights on the edge of mountains.  He spends his life proving that no one can control him.  We get the picture, Brother.  Now come down from that cliff.

Then there is my eccentric older brother and his wife. 

He is a successful photographer.  You would think that this means great free family portraits, but he hates taking family portraits, so getting him to take a picture of me, my husband, and children does not happen without a fight.  This older brother of mine says that he loves children when they turn 10 years old.  He says it will be then that he will spend time with my kids and do "cool" things with them.  Until then, he is constantly scaring my toddler by staring at her and doing a gun hand signal while saying "hey".  He attempts interactions with my children by sharing hilarious jokes with them that only an adult can understand.  My children mostly pause, stare at him with blank faces, and then turn and run to continue what they were doing.  We anticipate the day when our children turn 10 and activate this amazing uncle who is caged up until then.

Here he is explaining to my son the difference between socialism and capitalism.

This older brother of mine is married to his really hot wife whose name is prefaced by the word “Raw” on her website.  Don't be confused or alarmed by the name she goes by.  The name "Raw" before any woman's name could probably be misunderstood for a different kind of line of work, however, she is as wholesome as ever, and eats only raw food.  She is tall, skinny, and strikingly beautiful with her fire red hair.  She is afraid of children.  They are awfully loud and overwhelming to this quiet gentle soul.

My dad- Mr. Type A.  He is a realtor, a very successful one.  He is a force not be reckoned with.  He sells residential homes and can outsell anyone this side of the west.  I went to an awards night with him once as his date.  We both left arms completely filled with 6 very heavy over sized trophies.  Typical picture of my dad- he is on his phone.  We could be in the middle of singing happy birthday, and the phone rings.  He picks it up, sits right where the action is, then he shhhes and snaps his finger for everyone to quiet down.  I don't think he ever wants to step out and miss anything, so all of his calls are taken front and center where all the action is.

"Yeah!  Disneyland!"  Shhh.. I'm on the phone.

Then there is my mom, the artist.  She is sweet, thoughtful, giving, and hilarious.  She is so funny, but she doesn't know she is funny.  So when you laugh, she looks at you in a questioning manner and asks, "What?"

 Here she is relieving the pressure of her varicose veins at Disneyland.

She can't remember a story unless it is a sad story.  Her memories of sad events and happenings are constantly being triggered by conversation.  You could be laughing at something funny and then in a moment’s time, you are crying because the funny thing reminded my mom of a sad story that she felt she needed to share.  So, needless to say, sometimes being with my family is like riding a roller coaster ride.  You could be laughing hysterically one moment then crying hysterically the next moment.  My tear ducts are extremely sensitive, so you will find my face a mess of tear streaked makeup after spending it with my family. 

My family is one of my anchors, but this anchor that I love and adore is as busy as we are.  I wish we were closer.  I wish my children knew them better.  I wish there were more than holidays and quick passing hellos. 

The anchors that I gave as an excuse to my husband for not being able to move seem to be becoming unearthed. 

What if we did move away?  I know I would get less time with these loved ones, but would I get more quality time with them instead?  Would I get to spend longer chunks of time with them?  Focused time?  Before we moved to the beach house, I saw my dad everyday.  I am so close to my dad.  Our relationship has become one of friends, best friends, but I began missing him.  He became busier than ever once we moved.  We were out of his daily routine.  I began going through withdrawals from him and his daily visits in my life.  I began to miss that father of mine.



  1. you have a wonderful family and I admire them alll.....

  2. I love how you wrote about you family! A wonderful post :-)

  3. Janna, that is inflammatory and untrue, I only like children when they are potty trained and that is well before 10 years old.

    Secondly, I am not telling the kids about socialism and capitalism, also untrue. I am telling them about some of the latest government conspiracies, like how Obama and Bush are pushing the exact same agenda and policies to collapse the American dollar and hand tax money over to the bankers and unions who put them in office.

    So sorry to embarrass you on your blog, but you were totally wrong on both of those points. Judita and I are really excited to visit you for quality time this summer! I will take some lovely pictures of your kids, in my style.

    Love your brother.

  4. ALL of ya'll crack me up. seriously. i love how you captured all of them in words. well done friend.

  5. Your descriptions of Matt & Paul are hilarious and bring me back to the good ole days! And then Matt's reply had me in stitches. As one who has moved away I can tell you that as much as I miss my family & seeing them "face-to-face" I am actually closer to my mom & dad because of the distance, they call all the time and we talk a lot. Plus with technology as it is you can see them via skype and they can still participate in your life. Hallmark also has these amazing books that your parents can record and your kiddos can listen to them, so grandma & grandpa can read stories to them all time (then your dad can take a call in the middle of his recording and they can feel like they are with him). :)

  6. Shanon, the last part of your comment made me LOL.

  7. Jeff said...

    This is just so funny...I remember spending weekends with all of you in the late '70s and having a blast because your family was quite different than mine, and it appears that things haven't changed too much! Your dad would take us to Knott's Berry Farm and he had that same "how did I get myself into this" look all the time. I remember feeling absolutely punished after 3 hours of Sunday School...and I can still smell the apple juice and carob chips that were used to sweeten Aunt R's cookies. Those were great times Janna, and it looks like a new generation is in on the fun!

    Cousin Jeff

    P.S., that pic of your brother and his wife is priceless!

  8. Cousin Jeff, you crack me up. Always!

  9. Uncle David said...

    Yep, that's my niece Janna's family! Hard to believe that her family has fallen so far from the family tree! The rest of us are so normal and stable on her mother’s side.

    I'm still getting over your mother literally strangling me when I was like 10! The only thing that saved me when I got loose was while running through the neighbors Croquet game she tripped over one of the wire hoops you hit the balls through! But we love each other... is that normal?

    Later she let me babysit a few times. I remember taking your brother along on a date to a movie. I don't remember the movie because shortly after it started he said he felt sick and threw up on me! It so impressed my date that she married me... is that normal?

    I remember babysitting all three of you kids and how you constantly pestered me to play with you. So I found the record player and put on the Wm Tell overture and had all you running around in circles throwing wadded up paper into the air while screaming. When mom and dad got home all of you were pretty wound up. I seem to remember your dad saying something like he didn't want me to babysit anymore... is that normal?

    Normal or not this is our family, above average, all good looking, and exceptional in all that really counts! (this last statement may be an exaggeration... or not, the rest is all true!)

    I love you all,

    Uncle David

  10. Uncle David,

    I would have to agree with you that we are not normal. But I would also have to disagree with you. Our family definitely includes you, and you are CRAZY!!!!

  11. awesome about your sister in law being a raw foodist. she'd like my blog if she in fact had kids. ;) does she have a blog or anything? anyways, you seem to have a nice family! i just posted linsdey's photos on my blog today. check it out:

  12. hahah yes! I LOVE IT! i think we should all go to dinner together... wowwwee!