Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Couldn't wait tonight.

I just had to post. My heart is so full of gratitude. This has been an interesting Christmas season for us, and we have received so many blessings. I think we have been doorbell-ditched about 15 of the 23 days of December with gifts and treats. But tonight, we found a turkey, milk, eggs, oranges, and so much more on our doorstep. I hope that the people who have blessed our lives know how grateful we are to feel their love. We talked tonight with our kids about how we didn't know who was leaving things for us. It could be anyone we meet. And that means that we need to show how grateful we are by the way we treat them. They could be our "secret Santas"! You never know! That made a real impression on me. And the fact that people are truly generous and kind. If you are reading this, secret Santa, THANK YOU! We feel so loved and blessed. We hope we can be as kind to others as we have been treated. I think that would be the greatest "thank you" of all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it snow (and snow and snow)!

Today is the first day of the Christmas break from school, and the weather cooperated beautifully. We woke up to a pretty dark day (I admit I didn't roll out of bed until 8:45 am), but I didn't think much more of it. Then as I was helping the kids through their chores, I happened to look out the window. WOW--the snow was coming down in huge flakes. It took us a while to get to the playing phase of our day, and by the time that came, we all went outside to play. So far, we've made our own sledding hill and TWO snowmen! Sarah went out for the first time and wasn't too happy unless Mommy was holding her. I even took her down the sledding hill a couple of times. I just LOVE snow days around here. William said to me, "I hope we never move to where there is no snow." I have to admit that I agree with him. Our next door neighbors put both of our snowmen to shame with an enormous over-6-feet-tall specimen. I will have to post pics today...we'll see if I have it in me to tear myself away from all the white stuff outside.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I LOVE Christmas traditions...

Problem is, I can't get any to stick for more than 30 seconds.

I have grand ideas, dreams really (or maybe delusions), of a Christmas filled with meaningful traditions that bring us closer to what this season is all about--LOVE, JOY, PEACE. Sometimes we hit love; we have moments of joy; but we rarely experience peace.

It seems that everything just seems thrown together. I think a lot about how I want things to go, but I live a real life (unlike in my dreams) and things don't happen the way I hope they will. I would love to have traditions that build my family and bring us together without losing my mind.

Having said that, we do have one tradition that seems to stick in our family. And mostly because it revolves around sugar: Gingerbread (well, graham cracker) houses.

We seem to do it every year. We do it the way my family (and Yamashitas) did it, not the way the Johnsons did it (much to Larry's chagrin). I just can't get into real gingerbread. (I know, I know, it is not just about me.) He lights up when he tells stories of his mom's waxed paper patterns and crushed-hard-candy-stained-glass-windows. Hopefully, I will be able to do that for him some day. But for now, it is all about simple and how much candy my kids can cement to some graham crackers. Maybe I'll become Martha Stewart-Johnson later in life (yeah, right).

This year, Auntie Nikki helped Lauren make a princess castle that Lauren promptly called "AWESOOOOOOME." William made a split level roof house that had a perfect spot for Santa and his sleigh (and Santa guards, and a fence, and a garage for extra candy--not even glued down, just a repository). Hadland "borrowed" Uncle Treas' tallest-spire creation to add to his ALCATRAZ. Basically it was his creative answer to all the broken graham crackers (he just piled them up on top of each other and glued them together in a haphazard fashion). He worked longer than anyone and has become this generation's answer to Uncle Nathan--candy junky extraordinaire.

I'm going to post this and add in pictures as soon as I can.

But back to the initial question--how have you incorporated traditions (I'm not being picky here--just ANY tradition will do) into your holidays? What has worked? What hasn't? What have you learned to do without and what can you not live without? I would LOVE some help on this one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thought for today

I was visiting teaching yesterday (program where 2 women visit and talk about the gospel with another lady in the congregation), and I literally stumbled across my thought of the day. It has occupied much of my thinking time in the last 24 hours, and I thought I would share it:

"The gospel of Jesus Christ has the divine power to lift you to great heights from what appears at times to be an unbearable burden or weakness. The Lord knows your circumstances and your challenges. He said to Paul and to all of us, 'My grace is sufficient for thee.' And like Paul we can answer: 'My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me' (2 Corinthians 12:9)" ("Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?" President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, Nov. 2007, 19).

Amazing. Take a minute to think about that. I guarantee it will make your day happier, more purposeful, and blessedly more humble.

Have a merry day!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas is coming...

The goose is getting fat!

That's ok, as long as no one mistakes me for a goose!

Do you like the new background? I am LOVING the star, although it always kind of shocks me when I first see it. That's not a bad thing--gets me a-thinkin', ya know?

I am excited for Christmas. This is a lean year, so I am looking forward to experiencing a less-commercial season with my family. Wish us luck! (and please forward any of your great ideas/experiences with less presents/stuff)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Secret Givers

I am trying to have some sort of "Christmas" thought each day throughout December. I haven't missed a day yet! Pat myself on the back, you know? Tonight we read the perfect story about a little boy who learned to think more about what he could give rather than what he would receive because his family had started "doorbell ditching" Christmas gifts and surprises to people in their neighborhood. It was perfect because we had a chance to do just that--leave a treat on the porch and run. Although I am quite aerobically fit, I left the ditching and running to our able-bodied boys. What fun! You gotta love an immediate object lesson, right?

Friday, November 28, 2008

I am thankful

Oh, yes I am. I am thankful for a husband who loves me, children who give me hugs at random moments (and go to bed, eventually), siblings and in-laws who laughingly tolerate and appreciate me, parents who sacrificed so much for me (and still do--thanks mom and dad, for coming for L's bday!), and for dear, sweet friends who take time to talk AND listen.

I am thankful to have hope. I am so thankful that I know there is Someone taking care of me, even if I don't realize it. I am glad there is Someone to listen, to care, to understand. I am thankful that there is Someone who loves me, flaws, fear, and all, and is always cheering me on.

What more could a girl ask for?

(except maybe a Trader Joe's nearby...)

Friday, November 21, 2008

If you are wondering about Clearplay

I've had a request for info on Clearplay. In the other post, I've also put a link. Check it out--it is SO worth it!

"You don't have to be perfect"

I was reminded of this thought this morning by a dear, dear friend. So often I feel like I do need to be perfect in order to get the divine help that we need. However, I make mistakes and that is all part of the process. BECAUSE I make mistakes, I need divine help. And He is willing to give it. Thank goodness, right?

I have been prompted lately to be very, very grateful. I am, and I am working to be even more grateful because I have so much to be grateful for. I have been counting them lately, and it really, really helps.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First I have to make a disclaimer... (and don't forget to look at the other post from today--there is a really cute picture of Sarah)

My family watches all our movies with Clearplay. What is clearplay you ask? It is a DVD player that filters normal movies you rent from Blockbuster, etc. It basically takes out all the stuff you wish wasn't in there in the first place. And we absolutely cannot live without it.

That being said, when I recommend movies to people, I always have to remind them that I may not have seen the whole movie. That really confuses most people. But I am glad that I didn't see "that one scene" that ruined a perfectly good movie.

I also have to say that I love my treadmill. I know that seems to be a non sequitur (doesn't follow). But my treadmill has a TV on it. And I hooked a DVD player up to it. Now I can run more than 30 minutes at a time because I can do it while watching a movie. Luuuuucky, eh?

Tonight I finished a movie that I really loved. It is called P.S. I love you. Now, I KNOW that a TON of stuff was taken out of the movie. You know that the dialogue is a little spicy when the movie seems to be muted for several seconds at a time. And I am pretty sure one of "those scenes" was bleeped, but clearplay is so seamless that I couldn't tell for sure. It made me laugh and cry. I saw a little bit of myself in the main character--sometimes unwilling to embrace change, afraid to get out of her comfort zone, etc. I really liked it. And watch out for William--he's hot. (it felt pretty weird to write that, but he had killer dimples, ok?)

So just know that although I liked the movie, if you want to see it, enter at your own risk. Or even better, treat yourself to a Clearplay DVD player. After all, Christmas is right around the corner. You won't be sorry. I promise!

Yet this apple doesn't fall far from the tree

So, I just have to let you know that when I am in public with my offspring and don't want to make a scene to call them to me, I just make a ch-ch sound in their general direction. You wouldn't think that would be very effective, but actually it is. Almost every time the child I am "calling" turns immediately when I do my little summoning sound. Now, I am not going to say that they come every time, but I can at least get their attention initially.

The other day I got to see just how well this little sound had sunk in to their little psyches. I am notorious for telling my children "just a sec" when they ask me for something, only to completely forget about them and their request. Sarah, my 2-year-old, has got me all figured out. One day she REALLY wanted to show me something. Of course, I told her to hold on, Mommy would be there "in a sec." She was having none of that. She grabbed my hand, said "CH!" and yanked me toward what she wanted me to see. I just stared at her. Did I really just hear what I thought I heard? Naw, but it was funny, right?

A couple days after that, she did it again, only adding "come!" after the yank. That time I had to laugh. She is SO like me in so many ways. I need to be careful with this awesome power over my shadow...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The apple falls FAR from the tree

As I went to sleep last night, I happened to glance over at my daughter sleeping on a mat in my room. What I saw warmed my heart at the same time it completely surprised me. My daughter was curled up on her pillow, cuddling a little baby doll. How sweet! And so unlike me. I think the first babies I ever cuddled were my own (or maybe my younger siblings--although my memory is so bad that I don't remember). I was never a "doll girl". I was a trampoline, soccer, park, bike girl. Not that being a doll girl doesn't have its merits...I just didn't have those merits (or rather, I didn't have them in abundance--how's that for positive?!). I have to say that seeing her there, being a mini-mommy, really touched me. So I turned over in bed to Larry and said, "honey, look at Lauren, that would be such a sweet picture" and promptly she opened her eyes and was completely awake. YIKES! Who sleeps that lightly? NOT ME, that is for sure!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't be fractious

I just had to post this. Larry was telling me about his elder's quorum lesson yesterday. All of the RS/Priesthood classes focused on the Joseph Smith lesson full of his letters to Emma. In one of them, Joseph advised Emma, "don't be fractious to them."

The big question was: what does fractious mean?

My favorite answer: don't break their legs.

Alternate I thought of late last night: don't let them do math

Just another celebration of the belly laugh. I'm chortling in my joy!

Happy Monday to you all!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The beauty of a laugh

You need to understand that church worship for us is a monster undertaking. I play the organ for our meetings, and we have four active children. It may not make sense to many of you that those two sentences are related.

But they are.

You see, my wonderful husband plays "single daddy" for more than half of the general worship meeting at our church (called Sacrament Meeting). Now for a mom, that seems like no big deal. We "single parent" all the time. Everyday. All day long (and sometimes into the night). But for a dad it is a little intimidating. Add another layer for the fact that our children should be on their best behavior so as not to disturb the worship of the others of the congregation near us. Add another layer for the fact that our family has been blessed with strong voice capacities. Then add another layer for siblings that can use their superpowers for good and evil (but usually the latter :).

Boy, that is a lot of layers. Kind of like photoshop. But not quite.

Fast forward to after church.

I meet Larry in the car, and he is laughing. With oreo crumbs between his teeth. That makes me laugh. So we are both laughing in our car after church.

And the reason that I am blogging about something so insignificant is that, for us, it isn't. It is a big deal. We are laughing.

Larry made a wise observation.

"It is a lot more fun to laugh than cry."


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

William's birthday

Let's not get technical on dates, ok? I am within a couple of weeks, give or take a day (or two). Nevertheless, here is a little photo essay on our big boy #2 and his big #6 day. (and yes, he chose the cake).

Trip to the Punkin Patch

I know I misspelled it, but I couldn't help spelling it eggzactly the way my kids say it. And, come on now, you know you say it like that sometimes!

So I took the girls to the patch with Lauren's preschool group. We had a great time walking along in the dirt and playing at both of the "parks" within the pumpkin patch. What fun on a beautiful, crisp autumn day.

Have I told you lately that I love fall? I do, I really do. I love the crispness in the air. The colors vibrantly spilling out everywhere. And I LOVE red trees. I can't get enough of red trees! My kids know it, and they alert me to any wonderful specimens I may have missed. Gotta love that!

On another note, we took a Sunday evening drive to Squaw Peak as a family. We got some amazing pictures of the sunset view. It was so much fun to see the colors as they fade away. I think I wish this part of the year could go on forever. I just can't get enough of the changing colors (oh, did I say that already? :).

Here are a few pics. (I know, I know. Pick yourself up of the floor, why dontcha?)

It's official!

I missed October!


How did I do that?

Oh, well. Looking forward...

November's going to be grand!

P.S. Happy Belated birthday, Ella!

P.P.S. Happy Actual Birthday, Dad! LOVE YOU BOTH!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thanks for all the great advice!

As usual, I am feeling better today than I did when I wrote that post the other day. Thanks for letting me vent, but also thank you for taking me seriously and giving me some new things to think about. I actually took my kids to the park last night after dinner and before bedtime, and they went to sleep when asked!!!! Oh my goodness. I'll have to repeat that sometime (when I have dinner on the table before 7 p.m.--not a frequent happening around here!)

On another front, I went to see a podiatrist yesterday. Since this summer I have been suffering with a sore heel on my left foot which turned out to be plantar fasciaitis. After seeing the doctor (who knew exactly where to push on the most painful part of my heel--do they teach that in medical school? ACK!), I decided to get some orthotics to correct my super-flat-footedness, and a shot of steroids to help with the immediate pain. And if I thought him touching my heel was painful, there was no preparing for the excruciating horror that was the steroid shot. It absolutely took my breath away. But I walked out of the office with no pain! He told me to expect some aching the next day, but by Sat or Sunday, I would most likely be out of pain. However, last night the pain came back with a vengeance. Maybe this is just the "ache" stage, but I am not too hopeful due to the fact that it is even more painful than before. YIKES!! Can anyone suggest some supportive, stylish shoes so I don't always have to wear a cute outfit completed so wonderfully by running shoes?

As a last note, yesterday was my dear sister's birthday. Happy Birthday, Laurel!! We all love you and hope you are having a wonderful time with your sweet hubby!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is it too much to ask?

I am wondering...

Has anyone else out there ever gone somewhere solo (but with all the kids) and was then so fed up by their behavior that after 15 minutes, we turn around and come home with mom bawling her head off?

Just checking.

(if anyone has any tips about how to help your kids behave in public, I'm all ears!)

Be careful what you ask...

I just had to laugh today. I sent William late to school on purpose (it helps with the transition to class time for him, go figure!), and then a few minutes later I heard the door open and shut. I called out to find who it was, only to hear William's voice. I was a little alarmed to find him home already, but he walked in and said, "My teacher told me to have this signed and take it back to school." I looked at the paper, which I assumed was important and hadn't made it out of the backpack the night before, thus eliciting such an unexpected delivery. So I duly signed the form and handed it back to my beaming boy who then scooted off to school.

A few minutes later I was making my bed (or something) and heard some distant music which turned out to be my cell phone. I tried to get it but to no avail. I tried to ring back the person who had called (I didn't recognize the number), and I got the school office (YIKES!!). I stated who I am and why I was calling only to have the secretary hand the phone to the principal. By then I was sweating bullets. What had happened now? I said a quick prayer that I wouldn't bawl over the phone if it was something mortifying or horrifying. The principal very sweetly introduced himself and said that the crisis was over, but that they had lost William. Here's what happened: William got to school late, his teacher probably gave him the sheet of paper and told him what to do, and then she didn't think anything else of it. William, having received a direct command, decided to get it taken care of. He went directly home, got it signed, and brought it back--JUST LIKE HE HAD BEEN ASKED!! Where is the problem with that, I ask you? Poor guy, I bet he got a major scolding, just because he, like Amelia Bedelia before him, took his teacher a bit too literally.

I just love that kid. I hope his teacher (and the principal) do, too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Celebrate the end of soccer!

Can you sing it with me? Ce-le-brate good times, come on! I am one grateful momma that tonight we'll see the last of the soccer games of the year!!!!!!!!!!! Now, don't get me wrong...I love soccer. I actually do. I played from Under-6 until I was a senior in high school. I LOVE soccer. I think that i just don't like watching soccer (or becoming a crazed-and-screaming-lunatic-sideline mom). My voice needs a break. So I will revel in the ending-ness of it tonight! YAHOO!!!

On a more positive note (actually that last paragraph was quite positive--I wasn't whining, was I?), I get to go to the Conference Center in Salt Lake this Saturday evening to attend the Relief Society General Broadcast. I am SOO excited. I got to go 2 years ago, and now I get to go again (ah, there is a silver lining to moving 3 times in one year). I hungrily anticipate this meeting each year as an opportunity to "get in touch with the real woman inside me." That's right--the real woman inside of me is a daughter of God. And sometimes, amidst the hustle and bustle of busy family life, I forget that all-important identity. I love having a meeting JUST FOR ME (and all the other women in the church), where I don't have to keep anyone but myself quiet for a whole two hours! I wish that all the people who criticize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for being a sexist religion could come to this meeting. Here are scores of women, powerful and strong in their own right, leading and discoursing on the doctrines of Christ. Are we, as women in the church, oppressed? NO WAY, JOSE!!!! When I go to this meeting, I feel empowered, understood, loved, cheered on, and so much more. I feel like I can go forth and actually do what I really want to do--be a disciple of Christ in thought and action. Only four more days!

Also, my husband and I talked about the weather yesterday. We were commenting on how much we were looking forward to fall. Larry said, "I just don't think I like summer here. It is WAY too hot." We reminisced about living several years in weather paradise--Ventura County, California. It was gorgeous all year round. I don't think we even owned coats when we lived there (but I had pretty scaly heels from never wearing socks...ever!). But then I decided that if we hadn't had such a sweltering summer, I might not yearn as much for fall. And look so forward to that first snowfall (and the second, and the third...). I actually love having seasons. I also loved having fantastic weather always, but it did get a little boring. Yesterday we saw overcast skies, rain, sun with "cotton ball" clouds, and then in the evening we drove up the canyon to ride the ski lift at Sundance for FHE. And, oh, the colors we saw! The trees are a-changing up in the mountains. I thought I might just die from rapture! I love red trees amidst aspens and evergreens. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. And just think, I didn't get that in CA. There is always something wonderful about wherever you make your home. Bloom where you're planted, so they say. They may just have something there.

Keep posted...I may even try to put up some pictures of the trees we saw last night. But don't get mad at me if I don't, ok? I'll do my best!

have a great day--wherever you live!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


First, I am not sure I can handle this blog background. It is a bit much for me, so I can't imagine how annoying it must be for many of you (not that anyone is reading this!). You may see another change here soon.

Second, the weather has completely changed! Since when has the weather changed from summer to winter on Labor Day Weekend. Not that I am complaining. We have spent so much time already during the day at the park because we aren't roasting to death out there! It is wonderful to be able to use the park between 11 and 5 instead of hiding out in the air conditioned house waiting for it to cool down. I actually wore a long sleeved shirt and long sweats on my walk this morning. Now that is a definite nod to the change in the weather. Bring on fall!

One more thing, I am now my ward's choir director. I have been going through music for the last couple of weeks, and I am LOVING it. Let's hope someone actually comes to practice. bring on the Christmas music! Do any of my Oxnard ward choir members want to move out here and be in my choir? Please? Pretty please?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Whoa--I missed August

I am such a blog-slacker. But I guess that means I have a life, right? Everyone else must have a lot of time on their hands or something. (just trying to make myself feel better, I guess)

Well, August was a whirlwind. What with getting ready for school to start, Doug's wedding, all the house guests (we love you all!), the storytelling festival, our 11th anniversary, and on and on, time just flew. We are still getting tomatoes, and that makes me very happy. We've had tons of family here, which makes me even happier (especially when they bring dill pickle chips! :). School has started for three of my four kids, and so has soccer and music classes/lessons. I am finally feeling what everyone else has been feeling for years--can I just have about 5 more hours in the day (when everyone else is sleeping)?

Hadland is in 4th grade, William started kinder, and Lauren is in Miss Ann's preschool. hadland and William are also playing soccer, and they both also just got back into their music lessons/classes. Finally Hadland is getting back into scouting as well. It will be a miracle if I can keep sane through my week. I think I better become a planning pro!

For our anniversary Larry took me overnight to Sundance. I couldn't have imagined such a wonderful getaway (except if it were longer). We had an amazing suite right next to the river (think sounds of the water from every open window) with window boxes full of pillows just waiting for an avid reader to stake them out, dinner at the Foundry grill (scrumdiddlyumptious food), and then off to "A Midsummer Nights' Dream" at the open air theatre up there. The play had an opening act called the "Thrillionaires." I actually enjoyed that more than the play. They are a broadway musical-style improv group. I almost passed out from laughing so hard. It was exactly what I needed. I will definitely be seeing them again, that is for sure.

Speaking of laughing, I was so glad that my parents came for the Storytelling festival, and that I braved taking my kids with me. It was so much fun. I just love Carmen deedy and Bill Harley. I also loved being introduced to Kevin Kling, Motoko and Jay O'Callahan, and so many more. We had such a great time and were able to go both nights to the Scera Shell for the Fave stories and Laughing night. We also ate lots of yummy stuff at home and abroad. Does it get any better? Good company, good laughs, and good food? I am seriously so blessed :)

On a final note, I really am blessed. I have begun walking in the wee hours with a good friend of mine from my ward, and she truly is an inspiration in so many ways. Such a humble, devoted servant of the Lord with charity in her heart (and a great sense of humor to boot!). I don't even mind getting up a 0' dark thirty to go. Now that's saying somethin'!

Hope September finds you well!

Monday, July 14, 2008


I just wanted everyone to hear that I picked TWO tomatoes out of my "garden" yesterday. Hip hip hooray!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I saw this on a friend's blog and thought I would post it here. No pressure.

Actually, I take that back. Pressure. BIG pressure! I want to see your comments!

This is a "shout out" for memories.

Here are the directions:
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It’s actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I’ll assume you’re playing the game and I’ll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don’t want to play on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, I’ll leave my memory of you in my comments.

Monday, July 07, 2008

There is a reason why our girls aren't named "Grace"

In the space of 6 days, both of my darling, precious girls had stitches. Lest you think I am an irresponsible mother, I had nothing to do with either catastrophe, but I sure worried enough to make about 10 heads of gray hair (thank goodness I am blonde, eh?).

Lauren punctured her head (between the corner of her eye and the bridge of her nose) by tripping on our entry rug and hitting her face on the door hinge. I was sitting on the couch and was not at all surprised by the shriek of pain and anguish emanating from Lauren (not because I am an unfeeling mother but because it happens about every half hour). Being the loving mother that I am, I went to comfort her. Boy, did I get the surprise of my life when I leaned her back to kiss her bumped forehead, and she was covered in blood. Needless to say, the panic reared its ugly head (mine) and I completely lost it. Thank goodness for Melissa Basua and her cool head. She thought it would be better to comfort Lauren than start bellowing for Larry. I did the bellowing part (I knew those singing lessons would come in handy!). We went to the doctor only to wait and wait and then be referred to a plastic surgeon. I knew it would take longer, but I was glad for the specialist option. To make a long story less long (but obviously not short), several hours later, we had triumped, Lauren had her stitches (from a supercool plastic surgeon who happened to be in our last ward), and all was well in the world. Except that she can't be in the sun. Or swimming. Or smiling. (Just kidding on that last one)

I wanted to share a funny thing that happened. Lauren had "conscious sedation" for her procedure, and that basically means she looked completely stoned for the entire thing. The freakiest part was when she was coming out of it. She kept looking at us like she wasn't really seeing us. We were trying to get her to really wake up, and when the doctor came to check up on her, she looked at him, then looked at me and stuttered, "You.....are.....my....my.....mommy!" I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was so freakishly cute that I think I did both. Then we were talking about all the treats she would get the next day because she was such a trooper. She wanted ice cream and cookies and chips (what about the veggies and fruit, eh? this must come from Larry's sweet tooth!). We asked if anyone else would want cookies and she said, "Ha.....Ha....Ha" and I finished "Hadland?" She nodded. It was so adorable. Then she tried to say Sarah, but only ended up sounding like a snake. The whole sedation thing was pretty trippy to say the least!

The next day, you would not even have known that anything had happened to Lauren. She bounced out of bed about 7 am (after about 6 1/2 hours of sleep) and played vigorously all day long. What a survivor!

That was Wednesday. The next Tuesday (yep, only 6 days later), I was getting a little too much help from Sarah unloading the sharp knives from the dishwasher. I commanded Hadland to take her into the other room and do whatever he had to do to keep her happy and out of the kitchen. The next thing I know Sarah is crying in the other room, but I was expecting that--she doesn't really like to "hang out" with Hadland. I got the dishwasher unloaded, and by that time all was calm on the "kid" front. I went in search of Sarah, found her, and I saw that her shirt was covered in blood. I checked her nose, but she was clear. As I picked her up, I noticed that Hadland's shirt had blood on it as well. I checked Sarah out only to find her hair matted with blood right above her ear. I ran downstairs to consult (translation--freak out) with Larry, and then headed to the doctor yet again. They got me right in, took a look at Sarah, then pronounced that she'd be getting some stitches as well. I don't think they recognized me from the week before, but I was on pins and needles that someone would figure out that this wasn't the first time in June we'd been in for head wounds.

The Lord was certainly on my side that day because Sarah ended up sleeping through the entire stitching process (11 stitches, too). When they were cleaning her up after it was all over, she started to stir. What a tender mercy!!!! Now, I won't subject you to the horror that was the "taking out" of the stitches. I was just grateful that the "putting in" was pretty painless (no pun intended :)

All in all, we have the stitches out, we've gone swimming, and we seem to be healing pretty well. It is a bit of a chore to keep a hat on Lauren's head in the sun. When we swam yesterday, however, she was a champ and kept it on even though it was soaking wet. Hopefully there will be nothing noticeable on her face to remind us of this memorable summer, but if there is, it sure will make a great story!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Thoughts on a Sunday...

I was reminded today that God really does know and love us. He knows me and wants to bless me and help me progress in my life. On the way to church today by myself (the rest of the fam stayed home with a barfing Hadland--sorry if that was too much info :), I prayed that I would hear what I needed to for me to overcome some of my failings and struggles. I was very blessed to be prompted to record some thoughts from Sacrament Meeting in my journal. The very first thing I wrote was the comment someone made about the world being a selfish place and that reading the scriptures helped us distance ourselves from that selfishness all around us. Boy, that was tailor-made for me, I tell ya! Over and over I heard witnesses of the help the scriptures bring to our lives.

My prayer was answered. I know that I am "scripturally malnourished" right now, and the treatment is easy and straightforward--feast upon the scriptures daily with purpose, diligence, faith, and trust.

I also read something this afternoon that was sobering. In Alma 30, an Anti-Christ named Korihor starts teaching the people that all of their faithful traditions are really foolish and that there was no way to prove that God exists. I was reminded of Elder Oaks' talk in April 2008 conference about testimonies and how we know certain things even though they are not scientifically "prove-able". Korihor taught the people something very interesting in verse 17: "And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man afared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and bwhatsoever a man did was cno crime."

What that verse is saying to me is that when I feel myself get discouraged because I can't overcome something or I keep failing, if I stop trying it is because I think that I am all alone in trying to overcome. Korihor had no faith in something greater than himself that was able to and wanted to help him be better. The lack of humility and trust made him an island to himself, with no hope of progress (but also no thought as to judgment either).

I don't want to be Korihor. My faith is strong, and I can humble myself more each day. I know God is willing to help--I just have to trust Him and do my best. He is a loving father who wants what is best for His child--me. I have to remind myself to not be Korihor-ish, but to be believing. It is easy to be discouraged, but it is so much more important to be faithful.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It has blessed my life and will continue to as I feast daily. Have you read today? :)

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I just found out that I was 22nd in my age group!!! At first I thought there were only 25 people in my age group, but then I found out there were 102. I did a pretty good job, I think.

It is a little sobering when I found out that I placed 581 (but 188 within the female runners), but I was thrilled to know about "22". I have decided that I am going to keep running so that I can move up in the ranks as I grow older. My sister's MIL, Deb, ran/walked a 38:19 and she was 13th in her division! Wow! And she has 10 grandkids! She rocks, and that is the truth!

I am hoping to get some pictures up on here, but I have to rely on Mark (Laurel's FIL) to send them to me first.

Oh, and by the way,


P.S. Melissa Cook--I am so bummed that I wasn't able to see you there--I hope we can see you before you head home!

Friday, July 04, 2008

A friendly face

Ok, so the plan was for Larry and I to run the Freedom 5k today in Provo. Only we have four kids who don't run (or get up early for that matter). So Larry did "daddy duty" (translation: slept in) this morning while I ran. This is only my second 5k, and the first one was really hard for me. And I was doing it by myself. Well, me and my iPod. (important distinction) So I was excited but also feeling a little lame for being a loner.

So I get there, park, and walk to where the race will start. I don't have anyone to take my picture or hold my keys, so the camera (and everything else) stays in the car, and I tie my keys to my drawstring. By this point, I am feeling quite sorry for myself that I don't have any friends or anyone to cheer me on. (note to self: make EVERYONE get up and be my cheering section next time)

Then I saw Mark Child. Happy day, calloo callay (I probably misspelled that). He is my sister's father-in-law. He promptly showed me that his wife, Deb, was also running. Isn't a friendly face such a blessing? We commiserated on our latest endeavor, and she pointed me in the direction of port-a-potties. (Yes, a huge blessing) As I was walking to the potties, I spotted Shauri, MY sister-in-law (what is up with all these in-laws? Can't the Woods get their acts together and be active? :). She was there with Benjamin, my lightning-fast nephew who, I am sure, cannot fathom why anyone would run as slow as I do. (actually, he is very nice to slow ole me)

The Lord was surely giggling at me today. I was feeling sorry for myself, and then He just made friendly faces come out of the woodwork (in fact, my former bishop's daughter was standing right near me as the race started) to let me know I wasn't a loner. I am sure He giggles a lot at the silly thoughts I have. I really am blessed. For so many reasons. Not the least of which is that I had a rockin' playlist for my run! What a difference that makes. (note to self: don't put any classical music on a running playlist, no matter how "peppy" the piece may be) Gotta love the Police, Journey, and a little big band music to swing my stride! Every new song brought a smile to my face!

Mission accomplished (and only a smidge slower than last time)! Go me!

By the way, Benjamin was SIXTH in the whole race (third in his age group) with a time somewhere around 16:30. YIKES!!! Needless to say, I wasn't. At least he wasn't TWICE as fast as I was (pretty close, though). My time was around 30:15. Pretty good for an old fart! (Compared to Benjamin, that is--I am one spring chicken compared to my old geezer mom!) Just joking, mom--you ROCK!!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I did it!

Yesterday my family (sans Big Daddy) drove to SoCal. And it was amazing. We fixed our DVD player in the supervan, and we laughed through three states (actually four). We watched Mr. Bean, National Treasure, Napoleon Dynamite, and listened to Shakespeare's Secret (it is a book, but I can't figure out how to underline--Whattie, please forgive my English incorrect-ness).

But the coolest thing? I filled up at home and then once in Vegas, and I still have more than 1/4 tank left. SWEET! And we already had In N Out. Just couldn't wait.

This vacation is already off to a good start.

Oh, and the "I did it!" refers to making it to CA without maiming any of the little ones!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I am sorry that I whine

Do you remember when I was complaining about scouting? That I wondered if the program was more for moms than the scouts themselves?

Well, first of all, I shouldn't be whining about that. That's dumb.

And second, the scouting program ABSOLUTELY knows how much the moms of the scouts do. That is why the moms get a pin when the scout advances. No one else gets a pin, only the long-suffering scouting-supporting mom.

I feel validated.

But, in my opinion, they shouldn't make the pins so camouflage-y. They should be yellow or red and jump out at you as you pass by and say, "Pat this mom on the back--her son has done something cool in scouts."

I would wear the prototype. I'm serious. I need all the pats on the back that I can get.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I hate ants!

Ok, so my kids would be saying, "Ooh, Mom said hate." But, I think this aversion is as strong as that. I don't strongly dislike them, I hate them. Here is one of the many reasons why:

I have a "laundry chute." (Actually it is just the place where we throw the dirty clothes downstairs from the upper floors. But I like to think that I have a laundry chute, so don't go and burst my bubble, ok?)

I noticed that the laundry was pretty much taking over the entire house, so I thought I should do some laundry room shuttling. As I picked up some of the dirty towels, ants started to pour out of them. EEEEWW! Grody to the max! Gag me with a pitchfork! (OK-enough with the valley girl impersonations)

Did I mention that I hate ants?

I figured out why, too. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had a pretty idyllic childhood. Fabulous weather, great culture, and NO LARGE BUGS! Or thunderstorms, but that is a different rant. Since moving to different parts of our great nation, I have heard stories of terrifying bugs of gargantuan sizes (mostly from Alexis--Texas and the Hawaii clan of the Johnsons). Yet, I had none of that in my experience. So ants are the epitome of disgusting-ness and yucky-bug-ness. I know I am a bug rookie, but its all I got!

Oh, and I hate ants.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm in love!

I sat here today, at this computer, watching my two middle children having a ball on the trampoline. Giggling, laughing, screaming with joy (well, mostly). Then when Hadland came home from school, I mentioned that he could go jump if he wanted to. He did! And William joined him for a long time. I love having a trampoline in my backyard. My kids aren't whining to be glued to the boob tube. They are outside, having a great time together. And no runs to the ER...yet. Tonight, after all the kids were in bed, I jumped for about 10 minutes. Don't worry, no flips for this muchacha! What fun. I jumped in the chilly night air, looking up at Mt. Timpanogos with its fresh blanket of snow. Not bad, eh? Almost makes you want to live here.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

I am a gardener...

I think.

Are you a gardener if:

1. you can handle a rototiller?

2. you can pay your kids a penny a rock to pick them out of the garden plot?

3. you can wear a big floppy hat in the sun?

4. you then get completely lobster-esque on your arms?

5. you can dream about tomato juice dripping down your chin as you bite into your own homegrown tomato?

Well then, I guess I am a gardener. Really, the only requirement is that you have a garden, right? I guess you have to work in it, too.

Are you a gardener too? (potted plants count, you know?!)

One other question--are gardeners always sore?

Friday, May 16, 2008


Sarah got a new word this week--hands. She enunciates the "ds" part so well, I just love to hear her. And she still loves to say shoes. She walks around the house picking up, putting on, and walking around in any shoes she can find. She is so funny!

Tonight she and Lauren took a bath (not a regular occurrence in the evening at our house), and they had a bath. I got tired of hanging out on the toilet seat, so I took Sarah out and got her dressed for bed. I was putting away some clothes in her room when Lauren walked in to say that Sarah had fallen into the tub. I ran to the bathroom only to find a fully clothed (in footed pjs) Sarah lying on her belly in the lukewarm tub water. I just had to laugh. I had to locate another pair of pjs (not an easy feat today) and got her safely in to bed before she could get in any more trouble! A few minutes after all this took place, I was looking for a little sympathy and told Larry what had happened. I told him about the baths, and then I asked him if he could guess what Sarah had done next. He answered, "Poop in the tub?" Needless to say, that stopped my pity party right in its tracks--it could DEFINITELY have been worse than a soaked diapers and pair of jammies! Thank you, sweetie, for helping me appreciate the good times! :)


It isn't like I don't check everyone's blogs multiple times a day...and I just love seeing everyone's new posts...but I don't post? What's up with that? Maybe I am just boring...

My back is much better, thank you! And I am getting "back in the saddle" tomorrow. We got a trampoline of our very own, and we'll be putting it up in the morning. I think the kids are going to burst with excitement (at least I will). I can't wait to see our family having fun on it. So many memories on ours growing up...Jeremy's broken leg, sleeping out in the summer, laying out (some of my sisters even wore bikinis--tsk, tsk), and jumping until we couldn't stand it any more. I just love it when the memories can keep going to another generation.

But, no, I will not be doing any more flips...until I can figure out how to do it without injuring my back!

Monday, May 05, 2008

I'm getting old!

Well, it is official. I am getting old. On saturday I went to an indoor trampoline playground. I went with my fabulous sisters for a little laughin' and a little movin' and shakin'. We did plenty of all three!

My little sister Robin did a flip and made it look so easy. So what did I do? Yep--peer pressure did me in! (it is all your fault, Rob! :) When I finished flip #2, I landed on my butt, caught my breath, and jumped up only to feel a crazy twinge in my back. So now, two days later, I am getting better. I am so getting old, and I am BUMMED about it! I guess I just have to accept my "mature" status and get on with being prudent.

But I hate that word.

I'd much rather be jumping on a trampoline, wouldn't you?

And if you're worried that I have lost my nerve--I'm getting right back on that horse (menos flips, I think). I can be kinda mature, maybe!

P.S. Women's Conference ROCKED!!! And my house was clean when I got home! Yippee!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Women's Conference!

Hey-not that you would be surprised-i will be away for a couple of days. My sisters, mother, and I are going to a "Sister Celebration" at Women's Conference at BYU. My darling of a husband is flying solo with the kids, and i am so excited to have a little time away!

Wish you were all here to party with us!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I think it must be payback time. Hadland NEVER stops talking. And I really do mean NEVER! Larry looked at me today while Hadland was waxing philosophical about why the Atlantic Ocean is called the Atlantis Ocean (yeah, i don't get it either). Larry just said, "Hadland, you need to get outside and run around."

If only...

We really need to get a trampoline. Then maybe the kids wouldn't use my couch as one. And it could be like a giant hamster wheel but for kids. Maybe they might even get tired enough to go to bed at night. We can always hope, I guess. One of these days we will get some outside equipment, I'm sure. Or maybe we'll just get a padded cell, and the kids and I can take turns in it.

(You probably already figured it out, but I am sure I never stopped talking either. Hence, the payback.)

shock value

william is the master of shock value. he loves to see my head jerk up when he says something bad. tonight it was moron.

or maybe "mean-o mom."

or maybe "poopy pants" (to his sister, not me thank goodness).

i try not to react because he is so blatant about it. i really should be smarter than he is, but most days he's got me beat.

but he sure is cute.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I almost forgot!

Hadland turned nine about two weeks ago! I didn't actually forget his bday, I just forgot to post about it. He was saying to me a few days before his bday that he would love a big family party with Auntie Nikki, Uncle Treas, the brandleys, grandma and grandpa, etc. I quickly told him that they had just been here the weekend before and wouldn't be able to come back. But lo and behold, on Saturday afternoon (about 5 pm), Darla calls and says, "Guess who's coming to town?" I drew a total blank before she said that her parents were on the way from Canada. I couldn't believe it! So I quickly called all the local (and semi-local) family for an impromptu party, headed to Costco for a cake (which Hadland told me later he didn't like), and tried to clean up a little (emphasis on little). It was a total blast to have everyone over, and Hadland was in all his glory. I love those little tender mercies!

Another funny: my mom called H the day after his bday and told him that he was going to get an extra $10 for her being late in sending his bday cash. What is up with that? I just had to laugh and hope H didn't get used to late penalties, cuz he sure won't get any from lil' better-late-than-never ole me!

Monday, April 21, 2008

April is a great time for birthdays!

On Saturday I had a girls' day out. It was GREAT!! Within a five week period, me, my MIL Virginia, and my SILs Shauri and Darla have birthdays (and Hadland, too, but he isn't a girl). So we decided to get pampered. Virginia and Shauri had never had pedicures before, so we wanted them to try something new. I think they liked it (but it was a little weird for them). They were such good sports, and we all have lovely toes now!

And just so no one rats me out, I know darla is technically a may birthday, but she is an honorary April-ee for this year!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


You know the song, "Popcorn popping on the apricot tree?"

I know it isn't rocket science or anything, but I never really got it. I grew up in NorCal, and we didn't really seem to have that spring phenomenon. Or maybe it wasn't so noticeable.

Now, after a LONG winter in Utah, I get it.

I was driving with my kids the other day, and saw several trees that looked exactly like they were dotted with popcorn. I practically drove off the road (well, maybe not, but I felt like it), and I yelled to the backseats, "OH MY GOODNESS, do you guys see the popcorn popping on the apricot trees?"

Since then, we love to yell out the popcorn color, whether it is just beginning, or whatever else we can think of.

HOW COOL!!!! I told Larry about my discovery and deprived childhood, and he just kind of rolled his eyes. He must think that I grew up on a totally different planet. Well, in my defense, it was a different country, eh?

By the way, it also kinda snowed here today, too. I love snow, but I am ready for spring FOR REAL!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


is it for boys or moms?

i never can tell.

when do i get my patch?

maybe i shouldn't say too much more or i will be the one wearing a yellow scout shirt. yikes!

Friday, April 11, 2008

sounds all around

don't you just love being able to sit in your kitchen and hear NOTHING but the refrigerator?

I sure do. I think I had forgotten what that sounds like.

Obviously there is nothing much to say today. Just that I am grateful for silence.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I was standing at the kitchen sink getting some leftover spaghetti for lunch. Lauren walked over and said,

"Mom, are you eating all of the spaghetti?"

(I had just dumped the whole ziploc bag on my plate. Then I put back about half of it.)

"No, honey. I am leaving some."

Lauren: "Phew! I thought you were going to eat it all."

HA! Obviously "eating it all" is one of my frequent crimes. Oh well. At least I exercise some of it off. (sometimes) :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My first 5K!!

So, I decided that on my birthday I would run a 5K.

No, really.

I know, it is kinda crazy.

I will share my logic.

Well, I have been exercising pretty regularly (Curves) 3 times a week for over a year.

Then, in January I started running every other day on the treadmill. I can do 35 minutes without stopping (that is HUGE for me). That ends up being a little over 3 miles per run. So, I thought to myself that I could do a 5K. No problem, right?

OK, true confessions time. My treadmill has a TV. I have hooked up a DVD player to it, so I run while I watch movies. Is that cheating? I don't think so. I still run 3 miles even if it is while I am watching a show.

My sister Nikki and I decided to run on the morning of my birthday. Thanks, Nik, you are a trooper.

Needless to say, it was WAY harder than watching a movie. But I reached my goal. I didn't stop, and I actually ran a little faster than I normally do. I complained a lot too. But I did it.


Lest you think I am a total wimp, I am actually going to do another one in May.

Wish me luck!

(And send me any mental pointers you can!)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy April Fool's Day

This is as close as I am going to get to celebrating April Fool's Day. I just didn't get into it this year. Cherie gave me a great idea about having dessert for breakfast (I am hoping to try that next year!), but the only thing I am going to pass on is this funny story i heard on NPR tonight. I was just puttering around the kitchen, not really paying attention to the radio, but this story had me saying, "No way!" Here it is in my own words:

A couple in AZ were anxiously awaiting their tax refund check. What they got in the mail instead was an air conditioner. It is part of a pilot program with the IRS to stimulate the economy. Instead of hoping that consumers will spend their refund checks on goods or services, the IRS taps into a sophisticated database of where the taxpayers live and details of their lifestyles and chooses some consumer good that matches their location/lifestyle. They interviewed a supervisor at the IRS about the database and what they take into consideration. They also interviewed a Harvard professor about the implications of this program.

As I listened, I thought, boy, I am glad that isn't me. They wouldn't know the first thing about what I would want to spend my refund on. I am so gullible. I remember thinking, is this for real? It couldn't be, right? But the story followed the format of so many others I have heard, and I was really only listening with half an ear, so I suspended my disbelief for a moment.

Then, at the end of the story, the program host said, "Check your calendars, will ya?"

I had to laugh. They got me good. I guess I can check off "April Fool" on my list for the day.

P.S. Here is the link to the story (I got most of it right, ok?)

Monday, March 31, 2008


I just had to share something I read in Reader's Digest today.

"My husband had an eye infection that was diagnosed as ocular herpes. His physician wasn't about to let him live that one down. 'So Fred,' he joked, 'been looking for love in all the wrong places?'"

I guffawed, I tell you.

Being humbled

I am being humbled. I was just talking to Larry last night about change. I was asking him how he has done it. In the past, I have seen him muscle through change, and I have been amazed at how he has accomplished it. So I asked him, how do you do it? What is the thought process? How can I change the many things I need to change? He said two words: "Be humble."


I never thought of that.

You may think I am speaking tongue-in-cheek, but unfortunately I am not. My mind immediately went to Ether 12:27:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness."

I see the weakness, or should I say weaknesses. But I never saw the first part--when we see our weakness that has come become we are drawing nearer to Him. That is comforting, isn't it? Kind of like a silver-lining sort of thing. Now to go on:

"I give unto men weakness that they may be humble;"

OK--so there is a purpose in this weakness thing. Not wallowing, but humbling. I remember someone once said that you can tell a lot about yourself if, when faced with a trial, you feel humbled or you feel humiliated. Humbled means you have faith, humiliated means you are a lone wolf, trying to save yourself.

"and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;"

When we choose to be humble and ask for help, we get it. We let Him know that we know we are not lone wolves and that He is the most important part of the change cycle because He lifts us. His belief in us goes a long way in helping us to believe in ourselves.

"for if they humble themselves before, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Double WOW. There is the promise. The payoff for being humble. It is miraculous to me to know that the greatest challenges we have can become our greatest strengths. I know this is true, but not often enough for my taste. I guess that is all up to me--the "humble themselves" and "have faith in me" parts are my choice and privilege.

Case in point: I have never been a decisive person. I am a second-guessing, full-of-regretting, good-at-fretting, ask-everyone-their-opinion, change-my-mind-with-every-gust-of-wind kind of girl. But I made a very important decision once that absolutely changed my life for the better. It was a painful time, full of fear and doubt. But I hunkered down (after months of lone-wolfing it), called upon God in humility for help, and believed. Only after that was I able to make a decision and feel GREAT about it. I have never regretted that decision (ever), and that is HUGE for me. I know I did what I wanted, and it also pleased the Lord. That decision I made is a strength to me everyday. Weak things DID become strong for me. Ether was right!!

So why do I fight being humbled? Because it isn't fun. That brings me to another point. Life isn't always fun. Did I think it would be? Being a mom is tough. Did I think it would all be bon-bons and storytime? Didn't I realize there would be temper tantrums and spilled milk? Lies and sassiness? "Was this what I was born to do?"

I must say I have been blindsided by motherhood. But it is my own fault. I have always been a little bit too romanticized for real life. I must have thought that I would just become a wonderful mother without even preparing or even trying. Aren't we, as women, supposed to have untapped reservoirs of patience and love and wisdom that just bubble up when we get married and have families? What is wrong with me?

I didn't dream of having a family. I dreamed of having a career and doing amazing things. Don't get me wrong, I knew I would be a mom and have a family, it just wasn't what I dreamed about. I didn't even dream about my Prince Charming or my wedding day. That was all part of the deal, but it wasn't my aspiration. Now my aspirations are to have a peaceful home, far from being a brain surgeon or an attorney. (Deep down I really didn't want to do any of those things, I just wanted to be something and have people admire me. Yikes, that makes me sound so shallow, but it is the truth.)

However, the people I admire are those with talents that don't always show. Those people with quiet kindness, thoughtfulness, patience and love are the people I want to be like. I don't want the accolades of the working world anymore, I just want to be able to love and help my family. I am woefully ill-equipped for being a selfless mom. I think I never outgrew the self-centeredness of my teen years.

So, I am being humbled. Humbled for not preparing adequately for the challenges of my life. Yet, lest you think I am hopeless, I didn't say humiliated. I have faith that I can still make a difference in my family's life. My kids aren't totally doomed, yet! :) I love my family--every one of them. Each person is different, with individual talents and quirks. And I am in this mothering thing for the long haul. I am learning to have joy in the journey. One smile at a time. One hug at a time. I am definitely being humbled, but that just means I am becoming more like Him. Like a chunk of rock, I am being refined. I have decided that I am very dross-y, but that is ok. It will take me longer, but I will one day be a shining piece of gold. It is already inside of me, I just have to get rid of the stuff that keeps me from shining. Like President Eyring said the other night, I need to go toward the light, not away from it. Then one day I will be filled with light. I can't wait!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My challenge

When President Hinckley passed away, I decided to accept a challenge that I was offered: to read the Book of Mormon in 97 days. I remember thinking during the first week that this would be a piece of cake. I remember thinking one particular night, "Why wouldn't I just read 5 pages a day? What could keep me from doing this?" Well, I can't even begin to recite how many things can keep me from reading 5 pages a day. Needless to say, there are many!

What I need to say is how blessed I am when I read. Just yesterday morning, I got up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. So about 5:30 I decided to read in the Book of Mormon. I read for almost an hour, but I think I might have read just one chapter. I was in Mosiah 4 (a treasure trove of Christian teaching from King Benjamin), so that explains why I could read so little for so long. I've tried to internalize what I read as I go along and that takes time, which I am grateful to spend.

As I read about the people who saw their flaws and were sad about them, I could totally relate. I often have mini-pity parties about the flaws which are so present in my character. But I saw what the Nephites did and noticed a difference from what I usually do. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, they cried to the Lord for help. They cried for mercy. They didn't try to gloss over their nothingness, they accepted it and wanted help to move forward. What a great example of faith. It takes faith to move from "I'm such a mess" to "I can do better". We need to believe that we can change. That is where the Savior comes in. He believes in me. He believes that I was worth dying for. If He had thought that we would not take advantage of His atonement, would He have done it? Wouldn't it just have been in vain? Why go through that much pain and sorrow for no reason? But He had a reason. Us. You and me. He knew we could find strength in His suffering. He knew this strength could help me change. He knew that I could do it. Even if I don't know I can, I can look to His faith in me and be comforted. So often I feel I cannot surmount the challenges I face. I have bad habits; I have no willpower; I delight in sin; I cannot forsake my sins. It is a hopeless place to be. But He hopes I will look to Him and take solace in His faith in me. That is the only way to success. Maybe failure isn't failure at all if I keep trying. The only lasting failure will be if I don't change and grow into the person I can become. The day-to-day failures can one day be overcome if I don't give up. This is what the atonement does for me--it gives me hope that Someone far greater than me and far wiser believes in me. Even when I don't or I can't, He does. And that makes a difference. A huge difference. The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He doesn't want me to stay a child--He wants me to become more--even a queen! There is nothing threatening to Him about my becoming like Him. Just as there should be nothing threatening about my children becoming more than I am. That is why we were created--to fulfill our eternal potential. He has given us the tools--scriptures, prophets, ordinances, temples, families, prayer. Now it is up to me to find the treasures in them that will change my life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My new favorite groove!

Well, if I was cool like so many of you, I would actually provide a hyperlink to this person's music. However, I find that it is amazing to me that I even know the aforementioned term!

So, Michael Buble is my new favorite singer. Think Frank Sinatra for a different generation. I love Michael's rich voice, and I love singing and dancing around the kitchen while I do the dishes. I could listen to him ad nauseum (and do)!

Also, he kind of reminds me of my bro-in-law.

And, an added bonus--he's a Canuck! I bet he even watches Corner Gas! (all the cool people do, you know!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Long, long ago...

I last blogged.

Seriously, I know am slacking. But I thought I would post tonight because I felt too guilty reading everyone else's posts. How do you all do it? I seem to be a feast-or-famine blogger. Oh well!

It has been an interesting few days. We got "realigned" to a new church congregation last week, and so now we get to start at square one. Not that I am complaining, I actually like the clean-slate feeling. Now I can have another chance to be a 100% visiting teacher! Why is that always my first thought? Obviously I feel guilty about my past performance, eh?

But my real thoughts are centered right now on consequences and service. Not really two-of-a-kind, right? Well, hear me out. I am learning that the choices we make in life have consequences (duh!). However, often we don't know what those consequences will be until long after we have made the choice. We may think we can coast and not do hard things, but there is always a consequence for choosing the "easy way". This past weekend I saw some consequences in my own life because I was coasting along, not wanting to make tough changes. It made me sad, but I didn't have anyone to blame but myself. I have been thinking a lot about future consequences I don't want to have in my life, and trying to make better choices. I think deep down inside I am actually pretty wimpy. I don't embrace change. Rather, I run from it kicking and screaming. (emphasis on the screaming part :) But I am learning that I don't want to be a 60-year-old who is woefully immature and selfish. I don't even want to be a 35-year-old who is that way! So I guess I just have to bite the bullet and grow up!

The other part of my thoughts centers on service. As a person trying to become more Christ-like, I know I need to serve others (most especially my family). But it doesn't always come naturally. I have to prepare to serve. Everyday I need to be ready to do something more than I think I can. I am often reminded of a talk by Henry B. Eyring who said that he had the opportunity to learn Spanish from his father who (I think) grew up in the Colonies in Mexico. He didn't take advantage of it at the time, and then learned later that it was a poor choice he had made. He was not prepared to serve in certain capacities because he had made that choice. That made a huge impression on him, and obviously on me as well. What opportunities am I afforded each day? Am I taking advantage of my agency to choose the good and prepare myself to serve? Am I taking the easy way out, and will I be sorry later for that choice?

Don't get me wrong, I am not feeling all doom and gloom. I don't think that life is always a grind. I just think that doing hard things is hard for a time. It is always hard to start an exercise program, or an ambitious program of study or learning. But most of the time it does get easier over time as we grow accustomed to doing it. Then I believe it can even become a joy. (Boy, I will love the day when running becomes a joy to me!) I have experienced that with obedience. It is hard, even confining at first, and then you grow to love that rule or whatever you have obeyed. I can do hard things. I just have to remember that it is worth it! Someday, I will be prepared to serve in a way that I can't right now. Maybe, like Esther, I will be in a place and time designed specifically for what i can do and offer. And maybe that time is now, with my family. And maybe that preparation is me feasting each day on the scriptures and my relationship with Deity, and doing all I can to be my best.

So, the bottom line for me is CARPE DIEM! Do today what I can to be the woman I want to become.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Larry!

My sweetheart is almost forty! And proud of it! (well, not for two more years, but he's cool with it!) He rocks my world.

Isn't is wonderful when you spend so much time with someone (nearly all day everyday), and you're still not bored? Yea, I think so too.

Larry, you are my best friend. I can't think of anyone I'd rather spend eternity with, so I'm glad I'm "stuck" with you.

Have a wonderful day, full of chips, pop, pizza, movies, chocolate, twizzlers, hugs and kisses. (Gosh, do we have a food fixation or what?)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Here's to you, mom!

My mom is sitting here next to me complaining about the fact that she is too inept to blog. Methinks the lady doth protest too much!

So, I will subject you all (i know there are hordes of people reading this blog--although you'd never know it by the paltry amount of comments I get--wink, wink, nudge, nudge) to a boring blog entry so that I can show her how easy it is!

There, now, your punishment is now over.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Believe in what you're doing

I was listening to something this morning that really spoke to me.

It says:

"believe in what you're doing
believe in who you are
believe in who you're becoming
believe in who you are

hold tight to the truth that you're a daughter of God.

It may seem simple--all the little things you do
But the lives you touch matter so much
And there's no one else like you
And Father needs you to stand tall and faithful
To be all you can be"

I needed that today, everyday.

Being a mom is hard, emotionally, mentally tough.
But this is how I am shaping my world, one child at a time.

What will my fruits be? Will those who see the fruits know that I am a Christian?

Will they know I believe?

Do I know I believe?


Thursday, February 07, 2008

I love patterns...

especially in the Book of Mormon. When I find them, I feel like having a little party for my budding sensitivity! (i will definitely invite the Holy Ghost as the guest of honor!)

So now to the details:

1 Ne 11:1 (how is it that so much can be packed into one little verse?)
For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat apondering in mine heart I was bcaught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high cmountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.

Do you see the pattern?

1. desiring
2. believing
3. pondering
4. the reward--revelation!

Cool, huh?

I know, it is like patterns 101, but I love getting personal revelation where scriptures are concerned.

Now I just need to put it into practice. I was reading more last night, and I came across something that has always bugged me (but I am not going to share that thing with you, no offense). I am putting my pattern to the test. Maybe I will even share my findings (if it doesn't reflect poorly on my spiritual kindergarten-ness. :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Positive Persistence

I read an email yesterday that talked about "positive persistence." It was referring to offering healthy food to your children, but I thought about it is a more universal light. Just this morning, Lauren threw a fit about the fact that I wouldn't let her eat yogurt raisins on the stairs. The rule in our house is that we eat seated at the table. Just because she doesn't want to do that does NOT mean that the rule needs to be null and void for her. I encountered resistance (duh!), but I need to persist in expecting obedience to the rule. What an basic but essential principle in parenting! Now, if I could just tame my temper...

Monday, February 04, 2008

President Monson

Did he look great today? He looked so calm and kind. He is definitely different than President Hinckley, and I am looking forward to getting to know his personality. I am also very glad that President Eyring is still in the First Presidency. I know it is foolish, but I feel like he is "my" general authority. He came to our Stake Conference the week before he became a counselor to President Hinckley, and I had such a wonderful experience listening to him that I have had a special feeling toward him ever since (you know he was called to the first presidency because of his awesome talks in our stake conference!). I know it is silly, but no biggie!

I was surprised to see Elder Uchtdorf in the First Presidency. It seems to me that they are calling younger members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to serve in the First Presidency. I think that part of serving in big, scary callings like those are that of training. President Hinckley and President Monson have so much experience to share with others. It will then be the job of the train-ees to be the trainers. That is the beauty of serving in the church. There is always someone who will share their wisdom with you and someone with whom you can share your experiences as well.

Cool, huh?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

No worry!

I have often used the phrase, "no worries," in conversation. But it doesn't really describe me.

I was impressed over this weekend, with the many commentaries on president Hinckley, about his ability to not worry. It was said over and over that he was not one to worry.

I am. Rather, I have been.

I was reading in 1 Nephi tonight, and I noticed a strong thread of worry vs. doubt in Lehi's family. Laman and Lemuel worried about Laban, Nephi did not. They worried about their riches, Nephi saw them as tools to facilitate a miracle. What a difference.

Faith is essential to not worrying. Without faith, we are just wishing that things would work out right. We don't expect miracles without faith, we wish things would turn out better than they do. Faith is the key. Nephi had faith because he had sought the Lord and had been strengthened. Laman and Lemuel didn't even try.

I want to "go forward with faith" and expect miracles. President Hinckley sure did, and he saw plenty of miracles.

It is snowing again!

I love the snow. Still! It has been snowing off and on since Christmas, and I am in seventh heaven! I love looking out my window at the huge flakes coming down. I love driving on a quiet evening when the noises of the cars are drowned out by the dampening effects of the snowfall. I love taking a deep breath of cold air and looking into a crystal dark sky.

I love that I don't have to drive in the snow everyday. I love that I can send my boy to school on foot. I love that Larry got a snowblower so I don't need to shovel (unless I want to).

I just want to make one more observation.

On Friday when I woke up, the snow was coming down like a thick blanket. i was worried to drive to Salt Lake for fear of dangerous road conditions. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, but it certainly wasn't clear. Then when I woke up this morning, there was a new layer of snow on the ground and it was coming down so fast! So much snow!! But I think of yesterday, the day of President Hinckley's funeral--the sun was shining, the sky blue, the roads clear. Coincident? I don't think so. The Lord was smiling down on the farewell of this mighty servant. Everyone was able to participate how they wished without road conditions hindering their way. What a simple yet wonderful blessing. God loves his children!

Hinckley Challenge

I got an email about this challenge honoring President Gordon B. Hinckley. I am going to do it as well as put a graph with my progress on this blog (if I can figure it out--if anyone wants to help me, let me know!).

I am grateful for his leadership, and I know he would want us to come closer to the Savior. One way I can do this is by reading Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon.

Hop on board--let's honor him together!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

So many blessings...

The first thing I want to say could be offensive, but it isn't meant to be.

I never wanted to live in Utah.

I was okay with stopping there for a few years for college, but I never envisioned myself actually living there.

I mean, here.

I live in Utah, and I am so glad that I do.

Because I live here, I was able to take my children to pay our respects to a very important man in our lives, President Gordon B. Hinckley.

We waited a long time, and the kids got a little antsy, but it was well worth it.

I saw a man who wore himself out in the service of the Lord. And it seemed to be a privilege, not a sacrifice, for him to do so. It reminded me of the handcart pioneers who wouldn't have traded their sufferings for anything because they truly came to know their God through those heart-wrenching trials.

But an unexpected blessing came immediately after. I was approached by a very nice woman (who I recognized as one of Pres. Hinckley's daughters) who walked straight toward me and thanked me for coming to the viewing. All I could do was dissolve into my tears and try to choke out a thank you to her for sharing her father with the entire world membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I felt like I was in the presence of angels, and they weren't all on the other side of the veil.

Today, during the funeral, I found myself again tearing up as I watched the love Pres. Hinckley exuded in every talk, every smile, every wave of that wonderful cane. How privileged I am to have been alive when this "giant of a man" guided this church with such humility, wisdom, faith, and optimism. How blessed I am to have known and loved him. As I said before, I am even more motivated to stand a little taller.

I already miss him, but I know that is a selfish feeling. I cry because I won't see him at the pulpit of the Conference Center, I won't hear another witty remark, I won't feel his powerful testimony of the Savior. But I will remember.

I saw President Monson in a new light today as well. What a loving man with such a daunting task. One could say that he has big shoes to fill, but that is the beauty of the gospel and the priesthood. There is no ambition for power or recognition in the leadership of this church. Those serving are doing so because the Lord has called them. President Monson brings different talents to the table than Pres. Hinckley did, but they are every bit as needed and tailored for this time and these circumstances. I pray that the Lord will strengthen him, and that we will all support and love him in his service.

I am grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am grateful to be a wife and mother. I am grateful for good lives that lift, motivate, support, and strengthen me. I will miss him, but President Hinckley's legacy will live on as each of us live more like our Savior.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

President Hinckley

I am so grateful for the life and testimony of President Gordon B. Hinckley. As Larry told me that he had passed away tonight, I just stood there, unbelieving. I find that in my everyday speech, my prayers, my conversations, my thoughts, he is always there. I love hearing my children pray for him. I love his smiling, faithful, enthusiastic face as he urges us to "stand a little taller." I feel like I know him because I have been touched so deeply by him. I am sure there are people all over the world who feel exactly the same way. I will miss his straight-forward, unapologetically optimistic attitude and his sense of humor. I will miss his insights and wisdom. I know he was a prophet of God, prepared through his life to humbly and willingly lead the church of Jesus Christ. I love him, and I have always looked up to him and his towering example. I will stand a little taller, and I will try a little harder to follow the teachings of this amazing servant of God. I have been so blessed to learn at his feet.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I am grateful...

This won't be a long post, but I have to write something after today. I was asked to help the youth in our ward (church congregation) with a cultural activity which culminated in a performance tonight. I have been gone (from home) a lot for this assignment, and needless to say, my family has missed me. The focus was on gratitude. Our ward's theme was gratitude for obedience. The kids sang an awesome song called O-B-E-Y (sang to the tune of Y-M-C-A). It was a long time coming, but we were able to do a great job. I had a great time with the kids, and that meant a lot to me. But it really hit me when I came home tonight (after being gone since 9 am), and the kids were telling me how much they missed me. I was glad to be able to say that I was obedient to what the bishop had asked of me, and that I was grateful for my obedience. I was able to share with my family that I am grateful for what the Lord asks of me. He's probably saying, "Who'd a thunk it? She sure does complain a lot about what she's asked to do."

He's right. As always.

I do complain a lot. But I am going to try to stand a little taller where this is concerned. I have been given so much: a loving Heavenly Father, a merciful Savior, an adoring husband, wonderful children, a healthy body, and a beautiful world to live in. I am grateful. For a living prophet, for scriptures, for amazing examples of Christ-like living all around me, and so much more.

What are you grateful for?

Monday, January 21, 2008

We love to sled!

So, this is my homage to sledding.

We love to go sledding at the Rock Canyon Bowl, and my pictures are dramatic. You'll have to imagine what it was like because all of the pictures I got were of the inside of my pants pocket. Don't you love it when you can hear the click of your cellphone camera as you are sledding down the hill? I sure do.

Oh, if it could only capture sound...

P.S. In case anyone is wondering, boogie boards make EXCELLENT snow sleds!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Just a little reminder...

I find I always need to be reminded that most people are just regular folks. So often we think that just because they live outside of our skin, they must feel differently than we do. They must not have the struggles we do. Their lives must run so much smoother than ours does.

Well, most people are people just like me.

They love yummy food. They love to laugh. They love to feel happy. They love to feel good about themselves.

It is the simple stuff that makes us alike. The important stuff.

I want to remember that we all want to be happy, and I want to make someone happy every day.

Even if it is only me. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

I will go, I will do

I was just reading in 1 Nephi 3:7-8 about Nephi's desire to do whatever the Lord would require because he knew He would help him do whatever that was. Of course, that wasn't the only reason Nephi obeyed, it is just a good reason. I am learning to trust the Lord. It seems like one of those lessons we never finish learning. There is always a new level the Lord can take us to in order to help us trust Him. That's mostly a good thing, but sometimes it is a scary thing. Fear isn't good. Fear is the enemy. Fear keeps me from doing some of the most important things I could possibly do. I have lived in fear long enough. Fear, BE GONE!!!

The other thought I have is that in verse 8, Lehi is "exceedingly glad" that his son has learned such an important principle. It got me to thinking about how I am my children's guide and example to learn to know and love and serve their Father in Heaven. My prayers need to focused on how I can guide them in their journey. The reward, then, is joy in their growth and success (and failure-if it leads them to be humble and keep trying). I want to rejoice in my posterity, but that doesn't come without a price. A daily, sometimes mundane, sacrifice and service.

I will go and do just that.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Year, new blog?

Well, maybe just one that gets most posts, right?

I am really going to try to get pictures on here. I got a new camera for Christmas, and I want to learn how to use it. So, of course, I went to the library to get some books on camera basics (fueling the hope that someday I will take pictures like Tara or Cherie). I got one called The Photographer's Eye. I think I read a few pages and then laughed. This book was for die-hards. It talked about composition, design, motion, tension, and on and on. I though tension was just what I felt when I tried to take pictures of my kids. I should be an award-winning photographer by this time with all the tension I felt. But it isn't that kind of tension. YIKES! What have I gotten myself into here? I just want to take pictures, not re-invent the wheel!!! I guess that means I have to actually take some pictures and experiment. I don't really like to do that. I like to know what I am doing. I don't like taking risks--I like being safe and accomplished. Boy, isn't that a recipe for disaster.

Does it feel to anyone else like this blog is a sort of therapy for me?

Read at your own risk. I don't pay by the hour.