Monday, September 29, 2008

A glimpse into Addi's world

*disclaimer* If you are not LDS, nothing in the following post will make any sense...and I promise Mormons aren't weird...Oh! and polygamists aren't Mormon, I just need to add that too! (and we don't grown horns, worship seagulls, live like the Amish, and "yes" we can eat chocolate)



The kids had their Primary program on Sunday. They were so excited, and invited my Mom and sister. Since we struggle EVERY Sunday to make it to church before the Sacrament, I knew we were in for a challenge! The girls had to be there on time, best dress, hair done, and ready for their parts. (and I am the only one who can do their hair and dress them, love Mike...but there's NO WAY!)
We made it! I was so darn proud of ALL of us! Cori was nervous, but excited about her part playing the chimes. Lexi was as beautiful as ever, and ready to roll. Sophie was in usual 'stinker' fashion, but only having her to juggle between Mike, myself, Grandma, and Sam would be cake! This leaves my sweet, sweet Addi.
Addi is the most friendly and confident child I know. She is VERY outspoken and happy every minute of everyday. NOTHING gets this kid down! I just love her.
Well...for the program, they asked the children questions, and recorded their answers. So instead of memorizing a part, they had the Sunbeams give honest answers to questions like: "I love my Mom and Dad because..." Which I think was such a cute thing to do!
About 4 weeks ago I get a note home with the girls parts attached. Addi's little slip of paper reads..."I love the temple because once I went there with my Mom and actually danced." Oh crap!

So the background is this...
Addi is by far the most 'girly' girl I have. She has always been fluffy, flirty, dancing and prancing around the house. She thinks that boys are handsome, and dressing up is her favorite pastime. Since this is the complete opposite of my feelings and behavior, I have struggled relating. I have done my best to appreciate her, and let her be herself. Lately, however, I wonder if I should maybe give her a bit more reality...Nah! Princess Giselle in the movie Enchanted is the clone of my Addi, I mean EXACTLY the same. Mike and I laughed so hard when we saw this movie and realized that this may be the future of our little sweetheart! Reality is overrated!


Anyways...at the end of every Disney movie. The beautiful princess dances with handsome prince and they are married. Consequently, to get married you must dance.
This has created a playtime scenario which plays out almost daily. Addi dresses up in the 'bride' outfit and asks Sophie to dance. Addi has trained Sophie to bow, and answer "Your majesty" (which sounds like "yo MAH-jess-teeeeee") Which makes me laugh EVERY TIME I hear it. Then they dance!
After reading the Primary part, I started asking Addi questions about the temple...her and I dancing...and when we went to the temple? She informed me that we had gone and "danced" at the temple, and that's how we were married. I told her that "Daddy and Mommy went to the temple to get married" and she would get to do the same someday, but the dancing she's seen in our pictures and videos was AFTER the temple. Which she of course answers "I know Momma, I remember!" Of course you do!
So after multiple discussions she insists that dancing in the temple means you are married. Oh my sweet Addi! And because she insists that she attended my wedding, I cannot tell her otherwise.
Last week I told my neighbor and Primary Pres that I was a bit nervous about her part. She then proceeds to tell me that every time they have practiced, Addi has said something different, but it always has to do with dancing and temples, "and it is hilarious!" Oh geeeeeeez!
So they invite the Primary children to come to the front. Addi walks up to the front, then returns to the very back crying because she can't find her class. I quickly grab her hand and walk her up front. She insists that she needs to go straight to the pulpit! In front of the entire ward starts into a fit, yelling "but I have something to say!!!" So I convince her that she will get her turn if she sits with her class. She refuses and so I take her by the hand and start back to our seats. Halfway down the chapel she decides she wants to sit with her class and screams "OK! I WANT TO SING!" Argh!!!! I walk her to the front. Of course by now all the kids are settled and I am the only one standing and walking back and forth arguing with my 4 year-old in front of everyone. And now I have to walk all the way back to the last row in the cultural hall. Arrrrrrgh!
Everything was so beautiful and ran so smoothly. It was truly fantastic! When it is Addi's turn, she stands up and says "I love the temple because my Mommy and Daddy danced there and got MARRIED!"
What's that you say?...what do you mean?...why...how did YOU get married at the temple? Just ask your 4 year-old!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

What do we really want for our children?

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better.

I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.

I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car....and I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room,but when she wants to crawl under the covers with you because she's scared, I hope you let her.

When you want to see a movie and your little sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let her.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it.. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your
Grandparents and go fishing with your Uncle.

May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.


Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you.. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.

-Paul Harvey

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm superficial, bless my heart!

I tend to get stuck using a saying, and use it to death, then not say it again. I have recently started saying, "This is going to sound really superficial, but..."
It has made me realize how many things I can preface with this phrase. Which has also made me realize how superficial I can be.
The first time I used it, I had decided to paint my nails blue for the BYU game. I had spent an hour folding laundry, but didn't put it away. You know...all the neat and orderly piles, all divided and laid out perfectly? Well for me this seems to be the end of my laundry process. I have the hardest time putting it all away!
Laundry is definitely my housewife duty most often neglected. I HATE laundry. It's probably because I personally have too many clothes, and all four of the girls have too many clothes. So by the time i actually NEED to do laundry, it is such an overwhelming experience.
Anyways...I had fold laundry, and decided to paint my nails. Mike came into the bedroom to see the bed covered with laundry. I soon realized he was going to love the fact that I had just painted my nails, therefore couldn't touch anything. I said, "This is going to sound really superficial...but I can't move any of that laundry off the bed because I just painted my nails!"
He looked at me and laughed with relief. He replied "Oh! I thought you were going to say something you didn't like about the way I looked." I was offended! "What? Why would you think that?" Yeah...I dunno.

Sophie took a nose dive onto the floor a couple weeks ago. She came down on her mouth pretty hard. I looked in her mouth and her gum around her front tooth was bleeding. It looked OK, and the tooth didn't seem loose. I was surprised she didn't chip it, or knock it out.
Last week, I was brushing her teeth before bed. Her front teeth looked dirty to me. I brushed extra long, and it still looked funny. The next day it still looked dirty, so I brushed it some more. Then it dawned on me that the dirty tooth was the same one she hit on the floor. I quickly called the Dentist. We had appointments scheduled for the end of the month, but I thought I probably should get her in immediately!
The dental assistant asks me if "the tooth is bothering her?" No. "Does she seem to be in any pain?" No. "There is the possibility of an abscess. Do you see a sore, or pimple looking bump on her gums." No.
She then tells me to keep an eye on it, and watch for any discomfort. I was surprised, and asked "So should I bring her in?" To which the nurse answers "You can if you want to, but there's probably nothing to be done."
I hate this answer! As a mother, I have heard this multiple times. This is the typical "You're an over-reacting parent, but I'm in the medical profession, and I have to answer correctly or I could get sued " answer. Which is a resounding NO, but I can go in to comfort myself, and it's not going to affect my child's situation.
The sad part is...my biggest concern was the appearance of the tooth! I answered the lady with "But the tooth is turning GREY!" She said that it was because the nerve is dying, and that's what happens. "Can the Dentist fix the nerve, you know, have it come back?"
Idiot! I look back and think...Hello? Was I asking the Dentist to perform open heart surgery on the nerve of this baby tooth? To save it tiny little life? He could perform CPR, how about a nerve transplant? I'm sure there are donors!
And why? Why is this so vital?
I tell the assistant "This is going to sound superficial...but I think it looks bad! She has a big beautiful smile full of white teeth, and...well...it's not going to look good."
There was a pause. A pause long enough to make me realize I sounded like a horrible Mom. She probably thinks I'm the Mom that enters my children in all the beauty pageants. Highlights, make-up, fluffy dresses, tap shoes and a singing routine. My three-year-old's image is my main concern? I'm Jon Benet Ramsey's Mom!
"No, I'm sorry there's not really anything." But I could hear her thinking "Your right! You are superficial, the color of your daughters tooth should be the least of your concerns!"

I was thinking that anything I would start with "this is going to sound superficial..." really IS SUPERFICIAL! I realized I also start sentences with "I probably shouldn't say this, but..." Why do I think that phrase will justify the next words out of my mouth? Saying it is superficial doesn't make it less superficial.
Mike once told me that if you "bless their heart" it gives you liberty to say anything you want about somebody. He learned this in the South, and we always laugh about it. If we catch ourselves saying something negative about somebody, we quickly add "bless his/her heart!" Which means we shouldn't have said it, and change the subject.
So I've had to ask myself why prefacing something makes it acceptable. If I have to preface it I probably SHOULDN'T say it! I guess it gives me something else to work on, or at least think about next time I preface my comment!
Things have happened recently which I have found myself gossiping about. Along with neglecting laundry, this is another downfall of mine, and I really need to work on it. Mike asks me if I'm being a "gossip-monger".
I guess I need people to tell me to 'knock-it-off' and then bless my heart!

"I believe you should live every day as if it's your last. That is why I don't have any clean laundry-because come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?"
-Cathy Ladman

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

stays gorgeous, stays creamy, STAYS ON!!!


Here is my endorsement of Revlon's color-say lipstick!

Sophie gave me a panic attack today. She was in the playroom, and the ice cream man drives down the street. The ice cream man has always given me "ebby-geebies". I think of the child catcher on Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang!
The older two were set on using their hard earned cash on an overpriced Popsicle. After all the commotion, I realized I didn't know where Sophie was. I yelled through the house and there was complete silence. My thought immediately turn to the creepy ice cream man! I tell all the kids to drop the ice cream and "FIND SOPHIE"!!! I run out of the house like a mad woman, Cori and Lexi run to the neighbors. I can't see her, and I know she wouldn't be too far. She only leaves the house to jump on the tramp, right? After the girls recruit the neighbors, I'm ready to run down the ice cream man. The thought occurs that she might still be in the house, and I should be sure before calling the police and getting the ice cream man arrested.
I run inside, going room to room yelling! I run into my bathroom and see open lipstick on the floor. This is obviously her doing, but where is she? I open the door to the toilet room (Mike calls the 'king's throne room') and there she is! Being as quiet as possible, hiding from me, with beautiful red lipstick on her lips and limbs.
Such a feeling of relief, and such a feeling of "stinker!" (which is why she is called stinker-pot-pie) I am not a calm enough mother to take cute pictures of my kids when they've done something wrong. But after scrubbing her for 15 minutes in the tub, I figure a picture of a washed and disciplined child is the best it gets.
When purchasing lipstick, remember the benefit of it staying on your lips, also bring the benefit of it staying on your child...what do they say?...Kissable! Infallible lip and arm coverage for HOURS AND HOURS!

"Lipstick so soft and smooth you won't believe it's long-lasting... for hours and hours of luscious, feel good color in one smooth step. Stays gorgeous, stays creamy, stays on."

DANG IT!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Hubba Hubba!!

Yesterday Mike turned...oh...wait for it...33! Just kidding babe! It didn't help that my sister Manda said "REALLY? 33? REALLY?" I love Manda!

I gave him a hard time the night before when I informed him how good it was to be married to him. Why? Because he's "just enough older than me, so I always feel young!" I then informed him how great it was for him to be turning 33 when I am still in my twenties. Then I lovingly said "goodnight...when you wake up you'll be 33! haha!" It's a good thing he loves me so darn much! I gotta take it easy on him because I'm afraid of the payback I'll get.

Seriously? I'm gonna get real sappy on this one. I read some of my friends tributes to spouses and I think "Aaaahhhhhh...so sweet." Truthfully, I'm not sure I could say all that without laughing. Part of being overly sarcastic is trying really hard to seriously tell my loved ones how I feel. They know if I give them a hard time, I love them. The more teasing, the more love...not always received well, I'm working on it.

I could just write pages and pages about how physically attractive he is. You know...broad shoulders, bulging muscles, super tall, amazing blue eyes, pecs big enough to make some woman jealous, (with the ability to bounce one at a time), deep manly voice, dark hair, great jaw line, abs of steel, REALLY nice backside, devastatingly handsome.........but that might sound superficial. So here it goes...


Mike is the second child in a family of two boys then two girls. He wasn't the oldest, first son. He wasn't the first daughter, and he wasn't the youngest. He is really different from the rest of his family. To the extent of either or both of us frequently asking "where did he come from?"

Mike is exceptionally smart. I think his mind works on a level above the rest of us. From a small age, he was always a very studious and determined kid. It was ALWAYS important for him to do the very best he could. His grades were top priority, and he achieved all he put his mind to. He was in gifted programs, received the "Hope of America" award, and is an Eagle Scout. Along with the State Title for football, Mike graduated saludictorian of his High School. He accepted an academic scholarship to BYU, and served in all leadership capacities on a 2 year mission to Alabama. (I know, I know...how the two of us ended up together is beyond both of us!)


I'm not one to mistake accomplishments/awards as character, but this is just the background of who he is.

Shortly after we were married Mike's Mom got very sick. Although Mike is very different from the rest of his family, he is a direct mold of his Mother. She was an amazingly gifted woman. Every person who knew her, loved her. Mike was blessed with many of her great qualities, and loved her with all of his heart.

She passed away after an incredibly strong and courageous battle with cancer. This was probably the most difficult time for Mike. He was close to graduating college, and would be the first in his family to do so, besides his Mom. He always knew how proud she would be of him for this, and it tore him apart to not have her there on that special day. His Mom and Dad being proud of him is of the greatest importance.

Shortly thereafter, Mike's father passed away as well. His Dad had been sick for a long time, and Mike had thought his Dad would not have been alive when he returned from his mission. He was grateful to have him longer, but it was still a very difficult time when he passed. It was an abrupt and very early end to Mike's life with his parents, and the importance of those relationships.

Mike is the strongest man I have ever known. Both physically and emotionally. He has an amazing heart, and is also the kindest man I know. Truly a peacemaker! (I can thank his mother for that) He is a 6'7" 250 lb. teddy bear. (I can thank his Dad for that) I know he will not like the Teddy Bear part, but it's true. People will comment on how intimidating he is, and he finds it as funny as I do.

He has an incredible testimony, and has been so good to teach me about the gospel. His priorities are virtuous, and I admire his relationship with the Lord. He has always honored his Priesthood, and blessed our home because of his diligence. He is honest to a fault.

He is a born leader, and rightfully so! I can't imagine anyone better to follow. We are so blessed to have him lead our family. If you talk to him, he sounds like a typical jock, with "Hey dude..." starting every conversation, but it's just a front.


He is an amazing Dad. I've always had a philosophy of big strong men who have all daughters. Especially because most of them want all sons. Many of Mike's football friends have all daughters. I believe the Lord send his precious daughters to these men who will take such good care of them. Mike is the greatest 'Girl Daddy'. He loves them all so dearly, and teaches them that everyone should love them that way. He has set the bar so high for any potential husbands it will be tough for anyone to be good enough for his little girls. (Not to mention the shotgun collection on the wall behind him during the interview will scare away most of them) I love to watch the girls show off their Daddy to their friends. Their little friends ask if he's a "real-life giant?", but what other Daddy will do curls with 3 kids on each arm? not to mention change all the light bulbs without a ladder?!!


It is difficult to express how great of a husband he is. I'm not sure I will ever understand why I deserve such an amazing man, but I thank the Lord everyday for him. He has always treated me with amazing respect and love. I have a very strong personality and can be extremely stubborn and very opinionated. (shocker I know!) And while I hate to admit this...I am so grateful that he puts me in my place when I need it. He loves me unconditionally, which is something I'm not sure I ever had until he came into my life. He expresses his love daily, and always makes me feel like the most beautiful woman. He takes all his fatherly and spousal responsibilities so seriously. He has always provided for us, and takes great honor in being able to do so. I love that he can kill me at basketball (was a requirement for me), and beat me so easily in an arm wrestle but makes me think I have a chance. We equally appreciate sports and agree our girls won't be cheerleaders. (not that cheerleaders are bad...but...well...I won't go there.) I love that when he's excited he calls me 'Dude', apologizes and calls me 'Dude' again three second later! We are so different in many ways, but so perfect together. He takes all my quirks and wacky ideas, he helps me be better. He goes along with my random plans in life, and makes me be realistic and finish what I start. He accepts me, and loves me. He accepts and loves EVERYONE!

So babe, Happy Birthday! Thanks for all you do! Thanks for always being older than me, I appreciate it. Thanks for always being taller, so I look and feel like a normal girl. I have accepted the funny looks, constant "how tall are you?" questions, and buying you special clothes and shoes! I have loved spending your last eleven birthday's with you and look forward to many more. Oh, by the way...I'm more than happy to spend this weekends 'Father and Son' outing together. Rule #1, You da' man! (Mike's rules from dating) Smooooch!


Here are some pics from the party. We didn't give or receive gifts this year, our time away with each other was a big enough gift for the year. (and probably next year too!)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Update

Initially, I thought I would write this post and backdate it to sometime at end of June. Because that would make it SEEM like I was really 'on the ball'. Then I thought it probably wouldn't be very honest of me, and someday my children would read it and say "That's funny. I don't ever remember Mom being good at following up on New Years Resolutions like that."
So I guess the truth is, I have thought a lot about what I had resolved to do this year. (key there is 'thought' about it) I think it's stupid to make resolutions every year if I'm not going to do any of them. Yet, that's what I seem to do year after year.
I really did make an effort this year to try my darndest, and well, I guess it's better than nothing. So for myself...here is my not-so-mid-year closer to end-of-year inventory check:

To increase my wisdom:
1. organize and simplify each room
2. organize hobbies, and finish all projects
3. create a daily/weekly schedule for myself

Ummm...I'm thinking that half of the rooms really doesn't count. I guess it is better then nothing though. I seem to have run into a big problem with this...I will organize a room, but it seems to 'un'organize itself really really quickly. Maybe next year I can try to KEEP rooms organized and simple. I did however, organize and increase my Food Storage, organize the girls' rooms, my kitchen, and I almost finished the playroom. (yep! the was the first room I organized, and never quite finished...I am determined to get it done by January) I also want to post pictures of the organization. Just so when I'm having a bad day, I can look at them and remember that those rooms were clean at one time.
Hobbies and finished projects, yeah, that didn't happen. I can't even finish finishing my projects!
I did however create a daily/weekly schedule. It was not the CREATING that was hard, I just can't seem to follow the schedule. Oh well...baby steps.


To increase stature (physical goals):
1. incorporate more fruits and veggies DAILY
2. cut out all refined sugars (exception of special occasions)
3. drink more water

I'm not sure why I find this so funny now...but "increase physical stature"? I think my goal is to DECREASE my physical stature. Geeeeez!
I am quite please to say that I have definitely incorporated more fruits and veggies, and I drink more water. (I even stopped drinking Diet Dr. Pepper for a few months, on and off...yep, back on now!) I tried the sugar thing, I think it lasted a whole 24 hours. And it seems like there's a special occasion just about every week. (It doesn't help that washing three loads of laundry in a day is a special occasion. Oh well!)
I have started tracking what I eat, and following the Weight Watchers plan. I don't attend the meetings. Which the commercial says I would lose 3% more if I did...then Mike informed me of the math on that. In his words..."You know sweetheart?...that means if you lost 100 pounds, you would lose another 3 pounds by going to the meetings. Since you don't have that much to lose...your talking about a few more ounces."
Thanks babe! Math was never a talent of mine...I think the people making commercials knows that about me. DUH!
I am down 16 lbs., and if I can just MAINTAIN that through the holidays I consider that a huge success.

To increase favour with God (spiritual goals):
1. record my thoughts and feelings on my scripture study
2. attend the temple monthly

Now this one is a more personal topic. I have have some MAJOR testimony building experiences this year. They didn't quite feel that way at first, but they have helped me to take my blinders off and open my eyes. Between the small and short callings I held this summer, the Lord knew I had some things to learn.
I have not recorded my thoughts on my scripture study, but I have been more diligent on studying the scriptures. I need to do a better job at consistently studying, not just turning for answers when I feel 'chewed up and spit out' by people. If I read more often i would probably have more strength DURING those moments, rather than after.
Unfortunately, Mike and I have not attended the Temple every month, but we have been able to attend more often, and taken some Stake sealing assignments. I am grateful we have a few more months to work on this.

Truthfully I am grateful I have a few more months to work on all of it! Keeping up with this blog thing, has helped me keep a record of my family. It is great to have this past year written down. I have never been able to do that before.
I know this is a stretch, but blogging has been a real blessing this past year. I have made great new friends, gotten in contact with old friends, and been able to get to know people a lot better.
I saw a comment on a ward members post a couple months back. It said that she was "afraid blogs would tear our ward apart". I could see what she meant at the time, but I would say that I completely disagree.
Getting to know one another better, strengthens our friendships. If knowing each others strengths, struggles, and feelings tears us apart...Than what does that mean we share with one another on Sunday? And if knowing more about someone makes you think less of them...than what does that say about our judgment of others?
I will say that knowing more about a person does come with surprises, but knowing more about the members of my ward has made me love them more. Despite some of the struggles I have, I live by amazing women and incredible Mothers. Who are great examples to me. I think all those friends who have shared with me, have made me want to be a better wife, Mom, and all around better person.
My friends make fun of me for starting Christmas plans and shopping so early, but it helps me to enjoy the season so much better. I can become a 'stress case' pretty easily...plus, it helps me have the 'Christmas spirit' for a couple extra months.
So, as I jump into this season of thanks, love and family...I am grateful for my wonderful friends and family. I have learned to be thankful for how different we all are, and as Christmas approaches...I have learned the importance of having "room at the Inn". I get caught up in the day-to-day, and don't always consider the feelings of those around me. The Lord wants us all to feel welcome, and I am thankful to all those who have "made room" for me at their Inn this year, and those who have taught me to do the same for others.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear Anonymous...



No worries...no explicit words...I'm just extremely long-winded. (a problem I've had recently)

I cannot express in words the range of emotions I had this afternoon, but I'm gonna give it a try...(hint: my emotions are in bold) I really did want to take the high road with this situation...and I probably should have. But guess what, I didn't! (I know shocker!)

This afternoon, I accidentally stumbled across two comments left on posts I wrote more than two months ago. I know there is a way to check all comments or something, but the fact is, I figure if people really have something significant to say...they will put it where I can see it. (like on my most recent posts) These were the tasty nuggets left back on September 5, on very old posts:

Anonymous said...

You are CRAZY for putting this where EVERYONE in your ward can see. If this is your PERSONAL journal than keep it that way. As for girls camp, running around with a bra over your clothes is TOTALLY in appropriate. If your girls went to a spiritual camp and came home to tell you their leader was wearing a bra and showing them you might be upset. What if this was a teacher from school, they would be fired.
I think you are making it worse for yourself by putting this all where everyone can see.

and the other tasty nugget:
Anonymous said...

Keep it PRIVATE than!


(I will forgive the grammar issues.)

I will first start by expressing my deepest HOPE that anonymous is reading...I'm calling her Nony for short. I would love for Nony and I to become good friends in the future. I truly do have that hope, for many reasons. First off, I think that Nony desperately needs to open her eyes and accept the wonderful people around us, the differences in all of us. Maybe my blog can do that for her. Obviously by her opinions, and the way in which they were given, she would never feel comfortable sharing things publicly. That makes me feel sad, and I wish we lived in a place where people weren't so afraid to share themselves with others. I don't mean our Sunday-selves...our everyday-selves.

We are so fortunate to live in an amazing country with the gift of free speech, as well as an unusual Mormon culture which unfortunately has it's lack of diversity. Putting those two together gives quite an interesting platform. Strangely enough, I have very little problem with sharing my feelings about this culture. Maybe it will help me to understand people like Nony. And help others understand why "Utah Mormon's" are called such.

This blog thing has been a great outlet for me to record and put into words my feelings. I ENJOY hearing comments from others, whether they agree or not. I'm sure this posts probably says otherwise, I was just surprised at the way these comments came about. I want Nony to understand why I share myself with others. (even members of my ward...who are great people...and if they do judge me...they will have to answer for that at the pearly gates!) If things are inappropriate to someone, I should be more open-minded myself, to try and understand why that is. Sometimes I think hearing others opinions and feelings can help me to not feel alone, help me to see things from a different perspective, or I may totally disagree with them...and that's OK too.

Obviously, the second comment was given on the post where I felt frustrated when I couldn't express my feelings and considered going private.

The first comment was given on a post I wrote and back dated extremely far. Why, you may ask? Because it was more of a post for me, my children, my family to have. If anyone would like to go through months and months to read all of my previous posts, be my guest. It obviously means you want to know much more about me. I have nothing to hide, I have had some crazy life experiences and have no problem sharing. I have very frequently back dated posts for things I forgot to post. I also back date more personal posts if I feel I don't want it "front and center" for weeks. Like I said, I do believe that sharing helps us understand each other better, and increases our knowledge and perspective.

I am very glad Nony gave her opinion on the Girls Camp drama. This is where I have had too strong of feelings about to not respond. And I must admit...I can't believe anyone still remembers what happened at camp...but for Nony, this is my final and absolute last recap...

Your comment stated that "If your girls went to a spiritual camp and came home to tell you their leader was wearing a bra and showing them you might be upset." Not that I feel a need to defend myself, there are plenty of previous posts for that. I am glad Nony mentioned a spiritual camp. It was a very spiritual week for all those who attended. Except from my ward, there was nothing but positive feedback regarding camp. And when referring to the bra incident, the Stake President said "That's girls camp!"

In relation to the "wearing a bra" part, I definitely was wearing a bra that evening! After being pregnant with 4 kids, and nursing all 4 of them, trust me, nobody wants those girls swinging around. I could put out and eye with those babies! Anyways...My bra which was keeping my ladies in place was under 3 or 4 layers of clothing. The bra in question was not my bra, it was a 'gag' gift. A 'gag' gift given to us from the STAKE YOUNG WOMEN'S PRESIDENCY. With a card stating how thankful they were for our 'support' and how 'uplifting' camp had been thus far. The 'gag' bra was put on OVER THE TOP of all my layers. I just thought I would clarify that for Nony...in case she didn't quite understand.

If you DID understand and still feel that way...I must warn you...they hang bras in plain sight at Wal-Mart! I know, I know...maybe at Wal-Mart's in Las Vegas but so inappropriate in Utah!!! And for the record, I wouldn't be upset if my daughters came home from Girls Camp with that story. I of ALL people would not be upset, obviously! Trust me, it's not near as bad as what they see at home!

However...with that said...I value Nony's opinion and she is entitled to it! Maybe she should really consider not sending her own girls to Girls Camp. (if she has any) Not that there is a single daughter of God who isn't welcome, I'm just afraid of what inappropriate things her daughter might and probably would experience. Part of the joy in camp is that all daughters of God are welcome, young and old.

Sorry I'm getting off track...I swear that is the last thing you will read about girls camp, after all, it is now towards the end of SEPTEMBER. Geeeeeez Louise!!

As anyone who reads this blog knows...I am a pretty honest person. I'm not a 'sugar coater' so to say, and I have always been that way. Anyone who has known me longer than the past year or two knows I've always been a bit of an odd duck. I have no problem "putting myself out there". I realize that being honest, expressing my successes and faults comes at a price. I have never fit the mold and the beauty of it is that as I have gotten older, I have learned to love who I am and what I believe, regardless of others opinions. Expressing my feelings is not only what I do, but it's what I hope, pray and teach my own children to do. It may come with some criticism, but it's worth the cost to be a 'real' person.

I can't think of better people to know my feelings than those who live close to me. (my ward) I hope it will shed some light on the "crazy lady living at the end of the street". Even if I seem strange to those around me, at least they will know where I'm coming from. I would not post anything on this blog that I would not say, or have not already said, to anyone! I have a testimony and I am not afraid to share it, and I am thankful for my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I am not perfect, and try to not come across as such. If reading more about me makes members of my ward think less of me, or think I am a "bad apple"...well...it's that whole 'pearly gates' thing again.

I'm going out on a limb to say that I am 80%, maybe even more sure that Nony is in my ward. Now I shouldn't feel this way, but I will say that I feel Nony has VALIDATED my feelings of the crazy place I live. There are wonderful people where I live, and I have great friends! But when people think I am may be exaggerating my situation, Nony makes me want to jump up and down, cup my hands around my mouth and say "I told you so!!!" So in a selfish way I would love to THANK Nony for validating my feelings and posts regarding all the closed-minded people that we have in this crazy place called Mormonville. As my friends down south put it...other Mormons want to move to Utah, because they think it's so much better...but the grass is not always greener.

A wonderful friend of mine expressed it the best. She said that certain people here "don't think their own sh*t stinks." I thought she said it perfectly.

I may totally be contradicting myself by feeling the way I do about Nony's comments. I would love to know more about Nony, and where her feelings come from. It can be hard to accept our differences in a place where we seem to be pushed to conform. Maybe Nony feels different than the majority too? There is definitely two ends of the spectrum.

With that said, I would like to THANK Nony for helping me to grow today. Obviously Nony and I are very different people, and that's GREAT! It's a good thing that everyone is not like me, that would be scary! I'm sure it wasn't easy for Nony to put her differences public like that! (even if it was anonymous and placed where I might never see it) I think it would be great if we could all celebrate our differences, Nony's included. We can grow from one an other's experiences.

My advise to Nony would be "you probably shouldn't read my posts." Just a thought? I have chosen not to go private for various reasons, so not reading will have to be under your own control. If you do keep reading...feel free to comment. I will continue to express how I feel, what I think, what makes me sad, what makes me happy, and how it's all working for me.

And you are absolutely right about the 'CRAZY' part of your comment. There is no denying that. I have chosen to share, and the consequences are my own. Let the chips fall where they may. As far as the 'school teacher' part, I cannot dispute that either. It's a darn good thing I am not a school teacher, for more than one reason. (and this may be a bit nasty...but it's a good thing Nony isn't as well with that grammar) You are right, putting on a bra over my clothing would not be an effective way to teach girls AND BOYS math or spelling. They would never let me teach again. Rightfully so! School teachers are also not allowed to share their testimony, speak of God, or say a prayer. So maybe we should evaluate the standards we want to hold people to?

The only thing I ask from you, Nony? I welcome all your feedback, just post it where I can read it please. I went almost two whole weeks without knowing how you felt. I'm not sure if there are more comments, I'm not sure I will ever know. I'm very glad you felt comfortable enough to express your feelings to me, even if I never know who you are.

XXOOOXXXOOO
(but don't worry Nony, not the nasty kind)

The joys of an evolving vocabulary!


I was trying to get Sophie buckled in the car today. After physically placing her in the seat she informed me that I had "hoot" her arm. In typical Mommy fashion I kissed her arm, then kept smooching while tickling her armpit. She was laughing, as usual. When she calmed down from laughing, the following conversation started...

Sophie: Dats dis-CUSS-tun!!

Me: Are you calling me disgusting? Mommy's not disgusting!

Addi: No, ya awn't dis-cuss-tun...yo hay-a's not dis-CUSS-tun...Yo face es not dis-CUSS-tun...Noffin ON ya es dis-CUSS-ten!.........Momma?

Me: Yes?

Addi: Just yo kisses aw dis-CUSS-tun!

Sophie: Ya! Yoo-ss aw a dis-CUSS-tun Momma!

Me: Well thanks girls!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I need a prescription for chill pills!




Today was one of those terrible-horrible-no good-very bad-days! The sad part is that it was all my fault.

So, this is the deal-e-o. I have a problem with efficiency. It's not that I'm a control freak, I just think that I am more efficient than the average Joe. (which is most likely not true) I don't want to control others, but I want total control of myself and my situation.

When I am in a grocery store...I walk at a pretty fast pace. Not speed walking by any means, but not halfway bent over my cart looking at every single brand of green beans. When I get stuck behind the 'green bean lady', I get rather frustrated. Most of the time I can see her ahead of me in enough time to have an escape route. However...there those moments when, and here's where I tend to lose it, TWO 'GREEN BEAN LADIES' COME TOGETHER ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE ISLES.


I get so miffed about the situation that, most of the time, I will turn completely around and go down another isle to come around the other side of the 'green bean ladies'. And forget about it if what I need is green beans! It is worth it to me to go another week without them.

On Tuesday's I have two and a half spectacular hours alone. Thursday's I volunteer at the Elementary school, so Tuesday's are all I have! The most efficient and productive way to spend those two hours is grocery shopping. No whining, no crying, no arguing, no putting back on shoes every five minutes, and most of all...a normal sized cart!

This morning, I get up and get everything running smoothly. Last week I set up a carpool to and from preschool. Well...there was a miscommunication, and the girls didn't get picked up. I throw them in the car and drop them off. Whatever! I'm wasting time.

I am off to the store and my sister calls. We are planning a sister retreat and she wanted to talk about it. Which is no big deal, except next thing I know, I am headed southbound on the freeway! Holy crap, where am I going? I get off at the next exit and head back to the store. I am so disappointed in myself, in my efficiency!

I finally get in the store, I am getting my groceries, and I run into...not one...not two...but FOUR GREEN BEAN LADIES!!! They were trapping me on every isle. I wondered if they knew, and they were doing it on purpose.

With much frustration, I finish shopping and head into the dark abyss of the 'never enough checkout lanes open' land. I find it ironic that they build a store with 5o checkout lanes and only open four! This frustrates me to no end. If they only built four lanes and they were always open I would not feel near as bad, because it would seem they are doing the best they can.

So, I stand back by the 'employees doing nothing but watching the lack of lanes open and huge lines forming and doing nothing about it' people. (how do you get that job?) I have to analyze the entire situation before choosing a lane. And it's not just the length of the line...no, no, no, don't be fooled...it's the length of the line factored by how many items are in the next carts factored by which cashier is checking the fastest. What can throw everything off however, are coupons, checks (the worst), and people thinking the item was rung up at the wrong price.
This is where my efficiency problem comes in. I truly analyze those situations. I know the easiest and most effective ways to get out of any strip mall, and parking lot, and any church. There are serious variables when deciding these things. Mike HATES driving with me because I'm always telling him there's a better way to go. (and I HATE it when he drives, because it take longer than it should) Anyways...
After carefully choosing a line, I stand and wait. I am a very impatient person, and I'm not good at waiting. I am watching the person checking out and all of a sudden...the cashier turns on the BLINKING LIGHT! I panicked, it meant the we would have to wait for a manager to come and fix something. I quickly turn my cart around and take my second choice lane.
Everything is running smoothly, when I notice the line I had moved from had began moving rather quickly. Dag Nabbit! I knew I shouldn't have moved!
I am standing patiently (or not so patiently) when I see a problem. The lady at the checkout had coupons...not one, but many coupons. I also see that she is pulling out WIC vouchers. You have got to be kidding me!!! I am not frustrated by the lady, or the WIC vouchers (I've been through my fair share of time on WIC) I'm mad at myself for my decisions.
I see the woman behind me move to the line ahead of us. I get a bright idea to move lanes again. So I take my cart to the line ahead of me. This is my third lane! If I had stayed in the first lane, I'd be done by now. Then I turn to see the WIC lady gone, and if I had stayed, I would have been placing my items on the belt! I am fuming mad!
The line was taking FOREVER! I finally start putting my things on the belt only to see that the cashier was in training. There was someone else standing there to walk her through every step. I wanted to cry!! I was the crazy person running from line to line! I knew I must admit my defeat and just stay.
When it was finally my turn, she asked me "How are you today?" With my teeth clinched super tight I growl "fine!" I know I looked like such an ornery cuss. She starts bagging things and asking questions to the supervisor. I wanted to scream at her! "JUST SCAN THEM AND PUT THEM IN A BAG!!!" I ripped each bag of the handle and practically threw them in the cart. I looked at my watch and realized I had been trying to check out for 23 minutes! (most of which I spent changing lanes) She gives me the total. She is still smiling and talking to her supervisor. I look at her and raise my eyebrows to the ceiling while bugging out my eyes like "any day now?!" She puts the change in my hand and I throw it all in my purse, coins and bills, I really didn't care. She then says "Have nice day!" and I respond with a glare and a loud release of my breath. I push my cart out to the car, and throw all the groceries in the car. I finally sit down in my seat and take a deep breath and take moment to realize how rude I was.
It was totally my own fault. I was the one who changed lanes three times! That poor woman who was being trained. She was doing her best, and trying to be cheerful. I took her cheerfulness as a spiteful blow. Ruining me, and my efficiency plan.
I see a missed message on my cell phone and listen to it. It is a Mom from the carpool, wondering if I am picking up her child. Now...my definition of carpool is not taking my own kids and picking up everyone kids.
I am still cooling off from the store, and decide to just forget the carpool thing. I arrive to pick up the girls from school. I tell the carpool friend that I don't want to carpool, I just want to take and pick-up my own kids. I'm sure I sounded like a brat. I have problems with depending on people, but that's a whole other issue and post of it's own. I sheepishly drive home, put away the groceries and lay the girls down for a nap. I decide to call and make sure my carpool friend doesn't think I am mad at her. I thought about calling the store to apologize to the cashier, but in all my huffing and puffing I didn't look at her name. I figure next time I'm there I will see if I can apologize.


So I learned many lessons today:
  1. I need to take the time to enjoy shopping by myself
  2. I should be nicer to the 'green bean ladies', they are not out to get me
  3. I should really just pick a line and stay there!
  4. I should never be rude to someone who is doing their best to help me
  5. I should never take my frustrations out on innocent people, namely cashiers and carpool friends

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mmmmmm....Mmmmmm

Yummmmmm...Mmmmmmm...Can you taste that?

That's the SWEET, SWEET taste of victory baby!!!

BYU 59, UCLA 0

...what more is there to say?


(Mike and I during warm up's with past players and wives.)


(Kneeling in the south end zone, which soon became the Bruins burial ground.)

Was I a good luck charm or what!?! I told Mike that I had better go to ALL the games from now on. Great job team, good call on the 3-3-5 (nickel defense), special teams is rocking my world this season (keep blockin' boys) and I love you Max! You all deserve it, every one of those 10 seconds Bronco let you celebrate...now bring on Wyoming!

Funny thing is, I haven't heard much talk of us needing a penalty call to win this one! So you can take your penalty smack talk and shove it (you know where!)!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Salsa eating, football playing, thieves!

Well, as expected...I received a phone call from my amazing Grandparents to pick more tomatoes. I was able to pick just as many as two weeks earlier. Seriously amazing amounts of tomatoes...like not from this planet!
While I am very grateful for the veggies, and the opportunity to can...I have been up to my eyeballs in tomatoes and peppers. On the other hand...this does mean that Mike won't finish off all the jars in one month. I am working on being able to give some away, but I'm so stinkin' greedy I treat it like liquid gold. Too much blood, sweat, and tears I guess.

I have not fallen off the blogging wagon, I've just been a bit preoccupied. I had the canning, some Christmas shopping, work, Simply Sharp (software), and my kiddos crazy homework. Should 3rd grade be a refresher for me? I'm afraid I am really in for it!

Oh, the building Mike works in got broken into Wednesday morning! Mike ALWAYS brings his laptop home with him, and....you guessed it...He needed to run some process that took a bit of time, and he left it so he could come home to us! Geeeeeez!!!

They stole 20 or so Mac laptops! They recently gave all the developers laptops to use at work and be able to take home if needed. And with it being a programming company, it's not the computers themselves that are the big deal. You can buy a new computer, but the code and information is invaluable! So many hours of work lost. So this was a difficult week, much more so for Mike.

Everyone has been so nice to comment on my posts, I really appreciate all the kind words! I feel that my friends and family who post always inspire me to be a better person. It feels so good to express all the crazy thoughts I have floating around in my brain. I really am quite crazy, and for some reason it helps to write things. (especially things that frustrate me) I am also obsessed with music, so I don't think I can post until I find the right songs to match how I feel...see? I really am crazy!

I worry that everything I express sounds negative, but I try to pull out of it. I tend to rant and rave, going on and on! I can be way too judgemental, and turn around to criticize others for being too judgmental! Thanks for reading, and helping me feel not so alone in my struggles and, as I call them, struggle-fests!

(By the way...if anybody notices someone selling an odd number of Mac laptops on the side of the freeway...feel free to let me know!)

On a much brighter note...I am going to the BYU/UCLA game tomorrow with Mike! Whoo Hoo!! Mike has season tickets and goes with my bro-in-law (His best friend, who he served his mission with, and married my sis...I know, I know...it's a sweet deal all around.) So besides our "Roll Tide" attire, all Mike wears from August to January is BYU shirts, hats, and anything else that he can find! He even set up a poll system for his developers and gives away prizes for the winners. If you work with Mike, you are BYU fan if you like it or not.

Anyways...I always watch the kids every game day. It's not that I have any problems with that, I just LOVE sporting events! Mike and I used to go to all the games, even when we just had the older two, because we could 'lap it'. Now we would need 6 tickets, and well...that's not going to happen. (Unless they start sucking it up again and prices of tickets go down...Just kidding!!!)

So I painted my fingernails blue last night, and I'm getting face paint to get some serious spirit to help the 'Quest'! Both of my sides of my family are from LA, and my Grandpa ran track for UCLA, and his bro (my uncle Hal) played football there, so it's a win/win for me. But after playing for the Giants, Hal coached for years at BYU. So, either way. However...because my heart belongs to Mike, I share part of his heart with BYU football! Goooooooo Cougars!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

When I die...will God ask me my jean size?

It is no secret that I have gained quite a bit of weight since having my last two children. I'm not even sure why...I guess it just slipped away from me and...well...there you go. I have always been a very active person and enjoy exercise and sports. I ran the 1/2 marathon this year. Which was a big deal for me since I have never ran in my life! (except on a court)

This past Saturday, my dear friend Allison and I went to a 5K/10K race titled "Love your Body". It was explained as follows..."The Love Your Body race was created by Wasatch Woman magazine for women who care about their health, fitness, community, friends, families and especially about themselves. By treating yourself well, you are able to achieve your personal best and be an inspiration to others. Be part of the largest women’s only run." I found this inspiring and a very worthy cause.

I've recently began eating better, and have dropped a whopping 6 pounds. I have really struggled with the whole "negative body image" thing. And maybe it's because I have weight issues to begin with, but women seem really, really skinny these days. I don't remember people being that skinny in the 80's or 90's. I'm not talking thin...I mean skinny!

So as if there's not already enough pressure...some genius invents 'skinny jeans' as if regular jeans aren't enough. And everyone thinks they need a pair to be stylish. (Even the teenage boys! Really? What is that!) I was even recently invited to a "Skinny Party" regarding a new diet pill.
I seem to remember the 'Mom' look when I was young usually wasn't a Mom wearing her 14 year-old daughters clothes, let alone having the same body as her!

I am a bit of a blog snoop! Not really to random people, but people I know...or should I say knew. Mostly from High School, or Junior High. Now these are not 'friends' of mine, they are more like...acquaintances I guess. You know...the guys and girls that everyone wanted to be like. They are still all friends, and sometimes I pretend to be their friend as well. I have read so many blogs in which people refer to High School appearances and compare themselves now...10 years, and three or four kids later. On a blog I read regularly, I read how "BEAUTIFUL" somebody's friend looked, with a mention that "she is a size 2!" I wanted to ask...Is her size what makes her so beautiful?

So I was reading a few blog entries from girls and wives of the guys I went to school with. First of all...the specific women's blogs I am referring to are beautiful! And I don't mean in a "she looks nice" or "what a sweet spirit" way. I mean really beautiful women! There were so many negative posts about how they looked. There was even a 'tag' going around and the question was:
MY ULTIMATE DREAM?
To which one of the girls answers was:
"To fit into my skinny jeans which I have a ton of just sitting in my closet."

Your ultimate dream is that? I was floored! Which is exactly why she is so skinny and I am not. I am sure you are thinking I'm just a bitter fat person, and maybe I am? But, what expectations are we giving ourselves?

I feel like the media's focus has gone from being healthy...to being skinny. (regardless of the health consequences) We are putting foreign objects under our skin, shooting paralyzing drugs into our faces and putting fake hair onto our heads to what? look like Barbie? and 40-year-old's are supposed to look 25!

Even a size 2, or heaven forbid, a size 4 is not acceptable. We should all aim for the size zero jeans. A size zero? Shouldn't that say something if your goal is a size zero!?!


In May of this year, there was a children's book written titled "My Beautiful Mommy". This book was written by a plastic surgeon for the children of women who are having cosmetic procedures. The Doctor says that the book "aims to reassure kids that Mom's bruises and bandages are just temporary, and the new, improved Mommy won't be different, just 'prettier'." Feel free to check it out at http://www.newsweek.com/id/132536

This disturbs me on many levels. First off, I am not opposed to plastic surgery. I believe that there are many wonderful Moms who want and/or need plastic surgery. My concern comes from the way the book addresses her daughter. The Mom is depicted as a cartoon Barbie doll, wearing painted on jeans and belly shirts, and convincing her daughter that Mommy will become "not different my dear-just prettier." Her daughter is learning that she will never attain real beauty until she can pay for it. I can't help but think that this little girl is already considering taking up an eating disorder! Whew...are we really that messed up? and what are we doing to our children?

I had some real problems between the ages of 12 and 18. Having the treatment I did, put me in contact with other people who felt like me. Part of my recovery was to address emotional issues with people around me. I had to tell the people who hurt me how what they had done made me feel. Never feeling good enough, not feeling loved, and not loving myself and respecting myself. Although my issues stemmed from years of child abuse, the underline problem was still the same for me, as all the others I met along my journey. Our negative feelings about ourselves came from all different places, but all of us suffered poor self-esteem and negative body image. All of us wanted to be accepted and loved. We needed to change or become better, or as the book said 'prettier'. Because, heaven forbid, we all just love ourselves the way we are! And expect others to love us too!

While I have been healthy and happy now for many years, those thoughts still come. Television, movies, and the media tell us how we should look and act. I can't help but feel bad that I don't look like Victoria Beckham...she's had three kids!

Anyways...The race on Saturday was promoting having a positive body image. With four little girls, I really worry about their future in today's society. I know that I cannot effectively teach them to love themselves if I don't love myself! There was fantastic information and resources to help you learn to love and accept your body. "Count your blessings, not your blemishes." and "Your body is the instrument of your life, not just and ornament." It was very rewarding to gather with 600 other women, of all shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities to cheer for each other and commit to "Love our Bodies". Here is a picture of Allison, her sister-in-law Jamie, and myself after the race.


Towards the end of the race, we met a woman who was running the race with her best friend. Her friend has Cerebral Palsy. These two women had trained together and prepared for the race. The woman with Cerebral Palsy was given a free wheelchair the week of the race. She ran behind it, pushing it, then when she couldn't run anymore, her friend would push her until she was ready to run again.

This woman refused to be pushed across the finish line! She ran about two miles of the race on her own! Her legs would cross inwards, one in front of the other. We stood with her family and friends to watch her come across the finish line. As she turned the last bend, the cheers brought tears to my eyes. I am not usually very emotional, but I started to cry. I didn't know the woman, but her strength and determination was remarkable. She believed in herself, and loved herself.
So, the next time I am feeling bad about my body, or wishing I had someone else's...I will remember that I am so blessed to have the body the Lord gave me. What a gift, a miraculous gift! We fought a war in heaven to come to this earth and receive our bodies. I WILL...commit to thank the Lord everyday for the body I have been given!


"Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Baby steps...Baby steps to the first picture...



I am always learning to have more patience. Learning daily.

Since returning from my trip I have been trying to compile my pictures and places in a way to document things I want to remember.

Well, part of my problem is I want to remember EVERYTHING! I have an obsession with photography. I will admit that taking pictures is my secret passion. I love taking pictures of my kids and family events, but my love is architectural photography. Lines, shapes, balance, perspective, blah, blah, blah.

So you can only image the amount of picture opportunities there were in Europe. Every corner we turned there were amazing churches and buildings hundreds or thousands of years old! Poor Mike was dragging me along as I tried to snap everything I saw, at every possible angle. (and if time permitted in black and white as well) So while others were posing and smiling for the camera, I'm off in some corner taking pictures of the floor, or a lamp post. Honestly, poor Mike, touring with the crazy lady!

So here is the deal...I have roughly 2000 pictures to go through. While I am quite embarrassed to admit this problem, I have to defend myself by saying that's only, on average, 200 pics a day. Really not too bad!

My dilemma is now going through them all and figuring out what to do with them all. Mike said to me this week, that I should "go through and get rid of all the ones I don't want." Which was a fantastic idea...except I only got rid of about 15 to 20 on each day. What can I say? I can't get rid of pictures I love. (or even like)

So please bear with me...I am learning patience, and will eventually post a day-by-day blurb with some descriptions of pictures. In the mean time, here are a few of my favorites. Keep in mind they have not been cropped or edited, like I said, the thought of it all is too overwhelming.

So as Bob said "Baby steps..."

(however, a real-life concern of mine..."What if I'm looking for a bathroom, I can't find one, and my bladder explodes?")


_____________________________________________________________________

On a side note: I just asked Mike if it is "Bear with me" or "Bare with me". He gave his opinion, which was 'bare with me' then actually responded with "I'm not sure...you could google it?" to which I loving responded "I never google when you are around...you are my google!" I LOVE IT! "you are my google" I will have to needle point that on a pillow for our bedroom, it doesn't get more romantic than that. I think I will start using the expression more often. Anyways...after the love fest...I did google it. This was the top search result:

“Bear with me,” the standard expression, is a request for forbearance or patience. “Bare with me” would be an invitation to undress.

Oh how appropriate! I read it to him and we both just cracked up...I know, I know too much info!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of Preschool (sniff, sniff)

Today was a monumental day at our house. Addi and Sophie had their first day of Preschool!
This was such an anticipated day, almost more than Christmas morning.
Since Cori and Lexi have started school, Sophie has tried to follow them EVERY DAY! It was so hard for her to wait two weeks. One day she actually made it out the front door. I panicked when I couldn't find her. I opened the front door to see her standing out on the curb in her nightgown and her backpack on. She was just looking up and down the street. She had no clue how to get to school, she just knew she was going!


Addi is almost 18 months older, and can comprehend "not this week". She has practiced learning and writing her name. Well, come to find out, her teacher would like her to write her full name. Which would be fine...except she thinks her name is ALLISON.


Both girls got backpacks (yes...hand-me-downs) Addi's is a Hello Kitty and Sophie's is a Dora backpack. They are so tickled to have their own backpacks, teacher, school papers, and school friends.


The girls with Ms. Wendy


They were so excited they didn't say goodbye. (that's the feeling sorry for myself part) I guess with all the pictures, kisses, hugs, and more pictures they didn't think actually saying "goodbye" would mean anything. They just ran inside and didn't look back!
I am glad that none of my kids have had separation anxiety, but for just a second I wished they were a bit more clingy. They are all such 'go getter's', I would just slow them down. I am so proud to be their Mom. I know they will all accomplish wonderful things in life, and be everything that they want to be. Each of them are very, very different...and yet they share the same positive outlook, kind hearts, and beautiful spirits. I'm constantly wondering why I was blessed with such amazing daughters of God, but I know they teach me something new everyday!
So, for the first time in over 8 years...I came home to an empty house. As in, totally quiet, completely silent house. I had to turn on the Disney channel while I cleaned so it didn't feel weird!

Monday, September 1, 2008

My lengthy ramblings of a "Labor" filled Day!


One definition of Labor:
an
undertaking; any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted

Needless to say, my Labor Day was very much a day of labor. My wonderful Grandpa and Grandma have grown an amazing garden since moving to Utah (they grew quite a bit in So. California too!) Both growing up in Idaho, and both on a farm, they have a magic ability to grow things like wildfire.
Three years ago the girls and I tried to regularly weed my Grandparents garden. The girls loved it, and especially loved all the bugs! One day I was called and told that I needed to come and pick tomatoes. (because my Grandpa rarely asks...he just tells you) So I show up with the girls expecting to pick maybe 5 or 6 tomatoes to put in our salads that week. I love to work in the garden, and want my girls to learn and love working in the garden also. Since that year I had killed three tomato plants, produced 3 0r 4 strawberries the size of my fingernail, and rotted my squash plants, this would be a great opportunity!
We show up, and the girls and I pick close to 100 tomatoes! One thing I love about my Grandpa is his overachieving. It is just my Grandpa and Grandpa at their house, but he grows a garden for 40 people! They have a 'one year supply' for their entire neighborhood, not to mention the generators to power the city. Back to tomatoes... Of course my Grandpa wants me to take them all home with me, because he has already given many away to other family and neighbors. I was quite overwhelmed, and didn't know what in the world I would do with them all! But I was thankful and said "Well, maybe I'll make salsa?"

As a child, my summers were filled with canning. Apricots, peaches, tomatoes, salsa, apple pie filling, grape juice and any thing else we had grown that year or were given. I specifically remember how hot and humid the house would be. All the doors and windows were wide open and my mother and her best friend Cheri Johnson would spend the entire day in the kitchen. The swamp cooler ran all day long, but never seemed to do any good unless you stood directly under it!
There were HUGE messes on every counter, drips on the floor, garbage's filled with unusable food, or peels, a sink overflowing with dishes, badly stained aprons and yet I remember how happy my Mom and her friend seemed. They honestly were having a great time. When I got old enough to help, I was given responsibilities such as peeling tomatoes, coring and peeling apples, splitting the apricots and throwing the pit away, and
shoving the bottles full so my Mom could fill it the hot liquid. My favorite was when I got old enough to write the year on the lids...that was special!

So jump ahead 20 years (wow, I feel old) and look in MY pantry or food storage. I still don't even have a garden to speak of, let alone enough produce to put in a jar. I feel lucky to get enough tomatoes to make a salad or sandwich! To get an idea, I came home from my trip to my largest garden batch ever. I went in the backyard and did jumping jacks when I saw it all! (To give myself credit, we have gotten quite a few spurts of tomatoes over the past month, but this was the biggest.)



I believe that the three things I am really grateful I learned as a kid were cooking, canning and sewing. I have heard that it is "too expensive", which it really doesn't have to be THAT expensive. Yes, you cannot go buy your produce from Harmon's and can it! There are inexpensive farmers markets, and orchards who will let you keep whatever you pick once they've done their picking. You can buy from farmers in bulk as well. It is not cost effective to sew all your children's clothes, but it sure can be to baby blankets, quilts, curtains, chair covers and throw pillows. (especially when your husband it still in school) My sister has sewn both her daughters blessing dresses, and they are so beautiful, fit perfectly, and will be great family heirlooms. I guess my point is this...
In my six week stint in RS, I tried to plan an activity for us as women to learn better self-reliance.
Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't last a week without my cell phone, Wal-mart, or Internet shopping. I am quite a believer in gender equality and can be quite liberal. My idea of a happy home is not a woman barefoot and pregnant, always in the kitchen, stressing to get dinner on the table before her husband walks in the door. HA HA HA! I also realize that we do not live in times where we can produce all that we need and consume. I just think that certain things can enrich our minds, our hands, our families, and our posterity. I'm not getting all 'granola', I just think in our busy world of instant gratification and dependency, it feels good to have the ability to be industrious and self-reliant.
Anyways...since I was released so quickly, the activity was followed through by someone else. Now, only a couple women knew that I had instigated this activity. There was so much negativity involving this 'Super Saturday', and because nobody knew better, they complained to me, or in front of me. People were so upset that this otherwise 'crafty' day would be spent learning to and making bread, freezer jam, and understanding the importance of food storage. Maybe I'm totally out in left field, but we've toll painted, scrap booked, made cards and done vinyl lettering for the past umpteen years. Is it really 'enriching' ourselves and our families? I
believe the direct quote is..." strengthen homes, families, and individuals". Enrichment, by definition, is defined as "activities that add or go beyond the existing curriculum; a gift that significantly increases the recipient's wealth". I honestly believe that becoming more self-reliant would be really fun! People would be alarmingly surprised at the socializing, laughter, and fun they would have. I know that people don't agree, and I think it is why I got fired so quickly. (since I gave my opinions to the woman in the ward with the vinyl lettering machine...oops!)
I'm not sure how everything turned out. (I am ashamed to admit I am still boycotting RS since my recent experiences, and there is some childish bitterness I need to overcome. I had a hard time attending something I had tried to plan, and looked so forward to following through. I'm not sure what they ended up teaching or doing, but I was conveniently out-of-town and couldn't
attend. But hey, admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?) I hope they had a good turn out, but from the comments I heard, people didn't even want to give it a chance. I think there is so much we can learn, so many talents we can develop. If we just try, I'm sure we would all be amazed at what we could do. I know that I am afraid to try things I don't know. I expect to be good at it in order to try it, but that makes no sense. I say "that's not my thing", but how can I reach my full potential if I don't try new things. My garden fails every year, but every year it gets a little bit better. I have a great desire to grow things myself, and teach my girls to do the same.

President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: “I hope that we understand that, while having a garden, for instance, is often useful in reducing food costs and making available delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, it does much more than this. Who can gauge the value of that special chat between daughter and Dad as they weed or water the garden? How do we evaluate the good that comes from the obvious lessons of planting, cultivating, and the eternal law of the harvest? And how do we measure the family togetherness and cooperating that must accompany successful canning? Yes, we are laying up resources in store, but perhaps the greater good is contained in the lessons of life we learn as we live providently and extend to our children their pioneer heritage.”

My grandpa called me last Tuesday and told me it was time to harvest the tomatoes. It is always so humbling to see his garden, all of a sudden my own veggies seem so very insignificant. Yet it gives me something to aspire to someday! He grew Roma tomatoes, Oregon Spring tomatoes, jalapenos, Anaheim peppers, Bell peppers, and onions. (And a bazillion other things, but those things were for me) To give you an idea of what I picked last week here's a picture:


And that is just what I took home! They still had over 40 onions in the garage, and tons of squash, zucchini and lettuce! Depending on the weather, there will be close to the same amount ready in a few weeks. If you want to be 'garden humbled', you should check it out sometime.
So, three years ago, I knew that I COULD do my own canning, but the question was...what do I really can with all these tomatoes, and where do I find the time? So, that first year I attempt to make and can salsa, it turned out pretty sad. I think I only bottled 12 half pints, and I was disappointed and exhausted! I didn't think I would try again. The next year went a lot better, I bottled twice as much and with adjusting my recipe, it tasted pretty good, but was still a bit too thin. Well, this year my Grandpa grew almost ALL the vegetables I needed. Each year I give them about 1/3 of what I make, so it's not a bad trade. (except the first year, I didn't give them any because it was too embarrassing) This year I adjusted the recipe again, and it turned out just how I had planned! I asked Cori and Lexi if they wanted to help this year, they said "not really", and I didn't force the issue. Mike made it a holiday, and planned fun activities with them, how can I compete with that?! I was alright with it since I was still trying to figure it out myself again this year. Next year I won't ask...it will just be a summer activity.
There is something so rewarding and strangely therapeutic about cooking and canning like that. It feels so industrious and empowering. I was able to bottle 36 half pint bottles, 18 full pint bottles, and a cute little 1/4 pint bottle for a friend! Granted, it was a bit earlier in the year than I had planned...so thank goodness for Labor Day! (and a wonderful husband who loves salsa enough to watch the kids for 10 full hours, thanks sweetie!)

So my newest goals in life are to:

1. Someday have my own salsa garden to produce enough for canning
2. Pass on the ability and love of canning to my girls

I feel I must throw a political plug in...only because of the different opinions in our nation. I am so thankful we are led by wise leaders, who are led themselves by the Lord to guide us.

"Marion G. Romney told a story of a man whom they could not get to work. He wanted to be taken care of. The Church or government, so he thought, owed him a living because he had paid his tithing and taxes...You cannot save a man who has such an attitude, and a nation made up of men and women with similar attitudes is vulnerable to the problems which led to the fall of Rome. The saddest day of a person’s life is when he sits down to work out a means whereby he can live thereafter without his own effort. One of the most demeaning things a government can do is to teach people that the government owes them a living."