Thursday, April 30, 2009


I had some really interesting discussions today with friends regarding rules. I realized some time ago that I am basically a rule-abiding person. I have never been much of a rule-breaker. I value the order that rules and laws bring.

That does NOT mean I believe all rules or laws should be followed blindly. I look at who is making the rules and why they are being made. If it is a rule I cannot live by, I generally just choose not to play.

For example, my family moved to Cody before I entered 3rd grade. I was a very shy child and barely managed to make one friend (let's call her Sara). I was so grateful at first just to have a friend but Sara's friendship came with "rules". I was not allowed to play with anyone else. However, if Sara felt like playing with someone else, she would leave me by myself and go off. After a time, I decided I could not live with Sara's friendship "rules" and I made a new friend. It destroyed my friendship with Sara.

I think that sums of my rules philosophy: either play by the rules or choose not to play.

Regardless, I truly enjoyed the discussion. I love debating opinions. It causes me to ponder things from differing viewpoints and helps me to clarify what I truly believe.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

wisdom is...

William James said, "Wisdom is knowing what to ignore."

I need to work on this. I let the little things bother me far too much. I think it's the control freak in me. I want to plan things, fix things, or organize things. I do NOT want to ignore.

--scrappinsoccermama is going to work on her ignoring skills.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Material Girls

I realized something new about myself last week. Uh oh. I better back up. Let's see, I have always had this odd fascination with paper and paper products. I honestly have a love affair with brand new sharp pencils and paper clips and notebooks. I feel about Staples like most girls feel about the mall or like my son, Brakston, feels about all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets.

I began scrapbooking about 16 years ago. It seemed like a hobby that was tailor-made for me. All that paper and glue and scissors and tape! Senses tingling...aaahhhh, bliss!

I realized this week that it is not just about the office-type supplies, it also has to do with patterns (i.e. pretty patterned paper) and how you put those patterns together.

The reason I came to this realization is I went to a new store (at least new for me) called Material Girls Quilts in South Jordan. I went in looking for something in particular (a Christmas something that I don't want to talk about and ruin surprises) and I found I was in Heaven! All those patterns and pretty fabrics just waiting to be arranged! It actually made me want to...GASP! Yes, truly, I found myself with a desire to quilt or sew or somehow own and arrange these fabrics in wonderful ways!

I probably should have realized this earlier because for Christmas I did sew my mom a patchwork tote bag. I loved it and loved the fabrics so much that I have since made 2 more for my sister-in-laws birthdays. This is a surprising fact because I have never enjoyed sewing. My wonderful mother used to do all my unpicking for me because she didn't want me to get too frustrated, and now I actually want to sew?!?

I guess stranger things have happened. (maybe just not in my life)

Monday, April 27, 2009

comfort food

I am an emotional eater. I eat to celebrate. I eat to alleviate stress. I eat when I'm sad or tired or bored. I even eat because the food is there. Today I am really in need of my quintessential comfort food - Crunchy Cheeseroni, so that's what we are having for dinner.

Crunchy Cheeseroni Recipe

2 C macaroni - cooked
1 lb hamburger, browned
1 can cream of tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 oz Durkee French Fried onions
1 green pepper, diced (optional)
1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together (I save 1/2 C cheese for the top). Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Yum!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

straight and narrow path to God

I have a theory about the "straight and narrow path" to God. I think far too ofter we think of it as a tightrope or at least a balance beam. That is far too hard to stay on!

My theory is that the straight and narrow path is like heading north on I-15. It is a definitely wider than a balance beam with room for many differing people and the differing paths they take to God. There are so many good choices we can make but not necessarily one right way for everyone. For example, we could choose to spend our free time on education, the temple, family history, etc. None of those would be the exact same lane on I-15 but all would lead to the same destination.

Sometimes we are stuck in traffic and barely making any measurable progress. At other times, we are in the carpool lane and cruising along. It can be frustrating when we are the ones stuck in traffic and we see others we know speed on by.

Sometimes we need to stop and get gas or go to the bathroom or get something to drink so we exit off I-15. I, myself, have been sidetracked by a roadsign announcing that there's a Cafe Rio at the next exit. On the straight and narrow, we have road signs enticing us to get off the path. These road signs are frustration, anger, sin, heartache, etc. The important thing, if we want to get to our destination, is just that we use the entrance ramp to get back on I-15. Thank goodness for repentance and forgiveness that can get us back on the straight and narrow.

At times we wonder why we're still stuck in Fillmore when our friends or family have made it to Ogden. How did they travel so much faster than we did? We need to remember it's not a sprint to the finish but a race of endurance. The Lord doesn't care where we are at on the path just that we are on it and heading the right direction. It's the continual pushing onward that counts.

Too often, as I teach seminary, I see youth who are afraid they'll never be good enough or they'll never be fast enough to get to the Celestial Kingdom. I try to reassure them by quoting Elder Bruce R. McConkie.

"...Everyone in the church who is on the straight and narrow path, who is striving and struggling and desiring to do what is right, though is far from perfect in this life; if you're on that path and pressing forward, and you die, you'll never get off that path. There is no such thing as falling off the straight and narrow path in the life to come, and the reason is that this life is the time that is given to men to prepare for eternity. If you are on the path when death'll never fall off from it, and for all practical purposes, your calling and election is made sure."

Our job in this life is to get ourselves on the straight and narrow path and press forward. It sounds so simple. Now, if only there wasn't always construction!

Friday, April 24, 2009

unprepared missionary mom

I thought I'd prepared well for Brakston serving a mission for the church. I planned on it from his birth. Kevin and I helped him save money to pay for it. I bought several books on preparing for it. I had 3-ring notebooks with my "to-buy" and "to-do" lists. I made lists, I checked things off, I re-checked the lists.

Then, he's gone and I find I was not prepared at all! Nothing prepared me for the aching hole that is always my missing child. Nothing prepared me for my husband setting too many places at the table because he keeps forgetting that Brakston is gone. Nothing prepared me for being unable to figure out how many extra seats I have in the Suburban because subtracting one is too hard of math.

Nothing prepared me for bursting into tears when I think about him for too long. Nothing prepared me for the reality of going months on end without talking to him and without having him make me laugh. Nothing prepared me for holidays and family gatherings without him.

Nothing prepared me for the worry I feel about him. I used to think it odd that people would worry about their missionary. After all, the Lord will protect them. Now I find myself worrying (not about his physical safety - he is, after all, only in Arizona and that seems benign). I worry about his mental well-being. Does he get along with his companion? How is he handling the rejection?

Still, he's where he should be and where I want him to be. I am so proud of him! I just think they could have mentioned a few more things in those "preparedness" books that I read!

--scrappinsoccermama is adding "get over it and be happy" to her to-do list!


I did not grow up with soccer. Football and basketball were THE big sports in my high school and I'm not sure I even knew a single thing about soccer except you kicked a ball. Now, it is one of my favorite sports. I know all the rules (I've even taken a referee class and even coached a recreation team). I have watched hundreds (maybe thousands) of games over the last 15 years! At times, it seems as though my life revolves around soccer games, soccer practices, and soccer tournaments. At least one child in my family always seems to be needing new cleats. Brakston went through goalie gloves every few weeks (or at least it seemed like it). When you're involved in competitive soccer, there really is no off-season. Summer is tryouts, tournaments, and practices. Fall and spring are practices and league play. Winter is indoor soccer and futsal.

I decided long ago that the benefits of my children playing soccer (something they LOVE with a passion) far outweighed the financial and time expense on my part. Here are some of the benefits:

1) They learn teamwork. No one can play soccer on their own. You have to learn to rely on others and work together.

2) They learn respect. Referees make mistakes and it can be frustrating. You have to learn to respect their decision as final and not get too upset. You also have to learn respect for your coach and your teammates.

3) They learn hard work. Coaches expect the players to work hard at every practice and in every game. Players also have to work hard to stay in shape (especially during the winter months).

4) They learn responsiblity and sacrifice. My children have missed birthday parties and fun outings with friends because their team was counting on them being at the game.

5) They are physically fit. Soccer involves lots of running and movement.

6) They have a sense of belonging. They are a member of something. They have an identity. They proudly proclaim "I am a soccer player." When Brakston reached high school, he had a built-in group of friends.

7) They gained self-esteem and confidence. They found something they could do and do well. As they learned and mastered new skills, their confidence grew.

--scrappinsoccermama is proud to be called a soccer mom!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

seminary teaching

Can I just say that I love high school students! They are so much fun to talk to. I think that is one of the reasons I really enjoy teaching seminary.

There are a few students I could do without but for the most part, the youth are great! They are lively, enthusiastic, and funny! They are eager to share their lives with me. I am so grateful for all of the really incredible youth that I come in contact with all the time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

un-Christlike behavior

Tonight I am quite upset so it's probably not the best time to blog. I apologize in advance if my thoughts are disjointed or ill-thought-out.

I just returned from a combined YM/YW activity of which I was in charge. We were playing games and all seemed to be going well and everyone having fun until the last game. I had thought it sounded like an innocent, if very silly, game. Everyone was on the gym floor on their hands and knees. They all had stockinged feet. The object was to pull off other's socks while managing to keep on your own. As soon as both of your socks were pulled off, you were out of the game.

There is one boy who is not well liked. He is not "cool". Most of the boys won't even give him the time of day. When it came to the sock game, the other boys ganged up on him and several held him down while the others stripped him of his socks. He was pretty upset and left.

It makes me mad and sad! Bullying was absolutely NOT part of the planned activity. Church should be one place where you not only are safe but where you feel accepted and cared about. My heart aches for this boy.

At the same time, I feel badly for the boys doing the bullying because I believe that they do it because they are insecure. Knowing them, I do not believe they feel good about themselves. I don't think they can learn to truly be kind to others and reach out to include them until they have good self-esteem. So, what can I do and what can their other leaders do to help build their self-esteem? I don't deal with the YM very much so I don't have many opportunities to help them feel better about themselves. It feels a bit like a situation of little hope.

The only thing of any value that came out of this experience is that I went home and used it as an excellent teaching opportunity for my own children. McKayla was at the activity and saw it and Shanley and Chandler were a captive, interested audience. We had a nice, long talk about how we treat others. I feel that my children are well-liked and I emphasized that comes with a responsibility to reach out to others and include them and be kind at all times.

For now I will try to get to sleep by trying to focus on the fact that at least I don't have to be in charge (and thus feel responsible) of the combined YM/YW activity again for several months.


I really love scents. I have all kinds of favorites.

*melted chocolate
*coconut lime verbena
*sugar cookie
*cinnamon spice
*vanilla spice
*fresh linen
*fresh rain
*mandarin orange

Monday, April 20, 2009

more on "evil" judging

Thinking about yesterday's post, I am again reminded how lucky I am that Alec has Down syndrome! One of the best things about Down syndrome is that it is easily recognizable. If someone looks at Alec, they immediately know he has a disability. This is nice because they tend to be more accepting of him and of his behavior. They excuse the odd things he does because they tend to understand that he's mentally younger than his physical age.

I have often felt sorry for people with children whose disabilities are not recognizable in the child's appearance. They tend to get judged so quickly.

A friend of mine has two sons with Tourette's. They have uncontrollable tics like shouting in inappropriate times and places. As a mother, she says the best reaction she even hopes for is people ignoring her and her children. Most people stare at them, look disapprovingly, and even vocally express their disapproval. She gets told she needs to control her children. She gets judged to be a bad mom even though there is nothing she can do. She actually works extremely hard to do all the "right" things to help them learn and grow.

On the one hand, Alec can be a victim because of his appearance. Sometimes when people recognize the Down syndrome, they assume he can't do anything for himself or they treat him like an infant. On the other hand, it is nice when people cut him (and me) a little slack when his behavior is not the greatest or the most appropriate.

Again, it all comes back to the "evil" of our ignorance of applying labels and making judgments without having all the facts.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Phantom - or what is evil?

Last night Kevin and I had the great privilege of seeing "Phantom" at Hale Center Theater. Both it and the more well-known Broadway's "Phantom of the Opera" are based on the book "Phantom of the Opera" by Gaston Leroux.

"Phantom" takes a great deal of literary license by imagining what his early life was like and by taking a look at the events that helped to shape him. BPotO (Broadway's Phantom of the Opera) paints the opera ghost as a mostly evil being. Phantom causes you to truly feel sorry for him and recognize that his actions are only what he feels he must do to protect himself from a cruel, judgmental world.

"Phantom" caused me to once again challenge my definition of evil and to ponder on the nature vs. nurture quandary. Are people born evil or do they become evil as a result of their environment? (The musical "Wicked" also addresses this question beautifully but that's a post for a different time.) I truly believe it is a little bit of both. I have seen children arise from a harrowing upbringing and become wonderful, productive, kind people and I have seen those with every advantage choose a life of selfishness, crime, and degenerative behavior.

The real evil in "Phantom" is our own tendency to judge and to put labels on people and things we do not understand. I see this in the world around me and recognize that I am guilty of it myself far too often. It is so easy to judge others by their actions without ever knowing what has brought that individual to that point. What hardships has he endured? What trials have shaped him? What was the thinking behind the action? Was it good intentioned?

I absolutely loved "Phantom"! I was nervous to see it because I love BPofO and was afraid this would suffer in comparison. It did not! "Phantom" will probably go down as one of my all-time favorites. I was literally brought to tears with empathy for this poor opera ghost and for those whose lives intertwined with his; and I will go on pondering evil and trying to be less judgmental of those with whom I come in contact.

thought for the day

A perfect man at an imperfect trial was found guilty... an imperfect man at a perfect trial could be found innocent.

Friday, April 17, 2009

perfect day

There are a lot of possible perfect days for me. Some might include McKayla's or Brakston's soccer game. They might include a scrapbooking retreat, a romantic date with my husband, camping by a stream, etc. Here's one possible perfect day.

I wake early and study my scriptures before a good and hard Jazzercise workout. Then I come home and fix a good breakfast before seeing my kids off to school. I do a session at the temple before packing a picnic lunch and heading into the mountains for a hike to a waterfall. I stop at the waterfall to eat lunch and to ponder my life, my dreams, my goals. I return home in time to pick up the kids from school. We do homework and piano practice before the entire family sits down to a yummy crockpot dinner that I prepared that morning. Dinner is a laughing and talking affair. After dinner, we all play Cities and Knights of Catan before putting the kids to bed. I do a little reading or watch a romantic movie before getting to bed in time to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Aaahhhh, Heaven!

It wouldn't hurt if I could squeeze a massage in there somewhere either! And, oh yes, let's not forget a piece or two of good quality chocolate! Yum!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

tax day and sex abuse

What does it say about Americans that post offices all over the country stay open until midnight on April 15th so that people can file their income taxes? I mean, I can put off what I dislike doing with the best of them but this takes it to the extreme. What is wrong with the deadline being April 15th at 5 pm (or whatever time the post office normally closes)? As a nation, we don't just abide procrastination, we encourage it by making it possible to file the taxes at the last possible minute (literally).

On a totally unrelated subject, kudos to Miss Iron County, Erika Hansen, for her platform. She chose child sexual abuse as her platform having herself been abused for 7 years by her stepfather. It is such a difficult subject and not an easy one to talk about but one that desperately needs to be addressed. Some estimates are that 1 of 3 girls and 1 of 6 boys is sexually abused. Talking to people I know, I sometimes wonder if these statistics aren't still too low. I believe Ms. Hansen deserves recognition and a big pat on the back for helping to make it okay for young people to stand up for themselves. If even one person gets the courage to report their abuser, I think it is worth it. Go, Miss Iron County! You've got a fan in me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

books I've read this year

I love to read! Here's a list of the books I've read so far this year. They are in no particular order and I've starred** the ones that I really liked and would highly recommend.

**These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner
There's a (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens, and Big Trouble by Laurie Notaro
My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young
**The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen M. Beckett
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen Mystery, Book 1) by Joanne Fluke
Blogging for Dummies by Susannah Gardner
Temple Worship: 20 Truths That Will Bless Your Life by Andrew C. Skinner
**Escape by Carolyn Jessop
The Disappeared by Gloria Wheelan
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg
Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Jazayeri Dumas
No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason
Facebook for Dummies by Leah Pearlman
Digital Memories: Scrapbooking with Your Computer by Carla Rose
**Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris
They Did It With Love by Kate Morgenroth
State of the Onion (White House Chef Mystery, Book 1) by Julie Hyzy
**The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Girls by Lori Lansens
Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts
**This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women by Jay Allison
**House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple by S. Michael Wilcox
**My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
**Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest by Lincoln Hall
Hope's Boy by Andrew Bridge

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


For the most part, life with Alec is loving, frustrating (he can be stubborn and hard to understand), and funny (he is part clown) but once in a while is it just plain sad. Yesterday was one of those days.

I was taking Alec to the library (one of his favorite places) and we went to climb in the car Brakston always drove. Here's our conversation:

A: Mom, will you give me Brakston's car?

M: Why do you want Brakston's car?

A: I want to drive. Please, mom, please. (in a very heartfelt, begging voice)

M: Alec, honey, you can't drive. I'm sorry.

A: All my friends drive. I need to drive. Puhleeeaaase!

It honestly breaks my heart to have to tell Alec he can't do something that he sees everyone else do! He so badly wants to be included and to be treated like everyone else.

I'll chalk it up to another life lesson I learn from Alec - never take anything I am able to do for granted!

--scrappinsoccermama is one lucky gal! She can do many, many things!

Monday, April 13, 2009

One of our family traditions is "bunny rolls". The kids get so excited about these rolls. They are really just a plain roll with a little glaze on top but everyone LOVES them and looks forward to them. This year even Kevin was asking when we'd have the bunny rolls.

Here's the pictures from this morning's Easter egg hunt. Our Easter bunny generally comes on Saturday morning but we were out of town this year. Since none of our kids had school today we asked the Easter bunny to come today instead. We have such a nice, accomodating Easter bunny!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

extended family Easter egg hunt

It's a Lawton family tradition to have a huge Easter egg hunt on a day within the vicinity of Easter time (whenever we can get together during the month). This year it happened to be the day before Easter. Wow!

We had 33 people present of which 21 were egg-hunting, candy-seeking children. I get the biggest kick out of Alec because he really has a hard time finding eggs (even the ones in plain site) but it doesn't really matter. If he gets even 3 eggs, he is thrilled! To make life even better, the other kids are so caring that they share their booty with Alec so he does really well!

Shanley and one of the twins on the move!

Cuteness runs in the family! My brothers' girls, Maggie and Avery, are as cute as my own children. lol

Even little Sophie (7 mos) loves Peeps! She is being held by my aunt Vicki.

Aliza (Tonya's daughter)

McKayla and Jolyn's daughter, Natalie

The adults get to share in the fun! Jolyn provided these cute Easter baskets for all the women (this is my mom holding it). Kari made cute wood flower outlet protectors for everyone. Vicki brought boxes decorated like chicks and rabbits for each family. I even took a tiny treat sack for all the women. (Can't let the kids get ALL the candy!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

chocolate rules

I have often claimed to be a chocoholic but I do not believe that is strictly true. I will not eat chocolate in any way, shape, or form. I have some very specific rules for chocolate.

1) The only good M&M is a peanut one! I might, on occasion, pop a plain one or two but they are generally not worth the calories to me. The peanut ones are a delightful mix of sweet and salty - just the right balance.

2) Other than peanut M&Ms, one should not ruin chocolate by mixing it with nuts. Chocolate is meant to be savored. I want my chocolate to be rich and creamy and to let it melt in my mouth. Therefore, if you add nuts to fudge, brownies, or ice cream, you have ruined it and it is inedible.

3) Chocolate should be rich and creamy. No waxy American chocolate! Lindt makes a very good chocolate.

I guess I'm a bit of a chocolate snob!

Friday, April 10, 2009

temple worship

It seems appropriate to focus on temple work since I felt that General Conference focused on temples. Here is another quote on temple work from the book "Temple Worship: 20 Truths that Will Bless Your Life" by Andrew Skinner. This quote, I must admit, scares me a little.

"Sister Susa Young Gates...once asked her father (Brigham Young) how it would ever be possible to accomplish the great amount of temple work that must be done, if all are given a full opportunity for exaltation. He told her there would be many inventions of labor-saving devices, so that our daily duties could be performed in a short time, leaving us more and more time for temple work. The inventions have come, and are still coming, but many simply divert the time gained to other channels, and not for the purpose intended by the Lord." (Archibald F. Bennett,Improvement Era, Oct. 1952)

I realize I am the beneficiary of many time-saving labor devices. Do I devote enough time to the temple? I feel I try. I really try to go to the temple once a week besides working in the baptistry (I am not 100% successful, but I try). Still, this quote really makes me think.

I have decided that I am only going to the temple enough if it is a little bit difficult, if I have to stretch and sacrifice a little to do so. Several years ago, I felt I was really stretching to go once a month. Then, a couple years later I decided to "stretch" and go 18 times during the year. The very next year, the prophet encouraged us to double our temple attendance. I moaned a bit about why couldn't this have come before I did 18 times during the year but I did the 36 times during the year and found it really wasn't so hard. So, the following year I decided to go every week. Then I decided to also become a temple worker. I don't know whether it becomes easier as it becomes a habit or if the Lord keeps blessing me to make it easy. However, after reading this quote, I know it's time to "stretch and sacrifice" a bit again. Maybe I can add one full-day in the temple each month.

It really seems to be such a small sacrifice when I compare it with those in other countries who sell their homes or go without food one meal a day for a year in order to afford to go. So, I have to give up a little reading time. Not such a big sacrifice, is it?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

put down roots or have new experiences

As I mentioned before, we have lived in the same home for almost 17 years. All of my children except Brakston have lived here their entire lives. Brakston was 2 1/2 years old when we moved in so he has no memory of living anywhere else. We have truly loved it here. We have a great neighborhood and a great ward, but at times I still wonder if we haven't missed something by not moving.

I have a cousin who works for the U.S. State Dept. so he and his family move around a lot. His wife, Michelle, and I have talked at length about the pros and cons of moving vs. staying put.

There is something to be said for stability and roots. My children have long-term relationships with neighbors and friends. I generally know which teachers are really good and which to avoid. Neighbors are emotionally invested in my children. Brakston gets many letters on his mission from people who have known him since he was a little boy. They were his primary teachers, scout leaders, YM leaders, etc and they care about him and are supportive of him.

On the other hand, there is a case to be made for seeing more of the world. My children have grown up knowing mostly "vanilla Utah". They haven't experienced much by way of cultural or religious or ethnic diversity. At times, I would really have loved for them to have those experiences.

Michelle's children, on the other hand, have lived in Hawaii, Ghana, Mongolia, Washington D.C., and Cuba. They have had many rich and fulfilling cultural experiences that many of us only dream about. On the other hand, they haven't had a lot of long-term relationships. They have been isolated because they've had to be home schooled. In Mongolia, they were even their own church group.

I don't think there is one "best" way. I guess I think we just take what life gives us and focus on the positive aspects.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

our home

We have lived in the same home for almost 17 years. This actually will lead to two different posts but today's is the things I love about my home.

1) I love that it is in a circle! We don't get tons of traffic. When Brakston was young (and there were lots of kids in the circle) they used to set up hockey nets and play roller hockey for hours. I loved that they could do that!

2) I love my big combination kitchen, dining room, and family room. It is one long room and was the first thing I fell in love with! It totally sold me on the home! Besides the one big room aspect, the kitchen is nice and spacious which I love because I spend a lot of time in there. One thing I can't stand is tripping over people in the kitchen!

3) I love the color of my laundry room. It is painted a Caribbean Blue and reminds me of my best vacations - Hawaii, Cancun, Mazatlan, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, etc. I love going in there and thinking about the ocean and the sun. It feels like an oasis or a bit of a retreat!

4) I love that we have 3 full bathrooms! It is a rare occurence for us to be waiting in line for a bathroom!

5) I love my neighbors. Five of the seven other families in our cirle have been here even longer than we have. We have the greatest neighbors! They have welcomed my children into their home, shared lawn and garden advice, helped us install a new water heater, shared garden produce, looked for a lost Alec, and on and on and on!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

100 life goals

Many years ago I created a list of 100 goals I would like to accomplish over my lifetime. Some things I have already accomplished. Others will be ongoing projects for my entire lifetime. Here's a few:

*travel to Italy
*get my Master's Degree
*run a marathon (completed)
*write and publish a book
*be a fun grandmother who is very involved in her grandkids lives
*serve a mission with my husband
*visit every LDS temple in the world
*teach at a college
*be physically active
*teach seminary (completed)
*travel to Germany
*travel to Hawaii (completed)
*strive to have a good relationship with my sons- and daughters-in-law
*read the entire Bible (completed)
*go to Disney World

I am a big believer in goals!

Monday, April 6, 2009

family tradition

One of our family traditions is eating a HUGE ice cream sundae when we are celebrating a family member's accomplishment. We make a huge sundae with bananas, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and caramel and then everyone grabs a spoon and digs in. Most of us dive to the bottom for the bananas. Brakston and I, especially, always used to fight over the bananas.

Last night we had one of our sundaes to celebrate McKayla's 4.0. Yea!

We find several reasons to celebrate throughout the year. We have celebrated Eagle scout awards, making the high school soccer team, making the premiere USA soccer team, Special Olympics gold medals, being selected as Riverton Elementary's Student of the Week, etc.

Note: Alec refuses to eat out of the same bowl as the rest of us so we have to make him his own separate bowl of ice cream. It is kind of funny!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

teacher's responsibility

I substitute taught Algebra 2 and Quantitative Analysis classes on Thursday and Friday at Riverton High. My experience there has really caused me to wonder where does teacher responsibility end and personal responsibility begin?

The regular teacher had left me instructions as to their normal class practices which included my reading the answers to the previous assignment while each student corrected his/her own work. As I was reading the answers, I noticed that most of the students were frantically writing them down. Very few students had actually done the assigned homework. When questioned later, most freely admitted that was their usual practice. Their attitude was "why do the work when he just gives us the answers?"

I talked to McKayla about it. She said her math teacher does the same thing but he first walks around the classroom to ensure the students have actually done the work.

Obviously, there are methods the teacher could use to ensure the students are actually doing the work and not getting credit for copied answers. On one hand, this would seem more fair to those students that actually did the homework. On the other hand, is it the teacher's responsibility to ensure each student learns? These are, after all, high school students. Shouldn't they accept some personal responsibility for their own learning?

I explained the new homework and gave examples of how to do it. Then I provided ample class time in which to get the homework done. I went around the classroom and individually helped those who were trying to complete their homework but, again, most of the class did something else (talked, slept, or did other homework). They couldn't see the value of doing the homework when the teacher would give them the answers the next time they met.

When I was a high school student, I was a very conscientous student. I also really loved learning and wanted to learn. I would never have dreamed of just copying the answers.

The teacher gets paid to teach. Does this burden him with the responsibility of ensuring each student is actually learning something? Or is the teacher's job merely to provide the opportunity to learn? Does the student bear the responsibility? Is the student's failure to learn hurting anyone but himself? Do we have too many classes structured where they can "complete" the homework, fail the tests, and still pass the classes? Are we turning out a generation of uneducated idiots? (My own son's letters back home make me seriously wonder about his English education and teacher's always told me he was a good English student. Scary! but I digress...)

I don't know the answers. Do they address this problem in staff meetings? Is it addressed in colleges when preparing future teachers? Does the responsibility come back to parents to raise hard-working, honest individuals who want to learn? Is the math curriculum flawed because students do problem after problem without seeing any real world application so they can't see why they need algebra?

--scrappinsoccermama has $20 and wants to know how many bags of Cadbury Mini Eggs and how many mangoes she could buy with it. If only there were some algebraic equation to give her the possibilities. lol

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I have worked full-time outside of the home for most of my married years. I was busy but felt like I was able to juggle and balance everything. Four of those years that I was working, I was even Young Women's President which kept me extra busy. I have loved the opportunity to stay home since Chandler was born but when he entered school, I did begin substitute teaching.

I have really enjoyed the teaching. For the past three weeks I have taught 3 days of every week. Now I seriously wonder how I was EVER able to work full-time and manage a home and family. My house has completely gone to pot and I am completely, utterly exhausted! Here's a picture of what my kitchen looked like a little earlier today.

COMPLETE AND TOTAL DISASTER! (and let's not even talk about the laundry)

This has really got me wondering what has changed. Do I have less energy? I don't think so. Am I out of practice and don't have the "working" routine down as well? This is entirely possible. Are my children and husband out of practice with helping? I don't know, but I would sure demand more help if I were working full-time. Is it just that my children are older which means my evenings and weekends are much, much more hectic than they used to be? This option seems to be most likely. I used to stay home more in the evenings allowing me to get things done. Now I am running off to YW, soccer games, soccer practices, meetings, etc! It seems that one of my children or myself always has some place to be. Not that I am complaining. I do like my life. It is just hectic in the evenings and is usually it's own juggling act trying to get everyone where they are supposed to be without much help from Kevin.

All I know is I have much more respect especially for mothers, of teenagers, who must work. You go, girls!

--scrappinsoccermama is grateful she doesn't have to work full-time! Thank you, Kevin!

Friday, April 3, 2009


My friend, Christine, posted some interesting questions about money that she took from "If you had a million dollars" By J Sewell. I thought I'd attempt to answer them.

1 Below what salary would you be embarrassed to tell people what your family made?

2. Which do you think of more often sex or money?

3. If you spend time with a friend who has significantly less money, do you act differently?

4. If money were no object, where would you live?

5. For you, is there a contradiction between religious faith and seeking financial wealth?

6. When parents write their will, should the child who has six children to raise get more than the child who has only one child to raise.

7. What would you pay to know the exact date and time you will pass away? Would you share this information?

8. Who spends more on frivolous items, you or your husband.

9. A friend files for divorce, asking for more than half of the assets because her spouse cheated on her. Fair?

10. When has money been an obstacle to your well-being?

1. $40,000; 2. money; 3. yes, I try to be sensitive to the fact that they may not be able to eat out or do expensive entertainment; 4. Hawaii or San Diego because I like the temperature there or maybe I could live in Montana in the summer and somewhere else in the winters (my big thing would be to avoid the heat in the summer!), 5. yes and no, I think there shouldn't be but at the same time I think it's been ingrained in me that seeking for wealth is worldly and of less importance than the things of God and that is hard to overcome; 6. no, but then again I don't believe parents need to leave a lot of money for their children. It is not my parents' reponsibility to provide for my children and expecting them to will me money based on my number of children seems like that's what they'd be doing; 7. no, I am not even the least bit concerned about my death date so I wouldn't pay to learn it; 8. I don't think either of us is a big spender on frivolous items. Neither of us is a big spender but I probably spend more on non-essential, just-for-fun things than Kevin does. 9. I don't know. Is money really going to make up for the pain, heartache and loss of trust. What does money really have to do with that? 10. I've been fairly lucky. While money is certainly tight at times; we have always had enough to cover our basic needs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

april fool's

We had a fun April Fool's Day dinner. A whole group of us got together to create a dinner of "fish sticks, peas, punch, and cupcakes". The "fish sticks" were actually wafer cookies rolled in crushed corn flakes. The "peas" were airheads. The "punch" was jello. The "cupcakes" were meatloaf frosted with colored mashed potatoes.

The kids thought it was really funny! I was especially pleased with the "fish sticks". They were very realistic. I had a really fun time with the 11 women who got together to make the dinner.