Friday, December 31, 2010

resolution check-up

Well, it's the final accounting day. How did I do this year on keeping my resolutions? Hmmm, let's see...

Lose weight - I'm quite happy with my progress here for this month. The day after Christmas I started eating healthier and have already lost weight. Yea! Overall for the year, I am down 39.5 pounds from where I started the year. That is great but I still have a ways to go (yes, I was that overweight). This will continue to be a goal for the coming year but I feel positive I can readh my goal weight. If I just lose as much as I did this year, I'll be skinnier than I was in high school!

Earn YW Medallion - FINISHED! McKayla and I both received our awards on Sunday, October 24th. Yea!

Write my grandma's life history - I made no progress in December. On the bright side, Kevin has a friend who told him another method for data recovery on our crashed computer. I am mildly hopeful because that would certainly be helpful. This one will also have to roll over to next year.

Do major projects early - Overall I did really well on this one this year! It certainly made for a relaxing Christmas. I've even got a good start on next year since I've got one present made and I'm already starting on the Christmas gifts for my sisters and friends.

Write a book - Overall I didn't do well on this one this year. I wrote a little here and there but probably have enough for a magazine article - certainly not a book!

Get 7 hours of sleep per night - I give up on this one. I actually slept in this morning until 4:25 am and was super excited because it's the first time in FOREVER that I haven't awoken between 3 and 3:30. 4:25 felt like sleeping in! I've talked to my doctor and she's told me to take Melatonin but it doesn't seem to do anything. I was beginning to get tempted to do drugs (Ambien, Tylenol PM, anything - I just wanted to sleep!)

Conclusion: I like the accountablity of having to report on my goals. It helps with motivation. I will do it again next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

year in review

Here's some of our families top things of 2010 (in no particular order):

Utah News Stories:
  1. Brian David Mitchell convicted in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping.
  2. Herriman fire caused by machine gun practice of National Guard.
  3. Chevron oil spills in Red Butte Creek.
  4. BYU and Utah leave the MWC - BYU will be independent and Utah will be PAC-10.

Top Overall Stories:

  • Earthquake in Haiti killed 230,000 and left millions homeless
  • BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Tea party movement
  • Health care overhaul
  • After 69 days being trapped in a Chilean mine, 33 workers were rescued
  • Wikileaks

Our favorite TV shows:

  1. CSI
  2. NCIS
  3. Amazing Race
  4. iCarly
  5. Hannah Montana

Favorite musical artists:

  • Lady Gaga
  • Pink
  • Taylor Swift
  • Owl City
  • Sarah Beryllis
  • Rihanna
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Katy Perry
  • Ke$ha

I'm sure I left things out. What were some of your favorites?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

new projects

The Christmas break has been pretty relaxing. The kids are enjoying playing with their friends. I am getting some work done on some projects.

I am making a t-shirt quilt for Brakston. It is his Christmas present but he doesn't come home until Jan. 25th so I have a little more time. That's good because I've never attempted a t-shirt quilt before and there's a LOT I don't know. I've recut my t-shirt squares/rectangles 3 times already!

I am also working on Christmas presents for next year. Right before Christmas I was at a friend's home and saw the cutest thing! Now I'm busy copying it. I love to copy!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas letter

I am one of those people who sends Christmas cards along with a letter telling what the family has been up to. I really enjoy receiving those letters. Sometimes it's the only contact I have with old friends or even some extended family. I love learning what they've been doing.

I like to keep a copy of my letter because it's a good summary of our year. I've decided that I good place to start storing the letters is on here so here is the one I sent out this year.

2010 has been all it could be.
We’ll give you a recap from A to Z.

A – Almost home. Brakston will be home on January 25th. Yea! (Not that Marvelle’s counting the days or anything)
B – Bear. Chandler earned his Bear rank in Cub Scouts.
C – Cheer. Shanley decided to try out cheer classes and has been enjoying doing back handsprings.
D – Dances. Alec was invited to Sweethearts and Prom. He asked someone to Homecoming.
E – Early Mornings. Tuesday mornings find Marvelle serving in the temple. Shanley, McKayla, and Alec also go every other week to do baptisms. This means leaving the house about 4 am. Yikes!
F – Fort Worth. Marvelle and the kids flew into Fort Worth to visit Dawnette (Marvelle’s sister) in Keller.
G – Games. If it’s not soccer games, it’s softball or basketball. McKayla and Chandler play soccer. Shanley plays softball and McKayla made the 9th grade basketball team. Alec can be found at all those games plus every high school basketball and football game. He is famous for doing the Haka at halftimes.
H- Half Marathon. Marvelle and McKayla ran a half marathon during the summer. McKayla took first place in her age division and, of course, left Marvelle in her dust.
I – Intrepid. Shanley decided to run for SBO (student body officer). She didn’t win but we were so proud of her intrepid spirit!
J – Jazzercise. Marvelle still attends about 200 Jazzercise classes every year. The kids find it embarrassing when she practices the routines in the car when the songs play on the radio.
K – King. Alec was elected as the Homecoming King of Riverton High School. He still proudly wears his crown to school on occasion and sometimes has to be talked out of wearing it to church.
L – Letter. McKayla earned her varsity letter (as a freshman) in soccer. Alec earned an honorary letter in track.
M – Mount Rushmore. In October Marvelle took the kids to Rapid City, SD for a little vacation.
N – No braces. Shanley got her braces off (McKayla is jealous).
O – Oahu. Kevin and Marvelle spent the 2009 Christmas to New Year’s week in Oahu vacationing with friends.
P – PTA. Marvelle is serving as the PTA President at McKayla and Shanley’s middle school. She is also on the board at Alec’s high school. At times, she’s not sure that she doesn’t spend more time at school than the kids.
Q – Quebec, Rhode Island, Texas, Minnesota, California. Kevin flew coast to coast and covered a lot of miles.
R – Reunion. In July we all went to Marvelle’s family reunion in Bryce Canyon. We did lots of hiking.
S – Social Hero. In May, Alec was honored as a Social Hero at Riverton High. The student body officers gave him the award for being nice and friendly to everyone.
T – Teaching. Marvelle is still substitute teaching seminary. Kevin is teaching the adult Gospel Doctrine class.
U – Utah Glory. McKayla and Chandler play for the Utah Glory soccer club. We attended tournaments in Layton, Ogden, San Diego, St. George, Las Vegas, and Mesquite, NV.
V – Vancouver. Marvelle and Kevin vacationed in Vancouver during the summer. The highlight was renting bikes and cycling around Stanley Park.
W – Waverunners. We enjoyed our waverunners with a trip to Yuba Lake with a couple other families
X – Xtra info. If you want to keep up on the lives of the Morgans, you are welcome to visit our blog at
Y – Yellowstone. We enjoyed a family vacation in Yellowstone in August. We went with 3 other families. Chandler especially loved the kayaking.
Z – Zone Leader. Brakston has been serving as the zone leader in his mission. He loves Arizona.

We love you all and wish you all the joy of this holiday season. May you rejoice in the birth and life of our Savior and may He be with you throughout 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

snow fort

Well, dreams of a White Christmas were in vain. No such luck this year. We did, however, have snow a couple days before Christmas. In fact, we had enough snow that Kevin and Chandler were able to build a fort.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


It is odd having mostly teenagers at Christmas -- they don't tend to wake up before the sun. In fact, it was 9:30 before Alec and the girls got up. Poor Chandler was going crazy waiting.

We always have Swedish tea ring, orange julius and hot chocolate for breakfast and I make everyone eat breakfast before opening presents. We eat, get dressed, make sure the dishes are done, and then it's time to open presents. (I like to extend the anticipation)

Santa doesn't wrap our gifts. He leaves his gifts and the stockings on the couch covered by a tablecloth or sheet. The kids line up oldest to youngest and stand in front of the couch while Kevin and I lift the tablecloth for the "big reveal".

For many years now, we've limited the presents under the tree. Each child gets four presents - a want, a need, a gift of time, and something homemade from whichever family member drew their name.

Here's the kids checking out what Santa brought them.

I love how excited Alec gets at Christmas. He was so excited for Santa to come and then he is thrilled with every gift. You can see his joy at getting a pear in his stocking.

We got a calendar with pictures of the Morgan side of the family. That was fun for everyone to view.

McKayla is checking out her new camera (her want).

The rest of our Christmas day is just very relaxing. Alec watched his new DVDs. Chandler played with his Bop-It and Bop-It Bounce. Shanley loaded music onto her new MP3 player. My parents came by bringing their gifts and my mom and I put together a puzzle.

Great Christmas - hope everyone's was just as merry!

Christmas Eve

We enjoy driving around and looking at the Christmas lights. This year we happened to notice a fairly large field with 3 wiseman walking their camels (excuse the sorry excuse of a picture)

After the 3 wiseman came a lighted sign that said, "O Come Let Us Adore Him" and then came the manger scene complete with a live donkey. All the figures are life-size and we thought it was pretty cool!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve tradition

Most of our family traditions were adoped from the traditions my family had when I was growing up. However, one tradition is just ours. Years ago we started going bowling on the 24th and then out for pizza. Bowling is great because it's something we are able to do as a family because even Alec is pretty good at it (good meaning he can knock at least a few pins down every time). Then pizza is at The Pie Pizzeria - yum!

This year Kevin won both games. McKayla took 2nd once and Shanley took 2nd the other time. Chandler bowled for the first time without using the bumpers and he scored better the second game than the first so he was happy.

I didn't bowl this year since I'm nursing a shoulder injury but I had a great time laughing at McKayla cheering for Kevin to bowl gutter balls so she'd have a chance to beat him. Plus, I kept quite busy high-fiving Alec every time he knocked a pin or two down.

Then we felt honored that our friend, Tonya, joined us for the pizza. We are thinking we may have to repeat this tradition in January when Brakston returns home.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

traumatized or wishful thinking?

Chandler made need therapy. Then again, my he's just hoping for a surprise trip.

Two years ago (in November), we surprised the kids with a cruise. They thought they were driving Kevin and I to the airport to go on a cruise but when we got there, we pulled out their suitcases which I had secretly packed and told them they were going with us. It was a great surprise!

Last year after opening presents on Christmas day, Kevin and I headed to the airport to fly to Hawaii. We spent a week there with friends and had a great time. The kids spent time with their grandparents and then with their cousins. Everything seemed great.

Until this year. Chandler has asked Kevin and I several times if we're leaving him again on Christmas day. We keep assuring him that we're staying with him this time. We were beginning to think we had severely traumatized him by abandoning him on Christmas day.

Then, one day he announced that his belt was missing and he was sure I had taken it. When I wanted to know why I would've taken his belt, he was sure I'd secretly packed it for a trip. he's NOT traumatized. He's just hoping we are going somewhere fun and that this time we're taking him.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I have NEVER liked pancakes - all that soggy bread (and soggy from something equally disgusting - maple syrup!).

That is, I've never liked them until this year. No, my taste buds didn't change - my recipes did. Dawnette gave me this recipe for "Perfect Pancake Mix" (I think it's from the Family Fun cookbook).

Perfect Pancake Mix:
(makes 7 1/2 C mix)

3 C flour
3 t baking soda
4 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
2 C whole wheat flour
1 C 7-whole grain cereal
1 C cornmeal
4 T wheat germ

To make the pancakes:

1 egg
1/2 C milk
1/2 C mix

Yummy! I guess I just like my pancakes with some substenance. I like to eat these plain (none of that horrid maple syrup).

Then, this week I came across another pancake recipe that will go in my "breakfast favorites" file - Applesauce Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup.

Applesauce Pancakes:

2 eggs
2 C flour
1 C milk
1 C applesauce
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 C oil
2 T sugar
2 T baking powder
1 t salt

Beat eggs until fluffy and then beat remaining ingredients.

Cinnamon Syrup:

! C sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 C light corn syrup
1/4 C water
1/2 C evaporated milk

In a saucepan combine the sugar and cinnamon. Pour in corn syrup and water and stir to dissolve. Boil, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Cool. Sir in evaporated milk and serve. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any! heehee!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Well, McKayla has now had her first 2 basketball games. I blogged here about the life lesson she would learn from not making the team. Of course, she didn't learn the lesson because she made the team. In fact, not only did she make the team but she was the first one in off the bench in her first game and by her second game, she was named a starter. I continue to be surprised and amazed at her -- she certainly does not get any of her athletic ability from me.

Her team is doing well too! They won their first game (vs. South Hills) 28-3. They won their second game (vs. Joel P. Jensen) with an impressive score of 69-5. I felt bad for the other team. McKayla"s team is really strong on defense. They also have a lot of plays that they run. It has been fun to watch. She now has a break until mid-January.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I was there

I have always known that I was at Christ's birth but yesterday I had the privilege of really knowing that truth. There is such a difference in knowing something in your mind and knowing it in your heart.

The ward choir (with me) sang "Was I There" in our Christmas program. The song goes, "Was I there in a chorus of angels when he came? Did I cry out from heaven, glory to His name?" Suddenly, my body knew I had been there. My spirit remembered and I knew the joy I felt when I sang with the angelic chorus praising Jesus and rejoicing in His birth.

Reliving that joy was a tender mercy from Christ that I am truly grateful for during this holiday season when I again celebrate the miracle of Christ's birth.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Alec's birthday

My sweet boy is 18 today! I still remember his birth so clearly. He was the easiest child to give birth to - I swear he just slipped out. He never made me sick during the pregnancy. He had the most gorgeous complexion and coloring even right after birth.

Then within an hour of his birth Kevin and I got the news that changed our lives - "your son has Down syndrome." Who could have predicted where that road has taken us?

Also, the sad news that he had pneumonia and had to stay in the hospital for 8 days. I couldn't take my baby home for Christmas.

The joys of having him roll over, sit up, and even walk ahead of predictions. The sorrows of teachers who couldn't find anything nice to say about him. The frustrations of being unable to keep track of Alec as he escaped the house and "ran away" time after time after time. The smiles he brings with his frequent hugs. The shock of being told he also has autism. The kindness of his classmates as they've asked him to dances, elected him Homecoming King, taken him to ball games, etc. The acceptance of Alec and his limitations by his siblings and their patience with him. The laughs at the funny things he says and does (writing Ashton Kutcher on the name line on his schoolwork). The weirdness of now having to go to court (against you) to petition for guardianship.

The emotions I experience in dealing with you have somehow seemed magnified - the joys are greater and the sorrows deeper. Life is never dull with you around. At times, I've thought you should count as 5 kids all by yourself. I've learned so much from you and been stretched beyond what I thought I'd be able to handle.

Alec, you are a blessing to have as a child and you bring joy to all who know you! Happy Birthday!

he's a romantic

Yesterday was Kevin's and my 23rd anniversary! We knew that day was going to be too crazy busy to celebrate so we had decided to celebrate our anniversary on Friday.

Kevin is much better at the whole anniversary/romance thing than I am. If it were up to me we'd probably go to dinner and/or a movie and call it good. Luckily, Kevin rarely leaves it up to me. He wanted to spend the night at a hotel but since McKayla had 6 am soccer practice (and needed a ride) that didn't seem feasible. Instead, Alec, McKayla, and Shanley had tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas concert with David Archuleta. That left only Chandler so we shipped him off to a friends' home for a late night.

Kevin started Friday off with roses and chocolate waiting for me at my 5:30 am Jazzercise class. How sweet is that? Then I had to be at the middle school by 7:20 am to do a presentation at the faculty meeting. Kevin had 6 more roses waiting for me there! I had to be at the high school at 10:30 am. Kevin had bought cinnabuns and was going to bring them there for me but ran out of time. Still, it was a really sweet thought.

That night after we got "rid" of all our kids, Kevin shooed me into the bathroom. He'd spent an hour scrubbing the tub so it would be sparkling clean for me. He ran a bath with ocean breeze bath salts and lit some candles and told me to relax.

When I got out of the tub, Kevin had a candlelight dinner waiting. He'd picked up some Mexican food. We ate and talked and then went downstairs to watch a movie.
We watched "While You Were Sleeping" which is one of my favorite movies. The whole night was so relaxing and enjoyable. We just really enjoyed each other's company.

I am so lucky to have married such a good man! Twenty-three years later, I still believe he was the best choice!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I scored big time!

Sometimes going to Jazzercise early in the morning pays off in more ways than one.

This morning the payoff was BIG! One of my "Jazzercise friends" made me these adorable blocks that say "Faith. Hope. Love." They are so great! Another "Jazzercise friend" made me this ornament. I absolutely love her work and have already purchased a wall hanging and another ornament. I also won one of her screen paintings. Check out her work here. She is even doing a giveaway right now so you might be lucky enough to own some of her work too!

And, if all that weren't enough, my husband left some roses and chocolate there for me as well to help celebrate our anniversary. Then I attended a faculty meeting at the middle school (to make a presentation) and my husband had left more roses for me there! WooHoo!


I won! I won! I won!

Don't you just love to win? I do!

Thanks to Rebekah at Fashionable Finery , I will soon be sporting a new pair of blue-beaded hoop earrings. Yea!

Rebekah does beautiful work. Check out her blog here. Some of my favorites of her work are found here.

project of the week

Yesterday I finished this week's major project - bags of white chocolate popcorn, pretzels, and peanuts for all of the teachers at Riverton High. Ever wondered what 100 bags (plus 2 trays for the office) of popcorn looks like?

This is part of my duties as the teacher appreciation representative for PTA at RHS.

When my children were in elementary school, I never dreamed I'd be this involved in PTA. You see, I tried PYA in elementary and didn't like it. I enjoyed volunteering in the classroom instead. I felt that my time was much better spent helping with reading. I liked working with the students. I also thought the classroom was the best location for seeing how the teacher interacted with the students. I learned more about the students (my children's friends and peers). I also hoped that by volunteering in the classroom, I was sending the message to my children that education is IMPORTANT!

However, when the kids hit middle school, there is really no opportunities for classroom involvement. Also, Brakston was not very good about passing along information. I realized that if I wanted to stay informed about what was happening at the school, who the teachers are, etc., I was going to have to get involved in PTA.

Thus, this year you'll find me serving as PTA President at the middle school (more involved than I had ever planned but that is a whole separate story) and as the teacher appreciation representative at the high school. I have been involved with PTA at the secondary level for 7 or 8 years now.

I really am better informed than most parents. I get to see firsthand how the schools are operating. I feel I know what is going on as far as assemblies, programs, curriculum, technology, awards, etc. It has been very valuable to me personally and I believe it has been very helpful in my children's education.

It takes a lot of time but I feel it is an investment in my children and their education - a very worthwhile investment. And heck, only another 8 years of this and then the kids will be graduated and I can move on to other things!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

books I've read in the past month

Here's the list of books I've read in the past month. I've ** the ones I recommend.

The Rivers Run Dry by Sibella Giorello

Joan of Arc by Mary Gordon

**Remembering Isaac - The Beloved Potter of Niederbipp by Ben Behunin

**A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson

Discovering Isaac - The Beloved Potter of Niederbipp by Ben Behunin

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

**Gift from the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jon Schmidt

Kevin and I attended yesterday's FM100 mini concert featuring Joshua Creek and Jon Schmidt. Both were good but Jon Schmidt is absolutely amazing! I could listen to him all day.

Typical Jon - plays upside down backwards.He even played a song using his toes.

I have never seen anyone play with as much enthusiasm and passion as Jon Schmidt does. He is doing a benefit concert at Riverton High tonight and I'd love to go but I have a YM/YW activity. Chandler is going though.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas open house

Monday night Kevin and I hosted our annual Christmas open house. I think we've been doing this for 7 years now. It is a tradition I really enjoy. We invite lots of friends and neighbors over for homemade goodies and visiting.

We estimate we had about 60 people drop by last night. I got to visit with most of them.

This year I served the following homemade goodies:
English Toffee
peanut brittle
cinnamon almonds
mint truffles
peanut butter balls
white chocolate-covered pretzels
chocolate-covered pretzels
caramel popcorn
applesauce cake
poppyseed bread
cranberry-orange bread
hot orange-almond drink
hot chocolate

I just wish I'd thought to take pictures before I had cleaned most of it up after the party.


This has got to be the hardest jigsaw puzzle ever - 1500 pieces that all look the same! It looks like each egg is very distinct so I thought the puzzle would be easy but, seriously, the pieces all looked the exact same. I've never had this difficult a time putting together a puzzle nor has it ever taken me so very long. If it hadn't been for my mom's help, I'm not sure I would ever have finished. (Okay, maybe I would have eventually.)

I usually donate my puzzles to DI when I finish (that is also where I usually acquire them). This time it went in the garbage - GOOD RIDDANCE!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my dad's birthday - 67 years old today!

He and my mom just finished a 23-month mission at church headquarters in the physical facilities department. My mom did secretarial work and my dad did accounting for church construction projects. They have their papers in for a second mission and are currently awaiting their mission call.

I love my dad because he always made me feel like he was proud of me and he always seems to know the answers to my questions. What more could you ask for?

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Belly Bob

For years now, "Belly Bob" has been attending our family reunions. He entertains the audience with his rendition of Rindercella.

Yesterday, "Belly Bob" made a surprise appearance at our extended family Christmas party. He told us the redneck version of The Night Before Christmas.

Gotta love ole Belly Bob.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

high to low

Last night when I posted I was so excited for all the parties and fun this weekend.

This morning I am just tired.

McKayla and I got home about 11:40 pm from her soccer game last night. The tournament was running almost an hour behind schedule. I still awoke at 4 am because I believe that is now the time my body is programmed to wake up. Ugh! No energy. No excitement. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Good thing I'm at least not the one that has to play two soccer games and a basketball game in a 7-hour span. (Good luck, McKayla)

Friday, December 10, 2010

lovin' the season

I truly do love the Christmas season - even when it keeps me hopping!

Last Sunday I wrote my to-do list for the week. McKayla actually gasped when she saw it and Kevin felt so bad for me that he has made the kids sack lunches all week and done a lot of the carpool driving.

Still, I love it all and I am quite pleased that I got almost every single thing on my list done. Sent Brakston's Christmas package, mailed the Christmas cards, finished a friend's birthday present, bought McKayla some solid black basketball shorts (hard to find), did a lot of work for PTA, made 72 cards (18 different ones), finished making a lot of Christmas gifts, shopped, made so much candy and cookies and breads, taught seminary, and so on!

I was busier than a one-armed paper hanger and loved it all! Now I am excited to be able to relax and enjoy some of the parties! We have our ward party tonight (although I can only stay 30 minutes before heading to McKayla's soccer tournament at BYU - yes, a soccer tournament during the hectic Christmas season - is that crazy or what?). Tomorrow is our extended family Christmas party (along with 2 more soccer games for McKayla) and tomorrow night I am getting together with some friends (and missing McKayla's first basketball game). Monday will be our annual open house where we invite our neighbors for treats and then the parties will pretty much be over.

So, I am going to spend the weekend partying like a rock star!!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jerusalem - Peter Breinholt

I attended another FM100 mini-concert on Tuesday with Kevin, my parents, and Jill. It was great! The concert featured Peter Breinholt and David Tolk. Here's my favorite Peter Breinholt song, Jerusalem.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I love playing Santa!

That is, as long as I don't have to dress-up like him!

Yesterday I got to play Santa at the high school. We had a donor give 1 IPOD Nano and 3 IPOS Shuffles for the PTA to give to the faculty/staff. I used a random number generator to determine the winners and then was off to the school to deliver them. What fun was that!!??!!

The winning teachers were delighted and even their students were happy and cheering for them (and trying to steal the IPOD).

If anyone else wants to donate gifts for me to give away, this is a role I could definitely get into!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas music

Do you have a favorite Christmas song?

I don't know that I do.

I will admit to getting tired of the "oldies" but there is still so many to love. We are currently singing one in ward choir that I really love. I have a David Tolk CD that I could listen to all day (and frequently do). I love "Where Are You, Christmas?" and most of the songs from The Forgotten Carols never grow old.

I just love the joy the Christmas songs bring into my life!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

cool quote

The magic of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas parties

I attended two super fun Christmas parties last week. I laughed pretty hard at both of them.

Makes me wonder why we don't all party more during the rest of the year. Maybe that should be one of my goals for next year - hold more parties!

Friday, December 3, 2010

better late than never

Oops - I forgot to report on my goals at the end of November. At least I'm only a few days late.

Lose weight - Okay, not making progress in this area. I am actually up a couple pounds and I still have Christmas to get through. Setting my sights on not gaining in December and I'll go back to losing in January.

Earn YW Medallion - FINISHED! McKayla and I both received our awards on Sunday, October 24th. Yea!

Write my grandma's life history - I finally got motivated and got restarted on this project. I am feeling good about that.

Do major projects early
CPE - My total for the year is 44 hours. -FINSIHED in May
Christmas cards - FINISHED! The cards are done, the envelopes are addressed, and I even have the rough draft of the Christmas letter (which I won't finish until I am ready to send them out - you never know what exciting thing might happen.)
nieces and nephews birthday presents - FINISHED!
Christmas gifts - I am pretty much done with my shopping (other than maybe a few last minute odds and ends)! I even finished a lot of the gifts I am making.

Write a book - I worked on this one and made some progress.

Get 7 hours of sleep per night - I got 7 hours last night, does that count?

Conclusion: So glad I have to 'fess up every month. It keeps me going.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas

Every year one of the local radio stations hosts a series of "mini concerts" at a local mall. They feature local artists but I'm not talking about school choirs - these are singers that have released albums and usually have concerts throughout the year. I love attending these concerts and feel that it really helps me get into the spirit of the holidays.

Tuesday's concert was the first one I've been able to attend this year and it featured Nancy Hansen for the first half hour and Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband for the last half hour.

Here's one of my favorite Ryan Shupe songs.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

why did I wait?

Yesterday I took time for myself. No, I didn't do anything fun like a pedicure or sitting at Barnes & Noble browsing and sipping a hot chocolate. Instead, I got a mammogram. Exciting, huh?

It's years overdue especially since my mother had breast cancer (cancer-free for 10 years now - YEA!). I'm not sure why people complain about them - I didn't find it the slightest bit painful. Not even a twinge of pain.

Really, the only painful thing about the experience was the 40-minute wait to register with the hospital where they only needed to take copies of my driver's license and insurance card before sending me to mammography. When I got to mammography, they told me the registrar hadn't saved my insurance card so they needed to scan it again. Also, they wanted my photo ID to be in color not black and white so they scanned my driver's license again making me wonder why I'd had to wait 40 minutes for the registrar to just screw up?

Oh yeah, now I remember why I've put this off - it's not fear of pain. It's fear of frustration!

Fear confirmed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the saga continues

I posted about Alec's lost wallet. Well, wasn't it Paul Harvey who used to say, "Here's the rest of the story."?

On Pie Night, one of the cousins acually found Alec's wallet! Yea! The best news is that it contained the $100 he'd taken from my purse so got that back. I decided having 2 temple recommends, 2 state ID cards, and 2 school ID cards was a good thing. I could keep one set as a backup.

But, the story STILL doesn't end there. The very next day we flew to San Diego and Alec put his wallet in the airplane seat pocket (I don't know why) and left it there.

So, we are still short a wallet and all IDs. Dang! At least I have $100 to my name.

Monday, November 29, 2010

sage advice

Here's some good advice for all you busy wives and mothers out there: take time to check yourself in the mirror before you leave for church.

I didn't do that yesterday and was halfway through the meetings before I washed my hands in the bathroom and happened to look in the mirror only to find that I had forgotten to put on my make-up.

Yikes - me without mascara - not a good look!

McKayla's RHS soccer banquet

A couple weeks ago McKayla and I went to a banquet celebrating the RHS soccer season. It was a successful season resulting in RHS being unbeaten in Region play and being crowned Region champs!

The girls were given candy leis.

McKayla earned a varsity letter since she played in nearly every varsity game and in the playoff games. However, since they were Region champs the coach awarded a varsity letter to every girl on the team saying it's a team effort to achieve that.

The coach always does awards for the seniors but has the seniors do the awards for the rest of the team. They gave McKayla the "best adjusted player" award saying they were impressed that she made the adjustment from her usual outside midfielder position to playing defender for the entire season.

(and, yes, she went to the RHS banquet wearing her club team warm-ups but only because we went straight to the banquet from a game)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

San Diego!

We are back from warm, sunny San Diego! It was delightful! And then we woke up this morning to snow and having to shovel - welcome back home. haha!

The soccer games were good and very competitive (no blowouts). The beach was great!Shanley braved the cold water but I just enjoyed the sand and sun! I read and took a nap.

I also enjoyed a trip to the temple - the first time I've been to the incredibly beautiful San Diego temple. It is gorgeous outside and light and airy and open inside.

Now I can look forward to the warmth of Phoenix in February - nothing like a good soccer tournament to give me a break from snow and cold!

Friday, November 26, 2010

internal clock

It has been a goal all year to try to get more sleep. I usually get 6 1/2 hours of sleep per night (except Monday nights when I usually get 5 1/2 hours) and I'm generally tired. I have read all the health benefits of getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night - weight loss, healthier heart, etc. So, I have tried.

However, maybe it's been too many years of too little sleep because I seem to wake at 4:30 am no matter what.

I was excited Tuesday night because Jazzercise had been cancelled for Wednesday morning. I could sleep in. Hah! I woke at 4:30 anyways.

I am currently on vacation in San Diego. What time did I wake up? 4:30 am.

Drat my stupid internal clock! What will it take to reset it?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Today's Thankful

Today I am especially thankful that:

*last night I got to eat Tonya's Reese's Pie - it was so yummy!
*I am flying to San Diego today to spend a few days in warm temps!
*Tonya and Jeremy are going to stay at my home while I'm gone so certain teenage boys will be deterred from breaking in like they did last time we left town
*we all get to sit in First Class on our flight today
*I'm not the one coughing this morning
*there is a Jazzercise Huff and Puff Before You Stuff class this morning so that I won't feel quite as guilty for eating today
*someone is feeding Brakston a Thanksgiving dinner today
*this is the last Thanksgiving Brakston will be gone (at least until he marries)
*my husband got home last night around midnight so he'll be able to eat dinner with us today (too bad he missed Pie Night)

and mostly, I am grateful for my family. I love them all! I have the best husband, best children, best parents, and best siblings ever!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tonight is our family's annual Pie Night! Years ago we started the tradition of getting together Wednesday night (before Thanksgiving) to eat soup, scones, and PIE!

The theory was that we could enjoy the pie more if we weren't so stuffed from the Thanksgiving feast.

The truth of the matter is that now we just stuff ourselves on soup and scones instead. There is usually at least 3 types of soup (and you just HAVE to try them all). The scones usually are served with a variety of honey butters (i.e. cinnamon, raspberry, or plain). It is all yummy!

I really believe that it is just one more excuse for us all to get together! We do enjoy that! It works especially well when it's my brothers' year to go to their in-laws because they can still join us for Pie Night!

Anyway, this morning I've already made Cranberry Apple Streusel Pie and Peaches and Cream Pie. As soon as I finish this I'll go make French Silk Pie and Olive Garden's recipe for Pasta e Fagioli soup. Yum! My mouth is watering already.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

uniquely thankful

Yesterday I posted some of the more obscure things that I am thankful for. My list doesn't even compare to my children's.

I asked McKayla last night what she is grateful for and the first thing out of her mouth was, "that I don't have to swim to church."


Then, out of the blue, Chandler stated this morning that he's thankful for all the things he can do with his tongue.


My kids make me laugh.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I am thankul for many things and many of those things are the common things: family, health, the Gospel, good friends, etc

Some of the more obscure things I am thankful for:
1) that Alec was born in a time where he has opportunities
2) that Over-the-counter remedies are available for so many things (colds, allergies, etc)
3) that I have the opportunity to serve in the temple
4) that even though my corneas are too thin for Lasik and I can't wear disposable contacts, I can at least wear the gas permeable contacts. They correct my vision so much better than glasses (due to my horrendous astigmatism)
5) that Utah has 4 seasons
6) that there are so many good books to read and that they can be found in public libaries
7) for The Amazing Race so I can live vicariously
8) for hot chocolate on snowy days
9) for people who think I'm wonderful no matter what
10) for showers where I get to pick the water temperature

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Last night we went out to dinner and to Hale Center Theater with friends. We have season tickets so we do this 6 times per year. It is so much fun!

We like to try out new restaurants so last night we went to Siegfried's Delicatessen - a German restaurant. Kevin had bratwurst. Jill and I had wienerschnitzel. Todd had a Reuben. It was all very good. For side dishes, we tried such things as fried potatoes, hot potato salad, and red cabbage. I was the only one that liked the red cabbage.

The musical was "The Drowsy Chaperone". I had never seen it before but found it quite funny.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I really NEED to take more vacations

On Monday I went in for a physical. The nurse called yesterday with the results of my bloodwork. I'm happy to report I'm in pretty good shape.


My vitamin D levels are extremely low. I laughed when the nurse told me this and said, "It's because I hate milk." She said, "No, it means you're not getting enough sun."

All of those hours outside watching soccer games and I'm not getting enough sun?

Okay, it's true. I hate the heat and generally stay inside in my air-conditioned home or find the shade outdoors. Apparently, I am hiding from the sun too much.

So, I am trying to convince Kevin that this means I should hop on a plane at least one day a week and fly to somewhere sunny and warm and spend the whole day doing nothing but basking in the sun. Sounds like a great plan, doesn't it? And what can I say? It's doctor's orders!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm a really slow learner

A little over 13 years ago I agreed to let Brakston try out for a competitive soccer team because I KNEW he was not good enough to make the team and I thought that would be a good life lesson for him. The joke was on me! That one tryout started our family out on the soccer life with 3 kids eventually being on competitive soccer teams. You'd think I would have learned something from all of that.

This week I agreed to let McKayla try out for the OHMS basketball team because I knew she wouldn't make it since the cumulative total of her basketball experience amounts to P.E., one season of Jr. Jazz coached by her best friend's older sister, and church ball. Again, I thought it would be a good life lesson.

She made the team.

I'm not even sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I am very proud of my amazing, talented, athletic daughter. I am happy for her. I know this will be a boost to her self-esteem. It will probably be fun to watch something other than soccer. It will help keep her in tip-top shape.

On the other hand, her soccer coach is going to freak when this conflicts with soccer (which it will since she has 6 tournaments in the next 5 months plus indoor games and training). She is already incredibly busy. In fact, she attended the tryout meeting on Monday after school and by Tuesday morning had firmly decided she was NOT trying out because she didn't have time. Also, McKayla playing basketball is directly opposite of my simplification plan.

Regardless, I am not sure who learned the life lesson - oh yeah, that would be me. Quit thinking my kids won't make the team. They inherited Kevin's athletic ability not my own. Now I have to suck it up and get involved in the world of basketball. Yep, let's just get it over with and have STUPID tattooed across my forehead. Some people never learn.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

when $100 actually equals $131

Alec recently took $100 from my purse. He probably put it in his wallet but then he lost his wallet (or it was stolen). Ouch! I can't really afford to lose $100.

Unfortunately, in this case, I'm not just out the $100. It cost me $5 for Alec's new school ID. It cost me another $18 for Alec's new State ID card. Then it cost me another $8 for a new wallet for Alec.

Thus, in a math phenomenon, $100 = $131. (If only that conversion rate worked in my favor!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

don't go changin'

Brakston's mission has really changed him in a lot of ways but I am very happy to report that his sense of humor has stayed intact.

Brakston could always make me laugh and he still does. In his letter last week, he told us he'd received his "trunky call" regarding his flight home. The mission office asked him which airport he wanted to fly into. He told them, "Hawaii!"

Gotta love that kid!

Then he told us that apparently they didn't believe him because they booked him into Salt Lake anyway.

Yesterday we received his itinerary. He will leave Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport at 7 am on January 25th. That's right - 10 weeks from yesterday!

Can't wait.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

books I've read in the past month

Here's the list of books I've read in the past month. I've ** the ones I recommend.

The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway #1) by Elly Griffiths

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

**Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

A Modest Proposal by Michele Ashman Bell

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

**The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

What have you read lately that you'd recommend?


Sounds like a math term, doesn't it?

It seems during the holiday season there is always a plethora of newspaper articles or talk show tips on how to simplify.

I have my own simplification solution - sell McKayla (or give her away or adopt her out for the season). That ought to simplify things. A LOT!

Yesterday alone - I had to take her to school early for a meeting. Then I made dessert for the RHS soccer team banquet. After school there was a basketball team meeting. McKayla also had an accreditation meeting for her SOAR team that ended at 3:45 pm. She had a club soccer game that began at 4 pm and ended up 5:30 pm and then a high school soccer banquet at 6:30.

That is just her schedule - that doesn't include carpools, Chandler's soccer, etc

So, eliminate McKayla - problem solved. I am simplified.

Monday, November 15, 2010

let's get physical

oh! I mean let's get A physical.

Yep, I have scheduled my annual bi-annual...okay, let's face it. I almost never go to the doctor unless I am REALLY, REALLY sick. However, since I haven't had a pap smear for 9 years and since I've never had a mammogram (with a family history of breast cancer) and since I have a few minor concerns and since we still have money in our medical flex-spending account, it seemed like a good time to finally get a complete physical.

I'm not looking forward to it. Doctors can be so invasive!

I think my biggest complaint is that they take time. I have to schedule the appointment which means I'm unable to accept substituting jobs. It also means I can't get things done around the house. I can't work on Christmas projects. I can't run errands. Who has time for unnecessary doctor visits?

Alas, I am now out the door to get this over with.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

time away

I spent the most delightful time away from home this week! My friend, Jill, and I went to her mom's home for 2 1/2 days to get some things done. Wow! Two and one-half days of uninterrupted, relaxing time. I got a whole lot done and still managed to find time to relax and play a bit too.

We watched a couple of videos - Sense and Sensibility and Indiscreet. We went to a theater to watch the movie RED which was pretty funny. We also went to lunch at Zinn's Bistro which is a quaint, family-owned tea room. The food was delicious! Jill had a crepe stuffed with chicken, cheeses, spinach, and mushrooms (on the right). Her mom had a BBQ pork crepe with avocado, tomato, and cheese (left).
I had pumpkin ravioli (it looked more like pumpkin lasagna). It was so good!
They also serve a basket of breads. There were popovers, a chocolate-cinnamon swirl bread, chocolate muffins, cinnamon buns, almond scones, and cranberry-orange bread.
I spent time cutting up Brakston's Riverton High t-shirts. They were shirts from soccer, cross-country, track, FCCLA, and the class of 08. I am going to make him a quilt with them.
I also cut apart his club soccer team shirts to make another quilt.
I got the quilts laid out and mapped out on graph paper. Now I'm stuck and will need my mom's help to finish this project.
I made 20 cards (thank-you, wedding, etc) and worked on some knitting.
I sewed a reversible tote bag. Here's one side...
and here's the other...
I also sewed 3 quilts!

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself today! Just think of how much I could accomplish if I could escape like this every month!

Friday, November 12, 2010

all that glitters...

McKayla and I both got glitter gel toes. That was so much fun! We were celebrating receiving our Young Womanhood Medallions (and the fact that I got a really great bargain on them!)McKayla's toes are the skinny ones on the left.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the Jazz win!

Alec has got to be one of the biggest sports fanatics ever so when the Jazz beat Miami Tuesday night, he was one happy guy! I guess he decided to celebrate by posting a Jazz sign on our front door. Isn't it lovely?


and the winner is...Sherlene Lawton! Yea! Congratulations!

I guess that is no surprise since she's the only person who entered. I guess either no one wanted a thankful table runner or everyone was scared off by the quiz. I admit the quiz was hard. My own mother only got 3 out of 8 correct.

Here's the correct answers:
1. b - Besides chocolate, my favorite flavor is lemon.
2. a - My favorite candy bar is an Almond Joy.
3. d - I would like to get a Master's Degree in Organizational Behavior.
4. b - Besides chocolate, my biggest food weakness is warm, fresh bread.
5. a - Besides the Book of Mormon, my favorite book is Pride & Prejudice.
6. d - I am spending this Thanksgiving in San Diego.
7. c - I have been to 26 temples.
8. b - My favorite fruit pie is peach.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

don't forget!

Only about 7 hours left until the giveaway closes (closes at noon). Currently there is only one entry so your chances of winning are still really good. I do know that the questions are really difficult - just take a wild guess. Good luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

giveaway - starting today!

Okay, I finally decided on giveaway rules. The substitute teacher in me is coming out and you'll all have to take a pop quiz! (No groaning!)

Let's see how well you know me. I'll even make it multiple choice to make it easier.

1) Besides chocolate, what is my favorite flavor?
a) raspberry
b) lemon
c) blueberry
d) vanilla

2) What is my favorite candy bar?
a) Almond Joy
b) Snickers
c) Reese's
d) Hershey's plain milk chocolate

3) What would I like to go back to school and get my Master's Degree in?
a) Hospital Administration
b) Accounting
c) Business Management
d) Organizational Behavior

4) Besides chocolate, what is my biggest food weakness?
a) cheesecake
b) warm, fresh bread
c) brownies
d) popcorn

5) Besides the Book of Mormon, what is my all-time favorite book?
a) Pride and Prejudice
b) Little Women
c) Jane Eyre
d) The Outsiders

6) Where am I spending this Thanksgiving?
a) Las Vegas
b) home
c) Phoenix
d) San Diego

7) How many temples have I been to?
a) 16
b) 19
c) 26
d) 31

8) What is my favorite kind of fruit pie?
a) lemon meringue
b) peach
c) blueberry
d) cherry

All entries are due by Wednesday, November 10 at noon. Anyone may play. (I will ship.) The person with the most correct answers is the winner. In the event of a tie, those people will be entered in a random drawing to determine the final winner.

Now, what the heck are you playing for? The winner will receive a Thankful table runner.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Keep checking! A giveaway is coming soon!

I'll post the details as soon as I've determined them. All I know right now is that I have something to giveaway. One wouldn't think it would be this hard to come up with the HOW. Nevertheless...

just us girls

My mom, aunt, sisters and I had a delightful weekend! We got together at my home on Friday night (after I'd shipped all the kids and the hubby off). We ate gourmet garlic chicken pizza from Papa Murphy's and too many treats. We each did projects. Kari made fleece blankets. Mom cut out foam shapes for the Humanitarian Center. Jolyn and Tonya made clothespin refrigerator magnets. Melissa packaged her neighbor Christmas gifts (homemade gift tags). Vicki did some cross-stitching. I assembled a note/treat for the Riverton High teachers. We all did lots of talking!

Then after sleeping, we got up and went Christmas shopping. We shopped for 5 hours (might be a new record for me) then we went to lunch at Zupa's. Tonya holding Becca, Melissa, me, Jolyn, Vicki, Mom, and Kari holding Isaac (the only boy allowed!). We missed Dawnette who lives in Texas and thinks that is just too far to come for one night. (McKayla actually did join us for some of the shopping and for lunch by virtue of having a soccer practice in the midst of our shopping.)

Mom holding her grandbabies - Rebecca and Isaac.

I feel extremely lucky that (1) I have the opportunity to spend time with my family members and (2) I really love them all! I feel especially lucky that my brothers married women that I like - may I be so fortunate with my sons' wives!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


During this month of November it is natural to let my thoughts drift to the things for which I'm grateful.

Today I am especially grateful for time with my family.

I just found out a friend passed away. She entered the ER on Monday with "abdominal pain" and was dead from agressive kidney cancer 3 days later (almost before doctors had discovered what was even wrong). Her husband, in a post on a social network, informed others of her passing. He then asked for the continued prayers of her friends since he was going to have to break the news to their 4 children (ages 4-16) in about an hour when they awoke.

That broke my heart. I've cried several times since just thinking of how hard it would be to break such devastating news to loving children.

I am extremely grateful for the time I get to spend with my children, with my husband, with my parents, and with my siblings. I love them all so much and am a better person because of the things they've taught me and the examples they've all set. They have pushed me, caused me to think, challenged me, and given me unconditional love.

I enjoy doing things with all of them whether it be "craft nights" with my sisters, watching my children's soccer games, reunions, "date night" with my husband, FHE, or just sitting around visiting.

Family is everything! I am grateful for the reminder to cherish every minute I have with my family because you never know when that minute might be your last.

Friday, November 5, 2010


As part of Chandler's soccer team, they do conditioning/training indoors all winter. They also play indoor soccer. Tonight's schedule included a cross-training/conditioning session of Barbell. I couldn't resist going in for a few minutes to watch. The idea of 9-yr-old boys lifting barbells just cracked me up. I knew it was going to be interesting.

It was pretty funny watching them. It turns out, though, that the class is less about lifting weights than it is about core strength just using a barbell with light weights. I felt bad for the teacher trying to describe what a straight back should look like to these boys who were all hunched over. Good luck, teach!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

remember Dolly?

What ever happened to cloning? Remember when they cloned Dolly (the sheep)? Is no one interested in cloning anymore? Did anyone ever ask a busy mother what she thought of the idea?

I can't say I given any serious thought to the ethical issues involved but at this very moment cloning me sounds like a perfect solution!

I can't figure out any other way to get everyone where they are supposed to be tonight. I've mapped it all out - it would honestly take three of me to actually make tonight work so, how's that cloning coming along?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

quick crafts

I really do love to craft and I love it even more when it is simple and FAST! I did all of these crafts in just a couple hours today so I'm pretty pleased with myself.

Refrigerator magnet clips made with clothespins. I just covered them in paper and glued on good strong magnets using E6000 glue.

A Thanksgiving banner using scrapbook paper and jute.
I just had to take a close-up because I thought the paper was just so darn cute!

A Thanksgiving table runner made from burlap, foam letter stamps and paint. This table runner idea is courtesy of my Jazzercise friend, BethAnne and her blog. Don't you just friends with good ideas?