Sunday, February 28, 2010

home, safe home?

It's official. I totally stink at being a safe, protective mother.

You see, Chandler broke his collarbone yesterday. That brings me to a perfect record - every one of my children has broken a bone. I'm five for five!

I'm not sure what I do wrong. My mom raised 7 children and to my knowledge, only one of them ever broke a bone on her watch. I, myself, did not break a bone until I was 31. I went cliff-jumping at Youth Conference (where I probably should have been acting like a responsible adult) and broke my arm when I hit the water crooked.

Chandler actually waited the longest to break a bone. He made it to the ripe old age of 9! Yep, I managed to keep him safe for 9 whole years plus 22 days! Then, I let him play a nice, friendly neighborhood game of football and he gets tackled and breaks his collarbone. So much for my safety record on that kid.

Here's the rundown:

Brakston - broken arm at age 5 while rollerblading
Alec - collarbone at age 3 when climbing furniture, hairline fracture in his leg at age 5 when a shopping cart tipped over with him in it
McKayla - broken collarbone at birth (being born - maybe I can't be held responsible for that one), compound fracture of arm at age 8 when riding her bike
Shanley - broken collarbone at age 3 falling off a bunk bed
Chandler - broken collarbone at age 9 playing tackle football

Let's not even start mentioning all the stitches my children have had...I don't want anyone to think they should start calling Child Protective Services.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

it's a small world after all

Events of the past week only emphasize how small this world really is.

On Monday, my dad got a call from a friend of his asking him to go up to Primary Children's Medical Center and help administer a blessing to a set of twins. He got up there to find out the father is from Cody, WY and knows me because he graduated a year ahead of me.

On Wednesday, I went to McKayla's parent-teacher conferences. In visiting with her science teacher, I found out his in-laws live in Cody and know my parents.

On Thursday, I was visiting with a guy who was in our ward 20 years ago. I've run into him off and on over the years and he is currently doing an administrative internship at Riverton High. We talked and found out he is currently living in my sister's ward.

It's a small, small world.

Friday, February 26, 2010

will the REAL McKayla please stand up?

I attended parent-teacher conferences this week. My children do okay in school so these conferences are generally not a source of great trepidation.

I was pretty amused by the comments from McKayla's teachers. They made me wonder if I have a daughter with a split personality. Of the 7 teachers I talked to, 5 wished she would speak up more in class. They say she is so smart but they rarely hear her comment. One of them even asked me what it is like to have such a perfect child.

Then, there was the other 2 teachers...

They both wished she would shut up more!

no kidding.

So, which is she? The perfect, quiet, shy child? The non-stop chatterbox?

I have to admit that I've suspected a split personality for years. Neighbors would tell us how shy she was but all we saw was a girl with a lot of spunk and sass. She worries about her hair, paints her nails, and dresses fashionably but get her on a soccer field and watch out! She will hip check you. She wants to smell good and loves scented lotions but she is not afraid of getting sweaty. She is a good student but rarely reads - prefering to be actively engaged in some sporting activity.

I'm not sure she could be classified as shy, tomboy, outgoing, smart, girly, athletic, etc. She is a terrific combination of all of that and I wouldn't have her any other way!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

today's teens not morons

I often think that most people do NOT give teens enough credit.

Take today for example. With the $30 million dollar shortfall, Jordan School District is proposing to lay off 500 employees (250 of which are teachers), increase class sizes, and cut programs. Students at various high schools staged a walkout today in protest.

KSL has a news story on the walkout. The comments are mostly negative towards the teens. Everyone seems to think they are doing it just to get out of school. The comments are quite mean-spirited and call for being ticketed, having to attend truancy school, suspension, etc.

I tend to believe that most of those students truly are concerned about the funding issue. My 14-year-old daughter has expressed her concern to me and we have discussed it at length. These students are not morons. They are understandably worried about losing their favorite teachers, having class sizes increase even more, and having their athletic/band/theater/etc programs cut.

Now, a walkout may not be the "correct" way to handle it but I believe the students are doing their best to be heard on an issue that directly affects them, their lives, and their education.

Let's not be so quick to dismiss them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am teaching seminary today. One of my challenges is to try to get students to participate more and to offer insights. I truly believe students learn best from each other.

Here's a great acronym for helping students get the most from their scriptures: FEAST!

F- find (have everyone turn to the scripture)
E - explain (tell what the scripture means to you)
A - apply (tell how it applies to your life)
S - share (share other scriptures, stories, experiences, etc)
T - testify

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I've got piles

It sounds like some wicked disease but it's not. Or, at least it's not contagious.

This is what happens when I clean:

Yep, last week I got the urge to clean out my hall coat closet. I thought it would be so nice to have it clean and organized.

See what happens when I clean?

I end up with piles. A pile to go to a friend. A pile to go to the garbage. A pile to go to DI. A pile to be tried on by my children before I decide what pile it goes in. A pile to be put away elsewhere. A pile I'm not sure what to do with. A pile to be placed in another pile. A pile to... You get the idea.

Monday, February 22, 2010

better late than never

No, Kevin did not forget me on Valentine's Day (even though I was 350 or so miles away). No, I did not forget to post his gifts. Yes, I was thrown off by not having my computer cord. I didn't want to upload all my photos on our desktop and then load then again on my laptop. (I admit it, I verge on lazy.) Oh, well. My children took oodles of photos of themselves (I do NOT have camera-shy children) and uploaded them on the desktop. So, finally Kevin gets a written nod for his Valentine's efforts.

He gave me these beautiful flowers - just my style. I do enjoy roses but I prefer a mix. Roses seem like perfection and a mix just seems happy and fresh and original.
He also gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure. I am so excited to use it! I really love a good pedicure!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

this is what they mean

Those of you familiar with the LDS church know that we "sustain" our church leaders. When they are called to serve in a particular position, we raise our hands and basically promise to support them in their calling.

A few monthys ago, Kevin was called to serve in the Stake Young Men's Presidency. I did raise my hand to sustain him. I am not positive I knew what I was promising! Here's a glimpse of what that support meant this week:

Yep! 404 fresh-baked cookies. 33 1/2 dozen pans put into the oven (one at a time). Over 6 1/2 hours.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Down syndrome chimps

I read in the paper the other day that there is actually at least one chimpanzee and one orangutan that have been diagnosed with Trisomy 22. This presents characteristics very similar to Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) in humans.


Also interesting is that the other chimps and orangutans show great empathy for those with disabilities.

I wonder if other animals have Down syndrome...

Related thought...I am thinking that if animals have disabilities (and they not only have Down syndrome but cystic fibrosis and other things) that would give credence to my belief that disabilities are an act of nature and not a curse from God. It just happens.


Recently, I've had cause to think about sportsmanship. What is it? When and how do you appropriately use it?

Our ward YW had a basketball game and got literally slaughtered! No kidding. The final score was 38-8. I had a very difficult time remembering my manners when the other team was still doing a full-court press with less than a minute to go. Then, I must confess, I actually lost it when the opposing team took a shot at the buzzer!

Seriously, did they have to humiliate our girls? Was winning by 36-8 not enough? I guess winning by 30 points looks so much better than by ONLY a mere 28!

Yes, I was ticked. I thought it showed a lack of class. But, maybe my attitude needs adjusting. Maybe I should be admiring that team's drive and concentration. They played their best for 32 minutes and never let down. Maybe that kind of fortitude should be on display more often.

Nah. Who am I kidding? I still don't believe that.

We spent the weekend in Mesquite at my daughter's soccer tournament. One of the teams we faced (let's call them Team A) had beat another team (Team B) 11-0. For us to go in as a higher seed, we would have to beat Team B 12-0. Our coach said "no way". We got up 4-0 and the coach pulled all the starters he could (there was only 6 subs) and benched them the rest of the game. He instructed the girls to only take a shot if they are someone who has not scored in a game all season.

I personally applaud the fact that our coach would rather go in to quarterfinal play as a second seed than demoralize another team.

When do we take competition too far?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I guess you could call me "technologically challenged" these days.

I arrived in Mesquite with no cell phone charger. What was I thinking? Luckily, my friend, Jen, has the same phone and shared her charger with me.

I arrived home to find that I'd left my laptop power cord in the hotel in Mesquite. Aargh! Kevin has the same brand of laptop but does his cord fit? NO! I've got to call the hotel today to see if they found my cord and can send it. I'm without a laptop until then. BUMMER!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


McKayla and I spent the long weekend in Mesquite at one of her soccer tournaments. We left Friday and didn't return until fairly late last night.

I usually take all of the kids with me but this time it was just us! A little mother-daughter bonding. Plus, some bonding with her teammate, Makena, and her mom, Jen. We all shared a room (to save on costs) and carpooled down together.

We had a great time and loved the warm temps! It was in the high 60's while we were there and I have a little bit of a tan to prove it!

Her team made it to the finals, had more shots at the goal than the other team, but couldn't seem to make it in the net. Then, with less than 10 minutes in the game, her team was called for a very controversial foul and the other team made the penalty shot. Sad day! They lost by that one goal. That team now advances on to the Regionals in Oregon while we sit back and see if we get a wild card slot at Regionals.

The weekend had its funny moments. On Sunday, McKayla and I headed to church. Jen and Makena dropped us off before they left for Saint George and we were just going to walk home. I had looked up church addresses and schedules before I left home but I didn't write down details because I wrongly assumed I'd have internet access at the hotel. So, I went off my memory. Bad mistake. We walked into the church and it was a Single Adult ward that had just finished Sacrament Meeting. So, we decided to walk a mile to another building. We arrived 20 minutes before their Sacrament started and sat down in the chapel only to find out that was a Spanish branch.

We had a good laugh (or at least I did, McKayla wasn't so sure it was funny) before we finally found a ward to attend. Then we walked back to the hotel and relaxed!

Monday, February 15, 2010

books I've read in the past month

Here's the list of books I've read recently. I've ** the ones I highly recommend:

Desolate Angel by Chaz McGee
**Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks
Benny & Shrimp by Katarine Mazetti
Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas
Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad
Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Patillo
**Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Most of this list came from the Reader's Choice selection at our library so I can't take credit for "discovering" them. Ironically, the two I gave ** to were the only ones that weren't library recommendations.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

my Sweetheart

I do believe that I had actually met Kevin by Valentine's Day 23 years ago. We hadn't started dating yet but were in an economics class together. We often sat by each other and chatted and joked. By the next Valentine's Day, we were married.

A few things I love about him:

*he loves me just the way I am, no matter what
*he is an awesome father
*people just naturally like him
*he is a righteous, good man
*he is patient and not pushy
*he is very unselfish

Happy Valentine's Day, hon! May we spend another 23+ years together!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Tonight Alec went to the high school Sweetheart's Dance. When his date showed up to pick him up, he actually sank to the floor with his eyes bugging out. He thought she was so pretty!

She is very pretty inside and out! (Although I do have to admit my preference for modest dresses - i.e. something with sleeves.)

Alec looks incredibly happy in the picture and I am happy for him!

--scrappinsoccermama wishes she could have been there for this magical event but, alas, she is in Nevada at a soccer tournament. Thanks goodness for email so I at least get the pictures in a timely manner! And for cell phones so I can get the details!

Friday, February 12, 2010

happiness is...

How many times in life must one have an identity crisis? How often do I have to ask myself the following: Who am I? What makes me happy? What do I want to focus on? Where am I going with my life?

Thanks to my religious beliefs, I know the big picture. It's the day to day details I get caught up on. Sometimes I feel that I am improving. Other times, like now, I feel stagnant. I am the pond scum that collects on still waters. I don't like myself much and I like everyone else even less. I am irritable and ornery. I am short-tempered. I don't want to be around me.

Is this God's way of making me evaluate my priorities every so often? Time to step back and reconsider my life and the direction I am headed? Is it an annual or semi-annual form of PMS?

Or do I just desperately need some sleep?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

short-lived reprieve

I am a total sucker for someone rubbing my head. Truly. I think having a scalp massage is one of the finer pleasures in life. I got my hair cut yesterday and the scalp massage was wonderful. So relaxing. Stress floated away. I melted into the chair. Muscles unknotted. I could have drifted into peaceful slumber.

Then, I saw the haircut. Oh, no! Muscles knotting. Stress returning. Dang!

Harry Potter

Last night I held Chandler's 9th birthday party. It had a Harry Potter theme and turned out quite well (if I do say so myself).

We did a Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean tasting contest as our opening social. The party was set like Hogwarts and we went to classes in Potions (making homemade rootbeer), Divination (popping a balloon and reading the fortune inside), Care of Magical Creatures (growing a sponge animal), etc. We also made English Muffin pizzas. Last we traveled to Hogsmeade for some shopping at Olivanders (for chocolate pretzel wands), at Zonko's Joke Shop (for silly putty), and at Honeyduke's Sweet Shop (for Bertie Botts, Snape's Sour Chews, Gummy Slugs, and Weasley Whizzies (pop rocks)). The kids used galleons (pennies won from the games) to make their purchases.

It was a fun but crazy evening (9-year-old boys have a LOT of energy).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

God's hands

It is so wonderful to sit back and observe the hand of God in our everyday lives.

Brakston was a great older brother to Alec. He looked out for him, protected him, and translated for him. He got Alec involved in high school activities. He included Alec and paved the way for others to accept Alec. Brakston often would take Alec out to movies, out for treats, or even out on a double date. Brakston went on Alec's first scout camp (a Klondike) because he was worried about him and didn't trust the leaders to be able to handle and look out for Alec. Brakston helped Alec say the Sacrament Prayer the first time Alec did so. Brakston was probably the most influential person in Alec's life.

Right before Brakston left on his mission, he really started to worry about Alec and what would happen to Alec while he was gone. It was causing him some stress and concern.

When the Stake President set apart Brakston as a missionary imagine our relief when President Mickelson included Alec as part of Brakston's blessing. He told Brakston (or rather the Lord told Brakston through Pres. Mickelson) that Alec would be watched over and blessed.

The blessings started even before Brakston left. After his "farewell", many of his RHS soccer teammates were at our home. They asked if Alec could be the manager of the soccer team again that year. Brakston explained that it had been a one-time thing while he was there to look out for him. The boys promised they would look out for Alec and begged for him to be able to be included with the soccer team again.

We've seen other blessings in the year Brakston has been gone. Alec not only did serve as the soccer team manager but Alec has also been asked to be the manager of the RHS basketball team. He has been asked to 2 school dances. He was able to participate on a Unified Soccer Team. McKayla's new soccer team has adopted him as part of their team. Her coach even gave Alec a team shirt and hat. In fact, the coach even gave Alec a medal when the team took 2nd in a tournament.

I guess this is just one of the ways our family has been blessed by Brakston serving a mission.

Monday, February 8, 2010

more crafts

Just a quick look at more of the things that kept me busy and out of trouble in January. I made these aprons for the best sisters-in-law ever! I love them and think my brothers totally lucked out!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

made me think

Sometimes I come across a great one-liner when I'm reading. One that hits me like a ton of bricks and makes me stop reading and take notice. I came across this one yesterday that got me thinking: "...we neither choose nor deserve our path in life."

I'm not sure I agree. I think that statement is partially true and partially false at the same time.

I DO believe in the power of choice. I DO believe that when we choose good, rewards can follow. I DO believe that when we choose evil, consequences can follow. Or not.

Sometimes bad stuff happens to people who do everything right. My youngest brother was pretty much an angel. He was a nice-to-everyone, helpful, good kid. It didn't stop him from being killed by a drunk driver when he was only 11 years old. And what had my parents done to deserve that kind of pain?

I don't think anything in this life is as clear-cut or as black and white as that book quote. Life can be crazy and seemingly random.

The only thing I am completely convinced of is that in the end (the very end), we will get what we deserve!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

my own Oscars

As Academy Awards are approaching, I thought I'd do my own set of awards.

Movie That Made Me Angry I'd Wasted My Money and My Time - "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past"

Movie That Was Exactly What I Expected - "The Twilight Saga: New Moon"

Movie That Surprised Me - "Julie and Julia" (thought I'd love it and heard so much good about it, but I couldn't get past the foul language)

Movie I Really Want to See but Haven't Made it To Yet - "The Blindside"

Movie That I'd Be Willing to Watch Again - "The Proposal"

Movie With a Good Lesson - "Up"

**What awards would you give?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chandler's Birthday

Wow! My "baby" is now 9 years old!

Birthday traditions at our home:
*the birthday child chooses the menu for breakfast and dinner
*the birthday child gets fast food of their choice brought to their school for lunch
*the birthday child is exempt from all chores
*the birthday child opens presents after dinner with the cake and ice cream

Chandler chose strawberry crepes for breakfast and ordered spaghetti for dinner. He wants Wendy's for lunch.

Yesterday he scratched his cornea quite badly and was in tremendous pain. We ended up in the Instacare (to ensure nothing was still in his eye). I was worried the pain would ruin his birthday but, so far, he is feeling much better today. I guess a good night's sleep can cure a lot of things (it would certainly help me right about now).

Chandler is a very funny child. He has oodles of self-confidence (sometimes annoying how he ALWAYS thinks he's right). He can't sit still. He loves Legos. He is actually more of a worrier than any of my other children. He begged and begged for piano lessons when he turned 5. Now he'd love to quit and I won't let him. He loves to play games (Uno, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride are some of his favorites). He gives really good "squeezy hugs". He is good at math and figuring out how things work. He struggles a bit with reading.

I love you, Chandler! Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

what aren't they telling us?

I took Chandler to get his hair cut last Saturday and forgot my book. Mistake #1.

I picked up People magazine to read while I was waiting. Mistake #2.

I turned to an article on people who were now half their original size. Mistake #3.

You see, I've always struggled with my weight (like since I turned 13). I don't need to lose half of my weight like the people in the articles but a fourth of it would be nice. However, it totally irritates me to read these magazine articles that make it sound so easy. Most of the people said, "I just cut out fast food." "I eliminated soda from my life." "I started walking 30 minutes a day and lost weight." Those statements just make me wonder what is wrong with me. (or what they're not telling me)

I work out 5 days a week at high intensity and with weights and have exercised that regularly for 25 years. Even when I trained for a marathon and ran 30-40 miles a week, I didn't lose weight.

I seldom eat out and even more seldom do I east fast food.

I don't put butter on my rolls and rarely do I put salad dressing on my salad.

I don't drink soda - diet or otherwise. I drink 8-16 cups of water every day.

I use low-fat or fat-free ingredients wherever possible.

Still, the weight does not magically fall off. The magazine articles always make it sound like you can just make a few minor changes in your diet or activity level and poof! the weight is gone. Whatever.

I know my eating is not perfect. I need better portion control and I do have a sweet tooth. Still, a bag of Dove chocolates usually lasts me at least a month.

--scrappinsoccermama is sure this post sounds bitter. Probably because I haven't had chocolate for well over a month -- that should make anyone grouchy but at least the weight is sort-of slipping away.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


An hour or two after Alec was born, my obstetrician came in to tell me that Alec had Down syndrome. As soon as my doctor left, I started crying. I was afraid Alec would get teased, would never get invited to birthday parties, would never go on a date, and would never get married. I was so sad for all the things he would miss out on.

Well, count attending a formal high school dance with a date as one event Alec will NOT have to miss!

Yesterday, Alec was asked to the Sweethearts' Dance at the high school.

He came home all decked out with a crown and a balloon and a poster and announced to me that he was going on a date! I am so excited for him!

The girl had actually called me last week to ask me if it was okay for her to ask him. Of course, I was thrilled! I spent the day of her call alternating between wanting to jump up and down and scream with joy and wanting to cry because it was so touching.

The girl is absolutely darling! I met her last year when she and Alec played on a Unified Soccer Team (a team that mixes kids with and without disabilities). She plays on the high school girls' soccer team and I found her to be a lot of fun and delightful to converse with!

I feel so wonderfully blessed that I had Alec in a time when people with disabilities are not shunned. I look back now and think there was no need to cry. Alec is actually very happy with his life (for the most part) and most people are absolutely great with him!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

my way or the highway

Okay. I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a stickler for order, procedure, rules, etc. Logic reigns supreme in my world!

I do things that make sense to me. For example, if hand-washing dishes, I do glasses first because they are usually the least dirty. Then silverware comes next because it goes in my mouth and I want CLEAN, hot water washing it. And so on...

I know - maybe a tad obsessive...

However, contrary to what my husband claims, I do believe much of what I do is because it is THE way to do it - not just "my" way.

Whites and colors are sorted when doing laundry because it is THE way.

Bread and eggs and placed on top when loading groceries in the car because it is THE way.

Socks are unrolled before washing them because it is THE way.

What do you do because it is just THE way it is done?

Monday, February 1, 2010

it's just a "formal"-ity

Last week I took my Mia Maids to try on modest prom gowns. They are only 14- or 15-year-olds so they can't date yet but they can dream...They really had a good time!
Amber, McKayla, and Atalie

And yes, I know I took more pictures of my own daughter than anyone else. What can I say? I have my favorites!