Sunday, October 31, 2010


This being Utah, Halloween was mostly celebrated last night.

Thanks to my friend, BethAnne, and her blog, I finally had an easy costume for Chandler - as a NINJA!

Shanley and her friends enjoyed getting together and dressing up.
Shanley, Tylan, Sadie, and Madi.

McKayla helped Brooke take her younger brothers out trick-or-treating. Then she went with a huge group of her friends to Castle of Chaos (haunted house) and then back to Brooke's for a movie.

Alec spent the evening passing out candy.

I made caramel apples. Yum! White chocolate with cinnamon and sugar and milk chocolate with Butterfinger and, of course, gooey caramel!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

climbing the walls

No, I'm not bored, haven't been cooped up too long, or had my children finally drive me crazy. In fact, it's not even me that's climbing the walls.

I took my Mia Maids to go rock wall climbing for our activity this week. Unfortunately, the employee who was supposed to help us didn't show so we couldn't go higher than 12 feet (no protective gear and no one to belay). The girls still had fun. Parts of the wall were fairly easy to climb. Other sections were much more difficult. One section that jutted outward completely eluded the girls.

Here's McKayla.
McKayla again.

Atalie is one of "my girls".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

14-year-old boys are STUPID

That's stupid with a capital S!!!

I think some of the neighborhood boys may be trying to impress McKayla. They've done things like move our trampoline to the front porch and then won't go away until she sees it. (Like that's going to impress her.)

Last night she and I were the only ones home so I was enjoying a rare moment of peace and quiet when my front door opened and a duck call went off so loudly that I truly jumped through the roof. They closed the door and then stood outside ringing the bell. McKayla didn't want anything to do with them so we locked the door and ignored them.

They honestly spent 25 minutes blowing the duck call, ringing the doorbell, pounding on the windows, honking my car horn, and yelling. (So much for peace and quiet)

McKayla finally got so mad that she yelled, "Holy crap, guys! Go away!"

Do boys really think this is the attention they want from her?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

sometimes ya gotta wonder

Kevin spent yesterday cleaning out the garage and taking stuff to the dump.


Well, so I would be able to park my car in the garage again. You know, gotta be prepared for these winter months. I leave for Jazzercise at 5 am (and for the temple on Tuesday at 4 am) so I hate scraping windows then.

I was so pleased with my nice, clean garage.

So, what did I do?

I drove home last night, left the car in the driveway like I have for the past several months, and ran inside and never gave it another thought.

UNTIL...I walked outside for Jazzercise this morning only to find my car buried under 2 inches of wet snow! Yep, I spent a few cold moments clearing windows.

I'm so glad Kevin went to so much trouble yesterday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"no time for morals"

I just finished reading "Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster" by Jon Krakauer.

I am a big fan of Mt. Everest accounts. They fascinate me.

They also leave me wondering.

Krakauer quotes another climber as saying, "Above 8,000 meters is not a place where people can afford morality." This was said as the climber moved past two climbers who were close to death and in desperate need of assistance. The climber pushed on for the summit and achieved his goal of cresting Mt. Everest.

From what I understand, the risks are really high with trying to aid a struggling climber. It could potentially mean the difference in the fight for your own survival. The time and energy expenditure could cost your own life.

Still, is there ever a place where we can't afford morality?

Do I have a limit where I would place my own survival above another's?

I honestly don't know the answer to that question because while I can't believe I would walk away from a dying person without doing everything I could to help, I also have to ask myself the tougher questions. Do I ever put my own needs before the needs of others? Am I ever oblivious to those in trouble because I am too busy? Has there ever been a time when I've been too wrapped up in my own problems to notice the trials of others?

While I honestly don't believe I'd be able to step over a dying person on my way to the top, I can't be too judgmental. I'm afraid my own conscience isn't always clear on doing everything I can to come to the rescue of others.

Maybe it's time for me to slow down and notice those I'm stepping over.

Monday, October 25, 2010

like mother, like daughter

McKayla and I both received our Young Womanhood Recognition Awards yesterday!

Pretty exciting stuff.

This is actually the third time I've earned my medallion - once as a Young Woman, once when I was YW President, and now again as a YW leader. The program has been different every time so it's been good for me to go through it over and over. This time was especially fun since Shanley and McKayla were also working on it at the same time.

McKayla was highly motivated to work on hers because we won't allow our girls to drive until they've received it (our boys must have their Eagles). I also promised McKayla glitter toes if she earned it before her birthday (Nov. 1st).

I am a big believer in bribery rewards.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

my sermon

A friend of mine posted this question on her blog: What is my sermon?

I love questions that make me ponder.

I'd have to say that what I am most passionate about, the message I most want to convey to my YW and to the seminary students that I teach and to my own children is this:

God loves you and is aware of you! He knows your every need and desire. He knows your likes and your dislikes. He knows your abilities and your potential. He knows your weaknesses and your faults. But mostly, God loves you so very much! You are so valuable and precious to Him. He doesn't just know all about you, he CARES all about you.

I know that youth, especially, would fare so much better in life if they could just grasp how much their Heavenly Father loves them. If they could feel even just a smidgen of His great love, it would have the power to transform their lives. If they could recognize His hand in their daily lives, it would give them power and confidence.

I try my very hardest to convey this to the youth I come in contact with. With all my heart, I want others to feel of God's great love for them.

Friday, October 22, 2010


"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
--Winston Churchill

Thursday, October 21, 2010

am I 14 again?

Today was a bit of a reminder of what it feels like to be in school again. I started the day with a 4:30 alarm, a Jazzercise class, packing lunches, showering and rushing kids to school. Then, I had to leave at 7:50 myself to go to school. I didn't even have time to eat more than a piece of wheat bread for breakfast.

I spent 4 hours at the middle school helping with Reality Town (which was really busy but lots of fun). Then I spent 2 1/2 hours in a PTA meeting at the high school. That makes 6 1/2 hours in school and 2 1/2 hours of it so incredibly boring that I wanted to be anywhere else (even the dentist's office). Yep, that's almost exactly how I remember my school days being.

Follow that up with carpool duties, making some cookie bars for after school treat, running kids to soccer practice, cheer practice, a volleyball game, and special needs mutual and the day felt pretty much like I remember my high school days feeling.

Except I think I had more energy and didn't feel as completely exhausted as I feel today - blame that on teaching, PTA, Young Women's, etc. Is there a mother out there that isn't exhausted by Thursday? My Rapid City vacation seems so long ago.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rapid City wildlife

We did see some wildlife on the trip (besides my wild kids). These mountain goats were just parked at Mount Rushmore.

We also saw a deer right by the side of the road.

We drove by Bear Country USA but I was too cheap to pay the $55 for us to drive through. Luckily for us, there were 2 bears that we could see from the road so we got our money's worth (heehee!).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rapid City silliness

What do you get when you mix a relaxing vacation with two teens and a couple of blue coconut slushes from Sonic?

Monday, October 18, 2010

More Sights - Rapid City Day Two (cont)

After the monuments, we hit some of the sites within Rapid City. We went to the Dinosaur Park (kinda lame).

Then we headed to Storybook Island - a park meant for little kids but it was dang cute and we loved the novelty of it!

They had scenes out of children's literature. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were on a raft on a river. There was a tall castle with Rapunzel's hair hanging from a turret window. We saw Barney, Little Bo Beep, 3 men in a tub, and so on. There was Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage. There was a house made of straw, a house made of sticks, and a house made of bricks. Of course, the wolf was trying to get down the chimney of the house made of bricks.

I was having camera problems but managed to get this pic of Robin Hood on the castle roof.

After that we did an art walk. We saw statues of all the Presidents of the United States. We also walked down art alley where graffiti is legal and encouraged. Some of the artwork was just your average tagging but lots of it was amazing!

Then we had a relaxing evening at the hotel watching game shows, Monk, and reading. More sleeping in the next day before flying back home. Rides, Rushmore, reading, and relaxing - that about sums it up!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mount Rushmore - Rapid City Day Two

We slept in Friday morning and then headed out to see the sights. We started off by driving to the Crazy Horse memorial then on to Mount Rushmore. Our first glimpse of Mount Rushmore was actually a profile of Washington.
We listened to a park ranger tell a few tales about the various presidents and then a few tales about how the faces were carved and about the sculptor. It was pretty interesting.

Shanley actually had the owner of Aeropostale come up and ask to take her picture in front of Mount Rushmore (since she is wearing an Aeropostale shirt).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Watiki Waterpark - Rapid City Day One

We flew into Rapid City on Thursday. We had sandwiches at Subway before checking into our hotel - a charming inn with big rooms and comfortable beds. McKayla and Alec, being typical teens, immediately crashed onto the beds for long naps. Then we headed to an indoor waterpark.

It was a lot of fun! We all enjoyed everything from the lazy river to the slides. I loved riding the double tube around because I could stretch out on it and practically fall asleep. It was so relaxing.

We all really enjoyed this slide - the Super Bowl! (Although I kept thinking of it as the toilet bowl). You entered the bowl on the upper left of the picture.

Then you'd make 3-5 rotations of the bowl...

before being "flushed" down the remainder of the slide.

Another favorite slide was the Funky Frog. Here's Alec being spit out.

Chandler coming off the Funky Frog.

McKayla enjoying more of the lazy river.

Friday, October 15, 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.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
*The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Bound South by Susan Rebecca White
*The Hidden Christ: Beneath the Surface of the Old Testament by James L. Ferrell
The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim
The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty
*Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

I've loved Little Women since I was a girl and have lost track of how many times I've read it. The Hidden Christ took me forever to read because I had to do some heavy-duty thinking.

The biggest disappointment was Between a Rock and a Hard Place. It has been on my to-read list for over a year. It's the memoir of a trapped hiker in Southern Utah who had to cut off his arm to free himself and survive. It sounded like my type of book but the book is mostly about Aron's outdoor adventures in the years leading up to his canyon entrapment and escape.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

milk it for all it's worth

I am laughing because Alec is still capitalizing on being the Homecoming King.

Last weekend he was getting ready to go to the Taylorsville-Riverton football game. I gave Alec some money to pay for the game but he wouldn't take it. He said he didn't need it. I told him he had to pay for the game because it was at Taylorsville. His reponse? "No, Mom. I don't have to pay. I'm the king."

How do you argue with that?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

to win or not to win

McKayla's high school soccer team made it to the state playoffs. They play their first round game tonight. They go in as the #1 seed from our region meaning they play the #4 seed from another region.

Everything sounds great, right?


It might all sound perfect if this weekend weren't Fall Recess. There's no school on Thursday or Friday. There is, however, a soccer playoff game on Thursday if McKayla's team wins on Tuesday.

There lies the dilemma. If she wins Tuesday, she plays Thursday. I'd like to take the kids and fly to Rapid City for the long weekend. Not possible if she has a game. On the one hand, I want her team to be successful. They've never advanced past the first round so this is a good opportunity. On the other hand, I'd like the kids to see Mount Rushmore.

I guess I just view this as a win-win. If her team wins, they do something they've never done before and we get more soccer! If her team loses, our family gets to travel.

We can't lose!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I organized and hosted a group FHE last night. I thought it went really well and was quite fun!

I had all the kids hang on to a rope tied in the back yard. Their instruction was to "hang on, no matter what." "Don't let go!"

The adults went inside the house One by one, we would periodically go outside and whisper to one or two of the kids trying to entice them to let go. "I'll give you a treat if you come inside."

Most of the kids let go and came inside. They actually got a treat like they were promised - a few mini tootsie rolls. Those that hung on until the end were rewarded with full-size candy bars.

We then talked about the iron rod. We talked about how Satan tries to lure us to let go. We talked about how we may receive "rewards" but they are not nearly as great or as lasting as if we hold on. The kids really seemed to get it. Those that let go talked about how almost immediately they regretted their decision or wondered if they should have let go. They wished they had hung on.

The parents all shared examples of how holding to the rod has helped them.

One thing I would do differently if I did it again - I gave the original instuctions to NOT let go and then I was one of the ones that tried to lure them in. Some of them found that confusing. Another time, I wouldn't do both.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

favorite color? yellow?

When asked my favorite color, I have never answered yellow. However, that seems to be a theme lately. Besides the yummy yellow tomatoes harvested from my garden, I bought this yesterday:
Yep, a beautiful, butter-yellow, leather purse.

I bought a purse this summer at a garage sale but ended up not liking it. It doesn't have organizational compartments so it has just ended up being a big black cavern where I must DIG to find and retrieve anything.

I had a $10 coupon to Kohl's and I saw this $80 purse on sale for $16. That means that with the coupon, I paid $6 for a purse with lots of zipper compartments. Yea! A place for everything and everything in its place.

And, yes, I picked the yellow color. I like it!

early trick or treat?

The other night I made homemade tomato soup with the tomatoes harvested from my garden.

Yes, that's right. I said tomato soup. This is not a trick although my kids certainly thought it was when I announced "tomato soup" and then set a yellow soup in front of them.

However, yellow tomato soup is what you get when your tomatoes look like this:

I didn't realize it when I planted them or purchased them but I have many yellow tomato plants in my garden. In fact, I kept looking at the tomatoes from my kitchen window and thinking two thoughts:
1) I don't remember tomatoes going through a yellow stage - I thought it was just green then red, and
2) When will those tomatoes EVER turn red?

Finally, I actually walked out to the garden to check on the tomatoes and that's when I realized that they were ripe and ready to be harvested. They are just yellow tomatoes - yellow through and through. It's a little disconcerting but they're pretty tasty!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I am a BIG believer in the need for a good girl's night out! There is no better therapy then lots of laughs with your friends (and a little chocolate!)

We had such a fun night last night with pedicures, pizza at The Pie, shoppping at Gardner Village, and then watching a chick flick.

Hours of talking, laughing, eating, and having a great tme. Does life get any better? It's nights like these that probably are the cause of my not needing drugs, alcohol, or a therapist!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm changing my name to Holly Homemaker

It's either that or start attending meetings.

I have ended up planning, shopping for, cooking, and hosting three dinners in the past 8 days as well as helping with one more. Last Wednesday I cooked for 60 teachers at the middle school. Thursday I helped with another teacher dinner. Monday night I hosted the high school soccer team for dinner and tonight I am in charge of a YW Combined Crazy Menu dinner.

That makes 3 days of shopping. Three days of frantically cooking and three days of then having to clean up my destroyed kitchen.

To add just a little bit more fun, besides the dinner tonight, I am also baking goods for an elementary school fall festival.

No, I did NOT plan for it to end up this way. That's why I need to attend meetings. I had to leave early from the January YW planning meeting so I was assigned tonight's dinner. Then, I missed the RHS soccer team meeting (I was at Chandler's game) so I was just given the night that no one else wanted.

Moral of the story: Become a professional caterer or start attending ALL meetings. (Couldn't cloning myself be another option?)

Thank goodness Chandler is off-track. It hasn't been much fun for him but he has been an emormous help. He's unwrapped caramels, peeled potatoes, unwrapped buillion cubes, sliced cucumbers, made punch, run back into the store to purchase the vanilla pudding I forgot, made his own lunch, run up and down the stairs to the storeroom to fetch ingredients for me, etc

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

and the parents role is?

It's hard to be a parent - at least it's hard to be a good one! How does one determine good, better, best practices? How do you know where to draw the line? I have to admit that I think I fall into the category of "pretty-tough-parent that expects a lot from her kids".

For example, I have trained all of my kids to get themselves up in the morning. They have to take responsibility for themselves and not rely on a parent to wake them up. I think this is a good practice. They won't always have a parent around to wake them for college classes or work.

However, I work with 2 women who have 17-year-old sons who wake them every morning. They claim it's a parent's job plus it is nice for the sons to wake to a loving, caring voice. They also tell me that their sons can't reliably get themselves up and it's the parent's responsibility to ensure they get to school.

I say, "Let them sleep in and miss a few classes, have to pay for and attend tardy school, and they'll eventually catch on."

But, what do I know? It's not like I'm winning any mother-of-the-year contests.

Monday, October 4, 2010

and the list just goes on...

I keep finding more things that I lost when my computer crashed. I've had to re-create PTA files, directories, mission statements, 100 life goals lists, etc.

This morning I added one more thing to the list: McKayla's player profile. I had spent hours last year creating it before we attended the major tournaments in California and Nevada. We're heading to Surf Cup in San Diego over Thanksgiving. What should have been a 2-minute update on McKayla's player profile (what's her new GPA? what tournaments has her team won in the past year? etc) has turned into a several hour project of re-creating the entire profile.

Bingham 8/31/10

Saturday, October 2, 2010

General Conference

My favorite General Conference quote of the day:

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become."
Elder Richard G. Scott

Friday, October 1, 2010

Good Things Utah

One of my Mia Maids (Atalie) wanted to go to a broadcast of a local talk show, Good Things Utah, for a class activity. Since there was no school today, we went this morning. I only have 3 Mia Maids right now and one couldn't go so here is "my girls" pictured with the hosts.

McKayla and Atalie are in the back. The hosts are Nicea, Angie, Mardi, and Reagan. (Reagan is my personal favorite.)