Monday, January 31, 2011

Resolution Check-Up

It's time for my monthly moment-of-truth regarding my New Year's Resolutions.

Lose Weight - I am down 9 pounds for the month. I'm happy about that but know it's always easier at the start. It's the ability to continue to lose weight that is difficult. I am starting a new eating strategy today just to mix things up and keep me motivated.

Read Jesus the Christ - I have read 175 pages so making good progress here.

Climb Mt. Timpanogos - It's too cold and snowy to even be thinking about this goal yet.

Run Ragnar - Yea! I have found a team (thanks, Tonya) and I am going to do the Valley of Fire Ragnar in Las Vegas in October. It's a 195-mile 12-person relay race. I am quite excited about it!

Write My Grandma's Life History - No progress.

Do a Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for a Cure - I've registered for one in Dallas in November. Now for the fund-raising part. Yikes! That's the scary part. Would any of my Texas cousins like to join me on the walk?

Attend 5 Temples that I've Never Been to Before - No progress. I've attended temples - just not any "new" ones.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

what goes around, comes around

My sister, Tonya, and her kids spent the weekend with us. Friday night we watched the kids while Tonya and Jeremy went to the temple. I was getting the baby ready for bed while Brakston was putting her boys to bed. He went in to help them say prayers when one of them asked, "Brakston, how old are you?" Brakston asked them how old they thought he was. The answer: "62"!

Too funny.

Tonya thought it was excellent payback because when she returned from her mission Brakston guessed her age at 41. Karma.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I guess he should just sit around waiting

Yesterday I picked up carpool from the elementary. Chandler was bummed about that saying, "I thought Brakston was going to pick us up."

Me: Yes, that was the plan but Brakston is at the temple with Grandpa and Grandma. I went with them to the Mount Timpanogos Temple then I came home to drive carpool. Brakston is currently at the Draper Temple and then they're all going to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.

Chandler: "That's too much temple."

Me: There is no such thing as TOO much temple.

Chandler: "There is when your brother is gone and he's been on a mission for 2 years."

I guess Chandler just thought Brakston would sit around all day waiting for him to come home. After all, we waited for 2 years!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another Driver!

One of the best things about having Brakston home is having another driver! That is seriously wonderful! I don't understand people who are scared to have their children grow up and drive. It was such a relief to me.

As a parent of busy teens, I always need to be in 3 places at once. I am constantly telling my kids things like "You'll have to be early for practice tonight or I'll be late picking you up from cheer". Imagine the lessening of my stress level when Brakston can be picking Alec up from Special Needs Mutual tonight (on time) while I drive Shanley to cheer (on time).

Life is good!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

joy and tears

If you watched the video I posted yesterday, you can hear lots of whooping and hollering at the beginning. That was not us. Two other families were awaiting their missionaries on the same flight. They cheered and screamed. I took one look at Brakston coming down the escalator and dissolved into tears which just started a chain reaction. Soon, we were all crying (except Alec who could NOT stop smiling for hours!).

Brakston informed us that it was the first time he'd cried in at least a year. He certainly made up for it yesterday! We went straight from the airport to the stake president's office for his release. He cried buckets! Once more, this started a chain reaction and had the entire family crying. I'm not sure I ever imagined how hard being released would be for him. I think removing his name tag was one of the hardest things he's had to do. It makes me cry just writing about it.

Brakston loved his mission, the people, and the gospel. As hard as it was to see him sob, I was also very grateful that he had that reaction because I knew how important his mission had been to him.

Now, he's got to make the change to "civilian life". It took a long time to get him out of his suit yesterday. I believe he was home for about 7-8 hours before he changed out of white shirt and tie. That made me laugh. Still, I think he'll make the adjustment fairly quickly. The ward invited him to play basketball last night an he went to institute this morning so life is moving on.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

RHS quilt

Yea! I finished the second quilt for Brakston. This one contains all of his Riverton High activities - soccer, track, cross-country, FCCLA, and just class shirts.

This one is flannel and very soft and cuddly. I think Brakston will like it! (If not, I know I do.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

mission tradition

I blogged earlier this month about wanting a missionary tradition to help inspire my nephews to serve. I really feel that Brakston, being the oldest grandchild, has a responsibility to help set the example and pave the way.

I was having a hard time coming up with anything but this is what I finally came up with:

It's got everyone's mission pictures, the flag pin for their mission, and their name, mission, and dates served.

I know the picture is not good but the center says "it all started here". It will contain a picture of my dad's mission to Northern California when he was 19 (when my parents get home and find it).

It contains pictures of my parents, Kevin, Darin, Dawnette, Todd, Tonya, Jeremy, Kari, and Brakston. As you can see, there are plenty of spaces left to add the pictures for this next generation (plus my parents' new mission to the Washington D.C. Temple).

I am kind of excited about this!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

buying happiness

I can't seem to keep lids around so when I can actually find a food storage container with a matching lid I get really excited. It truly makes me happy. Unfortunately, that has happened very infrequently lately. I believe that I maybe have 3 or 4 containers with lids.

So, Thursday I bought myself a little bit of happiness.

I took Chandler to IKEA (another outing designed to keep him from being TOO bored while off-track). I found a set of 17 containers WITH lids for $3.99. Honest! One could hardly expect me to pass up that kind of deal.

Friday, January 21, 2011

better the second time around

I just finished teaching a couple of seminary classes this morning. I always feel badly for my "guineau pig" class (the first class). I'm not very good. I feel like I stumble around a bit. I am SO much better the next time. By the second class, I'm relaxed. The lesson flows. I ask better questions and give better examples. The pacing of the lesson is better. The relaxation probably helps me feel the Spirit better so the teaching is more inspired.

I have always felt this way but was relieved today to find out I'm not the only one. I mentioned it to one of the teachers that I know fairly well. He laughed and said, "I always tell my first class that if they were paying tuition, I'd only charge them half."

I wonder if all teachers fell this way. Does it matter what you're teaching?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I chopped it all off...

...and I think I'm happy about it!

Yes, I'm talking about my hair. I hadn't had a haircut in 4 months (looking shaggy) so I went in last Saturday. I had to wait a few minutes for my sylist so I started flipping through a magazine and, very spur of the moment, decided I wanted a hairstyle I saw - a very short one.

Soooo, I went for it. It's a drastic change but I think I like it. It is super easy to care for and is a bit versatile (I can go curly or straight. I can tuck hair behind my ears or leave it framing my face.)

Now if it was only as easy to get rid of the dark circles under my eyes (I'm not sleeping again) and wrinkles. I truly detest having my picture taken.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

what to do?

I am in need of help - AGAIN! Kevin has all of his old flight manuals and airport charts. He doesn't need them anymore because everything is on-line now but he'd really like something made with these as a memento. They've been a big part of his life for over 20 years.
Anyone have any great ideas? (I'd like to avoid a shadow box.)

Please help!

one down, one to go

I finished one quilt for Brakston a week or so ago:
This one is his "club" team. He played soccer for USA (Utah Soccer Alliance) for 10 years as a comp team player and another 2-3 before that in rec leagues.

This quilt has just a sampling of his tryout shirts, tournaments shirts, etc.

I am also making him a quilt with all of his Riverton High shirts - soccer, cross-country, track, FCCLA, and class of 08. I have to the top done and I'll post pictures when I have it completely finished.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1 week

I am having a hard time concentrating on anything except the fact that Brakston is coming home! I am so excited!

I am counting down in half days now. Wonder how long it will take me before I start counting hours....

Today is his 21st birthday. Wow! Can I really have a child THAT old?!?

I remember his birth so clearly. My water broke during the night so we went to the hospital. I didn't go into labor so the doctor had to induce me. It was painful! Then the doctor kept telling me his head was too big and I'd have to have a c-section. I kept insisting a regular delivery would work. It did but not without my tearing badly and being in pain for a week!

I still enjoyed my baby. He was a good baby. I only had 4 weeks off and then had to go back to work. Luckily, my daycare was right across the street and my boss my really great and understanding. He let me change my hours a bit so I could go over to the daycare twice a day and nurse Brakson. Every once in a while Mark (my boss) would just come into my office and say, "I know you're thinking of your son. Why don't you just run over for few minutes and check on him and give him some hugs?"

I remember when he was about 3 or 4 years old he had an obsession with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At lunch one day I happened to see that the movie was in a local theater and they actually had a turtle there (Raphael). I went back to the office, took the rest of the day off, and went and picked up Brakston and brought him back to the movie. He was delighted!

Brakston loved all things physical - he climbed everything, learned to ride a bike in less than an hour, played soccer and basketball, learned to rollerblade, etc. He broke his arm jumping on rollerblades. He hated baseball because there was too much sitting around and waiting. That hatred continued through high school.

Brakston was an awesome big brother - especially to Alec. He was always patient with him, took him to movies or out to ice cream, and included him in things. In elementary, Brakston hooked up a trail-a-bike to the back of his bike and rode Alec to school. In high school, Brakston arranged for Alec to "manage" the soccer team so Alec could be included.

Brakston was also always a great son. He was helpful. He would take me on dates on Friday nights. With Kevin gone so much, I often talked to Brakston. We discussed friends, concerns with Alec, parenting, etc. I missed having someone to talk to when he left on his mission (McKayla is now getting old enough).

He wasn't always perfect by any means. In 8th grade, he wasn't doing well in school because he'd forget to turn in his homework. He'd do it but it would stay in his folder forever. I finally got fed up and pulled him out of school and homeschooled him for a semester. He hated it because he was a very social kid and missed his friends (but he did the work pretty much on his own so it was pretty easy for me). The next year I sent him back to school and he was a changed kid. He was very responsible - he did NOT want to be pulled out of school and away from his friends again!

He was very talkative in class and most teachers told me they were sure they were going to hate him and have trouble with him at the first of the year but they all ended up loving him. He never argued with the teachers when he got in trouble for talking but would apologize and try to be quiet. Teachers found this refreshing. He was also nice to everyone, polite to the teachers, and responsible so teachers ended up letting him talk more than he probably should have.

Brakston was always a natural leader and a natural missionary. He was frequently trying to get inactive friends to go to church. He'd invite them, go bang on their doors, pick them up, etc. He just naturally seemed to look out for people. After the first year on the soccer team when he knew what it was like to be the "freshmen", he would always pick at least one freshman to "mentor". He'd show them the ropes, drive them to the dinners, etc.

Brakston could always make me laugh. He was naturally funny and sometimes he was just downright goofy! He never poked fun at others though - just himself.

It will be fun to get to know the "returned-missionary" Brakston. What will he be like? Will he be much changed? Will he still be fun? I can hardly wait to find out!

Monday, January 17, 2011

29 Gifts re-start

I am re-starting my 29 gifts in 29 days challenge.

It's not that I don't give. Every day if I look back, I can see something I've given during the day. However, my goal was not just to give but to BE MINDFUL when I give. I want to examine my motives for giving. I want to plan it a little bit. I want to savor what it feels like and imagine any happiness my giving might bring others.

I haven't been doing this the past couple of days. I truly enjoyed my first few days and felt energized by the giving. I kind of lost sight of that.

I want to recommit to this challenge.

For more information on the 29 Gift Challenge go to:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

no room at the inn

Of course, in Sunday School this year we are studying the New Testament. Today's lesson was on the birth of Christ. I've been reading "Jesus the Christ" and was fascinated to read this week that staying in a stable was not an unusual occurrence. When inns were full, that is where people stayed. Mary and Joseph were not the first to do so nor were they the last.

I never realized this. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Then, in class today someone made another interesting comment. Rooms at inns were not the private rooms we enjoy in hotels today. Many people shared a room. Thus, Mary and Joseph and Christ may have had more privacy and space in the stable.

Nothing earth-shattering or testimony-building but interesting none-the-less.

Other interesting things I've read lately:

We don't know how many wisemen there were nor why tradition uses 3. There could have been one or there could have been many.

We really have no idea the exact birth date of Christ. We celebrate December 25th. Most of the LDS faith believes Christ was actually born on April 6th. This belief stems from James Talmage in "Jesus the Christ" referencing D&C 20 as stating the church was organized 1830 years from the coming of Christ. He took that to literally mean exact years. However, Bruce R. McConkie and other general authorities have stated that D&C 20 may not be referring to an exact date like April 6th. In fact, chronological references could put the date in December. Many historical scholars believe the birth could have occurred in December or January.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

parents' mission call

My parents got their next mission call this week (this will be their second. They just got released from their first on the day before Thanksgiving). They'll be going to:

The Washington D.C. Temple

We are all super-excited for them (and excited to go visit them). I love the D.C. temple - it is gorgeous. In fact, I love the D.C. area. There is so much to do and so much of it is FREE! And it's educational too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

insane week

This week has been so crazy busy that I've actually had laundry in the basket waiting to be folded for 4 days! That is not like me. In fact, I believe that is a record for me.

I am going to take comfort in the fact that I am setting records and breaking new ground.

Nah - not helping.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

29 Gifts

I've been reading a book called "29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life" by Cami Walker. Cami was diagnosed with MS and in the midst of complete breakdown was challenged to give a gift a day for 29 days. It changed her life and she started a 29 Gift movement which has over 13,000 participants in over 42 countries.

I'm not finished with the book but am excited about the premise so I've begun my own 29 days of giving. I hesitate to blog about it because it seems that this should be personal. I do not wish to boast or brag. However, I believe I must document my progress to be able to see any changes. I have tried to do an act of service every day for years but what often happens is I find that I quit thinking about it and then I'm scrambling trying to think if I did anything that day that could be considered an act of service. I know if I'm writing about it, I will be more mindful of my giving and on the effect on my life.

"Be mindful" is actually the first rule of the 29 Gift Challenge so I hope you will take any posts about giving in the spirit they are intended. I truly hope to experience personal growth. I would like to change my mindset to one of abundance and gratitude.

Today is my 3rd day on the challenge. The first day I was in DI and saw a bag of beads. I have a friend who loves to make jewelry so I decided to buy the beads for her. I added a pretty ribbon and delivered it to her home. Imagine how good I felt when she immedicately noticed that the bag contained some tulip-shaped beads and she exclaimed, "I have been looking for these beads for months. They are hard to find."

The second day a friend called to ask if I had any portfolio folders. I didn't but then my giving mindset kicked in and I told her, "I'm at WalMart right now. I will just pick up some folders for you." When I delivered them to her home, I refused payment for them and told her they were a gift. The cost was only slightly over $3 so it was not a big value but I did feel very happy that I was able to help make her life a little easier.

Why do I often forget how much even the simplest act of giving/service can feel so good if you do it with your heart in the right place?

If you'd like more information, check out her book or see her blog at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DI Finds

Chandler is off-track which means no school for 3 weeks which translates into being a bit bored. I try to come up with some fun things for us to do but he is a highly active kid with a fairly short attention span so I can't possibly fill his days enough!

Yesterday we made a trip to the DI. I love bargains and found some great stuff.Five pair of shoes that still looked fairly new.Oops! My picture quality stinks but this includes a bag of beads which I gave to a friend. Also, there is a set of photo albums that McKayla and I will turn into great scrapbooked Christmas presents for her best friends.
These were my favorite: heart-shaped boxes with the most darling pictures. They'll make great Valentine's Day decor or would be great to fill and give away. The best part is the pair was only $1.

Chandler also found some balls and a hoop and a voice recorder all of which I hope will keep him occupied for at least 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I need help!

My neighbors have a really wonderful missionary tradition. When a son leaves for or comes home from his mission, they fly all the flags of where everyone (cousins, uncles, siblings, etc) in their yard. It looks really cool! Their fourth (and last) son just got home last week and it was an amazing sight to see 20 or so flags flying in the yard.

I think this is a great tradition in that I'm sure it helps with encouraging all of the young men to want to be a part of it.

As Brakston is the oldest grandchild on my side (and thus, the first one to serve a mission), I almost feel an obligation to start such a tradition. I want something that my children and my nieces and nephews will want to be a part of.

I love to copy ideas but don't feel I can copy the flag idea since they only live 2 houses away and their son just got home. Anybody got any ideas for me?


Monday, January 10, 2011

close calls

Have you ever realized how many close calls you have every day?

Maybe it's just me because I do spend a lot of time out on the roads and there are a LOT of idiots out there!

Just this morning, I had a green light and was making a right hand turn. A large truck with a snowplow attached to the front made a left-hand turn in front of me. Scary! Good thing I was paying attention and I was grateful I was able to stop quickly even though the roads were slick with snow.

Not 30 minutes later I was dropping the girls off at school and was nearly hit by another truck who pulled away from the curb without looking.

I wish I could just say today was my unlucky day but sometimes I feel that I'm taking my life in my hands every time I get behind the wheel. Maybe I'm not so excited for McKayla to start driving.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

no childhood marriages

On Friday I was teaching seminary and we were discussing some of the things we are grateful for. One student mentioned he'd been to India lately and only the very rich have shoes. Another said they were grateful for warm water that came out of the tap and didn't have to be boiled to heat it.

I just finished reading "I am Nujood - Age 10 and Divorced" about a girl from Yemen who was married off against her will at age 10. She suffered abuse before running away to a judge to request a divorce.

This didn't happen in the dark ages but a couple years ago. Further, child brides are not uncommon in Yemen and surrounding countries. There is even a saying, "If you want to marry happy, wed a 9-year-old."

Sick and wrong and very, very sad.

Can I just say I am so grateful to have been born in a country where I was not married off at an extremely young age? Heck, for that matter, I am grateful I was not "married off" at all - I got to pick my spouse.

Sometimes it is just so easy to take too much for granted - multiple pairs of shoes, warm water, non-arranged marriages as a child, and the list goes on and on. What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

cheap fun

I love getting a bargain! Free is even better.

Last night the family enjoyed attending the University of Utah gymnastics meet - for FREE! We were in the upper bowl but still had fun watching Utah beat UCLA. Even being true blue BYU fans, we have enjoyed the Utes gymnastics for years.

Today we are all heading to BYU to watch a men's basketball game. It cost us a $1 each.

What a deal!

Friday, January 7, 2011


I have serious issues with all things electrical. No, I am not electronically-challenged. I can operate microwaves, computers, and so forth. I just seem to make them go absolutely haywire!

When I was a teen, I couldn't wear watches because they'd just stop. The doctor suggested that the electricity in my body interacted badly with the watches (I don't know if there is any scientific basis to this doctor's claim or if he was just making it up because he didn't have an answer).

I thought I'd outgrown that or something but now I'm starting to wonder.

My car radio does the most funky things. I am driving along listening to the radio and all of a sudden, the CD is playing. Or, it's peaceful and silent and suddenly the radio is blaring. The worst is when it maniacally switches back and forth from radio to CD staying on each only a few seconds before switching again. Weird.

My microwave is also a little "possessed". Sometimes it turns itself on when I walk by. Other times, it pretends it's working but then I look and the timer is not counting down and there's no heat just lights and a fan. Also weird.

Yesterday it was Kevin's laptop. I couldn't connect to the internet. Mind you, it's wireless internet and it said it was connected However, right above where the computer said it was connected, it also said no internet access. The desktop had no problem so I know it was just the computer I was trying to use.

I am probably what happened to my now defunct laptop.

If it's electrical and I touch it, it will soon go ka-put!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


As I drove Chandler and his friend to Classic Skate yesterday, I listened in on their conversation. Chandler asked Jeremiah if he'd watched Monday's Utah Jazz game. Chandler said, "It was intense. The Jazz really had to buckle up to win."

Gotta love 9-year-olds!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

sleep issues

Funny how things can change so quickly!

Just a week ago I was lamenting my lack of sleep and actually considering resorting to drugs to be able to sleep. I was going through an extremely long period where I awoke at 3 am no matter what. I couldn't get back to sleep. It was so frustrating (and exhausting). I've had periods like that sporadically through the past several years but it had never lasted nearly as long. Usually it would last for 2 weeks and then I'd be back to sleeping. This one lasted about 4 times as long.

However, I think I've finally broken that streak. For the past few nights I have actually slept all the way until my alarm goes off! It's been wonderful!

It's amazing what a little sleep will do for a girl! Now if it will only help erase the dark, dark circles under my eyes - I'm finding them embarrassing!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Yes, Brakson comes home 3 weeks from today. At this exact hour, I will be on my way to the airport to get him. I can't wait!

It is really odd how at peace I am currently. When he left, it was much harder than I ever could have imagined! I missed him so much! I kept thinking, "why didn't anyone ever warn me how difficult this is?"

I think I am beginning to understand now. I still miss him but, somehow, just knowing he will be home soon, has erased the ache in my gut. I am feeling peace and contentment.

I've decided it's like childbirth. If you could truly remember the pain, you'd never have more than one child. If you could ever truly remember the heartache and loneliness and emptiness of sending your child away for 2 years, you'd only let your eldest son serve a mission. However, time erases the pain. The excitement of having him come home has already replaced the hole in my chest. Life is really good again!

I'm sure I won't remember a thing by the time Chandler leaves in 9 more years and I'll willingly do it all again!

Monday, January 3, 2011


My mom and I had a great holiday season putting together 3 Thomas Kinkade puzzles.

I also did quite a bit of reading. Now it's back to reality!

What did you do?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

what have you done with my name?

Marvelle is a very unusual name. Before I graduated college and began work at the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) they knew Marvelle was coming but didn't know anything else about me. Rumor has it that they expected a big black woman. They were surprised to get me. I thought it was funny that they thought Marvelle sounded like a black name. Then, years later I saw a black NFL football player while watching TV and his name guessed it - Marvelle.

I've had it mispronounced forever and in a lot of different ways. However, I've always liked the uniqueness of my name.

About 10 years ago I was totally shocked to see an obituary in the Ogden paper for a Marvelle Morgan! Can you believe it? What are the odds that someone would have my exact name? This time she was white and elderly.

Then today I was on my favorite book tracking site (Goodreads) and what do I happen to notice in the advertising section? This:
Aargh! What have you done with my good name? A Harlequin romance? really?

the top is done!

I have been working on a quilt to give to Brakston when he gets home (birthday or Christmas gift). He wanted his "club soccer" shirts from tournaments and such made into a quilt. I have been working my tail end off on this project and yesterday I finished the top! Yea! Yippee! Okay, that's enough celebrating because I still have to tie it and bind it. Then, when that's all done he wants another one done with his RHS t-shirts from soccer, track, cross-country, and FCCLA. A mother's work is NEVER done!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Resolutions

Here's the resolutions for 2011:

Lose Weight - I want to lose 40 more pounds this year.

Read Jesus the Christ - It's been years since I've read this and since we're studying the New Testament this year, it seems like a good time to read this again.

Climb Mt. Timpanogos - That's right - I live in Utah and have never climbed Mt. Timpanogos. I am going to do that this year.

Run Ragnar - I have wanted to do this for years but this year I am actually going to do it. Somehow. Anyone need a team member? (or three because Brakston and McKayla want to do it too)

Write My Grandma's Life History - Fresh start. Here we go!

Do a Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for a Cure - I've wanted to do this for a couple of years as well. What has stopped me in the amount of money you have to raise - it scares me!

Attend 5 Temples that I've Never Been to Before - I don't have any specifics for which ones other than I think Alburqueque and Winter Quarters will be on the list. Probably Dallas as well. Those would all be pretty easy for me.

What are your goals?