Sunday, November 27, 2011


Dismayed. Disgruntled. Disgusted. Disappointed. I am even feeling a bit irritated.

Finding it a bit hard to retain the spirit of love and gratitude that comes with the holidays.

I was asked to be in charge of our ward's Christmas party. 350 people. $500 budget. I have had sign-up sheets going around the ward for the past couple weeks and even a plea in today's ward bulletin for help with the food. Just asking people to bring a pot of chili.

I can't get enough volunteers.

This party has occupied my every free moment for the last 3 weeks. I have lost sleep at night stressing over it. I have prayed and worked. Plotted and planned. Made phone calls and organized. And I can't even get 17 people to agree to bring a lousy pot of chili?

Sorry to be so negative. Tomorrow I will grow a new attitude but for the moment, I am going to wallow in a few moments of self-pity.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Count Your Blessings

name them one by one...

1) I finished one major Christmas project this morning - YEA! Gifts for 9 families done.

2) I don't work in any of those stores that are making their employees work at 10 pm or midnight for Black Friday. For that matter, I'm glad I don't work in a grocery store that makes their employees work until 2 pm. Plan ahead people - buy your groceries ahead of time so these poor employees don't have to work.

3) I got to teach seminary yesterday.

4) We are not heading out of town for a soccer tournament.

5) We have tickets to Hale Center Theater tomorrow night.

6) Everyone chipped in this morning to help clean the house without complaint.

7) Great kids, fantastic husband, good health, home, ....

8) My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

my fave

Tonight is my favorite holiday. It's Pie Night!

What?!? You don't celebrate Pie Night? Well, you should. Everyone should. At least everyone who loves pie, that is.

My extended family started Pie Night years ago. We decided we were too full after turkey to truly enjoy the pie. Also, you have that pesky problem of in-laws wanting their time too so you don't always get Thanksgiving with everyone. Not to mention that this is the first year in about 9 or 10 years that we are not going out of town on Thanksgiving for a soccer tournament so usually we weren't really able to celebrate on Thanksgiving day. So, voila! We created Pie Night and it solved all the problems.

Everyone is available on Thanksgiving Eve so we all get together and eat soup, scones, and PIE! Yum! After that, turkey is so anti-climatic.

Dawnette is hosting it for their friends in Texas since she and her family can't be here. I've even had ward members tell me they now hold Pie Night. Good for them! Best holiday of the year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


*I get the most random emails - everything from dating sites for senior citizens to info on obtaining my GED. What? Nothing like those boosts to my self-esteem.

*I don't hate cooking for my family. I just hate that most of the time, someone doesn't like it. I guess with 7 people in the family, odds are that I can't please everyone but still...

*I don't know anyone who doesn't feel like they are the busiest person on earth. What have we gotten ourselves involved in? Once in a while, it would be nice to go back to the days of spending the evenings sitting on your front porch watching people stroll by leisurely.

*It seems a fine line between starting Christmas too early (Really? Christmas decor on sale in the stores before Halloween is even over?) and appearing Scroogelike. My kids are so adamant about not starting Christmas too early that they don't even want to attend a Christmas concert with me on Friday because it is "still Thanksgiving weekend".

Sunday, November 20, 2011

100 Life Goals (and counting)

Years and years and years (since I am now officially old - just ask my children) ago I made a list of 100 life goals. I guess it was my bucket list. Who knew that 100 would not be sufficient?

A few more:

1) Serve a mission (or three) with Kevin
2) Go to the Sacred Grove
3) Memorize 20 of my favorite scriptures
4) Watch the AFI's 100 Best Movies
5) Hike the Grand Canyon
6) Go to Paris, France
7) Study the conference talks of Elder Neal A. Maxwell
8) Become more proficient at Power Point presentations

Saturday, November 19, 2011

a temple-going person

Alec loves going to the temple to do baptisms. He has been going at 4:10 am twice a month for years. He is usually so excited about going that I don't have to wake him. Often, when I awake at 3:30 am, he is already up, dressed, and ready to go. He hates it when it's not his week to go and usually argues with me about it - he is always sure it is his turn.

I had to laugh this past week because McKayla drove he and Shanley to the temple on Tuesday morning. As Alec was leaving the baptistry, he ran into Pres. Haight (the temple president). Pres. Haight shook Alec's hand and told him to come back. Alec got really excited and said, "Really?"

Alec definitely took Pres. Haight seriously because Wednesday after school Alec dressed in his suit and demanded that we take him to the temple. We couldn't persuade him otherwise so I dropped him off at the temple by himself and hoped he'd be okay until I could send McKayla back for him later.

I blame Pres. Haight.

just kidding.

I am actually thrilled that Alec desires to be in the temple so much! I don't know that he understands what is going on there but I do know he feels the Spirit and wants to be there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

grace in motion


I certainly would never be described as graceful. Especially if you had seen me yesterday.

I was delivering pizzas to a high school classroom with an assistant principal when I tripped going up the stairs. I went down hard with my big toe and my palm taking the brunt of it.

You see, I like to display my klutziness to others.

The good news of the day was that the assistant principal was carrying the pizzas - thank goodness!

The big toe is really swollen and attractive today - maybe I can trip over it a few more times as I navigate the crowded halls of the middle school all day today with Shanley. You know, display my grace to a few more people.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

no comprende

Can I just say I cannot relate to people who don't want their teens driving?

For me, my teens receiving their license is a cause for celebration! It makes me do the happy dance! It makes me sigh in relief! It makes me shout for joy!

Finally - some help.

It has been so helpful having McKayla as a licensed driver. Both girls need to go to the YW activity? No problem. McKayla can just drive. Chandler is at indoor soccer and Alec is at the temple and Kevin is flying and I am in a meeting? No problem. McKayla can pick up Alec and Chandler. Shanley needs a ride home from dance? No problem. McKayla can go get her.

And, of course, the biggest help of all is that McKayla can get herself places. McKayla needs a ride home from cross-country/track practice every night? Yep. Can do. McKayla wants to go to a friend's house to do homework? Yep. Can do.

I'm not sure what I'll do with all my free time. Maybe spend some time perfecting that happy dance.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

how the West was won

or not.

That would be a different show.

I just got back from chaperoning a middle school field trip to see the high school's performance of "Annie Get Your Gun". I was blown away (pun intended) by Annie's voice - amazing talent for a high school student.

Now I have songs like "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" going through my head. I might be singing those all day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

the rest of the story

So many stories I read in the paper, see on the internet, or hear on the news tug at my heartstrings or make me angry.

But, I often wonder about the rest of the story. What else was going on that we don't know about?

For example, the paper this morning reported on an orchestra concert where the conductor stopped the performance not once but twice because he could hear noise. He accused people of bring children to the performance (no one under 8 was allowed) and then asked the offender to leave. It turns out the "offender" was a man with a mental disability. This made the audience angry and they yelled at the conductor.

This conductor could have saved himself some grief if he'd known "the rest of the story". I would expect a different reaction had he known it was a man with a mental disability rather than thinking it was a rule-breaker.

Maybe the audience members needed the rest of the story as well. Had this conductor gotten in trouble in the past for allowing noise during his concerts? Had audience members complained in prior performances?

We just don't know.

Too often I find myself guilty of judging before I know the whole story. I will admit to some sympathetic feelings for Joe Paterno when he was fired in the Penn State sex scandal. However, as more and more of the story came out, my sympathetic feelings changed to outrage over a man who did very little to protect innocent children.

Is there still more of the story? Probably. (Do I want to hear it? not really but that's beside the point)

So many other examples. So much judgment, anger, and condemnation. Maybe misplaced, mistaken, misunderstood.

If only I could learn to tame my feelings until I was certain I had "the rest of the story".

Monday, November 14, 2011


Well, it's done. Too late to back out now. I have signed myself up to run a marathon and a half-marathon next year. Of course, at the moment I am excited and don't want to back out but who knows how I'll be feeling in 6 months.

I ran a half-marathon just a little over a year ago and I've run 8-10 miles at a time in recent weeks so the half should be no problem.

On the other hand, I haven't run a marathon for 17 years! I honestly didn't think I'd ever run another one. Running one was on my bucket list, did it, checked it off, moved on. Now, I've got the bug again. So, my birthday present to myself will be running a marathon (it's the day before my 45th birthday). What a way to celebrate!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


More things to be thankful for today:

*Brakston married a woman I really like
*Alec gives great hugs
*McKayla causes me very little stress
*Shanley is so funny and makes me laugh
*Chandler is so curious and inquisitive

and last, but certainly not least...

*Kevin is incredibly patient, hard-working, and is always improving!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

parent-teacher conference

Yesterday was Chandler's parent-teacher conference. Ironically, his teacher's name is Ms. Chandler. Easy to remember. And Chandler can definitely spell his teacher's name correctly.

The conference went well. He is a whiz at math (100% on the benchmark and straight A's on every unit). He struggles at reading aloud and identifying sentence components. His teacher says she loves him and he is such a cute kid. She also says he is too competitive at trying to finish all of his assignments first (I think we've heard that from every teacher since first grade).

I never stress about meeting with Chandler's teachers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

the irony

The substitute teaching in the culturally-diverse, impoverished junior high has continued all week.

Yesterday's class almost made me laugh (or cry or wring my hands in despair or something). A 14-year-old girl gave the devotional on dating. She read from For the Strength of Youth on dating. She read the part about not dating until you are at least 16. Then she read the part about double dating and testified that double dating is good because she and her boyfriend and her best friend and her boyfriend doubled over the weekend (did I say these girls are 14?) and they had a lot of fun.

She told the class they should follow the guidelines in The For the Strength of Youth (I guess she meant except the part where they tell you NOT to date until you are 16).

Thursday, November 10, 2011


My current favorite running songs are:

Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
We Live - Superchick
Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri
You Are Loved - Josh Groban
Home - Michael Buble
Arms - Christina Perri
Bright Lights - Matchbox 20
Waka Waka (Time for Africa) - Shakira
California King Bed - Rihanna
Uprising - Muse
Landslide - Dixie Chicks
All That You Are - GooGoo Dolls
Walking in Memphis - Marc Cohn
If You're Gone - Matchbox 20
Better Man - Pearl Jam
Kiss from a Rose - Seal
King of Anything - Sara Bareilles
Viva la Vida - Cold Play
Secrets - One Republic
Someone Like You - Adele
Do You Know - Enrique Iglesias
All These Lives - Daughtry
Hollywood's Not America - Ferras
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall - Cold Play
Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Wilson
If Today Was Your Last Day - Nickelback
Good Life - One Republic
One Last Chance - Daughtry

What's your favorite running music?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

reality check

This week I have been substituting seminary at a junior high in a highly impoverished, culturally diverse area. Nothing brings home the difference to me quite as much as asking my students what qualities they want in a future spouse and hearing the answer "not being a gang member".

What a wake-up call. I don't think I would ever hear that answer at the schools in Riverton. Sometimes I forget how good I have it in my very average, middle-class neighborhood. I'm not even sure my children could tell you what a gang is.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

stuff happens

Dang it!

I feel so badly for Brakston and Whitney. The engine blew on their car last Saturday.

They had tried so hard to do everything right. Brakston worked hard all summer, budgeted carefully, and saved every penny he could towards buying a new car. Whitney also saved money. They carefully researched cars and found out which car to buy. They found a Subaru Legacy in their price range and took it to our mechanic friend who inspected it well. He gave it a thumbs up so they bought it. They were quite happy with it.

Just over 2 months later - ENGINE BLEW (and that blows).

Yep, stuff happens.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I have a lot to be grateful for but I don't always give Thanksgiving the attention I should. Not that I put up my Christmas tree the day after Halloween or anything but still....

So, today I'll list a few things I'm grateful for:

*FHE with my extended family - my brothers usually make me laugh

*That Brakston is so excited to take part in the family traditions that he missed while he was serving his mission

*That my husband is a pilot so we get to fly for free

*That my elementary, middle school, and high school students each have an amazing principal (how often do you strike the jackpot like that?)

*Ward members who laughed and teased McKayla yesterday when Alec announced to the ward during his testimony that she had had a date

*That I'm not the one that Alec shares embarrassing stories about when he bears his testimony

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Whew! Survived McKayla's first date last night. Dating can be so rough on the parents. This one was great because they stayed here all night making it easy to keep an eye (and an ear) on them.

I was pretty skeptical when he first asked because he is 18 and already graduated from high school. Too old for my baby!

However, I was won over by a few factors:
*she met him at EFY
*he is a cross-country runner
*he has his mission call (to Washington, D.C. South)

His name is Taylor Braithwaite.

He came over and brought Texas Toast and the two of them made french toast. Then they played Ticket to Ride with Shanley and Alec (more points in his favor). They goofed around on the piano and then played soccer with Chandler and his friend. Then they headed downstairs to watch Forever Strong. Alec watched it with them. In fact, he even sat between them the entire movie. (heehee!). After the movie, the two of them played a few games of Settlers of Catan before calling it a night.

McKayla had a great time and it certainly was a low-stress date on her parents. Thank goodness!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

XC Awards

Thursday night was the RHS cross-country team award's banquet. McKayla received a varsity letter. The certificates are pretty nice.
McKayla and her friend, Bre, holding their certificates and plaques.
These are the plaques received by everyone who lettered (ran varsity). The a is meant to signify that they are the alphas of the wolf pack (Riverton High Silverwolves). The a is also found on their jerseys.
McKayla and Bre each received additional awards. Bre received the award for the Female Rookie of the Year (she and McKayla are both new to cross-country this year). McKayla received the award for Alpha Female (top girl runner). This time the A was capitalized to signify the alpha of the alphas.
McKayla finished 19th at State and Bre finished 29th. Not too shabby for 2 girls whose primary sport was NOT cross-country. McKayla's priority was soccer while Bre's was lacrosse. Imagine what they could do if they actually dedicated themselves to cross-country.

Friday, November 4, 2011


The essential items in my purse are:

*chapstick (first and foremost - I can't seem to be without this item)
*a pen (always prepared - that's me)
*cash (I hate pulling out the credit card for items under $5)
*a black Sharpie market (I can't believe how often this comes in handy)
*mints (gotta have fresh breath and I can't stand gum)

With this short of a list, you'd think my purse would be even smaller than it already is. What do women keep in those HUGE bags?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

it's just Utah

Just 2 short weeks ago I was exulting in having 60 degree temps to run in - PERFECT running weather! I was loving life!

But...this is Utah. The following week we had a 30 degree temperature drop (yes, that happens overnight here) and now I find myself running in 20 to 30 degree temps. Brrr...not quite so perfect.

I've decided I'm difficult to please. Las Vegas and it's 80's was far too hot. Now it's a bit chilly.

It's true. I want my cake and I want to eat it too. Further, I don't want to gain any weight as a result of eating that darn cake. Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My children frequently use a phrase that I have grown to strongly dislike. I think they utter these words EVERY time I ask them to do something. I also think I am not alone as a parent in hearing these famous words.

What phrase?


Am I right? Does anyone else hear these words often?

It ranks right up there with:

"in a minute"
"I'll get to it"
"just a sec"

What are Kevin's words of comfort? "In a few more years, you won't have to hear those words anymore."

Who is he kidding? He might use them as often as they do.

I think I will just have to learn some patience. I'll work on that - LATER! heehee!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

books I've read in the past month

Oops! I only recorded reading 2 books last month. I think I read 4 but I forgot to write them down so I don't have titles or authors or even a clear memory. whatever. give me a break. I am 44, have 5 children, and usually run around like a chicken with my head cut off.

In fact, what's really bad is that one of the books I read this month is one I just read in July. I forgot I'd already read it until I was about 30 pages into it. Unfortunately, it was the only book I took on my Las Vegas trip so I had to keep reading it. Again. At least it was pretty good. It was:

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

The other was:

Think of a Number by John Verdon

Both books were pretty good. If I remember what else I read, I'll update this. Then again, we may never know.

sweet 16!

Let the driving and dating begin - McKayla turns 16 today!

I really am not afraid of her dating or driving. She shows a lot of common sense and level-headedness. She is pretty mature and I believe she will make good decisions. At least, thus far she hasn't given me any reason to worry. She got asked to go to Lagoon last Friday by a guy she really likes and without even double checking with me, she turned him down by telling him she wasn't old enough to date yet. It was also Girls' Pref on Saturday so she wasn't old enough by ONLY 3 days but she didn't beg or bug me about it - just knew she wasn't old enough yet.

That's the kind of gal she is.

And as far as driving is concerned, the sooner I have help the BETTER!

McKayla has a bit of a stubborn streak (which is great when it's focused on good things). She is reliable and a good student. She is organized and doesn't forget things but does keep the messiest room imaginable! Yikes! (can we say slob?) She is athletically gifted, modest, and has a fun and playful personality. She likes to give people a hard time (I'm sure she doesn't get that from me - heehee!) yet she is generally nice to everyone. She has a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and is a good example of living according to her beliefs.

She has brought so much joy to my life! I love her and am so proud of her and her accomplishments!

Happy Birthday, McKayla!