Saturday, December 29, 2012

More 2012 Highlights

Favorite TV Shows:
  • Revolution
  • The Amazing Race
  • The Mentalist
  • Psych
  • NCIS
  • NCIS-Los Angeles
  • Person of Interest
Favorite Movies:
  • Les Miserables
  • Skyfall
  • Knight and Day (know it's not a new one but my family watches it repeatedly.  It is hilarious and we quote way too many lines)
Favorite Songs:
  • It's Time by Imagine Dragons
  • Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
  • It's Always a Good Time by Owl City
  • The A Team by Ed Sheeran
Favoite Plays:
  • Alec and I saw Wicked (me for the 3rd time)
  • Zorro - The Musical

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Highlights

It's time to start wrapping up the past year.

Sports Highlights:
  • McKayla setting the school record in the mile
  • Chandler's soccer team winning a gold medal in the Glory Tournament of Champions
  • Brakston making the UVU soccer team
  • the BYU women's soccer team enjoying unprecedented success
  • the UVU distance running coach telling us he is very interested in McKayla
  • Chandler running his first 5K and taking 2nd in his age group and 6th overall
  • Chandler running his first 4 mile and winning it!
Church Highlights:
  • Shanley called to serve on the Stake Youth Committee
  • Mitt Romney running for president and the LDS church getting lots of publicity
  • the "Mormon Moment"
  • lowering the age for missionaries (this was big news on its own but on a personal note, we thought it would be 7 years until we'd have another missionary.  Now we think we'll have one in 2 years.  I'm pretty sure McKayla will serve a mission but I am also pretty sure she never would have lasted until age 21.  She will turn 19 only 5 months after she graduates high school.)
Family Highlights:
  • McKayla and Shanley swimming with dolphins
  • family cruise to the Bahamas
  • family reunion in July
  • lots of wonderful days at Seven Peaks waterparks
  • spring break trip to Sandhollow Reservoir for 4-wheeling and waverunning
  • trip to Winter Quarters
School Highlights:
  • McKayla's first 4.0 as a high school student
  • Kevin going back to "school" at UVU
  • Whitney graduated from BYU-I

Friday, December 21, 2012

25/20

No.  That's not the result of my vision screening.  I could only wish my vision were that good.

That is 25 years of marriage for Kevin and I and 20 years since Alec was born.

Kevin and I celebrated being married for a quarter of a century on Tuesday.  Well, I use that term "celebrated" loosely.  I had a root canal and then got extremely sick from the pain meds.  Not a lot of celebrating going on.  Hopefully this weekend when we plan to go out for Mexican food and attend a Peter Breinhold concert.

Still, I love Kevin and am so glad I married him.  We met almost 26 years ago in an economics class at Ricks College.  We sat next to each other and talked during class.  Dawnette came for a visit late in the semester and met my boyfriend.  When I asked her what she thought of him she said "he's fine but I like Kevin."  I had to ask her who Kevin was.  She went home and told everyone that she'd met the man I should marry.  Kevin and I started studying together.  My boyfriend and I broke up.  My roommates decided I should ask Kevin to Girls' Pref and they called and told him he was being asked and told him where to meet for the ask.  THEN, they told me.  My option was to ask him or call him back and tell him it was a joke.  I asked.  Smartest decision of my life!  That was March 1987 and I've loved him every since.  We've had our ups and downs but far more ups and there's no one I'd rather go through the downs with than him.

Wednesday was Alec's 20th birthday.  I still remember the quick labor, easy delivery, the immediate falling in love with this beautiful baby, and then the at-the-time devasting news that he had Down syndrome.  What joy he has brought to my life and what a blessing he is to our family.  I learn so much from him.  Life is never dull with him around and I could fill a book with "Alec stories".

A recent Alec story - he loves to get the mail and deliver it to us.  A package arrived last week that he tried to give to me but McKayla was expecting her new iPod and was sure it was for her.  She told Alec to give her the package.  Alec said "It's for mom."  McKayla said she didn't care whose name was on it.  It was for her.  Kevin jumped into it and told Alec to give it to McKayla.  He was upset since it had my name on it.  I asked McKayla who it was from and when she said "Amazon", I She informed her that it was for me.  She handed it over but had to hear a "haha" from Alec.  I think he was thrilled to have been RIGHT!

I sure love these men and am grateful for my 25/20 week!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the dental nightmare

Please let me wake up tomorrow and have it be all over!

I had a bad root canal done about 4 years ago.  I immediately knew it was bad and started having trouble but no pain.  My dentist insisted it was fine.  I switched dentists and he said the constant infection had eaten away all the bone in the back of my jaw - not a good thing.  Before I could get back in, I started having major pain (most likely the cleaning opened the infection).  My dentist sent me to an endodontist but he couldn't get me in for a few days so I experienced quite a bit of pain.

Tuesday the endodontist started re-doing the bad root canal.  Opening and draining the infection just caused more pain but he'd given me a prescription for Lortab.  I took it and got really, really nauseous. 

Wednesday I was back to my dentist for what was supposed to be a routine filling and a possible extraction.  The extraction possibility turned into reality.  Unfortunately, one of the three roots refused to leave its place of existence.  After 3 hours, several bent instruments, and one chipped tooth the dentist gave up sending me home with sincere apologies, lots of gauze to soak up the blood, and an appointment with an oral surgeon for the next day.  Oh yeah - and more pain!  This time on the opposite side of my mouth.  Both sides are competing for the title of "most painful".

In a couple of hours I will see an oral surgeon to have that last root tip removed.

The nightmare doesn't really end there, though.  I still need to keep hoping the antibiotics clear up the infection, still have to have the root canal finished next week, still need a couple of cavities filled, and still have to have a dental implant done.

What fun! ('tis the season to be jolly)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Insane

It has been insane but today I get to breathe - just breathe. Here's the past 2 weeks:
  • I've been up every morning by 4 am making candy and dipping chocolates.
  • I've subbed 6 out of 9 school days.
  • I've had 5 Christmas parties.
  • I've baked 4 batches (different kinds) of cookies for teachers at the high school.
  • I've attended 2 PTA meetings.
  • I've taken a friend to lunch.
  • I've had a horrible tooth infection and been in severe pain (hopefully remedied today)
  • I've had chairs dropped on my toe (bruising them and making them very tender)
  • I've had a severe sore throat.
  • I've finished making a few Christmas presents.
  • I've finished all Christmas shopping.
  • I've been to a Collin Raye concert.
  • I've been to special needs mutual.

What I have not done: lost my mind, lost weight, or slept.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Resolution check-up :

Home Improvement
1) Build shutters for the windows in the front of my house - Done!
2) Paint the shutters, outside trim, and outside doors - Outside trim - done. Outside doors - done. Shutters - done. Done!
3) Plant lavender in front of the house - Done!
4) Do window treatments for family room, dining room, kitchen, Shanley's room, and the master bedroom - I bought the material for the dining room (and have the pattern) but currently I have ornaments hanging in my window so the curtains won't go up until the new year.
5) Paint/stain the back deck - Finished!
6) Paint the master bathroom - The paint is picked out but again, no money to purchase it.

Family
1) Plan a special date with Kevin once a month - did
2) Spend one-on-one time with each child every month (away from the home) - Did it!!

Social
1) Have 2 game parties for adults this year - done
 2) Host 2 special FHEs with other families this year - done

Physical
1) Lose 20 pounds - I've now given up for the year and will start again after Christmas. The holidays are killer for me.
2) Climb Mount Timpanogos - DID IT!
3) Run a marathon and a half marathon - done

Mental
 1) Make sure 1/3 of what I read is uplifting (spiritual, classical, best-book type stuff) - have done this 2) Write a book - Wrote more this month but not sure how many words.

Spiritual
1) Spend 1 day a month in the temple - Did it!
2) Go to 3 new temples - no new progress (still 2 of the 3). I tried. I planned to go to the brand new Calgary Temple but while in Canada I lost a contact and decided I needed to drive as little as possible. I am blind without contacts so I decided that going straight to the airport was safer than trying to navigate with one eye.
 3) Read the New Era and the Ensign every month - did this.
4) At the end of every day, record the hand of God in my life for that day - Did

Overall - mostly accomplished

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"first" sub gig

Substituting is a perfect job (other than the pay is not great) because I love teens, I love teaching, and I love the flexibility of being a sub. It is so great to "just say no" when I have something I'd rather do. I have been substituting seminary classes for over 6 years now but tomorrow marks my first official non-seminary substitute job. I am pretty excited and couldn't have asked for a better job. I will be teaching the special needs class at Copper Hills High School which means I will have 3 aides that will know what is going on and actually run the class. I love teaching seminary because I love the gospel and really want to help in bringing people to Christ so I thought long and hard before applying to sub regular education. However, the facts of the matter are these: 1) Some days I want to teach and don't get asked. I am hoping that being able to go online and see available classes will provide me even more scheduling flexibility. As a seminary substitute, I must wait to be called. 2) Potentially I can make more. Regular education pays about $16 more per day. It doesn't always work out more per hour though. Regular pays by the hour while seminary pays 1/2 or 1 day. I have had the opportunity to sub only early morning (1 hour) and get paid 1/2 day. That's a great gig when it happens. 3) I believe I will have less stress subbing in a regular classroom. I won't have to spend time preparing a lesson and I won't have to be concerned with teaching by the Spirit. I'll see how it all works out.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Silverrush

Riverton High has an awesome tradition of raising money for a chosen charity during the month of December. The SBOs (student body officers) carefully select a charity, unveil its identity in a kickoff assembly, and plan lots of activities to raise funds. Some of the activities include an ugly sweater stomp, a charity concert, goat kissing, send someone to jail (pay to send them and they pay to get out), the game Gotcha (you pay and get a pin with someone's face on it, you find them and take their pin while trying to keep the person with your face getting your pin), etc Every club/organization at the school gets into the act. Some offer face painting, hoodies/t-shirts are for sale, they sell hot chocolate, and on and on. This year they are doing a movie night, a CD featuring students (they had to audition for it), and a special Silverrush donut. The community gets into the act too. Arctic Circle has created a Silverrush shake which is only available in December and the proceeds go to Silverrush. Little children will save their money all year and give it all. Students organize and go out into the community every day after school knocking on doors and offering to do odd jobs for money. People hire them to shovel snow, hang lights, clean, read to children, whatever. Last year Riverton High raised an amazing almost $108,000! Our nearest neighboring high school (in a richer area, I might add) raised a little over $40,000. I was subbing at Riverton High seminary today so was able to attend the kickoff assembly. The charity they chose this year is the Haley Bell Blessed Chair Foundation. It was established about a month ago by Collin Raye in honor of his late granddaughter. It was named after a line in his song, "She's With Me". The foundation is intended to provide wheelchairs for children whose parents cannot afford them. The assembly was quite touching and I'll admit to shedding a tear or two. They had a couple of students talk about siblings who are in wheelchairs and what those chairs make possible for their families. One of the girls talked about was Coco. She is in my special needs seminary class and has a smile that always makes my day! So excited for the spirit of this giving that draws all the Riverton High students together. The atmosphere around the school is wonderful!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Festival of Trees

Who doesn't love fudge? I think the answer is no one. Yesterday proved to me that EVERYONE loves fudge (myself included). Salt Lake has a long tradition of holding a Festival of Trees every year to benefit Primary Children's Hospital. People spend months making quilts, wreaths, crafts, tree decorations, etc. Hundreds of trees are decorated and auctioned off to the highest bidder as are wreaths, gingerbread houses, etc. It is huge! There is a gift boutique and a sweet shoppe and concessions and it all goes to Primary Children's. For the last couple of years I have volunteered at the Festival itself. I've served in the Sweet Shoppe (courtesy of knowing an executive board member of the festival). Yesterday they assigned me to the fudge booth. I was assigned to be a cutter meaning I take people's orders and cut the fudge to their desired size and weigh it and tell them how much it will be. Others did the same job. Others packaged the fudge after it was weighed and handed it to the customers. Still others took the money (so the fudge cutters didn't contaminate their gloved hands with dirty money). They even assigned one person to be the fudge stocker (get more from the back when we ran out). When I heard this job I laughed and thought they had too many volunteers and were making up jobs. Not true. I also thought that since I was starting my shift at 9:30 am there wouldn't be a heavy demand for fudge and I'd be bored. Not true. For 4 1/2 hours I ran like crazy. I cut and weighed and smiled and even wrapped when others were too busy. People were always lined up. The fudge stocker turned out to be a full-time job as we were always running out of this flavor or that. I personally sold hundreds of pounds of fudge. You'd think that after all that fudge that I'd be sick of it but, alas, that wasn't the case. As soon as my shift was over, I was in line to buy some for me. Yum! I was so worn out that I was glad our family is going back to the Festival tonight so that I can actually see the trees.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

rich pilots?

Many people have the belief that pilots make a lot of money. Not true. It may have been true years ago. It still might be true for senior captains at major airlines. For most, though, it is an average middle class wage. Mind you, I am not complaining. We live on Kevin's wages just fine. We enjoy the comforts of life and even get to enjoy free flight benefits which I enjoy greatly. The truth of the matter is that sometimes working conditions are less than ideal. For example, Kevin can make the highest annual wage by flying "stand-ups". These are the flights that leave at night, fly to a destination, and fly back the next morning. they are generally not long flights and rules say you must have 8 hours between flights. However, that 8 hours starts from when the plane touches down to when the plane leaves the ground so it does not translate to 8 hours of sleep. You have taxiing, unloading, post-flight, trip to hotel and check-in, then you must be back to the airport in-time for a pre-flight inspection (at least an hour before take-off). This generally means 5 (maybe 6) hours of actual sleep time if you are lucky enough to get to sleep immediately. Also, pilots are only paid for the actual hours they are in the air. So, this past Monday when Kevin's flight to San Franscisco was diverted to Reno due to fog and they spent 4 hours in Reno before traveling on to San Fran, he wasn't paid for that 4 hours. Well, that's not strictly true. He was paid $1.70 per hour for his sitting time. Yep, less that a babysitter! So, he got home 4 hours later than he'd planned but he was paid $6.80 for his trouble. Still, he loves what he does and it makes him happy. So, I am happy and life is good.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

the pickle

Years ago my sister Jolyn gave me a pickle ornament along with a copy of the legend of the pickle. It has become a favored tradition around our home. The kids love searching for the pickle.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Here's a picture of my grandma whom I went to check on in Canada last weekend. My sister, who hasn't seen her in years says it looks nothing like her. I just saw her in January so it looks like what I remember.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

homemade tradition

I have a thing for homemade gifts.  To me, they are more meaningful.  So, a few years ago I started a new family tradition.  We each draw a name and have to make a homemade gift for that person.  My thinking was that it would increase love - as you spend time in service of that person you grow to love them.  You are thinking of them while making their gift.

It means a lot of work for me.  I have to make Alec's gift for him.  I usually have to help Chandler and for the last couple of years I've done Kevin's too.  Not sure this is really what I intended.

Friday, November 23, 2012

exciting news

We got such fun news this year at pie night!

Ben and Kari handed out their Christmas cards (I thought, "Wow, she is really on top of things.")  It was a photo collage with her children's photos.  Then I noticed a square that said June 2013.  Huh?  I looked closer and it was an ultrasound picture.

YEA!

Pretty excited!

This will make grandchild #30 for my parents.  I think that is amazing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

giving Kevin a laugh

Today I am thankful that I can provide comic relief/entertainment for Kevin.

Having lost my left eye contact some months ago (so wearing an old prescription) and having not been to the eye doctor in a few years and then having lost my right eye contact in Canada, I was finally forced to go have my vision checked for new contacts.  (I hate scheduling appointments and generally put them off until I am desperate!)

Kevin picked me up from my flight home from Canada and we drove straight to the eye doctor.  Now, Kevin is well aware that I have vision problems but he has never been to the eye doctor with me before.  Let's just say that my beloved husband with his 20/10 vision got a kick out of it.

It all started off with me being asked to read the eye chart (sans contacts).  I said, "I can see some black marks on that wall.  However, I do know that the top letter is an E."

Kevin laughs.

Then the eye doctor gets all excited that he can get my vision corrected to 20/30.  Yep, excited that they can get my vision to less than average.

Kevin laughs.

Then the eye doctor finds me a -12 soft lens that I can use for a few days to help me see a little bit while I wait for my new gas permeable lenses to arrive.  He hands the lens to me and says, "Good luck".

Kevin laughs some more.  He's never heard an eye doctor wish anyone luck before.

So glad I can amuse my husband.  I am even more grateful that my vision can be corrected so that I can function normally and I am thankful that my new contacts should arrive by next Monday so that I can really see!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

navigating Canada with one eye

Life for me is rarely boring.  I seem to suffer mild mishaps (generally caused by my own klutziness) that keep life interesting and, at times, a bit challenging.

This weekend I headed up to Canada to check on my grandma.  It was a quick trip involving a flight to Calgary, a long drive to Edmonton, a visit with my grandma, an overnight hotel stay, a long drive back to Calgary, and a flight home.  Pretty standard stuff.

Or should have been.

I lost my contact early Saturday morning when I was trying to get ready.  Oops!  I couldn't find it anywhere so I finally gave up and began the drive using the one eye that contained a contact.  Unfortunately for me, I'd lost that contact some months previously and had been using an old prescription which didn't really correct my vision that well.  So, there I was trying to navigate downtown Edmonton on one not-so-great eye in the dark.  

I only made 6 wrong turns including 2 complete loops but I finally made it to the highway.  What a relief!  From then on it was easy sailing. 

I'd sure hate for life to get dull.

Friday, November 16, 2012

this and that

I am off to Canada today to go check on my grandmother - not super excited.

A new study reports that alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients.  Funny!  They needed a study for that?  What does it matter anyway?  I'm pretty sure people aren't drinking it for the Omega-3's.

I hate how the media distorts stories to get readers.  I want them to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Lately there's been a big hubbub about parents and their 16-year-old son with Down syndrome who were not allowed to sit in the first class seats they'd paid for.  The headlines read that airline disallowed the first class because of the Down syndrome.  That would be enough to make my blood boil.  However, with a little more in-depth research I could find videos of the boy being unruly and a bit out-of-control in the waiting area - good reason for disallowing first class.  I can see both sides since Alec has Down syndrome and has flown many times (including once by himself) with NO problems.  However, Alec can also go into his own world and have out-of-control and extremely loud conversations with himself where he's been known to shout "don't kill him".  I am pretty sure any airline employee or passenger seeing that would have concerns. 

I used to think running was a super cheap sport - no expensive gym memberships, no referees' fees, no coaching expenses...until McKayla started running  $100 for new shoes every few months makes it a bit pricey at times especially when she needs those shoes right before Christmas.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

getting over it

I have long hated going to the dentist.  This is not an actual fear of dentists.  I never minded as a child/teen.  I think it is all related to our own particular dentist.  Kevin taught him how to fly and in exchange he gave us free dental services.  I always thought that was all they were worth - free.  He is an obnoxious, rude, opinionated, conceited, arrogant jerk(whoa, Marvelle, don't stop there...tell us how you really feel).  He has a hard time keeping assistants and office staff because he is so difficult.  On top of all that, he is painful!  Plus, his office takes 25 minutes to get to (when traffic is good).  However, I put up with it because it's hard to beat free.

In recent years, however, we have been paying him.  I've argued that if we are paying him then we should just switch.  However, Kevin has felt obligated.  They have a friendship (or something).  Our dentist even asked Kevin to perform the wedding ceremony one of the times he was married (too many to count and that one didn't last either).

I either chipped a tooth or had a cavity fall out about a month ago and just could NOT face going to our dentist even one more time.  I looked on the list of providers for our dental insurance and found one that is less than a mile from my house (I run past his office all the time).  I went this morning.

Report:  very nice guy.  friendly.  polite.  close to home.  heat and massagers in the chairs.  explains everything he is doing and why.  and, NO PAIN!

Conclusion:  New dentist for me and the kids (and Alec since he sees a specialist).  Kevin can do what he wants.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

a little more gratitude

tis the season...I'm feeling grateful!

Despite being told how many times how lucky I am, I don't think I always truly grasp what a wonder it is to have girls that get along.  McKayla and Shanley truly are not just sisters but are also close friends.  While they have had their occasional squabble, for the most part they get along well.  They have always shared clothes.  McKayla invites Shanley to do things with her and her friends.  Shanley does the same for McKayla.  They always want to room together or share a tent at youth conference or girls' camp. 

I guess it takes having lots of youth conference leaders/bishopric members/etc comment on how wonderful it is that our girls get along so well for me to really appreciate what a rare thing that is.

I am so thankful for their relationship because after all, SISTERS ARE FOREVER FRIENDS!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

a little gratitude

One of the things I am feeling grateful for today is that we get to see Brakston and Whitney quite a bit!  I really missed them for the 7 months they lived in Idaho.  When they moved to Provo they were busy with work and school and I was afraid we might not see them much.  Instead, we usually see them 2-3 times a week.  I love, love, love that!  Maybe it's due to the fact that we live between their work and their home but no matter the reason, I am just happy to be able to feed them, play games with them, visit with them, watch Brakston play soccer, etc

I had to laugh last night when McKayla, who was still wearing her running shorts, told us Michael was on his way over.  Brakston then told her, "You go get some long pants on!"  She laughed and joked about her protective big brother but she did it.  I think we all enjoy having them around.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I have a gift

I believe I have the gift of tongues.  How else could I possibly explain the fact that I often have to repeatedly ask my children to do something?  I think I am speaking plainly and clearly but, obviously, all they hear is "Mufit oudour  nineney foragy selum".  Also, it explains how I can tell my husband and children what the agenda for the week is and when the time arrives have them tell me "You never told us this".

If only they had the gift to interpret tongues.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

election

I have voted in every single election since I turned 18.  I take this responsibility seriously and try to carefully study the candidates and the issues.  I don't think I've ever felt as strongly as I did about yesterday's election.  I was actually feeling fearful about the state of our nation if Obama won a second term.

Fear realized.

So, today, I am extremely grateful for prayer.  I am grateful that prayer can ease my troubled heart.  I am grateful that I can pray for this great nation.  I am grateful that I can pray for the leaders of this nation.

Hopefully this will help me look to the future with faith not fear.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Resolution Check-Up

Resolution check-up :

Home Improvement
1) Build shutters for the windows in the front of my house - Done!
2) Paint the shutters, outside trim, and outside doors - Outside trim - done. Outside doors - done. Shutters - done. Done!
3) Plant lavender in front of the house - Done!
4) Do window treatments for family room, dining room, kitchen, Shanley's room, and the master bedroom - Still need kitchen and family room.
5) Paint/stain the back deck - Finished!
6) Paint the master bathroom - The paint is picked out but again, no money to purchase it.

Family
1) Plan a special date with Kevin once a month - did not do
2) Spend one-on-one time with each child every month (away from the home) - Did it!!

Social
1) Have 2 game parties for adults this year - one so far this year
 2) Host 2 special FHEs with other families this year - one so far this year

Physical
1) Lose 20 pounds - Gained - dang cruise! And it's not just the weight on the cruise. I came home and believed I could keep eating like that - yikes! I've got to get on the ball.
2) Climb Mount Timpanogos - DID IT!
3) Run a marathon and a half marathon - done

Mental
 1) Make sure 1/3 of what I read is uplifting (spiritual, classical, best-book type stuff) - have done this 2) Write a book - Wrote more this month but not sure how many words.

Spiritual
1) Spend 1 day a month in the temple - Did it!
2) Go to 3 new temples - no new progress (still 2 of the 3)
 3) Read the New Era and the Ensign every month - did this.
4) At the end of every day, record the hand of God in my life for that day - Did

Overall - I believe I can finish but I'm going to have to step it up in some areas!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

McKayla is 17!

It truly doesn't seem possible.  I guess time really does fly when you're having fun!

What a joy the last 17 years have been!  Let's celebrate with a trip down memory lane:

McKayla attended pre-school at Montessori.  She loved to learn and worked so hard!  Montessori was a work and learn at your own pace school.  Her teachers said they couldn't teach her fast enough.  She'd finish one lesson and come begging for more.  Thus started a good academic career ending with a current 4.0 on the quarter that ends today!  Teachers have always loved her for her work ethic, her quiet respect, her kindness to her fellow students, and her dependability.  I love attending her parent teacher conferences.

She was so shy as a youngster  She wouldn't even look at her dance teacher.  Adults in the neighborhood joked about how incredibly shy she was.  She certainly isn't shy today.  She is outgoing, talkative, self-possessed and confident.

She began dance class about age 3 but soon moved on to gymnastics.  She was especially good at the beam and floor exercises.  She advanced very quickly through the various gymnastics levels but one day came home and announced she wanted to play soccer instead.  Immediately she excelled in that as well and was soon playing on the highest level of competition team.  She loved soccer!   One  summer she tried the local track club and found she was a good runner.  She won every distance race she entered that summer.  Another summer she did a triathlon and won that!  When she got in high school she did cross-country and track.  Immediately, she was Riverton's top runner.  Even taking the school record in the 1600m and 3200m (she has plans to get the record in the 800m and the cross-country).

She always looks nice.  She is good at doing her hair and at putting outfits together.  She generally has her nails painted.  I always joked that she was the most girlish tomboy I knew!

She has loved dolphins for as long as I can remember.  A couple weeks ago she finally got her dream of swimming with one.  It was definitely a highlight for her (and for me watching her joy at doing it).

She can be stubborn.  She hates to call adults on the phone and will beg me to do it for her.  She is sometimes too concerned with what others think of her.

And that about sums her up - paragraphs of great things, a sentence or two of negative - practically perfect!

I love you, Miss McKayla!  Happy, happy birthday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

no game shows for us!

Yesterday I was rushing to go teach seminary (I got called at last minute) so I asked Kevin to make me a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich to take for my lunch.

I made it to the seminary on time and taught a few classes and then sat down to enjoy my sandwich.  I was hungry and was really looking forward to that Nutella (it's all Whitney's fault - she got me addicted).  I took one bite and almost spit it out.  It was PB&J.  Ugh!

Being the patient, loving wife that I am (okay, just that I WISH that I were), I called Kevin to sweetly ask him why chew him out (no pun intended).  Why, oh why, would he make me PB&J when I HATE that?

His reply?

He didn't know I hated them.  Nearly 25 years of marriage and I have NEVER, not even once, eaten a PB&J sandwich and he has no clue!  Probably hasn't even noticed that Alec is our only child who likes PB&J (probably because their demented mother ruined their lives by never making them a PB&J sandwich.  Shouldn't that be a normal childhood staple? It's probably in a parenting handbook somewhere.).

And that, my friends, is why Kevin and I are never going on the Newlywed Show (that and the fact that after 25 years and 5 kids and 1 DIL we no longer count as newlyweds.)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

what do you get?

What do you get when you cross a goat, a chicken, eggs, Halie, and McKayla? A great big laugh!

Several weeks ago they asked dates to Girls' Pref.  They put a chicken and a bunch of eggs in a box on the porch, tied the goat to the porch, left a sign that said, "don't be chicken, say you'll "goat" to Pref with me, rang the bell and ran.

First, Sage (Halie's date).  He came out and laughed and grabbed his family.  They all got a good laugh and went back inside.  Halie and McKayla attempted to retrieve the goat and chickens but had to untie 7 knots to get the goat free (they were so afraid of it getting loose) that they ended up getting caught.  Sage told them that Joe's house (McKayla's date) was hard to find so he'd go with them.

So, Sage is in the back seat of our car holding the goat and getting very strange looks from passing cars.  Then the goat starts burping and McKayla said the car stunk so BAD!

They repeat everything at Joe's.  Only he runs back inside and grabs and knife and fork and comes back out and yells "Dinner!"  Halie shrieks, "not my chicken" so they are caught again.

On the way home the goat actually poops in the car.  Ugh!  Luckily, it was pellets so not too nasty to clean up.

McKayla couldn't stop laughing when telling us about her adventure.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cruisin'

We had a fantastic time on our cruise to the Bahamas!  We are relaxed, well-rested, and completely overfed!  We even got a touch of sun!  We are still in Atlanta so we haven't even had to go home to the cold temps yet.  Whitney sent us a picture of snow back home - can I say that we are less than thrilled to go back to that today after enjoy temps in the 80's?

Highlights of our trip:
  • snorkeling in Nassau
  • comedy shows (the clean, family ones)
  • the 80's show (yes, Kevin & I are from the 80's)
  • miniature golfing onboard
  • magic shows onboard
  • our waiter - Colin (from the Caribbean)
  • souvenir shopping (the kids had fun getting gifts for their friends)
  • ice cream
  • chocolate melting cake every night for dessert
  • for me - reading
  • playing Bananagrams
  • BEING TOGETHER AS A FAMILY!!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

truly Christlike

Every Mormon knows all about church ball. Heck, there's even been a movie made about it. It's the subject of jokes and the stuff of legends. It's rough. It's vicious. It's foul (no pun intended).

 I think it's the exact opposite of Special Olympics basketball.

I had the privilege of watching Alec play this past weekend. What a joy and what an example. One of his teammates, Jason, had an open shot. However, unselfishly, he tried to pass the ball to a teammate who hadn't even touched the ball yet. He missed and hit an opponent in the head with the ball (don't worry. it wasn't thrown hard). The other team came up with the ball and headed down court to try to score. Was Jason concerned about the turnover? Heck, no! He was apologizing for having hit the other player. He insisted he didn't mean to.

Where else but Special Olympics could you see players all gathered around a teammate who is upset about missing a shot? Again, they aren't concerned about the other team shooting the basket uncontested. They are worried about their teammate's feelings and are reassuring her that she is doing a great job.

There are so few fouls in Special Olympics. They don't want to hurt anyone.  If anyone does get hurt, play automatically stops because everyone from both teams is checking on the injury and trying to help.

 These athletes are the best examples of Christlike behavior you'll ever see.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

instant religion

I was reading an article in the newspaper this morning about how ministers/pastors/evangelical leaders are cutting services shorter to encourage people to attend church services. One leader holds church services for 30 minutes. Nothing says I love God like "let's-get-this-religion-thing-over-and-done-with-so-we-can-get-on-with-our-lives". I guess I shouldn't be surprised. In this world of extreme busyness, instant gratification, high-speed internet, etc I guess that high-speed church fits right in. I do wonder what's next...drive thru baptisms? phone-in confessions? maybe we could just tweet a mini-sermon and count that as our religious services? Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to poke fun at any particular religious group - just our hurry-up culture as a whole.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

catch-up

Chandler has been off-track for almost 2 weeks.  It has flown by.  We've gone to the city library, Trafalga Fun Center, worked on the merit badges for Sports and Citizenship in the Community, taken a hike, gone to Discovery Gateway Museum, and played in the dancing waters at Gateway. 

In addition, I've cooked for the teachers at the middle school twice, baked 10 loaves of sweet breads (cinnamon, banana, pumpkin, poppyseed, and zucchini) for the teachers at the high school, taught 2 days (a 3rd tomorrow), and worked on Shanley's room.

Life is great!  (and busy)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

blogging woes

I have hardly had any time to blog lately and when I do I just seem to experience problems.  I'm not computer-expert enough to know what the problem is - just that I can't load pictures and when I try I get kicked completely out.  Frustrating!

So, quick recap:

Chandler is off-track so we're trying to have fun playing.
Kevin has already been snowed in on a flight (Fargo, ND).
McKayla had a great time at Homecoming.
I fed the teachers at the middle school on Weds. and Thurs.
McKayla's cross-country team qualified for State.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Special Olympics Basketball

Alec started basketball last Saturday. His team played 3 games and badly lost all three. They didn't have a clue what they were doing and scored about 14 points total. The good news is that Alec scored 8 in the final game so he was very happy!

 Here is Alec with a few of his teammates.
I don't know the boy but the girls are Sierra Wigren (2) and Celeste Clark (14). They both attended Herriman High and are a year behind him in school. Alec met Sierra last year at Special Needs Mutual. There was a dance where the 2 of them were inseparable. After that, Sierra would call him (on my phone) and would ask me to tell him that "his girlfriend" called. Alec has known Celeste for years. Last year when she was voted Homecoming Queen, Celeste's mom asked if Alec would accompany her to the dance. He loved it!

 Funny story now: Celeste's mom told me that now that all three are in the same class, the two girls kind of "fight" over Alec. She told me that Alec is really good to give both of them attention. Yep, he's a ladies' man!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Resolution check-up

Home Improvement
 1) Build shutters for the windows in the front of my house - I'm done. Bought, cut, and painted. Even bought the stuff for Kevin to hang them. They are just awaiting the hang job. Maybe if Kevin were ever home.
2) Paint the shutters, outside trim, and outside doors - Outside trim - done. Outside doors - done. Shutters - done.
3) Plant lavender in front of the house - Done.
4) Do window treatments for family room, dining room, kitchen, Shanley's room, and the master bedroom - I bought new curtains for Shanley's room. So, I've done the family room, Shanley's room, and the master bedroom.
5) Paint/stain the back deck - Finished!
6) Paint the master bathroom - The paint is picked out but again, no money to purchase it.

 Family
1) Plan a special date with Kevin once a month - did not do
2) Spend one-on-one time with each child every month (away from the home) - Did it!!

 Social
1) Have 2 game parties for adults this year - one so far this year
 2) Host 2 special FHEs with other families this year - one so far this year

Physical
 1) Lose 20 pounds - After gaining in August, I held steady in September. Ugh.
2) Climb Mount Timpanogos - DID IT!
3) Run a marathon and a half marathon - done

 Mental
 1) Make sure 1/3 of what I read is uplifting (spiritual, classical, best-book type stuff) - have done this
2) Write a book - No real progress

Spiritual
1) Spend 1 day a month in the temple - Did it!
2) Go to 3 new temples - no new progress (still 2 of the 3)
 3) Read the New Era and the Ensign every month - did the New Era but only part of the Ensign.
 4) At the end of every day, record the hand of God in my life for that day - Did

Overall - Progress in some areas and not in others. Life seems so frantically busy.

Friday, September 28, 2012

not a HATER

I love trying new recipes so Pinterest has been heaven for me! Not so much for my kids. They would prefer if I only made their old favorites. They aren't big on trying new things. The worst is Chandler. Anymore it seems like his first question is "Did this come from Pinterest?" He says it with all the disdain his 11-year-old self can muster. I've tried explaining Pinterest to him and that it's not recipes just a place for me to collect and organize them but he still declares that he "hates Pinterest".

Well, I may have to remind him of this recipe next time he says that:
Ice Cream Sandwich Cake - yum! We were supposed to have the missionaries for dinner on Sunday (they never showed) so I made this for dessert. The missionaries don't know what they missed. The recipe is here. I made it with Snickers but we all decided we'd prefer Heath bars or maybe Butterfingers.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm official

I claim to be from Utah. I also claim I love to hike. However, until Monday I had not done Utah's most popular hike - Mount Timpanogos. I was starting to feel like a fraud. That's all remedied now. I've done it.

 I left my house at 4:20 am and drove to the trailhead by Aspen Grove. Arrived about 5:20 to realize that I had forgotten my headlamp. Dang! Anyone who knows me also knows I am not the most patient person. Sitting around waiting for it to get light was not really an option so I just began the hike in the dark. I was really watched over as evidenced by the fact that I didn't twist my ankle on any loose rocks, slide off the side of the mountain, or take a wrong turn. Still, I was so glad to see this beautiful sunrise!

The colors were spectacular! I love FALL! It is my favorite season and this kind of beauty is part of the reason.



About 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up heavy clouds rolled in. I could see the trail but had absolutely no view from the top of the mountain.

It had been too dark on the way up for me to actually see the waterfalls (I could just hear them) but I enjoyed them on the way down. I adore waterfalls! Here's the upper falls.

You can see both falls in this pic.

Here's the lower falls. I had originally thought I'd sit by the falls to relax and enjoy a very late lunch. However, by the time I got there I was afraid if I quit moving I might never get going again. The hike was wonderful but a bit more challenging than I expected. I was pretty tired. I ended up pausing at the falls only long enough to snap a few pictures and then I kept pushing until I got back to the car. I ate my sandwich in the car on the drive back home.

I'm pretty sure I can call myself a Utah hiker now. Officially.

Monday, September 24, 2012

wrong place at the wrong time

Alec got a good scare this past week.

He has been sleeping in a tent in our backyard for the past couple of weeks.  Well, Wednesday night the police were chasing a drunk/disorderly guy who ran through backyards in my neighborhood about midnight/1 am.  There were about 9 police cruisers surrounding my block all with lights flashing. 

Alec wandered out of the backyard to check out the commotion and immediately the cops directly in front of our house starting yelling at him, "Who are you?  What are you doing?"  It freaked Alec out a bit.  Luckily, a neighbor was outside and he hollered out that Alec lives here.  The cops told Alec to go inside the house.  He came down and woke Kevin and I up.  Kevin went to check it all out.  The police told him not to let Alec sleep outside that night.  Kevin collapsed the tent so that the drunk guy wouldn't be able to hide in it.

Luckily, they did catch the guy.

Lots of excitement for our really quiet, peaceful neighborhood.  Alec is back to sleeping in the tent and all is well with the world again (or at least our corner of the world).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

the week of "the dress"

I think my daughters and I spent a good deal of our free time this past week hunting for a Homecoming dress. I am happy to report SUCCESS!!!

 Monday night we went to one of my friend's home and tried on the dresses her daughters had worn. McKayla found one she wants to wear for Sweetheart's and one she might wear for a future Prom. She brought one home for Homecoming just in case but it was long and she wanted a short dress. So, Tuesday night I took Shanley to a dress rental shop (McKayla doesn't finish cross-country in time to go during the week). Shanley was a good sport and tried on lots of dresses and we took pictures to show McKayla. The following pictures were our favorite dresses but we would have had to rent a bolero for any of the dresses and the saleslady was grouchy and we weren't overly impressed.
So, Wednesday night McKayla went to another dress rental shop and found her perfect dress! She is so excited! It is short and blue and she loves it. (I'm not posting pictures until the actual dance). Whew...it's always a relief to find "the dress".

Saturday, September 22, 2012

he knows the way

Alec just might be pure genius!

 He has been begging me all week to make black and white cookies. I have been crazy busy so I haven't really had time nor have I really had the desire to do so. Then Thursday night at Special Needs Mutual he said the closing prayer in his class. His friend told me that Alec prayed that I would make him black and white cookies.

What do you think I did today?

You guessed it! I made him the cookies. It's pretty hard not to do something when he prays for me to do it. Shanley now wants to know if it would work if she prayed I'd buy her a cell phone. Um....no.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

going backwards

I think I might be regressing.

 I seem to have discovered a new love for all things peanut butter.

What is that all about? Are my taste buds now those of a 5-year-old? It used to be I'd go for the Almond Joy. Now, I'd prefer the Reese's. Forget caramel corn - now it's a peanut butter/honey topping I prefer. Yesterday I made some cinnamon rolls for my daughter and her friends. I saved out some of the dough and made peanut butter cinnamon rolls for me - couldn't even get the teens to try them. But, seriously, those peanut butter rolls topped with a frosting of peanut butter, milk, and powdered sugar were to die for!

Maybe this is just taking "become as a little child" to a whole new level!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

all alone

I think the only thing I enjoy more than a "getaway" is a day home alone with nothing on the schedule! Isn't that every mother's dream? A day to do whatever she wants. A day to catch up on projects. A day to watch a chick flick or eat ice cream for lunch or whatever. I had that day yesterday and I may or may not have done some of the following: took a nap, ate Cafe Rio, cleaned house, went shopping, watched "Leverage", ate some Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses... You'll never know because I was HOME ALONE and I'm not telling.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

oh, crap!

What else could you possible say when your daughter tells you she dropped her cell phone in the port-a-potty?

Yuk.  Gross.  Disgusting.

She did fish it out and then slathered her hands with hand sanitizer multiple times but still....

It's a good thing she has the ability to laugh at herself because her male cross-country teammates are really giving her a hard time.  They go to give her a "high-five" and then pull their hand back saying gross.  Or, they ask her to text them and say Oh, wait, you don't have a phone.  Or, at today's meet they waited outside the port-a-potty so when she came out they could ask her if she dropped anything. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

obsessed?

Alec has a pretty massive Riverton High shirt collection.  You know how every sport and organization has their own t-shirt?  Well, I think Alec has one of each.  He is such a huge fan that I think every sport gives him their shirt.  He's got a dozen football, several basketball, soccer, track,and Superfan shirts.  I think he can dress in an RHS shirt every day of the week for at least 3-4 weeks without duplicating once.  His wardrobe is almost entirely purple and black.

Does that stop him from wanting more?  No way!  Now WalMart and Walgreens and Petersons (local grocery store) all sell various versions of RHS shirts/hoodies/pj pants.  It never fails that Alec wants to buy one EVERY SINGLE TIME we enter one of those stores.  And he has on more than one occasion.  It doesn't even matter that he graduated more than a year ago.

To top it all off, last night he came home from the football game with a new RHS football shirt.  At this rate he'll be able to go 3-4 weeks without duplicating a football shirt.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

mysteries

I've got a few questions that are puzzling me.

1) I've received another call to substitute for Institute.  That's 2 in 5 workdays.  This is my 7th year substituting.  Why, all of a sudden, am I being called to teach Institute?  Is there a probationary seminary substituting period that when you've passed you "graduate" to Institute?  Is it just random?

2) School has only been in session for 11 days and I've been asked to teach NINE times (sometimes there was multiple calls for one day).  It is rare to have so many calls this early in the school year.  What is going on???

3) Why is McKayla running slower this year?  She quit soccer.  She is working harder than ever.  In fact, many of the guys on the team have commented to me about her work ethic.  However, her best time this year is still a minute slower than last year's best.  She is stressing a bit about it and I think her coaches are too.  What is going on?

4) How is it possible for my family to go through more than a dozen bananas in just 24 hours?  They are a great recovery food after McKayla's training but I can't keep them in the house.  Must I hide the bananas along with my secret chocolate stash?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

our version of the PCC

A few months ago our stake was joined by a Samoan branch. My first interaction with any of them was a Stake High Priest dinner a few weeks ago. The food they brought for the potluck was amazing! Yum!

 Last night we had another stake activity and were once again blessed by the yummy food of these Samoan people. (I think all stake activities should be potluck from now on.)

We also got to enjoy a show put on by the Samoan branch members. They did dance numbers from Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tonga, and Samoa. It really did resemble the Polynesian Cultural Center complete with a fire dance. We really enjoyed it!

They performed the Haka which Alec is a HUGE fan of (performing his version of it regularly at sporting events). I picked out a guy whom I'd like to hire to really teach Alec the Haka. When I told McKayla she picked out the same guy. He stuck out because he smiled so much and just looked like he was having a blast the entire time! What power a smile has!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Institute

My new experience for the week was teaching my first Institute class. This is the start of my seventh year subbing seminary but I've never done an Institute class before. I was a bit nervous (students there might actually know more than me - heehee) but I seriously loved it! It was awesome! It's kind of nice having students who aren't afraid to comment, share experiences, and have an opinion! Maybe it just seemed so dramatic a change because I had subbed seminary just 2 days earlier at a middle school - classes of 9th graders who were just one week into their seminary experience (and still scared our of their minds). The 9th graders wouldn't make a comment to save their lives. They wouldn't even volunteer to read a scripture verse out loud. They'll learn.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Resolution Check-Up

I am a bit behind on posting the check-up this month. Home Improvement
 1) Build shutters for the windows in the front of my house - Almost done. The wood is cut and almost completely painted.
2) Paint the shutters, outside trim, and outside doors - Outside trim - done. Outside doors - done. Shutters - almost done.
3) Plant lavender in front of the house - Done.
4) Do window treatments for family room, dining room, kitchen, Shanley's room, and the master bedroom - No progress.
5) Paint/stain the back deck - Finished!
6) Paint the master bathroom - The paint is picked out but again, no money to purchase it.

 Family
1) Plan a special date with Kevin once a month - did!
2) Spend one-on-one time with each child every month (away from the home) - I missed Chandler in August.

 Social
1) Have 2 game parties for adults this year - one so far this year
 2) Host 2 special FHEs with other families this year - one so far this year

Physical
 1) Lose 20 pounds - Horrid. Horrid. Horrid. I gained in August.
2) Climb Mount Timpanogos - need to do immediately
3) Run a marathon and a half marathon - done

 Mental
 1) Make sure 1/3 of what I read is uplifting (spiritual, classical, best-book type stuff) - have done this
2) Write a book - Again, I have done some research this month but haven't written anything.

Spiritual
1) Spend 1 day a month in the temple - Did it!
2) Go to 3 new temples - no new progress (still 2 of the 3)
 3) Read the New Era and the Ensign every month - did not do.
 4) At the end of every day, record the hand of God in my life for that day - Did

Overall - I was happy to get the outside paint mostly done. Overall, August was crazy busy. I spent one week at girl's camp, one week at BYU Education Week, and another 4 days doing meals for the teachers. That about wiped out most of the month.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

birthday girl

Dearest Shanley, I can hardly believe you are 15! You have really matured over the past several months. I love how close you and McKayla are as sisters! It makes me happy to see you enjoy each other's company, tell each other secrets, and have so much fun together. You are so funny and keep me laughing a great deal of the time. You are generally a happy person with an easy-going nature. You don't stress about things but are content to let things flow. You have always been and continue to be a very sharing, giving person. You are not selfish at all. You are beautiful inside and out and I'm proud to call you my daughter! love, Mom

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homecoming Invite

McKayla was invited to Homecoming last Friday night. Anymore it seems to be all about the creative invite and this one was certainly unique. Five guys (Clay Lambourne, Brady Early, Josh Figgins, Brandon Walker, and Andrew Dutton) all dressed in garbage bags tied over their heads had clues stuck to them. They were waiting in the house and when McKayla came in they started blasting PacMan music and running all over the house and yard. McKayla was supposed to tag them and then retrieve their clues.

 It was pretty hilarious to watch. It took her a little bit to catch them all since they are all on the cross-country team so are good runners. The only thing I can say is it's good their vision was obscured by the bags or she might never have caught them all.
In the end she put all the clues together to discover that Michael Bluth was asking her (no surprise there).
Now to just come up with a clever response.

Friday, August 31, 2012

delighted

Last night I got to meet the "friends" who will be in my SNM (Special Needs Mutual) class.  I am so very EXCITED!!!  They are so wonderful!  I have a class of girls who love to talk and who smile constantly.  They are bubbly and energetic and happy and they make me feel that was as well.  It is going to be such a great year!

Next week we all get to meet the "members" in our class.  SNM designates "members" as those with the disabilities and "friends" as those who are called for 9 months to help them.  We gave each "friend" a picture of her member with basic info such as name and birth month and day but that is just about all we know about them.  None of the "members" in my class were in my class last year so they are all new to me too.  It will be fun getting to know them.

The SNM is such a wonderful program.  It is great for those with disabilities but the real blessings come to those who serve them.  These "friends" lives will be changed.  They will feel the Spirit so strongly.  They will know true love.  They will leave this calling with a greater love and appreciation for those with disabilities.  They will see these "members" with new eyes.  And I get to be a part of it all!

THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME CALLING EVER!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

soccer must-haves

I like to travel light (must be ingrained in me since I usually fly standby so I only take what I can fit in my carry-on).  I even apply traveling light to soccer games.  I generally leave my purse in the car.  Years (and years) of soccer games have taught me I only NEED a couple of things - water, chapstick, cell phone, car keys and a chair.

What are your must-haves?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Education Week thoughts/quotes

I take in so much info at BYU's Education Week that it takes me a while to get back through it all and process it.  In the meantime, here's a couple of quotes I loved.

  • "Our identity determines our destiny." - Elder Tad A. Callister
  • "There are no ordinary people."  - C.S. Lewis
  • "It's not fair to judge yesterday's mistakes with today's knowledge." - Hank Smith
  • "Any excuse, regardless of how valid, weakens our character."  - Pres. Spencer W. Kimball
  • "Regardless of your original intention, you will eventually become what you surround yourself with."  - Dallyn Bayles
  • "You came here to change the world, not to let it change you."  - John Bytheway

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1st Day of School

Craig Alec Morgan (aka Alec)
Age: 19 years 8 months
Grade: 2nd year after high school
 Favorite color: purple
Favorite candy: Reese's
Favorite food: bagels
Favorite class: I don't know
 Favorite movie: The Empire Strikes Back
 Favorite song: The Spirit of God
 Favorite thing this summer: the waterslides at Seven Peaks Waterpark
Best Friends: McKayla, Skyler, Sierra Wigren
 Height: 5'4"
Weight: 158 lbs
McKayla Morgan (aka Mickey)
Age: 16 years 10 months
Grade: junior
Favorite color: salmon or blue
Favorite food: orange chicken
Favorite candy: coconut M&Ms or Twix
Favorite restaurant: Panda Express
Favorite subject: seminary
Favorite TV show: Toddlers and Tiaras
Favorite movie: idk
Favorite book: The Hunger Games
What I want to be: nurse or special education teacher
Best friends: Halie Woolley, Michael Bluth, Jordan Woolley, Tanner McQuivey, Shanley Morgan, Matthew Crump, and Jake Cole
 Favorite Song: I Want You Back or We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together or Call Me Maybe
 Favorite Musician: Parachute or He is We
Favorite Actor/Actress: idk
Favorite summer activity: YOLOing (you only live once)
Favorite hobby: running
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 135 lbs
Shanley Marie Morgan
Age: 1 week short of 15 years
Grade: Freshman
Favorite color: teal
Favorite food: orange chicken
Favorite candy: Skittles
Favorite restaurant: Chuck-O-Rama
Favorite subject: Foods/Cooking
 Favorite TV show: Good Luck Charlie
Favorite movie: The Hunger Games
Favorite book: The Hunger Games
What I want to be: dentist
Best Friends: McKayla, Brookelyn Ludlow, Jake Cole
Favorite song: We are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together
Favorite Musician: Jason Aldean
Favorite actor/actress: Taylor Lautner
Favorite summer activity: swimming
 Favorite hobby: dance
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 140 lbs

Monday, August 27, 2012

blessings

Yesterday Kevin gave the kids and I our annual "back-to-school" blessings.  I really enjoy that day.  It is so interesting the different messages God has for each child.  By listening carefully, I get more of a sense of who my children really are and how God sees them.  I try to record as much of the blessing as possible so I can give each child a typed copy of the gist of the blessing.  I have hopes that this will aid them during the school year. Brakston even came yesterday to get his and while they were here, Brakston gave one to Whitney.  I always get one too.  This year I'm trying not to be alarmed by the fact that my blessing said there is "much for me to do".  Guess it was no use hoping I'd be blessed with a calm, quiet, "kick-back-and-relax" year.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ed Week fall-out

One of the things that I vowed to do better at after Education Week at BYU was to spend more time really pondering the scriptures.  I read but don't always STUDY! 

So, yesterday I happened to be reading/studying/pondering when Chandler was in the room.  He noticed my "dazed/confused/staring into nowhere" eyes and said, "Mom, what are you doing?"  When I explained that I was thinking about the scriptures, he mumbled a non-committal "mmm-hmm."

About 5-minutes later, apparently fed up with my just sitting there, Chandler asked "Seriously, mom, WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?"

I guessed I freaked the poor guy out.  I spent the remainder of the time I had allotted for pondering trying to convince the poor kid that his mom had not lost it.  (Not completely anyway)

Friday, August 24, 2012

feeding the masses

I fed 70 teachers at the middle school yesterday.  That was the culmination of basically 3 days of shopping, chopping, baking, cooking, prepping, etc.  I'd feel like "job well done" except I am too irritated.

One of the teachers is a vegan.  I didn't know this the first time I fed them and, boy, did I hear about it.  So, the next time I served lasagna.  I bought pans of frozen meat lasagna from Costco but handmade a vegetarian lasagna for that one teacher.  Only, she wasn't happy because it turns out she is vegan not just vegetarian so she stays away from ALL animal products so she doesn't do cheese either.  I have cooked for them several more times with no success in pleasing this teacher.

This time I thought I had it made.  I did Hawaiian haystacks.  Granted, I served a creamy chicken topping but I also had a Hawaiian sweet and sour sauce (with no animal products) for the one teacher and there were plenty of fruits and veggies to top her haystack with.  NOPE!  She didn't say anything to me but made a comment to one of the other women who helped serve that she'd like us to consider her.

I wonder when Christ fed the 5000 if there was someone in the crowd who complained they couldn't eat the fish because they were vegetarian or someone who complained they couldn't eat the bread because they were gluten-intolerant.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not comparing myself to Christ.  If I were more Christlike, I probably wouldn't be considering telling this teacher to bring her own lunch next time!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

tis the Season

No, I'm not talking about a countdown to Christmas.  I've been too busy with weddings to even think about THAT season.  We have had 7 wedding receptions in the past 8 days - no joke.  I guess that is what occurs when one not only has the normal "ward member weddings" to attend but also has a son old enough to have friends marrying. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

RSL

We had such a great time at the Real Salt Lake soccer game last night!  The kids (including Brakston and Whitney) and I met up with Jolyn's family and 4 of McKayla's friends to enjoy some good soccer. 

Real dominated and had lots of shots on goal although it took until the second half for them to finally put one in the net.  RSL won 2-0. 

Alec made it on the Jumbotron - he is always an enthusiastic fan.

I caught the game ball when it came flying into the crowd.  I smartly handed it to Brakston to throw back down so I wouldn't embarrass myself by beaning some poor soul in the back of the head while attempting to throw it back myself.

I still have the RSL fight song/anthem(?) going through my head.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Girls' Camp Highlights

I absolutely love girls' camp!  It is one of my most favorite things and sharing it with my daughters was wonderful!

We went to Heber Valley Camp which is really NOT camping but I still loved every minute.  I say it's not camping because there is cabins with bunks, a fridge, a pantry, showers, an ice machine, and a sink.  Not really roughing it.

We did the normal camp stuff - crafts, secret sisters, meals, hikes, service projects, etc.  We also got to do the challenge course which had several stations (the one I ran was a blind tag) and go out on the lake on canoes/pedal boats.  The camp had an abundance of deer and fawns which were a delight to see and watch.  I could not believe how close the deer let me get.  I also saw a moose.

My favorite camp moment:
I had just finished the high ropes course, which included a climb up a tall pole, a walk across the cable, and a ride down the zipline, when some of the girls from my ward came to take their turn.  One of the girls said she wasn't going to do it because it was too scary.  I asked her if she would please at least put on the harness and climb a few feet off the ground.  She agreed to do that much.  I talked to her a bit about my experience.  Then, when I was harnessing her up she said, "I'm going to go ahead and climb to the top."  I told her that was awesome and that she wouldn't even have to climb back down.  I explained that with the belay rope they could just lower her down whenever she wanted.  We talked a bit more and then she said, "I'm going to try to walk across the cable."  Again I told her how great I thought that was.  After telling her a bit more of my experience she said, "I'm going to do the whole thing!"  And she did.  Later, I talked to her about it and told her how proud I was of her.  I asked her if she'd learned anything and she said, "I learned I can do hard things."  I thought that was wonderful!  I want every young woman to learn that!

Monday, August 20, 2012

lack of blogging

What a crazy past 2 weeks!  I spent Monday through Friday at Girls' Camp and came home to 14 houseguests (Kevin's family).  We spent a great weekend together and said goodbye to the last of our company on Monday morning.  We spent Monday at Seven Peaks Waterpark and then I spent Tuesday through Friday at BYU Education Week.  I spent Saturday at Chandler's soccer game in Layton and then Alec's Kingdom Ball in Kamas.  Sunday was filled with church and appointments with the Bishop and Stake President to get my temple recommend renewed.

The upshot:
  • I've had lots of fun - I spent 2 weeks playing
  • I'm behind on everything (blogging, sleep,  housecleaning, sleep, grocery shopping, sleep,  etc)
  • I put hundreds of miles on our cars (and spent a fortune on gas)

It's probably time to get back to reality.


Monday, August 6, 2012

girls' camp

The girls and I are headed to Heber Valley Camp today for girls' camp.  It should be lots of fun!  It's the first time I'm going when I'm not in the YW Presidency or the camp director.  How relaxing is that?  My only responsibilities (at least thus far) are to help with the challenge course and to help the girls rehearse the skit.  I think I can handle that.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

fun with food

We celebrated National Watermelon Day on Friday by enjoying Watermelon Lime Slushies.  I made them by freezing chunks of watermelon. and some pieces of banana.  I blended the frozen watermelon and a bit of frozen bananas with a little sugar, some lime juice, and some lime zest.  Yum!  Wonderfully refreshing on a hot summer day (AND EVERY ONE of my kids liked it! - Woohoo!)

Also on Friday, I stopped by the London Market and picked up some English food.  My family enjoying sampling some while watching the Olympics (got us into the spirit of things).  We tried Cornish Pasties, Sausage Rolls, Cheese Scones, Shortbread, and a couple candy bars (can't beat European chocolate).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

books I read in July

Here's a list of books I read in July.  I ** the ones I highly recommend.

"Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell

"Prologue:  The Brothers" by Chris Stewart

**"What the Scriptures Teach Us About Adversity"  by S. Michael Wilcox

**"Sunset:  On the Passing of Those We Love"  by S. Michael Wilcox

"Natural Causes"  by Michael Palmer

"Aftertaste:  A Novel in Five Courses"  by Meredith Mileti

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams

**"The Rose Garden" by Susanna Kearsley

"Sister"  by Rosamond Lupton

"Death and Transfiguration" by Gerald Elias

**"The Language of Flowers"  by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Friday, August 3, 2012

Resolution Check-Up

Home Improvement
 1) Build shutters for the windows in the front of my house - No progress.
2) Paint the shutters, outside trim, and outside doors - Truthfully, I spent my entire home improvement budget on paint for the kids' rooms.  McKayla decided she wanted to paint her room (2 colors, no less).  Shanley decided that meant she should do hers (also 2 colors).  Of course, Alec wanted in on all the fun so I bought another gallon of paint and McKayla painted one of his walls.  The bedrooms all look great but after all that paint I have no more money to do my projects!
3) Plant lavender in front of the house - Done.
4) Do window treatments for family room, dining room, kitchen, Shanley's room, and the master bedroom - I had finished Shanley's window treatments and was ready to hang them when she repainted.  Now it doesn't match.  Ugh!  At least I hadn't spent a lot.
5) Paint/stain the back deck - Finished!
6) Paint the master bathroom - The paint is picked out but again, no money to purchase it.

 Family
1) Plan a special date with Kevin once a month - did!
2) Spend one-on-one time with each child every month (away from the home) - I think I only got Alec and Shanley.

 Social
1) Have 2 game parties for adults this year - one so far this year
 2) Host 2 special FHEs with other families this year - one so far this year

Physical
 1) Lose 20 pounds - I lost nothing this month. The year-to-date total is 14 pounds.
2) Climb Mount Timpanogos - summer
3) Run a marathon and a half marathon - I am checking this one off. The marathon is over and I didn't finish but I'm not doing another one so I'm finished.

 Mental
 1) Make sure 1/3 of what I read is uplifting (spiritual, classical, best-book type stuff) - have done this
2) Write a book - Have done some research this month but haven't written anything.

Spiritual
1) Spend 1 day a month in the temple - Did it!
2) Go to 3 new temples - no new progress (still 2 of the 3)
 3) Read the New Era and the Ensign every month - done in July
 4) At the end of every day, record the hand of God in my life for that day - Did

Overall - Still progressing.  Feeling good this month because I completed my denim quilt, sewed lots of projects, held family reunion, hosted a baby shower, went on a campout/soccer tournament, and did several hours of CPE.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

sewing machine workout

I've been giving my sewing machine some exercise lately including a "run-it-into-the-ground" workout last Saturday.

 For quite a while I've been working on a massive denim quilt. Saturday I set about finishing it. That task included making my own quilt binding and getting it sewn on.
Also on Saturday I sewed a skirt for my niece (shh... it's a Christmas present).
One more Saturday project included this fabric-lined burlap tote bag. I was super happy with my oh-so-productive day!

This week I've tapered off the sewing machine use but have still managed to keep it from going rusty. I've sewn another tote bag just like the earlier one. I've also sewn several headbands (samples shown here). They are even reversible so it's like a great 2-for-1 deal! My girls kept some and are planning on giving some as part of their secret sister gifts at YW Camp next week.
Of course, Pinterest is to blame for most of these projects - quilt binding, tote bag, skirt, and headbands. Only the quilt itself was not Pinterest-inspired.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

good Samaritan

You try to be helpful and look what happens.

Yesterday I dropped my daughter off at the high school to leave for high-altitude cross-country camp.  The runners were supposed to arrange their own rides and tents.  McKayla had done so.  Oops!  Others hadn't.  There were lots of runners at the high school who had no ride up to the camp.  So, loving teenagers like I do, I was actually very happy to volunteer to drive a car full of boys up to the campground. 

All was well until the drive back down the canyon.  The car did a funny lurch a couple of times.  Weird.  I noticed the dashboard clock wasn't working.  Strange.  The radio just quit.  Worrisome.  Then, one final lurch and the car was dead.  Completely.  Luckily I was going down the canyon so I could coast off the side of the road.

I tried calling Kevin but, of course, he wasn't anywhere near his cell phone.  I tried several neighbors (at home and on the cells).  I got a complex that no one was taking my calls - drat that caller ID.

Once more luck was with me (and by luck I mean the tender mercies of the Lord) and a police officer pulled up and asked if I was having trouble.  We determined it was the alternator but the officer used his vehicle to charge my car enough to get down the canyon.  Whew!

I finally got a hold of a neighbor who couldn't get Kevin by banging on the door but I told him to just walk on in.  Sure enough.  Kevin and Shanley were downstairs (in air conditioning) watching episodes of Monk.  Nevermind that I was baking and had been gone 2 1/2 hours longer than expected - who misses their wife anyways (it wasn't dinnertime - haha).  I am certain that at some point they would have realized that my 15-minute trip to drop McKayla off at the high school was certainly running overtime.  Nah - who am I kidding?  They might not have ever noticed but I have faith that Chandler would have when he got home from school because he did.  And, since we don't have a home phone, he even made the effort to go to a neighbors and phone me to find out where I was.  Nice to know someone still needs me.

And that is how my 15-minute trip turned into a 3-hour adventure.  (makes me think of Gilligan's Island but with no palm trees, cool breezes, or tropical food)


Monday, July 30, 2012

that's what you get

What do you get when you send your teenage daughter to the store for a few necessities?

You get WHITE bread!

Yep.  My children have never been fond of wheat bread (or wheat pasta for that matter).  Even my "lectures" on how much healthier it is have had no swaying influence.  So, when I asked McKayla to pick up bread and milk from the store, she did exactly that.  I suppose I didn't specify that I meant "wheat" bread - thought that was obvious.

My children are happy.  I guess that's the price I pay for convenience.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

waverunners

We took the waverunners out on Thursday.  It was the first time this summer (we did take them out in April in St. George for Spring Break).  We had so much fun and I wondered why we don't take them out more often.  Then we stopped to fill them up with guess and I remembered.  $75 for just a few hours of fun.  Yikes!  Since we purchased a season waterpark pass for $20 each and can go there for hours and hours of fun for just the $10 gas it costs us to get there, it makes sense that we aren't taking out the waverunners much.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lucky Charm

Maybe Alec is my Lucky Charm.  We were sure lucky last night when we won the drawing to purchase tickets to Wicked for $25 each!  Woo hoo!

Kevin and I saw Wicked in LA a few years ago.  At that time, we too won the drawing for $25 tickets and got amazing seats!  There wasn't a huge crowd for the drawing so our odds were pretty good.

We loved the show so when it was announced that a tour stop would be in SLC, I gave McKayla, Shanley, and Chandler coupons to see it as Christmas presents.  It sold out within minutes and we didn't get tickets.  We tried entering the drawing for the $25 tickets but well over 100 people entered and we had no luck.  So, I took those three to see it in Tempe, AZ where I could actually get tickets.

Alec was the only one who hadn't seen it and it is back touring in SLC.  I toyed with the idea of trying for the $25 tickets again reasoning that maybe this time there wouldn't be the huge crowds but mostly dismissed the idea and I wasn't too keen to pay $125 per person.  However, yesterday we got back from spending the day on the waverunners and I felt an urge (prompting?) to go enter the drawing.  So, I hurriedly blew dry my hair and Alec and I raced downtown to enter the drawing.

I was so disappointed to see that once more well over 100 people were entering the drawing.  Our chances didn't look good.  They looked even worse when it got down to the final name they were drawing.  Then they called "Alec Morgan".  Yea!  Alec raised his hands in victory and we purchased the 2 tickets we were allowed for that night's performance.

Alec loved it and I felt so blessed to be able to see it again!  The lady playing Glinda was hilarious - truly laugh out loud funny!  We had a blast!  Alec has spent this morning playing every song from Wicked that he can find on youtube.  (I'm not reminding him I have the CD or I'll never see it again!)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

hurt so good

I've started running again this week after taking off the past 6 weeks (I only ran the Riverton Town Days 5K during that time).  I've lost a lot of running fitness so I'm a bit stiff but it feels so good to be out on the road again!

I quit running after the marathon because I was really in pain from my IT Band on the right side and bursitis in my hip on the left side.  I saw a doctor who prescribed some exercises for the IT Band issue and 6 months of rest for the bursitis.  I tried but I just couldn't do it.  The rest was supposed to include NO stairs and NO inclines. 

Well, I've spent at least one day of every week at Seven Peaks Waterpark which requires climbing LOTS of stairs to get to the slides.  Also, my bedroom, laundry room, and food storage room are all downstairs so I use the stairs a lot every day.  Plus, I love to hike which means inclines. 

This led me to the logical and reasonable conclusion that the bursitis is not going to get better so I may as well be doing the running I enjoy (plus NEED for weight control, stress control, sanity, etc)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chandler's First/Last Day

It is Chandler's first day of school today but it is also the first day of his last year at elementary.  This is quite a milestone because I have had a child at Riverton Elementary for the past 18 years!  Wow!  So, this will be my last year of elementary school as well.

I like year round school because I like the flexibility of when I take my vacations.  I like that my children don't get bored during an overly long summer.  I even like that Chandler's schedule is different from all of his siblings because it allows he and I the flexibility to spend one-on-one time together.  He enjoys different activities from his siblings so the different schedules is perfect.

However, I still didn't quite feel ready for him to go back to school this year.  We have had a lot of fun - he has played in two soccer tournaments and we've been to Seven Peaks Waterpark once a week on average.  He's gone fishing and swimming and played games. He ran track and ran a 5K race.   He's spent lots of time with cousins.

This morning I gave him a bag full of smarties candy that read "Hey Smartie Pants - good luck on the first day of school!"  Chandler laughed and was quite pleased with it.  I also made him one of his favorite breakfasts - cinnamon muffins and peach smoothies.

Here's the scoop:

Chandler Reed Morgan
4 feet 10 1/2 inches
73 pounds
Teacher:  Ms. Becknell (Shanley had her and we liked her!)
Favorite Color:  Green
Favorite Food:  Chinese
Favorite Candy:  Skittles
Favorite Subject:  Math
Favorite Hobby:  Soccer
Favorite Friends:  Jared Goins, Abby Nebeker, Jeffrey Stratton
Favorite Thing Over the Summer:  going to Logan for a soccer tournament
Wants to Be:  an airline pilot

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

failure to connect the dots

Sometimes it amazes me how my brain works and sometimes it amazes me even more how it doesn't!

Yesterday I said I didn't want to go to Seven Peaks Waterpark today because it is a holiday so it will be crowded.  I also said I'd be unable to call and schedule a doctor appointment for Alec because it is a holiday.  I also realized I wouldn't be able to call and schedule a haircut appointment for myself because it is a holiday.  So, I think I had it firmly established that it is a holiday today.

I arose this morning at 3:30 am after possibly one of the worst nights of sleep EVER.  I dry shampooed my hair, straightened it, put on make-up, got dressed, and drove to the temple only to find the gates locked because guess what?  It is a holiday today!

Ugh!

Monday, July 23, 2012

mission farewell

Alec, McKayla and I went to the mission "farewell" of Garrett Steed yesterday.  I love Garrett!  I can't even remember how I got to know him.  He was the student body president at Riverton High so he's definitely the kind of kid that stands out.  I know I had him in my seminary class a couple of times when I subbed.   Really, I don't know how we got to know each other but I know I think very highly of him and always enjoy our visits.  Besides that, he loves Alec and Alec loves him.  They graduated together.  So, when Garrett sent me a notice of his "farewell" I knew we had to go.

It was a wonderful Sacrament meeting talk.  Garrett spoke on "What a Testimony Is and the Power of a Testimony".  It was great and anyone who knows me knows I don't praise talks lightly.  It was organized and spiritual and imparted wisdom!  McKayla leaned over at one point and said, "Our ward needs to hear this."  Sad but true.  We get too many people sharing stories without ever actually bearing testimony to anything.

Garrett shared a couple of experiences he has already had with bearing his testimony to others.  All I can say is the people of North Carolina better watch out - Garrett is coming for them and he'll be hard to resist!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

what a memory!

Yesterday I took McKayla to a new running store in our town. The owners recognized her when she walked in. They thought it was from the Riverton Town Days race but then the guy asked her if she had run Salt Lake County Track. She said yes and he told her he'd been her coach.

The amazing thing about that is she did that track program for only one year and that was 6 or 7 years ago! The guy was in high school at the time. McKayla and I couldn't believe that he remembered her or that he recognized her!  We didn't recognize or remember him.