Tuesday, January 31, 2012


My children have been begging to do fun family home evenings sometimes. I guess lessons just get too boring - imagine that!

So, last night I invited 2 other families and we went and picked up garbage on a stretch of road. (That will teach my children to complain about the lessons!) just kidding!

After we cleaned the roadside, we came back to our house to wash up and enjoy sugar cookie bars. Then we went to Fongo Bongo Games. They have lots of tables set up in their back room along with shelves chock full of games. We played games (dividing out by age group) and really did have a lot of fun.

It was the first time I've ever played Carcassone and I enjoyed it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

running with a fox

No, I didn't run with Kevin this morning (brings back memories of the song "fox on the run, you scream and everybody comes a runnin', take a run and hide yourself away. Foxy on the run." but I digress).

No, I saw an actual fox. Even ran with the fox for a quarter of a mile. Well, I guess it's stretching it to say I ran WITH the fox. The truth is I followed the fox. The closest I ever got to catching up to it was about 50 yards behind.

I had completed about 5.5 miles when I spotted a fox ahead on the trail. He noticed me too. I kept running. The fox would move along the trail for a bit then turn and watch me. Then it would move and then it would stop, turn, and watch me. I am sure the fox was evaluating what kind of a threat I was. I could have eased its mind considerably if I just could have told it that after 5.5 miles, I'm not much of a threat to anyone.

Or maybe the fox was sizing me up as prey...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

mother-daughter time

I made it a goal this year to take each of my children on a "date" once a month. Yesterday's "date" with McKayla was probably the most fun.

We drove to Orem to buy her new running shoes. Her coach helped us and we have some fun laughs with him. Then she and I went to Sub-Zero. Neither of us had ever been there. You pick your base (premium, custard, low-fat, yogurt, soy), your flavor, and your mix-in and then you watch as they use liquid nitrogen to freeze your ice cream in mere seconds. Cool!

We drove to the mall and window-shopped wedding dresses (no, not doing any planning). Then we went to Plato's Closet (a name-brand only used-clothes store). We found her 2 pairs of capris, a pair of shoes, and a cute ring for only $12.

Lots of good conversation and some laughs - good day!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

the horrors!

In Utah, the only rivalry is Utah vs. BYU. It is huge. Offices have pools regarding their games. Schools have contests in their names. I ran a Rivalry Relay last year (BYU vs. Utah and we ran from the U to BYU) It seeps into wards and at times is even included in testimony meetings (not very spiritual). Even the Red Cross has contests to see which fans donate the most blood.

I am, of course, true BYU blue through and through.

I am also a sucker for free things, though, and the U sends us free tickets for its gymnastics meets every year. Add to that the fact that the U gymnastics has won many national championships and it does make for good viewing. So, over the years our family has attended its fair share of Utah gymnastics meets.

Last night Alec and I attended the meet between the U and BYU. Once more it was one of those sacrificing for your kids things. I tried really hard to talk Alec into going to RHS basketball but he was set on gymnastics. So....

Have I mentioned that over the years I have been highly unsuccessful at getting Alec NOT to stand during the U's fight song? (I have tried to raise him right - honest, I have.)

Last night I couldn't even get him to cheer at all for BYU. He saved all of his hyper-enthusiastic cheering for the Utes. He danced. He chanted. He clapped. He caught the attention of another Utes fan which is when the unthinkable happened. This man gave Alec a Utes beanie (bright red and all). The horrors! Can I really be expected to allow him to wear that out in public? What will the neighbors say? Oh, the shame of it all.

I might not be able to show my face in public for a while. Or, at least, I can blame it on the Utes hat rather than the horrid haircut I got a few days ago. heehee!

Friday, January 27, 2012

on strike

My children used to be very good eaters. I was happy about that! The only picky eater was Chandler and he was horrid but at least the others ate well.

I don't know what has happened but Alec, McKayla, and Shanley have all joined Chandler in pickiness. No matter what I fix, someone won't eat it.

I've had it so I've decided to go on strike. I will not fix any meals for the next week. (or I'll fix only enough for Kevin and I) I'll keep you posted on whether or not the strike makes them miss my cooking thus getting them to actually eat what I fix.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sacrificing for Kids

As parents, why do we sacrifice so much for our children?

Not that I am whining about that. I do it willingly. I just wonder why. I think it's more than just love. Do we feel it's owed them? Do we just want them to have things we never had? Is there an element of competition in it? Did any of these same things motivate Christ's sacrifice or was that done purely out of love? Would our sacrifices mean more if they were made solely for love?

Last night I sacrificed sleep. What parent doesn't?

Chandler had 2 tickets to the Utah Jazz basketball game. Not that I don't love basketball (or any major sporting event) but I was tired. I've had a horrid cough and am not sleeping at night. The idea of a 4-hour stint (drive + game) not to mention traffic, crowds, noise, etc was too much for me when all I wanted was pajamas.

Still, it's your kid and he's excited to go so what do you do? (After you try to talk McKayla into taking him but she has far too much homework)

I grabbed Alec as well since I knew he would LOVE it and the three of us headed downtown.

The game was very exciting and I ended up really enjoying it (after I finally turned around and asked the little boy behind me - very nicely - to please stop kicking my seat).

Of course the game had to go into double overtime ensuring that what I thought would be a 4-hour stint turned out to be closer to 5 hours.

The things we do in the name of love.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

things NOT to do

I should make some new resolutions. They should include:

*don't go to the grocery store when hungry
*don't talk to kids immediately after checking their grades on SkyWard
*don't wait to get your hair cut until you are absolutely so desperate that you'll just walk into Great Clips and let them cut it. Yikes! (Yep, my hair is a hack job and I hate it. Thank goodness hair grows back)

Monday, January 23, 2012


I get why Evangelical Christians claim Mormons are not Christians. After all, we believe in a God of flesh and bones who looks like us. We also believe in a Godhood of three separate and distinct beings. We believe in a resurrected Christ. We also believe we can become Gods. In other words, our Christ is as different to them as Buddha is to us. I get it. They are not saying we don't believe in Christ just not the same Christ they worship.

What I don't get is how these same Evangelical Christians can vote for a thrice-married, cheating scoundrel over a happily married man just because the former is a "Christian". Which one acts more Christ-like? Don't values count for anything? What about a moral code?

Maybe the American public wants to vote for someone they can relate to and maybe a cheat is easier to identify with then someone who can be happily married for 30+ years and who is also financially successful.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Quarters

We took a quick family trip to see the church historical sites at Winter Quarters. I truly believe the hand of God was evident in this trip. The flight to Omaha looked great until the day before and then, suddenly, there were barely enough seats for our family. It was worrisome but I prayed and felt really good. The morning we were leaving I checked the seats again and found more seats had opened up. I've never seen that happen before (usually they only decrease). I knew the Lord had answered my prayer. Another small miracle was that the minivan rental cost decreased $20 from when I checked to when I booked it. Yippee!

We got to Omaha and picked up our minivan and drove straight to the Mormon Trail Center. We enjoyed a film. The kids tried their hands at packing a wagon for the journey. We toured the visitor's center and learned lots. This statue is outside the Mormon Trail Center.

Next we drove to the Kanesville Tabernacle where Brigham Young was sustained as prophet. Again we watched a film and learned quite a bit. I knew there was a gap between Joseph's death and Brigham being sustained as prophet but then I thought it happened quickly after that. I didn't realize there was a big gap between Brigham's death and John Taylor being sustained and then another gap between his death and Wilford Woodruff being sustained.

The Tabernacle from the back and a few shots from the inside:

The Tabernacle was built for the express purpose of sustaining the Prophet. Brigham Young was actually in the Salt Lake Valley but most of the Saints were still at Winter Quarters. The largest building only held about 100 people and they felt that more people should have the opportunity to be there to sustain the new President of the Church so the Tabernacle was built to hold 1000 people. Brigham Young returned for the sustaining vote. Here is the first presidency of Willard Richards, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball.

In downtown Omaha there is a block where statues of wagons circle the block. Here's a few of them.

The highlight of the trip for me was going to the Winter Quarters Temple where the kids did baptisms for the dead. I love the temple!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

proud mom

Thursday night Chandler had his last Pack meeting (well, only theoretically since he has earned his Arrow of Light but 2 boys in his den will get theirs in April so the pack will honor all 3 boys at once at the pack meeting in April). Still, our final son finished with Cub Scouts!

Kevin and I are celebrating no more pinewood derbies! (not our thing)

We are also really proud of Chandler who earned all 20 pins for Webelos!

Friday, January 20, 2012


I attended a viewing last night for a man in our ward whom I'd best describe as quiet. Just looking at the photo display and watching the DVD, I learned more about him than I ever knew during his life. I learned he loves to fish and that he likes the Dallas Cowboys.

It made me ponder on how much I really don't know about people in my life. Do I spend enough time really getting to know them?

How about me? I feel like I'm an open book but would people be surprised by the stories that are told at my funeral?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Special Olympics

Last Saturday Alec bowled in Special Olympics. He brought home a silver medal and best of all - he had a great time!(Alec is 3rd from the right with his arm around a girl, of course)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a hard job?

Alec tends to sleep everywhere but on his bed. His bed of preference seems to be the floor. We bought him a new mattress and box springs over the weekend. He didn't really get a chance to sleep on it since Brakston and Whitney were here and they used Alec's bed. So, last night was his first chance to sleep on his new bed. Where did we find him this morning? On the floor! I asked him if we need to go buy new sheets so he'll sleep on his bed. What would it take for him to sleep on his bed?

His answer? "I'm working on it, Mother. I'm working on it!"

silly boy

Monday, January 16, 2012


Finished this Saturday night:
Middle of January and one Christmas present is done. Yea! I love how these quilts look. I've made one for each of my siblings over the past couple years.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Last night was Boys Pref. McKayla went and had a really good time. Here's her and her date, Reed Dudley along with Tanner and Val Ashley.

Funny, embarrassing story:
I was helping McKayla answer Reed. I have a really cool way of putting an answer inside of a peanut M&M. So, I sorted through 2 bags of holiday M&Ms and picked out all the red ones. Then I found a cute bag to put them in. I left it at that thinking McKayla should put the answer inside - after all, it was her date. Somehow we didn't communicate. She thought I'd already done it so she wrote the instructions on the bag and tied it up with a cute ribbon and delivered it.

Fifteen minutes later, Reed called saying he had smashed all the M&Ms (rather than eat them) and couldn't find an answer. McKayla assured him there was a slip of paper that said yes inside one of the M&Ms and he should just keep looking. Twenty minutes later he called back to say he still couldn't find an answer. McKayla came and asked me where I had hidden it. I told her I thought she was doing that part. We got a good laugh when we realized neither of us had done it. She had just delivered a bag of M&Ms. period. Kind of embarrassing!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chandler has had Lego League every Friday for a couple hours since school started in August. Lego League is using robotics, science, and technology to solve a problem. Chandler was disappointed that they didn't build with Legos MORE. Last Saturday was the competition. His team did well. He's glad it's over though.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


For Christmas, we bought the whole family "The Pass of All Passes". It allows us unlimited use of Seven Peaks water parks in both Salt Lake and Provo; Trafalga Fun Centers in both Lehi and Orem; 4 Utah Grizzlies hockey games; Orem Owlz baseball games; Ogden Raptor baseball games; and Utah Flash basketball games. I told my friends about these passes and they bought them too so now we have plenty of people to have fun with.

Last week I took the Chandler and his friend Jared to Trafalga. We played 9 holes of blacklight miniature golf and 18 holes of outdoor miniature golf (outside in Utah in January? unbelievable!) The boys then had a great time climbing the rock wall.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

this is the day...

The time when Brakston and Alec were toddlers was not my glory years. I was working full-time, Alec ran away constantly, I'm not much of a baby-mom, etc. It was, however, the glory days for that big purple dinosaur Barney. Ugh! One more reason those years won't make it onto my all-time favorites list.

So, why do modified words to a Barney song keep going through my head?
This is the day that never ends,
It just goes on and on, my friends
It seems I started living it not knowing what it was
and I'll continue living it FOREVER just because...


Because this truly is the day that never ends. It started with waking up at 3 am and reading for a few hours before heading to the high school for Student of the Month breakfast. Now I'll go catch a flight to Idaho Falls and take Brakston and Whitney out to lunch and shopping before flying back home. I will head straight to a school community council meeting (probably a few minutes late) and then from there I'll head straight to a RS meeting.

Hopefully, I'll be in bed by 9 pm! Even better, maybe I can catch a few winks on each flight.

Gotta run.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

you just never know....

Alec loves to bear his testimony in church. He says some really great things. At times, you can really feel the Spirit.

Then, there are those other times.

Those times when you don't know what will come out of his mouth. Like the month he told everyone McKayla had her first date and she loves him. Like the month when he talked about being Homecoming King and gave an acceptance speech. Like the month he talked about Princess Leia. Like this past Sunday when he talked about his "cousin" Shanley and told everyone that she is getting married.

fun times.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Spy

Fun things I've seen the past several days while running:

*Hundreds of geese
*Coach Jerry Sloan (former head coach of the Utah Jazz)
*5 deer

Not so fun things:
*piles of horse manure

I just don't get it. I've been running the Jordan River Parkway Trail. All along the route are reminders to clean up after your dog. There are even baggies provided for this purpose along the trail. I find it hard to be concerned about a tiny pile of dog poop when I keep encountering massive amounts of horse poop. I realize it might be impractical to expect people to clean up after their horse. However, the flip side is that I'm sure it's hard to motivate a dog owner to care about the little extra their dog might add. I might soon have to take up hurdling to stay clear of the horse crap but I guess I should just be glad I don't have to worry about dog doo-doo. Lucky me!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The last two days have been so crazy/fun/busy that there has been no blogging activity from me. In fact, I haven't even touched my computer.

Friday after taking McKayla to school (we're without one car) I rushed to get ready and then Chandler and I went and watched Alec in Special Olympics bowling. After the bowling we rushed to the Children's Discovery Museum (stopping at a 7-11 on the way to buy them a hot dog for lunch - how healthy). We enjoyed the museum but then I rushed home to do some algebra tutoring. After tutoring, Kevin and I went running and got home in time to shower and go to bed.

Saturday I awoke early because Chandler had a 7 am soccer game in Murray. His team won 13-1. Chandler played defense most of the game but managed to score a couple of goals. After the game we rushed to his Lego League competition (we got there an hour late). After the competition, we shopped at Costco on our way home. We were home for 25 minutes and then went to Chandler's basketball game. This time his team was the one to get their butts kicked. I literally ran home from his game so I could get my 5 miles in for the day. Got home in time to tutor algebra again. Then had a quick shower and got ready to go to dinner with Kevin and some friends - Texas Roadhouse - YUM! Got home about 8 or 8:30 and was ready to fall into bed (if only).

Still, a fun couple of days.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Infinity scarves

I have become slightly addicted to Pinterest. The other day I made a "slutty brownie" recipe for my family that I found on Pinterest. (They are "slutty" because they are easy and a bit filthy - heehee!) I also found these Infinity scarves on Pinterest. Knowing my girls love scarves I just had to check it out. They looked so easy that I immediately cut up a t-shirt and made one. My girls loved it and wanted more! Unfortunately, I don't keep old t-shirts around so we headed to DI for a t-shirt shopping spree. We came home with 7 t-shirts and have made a scarf out of each one of them.

Here's me in the necklace-type one.
Shanley and McKayla much prefer the ruffle-type scarf. Here is Shanley in one.

For McKayla's I added a small pom-pom edging to one of the ruffles. I love that effect.

I love these scarves! They take about 15 minutes to make and cost me $1-$2 each (could be free if I'd just not throw away old t-shirts),

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a new tradition

This year we started what I hope will be a new Christmas tradition - a 12 Days of christmas Service advent calendar. I made these trees.Inside each tree was a service to perform (i.e. sweep someone's gutters, write a missionary, bake cookies for someone, watch someone's kids, write a serviceman, etc). We opened a tree each day and performed the service.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

books I've read in the past month

Here's the books I read in December. I've ** the ones I recommend.

**Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith

House of Learning by Richard and Kathleen Walker

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

**The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman

Seeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Resolutions

I've been thinking about this one a lot lately. There are so many things I wish to accomplish but I can't do EVERYTHING. So, here is what I feel is most important for me to do in the year 2012.

Home Improvement
1) Build shutters for the windows in the front of my house
2) Paint the shutters, outside trim, and outside doors
3) Plant lavender in front of the house
4) Do window treatments for family room, dining room, kitchen, Shanley's room, and the master bedroom
5) Paint/stain the back deck
6) Paint the master bathroom

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

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

1) Lose 20 pounds
2) Climb Mount Timpanogos
3) Run a marathon and a half marathon

1) Make sure 1/3 of what I read is uplifting (spiritual, classical, best-book type stuff)
2) Write a book

1) Spend 1 day a month in the temple
2) Go to 3 new temples
3) Read the New Era and the Ensign every month
4) At the end of every day, record the hand of God in my life for that day

I will report progress every month so that I can be held accountable.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolution Check-Up

It's time not just for the monthly accounting on how I've done on my goals but for the sum total of the year's progress.

Lose Weight - I don't even want to talk about this one. It is so bad! Guess I know which goal I will carry over to the next year.

Read Jesus the Christ - COMPLETE! Yea!

Go snowshoeing - COMPLETE! Yea!

Run Ragnar - COMPLETE! Yea!

Write My Grandma's Life History - I did spend some time locating the interview tapes of my grandma. I spent a lot of time looking for my notes that I used to type the lost draft of her history. Unfortunately, I can't find the notes. I know they will turn up and I just need to keep looking. I feel like there was progress made on this goal because I at least have regained the desire to do this. Losing an almost-finished rough draft was painful but I think I've finally recovered and am really ready to start again. Now I just have to locate my notes.

Do family search indexing - COMPLETE! Yea!

Attend 5 Temples that I've never been to before - I went to the Albuquerque Temple this month. Overall, I only made it to 3 new temples this year so I fell short of my goal. On the other hand, I took McKayla to 5 new temples this year! Unfortunately for me, only one of those was new to me. I'd been to the other 4 before. Still, I can't help but feel good about my 3 new temples and McKayla's 5.

Overall, I accomplished more than I didn't. I feel good about everything except the losing weight. I am excited for a new year's worth of goals.