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.


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


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.

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!!

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

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

 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.

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!