Thursday, December 16, 2010

HALLELUJAH! It's almost Christmas!

I saw this on Momza's blog this morning and couldn't help but share the smiles. Have a fabulous day!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
(In case my posting record remains about the same, see you in January!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Splitting the Sky in Two

I'm generally not a huge poetry fan, but the following quote has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. I'm thinking of memorizing it, but for now I've just been letting the imagery run through my brain and find little spots to lodge itself. It is the end of a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay titled "Renascence". I read this portion on the first page of Virginia H. Pearce's book A Heart Like His: Making Space for God's Love in Your Life.

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,-

No higher than the soul is high.

The heart can push the sea and land

Farther away

On either hand;

The soul can split the sky in two;

And let the face of God shine through.

But East and West will pinch the heart

That can not keep them pushed apart;

And he whose soul is flat-the sky

Will cave in on him by and by.



There are lots of applications and lessons to be drawn, but for me, right now, that quote is the perfect word picture of gratitude. Have you ever spent the day holding a pity party because you don't have this or that or life isn't fair because ___________? I wind up feeling pretty pinched and crushed. Have you ever sat down and listed the things you are grateful for? Sometimes the list starts out slow, but as I think and start writing, the list grows faster than I can get it out. Suddenly, I see my surroundings with new eyes and I feel like I have the world at my feet.

Thanksgiving is 13 days away and counting. I hope your day and holiday season is spent with the sky split in two.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ramblings on All Hallow's Eve Eve

It is Day 2 of Halloween 2010. Yesterday was costumes at school. Today is trick-or-treating. Tomorrow is the actual day, but probably be the most un-Halloween of them all. That's good. I think we'll all need a day to come down out of the sugar stratosphere. (I'm glad I'm not subbing in Primary tomorrow!)

SuperDad is traversing the neighborhood in the wind and rain dressed as his alter-ego, Greg, and accompanying his two youngest sons on their quest for the largest candy haul ever. I haven't seen anyone else out, so the chances are good. I, the Mom, sacrificed her fun and super hero status to stay home in the dry house and man the front door. I think I'm ok with that. It's quiet, so I thought I'd sit at the computer and see what comes out the ol' fingertips. Then, I'm off to make pumpkin seeds. Ok, the pumpkins made them. I'm going to bake them. And then eat them.

1) We watered the dirt in what used to be our garden for 30 minutes in the rain today. Seems a bit over-the-top, but we added sulfur to the dirt to make it more acidic and it needs lots of water to start dissolving. I never knew that sulfuric acid is one of those things a garden needs to grow, but apparently it is. Here's hoping for a bountiful strawberry crop next spring!

2) I'm being very creative on the costume front this year. On Day 1 I was an undercover Tobacco and Firearms agent masquerading as a mom. Today I am an undercover CIA agent masquerading as a YW Camp leader. I have the shirt and everything. Tomorrow, I'm going to be an undercover FBI agent masquerading as a Latter-Day Saint woman at church. See, very creative. I thought of that all by myself while I was doing dishes this afternoon and made the idea retroactive to yesterday.

3) I cut up all the bell peppers we grew and put them in the freezer this afternoon. They were either not all the way ripe or hotter than the ones you buy in the store because my hands were tingling for over an hour after I finished and I had washed them several times. Never had that happen before. I'll have to remember to use them sparingly.

4) It's been 35 minutes since my family left to go trick-or-treating and we just had our first visitors who are not related to me or are one of the relatives friends. I'm seeing lots of left-over candy in our future.

5) The garage smells like heaven because of all the apples out there waiting to be made into sauce. Mmmmmm! Can't wait.

6) We actually got about 5 pounds of potatoes out of our garden and some of them were actually regular potato size. They'll be dinner next week.

7) 10 more minutes and trick-or-treating set #2 has just left. They thought our Halloween decoration that consists of 5 jack-o-lanterns with a glow stick inside one of them was cool. They are my favorites.

8) Greg pulled out the little 3 or 4 foot pine trees growing on either side of our garage this morning. I love having them gone! Neither one was doing fantastic, but one of them really was about dead. I don't know how long the trees have been there, but we've been here over two years and they were here when we arrived. Greg tied a rope around it a pulled it out with the car to find that it's roots were all still in a ball. No wonder the poor thing looked like it was about dead. The weeds underneath it seem to be doing pretty well, though.

Ok, the rain has stopped and the doorbell keeps ringing, so I'm out of here. Although, what's up with the teenagers trick-or-treating without at least attempting a costume? Maybe they are undercover secret agents, too. We're all over the place, I tell you.

Have a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When You're in the Service of Your Fellow Beings...

...You might just be helping yourself.

Earlier this week I noticed that someone had pulled out the last roll of toilet paper in the main bathroom. I was grateful and mildly astonished that the plastic packaging actually made it into the garbage can, but no one had gotten a new package to go under the sink. Thinking I'd be nice to whomever was caught paperless at some upcoming point I decided to grab a new package and place it in the cupboard. Well, guess who found herself as the paperless user in there this afternoon? Yep, you guessed it- Me. Let this be a reminder that no act of kindness is ever unrewarded!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Frosting

Joseph made dinner last night. It was a requirement for his foods class at school. He had to include an appetizer, main dish, side dish, beverage, and dessert. All the food groups needed to be represented. At least one of those items needed to be made from a recipe. The rest could be packages that were prepackaged. He also had to set the table and clean-up the dishes afterward.

He opted for Black Bean Quesadillas because he likes the beans and we hadn't had them in awhile. He also opted for broccoli as his side dish because it's one of the few green foods he'll tolerate. Chips and salsa was the appetizer (but really, what family do you know that serves an appetizer before dinner?!), water the beverage and applesauce cake the dessert. I don't buy many prepackaged anythings, so he got to be an over achiever and have two made-from-scratch recipes.

A friend came home with him to do homework and then they played on the computer for a little bit. He didn't say anything about dinner, so at 4:30 I asked when he'd like to get started. He made the cake first, so it would have time to cool before we ate it. While it baked, I went and picked whatever was ready from the garden. Lucky Joseph, not only were his recipes made from scratch, several of the ingredients came from his backyard and were started from seeds. Doesn't get much more "scratch" than that! We had cantaloupe that didn't look totally ripe, but the vines were dying, so I brought two of them in and they were added to the menu.

Shortly before the cake was done he chopped the green pepper and made the insides of the quesadillas. The cake came out of the oven, and he put the quesadillas together and put them into the oven. Then he chopped up the broccoli and put it in a pan, then sliced the cantaloupe (too ripe, but we'll try again next year). He flipped the quesadillas once, set the table, removed the quesadillas from the oven, dished everything onto plates, and called everyone to dinner. After we said the prayer, he looked down at his plate and said, "It's weird to sit here and know how much work went into my dinner."

That comment made me think. We don't eat overly fancy or complicated meals. Our kids are not ignorant of the ways of the kitchen. They make their own breakfasts and lunches. All of them could fry an egg in elementary school better than I could when I left for college. They used to help make dinner every night (years ago, now) before evening schedules got to be too crazy. They even still like to come in and help sometimes while I'm finishing things up. I guess they've all gotten used to the fact that dinner is dinner and it's something we eat every night. It's just always there. It was good for Joseph to be reminded what all goes in to making it be there.

After dinner, Joseph got up to wash dishes. We almost never have frosting on our cakes because one, it's an easy way to cut down on fat and sugar, and two, by the time I actually get around to it, it's to late or I'm too tired. We had talked previously about frosting the cake and he thought he'd like it. I asked Joseph about it again on his way to the sink. He asked, "Do I have to make it?" I replied, "Yes." He looked right at me and said, "No." The other four kids piped up with, "Yea, we should have frosting" and "Why can't we have frosting?" Only the one doing the work could really decide between what was a want and what was a need.

I wondered, how many things do I completely overlook in my assumptions that they'll always be there? I don't think much about the cars until one of them ends up in the shop for something or other. The water is always just a handle turn away, until it's not working. Electricity- at my fingertips until a truck takes out a power line. 2,000 square feet is a minimum for living space until you find that your family being together is most important and that can happen in 700 square feet just as well. There's always going to be another full moon, fall leaf, or blooming flower until something happens and my eyes don't work right. A walk to school is no big deal until my knee is in a brace and even walking to the bathroom is out of the question. My Grandma has always been here, but she's nearing 90. That won't last forever. A loving family is always there and willing to forgive my faults, but that may not always be the case. An illness, disaster, or hurtful comments or actions could take it all away- and sometimes without much notice.

This morning I realized, "Wow, it's weird to sit here and think how much work goes into my happy life- and I don't do but the tiniest little bit of it." Most of the things that I take for granted in my life are here by someone else's work. I pay the electric bill, but their technicians keep the juice flowing. I pay the house payment, but I don't earn the money nor did I build the house. I can plant flowers, observe stars, or call Grandmas. I chose to marry my sweet husband and gave birth to my children, but it's not me that keeps any of them here, growing and blessing my life. The one who really does all the work makes much better decisions on what's needful and what's wanted in my life. He knows much better than I what I need. I have been blessed beyond measure- and with much more frosting than I could have ever hoped.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Princess in Gold Cloth, Rags and Tatters, or Both?

Today is September 24. For once, I don't have anything on my mental calendar for this date. It's just a regular Friday and I'm happy to have one. Erica is at a cross country meet, Greg and Steven are on a camp out, and the rest of the family is chillin' at home. Soccer is almost over and a blank night on the calendar might actually be looming on the horizon. Better not blink!

A friend and her children are coming to visit UT this weekend and I can't wait to see her. It's been a couple of years. We've been friends for just about as long as we didn't know each other. We've stayed in contact for all the time and miles- and a good portion of that pre-email and Facebook. At times as far away as opposite ends of the country and then as close as the same town. We have children the same ages, almost exactly. Our girls are both graduating and heading off to college next year. How crazy is that?! We have snapshots of the two of them next to each other in their infant carriers and now they'll be leaving their respective coops together. It doesn't seem to matter where we are or how long it's been, we pick up right where we left off. Everyone needs friends like that.

This weekend, and the last month, has had me thinking, though. I still have cleaning that hasn't gotten done, baking I need to do, tomorrow will be a crazy day with activities and the Relief Society Broadcast. Sunday will be it's own kind of busy. I've even been a bit under the weather today and enjoyed a forced day of rest. Then there's all the background pushings and pulling on time and energy that never seem to go away. Sometimes one starts to feel a little put-upon. After all, I have plans and dreams for my life and I seem to be diverted from them frequently. My life is certainly not the hardship that I sometimes make it out to be, but the selfish part of me wants to know why my life can't go as I want it to. I'm trying to be a good person, doesn't that count for anything?

Right about now is when I'm given a gentle reminder of what's what. As an "assignment" for a wellness activity we're participating in through Greg's work I re-read the book "A Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett this week. I read it years ago and remembered the gist of the story, but was delighted by all the details I'd forgotten, and now better appreciate somehow as an adult than I did as a child.

The main character, Sara Crewe was raised by a loving father in India until she was sent to a boarding school in London. For a couple of years she lived as a princess, but was never a mean or proud girl. She befriended those around her and tried to make her world a better place. Her father died both suddenly and penniless. Sara is only kept from being turned out into the street by the fact that she is a bright girl and the headmistress plans to force her to work until she'd old enough to become a teacher at the school. She spends the next two years living in unloved squalor, doing every imaginable horrid chore, and being treated as less than human sometimes. Sara has a vivid imagination and decides, there's the key- she decides- to live her life as if she was a princess. She refuses to lower her behavior to match those around her. She shares what she has with those who need it, which most of the time means all she has to offer are her imagination and her friendship. It drives the headmistress crazy to see a girl who should obviously be in disgrace carry herself as one who is of noble birth.

"What ever comes," she said, "cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it."... This was not a new thought, but quite an old one by this time. It had consoled her through many a bitter day, and she had gone about the house with an expression in her face which Miss Minchin could not understand and which was a source of great annoyance to her, as it seemed as if the child were mentally living a life which held her above the rest of the world. It was as if she scarcely heard the rude and acid things said to her; or, if she heard them, did not care for them at all. "

In the end, what is rightfully hers is returned. She hadn't lived a life that deserved punishment before, but she faced a pretty sore trial none-the-less. Her experiences, however, combined to make her an even better person than she already was.

It reminded me of Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk at the last Young Women broadcast.

"Today I want to draw your attention to something very significant, very extraordinary. On the first page of your Young Women Personal Progress book, you will find these words: “You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose.”1

"Sisters, those words are true! They are not made up in a fairy tale! Isn’t it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love? In fact, His love for you is so great that He has granted you this earthly life as a precious gift of “once upon a time,” complete with your own true story of adventure, trial, and opportunities for greatness, nobility, courage, and love. And, most glorious of all, He offers you a gift beyond price and comprehension. Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”

"But such a blessing does not come without a price. It is not given simply because you desire it. It comes only through understanding who you are and what you must become in order to be worthy of such a gift."

"In each of these stories, Cinderella, Belle, and the miller’s daughter have to experience sadness and trial before they can reach their “happily ever after.” Think about it. Has there ever been a person who did not have to go through his or her own dark valley of temptation, trial, and sorrow?"

"Sandwiched between their “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” they all had to experience great adversity."

"My dear young sisters, you need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every heroine has learned: through overcoming challenges come growth and strength."

"It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop."

"As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I leave you my blessing and give you a promise that as you accept and live the values and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, “[you] will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.”10 And the day will come when you turn the final pages of your own glorious story; there you will read and experience the fulfillment of those blessed and wonderful words: “And they lived happily ever after.”

Whether dressed as a princess in cloth of gold or the rags of a beggar, we choose our reactions to the situations in which we are placed. Some situations are the result of our own actions and some are not. It doesn't really matter. What we do with each one determines how we travel through them and the outcome each provides. It is easy to be happy, kind and charitable when things go "right". It's a little more difficult to do the same when things go "wrong". But, like Sara said, it's more of a triumph to do and be the princess we really are inside at those times. Trials are not given to punish, but to bless us and help us live up to the potential we have as children of God. The rewards are there and will be given to those who really want them. The choice is up to each of us.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Band post, again

Sorry if this is too repetitive. I'm trying to learn something new and you get to share in my experimenting. Have a great weekend!

Timpview High Marching Band

This is the band performance we went to last night. Let me know if you can pick out Spencer. He's the one in the white shirt, blue pants, has a plume on his hat, and is carrying/playing a trumpet. He spends a lot of time on the right side 35-45 yard line. For the 2 seconds that they spell out THS he is the person closest to the camera on the left leg of the H. Enjoy.

Timpview High Band

Oh, I've never posted something by sharing it from an email. Hope it works.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 minutes

Ok, we have 10 minutes until we have to be out the door for soccer and a band performance. I'm skipping dinner tonight. I have officially run out of time. I canned 19 quarts of pears and a couple of quarts of peaches today. Then Erica called and needed me to pick her up at school unexpectedly. So, I drove to school instead of showering. When we got home I showered instead of making dinner. Believe me, it's kinder to humanity that I showered and didn't make dinner instead of the other way around. The kids are thrilled because I said they could make their own breakfast for dinner. I have no idea why that is so appealing, but it is.

Now I find myself with 7 minutes to spare. Still no time to make dinner, but time for a few random thoughts. All of which just left my head...

First- if you have children in elementary school or younger and you're trying to delude yourself into thinking that life will slow down when they get to high school and can drive themselves everywhere and not need nap times and rigid schedules, stop. It is a fallacy. Reality is going to slap you hard in the face. Practice now to schedule out huge blocks of time so you won't miss them later. Also, practice just getting in the car and driving from one point to another all over town for a couple of hours now so that in a few years the seat is already molded around your derriere. Ask a neighbor what the good radio stations are and just set your controls there now. It will save a lot of headache when no one can find the songs they want. I never set mine before and they went to randomness or static. Not any more. You could also check into automatic pilot functions for places like the schools and soccer fields. That will give you a few extra minutes to just think when you're on the one-way portion of the trip that has no one else in the car.

This is not a complaint session. For the most part, the drives are a good time to visit with your child or listen to their conversations and stay up on their lives. Just one night in September I'd like to all be home at once. Maybe I'd even make dinner for such a special occasion.

Oops, over on time. See ya later!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thanks, Thanks, and Thanks

“God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs”
Spencer W. Kimball (“Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, Dec. 1974, 5).

And sometimes he meets our wants. And sometimes it's in ways we wouldn't necessarily have chosen.

This week has been a great example. The screen door on our house has needed to have the screen replaced since we moved in. (That would be over two years ago, in case you've lost count!) Every morning I look at it and think how terrible it looks. Then I remind myself I don't have time to take it off it's hinges and replace it, so I walk on through and do my best to ignore it. I think Heavenly Father got tired of my silent wishes. This week the screws on the lower hinge pulled out of the frame. Twice. I now dreaded going through the door because we really didn't have time to fix it until today and it now sounded terrible as the bottom dragged across the porch. And, if I thought the screen had looked bad before, well swinging in every possible direction from only the top hinge wasn't doing anything to improve my opinion of the situation.

Enter today and my sweet husband. He spent the better part of the day working on the frame and hinges. I spent the better part of an hour on the screen. He wins the prize for doing the most work, hands down. End result is that we have an unblemished screen on a door that not only is hung properly, but now closes all the way by itself, no scraping sound effects included. Bonus!

Or, how about that food storage we're always working to build? Some days it seems like we aren't getting anywhere. Nearly a year ago we signed up for Sunday papers to get coupons. I hadn't had a ton of success over the summer and was considering canceling the paper. This week Macey's had Libby's canned veggies on sale for 3 cans for $1. That was a great price I hadn't seen in a long time, so I ad matched it at Wal-mart and bought 2 dozen cans. Then, on Sunday, both the Parade magazine and one of the coupon inserts had coupons for $1 off three cans. Well, they were still on sale for $.33 each at Maceys so off I went and bought 33 cans for something like $.34- I still had to pay sales tax. New printable coupons for $1 off 3 cans of Libby's veggies came out the day after the sale went off. Drat. Figures! At least I'd gotten what I could. I'd just save those coupons and hope for another sale before they expired. Greg brought home a copy of the Daily Universe from work later in the week. Macey's ran a one page ad that included 3/$1 Libbys veggies extended until Friday at the Provo store only. So, happy, cheap date night, we went and bought 24 more cans for $.25 total. The shelf is full and the wallet's not totally empty.

And, sticking with the finance theme, Erica was in the market for a Homecoming dress. She'd been asked by a nice guy from school and was looking forward to a fun evening. She and I have looked a bit for dresses, but not found anything. Someone mentioned yesterday that Penneys had dresses on sale- and clearance prices at that. We headed over there this morning. Lo and behold, the second one she tries on looks great and is modest. It also has a clearance price tag for $27. Mom and daughter are both very happy! Upon checkout, it rings up at $13.97 for a with-tax total of $14.91. Even happier! Less than an hour of shopping, a cute dress, and a fabulous price. Who could ask for more?

Now, none of those things mentioned above are needs in the sense that we were going to die if we didn't have them. A screen does allow us to enjoy the cool breezes while keeping the bugs out of the house. We are counseled to have food storage and there have been times when we've really needed it, so we do our best to be obedient. Homecoming isn't a required event, but it sure is a fun date and a memorable part of high school. (However, if you agree to go to the dance, you do need to wear clothes. That one is an absolute must.) Wants they all were on some level- verbalized or not. I like to think that Heavenly Father was watching over us this week and through many different people, most of whom have no idea who we are, gave us little gifts to lift our spirits and brighten our journey here on earth. None was big or grandiose, just something small to let us know He's up there and aware of us and our needs. I know that I'll be saying silent thank-yous every morning on my way out the screen door, each time I open a can of vegetables, and as I smile and wave Erica out the door to the dance. And, those are just three of the reasons today I have to say thanks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yoga

Since I had two questions about yoga, I thought I'd answer them in a post.

I've participated in a yoga class put on by a sister in Relief Society every Thursday for about nine months now. I'd never done yoga at all before and wasn't sure what to expect- other than I was sure I'd feel incredibly foolish and uncoordinated. That's how my one and only aerobics class made me feel, anyway. The teacher of our class happened to be the secretary in Young Women last fall. We had a yoga night for a combined YW activity and I surprised myself by totally loving it. Janet is not a real intense yoga-er and I left that class feeling totally relaxed. I hadn't even realized how stressed out I'd been until we were finished. Several of us commented to her that the class had been fabulous and we felt great. She mentioned that she had taught classes off and on before. One thing lead to another and last October she and her daughter started classes as a weekly RS Activity. They actually hold classes Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings. Tuesday evenings don't work at all for me, but Thursday mornings were great until school got out. I've missed most classes this summer for one reason or another- usually involving me being in the car, driving someone else somewhere. School starts again on Tuesday, so next Thursday should finally be free. (Yea!)

I've learned a couple of things:
1) I'm usually more stressed out than I thought each week when I go. We start stretching and I suddenly realize how tight everything is. I would probably really benefit from a class a couple of times a week, but for now I'll settle for once a week and have it to look forward to.

2) Yoga, even in a class setting, is very individual. It only took a class or two to realize that the only person who cared how I was doing was me. I don't feel foolish at all- though that one week we almost had to hold class outside would probably have crossed that line for me! Each move I just try to do a little better than the time before, stretch a little more, pay attention to the moves that seem difficult, try to figure out why and what I can do better, and breathe right. I ALWAYS go home feeling great.

3) Most of the time I don't feel uncoordinated at all. There's no rush on anything and you only go as far as your body allows. Each pose is usually held for a little while which gives me the chance to concentrate on getting where I want to be instead of rushing from one move to another- with a body that has very little rhythm and very sporadic coordination.

4) My favorites are stretching poses and relaxation pose at the end. Yoga has, or can have, a lot of strengthening poses and I enjoy them but the stretching is what makes me feel the best. Relaxation pose at the end almost gives me a little nap and we all know I can never get enough of those!

Those are a few of my thoughts. I've never taken a class anywhere else, so I don't have anything to compare to. I've loved my yoga experience, though, and would highly recommend someone at least trying it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Week-At-A-Glance

I read a post today that said a blogger should aim to post something at least daily, but every two or three days at the minimum. Oops. Not so good about that. If I HAD written everyday this week, you would have gotten to share in the following:

Sunday, Aug. 8- The Relief Society sang "Come, Follow Me" in Sacrament Meeting. Very quiet day after church. Dropped off birthday notes and dehydrated ice cream for Greg to his hike leader to surprise him later in the week. I had absolutely nothing else on the calendar in the afternoon and took a 90 minute nap. Great start to the week.

Monday, Aug. 9- Cleaned all three bathrooms, including the floors, in the same day! We also celebrated Greg's birthday 4 days early.

Tuesday, Aug. 10- Dropped Greg off at church at 6:00 in the am for the 5 day-50 mile hike in the Uinta Mountains. Picked up a friend at the airport who flew into town and needed to borrow Greg's car since there were 0 (read a big fat zero) cars available to rent in the entire state.

Wednesday, Aug. 11- My hairdryer overheated, sparked, and the cord blew out when I was startled and dropped it in the sink. Finally remembered to take Ryan to scouts and he was the first one there! Met a couple of cousins at the park who were in town for quick visits. Soccer practice started.

Thursday, Aug. 12- Missed yoga to take Spencer to the orthodontist. Picked up the car from our friend. Finished grocery shopping. Tried to see a few meteors during the meteor shower but learned later I was looking in the wrong direction.

Friday, Aug. 13- We sang Happy Birthday to Greg on his voice mail. Went to the temple. Got a new 0xygen sensor in Greg's car so the "check engine" light could be turned off. Took Steven as my date to a wedding reception.

Saturday, Aug. 14- Walked a couple of miles, mowed the lawn, and got Spencer and Joseph to soccer practice all by 8:00 this morning. Took my Grandma to the Woffinden Family Reunion and met a bunch of very extended cousins I never knew I had. Greg gets home tonight! Will be wrapping presents tonight for Steven's birthday tomorrow.

So, nothing majorly exciting. Just a normal, crazy week. Makes it easy to keep the post short, which is the other rule bloggers are apparently supposed to observe. It helped me realize I got more done than I thought, though. I've been looking at the weekly "to-do" list I made last Sunday and being frustrated that I didn't get much accomplished. Turns out I got a bunch done, I just didn't realize I'd be doing some of this stuff when I originally made the list. Let's hear it for flexibility and carpets that never seem to get vacuumed!

So, how was your day/week? Anything exciting? Bet you got more done than you thought.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunset

We've had monsoons moving through this last week. They've brought a fair amount of rain, cooler temperatures, and beautiful sunsets. The following are the sunset from Wednesday evening as the sun made it out from behind the clouds for a bit and then fully set. We'd had a huge downpour with hail a few minutes before. A beautiful evening. I love rain!















Friday, July 23, 2010

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Technology is wonderful. I am a very infrequent family history addict. In fact, I was up until midnight last night entering some new information. I can't make myself stop sometimes once I get going. Hence, the reason I only let myself work on it infrequently. And, the desire seems to strike at the most inopportune times. I really don't have the time for family history right now. A month ago I was in D.C. Two weeks after I left for girls camp. Now I've been home almost a week and my sister and her family are coming to visit. I am totally excited to see them and should be doing things like cleaning bathrooms (because guests would really appreciate that sort of thing!) and not staying up adding names to New Family Search. How can one resist, though, when the information delivers itself right to one's inbox?

I received an email yesterday from Larry, a person I'd never even heard of, containing the full name of an individual I've been trying to find for several years. Mr. C.N. Woods has eluded more complete identification ever since I learned of him. Besides knowing that his full name was Copland Norcross Woods, Larry also said he had birth, marriage, and death information, child information, and parent and sibling information. What!!! We emailed back and forth several times yesterday. Larry is retired, has done what he can on his family history for the most part, and now spends his time compiling a database of pioneers and residents of the Eureka, CA area. What an ideal existence. He began work on Greg's Nelson line a couple of days ago and found the work that we had done on New Family Search and wanted to let us know he had more. Wow! That means the program is working exactly as it's supposed to. The church set it up so multiple people could work on and share the information that was available. He sent me the information he'd told me about, I sent him some info, and he's supposed to send his database of 53,000 names. Maybe we can finally make some headway on a couple of dead ends.

See why I was up so late? How exciting! Sorry, Beth. I'll do my best to get right on those bathrooms today, but now those names are sitting there waiting for me to finish entering and submitting them for temple work. I'll do my best, but forgive me if the bathrooms aren't quite done when you get here!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Library Success

Here's a little promo for the BYU Library (HBLL), as it pays Greg's salary, and libraries in general. Who'd have thought a library commercial would go viral. You just never know. Have a great day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life in high gear

Girls Camp (including a Bishop's night), Teacher's High adventure, Scout over night, Webelos Day camp. That's what 6 of the 7 of us were doing last week.

Naps every two hours. That's what I've been doing today.

I may get back to blogging at some point, but for now I'm going back to bed!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th (on the 5th!)

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."
~Erma Bombeck

I saw this quote this morning on Safely Gathered In and smiled. This country is all about helping families grow in peace and safety. Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Happy 234th Birthday, America!
(And many more!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

You Take my Breath Away- and my Burned on Food, and my Dirty Floors

I don't usually have something to post twice in one day, but I suppose it's been an unusually productive day. And, since our camera is at youth conference today, I learned to download pictures from my phone. I thought I'd share. Lucky you! Hope you can see them.

Now, on to our regularly scheduled post.

Meet my stove.


He/She/It does a fantastic job of cooking our food and is used by almost every member of our family almost everyday. For some reason I never got around to lining the drip pans with tin foil when we moved in and they've been great at collecting lots of stuff that we spill every day. So, every week (ok, every month, but it's on the schedule for every week!) I let them soak overnight to get as much gunk off as possible. Despite my good intentions the front two drip pans looked like this after soaking all night and scrubbing this morning:



In case you can't tell by the wonderful photos above, they are covered in burned-on who-knows-what (eggs being a very good first guess). I scrub and scrub but am slowly being beaten out. This morning I remembered that ammonia is great at removing burned on messes in ovens. Maybe it would work for the drip pans, too.

To use ammonia in the oven, just fill a small bowl with ammonia. I use the small Corelle ones. (I don't know if it has to be glass or not, but it seems a little less reactive to me than metal. Plastic may work, too, but don't forget and leave it in the oven when you turn it on!) Set the bowl in the oven, close the door, go to bed. In the morning, get up, shower, etc, remove the bowl from the oven, wipe out all the burned-on spills, rinse sponge/rag, be done. Notice I said "wipe", not "scrub". It really is that easy.

I didn't want to use the whole oven this morning. (To be honest, we have a gas oven and I'm not sure if it's smart to fill the oven with ammonia fumes when there's gas and a pilot light near-by. I need to check in to that still.) I also didn't have all night before I needed to use the stove for dinner tonight. So, I created a small enclosed space with a large glass bowl and glass lid. I put the small bowl with ammonia at the bottom, the two drip pans on top (curved sides facing each other so the fumes could circulate) and then put the lid over the whole thing and left it for the day.


Right before I needed to cook dinner, I pulled them out. I did need to scrub because it had only been a few hours, but EVERY bit of burned on anything came off.



So, I'm thinking that for less than $2 a 64 oz. bottle of ammonia, I can have clean and shiny drip pans for a lot less money and work than covering them with tin foil. Woohoo! But wait, there's more! A little scrubbing with a little straight ammonia not only cleared my sinuses right out, it also cleaned off the stuff that burned to the stove top underneath the drip pan. (Don't ask me how that happened. It just did.)

And, I learned last week a cup of water, 1 tsp. of ammonia, and 2 Tbsp. of a gentle liquid soap of any kind makes a great jewelry cleaner. A little ammonia in a bucket of water does wonders on a kitchen floor. And, I'm assuming there's some sort of glass cleaning possibilities since Windex is all about having ammonia in it. I'll have to Google that.

The best part is, you don't have to order at all, much less in the next 10 minutes or even before next week, there are no special codes to enter, or coupons to find. This baby is available at your local grocer sitting humbly, probably on a bottom shelf, on the cleaning supplies aisle. If you're lucky, your grocer will also carry the lemon scented kind. Wal-Mart doesn't, but our grocery store (Hannaford's) in NH did. It doesn't clear our your sinuses as well, but it is a little more pleasant to be around.

So, remember this little guy the next time you're ready to throw your drip pans out the window and buy new ones.


It was the easiest cleaning job I've had in a long time.

Knowledge is Power

About 10 years ago we went took the kids to visit my grandma in California. On the way home the car stopped working, thankfully not too far from a friend of ours who was a mechanic. We made it to his house, his wife fed us, and the family put us up for the night. The next morning Chris had the car apart, the new part in place, and we were on our way shortly after lunch. I remember telling him what a mystery a car, and pretty much all mechanical devices, are to me. I could give you a run down (at least then) on the components of the nervous system in your body but had absolutely no idea what happened to that wire under the hood of the car once it disappeared from view. He said something about not having a clue about the human body once you got deeper than the skin and we both agreed it was a good thing that there are different people with different knowledge bases in the world.

Over the years we've had lots of opportunities to learn new things. I can now patch and paint a hole in the wall, remove wall paper, paint, repair broken doors, install a new counter-top and new light fixtures, install a new disposal, and do very minor plumbing repairs to name a few. I have pretty much avoided machines, though, and they remain a large mystery to me. So, with that, let me just say:

I replaced the heating element in my dryer today.

Actually, it took me two days- yesterday I took the dryer apart and figured out which part was broken. (Thanks to my neighbor for muscle to pull a part out and for having an ohm meter to test it with.) Today I bought the element, put it in (with my own muscle), tested it, and had no left over parts.

That may not sound very impressive. In fact, to summarize the process in just a few sentences somehow trivializes my last two days. Let me say it again, I replaced the heating element in my dryer. I even have a bloody knuckle to prove it. I realize a service call could have had the whole thing taken care of in a matter of hours, but, doggonit (is that really a word?), I have a brain and shouldn't I be able to figure this out- and while Greg was gone at youth conference to boot? The best part of the whole thing is not even the functioning dryer. The best part is the amazing feeling of accomplishment that comes from figuring out something new- and made even better by having it actually work. One hour or two days- it feels good to say I fixed it because I'd never done it before and, to be honest, it always seemed a bit intimidating to me.

It's a very empowering feeling to break outside of your boundaries, and try something new. The occasional success is icing. It's the trying that provides the long term education. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Knowledge comes by eyes always open and working hands; and there is no knowledge that is not power." Watching something is not the same as trying it first hand. Watching is interesting. Trying something first hand opens the doors to new possibilities and the confidence to explore them.

I realize that we're just talking dryers here- and only one quarter of the schematic diagram that came with the installation instructions for this particular dryer. But, today the dryer is more than a white box that spits out heat and requires a specialist to keep alive. I can open the panel door, look inside, and know what's where in that corner. Next step are the other three schematics. Who knows, maybe I'll even tackle the washing machine someday. The car is still pretty much a mystery to me and the bolt that fell off the other day makes me nervous since I can't see where it fell from. But, we'll take one machine- and one break down- at a time. If I can learn how a muscle works and the anatomy of a human body, man-made machines can't be that hard. It's just a matter of doing it- and having the right equipment. Looks like "ohm meter" will be making it's debut on my wish list.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dances, and Cameras, and Little Girls All Grown Up

Tonight is Senior Ball. Our camera was temporarily unavailable so I borrowed one from a friend. I don't normally post a ton of pictures, but the camera was so nice we had lots of fun figuring out how to use it and pretending we knew how to set up a shot. What a great daughter I have to be ready early so we had time for this! Here are some of my favorites.








She did have a date, too, but I tried to not be an obnoxious parent and take a million pictures after he got here. That means I just snapped a couple of them together and sent them out the door. Tanner was her date to Prom last month, in case his picture looks a little bit familiar.

We Grow 'Em Big Here

So, this Spring all the daffodils and tulips popped up just like they were supposed to. Mixed in among them we had a couple that never bloomed, but I didn't think much about it. They kept growing and growing, though, and today were about twice as tall as any of the other plants.

I was out talking with my next door neighbor this afternoon. His little boys broke the tops off of the tallest plants and suddenly we could smell onions. Wally's garage was opened, so he got a shovel and we dug up what we discovered were the biggest green onions I've ever seen.

This is one that I bought last week at the store:


These are the ones we dug out of the flower bed this afternoon:


I think I'll look up a recipe for onion soup unless anyone knows something better to do with them! (Then, I'm going back to gardening school until I can tell the difference between all the plants.)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happiness for $1.66


This is currently one of my favorite dresses.
(Pardon the lovely presentation. I didn't think to take a picture with it on me. Instead, enjoy the closet background.)


I'm kind of a suit person. This one not only is light weight and cool, it also has the ability to make me feel like I look nice, AND it is machine washable as well. A dress made in Heaven.

Imagine my dismay when it came out of the wash with the shoulder looking like this.


There must have been something in the wash the last time that bleached it a bit and the fabric turned pink. I tried washing it again, on the 1:1,000,000,000 chance that it was a washable stain and not a color washout.

It didn't help.

I was sad and the dress hung in my closet for several weeks because I just couldn't bring myself to toss it.

One morning I had an epiphany.

In the third grade, I was Daisy Duck in the third grade play. (I know, you're jealous.) My costume included 2 baseball hats worn together to look like a duck bill- because everyone knows that ducks have their bills on their foreheads- AND a pair of orange tights because everyone knows that ducks have orange legs with saggy elephant knees and baggy ankles. Guess what. They didn't sell very many pairs of orange tights in the 70's (don't know why) and my mom ended up dying a pair of white ones to give me beautiful Daisy Duck (not Daisy Duke) legs. If I ever find my childhood pictures again I'll have to post a picture for your viewing pleasure.

So, 30-something years later, I remember Daisy and wonder if there might be hope for my dress.

Here is my hero for last week.


It was close enough to my dress color that it was worth a shot.

Add the dye with some hot water and salt to the washer. Insert dress. Agitate for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.


And, voila!


Slightly darker but perfectly wearable and no pink mark on the shoulder. See.


Right here would be the perfect spot to insert a picture of a smiling me wearing the dress last Sunday, but I didn't take one. I did wear it and I was happy and two of my children asked when I got the new dress and didn't I have one kind of like it already. The other three didn't notice.

Mission accomplished. I am one happy woman with a wearable blue dress.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hope of America

Steven participated in the Hope of America concert tonight. Greg couldn't be there, so I videoed some of the songs. I'm posting them here in the hopes that they are easier to see. FYI- Blogger is making me title each video, but my computer isn't letting me see which song is which. So, the titles are a little free floating and subject to my memory of what I actually recorded. Also, I sometimes missed the beginnings and once thought I was running out of battery and once did run out of memory. It should be rather obvious why I am not a videographer. I'm sorry you have to be punished.

As for Steven, if you have the eyes of an eagle you should be able to spot him. The concert takes place in the Marriott Center, If you're familiar with it, the choir fills the entire bench seating section below the concourse- that's one entire long side. Steven's school makes up the bottom 1-1/2 rows of the blue field. There are no white stars in either row. Steven was the 4th person in from the right on the next to last row of blue. Let me know if you spot him.

What is the Hope of America concert? It is a patriotic program hosted by Provo's Freedom Festival (they also sponsor the Stadium of Fire on July 4th) and involves 5th graders from all over the county. Beginning last year they had to split it to 2 nights because there were so many children. There are about 8,000 5th graders participating this year over the two nights. The kids practice at their individual schools and then gather for a dress rehearsal for everyone on the day of the performance. It was really quite impressive to watch.

Oh, the last video starts out all dark, it's not a camera problem.

video


video


video

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cute Faces

See this cute face?



If you have a good imagination and can picture it with open eyes and cut and combed hair, it would look just like the picture on my sidebar labeled "Ryan". (Not to give out names, or anything.)

See this cute face?


It does not have a name, but also belongs to the child named Ryan. You don't really need a good imagination to visualize it, but pretend you noticed it on the wall next to the bed of the cute face above one night as he was going to bed and asked him about it. He might give you the same answer he gave me. Isn't that cool?! I made it by scratching off the paint."

Got that all imagined in your mind? Question. What would your face look like?

Good thing Ryan has such a cute face on his head that I love a lot because his cute face on the wall was not giving me feelings that made me have a cute face at all for a second, I'm sure. I think the whole thing is a bit funny, now, but don't tell Ryan because I'm not rewarding this behavior, I'm just documenting it. (That's why all the pictures were taken after he went to sleep and you have to imagine him awake.)

Anyone want to come help him paint?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Princess and the Prom

Once upon a time there was a princess in the land of Timpview. She and three other royal friends decided that it would be fun to go to the annual Junior Prom, so they planned to go together. There was much excitement and anticipation, but the great day finally arrived.


The 4 royal friends created their own corsages, spent the afternoon at the park, ate a royal dinner prepared at the castle of one of the princes, dressed in their finery, danced the night away and had much fun together, then ate ice cream and visited until the clock struck 12:00. At that time, they were spirited back to their homes in a royal chariot and entered an enchanted slumber and slept happily ever after- until they were awakened early (at least at this castle) to don their finery again and head off to church.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Music Moment

Being up on a hill, we get to see a lot of cool weather. It's one of my favorite things about this house. This is what we saw tonight as the sun was setting after a cloudy, rainy day.


It looked like someone had cut a little slice through the cloud layer with a light saber. After the initial Star Wars thought, the lines from two very different songs took over and I can't get them out of my head. I thought I'd share so you can join me in trying to figure out a way to make them meld: "So, when life gets dark and dreary...the sun'll come out tomorrow".


A little "Annie" meets the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A great thought, but a very irritating combination. However, some days it's good to remember that somewhere up there the sun is shining and someone hears and answers even the littlest, quietest prayers that we offer. So, ere you leave your room in the morning, I'll bet my bottom dollar that if you think to pray, tomorrow there'll be sun, to change your night to day.

Happy humming. (You're very welcome.)

Don't forget to pray.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

White as Snow

I woke this morning to a not-so-typical looking Easter morning. The sun hadn't risen all the way, yet and I wasn't even sure it would poke it's head out because of all the clouds. It's not often that you see a "White Easter", especially when you didn't really have a "White Christmas" or even much of a "White Winter".


My first thought was of the scripture in Isaiah 1:18, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow". Everything was so clean, pretty, and white. Then I looked a little closer and saw the poor daffodils.

They were struggling with what looked like the weight of the world on their tiny little shoulders. That's what you get for being an early spring flower. Timing is everything. There are warm, beautiful days and then there are those days when they probably wonder why they bothered poking their heads out of the ground. In fact, we could get several inches of snow tomorrow, too. Good thing they are made of tougher stuff than they look.

Then I realized what a perfect morning this was to be an Easter morning. The whole point of Easter is to remind us that the Savior came to earth, lived a perfect life, died, and was resurrected so that not only could we someday go where He has gone, but to remind us that He has "been there and done that". He's lived on earth in much harsher circumstances than I and did so perfectly. Then He took on Himself all my imperfections, mistakes, wrongs, and sins so that He could 1) understand my pains and trials and 2) pay for them because there was no way I could do so on my own. He opened the door for me and everyone else on earth to return Home and have everything He has. All he asks in return is that we follow Him and do our best to live as He would.


This life wasn't meant to be easy. It was meant to be a test to help us learn and grow. Timing is everything and life in the Last Days is far from perfect. There will be beautiful, warm, Spring days. There will also be days when we not only wondered why we bothered to get up we will wonder if we can possibly bear everything that is placed on our shoulders. Sometimes the weight is there because that's just the nature of mortal life. Sometimes it is there because of the choices we made. Either way, the Savior is there to help us through. Even as I stood there taking pictures with the first light of day, I could here water dripping in rain gutters as the weight of the snow began melting away in the face of the rising sun. If we can remember to turn to our own sun- or I should write The Son- the weight of our burdens will melt away. They may not be gone, but they will be lighter. And, I think we'll find that we are made of tougher stuff than we look.


Since taking pictures this morning, the clouds have moved back in. Right now I can't even see the mountains across the street. I know they're there, though, and that somewhere above the clouds the sun is shining brightly. What a perfect Easter morning. The greatest miracle of all is that He lives and because He does, so can we! Happy Easter!