Thursday, November 17, 2011

Routines and Being Educated by a Bag of Cheese

Our family loves cheese- and not just because it's in a three-way tie for Ryan's favorite word ("banana" and "stuff" being the other lucky winners).  We eat more of it than is probably good for us.  As such, I buy shredded cheese in big 5 pound bags at Sam's Club.  We eat it more sparingly if I buy smaller bags, but the price is better in big bags.  To get the best of both worlds I buy the big bag, cut open the top, and then divide it into smaller bags which are stored in the freezer until we need/want them.

 It's usually a process that creates quite a mess on my counter because there just isn't a real great way of getting a handful of finely shredded cheddar from one bag to another without dropping some on the counter.  I've done it this way for years and never gave it much thought.

Forward to today.  I cut open the top of the bag and it split down the seam that runs the entire length of the bag.  At first I was irritated.  Then I realized my life was just simplified for years to come.  Do you realize that with the bag split open like that I can fill a baggie right over the open bag?  Any cheese that drops falls right back into the pile of cheese ready to be part of the next handful.  I don't even want to mention how many years it took me to realize this and I didn't even do it on my own.  I really need to get my life out of it's rut more often.
 Makes me wonder just how much of every day is wasted because I do things the way I've always done them.
(Oh, and I'm feeling incredibly brilliant right about now.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Quite the Horrible Parent I Thought I Was

Joseph and I had a little visit with the orthopedic doctor today.  Turns out he most likely does NOT have a broken foot (parental redemption!) but a strain of some sort on either the tendons that attach to the 5th meta-tarsal or the growth plate at the end of the bone.  He even took an x-ray of his other foot to prove he has the same "break" in both feet.  He recommended a set of shoe inserts and gave Joseph some pointers on ways to change his gait when he runs.  Joseph tends to run on the front of his foot and toes more than he should and that puts strain on those insertion points.  He should see improvement soon.  If not, we go back in three weeks.

So glad it's not broken and the treatment only involved a trip to an orthopedic supply place this afternoon.  That is a much better option, in my opinion, than surgery or a brace for several weeks, or whatever else.  Joseph is still not completely convinced that the doctor isn't scamming us, but does agree that the inserts feel "squishy" and better on his feet.  They also make him a little taller.  That alone makes the day worthwhile.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amazing Parenting 101- Step by Step Instructions

Step 1:

When your child complains of a sore foot, tell him to give it some time because he probably just strained it participating in PE that day.

Step 2:

Figure it must have gotten better since he doesn't ever complain about it again- just mentions it in passing.

Step 3:

When he brings it up again in the middle of soccer season 2 YEARS later, tell him it's probably just from soccer and see how it feels when the season is over.

Step 4:

Ten days after the season ends, finally take him in to the doctor.

Step 5:

Bask in your amazingness as you tell the doctor and the nurse and the x-ray technician- out loud and to their faces- that your son has had a sore foot for 2 YEARS (even though he hadn't really complained about it and played soccer two more seasons, and had 2 rounds of PE, and all that other stuff and seemed to be fine.)

Step 6:

Be totally impressed with your son when the x-ray appears to show he's had a broken foot for 2 YEARS and he's not really complained about it and played soccer two more seasons, and had 2 rounds of PE, and all that other stuff and seemed to be fine.

Step 7:

Be somewhat concerned that even though it appears to just be an avulsion fracture it still hasn't healed in 2 YEARS and agree that a referral to an orthopedic surgeon is probably warranted.

Step 8:
Agree to not make said son do the mile run in PE on Tuesday, but stand firm in demanding that chores be completed.  After all, he's not really complained about it and played soccer two more seasons, and had 2 rounds of PE, and all that other stuff and seemed to be fine for 2 YEARS.  I think a couple more days of vacuuming the living room before seeing the orthopedic surgeon isn't going to make matters all that much worse.  (But go ahead and buy him a cookies and cream candy bar.  You don't have to be totally heartless.)

Sorry Joseph.  I've said it before and I'll say it again- It's amazing, sometimes, that humans live to adulthood.

 There's probably some way to mark this, but I don't know what it is.  The fracture is the edge of the bump on the right.  The doctor circled it with a pen, so it looks like a dark line of shadow surrounded by a hairline fracture.  The hairline fracture is just ball point pen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome Fall!

Today started out like summer and is ending like fall.  Shorts and t-shirts to school, sunshine for the walk.  Rain arrived right as the last child got home.  I baked cookies and we had tomato soup, pop corn, and grilled cheese for dinner.  Temp is at 58 and falling.  The windows are open and the smell of rain and chocolate chip cookies is everywhere.  We got the final layer of our new street yesterday.  Greg is on his way home from 100 degrees in Houston.  Perfect start to the weekend!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Post Vacation, or, What happened to all that time that was looming before me just a few weeks ago?

I think I take longer to recover from vacation/being gone than I do to get ready to go.  It's taken 10 days, but the laundry is caught up, the house has been completely cleaned once (not in the last half of the 10 days and really could use it again!), groceries are in the cupboards, and the check book is caught up.  2 sons have left for a week-long camp and returned, the husband has left for his camp out. I spoke in church, got Erica to and from work, and Spencer to and from band, enjoyed visits from several family members, had a birthday, planted carrots for a fall garden, found several geocaches with another son, enjoyed some AMAZING rain storms, attended a sealing and an endowment session with Greg, took the kids to the temple for baptisms, registered the last son for 5th grade, bought most school supplies, helped a friend move (a little), took same friend to the airport, saw HP with most of the family, and slept at least 7 hours most nights since getting home.

I still have a newsletter to write, 6 closets to sort through with their owners, 2 other birthdays to shop for and celebrate, soccer practices to start, school clothes to buy, one child to get moved into a dorm, the schedule of one high schooler to get changed, several days to spend helping my Grandma, and an anniversary to celebrate (if we're every at the same place at the same time again!) all before school starts on the 22nd.

Ahhhh, life!  Someday I'll think about recording things on a blog again.  (Thank heaven for plants!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thank You!

A road is the only thing that could trump the washing machine yesterday.  What a great week!  The rest of the summer is looking up- we'll be able to get out of the driveway without dropping off a small cliff to enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy Sounds

 Know what the best sound of the day today is?  Ok, besides the sounds of pavement being laid on the street outside  (hopefully done in the next few days!)?  It specifically is a sound that has never been heard in this house and generally a sound that hasn't been heard for almost a week.  (That's not a good thing, but it could be much worse.) 

It's the sound of this:

washing this:

 because this:

 had given us everything it had and earned a rest. 

Soon the old one will have a final resting place at the dump.  Until then the camp and garden stuff is keeping it company.  The new one is on it's second of countless washes to come in it's lifetime and at least one more tonight.  Hope it's up to the task because the picture of laundry above is just the stuff that's made it to the laundry room- a mere fraction of the love we're waiting to share. 

It's a good day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Open Letter to Greg

Dear Greg-

Thank you so very much, I think, for bringing home that box of heavenly goodness.  Please feel free to do so at any time.  Loretta must be one amazing cook.  I do think it is a good thing that you do not travel to New Orleans very often and that we live on the other side of the country or your wife would seriously weigh 500 pounds.  I think that stuff should be on a DEA, FDA, or ATF hit list because I CANNOT stop eating it.  I hope you got some before you left because there's like a 99.99999998% chance that all you get when you get home is a box with a picture on it.  I don't even want to know how much butter is in it.  Good thing it's the 5th ingredient in a list of 6- right behind sugar, which is at least behind pralines and pecans.  One redeeming quality is that I can pronounce all 6 ingredients.  That means the calories are better for me, right?  I must admit that I'm not totally up on what a praline is, but I'll fix that as soon as I'm done here.  They are yummy, whatever they are.  Thank you so much for thinking of us.  We all appreciate it, but mostly me.  So glad you're home! 



1. A smooth, sweet substance made by boiling nuts in sugar and grinding the mixture.
2. A crisp or semicrisp candy made by a similar process.

PS-I've decided that I love online dictionaries!
PPS- Maybe it's not such a good thing that pralines are the second ingredient behind praline flavoring.  Looks like listing pralines at the top gives one a distorted view of how much sugar there really is in this box- and I notice there's no nutrition label.  Convenient..  This is definitely a time when ignorance is bliss!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mission Accomplished

For the last several years I've thought it would be cool to make freezer jam from strawberries we grew in our backyard.  Yesterday it finally happened.  We went from this:

 to this:

in rather short order.

It's been declared "yummy" by Steven and now I'm off to try some myself.

Monday, June 13, 2011


pave·ment  (pvmnt)
a. A hard smooth surface, especially of a public area or thoroughfare, that will bear travel.
b. The material with which such a surface is made.
2. Chiefly British A sidewalk.
Use it in a sentence:
The best thing about pavement is that we have some (the thoroughfare kind, that is, not the sidewalk kind!).  =)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Curb Appeal


Verb: Restrain or keep in check.
Noun: A stone or concrete edging to a street or path.

Use it in a sentence:
I never thought I'd need to curb my excitement over the fact that a curb was poured, but I do. 

Isn't it beautiful? 

It might soon be followed by a road.  After 6 months, I don't think I could curb that much excitement.

Oh, happy day!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Graduation Flashmob

Other people had functioning cameras at graduation last week.  I'm glad, because they were able to record this:

Fun memories!

Friday, May 27, 2011

It Really Does Happen

For all those who feel like these days will never end...

I'm here to say that they do- even though I didn't believe it back then.

And you really will turn around and wonder where the time went. 


And you'll wonder when, exactly, did her friends switch from the stuffed, plush type to the living, breathing help-you-be-the-best-you-can-be type?

 And you'll feel happy and sad at the same time.  But mostly happy.

 And you'll wish that you had fully charged the battery in your camera before you left home.  Because then the picture of your child leaving the auditorium to get in line to be announced as a graduate won't be the last picture on the camera with a good "zoom" function.

And you'll be left taking the picture of her big moment with your cell phone. (Which at least you'll have and be grateful for it!)

(Still not perfect parents- not sure exactly when that part comes- but blessed to have such amazing children, anyway!)

Congratulations, Erica!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Leaving the Comfort Zone

3-part miracle for today:

1) Sang a duet with Erica at Seminary Graduation.("Oh How Lovely was the Morning" arranged by Janice Kapp Perry)
2) Sang all the words.
3) Did not pass out from stage fright.

 Good day all around.  I've earned a good night's sleep.  'Night!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Hope of a Seed

I like seeds, all kinds of seeds.  I love the process of watching/helping them grow.  There is great satisfaction and joy that I get through the entire process from seed to sprout, to plant, to flower, to fruit.  I'm not a master at what I do, but I enjoy it immensely. 

At last year's Women's Conference a speaker used an analogy I'd never thought of before.  I wish I could remember the class or the speaker, but I can't.  I'm grateful the idea has stuck with me.  She pointed out that in order for a seed to become what it was meant to become, it had to be willing to be destroyed.  If it held on to what it currently was and fought against the changes that were meant to occur, it could never grow into the plant it had the potential to become.  The new life is fragile, but exciting.  Given enough time, sunlight, water, and nutrients it has the potential to become a full grown plant that not only has the strength to grow, but also to produce fruit and seeds of it's own.

We are like that seed- put here on this earth to grow into something infinitely more grand than we can currently see or even imagine.  Sometimes it's hard.  Sometimes it might hurt.  Sometimes it is beautiful.  Even the very first evidences of growth are more majestic and complex than the original seed.  Each the smallest bit of further growth is cause for excitement as it brings us one step closer to the being we were meant to become.  Someday, given enough time, experience, patience, and effort we have the potential to become just like our Father who planted us here.

I also like the idea that Heavenly Father is up there tending to this large garden of his which happens to include me.  I like to think that he watches me sprout, produce new leaves, mature and begin to flower and bear fruit.  He knows why I was planted and what He hopes me to become.  My job is to give myself over to the process and grow, fulfill my purpose her, and bear all the fruit I was meant to bear.

The Savior was, as in everything, the perfect example of losing himself in the process of fulfilling his mission and becoming who He was meant to be.

"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38)

Everything He did was to please the Father and accomplish His mission of atoning for the sins of the world.  And, He did it.  And, I am eternally grateful.  Because, as much as we'd like to avoid it, we're all going to make mistakes while growing.  He lives again and wants nothing more than for us to return home.  The Saviors atonement allows us to repent, change, and get back to the true business of becoming that being we are meant to become.  As long as we keep trying, there is hope.  That is the beautiful message of Easter.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Christmas Anyone?

Don't the backhoes and chain link fencing look almost magical when covered in snow?  
(No, not really.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Irrational Fears

It's 4:41 am and I've been awake for 41 minutes.  I'm somewhere between nervous and scared to walk my children to school today.  That seems really dumb to me.  I knew from past experience that dislocating my knee last month would result in one more activity added to my list of "Do Not Participate"s.  I assumed that activity would be cross country skiing, since that's what we were attempting to do that day.  Instead I find it to be walking down hill.  If you know where I live, you know that being afraid/nervous to walk downhill creates a few issues with life- one of those being walking to school.

Just to be clear, I have still added cross country skiing to my list- just like downhill skiing has always been on the list and I've never even been to a ski resort.  No injury involving that sport, just common sense that sliding down a hill at possibly great speeds with skis to act as levers to create extra torque on certain joints wouldn't be very smart for me.  It's also pretty easy to avoid tether ball or gymnastics since you tend to reach a point where those activities drop out of your life anyway.  I'd still occasionally play around with soccer or basketball a little, but nothing remotely intense or competitive at all.  I've never been nervous about something that's so much a part of everyday life. 

I've taken a few walks up and down my street since February 21 and my knee does fine.  Until this week, I couldn't bring myself to walk down the hill to church.  I'd stand at the top and look down the hill and move on.  The stupid thing is I'd continue to walk up to the top of the hill on my street and then turn around and walk back down to my house.  That hill doesn't bother me as much.  Maybe it's not as steep, I don't know.  That's part of the "irrational".

I don't like being scared of something so minor, so my goal on Monday was to walk to my friend, Lisa's, house and back.  That would require me to go down the steepest part of the hill but not be too far in case it was too much for my knee.  I wasn't going to visit or anything, just walk to her driveway and back.  Lisa must have been inspired because she called and asked if I wanted to go for a walk that morning.  I explained my fear and hesitation and she said she'd be happy meet me at the top to walk down the hill with me.  What a good friend!  I made it to the hill before she did and decided to bite the bullet and just go down.  Know what?  It was totally fine.  I met Lisa part way down, my knee felt great at the bottom and we ended up walking a good mile or more that morning.  It felt fabulous!  Exercise is so good for me in a lot of ways and I'd really missed it.

In the excitement of my success that morning, I promised Steven and Ryan after school on Monday that we could walk to school Friday morning.  It's supposed to be in the 70's today, no snow/rain to worry about, and nothing I really have to be in a rush for so we can take our time if needed.  I do have physical therapy this morning, but that was part of the plan.  I could go get a good dose of ultra sound, electric stem, and ice if the walking really bothered me.  I'm sure it won't, though.  I walk all the time.  That's the rational side of my brain.  The irrational side is coming up with all sorts of other possible scenarios.  I'm ignoring it, or at least trying to.  Hopefully it will fade away in time.

It's only been 4 days and I know I've walked down that hill once, but I'm still nervous.  I guess it's like most situations involving trust- the trust has to be earned.  I do feel a little "betrayed" by my knee since I wasn't doing anything very unusual when the injury occurred.  I am slowly allowing myself to trust it again, but I think it will just take time and experience.  It is feeling and performing much better than it was and every day it gets better.  My brain just needs to let go a little.  Like with people, I need to give my knee a chance to "prove" it's "trustworthy".  I think that's almost the hardest part.  Too bad there's not some ultrasound or electric stem for that!  All I've got is determination and the freedom to choose and I refuse to let something like this rule my life.  So, off to the shower and to face my day head on.  That way I'm ready for the rest of my day (rational) or at least I'll be clean when the paramedics come to scrape me off the sidewalk (irrational).  Should be an interesting morning!

Update:  The walk went well.  Yea!  Downhill was a little more tiring on the non-existent quad muscles.  The all downhill and then all uphill was a little more strenuous than flat, but it wasn't too bad.  I think things always look better in the morning.  Thinking about things in the dark always makes a much bigger mountain out of them than it really needs to be.  One step closer to normalcy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Room With a View and a Very Warm Welcome

Pack your bags! Have we got the weekend getaway destination for you! More fun and excitement than you'll know what to do with.

First, directions:

Drive up the hill to our street. Head south until you see this sign:
Ignore the Detour and drive right on by, as you aren't going all the way thru, just part way.

If you're coming between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:00pm, keep driving until you see this sign:

(There are actually 2 signs. I just didn't get out to take a picture until after 5:00, so they'd been moved off the road already.)
This time there will not be a "Detour" sign, but the road will now be officially closed. Ignore the sign and drive around it.

You're almost there when you see this on your left:
If you are coming after 5:00 pm and before 7:00 am, look for this sign and stay to your right:

Chances are, you won't be able to see much on your left because it will be dark most of those hours. The orange pylons are your friends. Follow them unless you want to extend your stay with a visit to the local hospital (it's very good, by the way) as well as drive either a new car or a badly damaged one home from your fun weekend. Optional towing services are available, but are not covered by this package.

Depending on the actual placement of the last 2 signs, you will most likely need to drive past a couple more houses to get to your destination. We'll try and move the company cars up as close as we can to the establishment so you can fit in the driveway because this sign is sitting right out front:

Don't ignore this sign. We haven't actually seen anyone towed, but they have come around asking if we know who owns vehicles left on the street. Also, there are several signs just like this on the street. Make sure you have the right sign in front of the right destination.

Once you are here, we have a nice comfy bed waiting for you:

It's nothing fancy, but it's warm inside and has a second bed hidden away underneath. That means you can bring a friend. This gets better by the minute! We'll do our best to make the company entertaining.

In case you're looking for a quiet, alone time, there are other activities that are sure to meet your every whim. Some of the decor has been provided by the natives- made by hand and everything:

(Good job, Steven! Not bad for a 6th grader, eh?!)

When you get tired of looking at the artwork, you may feel free to turn around and take in the view out your window:

If you hurry, there will still be snow to see as well. No guarantees after tonight, though. However, since it's after 5:00 on Friday, I can guarantee the large equipment until Monday morning at 7:00. It might even serve as your complimentary wake-up call if you choose to sleep in that late.

FYI, it's a much better view than yesterday. This bad boy was right across the street from your window until this very morning:

If you're feeling very adventurous, you can go explore the canyons that are just across the street:

Unfortunately, at this time, there are no tours or other activities allowed in the canyons. They are as deep as the long arm on the backhoe. We have mountains that are much taller than the canyons are deep just a little way beyond. As I mentioned, there may even be snow on the them to look at/enjoy in person if you hurry.

Once you're all tired out, you are welcome to return and take a luxurious nap lulled either awake or asleep by the gentle rattling motions created here:

The canyons are being created right before our very eyes. The head of that large backhoe crashes delightfully on top of those posts to drive them into the ground and create the walls of the natural wonder just outside your window. What an opportunity. It is not to be missed. (The only phenomenon we've found to be better was living in NH and they had to use dynamite when redoing the road outside of that house. Quite fun!) The canyons extend a good way south from here and are slowly working their way northwards. Their creation makes this delightful getaway pretty much inaccessible from the south, so make sure you come in from the north.

All of this can be yours for the very low (right!) price of the gas it takes to get here. Everything else is included at no extra charge to you. This is a first come/first served invitation, so don't delay. Operators are standing by.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Branching Out

It's getting to be that time of year- gardens are on my mind. In an effort to meet a few wants- mine to record what going on and yours to avoid being inundated with more gardening posts than you care about- I'm recording the adventures at Wordpress also serves the purpose of broadening my technical abilities- which I'm finding are lacking. So, check it out if you'd like, or don't, but I'll spare you the gory gardening details here. Happy planting!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday, Monday

I hadn't planned to post anything today. I mean, this is the third year in a row we've gone to Aspen Grove for President's Day. You can read about snowshoeing in 2009 here and cross country skiing in 2010 here. I mean, really, how many ways can you write about the same thing?

Lucky you, we found a way to mix it up a little bit.

The day started out like this:

We opted for cross country skiing again because everyone but me liked it better. It was a beautiful day. We got our skis without any trouble. The snow was out in abundance. They told us they had 2 feet of new snow just yesterday. We were enjoying the day on our way over to the trail head. That's pretty much all of the activity that I saw. You'll have to check out Erica's blog to see the rest, when she gets pictures posted.

My afternoon looked like this:
(You should pay attention to the clean room and floor. It makes me happy when it occasionally shows up!)

Those of you that knew me from 6-10 grades may realize that this was once a regular scene from my life. I dislocated my left knee cap 7 times in that 4 year span. The list of sports in which I dislocated my patella is also the list of sports I no longer participate in- gymnastics, dodge ball, soccer, tether ball, tennis, basketball, another one I can remember. I also generally avoid softball because I sprained my right knee when at bat once. I had surgery twice in an effort to keep all body parts where they belong. I've sprained my left knee twice since then, but no dislocations. Apparently, I'm trying to reconnect with my childhood because I dislocated my knee again after all these years. I am happy to report that the two surgeries have held up. This time it was my right leg instead of the left.

We were walking down the road to the trail head wearing our fancy non-tread ski shoes, carrying our skis and poles. Ryan was running behind Greg and me and I turned slightly to tell him to be careful and not slip in the ice when I wasn't careful and slipped on the ice. Nothing like being an excellent example of why we do what our parents ask us to do! My skiing was done and I never even got to put the skis on. Good thing, too. Can you imagine what might have happened with long slippery sticks involved in the fall?!

Greg and an employee helped me back to the dining hall. By then the shock and initial pain had worn off and I sent Greg out to have fun with the kids. I could sit on a chair at home or sit on a chair at Aspen Grove. Might as well let everyone else enjoy their day. After we got home, Greg drove me over to Urgent Care. I was pretty sure it was sprained and they'd just tell me to wear my brace and take it easy for a while. I wanted to know when I could walk on it and drive again or I'd have just stayed home.

Turns out to be dislocated, not sprained. The ligaments all felt tight to the doctor and the x-ray showed all the bones back in their correct spots. I have a new bendable knee brace to add to the collection (which we can't find!). I do have to take it easy, but not like I did when I was younger. Back then it was 6 weeks in a straight leg brace and then rehab to regain all my atrophied muscle- which I apparently didn't do very well since I kept repeating the injury. This time I wear the bendy brace all the time for 2 weeks then as I need it for a couple of months, move it a little more each day, get off the crutches as soon as it feels ok, and drive when it feels good enough. I like medical advances.

Right now, it's swollen, but feels pretty good here on the couch. Erica took over and made dinner- thank you! Greg is out getting ice cream, and we're going to have a nice quiet Family Home Evening. Oh, and I am happy to announce that skiing is officially on my list of sports that I no longer participate in even though it;s technically not a skiing accident. Next year, I'm just going to plan ahead before this activity. Greg and the kids can do their thing. I'm just taking a book and finding a comfy chair in the dining hall with a donut and some hot chocolate before I get hurt.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sweet Heart

It's dance season again. Erica is off tonight at the Sweet Heart dance. No sweet heart for her, just a good friend- Ben. She wanted a red or pink dress and lucky her, we found a fantastic deal on the perfect dress at the first store. Some body upstairs must love her! She has the camera with the other pictures, so this will have to suffice for now.