Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Much to Noodle's delight, I made a marginal effort to have some more decorations this year. She thoroughly enjoyed doing the spider web on the door and drawing the Jack Skellington.

Friday, October 07, 2011

so much to do...

Well, I figure 3 months without any blog post means my blog is on its way to death, and that makes me sad. Sad enough, in fact, to give it an extra burst of life by posting something. Not only have I not been writing for my blog (though I did post one entry on my homeschool blog last month), I haven't been reading other blogs much, either.

David started a new job at the beginning of September. The same day we started our homeschool year. That was a hard week, with me thinking multiple times a day, "Why on EARTH am I doing this to myself, and my children, for that matter?!" About our third week in, some things seemed to click. Now we just finished week 5 and I feel like we have some good momentum going, finally, and it doesn't feel like I'm fighting to not lose "it" everyday. So hey, maybe we've turned a corner.

David really likes his job. It's about a 25 minute commute, so not too bad. With only one car, we were alternating having him drive and take the bus in September. For October we have opted to give the bus a try everyday. M-Th this week that worked fine. This morning he was too tired to do his standard early wake-up (5 a.m.) and then we ended up missing the 7:01 bus by literally one minute. So I had to drive him all the way to work, which turns into a 50 minute round trip drive for me. Which ate into my usual morning "work time". He usually catches the 5:57 a.m. bus and gets to work early and exercises for an hour or so before starting work for the day.

I have more stuff to blog about, but it seems like the sort of thing that merits its own post, so for now this will have to suffice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I can see clearly now....

Last summer, Sprout got a hold of my glasses (which I only wear in the mornings, usually, before my eyes wake up enough for contacts) and broke off one of the earpieces (is that what they are called?). So I've been wearing "one-armed glasses" ever since. Plus the prescription was 8 years old and all that, which all added up to me not really being able to see very well if I didn't have my contacts in. But since I'm so blind, I have to get the ultra thin lenses, which means any pair of glasses I get is at least $100. But, I finally ordered some and they came on Monday. I can see AND they don't fall off my face every time I move my head. AWESOME!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mormon Scholars Testify

A lot of what she says reflects my own feelings and testimony. Emily Bates

I believe that God is the source of goodness and doesn’t send bad things to the world—that the bad things and events come because of mortal life, our own bad decisions, and others’ bad decisions. I believe that, in general, the commandments lead to a good and happy life—that their purpose is to minimize the hardship and hurt in the world. I especially love the word of wisdom and see that as a great witness of God’s love and wisdom. I believe that God understands why we doubt, fear, and end up messing up a lot. I think it saddens Him because He knows we are sacrificing something good that we can’t see for some momentary fix. I have felt His love after I messed up and tried to come closer to Him again. I have felt redeemed and close to God after periods of neglecting that aspect of life. I believe strongly that family relationships and other deep relationships are necessary and important for us in this life. Learning to love and care for each other is one of the main points of life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

little high, little low

I seem to have a good week followed by a bad week. And not that events are bad, just my hope and faith and fortitude and all that stuff that is necessary to get me through this time of life. The last two weeks I felt really positive about life and even the uncertainty of our future in so many areas didn't get me down, but this week has been a lot harder. I guess that's just life, but I sure wish I could hold on to the good stuff more permanently.

My friend Julie had linked this Mormon Message on Facebook, and it made me cry like a baby. It was an appropriate reminder for me this week. I wish the things that DON'T matter most mattered even less and didn't cause me such anxiety.

We did go to the park last night because my niece wanted me to take some pictures of her (she is recently returned from a mission and doesn't have any current ones for her sweetie who is out of state all summer). Here's an album: Fun times

And here is one of my favorites:

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

here's the story...

of a lovely ducky!

Monday night the family went on a bike ride down to the lake. We climbed out on the rocks next to the flooded docks and the kids had fun being rock monkeys and tossing rocks in the lake, while David and I enjoyed the view. On our way back, Zion noticed a lone duckling swimming along the side of the river. The bank was higher in this part than in other areas, so there was a fair distance between us and the duckling. We watched it for several minutes, hoping its duck family was nearby, but no other ducks were in view, and we hadn't seen any other ducklings along the trail. The kids, especially Noodle, really wanted to try and get it, but we discouraged it, and David said, "You want that duckling, you need to pick two pets to get rid of." :-| We end up deciding that we probably can't help it, and we head home. The entire way, though, I was thinking about the little duck and how I want the kids to WANT to help others, whether little creatures or other people, and how if we DID help the duckling, this would be something they'd remember for years. And they'd also remember it, and worry about it, if we did nothing.

So after we returned home, I snuck back outside with a little plastic cage and a butterfly net. I wasn't able to find a working flashlight, so I figured it was all for naught as the sun had already set and it was quite dark. But I still wanted to try. I rode as fast as I could pedal back to the river trail and back to the area where we'd last seen the duckling. I got off the bike, took my shoes and socks off and rolled up my pants. I listened for its peeps, but didn't hear anything. I chirped, and then heard a response.

I had to wade into water about up to my knees, then climbed on a floating log and walked about six feet along there until I came to some bushes/flooded trees/branches (not sure) in the water. I chirped some more and heard a response out in the branches, out of my reach. I just stood there, peering into the darkness looking for movement and chirping periodically. Finally I saw the little duck swimming towards me. I couldn't reach it though. I kept chirping, and it swam a few feet away, so I stuck out the butterfly net and miraculously caught it! I was so surprised when I pulled the net back and it had something in it! What were the chances!? I also figured if I hadn't caught it that first time, the duckling might have been too spooked to come close to me again, so it was really fortuitous.

I put him in the little plastic critter carrier in my bike basket and headed home.

The kids all had a blast with him (me too!) and we would have kept it if we didn't have so much up in the air right now. We just couldn't commit to another pet right now. Today we took him down to a wildlife rehabilitator who has someone raising 6 or 7 other ducklings so it can join them. It definitely strengthened our desire to get ducks someday, though! So stinkin' cute and fun! I put an album up on facebook, too. You should be able to view it without an account.

More duckling!

At the rehabilitation place, Patti (the rehabilitator) had me help her hold a little flammulated owl with a broken wing while she administered some fluids. It was AWESOME! I am hoping I can figure out a way to volunteer there, as it is what I've wanted to do for YEARS!

P.S. David wasn't very upset...though I think he was relieved that my plan wasn't to keep it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

movie review + thoughts on challenges

I watched the Temple Grandin movie tonight. For those unfamiliar, Temple Grandin is a woman who has autism and when she was a child, the standard "treatment" for autism was institutionalism. It was also thought to be caused by an unloving/unresponsive mother during some critical phase of the child's early development. (Hell, compared to that, society blaming it on vaccines for a few years seems like a definite improvement.) Anyways, she has gone on to get a Masters and PhD and has revolutionized (not an exaggeration) the handling/care of livestock in the United States. Because of her autism, she sees in pictures and is uniquely able to see her surroundings as animals see them (particularly highly visually sensitive prey animals, like cows). It may seem like a simple or trivial thing, but I appreciated how the movie made the point that, in Temple's words "Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be." Even though the ending point for the cows is the same (they'll be killed and eaten), they don't have to feel fear, confusion or pain.

Her revolutionary ideas were ridiculed at first even when they had been demonstrated to work because they were new and upset the status quo. A thought I had while watching the scene of the demonstration of the very calm "cow dip" (which is when cows swim through a bath of stuff that kills parasites and whatnot) is that it made me wonder if perhaps God mightn't have looked down and seen how the cows were being treated and thought, "Those children of mine can do better than that. It isn't that they are cruel, they just don't see it." (I'm operating under the assumption that God approves of meat eating, at least to some extent, which I think he does even if I don't choose to consume it myself) And then he decided to send someone down who could see it. But in order to see it, she'd have to be different, because if she were "normal," she couldn't see it. Maybe she even would have signed up for that lot, given the option.

I have such a hard time going through challenges and having faith that I will come out on the other side of the challenge intact, let alone improved. I try so desperately to hold on to what I have now, what seems so important, that I am afraid my hands will still be clenched so that I'll miss them even if (when?) the blessings do begin to pour out upon me. I am sure that God looks down on me and wishes I could just see, or even just imagine, the brightness of life ahead of me. But I get so afraid. The uncertainty of the unknown future feels like all consuming darkness. I so desperately want a plan of some sort, even if it is a poor one, or unlikely to pan out. I really am trying to wrap my mind and heart around the concept of "..all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.." But I pretty much stink at it.

Anyways, the point is, for Temple Grandin, "all these things" were the ridicule and the difficulties she has experienced going through life being different - avoiding human touch, not reading social cues, poor interpersonal skills. They have definitely given her experience, and have not only been for her good, but have improved others lives as well. (And not just the cows...her improvements have greatly improved the lives of those who handle the animals.) It helps to think that our challenges have purpose, even if only to show us our weaknesses so we can be gradually strengthened as we go through life. Annoyingly, I can point to the times in my life when it has been really hard as the times when I have experienced the most pronounced growth. Hmph.

The best way out is always through.
Robert Frost

Saturday, May 14, 2011

so awesome!

So a couple of years ago we found out that our backyard neighbor is the son of my dad's best friend (now deceased) from childhood. This neighbor sent me the following pictures the other day, and I think they are the youngest I've ever seen of my dad. They make me so happy. There is just something neat about being able to see your parents as children and realize they are essentially the same person they were then, even though they've been educated and "roughed up" a bit over the years. My dad turns 76 this summer.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

all that and a bag of chips

I've decided that if I blog at least monthly, my blog is not dead. Aim high, right?

Last week for Earth Day the family and I headed over to the River Trail to pick up trash. It was a bit chilly, but the sun was shining and it was nice to get out and enjoy the trees in blossom and see just how crazy high and fast the river is flowing right now.

We had a nice time, picked up a garbage bag filled with garbage, including a number of soda cans for Spud's can recycling efforts (he and his Pop Pop make pretty good money...for a six year old, anyways). As we were finishing up by the new bridge over the river, the kids were exploring and Spud found an unopened medium sized bag of barbecue potato chips. It was probably somebody's stash or forgotten snack, but we claimed it as our own and enjoyed it as our reward for our good deed!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

good times

It has been a rough couple of weeks, but some good points to mention:

We went to a friend of a friend's house for a dinner. This guy is a true foodie. The meal was amazing, and afterward he pulled out his "collection" of balsamic vinegars. I had no idea that there was such a wide variety of balsamic. We had a tasting of about 10 different vinegars, some of which ran up to $5-600/bottle, and these were NOT large bottles! We learned all about the aging process of the vinegar as well. I have to say I was not immediately enthused about the idea of a vinegar tasting, but the flavors really were delicious. It was fun to taste the different "notes" of the various types. (Look, I'm sounding like a foodie now.) Yum.

Seeing Hairspray with five awesome friends at the Hale Center Theater last week. I wish I could go a few more times. It was SO fun. I had seen the movie version (we own it, actually) and really enjoyed it. The cast was amazing! I really loved the person who played Tracy. The only downside was not being able to get up and dance along during a few of the numbers.

Field trip to the Provo Airport with the Boys Club (plus sisters). It was really neat. The kids got to sit in the airplanes (these were little 4 seaters), take a turn on the simulator, and learn a ton from what has to be one of the greatest tour guides. He is a UVU flight student, but he was so friendly and engaging. It was really fun and I could tell the kids were just eating it up.

Fabulous book club discussion today about the book Joan: The Mysterious Life of the Heretic who became a Saint. The book itself was very inspiring, but our discussion turned to how we can find our own path and mission and have the faith to step out into the unknown and trust that we will find something solid to step on. It was really what I needed this week.

Also, I am addicted to Sammy's battered fries. And we had an AMAZING peach cobbler shake. Soooooo good. Those are right up there now with The Cocoa Bean's Love Potion frappe. So much delicious goodness.

I am so grateful for good friends to share this life with. It really means a lot to have people who care and are willing to share their lives and help bear our burdens, and also those who enrich our lives just by making it so much more enjoyable.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

are you a dummy?

(No, the picture isn't really correlated to the blog title. I was just playing around today while the kids were playing around and I liked Sprout's expression.)

I have a lot on my mind lately, but it doesn't feel like the stuff to share indiscriminately (with my handful of occasional readers) or like stuff I just want to have "out there," so I've not said much here lately. I also spend most of my online time working, so there's that, too. But one quote that keeps running through my mind is this exchange from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, the movie, as I haven't confirmed that the same passage is in the book.

Grandpa George: There's plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket-- There are only 5 of them in the whole world, and that's all there's ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?
Charlie: No, sir.
Grandpa George: Then get that mud off your pants. (gives 2 thumbs up) You've got a factory to go to!

A couple of weeks ago I listed to an episode of This American Life called The Invention of Money which was really interesting. I've also been thinking about how most (if not all) of what seems necessary and normal by our standards and expectations is completely fabricated. We are so shaped by our experiences that we really believe that life is the way we think it is, that to be a human means what it means to us. The human experience has changed drastically (I can't even think of a strong enough word) in the last 200 years. The abundance of information and communication is mind boggling. I don't really have anything profound to say about that, but there has to be something to figuring out the true "essentials" for your own life.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Today was the little guy's second birthday. David made an Elmo cake for him (as he has become a HUGE Elmo fan over the past two months thanks to Youtube Sesame Street videos) and we had a low key party for him. He got some books from us and David's parents, a fun block train, a handmade beanbag from Spud, a handmade toy pillow and snake from Noodle, a card with five dollars from my parents, and a handmade super plush bunny from me, He really loves books and had to look at each of them as he unwrapped them.

He is such a super fun little guy. I'd blather on more, but it's late and I'm sleepy. I just wanted to get this out while it was still officially his birthday. Happy birthday little guy!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Key to a Happy Christmas*

*you could probably substitute Birthday, Valentine's Day, Anniversary, etc.

Low Expectations.

That might sound a bit like a Debbie Downer thing to say, but I don't mean it to be. This year I think was the first time that I really didn't have anything I wanted or hoped to get. I had zero expectations of gifts, and was really just grateful to have some money set aside to buy gifts for the kids. And I really enjoyed Christmas, and truly felt like everything I got was a "gift." (Though, I did get a particular item of clothing from my parents-in-law about which I couldn't help but feel a tiny bit put out. It's a sweater that doesn't look like anything I would ever wear and is totally the wrong style for me.)

But, overall it was a great holiday and lots of fun. We got some fun gifts for the family, including the game Qwirkle Cubes, SnapCircuits, a zOrv digital microscope, and two ukuleles! I sewed a new design of monsters for the kids this year and they have really loved those.

One new activity for this year was a get together with my brother and his family and my sister and her family who live in the area. We don't usually get together at Christmas, and it was a lot of fun to do so. We had a fun white elephant gift exchange and just socialized, played games, sang some songs and ate yummy food. I hope that they all enjoyed it enough to want to do it again next year. We usually just see David's family at Christmas, and I felt kind of left out.

One of these days, I'll pull the last couple of months of pictures off my camera and have a mega picture post.