Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Have I Done?

First it was Jenna at Payless Shoes, "Mom, can I get the Twilight shoes?"

Then it was both girls at Walmart, "Mommy, look at the Twilight shirts!  Can we get one?"  Of course I couldn't say no.  Jenna is also currently using my "I'm dreaming of an Edward Christmas" bookmark that I got at our VM's dinner.  What's a mother to do?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...

1.  Little things that make me smile (see poster in window next to grocery store where I shop).
2.  Wonderful friends that my children have bonded with.
3.  Little reminders everyday that strengthen my faith.
4.  Lunch with girlfriends.
5.  Date nights with my man.
6.  Experiences that make me stronger and wiser.
7.  Both my daughters' teachers for whom teaching is a talent.
8.  Chocolate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.  No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

Everyone can create.  You don't need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.

Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment.  We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty...

You may think you don't have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.  The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano.  Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before--colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn't have to be perfect.  So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned?  Don't let fear of failure discourage you.  Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you--whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small.  Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it."

~President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
General Relief Society Meeting
September, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Musings

In September, 2007, Thomas S. Monson made this statement, "Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks."  How many times do we go about our days trying to complete tasks that we think we should be competent enough to handle only to find that we fall short?  It happens to me just about every day.  There are at least 37 things in my job description that I have been well trained for, but I don't get to pick the order or complexity of my tasks, and some days, the pressure to excel is so great that I want to crawl in a hole and cry uncle.  So what is one to do?

My friend, Natalie, spoke in church on Sunday and mentioned that her dad would be running the Boston Marathon the next day.  He's 72 years old.  She said she had run one marathon herself once, and she doesn't marvel at the fact that her dad will run the marathon.  She said the marathon is the easy part.  It is the training for the marathon that is absolutely grueling, and I think it surprises her that he can still complete the training.  The training was what she remembered about her marathon because it was so difficult that she often wondered if she could complete the training necessary to be in shape for the marathon.  Of course she then likened this to our lives.  The day-to-day endurance in life is often so overwhelming that the feeling of defeat is hanging in the corner of our consciousness.   Enduring to the end is really, really hard work.  

So these two thoughts came together for me this morning, and I am grateful for the reminder.  I will strive to pray for abilities equal to the tasks that are before me as well as those to come.  I am hopeful, that with the Lord's help and strength,  I will be able to move forward without fear, confident that He will bless me with the ability needed to meet my challenges.  It's a simple concept, so why do I continue to falter?  Apparently I need to staple this message to my forehead, or at least tape it to my fridge.  

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Mom Deserves A Diamond

Several weeks ago, unbeknownst to me, my daughter submitted a piece of writing to a contest called, "Why My Mom Deserves a Diamond".  The entries were to be exactly 25 words.  There were 30,000 entries, two diamond winners, and another 6,000 winners who would receive either an amethyst or a garnet stone.  Heather's writing was chosen as a winner, and we were invited to go and pick up our garnet on Friday.  I was really proud of her, and we had a great time going to pick up the prize.

Here is her poem and certificate...
She will never let me down.  She feeds me and loves me.  She plays with me.  She tucks me into bed.  Yes, she is my mom.

Here we are in the jewelry store after choosing the stone...

And here is my garnet, all the way from Africa.  Heather was allowed to choose from several stones, and the value of the stone is around $40

Saturday, April 18, 2009

No Time To Post...Must Read...

I am a little enthusiastic about this series.  These books came highly recommended from a friend.  They are the "can't put it down" variety.  If you are looking for an action packed, suspenseful, intense read, this is the series.  If you happen to be a sensitive reader, email me first.  Otherwise, get to the library immediately.  I am off to finish the last hundred pages of Fire Study.  Bye!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday...

I recently read an article in Real Simple Magazine highlighting the author, Jonah Lehrer, and his book, How We Decide.  He worked in a neuroscience lab before becoming a science writer.  This is the first of some snippets that I'll share on 'Thoughtful Thursdays'.  Enjoy.

"Tap your emotions.  Our conscious thoughts are only a fraction of what's going on in our brains.  At any given moment, the unconscious is taking in vast amounts of information that we're not even aware of and processing it all very quickly.  Based on its conclusions, the brain generates emotions.  So don't disregard that subtle feeling telling you to avoid the salmon special.  Your personal supercomputer is trying to tell you something." 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

Normally, I have some words of wisdom that I've learned from to share for a Wednesday post.  Today, I'm borrowing from my friend Jessica's blog because there is no better way that I could say this, and it's something that I need repeated reminders about so that the time doesn't slip away from me.  Enjoy...

"First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.

~Russell M. Ballard


'The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less"

~Author Anna Quindlen, Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11)."

Tackled on Tuesday

• warm breakfast for girls; healthy lunches packed
• 1 hr. 40 min. of exercise
• healthy meals all day for me
• another novel (Magic Study by Maria Snyder)
• trip to the library with girls
• meeting with Heather's teacher to continue to fine-tune what needs to happen for her
• roughly 3 hours of homework monitoring
• healthy dinner prepped and served
• dishes managed
• several hugs and kisses, given and received, not tackled as the post heading reads
• thanks expressed for good friends who patiently listen to me voice my fears and desires for my children, and for a teacher who genuinely cares about my daughter and desires to help her be the best she can be 

My house is still messy, but it was a good day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Maintain it Monday

Ha, ha.  Just kidding.  More like MAYHEM Monday.  Our house is in serious need of a cleaning, but with all of us down and out last week and the Easter clutter on top, it was too much for one day.  I focused all my energy today on getting all my exercise points for the day and eating healthy.  I got side tracked posting this morning, so all my photos got cataloged in my computer while I was in my office.  That was one of those jobs that needs a few minutes (or an hour) or it gets backed up.  

So what am I saying?  There were some great things that happened today even though I should have been doing other stuff.  Did I just say "should"?  Shame on me.  Could have been doing other stuff.  It's all about choices.  Sometimes your choices all happen to be really good things.

More Sunday Fun

Here are a few more pictures of Easter Sunday.  Before going to church, we read an Easter story and had a little discussion about the Atonement.  Our church meeting was remarkable, and the girls heard more of the story of the last days of Christ and His resurrection.  Before bed, we read scriptures covering the last hours of our Savior's life, his death and his resurrection.  We haven't made such a concentrated effort before, so it felt really good to know that the right information was getting in there.

Off to church--Momma and girls...
Daddy and girls

Outdoor egg hunt starting point...
After the hunt, the girls take time to look at their stash.

Yeah, don't ask me.  I guess the Easter Bunny inspired the girls to become guinea pigs for a moment.  Linny and Lizzy have no idea what to think.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Morning

Jenna was overcome as she ran out and saw her basket...next to a scooter.  There are times when the Easter Bunny brings a needed gift for the girls, for example, when someone's scooter is broken and their birthday is ten months away.  The girls never ask, but it's a fun surprise to have something to play with by their baskets.

New "grown up" scooters from the Easter Bunny.  No more Barbie and Hello Kitty scooters.  They don't take jumps well.

Hunting for real eggs in the living room.

The Art of Egg Decor

Here are some egg decorating photos from our workshop.  Coloring eggs is a serious business around here.  Kelly usually chimes in before we're done, and he didn't disappoint this time.  His masterpiece is front and center in the pic below.

Heather concentrates on a multicolored masterpiece.

Jenna is careful not to crack an egg.

This is our first egg coloring event with no grandparents present.  Kelly's mom and I colored eggs every year until she passed; it didn't matter that we didn't have any kids.  Of course when there were little ones, she and Ray never missed a coloring event.

Posing patiently for mom's photo.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for having the energy to get things done.  I put laundry away that has been sitting around in baskets for days, washed up dishes, finished restocking our 72-hour kits, put some things in our new trailer and loaded up the recycling for tomorrow.  I also had time to upload pictures (not the greatest) of the small bit of decorating I got done with the use of one eye the other day.  I couldn't imagine the Easter Bunny coming on Sunday with no decor.  Other thanks include Jenna eating for the first time in two days!  She came alive today after three long days of high fever.  That was the biggest relief of all today!

My Monkey Man

I love when Rosalie calls Emmett her 'monkey man' in the movie.  My man was busy being his big, strong self on Monday afternoon.  After spending Saturday grading and laying cement blocks in the corner of our yard, he moved our shed from the side of the house to it's new home Monday.  He emptied it first of course, but then began to move it with plastic pipe under it. Heather helped him place the pipes, and he muscled it over into the corner.  Emmett's back wouldn't have bothered him like Kelly's, but what can you expect?  Kelly is a human, and we all have our limitations.  Good work monkey man!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Modern Medicine

Thanks to modern medicine, Heather is on the mend, and my eye has already begun to shrink a bit.  At times like this I have reflected on what it must have been like for mothers 100 years ago when their little ones got sick.  Fevers are so scary now, I can't imagine how parents must have worried back then.  At least I know I can grab some Motrin or call a doctor and get help right away.  

As we have been cooped up inside these last eight days, part of this being our Spring Break, I have been able to resist grumbling and stay in gratitude.  This could have happened during school or when we had our normal weekly activities going on.  But it happened when we have all had time to sleep in and convalesce.   I regard this as a blessing from above and am practicing patience and letting go.  Thanks for all of your notes and wishes.  We'll be back on our feet soon! 


The Infirmary

Reporting from the sick house...three of the four of us are still down.  Heather has bronchitis, Jenna has an upper respiratory virus with a high fever, and my eye seems to have decided to have an infection of it's own and is currently swollen shut.  We did the pediatrician yesterday--1 hour and 45 minutes, most of that waiting-- and I'm off to the doctor this afternoon.  Easter is four days away so there is still hope for us, right?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Savor It Sunday

Savored Items

1.  General Conference 

Appreciated - Those in the most danger of not doing temple work are those for whom temples are close by (doh!).

Enlightened to discover - Not only are doubt and discouragement Satan's powerful tools, they are also bad habits.  How much more cunning could that be?  He plants the seeds of doubt and discouragement, and then we water and nourish them!  Gah!  I never saw that.   I knew those were his tools, but I didn't see my part in allowing the seeds to take root and spread.

2.  Playing with my girls

Of all the things I could think of to do in between conference sessions today, I was compelled to pull games down and play with my kids.  We discovered that Hi Ho! Cherry-O is a little too simple now and that memory/matching card games are still really fun.  I am choosing the better part and not kicking myself for the time that's gone by while not playing Hi Ho! Cherry-O.  Instead I will delight in the fun we had, and that I had the wherewithal to listen and seize the moment!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Holy Kleenex Batman!

How many tissues can one 9-year-old go through?  Quite a few.  The boxes were lined up to go out to the recycling bin, and I just couldn't resist.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, well, you can see what it's been here the past few days.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Food For Thought Friday

I have pilfered this from Amy O.'s blog because, quite frankly, there is nothing interesting going on over here aside from fevers, sore throats, and tons of Kleenex usage.  Enjoy.

If you could live in any home on a television series, what would it be?
Since Father of The Bride is not a television series, I'd have to pick Hope and Michael's house from Thirty Something.

What did you have for dinner last night (Thursday)?
Spaghetti and Meatballs

If you had to be named after one of the 50 states, which would it be?
I'm not sure if I'm supposed to pick a state for it's qualities, or one that could actually be name...I think Carolina and Dakota are nice names, but you have to be a North or South which is weird; Georgia is lovely (shout out to you G); I don't care much for the name Virginia (sorry); and I'm afraid that Texas would tend to reflect the size of my derrière.  I'll go with Oregon.  It's a pretty place.  I know.  I just over-thought this whole question. *eye roll*

Midnight Snack
What is your favorite flower?
The tulip.  I don't know why.  I haven't grown up with them, but I love their shape and the variety of colors.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful for...

1.  Having no place to be so I can take care of my sick family
2.  Modern medicine and headache remedies
3.  Soft pillows
4.  A hardworking husband
5.  Spaghetti and Meatballs - the easiest dinner ever
6.  Friends who are amazing and step up to do things like, oh, take over a class party I was in charge of tomorrow *smooch*
7.  Time to read

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Cube

We spent Monday afternoon at the Discovery Science Center (aka: The Cube).  Our annual pass expired this week so we gave it one last go.  It was a perfect visit because no one was there.  The one criticism I have about the exhibits (which are wonderful in concept) is that they are really hard to enjoy when gobs of people surround them.  When you go to a place to explore, it's very frustrating to have to wait in an unorganized mob to use the hands-on materials.  Anyway, it was a really perfect visit, and we'll have great memories until we decide to do it again.

The Magic School Bus exhibit had a stage with a t.v. camera so the kids could report the weather.

We sat in the Earthquake shack and read about and watched footage of different magnitudes of earthquakes around the world.  Then we got to push a button and feel them.  I'm sure it creeped me out more than it did the girls.

Jenna flies a plane powered by wind.
Heather pilots a plane using a pilot's controls.
The girls pulled themselves up with different ratios of resistance.

These girls are pros at rock climbing!

Here we made prints of ourselves (hands, bodies, faces, derrières).  It ended up being a place we hung out at for awhile, which is something you can never do when it's busy.

Wednesday Wisdom

Here is what I found this morning.  Profound meaning for me appears to equal sharing with my friends.  Hope you don't mind.  

I am going to type the statement as it was written.  The article's subject matter deals with our obligation to share the Gospel of peace with the world, and how the world currently lacks the foundation to achieve peace.  It's a great article that I'm still reading, but this analogy jumped off the page for me for other reasons.  So please feel free to do what I did and ponder; feel free to substitute the word "peace" for anything that applies to your situation, i.e., "a good marriage", "weight loss", "stronger relationships with children or family member", "deeper spirituality", "more ability to achieve ____"... whatever it is that you would like to improve in your life.  I'd love to hear what you think.

"It is a curious commentary on human nature that men who cry for peace look upon peace as something that my be picked as an apple from a tree, something that lies about within easy reach of humanity.  If I pick an apple from a tree, I have first planted the tree, cared for it, watered it, brought it to maturity.  Then in due time I may have the fruit."

~ Elder John A. Widtsoe, 1872-1952, Ensign April 2009 issue