Monday, January 30, 2012

Rancho Los Cerritos

Field trip day for Jenna and chaperone, Momma. After a 45 minute bus ride from our city, we arrived at Rancho Los Cerritos, a historic rancho preserved over time with a setting somewhere around 1863.

All the docents are dressed in period clothing and have their own stories of how they are connected to the rancho. The kids were given a tour of the kitchen, black smith shop, workers room, the main house library (with historical lecture and friend, Sarah, being the sheep in the demonstration of sheep sheering), dining room and master bedroom (complete with porta potty), the grounds where just about anything you need was grown. Outside they were taught to brand leather and play some of the games the rancho children did. I probably learned more than the kids; I love those kinds of field trips!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What we're up to...

Our Stake (church) is having their "Big Show" this spring (yes, it's only been 2.5 years instead of 3 since our last in the fall of 2009). This means it's show time in the Peterson household. I've been busy helping with auditions and preparation for our first rehearsals which begin tonight. The show is a family affair with Kelly on single dad duty and the girls taking on the responsibility of getting homework finished and getting to bed at a good time.

Everyone is doing well, including myself--I had to make sure this time around didn't result in my house and family running on "fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants" mode. I'm trying to get dishes done every night and clutter managed along with frequent laundry loads. I've had a shift recently wherein I am not willing to sacrifice so much for the cause anymore. I'm normally an all or nothing gal, but now, I'm working on tempering that so that I can participate and not feel like my family has to go without a wife and mother for six weeks. A lot of it has to do with my managing time wisely, and that has been a challenge for me for a while. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Germs...We've got 'em, and we don't want 'em! The most news worthy information we have in our household this time is that we're doing pretty good for a bunch of sick people. Kelly and I are marginally sinus impaired, but doing okay. Poor Heather was home on Friday with stomach cramps and the need for facilities nearby. Apparently that was going around her school, and several kids had had accidents at school (how embarrassing for middle schoolers, poor dears). Fortunately she didn't miss much at school and is back this week. Jenna has been home this week with a compacted head cold, and she is miserable. She's still smiling, but not up and dancing. I'm hoping that the germs decide to vacate and plague elsewhere, and soon.

We're planning for our big church show which starts rehearsing this week, OCMCO rehearsals begin tomorrow and soccer is coming up. We're taking our Emergen-C and trying to get enough rest. Not a very exciting post, but sometimes germs happens when you've made other plans.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting Published

Have you ever known that something was going to happen, but you didn't want to share it until it actually happened for fear that it might not? That's what happened with this story. In October, I saw that one of my favorite magazines, Seeing The Everyday, posted a call for submissions. The subject was childhood family dinner time. Oh how I wished I had something to write for them. This magazine embodies things I feel deeply about--seeing the eternal perspective and importance in our day-to-day living and enjoying our families and relationships. Unfortunately, my childhood dinner table was not really the kind that one would read about in an uplifting, growth-promoting magazine like this. Kelly, on the other hand, had just the kind of family dinner time experiences that I thought were worth sharing, so I took a chance and wrote something to send in.

The first reply I got let me know that they were interested in my story, but they wanted to know more about my family dinner experiences. I had hinted a little about my experiences, but hadn't written much due to the positive and uplifting nature of the stories in their publication. I added a few things, told them why I hadn't written a lot about my family, and sent it off.

The second reply thanked me for my additions, thanked me for being cautious about subject matter, and asked me for more. How did my experiences differ from my husband's? How did our experiences effect each of us, and how did they shape what we're doing now. The magazine was very, very polite and understanding that what they were asking me to talk about may be too upsetting to delve into. It wasn't really, and since they wanted to know, I went there. My revision was sent off, with another that followed blending the two experiences together a little more cohesively.

The third reply came by telephone just before Thanksgiving. They thanked me for working on the story, for sharing a story that will benefit so many, and they told me they wanted to print my piece in the winter issue.

When the actual magazine arrived this week, it was unbelievable. I write a lot about my experiences in life, but usually I do it in my journal or in emails to my family or friends. I never thought my first attempt at writing for a magazine would be to share something like dinner time experiences. But what I have learned over the years, and what this magazine promotes, is that all of our experiences, no matter how small, are experiences that shape us. Until I was encouraged to dig a little, I hadn't seen the dinner table being as significant as it is.

I worry a little because my dad will no doubt read the story. He is one of my biggest supporters, but I worry that he will be sad knowing that I don't have great memories of our family meals together. He is also someone who always strived to do the best he could for his family, especially his daughters, even in the face of difficult circumstances. He and my mom both did the best that they knew how to do, and the positive in the mix is that I have been able to learn from both good and bad experiences in my childhood. Kelly's family life wasn't perfect either, and from both of our experiences we are trying to build a good foundation for our girls which is what really matters.

Thanks to everyone who has congratulated and/or jumped with joy alongside me. This was really fun, and I hope it will be the first of more published writing to come.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Jenna got to hang out with friends from school on Friday when our local skating rink hosted a school skate party. She wasn't sure if she'd have the skills, but she did really well and ended up having a blast.

Animal Cell Model

It's a good thing that Heather and Kelly worked on Heather's cell model Wednesday night because by Thursday afternoon, Heather had the stomach flu. Kelly ended up finishing the painting, and I delivered it to school on Friday. Daddy and Daughter really did a nice job on the project.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In A Word - Year 3

When I posted my Top 5 at the end of December, I had completely forgotten about the In A Word idea I'd gotten from the girls at BLOOM. My friend posted her word yesterday and I thought, "Hey! I've done that and I totally forgot!" In January of 2010 my inaugural In A Word post was written followed in January of 2011 by In A Word Year 2. As I think back, the words "mindful" and "focus" were words that reflected my longing for improvement in the midst of a serious lack of energy. The more severe effects of Vitamin D deficiency I didn't know I had began in September just prior to the first In A Word post. I remember wanting so badly to care and figure out what was up with me. Being "mindful" helped me be aware of the most important things in my life and hang on to staying engaged with those things. The following year I knew I needed to be more active, but still had no energy. I thought that "focus" on just one thing at a time might be doable. Thank goodness my doctor's appointment in April of 2011 uncovered the depression that had been a symptom of severe Vitamin D deficiency. By June, I was back. The rest of the "focus" year was spent examining all of the damage from the previous two years--a house in disorder, friendships I'd not paid attention to, a weight gain of nearly 40 pounds, and most of the previous years' habits of exercise and healthy eating gone.

Yesterday I was reminded about choosing a word for the year, and I want to keep that up. I have more energy and many things I need to catch up on, so the best word I could think of was a word that would embody putting things into action. I feel like I've been gone for two years and have come back to find another person in my place. Who is this overweight, disorganized couch potato? I don't know, but I've got some work to do. I know what I need to do; I need to move and get it done. I want to put into practice the successful routines I know to be beneficial to my physical, spiritual and emotional health. Willpower is simply the desire to change. I have a lot to change, but I've done it before, so I know I can do it again...with a little practice.

Here we go 2012!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monday/Tuesday & Wed Sunrise

The Christmas decorations are finally packed up, and the house looks bare. I need to pull out my winter decor and spruce things up. There is so much organizing and purging to do, so I'm on to that next.

Yesterday, I tried a new bakery near us called Pinky's. Below is a picture of the Charlie Brown cupcake I bought (and ate) with peanut butter/fudge frosting. I also purchased a Dark Lord, chocolate with strawberry filling and strawberry cream frosting. Unfortunately, the Dark Lord went first before the camera was considered.

My canvass of Marta's artwork arrived also. I'm excited to get some ribbon for it and hang it next year. Last night, Kelly took Heather shopping for clay so that they could work on her model of an animal cell. They did a nice job. More pics later. And this morning, the sunrise was glorious. As you know, I'm a sunset gal and not a morning person. But Heather asked me to open her blinds and turn the hall light on before turning their bright bedroom light on. In doing so this morning, my car windows reflected a beautiful pinky/orange color. I was so happy to go out and see the sunrise for myself. I am always so grateful for these beautiful, peaceful moments that remind me that we have a Father in Heaven who lives and loves us.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Billboard Chart

Our choir's CD hit #1 on Billboard's classical chart this week. Wowza.

"We are thrilled to announce the our album, "Messiah in America," has debuted at #1 on Billboard's Traditonal Classical charts. Also, #7 Classical (overall) and #50 on Independently produced albums (all genres.) What a great way to tell the world about the beautiful events in the Book of Mormon!!"


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Disneyland Afternoon

No choir today for Heather or I, so we took advantage of the early release from school and headed to Disneyland for the afternoon. We forgot until we got there that many schools are still on break. It was quite crowded for we spoiled pass holders. We explored Tom Sawyer's Island, bought giant pickles, walked through Sleeping Beauty's Castle, a first for the girls, and hit a couple of rides that had shorter lines--Jungle Cruise, Pinnochio and Matterhorn were the only 5 - 15 minute waits. I enjoyed the girls' company and we fooled around with the Instagram App on my phone. We eventually decided to call it an afternoon and head home for dinner with Daddy, and we got a little treat on the way out of the park. The last photo will be recognizable to any Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place fans.

Heather was star-struck and forgot to ask who won the family wizard tournament! This was also the first smile I'd seen from tired Jenna.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Success = ABC

Our family had a great discussion based on the article in our church magazine titled, Living The Abundant Life (click on title for link). The essence of the article is using an ABC reminder to help us attain "a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness and blessings." My oldest was giving a presentation at her Young Women's meeting about setting and achieving goals in education, both school and music, last night, and we talked about how these ABC's apply to anything we are working on. The following are my thoughts after reading the article and discussing it with my family.

A = Attitude
This needs very little general explanation. For Heather, because she "hates school", she is only able to have a good attitude by focusing on the friends she goes to school with and a few of her fun teachers rather than focusing on the fact that school is pretty difficult for her and something she feels forced to do. If she has to go to school, she might as well enjoy her friends and the good fortune to get some great teachers now and then. Her personality allows her to be receptive to "looking on the bright side." Jenna is getting there.

B = Believe
In yourself, your goals and in being able to seek and find help whether secular or divine. Most of us are fortunate enough to have a great support system--family, friends, colleagues, etc.--and we can also pray for strength and help when needed. Heather knows from our reminders, and I often have to remind myself, not to listen to the voices that would tell us we are less than beautiful, intelligent, talented and worthy. We have to believe that and move forward.

C = Courage
We agreed that most goals that are worthwhile are hard. In fact, I'm still working on some that have seemed impossible. It takes courage to keep trying. If we don't have the courage to try, we might as well sit around and do nothing. My sweet girls each have their own issues with school right now, and we have a tenor of anxiety with school pretty much all the time. Sometimes there are tears, and sometimes I can read the stress through less visible manifestations. It breaks my heart because school can't be a walk in the park for them, but I am encouraged to use language that reminds my girls how strong they are as they work to overcome their challenges.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
~ Winston Churchill

We are loving the ABC reminder, and it pops into my head now with ease. It's good to remember what we're doing here as we navigate the day-to-day storms. Hope this is helpful to you too.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Look Up

"Look Up" is the title of an article in the January issue of our church magazine, and I love it. The author discusses the difference between looking up to see how Heavenly Father sees us and looking sideways to see how others see us. I am so guilty of comparing even though I know it's a lethal pastime. Constant comparison causes such damage to our self-worth, and I totally know better. I guess it's one of the tendencies of the natural man that we need to work to overcome. I'm going to try this reminder on for size as I worry about what I'm not getting accomplished. Stopping to remind myself to look up could be just the ticket to steering myself back in the right direction. It will keep me from looking around and keep me focused on my own personal and spiritual progression.

Blogging is one area where I've recently read and heard many bloggers are discouraged. The focus on what one's blog should be when surrounded by the other beautiful, well-maintained blogs can be crazy making. It's a great example of the discouragement that happens when we look outward to define who we are or where we should be at a certain place in time. We need to know who we are and what we want to accomplish and move forward. Your blog is your own, and it should be what you want it to be. Our progression is also our own, and it should be compared to no one else's. That sounds easy, but it isn't; it takes constant nourishment to reassure and move forward. The blog example may seem silly, but I find it interesting that although I have a clearly defined purpose for my blog (family/personal journaling and publishing to book form), I have swooned at the other blogs with fantastically beautiful pictures, stunning home decor, highly talented authors and creators sharing pearls of wisdom on a range of topics, and much more. I have been guilty of peeking over sideways. We all do it. Homes, cars, furniture, talents, jobs, children, clothes, etc. Whatever or whomever it is you choose to compare to, stop it.

Stop looking around and start looking up.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gathering Leaves

Kelly was off today, the girls didn't have school, and we were being really lazy at home this afternoon when the Holbrooks called to tell us they were raking leaves. The girls and I dashed over to play, and Hannah and Sarah had quite the pile of leaves already raked! My girls joined in helping bring piles from other areas of the park, and then they all set out to enjoy the humongous leaf pile. These are only a few of the nearly 200 photos I shot of their sillies. What a great afternoon! Thank you Sarah and Hannah!